MAC The Art of Powder – review, photos & swatches

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It’s another masterful collection from MAC…

photos: we heart this

I’m not a gal known for subtlety – not in my makeup nor in my opinions. Sometimes that’s a good thing, sometimes not. MAC isn’t exactly known for their subtlety either, throwing down bold new collections faster than I can collect a paycheck. Good thing for both of us that we can still manage a little softness, a slight shimmer of reality, in our theatrical world.

Behold MAC’s Art of Powder collection inspired by Masters and modern art movements, a gorgeous collection that looks audacious in the package yet translates to pure, refined elegance.

The Art of Powder collection consists of three art-inspired compacts:

Optical Bronzer ($38) – an Op Art influenced design with gold pearl and neon pink

In the Abstract Highlighter ($38) – an abstract design with a soft pink base run through with yellow gold veins and speckled with lavender and pink dots

Street Art Eye Shadow ($38) – a graffiti design with light brown, white, pastel pink and blues and warm orange colors

How to choose? First off, all three of these look spectacular. You’ll want to spend some time just gaxing at the pretty. (And just how great would it be to find these beauties in the Museum gift shops? ~ Tyna)

At first glance, the X-ray glasses-meets-Deco wallpaper look of the Optical Bronzer appealed to – neon pink AND gold pearl!? I love it. How pretty would that be swirled together?

Optical Bronzer

Super pretty, it seems! This bronzer has a sheer consistency that can be layered. While the pigment is light, the depth of the hue is surprisingly rich.

Next I was struck with The Street Art graffiti eye shadow palette; it is such a beautiful combination of randomness and intent in urban street colors. Though I was confused as to how this is applied – swirled all together or individually?

Street Art Eye Shadow

But this art, right? There are no right answers. You can easily pick out each single color from the palette (as seen above) and use them individually. And if you can stand the thought of marring the beautiful design of the palette, go ahead and swirl – see what you get.

My choice, though, was the In The Abstract Highlighter, its lyrical abstraction showcased in peachy pinks and golds. I die for gold – any gold – shimmer to glitter. From In the Abstract I expected more gold but what I got was a barely-there sheen. Somehow, my gold glitter-loving self was not disappointed.

In the Abstract is a finely milled powder that adds a subtle peachiness to your skin with just the barest hint of gold depending upon how the light hits. The only other product I’ve used that strikes me as similar in texture, color and results (though without the gold) is Benefit’s Dandelion. I used this everywhere that I’d normally wear bronzer (forehead, nose, chin, cheekbones), only avoiding my jaw line.

The fine mill of the powder evens out the texture of the skin as good as any finishing powder. This powder is nothing that I would have expected it to be from looking at it, yet everything I never knew I wanted.

My brutally honest, unsubtle opinion? Rock Star Awesome. 5 Stars.

I’m curious to see if the other MAC masterpieces were equally and pleasantly as surprising in performance. It may be the art of design that beckons us to buy, but if In the Abstract is any indication, The Art of Powder collection is as inspired by Masters of Illusion as it is the Masters of the Arts.

Sherri is co-author of What Would You Do With This Room? 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. For more info, or any questions, please see our disclosure policy.


  • sherrishera

    Sherri is a writer, dog lover, old movie fanatic, history detective, political junkie, fashion pundit and social media consumer advocate. “A fancy dinner and expensive champagne are better than writing a rent check any day of the week.” skin tone: NC 25 skin type: oily/sensitive favorite beauty product: anti-aging anything

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  1. This collection is beautiful! As pretty in the package as on the skin. Truely works of art!

  2. These are GORGEOUS! I would be heartbroken to use the eyeshadow palette, it’s just so great as is! And that Optical Bronzer is super interesting, the end result is NOT what I’d expect from that color combo!

    Thanks for the great review, @sherrishera!

    1. I’d be heartbroken to use that Eye palette, too. Those colors are pretty fantastic, though!

  3. I think these look too pretty to use…such gorgeous colors.

  4. The optical bronzer is probably my favorite piece of this collection. Though I think I’d like it if the pink went all the way through the bronzer instead of an over spray.

  5. On second glance, I’m really liking, The Street Art Graffiti Eye Shadow Palette. Just look at all the colors! I’d find a way to apply these! Awesome!

  6. The only potential downside I can see to these compacts is that they might be too beautiful to use! Optical Bronzer is the one for me. So pretty!

  7. This is such a stunning collection! Yes, they are almost too beautiful to use. But they are MAC. Can anyone really resist?

  8. Oh MAC, why must you torture me so?! You know I would need to purchase 2 of all of these, one for use and one to save. You’re such a pusher- a makeup pusher.
    These are all beautiful. (Of course they’re beautiful, it’s MAC, what was I expecting?!) I’m not sure how much I’m really feeling the Street Art eyeshadow palette, it’s just a little too much for me. My favorite by far is the In the Abstract Highlighter. Good choice of which to test @Sherrishera ! It’s lovely.

  9. That Abstract Highlighter is gorgeous! I’m a fan of a little highlighter to brighten the face, it’s a great de-ager.
    I was tempted by the looks of the Optical Bronzer because of the hot pink, but as the pink doesn’t really show up and as this is a bronzer (which always make me look like Pig Pen from “The Peanuts”), I’ll be passing on it and content to look at it in the pan.
    I’m just not even skilled enough to make the Street Art eye shadow palette work for me. Plus, it’s almost too pretty to use :)

  10. I think In The Abstract highlighter might be my favorite too :) These are pretty!

  11. Y’ALL. I was sent the Optical Bronzer to test and oh my Lord, it is wonderful. I don’t need bronzer really, so I was skeptical about how it would look. At first swipe with a brush, I was surprised to find the bronzer had a nice light flush to it from the pink, just enough to look great on my temples and nose and give me a healthy glow.
    HOWEVER, I swiped harder the second time and have now discovered my Holy Grail Blush!! I’m not kidding, this is the perfect shade for me; not too pink and not too deep. It gives me a nice flush, exactly the shade I get after I go for a run and have cooled down. If only it had the calorie burning aspect too, I’d buy it by the truckload!
    I need to go out and get a back-up of Optical Bronzer; I think this is limited edition and the thought of losing it after I use up this one makes me sad.

    I give this 5 stars, ONLY because I can’t give it 6!

  12. I was the lucky recipient of the Street Art graffiti eye shadow palette. I was thrilled because I loved it so much in @Sherrishera‘s post pic.
    I had to force myself to actually put a brush to the shadow because I really did not want to mess up the design!
    I reluctantly swirled my brush among the copper, white and blue shadows and wow!
    The wash of color was sparkly and light. I later used the copper area only and it was lovely! This palette has endless possibilities and if I can get over muddling the design, I will try them all!
    5 enthusiastic stars!

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