If Pressed to Answer, I’d Say Yes! I Care Deeply for the MAC Surf Baby Careblend Pressed Powders

Published in: MAC Makeup, Product Reviews

mac surf baby careblends review

With MAC Surf Baby riding onto counters soon and already hanging ten online, I thought this might be a good time to wax our surfboards philosophic about two superstars from the limited edition collection, the Studio Careblend Pressed Powders in Lush-Light Bronze and Gold-Go-Lightly ($28 each).


I love the Careblends. Like really, really love them. MAC added the line of sheer-to-medium coverage face powders, arguably some of the company’s best face products to date, to their permanent line earlier this year.

Where some tinted face powders can look chalky and/or develop cracks and creases, the Careblends, with a finish just shy of a matte, look like flawless, real skin to me. Lightweight and smooth, they’re also a joy to blend, never irritating the combination dry/oily/acne-prone skin on my face.

MAC Surf Baby Studio Careblend
Studio Careblend/Pressed Powders in Lush-Light Bronze (left) and Gold-Go-Lightly (right)

And the limited edition Careblends MAC included with the Surf Baby release are just as fab as the eight shades already living in the permanent line. I’ve been wearing golden tan Gold-Go Lightly (reminds me of a matte version of NARS Laguna) and pinkish brown Lush-Light Bronze (goes great with a tan!) this week to contour, and also to give my face a warmer look, much like I would with a bronzing powder.

My routine has gone a little something like this…

  • Forehead — Sometimes a single foundation and powder color all over my face can make my skin appear flat. Dusting a Careblend across my forehead, one of the places where the sun would normally fall, with a big, fluffy powder brush gives the entire face more realistic dimension through subtle variations in color.
  • Cheeks — Next, to emphasize my cheekbones, I load a small blush brush with one of the Careblends and follow the curves along the bottom of the apples of my cheeks, up toward my ears.
  • Jawline — Then, to further sculpt the face, I sweep a Careblend along my jawline with the same small blush brush I used for my cheeks.
  • Eyes — Finally, to really open up my eyes (because you know my @ss looks hella tired all the time, LOL!), I sweep a Careblend into my creases and along my lower lash lines with a domed fluffy crease brush.

Surf Baby does also feature two Bronzing Powders, Solar Riche and Refined Golden ($24 each); I’ve tried them and think they’re solid products, but if I had to choose one or the other, a Bronzing Powder or Careblend, I’d grab one of the Careblends in a heartbeat. I just think they’re a little easier to use, useful in a wider range of situations and look more realistic. I’ve worn them atop bare skin, foundation and even tinted moisturizer, and in every case they’ve done well.

mac surf baby swatches Studio Careblend
Studio Careblend/Pressed Powders swatches in Lush-Light Bronze (left) and Gold-Go-Lightly (right)

mac surf baby careblends review
Wearing Gold-Go Lightly

MAC Surf Baby Studio Careblend

Oh, if you struggle with super oily skin, you might try a 50/50 blend with a Careblend and MAC Blot. While the Careblends seem to handle shine pretty well, the addition of MAC Blot should really help keep oil under control. When I don’t blend with Blot, I find I have to retouch my combination skin about every six hours (which isn’t bad at all).

PRICE: $28 each
AVAILABILITY: Available now online; coming soon to MAC stores and counters (officially, Thursday, May 26, but there have been rumors of an early launch tomorrow, so you might want to call your local MAC store/counter to confirm)

Welcome to my world!

Last night I learned that the roads in my neighborhood are being repaved today and tomorrow. I was supposed to move my car to one of the designated safe zones ahead of time, but being the lame-o that I am, I didn’t do it last night and waited instead until this morning. I figured I would just be parking the car around the corner, so I didn’t even bother to change out of my pajamas when I left the house.


Um, bad idea!

By the time I got out there, all of the safe parking places were filled, so I ended up having to park three blocks away and then walk about 10 minutes along of the main streets in town wearing my jammies and lookin’ like a crazy person. LOL! Seriously…welcome to my world.

If you happened to be driving through Novato early this morning and noticed a really short girl in hot pink sweats with ratty, uncombed hair — yes, that was me. πŸ™‚

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 33 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Iram says:

    You know what, a MAC artist just recommended me one of these today, I’m very excited to get it! πŸ˜€

    And I was also wondering, what do you think of MAC’s Lustre Drops? If you’ve tried them…

    • Karen says:

      Hi Iram,

      Awesome! Which color Careblend are you picking up?

      As for the Lustre Drops, I like them. I use them more to create my own DIY version of MAC Strobe Cream when I have the time. They’re also great for highlighting the upper cheekbones, too — really easy to apply and blend. Let me know if you have any other questions. πŸ™‚

      • Iram says:

        Thanks for your reply πŸ™‚

        Well I’m thinking of getting the darker shade as I’m going to use it for contouring but I just hope that it doesn’t break me out :(.

        I’ve seen some swatches online and they look quite nice as highlighters. I’ve never really tried out a highlighter before as I’m still sort of new to makeup and I wanted to try one out so I thought I’d go for the MAC one. Are there any other better ones you would recommend? I do really like the look of Nars Orgasm Illuminator but I’m not sure…

  2. Mayra says:

    Hey Karen!
    These look beautiful. I was wondwering if Gold Go Lightly would look good on NC44 skin. I really like the way it looks on you. Oh, and a question. Is it shimmery like Gold Deposit? Thank you!

    Mayra B.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Mayra,

      Gold Go Lightly would totally work on you. In these pics I’m wearing it with a light touch, but you could easily build it up. Also, it doesn’t have a shimmery finish, but it’s not exactly matte, either. It’s like mostly matte, LOL!

      • Mayra says:

        Thank you! I’m going to the mall Thursday as soon as they open because from what I hear this is gonna be sold out pretty quick. The l/s I wanted (Hibiscus) is sold out online. I’m dreading the 30 minutes drive with my 2 girls, though…LOL!

        • Karen says:

          You’re welcome! Have you called the store and asked them if they can pre-order for you or put items on hold? I know some counters do that. Also, if time is tight you could also ask if they can ship to your house. If you calculate the time it takes to get the girls ready; drive to the mall and back; and then throw the $ for gas on top of that, it might be worth paying extra to get it sent to your house.

          • Mayra says:

            I know! I did my math (I’m weird like that) and called them, but they said that they couldn’t do preorder or shipping. So I’m gonna have to go. BTW, I read your blog daily and this is the first time I write. Keep doing a great job!!! You are awesome!!!!!

  3. Chris25 says:

    I quite like Wet n Wild Princess bronzer. It’s amazingly good for a drugstore product.

  4. Vijaya says:

    These look amazing! I know I’d want it, but I never use anything in the bronzer family of products.
    Vijaya recently posted … Evil Shades Cosmetics Review- Deviant Lipsticks Zicke- Corset and Obscurity

  5. The Gold go lightly looks great! Is that all you are wearing in that pic or do you have a blush on as well?
    productdoctor recently posted … Go for the Glow! NARS Laguna Body Illuminator

  6. Ariana says:

    Cool, I have my eyes on the metallic pigment stacks though and Girl on Board lipglass that’s me though, but that might look good with my future tan πŸ˜€

  7. Must. Get. These. In all my years of makeup addiction, I never thought I would use a bronzer because I grew up with the asian mentality that fairer is better. But alas, in the past year, I have become addicted to bronzer.
    Kajal Couture recently posted … MAC Surf Baby Eye Looks

    • Karen says:

      I’m glad to hear you’re getting into bronzers. I used to be too lazy to use them but now they’re a part of my everyday routine. What bronzers are your faves?

  8. Amber says:

    Great review!!

  9. gold-go lightly looks lovely :). i’ve been really into tanning myself up lately (i go through phases every few years or so :p) so i’m quite interested in the careblend powders!
    dani@callitbeauty recently posted … Ive Found An Amazing Combo In Revlons PhotoReady Foundation &amp Concealer!

  10. Masrina says:

    Gold Go Lightly looks hot on you!!! Sexy and natural πŸ™‚
    Masrina recently posted … HadaLabo- Tamagohada AHABHA Face Wash

  11. Ilaria says:

    I have the Lush-Light bronze one and I love it. It blends so easily, you can never go wrong with it because it adds colour without being too much. Surf baby came out three weeks ago in Italy and at first I didn’t buy the careblend powder. I actually didn’t even swatch it at the store, I don’t know why. After a couple of days I went back and asked a friend of mine, who works at mac, her thoughts on the product and she totally recommended it. So yes, it is totally worth the price, great product and easy to wear! <3 hurray! \./

  12. Vicki says:

    This is so wierd as I was testing these in my local MAC store yesterday, um-ing and ah-ing about whether or not to get one, Karen I think you convinced me.

    I am deathly pale and a recent convert to bronzer, I’m always scared of looking like an oompa loompa but I find with the right shade it brings colour to my face and takes the edge off the pastiness!

  13. Issa says:

    these are another nice products from MAC! you look good on this!

  14. Kim says:

    Oh, I’m sorry but, BAHAHA! That was a blurted out laugh at the mental image of your trek home. It’s only funny because I can just see you being like “OMG, please don’t let anyone see me”. Of course, I’m sure you looked very stylish regardless (says the queen of sweatpants). I think your delivery guy incident was worse – with the different eyeshadow colors on each eye. Thank you for sharing all your entertaining moments with us!! πŸ™‚

  15. Iris says:

    Ooohh Karen why you didn’t make a video talking about these babies? πŸ™ anyway was a great post and of course I call to my nearest MAC counter and I put On hold some products including Gold Go Lightly care blend powder. I can’t wait to have this baby in my hands.
    Lmao I can picture you walking around the neighbor with pajamas.

  16. Valerie says:

    I would buy this but it contains corn starch and that breaks me out.

  17. Nina says:

    funny story … and id have to say im getting more and more interested about the careblends!

  18. 53 says:

    Hi! I just saw this post and was wondering if this applies better than that bronzer Refined Gold? It’s gonna reach my country’s shores soon in June. Wanna get your opinion…if it’s for combination oily skin (if it actually matters), which one should i go for?

  19. cloudburst says:

    I love the Careblend powders too – I didn’t plan on buying any bronzers form this collection and I picked up Gold Go Lightly. I’m going back to get Lush Light Bronze. They are beautiful!

  20. pquanda says:

    Karen! I love your lipcolor here. What is it!?

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