Thursday, September 17th, 2009

MAC Asphalt Flower Fragrance

MAC Trend F/W ’09 Collection Review: Asphalt Flower

Asphalt Flower is described by MAC as, “A deep dark, erotic fragrance that takes its place in our Trend F/W ’09 collection as the aromatic complement to this alt-fashion look. Features glossy violet and iris petals, vanilla and patchouli with top notes of violet, ylang-ylang; mid-notes of iris, heliotrope and a finale of olibanum, patchouli and M∙A∙C signature vanilla.”

I’m still a bit under the weather, so it’s hard for me to review something I’m only partially smelling, but I’ll tell you what I can so you have at least some inkling of whether or not this scent is for you. Once it dries down, I detect just a hint of floral, some patchouli, and a little sweetness of vanilla, but it smells a bit soapy to me.

I will also say that I am so glad to see MAC put out a fragrance as a rollerball scent. It’s so much easier to apply and great to keep in your purse for on-the-go. The bottle itself has a great clear to black gradient that looks exactly what I’d expect from MAC. Such an improvement over the Stylistics scent Air of Style, which had a fantastic bottle, but it was utterly impractical and sits in a drawer somewhere because it can’t stand up on its own whatsoever!

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

MAC Lipglasses:  Runway Fave, New Berry, So This Season

MAC Trend F/W ’09 Collection Review: Lipglasses

MAC Trend F/W Collection launches in-store today across North America locations, and the collection includes four lipsticks, three lipglasses, an eyeshadow quad, and a fragrance.

Lipglass

  • Runway Fave is a creamy nude with gold and pink shimmer that goes on semi-opaque but still sheer enough that your natural lip color will pop through. It’s pretty, but it’s probably a shade you have something similar to already.
  • New Berry is a darker berry with just a touch of burgundy to it that looks lovely and very holiday. It would pair well with Hipster lipstick for sure. It does have a tendency to settle into the lines of your lips, but I find that it’s not really noticeable in-person so much as it is when in photos that are magnified! I like that it’s fairly opaque–not solid to be sure–but opaque enough that it gives me plenty of color.
  • So This Season is a red-based purple shade that looks more intimidating in the tube than on. It is definitely a darker shade and casts purple, though. For those who want to try a vampy lip, I actually think this might be one way to go, because it’s sheerer and softer than many purple lipsticks that have come out for fall. Like New Berry, this one can settle into lines on your lips, but again, in person, the effect is not so noticeable.

I liked the lipglasses more than the lipsticks this time around! I felt like all three lipglasses were pretty and wearable, but they also are perfect shades for the fall season. I also appreciated how pigmented they were, even Runway Fave, because I tire of sheer glosses easily. New Berry may not be a must for those who already have indulged in red and berry glosses before, but it’s a nice, non-shimmery shade.

  • Product: 8/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 8/10
  • Packaging: 8/10

Recommendation: I think So This Season is a must, just because it’s different and fun. The other two are nice, but not as necessary!

Availability: MAC Cosmetics

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Thursday, September 17th, 2009

MAC Lipsticks: Hipster, Red Full Stop, Faultlessly F/W, Our Pick

MAC Trend F/W ’09 Collection Review: Lipsticks

MAC Trend F/W Collection launches in-store today across North America locations, and the collection includes four lipsticks, three lipglasses, an eyeshadow quad, and a fragrance.

Lipstick

  • Hipster is a burgundy-berry with a hint of red shimmer laced through it that comes off as very holiday-esque. It is a frost finish lipstick, and it has been out previously (though I didn’t have it). It applies fairly evenly (though not super creamy–felt a little dry) and goes on opaque. This is kind of the same family as Odyssey.
  • Red Full-Stop is a glossy coral-pink with no shimmer but lots of shine. It is a lustre finish, but it is one of the most opaque lustre lipsticks I’ve ever seen. This shade reminded me of Fusion (PRO) or Eager (which may run a little pinker).
  • Faultlessly F/W is a deep, dark purple berry with cool-tones and just a pinch of red in the undertones. It has an amplified creme finish, and it applies opaque. It should be worn with a lip liner, as the creaminess tends to make this one have a propensity to bleed. It’s similar to Cyber, though not the same (but I haven’t swatched Cyber in awhile).
  • Our Pick is a light coffee brown shade with a creamy texture, no real shimmer, and a satin finish. This is not a shade I can wear alone, and even mixed with others, requires some planning and experimenting. I’d say this is in the family of Spirit and Mocha, but it feels a bit cool.

While none of the colors struck me as immediate, must-have colors for my fall makeup wardrobe, all four were different enough from previous launches and had good color pay off — even the lustre. I think Fautlessly F/W is an interesting shade, but it is also a shade that requires confidence to pull off; it’s very, very vampy and dark and everything the fall trend of dark lips is. Hipster would make a lovely holiday lip, and I could see it being even lovelier when layered with a red shimmered gloss to help bring out the redness in it.

Red Full-Stop is like a toned-down version of Fusion (PRO) or Eager. I thought Eager was permanent, but after checking, looks like it’s not. See Sheer or Vegas Volt are both similar, but they both run a bit more orange. Our Pick just looks terrible on me–it’s like a darker concealer on my lips–but layered with other shades, it’s more wearable, but not a favorite for me. I am sure it will work well on others, though!

  • Product: 8/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 8/10
  • Packaging: 8/10

Recommendation: None are really must-haves in my book; I think Hipster makes a greaty holiday shade, and I like the coral tone of Red Full-Stop (why call it red?) the most out of the four.

Availability: MAC Cosmetics

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Thursday, September 17th, 2009

MAC Trend F/W Collection:  Tone: Grey Eyeshadow Quad

MAC Trend F/W ’09 Collection Review: Tone: Grey Eyeshadow Quad

MAC Trend F/W Collection launches in-store today across North America locations, and the collection includes four lipsticks, three lipglasses, an eyeshadow quad, and a fragrance. The Tone: Grey Eyeshadow Quad consists of four eyeshadows, all cool-toned with a mixture of finishes.

Tone: Grey Eyeshadow Quad ($36.00 U.S. / $43.00 CDN)

  • A Warmer White is a cool-toned satiny white that casts a bit green. The pigmentation is decent and doesn’t come off looking too stark or chalky.
  • Tone: Grey is a soft, medium grey with a satin finish that has a cool blue-gray sheen. The pigmentation level is decent, though not intense; the shade itself is a bit muted.
  • The Right Smoke is a bright medium-dark blue with a soft blue sheen and has a frost finish. This is like a bluer Deep Truth (or if you mixed Freshwater and Deep Truth together). I’m so tired of seeing this blue, I can’t even tell you how much! This shade is the most pigmented of the four.
  • Waft is a dirty taupe grey–kind of pewter, but not quite–with a taupe sheen and a frost finish. Like the other shadows in this quad, it has decent color pay off, but it’s not intensely pigmented.

The eyeshadow quad actually reminds me of the Gentle Fume eyeshadow quad from Smoke Signals. It isn’t the same, but at first glance, it definitely was reminiscent of it (it doesn’t help that Waft was also in the Gentle Fume quad!). The quad is a nice pairing of shadows for smoky looks with a cool-toned theme. I don’t think this quad is particularly unique or a must-have, because you could easily create the same kind of quad with existing MAC shades that would just as easily suit you.

For those looking for dupes, A Warmer White is similar to Gesso (but without the barely-there-green tint); Tone: Grey is similar to Scene; The Right Smoke is similar to Deep Truth; and Waft is similar to Print (but without the frost or taupe — add a touch of Satin Taupe to fix that).

To get an idea on what kind of look you could create with this quad, check out this silver, gray, and blue look I did using the Gentle Fume eyeshadow quad.

  • Product: 7/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 8/10
  • Packaging: 9/10

Recommendation: If you don’t have similar shades and are looking for a cool-toned, slightly blue-leaning smoky palette, you’d like this!

Availability: MAC Cosmetics

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Thursday, September 10th, 2009

MAC Close to Real, High Def, Resolutely Red Lipsticks
Close to Real, High Def, Resolutely Red Lipsticks

Review: MAC Cosmetics In High Def Collection

Just launched, MAC’s In High Def Collection (see full collection details here) contains several hand-picked products from the existing line as well as some new products that are designed to work well in the high definition environment. There are four new shades of lipstick: Close to Real, High Def, Resolutely Red, and Sharp Focus. The rest of the collection is permanent, existing products (Face & Body Foundation and Mineralize Skinfinish Natural).

Lipstick ($14.00 U.S. / $16.50 CDN)

  • Close to Real is a pale, frosty peach. Despite having a lustre finish, it doesn’t feel like one to me. It feels much more like a frost lipstick, and it definitely looks like it on the lips. I found this one to seem to grab onto every imperfection on your lips–even after I had exfoliated–it just didn’t look very flattering. The color is really pale, so I’d vote on using this more as a layering shade than standalone.
  • High Def is a creamy, opaque pinky-coral color. It has a slight sheen, but it doesn’t contain any shimmer. On my lips, it doesn’t read very much coral (unfortunately, as MAC lacks corals!), but it’s still pretty. It looks more like my-lips-but-better with a bit more pinky-brown.
  • Resolutely Red is a mostly opaque, lightly creamy shade of reddish-wine. It’s not super bold or bright, so it’s more of a wearable red. It’s not too cool or warm, either, which I definitely like. It has a glossy look to it when applied.
  • Sharp Focus is semi-opaque muted, browned-down red with almost a bit of plum undertone. It’s almost like a vampy lip color, yet not really. If you’ve wanted to go for a darker lip, but have found vampy shades too dark too fast for you, this might be one way to start.

Face & Body Foundation

Face & Body Foundation is a water-based sheer to light-medium coverage liquid foundation. MAC says that it is water-resistant, and I’d agree that it holds up pretty well under water, though I’ve never say, showered, in it either. (I’m now curious, so I may try it!) It has a slightly dewy finish, which may be too much for those with really oily skin. It’s a solid foundation, and I actually used this as my go-to for maybe six months or so a year or two ago. I liked it a lot during summer, because it was very lightweight and held up under the summer heat.

Mineralize Skinfinish Natural

This is a baked mineral-based powder that has a near matte finish (there is just a slight, slight bit of luminous-ness to it) — MAC calls the finish “natural-matte.” I personally can’t wear MSFN due to the fact that it breaks me out, but I know it is an often raved about products for others. I wish I could say I experienced the same amazingness (despite breakouts), but it just didn’t wow me. It’s a great setting powder, and it can be used as a very light, sheer foundation (I recommend the 189 brush for foundation application). Many like it because it gives their face a sheer, even look. I’m sure plenty of you have tried this, so please do share your thoughts for others who haven’t!

You can view reviews for: 187 Brush and 188 Brush, as well. (Both brushes are permanent.)

Recommendation: This collection left me unexcited, to be honest. The lipsticks were so-so, but I didn’t feel like there weren’t already as good, if not better, options available in the permanent line. I have no problem with MAC pointing out, “Hey! We have products that look great for HD work already!” I’ve always liked Face & Body, so I do recommend that if you haven’t checked it out. But overall, it’s just not a very exciting collection, yeah? Bring on Fall Trend!

Availability: MAC Cosmetics

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Thursday, August 27th, 2009

MAC Nail Trend F/W ’09 Collection: Review

OVERALL, the shades are creamy and cool-toned, going on mostly opaque with two medium-thick coats of lacquer, and they have a soft glossy sheen.  These are not matte polishes (as I know some have asked me), but they’re definitely colors perfect for the fall and winter season.  I liked For Fun and Cool Reserve the most, though Rich, Dark, Delicious is lovely and I’ll find myself wearing at least once in the next few months.  Dry Martini, while different, just didn’t suit my skin tone, and Beyond Jealous was a bit too dark for my personal taste.  Dance All Night is classic, so it just depends on your taste/collection on whether it’s worthwhile to pick up.

Nail Lacquer

  • For Fun is a creamy magenta-purple with a subtle red tone. It is nearly opaque in two medium-thick coats, though a third coat would really bring it home.
  • Dry Martini is a creamy deep olive-green with a bit more olive than green in it. I didn’t detect any shimmer, and I found this one to be the hardest to apply. It was a bit streaky, and I felt like thicker coats made it easier to apply overall. I’m not feeling the color myself, but it’s one of those shades you don’t see too often.
  • Cool Reserve is a creamy, cool-toned grayed purple. It’s a soft grayish lilac almost. Like For Fun, two medium-thick coats made it just nearly opaque, and a third coat would make it totally solid. This one was one of my favorites — even on my warm skin tone, I liked it on myself.
  • Beyond Jealous is a creamy, green-black. It goes totally opaque with two medium-thick coats, and it has a glossy finish that’s more apparent in this shade than the other five. It is really a very dark, very deep green that runs very close to black in natural light.
  • Rich, Dark, Delicious is a deep dark chocolate black-brown that runs a little neutral-cool and has nearly imperceptible flecks of shimmer. I can only see the shimmer if I look really hard in sunlight, otherwise it appears mostly as a creme. Two coats made it opaque with no application issues.
  • Dance All Night is a rich, blood red that goes on nearly opaque with two coats. I do recommend using three thinner coats with this particular shade, because I found medium to thick coats to be a bit overwhelming. This one is all creme–no shimmer whatsoever–and is quite fitting it is so.

  • Product: 8/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 7/10
  • Packaging: 7/10

Recommendation: Nail polish fanatics hoping for an improved MAC formula might find in the latest lacquers created by nail guru Jin Soon Choi!

Availability: MAC Cosmetics (August 27th)

What did you think of MAC’s latest polishes?  Did you pick up any?