Monday, May 30th, 2011


Revision 3 of Version 1 (Close to final shade)

MAC Bloggers’ Obsession Collection: My Experience

Back in January, MAC reached out to several beauty bloggers about creating and developing their own eyeshadow or lipglass (and to be clear, I receive no compensation whatsoever if you buy the shade I created). We each submitted a shade, along with a name, color description, formula of choice, along with a blurb on the creative concept/inspiration. Here were my original submissions:

Jealousy Wakes Seething emerald green with teal and gold pearl (Veluxe Pearl) (Eyeshadow)
Inspiration: He sees two figures, standing in the dark, bodies touching and lips kissing. Though he sees them clearly, his lantern lighting the way, he goes unnoticed—unseen by two people utterly enthralled in themselves and their love. He sees the strength and beauty of love, and he feels a tightening in his chest. It’s a harsh pull–a devastating tug at his heartstrings–for it is a love he has never known.  “Jealousy Wakes” is inspired by the anguish of jealousy—a spark of envy ignited and fueled by fear—translated into a velvety smooth blend of rich emerald kissed by the sparkle of teal finished with a flash of gold.

Meet at Midnight Opulent ruby red with gold and copper pearl (Lipglass)
Inspiration: As the darkness settles in, she meets her secret lover for a midnight rendezvous beneath the luminous moonlight and star-filled sky. Heart pounding, cheeks flushed, they kiss with passion and desire as their forbidden love breathes life into the night.  “Meet at Midnight” is inspired by a forbidden love that is full of curves and secrets. It’s a deep, decadent ruby that’s shimmered with gold and copper that almost finishes with a metallic sheen.

Ultimately, when it came to thinking up an eyeshadow, it was more about what hasn’t MAC done that I’d like to see done. They have such an extensive permanent range and even wider range of past products. The one color that stuck out to me was emerald green. MAC has done blue, teal, and green, but I could not think of a really great emerald green. The closest being Emerald Green pigment (which, compared to my vision, leaned a little yellow).

For the lipglass, I wanted a really rich, jewel-toned ruby red—something sexy and dark and dramatic but still bright. I was inspired by past great shades of red like Check, Please, Queen’s Sin, and Red Romp. I didn’t want to play it safe with either shade, because I did not want to let my readers down.

(Long-time readers may recognize both shade names, as I took them from a “MAC for Temptalia” collection I made up in honor of April Fool’s Day.)

MAC’s executive team chose Jealousy Wakes as one of the four eyeshadows to be produced from the blogger outreach—I got the “Congratulations!” call in April, and shortly after, traveled to Toronto, Canada with fellow bloggers Aileen, Amber, Karen, Lesley Ellen, Lianne, Lily, Patrice, and Wendy. We toured production facilities and had lunch with the chemists at the Innovation Centre before meeting with our assigned chemist to actually start the development process.

Using my color description of Jealousy Wakes, MAC developed two prototypes: Version 1 was a darker green with flecks of gold and teal, while Version 2 was a yellowed chartreuse with a gold sheen. As pretty as Version 2 was, it was nothing like what I envisioned—though I swear I had a tough time rejecting it outright and told all who would listen that it’s gorgeous and to keep that recipe on file for later!

From me to you: it is really hard to create an ugly green eyeshadow. No, seriously, I think during the hours I spent with the chemists trying to get that exact shade of emerald green I envisioned, we created over twenty variations on that theme. (Quite honestly, I lost track and count of how many pans of possibilities we had on the counter!) It is, however, much more difficult to develop a true emerald green eyeshadow than I ever anticipated.

I wanted the eyeshadow to have a veluxe pearl finish, because I know it is easier to use, more blendable, and often more pigmented than other finishes. I specifically did not want to go with a matte finish, because I didn’t want anyone who purchased it to find it difficult to use (as I know that mattes sometimes have a reputation for being finicky).

To get the vibrancy I wanted out of the emerald green color, you have to increase the amount of flat pigments, but then it would lose the veluxe pearl finish and become more like a satin or matte finished eyeshadow. The other issue was trying to achieve depth without making the color look dirty. Typically, depth is achieved by adding darker colors, like black, but then vibrancy would diminish and the color would look blackened or dirty. Sometimes the green would lean too blue, giving it more of a teal-like appearance, and then other times, it would lean too yellow.

Towards the end of the mixing session (I don’t think anyone anticipated difficulty in creating my vision!), my arms and lab coat were covered in green! I had two chemists who had been working side-by-side for hours along with Nicole Masson (Vice President of Product Development) and Sarah Major (Manager, Product Development) helping me articulate the changes I wanted to see in more standardized language (each term, e.g. payoff, has a standardized meaning to the chemists at MAC—wish we could get that dictionary!). At one point, they even pulled a Pantone book out! I also had them dig out the formula for Emerald Green pigment, which they promptly recreated in eyeshadow form, to compare.

Time was up, and I was a little deflated but still gave the heads up on one of the last versions we came up with. Imagine my surprise when both Nicole and MAC’s PR team pulled me aside to tell me that if I wasn’t happy with the shade that they would keep working on it and would work with me remotely to get it there. I let everything soak in for the next couple of days, and then I did take MAC up on their offer to keep working with it.

I received (the official) Revision 2 of Version 1, and the color was getting there, but I wasn’t happy with the texture—it was almost chunky with silver shimmer. It just didn’t have the smooth, buttery texture (I had briefly told the chemists I wanted it like Freshwater, and they actually remembered and said they’d keep working to get it more like that). Not quite getting the color of my dreams I can live with, but it was (and always will be) very important that anything I attach my name to represents quality. I did not want anyone to buy Jealousy Wakes to support me and find it was lacking in quality. I did not want anyone to be disappointed in me in any aspect—from the color itself to the quality of the formula.

Next, I received Revision 3 of Version 1 and Revision 4 of Version 1. I quickly ruled out Revision 4, because as pretty as it was, it definitely leaned blue and looked more teal than green. The texture was much, much improved from Revision 2, though, and as I said, at some point, my focus moved to ensuring the texture and pay off were there. I finally accepted Revision 3 as the final. I haven’t seen the official final version (from the actual production batch) and won’t until mid-June, but I’m happy with the progression of the shade from inception to finalization.  The color shouldn’t change from what I have, though!

It was really quite the journey—I didn’t expect my submission to be selected for production, so it was incredible to actually see it come to fruition. I was impressed by MAC’s commitment to working with me up to the final deadline (and probably even past it) so that I would be excited and happy with the final shade. I am honored and humbled by the experience, and I know so much of it is a result of the loyalty of Temptalia readers and their unending support over the past four and a half years that have made this kind of opportunity a possibility — so thank YOU!

For clarification and in the interest of disclosure, I received NO monetary compensation to create, develop, or promote Jealousy Wakes. I receive NO compensation at all if you purchase Jealousy Wakes when it debuts. MAC paid for travel and hotel expenses for the trip to Toronto, and I received samples of my shade to photograph.

Note: Once I receive the final product, I will be posting it against other green eyeshadows for comparison along with both a bolder and subtler look on how to wear it :) Timing is likely to be mid-June!

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Monday, May 30th, 2011


MAC Bloggers’ Obsessions Collection

No one<3’s M∙A∙C more than a beauty blogger. To thank them for their passionate devotion & always honest feedback, we invited nine of our favourites to our lab in Toronto to custom-create their own Eye Shadow or Lipglass. Exclusively online, just like the makeup-mad minds that created them.

Eyeshadow ($14.50 U.S. / $17.50 CDN) (Limited Edition)

Lipglass ($14.50 U.S. / $17.50 CDN) (Limited Edition)

availability: June 21st, 2011; online only, U.S. and Canada

You can read all about Jealousy Wakes and my experience here!

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Monday, May 30th, 2011


Toronto, Canada is the birthplace of MAC Cosmetics!

Tour of MAC Cosmetics’ Production Facilities

In April, I traveled to Toronto, Canada for a whirlwind press trip (seriously, about 24 hours in Toronto!) with MAC Cosmetics. Several beauty bloggers, including myself, were given an opportunity to tour The Esteé Lauder Companies Canadian Innovation Centre and production facility, both located in Markham, Canada.

In order to tour the facilities, we had to get decked out in oh-so-sexy safety gear, including steel-toed shoe covers, hair nets, safety googles, and lab coats—and dangling hair or jewelry is not allowed! As we traveled through the different areas in the production facility, which smelled a whole lot like vanilla, we saw lipsticks in liquid form get poured into molds, cooled, and then popped out and inserted into their tubes.

The facility still has manual lines in addition to more high-tech automated runs (which actually employ more people than I’d expect, just to watch over the machine and its output). We saw an automated line making—what seemed like—an endless supply of MAC Shy Girl Lipstick, along with a manual run of Origins’ lipsticks. In the manual line, there were employees who had to “flame” lipsticks, which is a process of fixing any minor imperfections and smoothing out the bullet as well as giving it that brand-new-lipstick-shine.

It was a very out-of-body experience to see so many machines cranking out hundreds (thousands?) of products of all types, but my favorite part was meeting the employees who ran the lines and walked us through what they do each day. It was amazing to spend a few hours getting to know the people behind the makeup, because they take as much pride producing the product as the people who create the color stories and shades.

After touring the production facilities, we headed over the Innovation Centre, which is where products are initially created. We had lunch with many of the facilities chemists (there had to been at least twenty at the table!)—the ones behind the science of makeup, really getting down to the nitty-gritty in terms of proportions, ingredients, and how each formula comes together.

For instance, to make a small test batch of eyeshadow, all of the ingredients get added to a mason jar, then blended using a regular ol’ blender (no, seriously—you’d think it would be some fancy schmancy machine, but it’s not!), poured into a small metal pan, and then they have a press to lock it in. It’s like a one-stop-shop for eyeshadow! And to think, I was using denim jeans, a quarter, and brute force to press my own eyeshadow.  Once shades are approved, they go on to bigger and better machines (the real deal).

There is also the quality assurance lab, which is focused on ensuring each new batch of a shade is consistent with the original shade. They swatch in quadrants such that the original color will be in the top left and bottom right, and the new batch will be in the top right and bottom left to compare. Those wishing to work there have to take a hue test (looked like the Farnsworth-Munsell Hue Test, which you can challenge yourself with this online version) as one way to evaluate a person’s ability to see color.

It’s amazing how many people are involved from start to finish of each product and shade. I now have more much appreciation for all of the work brands and their employees must put into their products!

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Monday, May 30th, 2011

Butter London Artful Dodger Nail Lacquer
Butter London Artful Dodger Nail Lacquer

Butter London Artful Dodger Nail Lacquer

Butter London Artful Dodger Nail Lacquer ($14.00 for 0.4 fl. oz.) is described as a “true teal.”  It reads more blue than teal on me; at best, it is a bluish teal.  At some angles, I can kind of go with teal being the dominant color, but then in most lighting, it looks like a slightly dusty blue with a touch of teal.  What do you think? It seems like teal is a rather subjective color.  My initial reaction to this is to say blue, and I’m a gal who likes her teals!  I feel like it’s similar to ORLY Bailamos but Artful Dodger is bluer.  I’m taking off a point for pigmentation, because I don’t think this matches the description as well as it should.

It’s a beautiful cream finished polish that’s opaque in two coats (one is almost enough).   Butter London’s formula on this one has a really even flow, smooth application, and drying time wasn’t long at all.  I typically get a week of wear with Butter London’s formula with a proper base and top coat.

The Glossover

P
product

Artful Dodger

A
It's no doubt a pretty shade even if it doesn't seem to be a true teal. The coverage is opaque in two coats and has a really easy-to-apply formula.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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Dupes
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Monday, May 30th, 2011


Illamasqua Abyss, MAC On the Hunt, MUFE #13, Stila Sequins, MAC Marked for Glamour

Liquid Eyeliner Comparisons & Swatches

There are several variations on the liquid liners lately, including Illamasqua Precision Ink, MAC Superslick Eyeliner, Make Up For Ever Aqua Liners, and Stila Sparkle Liners. I swatched through them to compare, and these are the results:

  • blacks: There are really no distinguishable differences between Illamasqua Abyss, MAC On the Hunt, or MUFE #13–they’re all a really deep, dark inky black. Stila Sequins is similar but has noticeable shimmer. MAC Marked for Glamour is a little grayer than Stila Sequins, and MUFE #15 is comparable to Marked for Glamour. MUFE #14 and Stila Starry are comparable, while MUFE is a little darker overall.
  • golds: There are no distinguishable differences between Illamasqua Alchemy, MAC Pure Show, or MUFE #1.
  • olives: MAC Desires & Devices has more gold shimmer and a blacker, less green base compared to Stila Flash.
  • greens: MAC Treat Me Nice and MUFE #3 are indistinguishable from each other.
  • teals: MUFE #4 and Stila Electric are indistinguishable from each other.
  • blues: The darker blues are rather varied; none of them look alike. From the lighter blues, MUFE #5 has more shimmer and is a lighter, more neon blue than Stila Bora Bora.
  • purples: Similar to the darker blues, there is quite a bit of variation of the four purple shades available. MUFE #8 and Stila Royal are the only ones that are comparable, but Stila is less red toned, more violet shimmered.
  • browns: None of the brown shades look alike.

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Monday, May 30th, 2011


Urban Decay Meltdown Makeup Remover

For Your Eyes Only: Urban Decay Meltdown Makeup Remover

Urban Decay Meltdown Makeup Remover ($24.00 for 2.5 fl. oz.) is a creamy, opaque white gel-based remover that works best applied onto a cotton round or toner sheet, then held against the skin for a few seconds and finally, wiped away. Initially, I thought this product was for the whole face, because it says makeup remover, not eye makeup remover. Even the online descriptions of this product don’t suspend that belief–they say it’s a makeup remover designed for removal of even the “longest-lasting products” that’s “good for your skin.”  (I tend to associate skin care benefits more to the whole face than just the eyes!)

Though I recognize I’m a bit skeptical of much of the miracles promised by various skincare products, I’m even more skeptical of cleansers and removers that make promises, too. Products like cleansers and removers are not on skin very long, so it’s hard to believe they would be able to provide any long-term benefits. Urban Decay’s remover includes several ingredients, and one is noted to “revitalize collagen production” while others (various oils) will moisturize and replenish. When it comes to directions, I’m glad I waited for this product to go online, because the back of the tube left me clueless–did I use water, did I use it everywhere, how much, when, what!

Again, the best way to use this, based on my testing, has been on a cotton round or toner sheet, pressed against the eye for 10-15 seconds, and then wipe away the makeup. It does a good job of removing the bulk of my makeup, but I do feel like it leaves my eyes a little cloudy. There is no greasy residue or feel afterwards, but the cloudiness necessitates rinsing with water, so then there is definitely no product leftover to sink into my skin and revitalize or moisturize anything. I needed about a pea-sized dollop for each eye. It will remove face makeup, too, but you’ll end up going through this little tube rather quickly if you do so!

If it’s for eyes, it’ll last you a lot longer, and therefore the $24 price tag stretches out over a much longer time period. It does remove long-wearing products without much fuss, feels nice against the skin, and doesn’t leave behind any greasy residue–but it did make my eyes a bit cloudy and may require a second cotton round to remove a few streaks of makeup left behind (which just feels wasteful, so I rinsed off). Good, not great.

The bottom of the tube says “demaquillant yeux,” but as a U.S. brand – should I really have to know French to decipher what the product is supposed to do?  Oddly enough, I did Google translate it last night, and I didn’t include the accented E – so it translated to just “makeup remover,” but when you include the accented E, it translates to “eye makeup remover.”

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