The MAC x Aaliyah makeup collection is now live online, but fans hoping to buy the $250 box set in the late R&B star’s honor are in for a disappointment: The collector’s item is already sold out. The collection went live at 11 a.m. ET, and in a matter of minutes, Aaliyah fans bought all the box sets available from the MAC website. The kit, which is shaped like a pyramid, includes a dozen makeup items, a bandana, and poster of the singer.
The good news is that the individual pieces in the collection have not sold out, and tomorrow fans who didn’t have a chance to buy the box set online can purchase it in person from MAC stores.
The MAC x Aaliyah makeup collection has been years in the making, and Aaliyah stans deserve the credit for making it happen: A Change.org petition that asked MAC to release a line commemorating the singer netted more than 26,000 signatures.The fact that the box set has already sold out online is not surprising given that MAC’s tribute to Tejana star Selena sold out when it dropped in 2016. Moreover, nearly 17 years after the singer died in a Bahamas plane crash at 22, the public fascination with the singer remains strong. Current music royalty, like Beyoncé and Drake, continue to give Aaliyah shout outs. Drake has an Aaliyah tattoo and even wanted to record an album in her honor.
In the days leading up to the MAC x Aaliyah drop, there’s been plenty of buzz about the makeup collection and how true it will be to the singer. Equal parts goth, glam, and street, Aaliyah is just as hard to define in death as she was in life.
She hated dresses but oozed sex appeal by pairing baggy streetwear with bandeau tops that showed off her taut stomach. She was an R&B girl with ties to Gladys Knight, but had a distinct goth side she revealed through shoutouts to Nine Inch Nails, black ensembles, brooding makeup, and her trademark bangs over one eye.
But her eponymous final album, released the month before she died, showed a different side of Aaliyah. She appeared on the cover with voluminous waves instead of her signature flat-ironed look. And rather than the oversize black coat and dark lip she sported on the cover of her previous album, One in a Million, Aaliyah wore a flimsy gold top and makeup similar to her natural skin tone.
The MAC collection attempts to recognize Aaliyah’s style evolution — from the streetwear-loving teen who rose to fame with 1994’s “Back & Forth” to the sophisticated young woman she’d become when her life was cut short seven years later.
Her older brother Rashad Haughton partnered with MAC on the collection, which includes a bronzer, nine shades of eyeshadow, two lip liners, and three lipsticks and tubes of LipGlass apiece. The price range for the products is $17.50 to $32, and the colors of each item resemble what Aaliyah typically wore in her videos and photo shoots, and on the red carpet.
The eyeshadow palette contains neutrals, metallics, and purples, and the lip colors range in tone from neutral to red to near black. With names like “One in a Million,” “Hot Like Fire,” and “That Somebody,” the products pay tribute to Aaliyah’s hits. Detroit, where she grew up, gets a shoutout, as does Brooklyn, where the singer was born.
One product that’s left some fans underwhelmed is the bronzer. Aaliyah had a golden brown complexion, and the bronzer is so light it’s unclear if she would’ve been able to wear it well. It’s definitely clear, however, that the bronzer won’t do much for her fans with dark complexions: It is simply too pale.
“That’s going to be the only thing in the collection that I can do without,” said makeup artist Christine Amor while doing an early review of the box set on YouTube. “Everything else besides the bronzer I absolutely love,” she said.
Some fans tweeted their concerns about the bronzer as well.And beauty influencer Jackie Aina wondered if people thought MAC was exploiting the R&B star. While fans petitioned for the collection, makeup companies launching sets to commemorate late celebrities appears to be a budding trend. In addition to MAC’s Selena collection, Urban Decay introduced makeup in honor of Basquiat last year. The company faced criticism for having white actress Ruby Rose be the face of the Basquiat line instead of a woman of color.
Aaliyah’s fans have also questioned how well the MAC collection truly represents her. Some said it looked hastily thrown together and not as visually striking as the Selena collection. But considering that Aaliyah’s brother collaborated with MAC and the colors chosen for the set were reportedly inspired by ones found in her old makeup bags, it may not be quite fair to critique the collection for not representing her.
The fact is that Aaliyah, while alive, couldn’t be placed in a box. Her style veered from tomboy to femme fatale. Her songs shifted from ballads to bangers. She sang hip-hop soul with a voice often described as paper-thin but topped the charts anyway. If MAC can’t precisely grasp her persona in its new collection, it’s likely because the singer herself defied categories.