As much as I do love summer brights, there’s a lot to be said for sporting an au naturel look in Hong Kong’s heat and humidity. As if the rest of you wasn’t sweaty enough, too much make-up makes your face feel sweaty too, whilst the more product you wear, the more likely it is that one will end up cascading down your face by the end of the afternoon!
So MAC’s Casual Colours Collection, a series of lightweight lip and cheek stains in mostly neutral shades, look like they could be a winner! These little pots of creamy colour are great for low-maintenance girls for creating easy au naturel looks.
Clockwise from left: Keep It Casual, Relaxation, Keep It Loose, Have A Lovely Day
My biggest advice for tackling this collection is to persuade the MAC assistants to let you try the colours on your face, rather than just swiping them on the back of your hand. Firstly, the texture will not be for everyone – the cream blushes feel dewy and initially, a little sticky on your cheeks (for this reason, I would not recommend them for complexions prone to oiliness). Secondly, they look quite different on my hands to my lips… as you will soon find out!
Keep It Loose looked a lovely peach on my hand but turned into a creepy corpse-like colour on the lips – honestly, it looked like I’d used concealer (note: actually a great tip for doing 60s nude lips!) and had an unfortunate way of settling in and accentuating all the lines in my lips (I’ve spared you a close-up and this picture makes it look nicer than it was!). I’m a big fan of peach blushes though, so did like the peachy glow it gave my cheeks.
My favourite was actually the least ‘au naturel’ of the bunch – Keep It Casual, a warm red wine shade. Combined with my dark hair and fair skin, this crimson colour made me feel like Snow White! Despite it being the most pigmented of the lot, I found it surprisingly easy to wear; it’s a flattering muted red rather than an intense statement lip. On the cheeks, it gives a very natural red flush (reminiscent of Benefit’s Benetint); just remember, as with many cream blushes, a little goes a long way so apply sparingly and blend well (I find it best to pick up product with a brush, then blend with fingers)! I actually nicked Hester’s to try… and as soon as I’ve written this review, I’m off to buy it myself!
Relaxation (above) is described by MAC as a warm pink; in reality, it’s a cool mauve-based pink and very pretty with it! For me, this was the best all-rounder – working both as a delicate lovely pink blush and lip. Meanwhile, Have A Lovely Day was a bit redundant for me, as its neutral dusky rose shade is very similar to my natural lip colour – so again, whilst nice enough on the hand, you couldn’t really tell I was wearing anything on my lips; once blended as a blush, it looked too similar to Relaxation to warrant owning both.
Since a little of these goes a long way and because of their multi-purpose function, I do think the Casual Colours are great buys if you can find a shade that works for you. The texture is very lightweight so is great for hazy summer days and once on, they perform more like a stain so last well (around 6 hours). I’m more sold on them as a lip colour to be honest, as they feel soft and smooth (although they do get drying the longer you wear them), as I’m not sure I’m a fan of the dewy look they have on my cheeks but that’s personal preference.
Mac’s fun slogan for this collection is ‘Stilletos off! Hair down!’, which I think perfectly epitomises the laidback effortless chic of the Casual Colours. Though in a Hong Kong summer, hair up is probably a more practical solution!
MAC Casual Colours, $180, are available now at all MAC counters. See all MAC locations in Hong Kong here.