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

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: 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

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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 →

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

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

MAC Fashion Sets: Lipstick Review Round-up

In the collection, the lipsticks, on average, were the strongest product. The quality of MAC’s lipstick range is definitely there, particularly with their core, permanent shades. The permanent shades are often overlooked because of the neverending onslaught of limited edition shades coming out each month (and sometimes each week!). Many of these shades have been around for several years and have proven to be bestselling shades for the brand for good reason.  I would recommend the lipstick over the matching lipgloss and nail lacquer for every single shade (which is not to say I recommend every single lipstick, period).

These shades did the best when it came to pigmentation. They’re rich, pigmented, and pretty much opaque across the board, with some being totally and utterly opaque and others being nearly opaque. When it comes to the overall quality and claims, these do well, but some finishes are more drying than others. I don’t find MAC to have moisturizing lipsticks, but for the most part, they are not drying either. Lustres and cremesheen finishes are the most drying for me, while mattes and satins can be slightly drying depending on the individual shade. Frosts are neither drying nor hydrating in my experience.

Generally, lighter shades (think Angel, Myth, Snob, etc.) will not wear as long or as well as richer, deeper shades (think Girl About Town, Rebel, Russian Red, etc.), as those deeper shades (combined with their finish) lead to six hour wear as a result of staining–and staining may be good or bad depending on your preference. Lighter shades typically wear three to four hours with deeper shades lasting four to six hours–and this is based on experience of over a hundred MAC lipsticks over the years. I’m pretty sure it’s way more than that, but I’m not going to guarantee it.

The best shades were:  Girl About Town, Morange, and Russian Red (all As).  Good but not great shades were:  Peachstock, Please Me, Rebel, and Spice.  The most under-performing shades were:  Myth and Razzledazzler.

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

Reviews, Photos, Swatches

The Glossover

coming-soon

MAC Fashion Sets: Lipstick Review Round-up

A-
The quality of MAC's lipstick range is definitely there, particularly with their core, permanent shades. The permanent shades are often overlooked because of the neverending onslaught of limited edition shades coming out each month (and sometimes each week!).

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9/10

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).  All links to the individual posts have been provided above.

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

MAC Spice
MAC Spice Lipstick, Lipglass, Nail Lacquer

MAC Spice Lipglass, Lipstick, Nail Lacquer

The famous Spice Lip Pencil has inspired a MAC Lipstick ($14.50 for 0.10 oz.), Lipglass ($14.50 for 0.17 fl. oz.) and Nail Lacquer ($16.00 for 0.34 fl. oz.) to complement it. This shade is part of the North America and Europe/Africa regions of the collection, so it will only be available both online and in-stores for North American buyers. Spice is described as “mid-tone neutral nude.”

Both the lipgloss and lipstick match very well, and as a result, they also look good layered. Spice is the kind of shade that will change here and there depending on the level and type of pigmentation you have in your natural lip color. Because I have a hint of underlying pink in my natural lip color, the rosy tones of both the lipgloss and lipstick come forth once applied, even though they look less pronounced when swatched against the skin (and likely helped by my yellower undertones in my skin!). While the nail lacquer shares some similarities, it’s significantly lighter, so it doesn’t look the same. It’s much pinker, not as brown or as “nude.”

Spice Lipglass is a medium rosy brown with opaque color coverage.  It applies very evenly and doesn’t settle into lip lines too much at all. MAC Over Indulgence is sheerer, so it looks a bit lighter. MAC Show Me is browner and lacks the rose tones of Spice. MAC Looks Like Sin is a little more berry-colored. (9, 10, 9, 8.5, 4.5, 4; A-)

Spice Lipstick is a medium rosy brown with opaque color coverage. (Not a typo; it’s very nearly the same as the lipgloss!) It has a satin finish, and while the lip pencil is permanent, the lipstick is not (nor are the lipgloss and nail lacquer). MAC Shitaki is browner, sheerer. Guerlain CHant d’Aromes is browner, no rose tones. MAC Viva Glam VI is sheerer and a bit browner. Guerlain Galante is a little redder and darker. (9, 10, 9, 8.5, 4.5, 4; A-)

Spice Nail Lacquer is a rosy brown with an almost jelly-like quality to its finish. It does have a cream finish officially. After two coats, there is still a fair amount of visible nail line. China Glaze Dress Me Up is much browner. Chanel Morning Rose is pinker. Nubar Moire is darker and browner. (8.5, 8.5, 9, 9, 4, 4; B)

MAC Lipsticks are vanilla-scented but taste-free.  Satin finishes like Spice typically wear between four to six hours on me, with lighter shades on the shorter end of the spectrum and deeper, more stain-prone shades on the longer end.  I suspect Spice  will fall somewhere in the middle there.  MAC Lipglasses are also vanilla-scented but taste-free. They are very sticky and have a thick, borderline-goopy consistency. If you prefer gel-like, cushion-y glosses that feel lightweight on, I don’t recommend MAC Lipglass. Because of the tackier texture, MAC Lipglasses do tend to wear a full four hours on me, with some of the darker shades lasting up to six hours (with mostly the color lingering at that point).

Note: I am reviewing each “set” together. After I’ve reviewed all sixteen sets, I will do round-ups for each product type (so all lipsticks together) to deliver an overall Glossover rating. This rating is more indicative of the product type, as the rating that follows this post is an average across three totally different types of products. You can also see the individual scores listed after each product, which are listed in the same order as they are in the Glossover.

The Glossover

product

MAC Spice Lipglass, Lipstick, Nail Lacquer Review, Photos, Swatches

A-
Spice may seem boring, but it can be really flattering. It's nude in a way that doesn't mean pale, pasty, or washed out; it's nude such that it's the kind of hue we see in our natural skin tones. For medium and deeper complexions, it would work well as a go-to shade.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

4.5/5

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Saturday, April 28th, 2012

MAC Snob
MAC Snob Nail Lacquer, Lipglass, Lipstick

MAC Snob Lipglass, Lipstick, Nail Lacquer

MAC Snob Lipstick ($14.50 for 0.10 oz.) has been such a top-seller that it has now inspired a Lipglass ($14.50 for 0.17 fl. oz.) and Nail Lacquer ($16.00 for 0.34 fl. oz.) to complement it. This shade is part of the North America and Latin America/Middle East regions of the collection, so it will only be available both online and in-stores for North American buyers. Snob is described as “light neutral pink.”

The lipgloss is a little warmer, not quite as gray/cool-toned, which is partially due to the semi-opaque color. It has a milkier, paler appearance, too. The nail lacquer is actually the closest to the description of “neutral pink,” as it appears just slightly warm against the lipstick and lipgloss, but it is closer to neutral than it is a warm pink. The nail lacquer doesn’t match the lipstick or lipgloss very well because of the change in undertone.

Snob Lipglass is light pink with a little gray-tinge to it; it looks a bit cool-toned to me, even though MAC describes it as neutral. It applies mostly opaque on lips, but it does settle into lip lines and doesn’t have perfectly even coverage. MAC Angel is much yellower. MAC Enchantee is similar but a little grayer. MAC Infinitely Likeable is grayer, more beige. (8, 8.5, 9, 8.5, 3.5, 4; B)

Snob Lipstick is a cool-toned light-medium pink with a subtle gray-tint. It has a satin finish, and it is part of the permanent range. It yields opaque color coverage, though the texture is just a smidgen drier than other satin finishes. Revlon Strawberry Shortcake is a little pinker and darker but fairly similar. MAC Enchantee is lighter and less blue-based. MAC Dress It Up is less blue-based. MAC All Styled Up is a bit pinker. (9, 10, 9, 8.5, 4, 4; B+)

Snob Nail Lacquer is a slightly warm, mostly neutral light-medium pink with a jelly-like finish, even though it’s officially a cream finish. It’s semi-opaque after two coats, but there is visible nail line. The formula on this was just okay; it was a little thick, and there was some streakiness. MAC Angel is darker and more yellow-toned. Chanel May is darker and more cool-toned. OCC Femme is similar, a touch more yellow-toned. (8, 8, 8.5, 9, 3.5, 4; B-)

MAC Lipsticks are vanilla-scented but taste-free.  Snob wears around four hours, which is fairly typical of satin finishes–some of the deeper, more red/berry shades will last closer to six hours and often stain lips, but Snob’s lighter coloring means it doesn’t stain.  MAC Lipglasses are also vanilla-scented but taste-free. They are very sticky and have a thick, borderline-goopy consistency. If you prefer gel-like, cushion-y glosses that feel lightweight on, I don’t recommend MAC Lipglass. Because of the tackier texture, MAC Lipglasses do tend to wear a full four hours on me, with some of the darker shades lasting up to six hours (with mostly the color lingering at that point).

Note: I am reviewing each “set” together. After I’ve reviewed all sixteen sets, I will do round-ups for each product type (so all lipsticks together) to deliver an overall Glossover rating. This rating is more indicative of the product type, as the rating that follows this post is an average across three totally different types of products. You can also see the individual scores listed after each product, which are listed in the same order as they are in the Glossover.

The Glossover

product

MAC Snob Lipglass, Lipstick, Nail Lacquer Review, Photos, Swatches

B
I wish the nail lacquer performed better (the lack of opacity was one thing, but the streaky application is more difficult to overlook), because it's a very flattering shade across skin tones, and it is a work-friendly shade with a little more pop. The lipglass was the worst out of the three.

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

3.5/5

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Saturday, April 28th, 2012

MAC Saint Germain
MAC Saint Germain Lipstick, Lipglass, Nail Lacquer

MAC Saint Germain Lipglass, Lipstick, Nail Lacquer

MAC Saint Germain Lipstick ($14.50 for 0.10 oz.) has been such a top-seller that it has now inspired a Lipglass ($14.50 for 0.17 fl. oz.) and Nail Lacquer ($16.00 for 0.34 fl. oz.) to complement it. This shade is part of the Asia Pacific and Europe/Africa regions of the collection, so it will only be available online for North American buyers. Saint Germain is described as “light cool pink.”

The lipgloss is slightly lighter, and because it’s not as opaque, the two definitely don’t look the same when applied. The nail lacquer is blue-based as well, and it’s just a smidgen darker than the lipstick and lipgloss, but it is pretty close. When you layer the lipgloss over the lipstick, the result is a slightly pinker color overall, because the lipgloss is just a bit lighter. The gloss creates a more uneven appearance, though; kind of looks like air bubbles in a way.

Saint Germain Lipglass is a milky pale cool-toned pink. It is semi-opaque, but it applies fairly unevenly and settles into lip lines quite a bit. This is not a gloss that looks really good on its own, so it is best layered over a more opaque product. MAC Pink Nouveau is darker, not quite as cool-toned. NARS Coeur Sucre is darker. MAC Enchantee isn’t as pink or as cool-toned. (6.5, 8, 8.5, 8, 3, 4; C)

Saint Germain Lipstick is a pale pink that’s very blue-based, so it almost looks a little lilac-pink. It has an amplified creme finish, and it is part of the permanent range. The color coverage is opaque. MAC Pink Friday is just a little darker. MAC Viva Glam Gaga is not as blue-based. MAC Snob isn’t as blue-based and almost has a gray-tint in comparison. MAC All Styled Up is pinker, not as cool-toned. (9, 10, 9, 8.5, 4.5, 4; A-)

Saint Germain Nail Lacquer is a light-medium pink with blue undertones. It was mostly opaque after two coats, but the formula was incredibly streaky, even on the second coat. It was on the thicker side, so it did pool a little bit along the sides. Zoya Rory is similar in color but has a lot of shimmer/glitter. MAC Pinkly Fresh is lighter and not as blue-based. Essie French Affair is lighter, less blue-based. MAC Ice Cream Cake is the closest, but it’s a bit darker–it shares the same strength of cool undertones, though. (7, 8.5, 8, 9, 3, 4; C+)

MAC Lipsticks are vanilla-scented but taste-free.  I usually get four to six hours of wear out of Amplified Creme finishes, but Saint Germain is on the shorter end of that, because of its pale, light color.  It tends to look a bit chalky as the wear goes on, as the subtle sheen wears away faster than the color does.  MAC Lipglasses are also vanilla-scented but taste-free. They are very sticky and have a thick, borderline-goopy consistency. If you prefer gel-like, cushion-y glosses that feel lightweight on, I don’t recommend MAC Lipglass. Because of the tackier texture, MAC Lipglasses do tend to wear a full four hours on me, with some of the darker shades lasting up to six hours (with mostly the color lingering at that point).

Note: I am reviewing each “set” together. After I’ve reviewed all sixteen sets, I will do round-ups for each product type (so all lipsticks together) to deliver an overall Glossover rating. This rating is more indicative of the product type, as the rating that follows this post is an average across three totally different types of products. You can also see the individual scores listed after each product, which are listed in the same order as they are in the Glossover.

The Glossover

product

MAC Saint Germain Lipglass, Lipstick, Nail Lacquer Review, Photos, Swatches

B-
Saint Germain has always been one of those colors that readers either really love or really hate. Despite the light, pale color, it's very bold--because of that strong blue undertone that makes it look brighter on the lips. It can be tougher to pull off but with a really dark smoky eye, it can be lovely. The lipgloss and nail lacquer are skips for me--the quality is not there.

Product

7.5/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

3.5/5

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