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

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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

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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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Friday, March 30th, 2012

MAC In the Dark... Purple Nail Lacquer
MAC In the Dark… Purple Nail Lacquer

MAC Reel Sexy Nail Lacquers

MAC Reel Sexy Nail Lacquers ($16.00 for 0.34 fl. oz.) include these three shades, all of which are creams: In the Dark… Purple (vivid violet), Screening Room (bright mid-tone teal), and Vivid Effect (vivid orange coral).

I’m still recovering from the shock of MAC polishes now being–permanently–available at a whopping $16 a pop.   They were $14 just a year ago.  A lot of brands increase prices every 12-18 months, and the increase can be as little as $0.50 to as much as $4-5, depending on the base price of the product.  MAC has historically raised prices on just about every product once a year, and on products at this price point, it has been $0.50–e.g. lipsticks, eyeshadows, and the like have gone up $0.50 a year, not $2 a year.  There’s only 0.34 fl. oz. of polish in the bottle!  C’mon!  Price aside…

In the Dark… Purple was streaky; it was still a little streaky with a thicker second coat yet not fully opaque after that either.   Screening Room was also on the streaky side, though it recovered mostly by the second coat.  Vivid Effect was not streaky, and it was opaque in two coats, so that was the best performer of the three shades.  It is the most dupeable, though.  I don’t have wear issues with MAC’s polish formula; I usually get a week of wear with minor tip wear but no chipping.

The Glossover

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MAC Reel Sexy Nail Lacquers Review, Photos, Swatches

B
MAC needs to make sure their formula is on point if they're going to increase their polish prices by $2 every year. These are not the worst offenders in the past year, but they do not apply flawlessly and do take some patience and effort to ensure a streak-free finish.

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

3/5

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Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

MAC Nail Lacquer
MAC Breezy Blue Nail & Pinkly Fresh Nail Lacquers

MAC Chen Man Love & Water Collection: Nail Lacquers

There are two MAC Nail Lacquers ($16.00 for 0.30 fl. oz.) in the new Love & Water Collection, and they include: Breezy Blue (dark blue) and Pinkly Fresh (mid-tone blue pink).

Breezy Blue is a deep purple-tinted navy blue with a cream finish. I applied two coats (and three coats on the middle finger), but I wasn’t able to get complete opacity. Illamasqua Force is similar but a little lighter. shu uemura Bleu Splendor is darker. Deborah Lippmann I Know What Boys Like is very similar. The formula was watery and thin, so three coats is really necessary in order to eliminate visible nail line.

Pinkly Fresh is a subtly blue-based pastel pink with a cream finish. Essie French Affair is very similar, perhaps a touch lighter. The formula is so, so thick on this one. The first coat was incredibly streaky, and only when I applied a really thick second coat was I able to get a streak-free result. Because of the thicker consistency, drying time seemed longer than average. I used two coats for swatches, though the second coat was deliberately thick, and it was opaque.

I’m not keen on the formula on either of these. At this price point, the formula really needs to be immaculate or else the color out of this world to justify it. How many blue and pink creams are there on the market?

P.S. — Apologies in advance:  I’m super sick, and when I’m under the weather, my hands tend to get really dry, so they are rather tired-looking in these photos!  

The Glossover

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MAC Chen Man Love & Water Collection: Nail Lacquers Review, Photos, Swatches

C
Both shades had a problematic formula, so I would pass on these, because the colors are not unique enough to justify the extra patience, coats, etc. to make these work at this price point.

Product

7/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

6/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

3/5

Results
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Sunday, February 5th, 2012

MAC Midsummer's Dream Nail Lacquer
MAC Midsummer’s Dream Nail Lacquer

MAC Vera: Nail Lacquers

This collection features two new and limited edition shades of MAC Nail Lacquer ($16.00 for 0.34 fl. oz.). These shades include: Midsummer’s Dream (pale pink lilac) and Play Day (pale milky coral).

  • Midsummer’s Dream is a pale, milky pink with subtle cool undertones. It’s not quite opaque in two coats, but it’s more coverage than semi-sheer. It’s a little thick, and it is rather streaky on the initial coat. It’s very similar to China Galze Something Sweet. Nubar Pink Lily is warmer and brighter.
  • Play Day is a peachy orange with a cream finish. Like Midsummer’s Dream, it is a bit streaky and takes awhile to dry, and it will pull if you apply a second coat and it hasn’t had enough time to dry down. It’s not quite opaque after applying two coats of polish, so you may want to do three if you dislike visible nail line of any kind. Chanel Peche Nacree is lighter and pearled. Essie Haute as Hello is more coral. Essie Tart Deco is a few shades darker. Barielle Blossom is a little more coral and darker.

MAC nail lacquer usually leaves me underwhelmed. I haven’t had issues with wear, such as chipping, but not much does chip on me, so it’s rarely a problem. I tend to have difficult with the formula, though, which is terribly inconsistent. Sometimes it’s beautifully fluid and opaque, and other times, like here, it’s thick, halfway to goopy, and streaky. Funny enough, neither color description seemed to fit the actual shades.

The Glossover

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MAC Vera Nail Lacquers Review, Photos, Swatches

B-
Often, high-end brands put out some really complex, interesting colors, and while MAC can launch beautiful shades, they're not known for innovating in the nail category. Sometimes this innovation can forgive a less-than-stellar formula. Without it, it's just pricey, under-performing polish.

Product

7/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

3.5/5

Results
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Saturday, February 4th, 2012

MAC Al Fredo Nail Lacquer
MAC Al Fredo Nail Lacquer

MAC Shop MAC, Cook MAC: Nail Lacquers

The collection features three limited edition shades of MAC Nail Lacquer ($16.00 for 0.34 fl. oz.). These include: Al Fredo (bright acid green), Kid Orange (coral), and Salad Dressed (mid-tone dirty aqua).

  • Al Fredo is semi-sheer dirty yellow. Honestly, it looks a lot like Deborah Lippmann Yellow Brick Road on me, with the same sheerness, but with a less jelly-like finish. The bottle looks a bit green-tinged, but the polish just looks yellow against my skin tone. It is a bit difficult to work with some streaking, and the consistency was a little thick. I did two coats for swatches, and it was clear that there was going to be visible nail line even with three coats.
  • Kid Orange is a orange-coral with a cream finish. It was opaque in two coats, and it had the best formula of the three shades. It wasn’t too thick or too thin, so it applied evenly and easily without bubbling or streaking. MAC Oriele is a bit lighter. Essie Meet Me at Sunset is a bit redder. Essie Braziliant is pretty close. China Glaze Life Preserver is redder.
  • Salad Dressed is a medium teal-blue with a cream finish. It was mostly opaque in two coats, but I did have some issues with it being streaky. It had a longer drying time, and it would benefit from patience–you really need to let each coat dry. The consistency is on the thicker side as well. MAC Ocean Dip is greener and darker. Essie Turquoise & Caicos is greener. China Glaze For Audrey and Chanel Nouveau Vague would be the closest dupes, though they seem perhaps lighter.

The formula on Al Fredo and Salad Dressed left something to be desired, and MAC did not indicate that Al Fredo was going to be as sheer as it turned out to be.  It wasn’t just slightly under-pigmented; it was the type of sheerness that I would expect to be called out explicitly.  Kid Orange applied beautifully and had good color payoff, though.  Salad Dressed had better pigmentation but still had some streaking and formula issues.  At this price point, MAC really needs to fine-tune their lacquer formula so it’s consistently good.  Keep in mind, the rating is an average of the three shades, so while Kid Orange is higher than a C+, Al Fredo is lower.

The Glossover

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MAC Shop MAC, Cook MAC Nail Lacquers Review, Photos, Swatches

C+
Often, high-end brands put out some really complex, interesting colors, and while MAC can launch beautiful shades, they're not known for innovating in the nail category. Sometimes this innovation can forgive a less-than-stellar formula. Without it, it's just pricey, under-performing polish.

Product

7/10

Pigmentation

8/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

3/5

Results
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