MAC’s “Black Panther” Makeup Embraces My Black Identity Like I Do

Breanna Davis

I was already excited about Marvel’s sequel, “Black Panther. Wakanda Forever,” but MAC’s dedicated makeup collection has sent me over the edge – in the best way possible.
I can’t begin my review of this new 18-piece makeup collection without acknowledging the craftsmanship behind the makeup bag. Not only was it designed to match T’Challa’s iconic black panther suit, but the interior is a thoughtful purple, blue and yellow fabric that resembles traditional African clothing. I even hesitated to unzip the plastic from the zipper of the black panther mask imprint. Pristine and unadorned.
There’s a lot to unzip, and I was pleasantly surprised, but let’s start with the eyes, especially the eyeshadow x8: Black Panther Collection by Marvel Studios. A handful of colors in the eyeshadow palette are laced with shimmer, while some are matte. My favorite shade, “Our Business” (a deep gold), looks like MAC scraped a literal gold bar off and put it in a pot.

MAC x Wakanda Forever eyeshadow palette

All the shades look rich, but they are not highly pigmented and quite subtle. This is a plus if you like buildable powders. If you’re more of a sweeper, you may want to wet your brush for extra intensity. There’s also a white liquid eyeliner that highlights my cat’s eyes.
Let’s take a look at the lips. The Panther collection provides us with three liquid lipsticks. Similar to some eyeshadows, they have a glossy finish, which I admit initially turned me off. I find it hard to identify with shiny lips as an adult, but I wouldn’t judge lipstick by its tube. It has a metallic shine and is very subtle.” Flare” (a deep orange-red) and “Forever Wakanda” (a simple purple) are lovely. That said, “Thicker than Water” is the most striking. Contrary to its implied hue, it is not a blood red but a burgundy, dare I even say garnet red.

I don’t understand the recent attraction to black lipstick outside of Halloween, but I’m excited to try this. Luckily, it’s a suede texture that doesn’t dry out without shine. For people like me who have commitment issues, this is a godsend. It also wipes off easily.

Much thought went into planning this product line, especially the lipsticks, and MAC pays homage to the Marvel storyline while still sticking to its signature soft texture. For example, the lipstick “Dora Milaje” is named after Wakanda’s elite all-female special forces group. Its red color is close to the clay used to make bricks, but it is also the color of the warriors’ uniforms. Meanwhile, “Royal Integrity” is a beautiful mocha color that makes me feel noble just by putting it on.

Last but certainly not least, I can’t sign off without telling you about the absolute gems of this entire collection (IMO): the highlighters. The product’s technical name, Extra Dimension Skinfinish, is accurate because I literally looked like I was from another galaxy dimension while wearing it.

With each box I opened, my jaw slackened further. Both “Royal Challenge” (a sandy brown) and “Royal Vitality” (a divine bronze) have me counting down the days to primetime. Skinfinish and sheer lip gloss alone? The world wasn’t ready for me.

With this collection, anyone can easily pull off a stunning full-face look and many different looks. It’s just BYOF (Bring Your Foundation). “Impressive” is not a strong enough word to describe my admiration for these pieces. As a black woman, I have first-hand experience feeling left out of the beauty conversation. So to have a significant brand pay homage to an all-black film while appropriately serving inclusivity gives me hope. I have never experienced a non-minority-owned makeup line that embraces my black identity as much as I do. Thank you, MAC.


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