Thursday, September 15th, 2011


MAC Optical Bronzer

MAC Art of Powder: Optical Bronzer

MAC Optical Bronzer ($38.00 for 0.31 oz.) is one of three limited edition specially designed compacts from the Art of Powder Collection, which launches on September 29th, 2011 (North America) and October 2011 (International, at select locations). It contains a good amount of product, and it will take quite some time to get through it.

If you’re not feeling the neon pink, you’re in luck: it doesn’t go all the way through. It’s thicker than your typical overspray, but it definitely does not go all the way through (video is forthcoming with much excavation!). The product is the golden tan you see protruding from the compact. I gouged a chunk out of the corner, and you can see how the pink is only on the surface I also used a small shadow brush to brush back-and-forth against a line of pink and eventually it disappeared and revealed pure golden tan underneath.

The color this bronzer is a warmed-up, medium tan with a very subtle golden sheen. The sheen is almost too faint, actually! It doesn’t impart much of a glowy sheen applied, because the sheen is so subtle–which may be a good or bad thing, depending on your preference. The pigmentation is decent, but the color is on the lighter side. On my medium skin tone, it’s subtle and soft. I expect this is better suited for lighter skin tones. It does have an orangeness to it that may not work well with pinker or naturally red complexions, because it may turn ruddy.

It has a really finely-milled, soft texture, which makes it extremely easy to blend on the skin but there is some powdery dust because of the overall softness. The subtle sheen means it doesn’t emphasize pores or imperfections on the skin. The texture is almost as soft as the Studio Careblend Pressed Powder Bronzers but I find those to be softer overall (but more pigmented, and if you want something foolproof, Optical Bronzer is that).

I wore it on one cheek (had the highlighter on the other–that’s called multi-tasking!), and it wore well for about six hours before starting to fade, which is shy of good (eight hours). It’s decent but not better than MAC’s regular bronzing line-up or various limited edition releases they’ve done every couple of months. The mix of pink and tan could have made for an interesting mix or take on bronzer in general (think Chanel’s Soleil Bronzers) but was not the case here.

The Glossover

LE
product

Optical

B-
It's a little powdery, but it may suit lighter skin tones who are looking for a very subtle, barely shimmered bronzer--the only potential issue is it does have an orange tone to it, which may not work with those with pink undertones. The wear is below average (and I have normal to dry skin).

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

7/10

Application

4/5

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Thursday, September 15th, 2011


MAC Street Art Eyeshadow Palette

MAC Art of Powder: Street Art Eyeshadow Palette

MAC Street Art Eyeshadow Palette ($38.00 for 0.31 oz.) is one of three limited edition specially designed compacts from the Art of Powder Collection, which launches on September 29th, 2011 (North America) and October 2011 (International, at select locations). The palette contains a hefty amount of product; an eyeshadow quad retails for the same amount but contains 0.20 oz. on average.

After testing this palette, I just can’t say the quality is there. It’s the design that will sell this product; it’s more for collectors than it is for someone who is after quality eyeshadow. There are six different shades (tan, beige, periwinkle, orange, turquoise, and pink) but I was only really able to grab distinct swatches of five (the beige was difficult to get individually and then to get to show up was another story!).

The tan shade is a gold shimmered orange-tan that applies very sheerly and not as smoothly as I would like (or expect). One of the better performing shades was the periwinkle shade which is more purple than periwinkle, but it depends on the lighting; it reminded me a fair amount of Digit. Despite the appearance of intensity in the palette, the turquoise shade is incredibly sheer with a slightly roughened texture (it’s not rough or gritty, but it’s not smooth); it’s like the palest teal with silvery shimmer. The orange shade was better, as it was much more pigmented but was dusty; it’s a slightly muted orange with a subtle satiny sheen. The pink shade worked the best, as it applied smoothly and with good color payoff; it’s a yellow-toned light-medium pink with a near metallic finish. There is also a beige shade that disappears against my skin and suffers from sheerness and some powderiness.

Undeterred, I wore this on my eyes (it’s what I wore in several of the photos for the Posh Paradise Mattene lip swatches), and the fall out was incredible. I went with something short and sweet, so I used the purply-periwinkle shade on the lid with the turquoise shade in the crease. The texture is rather dry and doesn’t work well on its own (I figured I’d test it with a base on one eye, without on the other). Even with a base, I had a ton of glittery fall out and really had to pack on the color to get decent color payoff and evenness in color. I tried twice with a base – once with NARS Eyeshadow Primer Potion and the second time with MAC Nubile Paint Pot (using the pink, tan, and orange shades). The second combination had less fall out (but the shades had less shimmer) but took a fair amount of color-packing to get the vibrancy in the palette.

It’s a shame to see such a design-intensive palette perform so poorly. It really is art, because the best thing to do with it is to admire it from afar. Undoubtedly, it will still sell out because of the design alone. The good news is all of the colors go through to the bottom based on digging around each shade to see how deep it went. The only part that is an overlay is the silvered shimmer-sheen that goes across the middle.  You just can’t have problems with wear (fall out, minor fading, unevenness), pigmentation, and texture and come out on top.

The Glossover

coming-soon

MAC Art of Powder: Street Art Eyeshadow Palette Swatches, Photos, Reviews

F
It's a shame to see such a design-intensive palette perform so poorly. It really is art, because the best thing to do with it is to admire it from afar. Undoubtedly, it will still sell out because of the design alone.

Product

4/10

Pigmentation

6/10

Texture

5.5/10

Longevity

7/10

Application

3/5

Results
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Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

MAC Immortal Gold Nail Lacquer
MAC Immortal Gold Nail Lacquer

MAC Immortal Gold Nail Lacquer Swatches, Photos, Reviews

MAC Immortal Gold Nail Lacquer ($15.00 for 0.34 oz.) is described as a “pale gold” with a frost finish. Honestly, nothing about this screams “pale gold!” This is more like liquid, molten gold. It’s full-on gold to me with a rather metallic finish. It’s a yellowed gold with a burnt antique gold base color. It has depth, because it’s not all yellowy, but the formula was less impressive.  I couldn’t think of a dupe for this shade, except China Glaze Tarnished Gold, which is a crackle polish, so it’s not much of a dupe at all. Would love to hear from you if you have a dupe! :)

The formula is thick, almost goopy, so it’s easy to get far too much polish on the nail than is appropriate for one coat. I only needed two coats for opaque color, which was great, but the thickness of the coats acted to emphasize the brush strokes in the finish. I really tried to even them out, but this shade also has a rather quick drying time (reminded me of how glitters dry so quickly). When you get it just right, it’s great (my ring finger looked the best, while my middle finger looked terrible).  I generally have good luck with MAC polishes (I haven’t had a bad experience with wear that I can remember) – they wear a solid week on me with minor tip wear but no chipping.

The Glossover

LE
product

Immortal Gold

C+
The color is more unique than not, so for some, that alone may be worth the more troublesome application. At least it has a quick drying time!

Product

7.5/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

6/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

2.5/5

Results
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Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

MAC Rain of Flowers Nail Lacquer
MAC Rain of Flowers Nail Lacquer

MAC Rain of Flowers Nail Lacquer Swatches, Photos, Reviews

MAC Rain of Flowers Nail Lacquer ($15.00 for 0.34 oz.) is described as a “blackened violet with violet pearlized pigments” with a frost finish. It is a repromote, but it has been a year since it originally launched (and it was limited edition then, too).

It’s a rich, deep dark violet purple with flecks of violet and ruby shimmer — very lovely and has lots of depth. I loved this shade when it first came out, but I had some application issues with the formula from this launch. Before, it was opaque in two coats, and it flowed well, but this time I had rather streaky and slightly patchy results in two coats so I had to do a third to give it a better end result. It seems like it would be rather opaque in two coats if it weren’t for the rather uneven appearance overall. The formula is on the thinner side but doesn’t seem sheer. I generally have good luck with MAC polishes (I haven’t had a bad experience with wear that I can remember) – they wear a solid week on me with minor tip wear but no chipping.

I wish it had more dupes, but China Glaze First Class Ticket was the best bet, but it’s not as dark.

The Glossover

LE
product

Rain of Flowers

C+
Such a shame! It's a gorgeous color and one that I don't have lots of dupes of, but the formula is difficult to work with. At this price point, it really shouldn't be an issue.

Product

7/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

2/5

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Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

MAC Fresh Amour Mattene
MAC Fresh Amour Mattene

MAC Posh Paradise Mattenes Swatches, Photos, Reviews

MAC Mattenes ($14.50 for 0.08 oz.) see the limited introduction of ten new and limited edition shades with Posh Paradise (which debuts tomorrow in-stores).  The six featured in this post are: Fresh Amour (light lavender), Naked Bliss (neutral light pink), Potent Fig (deep blue grape), Rare Exotic (bright mid-tone blue pink), Seeds of Desire (deep brown plum), and Unknown Pleasures (deep red blue).

  • Delectable is reviewed here.
  • Deliciously Forbidden is reviewed here.
  • Eden Rouge is reviewed here.
  • Fresh Amour is a pink-tinted lavender with a semi-matte finish and opaque color coverage. It’s very slightly less pink compared to shades like MAC Lavender Whip, Fashion Mews, Blooming Lovely, and Quite Cute. It does tend to pull the yellowness out of teeth, though.
  • Legendary is reviewed here.
  • Naked Bliss is a pinky-beige nude with a semi-matte finish and mostly opaque coverage. It’s darker and pinker compared to MAC Innocence, Beware! and MAC Naturally Eccentric. Maybelline Born With It is similar though glossier. It’s a more pigmented verison of MAC Nude Rose. It’s not as pale as MAC Playing Koi.
  • Potent Fig is a dark grape purple with a slightly glossy finish. The texture is different from the others, as this had a lot of slip, more shine, and went on uneven/streaky because of the additional creaminess. I can’t think of a dupe for it, as a lot of the previous purplish shades I’ve reviewed are either much darker (and more burgundy) or lighter.
  • Rare Exotic It is cooler-toned compared to Guerlain Shalimar and Bobbi Brown Cosmic Raspberry. It is a touch bluer than NARS Carthage. OCC Pretty Boy is a little more magenta. It seems a little darker and bluer-based than MAC Girl About Town.
  • Seeds of Desire is a luxurious brown tinted with red and has ruby red shimmer with a semi-matte finish. The color payoff is good with mostly opaque coverage. CoverGirl Smokyis similar but a little lighter and browner. MAC Underworld is lighter.
  • Unknown Pleasures is a dark brown-tinted red with mostly opaque color coverage and a slightly shiny finish. The shine with this shade seems higher than the majority, so it’s not quite as semi-matte. It’s redder than Illamasqua Growl. It’s a touch darker than MAC Good to Be Bad. It’s similar to Bobbi Brown Blackberry, MAC Dark Side, and MAC Dark Deed.

These felt creamier, with better slip and comfort, than previous iterations of Mattenes (I think the last time we saw them was with Style Black). I wore Delectable on half of my lips (half of the upper/half of the lower) with Eden Rouge on the other side, because I like to test shades from both the lighter and darker ends of the spectrum to get a handle on the length of wear. Delectable wore off within three hours, while Eden Rouge wore about five. I think the increased slip and creaminess of the formula has reduced the wear time by a bit–at least in these shades.

I didn’t see anything in the marketing/press release on these about them being long-wearing but did glean that they are supposed to be soft enough to glide-on with semi-matte finishes, intense color, and moisturizing. They’re far more moisturizing than the average matte lipstick. After wearing the two I tested for wear, I did want balm, but I didn’t feel like my lips were cracking or dry. These are packaged in slim tubes with matte black on the outside and a shiny rim around the middle. They only contain 0.08 oz., which is less than their regular lipsticks, which are 0.10 oz.

Honestly, this collection has “permanent” written all over it yet everything is limited edition. The shades of the Mattenes seem so core and basic (which is not a criticism) that they would make for an excellent permanent selection of colors in the Mattene formula, which I think many readers have enjoyed over time.  I really do feel some improvement went into these new shades.  The only one that I had major issues with was Potent Fig.

The Glossover

product

MAC Posh Paradise Mattenes Swatches, Photos, Reviews

A-
Honestly, this collection has "permanent" written all over it yet everything is limited edition. The shades of the Mattenes seem so core and basic (which is not a criticism) that they would make for an excellent permanent selection of colors in the Mattene formula, which I think many readers have enjoyed over time. I really do feel some improvement went into these new shades. The only one that I had major issues with was Potent Fig.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

MAC Genuine Treasure Paint Pot
MAC Genuine Treasure Paint Pot

MAC Posh Paradise Paint Pots Swatches, Photos, Reviews

MAC Paint Pots ($17.50 for 0.17 oz.) are included in the Posh Paradise collection which hits stores tomorrow. I’m not sure how some shades sold out so quickly on maccosmetics.com, but all but Half-Wild are in stock at Nordstrom (free shipping). It doesn’t look like it’s launched at Bloomingdales, Dillard’s, or Macy’s (free shipping over $50), but all of these retailers should also launch the collection today or tomorrow.

There are six shades featured in this post: Genuine Treasure (reflects antique gold), Half-Wild (mid-tone purple), Idyllic (mid-tone copper bronze), Nubile (light peachy nude), Pure Creation (mid-tone frosty blue), and Treasure Hunt (light pearled yellow). All products and shades from this collection are limited edition.

  • Genuine Treasure is a glittery bronze with flecks of antique gold, pewter, and a silvery-gray cast. It’s a very complex color, but the texture is less-than-desirable, because of the glittery finish, it’s gritty and rough. It’s harder to blend out and difficult to get a solid, opaque result in color. I also experienced some fall out after a couple of hours. It is a warmer, browner version of Benefit Skinny Jeans (and obviously, it has a glitter finish compared to a cream one!). I didn’t think it compared well with any of MUFE’s Aqua Creams, though. The finish is similar to those from Cham-pale. It seems a bit similar to Inglot #403 for an eyeshadow version.
  • Half-Wild is a red-toned medium-dark purple with subtle shimmer. It’s a grape-esque purple, but it’s not too bright and has significant red undertones. The closest cream shadow dupe I could think of was Benefit Purple Snap, which is lighter and less red-based. For powder eyeshadow dupes, it seems similar to Inglot #386.
  • Hyperviolet is reviewed here.
  • Idyllic is a burnished reddish-brown. It’s an interesting color, because it incorporates brown, burgundy, red, and copper together. It’s not copper, but it’s also not so dark or red that it’s burgundy. It seems like it would be comparable to MAC Artifact but with a frosted finish as well as Benefit stiletto. Illamasqua Resolute is a bit redder.
  • Imaginary is reviewed here.
  • Nubile is a lightly frosted peachy-beige. It’s a lovely shade that would work well as a general purpose eyeshadow base but also as a wash of color on the lid to brighten the eyes. It’s in the family of Painterly and Soft Ochre–not similar in color but in use–and it’s the most versatile of the eight. It’s lighter and less metallic compared to Benefit RSVP. It seems similar to theBalm Luscious Lani as far as a pressed eyeshadow version goes.
  • Pure Creation is a muted medium blue. It’s like a darkened sky blue to me; it doesn’t have the same lightness as a traditional sky blue would have but similar qualities. It’s not navy blue nor is it ocean blue. It’s much more muted compared to Make Up For Ever #20. It reminded me more of theBalm Sensational. It’s not as as silvered as MAC Moon’s Reflection.
  • Treasure Hunt is a pale yellow gold–but it’s not too gold. It’s not like Goldmine, which has a stronger orange tinge to it. This is so yellow that it almost reads like a cool-toned yellow; more comparable to Gorgeous Gold without the duochrome. It has the most metallic finish of the eight.

With the exception of Genuine Treasure, the texture of these was creamy with just the right amount of glide and slip to make for easy blending but not a long dry down time. Paint Pots wear well on me (twelve hours without budging, creasing, or fading) whether as an eyeshadow base or worn alone as a wash of color. They can be sheered out for softer color or applied heavily; the color payoff is more dependent on your application than the product, as the majority went opaque when applied and only sheered out with actual blending. Again, Genuine Treasure was the one that had the sheerest color overall; it reads more like a glittery layering shade.

Paint Pots come in heavy glass jars with a black, rubberized screw-top lid.  I haven’t had issues with Paint Pots drying out over time, and I’ve had some for more than two years.  The only one that has ever dried out was when I left the lid off for two or three days (aka my fault), and I microwaved it for about 10 seconds, stirred, and let it reset–and it was good as new (just make sure to remove the top before microwaving).  Each jar contains a good amount of product; you certainly won’t run through a jar in a month or two, even if you use it everyday.  I like the 242 or 249 to apply these best.  A fluffy brush like the 217 works well to blend out the edges if you are looking to wear it as a wash.

The Glossover

product

MAC Posh Paradise Paint Pots Swatches, Photos, Reviews

A
This is a really solid release--they work well overall, and Genuine Treasure is the only finicky one that has a certain appeal but may take more patience and trial/error to get just right. These have a nice consistency and texture so they apply and wear well.

Product

9.5/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4/5

Results
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