Thursday, May 17th, 2012


MAC Crew Highlight Powder

MAC Crew Highlight Powder

MAC Crew Highlight Powder ($29.00 for 0.35 oz.) is a multi-colored highlighting powder that has three primary shades: soft peach-orange with an almost matte finish, subtly yellow-toned light-medium pink with a satin-like finish, and a cool-toned pink-lilac with a satin finish. There’s also creamy beige hue, but this is an overlay of color and does not go all the way through. I made two gouges in the product to see how the colors went through, and it seemed like each main color is really what’s underneath a 1-2mm layer of the creamy beige. The composition of this reminded me of Benefit Sugarbomb and Benefit Hervana.

When the product is swirled together, the end result is a coral-tinted pink with yellow undertones. It looked a bit chalky against my skin tone when I swatched it, but it was less chalky applied to my cheeks. I think the lighter color paired with a slightly matte finish gives it a drier look, which translates into chalky on my medium skin tone. There is a very faint satin sheen, but it’s incredibly subtle. For those who love more shimmery, metallic highlighters, this is on the opposite end. MAC Flower Fantasy is lighter and shimmery. Chanel Brompton Road is lighter. Chanel Blush Horizon de Chanel is darker, yellower. Benefit Hervana is similar but more coral, lighter. Chanel Pink Cloud is lighter, less pink. MAC Stunner is darker, warmer. Burberry Peony is a smidgen darker and warmer.

The texture is soft, smooth, and finely-milled.  If you want to use it as a blusher, it’s certainly do-able, even on medium skin tones.  I don’t know if this genuinely highlights as it does brightens and adds some natural color to the cheeks that’s not too warm, so it’s instantly brightening and should be flattering on both cool and warm undertones.  It wore around eight hours on my cheeks before staring to fade around the edges.

The Glossover

LE
product

Crew

A-
If you want to use it as a blusher, it's certainly do-able, even on medium skin tones.  I don't know if this genuinely highlights as it does brightens and adds some natural color to the cheeks that's not too warm, so it's instantly brightening and should be flattering on both cool and warm undertones.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

4.5/5

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Thursday, May 17th, 2012


MAC Hey, Sailor! Gone Sailing Tote

MAC Hey, Sailor! Gone Sailing Tote

MAC Hey, Sailor! Gone Sailing Tote ($45.00) is a 10″ by 20″ navy-striped tote bag that cinches with a “gold” rope. It has faux leather on the bottom and along the top inch and a half of the tote with a glossy red interior for the same inch and a half (the rest is just the interior canvas of the navy-striped exterior).  The canvas portion isn’t super, super heavy, but it seems thick and durable enough for its purpose.  I bought one for myself, because I collect MAC’s summer totes just in hopes that I can fit Mellan into one of them, but then I received one from their press office this morning–so watch for a giveaway that includes the one I bought soon :)

MAC Hey, Sailor! Gone Sailing Makeup Bag Set($35.00) includes two coordinating navy-striped makeup bags. The smaller one is about 4″ by 5 1/2″, while the larger one is 5″ by 10 1/2″. They’re looped together with a “gold” rope and clip. Each bag has a “gold” zipper pull and metallic-navy nylon interior (well, feels like nylon to me). The exterior is thin canvas, and the area right by the zipper is patent red.  The makeup bags felt a little cheaper to me, and I don’t think they’d stand up to any heavy spills or the like. They should hold up fine with lighter usage.

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Thursday, May 17th, 2012


MAC Vestral White Nail Lacquer

MAC Vestral White Nail Lacquer

MAC Vestral White Nail Lacquer ($17.00 for 0.34 fl. oz.) is described as a “creamy white.” It’s a stark white cream. NARS Ecume is similar. China Glaze Snow is a bit cooler-toned. Nubar White Peony is warmer.  You might even consider White-Out (thanks Brooke!), because the way this applied reminded me of being in elementary school when girls would apply White-Out like it was nail polish during class–dry, chalky, and oh-so-streaky.  It’s mostly opaque after two coats, but it’s not even.

It’s not really a shocker, given that this was an awful polish when it came out two years ago (and talk about time flying by–two years ago, you could grab this for a measly $12!). It’s disappointing, though, that there were no improvements made to this formula, because it was particularly bad. It’s still runny, kind of watery (make sure to mix this one really, really well–it settles and gets extremely watery easily), and a streak-fest. The first coat was extremely streaky, and though I tried to do a thicker second coat to hide that initial coat, it couldn’t and pooled a bit around the sides and was slightly streaky even on the second coat.

It’s funny (not really), but MAC used to only increase prices by a dollar for special packaging when it was a collaboration, like when they worked with Disney on Venomous Villains, but they’ve been tacking a little extra on for anything in special packaging these days. MAC is certainly moving into a high-end price point, given that NARS’ polish retails for this much. (And many, many niche polish brands like Deborah Lippmann, Butter London, etc. are at this price point or less!)

The Glossover

LE
coming-soon

Vestral White

F
It's about as streaky as I remember White-Out being during elementary school! It's streaky, uneven pigmentation, runny, and watery, which all contributed to a really horrendous application and result. There are far superior versions of white creams available on the market.

Product

3/10

Pigmentation

7.5/10

Texture

4/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

2/5

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Thursday, May 17th, 2012


MAC Hey, Sailor Pigments in Naval Blue and Old Gold

MAC Hey, Sailor Pigments

MAC Hey, Sailor Pigments ($21.00 for 0.15 oz.) include two shades: Naval Blue (deep smoky blue) and Old Gold (high frosted tarnished gold).  They are in special packaging with the naval stripes wrapping around the clear jar and have a glossy navy blue cap (as compared to the rubberized black cap of the regular packaging).  These were actually more user-friendly to use and didn’t seem to spill as much as the regular packaging, oddly enough.  Please note that neither shade is recommended for use in the lip area.

  • Naval Blue is a dark navy blue with a hint of purple–all of the blues in this launch seem to have this kiss of purple–that makes it a real pain to photograph, because sometimes it looks purpler than it ought! It’s similar to MAC Blue Storm, which came out this past fall (and was a repromote then). It’s also similar to Givenchy Lune Mordoree. For a more in-depth review, please read this review from February :) This shade is permanent at PRO stores.
  • Old Gold is a dirty brown-gold with a green flash. It’s softer, browner, and less metallic when applied dry. I couldn’t think of a dupe that has the same green tinge, but there are a few that resemble the gold hue. Maybelline Bold Gold is browner, less warm. NARS Paramaribo is similar but darker. Make Up For Ever #11 is greener, less brown. OCC Cruising is darker and browner. Le Metier de Beaute Chameleon is more muted, browner.

MAC Pigments are supposed to be long-wearing with special ingredients that enable it to adhere to the skin. I’ve tried several different shades damp over bare skin, and I typically get around eight hours of wear with minor creasing and fading. I prefer to use Pigments with MAC’s Mixing Medium, which is an adhesive base, and then I see flawless wear even after twelve hours. Over an eyeshadow primer, the wear is just about as good. Pigments can be used wet or dry, though they tend to intensify in color and in finish when applied damp or wet–but they do retain those qualities even after it dries.

P.S. — Because of the special packaging, MAC has tacked on an extra dollar, so if you have access to the permanent versions in regular packaging, those are $20 each.

The Glossover

P
product

Naval Blue

B+
MAC makes an excellent loose color product if you combine it with a wet or adhesive base, because they have a good formula that enables the color to bind well when damp and stay vibrant all day--but when used dry or alone, they tend to under-perform.

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

4/5

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Sunday, April 29th, 2012

MAC Russian Red Trio
MAC Pink Nouveau Lipglass over Lipstick; Nail Lacquer

MAC Fashion Sets: Nail Lacquer Review Round-up

MAC is not known for an excellent nail polish formula. Sometimes they do it right, but they often create some major misses that tend to suffer from too thin/too thick consistencies, streaking, and poor pigmentation. As is generally the case, the set of sixteen matching nail lacquers was a mixed bag but with more winners than real losers. Pigmentation wasn’t a problem with most of the shades, but I found several of them to be on the streakier side with some more readily covered with a thicker second coat. There were also a handful of shades that were lovely to apply!

The other downside was that a few of the nail lacquers did not match well with the lipstick/lipgloss (Angel, Impassioned, Razzledazzler, Rebel, Snob, and Spice were among the least matching, particularly in tone, not just slightly lighter/darker).

I think MAC has accelerated the price point of their nail lacquers far too quickly–$16 is more than a lipstick or a gloss! It’s $2 less than NARS, the same or $2 less than Deborah Lippmann (depending on the type of polish, as some of hers are $16 and others are $18), $2 MORE than Illamasqua (one of the best polish formulas I’ve ever tried), and $2 more than Butter London. And frankly? At that price tag, MAC is giving you less than the brands I just mentioned–0.34 fl. oz. vs. 0.50 fl. oz. 0.50 fl. oz. is the standard lacquer size (China Glaze, Essie, OPI, etc. all have this size as well). This formula needs to be on point to command a $16 price tag when there are nail polish niche brands where all they do is nail polish have excellent formulas.  The nail lacquers have increased in price faster than other comparable price points at MAC (e.g. lipsticks, glosses, and eyeshadows go up $0.50 every year).

I very specifically removed price from the overall rating so that a $30 formula can be compared to a $3 formula with no boost/decrease because of the price–you are the only one who can decide what is too expensive, just right, or not worth it. As a buyer, I’m most interested in quality, and then I’ll figure out if the quality-to-price-ratio is worth it to me or maybe the color is so original that I’m willing to pay a higher price — or maybe it’s so cheap that I’ll accept that it streaks or is powdery. I try to shed light on situations where the price seems out of line with the brand’s position in the market, against competitors, or if the price/quantity ratio is unusually low or high.

MAC’s lacquers are packaged in a cylindrical bottle (though it has some tapering) and a rubberized cap, and this type of cap normally brings packaging scores up to 5/5, but because it’s awkward to hold (it’s stubby and oddly shaped when gripped), it ends up being a wash. Though it has been an issue in the past, I didn’t have any problems with the brush–they all seemed fine and didn’t have any splaying issues.

The best shades were: Chestnut, Girl About Town, Morange, Pink Nouveau, and Russian Red (A). A good but not great shade was Impassioned (A-). The most under-performing shades were: Saint Germain (C+) and Snob (B-). The rest were middle-of-the-road shades with mostly Bs and a few B+s.

Availability: Based on the information I have received from MAC, the distribution of these shades is regional. I cannot confirm the extent of non-regional shades being available online for your region (e.g. whether all of these will be available on the UK website). I can confirm only that for North America, all shades are available for purchase online. Only the North America-specific shades will be available in-stores on May 3rd, 2012. Select Macy’s will also carry Latin America & Middle East region-specific shades.

North America: Chestnut, Girl About Town, Myth, Rebel, Russian Red, Snob, Spice; all are limited edition at this time, but MAC will be adding Girl About Town and Snob to the permanent range in July
Asia Pacific: Angel, Morange, Impassioned, Peachstock, Ravishing, Razzledazzler, Saint Germain; all are limited edition at this time, but MAC will be adding Girl About Town, Impassioned, Morange, Saint Germain, and Snob to the permanent range in July
Europe & Africa: Impassioned, Morange, Myth, Rebel, Russian Red, Saint Germain, Spice; all are limited edition at this time, but MAC will be adding Impassioned, Morange, and Saint Germain, to the permanent range in July
Latin America & Middle East: Girl About Town, Impassioned, Morange, Pink Nouveau, Please Me, Russian Red, Snob; all are limited edition at this time, but MAC will be adding Girl About Town, Impassioned, Morange, and Snob to the permanent range in July

Reviews, Photos, Swatches

The Glossover

coming-soon

MAC Fashion Sets: Nail Lacquer Review Round-up

B+
One major downside was that a few of the nail lacquers did not match well with the lipstick/lipgloss (Angel, Impassioned, Razzledazzler, Rebel, Snob, and Spice were among the least matching, particularly in tone, not just slightly lighter/darker). I think this is important, because the concept of the collection is very matchy-matchy, you know? Being a little lighter/darker is acceptable, but getting the undertone wrong is less so.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

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Please note that the photos included in this post are for summary purposes only–there are four additional photos for each lipstick shade that have been excluded in this post but are available in the set’s original post: one product photos, one swatch (diffused flash), and two swatches (studio lighting).

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

MAC Russian Red Trio
MAC Girl About Town Lipglass over Lipstick; Nail Lacquer

MAC Fashion Sets: Lipglass Review Round-up

Of the sixteen Lipglasses in this launch, it ended up being a mixed bag. A lot of the common problems seen from the thicker formula of Lipglass came up, and these tend to be seen more often in lighter, milkier shades. These lighter shades tend to apply unevenly and settle into lip lines. Darker shades tended to be more opaque and less problematic, though the less opaque they were, the more unevenly they applied.

Lipglass is a heavier, thicker, and very sticky formula (it is often my benchmark for how sticky a gloss is–many readers have experience with the formula, so it often works as a global reference point), which doesn’t mean that it’s bad, but I know that it specifically does not appeal to some for those very reasons. I think the thickness could probably be improved upon as more and more glosses have come out and have a lighter feel that’s more comfortable and wears just as long and as well–it’s more a sign of improved and more refined formulas in the past decade. MAC has shown it themselves with their gloss extensions and limited edition formulas.

This opinion does not change or have any impact on the overall rating, which is about the product and its quality and relevant metrics in relation to quality. I don’t think the lipglosses are necessary if you own or love the lipstick version and do not typically wear gloss alone or are only really seeking out the gloss to pair with the lipstick. The lipsticks are very opaque on their own, so they do not need a semi-opaque or opaque gloss on top to help it along. What the glosses really do is add glossiness, which can be achieved with clear gloss. If you want to mix your favorite lipstick-now-gloss shade with other lipsticks or wear it on its own, then some of the shades can certainly be worth purchasing.

The top-performing shades were: Girl About Town, Impassioned, Morange, Russian Red, and Spice (A- — no lipgloss received an A). Good but not great shades were: Angel, Please Me, Rebel (B+). The most under-performing shades were: Saint Germain (C); Chestnut and Myth (B-).

Availability: Based on the information I have received from MAC, the distribution of these shades is regional. I cannot confirm the extent of non-regional shades being available online for your region (e.g. whether all of these will be available on the UK website). I can confirm only that for North America, all shades are available for purchase online. Only the North America-specific shades will be available in-stores on May 3rd, 2012. Select Macy’s will also carry Latin America & Middle East region-specific shades.

North America: Chestnut, Girl About Town, Myth, Rebel, Russian Red, Snob, Spice; only Russian Red is permanent
Asia Pacific: Angel, Morange, Impassioned, Peachstock, Ravishing, Razzledazzler, Saint Germain; all shades are limited edition
Europe & Africa: Impassioned, Morange, Myth, Rebel, Russian Red, Saint Germain, Spice; only Russian Red is permanent
Latin America & Middle East: Girl About Town, Impassioned, Morange, Pink Nouveau, Please Me, Russian Red, Snob; only Russian Red is permanent

Reviews, Photos, Swatches

The Glossover

coming-soon

MAC Fashion Sets: Lipglass Review Round-up

B
I would stay away from some of the lighter, milkier glosses that are on the opaque side (sheerer is better for lighter shades), but the more opaque, darker shades may be worth checking out if you want to wear it over non-matching lipsticks or on its own.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Please note that the photos included in this post are for summary purposes only–there are four additional photos for each lipstick shade that have been excluded in this post but are available in the set’s original post: two product photos, one lip swatch (diffused flash), and one lip swatch (studio lighting).

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →