MAC Studio Eye Gloss Review & Swatches

I have a new product from MAC to share with you today! I was all over the “glassy sheen” eye look that MAC kept posting on their instagram during PFW and NYFW. So much so that I decided to order this product to try to recreate the look myself. Has my experience so far been fun or disastrous? A little bit of both I must say! ^_^

MAC Studio Eye Gloss in Pearl Varnish
MAC Studio Eye Gloss in Pearl Varnish
MAC Studio Eye Gloss in Pearl Varnish
MAC Studio Eye Gloss in Pearl Varnish

MAC Studio Eye Gloss (limited edition) has just been released as part of the Trend Forecast Spring 2015 Collection. There aren’t many reviews and swatches that I am aware of so I had no idea what to expect at the time of purchase. It is housed in a simple clear plastic jar with a black lid, much like their Tinted Lip Conditioner (which I love by the way!). Probably not the most hygienic packaging but considering the thick consistency of the product, I don’t think there’s any better way.

There are 4 color options to choose from — Pearl Varnish (reviewing today), Lightly Tauped, Médoc, and Noticeably Noir. I ordered Pearl Varnish because I just wanted to replicate the clear glossy lid look and something that I can wear alone or layer on top of my favorite eyeshadows if I wish to.

Pearl Varnish may look like a “white wax” in the jar with multicolored iridescent shimmer but once applied, it is actually a clear gloss product with plentiful specks of shimmer. The shimmer, when look up-close, is super sparkly especially when the light hits! But from afar, it looks just like a clear “wet” base. :)

MAC Studio Eye Gloss in Pearl Varnish
MAC Studio Eye Gloss in Pearl Varnish

Consistency-wise, Studio Eye Gloss is one extremely sticky product! Think of your stickiest lip gloss and multiply it by 10! No, seriously! This leads me to believe that the product was designed to be used in a more editorial than practical sense — like for photo shoots or at Fashion Week.

The gloss is also quite thick in texture and trying to spread it across the lid can prove a challenging task. I find the best way to apply is by using a flat shader brush such as MAC’s own 242 or 252 (natural hair) or a 195 concealer brush (synthetic hair). Avoid using fingertips at all cost because it will just make things too messy (because sticky skin sticks to skin, you know?). When using a brush, lightly apply and/or layer the product in short strokes rather than sweep it across your lids to avoid pulling of the sensitive eye area (and even then, it still pulls…).

It’s a pain to apply no doubt but the effect is rather high-impact and almost worth it! I don’t think I’ve ever seen my eyes look this slick from any of the products before. And the sheen stays on the entire wear until you remove it. No fading whatsoever!

But the deal-breaker is this, the sticky feeling also stays the entire time as well, unfortunately! >.<

MAC Studio Eye Gloss in Pearl Varnish
MAC Studio Eye Gloss in Pearl Varnish
MAC Studio Eye Gloss in Pearl Varnish on bare skin and over Carbon eyeshadow (right)
MAC Studio Eye Gloss in Pearl Varnish on bare skin and over Carbon eyeshadow (right)

Obviously, this type of sheen is not for everyday wear. Especially if you have hooded lids, because when you blink, your upper eyelids will stick together! After a while, it tends to gather in the creases/lines, too. I suppose unless you are planning to walk with your eyes closed at all time or don’t plan to blink then it might work. ;D

To make it somewhat more wearable, I just line it along my lash line, or over my eye liner for a long-lasting sparkly effect. :)

Wearing MAC Studio Eye Gloss in Pearl Varnish
Wearing MAC Studio Eye Gloss in Pearl Varnish

You’d think it would make a great eyeshadow base due to its sticky quality. But sadly it will only make your shadows crease. :( So this is a product best applied on bare lids, not under, or over, eyeshadows. When it comes to taking it off, you will need an oil-based remover; regular makeup wipes will not cut it.

A little too high maintenance (or you could say impractical) but you can’t deny that this is one of the more interesting products out there. As mentioned before, it’s probably not something you would reach for on a regular basis but perhaps for photo shoots or editorial purposes. I’m still trying to figure out more ways to make this product usable so if you have any suggestion at all, please leave your comment down below! :)


US$21 at MAC

At MAC counters

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  1. Very intriguing, and I must say your portrait pic is very lovely! I probably won’t be picking this up as I have hooded eyes and don’t think I can deal with the sticky factor every time I blink. Thank you for reviewing it, though! I was curious about it after all of MAC’s FW posts! I saw it done in Kevyn Aucoin’s book “Making Faces” but he used Vaseline. Probably another non-practical-for-everyday-use type of deal, but looks amazing in photoshoots!

    1. says: Jaa

      Vaseline might have worked better actually! And just mix it with pigments to get the same effect! At least it wouldn’t be so sticky like this one!

  2. Oh, eye glosses — how you taunt me! I LOVE the glossy eye look, but I can’t stand it when products crease and stick. I’m just waiting for the day when somebody figures out how to deliver a glossy look with a cream or powder texture!

  3. says: Jeannie

    Ah that’s such a shame it’s so difficult to work with! I love the glossy eyelid look I see on runways. I guess I’ll just have to keep buying super sparkly eyeshadows in the hopes that it’ll create the wet/glossy look :)

  4. says: Sunny

    Hey Jaa, thanks for the review! I really think this is more like a runway type of product instead of something someone can use every day! I was thinking it’d crease. Maybe it has a better chance on those with drier skin.

  5. says: lyn

    This looks like goo and glitter compressed in a tub. I don’t think it’s that great on eyes but you can probably use it as a shoulder bone / decolletage shimmer highlight thing? That way it won’t go to waste.

  6. says: Liz

    Glad you tested this out for us! I’ve been admiring these pics on MAC’s Instagram for weeks now and just know the glossy goopy mess won’t work in real life. Some things just belong on the runways but props to you for rocking it regardless. :D

    1. says: Jaa

      Honestly I wasn’t expecting it to be *this* sticky at all! I thought for sure I was going to LOVE it! Oh well. Hopefully someone will come out with a better formula soon. :)

  7. says: Lena L

    Love how wet and glossy the color looks on you!
    It is so gorgeous over the black shade, too!
    Sorry to hear the formula is a bit of a letdown, though. I guess you can reserve it for special occasion. :)

  8. says: Sylirael

    I totally want something like this for doing, say, sea creature makeup art looks. You know, where it just has to look nice for the photo, and adds that slick, fishy glow :-D

    Sorry, :-P

    But I actually do want to do cool sea creature looks, and this seems like it would be perfect! Where’s mermaid Jaa?!

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