How To Use the New MAC Prep + Prime CC Colour Correct Line: Tips From MAC Senior Artist Victor Cembellin

Published in: Beauty Tips, Face, MAC Makeup, Makeup, Makeup Tips/How To

The new MAC Prep Prime CC Colour Correct collection

The new MAC Prep + Prime CC Colour Correct line, available now

GUUUURL, don’t even get me started about brighting products ’cause we’ll be here for days.

DAYS, I tell ya. Possibly even years.


I’m actually never not looking for something — anything — to give me an extra brightening lift. It’s one of my ongoing personal makeup missions. 🙂

When MAC’s new Prep + Prime CC Colour Correct line came out last week, I was intrigued! — but admittedly confused.

I wasn’t sure where to start… I mean, lavender powder? Yellow face lotion?

What gives? And what are they for?

I asked MAC Senior Artist Victor Cembellin, who I’ve known for a few years, about the new products, what they do, and the best ways to use ’em.

Hi, Victor! What can you tell me about these new Prep + Prime CC Colour Correct products? Should I be intrigued?

OK, so, essentially, what’s kind of awesome about these is that products like this have been on the market for many years, but what I like is that we’ve sort of re-worked them into something entirely new.

MAC Prep + Prime Colour Correcting SPF 30

Prep + Prime Colour Correcting SPF 30, $30 each

Obviously, these are for adjusting skin tones. The CC is for “color correct,” but what’s exciting about them is that whereas in the past, there was this sort of mentality from the consumer of, like, if I grab this green cream and put it on top my red cheeks, everything’s going to be gone and Photoshopped and all that.

MAC Prep + Prime CC Colour Correcting Products in Adjust

Adjust, a sheer apricot

I think what’s exciting about these particular products is how delicately we used the technology to our advantage to make them really workable, user friendly, and into something that actually does what it claims to do, which is to color correct the actual tones and the idiosyncrasies of the skin.

MAC Prep + Prime CC Colour Correcting Products in Recharge

Recharge, a sheer apricot

OK, how would an everyday guy or gal incorporate these into their makeup routine? I’m looking at some of these colors, like the violet and the yellow, and thinking, “These look really, really cool…” but I have no clue what to do with them.

So, first of all, they’re very sheer, and whereas in the past — perhaps with things other companies have done with them, well… If you’ve ever taken, for example, a light pink blush and put it on top of oily skin, it turns six shades darker, and that’s what was happening with color correctors. They had too much pigment in them, so they were actually turning the skin weird colors, as opposed to correcting.

MAC Prep + Prime CC Colour Correcting Products in Neutralize

Neutralize, a sheer yellow

I think what’s nice about [the new MAC color correctors], and how a normal person would incorporate them into their makeup routine, is that they’d be used with the sort of approach like you’re erasing the tones off the skin.

MAC Prep + Prime CC Colour Correcting Products in Illuminate

Illuminate, a sheer lavender

So, if you’re using the CC cream itself, or if you’re setting with the loose powder or compact powder, it’s the idea that because they are so sheer and delicate, it almost takes the guesswork out of the product for you.

You’re going to use the powders on top of your foundation, or if you’re going to use the CC creams, you can start before you actually apply your foundation.

But it’s really just a matter of using them, and sort of erasing away, as opposed to the mentality of covering up, what you see. Almost like Photoshop. You just want to do a little bit so things kind of disappear — not completely cover things so they look weird or heavy, or so neutral that they look kind of odd.

What would I use Adjust for, the peachy beige?

I’d compare it to this: have you ever been to a department store with bad lighting in the dressing room? You’re looking at your skin, and you’re like, “I just feel so dull! I don’t look lively, and my skin looks gross!”

MAC Prep + Prime Colour Correcting Loose in Adjust

Prep + Prime Colour Correcting Loose in Adjust, $24

I feel like the Adjust really just brightens up skin tones. So imagine your medium skin tone — and I want to say that you’re probably, like, an NC42 in MAC nomenclature? (ME: YES!) — so for you, what it’s going to do is brighten up the skin without making it look like you’ve done some weird Kim Kardashian sort of highlighting and contouring effect. It just sort of naturally lifts the skin to where you’re like, “Wow, I look brighter!”

MAC Prep + Prime Colour Correcting Compact in Adjust

Prep + Prime Colour Correcting Compact in Adjust, $24

It brightens areas, perhaps in the back of your skin, where, um, people who have a deeper skin tone around their forehead line, around their mouth, and around, like, the back of their cheekbones. So it kind of adjusts those shades and brightens them up.

OK, walk me through the other three — yellow Neutralize, lavender Illuminate and apricot Recharge. What do they do?

To jump straight to Recharge, it would be almost the exact same thing we just described with Adjust, but for deeper skin tones.

MAC Prep + Prime Colour Correcting Compact in Recharge

Prep + Prime Colour Correcting Compact in Recharge, $24

So, perhaps we’ve got, you know, an African-American woman, or someone who’s a NC 50 or NW 50 skin tone — it would be the same thing — brightening up those tones so they almost reverse them, like, the dullness of the skin, or what some people call the grayer tones, or the ashy type tones. So that’s going to counter those tones.

MAC Prep + Prime Colour Correcting Loose in Recharge

Prep + Prime Colour Correcting Loose in Recharge, $24

As far as the lavender, that would be for someone like myself for instance.

MAC Prep + Prime Colour Correcting Loose in Illuminate

Prep + Prime Colour Correcting Loose in Illuminate, $24

I have gold skin, and I’m desperate to look like I have pink skin. I’m always using red bronzers and red type blushes to make me look like I’m sunburned, because when I look at my skin, I feel like I look sort of like gold and yellow and just dull. So the lavender one, the Illuminate, is really going to counteract that and just bring that brightness, and actually illuminate the skin. Just reversing some of those tones that might make someone feel really dull.

MAC Prep + Prime Colour Correcting Compact in Illuminate

Prep + Prime Colour Correcting Compact in Illuminate, $24

And then the last one would be Neutralize, which is yellow.

MAC Prep + Prime Colour Correcting Loose in Neutralize

Prep + Prime Colour Correcting Loose in Neutralize, $24

And that would be perfect for someone who has pink nuances in their skin. Myself, having worked with women for 18 years, women come up and they’re always like, “I hate that my skin’s uneven and pink.” So Neutralize would be something that you could literally just erase out those pink tones from the skin.

MAC Neutralize Prep + Prime Colour Correcting Compact

Prep + Prime Colour Correcting Compact in Neutralize, $24

What are your must-haves from the collection then — the things you’re absolutely loving?

I would say, for sure, the CC creams.

MAC Prep + Prime CC Colour Correcting SPF 30 Swatches from the left: Adjust, Recharge, Neutralize and Illuminate

Prep + Prime CC Colour Correcting SPF 30 swatches from the left: Adjust, Recharge, Neutralize and Illuminate

What’s interesting for me as a makeup artist, and what I’ve been really trying to tell my clients and just every consumer I interact with, is the idea now of letting the skin be revealed from underneath.

When we’re approaching things, we’re really just erasing versus covering. With the CC creams, two great colors would be the Neutralize and the Adjust. I tend to grab those a lot. And literally just kind of like push, pull and using brushes, or obviously using fingers, but just really acting like I’m skimming or erasing off the tones, before I approach [the skin] with foundation.

And what’s nice is that the CC cream has priming properties to it, so it actually almost kind of self-sets and locks down to the skin, so when you put foundation on top, it’s not interrupted by the fact that you’re putting makeup on top of it.

MAC Prep + Prime CC Colour Correcting Loose swatches from the left: Adjust, Recharge, Neutralize and Illuminate

Prep + Prime CC Colour Correcting Loose swatches from the left: Adjust, Recharge, Neutralize and Illuminate

And I love loose powder. I know that some people, when you really talk to the average consumer, they’re like, “It’s messy on my countertop,” and this and that. But there is that sort of je ne sais quoi — that light powdery-ness of loose powder — that looks velvety and almost soft-focused.

So I find myself really gravitating toward those two products, but I think, of course, for somebody on the go or someone traveling, obviously the compacts are the best choice.

MAC Prep + Prime CC Colour Correcting Compact swatches from the left: Adjust, Recharge, Neutralize and Illuminate

Prep + Prime CC Colour Correcting Compact swatches from the left: Adjust, Recharge, Neutralize and Illuminate

One more question for you! With the powders, would you ever use them under the eyes?

Yes! These are really forgiving. Imagine the Prep + Prime Translucent Powder that we sell. It’s basically that type of formula with a little bit of that color added to it, so they’re very, very flexible and forgiving under the eyes.

The new MAC Prep Prime CC Colour Correct collection

CC me!

And when you attach them to the skin or add them to the skin, if they hit an oily spot around the side of your nose or on the side of your forehead, they don’t oxidize and turn weird. They stay really true to the color you see with your eyes.

So to answer your question, yes, underneath the eyes is fine, as long as you’re not, you know, packing a ton of powder, because that’s going to make anyone look textured, and with one of our light, fluffy brushes like the 224, which is typically used for the contour of the eye.

If you use one of those with the Adjust or even with the Illuminate, yes, you could definitely, not only set your concealer, but give it that extra little boost that knocks out that pesky dark circle that we’re all trying to get rid of.

Thanks for all the great tips, Victor! My dark circles and I can’t wait to boogie down with Adjust.

If you’d like to check out the new Prep + Prime CC Colour Correct line for yourself, all 12 products are available now in the MAC permanent line at MAC stores, counters and online at

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


P.S. Victor is pretty active online, and here’s where you can find him if you’re on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Don’t be shy. Say hi! He’s really nice. 🙂


MAC Senior Artist Victor Cembellin’s Twitter:

Victor’s Instagram:

Victor’s Facebook:

Victor’s website:

MAC Store Locator:


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So far, 20 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Sylirael says:

    This is so helpful! I’m really intrigued by the lavender coloured corrector! 🙂
    Sylirael recently posted … A New Glittering Hoard to Plunder! Etude House Play Nail Polishes in #144 and #147

  2. I love when you team up with Victor to tell us how to use these amazing MAC products. I have neutralize and illuminate (pressed) and they are both gorgeous (NW15 skin here). I find illuminate on the cheekbones is really nice.

  3. Natalie says:

    That neutralize cc cream looks like it would be great for my skin! I love that more and more companies are getting into sheer correcting products like powders. The correcting cc creams here look really unique and awesome!!
    Natalie recently posted … Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask

  4. Agata says:

    Awesome tips! Do you think the yellow CC cream would be the best for me? I have a lot of pink tone in my skin.

  5. hanna says:

    I so want the lavender one!
    hanna recently posted … Sat Above The Register, Not Much Else

  6. Miki says:

    Ok, have to admit, I did NOT like these when they first appeared. Because, well, they are confusing. Even reading their descriptions was of little help. Wasn’t even going to bother going into a sore. This post makes them much more understandable and explains their benefits, and now I want to try!! 😀 THANK YOU!!

  7. Loved this post! Like Victor, I love using lavender to really brighten up my completion — not to make it pinker, but just to give it that glow, you know?

    And, okay, I totally use violet on my neck sometimes to make it look more pink. For whatever reason, my face is really pink (esp. for Asian skin), but my neck is quite yellow!
    Rae // theNotice recently posted … Je Joue MiMi Soft Silicone Vibrator review, photos | A Valentine’s Day review, from me to you

  8. Cindy says:

    I love how detailed Victor’s Instructions were in regards to the powders!! Great advice!! Thank you.

  9. Gowthami says:

    I like the lavender so much!
    Gowthami recently posted … Tutorial: How to Use White Liner as Primer

  10. Ramona says:

    Just a question, do we need to use the creams and powders together? Or could I just use one without the other and still get all the colour correcting goodness?

  11. Savannah says:

    I’m still unsure how they would look on me. Are they sort of like the ambient powders? The yellow neutralize = diffused light etc? I thought I’d really want the lavender but I’d want to use it as a subtle highlighter. Would that work??

  12. Erin says:

    I really want to like these! Until this China thing is resolved, there are a lot brands I’m avoiding.
    Erin recently posted … Bold As Brass & Good As Gold: Metallic Home Decor Trends

  13. meredith says:

    Thanks, Karen and Victor! I understand these products much better now.

  14. Chelsea says:

    I’m definitely curious about the CC Cream, particularly in Neutralize. The main reason I wear any base (usually a bb cream or sheer foundation) is to even out the redness in my cheeks and chin, so this could work for me. I never wear foundation all over, mostly just on the cheeks, chin, and nose.

  15. hanna says:

    I’d love to win!
    hanna recently posted … How to Wear Round Sunglasses

  16. christina says:

    I just bought the yellow loose powder yesterday, and so far so good. It is really nice and soft. I also got a sample of the yellow c.c. cream, which I tried today for the first time. This post made me excited to own this! 🙂

  17. Iris says:

    Thanks to both you and Victor for the informative post! I was wondering about how to use these. I’m most interested in the CC creams. 🙂

  18. Chic Lapin says:

    I’m considering getting Neutralize loose/pressed powder to correct my awkwardly pink face undertone and adjust it to the rest of my body. 😛 Hope it looks right in photos!
    Chic Lapin recently posted … NEW L’Oreal Mega Volume Miss Manga Mascara {Violet} Review Reseña:NUEVA Máscara de Pestañas Mega Volume Miss Manga de L’oreal {Violeta}

  19. Fancie says:

    I totally want the Recharge cream! I really need to get to a Mac counter soon
    Fancie recently posted … Wash Day with Beauty Blender Solid Cleanser!

  20. Karen… what a wonderful piece!!! J’adore! …And thanks to all of your readers for letting me GUSH about my new favorite products! Hope we can chit-chat again about “all things beauty”… and loved reading all the responses!!! BIG KISS!

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