MAC Tropical Taboo – swatches & review

There’s still time to grab the collection that will make you want to dance on the sand

MACTaboo1 MAC Tropical Taboo   swatches & reviewPressAffiliate MAC Tropical Taboo   swatches & review 

Summer heat got ya down? It’s too darn hot and it’s only getting hotter—like Rio hotter. Time to turn that fizzle into some sizzle, put on that cherry ice cream smile and dance across the dusty land. MAC has released its Tropical Taboo collection and I’m definitely feeling some eighties south of the border heat.

MACTaboo2 MAC Tropical Taboo   swatches & review

MAC Tropical Taboo is defined by bold, bright colors, shimmery pastels and a rich black gold. Capturing the “passion of samba” (and the essence of my 80’s high school wardrobe) in this sensual collection, MAC sends the mercury rising.

Let’s take a look at the Tropical Taboo goodies received by wht for our review!

MACTaboo3 MAC Tropical Taboo   swatches & review

Mineralize Eye Shadows ($21 each)
Time to Tango — greyed lavender with gold and silver pearl
Tropica — reddish purple with bluish silver
Dare to Bare — light lavender with yellow gold

MACTaboo4 MAC Tropical Taboo   swatches & reviewTime to Tango

MACTaboo7 MAC Tropical Taboo   swatches & reviewTime to Tango – applied dry and wet

MACTaboo5 MAC Tropical Taboo   swatches & reviewTropica

MACTaboo8 MAC Tropical Taboo   swatches & reviewTropica – applied dry and wet

I tested Tropica which has some nice pigment for full-on lid color. Appearing in the pan as a marbled blue silver shimmer with mid-tone purple, on the skin it appears to be a pale violet with silvery shimmer. As with all Mineralize powders, these are finely milled, feel almost creamy on the skin and intensify when applied wet.

MACTaboo6 MAC Tropical Taboo   swatches & reviewDare to Bare

MACTaboo9 MAC Tropical Taboo   swatches & reviewDare to Bare – applied dry and wet

I also tried Dare to Bare which has less color impact, but is lovely as a highlighter and brightener. Appearing to be a marbled pale gold and lilac shimmer in the pan, it gives a whitened peach with a vague blueish cast on the skin.

MACTaboo10 MAC Tropical Taboo   swatches & reviewTime to Tango, Tropica and Dare to Bare

MACTaboo11 MAC Tropical Taboo   swatches & review

Kohl Power Eye Pencil ($16 each)
Orpheus — black with bronze gold pearl

Orpheus was my hands-down favorite of the entire collection, laying down the hard edge line of black but so shot through with gold as to look mesmerizing, rich and elegant. Black gold…Texas Tea.

Now, let’s take a look at some of the fab lip products in the MAC Tropical Taboo collection!

MACTaboo12 MAC Tropical Taboo   swatches & review

MACTaboo13 MAC Tropical Taboo   swatches & review

Mineralize Rich Lipstick ($22 each)
Midnight Mambo — bright, sheer magenta violet

By itself, Midnight Mambo is a sheer, buildable and intense violet. The slightly sweet scent and light, moisturizing formula of the Mineralize Rich Lipstick is a nice juxtaposition to the bold color. And Stef said it reminds her a lot of Feel My Pulse from the Temperature Rising launch earlier this year, and says to grab it if you find it (as it’s been her go-to Summer color!)

MACTaboo14 MAC Tropical Taboo   swatches & review

Lip Pencil ($15 each)
Heroine — Bright magenta violet
Ablaze — Bright orange coral

Of course, it takes two to tango and the Lip Pencil in Heroine with Mineralize Rich Lipstick in Midnight Mambo dance well together. With Heroine (a bright pure purple) lining and filling the lips, Mambo is even darker and more intense.

If these look familiar, you’re right – the shades were both part of Fashion Sets from May 2013.

MACTaboo15 MAC Tropical Taboo   swatches & review

Cremesheen Glass ($20 each)
Calypso Beat — peachy nude with silver shimmer
Japanese Spring — cool milky light pink

Cremesheen Glass is high shine gloss with a sweet yet healthy amount of color. I received Calypso Beat, a peachy nude with the barest amount of silver shimmer. This shade is a pretty way to tone down all those punchy tropical colors, but it also looks great with just a (fake) tan.

Thick but not sticky, Cremesheen wears quite well for a gloss (I counted 3 hours, after which it was faded and not-so-glossy, but still there).

MACTaboo16 MAC Tropical Taboo   swatches & reviewCremesheen Glass lip gloss in Calypso Beat and Japanese Spring; Mineralize Rich Lipstick in Midnight Mambo; Lip Pencil in Heroine and Ablaze

MACTaboo17 MAC Tropical Taboo   swatches & reviewA closer look at Midnight Mambo, Heroine and Ablaze

MACTaboo18 MAC Tropical Taboo   swatches & review

Mineralize Skinfinish ($30 each)
Rio — red bronze and bright pink pearl
Adored — light coral peach with light beige pearl

MACTaboo19 MAC Tropical Taboo   swatches & reviewRio

MACTaboo20 MAC Tropical Taboo   swatches & reviewAdored

I sampled Mineralize Skinfinish in Adored, a pearlescent swirl of coral and pale beige. From the looks of the pan, I thought I might be able to use this as a blush because the coral seems quite prevalent and intense. As with most of the Mineralize marbled powders, looks can be deceiving.

MACTaboo23 MAC Tropical Taboo   swatches & reviewMineralize Skinfinish in Rio and Adored

On the skin this appears to be a very pale gold/silvery beige with just the slightest hint of peach, making it just warm enough. A light application on the bridge of the nose and cheekbones looks like a kiss of moonshine (not the white lightening in a bottle, but the white light of the celestial body).

What’s great about all the Skinfinishes is that these are so finely milled that skin is smoothed to such a degree that the shimmer reflects without emphasizing pores.

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Mineralize Blush ($25 each)
Sweet Samba – dark pink magenta with reddish brown pearl

MACTaboo22 MAC Tropical Taboo   swatches & review

The Tropical Taboo Mineralize Blushes offer a silky smooth texture and lots of color. These shades can be layered with the Skinfinshes without heavy coverage. Join us in the comments to see what our tester thought of this intensely pigmented blush.

MACTaboo24 MAC Tropical Taboo   swatches & reviewMineralize Blush in Sweet Samba

MACTaboo25 MAC Tropical Taboo   swatches & reviewMineralize Skinfinish in Rio and Adored; Mineralize Blush in Sweet Samba

Peaches, pastels, purples and black eyeliner – I know what you’re thinking – I’m a bird of paradise, I’m catching that mirror way out west…I’m something special and look like I’m the best. Well, I do with a little help from MAC and 80’s pop music. (Bonus points to the first reader to name that tune!)

Readers – Do makeup collections ever make you think of a song, a time, a place?

photos: we heart this, swatches shown on NC25/30 skin tone

Sherri is co-author of What Would You Do With This Room?%name MAC Tropical Taboo   swatches & review My 10 Foolproof Commandments to Great Interior Design, and of course, a wht writer!

Disclosure: This review includes products that were provided by the manufacturer/PR firm for our consideration. It also contains an affiliate link, a link that gives us a small commission if you purchase the item. For more info, or any questions, please see our disclosure policy.

Mineralize Rich Lipstick
Luxe Naturale – light beige cream
Divine Choice – mid-tone cool pink cream
Lady at Play – mid-tone cool tangerine
Glamour Era – mid-tone warm brown frost
Midnight Mambo – intense violet
$22.00 US/$26.00 CDN

Cremesheen Glass
Calypso Beat – pale neutral peach
Fever Isle – bright red coral
Japanese Spring – pale dirty pink
Narcissus – dirty eggplant
$20.00 US/$23.00 CDN

Lip Pencil
Hip ‘n’ Happy – dirty blue pink
Have to Have It – soft warm beige
Ablaze – bright apricot
Heroine – bright purple
$15.00 US/$18.00 CDN

Zoom Lash
Zoomblack – rich black
$16.00 US/$19.00 CDN

Kohl Power Eye Pencil
Feline – rich black
Orpheus – intense black with gold pearl
$16.00 US/$19.00 CDN

287 Duo Fibre Eye Shadow
$32.00 US/$38.50 CDN

159 Duo Fibre Blush
$35.00 US/$42.00 CDN

Mineralize Blush
Sweet Samba – dark pink with tan pearl (frost)
Exotic Ember – orange with bronze pearl (frost)
Simmer – burnt rose with peach/gold pearl (frost)
$25.00 US/$29.50 CDN

Mineralize Eye Shadow
Dare to Bare – light cream with gold pearl (frost)
Caribbean – rose with pink and red pearl (frost)
Tropica – silver blue with purple (frost)
Time to Tango- lavender with silver pearl (frost)
Cha-Cha-Cha – deep blue green with green pearl (frost)
Bossa Blue – royal blue with brown pearl (frost)
$21.00 US/$25.00 CDN

Mineralize Skinfinish
Soft and Gentle – gilded peach bronze
Adored – coral with light beige pearl
Lust – pale pink with cranberry pearl
Rio – bronze with bright pink pearl
Gold Deposit – soft reflective golden bronze
$30.00 US/$35.00 CDN

187 Duo Fibre Face
$42.00 US/$50.50 CDN

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Written by sherrishera


  1. Profile photo of turboterp

    You hit the nail on the head with this review, @sherrishera ! The 80s teen in me loves Tropical Taboo! Both Cremesheen Glass colors are calling to me, and Orpheus is gorgeous, too.

    I tested Ablaze, the bright orange coral lip pencil, which I missed in its Fashion Sets release and was thrilled to receive. Ablaze is a creamy, bright, almost-red orange, and is frankly too pretty to save just for lining purposes. I’ve been using it all over my lips with a little clear or shimmery lipglass on top. For any orange-lover, Ablaze is a must-have.

  2. Profile photo of amity

    Everything in this collection looks gorgeous, and speaking of the naming thing: in Greek mythology, Orpheus was a magical musician whose songs could charm anyone or anything. The Orpheus liner looks equally charming!

  3. Profile photo of lyssachelle

    I got to try Sweet Samba, and whoa baby is it pigmented! The swatch does a great job of showing you how much color payoff you get, which is TONS. And that is not a complaint; MAC never does anything halfway, so if you’re looking for a true blush and not just a slight glow, this is your product. The magenta on its own would be too much, but that brown pearl adds shimmer and dulls it out to make Sweet Samba a gorgeous deep pink. Per usual, I had no issues with this blush. MAC is a pro at airy products with huge color payoff, and this is not exception.

    I’m going to have to take a look at Calypso Beat, I love glosses and that peachy nude would look great year-round!
    lyssachelle recently posted..Eatin’ Pants: Carol’s Creamed Chicken and Biscuits

  4. Profile photo of spitfire77

    What a collection! I tried Cremesheen Glass in Japanese Spring and it really is a thick luxury gloss. It doesn’t give you a lot of color, because it is a very pale pink but it’s nice to wear alone, with more dramatic eyes, or I’ve also been putting it on top of my other pink lipsticks for a great shine! The Mineralized Blush in Sweet Samba also looks really pretty, may have to grab that one!

  5. Profile photo of heather

    Those eyeshadows are everything I imagined make-up to be as a little girl – shiny and multi-colored!
    I can’t remember which one it was, but years ago I had one of MAC’s other marbled eyeshadows and wore it every day for probably a year straight!

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