MAC Tropical Taboo – swatches & review

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There’s still time to grab the collection that will make you want to dance on the sand

MAC Tropical Taboo Collection 

Summer heat got ya down? It’s too darn hot and it’s only getting hotter—like Rio hotter. Time to turn that fizzle into some sizzle, put on that cherry ice cream smile and dance across the dusty land. MAC has released its Tropical Taboo collection and I’m definitely feeling some eighties south of the border heat.

MAC Tropical Taboo

MAC Tropical Taboo is defined by bold, bright colors, shimmery pastels and a rich black gold. Capturing the “passion of samba” (and the essence of my 80’s high school wardrobe) in this sensual collection, MAC sends the mercury rising.

Let’s take a look at the Tropical Taboo goodies received by wht for our review!

MAC Tropical Taboo Collection

Mineralize Eye Shadows ($21 each)
Time to Tango — greyed lavender with gold and silver pearl
Tropica — reddish purple with bluish silver
Dare to Bare — light lavender with yellow gold

greyed lavender with gold and silver pearl eyeshadow colorTime to Tango

Time to tango greyed lavender with gold and silver pearl swatchesTime to Tango – applied dry and wet

reddish purple with bluish silver eyeshadow colorTropica

Tropica reddish purple with bluish silver swatchesTropica – applied dry and wet

I tested Tropica which has some nice pigment for full-on lid color. Appearing in the pan as a marbled blue silver shimmer with mid-tone purple, on the skin it appears to be a pale violet with silvery shimmer. As with all Mineralize powders, these are finely milled, feel almost creamy on the skin and intensify when applied wet.

light lavender with yellow gold eyeshadow colorDare to Bare

Dare to Bare light lavender with yellow gold swatchesDare to Bare – applied dry and wet

I also tried Dare to Bare which has less color impact, but is lovely as a highlighter and brightener. Appearing to be a marbled pale gold and lilac shimmer in the pan, it gives a whitened peach with a vague blueish cast on the skin.

Mineralize Eye Shadows SwatchesTime to Tango, Tropica and Dare to Bare

Kohl Power Eye Pencil Swatched

Kohl Power Eye Pencil ($16 each)
Orpheus — black with bronze gold pearl

Orpheus was my hands-down favorite of the entire collection, laying down the hard edge line of black but so shot through with gold as to look mesmerizing, rich and elegant. Black gold…Texas Tea.

Now, let’s take a look at some of the fab lip products in the MAC Tropical Taboo collection!

MAC Tropical Taboo collection Lip Products

bright, sheer magenta violet lipstick

Mineralize Rich Lipstick ($22 each)
Midnight Mambo — bright, sheer magenta violet

By itself, Midnight Mambo is a sheer, buildable and intense violet. The slightly sweet scent and light, moisturizing formula of the Mineralize Rich Lipstick is a nice juxtaposition to the bold color. And Stef said it reminds her a lot of Feel My Pulse from the Temperature Rising launch earlier this year, and says to grab it if you find it (as it’s been her go-to Summer color!)

Bright magenta violet and Bright orange coral lip pencil

Lip Pencil ($15 each)
Heroine — Bright magenta violet
Ablaze — Bright orange coral

Of course, it takes two to tango and the Lip Pencil in Heroine with Mineralize Rich Lipstick in Midnight Mambo dance well together. With Heroine (a bright pure purple) lining and filling the lips, Mambo is even darker and more intense.

If these look familiar, you’re right – the shades were both part of Fashion Sets from May 2013.

Cremesheen Glass with a peachy nude with silver shimmer and cool milky light pink color

Cremesheen Glass ($20 each)
Calypso Beat — peachy nude with silver shimmer
Japanese Spring — cool milky light pink

Cremesheen Glass is high shine gloss with a sweet yet healthy amount of color. I received Calypso Beat, a peachy nude with the barest amount of silver shimmer. This shade is a pretty way to tone down all those punchy tropical colors, but it also looks great with just a (fake) tan.

Thick but not sticky, Cremesheen wears quite well for a gloss (I counted 3 hours, after which it was faded and not-so-glossy, but still there).

MAC Tropical Taboo collection lip products swatchesCremesheen Glass lip gloss in Calypso Beat and Japanese Spring; Mineralize Rich Lipstick in Midnight Mambo; Lip Pencil in Heroine and Ablaze

MAC Tropical Taboo collection lip products swatchesA closer look at Midnight Mambo, Heroine and Ablaze

Mineralize Skinfinish with red bronze and bright pink pearl and light coral peach with light beige pearl shade

Mineralize Skinfinish ($30 each)
Rio — red bronze and bright pink pearl
Adored — light coral peach with light beige pearl

Mineralize Skinfinish red bronze and bright pink pearl shadeRio

Mineralize Skinfinish light coral peach with light beige pearl shadeAdored

I sampled Mineralize Skinfinish in Adored, a pearlescent swirl of coral and pale beige. From the looks of the pan, I thought I might be able to use this as a blush because the coral seems quite prevalent and intense. As with most of the Mineralize marbled powders, looks can be deceiving.

Mineralize Skinfinish in Rio and Adored

On the skin this appears to be a very pale gold/silvery beige with just the slightest hint of peach, making it just warm enough. A light application on the bridge of the nose and cheekbones looks like a kiss of moonshine (not the white lightening in a bottle, but the white light of the celestial body).

What’s great about all the Skinfinishes is that these are so finely milled that skin is smoothed to such a degree that the shimmer reflects without emphasizing pores.

Mineralize Skinfinish with dark pink magenta with reddish brown pearl shade

Mineralize Blush ($25 each)
Sweet Samba – dark pink magenta with reddish brown pearl

Mineralize Skinfinish with dark pink magenta with reddish brown pearl shade

The Tropical Taboo Mineralize Blushes offer a silky smooth texture and lots of color. These shades can be layered with the Skinfinshes without heavy coverage. Join us in the comments to see what our tester thought of this intensely pigmented blush.

Mineralize Skinfinish SwatchedMineralize Blush in Sweet Samba

Mineralize Skinfinish and Mineralize Blush swatchesMineralize Skinfinish in Rio and Adored; Mineralize Blush in Sweet Samba

Peaches, pastels, purples and black eyeliner – I know what you’re thinking – I’m a bird of paradise, I’m catching that mirror way out west…I’m something special and look like I’m the best. Well, I do with a little help from MAC and 80’s pop music. (Bonus points to the first reader to name that tune!)

we heartsters – Do makeup collections ever make you think of a song, a time, a place?

photos: we heart this, swatches shown on NC25/30 skin tone

Disclosure: This review includes products that were provided by the manufacturer/PR firm for our consideration. It also contains an affiliate link, a link that gives us a small commission if you purchase the item. For more info, or any questions, please see our disclosure policy.

Mineralize Rich Lipstick
Luxe Naturale – light beige cream
Divine Choice – mid-tone cool pink cream
Lady at Play – mid-tone cool tangerine
Glamour Era – mid-tone warm brown frost
Midnight Mambo – intense violet
$22.00 US/$26.00 CDN

Cremesheen Glass
Calypso Beat – pale neutral peach
Fever Isle – bright red coral
Japanese Spring – pale dirty pink
Narcissus – dirty eggplant
$20.00 US/$23.00 CDN

Lip Pencil
Hip ‘n’ Happy – dirty blue pink
Have to Have It – soft warm beige
Ablaze – bright apricot
Heroine – bright purple
$15.00 US/$18.00 CDN

Zoom Lash
Zoomblack – rich black
$16.00 US/$19.00 CDN

Kohl Power Eye Pencil
Feline – rich black
Orpheus – intense black with gold pearl
$16.00 US/$19.00 CDN

287 Duo Fibre Eye Shadow
$32.00 US/$38.50 CDN

159 Duo Fibre Blush
$35.00 US/$42.00 CDN

Mineralize Blush
Sweet Samba – dark pink with tan pearl (frost)
Exotic Ember – orange with bronze pearl (frost)
Simmer – burnt rose with peach/gold pearl (frost)
$25.00 US/$29.50 CDN

Mineralize Eye Shadow
Dare to Bare – light cream with gold pearl (frost)
Caribbean – rose with pink and red pearl (frost)
Tropica – silver blue with purple (frost)
Time to Tango- lavender with silver pearl (frost)
Cha-Cha-Cha – deep blue green with green pearl (frost)
Bossa Blue – royal blue with brown pearl (frost)
$21.00 US/$25.00 CDN

Mineralize Skinfinish
Soft and Gentle – gilded peach bronze
Adored – coral with light beige pearl
Lust – pale pink with cranberry pearl
Rio – bronze with bright pink pearl
Gold Deposit – soft reflective golden bronze
$30.00 US/$35.00 CDN

187 Duo Fibre Face
$42.00 US/$50.50 CDN


  • 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. You hit the nail on the head with this review, @sherrishera ! The 80s teen in me loves Tropical Taboo! Both Cremesheen Glass colors are calling to me, and Orpheus is gorgeous, too.

    I tested Ablaze, the bright orange coral lip pencil, which I missed in its Fashion Sets release and was thrilled to receive. Ablaze is a creamy, bright, almost-red orange, and is frankly too pretty to save just for lining purposes. I’ve been using it all over my lips with a little clear or shimmery lipglass on top. For any orange-lover, Ablaze is a must-have.

  2. Everything in this collection looks gorgeous, and speaking of the naming thing: in Greek mythology, Orpheus was a magical musician whose songs could charm anyone or anything. The Orpheus liner looks equally charming!

  3. I got to try Sweet Samba, and whoa baby is it pigmented! The swatch does a great job of showing you how much color payoff you get, which is TONS. And that is not a complaint; MAC never does anything halfway, so if you’re looking for a true blush and not just a slight glow, this is your product. The magenta on its own would be too much, but that brown pearl adds shimmer and dulls it out to make Sweet Samba a gorgeous deep pink. Per usual, I had no issues with this blush. MAC is a pro at airy products with huge color payoff, and this is not exception.

    I’m going to have to take a look at Calypso Beat, I love glosses and that peachy nude would look great year-round!

  4. Orpheus is gorgeous! I have the Herione lip pencil at home which is lovely layered with gloss.

  5. This collection is very cool, very bold. I think Adored is my favorite! When I see the collection as a whole, it looks like cool sci fi planets or something :) Great review @sherrishera!

  6. Really nice, @sherrishera, you tease, you! You dangle these amazing colors in front of us. I want them all–or, at the least, “Orpheus,” “Sweet Samba,” “Time to Tango,” and “Tropica!”

  7. What a collection! I tried Cremesheen Glass in Japanese Spring and it really is a thick luxury gloss. It doesn’t give you a lot of color, because it is a very pale pink but it’s nice to wear alone, with more dramatic eyes, or I’ve also been putting it on top of my other pink lipsticks for a great shine! The Mineralized Blush in Sweet Samba also looks really pretty, may have to grab that one!

  8. Those eyeshadows are everything I imagined make-up to be as a little girl – shiny and multi-colored!
    I can’t remember which one it was, but years ago I had one of MAC’s other marbled eyeshadows and wore it every day for probably a year straight!

  9. How gorgeous are the lip products.

  10. I like the variety of colors and products in this collection for sure… there’s definitely an 80’s influence, but it’s still a pretty wearable collection!

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