I’m a big fan of multi-tasking products. Vaseline? Tell me somewhere I don’t use it! (No… not there though… snigger). Blushers slash highlighters? Can’t get enough of ‘em. Bacon? I put it on everything. (Sorry… just had to get my love of bacon in there.)
But lip/cheek stains generally don’t rock my world. Let’s face it – the skin on your lips is extremely different in terms of texture, colour and just about everything else from that on the rest of your face, so for a product to work equally well for both areas seems a bit of a stretch. So although I liked the idea of MAC’s Casual Colours – lightweight pots of creamy colour for both lips and cheek – I can’t say I was expecting great things.
In fact, I ended up loving these little multi-tasking lovelies a lot more than expected! The whole aim of the collection is effortless easy make-up (I love MAC’s tagline for this, ‘Stilettos off! Hair down!’) so most of the Casual Colours come in neutral shades for perfecting that carefree au naturel look. Of course, the one I liked the best was the least au naturel in the bunch… well, I do always have to be different!
Keep It Casual is a warm red wine shade, a super-flattering crimson and the type of red lippie that I have basically spent all my life hunting for. As previously discussed here, many local HKers are afraid of sporting bright red lips (thanks to the commenter on one of my Sassy Hong Kong articles who told me that Asian girls can’t pull off red lips because of “our yellow undertones”… every make-up assistant I’ve ever met told me my skin pulled towards pink or red but never mind, random commenter you know best!). However, rather than making me look like a ghost from a Japanese horror movie (thanks for that comment Mum!), Keep It Casual instead made me feel like Snow White; hair black as ebony (dark brown really but who’s keeping count?), skin white as snow, lips red as blood… the whole shebang. Now where’s my Prince Charming?!
Keep It Casual has an awesome slightly muted quality, meaning it’s immensely wearable rather than an intense stark statement lip. I’d happily sport this for everyday wear – so suck on that, Sassy commenter!
However, let’s now address the elephant in the room – are Casual Colours any cop as a cheek stain?! Keep It Casual gives a natural red flush that reminded me of the colour you get using Benefit’s Benetint, but texture and looks wise, these aren’t going to be for everyone. The downside of the Casual Colours being a lovely creamy consistency that’s soft and sumptuous on the lips, means it comes across as rather sticky and potentially the wrong side of dewy on the cheeks. I would not recommend this to girls with an oily complexion, nor is it really a natural fit for days spent in sweaty sticky Hong Kong summers.
It’s also intensely pigmented so a light hand and intense blending skills are required! My tip is to use a brush to get the merest swipe of product onto the apples of the cheek, then go full-throttle with your fingers and blend away. Despite the vaguely sticky sensation, once on, it is astonishingly lightweight, meaning you almost forget you’re wearing it – living up to the Casual Colour name!
In an effort to not totally detract from Casual Colours’ theme of au naturel easy beauty, I will also say that my other favourite was Relaxation. MAC claims this is a warm pink, which is a lie, because even I can tell that this is a cool mauve-based pink – and all the prettier because of it. Honestly, I’m not the hugest fan of light lip colours because not only do they tend to blend in with my fair skin, but also my lips are quite pigmented meaning pale colours either give up the ghost and stop trying, or look creepily un-natural (as opposed to au naturel) once on.
Well, it’s not only me that likes to be different! Relaxation surprised me by looking… really rather ravishing if I do say so myself. I thought it looked absolutely lovely as a blush (it’s probably very close to the colour my cheeks would go if I actually bothered to exert myself to any physical exercise) and really pretty and delicate as a lip colour too. This really is an easy effortless everyday look, made all the more easy by the fact you only have to use one product, so (in true Apprentice style) MAC really nailed the brief here… au naturel look, you’re hired!
I do love how lightweight the Casual Colours are, both as blushes and as lip colours, so they’re great for getting that ‘no make-up’ light feel. Wear-wise, they perform almost like stains – as a blush, at least six hours; as a lip colour, around four to six, depending on what exactly you’re letting your lips get up to (keep it clean, guys!). Because of how fabulously pigmented they are, a little does go a long way – so, despite the fact they are all-in-one multi-taskers, they will also last you aaaages (especially compared with how much product you get to one pot) so I think we can also proclaim these good buys too if you can find a shade that works well for you (and of the four I tried, one looked like death on and another you couldn’t even tell I was wearing anything, so they’re not all winners!).
MAC Casual Colours are great for the days where basically, you can’t be arsed. A few swipes of these one pot wonders and you’re ready to get up and go; you can sling ‘em in the handbag for easy touch-ups (if you can even be bothered with that) and lo and behold, you’re ready for your close-up!
MAC Casual Colours in Keep It Casual and Relaxation, MAC Casual Colour Collection Summer 2012, $180
I received these products for my day job at Sassy; read that review here.