Sunday, April 29th, 2012

MAC Russian Red Trio
MAC Pink Nouveau Lipglass over Lipstick; Nail Lacquer

MAC Fashion Sets: Nail Lacquer Review Round-up

MAC is not known for an excellent nail polish formula. Sometimes they do it right, but they often create some major misses that tend to suffer from too thin/too thick consistencies, streaking, and poor pigmentation. As is generally the case, the set of sixteen matching nail lacquers was a mixed bag but with more winners than real losers. Pigmentation wasn’t a problem with most of the shades, but I found several of them to be on the streakier side with some more readily covered with a thicker second coat. There were also a handful of shades that were lovely to apply!

The other downside was that a few of the nail lacquers did not match well with the lipstick/lipgloss (Angel, Impassioned, Razzledazzler, Rebel, Snob, and Spice were among the least matching, particularly in tone, not just slightly lighter/darker).

I think MAC has accelerated the price point of their nail lacquers far too quickly–$16 is more than a lipstick or a gloss! It’s $2 less than NARS, the same or $2 less than Deborah Lippmann (depending on the type of polish, as some of hers are $16 and others are $18), $2 MORE than Illamasqua (one of the best polish formulas I’ve ever tried), and $2 more than Butter London. And frankly? At that price tag, MAC is giving you less than the brands I just mentioned–0.34 fl. oz. vs. 0.50 fl. oz. 0.50 fl. oz. is the standard lacquer size (China Glaze, Essie, OPI, etc. all have this size as well). This formula needs to be on point to command a $16 price tag when there are nail polish niche brands where all they do is nail polish have excellent formulas.  The nail lacquers have increased in price faster than other comparable price points at MAC (e.g. lipsticks, glosses, and eyeshadows go up $0.50 every year).

I very specifically removed price from the overall rating so that a $30 formula can be compared to a $3 formula with no boost/decrease because of the price–you are the only one who can decide what is too expensive, just right, or not worth it. As a buyer, I’m most interested in quality, and then I’ll figure out if the quality-to-price-ratio is worth it to me or maybe the color is so original that I’m willing to pay a higher price — or maybe it’s so cheap that I’ll accept that it streaks or is powdery. I try to shed light on situations where the price seems out of line with the brand’s position in the market, against competitors, or if the price/quantity ratio is unusually low or high.

MAC’s lacquers are packaged in a cylindrical bottle (though it has some tapering) and a rubberized cap, and this type of cap normally brings packaging scores up to 5/5, but because it’s awkward to hold (it’s stubby and oddly shaped when gripped), it ends up being a wash. Though it has been an issue in the past, I didn’t have any problems with the brush–they all seemed fine and didn’t have any splaying issues.

The best shades were: Chestnut, Girl About Town, Morange, Pink Nouveau, and Russian Red (A). A good but not great shade was Impassioned (A-). The most under-performing shades were: Saint Germain (C+) and Snob (B-). The rest were middle-of-the-road shades with mostly Bs and a few B+s.

Availability: Based on the information I have received from MAC, the distribution of these shades is regional. I cannot confirm the extent of non-regional shades being available online for your region (e.g. whether all of these will be available on the UK website). I can confirm only that for North America, all shades are available for purchase online. Only the North America-specific shades will be available in-stores on May 3rd, 2012. Select Macy’s will also carry Latin America & Middle East region-specific shades.

North America: Chestnut, Girl About Town, Myth, Rebel, Russian Red, Snob, Spice; all are limited edition at this time, but MAC will be adding Girl About Town and Snob to the permanent range in July
Asia Pacific: Angel, Morange, Impassioned, Peachstock, Ravishing, Razzledazzler, Saint Germain; all are limited edition at this time, but MAC will be adding Girl About Town, Impassioned, Morange, Saint Germain, and Snob to the permanent range in July
Europe & Africa: Impassioned, Morange, Myth, Rebel, Russian Red, Saint Germain, Spice; all are limited edition at this time, but MAC will be adding Impassioned, Morange, and Saint Germain, to the permanent range in July
Latin America & Middle East: Girl About Town, Impassioned, Morange, Pink Nouveau, Please Me, Russian Red, Snob; all are limited edition at this time, but MAC will be adding Girl About Town, Impassioned, Morange, and Snob to the permanent range in July

Reviews, Photos, Swatches

The Glossover

coming-soon

MAC Fashion Sets: Nail Lacquer Review Round-up

B+
One major downside was that a few of the nail lacquers did not match well with the lipstick/lipgloss (Angel, Impassioned, Razzledazzler, Rebel, Snob, and Spice were among the least matching, particularly in tone, not just slightly lighter/darker). I think this is important, because the concept of the collection is very matchy-matchy, you know? Being a little lighter/darker is acceptable, but getting the undertone wrong is less so.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

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Please note that the photos included in this post are for summary purposes only–there are four additional photos for each lipstick shade that have been excluded in this post but are available in the set’s original post: one product photos, one swatch (diffused flash), and two swatches (studio lighting).

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Friday, April 27th, 2012

MAC Angel
MAC Angel Lipglass, Lipstick, Nail Lacquer

MAC Angel Lipglass, Lipstick, Nail Lacquer

MAC Angel Lipstick ($14.50 for 0.10 oz.) has inspired a new and limited edition variation in Lipglass ($14.50 for 0.17 fl. oz.) and Nail Lacquer ($16.00 for 0.34 fl. oz.). This shade is available online only for North America, but it will launch in Asia Pacific as part of the region’s collection. Angel is described as “light warm pink.”

The two lip products layered creates a glossy, nearly opaque neutral pink with faint silver micro-shimmer. I found the gloss was slightly cooler-toned and has noticeably more shimmer compared to the lipstick counterpart. The nail lacquer doesn’t resemble neither the gloss nor the lipstick when swatched or applied–it’s much darker and yellower. It does, however, look more similar to the color of Angel lipstick in tube-form (but not swatched).

Angel Lipglass is a light-medium neutral pink with subtle silver micro-shimmer. It has a frost finish. It applies mostly opaque, and because of its lightness, it does have a slightly milky appearance. Thankfully, the opacity helps minimize how much it settles into lip lines. MAC Enchantee is cooler-toned, bluer-based. MAC Infinitely Likeable is just slightly gray-tinted in comparison. MAC Splashing is darker and warmer with golden shimmer. (8.5, 10, 8.5, 8.5, 4, 4; B+)

Angel Lipstick is a subtly yellow-toned light-medium pink with soft silver micro-shimmer that translates more into a frosted finish than it does a shimmery one. It yields mostly opaque color coverage. Lancome Love It! is similar but yellower. YSL Opera Rose is darker and yellower. Estee Lauder Mauve Mirage is bluer-based. Clarins Lilac Pink is very similar but a smidgen cooler-toned. Bobbi Brown Lilac is a little plummier. (9, 10, 8.5, 8, 4, 4; B+)

Angel Nail Lacquer is a medium yellow-toned pink with a cream finish. It’s nearly opaque after two coats of polish, and it applied evenly and smoothly. I didn’t have any trouble with this one. The consistency was on the thinner side overall, but it wasn’t too thin or watery. Chanel May is lighter and much bluer-based. NARS Trouville is way lighter, but it reads like they’re in the same family. Chanel Morning Rose is the closest, though it’s a little warmer and has gold sparkle. (9, 9.5, 9, 9, 4, 4; B+)

MAC Lipsticks are vanilla-scented but taste-free. Frost finishes like Angel typically wear three to four hours on me, with lighter shades like this one wearing closer to three. This particular finish is not particularly moisturizing, but I don’t find it drying either. MAC Lipglasses are also vanilla-scented but taste-free. They are very sticky and have a thick, borderline-goopy consistency. If you prefer gel-like, cushion-y glosses that feel lightweight on, I don’t recommend MAC Lipglass. Because of the tackier texture, MAC Lipglasses do tend to wear a full four hours on me, with some of the darker shades lasting up to six hours (with mostly the color lingering at that point).

Note:  I am reviewing each “set” together.  After I’ve reviewed all sixteen sets, I will do round-ups for each product type (so all lipsticks together) to deliver an overall Glossover rating.  This rating is more indicative of the product type, as the rating that follows this post is an average across three totally different types of products.  You can also see the individual scores listed after each product, which are listed in the same order as they are in the Glossover.

The Glossover

product

MAC Angel Lipglass, Lipstick, Nail Lacquer Review, Photos, Swatches

B+
Angel is the type of pink that works well on most skin tones, because it's only subtly warm, so it will tend to move towards neutral on cooler complexions and stay slightly warm on warmer complexions. It's a very work-friendly color as well.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

4/5

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