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MAC Fashion Sets: Nail Lacquer Review Round-up

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

MAC Fashion Sets: Nail Lacquer Review Round-up


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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MAC Russian Red Lipglass, Lipstick, Nail Lacquer

MAC Russian Red
MAC Russian Red Lipstick, Nail Lacquer, Lipglass

MAC Russian Red Lipglass, Lipstick, Nail Lacquer

MAC Russian Red 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, Europe/Africa, and Latin regions of the collection, so it will be available both online and in-stores. Russian Red is described as “mid-tone neutral red.”

The lipgloss is a little brighter and appears slightly less neutral/less blue-based compared to the lipstick, which I find is almost neutral but leans a smidgen on the cool side. The matching nail lacquer is a very good match to both the lipstick and lipgloss; it’s a nice shade of medium-dark red that is very close to neutral in tone. When you apply the lipgloss over the lipstick, the result is a more opaque, slightly darker, richer looking red pout than if you were to just wear the gloss alone.

Russian Red Lipglass is a rich cherry red that leans just a smidgen orange-red, but it’s very close to neutral. For me, it looks more orange-toned when it’s swatched next to the lipstick (which is neutral to slightly blue-based), but when I look at it by itself, it reads neutral. This is part of the permanent range. It has opaque color coverage. MAC Driven by Love is a deeper, darker red with shimmer. MAC Nitro:licious 2046 is a pinky-red. Illamasqua Succubus is a bit brighter. OCC Stalker looks almost warm in comparison. (9, 10, 9, 9, 4, 4; A-)

Russian Red Lipstick is medium-dark red with mostly neutral undertones, though against my warmer skin, it reads just a little cool-toned. It has a matte finish, and it is part of the permanent range. Maybelline Very Cherry is lighter, more blue-based. MAC Runaway Red is darker, more blue-based. MAC Such Flare! is deeper. Guerlain Habit Rouge is lighter and more orange-toned. MAC Prolong is more blue-based. Guerlain Garconne is darker. (9, 10, 9, 10, 4.5, 4; A)

Russian Red Nail Lacquer is a medium-dark red with nearly neutral undertones (leaning at most slightly blue). It has a cream finish, and it was opaque in two coats. I didn’t have any trouble with the formula, so it applied evenly and fluidly. Chanel Rouge Carat is a little lighter and has shimmer. MAC Get Noticed is a deeper red. Zoya Sooki is a little bluer-based. Butter London Pillar Box is very close. China Glaze Hey Sailor is bluer-based. MAC Asiatique is also close. (10, 10, 10, 9, 4.5, 4; A)

MAC Lipsticks are vanilla-scented but taste-free. Matte finishes like Russian Red typically wear four to six hours on me, and Russian Red wears around six hours typically and will stain. I find the texture of Russian Red lipstick to be creamier than some of MAC’s drier matte formulas, but I don’t find it drying. 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.

MAC Russian Red Lipglass, Lipstick, Nail Lacquer


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