Tuesday, August 21, 2012

MAC Radiant Rose Prep + Prime Highlighter Review, Photos and Swatches!

mac prep and prime highlighter review

MAC Radiant Rose Prep + Prime Highlighter 

MAC Prep + Primer Highlighter  ($24) is a pen-style creamy highlighter that brings a sheer wash of color to the skin wherever it is applied. It can be used under makeup to prime and brighten, or on top of makeup to highlight.

MAC Prep + Prime Highlighter is available in (3) shades: Light Boost (soft yellow cream), Radiant Rose (light shell pink) and Bright Forecast (mid tone peachy coral). (You can find swatches of all three shades on Temptalia)

I purchased Radiant Rose, as pink toned highlighters seem to do the best job brightening on my particular skin tone.

Several brand make these pen style highlighters, and I find that most of the time they are pretty expensive for the amount of product you receive. YSL Touche Eclat for instance costs $40 for a 0.10 oz tube. Bobbi Brown Tinted Eye Brightener costs $38 for 0.05 oz and Dior Skinflash Radiance Booster Pen costs $37 for 0.05 oz. They might all be mildly effective, but I personally think they are very expensive for how long they last with daily use.

I was thrilled when MAC came out with a highlighter pen, as MAC tends to be a bit lower priced than most high-end cosmetics. At $24 for 0.12 oz, it's very easily the best value overall, therefore I'm the most willing to purchase from MAC.

mac radiant rose highlighter

mac prep + prime highlighter swatches
MAC Prep & Prime Radiant Rose Highlighter (left) and YSL Touche Eclat #1 Radiant Touch (right). Both are swatched on warm, medium skin (MAC NC30).

In comparison to the YSL Touche Eclat in #1, the color is slightly lighter and is solely pink toned, whereas the YSL is peachy-pink toned. They both have just about the same opacity, but because the MAC pen is a bit lighter, it's a little more apparent on the skin. 

I've actually been preferring it to my much loved YSL Touche Eclat, as it seems to do a better job brightening overall.

The product is thin and creamy, and although it's sheer, it does have a bit of pigment to provide a bit of coverage. It is buildable, so if you have very mild under-eye darkness, you might not need an additional concealer. If you do have severe darkness, this will work well when combined with your favorite concealer. It blends very easily and because of it's thin texture, it blends in with the skin so well, making the product undetectable.

Can you see the faint highlight under my eye?

I like applying it straight from the brush and using my fingertips with patting motions to blend. I also sometimes like using a tapered blending brush to blend any harsh edges without disturbing the coverage. 

I like applying this under my foundation on my dark circles to brighten the area, as well as over my foundation near my tear ducts. I also apply it to my cupid's bow and along the bridge of my nose. I also sometimes like to apply a thin line under the contours of my cheeks to further define my face.

I love this pen, and I will no doubt repurchase it when mine is finished. Because it's more affordable than the YSL pen, I won't feel too guilty about using it daily. I'd typically reserve my YSL pen for nights out and special occasions so I won't go through it as fast.

mac prep + prime highlighter

mac prep and prime highlighter

The reviews on Makeupalley seem to be the most favorable for 'Radiant Rose'. Although there are only 13 reviews, the rating is a 4.8/5 with a 92% re-purchase rate. (view here)

Have you tried this highlighter or similar? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

The Round-Up
  • Works very well at highlighting/brightening areas where it has been applied
  • The thin, creamy consistency blends into the skin without being detectable (natural)
  • Doesn't look stark or ashy on my medium skin tone
  • Great, cheaper alternative to the YSL Touche Eclat

  • May be too pale for deep-dark skin tones

Price: $24, MAC.


  1. Oh wow, I actually didn't know Mac released this until your review! Their constant collections have me assuming that everything is LE and I haven't really seen raves about this. I was going to buy the YSL touche eclat but I think I'll go for this instead now! Thanks! :D

  2. I found this at MAC a few weeks ago and I LOVE it. Pictures just dont do it justice. It is my hg product especially now that im in college! lol I just dislike the applicator so I use my fingers too. Your eyes look so radiant!! Love this post :D

  3. I'm loving this! I have it in Radiant Rose as well :)

  4. Sounds like great product. I think I should try it.

  5. A timely review Nat! I was debating if I should fork out $40 for YSL much raved highlighter. I actually like the lighter, pink tint in MAC's Prep + Prime version.

  6. I love a good highlighter/brightener and it looks pretty identical to the YSL one. Definitely a good deal


  7. I think it's quite a good concealer, but its texture is thicker than the YSL one.

    i still prefer the YSL one! (but it's more expensive)

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  8. I'm Excited!!


  9. It's great to know there's a less expensive alternative to YSL! They're all great, but choices are greater :)

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  11. Which of the shades would you prefer for a darker skintone? (NW35) I've avoided trying these because of the cost but the MAC one, as usual, seems reasonably priced.

  12. I've been using this product since May of last year and I absolutely LOVE it! Can't tell you how many of these I've gone through :)

  13. I saw it also in Bobbi Brown.
    nice choice of color!

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  14. Good thing I found your blog! I’m getting ready for visiting the bars in north london. I could use one of your make up tips!

  15. Great review, awesome pictures. Thanks!

  16. Your review is what made me order this product, thank you so much!

  17. I recently bought this and I really like it! I use it under my eyes, on my forehead, down my nose and a bit on my chin. It really gives a certain glow and it highlights my under eye area which makes my face look so much fresher. I have thought about buying the touche eclat - but this is a whole lot cheaper and I'm satisfied! :-)