MAC Unsung Heroes: Tarnish Eye Kohl

Published in: Eyes, MAC Makeup, Unsung Heroes

mac tarnish

One could probably pen a trilogy of Tolkien-ian proportions on the fantabulousness of MAC’s soft and smudgy $15 Eye Kohl in Tarnish, a blackened forest green pencil eyeliner, but because you have pretty nails to paint, diva pets to assist and [INSERT SNACK FOOD OF CHOICE] to nom, I’m gonna try to break it down for you, bullet point-style. πŸ™‚


1. Whatever your eye color happens to be, MAC Tarnish makes magic happen!

I’d even go so far as to call this blackened green, with its hint of sheen, universally flattering.

It’s like a pigment power-up! Whether your eyes are brown, blue, green, hazel, grey or violet (mine are dark brown with a navy blue ring around the edge of the iris), MAC Tarnish turns up the natural color of your eyes, making blue eyes appear bluer, brown eyes browner, green eyes greener — you get the idea.

To showcase your eyes by enhancing their natural color, apply Tarnish along your lash or water lines (or both, which I like to do).

2. MAC Tarnish is a great alternative to black and brown

If black eyeliners and other super dark shades are just too stark for you, here comes Tarnish to the rescue!

I think the forest green tones really help to soften the color, making for a noticeably less dramatic liner look than basic black.

mac tarnish swatch
Tarnish on NC42 skin

3. Try Tarnish for a twist on smokey eyes

Most of the time I turn to MAC Feline as my black liner base for smokey looks, but I grab Tarnish when I’m in a slightly mellower mood.

By trading Tarnish for MAC Feline, the black liner we used in last week’s brown and black smokey eye, we get a softer smokey eye with greenish brown.

mac unsung heroes tarnish
Tarnish along my lash and water lines


I also love the way Tarnish looks layered beneath neutrals (like Patina, Woodwinked, Ricepaper and Arena), greens (like Greensmoke, Sumptuous Olive and Humid) and blues (like Deep Truth).

Far and away, though, my favorite way to wear Tarnish is with a layer of MAC Club on top, as part of a teal, brown and blue peacock feather smokey eye. πŸ™‚

As a side, if you flip for jewel tones like the ones in the new Urban Decay Smoked Palette, I think Tarnish looks great with those, too.

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


The MAC Unsung Heroes series features some of my favorite products from MAC’s permanent collection


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So far, 36 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Nina says:

    Karennn!!! You know I want this, right? Thank you for confirming the decision!!! πŸ™‚

    • Karen says:

      I’ve had this color on my mind ever since we talked about it last week. I hope you love it! It’s one of my smudgy faves. πŸ™‚

      • Nina says:

        Love love dark smudgy colors because it makes a smokey eye so easy! Plus, I believe im going to get the UD Smoked palette as well. πŸ™‚

        Cannot wait! πŸ™‚

        • Karen says:

          This will be PURR-fect with the UD Smoked Palette, especially the purple and green. πŸ™‚ I love summer and all, but fall makeup is just so much fun for eye makeup. I love it!

          • Nina says:

            I also love fall / winter makeup — all the jewel and icy tones – im warm toned but do not care! LOL! Ill use whatever strikes my fancy!

            Yep — I feel the need for some retail therapy! πŸ™‚

  2. I really love the color–I use a shimmering olive liner on my upper lashline daily because I like how it subtly defines but is still soft enough for daytime. This would be one step darker for more drama, but still not as harsh as a true black. Only problem is, I don’t think these stand a chance on my eyes–if they’re not marketed as long-wearing, mostly likely they’ll be gone within the hour :/
    Becca @ The Beauty Sample recently posted … The Sample: NEW Chanel Joues Contraste Powder Blush in 69 Fleur de Lotus Reviews & Swatches

  3. Lulle says:

    I wasn’t even aware this kohl existed, but the greenish color does look great. I can really see it work with my green eyes!
    Lulle recently posted … A day at the mall – small haul

  4. musical says:

    I love how deep this color is! Happy Monday, bella!

    • Karen says:

      Happy Monday to you too, Musical! Did you have a good day?

      BTW, this color would look great with the shades you like — beiges, browns and caramels!

  5. Emily says:

    I don’t have many MAC products but I am itching to get into it more. This sounds like a great place to start! I might have to check this out.
    Emily recently posted … The Ultimate Red Lipstick (And Pink And Nude) – Rimmel Kate Moss Lipstick Reviews

  6. Angel says:

    I love love love this colour!! I must check it out when I’m done my project pan and can shop again!! Totally didn’t know this existed! Thanks for sharing Karen! πŸ™‚

  7. christine says:

    I’m definitely going to pick this up! Karen, I discovered your blog years ago when I was searching for Powersurge reviews. πŸ™‚

    • Karen says:

      Hey Christine,

      That color is STILL one of my go-tos to this day. I literally never leave home without it! Have you every tried layering it beneath Woodwinked or Patina? It’s amazing!

  8. Ruchita says:

    What a gorgeous color! I love it. This is going on my must buy list.

  9. Nina T says:

    I have got to try this! I’ve been trying to find a “different” liner for work. Sometimes black just feels too dark for these summer days. But lots of the pretty summer liner colors are a bit too much for the office – legal field, conservative. But this liner just might be the little extra I have been looking for!

  10. Emmy says:

    Karen, as you are my makeup guru, I have to beg your wisdom – what are some matte/maybe slightly shimmery neutral coloured MAC eyeshadows that would suit my NC 43 skin? I’ve been poring through all your unsung heroes posts and making notes, but if you could just name some of your favourite browns and greys, I would be so so so grateful!

  11. Hanaa says:

    HI karen could you plz tel me what lipstick are you wearing here looks gorg

  12. BooBooNinja says:

    I think I need to check out both Tarnish and Powersurge.
    I hope you keep doing these posts. There are so many MAC permanent collection products I have yet to discover.

  13. Oh it looks drop dead gorgeous. It would go amazingly well with that new green in the UD Smoked palette– how delicious!

  14. Tracy says:

    Why don’t I have this one? I need it! I need a forest green eyeliner!
    Tracy recently posted … Shu Uemura Chocolat-Donna Fall 2012 Eye Shadow Palettes Are A Sweet Treat You Need!

  15. Anna says:

    I thought you should know, Karen, I went and ordered this off the website as soon as I read your post!! It’s such a good idea for an alternate to my usual black liner… Can’t wait til it arrives!

  16. I really love the lip colour you’re wearing here karen!!
    Eva @ makeup tips recently posted … Makeup For Photographs.

  17. Rachel says:

    I love it! I really like off black colors
    Rachel recently posted … Sneak Peak with Swatches: Bare Minerals Ready Eyeshadow Quad in The Happy Place

  18. Thanks for showing me this, Karen! This looks like something that will work with most stuff in my stash and I LOVE the forest green sheen!

  19. Kim says:

    This is a really pretty color. I really need to check out the MAC Kohls – they look so deliciously buttery in your pics! πŸ™‚

  20. Nadege says:

    Ahh! I need this! Adding it to my Mac shopping cart!
    Nadege recently posted … ELF Baked Blushes in Rich Rose, Passion Pink & Pinktastic Review + Swatches

  21. Tarnish is lovely but it smudges too much on me!
    Ankita@corallista recently posted … Indian Bridal Makeup Tutorial 5 : Earth Tones ~ Brown and Terracotta

  22. Karen says:

    Hi Karen, I’ve been looking for a new eyeliner pencil so I took your suggestion and stopped by MAC to give Tarnish a try. Now I have a pretty silly question, but when you mention layering it with other colors, do you mean applying the other color directly on top of the eyeliner or above it? Sorry, I’ve never been adept at knowing how to apply eyeshadow, maybe because I didn’t understand the lingo πŸ˜‰ Thanks!

  23. Ingrid says:

    i love this – prob my fav eyeliner πŸ™‚

  24. Kath says:

    Hi Karen I have followed your blog for a few years; you are always so spot on. This is one of my favorite eyeliners with my hazel (more brown than green) this brings out the green in my eyes. LOOOVE.

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