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MAC Blackground Pro Longwear Paint Pot

MAC Blackground Pro Longwear Paint Pot
MAC Blackground Pro Longwear Paint Pot

MAC Blackground Pro Longwear Paint Pot ($18.50 for 0.17 oz.) is described as a “black grey with multicolour.” It’s a soft, medium black with brow undertones and a very soft smattering of silver shimmer. Urban Decay Spell has more multi-colored shimmer and is a powder product. NARS Empire is similar in color and is also a cream product. MAC Backlit is less warm-toned and has multi-colored shimmer.

The Pro Longwear Paint Pot formula is supposed to be “long-wearing,” “highly-pigmented,” and also “[blend] smoothly over the lids.”  For a cream eyeshadow in black, it applies better than many do; it’s not fully opaque, and it has a tendency to look grayer on the lid than when swatched as a result of the slight translucency. While it doesn’t apply solidly, it does apply fairly evenly overall.   It didn’t crease or fade during the twelve-hours I wore it for, so it can be worn alone or used as an eyeshadow base.  The consistency if Blackground was creamy and smoother, finer in a way, compared to some of the other shades. Because it didn’t have sparkle, there was also no problems with fall out.

FYI: the ingredient list for the Pro Longwear Paint Pots is the same as for the regular Paint Pots when I compared against the list for Bare Study/Constructivist! It’s off by one ingredient when compared to the Paint Pots from Posh Paradise.

MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot Blackground
9
Product
8.5
Pigmentation
9.5
Texture
10
Longevity
4
Application
91%
Total

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MAC Antique Diamond Pro Longwear Paint Pot

MAC Antique Diamond Pro Longwear Paint Pot
MAC Antique Diamond Pro Longwear Paint Pot

MAC Antique Diamond Pro Longwear Paint Pot ($18.50 for 0.17 oz.) is described as a “frosted olive silver.” It’s an olive green-tinged brown with a general mutedness and a sprinkling of silver sparkle. MAC Enviable is darker and a powder product. Dior Khaki Design #3 is greener, less metallic, and a powder product. MAC Cakeshop is greener. Benefit Skinny Jeans is similar–it has a more satiny finish than a metallic one (and for the record, Birthday Suit is less green-tinged).

I decided to review each of the shades separately, because the quality varies from shade to shade, and since these are permanent, then it is definitely worth doing to make them easily searched for and read about in the future. I think one of the more frustrating characteristics about any product formula is when it is inconsistent, because then you can’t count on one shade being as good as the first one you tried (or that they’re all as bad as the first you tried).

The Pro Longwear Paint Pot formula is supposed to be “long-wearing,” “highly-pigmented,” and also “[blend] smoothly over the lids.” Where Antique Diamond excels is in overall wear; once it sets, however it does, it stays put and doesn’t fade or have any fall out problems for the next twelve hours. Where it falls short is in its opacity and buildability in color, because when I tried to apply it to the inner half of my lid, it was uneven and a bit patchy. I tried using MAC’s own 242 and 249 for application, as well as using a fluffy brush (217) and my fingertip to try to blend out the color so it would at least be even, if it wasn’t opaque. It has a thin, lightweight consistency that feels creamy and smooth, but it didn’t quite apply that way.

Antique Diamond is the kind of color that works well as a one-and-done color that’s more than just beige.  It can also be used to smoke out the lash line or as a base for a smoky eye.  However, the way this applies, dries down, and generally sits on the lid, it’s not fantastic.  I’d heartily recommend Benefit Skinny Jeans, which has a superior formula and is very comparable in color to this one.

FYI: the ingredient list for the Pro Longwear Paint Pots is the same as for the regular Paint Pots when I compared against the list for Bare Study/Constructivist! It’s off by one ingredient when compared to the Paint Pots from Posh Paradise.

MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot Antique Diamond
7.5
Product
7.5
Pigmentation
9
Texture
10
Longevity
3.5
Application
83%
Total

MAC Strength Collection Lipsticks

MAC Absolute Power Lipstick
MAC Absolute Power Lipstick

MAC Strength: Lipsticks

Update: MAC has restocked Pink Pigeon and Party Parrot lipsticks and blushes from Strength! All are available as of 1/8 at 6:26 PM PST.

MAC Strength Lipsticks ($15.00 for 0.10 oz. each) includes five shades: Absolute Power (rich red), Firm Form (gilded black with gold pearl), Party Parrot (bright red pink), Pink Pigeon (bright cleanest pink), and Strong Woman (bright violet). Party Parrot and Pink Pigeon are repromotes.

Absolute Power is a pinky-red with a matte finish and blue undertones. It’s fully opaque on lips, and it has a creamy consistency, so it was easier to apply and get even coverage–no pulling or dragging. Guerlain Calligraphy is slightly lighter. NYX Chic Red is very similar. MAC Ruby Woo is more matte but very similar in color. NARS Dragon Girl is bluer.

Firm Form is a blackish-brown with a dusting of gold micro-shimmer. It looks a little purple-ish applied, as the lipstick mixes over my natural lip color. It is pretty opaque, and though it does not apply perfectly evenly, it does apply considerably better than a lot of other lipsticks in this shade family. MAC Grey Friday is grayer, lighter. Chanel Hysteria is cooler-toned, blacker. MAC Smoked Purple is much purpler and lighter.

Party Parrot is a bright pink-coral with a mostly matte finish. It goes on with full color coverage and has a creamy consistency that doesn’t pull or tug at the lips during application. This shade wears around six hours. Guerlain Gracy is a bit pinker, less bright. MAC Fusion Pink has pink iridescence, less bright. Make Up For Ever #37 is less pink, more coral. MAC Impassioned is pinker.

Pink Pigeon is a bright, blue-based medium pink with a mostly matte finish, though there’s a natural sheen initially. It has opaque color coverage, and it applied evenly and easily. It lasted for six hours when I tested it last week (used my original version). MAC Candy Yum Yum is brighter, a little cooler-toned. OCC Yaoi is metallic. OCC Nylon is much brighter, cooler-toned. MAC Dear Diary is cooler-toned, more magenta. MAC Quick Sizzle is darker. NARS Schiap is darker, less bright. Milani Rose Hip is a touch lighter and less cool-toned.

Strong Woman is a dark purple with subtle pink-red undertones. It has opaque coverage with a matte finish, but it is a creamier matte, so it doesn’t drag on the lips. I suspect MAC Up the Amp is the closest dupe for this shade–I believe it is less red-toned, a little grayer in a way. MAC Seasoned Plum is lighter, less red-toned. MAC Violetta is brighter and iridescent. MAC Heroine is pinker, more magenta.

With the exception of Firm Form, these lipsticks are great shades by MAC with a solid matte formula that doesn’t pull or tug at the lips, delivers even, full color coverage, and are comfortable to wear.  As these are richer, bolder hues, they have a tendency to stain and wear longer than the average lipstick.  Firm Form doesn’t apply as evenly as the other four shades, but it is worth noting that it is good for the kind of color it is, and kudos for being as opaque as it is, too.  MAC lipsticks are vanilla-scented and come in a black tube with a pop-off cap.

To be perfectly honest, I’m really bummed about quickly these sold out. I purchased them as soon as they came online and overnighted them, but they sold out within hours (some within an hour). It’s a mixture of disappointment for not being able to review them for you before they launched and general frustration over it–kind of leaves me feeling like, “Should I even review this collection?” When it comes to these shades, I wish you luck if you make an attempt to track them down. MAC changed distribution at the last minute, so only freestanding stores (which also means the only online option is maccosmetics.com) received it, and with today (the 26th) being a major shopping day, I’m feeling more cynical than usual regarding stock.

My recommendations for alternatives would be:  MAC Ruby Woo, MAC Impassioned, MAC Candy Yum Yum, and MAC Up the Amp.  (Unfortunately, I don’t have a good alternative to recommend for Firm Form.)

MAC Strength Collection Lipsticks

A
9.5
Product
9.5
Pigmentation
9.5
Texture
10
Longevity
4.5
Application
96%
Total

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MAC Veluxe Brow Liners

MAC Strawberry Blonde Veluxe Brow Liner
MAC Strawberry Blonde Veluxe Brow Liner

MAC Stylish Brow: Veluxe Brow Liner

MAC Veluxe Brow Liner ($19.50 for 0.042 oz.) is a new and permanent range of brow pencils that can be used to fill, define, and shape the brow. It comes in five shades: Strawberry Blonde (soft muted beige-taupe), Redhead (soft brown), Brunette (muted mid-tone gray), Deep Brunette (muted blackish-brown), and Deep Dark Brunette (dark dirty chocolate).

  • Strawberry Blonde is a light-medium brown with a gray-ish cast.
  • Redhead is a light-medium brown with subtle warm undertones.
  • Brunette is a medium brown with a subtle gray tinge.
  • Deep Brunette is a medium-dark brown with subtle, warm undertones.
  • Deep Dark Brunette is a dark brown with subtle warm, undertones. It is only marginally darker than Deep Brunette and has less red undertones.

MAC described the pencil as a “rich powdery formula.”  It is kind of odd to think of an eyeliner as powdery, but there is a little powderiness to the pencil here.  That powderiness works well with the brow pencil, because it lends it a softer finish and feel, so it looks more natural and is more readily blended along the brow so it doesn’t create harsh lines.

After using the Brow Gelcreme, the Veluxe Brow Liner was less interesting.  It’s not too soft or hard; firm enough to give a full, opaque line of color, but not so firm that it drags or pulls.  Unlike a lot of pencil eyeliners, there is no dry-down–it’s like a pressed powder eyeshadow in pencil form.  When I wore Deep Dark Brunette, I felt it was a smidgen on the light side for my natural brow color (dark brown, slightly black)–I typically use Espresso or Brun eyeshadows to fill my brows in–and it was faded in places (about 80% remained) after eight hours.  Unlike the Brow Gelcremes, this range has more shades, though I think it is lacking a really dark shade and not enough ashy colors.

The five new pencils are permanent, per a Live Chat I did with MAC yesterday (and the website corroborates, as they aren’t listed as limited edition), so you can feel free to fall in love and make it a new staple in your routine.

MAC Veluxe Brow Liners

A-
9
Product
10
Pigmentation
9.5
Texture
7.5
Longevity
5
Application
91%
Total

MAC Fluidline Brow Gelcremes

MAC Dirty Blonde Fluidline Brow Gelcreme
MAC Dirty Blonde Fluidline Brow Gelcreme

MAC Stylish Brow: Fluidline Brow Gelcreme

MAC Fluidline Brow Gelcreme ($15.00 for 0.10 fl. oz.) is a new, limited edition brow gel that’s supposed to be long-wearing, waterproof, and sets quickly. It comes in three shades: Dirty Blonde (soft taupe brown), Redhead (muted golden brown), and Deep Dark Brunette (rich brunette).

  • Dirty Blonde is an ochre-toned brown with a gray cast; it’s a bit yellow-brown to be a true taupe, but there’s a definite grayness to it that give sit a taupe-like coloring.
  • Redhead is a warm, yellowed, medium tan-brown.
  • Deep Dark Brunette is a dark brown with subtle, warm red undertones.

Ooh–I really like these.  They have the same consistency and feel of MAC’s Fluidlines, which is a fantastic formula.  It’s creamy, pigmented, smooth, and it sets efficiently–not so quick that you have no time to fix mistakes, blend, or the like, but not so long that it has time to move around.  I used Deep Dark Brunette to fill in my brow using the 208 (which is the brush promoted with this launch), and it was lovely.  The creamy consistency allowed for a really crisp line and edge along the upper and lower edges of the brow.  The color wasn’t too harsh against my skin tone and with my brow color, so on dark brown (with a bit of black) brows, it’s an appropriate color.

All three shades had incredible pigmentation; the color payoff in a single pass was opaque and didn’t skip or drag.  When I tested the shade closest to my brow color, it lasted all day long.  I had no problem getting a full eight hours of wear, and even after twelve hours, 90% of it remained.  Mere water did not smudge or cause it to run, either, so it holds up to the waterproof claim as well.  I will be curious to see how suitable Dirty Blonde and Redhead are for those with lighter brows.  I wish this formula was permanent, and I could see a few more shades being added to round it out more.

MAC Fluidline Brow Gelcremes

A+
10
Product
10
Pigmentation
10
Texture
10
Longevity
5
Application
100%
Total

MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliator

MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliator
MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliator

Finally Permanent: MAC Volcanic Ash

MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliator ($28.00 for 3.4 fl. oz.) is supposed to be a “foaming, cleansing, and exfoliating scrub” that combines volcanic ash with sugar crystals that is supposed to “leave skin feeling soft and comfortable clean.”  I’ve been using this exfoliator on and off since it originally debuted in 2008.  Why any brand rolls out limited edition skincare (or other basics, like eyeliners) is beyond my comprehension, but MAC has continued to re-release this exfoliator since 2008 in limited edition quantities.  However, it is now part of the permanent skin care range!

It’s a great sugar-based exfoliator that spreads evenly, easily, and foams and lathers up as you massage the granules against the skin.  It definitely leaves skin feeling softer and smoother in a few minutes.  I prefer using this in the shower–still, even after all these years!–because it also has black ash that creates a gray lather, so it’s easier to make sure it all washes off and doesn’t stay on the counter in the shower.  I haven’t used it in awhile, but I used it last night, and it is really a nice exfoliator.  It’s simple, effective, and is fun to use.

I was looking back on my previous reviews, though, and I was surprised to see the price of this change $8.50 over the past three years ($9.00 over the past four years, plus after it re-released the first time and they put it in a new tube and did some reformulation, quantity went down by about 25%).  It’s more observation than anything else, as I so rarely repurchase skincare that I’m not certain how much other brands increase skincare prices year-to-year.  MAC says it can be used on both face and body, but at this price point, it’ll just be a facial exfoliator for me!

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