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

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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 Chestnut
MAC Chestnut Nail Lacquer, Lipglass, Lipstick

MAC Chestnut Lipglass, Lipstick, Nail Lacquer

MAC Chestnut Lipstick ($14.50 for 0.10 oz.) was inspired by the top-selling lip liner, along with a Lipglass ($14.50 for 0.17 fl. oz.) and Nail Lacquer ($16.00 for 0.34 fl. oz.) to complement. This shade is part of the North American portion of the collection, so it will be available at all locations and online. All three shades are limited edition. Chestnut is described as “rich chocolate brown.”

When the two lip products are layered, the result is a rich, glossy chocolate brown with strong red undertones. The color coverage is mostly opaque, but there’s a hint of translucency. The nail lacquer is deeper, browner, and because it’s so opaque, the red undertones are less noticeable, but the shades are fairly close together–you’ll just see the effect that texture and opacity have on the end result more here.

Chestnut Lipglass is a red-toned brown with semi-opaque color coverage. It does settle into lip lines a bit, and because it is such a dark color, the unevenness is more noticeable. Admittedly, I haven’t come across too many rich brown glosses, so the closest I could think of was MAC A Different Groove, which is much sheerer and less red-toned. (8, 9, 8, 8.5, 3.5, 4; B-)

Chestnut Lipstick is a warm chocolate brown with red undertones (but subtler than the gloss). It has a satin finish. It applies mostly opaque. MAC Seeds of Desire is more burgundy. CoverGirl Enamor is redder. NYX Very Berry is a bit lighter. MAC Film Noir is pretty close, perhaps a touch less red-toned. MAC Underworld is lighter and redder. (9, 9, 9, 9, 4, 4; B+)

Chestnut Nail Lacquer is a luxurious, deep chocolate brown with a cream finish. It’s opaque in two coats. The consistency wasn’t too thick or too thin, and it applied evenly and fluidly without trouble. Rescue Beauty Lounge Au Chocolat is darker and more burgundy. Barielle Unraveled Rust is very close, perhaps a touch darker. MAC Dim the Lights is also very close. (10, 10, 10, 9, 5, 4; A)

MAC Lipsticks are vanilla-scented but taste-free. Satin finishes like Chestnut typically wear four to six hours on me, with deeper shades like this one wearing closer to six hours. 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).

The Glossover

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

B+
Don't be afraid of brown lip color! It can be very dramatic and rich. Done right, and it isn't a dated look at all. The rich red undertones of Chestnut help to underscore that this is a brown with feeling.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

4/5

Results
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