Thursday, April 25th, 2013

MAC Masat al Lail Eyeshadow Quad
MAC Masat al Lail Eyeshadow Quad

MAC Masat al Lail Eyeshadow Quad ($40.00 for 0.21 oz.) contains these shades: Rondelle (platinum silver frost), Waft (deep navy with pearl), Gentle Fume (dirty concrete grey with silver pearl), and Carbon (intense black). Long-time MAC collectors may remember this composition, as it was originally launched in Smoke Signals (2007) as the Gentle Fume quad.

Rondelle is a gray-tinged white with a frosted finish. It had decent to good color payoff, but it was a little dusty, though I was able to get it to apply smoothly for the most part. Tarte Silver Burst is brighter, whiter. Guerlain Les Aquas #4 is more metallic. Bobbi Brown Iced Blue is cooler-toned.

Waft is a dark, bluish-gray with a subtle, frosted finish. The texture is rather dry, which is why this shade looks a bit patchy (and it does look dry, too) when swatched. It has so-so color payoff, but it was buildable and when used with a soft, fluffier brush, it did seem to apply better and more smoothly. theBalm Matt McDonald is very similar. MAC Warm Thunder is more metallic. Tarina Tarantino DIamond DUsk is more metallic, lighter. MAC Weathered is bluer.

Gentle Fume is a medium-dark matte gray base with silver sparkle. The silver sparkle doesn’t adhere or bind with the base color very well, so it flakes and disappears the moment you go to blend out the color. If you want any sparkle to survive, pat the color on, and then leave it alone. There will be fall out during the day, though. MAC Fabulous Fit doesn’t have the sparkle and is a touch lighter. MAC Silver Gull is much lighter. NARS Delphes #2 is close to the base color but doesn’t have the silver sparkle. Chanel Gris Exquis is a darker gray with no silver sparkle.

Carbon is a medium-dark black with a matte finish. It is part of the permanent range, and it varies in its dryness. This isn’t the worst iteration I’ve seen of it, but it’s certainly not the best and is by no means a favorite of mine to use. The beauty world can do better black eyeshadows now, so Carbon could use a reformulation to put it on par with current black eyeshadows. It’s just so dry and stiff, so the color payoff is sheerer and patchy–even applied on the lid, it can be a pain to blend out. You can find numerous black eyeshadows that compare to this (in terms of color).

It is a cool-toned, silver-and-gray smoky eye palette.  Over the years, I’ve grown frustrated with Carbon, so the inclusion of it in the quad is tiresome, as it is so often released in quads and palettes, so you very likely have one already (and it’s just not a great quality eyeshadow to begin with, so why have doubles or triples of it?).  I think the color of Waft is the most interesting, but it turns out that Weathered ends up looking more nuanced on the lid because it is bluer.  I wish the silver sparkle stuck to Gentle Fume, because then it would be something harder to dupe or find, but it just disappears and gets everywhere else.  Rondelle is the best performing shade in the palette.  I’m going to be wearing this quad for wear today, so I’ll report back with the results this afternoon–based on my experience with MAC’s drier/sheerer shades, I don’t get great wear (between seven and eight hours, some fading), I’ve assessed a rating but if it is better/worse, I’ll be sure to let you know.

The Glossover

palette

Masat al Lail

C
The quad just requires too much work. I think that eyeshadows have significantly improved over the past five years, and I feel like these are too dry and stiff and lack color payoff.

Product

7.5/10

Pigmentation

7.5/10

Texture

7.5/10

Longevity

7.5/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Thursday, January 31st, 2013

MAC Carbon Eyeshadow
MAC Carbon Eyeshadow

MAC Carbon Eyeshadow ($21.00 for 0.10 oz.) is described as an “intense black.” It’s a medium black with a matte finish. NARS Night Clubbing has a soft micro-shimmer. Urban Decay Crave is similar in color.  Carbon is part of the permanent range, as well as come out in various palettes over the years, so you may find you have it at least once in your collection already.

This is one of the better limited releases of Carbon I’ve come across, because it’s one of those shades that seems to get worse each time it’s put into a quad/palette. It’s not the best black eyeshadow on the market, but the color payoff was better and reminded me more of the original Carbon (which, by today’s standards for blackest blacks, doesn’t compare).  It has a slightly stiff, almost dry texture that requires extra blending and use of soft, fluffy brushes to really diffuse and blend out the color.  It wears fairly well on the lid; there was some very minor fading after nine hours (no primer).  This color applies best over a primer, though, because it needs the extra oomph to help in color payoff and blendability.

The Glossover

product

MAC Carbon Eyeshadow Review, Photos, Swatches (Year of the Snake)

B
It's not the best black eyeshadow on the market, but the color payoff was better and reminded me more of the original Carbon (which, by today's standards for blackest blacks, doesn't compare).

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Dupes
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Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

MAC Taste Temptation Eyeshadow Quad
MAC Taste Temptation Eyeshadow Quad

Not Quite as Tempting as Touted

MAC Taste Temptation Eyeshadow Quad ($40.00 for 0.20 oz.) includes four shades: Look at the Eyes (light violet), Stay Sultry (deep navy), Naval (navy blue), and Carbon (intense black).  It’s a limited edition palette that will launch with Taste Temptation, due for release in-stores on December 13th.

Look at the Eyes is a pale lilac with a frosted finish. It has decent color payoff, though when I used it, I really packed it on to get it to show up. It was the best performing shade out of the four. MAC Creative Whim is similar–a bit purpler. MAC Silverwear is lighter. OCC Datura is more iridescent, brighter.

Stay Sultry is a blackened purple with a bluish shimmer. It’s supposed to have a satin finish. It had a stiff, dry texture when I attempted to swatch it, and it performed similarly on the lid. Giorgio Armani Green Jacquard is purpler. MAC Indian Ink is also purpler, but it is similar. MAC Spellcaster is a touch redder.

Naval is an indigo blue; there’s just this purplish tint that keeps it from being as blue as it seems. It seemed even less blue when I was working with it on the eye. It looks like a matte, though it is listed as a velvet finish on the label. OCC Technoir is brighter, bluer. NARS Self Portrait 3 is lighter. Tom Ford Cobalt Rush is shimmery. NARS Self Portrait 1 is more vibrant. This shade is part of the permanent (PRO) range.

Carbon is a matte black. It has sheer color payoff with a stiff, dry texture that makes blending difficult. It’s part of the permanent range, and it’s been repromoted more than a few times recently. Shades like Wet ‘n’ Wild Drinking a Glass of Shine, NARS Self Portrait 2, Milani Pitch Black, and other black eyeshadows are all similar. Matte black is a basic enough color, so it’s really about finding the texture and richness of black that you like best. Carbon is a softer black (I’d describe it as a medium black).

The best part of the quad was inviting one to use the set of four shades together. It’s a very dark set of colors, aside from the one light one, so it was interesting trying to come up with something that used all four. The best shade was Look at the Eyes, which was softer than the other three, and it proved to have the most color payoff. You might say to yourself, “But it looks pigmented in the how-to,” but since the images are static, let me tell you that in order to develop the intensity of the crease color (Naval), I put brush to pan five times. Then, three times a piece for all three shades I used on the lid (Stay Sultry, Look at the Eyes, Carbon). In comparison, for a good eyeshadow, once is usually enough.  I’ve been wearing all four eyeshadows over a primer as well as on bare lids–and you absolutely need a primer to get decent color payoff–for the past six hours, and everything looks good thus far. If I experience any fading/creasing, I’ll update the post later tonight to reflect that.

I don’t think you should have to work this hard, period; more budget-friendly brands have put out higher quality products and have proven that you don’t need to spend a lot to get pigment-packed eyeshadow.  There’s absolutely no reason why a higher-end brand like MAC should put out dry, stiff eyeshadows with chalky, uneven color payoff.  For a similar (but these are not exact dupes!) composition by MAC with higher quality shades from their permanent range, try Beautiful Iris, Indian Ink, Atlantic Blue (for a brighter blue) or Contrast (slightly darker), and Typographic (or your preferred matte black).

The Glossover

palette

Taste Temptation

D
I don't think you should have to work this hard, period; more budget-friendly brands have put out higher quality products and have proven that you don't need to spend a lot to get pigment-packed eyeshadow. There's absolutely no reason why a higher-end brand like MAC should put out dry, stiff eyeshadows with chalky, uneven color payoff.

Product

6/10

Pigmentation

6/10

Texture

6/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

3/5

Results
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Thursday, August 30th, 2012

MAC Jungle Camouflage Face Kit
MAC Jungle Camouflage Face Kit

MAC & Carine Roitfeld: Jungle Camouflage Face Kit

MAC Jungle Camouflage Face Kit ($44.00 for 0.40 oz.) includes four eyeshadows: Dew (soft creamy beige), Camo (muted grayish taupe), Bad Lieutenant (blackened deep brown), and Carbon (intense black) as well as one Cremeblend Blush, Bootcamp Bronze (soft sheer chestnut).

Dew is a light warm beige with a subtle golden shimmer-sheen. It has a veluxe pearl finish. It’s color payoff is decent, but it’s a little dry and noticeably sheer. MAC Sahara Dust is less warm, less golden. Tarina Tarantino Elektron is similar but more metallic. Wet ‘n’ Wild Comfort Zone has a very similar shade.

Camo is medium brown with a barest hint of gray, but it has a noticeably warm undertone despite the inclusion of gray. It has a satin finish. The color payoff was the best out of the four shades–good overall, slightly dry in texture. Burberry Pale Barley is warmer with more of a shimmery finish. theBalm Sultry is very similar, just slightly darker. Bare Escentuals Namaste is grayer and darker. MAC Era is similar but more shimmery.

Bad Lieutenant is a blackened gray with a hint of burgundy. It has a matte finish. The pigmentation is poor, and the texture dry and stiff. On the lid, it was marginally better, but it was not very blendable. Guerlain by Emilio Pucci is more intense, more of a red undertone. Tarina Tarantino Saw Dust is very similar but more pigmented. MAC Dance in the Dark is comparable. MAC Midnight Flurry is marginally lighter. Wet ‘n’ Wild We’re Blasting Off is more cool-toned.

Carbon is a matte black, but if you look in the pan, there are a lot of sparkles–just none of them seem to translate. It was the oddest thing. This shade is part of the permanent range, and it’s actually included in both of the face kits in the collection, and they were about equal in their dry, stiff, poor color payoff-yielding textures. Slightly more pigmented when I used it on the eye (with a 222 brush), but boy, it did not want to move or budge, which made blending a pain in the butt!

Cremeblend Blushes are supposed to be creamy, easy to blend, have medium coverage, and have a natural finish. Bootcamp Bronze is a medium-dark orange-tan with a strong orange undertone. It’s a bit darker than the shade in the other face kit, but when you apply it to the skin, the difference is minute. While the color is buildable, it’s only to a point, and I’m not sure how well it will show up on darker complexions, as it took some layering to get it to show up on me–and when it does, it’s very faint–and I’m medium in color.  The wear with this shade was the same as Sand Storm: six hours of wear, at which point, there was noticeable separation and fading–and it did not care for having my drier cheeks under it at all.

This palette contains 0.22 oz. of eyeshadows (0.055 oz. each, which is 0.005 oz. more than a regular full-sized MAC eyeshadow), which is a $66 value. There is 0.18 oz. of Cremeblend Blush in here, which normally retails for $20.00/0.19 oz., so there is $18.95 value from that, for a total palette value of $84.95. (Note: Cremeblend blushes and eyeshadows are sold in pan form, depending on the shade, but I went with individual product prices, not pan prices. From a pan perspective, there is $52.80 in eyeshadow value and $16.11 in Cremeblend Blush value, for a total value of $68.91.) From a quantity point of view, this is absolutely a deal, which is great news!

Again, as a quick note: the two palettes are very, very similar with the major difference between in finish–this palette is more matte, while Desert Camouflage is more shimmery. I think this one has less quality than Desert Camouflage, because three shades are lacking in color payoff, and the textures across the board were dry, with some being particularly stiff (like Bad Lieutenant and Carbon).  When I wore these eyeshadows together, they wore for six and a half hours over a primer before starting to look faded.  Without a primer, they were more difficult to apply and blend, but they wore about the same length of time.

The Glossover

palette

Jungle Camouflage

D+
I think this one has less quality than Desert Camouflage, because three shades are lacking in color payoff, and the textures across the board were dry, with some being particularly stiff (like Bad Lieutenant and Carbon).

Product

7/10

Pigmentation

6.5/10

Texture

7/10

Longevity

7/10

Application

3.5/5

Results
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Thursday, August 30th, 2012

MAC Desert Camouflage Face Kit
MAC Desert Camouflage Face Kit

MAC & Carine Roitfeld: Desert Camouflage Face Kit

MAC Desert Camouflage Face Kit ($44.00 for 0.40 oz.) includes four eyeshadows: Sahara Dust (light neutral beige), Cactus Thorn (mid-tone brown bronze), Desert (shimmering warm taupe), and Carbon (intense black) as well as one Cremeblend Blush, Sand Storm (soft sheer warm caramel).

Sahara Dust is a pale beige with a soft, frosted finish. It has a satin finish, officially. The color payoff is decent, and it works well as a highlighter on the brow bone or inner tear duct. Illamasqua Slink is similar, slightly frostier. MAC Brule is more matte. Giorgio Armani Madreperla has a frostier finish. MAC Baby, It’s Cold is a smidgen yellower. MAC Vanilla is a touch lighter.

Cactus Thorn is a softened bronze-shimmered medium-dark brown. It has a frost finish. The pigmentation is good, though the texture was a bit dry. Dior Golden Savannaha is darker, browner. Giorgio Armani #26 is more shimmery. Urban Decay Chase is warmer and more metallic. theBalm Schitzo is very similar, but more pigmented and slightly more golden-toned. Wet ‘n’ Wild Comfort Zone is richer.

Desert is a gray-tinged brown with a hint of plum. It has a satin finish. It has decent color payoff but had a dry, stiffer texture. Bobbi Brown Slate is softer, more matte. MAC Aurora is lighter, more frosted. Dolce &G abbana Jewels is grayer. Inglot #360 is similar but matte.

Carbon is a matte black, but if you look in the pan, there are a lot of sparkles–just none of them seem to translate. It was the oddest thing. I feel like every time I swatch Carbon, it gets worse. And I’m not swatching the same one! This shade is part of the permanent range, and it’s actually included in both of the face kits in the collection, and they were about equal in their dry, stiff, poor color payoff-yielding textures. Slightly more pigmented when I used it on the eye (with a 222 brush), but boy, it did not want to move or budge, which made blending a pain in the butt! Because I happened to also have a really rich black that I was swatching (completely unplanned!) that was insanely pigmented, I took a comparison photo, just so you can see why Carbon is such a disappointment.

Cremeblend Blushes are supposed to be creamy, easy to blend, have medium coverage, and have a natural finish. Sand Storm is a warm, orange-tan with a soft, barely dewy finish (it read mostly matte when it dried down and set). There’s a yellowy-orange undertone that comes through. MAC Lush-Light is darker, browner. MAC Refined Golden is browner. MAC Tan Tint is a smidgen darker. It can be used sheerly with ease, and it can be built up a bit, though I’m not sure it will show up well on darker complexions–it just barely shows on mine (I’m about NC30 at the moment). It may add warmth without adding noticeable color. Yesterday, when I was testing the wear, my cheeks were slightly dry, and this wasn’t forgiving, unfortunately. I was hoping that the creamy consistency would help and was happy that I was testing a cream blush instead of a powder one, LOL! After six hours, it had separated and faded noticeably.

This palette contains 0.22 oz. of eyeshadows (0.055 oz. each, which is 0.005 oz. more than a regular full-sized MAC eyeshadow), which is a $66 value. There is 0.18 oz. of Cremeblend Blush in here, which normally retails for $20.00/0.19 oz., so there is $18.95 value from that, for a total palette value of $84.95. (Note: Cremeblend blushes and eyeshadows are sold in pan form, depending on the shade, but I went with individual product prices, not pan prices. From a pan perspective, there is $52.80 in eyeshadow value and $16.11 in Cremeblend Blush value, for a total value of $68.91.) From a quantity point of view, this is absolutely a deal, which is great news!

It’s a decent palette, but the inclusion of Carbon is really bringing down the overall quality of it on the whole.  The other three eyeshadows have decent color payoff, with Sahara Dust being the easiest to work with.  Sand Storm didn’t have fantastic wear, but it was blendable and looked good initially.  These eyeshadows were less stellar without a primer–they were less blendable and faded after six hours. Over a primer, I saw some minor fading of Desert and Carbon.  

It’s hard to recommend or feel good about a palette when one shade is such a dud and four shades are decent but not really phenomenal. I keep hoping for a stellar launch from MAC, but they aren’t making it easy at all.

I’ll have my review for the Jungle Camouflage palette up soon, but as a quick note: the two palettes are very, very similar with the major difference between in finish–this palette is more shimmery, while Jungle Camouflage is more matte.

The Glossover

palette

Desert Camouflage

B-
It's a decent palette, but the inclusion of Carbon is really bringing down the overall quality of it on the whole. The other three eyeshadows have decent color payoff, with Sahara Dust being the easiest to work with. Sand Storm didn't have fantastic wear, but it was blendable and looked good initially. It's hard to recommend or feel good about a palette when one shade is such a dud and four shades are decent but not really phenomenal.

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Thursday, October 27th, 2011


MAC Warm Fabulously Festive Face Kit

MAC Ice Parade: Warm Fabulously Festive Face Kit

MAC Warm Fabulously Festive Face Kit ($59.50) includes a palette with four eyeshadows and blush, along with a metallic, silver bag that also holds a lipstick, lipglass, and three miniature-sized brushes. MAC describes the shades, officially, as: Golden Flurry (beige with sparkle), Soft Brown (soft golden peach brown), Omega (soft muted beige-taupe), Carbon (black), Seasonal Appeal (orange brown), Mellowarm (peach), and Join the Party (pale peach). The brushes included are the 129SE, 266SE, and 275SE. The eyeshadows weigh 0.22 oz. while the blush weighs 0.18 oz. (basically, everything is full-sized).

  • Golden Flurry is a white with iridiescent pink shimmer. The color payoff is low–it’s sheer and sparkly, but it is prone to fall out. This has a lustre finish. Bare Escentuals Muse is more pigmented and less iridescent. theBalm Safe Bet Annette is a touch pinker.
  • Soft Brown is a medium brown with red-orange undertones and a matte finish. It has nice color payoff and a smooth, soft feel. This has a matte finish and is part of the permanent range.
  • Omega is a lightened taupe with subtle beige-yellow tones and a matte finish. The pigmentation is nice, and it has the texture soft. This has a matte finish and is part of the permanent range.
  • Carbon is a medium-dark black with brown undertones. It’s a little dry and stiff to work with but it does work better applied with a brush on the lid, though it can be a touch chalky. This has a matte finish and is part of the permanent range.
  • Seasonal Appeal is a brownish peach with a soft, pearly sheen. This has a satin finish. The pigmentation is good, but it is a more orange-toned blush, so it may not work on really cool-toned complexions.
  • Mellowarm is an orange-coral with a hint of red with a frosted shimmer. It has mostly opaque color coverage. This has a frost finish. CoverGirl Rapture is less red. Milani Coral Bora Bora is pinker.
  • Join the Party is a peach-tinted beige with soft, white shimmer. It’s creamy and milky, so it does settle into lip lines, but the color coverage is semi-opaque. It’s similar to MAC Lust.

Of all of the holiday offerings, the Fabulously Festive Face Kits are the best bang-for-your-buck item and tend to be higher quality overall (maybe that has something to do with the inclusion of mostly permanent products?). Between the eyeshadows, blush, and lip products, you more than get what you spend back, so the subpar brushes are a bonus.

I did not and refuse to purchase any brush kits (for confirmation as to why, see Dusty’s review), but the brushes included in the Face Kits are disappointing. I found both the blush and eye brushes to be scratchy and lacked the density and precise shape of their full-sized counterparts. I had a ton of shedding and dye bleeding with the 129SE (and the full-sized 129 is one of the scratchier MAC brushes, so imagine this one!).

The Glossover

palette

Warm Fabulously Festive

A-
The Fabulously Festive Face Kits are the star products from the holiday collection, because the quality is there overall and as a bonus, they're a good value!

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9.5/10

Application

4/5

Results
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