June 5, 2012

MAC Shade & Smoke Shadow/Liner Review & Swatches

This was provided to me by a brand for review but all opinions expressed are my own

For a brand that created cult favorites like the Shadestick and Greasepaint Sticks one has to question what the hell happened when MAC created their new MAC Shade & Smoke Shadow/Liner Pencils.


This formula ventures so out the norm of stick pencils I’ve tried from them in the past I really had to question whether it was from MAC at all.

This is another example of how MAC has been going downhill with their quality lately…!

The new MAC Shade & Smoke Shadow/Liner Sticks are a limited edition launch (thank God) with the MAC & Beth Ditto Collection. These are $22 each and available in four shade duos which totals eight colors.

I think they are automatically an exciting launch for those who really love Shadesticks, Greasepaint Sticks, or just love cream shadow formulas in general.

The duo pencil includes a slanted tip liner shade and a rounded/domed shadow stick. I think the liner side should have been a more traditional pencil rather than a tapered tip liner as this makes for a thicker lining technique. I found myself testing the shades out as shadows rather than lining my eyes with them. The tapered end of the liner shade is best suited for inner corner detailing rather than actually lining your lash line but that’s just the way I felt they were best used. Of course, this collection was something inspired by Beth Ditto and Beth does go for a thicker line so if you like a thicker lined look you won’t be bothered by the larger liner size.

On the down side the formula is awful. Period. The end.

As I mentioned above, MAC has successfully created some fabulous cream shadow sticks in the past but something seriously went wrong with the Shade & Smoke Shadow/Liner formula. The texture is hard and proves very difficult to apply because of this. There is some serious tugging going on here and I’m unsure how many people will appreciate being so harsh around such a delicate area of their eye. The formula is far from creamy and has a certain dryness to it that results in patchy application. Blending proves difficult as well since the formula is waterproof and therefore lacks unnecessary moisture in turn leaving the pencils with a less than creamy feel. Out of the two shades I tried some proved worst than others…I did find the Beth or Glory color variation proved a little easier to use, the brown side had a softer formula however the blue was completely hard and just felt like old makeup. They wear ok under primer and I didn’t see many problems with creasing however without primer I saw creasing within an hour of wear. I do suggest prepping well prior to application.

Beth Mask and Beth or Glory

Beth & Glory

Beth Mask

On top of the bad formula, I also thought some of the shade selections a tad odd…I’d personally never pair up a brown lid with navy blue eyeliner? Of course, there are NEVER set rules for the colors you love to use however, I felt they were a tad odd and might prove challenging for many to use.

Overall, MAC Shade & Smoke Shadow/Liner is an interesting concept and definitely a refreshing release in terms of MAC creating something new and exciting. However, the exciting part does not branch out the formula which is very poor. It’s as if they didn’t bother testing these out before launching them to a market that surely will find plenty of fault with the formula.

Sorry MAC, these failed to impressed me.

The MAC Beth Ditto Shade & Smoke Shadow/Liner is available on counter for a limited time or online at maccosmetics.com

Will you be indulging?

Tried them already?

What did you think?

This was provided to me by a brand for review but all opinions expressed are my own

About the Muse

Isabella MuseIsabella is just an average everyday geeky girl who doesn’t blend her eyeshadow correctly, wears too much blush, and hopes she never finds her holy grail products because she likes the thrill of the chase so much. Her mission is to bring you super honest reviews on makeup, skincare, fragrance and all things beauty. She’s in no way an expert on the topic and she sure as hell isn’t a super model. But she’s passionate about makeup and is seeking like-minded individuals that like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, and ones that enjoy spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora without feeling buyer’s remorse. If you’re that person feel free to reach out and leave a comment or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Bloglovin‘.

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  • 18thCenturyFox

    Ok so both you and Christine have just had the WORST experiences with these
    and you two beauty mavens are the ones I trust the most. Strangely I ordered Drag, Strip before I saw it reviewed since well, we race at the dragstrip and when will I find another MU item named similarly? So I got it today and was just going to send it back untried buuuut it really wasn’t that bad on me! It wasn’t hard, the shadow wasn’t as pigmented as I liked, but the liner was fun and didnt give me *any* guff. And I am a tough customer! Did I get a freak liner? Could be…

    • the Muse

      hey 18thcentury…it’s possible drag strip is great..I thought the brown side of beth or glory fairly decent however the blue was just awful! I didn’t try Drag Strip but it could be great! Also, a possibility but I’m trying the press samples, on a very rare occasion I noticed press samples have a different formula and the actual launch/counter product proves far nicer! I should prob test them out on counter to see if I see any differences. vanessa just mentioned the rounded dome was the liner shade..I thought that was odd as I assumed the tapered slant was the liner…how are you using the shades just out of curiosity?

  • vanessa

    In reading your review, I thought it worthwhile to point out to you that you’ve confused the liner and shadow sides of these products. The angled side is actually the eyeshadow while the more rounded side is the eyeliner, not the opposite as you have described.

    • the Muse

      hmm thanks vanessa I naturally assumed the rounded would be the shadow how odd to make the tapered/slanted end the shadow product!

    • the Muse

      Hi Vanessa

      Just a quickie re-reply…the tapered end is actually the eyeliner…MAC Artists have confirmed this. So I am using it correctly. If you’re using that side as shadow you’ll prob get better results going with the dome shape to shade and the slanted edge to line 🙂

      Hope this helps!

  • Misato-san

    I will not indulge, since I truly dislike the set of colours (and I think they don’t suit Beth at all) and the formula is so disappointing…

  • Jennie

    I keep hearing awful things about these. How disappointing.

  • Amy Amethyst

    I never jumped on the MAC bandwagon, but it seems like from what reviews I’ve read that their quality isn’t as good as it used to be. Or at least it isn’t with the LE items. The only MAC I have is a eyeshadow palette a friend gave me a few years ago. I never wore it except once or twice because they were very chalky and didn’t have very much pigment. I remember thinking at the time that I thought with the way everyone talked that MAC would be a lot better than that. I have cheap drugstore stuff that was way better quality.

  • Emilaine

    Never tried MAC cosmetics but i saw the picture of this and it reminded me of the new ELF double sided eyeliner/shadow sticks. I’d love it if you’d do a review on the ELF one because i quit like it. I have the shade Basic/Brown! Thanks!! 🙂

  • Megan

    How sad 🙁 I love that blue color too. I’ve been ready and waiting to shell out some money on MAC but nothing they’ve released lately has been worth it.

  • Ruthless

    I tried these at a freestanding MAC store and they were quite smooth and soft, which contradicts everything I’ve read so far (here and temptalia) so I am confused. Either way the colors don’t do anything for me so pass. I’ve passed on every single MAC LE that’s come up for the last 8 months or more.

    • the Muse

      at least they worked for you ruthless that’s a good thing!