Big Snakes on a Blog! Or, the New MAC Year of the Snake Large Eye Shadows in Once Upon a Time, Altered State, Carbon and Aztec Brick

Published in: Eyes, MAC Makeup, Makeup, Product Reviews

MAC Year of the Snake Large Eyeshadows in Altered State and Carbon

Here I’m wearing the new $21 MAC Year of the Snake collection Large Eye Shadows (available now exclusively online) in Altered State on my lids and in my creases, and Carbon in the outer corners and along my lower lash lines

Here’s to hoping that these four new Large Eye Shadows from MAC are the closest I ever come to having snakes on top of my eyes!

Not that I have anything against snakes (of the reptilian variety). My aversion to slithering creatures doesn’t extend to snakes. It’s more of an anti-worm policy (they’re so slimy and squiggly, YUCK!). I’m definitely not anti-snake.


I actually think they’re pretty cool and inspiring, really. All sleek, graceful and frightening at the same time, kind of like Grace Jones in Conan The Destroyer.

And speaking of Conan, these snake-patterned 0.10-ounce pans are also pretty huge (twice the size of MAC’s regular 0.05-ounce pans).

MAC Once Upon a Time Large Eye Shadow from the Year of the Snake Collection

Once Upon a Time, a metallic vanilla with a veluxe pearl finish

MAC Aztec Brick Large Eye Shadow

Aztec Brick, a frosted copper with a veluxe pearl finish

MAC Carbon Large Eye Shadow

Carbon, an intense black with a matte finish

MAC Altered State Large Eye Shadow from the Year of the Snake Collection

Altered State, a deep, frosted blueish purple with a veluxe pearl finish

MAC Year of the Snake Swatches, Large Eyeshadows in Once Upon a Time, Aztec Brick, Altered State and Carbon

From the left: Once Upon a Time, Aztec Brick, Altered State and Carbon

MAC Year of the Snake Large Eyeshadow

Wearing Altered State on my lids and in my creases, and Carbon in the outer corners and along my lower lash lines

NARS 413 BLKR Multiple

Wearing Aztec Brick on my lids and in my creases Once Upon a Time on my brow bones

MAC Year of the Snake Large Eye Shadow Packaging

Limited edition packaging!


Playing with these, here are some things that come to mind…

  • Once Upon a Time: A fairly standard issue metallic vanilla that blends crazy good (well). Sure, it’s not unique, but I still think it has the makings of a fab workhorse highlighter and/or a brightening lid shade.
  • Aztec Brick: Shiny like a new copper penny! I love this color, and its bunny tail-texture and off-the-hook pigment, but my pan actually popped out of its case the first time I opened it (the horror!). I hope it was just a cruel twist of fate and not indicative of something else.
  • Carbon: A matte black for smoking out eye looks or lining lash lines. It’s a re-promote from the permanent line.
  • Altered State: Like Aztec Brick, this bluish purple feels kitten soft to the touch. I think that may be why it arrived partially crumbled. If you’re thinking about this one, don’t lose your receipt, just in case it suffers a similar fate.

I’ve worn all four of these shades on top of primer, and each one lasted from 8-9 hours with very minimal fading and creasing in my fine lines.

Score one for fine lines, snakes and MAC! πŸ™‚

PRICE: $21 each
AVAILABILITY: Available now exclusively online at

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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  1. Erin says:

    I really, really love both of the ways you did your eyes here, Karen! Absolutely beautiful. How did you blend the purple look so well? I have such a hard time blending so I usually just wear only one eyeshadow at a time, and I definitely don’t know how to do anything besides neutral colors. Any tips?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Erin,

      Sure! When it comes to brighter colors like purple, what I usually like to do is to first concentrate most of it along the lash line by applying it with a flat eyeshadow brush, like the MAC 239. Then, I use a fluffy domed brush like the MAC 217 to blend out the edges and drag the color into the crease.

      Here’s the secret sauce: take that 217, and load it with a neutral eyeshadow that’s close to your skin tone. Blend that color into your crease. It’ll help to soften the line and create that nice gradients. You can also use a bronzer or a blush, too, if you don’t have a neutral eyeshadow around.

      Hit me up if you have any more questions! πŸ™‚

  2. HAHAHA Snakes on a blog hahaha! You crack me up! Aztec Brick is really pretty on you!
    Tracy@BeautyReflections recently posted … Chanel Fascination Les 4 Ombres from The Chanel Jeux de Regards Collection

  3. My eye is immediately drawn to Altered State–I am SUCH a sucker for purple! It looks gorgeous on you!
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  4. Let says:

    Really love how Aztec Brick looks on you!
    I might have to get Aztec Brick later πŸ™‚ (and copy your look)

    My Altered State is super dry. It’s hard for me to get payoff from mine… πŸ™

    • Karen says:

      Hi Let,

      I hope you do the look and then send me a pic! πŸ™‚

      Bummer about your Altered State. Maybe if it crumbled a bit it would be easier to apply? That’s one of the upsides of the pan breaking, LOL!

      • Let says:

        Lol I’ll try! Just ordered Aztec Brick this morning, taking advantage of the free overnight shipping πŸ™‚

        I think I’ll send my Altered State back. Even after layering 3+ times over a base, the purple won’t show up (and I’m currently NC 20-25, compared to NC 40 in summer) πŸ™

        By the way, do you think Once Upon A Time would be too frosty to be used as cheek highlighter?

  5. Marla says:

    Karen I love both these looks. I really want Aztec Brick.

  6. Amanda Val says:

    I really really want Aztec Brick but I’m debating between AB and Amber Lights! UGH! Such a ridiculously hard choice!

  7. Kim says:

    I thought Aztec Brick was going to be extreme shimmer but it looks great on you, and is really pretty with Once Upon a Time. I meant to mention that I love how you incorporated your “snake” necklace into the pics. πŸ™‚

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kim,

      It’s one of those colors that looks like it could be super frosty and hard to wear in the swatch, but once it’s on lids and blended the shimmer buffs down. It’s very pretty and looks almost glowy. And no fallout! I know how much you hate that, LOL!

      • Kim says:

        You’re right – it looks very glowy on your lids – it’s a really nice look! Yes on the fallout, unless it’s the golden kind that makes me shimmer. Sadly, my worst fallout shadows are very dark, which is not such a good look unless you’re going for “chimney sweep”. HAHA!

        • Karen says:

          Just add a jaunty newsboy cap and a scarf, haha!

          One of these years we’ll get together and go makeup shopping… I will be your enabler and let you go crazy with the glitter!

  8. Katherine G says:

    I really love Aztec Brick and Altered Slate (I’m a sucker for bronzes that look like a copper penny and any purple shade). You look beautiful as always and I love how your eye makeup is always so well blended!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Katherine G,

      If you love copper penny colors then you must get Laura Mercier’s Metallic Creme Shadow in Burnished Copper! It’s so beautiful on it’s own or layered beneath bronzy/copper colors, like Aztec Brick. Hmmm, I might have to do that combo soon!

  9. Agata says:

    I love Aztec Brick and as always you look stunning!

  10. Ruchita says:

    I love the first look with Altered State! Purple is one of my favorite colors, and I think this would be a good one to purchase. Aztec Brick is really pretty too. Might also have to add that one to the list. πŸ™‚

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ruchita,

      Cool thing is you’ll be able to wear both those shades together too. How about Aztec Brick in the inner half of the lid with Altered State on the outer half? That would be very pretty and dramatic for a night out. πŸ™‚

  11. I’m such a sucker for coppers and purples, so these are bad news bears. I love super soft shadows because they blend beautifully but oh no for crumbly pans!
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  12. Chris El says:

    Your FOTD is beautiful! Will these come to counters? I want to swatch Altered State… Love purples!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Chris El,

      Hmm, the PR says that this is an online exclusive, so I’m not sure if or when it’ll hit counters. Who knows? Maybe they’ll release it in-stores.

  13. Monica P says:

    I really like this collection .. and I really dislike the Archie collection πŸ˜›

    The Aztec Brick and Altered State are completely gorgeous colors.

    Monica P recently posted … Green smoothie for breakfast

  14. Ester says:

    Loving Aztec brick and altered state on you!

  15. My favorite is Altered State. Purple shades are definitely right up my alley.
    Angela @ The Unprofessional Beauty Blog recently posted … Chinese New Year Makeup Tutorial Part 2 – An Elegant Look That Brings Good Fortune All Year Long

  16. Aztec Brick looks gorgeous and LOVE the winged liner look you did!
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  17. Meghan says:

    Gorgeous shades! I love Aztec Brick, such a great shade and it look fabulous on you too. I think I’m going to have to run to my MAC store and check these out!
    Meghan recently posted … My interview with the Queen.

  18. Monika says:

    I initially rolled my eyes at this collection because it came off as a bunch of repromotes with a snake-shaped design that would eventually wear away after repeated use. However, I think MAC actually put a lot of thought into the color selection and how they could all be used together. As usual, you showed how everything can be used in action in a well-edited way. Karen, I always appreciate how you give makeup collections a sense of purpose! It really helps me out when I’ve changed my mind about abstaining from something.

    • Monika says:

      One more thing: you rock eye makeup SO. HARD. You really know how to blend and make one eye color look way more multi-dimensional than a simple monochromatic wash of color over your eyelid. You’ve showed me a new way to wear eye makeup that’s much simpler than the standard three-color fade into the crease!

      • Karen says:

        Hi Monika,

        I’m so pleased to hear that you’re enjoying the simpler makeup looks! I LOVE that. πŸ™‚ What shadows have you been liking lately?

        • Monika says:

          I haven’t been wearing a crazy amount of makeup lately, but the other day I wore the white-gold shade from the All Woman quad buffed all over my eyelids to wake my eyes up. It was a little too frosty for me, but I didn’t have much else to work with on me(left my Naked palette at home! Ugh!). It gave me the effect that I wanted, and I was pretty happy with it. I’m probably going to try the same thing with Ricepaper and Retrospeck, and then I’ll do something similar with Woodwinked, Mulch, and Sable, except I’ll concentrate more color at the lashline with those darker, bronzier colors.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks, Monika! I think MAC put all four of these together perfectly. Really, there’s no pieces missing from the puzzle. Wouldn’t these shades make a great quad?

      • Monika says:

        YES. They would make a gorgeous quad that would surprise a lot of people who aren’t experts when it comes to combining colors that don’t seem to pair well at first glace. I love the copper with the sparkly purple.

  19. Maxine says:

    Karen I read your blog daily and I don’t normally comment. However, your make-up looked amazing in this entry! The colors, application, and photos are fantastic.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks, Maxine. I’m really enjoying the Snakes shadows. They make it easy to do these ultra blended looks.

      Do you think you might pick any of them up?

      Happy Wednesday!

  20. Summer says:

    OMG Karen, you look so gorgeous in these shots! I love how you did your eye makeup! I’m now trying to recreate the purple shadow look with stuff in my own stash, lol. I get so creeped out by the snake motif, I can’t really deal with the idea of buying something with snakeskin-looking embossing.

  21. Crown Princess says:

    They look beautiful!! I sure have a thing for purple eyes these days. Is the purple shadow from this collection a must – have then? Which is the best purple to make brown eyes pop in your opinion Karen?

  22. Alice says:

    The purple look is stunning! It might just be one of the best!!!

  23. Ooh! Aztec Brick looks gorgie-pants on you, Karen!

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