MAC Makeup Tutorial: Russian Red, an Ode to Madge

Published in: Face of the Day (FOTD), MAC Makeup, Makeup Tips/How To

I’m not shy about my obsessions — Christian Bale (marry me!), the MAC 266 brush and the Terminator series (more on this later) — but by far the deepest of my frivolous obsessions is for our Madge-esty almighty, Madonna, an obsession I’ve harbored since the tender age of eight.



When I finally got my hands on MAC’s Russian Red lipstick from the MAC Originals collection, I had a minor Madonna fan freak-out moment. Madge rocked the Russian Red in her late-80s Blonde Ambition era. Remember the Express Yourself and Vogue videos? I taped them on MTV and replayed the sh*t out of both until my mom yelled at me to “turn it off!” Parents just don’t understand.

For Madonna’s Blonde Ambition Tour, Russian Red accompanied all the over-the-top costumes designed by Jean Paul Gaultier.


I remain 1,343,555,432,543 degrees of separation from Madonna, but at least I can wear her lipstick. So, in honor of my favorite pop star of all time, here’s a tutorial of a look I did with MAC Russian Red lipstick, along with other products from the Originals Collection (Daisychain eyeshadow, Ochre Style eyeshadow and Melon Pigment).

Here’s the finished look (complete with mole)! I call it the “Ode to Madge.” LOL!


Step-by-step tutorial: “Ode to Madge”

First, grab your brushes, your products and find a nice spot to work.



  1. MAC 266
  2. Billy B Paint Brush #6
  3. MAC 252
  4. MAC 217
  5. MAC 194
  6. Billy B Paint Brush #13
  7. MAC 129
  8. MAC 224
  9. MAC 182
  10. MAC 316


  1. MAC Concrete eyeshadow
  2. MAC Bare Canvas Paint
  3. MAC Daisychain eyeshadow
  4. MAC Melon Pigment
  5. MAC Ochre Style eyeshadow
  6. MAC Ebony Eye Pencil
  7. MAC Black Mascara X
  8. MAC NW 25 Select Moisturecover concealer
  9. Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder 2
  10. Laura Mercier Suntan Beige Oil-Free Foundation
  11. MAC Blushbaby blush
  12. MAC Subculture lip pencil
  13. MAC Russian Red lipstick

Here’s my bare nekkid eye!

I should say that you can definitely improvise this look with different brushes than the ones I’ve used here.

Begin by filling in your brows with MAC Concrete eyeshadow using an angled brush like the MAC 266.

Using your ring finger, pat MAC Bare Canvas Paint evenly over the entire eyelid.

This is what it should look like so far:

Apply MAC Daisychain eyeshadow right below the browbone area with a flat shader brush. Here, I’m using Billy B Paint Brush #6.

Using the same brush, apply MAC Daisychain eyeshadow to the inner lid.

Now, take a stiff, flat brush like the MAC 252, and apply MAC Melon Pigment to the outer half of the eyelid.

Next, grab your blending brush and blend away any harsh edges. Here, I’m using a MAC 217.

Now it’s crease time! Add more depth to the crease with MAC Ochre Style shadow. Gently lift up your eyebrow with the opposite hand, and apply MAC Ochre Style into the crease using a sweeping back and forth motion. I had to use several layers because Ochre Style shows up light on my skin. When you’re finished, use your MAC 217 blending brush to soften any harsh lines.

A few popular options for nice crease brushes are the MAC 224, 217 and 222. For this, I’m using the same brush I used earlier to apply Daisychain eyeshadow to the brow and the crease (Billy B Paint Brush #6).

Here’s what you’ve got so far!

Now, draw a thin black line on the top lash line with a MAC Ebony Eye Pencil. It helps to use your opposite hand to gently pull your lid to the side (toward your ear) before applying the pencil. Try to get the color as close to your lashes as possible. You can make this line as thick or as thin as you’d like.

And here’s the result:

I’ve got stick straight lashes (boo), so I gotta curl ’em! After/if you curl yours, add two layers of MAC Mascara X mascara in black to your upper and lower lashes.

It’s time to get rid of those nasty dark circles. Grab some eye makeup remover or a DHC Olive Oil Swab and remove any shadow or mascara underneath the eye. Then, dot MAC Select Moiturecover concealer in NW 25 into the inner corner and blend it with a MAC 194 brush.

Using Billy B Paint Brush #13, set the concealer with Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder 2.

Et voila! Dark circles no mo’! I guess it’s time for some foundation…

Dot some Laura Mercier Oil-Free Foundation in Suntan Beige, and then blend it in with the MAC 182 brush — goofy facial expression totally optional.

Blush time! Use a MAC 129 blush brush to apply MAC Blushbaby blush onto the apples of your cheeks. Follow your cheek shape, and bring the color up at an angle toward your hairline.

Keep smiling! Swipe a MAC 224 brush into your pan of Blushbaby and add some definition to the bottoms of the apples of each cheek.

Line your lips with a MAC Subculture lip pencil.

Add one layer of MAC Russian Red lipstick using a MAC 194 brush. Blot, and then add a second layer for good luck.

Here’s the finished lip look:

Not quite done yet…

You can’t forget to add Madge’s famous mole! Put a small dot over your upper right lip with a MAC Ebony Eye pencil.


And now that you’re done…

You’re ready to strike a pose!

Love ya, Madge!

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



Like this post? Tell your friends!

So far, 77 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Melissa says:

    OMG, so cute. I’m dying laughing. You look fabulous. Way to work that Russian Red girl.

  2. Karen says:

    Thanks Melissa, I listened to Madonna all day long today.

    Strike a pose!

  3. Anne says:

    haha this is my favorite post from you. i love the expression in your last picture.

  4. Victoria says:

    This post is FANTASTIC! This has got to be one of the most detailed tutorials I have ever seen. Great job, Karen.

  5. Karen says:

    Hi Anne!

    LOL, so I tried to channel my inner Madge but that’s hard when you’re wearing a brown sweatshirt and a old blue t-shirt that says “Redding Kenpo Karate.” Vogue!

  6. Karen says:

    Thank you Victoria. I’m glad you liked it. Are you a Russian Red kinda girl?

  7. Vera says:

    You are so rocking that red lip. I used to have Russian Red, but then I lost it at a club during my friend’s bachlorette party. lol Then I bought Classic Dame, but I think Russian Red still looks better on me. I’ll get it again one day. hehe I love the mole on you too. You look good in everything so keep doing what you’re doing!

  8. Glosslizard says:

    Karen, you SO rock!

    What a great, detailed tutorial! What a fantastic look! And who deserves a makeup homage more than Madge?!? Vogue it, girl!

    I just got back from a weekend in Tahoe with the in-laws! Fun! Snow! Sledding downhill on precariously balanced plastic things! I had a great time, but I’m glad to get back home to my kitties and my daily blog-reads! Hope your weekend was terrific too! 🙂

  9. Vanessa says:

    You are too funny! Nice beauty mark you got there! Way better than Madge herself!

  10. Mrs. Lynne says:

    Karen! You are tooo cute. I love your goofy and pose picture! I really think we’ve all been feeling the glam lately because I just did a tutorial on one recently also! Lol. But I like how you accentuated with the mole and then striked the pose. You look amazing 🙂

    Girl, you and El Hub need to move here NOW!!

  11. Sandy says:

    Aw .. haha your vogue fish face is so adorable!! ^^ I haven’t gone makeup shopping in a month or so. This is a record for me! LOL. I’m loving the MAC blushbaby blush. Love the colour. I think I’m the only Eurasian that doesn’t look good with red lipstick -_-

  12. ilovecheese says:

    Fab look! I love your detailed pics and markings on the pics..which explain very clearly what needs to be done! Thank you for showing novice moi the right placement for blush. I don’t know how I got to be 26 and still not know where exactly to add blush.

  13. Emilee says:

    You are hilarious (but in a good way)! I love your pose. 😉

    This is such a great neutral look, but the lipstick is the winner. The color was made for you!

  14. Lilan says:

    OMG Karen,

    I’m soo lovin’ the tutorial – you look so sassy!! It looks so easy and I think I can do it too! I’m still in love with Madonna, her body was sooo rockin’ during her latest Confessions Tour. But I’m super sad to say that I’ve never seen her in concert (I know, for shame).

    I used to tape her videos as a kid too, rockin’ away to Madonna and trying to learn how to dance like Paula Abdul. 🙂

  15. Karen says:

    Thanks Vera! If I had a nickel for every time I’ve lost lipsticks and lipglasses at the club I’d be a rich woman, sigh. 🙂

    It’s been a long time since I wore Classic Dame. Thank you for reminding me about it. I agree with you though – there’s something about the Russian Red color that makes it pop a bit more than Classic Dame.

    I hope you bring home a tube of Russian Red home with you soon!

  16. Karen says:

    Hi Glosslizard,

    My weekend was pretty mellow, thanks for asking. I went to watch “Cloverfield” with El Hub, puttered around the house (I’m a real homebody), and went to my friend’s birthday party on Sunday.

    You know, I can’t remember the last time I was on a sled. Those things are fun…on the way down! It’s the hike up the hill that I can’t hang with, LOL.

    I didn’t know you had kitties! How many do you have?

  17. Karen says:

    Hi Vanessa,

    Ha! Thank you. I always wanted one when I was a kid. Sometimes I’ll wear one just for the hell of it, LOL.

  18. Karen says:

    Hi Mrs. Lynne,

    I wish we were there right now. It’s in the 40s here and rainy, boo. 🙁

  19. Karen says:

    Hi Sandy!

    Wow, are you on makeup lockdown or something? I go through those periods too where I’m not allowed to buy anything. Zip. Nada. Nothing. Oh, and those are tough times!

    I think you’d look great in red. Maybe do a stain, if you’re not used to the punch of color.

    Did you ever get that site to take down your picture?

  20. Karen says:

    Hi Ilovecheese,

    First off, I love your handle. I certainly love cheese, especially stinky hard cheese and stinky veiny cheese. YUM!

    I didn’t start wearing blush until my late 20s, believe it or not. I was intimidated by it for the longest time. Now it’s my staple and I can’t live without it! What blushes do you have right now? Got any faves?

  21. Karen says:

    Thanks Emilee! It’s weird, I think the penchant for goofy pictures is left over from childhood. My family would take SO MANY PICTURES during every event and it would kill me and my brother. Like, at Thanksgiving, we’d spend so much time taking pictures of us and of all the yummy food on the table that by the time we were finished my bro and I were half starving. One way to relieve all of the tediousness was to make as many goofy faces as possible (which of course, would get us in trouble, ha!) So now whenever there’s a camera I gotta make at least a few funny faces. 🙂

    Anyway I hope you’re having a good week so far!

  22. Karen says:

    Hey Lilan,

    You know what Paula Abdul dance I always wanted to do? The tap dancing solo at the beginning of “Straight Up,” ha!

  23. Glosslizard says:

    I agree with you on the hill part! At least I got in my cardio!

    I have three wonderful kitties! Sama, our skittish brown tabby (who bears a passing resemblance to your blogsite mascot), Princess Lily, our Miss Sassy-pants calico and Nefret, an irrepressible little white fluff-ball with dark tabby points! Nefret is still a kitten (8 months) so she chases the others around the house all the time! My cats keep me happy! 🙂

  24. Karen says:

    CUTE, Glosslizard! Your kitties sound like a wonderful addition to your family. I already have a crush on them.

    When I went out to my friend’s birthday party the other day I spoke with a gal who owns a few cats. Her cats are always leaving her weird gifts on the doorstep. Earthworms, snippets of paper … one of the cats actually brings fallen leaves from a specific tree in the neighborhood.

    I like all animals, but I am on track to becoming a crazy cat lady in T-minus 20 years. For now I just borrow the neighbor’s cat. He stopped by a week or so ago for a belly rub, and then scratched me and ran away. That user!

  25. PeeChee says:

    Girl….you forgot the black jelly bracelets!!! Its okay, you still look awesome!!!

  26. Karen says:

    Hi PeeChee, I had a whole bunch of those and I have no idea where they went! I think they went into same vortex as all of my Hello Kitty stuff!

  27. Haha, I love you! Fab tut! I don’t know much about Madonna so I can’t relate too much but I’m movin’ the mole and the lip color is faaab on you. You’ve also given me an idea. Ochre Style and Melon. Hmmmm…..

    Peace, my love! And happy Hump Day!

  28. Lea says:

    Hey Karen, OMG you are such an entertainer! Your blogs are so educational and fun. Where are your cones?! I grew up listening to Madonna, I even remember dancing to her song “True Blue” when I was in 3rd grade—complete with the outfit, shades, and fishnet! I used to watch her Vogue DVD concert with my older sisters over and over again.

    Question, I went to a make-up class once and the lady said we’re suppose to apply concealer on a C-shape (moon shape) on the inner side of each eye. I’ve been applying mine that way since, in addition to under the eye. I think she said so that it’s not so obvious that you’re wearing a concealer, something about “when people look at you, their eyes are drawn up to your eye shadows and not focusing on looking at how you’re hiding your dark circles under the eye”. Does that make sense?

  29. ilovecheese says:

    Hehe my cheese love would explain a lot of the tyres about my waist! But I have no branded blush – use the ones in the eye-shadow palettes I have (which again, are non-branded). I have bought these in Bangkok – as in India branded make-up is generally expensive. MAC, escpecially, is one of the higher-end brands. So, unfortunately, I haven’t been able to add MAC to my collections, but that’s going to change very soon now!

  30. renaye says:

    o0h your face looks great i wish i could do my make up like that.. i dont even know where to begin.. i think im jsut gona walk into mac and beg for help..

  31. Lilan says:

    I recall trying to imitate that tap routine, but I don’t think it was nearly as good 🙁

    I also remember her one video for “Cold-Hearted Snake” that was a particularly questionable one for me to be watching at 10 – but the slithering in and out of those boxes were soo cool!

  32. Glosslizard says:

    I’ve had cats all my life! Other critters have come and gone, but no matter what, I have to have cats! 🙂

    Sama actually hunts roof rats, so we find them sometimes. It keeps her in the neighbors’ good graces, though, so it’s worth the clean-up!

    Neighbors’ cats can be a wonderful thing! Kinda like being an auntie and then giving the kids back! I like to borrow friends’ dogs, play, and then let them go home! Don’t let that user-cat sour you… you know he loves you!

  33. Mrs. Lynne says:

    I don’t know how much you’d like it here right now. It’s actually pretty cold and raining. Hope your week is going well though 🙂

  34. vivi says:

    what do i love more than russian red lipstick!?? Russian Red lip glass. i am obsessed and wear it whenever i can. I think it’s a little brighter b/c is so glossy!

  35. Karen says:

    Thanks, Brittany! 🙂 You will love the Ochre Style and Melon Combo. Tis very subtle, pretty and oh-so-easy to do.

    I hope you had a wonderful week and a faboo weekend. Any exciting makeup plans ahead?

  36. Karen says:

    Hi Lea,

    LOL, my friends and I did the same thing with her concerts, too. Have you ever seen her live in concert?

    Regarding concealer application, thanks for the tip. Honestly I think that you should always do what works for you and what you think works best for your method. I know my way isn’t the same as a lot of makeup lovers (I do my foundation after the eyes because I know I’ll make a mess), but it’s all about trial and error and always asking questions 🙂 I’m constantly learning new things so when I pick up new techniques I’ll be sure to write about em

    BTW, I still have my “True Blue” tape (yes, I said TAPE, girl) around here somewhere. Lawd I’m old.

  37. Karen says:

    Hi Ilovecheese,

    Those tires are just more to love. At least that’s what I tell people! 🙂 I didn’t realize how expensive MAC is in India. I get a few emails here and there from international readers who want to know detailed info on products before they buy because they are so pricy. I feel the same way about certain products that I can’t get easily here in the US from Europe and Asia so I feel your pain. Right now I’m dying for the Pau; & Joe for Disney set that’s only available in Japan, boo hoo!

    Let me know if you ever need specific product info. And if I can’t give you the info you need I can ask the lovely ladies and gents over at Specktra!

  38. Karen says:

    Hi Renaye,

    One thing that helps (I’ve done this before) is to go into MAC with a few looks you like. Just go through magazines and tear out pics of makeup that you want to be able to do. They should be able to point you in the right direction…maybe make an appointment so they can really spend time showing you some application tips and tricks.

    Do you own any brushes yet?

  39. Karen says:

    Hi Lilan,

    Ha! Remember how “scandalous” Cold Hearted Snake was back in the day? Now it’s so tame compared to the videos on MTV. Holy crap, I didn’t realize how old I sounded until I fully typed that sentence out.

    Have you ever seen Paula’s reality TV show, “Hey Paula”?

  40. Karen says:

    Hi Glosslizard,

    Sama sounds like she has a ton of personality! She can come and bring me gifts any time, ha! Do you think she might ever wear one of these stylish kitty wigs?

    El Hub told me today how one of his co-workers told him about getting pet insurance. She has a dog that has epilepsy (poor soul) so he has to take daily meds that the pet insurance takes care of. Apparently you can get insurance for cats, dogs, birds, reptiles…the whole gamut of the animal kingdom.

    Yeah, I guess that shifty tabby loves me. I hope our dysfunctional relationship will stand the test of time.

  41. Karen says:

    Mrs. Lynne,

    60 degrees and raining is much much much better than 38 degrees and raining. Nobody on an island needs a turtleneck! 😉

  42. Karen says:

    HI Vivi,

    OMG, I have Russian Red lip glass and it frickin rocks the house! I totally agree – it’s much brighter than it’s lipstick counter part. I like it with a neutral eye and a fat black line on the upper lashline.

  43. Lilan says:

    Hey Karen,

    OMG, Hey Paula is completely crazy! She’s absolutely dysfunctional on that show and I actually feel kind of bad that they portrayed her as badly as they did. I wonder if they offered her a 2nd season yet.. I’d watch a couple episodes again but overall it was a little to painful for me. Let her stay on AI as a somewhat “normal” person – ha!

  44. Glosslizard says:

    OMG, Karen, that is too funny!!!

    Sama actually has the least personality, she’s sort of a generic cat (sweet as pie, though!) Lily is the Diva of the group! I’m convinced that if she ever found out about that pet nail polish, she’d insist on having her claws done! She also likes to sit at the sink and watch me do my makeup! 🙂

  45. Karen says:

    Hey Lilan,

    Yeah, they made Paula look completely off the rocker. It did give me an insight to her erratic behavior, though. I never realized that she has to endure so much pain because of dance. Body issues like that can make any normal person crazy.

    I really need to stop watching reality TV, but I just can’t! Last night I was suckered into ROCK OF LOVE 2. Lawd, help me.

  46. Karen says:

    Hi Glosslizard,

    Aren’t those kitty wigs the best? I want to put one on my neighbor’s tabby. (I think he’d look great in the blonde one.)

    Don’t show Lily the pink wig! She’ll insist on getting one and wearing it around the house. 🙂

  47. Lilan says:

    Oh dear.. Rock of Love 2! I’m not sure about the girls this season they seem a little tame so far. I’m really excited to see the episode when the season 1 girls come back. And I really hope they do another Charm School! (omg, I’m really addicted aren’t I?)

    I’m also looking forward to Diddy’s new Making the Band next week! I love to listen to them sing in the studio. It inspires me to sing a little louder in the shower 🙂

  48. Karen says:

    Hey Lilan,

    Nobody can do the trashy reality dating show like Flavor Flav, though. I was thinking the other day that I kind of miss him. Gross, I know.

    OH GAWD! Diddy’s Making the Band does nothing for me. I feel like he needs to stop making the band and start making something else. I have to admit, though, that listening to the contestants sing live is really great. There’s lots of amazing talent out there.

  49. Allie says:

    Gorgeous! I’ve been all about the red lipstick lately and this one looks great (at least on you!). Have a good weekend 🙂

  50. Lilan says:

    Oh I agree that Flav takes the cake when it comes to trashy (yet highly addicting) reality TV!

    I can’t help but be addicted to making the band – yes, Diddy is totally over the top with his dumb Brooklyn cheesecake but I really like the seasons where the bands get to make their albums because they actually get to sing!

  51. Karen says:

    Thanks, Allie! Isn’t red fun? Do you have a favorite? Seriously, give Russian Red a try if you get the chance 🙂

    You have a great weekend, too!

  52. Karen says:

    LOL, Lilan,

    I saw a preview of his new show last night and nobody does it like Flav. It’s sooo gross when they show him making out, but I can’t look away! Ewwww!

  53. Susanne says:

    This looks so great! I usually wear Viva Glam I, but I decided I should also try Russian Red.

  54. Karen says:

    Hi Susanne,

    You’ll love it! It’s really wearable and a very stop-in-your-tracks shade of red. 🙂

  55. Susanne says:

    Hi Karen!

    I got my order with “Russian Red” today. If this isn’t a reason to go out Saturday? 😉
    I am still waiting for the N Collection. Have you seen the color story information of Heatherette and Beauty Powder Blushes on specktra? No time to breathe after Fafi!

  56. Heather says:

    Fabulous! Can you use the Mac 182 brush with liquid foundations?

  57. Karen says:

    Hi Heather,

    Yup! It works great! It creates that “airbrushed” look on the skin, and is much easier to use than the 190.

  58. minnie says:

    Hey your pictyues came out great!! What kind of camera do you use?

  59. Samantha says:

    Does anyone know of a dupe for Mac Daisychain eyeshadow?

  60. Rinka says:

    I loved the drumroll to the tutorial. And the goofy poses totally work!
    Kudos from Manila!
    Rinka recently posted … Soooooooo- come here often

  61. CapsulateIon says:

    Lol you’re so cute – a woman who knows how to stay beautiful and humorous. I ♥ this post, it made my day (:

  62. Bibi says:

    I’m late to this post- I was researching Russian Red & found this make up lesson…LOVE IT!!

  63. Cindy P. says:

    RR looks great on you! Terminator series?? Do tell!! I dont hear many women say that…other than me! I’m a huge fan of movies 1 & 2. If my daughter had been a son I was naming him after Kyle Reese! I’m super excited for the new one coming out dec this year wooohoo!

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