Saturday, July 2nd, 2011

MAC Semi-Precious Brushes: 128, 179, 234, 235 Review

Above is a video review and comparison of the upcoming Semi-Precious brushes. I thought that a video would better illustrate size and how they stack up (both in size and shape) to existing brushes.

My overall take on these brushes is that they’re nice but unnecessary. The split effect is unusual but doesn’t seem to be all that useful. I don’t think that these were meant to be gimmicky, but after using them, that’s how the split fibre technique seems.   If you’re expecting one of these brushes to revolutionize your makeup routine, you may be disappointed.  If you’re looking for a particular size/shape and one of these matches that, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.  You won’t enjoy much of the split effect if you tend to use the point or edge of your brush, rather than the side.

They feel well-constructed from me, but I can’t vouch for longevity, given I have only had these for a few days.  The ferrules seem sturdy and tight around the bristles.  I had some bristles splayed around the edges of the 179, but the other three brushes were fine.  I did not experience any bleeding dye or post-wash smells.  All four brushes felt exceptionally soft, and none of them felt scratchy during application.  On the handles, all four have “China” imprinted, compared to Japan or France for many (if not all) of the permanent brushes.

I see the 234 being the most popular of the bunch, just because it shares a lot of similarities with the 217, which is one of the more popular brushes.  The 128 is a good size to add to one’s stash of cheek brushes, but it doesn’t replace anything I already have (and I don’t see myself reaching for it).   I am curious to see if that will cause each side to separate a little over time.  Right now, the split is really seamless.

These seem more like specialty brushes, which mean that they function but for particular purposes.  I see them less as becoming a new staple brush in your collection as something you buy with an exact purpose in mind.  MAC has other brushes with well-defined purposes in their permanent line-up, so I would think of these in a similar way.   One doesn’t need every brush MAC makes, but you might find a certain brush more useful than another based on what your needs are.

  • 128 Split Fibre Cheek Brush is a nice brush for smaller cheeks, though it feels a little too dense to apply blush as well as I like the application from the 116. It is very similar in size to the 109 and even to an extent, the shape, but obviously flattened. It’s a densely-packed brush.
  • 179 Angled Split Fibre Buffer Brush is incredibly soft and moves well across the skin. It also feels huge when I use it. I’m not sure just how much utility there is here, compared to a normal buffing brush. I did notice more-than-expected splaying of bristles around the edges after two washes.
  • 234 Split Fibre Eye Blending Brush seems to be the most useful of the four brushes. I could see using both sides separately but with the same color–say picking up the product with the natural side and then blending with the synthetic side. It is reminiscent of the 217 but not quite as fluffy or as rounded.
  • 235 Split Fibre All Over Eye Brush is like the 214 and 239 had an over-sized baby. Personally, I find the brush too big to be of much use for my eye area. I wouldn’t say I have particularly small eyes (I wouldn’t say I have large ones, either!). It could work well for applying a wash of a single color; perhaps laying down a cream eyeshadow with one side and blending the edges with the other.

To view still photos of these brushes, please see this post.

Thursday, June 30th, 2011


MAC Dark Indulgence Mineralize Eyeshadow

MAC Semi-Precious: Mineralize Eyeshadows (Part 3)

There are three more MAC Mineralize Eyeshadows ($20.00 for 0.07 oz.) included in the Semi-Precious collection: Dark Indulgence (melange of forest green and black), Faux Gold (melange of coral, gold, lime, and bronze), and Quartz Fusion (melange of soft pink, silver, and deep pink).

  • Dark Indulgence is a blackened forest green whether used dry or wet, but when it is applied wet, the metallic sheen is more pronounced, making the overall shade look a little brighter. MAC She Who Dares has a grittier texture because it is more of a glitter finish than shimmer finish, and it also has a lot of gold shimmer, which makes it more of a yellow-based green and more reflective. They’re not completely different, but there are some gaps. Inglot #414 is similar but more reflective, so the base doesn’t seem as black. It is also similar to MAC Greengrease Greasepaint Stick, but it is more pigmented.
  • Faux Gold is a muted coppery brown with warm undertones. It’s softer and sheerer when used dry. It is lighter than MAC Antiqued but darker than MAC Amber Lights (which appears more golden). Milani Fusion seemed similar but it’s not as coppery. It’s actually a bit like Urban Decay Shag, but it seems a touch redder in undertone.
  • Quartz Fusion is a sheer raspberry pink when used dry, and then it’s more of a raspberry pink when applied damp. It’s very, very gritty from the chunky glitter that dominates the pan. It tended to apply unevenly when I swatched it.

Quartz Fusion is an absolute miss for me; the chunky glitter gets everywhere. It’s also rather underwhelming when used dry–sheer, almost dirty looking, compared to the color achieved when used wet. Dark Indulgence is the best of these three:  great color payoff with a soft and smooth texture.  The wear would still be a concern even for a shade like Dark Indulgence, but it gets high marks on the other rating criteria.  Faux Gold is somewhere in the middle–slightly sheer when used dry but overall, the texture is smooth and payoff is decent to good.

In this overall review, Quartz Fusion really brings down the overall rating of the other two here, which is why I tend to review products individually so each can stand on its own merits, rather than being pushed down (or buffered by) other shades.

Please make sure you check out my full review on the eyeshadows, as this post does not fully address the pros/cons of the overall formula.

The Glossover

product

MAC Semi-Precious Mineralize Eyeshadows Swatches, Photos, Reviews (Part 3)

C+
Dark Indulgence is certainly better than C+ overall (think B+), while Faux Gold is more like a B-, but it is Quartz Fusion, however, that brings the overall rating down, because on its own, it would be a F.

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

7/10

Application

3.5/5

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Thursday, June 30th, 2011

MAC Crystal Pink Mineralize Skinfinish
MAC Crystal Pink Mineralize Skinfinish

MAC Semi-Precious: Crystal Pink Mineralize Skinfinish

MAC Feeling Flush Mineralize Skinfinish ($28.00 for 0.22 oz.) is described as a “pink champagne base with inner circle of pink, mid-tone green, and bronze.” When I swirled the center splotch together, I ended up with a muted, slightly rosy tan with subtle gold shimmer. The outer edge is a pinked champagne. On my skin tone (NC25/NC30), it’s mostly sheen, but it does lighten a bit. It’s a cooler-toned highlight, which makes it interesting, since a lot of highlighters can be warmer. Still really bummed (and a little puzzled) over the major reduction in product here–past MSFs have been 0.33 oz., while this is only 0.22 oz.

It’s not glittery like Rose Quartz, but the sheen on this one is quite pronounced, so I would recommend using a light hand–I actually applied this using the 131, and it was still quite glowy when stippled on.  I do like that it is smooth, though, so it doesn’t emphasize skin imperfections  as much as some mineralize skinfinishes do.  Pigmentation is as expected based on the softness of the overall color in the pan.

The outer layer is a lighter, rosier version of MAC By Candlelight but probably not as pink as Porcelain Pink. The swirled result is like a rosy version of Belightful.

If you missed any of our previous Semi-Precious coverage, check out this round-up.

The Glossover

LE
product

Crystal Pink

B+
The center portion of this mineralize skinfinish is very interesting--really, green?--and yet when it is all swirled together, it's much more workable.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

4/5

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Thursday, June 30th, 2011

MAC Warmth of Coral Mineralize Blush
MAC Warmth of Coral Mineralize Blush

MAC Semi-Precious: Warmth of Coral Mineralize Blush

MAC Warmth of Coral Mineralize Blush ($23.00 for 0.10 oz.) is described as a “melange of coral and peach.” It’s more coral, peach, and orange to me–to stretch it, maybe a darkened peach? When mixed (not that you can really separate out veins in this blush), it’s a warm, medium peach-orange. I did notice that it doesn’t show up very well on my NC25/NC30 complexion; it blends out very easily and ends up looking so subtle that I wasn’t even sure I was wearing it.

The powder is very finely-milled with a silky smooth feel that works beautifully with the skin, because it sits naturally and the soft, satiny sheen allows for a subtle reflection of light without it being shimmery.  As previously mentioned, the wear time of mineralize blushes is below average from my testing–around six hours–while average is eight hours.

MAC Utterly Game is softer and has a powdery look to it in comparison. It seems a little more on the peach side than Illamasqua Lover. There is a subtle difference in depth as compared to My Highland Honey.

If you missed any of our previous Semi-Precious coverage, check out this round-up.

The Glossover

LE
product

Warmth of Coral

B-
I wish MAC's mineralize blushes did better in the wear department, because the finishes of the Semi-Precious Mineralize Blushes is really fantastic. Warmth of Coral seems most suitable for light to medium skin tones.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

7.5/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

7/10

Application

4/5

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Friday, June 24th, 2011


MAC Jade’s Fortune Mineralize Eyeshadow

MAC Semi-Precious Mineralize Eyeshadows Swatches, Photos, Reviews (Part 2)

MAC Semi-Precious Mineralize Eyeshadows ($19.50 for 0.07 oz.) includes twelve, limited edition shades: Blue Sheen (melange of navy, black, peach), Clarity (melange of light pink, off-white green, gold, and black), Dark Indulgence (melange of forest green and black), Faux Gold (melange of coral, gold, lime, bronze), Golden Gaze (melange of gold and black), Hint of Sapphire (melange of pink, violet, teal, copper, blue), Jade’s Fortune (melange of bright yellow, blue, lime, black), Mineral Mode (melange of white base with copper and gray), Quartz Fusion (melange of soft pink, silver, deep pink), Rare Find (melange of violet, brown, gold), Smoked Ruby (melange of burgundy and black), and Unsurpassable (melange of green, teal, purple, and copper). This post features Jade’s Fortune, Mineral Mode, Rare Find, Smoked Ruby, and Unsurpassable in the next post. I do not currently have Dark Indulgence, Faux Gold, or Quartz Fusion, and I will post those when I am able to purchase them.

  • Jade’s Fortune is a sheer charcoal gray with a hint of green sheen when applied dry. When applied wet, it’s a deep charcoal gray with a silvery-teal sheen and purple shimmer-glitter dominates. It is interesting how it really doesn’t have much green to it at all, despite how green it looks in the pan. I think I re-swatched this four or five times at my desk. It is similar to Clarity, even though they look totally different in their pots. It’s more faceted with multi-colored shimmer but the base color is very similar to Inglot #451.
  • Mineral Mode is a sheer, darkened rosy pink when applied dry. It’s more opaque and has a brighter metallic sheen when applied dry, but the color itself is similar. Giorgio Armani #7 is pinker but similar, while Inglot #399 is even pinker but still has some similarity, and Urban Decay Scratch is a little lighter, less rosy.
  • Rare Find is a slightly sheered plum purple with multi-colored shimmer when applied dry. When applied wet, it’s a darker, grayer purple with less plum. The multi-colored shimmer seems less apparent when it is used wet. Inglot #445 is pinker, Bare Escentuals Chroma Violet seems rather comparable but in cream form, MAC Azuki Bean is similar but has less depth, and theBalm Curvy Cami is a little lighter/more mauve.
  • Smoked Ruby is a really rich, luxurious blackened brown with a burgundy-brown shimmer and sheen. This is one of the best shades of the nine I’ve tried. The pigmentation and depth are the same whether it is used dry or wet. I couldn’t find any great dupes for this shade. Make Up For Ever #162 is similar in the burgundy-brown aspect but it’s still quite different (no shimmer, no black). It’s more like a combination of MAC Sexpectations and MAC Centre Stage.
  • Unsurpassable is a semi-sheer springy green with copper-bronze sparkle when applied dry. When applied wet, it comes together a bit more, so it’s more opaque, but it has a grittier texture because it is loaded with sparkle. It’s a little less green than Urban Decay Urb (but hey! they share the same glittery issues), while theBalm Makeout Mary has a similar feel, it is darker and greener.

For a detailed review of the formula, please see part one.

The reason the rating for this set is rather different from part one is that the only real gem here is Smoked Ruby, while three others (Jade’s Fortune, Mineral Mode, Unsurpassable) are rather sheer when used dry–more so than you would expect.  Rare Find doesn’t have stellar color payoff when used dry, but it is decent.  The texture of Jade’s Fortune and Unsurpassable is a little on the gritty side from the larger shimmer/glitter particles.  Rare Find is much more of a low B-level shade, while Smoked Ruby is more of an A-level shade.  The discrepancies you see here in the post that ultimately result in a more muddled rating is why I prefer to review products individually, rather than several shades all at once.

The Glossover

product

MAC Semi-Precious Mineralize Eyeshadows Swatches, Photos, Reviews (Part 2)

C
Within this set of five, Smoked Ruby is the real standout. Really rich in color, complexity, and the texture is divine. Jade's Fortune, Mineral Mode, and Unsurpassable are all rather sheer when used wet, while Jade's Fortune and Unsurpassable have a larger sparkle in them that makes them more prone to fall out. Mineral Mode has more of a shimmer-sheen, so it is more workable even when sheer.

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

7/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

7/10

Application

3.5/5

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Friday, June 24th, 2011


MAC Semi-Precious Mineralize Eyeshadows

MAC Semi-Precious Mineralize Eyeshadows Swatches, Photos, Reviews (Part 1)

MAC Semi-Precious Mineralize Eyeshadows ($20.00 for 0.07 oz.) includes twelve, limited edition shades: Blue Sheen (melange of navy, black, peach), Clarity (melange of light pink, off-white green, gold, and black), Dark Indulgence (melange of forest green and black), Faux Gold (melange of coral, gold, lime, bronze), Golden Gaze (melange of gold and black), Hint of Sapphire (melange of pink, violet, teal, copper, blue), Jade’s Fortune (melange of bright yellow, blue, lime, black), Mineral Mode (melange of white base with copper and gray), Quartz Fusion (melange of soft pink, silver, deep pink), Rare Find (melange of violet, brown, gold), Smoked Ruby (melange of burgundy and black), and Unsurpassable (melange of green, teal, purple, and copper). This post features Blue Sheen, Clarity, Golden Gaze, and Hint of Sapphire. I will post Jade’s Fortune, Mineral Mode, Rare Find, Smoked Ruby, and Unsurpassable in the next post. I do not currently have Dark Indulgence, Faux Gold, or Quartz Fusion, and I will post those when I am able to purchase them.

  • Blue Sheen is a blackened navy blue with a blue and violet sheen when applied dry, and it takes on a much bolder, brighter midnight blue with a slightly metallic sheen when applied wet. This is the kind of blue MAC has released several times in the past. It is very comparable to Inglot #428 and Make Up For Ever #308, while it is deeper than MAC Deep Truth. Make Up For Ever #81 is very similar to the dry swatch. It is deeper and has a richer blue than MAC Blue Flame or MAC She Who Dares.
  • Clarity is a barely-there green-tinged gray with flecks of green and gold shimmer-sparkle when applied dry. It’s not very useful when applied dry–there is just so little color payoff. When applied wet, it’s a deeper charcoal gray with green and gold shimmer and slightly metallic sheen. The most comparable shade I could think of was Inglot #444, but it’s browner and has no real green shimmer/sparkle.
  • Golden Gaze is a dark, molten gold with a black base peeking through. It’s very similar in color whether used dry or wet, and when used dry, it still has fantastic color payoff. It tends to bind better and therefore have a smoother, more metallic sheen when applied wet. Urban Decay Rush is a little bronzer, less gold. I saw some readers mention Giorgio Armani Khaki Pulse, but this is nothing like it. It has some of the same qualities as Make Up For Ever #148, but it is deeper, darker, richer. This is one of the standout shades of the nine I’ve seen. It’s most comparable to MAC Gilt by Association, but it has a stronger gold sheen and a much smoother texture.
  • Hint of Sapphire is a sheer purple-casted gray with multi-colored flecks of shimmer when used dry. Like Clarity, there really isn’t much to it when used dry. When applied wet, it is a deeper silvered gray with a purple cast and teal and copper shimmer. I found it applied a bit unevenly, though. It’s a darker version of the purple side of MAC Midnight Madness, while MAC Polar Opposites is less silvery but rather similar in color. Inglot #434 is very similar, without the multi-colored shimmer, while Giorgio Armani #1 does it better with more dimension that actually translates on the eye (and far better color payoff).

Every year, I fall prey to mineralize eyeshadows. Truly, I do. They always look spectacular in their pots, but I’m nearly always disappointed with the actual end results. I wish I could say I was really impressed by these, but overall, they’re decent to good, but they’re not the best eyeshadow I’ve ever used. Whenever I use mineralize eyeshadows wet, they do dry down to a color that’s in-between the dry and wet swatches. The majority do not retain the dimension, color payoff, or finish of the wet swatch after an hour or two. It’s not like the go from hero to zero, but it’s not quite the same.

I did two separate eye looks so I could test more eyeshadows within the same time span. I wore Jade’s Fortune, Golden Gaze, and Smoked Ruby on one eye with Hint of Sapphire and Blue Sheen on the other eye. After three hours, everything looked a little faded, with Hint of Sapphire being the biggest culprit. I also had a fair amount of fall out, and for me, the fall out was more annoying than the fading. The fading was noticeable to me, but it wasn’t over-the-top and it didn’t get much worse by the eighth hour.  One possible method to combat some of the fall out of these is to use a stickier base (I used Urban Decay’s Eden) or when using them wet, wet with MAC’s Mixing Medium.

With mineralize eyeshadows, I think it’s appropriate to expect that color payoff will tend to be sheerer/softer and overall less intense compared to when they are used wet or damp.  (On the other hand, the majority of MAC’s Mineralize Eyeshadows have decent color payoff when used dry.)  However, Clarity and Hint of Sapphire are barely showing up when used dry.  Over an eyeshadow base, Hint of Sapphire came together a little better but still needed to be packed on.  On pigmentation, Clarity would earn 4 and 10 (dry/wet), so an average of 7, while Hint of Sapphire would earn 4 and 7.5 (dry/wet), so an average of 5.75.  Both Blue Sheen and Golden Gaze would earn 10s across the board, which ends up with an average for the four at 8.2, which I rounded up to 8.5, because two of these are exceptionally well-pigmented.  I chose to round-up because these are on the edge of C+/B- as an overall rating, and I don’t think these are bad enough to earn a C+.

MAC continues to improve the overall formula of their mineralize eyeshadows each year, and I think picking up some of the more exceptional/complex shades may be worth it, these don’t out-perform your regular pressed powder eyeshadows to make the price tag for “baked” worth it.  I found the majority of these to be too marbled to use shades individually, so I only used them mixed.

The Glossover

macSemiPreciousMineralize

MAC Semi-Precious Mineralize Eyeshadows Swatches, Photos, Reviews (Part 1)

B-
Of these four, Blue Sheen and Golden Gaze are the best bets; Blue Sheen is more easily duped, while Golden Gaze may be harder--it also seems a little more complex. As much as I like the concept of Hint of Sapphire, I find it one of the worst in terms of quality. Clarity at least works when used wet.

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

7/10

Application

3.5/5

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