Review: MAC Paintpots in Bare Study and Painterly

I think I wrote a short comparison shortly after I began blogging, when I purchased MAC Paint, and wanted to compare it. This will be a bit more thorough though.  I’ve had these a while, as well as a few other LE or Discontinued shades, but I rarely use them, and so forget about them, except when I see MUA forum posts asking about them.  I’m still a bit sad that MAC has gutted the brighter/darker color selection, except for Limited Edition releases.  I like my darker paintpots, even if I rarely use them.

You can use paintpots as a base for more natural looks, for a more even lid color.
They do NOT crease, and shadows over top do not crease.
They are pretty nicely pigmented, but it is possible to build up coverage, or blend sparingly, for different levels of opacity.

Shadow over top seems to fade(to me).
If there’s even a hint of dryness on the lid, they tend to make the skin look crepe-y and rough.
They dry out really fast.  You have to blend fast, and you will probably never use the entire jar of product before it’s ruined.  I noticed even 6 weeks after purchasing, it had dried to the point of making application feel really difficult, with it tugging on the skin, flaking off, etc.


I have paintpots in Painterly(matte pale nude w/some pink undertones), Bare Study(pale pearly nude with an almost gold sheen).  I also have Delft, Moss Scape, and Green smoke.  All of those colors are now discontinued.  Also, the colors may not suit all skin tones.  Bare Study works on fairer tones(like mine) but Painterly, the paler nude shade is STILL too dark and pink to really look “natural”, though it is nice on the lid with more daytime looks.

I use them MAYBE once every 6 weeks.  When I think an ordinary primer would be too sticky, or make the end look too vibrant, or when my lids are stained from other makeup and I need the opacity(The ARE more opaque than Paint, or UDPP).

I tend to reach for MAC Paints FAR more often, because they’re creamier and not as rough on mature/dry/uneven skin, and they’re a bit easier to apply and blend.

You can see that the product is definitely dry, and peeling away from the edges of the jar.  It has been like this for most of the time I’ve owned it.  I am still in shock how fast it dried out!

Painterly(left) and Bare Study(right)

Painterly(top) and Bare STudy(bottom)


14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Susan
    Mar 05, 2011 @ 09:07:07

    Mine have cracked around the edges, but are still creamy when I use them. I ordered (and got) Artifact just before they discontinued it and it came dry and semi-hard. I’ve dried adding a drop of moisturizer as that’s what my daughter did to a drying Neutrogena base which worked for her. I don’t see it softening anything in MAC paintpot yet.

    I’m finding myself turning to Make Up For Ever’s Aqua Creams since they are keeping a nice range of colors. However, I think they are ALL shimmer…right? I only have 2 right now. And they don’t have the neat olive-y green or blue of Moss Scape or Delft. Wish I could have a Delft…. MAC’s ticked me off too many times with those danged Rare Limited Editions!


    • dolcearia
      Mar 05, 2011 @ 09:14:29

      Delft was permanent for quite some time! Greensmoke was LE, from the Alexander Mcqueen collection a few years back. I’d happily send you my delft, although it probably nearing its expiration date. I rarely ever use it, because the paintpot formula makes my lids feel so dry and itchy. The fact that they get cracked so fast, and that has affected the application on me is just icing on the cake.

      The Aqua creams ARE all pearly, but some of that also depends on how much you use, or if you layer it. Warm Beige, applied sparsely and blended out all over the lid doesn’t look so much shimmery, as dewy. I DO have hopes that they’ll extend into a line of matte shades. I have 12 MUFE Aqua creams, and I seriously swear by them.

      I’m a huge fan of cream shadows and the paintpots DO seem to have their uses, sometimes. I just don’t want to purchase any more, because there’s so many problems with them.


  2. Susan
    Mar 05, 2011 @ 10:57:02

    Ah, that’s why I didn’t see Greensmoke – I only began collecting (affording) makeup for about a year and a half now.

    I just have the MUFE in 14 “Satin Brown” and 17 “Plum”. I really do like them alot. I liked the packaging on the Paint Pots (glass?) better than the thin (hopefully won’t crack if I drop or travel) MUFE jars. Now I’m wanting the 18 “Purple” (I think it’s more lilac, isn’t it?) and the 13 “Warm Beige”, but was afraid it copied my Bare Study too closely. (I found Constructivist to be a lot like the Satin Brown and the Plum to be a lot like my Artifact).

    Oh! If you want to move your Delft along…I’d love to be able to try it and see what the color does for me (you know what a neutral brown lover I am)! Let me know what you’d like for it. My goodness! I’m excited!


    • dolcearia
      Mar 05, 2011 @ 11:14:11

      Warm Beige is a bit deeper than Bare Study. It’s much more of a nude than an “ivory with gold sheen”, like I would describe bare study.

      As far as the lilac Aqua Cream, I have to admit that’s the ONE one I have that I dislike. It just applies more sheerly, I think, than the others. The color is in the pearly sheen, but that takes a few layers to get it to show up. I was a bit disappointed, though I’ve gotten some OK results with it layered with other lilac shadows, particularly ones with Duochrome(UD Asphyxia, MAC Stars N Rockets, MAC Parfait Amour, etc.) For the price though, I think you’d like warm beige and maybe one of the bronzes MUCH more.

      I’ll email you RE Delft. I had it for a year or so before it was discontinued, so it’s DEFINITELY been sitting around a while. if you’d like to use it though, it has barely been touched!


  3. Susan
    Mar 05, 2011 @ 11:19:46

    Ahh, thank you for comparing Bare Study w/ Warm Beige; it’s hard to know from just a monitor. I rarely get to where I can SEE the products. Now I want W. B.! LOL
    If I already have the Satin Brown, what would another Bronze be that I should check out? (Brown eyes, brown/gray hair, NW25 skin). Taupe, Oh – Golden Copper?! Gee, aren’t the crayon boxes of colors fun! I loved those big ole Crayola boxes; guess I’m still a kid.


    • dolcearia
      Mar 05, 2011 @ 11:22:16

      Whenever possible, I arrange my palettes or trays of products by shade–it’s just so satisfying! I don’t have Satin Brown…. can you name a MAC eyeshadow it’s closest too? Tempting, or Satin Taupe? That might make it a bit easier, since it’s an hours drive to look at the other Aqua Creams that i don’t have, and I won’t have time to go see the paintpots in store for a while. hehehe. If we can guess an eyeshadow color, I can definitely try to provide recommendations!


  4. Susan
    Mar 05, 2011 @ 12:05:15

    I’ll have to go peek. It’s hard to tell from an Aqua Cream to a powder shadow, but I’ll go have a look…upstairs, so it’ll take me a few minutes. Especially if my husband commandeers the computer while I’m looking LOL.

    I’ll be back.


  5. Susan
    Mar 05, 2011 @ 12:20:34

    Ok, I’m back. Swatched on my hand:
    Satin Brown is a tiny bit darker and browner than MAC’s “Antiqued”, redder than “Sable” and “Mulch”.

    It’s not coppery, but more bronzy by my eye. Yeah, it’s a really neat color. MAC’s Paint Pot “Constructivist” is browner and not as warm toned as “Satin Brown”.

    Guess of all those colors (that I own anyway), the closest one is “Antiqued”.


  6. Susan
    Mar 05, 2011 @ 12:21:56

    More pearly; not a matte. Like “Sable” or “Satin Taupe”.


    • dolcearia
      Mar 05, 2011 @ 12:31:35

      Sweet, that helps! I bet #14 or #15 would be gorgeous on you, for smoky eyes. You could probably also get good use out of the gold. Though if you want to go the gold route, I’d snag the gold or copper Flash cream instead, because it blends REALLY nicely with lip glosses, so you can use it for multipurpose things a bit more.

      Hehehe, now I want more flash creams! I don’t actually have many of the “nude” shades.


  7. Susan
    Mar 05, 2011 @ 15:34:31

    Trouble: Flash creams? oooh, I haven’t even LOOKED at those yet. Mmmmm, more goodies! ; ) Sounds fun to be able to use on lips as well.

    Oh. On Sephora there is only one color dark blue. : (


    • dolcearia
      Mar 05, 2011 @ 15:59:46

      I may have to check that. Have they discontinued them? I have the 12 color Flash Cream palette, but last I heard ALL shades, plus more, were available singly as well. The Gold, Silver, Black, and White, have ended up being the most useful, but even the red, fuchsia, coral ones are handy for mixing with lipsticks. I’ve used them on the eyes as well, though they aren’t marked eye safe. They’re MUCH creamier than the Aqua creams, and have a less pearly finish, so they may be better suited for some types of looks. Ive found the flash palette to be worth it, since I use it for facepainting looks as well as eyeshadow bases and lip color mixes. That woudl be disappointing if they’ve stopped selling them singly though.


  8. japanesenovels
    Jan 08, 2012 @ 09:50:55

    I know this post is late, but I thought I’d share a tip when it comes to cracking/drying up paintpots that I learned on a makeup forum: Put the paintpot in a secure ziploc bag, take a pot with some water, and put the paintpot in it and boil it for a few minutes. Make sure not to get any water in the actual ziploc. If you open it up, you’ll find that the consistency is like when it was brand new!

    I bought a paint pot in Painterly, and I was also surprised at how quickly it dried out (I only used it once or twice, and opened it up a year later and noticed it was drying out around the edges too). Apparently, you’re supposed to store it lid face DOWN. This’ll keep it from drying out =)


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