Reverse Lipstick Chronology #1: MAC Whirl


…oh, right.

The weather may suggest otherwise, but I’m now on spring break. That doesn’t mean very much in ABD world, since I should technically spend every waking hour chipping away at my dissertation, but I’m still planning to use my extra free time (or the illusion thereof) to write some reviews I’ve been putting off. While looking over my lipstick inventory the other day, I realized that I have yet to review ten of the lipsticks and glosses I’ve acquired in the past year. I’m not sure how many reviews I’ll be able to write in the next week, but I’d like to knock out at least a few so that I can move on to more creative posts. Longtime readers of my blog will remember that in its early days, I had a series called Lipstick Chronology, in which I reviewed all the lipsticks I owned in chronological order of purchase. Now that I have a substantial backlog of unreviewed lipsticks, I think it’s time I made another chronology in reverse. Let’s begin with my newest lipstick, MAC Whirl:

After Kylie Jenner revealed that she used MAC Whirl lip pencil for her signature brownish nude lip, MAC capitalized on the ensuing hype and created a matching lipstick, which debuted in 2015 in a collection of nine new matte shades. Not being in the habit of taking beauty tips from someone a decade my junior, I didn’t pay much attention to Whirl and its numerous knockoffs until this year, when I got it into my head that I needed a taupey medium-brown lipstick. I had a dark violet brown, a warm reddish brown, and a brown that was practically gray, but I didn’t have that iconic mid-2010s murky rosy coolish brown, a brown subdued enough for professional wear but still distinctly eccentric.

When Renee heard that I was thinking of buying Whirl, she kindly sent me a mini Whirl from one of MAC’s Nutcracker Sweet Lipstick Kits from last holiday season. (The “nude” gift set came with four mini lipsticks: Creme Cup, Nouvelle Vogue, Kinda Sexy, and Whirl.) I’d never seen a MAC mini lipstick before and was pleasantly surprised at how substantial it was. My tube of Whirl is 1.8 g (0.06 oz), whereas a full-sized MAC lipstick is 3 g (0.1 oz):

Whirl looked very cool-toned, almost purple, on Renee, but it pulls much warmer on me. It’s nearly identical to Topshop Lip Bullet in Motel, which I destashed earlier this year because I hated the formula. In different lights, I detect hints of peach, gray, and plum.

Like the other MAC matte lipsticks I’ve tried, Whirl applies smoothly and evenly, with no patchiness:

L-R: Revlon Fierce, Whirl, Milani Matte Naked.

Though I’m glad I got the chance to try Whirl, I’m also glad I didn’t pay $17 for the full size. Whirl is a beautiful color, but I don’t think it’s my color. It’s simply not made for pale, cool-toned folks, and I accept that. In the look below, I’ve tried to cool it down with plummy makeup and a purple top. On my eyes, I’m wearing ABH Buon Fresco in the crease and Antique Bronze in the outer corner and lower lashline; Seventeen Statuesque on the lid, and Urban Decay Whiskey eyeliner on the upper lashline. My blush is Urban Decay Rapture.

A better look at the eyes:
My real issue with Whirl, though, is not the color but the formula. In general, MAC’s matte lipsticks play well with my sensitive lips. I own three other MAC matte shades—Antique Velvet, Candy Yum-Yum, and Eugenie—and I find all of them comfortable and relatively non-drying. Whirl, however, is one of the most drying lipsticks I’ve ever encountered. I’ve worn it on two different days now, and the same thing happened both times: my lips started peeling within two or three hours, even when I applied Whirl over balm. I wore it yesterday, and today my lips almost feel bruised, as if I got punched in the mouth. It’s so weird to have this reaction to a formula I usually love, and I’m not sure how to explain it. I’m certainly having second thoughts about ordering MAC Men Love Mystery, though. Maybe I should go for the new NARS matte pencil in (wait for it) Pussy Control? Hmm.
I hope I can figure out a painless way to wear Whirl, because I really enjoy the color and think it would look equally good with warm- and cool-toned eye looks. Thanks again to Renee for sending me her tube!

10 thoughts on “Reverse Lipstick Chronology #1: MAC Whirl

  1. Topshop Motel (which I own and also think is similar to MAC Whirl) doesn't work on warm-toned, olive-skinned me either. It washes me out significantly. I've realized that layering a few drops of red liquid lipstick over Motel makes a pretty, rosy MLBB color so I don't regret getting Motel.And yeah, much I love the NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencils, I cringed at the name \”Pussy Control\” when I saw one of Temptalia's posts a few weeks back.


  2. Oh wow, I love Whirl. So behind, because I too don't really take fashion advice from people who live lives that are that distant from me (sorry, Kylie, I don't know about your life and you don't know about mine), but I really like it.


  3. I do think it's the touch of olive in my complexion that's making Whirl look a bit off. I don't hate it, but I find that I need to do more with my eye makeup to avoid looking gray.Pussy Control and most of the other pencils in the new Velvet Matte lineup are named after Prince songs, which I find less objectionable than random-ass sexual names like \”Threesome.\” But still: choose a different Prince song, François.


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