Are you decrepit enough to remember getting those American sultanas in the tiny little cardboard boxes as part of your school lunch? Back when food came from trees instead of being popped out of moulds? MAC Spice It Up is quite a bit like those delicious things; nostalgic. Sweetish. Caramelised and brownish. Something you don't think you're really in the mood for... until you partake, and then you can't put the damn thing down.
Spice It Up was something I picked up entirely on spec since no real buzz regarding it had ever come my way. I can't decide if it's just that zero-expectation halo around these obscure, unfashionable MAC shades or their genuine intrinsic awesomeness that makes them so appealing, but SIU has definitely settled into high rotation.
That's in spite of it hailing from the much-reviled MAC Lustre stable, that bastion of lip-fucking, mouth-fleeing three minute wonders that I'm hardly alone in hating. Impressive.
Lustres usually suck, by and large, which is doubly annoying because the concept of a reduced opacity formula in non-naff casual shades was totally righteous and is still pretty underserved.
But let's get down on Spice It Up.
All this is assuming moderate lip pigmentation in the potential subject (i.e. you). That's probably the most important thing to consider about Lustres and their ilk- your mouth is the X factor.
We're looking at a medium nutty raisin shade, which sounds warm and brown but really isn't that simple- SIU is neutral at best and actually leans cool.
Smoothing it over one's hand reveals those secretive notes that make it far more of a success on the lip than may be implied by any verbal description. Hints of aged mahogany red and wine pink lurking in the undertones are elevating, prettifying elements. No matter how hard you slap it on, SIU won't take you to clown town or Instaho alley, but it will deliver something of more lasting value- subtle, tinted contrast. The elusive 'half look' that understudies a dramatic eye or just rubs the ashy horror off a generally dismal face situation. It is remediation for dummies. A 10 second morale-boost when you just can't be arsed to do anything else.
Nars Golshan pencil is probably Spice It Up's closest tonal relation in my collection, comparatively speaking, despite the latter being darker and more intense. Together they form a beautiful and effortlessly flattering ombre. MAC Brick-O-La is way pinker. MAC Taupe and Mocha are a far more explicitly sandy tan. Retro holds a lot more dirty mauve and its heavier pigmentation gives a completely different effect, so I don't particularly associate them.
Unusually, I have nothing bad to say about Spice It Up. It's a nice change from all those hard neutral mattes when you don't want too much look. I don't even begrudge the fact that it won't stick around til dinnertime- it doesn't even outstay its damn welcome. You can't claim that about very much these days.
a range of natural in+outdoor natural light