MAC Cosmetics Solar Field: More Warm Than Hot

Published in: MAC Makeup, Product Reviews


A companion to the just-released Neo Sci Fi collection, MAC’s new Solar Field boasts shimmery powders and bronzers to complement Neo Sci Fi’s summery pink, bronze and plum shades.



Early this morning I visited my nearby Nordstrom MAC counter to check out MAC’s new releases. When I opened my first jar of Solar Bits, one of the Solar Field collection’s four loose highlighting powders for cheeks and eyes, I thought “spacey and weird.” The coarse, chunky powder made me think of the surface of Mars.

I’ve been told the MAC folks created the chunky texture on purpose. The chunks are highly condensed clusters of shimmery pigment.

The MAC Cosmetics website suggests using Solar Bits for a sheer wash of shimmer to highlight cheeks and eyes. Two synthetic brushes, MAC 168 Large Angled Contour Brush and MAC 239 Eye Shading Brush, are being sold as part of the collection.


Crushing the chunks into a fine powder before applying seemed to produce more intense color and sparkle. I didn’t try to use Solar Bits this way, but I’m guessing you could also use it as an eyeshadow. I had a great time crushing the chunks down with my fingers when I swatched the colors on my arm and found the act weirdly satisfying, like popping bubble wrap.

I can see a number of uses for Solar Bits, but the stuff is flat-out messy, and that turned me off a little. The product got all over the place.

I liked all four colors (listed below) but wasn’t wow-ed enough to bring any of them home. Their versatility makes them worth checking out, though. Next time you visit a MAC counter, open a jar (carefully) and squash a few chunks. Trust me, it’s fun.

Solar Bits ($19.50)

  • Sunpower – light metallic tan with gold pearl
  • Black Ore – rich black with gold pearl
  • Scatterays – soft metallic peach with gold pearl
  • Bronzescape – clean yellow brown with gold pearl

Counterclockwise, from upper left: Sunpower, Black Ore, Scatterays, Bronzescape


Solar Field Bronzing Powder ($20)

  • Refined Golden – finely spun golden with soft pearl finish
  • Solar Riche – mid-tone deep orange brown

From left to right: Refined Golden, Solar Riche

After playing with Solar Bits for a while, I took a look at both of the Solar Field Bronzing Powders. Despite their smooth, buttery texture and subtle, frosty shimmer, I’m gonna hold off for a little while before bringing these home with me. Like Solar Bits, they’re pretty but didn’t “wow” me in the store. Maybe after seeing how other women are using them, I’ll give the Solar Field Bronzing Powders another try.

I wonder how the these powders would stack up against Guerlain’s Terracotta Pearly Powder ($57), a bronzer I’ve had my eye on for a few weeks.

To check out Solar Field for yourself, visit your favorite MAC counter, or peruse the collection online at

Today turned out to be the MOTHER OF ALL SCI FI WEDNESDAYS for me. This morning, I fell in love with Neo Sci Fi, and this afternoon, I found out my imaginary celebrity boyfriend Christian Bale will star as John Connor in three (!) upcoming Terminator movies.

OMG, swoon!



Somebody keep the smelling salts handy in case I pass out!

How was your Wednesday? What was the most exciting thing that happened?

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


For more fun beauty bits, try your luck with my random post generator. Click for a totally random post.πŸ™‚


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So far, 32 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Meaghan says:

    I just bought Bronzescape and while they are messy to use (no more so than pigments) they are really cool. I used my finger to test them and when you first apply to the skin its a bit of color but then when you crush the “bit” into your skin the pigment pops for insanely pigmented color. I haven’t tried to put this on my eyes yet but it seems pretty cool! I read somewhere that suggested you definitely want to put foundation on after using these as an eyeshadow as I would imagine the fallout could be pretty big!

    Meaghans last blog post..Sephora’s Best Of 2008 Sweeps

  2. Bridget says:

    The way you describe the solar bits makes me want to buy them. Just to pop the little bits.haha I’m pretty experienced with messy makeup. Using BE and having bad allergies kinda does that.

    Have you ever used those face powders that come in little multi colored balls? And you roll your brush around them? They look nice. I want to try them.

    Best part of Wednesday is DEFINITELY finding that kit kat bar just now.

    Bridgets last blog post..I’m sorry for the rain!

  3. Marisol says:

    Thanks for the swatches Karen!

    Marisols last blog post..Yes I am a Lush.

  4. Karen says:

    Hi Meaghan,

    Yup, that’s how I applied it tested it out as well! Did you get anything else at the half yearly sale?

    I stayed far, far, away from the shoes ’cause I’m trying to save for a trip next month.

  5. Karen says:

    Hi Bridget,

    They are fun to pop! I tried BE once before and it totally broke me out. I was so stoked to use it too, because so many of my friends liked it. Glad it works for ya, though. It seems like a good line.

    I don’t have any of those face powders but I want one. I’ve been jonesing for the Guerlain Metorites Powder for awhile now.

    Oh! I have a bad sweet tooth right now, so I could use a Kit Kat bar. πŸ™‚ I just finished dinner (pasta) and want some chocolate!

  6. Karen says:

    Hi Marisol,

    You’re welcome, girl! πŸ™‚ Hope you had a good day!

  7. Amina says:

    Thank you for your review. I am disappointed at how “warm”solar riche is. I really miss the former bronzers such as the bronzing stick or the liquid one from lure/bait/hooked..

    I have my eyes on the lipsticks(astral and sci-fi-delity)
    other than that, my wednesday..i spent it studying for my summer course..

    Aminas last blog post..It’s voting time

  8. vivien says:

    I can’t decide if I need Black Ore. I was all against getting it until Christine posted that killer FOTD…now I’m all confused again, haha.

  9. Nikki says:

    thanks for this, all I can do is salivate..we’re still on Heatherette down here in Manila..darn..these are taking too long! hahahha I don’t like messy make up though..thanks for the post

    Nikkis last blog post..Askmewhats Version: "Daily Cleopatra" Look

  10. Vera says:

    I need to check out the new collection. I just started a new job in Sunnyvale (commute from SF to Sunnyvale sucks by the way lol), and I haven’t had time to check anything out. Oh, and Christian Bale. Yum! I’ve had a huge crush on him since i saw him in Disney’s Newsies when I was young. haha

  11. Dao says:

    In a couple of weeks you can watch Christian Bale on “The Dark Knight”, so be strong Karen!

    I wanted to get a Solar Bit even before knowing what it’s about. The thing is I don’t own any pigment jars from MAC so I’m curious. The chunks are huge so I’m still debating.

  12. Meaghan says:


    Besides two other eyeshadows and two glosses from the collection I also picked up a pair of Armani Sunglasses and a pair of True Religion Jeans. My Nordstrom VISA is gonna hurt this month!!! What about you?

    Meaghans last blog post..Sephora’s Best Of 2008 Sweeps

  13. Glosslizard says:

    I love the effects you can get from the solar bits (I’ve seen a couple of amazing FOTD’s) but I’m just not willing to put in that much work! I’m heading over this morning to check out the collection, so I can crush a few of those little chunks myself! πŸ™‚

    Ooohh, Guerlain’s pearly bronzers are all that! After using it, I want to buy one of the new Meteorite pressed powders!

    Woot for Christian Bale and killer robots!! πŸ˜€

  14. Megan says:

    The most exciting thing from yesterday… eh… I finally went grocery shopping…that was actually kinda exciting. Today though…I am excited because I am supposed to go to Nashville in a couple weeks to get together with some friends from school…I was about to buy my ticket like a month ago when the friend who’s hosting ended up in the hospital etc. and was like…hold off on buying tickets. She ended up having surgery AND kidney stones… poor girl πŸ™ So then last week she emailed and said it was a go…and then I checked and the airfare had gone up over $100 >:-( So with the whole house thing I so didn’t want to spend the $350 on a ticket…so I’ve been checking fares every day since last week…then this morning I got the bright idea to try priceline…and got the tickets for $220 for direct flights which is the same as what I was looking at a month ago for 1 stop both ways… Super Excited!

  15. Shefali says:

    I’m with you on this one Karen…not impressed. Neo Sci-Fi…that’s another story. Totally hauled.

  16. grace says:

    thanks for the swatches karen! I know I will be picking up magnetic fields, pleasureseeker and the 2 blushes. im not soo sure about more lippies and solar bits but maybe i will buy some.

  17. Karen says:

    Hi Amina,

    You’re very welcome. πŸ™‚

    I think Sci-Fi-Delity is hot, too! It one of my fave lipsticks out of the bunch.

    What course are you taking this summer? Are you a college student?

  18. Karen says:

    Hi Vivien,

    I agree, I saw Christine’s FOTD and it looked really great!

    While I thought Black Ore looked cool once I crushed the heck out of it in the store, I just dunno if I liked it *that* much, you know?

    You should at least go in there are play with it (don’t wear white though – so messy)! Maybe you’ll fall in love with it! You never know…

  19. Karen says:

    Hi Nikki,

    Hey girl, I haven’t been to Manila in eight years. Eat some banana-cue for me!

    Did you get any of the Heatherette Eye Trios?

  20. PeeChee says:

    Hey Karen.

    Thanks for the input. I was thinking of just ordering it online without testing since I can’t visit a counter this week….nevermind! I’ll hold off and save my $$$.

  21. Karen says:

    Hi Vera,

    My good friend, Chris, does that commute. It’s killer! Congrats on your new job, though. That’s always exciting. Do you like it so far?

    I fell in love with C.Bale in American Psycho. Dunno why it’s hot to see him running around in high-tops while carrying a chain saw… I’m sure I can’t be the only one out there that thinks this, though!

  22. Karen says:

    Hi Dao,

    I know! I am so there on opening day. El Hub will probably insist on going with me, but he’ll just have to tolerate the constant trickle of drool that will be coming from my mouth, LOL.

    I like the regular Pigments more, because they’re less messy than the Solar Bits. They are pretty neat in theory, and fun to play with, but I know the last thing I’ll be grabbing when I’m late for work is a messy jar of highlighter.

    Check ’em out though, cause you never know if you’ll like them. πŸ™‚

  23. Karen says:

    Hi Meaghan,

    I didn’t buy anything yesterday because I was hungry (I know) so I had to get out of there ASAP. When my stomach is rumbling I am more likely to bad decisions… it really impairs my monetary judgement.

    I’m going to go back tomorrow to just look at the shoes. I’ll have a bit more time and can go when I’m not ravenous.

  24. Karen says:

    Hi Glosslizard,

    Hope you had fun playing with Solar Bits today. What did you think?

    Yeah, Guerlain should just take my next paycheck. LE SIGH!

  25. Karen says:

    Hi Megan,

    LOL, Priceline… I love those commercials because William Shatner looks EXACTLY like my father in law (“Now you’re negotiating!”).

    Getting tickets on sale is the best. Is your friend doing better? I hope so.

  26. Karen says:

    Hi Shefali,

    GIRL! What did you end up bringing home?

    I’m wearing Pink Grapefruit today, woot!

  27. Karen says:

    Hi Grace,

    You’re welcome! BTW, those blushes were super creamy. You’ll love them.

    Can’t wait to hear about the looks you do with your new makeup. πŸ™‚

  28. Karen says:

    Hi PeeChee,

    You’re welcome, girl! Did you get any Neo Sci Fi?

  29. Glosslizard says:

    I did have fun playing with Solar Bits (I love that name, BTW, but it totally reminds me of dog food… kibbles and solar bits!), I even spilled some on the counter by accident! Thank goodness it was Black Ore on a black counter and no-one was looking (I cleaned it up super-fast)! They are fun, but way too messy for me to deal with! Additionally, they surpass even my sparkle-acceptability limits!

    I fiddled around with the whole collection (Pink Grapefruit on my face… so not good!) and ended up very happy for all you golden goddesses out there, but not too impressed on my own behalf! The only thing I fell in love with was (and this surprised me) Femme-fi! Such a pretty, sandy shade! Perfect for summer contrasts and with a lovely shimmer from the VP finish! I had allowed myself up to three items from this collection, so I saved a bit and will hit the Prescriptives counter this weekend! πŸ˜‰

  30. Meaghan says:

    Hi Karen- I played with my solar bits today! They are a pain but also a ton of fun! I posted pics over on my blog if you want to peek.

    Meaghans last blog post..MAC’s Neo-Sci Fi & Solar Field

  31. Shefali says:

    Hey Karen –

    I hauled:

    Evening Aura
    Expensive Pink
    Time & Space


    Pink Grapefruit

    Blush: X-Rocks

    I love it all!!

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