Saturday, December 28th, 2013

MAC Instigator Lipstick
MAC Instigator Lipstick

MAC Instigator Lipstick ($15.00 for 0.10 oz.) is described as a “deep blackened plum [with a Retro Matte finish].” It’s a deep, berry-wine with a satin finish. Officially, it’s labeled as a matte (not a Retro Matte), but it has a noticeable sheen for the first hour of wear. It had mostly opaque color coverage. This shade wore well for six hours and left behind a noticeable berry stain. It was neither drying nor hydrating. NARS Train Bleu (P, $25.00) is very similar–just more matte. MAC Potent Fig (LE, $16.00) is purpler. MAC Yung Rapunxel (LE, $16.00) is lighter, less matte. MAC Smoked Purple (LE, $16.00) is slightly purpler, less berry but comparable. See comparison swatches.

Punk Couture Lipstick ($15.00 for 0.10 oz.) is described as a “deep blackened grape [with a Retro Matte finish].” It’s a cool-toned, medium-dark purple with a satin finish. I had trouble getting the color to apply evenly, as it had a tendency to gather/clump in places. It had mostly full color coverage, but I would apply this with a lip brush to improve the evenness.  The color lasted for five and a half hours, but it did seem to settle into lip lines as it wore on. Illamasqua ESP (P, $24.00) is brighter, less cool-toned. MAC Potent Fig (LE, $16.00) is a bit darker, less pink/red. Illamasqua Kontrol (P, $24.00) is a more muted, grayer purple. See comparison swatches.

Both shades are sold out online, and the only real way to get them would be to track them down at a store/counter, or possibly, if MAC restocks it online (but you can’t count on a restock, and you never know when it might occur!). Also, just as an FYI, my Punk Couture lipstick arrived smashed against the top of the inside of the cap, and it had fallen entirely out of the base (so it was loose).

The Glossover

LE
product

Instigator

A-

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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Dupes
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LE
product

Punk Couture

B-

Product

7/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

3.5/5

Results
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Dupes

See more photos & swatches!

MAC Instigator Lipstick
MAC Instigator Lipstick

MAC Instigator Lipstick
MAC Instigator Lipstick

MAC Instigator Lipstick
MAC Instigator Lipstick

MAC Instigator Lipstick
MAC Instigator Lipstick

MAC Instigator Lipstick
MAC Instigator Lipstick

MAC Instigator Lipstick
MAC Instigator Lipstick

MAC Punk Couture Lipstick
MAC Punk Couture Lipstick

MAC Punk Couture Lipstick
MAC Punk Couture Lipstick

MAC Punk Couture Lipstick
MAC Punk Couture Lipstick

MAC Punk Couture Lipstick
MAC Punk Couture Lipstick

MAC Punk Couture Lipstick
MAC Punk Couture Lipstick

MAC Punk Couture Lipstick
MAC Punk Couture Lipstick

The Dupe List: Instigator

See More Dupes

The Dupe List: Punk Couture

See More Dupes

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87 thoughts on “MAC Instigator & Punk Couture Lipsticks Reviews, Photos, Swatches

  1. Martyisblue

    Well, is not lose at all! you could try to melt the lipstick at the base with a lighter, then try to fix it to the tube and put everything in the fridge just to secure your lipstick! :) it should work!

    • That’s one way to do it! I’ve done it that way before, but I don’t particularly love using the lighter at the base. But I also don’t like fire at all :)

  2. C

    Shame, Punk Couture looks like a really lovely colour.

  3. Beatrice

    Looks like Mac Dark Deed, and Cyber. mac is always renaming their collection.

  4. Katie

    The A grade does not match what am seeing. Should have been a much lower grade

  5. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Jennifer Jennifer

    Yikes. I know mac is trying to preserve its reputation as a edgy make-up artist company, but I really can’t see these taking off. Gothic shades have their place and apeal, but they have never been mainstream. I love alternative and punk music and themes, but I haven’t seen anyone wear these colors since I was a teen in the 90’s. Not even at concerts

    • There are plenty of people who do wear shades like these (as evidenced by the fact that Punk Couture sold out in about two hours!) – I don’t often see people wearing noticeable makeup (whether bolder lips, bolder eyes, etc.) around me, personally, but I know plenty exist :)

    • I love these colors and don’t dress goth or punk. I think they are really pretty and can compliment a lot of skin tones.

    • Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Clare Clarey

      I wear colours like this all the time, there’s still plenty of us gothy/metal girls that do and I love it when companies like MAC bring the darker colours out as it gives me a excuse to have a splurge!

    • I wear colors like these constantly. Speak for yourself, tbqh. You can stick to pinks and beiges or whatever you want to brand as normal, but who gives a crap if something is “mainstream” or not? Do you understand how difficult it is to find colors like these in quality lipsticks? Even more so, do you understand how difficult it is to deal with people asking me if it’s halloween?

      You’re being rude and inconsiderate of other peoples tastes.

  6. When i see something on you that doesnt look appealing the respect increases more dear :D
    and to date i can say .. only you can do justice to a lipstick shade like this :D

  7. Glad you got them! I was looking forward to your review!

  8. Eva

    So disappointing about Punk Couture! I would love to have lipstick in that shade, but it seems lately that the very few times MAC has tried to step out of their zone, the quality is terrible. They can’t make anything beyond typical lip colors and even some of those suck quality-wise! It can be done (look at Illamasqua) but MAC just doesn’t seem to care about doing it right anymore. They used to be a brand I loved and saw as experimental and stylish, but they keep churning out the same old colors in their boring, half-assed collections with the occasional fun color like Punk Couture which is hyped about for months before release and ends up being crap. Sorry for the rant but c’mon, MAC! :(

  9. I really like Instigator, but I wound up not picking up anything from this collection.

  10. Very gothic. Who buys this? I mean, sure, I can see true MAC fans or edgy gals get these, but how can they get sold out in a matter of hours? Or maybe I’m just a wuss when it comes to lip colors, I don’t know :-)

    • We’re everywhere and we look awesome.

    • Chanel

      A lot of resellers buy them in bulk, so not only does the collection sell out more quickly leaving nothing for the rest of us, they go on Ebay and sell them for $65 a pop. Gotta love it.

      • Kristi

        I’m very fair skinned with red hair and I picked up both of these. I love wearing super dark and also super bright colors. My job requires me to wear a uniform and very minimal makeup so when I’m not working I tend to overcompensate!

  11. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Elizabeth Lizzi

    I do like Punk Couture. Just wish I didn’t have to pay $27 to get it off ebay.

  12. I will speak up for those (of us) who do wear shades like these or shocking colors. I’m mostly a conservative working mom and often rush getting ready so can only wear minimal makeup. Other times…I like to have fun with my makeup colors! The past few days I’ve been wearing the darker blues from the UD Vice 2 and Ocho Loco 2 mixed with the silver and green Mac extra dimension shadows from last year (shimmery!!!). Sure, I blend a lot..but there is still a lot of color! I wear it anywhere and everywhere.
    I save my bright lipsticks for post yoga; my yoga class is super sweaty and rare makeup survives. I slap on a bright color when I need to run errands before showering (probably to detract from the other lack of makeup but bright lipsticks do brighten your face). Mac’s Heroine has been banned by both my kids who threaten to destroy the tube on site. And I used to stop at Sephora pre-yoga for a while and was testing reds…so joked about looking for the perfect yoga red…at yoga….
    I wore a neon yellow eye shadow once that a friend joked only I could pull off.
    Bright, unusual or vibrant colors can work in daily life if the rest of your look is super toned down and you keep a sense of humor about it. Makeup is a safe way to be creative, express our moods and cheer ourselves up. Sometimes a bright color can pick up your mood. Dark ones are powerful. It’s also an easy way, honestly, to stand out in a business context (pick one bright or dark color and tone EVERYTHING else down). Memorable.
    I ordered both of these…when Christine posted that they were available. I’m pretty light (coloring wise) so can’t always pull off such dark lipsticks because they just aren’t so flattering. On those with darker complexions they are more likely to be stunning. I always prefer to see photos and reviews of stuff like this before ordering…but can’t always. Thankfully, MAC has a great return policy and these honestly might go back.
    I wrote this to point out that color, and most varieties of colors, are wearable if done right. Many might not feel bold enough to pull them off …but that’s a choice. Creativity comes in lots of shades and at least with makeup you can wipe the risk right off.
    And beauty bloggers (like Christine!) teach us how to do it and have fun in the process!

    • Thank you so much for sharing, Megan! :) It’s so great to hear from someone who wears and rocks these colors!

    • Lol, I couldn’t have said this any better. This post also shows how completely confident you are about yourself :) I love Heroine and have gotten quite a few compliments on the color as well as some of the other colors that some don’t classify as “conventional.” While I love Candy Yum Yum, I will admit that it just doesn’t look good on me though I wish I had taken a picture of my kid as she stared at me wide eyed when I tried the color on ;)

  13. Punk Couture is a really pretty purple!
    Rikki Recently Posted: “PERFECT” Red Lip Tutorial – 3 Ways | closed captioned

  14. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Jenna Jenna

    I’m so glad i bought Punk Couture now!
    I was unsure of whether or not to grab it being that it was nearly impossible to find any reliable swatches of it online prior to it’s release, but I decided to just risk the $15 and order it. Loving how truly grape-y it looks.

    Also glad I didn’t go for Instigator. It’s so similar to NARS Train Bleu, which I just got for Christmas. :)

  15. Haylee

    This collection was a little disappointing- I was SO excited for some super dark colors, and the colors ARE lovely… but the textures and application is so difficult. Hautecore wasn’t opaque enough, and Punk Couture was so hard for me to work with, and no matter what it always ended up patchy and streaky and tugs when applying. It settles into my lines badly too…:(

    The weartime is excellent, though!

  16. To be honest, I’m not wild about either one of them though if it came down to it and someone held a gun to my head and said I had to wear one of them, it would be Instigator. So I’m not heartbroken that these are sold out though, once again, I hate this basically disrespectful attitude MAC has towards its fans and customers – this feeling that it’s actually “cool” to leave people wanting something they can’t get their hands on, rather than making a little more than necessary to meet the demand. It really bothers me more and more.

  17. I’m really loving the look of Instigator! It’s too bad they’re so difficult to find now.
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  18. Jen

    How would you compare the color of instigator to black dahlia? From pictures, black dahlia looks more red? Thanks!

  19. Both of these colours are right up my alley, unfortunately, I’m not super impressed with the smoothness of coverage. Especially disappointing for the punk couture one, as I feel like blue based purples are really hard to find! :-( certainly in this country, anyway. I might swatch it, but MAC lipsticks are $45 a pop here, so you kind of expect a bit more!
    Sylirael Recently Posted: Back to Basics! A Classic Red for Every Rogue: Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Fire and Ice (#720)

    • Ouch!! How does the price of MAC lipstick compare to say Chanel or something like that?

      • KT

        Wow, I thought it was bad at $36 in Australia! Christine, for comparison we pay around $40 for NARS and $50 for Chanel lipsticks here! MAC is getting more and more outrageous though – Lavish Living was $52 here when it was release – for comparison, NARS blushes are $45 and I believe I paid around $65 for Horizon de Chanel blush.

  20. shelley

    Sold out in store in my city. MAC is wearing me out with the whole L/E thing.

  21. I love these kinds of vampy colours and love wearing purple lips, i wear them all the time. Im waiting for mine to be delivered, in the UK Selfridges still have them in stock, but postage to U,S is pretty high, the MAC site sold out way too fast and it launched Christmas day which is not a day i sit glued to the internet. Great review as always, ive seen videos and they dont seem to be that dupeable, will have to see when they arrive. Would love more collections like these though, im more edgy than girly so this collection is right up my street xx

  22. Indtigator is very pretty

  23. I *know* that I could never pull off wearing Instigator, but I want it so badly because of the name…

    No! I am trying to budget myself. I have to resist buying a lipstick just because it’s a hockey term!

  24. I didn’t have nearly as much trouble applying Punk Couture…it didn’t apply patchy at all on me although the first time I tested it my lips were a little dry and it showed the flakiness. But every time I’ve worn it since then no issues. And luckily, the backup I received from MAC arrived in perfect condition. I ended up with 3 of each color only because MAC took forever to finally go live and I had given up and went to Dillard’s to get them. While I was paying for my stuff at Dillard’s of course MAC decides to FINALLY put the collection up! So of course I ordered from them so I could use my pro discount lol. I figured I could help someone out that might miss out if these colors sold out fast with the ones I picked up at Dillard’s. Glad that I did because I’ve already helped one person out with Instigator and kept her from having to pay eBay’s inflated prices. For those that think these colors aren’t something that people would wear…the fact that some sold out in about 2 hours clearly prove you wrong. They aren’t for everyone but there are plenty of people that love them. That’s why makeup is so fun. There is something out there for all of us to experiment with and enjoy.
    Kesha Recently Posted: Product Review: MAC Punk Couture Collection Lipsticks

    • It’s so weird! I always prep by exfoliating prior to doing a set of lip swatches, and I wipe away anything that might be on my lips immediately before putting any color on for photographing, so I was surprised to find it so difficult to apply – the matte formula is usually quite consistent. Glad you had better luck!

      • It is weird! I’ve heard a few other people say they’ve had issues. Some compared it to Talk That Talk…which I absolutely can’t imagine it being anything like as far as dryness and difficultly applying. I had more trouble with Hautecore initially but after the first test it’s applied opaque and smoothly. I’ll just be happy that I’ve been lucky. I wish everyone had been because honestly I thought this was one of the best matte releases across the board as far as formula…comparable to the feel of RiRi Nude. Creamy and very easy to apply. At least that was the case with the ones I got from Nordstrom. I haven’t actually used the ones from MAC as those are for my kit. I just checked to make sure they arrived intact.
        Kesha Recently Posted: Product Review: MAC Punk Couture Collection Lipsticks

        • Interesting! Based on mine, I don’t think it is anywhere near the texture of Talk That Talk… I mean, this isn’t dry – I would argue that it is almost too emollient/creamy, which is why it seemed to slip during application and wouldn’t stay in place for even coverage.

          I’m happy you’re happy! ;D

    • Kesha, do you still have an extra Instigator? I didn’t think I’d like the color but it looks smashing on Christine and I’m just a smidge lighter than her.

  25. Ugh I regret not getting Instigator. I was so close to buying it but opted just to get Studded Kiss. Shame. Maybe it will be launched again in the future with a different collection. I really could slap myself for not getting it. Ugh!

  26. The Instigator is a nice color but doesnt look llookit goes on even.

  27. Christine, how do you feel Instigator compares to Cyber?

  28. Miss J

    Instigator looks much better than Punk Couture, but the uneveness of both is disappointing. I would love to see Punk Couture on someone with dark skin because I can see it looking so super sexified, lol.

  29. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Corliss Corliss

    I went to the most suburban Mac counter in town on the first day and they were sold out early on the first day so Christine you’re right plenty of people wear these colors. Everyone is not going to love every collection I certainly don’t. I’m ready for some satin and amplified finishes now I don’t need anymore matte shades. I also wish Mac would stock more le shades to go around when new collections launch.

  30. Amy

    Love your earrings–they remind me of the Temptalia logo! :)

  31. i got both of these (frantically) on the 26th. i love them but i agree that punk couture has some problems. it’s an amazing color though! just not the greatest coverage.

    does anyone know of any good purple lipliners? i have nyx prune, which i love, but it’s darker and redder than punk couture.

    • Natacha

      Honestly, you’ll probably find more purple shades among eyeliners. Lipliners are harder to find in pure purple shades or blue based – they frequently tend toward plum. Here’s my list that include both eyeliners (EL) & Lipliners (LL):
      MAC Nightmoth (LL)
      MAC Vino (LL)
      MAC Current (LL)
      MAC Chromographic Liner in ‘Designer Purple’ (EL)
      Rimmel Scandaleyes ‘013 Purple’ (EL)
      Rimmel Kajal Eye Soft Kohl ‘040 purple passion’ (EL)
      Annebelle Kohl ‘110 Fiesta’
      NYX Slim Lip Pencil ‘Purple Rain’
      NARS Long-Wear Eyeliner ‘Bourbon Street’ and ‘St Marks Place’

      Also to be fair, many matte shades are faulty and difficult to apply, and not only Mac’s. What we all need to remember is that besides proper exfoliation and moisturizing prior, its often a very good idea to get your hands on a lip PRIMER. Something that has retinol for even application, prevent feathering/flaking and to add some duration not to mention to simply keep your lips from feeling like the desert. This is usually something we gotta deal with if you enjoy wearing matte shades, otherwise, stay with amplifieds, creams, lusters, glosses etc…Hope that helps!

  32. Courtney K

    I love these lipsticks….on other people. ^_^

    I’m way too fair to pull them off, but they’re so pretty!

  33. Cécile

    I LOVE these. For those wondering, “Who actually wears this?”, well, I do :)

    I love wearing lipstick colours that are kind of out there, especially dark ones. What I do is I make sure the rest of my make up looks as flawless as possible, and I usually go for a classic winged liner. This keeps the look from going too goth. My friends tell me that I’m the only one they know that can pull off a black lip, but honestly I think that’s because I’m the only one they ever see do it. It’s not something you’re used to seeing, so when first applying it you might think “WHAT HAVE I DONE TO MY FACE?!”. But once you wear it out, no one is going to say “That blue lip doesn’t really complement your skin tone” – because it’s not really supposed to.

    People will always think you look exactly the way you meant to or wanted to look when you went out the door in the morning. So when you wear edgy make up, they might still not think it’s pretty or nice or whatever, but most people will probably think that that’s what you were going for, and that this is something you regularly do, something you “can pull off”.

    If you want to wear it, DO!

  34. So sorry about your damaged Punk Couture Christine. I bought Punk Couture and a few of the Magnetic Nudes. I have Nars Train Bleu so I didn’t buy Instigator. I love Punk, it’s a grape purple on my lips. I wore it yesterday and loved it. I don’t understand the snarky comments about ‘wearable” shades (sigh). Peace on earth (and makeup blogs) in 2014!

  35. AudreyNZ

    Excuse me for going off track here…Are you allowed to send smashed/disfigured makeup back for replacement? This is the exact reason my husband is totally against me buying makeup online. He’d rather pay more for me to buy from the store but the stores don’t always have what I want.

    • If I wanted to, I could do so, but the problem with MAC is that this sold out in 2 hours, so there’s not a great chance that they can replace it – they would refund, though.

  36. I adore Punk Couture’s color and it makes me happy to see it in a mainstream make-up brand but the texture/application doesn’t look too great… I guess I’ll pass, it’s a pretty common color among indie lipstick brands so I might find something better there.

  37. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Joanna Joanna

    I didn’t really take the time to read all the comments so I’m not sure anyone has said that Instigator is everything I wanted Smoked Purple to be! I Back 2 Mac some items for Smoked Purple lipstick (did it online and sent my empties through the mail) a few weeks ago (takes a really long time to do it this way). Around the same time Punk Couture collection launched and I ended up ordering Instigator & Punk Couture. I figured I would return whichever one was too similar to Smoked purple. Well I received my orders at the same time. What do you know, I swatched the lipsticks on my lips and HATED smoked purple. Thank god I ordered Instigator!

  38. I loved this collection because this was the first time I could shop in mac and listen to my fave tunes from the ramones and other punk songs!
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