We Need to Talk About: MAC x9

When I was young and energetic and un-cloaked by cynicism over the cruel and crumbling world, I used to buy individual pots of MAC eyeshadow and blend them each morning into a custom look. This method involved:

  1. Making regular trips to the MAC counter to select and replenish a set of at least 3 eyeshadow colors, each occupying a different quadrant of the lid.
  2. Remembering each morning which pot went where, how it blended, and what the hell I was doing.
  3. Getting tired of a look and then wasting a bunch of color on a pot that fell out of rotation (I still have pots rolling around from, like, My Arizona Time, and if there’s one thing you can’t do it’s wear Portland colors in Tucson or vice-versa. My Oregon shades make me look like an amateur goth in the sun; my Arizona hues scream “CIRCUS ESCAPEE” in the gray).

In summation, it was a technique that took a lot of supplies, effort, and cost to keep up with. But sometimes you’re 25 and think you’re in the professional makeup leagues with the way cooler kids selling you stuff, and you keep up a farce for way too long.

On a not-so-special weary day, the MAC artist wanted to know if I’d ever tried their palettes. The younger, snobbier version of myself would have scoffed, the way I used to scoff at pre-grated Romano cheese cups. How dare you. I only blend my own pots. Then you turn 30 and each morning is dimmer and foggier than the last and you’re like FUCK THIS HELP ME.

“It’s 9 shades in a family, divided in sets of 3,” they explained.

“So each set of 3 goes together?”

“Yeah, but you can also blend any of the colors together for whatever look you want.”

Uh huh. I’m sure you can. But please, give me all the little rows of 3 that go together perfectly.

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MAC x9 in Solar Glow

In the photo above, you can see how the vertical three on the left all blend together as the lightest option, moving darker and dramatic as you move to the right. In every palette I use the top shade as a base up to the brow line, cover the lid with the middle shade, and then give a “V” of color in the far corner of the eye with the bottom shade, blend, and finish with eyeliner. Top to bottom in the palette, top/down/side of eye.

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The far right/most dramatic row this morning

I just picked up the Solar Glow palette this weekend as my purple and brown versions are running low, and this particular set has a glittery shimmer that my other selections are hiding. And there are blues! And pinks! Because the calendar claims it’s spring! It’s, like, cubicle glitter. Your boss probably won’t notice that you’re shining. But you’ll know. And there’s not enough hard evidence to stop you.

You can find the MAC x9 palettes online, at MAC retail stores, or in department stores like Nordstrom. They retail for $32, which is the cost of merely two of MAC’s classic eyeshadow pots. The pigment, as always with MAC, is amazing and will stay all damn day and occasionally past its welcome. I remember once going in to L’Occitane for a skin evaluation and having the woman tell me that MAC was drag queen makeup like it was a bad thing.

“That stuff is basically shellac,” she said.

I never did see the problem. And I never did buy any L’Occitane after that.

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