MAC Surf, Baby! Eyes & Cheeks – review, photos & swatches

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photos: we heart this

MAC’s announcing the arrival of Summer (soon!) with the launch of Surf, Baby! (available May 26 through July 7) – a decidedly laid back California collection with a retro feel.

One look at that white packaging, with chubby stripes and hibiscus flower graphics, and I thought of vintage 80s OP shirts (and all the cute, tanned boys who used to wear them!) And the shades themselves? Think the ocean, tanned skin and easy, surfer girl color (with pops of glitter here and there).

We’re breaking our Surf, Baby review into two posts (eyes & cheeks and skin, nails, & lips) because this is a BIG collection; 33 pieces not counting brushes and bags!

Ready to ride this wave? Let’s dive in!

Crushed Metallic Pigments
Without a doubt, my favorite item in the whole collection is the Surf the Ocean Metallic Pigments, an icy range of water-esque shades. I found them absolutely entrancing! There’s a pure silver gray, a dark gunmetal with a hint of teal, a coppery gold and a shade that I would imagine looks very similar to the Caribbean ocean, a dreamy iridescent light green. Sadly, it’s the shade I was most excited for, but it’s not very pigmented (though you do get darker views depending on how you look at it). But the other three pack a TON of color in.

These pigments have an interesting chunky texture and a slightly wet feeling to them (which makes them less messy than loose pigments). Temptalia noted that the color should be pressed on (a VERY helpful tip), but I also got a good result mixing them on the back of my hand and applying the product from there.

Swatched dry, no primer. See how light that green is? (second from left)

a closer look at the green in different light

Summer Stash is the other Metallic Pigment stack. There’s a pinky purple with magenta and silver glitter (the most glittery shade on the eight pigments), a coffee grounds brown with gold shimmer, a champagne that applies frosty white and a pinky nude (think Stila’s Kitten).

swatched dry, no primer

each collection comes in two stacks that screw on to each other

Oh, the pigment in these shadows! Surf USA is a bright teal frost (that’s really, not very frosty) and is a color I can see myself (and any teal lover) reaching for again and again. Sun Blonde has quickly become my go-to gold. It’s a sunny yellow gold frost (again, not too frosty!) A pure summer color. Saffron is a repromote from the very recent Mickey Contractor, a satin finish, orange-y terracotta.

Saffron, Surf USA, Sun Blonde eyeshadows, Gilded White eye pencil

Powerpoint Eye Pencils
I got to take a look at Gilded White, an aptly named white gold that looks fabulous under your lower lash line. I have my eye on the other liner in the launch Blue Noon, described as teal with gold pearl, and dream of that on the top lid with Gilded White underneath.

My Surf, Baby eye, shown left: Surf the Ocean Crushed pigments (gold inner eye, green on lid, gunmetal grey applied over a teal liner) with Surf USA eyeshadow on the outer edge and in the crease.

Surf, Baby Cheek Powder
The namesake of the collection is also called My Paradise (which makes sense because this is a blush also named a cheek powder!) They call it peach, I call it dark coral. And it really is quite dark on it’s own. It lightens when mixed with the gold overspray (beautifully laid in a hibiscus flower pattern) but I found the gold to be a bit on the chunky side of glittery.

Comparisons will obviously be made to Marine Life (the must-have piece from last year’s To The Beach). And I think I will be equally scared to use this beautiful blush! Once that overlay is gone, it’s gone for good…

Here are all the eye and cheek products…

Crushed Metallic Pigment
Summer Stash:
Light pink champagne (Frost)
Light white pearl (Frost)
Light violet with silver pearl (Frost)
Brown bronze with gold pearl (Frost)

Surf The Ocean:
Frosty platinum (Frost)
Light yellow green (Frost)
Gold bronze (Frost)
Dirty graphite with silver pearl (Frost)
$32.50 U.S./$38.50 CDN

Splashproof Lash Mascara
Blacksplash – Black
$14.00 U.S./$17.00 CDN

Powerpoint Eye Pencil
Gilded White – Yellow white frost
Blue Noon – Teal with gold pearl
$15.50 U.S./$18.50 CDN

Eye Shadow
Short Shorts – Frosty white champagne (Frost)
Sun Blonde – Dirty yellow gold (Frost)
Saffron – Deep coral caramel (Satin)
Surf USA – Frosted teal (Frost)
Swell Baby – Mid-tone grey (Satin)
$15.50 U.S./$18.50 CDN

Naked- Fleshy beige with golden copper pearl
Melon – Soft bright golden peach
$19.50 U.S./$23.50 CDN

Surf, Baby Cheek Powder
My Paradise – Peach pressed powder with gold hibiscus flower overspray
$28.00 U.S./$32.00 CDN

Be sure to check out part two: skin, nails and lips. we heartsters, what products have you ready to cruise to the beach?

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

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  1. 80s OP shirts—that’s perfect, @stef ! Surf, Baby’s packaging alone makes me nostalgic for innocent summers of my past, and the products look amazing. At first glance, I’m going to spring for the Cheek Powder (the hibiscus flower is so pretty). I’m also intrigued by the Gilded White eye pencil, something I might have passed over before seeing how amazing it looks on you. I have May 26th marked on my calendar!

  2. This collection looks great and the retro packaging is so cute!
    I have reserved the Surf USA (I would use it as a liner) and I hope they have some nice bronzers in part 2!
    Surf’s up, dude!

  3. Summer Stash and the nude nail polish look amazing! Love that they aren’t a standard loose pigment texture. I wish My Paradise was just a shade or two lighter, I think it would look amazing on beautifully tanned summer skin, unfortunately I don’t tan :(

    1. I was the insanely lucky girl who received summer stash, and let me tell you how much I love this product. I thought it might be one of those night out only things, boy was I wrong. These colors are extremely wearable. Having a range of colors means there is also something here for every day of the week. They also blend really well together. I’ve been wearing all 4 of them at least twice a week. The texture is really, really unique on these. Patting them on is a must, as is using your fingers. I get a lot of glitter fall out when I apply them but once they are on they stay on. I usually do my eyes before my foundation on days when I want to wear these, so I can use makeup remover clothes to clean the excess sparkles. The lighter colors also make great highlighters on my cheeks, I put them on and then add a little bronzer on top to blend everything together. These are 5 stars all the way. I will be getting more metallic pigments in the future.

  4. I’m going to have to check out My Paradise cheek powder in person—as everyone probably knows, I loves me some blush! It looks like it could be a little dark, but I love coral blush in the Spring and Summer. It’s kind of a bummer about the gold overlay–many different companies have done this and it never works out. The gold layer is always chunky and glittery. What would be nice is maybe having 1/3 of the blush pan have a finely milled shimmer powder in it, so you can choose the shimmer if you want and it doesn’t run out after two or three sweeps of a blush brush.

  5. That teal frost has my name on it!! I love these colors! Thank you for being a beautiful model for this line Stef!

  6. I can’t even talk about the rest of the collection because I need need NEED Summer Stash in my life. I don’t think I’ve really ever found a collection or palette with multiple colors where I’m in love with every single one, but with Summer Stash I’M IN LOVE WITH EVERY SINGLE ONE.

    GAH, they are just GORGEOUS. I mean, so’s My Paradise and Sun Frost, but Summer Stash…I need you in my life.

  7. I am in love with the colors and sparkle of the eye pigments, but wow are they chunky looking! They look pretty smooth in your pictures however – and sort of wet feeling? I’m very excited to play with these!

    And I’m all over the Gilded White eye pencil- I like that it’s not too bright white and could be used all over the eye – inner rim, a tiny dab at the high point of the browbone, under the lashes, etc.

    It’s cold and rainy here, I’m ready for some sun and surf!!

  8. Surf USA looks like the eyeshadow I would want from this collection. I love blues and teals mixed in with neutral looks. I don’t usually go for blush, but the cheek powder looks interesting. Overall not my favorite collection though.

  9. The Surf the Ocean crushed pigments are my favorite – that green is stunning, albeit light. I would just press and press until I got that – and I love that they are less messy than standard loose products, as I’m not a fan of those in general. I love how these stack on eachother, too. Maybe not real convenient if you’re not using them all at the same time, but great for storage. I would not have looked twice at the Gilded White liner in the store, but seeing it highlight your eye so perfectly, I’d give it a second thought. Great eye look!

  10. No matter what the collection, the Pigments call to me! I LOVE Summer Stash, what gorgeous colors! And great tip about the application, pressing pigments on really helps reduce the fallout.

    Surf, Baby makes me kinda sad. That overspray is so beautiful, I want it throughout the entire product! That, and knowing me I would have the hardest time “ruining” the blush by using it, haha!

  11. I want to like this collection, but I’m a little underwhelmed. I bought one item from last summer’s collection (Sweet & Punchy eyeshadow), but there isn’t anything that’s really calling my name.

  12. @stef – Your makeup is always so pretty!

    The loose pigments are gorgeous. The blush’s design is gorgeous, but the color is so dark! Holy smokes!

  13. Wow, I’m intrigued by the pigments… gunmetal, silver and Summer Stash’s purple are gorgeous! I really like how they stack like that too. I usually make a big old mess with loose stuff like these but they definitely look worth the effort!

  14. This collection has got my attention more than all of MACs recent releases. The colors and the retro packaging are totally rad! I feel like I could hang ten right now wearing all of this makeup, of course! I swear we had a surfboard that looks like the design on the compact!

  15. These pigments are fabulous!! I adore silvers, grays, and purples. They are all just so pretty! I think that I am in love. What a fantastic collection. I think that this just might push me to try MAC pigments for the first time.

  16. I love love love liners for my bottom lash line that bring out the whites in our eyes. Gilded White looks so dreamy and perfect for achieving the woken up look. My Paradise is on my radar FOR SURE. Marine Life was such a favorite of mine last year and this year! It looks great and Im sure with a light hand it won’t be too offensive on my NC25 skin. What do you think?

  17. Those pigments look like such fun. The wet, chunky consistency of which @Stef speaks really appeals to this loose pigment lover. Colors are pretty awesome, too.

  18. I received MAC Surf, Baby! eyeshadow in Saffron to test out. I’ll admit when I first saw it, I was a little nervous–a satiny orange terracotta color can be pretty hard to pull off! The last time I tried any sort of red/orange eyeshadow on my lids, I had looked diseased. But I imagined @Stef saying in her best Tim Gunn voice, “Make it work.”

    So I paired Saffron with some fairly neutral colors. I put a matte light peach shade from Too Faced on my browbone, Urban Decay shadow in Virgin on my lid, MAC Surf, Baby! shadow in Saffron in the crease, and Urban Decay shadow in Toasted in the outer-V. Threw on a little bit of brown eyeliner and mascara, and I felt pretty pleased with myself!

    The packaging is very much like “OP,” and it’s not really my favorite MAC packaging. Functional enough, but not squeal-worthy. The color itself is smooth, but not as buttery and pigmented as many of MAC’s other colors, which makes the wear time just a bit shorter as well. I’d give it three stars.

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