MAC Graphic Garden and Look in a Box Swatches and First Impressions

Published in: MAC Makeup


I’m getting fired up, fellow MAC fans! Next month two exclusive, Nordstrom-only MAC collections arrive, the first for ladies who love bright colors and the second for gals who gotta go neutral.


Both Graphic Garden and Look in a Box are Nordstrom Beauty Exclusives, special limited edition items made by big cosmetics lines like MAC and sold only at Nordstrom stores.

If you’re on the market for bright summer colors, consider the Graphic Gardens collection’s black and white flower print makeup bags and eyeshadow palettes, lip kits and brush kits ($35-50) in greens, blues, pinks and grays.

Or, if you’d prefer basic neutrals for your eyes, cheeks and lips, check out Look in a Box, which offers three color-coordinated makeup kits ($60 apiece, but valued at $100), each one with six pieces — eye, lip and face makeup as well as a kabuki brush — designed to create a complete look.

Last weekend I spent a few minutes with both of the upcoming collections — now available for pre-order at Nordstrom stores and online (for pick up or delivery next month).

Graphic Garden

mac graphic gardens eye shadow palette
Graphic Garden Palette, $35

I’m a palette kinda girl, so I was most interested in Graphic Garden’s two eyeshadow palettes, Graphic Garden and Fresh Cut ($35 each).

The Graphic Garden palette comes with six shimmery shadows in cool-toned shades of green, blue, gray, beige, purple and black. Each of the colors has excellent color payoff (soo rich!), and one could easily mix and match the shades for a variety of different looks.

mac graphic gardens fresh cut eyeshadow palette
Fresh Cut Palette, $35

Now, Fresh Cut kinda fooled me at first. Its pink, bronze and brown shades looked warm in the pans, but the shadows apply super sheer, requiring several layers on both my tan NC 35 skin as well as lighter NW 20.

Baby Blooms Lip Bag, $35 (includes Lipglass in Baby Blooms; Lipsticks in Soft Illusion, Amplified Spice Flower; and a black makeup bag with a white floral print)

Summer Crop Lip Bag, $35 (includes a Lipglass in Summer Crop; Lipsticks in Semi-Annual and Garden Bed; and a white makeup bag with a black rose print)

Define and Blend Brush Set, $50 (includes short-handled versions of the MAC 168 Large Angled Contour Brush, 190 Foundation Brush, 252 Large Shader Brush, 219 Pencil Brush and the 209 Eye Liner Brush, as well as a white makeup bag with a black rose print)

Shape and Perfect Brush Set, $50 (includes short-handled versions of the MAC 187 Duo Fibre Brush, 129 Powder/Blush Brush, 275 Medium Angled Shading Brush, 212 Flat Definer Brush and 194 Concealer Brush, as well as a black makeup bag with a white floral print)

Correction: it looks like two of the brushes in the sets were mixed up in the store. The Define and Blend Brush Set should have the 128 Powder/Blush Brush, and the Shape and Perfect Set should have the 168 Large Contour Brush.

mac graphic garden swatches nc35
Graphic Garden on NC 35 skin

mac graphic gardens swatches eye shadow palette nw 20
Graphic Garden on NW 20 skin

mac graphic gardens swatches fresh cut nw 20
Fresh Cut on NW 20 skin

mac graphic gardens swatches summer fresh cut graphic garden palettes-1
Graphic Garden on the left and Fresh cut on the right; both on NC 35 skin

mac graphic gardens swatches eyeshadow palettes fresh cut graphic garden-on-nw-20
Graphic Garden on the left and Fresh cut on right; both on NC 20 skin

Baby Blooms

Summer Crop

Look in a Box

Sweet Tease ($60)

I think MAC did a fantastic job coordinating the colors for the Look in a Box kits ($60). Each of the three sets — Sweet Tease, Sun Siren and Seductress ($60) — features some of my favorite MAC neutrals from the permanent line, like Amber Lights, Shroom and Mulch.

Each box comes with two eyeshadows, one face powder, a lipstick or gloss, a kabuki brush and Zoomlash Mascara in Zoomblack.

To buy the six items separately would cost about $100, so the $60 price tag breaks down to a pretty good deal.

My favorite of the three sets has to be Sweet Tease. It comes with shimmery pink Lustreglass in Love Nectar, Eye Shadows in Mulch and Gleam (a shimmery brown and a shimmery gold) and shimmery, light pink Beauty Powder in Shell.

All of the colors seem easy to wear, and I’m guessing they’ll flatter a wide range of skin tones.

Sweet Tease swatches from left to right: Lustreglass in Love Necter, Eye Shadow in Mulch, Eye Shadow in Gleam, Beauty Powder in Shell

Sun Siren, $60

Sun Siren swaches from left to right: Dazzleglass in Get Rich Quick, Eye Shadow in Amber Lights, Eye Shadow in Shroom, Bronzing Powder in Bronze

Seductress, $60

Seductress swatches from left to right: Slimshine Lipstick in Bare, Eye Shadow in Knight Divine, Eye Shadow in Naked Lunch, Iridescent/Pressed Powder in Belightful


Just another manic Monday

Ladies, I’ve had one of *those* Mondays — you know the kind — where your every thought comes slowly, and it feels like you’re swimming through mud.

How’s your day been? I hope it’s gone better than mine!

I’ll be happy if I can make it to dance class tonight. I haven’t gone in FOREVER. Maybe that’ll help me snap out of this funk.

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 43 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Hafsa says:

    aww hope tomorrow is better! Yes, those kinds of mondays are the worst ๐Ÿ™ Feel better dearie

  2. Karen says:

    Hi Hafsa,

    Thanks! I hope your Monday was good. ๐Ÿ™‚ Got any plans for tonight?

  3. Caitlin says:

    I had my first day of Statistics today, and even though it’s math, it wasn’t too terrible. And what kind of dance class do you take? ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Karen says:

      Hi Caitlin,

      Hip hop. I’ve been doing it on and off for about 10 years.

      Statistics was the only math class I liked when I was in college. It was fun when I thought of it in terms of gambling/odds. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. My day started off crappy after a bad customer service experience at Walmart! but overall good. In Canada, Graphic Garden is going to be available at the Bay stores and they are now taking pre-orders too. I’m on a makeup buying ban for the rest of the summer so I will have to live vicariously through other people’s hauls and reviews.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lipstickrules,

      That’s good to know. Thanks for looking out for the Canadian MBB girls. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Have a good evening! What are your plans?

  5. I think I love Graphic Garden and might have to get that one!

    I am dragging arse here today! It’s hot, was about 90 and I just feel sapped of energy. Have a great dance class!
    .-= Vampy Varnish’s last blog post… Deborah Lippman Fall & Winter 2009 =-.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Vampy Varnish,

      I think that’s part of the reason why I’m feeling blah today.

      Oh, Graphic Garden would look really great on you. I can see your rockin’ the blue and the green together.

  6. Stef says:

    Oh Karen, sorry you’re funky (funky bad, not funky good). Dance it out girl!

    That Summer Crop Lip Bag is calling my nude lip lovin’ name…
    .-= Stef’s last blog post… Win the entire Smashbox Untamed collection! =-.

  7. Marmar says:

    I absolutely love Summer Crop. My type of colours for sure. Sadly I can’t stand going to the Nordy’s here.. we only have one within like 100 miles and it’s located in the worse mall I could possibly step into. I usually miss out on these exclusive items :-\ If worse comes to worse I’ll snag em online..
    .-= Marmar’s last blog post… hee young strikes again. =-.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Marmar,

      If you want it you totally don’t have to go to the mall because the sets are currently available online right now — they’ll ship ’em out to ya on the 17th. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Glosslizard says:

    Woo-hoo, I made it home! I’ve had a draggin’ arse kind of day today too, mostly because I spent most of it driving! I have to confess that I’m not really feeling the MAC offerings for Nordie’s this year, I’m much more attracted by Chanel and Dior! I am holding myself in readiness for MAC’s typically awesome Fall offerings!

    Hubby and I learned a new Jo (short staff) partner practice in Ashland, we’re really excited about getting to teach it at our dojo tomorrow night! All that, and we’re leaving again (for Disneyland!!!) next Sunday! I’m pretty stoked! Thanks as usual for the lovely swatches! I hope your week improves quickly!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Glosslizard,

      I’m not ready for fall… it feels like summer just got started, and now we’re gonna be all about dark lips, dark nails, etc. All I really want to do is wear a sun dress, sit under a beach umbrella and reapply coral lip gloss all day long. Le sigh!

      As for Disney, I’ll have to vicariously live through you, if that’s okay. I love that place!

  9. Miss QQ says:

    Hi Karen. I like Sweet Tease but I heard that it is only available in the US. I have that Monday yesterday too (my time zone is faster). It was horrible. It will be Tuesday for you soon too! I’m sorry about the condo.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Miss QQ,

      Yah, I believe it is indeed a US only release. I’m pretty sure Nordstrom ships internationally but it’s gonna cost $$$.

      Anyway, have a great Tuesday; I’ll keep my fingers crossed that the week will get better for the both of us. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Hafsa says:

    My plans for tonight were to sit in front of my tv and watch the jon and kate special. Did you catch it?? So so sad ๐Ÿ™ Poor kids

    • Karen says:

      Hi Hafsa,

      OMG — my jaw dropped. Seriously, though, like we didn’t see this coming. I wonder what’s going to happen with the show? I feel bad if the kids have to deal with the divorce on TV.

  11. Kailey says:

    I’m teaching pre-school bible classes this week…I might have to reward myself with a box…
    which one do you think would look best on a blonde haired, green/grey/blueish eyed, light to medium skintone person?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kailey,

      I vaguely remember going to bible classes when I was kid… we colored a lot of pictures of lambs.

      I like either Sweet Tease or Seductress for you. Sun Siren might work if you have enough warm tones, though.

  12. Hyzenthlay says:

    I’ve had a really nice Monday. Summers make up for the rest of the teaching year รฎยโ€”.

    Thanks for posting what the colors look like on your arm AND on the arm of the other woman. I’m MUCH closer to her coloring than yours, so it’s great to see how the colors look different!

    I’m thinking I need to check out *for sure* both eyeshadow palettes, both lip bags, and the Sweet Tease Look Box. I hope I don’t love all of it!

    My bf and I are watching Thank You For Smoking and had homemade pizza for dinner.

    I hope your night is better than your day was, and that tomorrow is even better than that!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Hyzenthlay,

      Sweet Tease is easy to fall in love with. I wanted it bad — and I already have two of two of the items in my stash already (Love Nectar and Mulch). LOL!

      Homemade pizza sounds delish. Did you guys make the crust, too? I ended up making it to dance and working out my funk. We danced to Busta which always puts me in a better mood. Afterwards I went home, at some mediocre Safeway sushi (at least it’s low fat) and edamame
      and now I’m watching an Australian movie with Laura Linney.

      Anyway, I hope you have a good Tuesday! ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Nicole15 says:

    Yay for the Graphic Garden palette, such beautiful colors & one I will def have to entertain purchasing. Boo on the Fresh Cut palette, totally expected the color pay off to be better when first seeing the palette, such a shame it’s not. The Look in a Box kits are such a great idea/deal. However, i own at least 2 items in each already so it wouldn’t make it a worthwhile purchase for me, but def a great gift for some people I know.

    Today was a yucky Monday as I feel like I’m coming down with something. Sore throat & sinus headache. Ugh! Hope you made it to dance class Karen. Shakin what your mama gave ya can always pull you out of a funk ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nicole15,

      Oh no! I hope that you don’t get too sick. I had that cold a few weeks ago, and it was rough. Get good rest and feel better soon.

  14. Gracie says:

    OMG!! i’m definitly either getting one of the look in a boxes, or the garden graphic pallet! idk which one though….have a nice monday!

  15. H. says:

    why do we not have nordstrom in canada!?!?! i want both of those brush sets, but i don’t want to pay (ie: is a student) the ridiculous shipping and customs fees (which will be at least another $50 *head-desk*). i don’t even have family in the states *pouts*. ok, im done being a petulant child (despite the the fact that those brushes are awesome!). it’s like taunting a dog with extra food *sigh*…

    • Karen says:

      Hi H.,

      LOL, true, true. Totally like showing a pup some bacon and teasing him with it.

      Well, at least a lot of the products in the boxes are available in the permanent line. They’ll cost a lil’ more, but if you want ’em that badly it’s nice to know you can still get them.

  16. H. says:

    and i hope tomorrow is going to be better than today for you!

  17. wehkwas says:

    Thanks for the photos. Sometimes it’s just lovely it is to just gaze and admire MAC products.

  18. Hyzenthlay says:

    Hi Karen, we actually bought the dough at Nugget. We thought about Woodstocks, but didn’t want to go downtown and to the market. I’m glad your dance class was good!

  19. Gina says:

    Why does MAC always do this to me…hubby is going to kill me!!! I’ve pre-ordered already and I can not wait until I receive it in the mail! I’ve already made room in my already full make up drawer for all my new things! I orderd one for my two sisters as well! They’ve been trying to get into MAC for a while now…it’s the perfect gift for someone starting out…not to mention I will soon have acess to all three sets!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. Catherine says:

    Hi Karen, hope you have a better Tuesday! I was feeling like swimming through mud all last week and during the weekend. Trying to drag myself out of the funk and be productive again. I think I haven’t fully recovered from final exams yet lol.

    And OMG. Sun Siren looks GORGEOUS, but I just bought a bronzer, lol! And now that I think about it… Amber Lights looks suspiciously like a gold eyeshadow I already own. I guess I have specific taste LOL.
    .-= Catherine’s last blog post… Review: MAC Golden Nectar Highlight Powder =-.

  21. Karen B says:

    Sweet Tease seems like exactly my cup of tea. And what a deal for $60

  22. Tiffany says:

    Oooh, I love the makeup bags! I can’t decide if I want anything from this collection… sweet tease does seem like a great set…

  23. YadiQ says:

    OMG can i tell ou how stoked i am about these shadow palettes

    i was reading about graphic garden the other day and i started to drool

    i sooo cannot wait !

  24. Elle says:

    Ugh. These look pretty, but I’m broke! I think I overspent on the F&F sale and Naked Honey. ๐Ÿ™‚ I might have to wait for these to make their way to the CCOs.

  25. lesley says:

    Thanks for these Karen ๐Ÿ™‚ I was on the fence about what to pre-order but now I’m totally sold on the Sweet Tease Look in a Box ๐Ÿ™‚

    Hope you have a great day!!

  26. Lina says:

    These look gorgeous. I already did a pre-sell for both lip bags. Still contemplating the kits though.
    .-= Lina’s last blog post… Color Focus: Smokey Eyes Part 4 (Mauves and Plums) =-.

  27. Hafsa says:

    Yes it was so sad ๐Ÿ™ I heard today that the show is going on a “hiatus” and will return in August. I wonder what that means though???

    And Karen, do you have a twitter account dear?? If not, you should get one! It would be a great way to alert people on your new blog posts and perhaps get lots more readers, since I know they would love your reviews and help ๐Ÿ™‚

  28. geekchic says:

    thanks so much for turning me on to these! i’m loving the graphic garden palette and the sweet tease look in a box. too bad i can only afford to buy one of them. :<
    how to choose, how to choose???
    i already have more eyeshadow than i could ever hope to use which makes me wanna lean towards the look in a box, but i’m such a shadow palette junkie and those colors are so damn hot…
    karen, which would you go for if you had to choose one?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Geekchic,

      I’d go with the Look in a Box. It’s a fantastic deal for full-sized items, plus, the colors are great staples. ๐Ÿ™‚

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