MAC Lightfully New Skin Care Review

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Skin brightens up with the help of MAC’s latest skin care line

photos: we heart this

I’m a beauty junkie, but (excluding samples) I never use a cosmetic company’s skincare products. I am not sure why exactly…I think on some level I figure that the company should stick to what they’re good at – which would be makeup. That being said, I think MAC Cosmetics may have converted this long-held belief of mine with their Lightfully New skin care line.

All right, MAC’s Lightfully New collection isn’t exactly “new” – it was once a limited edition Asia exclusive skin care line for MAC that has now been made available to the masses. There are four products making the move to MAC’s permanent collection, Lightful Cleanser (a foaming cleanser), Lightful Essence (a serum), Softening Lotion (a toner) and Moisture Creme (a thick gel-like moisturizer).

Beyond the cool, futuristic packaging, my fair-skinned self was really excited to try these products as Asian skin care lines typically are designed specifically to reduce inflammation and redness in the skin, resulting in a “brighter” complexion. The Lightfully New products don’t rely on gimmicky shimmer or added pigment to make your skin appear brighter – they actually create a change in your skin.

I will admit, I was a little mystified by the oh-so-mysterious “Marine-Bright Formula” MAC is boasting with this line, so I channeled my inner nerd and broke down a few of the ingredients for you ladies so you, like me, can better understand what makes these products work the way they do.

Here are a just a few key ingredients:
Gentian Root Extract (Bitterwort) – astringent and anti-inflammatory that reduces redness
Rice Bran Extract – whitens and brightens skin and reduces redness
Porphyria Yezoensis (Red Algae) – Vitamin C & A
Palmaria Palmata Extract – a type of algae with antioxidant and emollient properties
Algae Extract – normalizes skin, balances moisture, promotes skin clarity
Caffeine – an anti-inflammatory

These powerhouse ingredients are packed into all four items in the line and I received two of these products, the Softening Lotion and Mositure Creme for review. After the first time I used these two products, my skin not only felt softer, but I appeared paler than usual – this zapped any and all redness from my skin. It was pretty amazing.

In taking away the redness, my skin did appear significantly brighter. After continued use, I had zero breakouts (a problem my skin has from time to time with new skin products) and my skin clarity and brightness improved. Wow. Just. Wow.

The Lightful Softening Lotion ($30) is not a lotion in the traditional sense; it’s more of a skin balancing toner.

Think a toner that doesn’t make your face feel “squeaky-clean” or dry, but that actually makes your skin feel calmer and soft to the touch. I saw a difference after a few uses and with regular application, MAC claims the softening and brightening impact increases.

The Lightful Moisture Creme ($40) is not a thick cream as I imagine when I hear “creme”. It is more of a gel-like lotion that absorbs quickly and leaves skin soft but without the heaviness of a traditional cream.

Worth noting: the Moisture Creme lacks SPF, so keep that in mind when using this for daytime wear. I found I was able to compensate with my SPF-laden foundation.

Both products smell faintly herbal and invigorating–I think I’m detecting a hint of citrus. I’m very sensitive to scents, but these were very lightly fragranced and pleasantly so.

Overall, I kind of love MAC’s Lightfully New line. The only complaints I have would be on the packaging front. While they look fab, I’d prefer the plastic bottle of the softening lotion to be more pliable so I can squeeze the liquid out better. Also, I’d prefer the face cream to be in pump form (the product feels lightweight enough to allow for this) because the I hate applying face lotions from a jar – it’s not the most hygienic.

Reduces Redness
Softens Skin
Improves Skin Clarity
Evens Skin Tone

Stiff plastic on Softening Lotion bottle makes dispensing product difficult
Jar packaging for face cream may not be the most hygienic

You know the stuff in the containers has to be beyond fantastic if their casings are the only complaints I can come up with. Packaging notwithstanding, MAC’s Lightfully New line is getting a whopping 5 stars from me!

Has anybody else tried MAC’s Lightfully New skincare line? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Krista currently lives in a semi-haunted house in New England with her hubby/best friend and obscenely big-eared dog. She thinks the world would be a better place if people smiled more and ate more dark chocolate. She is a firm believer that humor can be found in everything and that Tom Selleck’s moustache has healing properties…

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.


  • krista

    Lives in the middle of nowhere with her amazing hubby and two codependent dogs that love to hate each other. She enjoys dance parties of one and last minute road trips, prays for Angela Lansbury's immortality and can never own enough blush. She averages one "Silence of the Lambs" quote a week and feels no shame over this. Perhaps she should. skin tone: NW15 skin type: sensitive/oily favorite beauty product: Blush, lots and lots of blush

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  1. Gimmicky shimmer in “brightening” products is a huge pet peeve of mine! I want something that actually changes my skin’s tone, not added glitter to wash off later! So with all that said I’m pretty excited about MAC Lightful! The packaging is super cute, I really like the holographic design. I think I’ll check out the Softening Lotion first.

  2. oooh, looks super cool in that pachaging.. but have to see what’s inside the jars and bottles! I’m going to check this out! Thanks Krista- great post!

  3. As insane as I am about MAC cosmetics, I’m never explored their skincare line. Lightful sounds great, though. For one thing, I love caffeine as a skincare ingredient, and I love that you’re seeing results, @krista ! I’ll be checking out this line for sure.

  4. I’m guilty of sticking to the cosmetics when I visit a MAC counter (so much pretty to buy!) – but I’ve always heard a ton of good things about their skin care products. I’m loving the look of this line and am impressed that @Krista was so impressed with the results. I’ve been noticing more redness in my skin lately and need a new cleanser. I may have to splash out for the Lightful Cleanser – has any one out there tried it?

    1. I’ve read other reviews about the cleanser and most tend to think it’s pretty basic. Oddly, I tried a new brightening cleanser from Neutrogena (Visibly Bright) that smells identical to these MAC products. The Neutrogena product contains some shimmer in the cleanser, but that washes away. It seems to pair well with these two items, so if you’re gun shy about dropping the coinage for the matching MAC cleanser, try the drugstore one. It’s oil-free, so no breakouts, and it works great w/ a Clarisonic :)

  5. I’d really love to try the line, especially with the claim of softening redness. Love the holographic dot packing!

  6. I always love a good skin care line. I have never tried this one but, am going to the Mac counter tomorrow. Does anyone know if this has dimethicone in it?

    1. Unfortunately, I no longer have the boxes for these, where the ingredients were listed. The cream jar didn’t have an ingredient list & the holographic dots on the softening lotion prevent me from reading the bottle without wanting to gouge my own eyes out. Sorry I couldn’t be more help :(

  7. @hao9703–many of MAC’s products do contain dimethicone, however, I don’t have as many issues with it as I do with some other brands. I’d ask for a sample to try out (especially if you’re going to a MAC Pro [freestanding] store–the girls working at the one on 23rd are always really nice and helpful).

  8. Some of these products look really cool. I love Asian brands too. I would definitely give this line a try! The labels are really fun :)

  9. Excellent post, Krista – I wasn’t actually even aware that MAC had skin care products and now you’ve made me want to try this!

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