MAC Pressed Pigments – Part 2 of 4: Photos, Swatches and Reviews

MAC has had Pressed Pigments as part of their permanent range for a little over a year but last week they released some new colors and decided to repromote some of their current, permanent ones. This is still a relatively new formula that some people may not even realize exists, so I’m glad they decided to expand their color range and repromote this product!

Because there are so many of these, I’ll be posting these reviews in parts so it’s not one huge, overwhelming post! If you want to check out Part 1, click here: Pressed Pigments : Part 1. Enjoy Part 2 and check back for the other half of these posts!

Pressed Pigments Part 2

Pressed Pigments are their own type of product… They’re not like the loose pigments that many of you are probably used to. This is MAC’s description of this product:

“An intensely creamy highlighter offering extreme pearlescence and versatility of finish. Apply dry for a high shine, or on damp skin for a dramatic wet look. Provides eye-catching sheer-to-moderate buildable coverage and natural dimension finish. Pressed Pigment is delicate. Please handle with care.”

To break that down, Pressed Pigments are a creamy feeling powder… They are not an actual cream product. They are extremely versatile, which I will get to in the next paragraph or two, and can be used for many purposes, which I will also explain. These are finely milled, though not as smooth as loose pigments are. The glitter/shimmer particles range from small to, well, not to small, which tends to be the biggest factor in how smoothly these apply, either dry or damp. Overall, I love these and I like how shimmery they are and how they can be applied for a soft wash of color and shine or applied so that your eyelid looks like an intense, bright little disco ball. Also, as far as the “handle with care” part goes… Do just that. These break easily if dropped and can crack if you dig at them with a spatula or anything, so be gentle with your Pressed Pigments!

This is a product that you have to work with in order to appreciate… But don’t let that scare you away from trying these out! It’s not your average eye shadow and doesn’t usually apply easily when treated like it’s one. Typically, when I apply these to the eye, I use them damp because it wears longer and goes on with little to no fallout (you know, that glittery fairy vomit that ends up below your eyes). Applied to the face, lip, or even body (like the collarbone) as a highlight, I tend to use these dry because I don’t want that super glittery intensity.

APPLICATION TIPS: Aside from the typical damp,dry applications, here are a few other tips for you…

1) Wear a primer underneath your Pressed Pigment, whether you apply it dry or damp. This will make it wear longer and prevent any creasing. My favorites are MAC Paint Pots or Pro Longwear Paint Pots. You can use a neutral color like Soft Ochre, Painterly, or Groundwork, or use one that has some shine and color to it that will match, intensify, or even transform the color of the Pressed Pigment (Blackground is a nice one if you wanna intensify or transform… Seriously, play around with it and see what happens).

2) Apply Pressed Pigments to the lid AFTER you do your crease or blending colors that will go around it. Or apply them VERY carefully after you put your Pressed Pigment on. When you use a fluffy blending brush, like a MAC 217 or 222 on or around a Pressed Pigment, it’s going to spread the shimmer/glitter particles to areas that you may not want them.

3) Aside from your typical damp or dry use with a brush, you can apply these dry with your fingers. If you do this, gently swipe your finger over the Pressed Pigment, but don’t dig it in there with too much pressure (this smashes down the powder and hardens it)… By applying with your finger, it’s going to warm up the product and mix it with the natural oils on your skin. When you apply it to the eyelid like this, it feels super creamy and gives good coverage and color payoff with a very smooth application. You can also use this technique for a highlight on the tops of the cheekbones or anywhere you want a glow to the face, just make sure you don’t load up too much product on your fingertip. Oh! And you can tap a little on the center of your lip for a shimmery pouty look ;)

DAMP USE:   You will get the most intense color payoff and shimmer/sheen if you use Pressed Pigments with a dampened brush. When you use them like this, it also lessens the chance that you’ll have any issues with fallout below the eye. The trick with these is using the right brush! When you apply these damp to the eyelid, I suggest using a MAC 215 Medium Shader Brush, which was released with the Pressed Pigments. You can also use a MAC 239 or 242 (my personal favorite)… A MAC 249, 252, or 287 will work for larger lids, while for more detail or a smaller lid, you can use a  MAC 212, 231, 228, or 214. Basically, you want a brush that’s somewhat flat and dense, and the more dense your brush is, the more product it will apply. Also, the smoother and flatter the brush, the smoother the application will be. After you choose which brush to use, you will want to dampen the brush with something like MAC Fix + Spray or Water Base Mixing Medium (from MAC PRO). Once the brush is dampened, swipe it across one area of the Pressed Pigment and tap off excess product. TIP: Only use one area of the Pressed Pigment as a designated “damp area” so it does not create a sort of crust on the rest of the product, which can make it difficult to use dry. I usually use a small area at the top of each one so I remember where my damp spot is. Also, try not to spray the product itself, as it will surely form a crust and can promote the growth of bacteria (gross!). To prevent bacteria growth after damp use, lightly spray your Pressed Pigment with rubbing alcohol when it’s dry, then use a tissue to gently wipe off the top layer of product.

DRY USE:  When used dry, Pressed Pigments aren’t usually as intense for either color payoff or sheen/glitter and appear more as a soft wash of color and shimmer. I recommend using the same brushes for dry application on the eyelid, but make sure you tap off excess product to avoid fallout. These don’t apply all that well with a fluffy type of brush and will give you fallout if you use a brush like that or try to blend them too much. Another dry use for the more natural skin tone-like shades of Pressed Pigments is as a highlighter below the brow, on the tops of the cheekbones, down the bridge of nose, above the cupid’s bow of your lip, even on the collarbone, etc… Anywhere you want some shimmer and glow. For an application like this, you can use a dense brush or a fluffier brush, depending on how much shimmer and color you want. My favorite brushes for this type of application are the MAC 286 and 288 Duo Fibre brushes… The 286 if fluffier and domed, so it will give you a lighter application, while the 288 is more dense and flat and will apply the Pressed Pigment a bit more heavily. For a super light highlight application, use a Duo Fibre fan brush, like a MAC 184 (from MAC PRO).

Okay, now that I’ve explained all of that, I’ll tell you where you can get these babies! Pressed Pigments were released last Thursday, August 1st, so they’re available now online at www.maccosmetics.com or at your local MAC store or counter. Some of these are limited edition, while some will be staying in the permanent range, which I will specify in each review. Each Pressed Pigment contains 3 g / .10 US oz of product and sells for $21.

Pressed Pigments Part 2 Labels

Left: Dry     Right: Damp Photo taken outdoors in natural sunlight. Pressed Pigments swatched on NC20 skin.

Left: Dry                               Right: Damp
Click photo to enlarge.
Photo taken outdoors in natural sunlight. Pressed Pigments swatched on NC20 skin.

Amethyst

Amethyst

Amethyst

Amethyst

Amethyst:   This is described as a “purple with silver undertone”… It’s a light, cool toned lavender color with loads of silvery shimmer. It’s not the smoothest applying of all the Pressed Pigments, but it’s still pretty. The color payoff is very subtle when applied dry and it did give a bit of fallout. When applied damp, the color payoff and coverage improved, but still wasn’t opaque or intense. I do like this Pressed Pigment but I feel like it’s best as a soft all over lid color and looks best when paired up with darker, more dramatic colors in the crease. You can also use Amethyst on the lips, especially with light, cool pink or lavender lips, for an added pop of shimmer in the very center of your lip!

Overall Rating:   3.7 / 5

Application:   4

Coverage:  3

Color Payoff:   3

Texture:   3

Wear Time:   4

Packaging:   5

Beaming

Beaming

Beaming

Beaming

Beaming:   Beaming was limited edition and released nearly a year ago with the Face & Body collection, but some locations do still have this in stock, so it’s worth picking up if you can! It’s warm, medium golden brown with some tan/coppery tones and fine shimmer particles. Dry, it has good color payoff, applies smoothly, and gives very good, though not 100% opaque coverage. Applied damp, Beaming shows more of the coppery tones, becomes more metallic, and gives even better color payoff and complete coverage. If you can find this Pressed Pigment, get it! It’s really beautiful, especially for summer and fall! Beaming can also be used as a highlight on the cheeks or body for warm, medium-dark to deep skintones.

Overall Rating:   4.3 / 5

Application:   4

Coverage:  4

Color Payoff:   5

Texture:   4

Wear Time:   4

Packaging:   5

Black Grape

Black Grape

Black Grape

Black Grape

Black Grape:   Black Grape is a “deep aubergine with multi pearl”… In the pan, it looks like a slightly purple, silvery black but once it’s applied, it really transforms! When applied dry, it’s a medium-dark plummy black with lots of shimmer, good color payoff, and great coverage. Dampened, this is a medium-dark to dark, cool toned, blackened plum with a nearly metallic, pearly finish. Damp, I got completely opaque coverage and intense color payoff. Either dry or damp, it applies smoothly with little to no fallout. Black Grape is one of the colors that has been added to the permanent line of Pressed Pigments… It’s perfect for a new twist on a smoky eye!

Overall Rating:   4.5 / 5

Application:   4

Coverage:  5

Color Payoff:   5

Texture:   4

Wear Time:   4

Packaging:   5

Blue Willow

Blue Willow

Blue Willow

Blue Willow

Blue Willow:   This is a “light icy blue” with a super shimmery, frosted finish. It’s a light, cool toned, aqua-tinged blue with oodles of shimmer particles that aren’t as fine they are in some other Pressed Pigments… Unfortunately, that seems to make this apply a little unevenly. Dry, this is pretty sheer and doesn’t give a lot of color payoff. Applied damp, this gives better, although not completely opaque, coverage and much better color payoff. Dampened, Blue Willow also becomes nearly metallic and gives a very frosty type of finish. Blue Willow is part of MAC’s permanent range of Pressed Pigments.

Overall Rating:   3.7 / 5

Application:   4

Coverage:  3

Color Payoff:   3

Texture:   3

Wear Time:   4

Packaging:   5

Damson

Damson

Damson

Damson

Damson:   Damson is a “deep brown with gold pearl” and is, unfortunately, one of the limited edition Pressed Pigments that was recently released. It’s a beautiful, warm toned, bronzed brown with some maroon/plum undertones and a golden bronze shimmer. In the pan it looks waaaaay more bronze than it is once applied… When you apply Damson dry, it gives good color payoff but isn’t opaque and appears as a medium, warm golden bronze with plenty of shimmer. Applied damp, it gives fully opaque coverage and fantastic color payoff, bringing out the plum/maroon bronze tones. Damson applied very smoothly both dry and damp and gave me little to no fallout.

Overall Rating:   4.5 / 5

Application:   4

Coverage:  5

Color Payoff:   5

Texture:   4

Wear Time:   4

Packaging:   5

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