Thursday, June 21st, 2012

MAC Nail Lacquers
MAC Nail Lacquers

MAC Nail Lacquers — Preview Photos & Swatches

MAC Nail Lacquers ($16.00 for 0.34 fl. oz.) has thirty-one new (well, some newer than others) shades being added to the permanent range. I don’t have any of the brand spankin’ new ones to share with you, but I did receive a press kit that included a set of swatches on plastic nails. Since I didn’t do the swatching, I have no idea how many coats were used or anything like that. As soon as I’m able to purchase the polishes, I’ll do so and have swatches for you at that time. For official descriptions, please see this post. For now, here are my descriptions of them based on the included swatches:

  • Deep Sea is a deep, dark blue-teal with a hint of green. It has a cream finish. I reviewed it here when it first released.
  • Midnight Tryst is a bluish gunmetal gray with fine teal and silver micro-shimmer–there appears to be some brushstrokes in the swatch. This is a new shade.
  • Formidable is a dark purpled burgundy base with a duochrome of blue-teal to fuchsia-purple. It has a pearl finish. I reviewed it here when it first released.
  • Mean & Green is a dark olive green base with a duochrome of rosy plum to golden olive green. It has a pearl finish. I reviewed it here when it first released.
  • Vintage Vamp is a dark burgundy-red cream. It has a cream finish. I reviewed it here when it came out during the holidays.
  • Rougemarie is a medium-dark blue-based red. It has a cream finish. I believe this was always part of the permanent range, but I don’t think I have it.
  • Flaming Rose is a brightened medium red with a cream finish. This is a new shade.
  • Sparks on Screen is a red glitter polish with multi-sized particles of ruby red, crimson, and lighter red. It has a pearl finish. It is a new shade.
  • Shirelle is a brightened orange-red cream. I believe this was always part of the permanent range, but I don’t think I own it.
  • Impassioned is an orange-coral with a cream finish. I reviewed it here, though it seems slightly pinker on the plastic nail (my natural undertones could make a color appear more or less warm). I’ll have to pick up a new bottle to see how they compare.
  • Morange is a brightened medium orange with a cream finish. I reviewed it here.
  • Fiestaware is a lightened tangerine orange with a cream finish. I reviewed it here.
  • Soiree is a champagne and copper shimmered shade with a frost finish. I reviewed it here.
  • Skin is a light peach-orange with a cream finish. This is a new shade.
  • Faint of Heart is a soft ivory with a hint of warmth. It has a cream finish. This is a new shade.
  • Delicate is a pale white-pink with a cream finish. I reviewed it here.
  • Snob is a slightly warm, mostly neutral light-medium pink with a jelly-like finish (but it is a cream finish). I reviewed it here.
  • Girl Trouble is a silvered, pale purple with a pearl finish. This is a new shade.
  • Screaming Bright is a muted metallic gold-champagne–possibly a little pewter. This is a new shade.
  • Saint Germain is a light-medium pink with blue undertones. I reviewed it here.
  • Steamy is a medium-dark blue-based pink with a cream finish. I believe this has been part of the permanent range for sometime, but I haven’t reviewed it previously.
  • Girl About Town is a rich, nearly-neon fuchsia pink with blue undertones. It has a cream finish. I reviewed it here.
  • Quiet Time is a gray–tinted light-medium beige with a cream finish. I reviewed it here.
  • Coffee Break is a medium-dark gray-tinted brown with a cream finish. This is a new shade.
  • Anti-Fashion is a subdued, smoky purple with subtle red-brown undertones. It has a frost finish. This is a new shade.
  • Dark Angel is a deep purple with red undertones and a cream finish. I reviewed it here.
  • Spirit of Truth is a brightened navy blue with a cream finish. I reviewed it here.
  • Discotheque is a metallic light silver with silver shimmer. It has a pearl finish. This is a new shade.
  • Nightfall is a dark, gunmetal gray with silver shimmer. It has a frost finish. This was released previously, but I don’t think I have it.
  • Nocturnelle is a glossy black cream. I reviewed it here previously.

Some MAC nail lacquers are great, while others are less stellar (some being notorious for poor application).  The majority of these shades, from what I remember, were easy enough to apply. I know the lacquers from the recent Fashion Sets collection were fairly good overall.  Formidable and Mean & Green were two highly coveted shades from MAC’s Venomous Villains collection, even though both have several exact dupes on the market (Bad Fairy was the harder one to dupe).

I think the biggest issue I have with MAC’s nail lacquers is that they’re priced as if the brand were high-end, rather than mid-end. For example, NARS’ lacquers are $18 a pop, while their lipsticks are $24–MAC’s lacquers are $16 a pop, while their lipsticks are $14.50. Additionally, most high-end nail brands still give you 0.50 fl. oz., but MAC bottles contain only 0.34 fl. oz., so you’re really getting squeezed on both ends. For some reason, the price of MAC’s nail lacquers seems to have accelerated far faster than the rest of their product’s price tags. So without a stellar formula, they’re absolutely not worth it. If the formula is on point and the color up your alley, they’re certainly worth a look.

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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).

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Saturday, April 28th, 2012

MAC Saint Germain
MAC Saint Germain Lipstick, Lipglass, Nail Lacquer

MAC Saint Germain Lipglass, Lipstick, Nail Lacquer

MAC Saint Germain 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 Asia Pacific and Europe/Africa regions of the collection, so it will only be available online for North American buyers. Saint Germain is described as “light cool pink.”

The lipgloss is slightly lighter, and because it’s not as opaque, the two definitely don’t look the same when applied. The nail lacquer is blue-based as well, and it’s just a smidgen darker than the lipstick and lipgloss, but it is pretty close. When you layer the lipgloss over the lipstick, the result is a slightly pinker color overall, because the lipgloss is just a bit lighter. The gloss creates a more uneven appearance, though; kind of looks like air bubbles in a way.

Saint Germain Lipglass is a milky pale cool-toned pink. It is semi-opaque, but it applies fairly unevenly and settles into lip lines quite a bit. This is not a gloss that looks really good on its own, so it is best layered over a more opaque product. MAC Pink Nouveau is darker, not quite as cool-toned. NARS Coeur Sucre is darker. MAC Enchantee isn’t as pink or as cool-toned. (6.5, 8, 8.5, 8, 3, 4; C)

Saint Germain Lipstick is a pale pink that’s very blue-based, so it almost looks a little lilac-pink. It has an amplified creme finish, and it is part of the permanent range. The color coverage is opaque. MAC Pink Friday is just a little darker. MAC Viva Glam Gaga is not as blue-based. MAC Snob isn’t as blue-based and almost has a gray-tint in comparison. MAC All Styled Up is pinker, not as cool-toned. (9, 10, 9, 8.5, 4.5, 4; A-)

Saint Germain Nail Lacquer is a light-medium pink with blue undertones. It was mostly opaque after two coats, but the formula was incredibly streaky, even on the second coat. It was on the thicker side, so it did pool a little bit along the sides. Zoya Rory is similar in color but has a lot of shimmer/glitter. MAC Pinkly Fresh is lighter and not as blue-based. Essie French Affair is lighter, less blue-based. MAC Ice Cream Cake is the closest, but it’s a bit darker–it shares the same strength of cool undertones, though. (7, 8.5, 8, 9, 3, 4; C+)

MAC Lipsticks are vanilla-scented but taste-free.  I usually get four to six hours of wear out of Amplified Creme finishes, but Saint Germain is on the shorter end of that, because of its pale, light color.  It tends to look a bit chalky as the wear goes on, as the subtle sheen wears away faster than the color does.  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 Saint Germain Lipglass, Lipstick, Nail Lacquer Review, Photos, Swatches

B-
Saint Germain has always been one of those colors that readers either really love or really hate. Despite the light, pale color, it's very bold--because of that strong blue undertone that makes it look brighter on the lips. It can be tougher to pull off but with a really dark smoky eye, it can be lovely. The lipgloss and nail lacquer are skips for me--the quality is not there.

Product

7.5/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

3.5/5

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