Unravelling The Mystery Of MAC Whirl

Thursday, February 11, 2016

MAC Whirl

The words pinky, mauve, rosy and brown might be easily overlooked until you string them together to describe a lip colour and I'm there at the front of the class, arms folded, pen and paper out, ready to take notes. But I'm afraid things are not always so rosy with MAC Whirl and I have finally unravelled the mystery of this notorious lip colour.

It is my understanding that MAC Whirl Lip Pencil | £12.50 has been around for a long time (I'm not a MAC pundit at all) and is one of the most popular shades. And I can see why - a deep pinky mauve with a rosy brown look about it - it's sounds like the perfectly balanced shade of dreams. So understandably the world eagerly awaited the release of the same shade in lipstick form.

MAC Nude lipstick for NC40

When MAC The Mattes lipstick line was released MAC Whirl Lipstick | £15.50 is the only one I was interested in and swatched in-store. Unfortunately I had to leave without purchasing because it was straight up brown. Nothing like the deep mauve nude shade the swatches had led me to believe it be. It was blatantly brown and a lot darker than I thought it would be. And really just not my cup of tea.

Months passed and I dismissed the online swatches as trickery and the pictures as lies. Then randomly I managed to bag myself a bargain and bought these both in a blog sale on Instagram. And I can wholeheartedly say that my findings are threefold:

1. Whirl Lip Pencil is the exact same shade as the darkest parts of my lips.
I have a fair bit of hyperpigmentation around my lips, especially on my top lip. And this shade is identical to the darkest parts. Does that sound weird and gross? It's really strange to think that I've spent years trying to disguise the darkness of my lips and now I'm embracing it by swiping it all over my lips.

swatch of MAC Whirl NC40
Top: MAC Whirl Lip Pencil
Bottom: MAC Whirl Lipstick

2. Whirl Lip Pencil & Whirl Lipstick are not the exact same shade.
The lip pencil has a touch more pink about it while the lipstick is slightly more brown. Having said that, when they're applied on my lips the difference is not perceivable at all. I find the lip pencil a little hard to work with whereas the formula of the lipstick is much more comfortable. If I had to choose just one of these products it would be the lipstick as I don't believe you need to have both.

And most importantly...

3. They change colour depending on what type of lighting you are in. 
And I'm not talking about the regular subtle differences we expect when we go from outdoor daylight to indoor artificial lighting. I'm talking full on change in colour, so dramatic in fact that twice I've been accused of suddenly changing my lipstick from a nude to a vampy shade.

Mystery solved! This lip shade changes colour. In natural daylight it is the most beautiful, rosy brown with a hint of mauve that works as a gorgeous deep nude shade on me. It is the lip shade that I've grown to love from swatches. But in the evening it appears dark brown and bold. Hence the confusion when I swatched it in-store, under artificial lighting. There's nothing wrong with a brown lip of course but it's really not to my liking. (Also, like most lip shades, this comes off very differently on each different skin tone). 

Mac whirl lip pencil and mac whirl lip liner

The ability to metamorphose is neither a positive or a negative quality of this shade but I do think it is what makes it unique. It is frustratingly obvious now when I look online at swatches and I can tell which ones are taken in what kind of lighting.

If you are curious about this infamous shade I hope you have found my findings useful. Please let me know if you have it already and whether you agree or disagree. I'd love to hear how this appears on you because I have never come across a lipstick quite so fickle by nature.

SAL xxx
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  1. I own and love the Whirl pencil. The lipstick is one I really love the look of, this post answered so many questions I have so thank you! x

    Jodie // Jodie Loue

    1. Aww I am so glad you said that. I prefer the feel of the lipstick on my lips and when applying because I find the pencil quite hard and dry. xxx

  2. Replies
    1. There are so many online hun of both the pencil and lipstick and together. I just about manage to get half decent colour swatches done, lol! ;) xxx

  3. Mac whirl lipliner is the same colour as my lips so i get no colour whatsoever, the lipstick on the other hand is the perfecf shade for me. On my lips (and skintone lol) its a very warm brown shade which is what the colour i love my nudes to be aha xx


    1. LOL! I think I am yet to fall in love with the brown lip trend. It definitely is stunning on our medium warm complexions xxx

  4. The different lighting and different lip natural colours make one lipstick looks like different shades, I've learnt the hard way :) While I still check online swatches for lipsticks I always allow a bit of error cause 9 times out of 10 they're slightly different in person. Mac Whirl looks like a beautiful deep nude :) x

    Mummy’s Beauty Corner

    1. I KNOW! It can be so frustrating sometimes and other times it looks so much better on in person that swatches and you have to celebrate a little inside. Lol! It would be stunning on you and yes, very deep! xxx

  5. I've almost bought this so many times but think it might be a bit too brown for me! xx


    1. It is very brown. I only wear this during the daytime when it pulls a little more rosy and mauve. When it comes to the evening, I change my lipstick lol! xxx

  6. I love the sound of both colours! I personally really like brown lips. So this sounds right up my street :) xx


    1. Ah! Then you'll definitely enjoy these. ;) xxx

  7. This sounds so interesting but I know I'd look like I have brown lips and much as I love it on other people, it doesn't work for me at all! The mauve shade sounds gorgeous though!

    Danielle's Beauty Blog

  8. I really do like the lip pencil so I may check out the lipstick - I was exactly the same and swatched it under artificial store light and on first impressions it looked way too brown but it can be really misleading xx

    Jasmine Talks Beauty

  9. oh I LOVE the color of the Whirl lipstick. Just suggested it as gift in my last minute Valentine's Day gift guide =D

  10. I am dying to get hold of these, they look gorgeous xx

    Gemma ♥ Miss Makeup Magpie

  11. I have the whirl lipstick, though it's a bit to brown and I'm not quite a fan of brown lipsticks but paired with light pink gloss on top it looks stunning.

    Sam || Beautydetour


Thank you so much for reading my post and taking the time to leave a comment. I read every single one :)

If you would like to reach me for a more direct response, please feel free to contact me on: ummbabybeauty@gmail.com

Thank you,

Sal xxx