Saturday, February 7, 2015

MAC Toledo Collection: Swatches Part 1 and First Impressions!

MAC's collaboration with Isabel and Ruben Toledo is probably one of the most fun and eye-catching makeup releases of the entire 2015 Spring season. You can imagine I spent HOURS just taking product shots and swatches. I'll also be doing some looks as soon as I can, so stay posted!

First off, the collection features the following. (Please note there are a couple of items which are pending at present time, and I'll update the blog with visuals of the full collection as soon as they arrive.)
  • 3 "Eye Shadow x 6" palettes
  • 3 Blush Ombres *1 shade pending
  • 3 Nail Lacquers
  • 6 Lipsticks (Matte) *1 shade pending
  • 6 Lipglasses
  • 4 mascaras *1 shade pending
  • 1 Makeup Pouch *visuals pending
  • 1 Makeup Brush
  • 3 Eye Pencils *visuals pending
The white packaging features Ruben Toledo's eclectic graphic designs, and are collectible in their own right. But all the packaging in the world can't make a good collection if the products don't actually perform. And I'm happy to say there are lots of gems in this collection.

Before I get into the swatches, I'll say first that my absolute favorite products in the entire collection are the lipsticks. They're ALL matte, ALL intense, ALL beautiful colors.

MAC Toledo lipsticks: (from left) Sin,Opera, Tenor Voice, Barbecue, Oxblood
If the sheer, glossy Lustre lipsticks in the Red, Red, Red collection aren't quite up your alley, you'll be VERY happy with the ones in the Toledo collection.

  • Oxblood - nude with an apricot/peach undertone (like a paler sister of Kinda Sexy)
  • Barbecue - tangerine red (a little more orange than Lady Danger)
  • Tenor Voice - true red (similar to Ruby Woo but a touch warmer)
  • Victoriana - cherry-pink red; I'll update with a swatch as soon as I receive the product
  • Opera - deep blue-red (a less brown version of Russian Red)
  • Sin - dark blackened plum (Diva with more noir)

Of these shades, only Sin tended towards the dry side and dragged on the skin when applied, similar to the Retro Matte texture you find in Ruby Woo. The rest were very creamy and smooth to apply.

Strangely enough, I would have thought they'd name Sin Oxblood, since that's more of an oxblood color, but - oh well!

MAC Toledo Lipglasses: (from left) Sin, Opera, Victoriana, Barbecue, and Oxblood
The Lipglasses are equally pretty, and very pigmented. The shades are all coordinated with the lipsticks, so if you want extra drama you can simply layer the matching shades over one another.

[Update] I actually missed out Tenor Voice when swatching these.
And you'll see why here.

Tenor Voice is the Lipglass that I missed out. And the 3 reds in the collection are so close in Lipglass format that I didn't even really realize I missed out one.

  • Tenor Voice - true red
  • Victoriana - red with a hint of cherry-pink
  • Opera - red with a hint of blue undertone

I daresay you can get away with picking just 1 out of the 3 reds. These are very close to each other.

Now the Blush Ombres... ahh.

These aren't anything new, and Estee Lauder has ombre blushes in their permanent collection, but these are still pretty regardless. If you've missed previous releases, make sure to grab these with the Toledo collection because the motifed case is much cuter than the original round packaging with the see-through plastic lid.

Toledo Blush Ombres: Azalea Blossom and Kindergarten Red
There's a 3rd shade, Ripe Peach (peach ombre to tan) which hasn't reached me yet.

Ombre blush shades always look like they might be quite scary but if you've ever tried them before you'll know they are very soft and wearable colors. At the same time, I'm not sure if these would work on those with very dark skin, because they MIGHT go on slightly too pastel.

Still, both shades are gorgeous (I swatched them with an ombre effect so you can see how it would look on the skin) and I can't pick a favorite.

MAC Modern Twist Lash mascaras: Cligrafy, Tarot, and Vynil (yes it's spelt like this on purpose - at least I hope so)
I have to say I haven't had time to try the Modern Twist Lash formula yet, so I won't do a performance review here, but there are 4 shades available with the collection. Black, purple, a deep peacocky blue-green which is quite subtle, and a lime (which I don't have with me).

From the brush alone, I'm not entirely sure how obvious Caligrafy would be on the lashes - especially if you have dark hair. It's quite a subtle ultramarine.

The 3 palettes are the most eye-catching, but I do have to say the performance is not consistent. For every palette, the last shade on the right (dark matte) was consistently patchy and hard to apply. Most of the rest are quite smooth though.

Also, do remember that many of the shades are in the permanent collection, so unless you're a collector, make sure you swatch in the store and are sure you don't already own the shades you like most. 

MAC Toledo Bellgreens palette swatches 
All the shades in the Bellgreens palette were very smooth, except for Sushi Green, which was very patchy, gritty and hard to apply evenly.

MAC Toledo Moodyblu palette swatches 
If you like strong payoff and silky pigmentation, then the Moodyblu palette is probably one that would score the lowest points out of the 3, even though the colors ARE pretty.

Idol Eyes is a Lustre shadow in the permanent collection and not the easiest shade to work with because the flakes of sparkle fall all over and don't like to stick to the lids without a good base. You should not touch it with your fingers too much or it can seal over. Indigogo is very gritty and again, without a good base, the gold glitter in the matte blue will fall off. Exotic Purples was just very uneven and not easy to work with.

MAC Toledo Violetwink palette swatches 

Violetwink is probably my favorite in terms of the colors. It has 3 pinks and neutrals on the left, and 3 violet tones on the right, so you can wear it for a variety of occasions. But again, Overnight and Frizzyplum on the right are quite difficult to work with compared to the rest. (And I fancy myself quite an expert swatcher to begin with...)

Still the 4 shades on the left more than make up for it. Sweet Allure, French Clay, and Tendersmoke I don't remember having seen before and definitely are not in the permanent collection. And they're gorgeous. Stars 'n' Rockets is a popular favorite for pink/purple shadow lovers, so if you don't already own it, its inclusion in this palette allows you to create slightly brighter looks.

I'll get down to doing a few makeup looks with some of these colors soon - and also add on visuals of the items which are pending, but these are just my first impressions of the collection. Overall, I really like it and I'd definitely suggest everyone check out the lipsticks and glosses.

In Singapore, the collection launches 27 Feb in Sephora ION, and 3 Mar island-wide.


  1. Which is your top pick out of the red lipsticks?
    ps. I love your instagram and the makeup looks that you do

    1. I have to say Opera!
      I think deep blue-reds always manage to stay true on most skin tones (some brighter reds can start to look pink or orange sometimes), brighten the skin, and make teeth look white!


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