Beauty brand collaborations tend to be with a popular celebrity or blogger whose fans ensure the prettily packaged products sell out in a matter of days (or minutes, in some cases). It's much more rare to see a collab between a makeup brand and a makeup artist who might use the products on a professional basis — but that's exactly what M.A.C's Make-up Art collection does. The most recent iteration gave makeup artists Kabuki, Diane Kendal, and James Kaliardos the chance to create a roster of M.A.C products that they craved for their own kit. "I wanted a few things that were fun, and a few things that I just couldn’t find anywhere," Kabuki, whose 23-piece collection features the boldest colors, tells Bustle. The products in his line literally can't be found anywhere else.
The hero product of Kabuki Magic, at least as far as Kabuki is concerned, are the four eye paints. "When James [Gager, M.A.C's Creative Director] called and said, 'You can do anything you want. You can have your own collection,' the first thing I thought of was the Eye Paints." M.A.C's Eye Paints have been around for a while, but only ever in neutral shades. Kabuki's paints are vibrant green, blue, purple, and white, which arguably makes them most intimidating item in his collab.
But in a time when a new set of unicorn brushes, glitter lips, and mermaid makeup tutorials appear to go viral about every day, Kabuki is optimistic that non-makeup artist consumers will experiment with these colorful paints too. "They're really good as eyeliner," he says — especially if you use them with the smaller of two brushes he created for the collection.
"This brush is based on a brush that I had once but I couldn’t find anywhere else after five years of looking for it," Kabuki explains. It's about the size of a normal liner brush, but much softer than you might be used to. "Most brushes that are small like this for eyes are dense and they don’t work the same way," he says. "You just can't blend with them." But with this brush, sheering out those otherwise scary-looking eye paints becomes a breeze.
Aside from the eye paints, the rest of the collection seems tailored to just about everyone. There's a neutral shadow palette that Kabuki says is based on the colors he uses most often. The Retro Matte Lip shades he's created range from a pinkish nude (which he claims he mixed up to match the exact color of a very famous, but unnamed, model's lip) to pretty purples to what Kabuki calls a "wearable gray." There are false lashes that are meant to be chopped up to create a customized look that suits the wearer's exact length and volume desires.
And Kabuki highly recommends mix and matching products on your face — both the ones from his collection (the blue-purple Dazzleshadow layered over the darkest Retro Matte Lip creates "a really cool like beetle-y burgundy") and any others sitting around on your vanity. He says the willingness to experiment with more and more products is one of the most exciting things to come out of our current age of made-for-Instagram makeup looks. "When you experiment, you go deeper and deeper," Kabuki explains. "You get more layers, and that's what this collection is about." When I ask which trends will be biggest in 2017, Kabuki simply replies, "Everything."