MAC Reel Sexy – review, photos & swatches

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It’s not too late to get a good seat for the show!

MAC Reel Sexy collectionproduct photos: we heart this, event photos: MAC Cosmetics

Before you break out the nautical stripes and jaunty hats for Hey Sailor, you may want to grab a popcorn and catch the last showing of MAC Reel Sexy (it’s here until May 24). The launch is based on/accompanied by photographs and film by Miles Aldridge that star his wife, supermodel Kristen McMenamy. It’s bold and brilliant and oh so late 80s inspired.

Check out a couple of pics from the release party on Robertson Blvd.

Reel Sexy ushers who handed out movie snacksReel Sexy ushers who handed out movie snacks

enior Artist Tiffany JAnd look, our beautiful pal; Senior Artist Tiffany J (far right).

Ok, on with the show…

Nail Lacquer in Screening Room, Vivid Effect and In the Dark PurpleNail Lacquer in Screening Room, Vivid Effect and In the Dark…Purple

There are three Nail Lacquers in Reel Sexy, which perfectly represent the primary colors that dominate the launch: Teal, Coral and Purple, all in creme formula with good coverage in two coats.

MAC Nail lacquer in an orange coral shadeVivid Effect

Vivid Effect is described as an orange-coral. I’m not seeing a lot of orange. I’d call this a true coral, or more specifically “the color I buy over and over again”. Bright and pretty!

MAC Nail lacquer in a bright blue teal shadeScreening Room

Screening Room is a bright blue teal. I often find polishes to be either too blue or too teal. This is a beautiful, equal mix of both shades.

MAC Nail lacquer in a bright medium red-tinged violetIn the Dark…Purple

In the Dark… Purple is a bright medium red-tinged violet.

four Eye Shadow Duos, and two of the four Eye Kohls

We got to check out two of the four Eye Shadow Duos, and two of the four Eye Kohls…

MAC dynamic duoDynamic Duo 3

Dynamic Duo 3 won me over with its taupe and teal combo before I even tried it. Happily, it still had me after I swatched it. It’s a true taupe shimmer, meaning that it looks both purple and gray. I went back and forth over which one I thought it leaned more towards, before deciding it was a tie! And while the dark matte shade looks teal in the pan, it applies so dark that it almost looks emerald on. It makes a beautiful liner and a great compliment to the taupe. Nice pigment on both of these too.

MAC Dynamic duoDynamic Duo 4

Dynamic Duo 4 is a light pink with a slight shimmer and a matte black violet. I had trouble with both of these shades. I couldn’t get the pink to show up on my skin, no matter how many layers I applied. And the dark shade was definitely on the chalky side.

Eye Kohl in Heirloom and HyacinthEye Kohl in Heirloom and Hyacinth

I find myself reaching for Eye Kohl’s a lot, with Teddy being my go-to shade for just about ANY look. They’re soft; but not too soft, and wear for a long time; but not so long that removal is difficult. Just a good, standard liner!

Heirloom is a metallic lavender grey, and I’ve found that I love using it on the lower lashes to accompany grey and purple looks. Hyacinth is a medium cobalt blue with a lighter blue sheen.

Duo 3, Heirloom and Hyacinth Eye Kohls, Duo 4 swatchesDuo 3, Heirloom and Hyacinth Eye Kohls, Duo 4

Cremesheen Glass in Private Screening, Star Quality, Cinestyle and Colour Saturation Cremesheen Glass in Private Screening, Star Quality, Cinestyle and Colour Saturation

We got a sneak preview at all four of the Cremesheen Glasses. Private Screening is a milky and light peach nude. Star Quality is a bright pink coral that I knew would be mine from first swipe. Cinestyle is a light, creamy lavender that gives just a touch of milky coolness. First looking at it I thought it would be way too cool for me, but surprisingly, it worked for my warm skin tone in the same way a light nude would. How about that! Color Saturation is a bright berry with a hint of purple.

Private Screening, Star Quality, Cinestyle and Colour Saturation swatchesPrivate Screening, Star Quality, Cinestyle and Colour Saturation

Lipstick in Reel Sexy, Watch Me Simmer, Heroine and Pink Popcorn lipstickLipstick in Reel Sexy, Watch Me Simmer, Heroine and Pink Popcorn

Lastly, here’s a look at all four of the lipsticks. The launch’s namesake, Reel Sexy, is a light and bright peachy coral with an amplified finish. This was pretty non-forgiving on me; streaky and settled into lip lines. Too bad, I really wanted it to work. Watch me Simmer was a hit in the Shop/Cook launch, and it still is. It’s a bright pink-tinged coral with an amplified finish. Coral fans, if you didn’t get a chance to scoop this up then, you surely should now. Heroine is a magenta purple with a matte finish. But I call this a “new matte”, it’s got a plusher feel and no dryness at all (I swear MAC has reformulated their mattes, and I like ’em!) Pink Popcorn is a sheerish purple tinged pink with a lustre finish.

Lipstick in Reel Sexy, Watch Me Simmer, Heroine and Pink Popcorn swatchesLipstick in Reel Sexy, Watch Me Simmer, Heroine and Pink Popcorn

Review Team, what did you think of the products? And readers, do you want to catch the show?

Zoom Lash mascara
Zoomblack – Rich black
$15 U.S./$18 CDN

Eye Kohl
Heirloom – highly metallicized greyed lavender
Hyacinth – Dirtied mid-tone blue
Resort – Deep amethyst plum
Smolder – Intense black
$15 U.S./$18 CDN

Nail Lacquer
Vivid Effect – Vivid orange coral (creme)
In the Dark…Purple – Vivid violet (creme)
Screening Room – Bright mid-tone teal (creme)
$15U.S./$18 CDN

Reel Sexy – Light bright coral (amplified)
Watch Me Simmer – Bight pink-orange (amplified)
Pink Popcorn – Lavender (lustre)
Heroine – Bright violet/purple (matte)
$14.50 U.S./$17.50 CDN

Cremesheen Glass
Private Screening – Mid-tone peach
Cinestyle – Mid-tone blue grey violet
Star Quality – Bright orange coral
Colour Saturation – Dark cool wine
$19 U.S./$22.50 CDN

Pro Palette Eye Shadow X2
Dynamic Duo 1 – Coral with yellow pearl (veluxe pearl) and Clean purple (matte)
Dynamic Duo 2 – Violet duochrome with pearl (frost) and Clean violet (matte)
Dynamic Duo 3 – Dirty-toned purple (veluxe pearl) and Teal blue (matte)
Dynamic Duo 4 – Mid-tone pink (satin) and Blackened violet (matte)
$27.50 U.S./$33 CDN

Powder Blush
Pink Cult – Mid-tone dirty neutral pink (matte)
Magenta – Bright magenta (matte)
$20U.S./$24 CDN

Mineralize Skinfinish
Lightscapade – Soft candlelit beige with multi-dimensional shimmer
$28 U.S./$33.50 CDN

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.


  • Stef Andrews

    Stef is a plethora of things. Amongst them: co-founder of we heart this, photographer, condiment connoisseur, Philly girl in the California desert, borderline hoarder and a hardcore beauty junkie. She also has a touch of wanderlust and, arguably, the cutest dog in the whole world... skin tone: NC 25/30 skin type: oily with a fear of rosacea favorite beauty product: high end skincare and lip products


  1. I got the chance to try the Dynamic Duo 4 and Pink Popcorn.

    I agree that the pink Pale Feather in Duo 4 is hard to see, I got it to work mostly as a highlighter with my pale skin. However I really liked the purple shade. It is a matte so it was a little harder to blend but the blackened violet looked great with my green eyes. Adding a little wash of a shimmery neutral helped to blend it out.

    Pink Popcorn showed up on my lips as an almost mauve shade. It has just enough purple to be on trend but without being too dramatic. I’d also be interested in Watch Me Simmer which seems perfect for summer!

  2. What a fun idea by MAC. Makes me want to go fishing for some reel sext new products! Great pics @stef! Lipstick in Reel Sexy and Watch Me Simmer have caught my eye. Will have to see what they look like on though.. But Private Screening looks like something I’d wear in an instant! I just was admiring your nails too, they look great! Vivid Effect is soooo pretty! I also like the blue teal alot, but don’t think I could wear it at work. :(

  3. After a peak at the Hey Sailor line and a glance at Reel Sexy, I am loving MAC even more – didn’t think that was possible! Love the bold colors in this line – so very 80’s, but also so wearable – not something that could be said of many 80’s hues. And while I am not a huge fan of purples most of the time, my fave piece from these images is the In The Dark…Purple – it’s such a pretty and unique shade. Going to have to get back to a MAC soon and check that one out!

    And since @Stef has turned me on to the beauty of a good taupe, I am jonsing for the Dynamic Duo 3 – always love a nice teal – so those two hues together makes a perfect eye shadow duo for me. Sigh, if only my wallet would agree.

  4. I love this collection it has lots of VA VA VA VOOOM!
    I am in love with the Vivid Effect Polish. It sure will dress up my normal black attire.

  5. I got to try out Reel Sexy and like @Stef I had some difficulty getting it to work. The color is so smooth and light that it really does settle straight into my lip lines and is very streaky. Happily, I found a way to make it work! If I apply a heavy lip balm first and then pat on Reel Sexy I can get the color (which is lovely) without the streaks. It takes effort, but this creamy coral is worth it!
    Watch Me Simmer is totally next on my list. I must have it!

  6. I got to try out Watch Me Simmer and Heroine and for me, WMS is the more wearable of the two. The creamy and deeply bright coral is on trend for the season–it really brightens up my face. I find that I need to make sure my lips are seriously moisturized before applying this or else it shows every flake and crease. I also blot this so it doesn’t look dated on me (my grandmother wore a similar shade in the 80’s)–it also needs to be topped with a little gloss, preferably with a little shimmer. Heroine is a little overpowering on my pale self–it’s that little bit too purple–it’s a deep, true purple on me. I can make it work if I blot it excessively and then slick some shimmer gloss on top of it. In any case, the colors are definitely fun and new–not just your boring “same old same old”. If you’re feeling daring, or wanting something different, you might want to give Watch Me Simmer or Heroine :)

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