Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Review: MAC (Eye shadow) Prep & Prime, Comparison (& what to do if you have it)

MAC is well renowned in the make up world, both for their products and the exorbitant prices that follow. Here I test out Mac's Prep & Prime Eye shadow primer which I received as a surprise gift. This is the only Mac product I've owned and I will write this without the usual structure but my review is as follows.

Mac Prep & Prime Eye shadow primer retails for $33 AUS. That's ALOT! As a gift bought in a duty free store it was a little less but the price still impressive. You have to keep in mind that this has to be really good for the price to be worth it! I received the shade medium dark which was totally unintended as the gifter had no idea there were different shades. There are 3 shades available: Light, Medium, Medium Dark.

In reality that's not a great range of colours since Medium Dark is nowhere near suitable for those with dark brown skin. To put it in perspective the colour range is still a lot more than many other companies put out for eyeshadow primer.

Left is primer, right is without primer.

Still this is worrying in use. Personally I use eyeshadow all over the primed area but to a person who is using sheer colours, no eyeshadow on parts of the eye, or primes a greater area of the eye than is shaded, the colour difference between the primer and your skin colour may be very obvious, the primer being highly pigmented on the skin. Medium dark is a warm orangy dark shade - looks like a spray tan.

This is the selection you get. Three miserable shades...
For application you get a creamy base that sets easily on the skin. You don't need too much, just to lightly cover your finger. You don't have to wait for it to dry and application can be done straight away. It's smooth and when you apply eyeshadow it feels pretty much like your skin.

When you put the eyeshadow on top you get a shade that's more opaque and enhanced but it won't turn your eyeshadow into a glitter bomb, it's quite a natural effect.

I've decided to do a comparison as well as swatches using MAC Prep & Prime for a variety of shadows.

As you can probably see ELF applies quite light, MAC is warm brown/skin, Evileyes is transparent.
Helterskelter looks best on Evileyes or MAC, Sabine on Evileyes then MAC then ELF but all similar, agate looks really great on Evileyes then MAC.

Crisp white shirt, the most devilish eyeshadow I have in my collection with basically no usability, doesn't work well with any of the primers but Evileyes fairs best in terms of holding SOME sort of colour but MAC dissolves this colour to almost nothing. Napoleon Perdis' matte black actually suits MAC's primer with quite nice application. It seems alright with Cocoa Mauve too but Evileyes does better with opacity.

Performance: This has got to be the most important thing. And I'm quick off the mark, and I'll spoil this whole review right here by saying that this was a huge disappointment! I'm so disappointed that I'm saying it right here (yes, I'm repeating myself for emphasise)! But of course I must explain this all. Wear on your eyes is dismal. If you have oily eyes you cannot use this as it practically melts your eyeshadow away. Depending on what eyeshadows you use you might get an hour wear, most of the time 3 hours before it melts off your eyes especially in the crease. With drier skin you'll fair better. I find this product so inferior and considering the price I'm totally shocked at such a poor performance! MAC is renowned for their quality and this is a big letdown.

Here I've decided to show you it compared to ELF's regular Eye primer and Evil Shades Evileyes primer colour wise. I've also constructed a fun graph line to show the wear of each of these. What you see is:
  • MAC & ELF are comparable in wear. MAC scores 1 hour in the at 'worst' whereby I mean with oily lids which most people have, and only 2 hours at 'best' with drier lids. ELF bumps MAC at about 1.5 hours and 3 hours respectively.
  • Evil Shades blew the lot with worst case wear at 5 hours (that's rather impressive!) and best case at 7 hours before significant creasing.
  • MAC is the best in terms of making the shades opaque, keeping the shimmer, sparkles and appears colour accurate because of it's slightly sticky base scoring 8 out of 10.
  • Evil shades just lags behind MAC in shadow appearance at 7 but more likely because it's slightly harder to work with. It can compare just as well as MAC's depending on your eyeshadow.
  • ELF is a little under par at 4 out of 10 because it isn't as sticky
  • And to sum this up MAC at $33, ELF at $1 and Evil shades at $6, Evil shades presents the best value with MAC deserving the dumps!

Packaging is both good and bad. It's so silly to be in a pot. I'd rather squeeze it out of a tube then dip my fingers in a pot. As long as you have clean fingers and don't share it it should be alright. It has a pretty green and pink glitter speckled lid and a clear side containment which makes it easy to see the product in it and is adequately labelled. It also came in a small cardboard box but that's generally meaningless.

To dip or not to dip? No choice!
Unfortunately I don't have either Urban Decay's Primer Potion or Too Faced Shadow Insurance (almost impossible to find in Australia) so I can't do a comparison between Mac's and the famous two (donation anyone? I'll review/compare if so). But from what I hear Mac's Prep & Prime is no comparison to any other primer out there. They fail to achieve on a basic level and seems totally unworthwhile.

DO YOU HAVE IT? Since I'm stuck with this I've continued to use it but I've found that the best way to wear P&P is with Pixie Epoxy. It lasts dawn till dusk with PE, certainly a great surprise! With the additional cost of PE $7 added to this $33 product it makes it more worthwhile to get rid of in a way in which it works! Keep in mind that PE does not work by itself, it 100% needs a primer to stay all day.


All in all MAC fairs better with a range of shadows and with conventional synthetic types in particular but isn't necessarily the best product. I would go with Evil Shades in general for it's combined wear and suitability to minerals. MAC is great for photoshoots but not for wear making it USELESS for the average practical wearer.

Would I buy this again? That's pretty self explanatory. NO!!!

Love Porcelaine.


  1. Hey sweetie! I actually have a sample of UDPP that I'd like to send to you! Hit me up here: chunkyxmunki@gmail (dot)com

  2. This sounds awful! :| I think it would swallow my eyeshadow before it even got to my eye. Great review.

  3. @ SilhouetteScreams: You're Aussie so I bet you know how crazy MAC costs. Definitely stay away from this!


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