MAC Sheer Mystery Powder
MAC Marcel Wanders: MAC Sheer Mystery Powder
MAC Sheer Mystery Powder ($60.00 for 0.56 oz.) is described as “an ultra-fine, super sheer, and very sophisticated pressed powder … “Mysteriously” silky-soft in texture, glides on to give skin a velvety matte, slightly luminous and altogether flawless finish.” There are only two shades available: Light and Medium Plus. They used to release a shade called Dark Secret, which was more appropriate for darker skin tones.
I only picked up Medium Plus, so I only have a swatch of that one, but hopefully it will be helpful enough to show you the texture and look of it. I would recommend Light for NC/NW15s and 20s, possibly 25s if you are definitely NC/NW25. I would recommend Medium Plus for NC/NW30s and 35s. I think it would be too light for any shades higher than NC/NW35.
The formula itself is a very finely milled, silky smooth powder that applies incredibly sheer. It is best used as a setting or finishing powder, because it does not offer coverage, but it will set your foundation or help to mattify skin. It is not completely matte in finish, but it is semi-matte. I like it, and I think it’s a good pressed powder, but it’s not the best one I’ve ever tried. I don’t know if it’s that much better than MAC’s Blot or Select Sheer Powders, you know? I do like that it looks very natural, and it’s practically impossible to overdo. It doesn’t look powdery on the skin, even on drier areas of mine.
The compact itself shares the same multifaceted look as the perfume pendant, but unlike the pendant, it is made out of hard plastic, rather than metal. It feels very lightweight when held, which makes it appropriate for traveling but less so if you want that luxury feel. In the past, this powder has always been housed in a heavier, sturdier compact. It will hold fingerprints like nobody’s business, though.
I know the price tag always scares people every time MAC repromotes it, but keep in mind, it comes with a refill–each pan is 0.28 oz. for a total of 0.56 oz. for your $60. However, on that note, MAC’s Select Sheer/Pressed will set you back $22 for 0.42 oz., while the Mineralize Skinfinish Natural retails for $26 for 0.35 oz. After perusing through a variety of pressed powders from high-end brands, it seems like 0.28 to 0.35 oz. is the norm with prices ranging from $30 to 35. This is certainly not a steal of a deal, but it’s like you’re paying an extra $15 to 20 for the packaging and product (since it’s not available outside of the pricier compacts).
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- Product: 27/30
- Value: 7/10
- Ease of Use: 4/5
- Packaging: 4/5
RECOMMENDATION: If you are light or medium in skin tone, you may find a match here. If you have ultra dry skin, you may want to skip the powder, but for slightly dry to slightly oily skin, it should work out.
AVAILABILITY: MAC on November 24th
How Pore-less Can You Be?
NARS Skin Smoothing Face Prep ($30.00 for 0.26 oz.) is a skin prepping product, not quite a primer, that’s supposed to minimize the appearance of fine lines and pores to give skin a smoother look.
Get closer to an Immaculate Complexion with NARS Skin Smoothing Face Prep. With one application, skin is smoother and the appearance of fine lines and pores is minimized. A truly multi-use product, it may be used before primer to create a flawlessly matte finish or used throughout the day to combat shine and rejuvenate the complexion. Apply to fine lines, large pores or rough spots for an instant smoothing effect. For all skin types.
I’ve seen some mentions about the product size being small for a primer–but it’s not meant to be used like a primer–perhaps a targeted primer, but even NARS describes it as being used before primer or as a blotting agent during the day. It still feels like it’s on the small size based on packaging, but I don’t see using too much per usage either. However, it does very much the same thing as MAC’s Prep + Prime Line Filler ($19.50 for 0.5 fl. oz.) (review here, swatches here), though Line Filler is listed as a primer.
NARS has a better consistency for on-the-go, since it’s almost like the consistency of a candle (yes, a candle!)–it’s thick and solid–but melts a bit when you apply it to the face or use your fingers to apply. It smooths out well against the skin, and it does minimize the appearance of the lines and imperfections on the back of my hand. It can be applied over or under foundation, but I think it may make a nice blot powder alternative, because of the silicone and silica in it, which both will help to give skin a softer, smoother appearance. The whole effect is very much a diffused, soft focus kind of look.
Because this is loaded with silicones, I didn’t (and won’t be) testing it fully on my face any time soon, so this is only a partial review (and why there is no rating) based on testing it on my hand and playing around for consistency and the like. I did notice that my hand slowly but surely made its way back to its usual state of more visible lines and the like after about two to three hours.
I also applied it on top of my cheeks and around my nose to see how it handled pores (I think mine are getting bigger… I never obsessed over them before, but now I feel like they’re about to become black holes and suck all life into them!). Even though I didn’t test it for wear over time, the improvement in my fine lines and pores really just wasn’t significant. It did, however, give my skin a very soft, silky feel when I ran my fingertip over the areas I used the product on, and it had a softer look. Like as if someone blurred the skin there a bit, but the fine lines underneath my eyes were still as noticeable as ever, even if slightly diffused.
If you have the most minute fine lines and just the beginnings of the slightest wrinkle, this may fade those into oblivion, as it does an impressive job on the back of my hand. It just didn’t show up to the party so much on my fine lines. When it came to my pores, the side with the Face Prep looked softer and smoother, but the pores were still there. It worked (hey, NARS doesn’t say it will erase all, just “minimize”), but it’s just not as effective as I’d want it to be in order to justify adding the product into my routine.
Recommendation: This might be a nice product for those with more oily skin or for those with oilier and drier areas where a full-on primer may be too much on drier patches of skin. It’s a product that can be applied both under and over makeup, which is nice, and it could definitely work to help keep the oilies at bay throughout the day. It might be nice if NARS included a little sponge that fit inside the jar for those afternoon touch-ups, though. If you’re looking for something to miraculously fill in your fine lines and shrink your pores to nothing, I think you may be disappointed.
Availability: NARS, Sephora.com
Quick Reviews: Guerlain Champagne Pearl Kiss Kiss Gloss, La Mer The Hydrating Facial Mask, Urban Decay Razor Sharp Finishing Powder
What are quick reviews? I’m glad you asked! Quick reviews are products that I just haven’t gotten around to reviewing but either photographed, swatched, and/or tested.
Guerlain Champagne Pearl (847) Kiss Kiss Gloss ($30.00) is a sheer, sparkly peachy beige with champagne and gold shimmer. It’s definitely a sheer wash of color on lips, but it provides tons of sparkle. I like it better over a lipstick, because it can bring out the depth of a lipstick that way, rather than just being a wash of shimmer on lips. Rating: B+
La Mer ‘The Hydrating Facial’ Mask ($250.00 for 6 applications) is the closest I’ve ever come to feeling like I’m getting a spa facial at home. Granted, I’ve only had about two facials in my entire life, but I felt like I might have spent a little time on cloud nine when I relaxed with this on. There are two parts to the mask–an upper and lower zone–and together they infuse skin with moisture. My skin felt as amazing as it looked, and I definitely wished I had more than one mask to try, ha! The price is steep, but it’s La Mer–not surprising. I still find it completely funny that my Mom, who is not a beauty junkie, LOVES La Mer and says she can tell the difference when she uses something else I’ve given her. At least every gift giving occasion for Mom is easy Rating: B+ — love the product, value drags it down a bit.
Urban Decay Razor Sharp Ultra Definition Finishing Powder ($30.00) is a nice, translucent powder to help set your makeup, but I really hated the delivery system. It annoyed me so much that I only used it twice and completely forgot about it. It’s a sponge that goes over the “nozzle” that disperses the powder. It just strikes me as particularly unsanitary, but aside from that, I much prefer a brush for a delicate, soft application. I feel like this presses more product onto the skin than necessary to set, but it can also smudge or over-blend your makeup if you’re not careful. I tried to twist/pry off the whole contraption on top, but to no avail, and thus why it’s taken me three months to review. Rating: B- — the product itself is decent, the packaging drives me batty.
Benefit Georgia Face Powder ($28.00 for 0.4 oz.) is a pale, warm-toned peachy pressed powder. Benefit describes it as, “Our “just peachy” face powder leaves your complexion warm and vibrant. Georgia is a dream…it’s peaches and cream!”
Georgia is best used as a sheer, all-over powder on light to medium skin-tones. I think darker skin tones will find this can go on ashy or so sheer they’re not sure they’ve put anything on. It’s really good for brightening and warming up lighter skin tones, so it’s actually a very product for barely-there makeup days. When I’m in a rush, this is something I can easily dust on to make my face look a little more alive and less likely I only slept four hours the night before.
I think only the lightest of skin tones will find this useful as a blusher, just because the color is both sheer and pale. In my swatch, there’s only a hint of product that shows up, so you can see that my NC25/30 skin tone starts to get close to the end of the spectrum for this product’s usefulness. I also think that some people go into purchasing this product expecting to use it as a blusher, and then find themselves disappointed by its sheerness. I do like it as an all-over face powder, but it does have shimmer in it, so if you don’t want shimmer all over your face, this isn’t the best choice in all-over powders for you.
Additionally, this can be used as a highlighter on cheeks alone, too. It’s a more versatile product than you’d think, but I think a lot of us just get trapped into expecting a blush and not getting it. Georgia also feels a bit powdery/chalky, which is yet another reason I think it’s not a workable product on darker skin tones. I find this best applies with a stippling brush (like MAC’s 187) all over the face for a light, warmed up look without too much shimmer or product.
By the ounce, Benefit Face Powders/Blush colors are actually cheaper than MAC! Benefit comes in at $70.00/oz. while MAC is $88.10/oz. Benefit Face Powders/Blushes are actually some of the most bang-for-your-buck in the high-end department. The packaging is cute and exactly what I’d expect out of Benefit. Georgia actually does have a light peach scent to it, though it’s not something I notice while wearing the product–only when I sniff the product itself.
Bottom line: It’s not replacing any products I’m already using, and I’d probably be more apt to use it if it provided more of a peachy blush color than an all-over color. I prefer other highlighters and all-over powders with setting qualities, as well. It’s a quality product, but it doesn’t work for everyone, and it’s best used as an easy all-over powder. I think if that’s what you’re looking for, you’d enjoy this product. For others, this is nice, but it isn’t a must-have.
- Product: 25/30
- Value: 9/10
- Ease of Use: 3/5
- Packaging: 4/5
Recommendation: If you’re looking for a sheer, warm-toned all-over powder and you’re light to medium in skintone, this might work for you.
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