Friday, April 22nd, 2011

MAC Fashion Flower Collection – Coming Soon!

Stay tuned for full photos, swatches, and reviews for six eyeshadows, two lipsticks, two beauty powders, and one lipgelee! :)  I was up late last night photographing and swatching before crashing (1AM), and now I’m up early to roll out the reviews!  Will definitely have to grab some Starbucks ASAP, haha!

Initial thoughts:

  • Alpha Girl applies more pigmented than it swatches but still looks subtle
  • What’s up with all of the super glittery lipgelees?  Love me some glitter but the past six or so have all been glitter bonanzas!
  • Flower design is cute – kind of dig the imprint over special packaging, personally!
  • Aqua and Free to Be seem less pigmented than my pan variations
  • Bows & Curtseys looks way better on than swatched
  • Summer Shower is pretty much colorless with lots of aqua, teal, etc. shimmer/glitter

P.S. — I do also have some products from Flighty and the new Magically Cool Liquid Powder as well.  I’m still waiting for the official description of the Big Bounce Shadows, because I can’t review them properly without knowing what exactly they’re supposed to do.  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

MAC Prep + Prime Highlighters
MAC Prep + Prime Highlighters

MAC Prep + Prime Highlighters

MAC Prep + Prime Highlighters ($23.00 for 0.12 fl. oz.) are a new and permanent product that will release in-stores on April 7th. There are three shades: Bright Forecast (mid-tone peachy coral), Light Boost (soft yellow cream), and Radiant Rose (light shell pink). They come in a twist-up, pen-type applicator. These highlighters are designed to provide a “sheer wash of color to highlight, brighten, and perfect.”

  • Bright Forecast is a soft peach with subtle orange tones. The peachy tones of this shade are good for brightening and lightening dark under eye circles without creating a green cast (that yellow-based correctors can cause). I found this one did the best to minimize my dark under eye circles while still looking natural.
  • Light Boost is a pale beiged yellow. Yellow is good for lightening darkness. This would work well as a subtle cheek or brow highlighter on those with yellow undertones.
  • Radiant Rose is a soft, pale pastel pink. Pink helps to brighten the skin tone. It can also be used to brighten the under eye area, like Benefit’s Eye Bright. This shade felt more opaque than the other two, and when I used it underneath my eye (without concealer on top), it was a little pale on me. I loved it more as an eyeshadow base and brow highlighter.

The Prep + Prime Highlighters come in a click-type brush pen that takes several initial twists to release the product, but after that, you should only need a couple clicks to dispense the product. Over time, I’ve become less of a fan of brush-type products, just because I hate the way the brush feels and looks as you use it and the product seems to just sit in there. I’d much rather use a separate brush that you can wash without fear of getting water back into the product. I did find that while it can be easily applied onto the skin with the applicator, blending and application went better using a fluffy brush like the 217 for small areas (or fingers).

I applied each shade over my cheeks and under eye area, because I really wanted the effect to stand out. I felt like when I just did the under eye, it was difficult to really see what was going on. I wouldn’t normally use these as I did for the swatch photos, but I figured what good are photos if you can’t spot the difference? These have a subtle effect, and if you layer concealer over them, the effect is even harder to pick up–not necessarily in a bad way (like, ooh, so subtle it’s not worth it), but it’s a subtle, natural effect that works well and looks lovely. More like, “Oh, you look pretty today, did you cut your hair?” kind of way.

These wore really well for me, and I even used Radian Rose as an eyeshadow base.  It looked really beautiful as a brow highlighter and lid brightener by itself, but it also held up as an eyeshadow base, too.  I didn’t notice any fading and certainly no creasing or settling into fine lines over eight hours of wear.

There are numerous brands with highlighter pens, including:

  • Dior (Sun Beam may be comparable to Bright Forecast; Roseglow to Radiant Rose)
  • Fresh (nothing seems comparable in color–these are skintone shades)
  • Fusion Beauty (nothing seems comparable in color–these are skintone shades)
  • Givenchy (Moon Light seems most comparable to Radiant Rose)
  • Guerlain (nothing seems comparable in color–these are skintone shades)
  • Sephora (#01 seems like Radiant Rose, #02 seems like Light Boost; #06 seems like Bright Forecast)
  • YSL (Light Peach seems comparable to Bright Forecast, Luminous Ivory to Light Boost, and Luminous Radiance to Radiant Rose)

These can help correct and brighten but they won’t necessarily conceal on their own. Bright Forecast can help a good deal with under eye circles, but it’s not opaque, so for some, it may be enough on its own. They’re definitely comparable to cult-favorite YSL Touche Eclat. Sephora also seems to offer a very comparable color range in their variation on the highlighter pen, and at $12 a pop, it might be worth trying (overall Sephora ratings show it to be good, though I have not tried it myself, so I cannot weigh in).

MAC is roughly half the price of the higher-end highlighter pens, and they seem to provide double the product (I saw many listed at 0.05 oz., a couple closer to 0.10 oz.), so the product seems to be priced in line with quantity and MAC’s price range.

The Glossover

coming-soon

MAC Prep + Prime Highlighters Review, Photos, Swatches

B+
These are easy to use, difficult to mess up or go overboard with, and work well to brighten, lighten, and add radiance for brows, eyes, or cheeks (depending on your skin tone!).

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4/5

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Monday, April 4th, 2011


MAC Quite Cute: Overall & Recommendations

OVERALL, Quite Cute is a cool-toned, pastel-themed collection that will prove tricky for those with warmer and/or darker complexions.  The lipsticks, nail lacquers, and plushglasses are the better products from the collection, based on quality, with Playing Koi being a total miss within the lipsticks launched (very dry, clingy texture).  Plushglasses are relatively sheer, as designed to be, and so they’re easier to wear and more suitable across skin tones than some of the other products from Quite Cute.  I found the mineralize blushes from this launch rather powdery, and combined with the pastel color palette, the blush can easily look more powdery and almost ashy on medium to dark complexions.

On the surface, Quite Cute is reminiscent of Sugarsweet, but this launch lacks balance.  Too many pastels, too many cool-toned colors without brighter, warmer, or contrasting colors to support the color palette of Quite Cute.  This collection will best suit those with paler skin tones, because pigmentation is lower overall, and then naturally, cooler undertones will find this more flattering than warmer skin tones.  Please understand that by no means am I saying warmer or medium/dark skin tones cannot wear this collection–but you may find it less flattering right out of the box and need to figure out how to pair it and with what–most likely products outside of the collection.  I’m a firm believer in anyone can wear any color–it’s about having confidence and how you wear it that matters.

If you love pastels, I think you may still like this collection–but the quality seems lower here and makes this a less-than-impressive collection.

Photos, Reviews, Swatches

Check out recommendations, what to check your stash for, what to skip, and recommendations by skin tone! Continue reading →

Saturday, April 2nd, 2011

MAC Quite Cute Collection: Video Review

Not just first impressions but a video review, since I filmed this after swatching/reviewing 70% of the collection and could speak more deeply about the products.

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

MAC Quite Cute Plushglasses
MAC Quite Cute Plushglass in Bubble Tea and I Love U

MAC Quite Cute:  Plushglass

MAC Quite Cute Plushglass ($18.50 for 0.14 fl. oz.) include four new and limited edition shades from the upcoming collection, which launches in-stores on April 7th. The four shades include: Bubble Tea (creamy pale nude), I Love U (creamy mid-tone purple), Fashion Fanatic (creamy pale pink), and Girl Love Boy (bright light blue pink).

  • Bubble Tea is a semi-sheer peach beige with soft white micro-shimmer.  It seems like it would be similar to Big Baby.  (Note:  this looks pinker/redder  on my lips, because my lips were reacting to the plumping ingredient in the formula.)
  • I Love U is a semi-sheer, pink-tinged lilac with soft white micro-shimmer. It’s a bit milky, though it doesn’t settle into lip lines too badly.  It seems similar to Ever So Rich, which was limited edition.
  • Fashion Fanatic is a sheer, pale yellow-based pink with white shimmer. On my lips, it doesn’t add much color, just adds glossiness and shimmer. Any clear gloss with shimmer will dupe this.
  • Girl Loves Boy is a semi-opaque, blue-based cotton candy pink with a cream finish. I hurried through the swatching of this, but I did try to even it out, since it moves around and will push and pull in places. It has some milkiness to it, so it will settle into lip lines. This is the most pigmented shade of the four. It’s more pigmented than Fashion Scoop but paler than Right Image.

my thoughts on the formula: MAC Plushglass is heavily vanilla scented (sweeter and more potent than any other MAC lip product I’ve come across) and is a plumping gloss. These seemed to have a much stronger plumping factor (because I couldn’t wear them, see below) than I remember them having, but it has been years since I have tried one. Plushglass is non-sticky and tends to be sheer to semi-sheer. The texture is not quite as creamy as Cremesheen Glass but reminiscent of them.

I cannot wear Plushglass. It causes an allergic reaction (you can actually see how my lips are turning splotchy), so I swatched these as quickly as I could, so they are a bit messy — my lips were already splotchy just from doing one swatch, but I know that without lip swatches the post would be worthless. It is a bit weird, because previously, I don’t remember having problems wearing Plushglass and considered it a rather mild plumping formula (I actually remember not feeling any tingle before), but whether my reaction has changed or these are more potent, that is no longer the case for me.

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Thursday, March 31st, 2011

MAC Quite Cute Lipsticks
MAC Quite Cute Lipsticks in Candy Yum-Yum and Quite Cute

MAC Quite Cute Lipstick Swatches, Photos, Reviews

MAC Quite Cute Lipsticks ($14.50 for 0.10 oz.) feature four shades new and limited edition shades, plus one repromote (Saint Germain). The shades included are: Candy Yum-Yum (matte neon pink), Quite Cute (creamy bright whitened lavender), Saint Germain (clean pastel pink), Playing Koi (creamy white peach pink), and Playtime (creamy intense violet).

  • Candy Yum-Yum is a neon, magenta pink with a matte finish. It’s nearly glowing in its brightness. On me, the blue undertones seem to be pulled out. I feel like I’ve seen this color, but whenever I compare it to a possible dupe, it isn’t pink enough (purpler instead). It’s pinker than Madly Magenta cream colour base (from Stylishly Yours, ’10). It is surprisingly creamy and not at all clingy for a matte. The closest I found was Petals & Peacocks, which is several degrees brighter (Give Me Liberty of London, ’10).
  • Quite Cute is a semi-opaque pale lavender with a semi-glossy finish. It has a cremesheen finish, and it has the same texture, but the finish seems glossier to me. It’s a paler, sheerer version of Blooming Lovely (Give Me Liberty of London, ’10). Pinker than Lavender Whip.  On cooler skin tones, this is easier to work with, while warmer skin tones may want to pair with a more pigmented lipstick/gloss.
  • Saint Germain is a really pale, cool-toned pink that is blue-based. It’s been released several times, and you can see an older swatch here. It is best suited for those with cooler skin tones. The closest permanent dupe is Snob, but I believe this was mad epermanent last year.
  • Playing Koi is an opaque pinky peach with a satin finish. Honestly, this lipstick looked like garbage on my lips–it highlighted every single imperfection and amplified them ten-fold. I exfoliate my lips every few days, and for reference, I exfoliated right before doing this swatch! The color itself is like Angel and Hue had a baby.
  • Playtime is a semi-sheer magenta purple with soft sheen and shimmer. It has a cremesheen finish. It’s similar to Style Curve (from Stylishly Yours), but this is purpler, less fuchsia.

my thoughts on the formula: MAC Lipsticks are vanilla-scented but taste-free. I typically get four hours of wear, but some of the lighter lustre and glaze finishes tend to disappear by hour three. Amplified cremes and amplified finishes, however, tend to go beyond four. I find the formula comfortable to wear and not drying (but not moisturizing–a couple of the matte shades can be drying).

The Glossover

coming-soon

MAC Quite Cute Lipstick Swatches, Photos, Reviews

B-
They act and feel like your average MAC lipstick (according to its finish). Actually, the matte finish of Candy Yum-Yum was surprisingly comfortable (and not at all matte-like). Playing Koi’s texture brings out the imperfections of the lips and makes them look dry, even though it does not feel like a particularly dry lipstick.

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

7/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

3.5/5

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