In my life, I’ve had many beloved beauty products come and go. Some caused a momentary pang followed by acceptance, like breaking up with a boyfriend you only sort of liked. Some caused a few days of tears and a sense of loss, like when the Fafi collaboration left MAC, taking with it the most perfect pink lipstick known to man. Still miss you, Fun 'n' Sexy.
Some caused a full-scale, Adele-on-repeat, hysterical crying BREAKDOWN. Such was my reaction when I discovered that my perfect, ultimate highlight eyeshadow shade was no more.
You’ve seen this before, but allow me to formally introduce you to Max Factor Lasting Color Eyeshadow in Wild White... or what’s left of it.
You guys know that I live to highlight--I’m always telling you to apply a light, shimmery shade on the inside corners of your eyes, around your tear ducts, and under the arch of your eyebrows. It makes everyone look more alive, as well as catching the light and giving you that gorgeous Mariah Carey soft-lit look.
You should pick an eyeshadow shade that’s slightly lighter than your skin tone to do this. Because I’m quite fair, I use a very light champagne-pink colour or a straight-up shimmery white. Wild White is the best shimmery white highlight shade I have ever found.
To begin with, the texture is perfect. It’s lightweight but pigmented, sheer but not see-through. It has excellent colour payoff, which is rare in a white. It’s the perfect amount of shimmery and blendable, so that it never looks like you’ve got just STRAIGHT WHITE SPOTS on your face--it really does look like liquid light. No sparkle. No weird smell. Lasts forever. It’s just amazing.
I’m not sure when this product was discontinued--even the internet isn’t much help there. It seems to have been sometime before 2010, which is the last time the product was reviewed. I didn’t even notice it happened until it was too late.
I’ve been stretching out this little pot for years now, but it’s time to bite the bullet and find a replacement. I went out into the world and tested a bunch of white eyeshadows to see what could possibly be a replacement for my dear departed Wild White. I’m going to tell you how each product compares, and also give you hints on how to replace your own discontinued beauty must-haves.
MAC Eyeshadow in Crystal Avalanche
The MAC counter was my first stop, because I’m really familiar with their eyeshadows. I tried out Crystal Avalanche, a shimmery white without any glitter. Here’s how it compared to my original product:
The MAC shadow was way more opaque and less shimmery than I wanted it to be; more of an all-over shadow rather than a highlighter. That was a surprise to me, because in all the research I’d done online, they looked almost identical. I bought this colour to use for general makeup reasons, but this really wasn’t what I was looking for.
THE LESSON: Online is a great place to start your quest, but test products out in real life if at all possible. Sometimes you’ll get a surprise! If you can, take the original product along with you so that you can compare shades, textures and opacities.
Medusa’s Makeup Eye Dust in Blow
Back in college, before I discovered blush, I used to use this product to highlight my cheeks. With my flat black hair the effect was a little much--but maybe it would be the perfect replacement for my eye highlighter. Here’s how it compared.
The loose mica formula of Blow went on a lot more sheerly than Wild White did, giving much more of a subtle highlight. This is super-pretty in real life, but it didn’t show up as much as I needed it to under photography lights. Because I spend so much time in front of a camera, it wasn’t the highlighter I was looking for--but it IS perfect for diluting shadows that are too intense, so I’m glad I have it in my kit.
THE LESSON: Really know what you need the product to do before you go looking for a replacement. If you have special requirements--e.g. it needs to work on camera AND in real life--make sure you take those into account.
CoverGirl Flamed Out Eyeshadow Pot in Blazing White
I admit, I tried out this product just because the packaging was so similar to the Max Factor product I was trying to replace. But I was pleasantly surprised at the results.
Blazing White is shimmery, and less of a bright white than I was expecting. Both excellent things! However, it’s also very glittery, which eliminates it from the highlight competition. Wahmp wahmp (that’s my sad trombone noise).
THE LESSON: Don’t be too attached to packaging, for one thing. For another, be OK with being picky! Close enough might be OK, but not when it involves glitter.
Lancome Color Design Sensational Effects Eye Shadow Smooth Hold in Drape
I really like Lancome’s eyeshadows, their metallic finishes especially. Nobody does a shimmery long-lasting eyeshadow like they do. So I figured that Drape would be a good product to look at. Here’s how it compared.
This was the closest match that I’d found, especially in terms of the shade of white, but something stopped me from buying it.
I know that there’s often variation in eyeshadow lines between colours and finishes, but I found that Drape was excessively powdery, far more so than the other colours that I have from Lancome. Instead of needing to take it off with makeup remover, it just brushed off my arm. It hurt to walk away from a product that was SO CLOSE to being right, but I did.
THE LESSON: Know when to hold, know when to fold, know when to walk away and know when to run. Don’t spend your money on something sub-par, even when you’re totally at the end of your rope and feeling like WHY DOES THIS HAVE TO BE SO HARD. Patience!
So, how does this story end? Did I find a perfect dupe? Am I wearing it right now? Well, not really. As with most of my stories, this doesn’t quite have the ending I was hoping for.
I was ready to order a Wild Shadow Pot from the UK Max Factor site, but after looking at reviews and swatches, I knew that this newer formula wasn’t a duplicate of the old--I only had to see the words “chalky” and “glittery” used together to scare me away. I searched makeup forums to see if anyone had found a dupe for Wild White, but apparently nobody had. I thought I was out of luck, doomed to haunt the aisles of Ulta and Sephora like an unhighlighted wraith, pining for my lost love.
And then I remembered: eBay.
It took me less than two minutes to track down a seller who had several pots of Wild White listed, and who also did guaranteed returns (just in case the “brand new” was actually old and mouldy, or the “sealed” was not quite sealed). I bought two. And in just a couple of days…
I had two wonderful pots of my favourite product in my makeup case again. All was right with the world.
THE LESSON: The internet is a wonderful place. Buying discontinued products--especially ones that have been discontinued for a long time--online can be a bit of a risk, but if you buy from a seller with good feedback, and who has a clear return policy, your risk of being screwed over drops dramatically.
On the face of it, I utterly failed in my mission. I didn’t find a product to replace my favourite, long-discontinued shimmery white shadow. But I was able to find the original formula again, and since I have two pots of Wild White now, I won’t have to go through this again for a long, long time.
Let’s talk, guys: Have you ever had a favourite product discontinued? How did you deal? Did you find a dupe, resort to eBay, or are you still looking?