Monday, October 25th, 2010

MAC Tartan Tale: Hark the Heraldry Face Kit
MAC Tartan Tale: Hark the Heraldry Face Kit

MAC Tartan Tale: Hark the Heraldry Face Kit

The Hark the Heraldry Face Kit ($38.00) includes two blushes and a beauty powder: Dame (sophisticated blue-pink), Plum Foolery (faint dusty plum), and Oh So Fair (pale pink; beauty powder). Both Dame and Plum Foolery are permanent shades. Oh So Fair was recently released with Venomous Villains.

  • Dame is a subtly blue-toned medium pink that can go on sheer or be built up. On darker skin tones, this may not show up very well, though. It has a satin finish, so it has a softer sheen, less frostiness in its finish. This is a nice shade for everyday, and it’s particularly flattering on cooler, paler skin tones.
  • Plum Foolery is a semi-sheer, rosy plum with a frosted sheen. This shade does work well on a variety of skin tones, and despite it being sheer, it does pack a punch on cheeks if you’re not careful.
  • Oh So Fair is a soft, petal pink with subtle shimmer-sheen. It’s sheer and looks very, very subtle on my medium skin tone. I wouldn’t recommend this shade for darker skin tones, because I think it would have a tendency to turn ashy.

Each blush is 0.13 oz. (full-size is 0.21 oz.), while the beauty powder is 0.20 oz. (full size is 0.35 oz.). Ultimately, you’re getting approximately $23 worth of blush and $14 worth of beauty powder–total value around $37 with a price tag of $38. It’s not a value palette based on quantity of products, but you do get three products for $38 instead of buying two blushes ($18.50 each) and a beauty powder ($25.00) separately.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: I really like the face kits, because sometimes MAC blushes can be too expensive to purchase on their own, so this palette lets you try more for less–and you won’t get through a pan any time soon.

AVAILABILITY: MAC Counters/Stores on October 28th

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Monday, October 25th, 2010

MAC Tartan Tale: A Lady and Her Tricks Brush Set
MAC Tartan Tale: A Lady and Her Tricks Brush Set

MAC Tartan Tale: A Lady & Her Tricks Brush Set

This year, MAC has three brush sets to choose from, and the one I am reviewing this year is A Lady & Her Tricks ($49.50). This set includes special edition sizes of the 168, 187, 209, 219, and 252. For reference, the other sets are Sweep Me Off My Feet (129SE, 190SE, 227SE, 212SE, 275SE) and She’s Got It All (194SE, 204SE, 224SE, 266SE, 275SE).

I do not recommend MAC’s brush sets, as cute/pretty as they can sometimes be. I just don’t think the quality is representative of MAC’s full-size brushes, and instead, they’re sub-par variations. $49.50 isn’t pocket change, and while it’s certainly a good deal when it comes to purchasing five MAC brushes, it’s not a good deal if the quality isn’t there. I find that these brushes are scratchy, and in the past, seem to get scratchier with time/wear.

The biggest problem I have with this particular kit this year (I did not bother last year or the year before) is these brushes really don’t seem to have been made very well. The 219SE is incredibly rounded, no pencil tip is distinguishable, while the 252SE is quite thick. The 187SE doesn’t seem to flare out enough and doesn’t have the same firmness as the full-size version.

I also think it’s a shame that they include the 252SE; it’s one of MAC’s biggest eyeshadow brushes, so it feels a little unwieldy for eyeshadow application. I’d rather see the 217 or 239 included, both are very popular brushes with more utility.

When it comes to buying MAC brushes, buy them slowly, over time, and build up your collection. I spent two or three years doing so before I completed my brush collection. If you need brushes in the meanwhile, consider more affordable brush sets available through brands like EcoTools and Sonia Kashuk. Affordable brushes have come a long way in the past few years!

The included bag is similar to the lip bags, except it’s a good deal larger–definitely more like a purse.  It also has a glossy black strap that attaches so you can wear it as a shoulder bag.  It doesn’t feel cheap, and it seems sturdy enough to be used for more than just toting brushes around.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 18/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you’re sold on having to have MAC brushes, and you feel you’ll actually use all the included brushes in the set, it may be worth it. I don’t personally think the quality of these brushes is on par with full-sized brushes and would pass.

AVAILABILITY: MAC Counters/Stores on October 28th

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Monday, October 25th, 2010

MAC Tartan Tale: Dazzle the Lads Lip Bag
MAC Tartan Tale: Dazzle the Lads Lip Bag

MAC Tartan Tale: Dazzle the Lads Lip Bag

Each year, MAC puts out a couple of lip products in specially designed/packaged bags, and this year is no different. The Dazzle the Lads Lip Bag ($36.00) includes Moth to Flame (sheer neutral beige; dazzleglass), Baron’s Rose (medium rose; lipstick), and Draw Me Close (dusty rose; lip pencil).

Both the lipstick and dazzleglass are full-sized, while the lip pencil is miniaturized (about half the size of regular lip pencils). The dazzleglass is permanent, while the other two are new and limited edition to this set. The lip products come with a tartan patterned bag that’s a little larger than my hand. It’ll certainly hold all of the products it comes with, along with a few more. The bag is the same for both lip sets.

  • Moth to Flame is a sheer peach with white shimmer. On my lips, it just brightens my natural lip color and adds glossiness. It’s part of the permanent line-up of dazzleglasses. As pretty as dazzleglasses are when worn, their quantity/price ratio really leaves something to be desired.
  • Baron’s Rose is a semi-sheer reddened berry with strong gold shimmer and sheen. It is a cremesheen finish lipstick. It’s extremely similar to Fun Bathing (from To the Beach) — Baron’s Rose is slightly redder/darker, but they are very, very close. It’s a lovely color, though.
  • Draw Me Close is a browned pink. It’d be great to use as a neutral lip liner.

Value-wise, the Lip Bag is okay but it’s not a showstopping deal. You’re getting a full-sized lipstick ($14.50), full-sized dazzleglass ($18.00), and a half-sized lip pencil ($7.00), which is a total value of $39.50. If you include the bag, then you’ll feel like you’re getting a bit more for your money.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: It’s a real shame that Baron’s Rose has several similar pre-existing shades, because it’s a gorgeous shade. Festive but still perfect for autumn!

AVAILABILITY: MAC Counters/Stores on October 28th

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Monday, October 25th, 2010

MAC Tartan Tale: Vain & Glorious Lip Bag
MAC Tartan Tale: Vain & Glorious Lip Bag

MAC Tartan Tale: Vain & Glorious Lip Bag

Each year, MAC puts out a couple of lip products in specially designed/packaged bags, and this year is no different. The Vain & Glorious Lip Bag ($36.00) includes Baby Sparks (sparkly baby pink; dazzleglass), Mellow Mood (sheer pink; lipstick), and In Synch (light pink; lip pencil).

Both the lipstick and dazzleglass are full-sized, while the lip pencil is miniaturized (about half the size of regular lip pencils). None of the products in the kit are new; Baby Sparks is permanent, while Mellow Mood and In Synch are both repromotes.

The lip products come with a tartan patterned bag that’s a little larger than my hand. It’ll certainly hold all of the products it comes with, along with a few more. The bag is the same for both lip sets.  It seems well-made to me; it definitely doesn’t look or feel cheap just by handling it.  If tartan is your thing, cool–if it’s not, well, pass it on to a friend.

  • Baby Sparks is a sheer, milky baby pink with icy pink shimmer. On my l ips, it just lightens up my natural lip color a bit and adds a lot of glossiness. It’s part of the permanent line-up of dazzleglasses. As pretty as dazzleglasses are when worn, their quantity/price ratio really leaves something to be desired.
  • Mellow Mood is a semi-sheer softened pink with subtle gold shimmer. It’s a little milky, and it has a lustre finish. Since it’s not too cool, it works on both cooler and warmer skin tones. It was originally launched with Electroflash back in 2008.
  • In Synch is a coraled pink. It is a lip pencil, and it was originally launched with Too Fabulous earlier this year in the spring.

Value-wise, the Lip Bag is okay but it’s not a showstopping deal. You’re getting a full-sized lipstick ($14.50), full-sized dazzleglass ($18.00), and a half-sized lip pencil ($7.00), which is a total value of $39.50. If you include the bag, then you’ll feel like you’re getting a bit more for your money.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you like pink lips, this is definitely your set. If you have really pigmented lips, this set might not do much for you, as both lipstick/dazzleglass are on the sheerer side.

AVAILABILITY: MAC Counters/Stores on October 28th

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Monday, October 25th, 2010

MAC Tartan Tale Photos
MAC Tartan Tale

MAC Tartan Tale: Prologue

The holiday collection for MAC has four distinguishable product offerings:  the color collection (traditional launch of lipsticks, eyeshadows, etc.), palettes and bags (eyeshadows, lipsticks, lip and brush bags), miniaturized sets, and Viva Glam/Kids Helping Kids.

Today, we’ll take a look at both face kits, lip bag sets, and a brush set.  Tomorrow, we’ll move on to the eyeshadow and lip palettes.  If I have any strength between now and then, the color collection either tomorrow or the next day.  The miniaturized sets will come next week.

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Sunday, October 24th, 2010

Becca Quartz Eyeshadow
Becca Quartz Eyeshadow

One & Done Eyeshadows: Becca Quartz

Becca Quartz Creme Eye Colour ($28.00 for 0.07 oz.) is a golden champage with warm shimmer. This is an easy shade to apply all over the lid to add a nice layer of shimmer and warmth to the lid.

Becca recommends setting it with loose powder to make it more crease-resistant, which I interpret as “this is not a crease-resistant product [on its own].” It works well set with either powder eyeshadow or translucent powder, though–no creasing once I’ve done one of those two things. Since it’s not a cream-to-powder eyeshadow, it stays blendable for awhile, and it has a creamier consistency, which makes it workable as a cheek highlighter, too.

Nice but necessarily a must-have.  Becca can be hard to find in person (I have never seen it myself–I got this shade from a HauteLook sale), though.  It’s also a bit pricey at $28, relative to other high-end brands and their cream eyeshadows.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: It’s a great shade for those with neutral-to-warm undertones, because it has a nice level of warmth without being yellow.  If you are looking for something that will not crease when worn alone, though, this is not it.

AVAILABILITY: Becca, but I noticed they all were out of stock, but Dermstore has it!

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