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).

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

MAC Rebel
MAC Rebel Lipstick Nail Lacquer, Lipglass

MAC Rebel Lipglass, Lipstick, Nail Lacquer

MAC Rebel Lipstick ($14.50 for 0.10 oz.) has been such a top-seller that it has now inspired a Lipglass ($14.50 for 0.17 fl. oz.) and Nail Lacquer ($16.00 for 0.34 fl. oz.) to complement it. This shade is part of the North America and Europe/Africa regions of the collection, so it will only be available both online and in-stores. Rebel is described as “mid-tone cream plum.”

The color of the lipgloss matches the lipstick extremely well; at worst, it’s slightly less red-toned, but it’s hard to tell. The only major difference that’s easy to see visually is in the opacity–the gloss is less opaque than the lipstick. Once again, however, the nail lacquer is not much of a match for the lipstick nor lipgloss. It’s much, much darker–it’s a very vampy shade. It looks more like Rebel does in the tube, but I’d still say it comes out darker. It doesn’t have enough red undertones to really match and complement the lip products. When you apply the lipgloss on top of the lipstick, the end result is a very even, semi-opaque berry-red with a glossy shine.

Rebel Lipglass is a berry-red with a little purple tint. It applies semi-opaque, but it doesn’t apply completely evenly; there are some splotches in the end result. If you were hoping for a MAC All My Purple Life dupe, this is definitely not it–it is very red and berry in comparison. Tom Ford Wet Violet is purpler, less red. Dolce & Gabbana Amethyst is redder, less berry. NARS Bougainville is just a little lighter and redder. MAC Ban This! is a bit redder. (9, 9, 9, 9, 4, 4; B+)

Rebel Lipstick is a berry-red with a slightly frosted sheen. The color coverage is mostly opaque, but there’s a little sheerness. It has a satin finish, and it is part of the permanent range. Guerlain Nuit d’Amour is a bit redder. It’s darker and more vibrant than Guerlain Bee but deeper than Dolce & Gabbana Orchid. YSL Forbidden Burgundy is lighter, redder. (9, 9, 9, 10, 4, 4; A-)

Rebel Nail Lacquer is a deep burgundy with a little purple tone to it. It was mostly opaque after two coats, but it was surprisingly less pigmented for such a dark shade. I also found it streaky on the first coat and a little streaky on the second coat. The formula was very thin. Dior Graphic Berry is a closer match, as it has stronger red undertones and isn’t as dark. Illamasqua Vice is lighter and redder. China Glaze Loft-y Ambitions is very similar but has shimmer. Rescue Beauty Lounge Bruised is lighter with redder tones. (8.5, 9, 8, 9, 3.5, 4; B)

MAC Lipsticks are vanilla-scented but taste-free. Satin finishes like Rebel typically wear four to six hours on me, and Rebel wears anywhere from five to six hours on me (sometimes longer) as it does stain. 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 Rebel Lipglass, Lipstick, Nail Lacquer Review, Photos, Swatches

B+

Rebel is a great shade fall, and the lipstick is permanent (and the best of the three products that are in the set), so you might put it on the backburner if you think it's too vampy for right now. The lipglass is a nice complement to the lipstick, though!

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9.5/10

Application

4/5

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