MAC Face and Body – review, tips, photos & swatches

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Be your own makeup artist – Pro products for everyday wear

MAC Face and Body Collectionphotos: we heart this

I adore makeup, but certain products have always made me a little nervous. I feel like there’s so much flexibility with color products like eye shadow and lip gloss; but blush, bronzer and contouring products seemed to require a level of expertise that I didn’t quite have.

My early attempts at contouring and highlighting were not successful. I ended up looking sparkly and dirty at the same time. I tried watching tutorials on how to shade and lighten my features but I still didn’t seem to be getting the look I wanted – until I tried MAC’s Face & Body Collection for Fall 2012, which features products in neutral skin-tone shades. I was so pleased with these products (and the results), I’m sharing my knowledge with you!

Before we get to my tips, it’s important to note that when it comes to face products, and especially when it comes to contouring products, it’s really important to get shades and finishes that are spot on. It’s better that you try these shades in person to see how they look on YOUR skin before buying. (Or at least, make sure you can return them if you buy online and they’re not quite right). You may need to mix shades to get the right shade and tone for your skin, think of yourself as a MAC makeup artist!

MAC Face and Body CollectionPro Sculpting Creams in Naturally Defined and Richly Honed (back row); Pressed Pigments in Light Touch and Warming Heart

Instead of a bronzer or highlighting powder (which frequently have shimmer), you can get a pro look using the MAC Pro Sculpting Creams ($20). These cream to powder products come in six shades that allow you to emphasize your prettiest features, and downplay others (ugh, like my huge forehead).

Once you have the correct Pro Sculpting Cream shades in hand – I’m working with Naturally Defined (warm beige) and Richly Honed (warm deep brown) – you’re ready to begin. First apply any treatment products, primer and foundation. Now you’re ready to contour!

A quick note, when working with these creams, use either your fingers or a dense brush like MAC’s 163 Flat Contour Brush to pat on color. Don’t press too hard or you’ll end up moving your foundation around.

Make a fishy face (suck in your cheeks to create a hollow). Grab your contour color – this should be two shades darker than your skin tone. Apply product, a little at a time and blending well, to the following areas:

under cheekbone from hairline almost to edge of lips
along hairline
under chin (not on jawline)
on either side of nose
eyelid crease
either side of the chin

A collage photo of a woman applying contour on face

Next, grab your highlight color – this should be two shades lighter than your skin tone. Apply product to the following areas:

thin strip on nose
middle of forehead
above cupid’s bow of lips
below eyes
eyelids, inner corner of eyes, browbone

Take a look and see if you need to modify any of your contouring – you can layer on more Pro Sculpting Cream as needed. While the Pro Sculpting Cream formula will dry down to a powder finish, using a setting powder on top will help your look last even longer.

Pressed Pigments in Warming Heart and Light Touch Pressed Pigments in Warming Heart and Light Touch

Lastly, add a bit of oomph to your look using MAC’s Pressed Pigments ($21). While these are described as “intensely creamy highlighter offering extreme pearlescence and versatility of finish,” these seemed to end up just adding a lot of sparkle. I tested Light Touch (high pearl powder in W10) and Warming Heart (high pearl powder in NW20). Whether used wet or dry, these Pressed Pigments seemed to have the same shimmery finish with bits of glitter. The best place for them is probably on your eyes.

Additionally, you should know that this product is more delicate than your standard pressed product in a pan. MAC does provide a warning about this on their website, and I found out how true it was when I accidentally dropped Light Touch. Fortunately, the compact was closed when I dropped it, so I didn’t lose any product.

Pressed Pigments in Light Touch and Warming Heart swatchesPressed Pigments in Light Touch and Warming Heart

Pressed Pigments in Light Touch, Warming Heart; Pro Sculpting Creams in Naturally Defined and Richly Honed swatchesPressed Pigments in Light Touch, Warming Heart; Pro Sculpting Creams in Naturally Defined and Richly Honed

If you’re going to be in photos, or other situations with harsh lighting, contouring is going to be your BFF. A fully contoured face is probably more than most people need to do on a regular basis, but I can definitely see myself doing a simplified version for everyday.

A photo collage of a woman smiling left: foundation only, right: contouring, eye makeup, blush and setting powder

All in all, the Face and Body Collection really helped me perfect the contoured look. If you’ve been looking to find products that will add dimension and depth to your face, check out these limited edition products before they’re gone.

we heartsters – do you have contouring skills? Share your tips in the comments!


Pressed Pigment
Light Touch High – pearl powder in W10
Warming Heart High – pearl powder in NW20
Day Gleam High – pearl powder in NC30
Spot Lit High – pearl powder in NW35
Beaming High – pearl powder in NC50
Deeply Dashing High – pearl powder in NW55
$21 US / $25.00 CDN

Pro Sculpting Cream
Accentuate – Peachy beige
Naturally Defined – Warm beige
Pure Sculpture – Neutral pink beige
Copper Beech – Warm golden brown
Coffee Walnut – Deep, dirty cool brown
Richly Honed – Warm deep brown
$20 US / $24 CDN

Face & Body Foundation
C1, C2, C3, C4, C5, C6, C7
N1, N2, N3, N5, N7, N9
$27 US / $32 CDN

215 Medium shader
$25. US / $30 CDN

163 Flat contour
$35 US / $42 CDN

Marilyn is a makeup maniac and slow but stubborn runner. She loves color coding her day planner, reading celebrity gossip and drinking good wine. Marilyn blogs about makeup and fitness over at her blog, Lipgloss and Spandex.

Disclosure: This review includes products that were provided by the manufacturer/PR firm for our consideration. For more info, or any questions, please see our disclosure policy.


  • Marilyn

    Marilyn is a makeup maniac and slow but stubborn runner. She loves color coding her day planner, reading celebrity gossip and drinking good wine. skin tone: NC25 Skin type: oily, acne-prone Favorite beauty product: eyeshadow

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  1. I have never tried sculpting creams before and I’m completely intrigued. I have a feeling I would definitely need some major tutorials and your tips are great too!

    1. @spitfire77 –a little practice goes a long way :) It’s definitely something to try a couple of times at home, when you don’t have any plans. After that, it’s pretty easy, but just takes a little more time.

  2. I’m obviously a makeup obsessed girl, but just like you @lipglossandspandex I never had too much luck with contouring. Just ended up looking dirty instead of chiseled. I have a round face and chubby cheeks no matter how thick or thin my body may be, so I am always looking for was to visually slim my face.

    Can’t wait to try these tricks (after I double check I have the correct colors for my skin tone). Which means a trip to MAC may be in store – heh. Thanks for the tips AND for providing me a reason to head back to MAC!

    1. @Tyna –you’re very welcome! It can definitely be a fine line between chiseled and dirty looking when it comes to contouring.

  3. Wow, @lipglossandspandex, you did great! I feel like I could totally do this now.. I’ve never tried this method before but am willing to give it a go! Will have to make a visit to MAC soon.. I’m sure they’ll hook me up so I have the right mix of colors! How fun! Great post! :)

    1. Just sayin’ it like it is, @mandabear :) I love MAC because they make such great products in every category, including products most other brands don’t have!

  4. @lipglossandspandex –You are my contouring hero!! These tips and products are especially key for people with round faces (like me). I never seem to get the contouring correct. I am headed to the Mac counter so they can help slim and contour my face.

    1. @hao9703 If the MAC artist’s don’t mention this, here’s a tip for you: try using your flat shader eyeshadow brushes under your cheekbones to create that initial hollow (and it’s okay to go a little heavy with the line) and blend the line underneath with your favorite tapered blush brush. Sometimes it can be hard to get that definition with such a round shape, and that can help. I learned that trick when I was experimenting for my Black Swan makeup!

  5. I’m a lucky girl and have an oval face (with, albeit, a German forehead, boo), so I don’t need to contour. In fact, contouring makes me look a wee scary (seriously, don’t put bronzer under these high cheekbones…it scaaaaaaaaaary.) If I do anything, it’s I grab a highlighter and a fluffy blending brush. I like to brush the highlighter in a C-shape from under my brows to the top of my cheekbone. I actually find it helps my icky vampire circles (anything to help those…..fabulous!) I sometimes put a little on the inner corner to help to a brightening effect.

    Highlights are okay for this kid….lowlights, no way!

    1. Lucky you, to be blessed with a gorgeous face structure! I also have a lamentably large forehead.

      Using a brush you like is a good tip. I tried a couple of different brushes, but I really liked the It Cosmetics brush recently featured on WHT. It’s densely packed bristles make it easy to apply the colors, and then blend them out.

    2. Large foreheads, they are curses. Gladly, they’re easily fixed with a good pair of curved bangs (which I’m NOT sporting at the moment due to a tragic at-home bang trim; they’re a bit TOO short. Oie. Katie, you must learn not to wield scissors, especially given the fact you now have hacked off three inches off the back too. *sniffles* I’m still getting over that one.)

      Yea, my fluffy blending brush is a favorite of mine. Blending out eyeshadow, concealer, highlighter, blush, the few times I actually wear bronzer (like for Halloween. It would be really hard for Katniss to be deathly pale like me. It would make my life easier though), blending out details…it’s actually a favorite brush of mine when I try to paint (try being the main word here; I paint like I’m two), except it’s called a dome brush in the painting world. I like tapered brushes too, but I keep forgetting to pick up a tapered one at the art shop for makeup and one of those super fine, teeny tiny thin bristle brushes for liner (I actually use one for nail art!) Cheater? Me? Noooooooooo. I just know where all the good brushes are. :)

  6. I just looked at this post again and am blown away at the results! I am so going to do this! I just need to be shown one time and I’m good to go!

  7. Way to go with this post @lipglossandspandex – you’re inspiring everyone to give something a try that it notoriously scary! Like anything, practice makes perfect.

    I grew up hating my nose because it was wide. And I remember reading my stepmom’s Cosmo as a kid and trying to contour my nose with some brown eye shadow! I wasn’t fooling anyone.

    I love the texture of these cremes, buttery smooth and super easy to work with. The pigments though were just a glittery mess though. I think just plain ol’ (but fabulous) highlighters would have done so much better in this launch. Oh well.

    1. @Stef, it seemed like a daunting task at first, but these sculpting creams really do make it pretty easy!

      The pressed pigments look so pretty in the pan… but they really aren’t functional products. Unless you’re going as a fairy for Halloween. This stuff just gets EVERYWHERE.

  8. @lipglossandspandex , “sparkly and dirty” sums up my own attempts at contouring! So I’m really, really impressed by your before and after pics. You have skills! I’ll be checking these MAC products out first chance I get.

  9. I love how pretty the pressed pigments look, but they’re definitely not good as a highlighter. MAC has plenty of great highlighters–especially the repromoted ones in the holiday 2012 collections!–but these pressed pigments do not work well that way. If you have a good glitter adhesive product that’ll prevent fallout, you might be able to use this on your eyes. Not very practical at all, unless you’re going for the glitter-bomb-exploded-on-your-face look. And the fact that it’s more fragile than your average product is really a drawback. Two stars.

    The sculpting creams are really pretty easy to use–assuming you have the right shades, as I mentioned above. There’s a good amount of product and the price is okay. The main drawback I found is that I think it’s causing some minor breakouts. :( I’d still use these for the occasional special event though!!! Four stars.

  10. @lipglossandspandex – I bow down before your contouring skills! I can’t contour worth a darn. I’ve tried, but it looks worse than bronzer attempts. I’m just too pale and I’m not fooling anybody, no matter how much I blend. I concede defeat. :P lol

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