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Is MAC’s debut skincare worth the money?

We tried the cosmetic brand's Hyper Real skincare, newly launched in India, for two weeks

MAC Cosmetics had launched a repackaged edition of the original MAC Viva Glam I lipstick for its 25th anniversary in 2019
MAC Cosmetics had launched a repackaged edition of the original MAC Viva Glam I lipstick for its 25th anniversary in 2019

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MAC is synonymous with makeup. But now, they are going all out in the skincare department. 

Last month, MAC launched its Hyper Real skincare range in India, designed to help you create “skin looks” instead of makeup looks by bridging skincare and makeup. The range includes three highly-priced products—Serumizer ( 5,700 for 30ml), Fresh Canvas cleansing oil ( 4,200 for 200ml) and Skincanvas Balm ( 4,800 for 50ml).

The products reach me when I am in the middle of reviewing eight foundations from different brands, and Mumbai weather is at its worst. My skin generally breaks out and develops rough patches due to the experimentation with different formulations, and the humidity and heat simultaneously play havoc with my combination skin. The hope then is that MAC’s skincare range, which claims to make the skin makeup ready and friendly, is the fairy godmother my skin is waiting for. Throughout the MAC review, I continue my daily use of vitamin C, and mild retinol (prescription adapalene) on acne spots four times a week.

The hero ingredient of MAC’s range is Japanese peony extract, which is an antioxidant known to keep skin hydrated. This makes it perfect in theory for my tired, 30s skin that is thinning and has fine lines, and has spots from old acne and sun damage. The products also have niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, aloe vera and ceramides among other ingredients, which have always visibly worked (in combination) for my skin in the past. The products aren’t completely clean in terms of ingredients and have fragrance, so do check the label before purchasing.

First impressions: The serumizer (a serum and moisturiser hybrid) sinks into the skin post-cleansing when I prep for makeup, and instantly makes my pores less visible and skin soft. The balm quenches my skin further and makes skin super soft. The pores almost disappear and my skin glows. The foundation application is smooth with fingers. I need a brush to settle the foundation only for difficult areas such as the corners of the nose and mouth. 

I have followed this routine for more than two weeks now, even on days when I am not wearing makeup with sunscreen and occasional face oil at night. By now, both products have become a staple in my makeup and morning prep. My favourite is Fresh Canvas. 

As for the Serumizer, you will still find many options in its high price range. But the cleansing oil is worth every rupee. The oil is extremely light and luxurious and takes off the strongest, long-stay, waterproof mascara, we have with ease. It doesn’t hurt the eyes. 

This is a good sign because I never use oils or balms to remove eye makeup, since the double cleansing makes the area drier, and leftover oil is a call for bacteria. Even removing a highly pigmented red liquid lipstick is a breeze. Emulsify it with warm water as they suggest (I used room temperature on lazy days), and you will have no oily residue left. 

This claim stands true after each cleanse, and if you aren’t wearing heavy, cakey makeup, you won’t need to double cleanse. I test it by wiping my face with micellar water, and there is almost no makeup residue on the cotton wipe. My skin feels buttery smooth after drying and the skin texture shows a massive difference. 

Post two weeks, my skin looks and feels firmer and brighter. Those with drier skin will need a stronger cream at night for longer hydration, but these products are perfect for day and night use for all skin types. I have needed very little cleansing oil despite wearing a lot of makeup, making it the most value-for-money product in the range. My skin still shows no signs of new acne after more than two weeks of all kinds of skin stress.

Verdict: The prices will make your eyes water, but the products won’t.

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