MAC Semi-Precious Collection: Overall & Recommendations
Each summer, MAC’s mineralize-themed collection is one that seems highly anticipated, but ultimately, I’m more let down than excited over it after trying it all out. This year is, ultimately, not very different. I find this launch overwhelming–is it necessary to launch twelve, limited edition eyeshadows all at once?–and I think that might show with the inconsistencies in color payoff, texture, and quality.
The five Cremesheen Glasses and four lipsticks are consistent with past launches and formulas for all of those. The lipsticks are surprisingly wearable and seem like they should work across skin tones, which is owed to the sheerness of the color. Though Musky Amethyst is labeled frost, it feels more like a lustre (which the other three are). I do find lustre lipsticks drying and that they only last two to three hours (a little below average). I wish Cremesheen Glasses were either less expensive or contained more product, because they’re a miss in terms of value (and always will be).
In my experience, mineralize products do not seem to wear as long as regular, pressed powders. I find this to be true in the mineralize blushes, skinfinishes, and eyeshadows. I typically get around six hours of wear with the blushes and skinfinishes, and the wear with the eyeshadows seems to depend on just how much work I put into them and the color payoff when dry, because they can fade within two to three hours or last closer to five or six.
The mineralize blushes seem to be the best products out of the collection, because they have soft, natural finishes and blend easily against the skin, though their softness can make them too easy to sheer out. I did find Warmth of Coral did not show up well on my NC25/NC30 skin tone. With the mineralize skinfinishes, they seem a little less glittery than past variations. Crystal Pink seems to be the most unique, just because it has a certain cool undertone running through it.
No matter how much I want to love mineralize eyeshadows, I just can’t. For $20 a pop, I really shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to make them work. The way they look in the pan doesn’t translate to the eye–even from swatch to lid, I never see the depth show up on the lid. The majority of this batch of mineralize eyeshadows need to be used damp/wet in order to get good color payoff. However, the problem is that they don’t stay wet and the dry down is somewhere between dry and wet, but the result is a little faded. The best results are using a sticky base or something like MAC Water-Based Mixing Medium (which has a slight adhesive quality) and/or a colored base, then you need to pat on, avoid blending as much as possible, and cross your fingers.
My experience with reduced wear time (as compared to the average wear of these types of products) makes me hesitant to list anything mineralize as a must-have. I think Gem of Roses offers something that MAC’s permanent range doesn’t have and is not a color we see launched every few months by MAC, and for that reason, it is the only item on the must-have list, even though it is a little drying to me.
Inglot #414, MAC Dark Indulgence, MAC She Who Dares, MAC Greengrease
MAC Semi-Precious Mineralize Eyeshadow Dupes & Comparisons
Here are some comparisons for the mineralize eyeshadows from Semi-Precious! I will have an overall/recommendations post up later today. All mineralize eyeshadows were swatched wet for comparisons.
DARK INDULGENCE is closest to She Who Dares (limited edition), but I wouldn’t call them dupes, because Dark Indulgence is clearly green, while She Who Dares appears blacker. Both Inglot #414 and Greengrease (limited edition) are similar but lean almost teal in comparison.
FAUX GOLD is closest to Milani Fusion, but it is significantly lighter and less red-based. Urban Decay Shag and Amber Lights don’t compare.
QUARTZ FUSION is a touch lighter and pinker compared to Cranberry.
JADE’S FORTUNE is a sheerer version of Inglot #451.
GOLDEN GAZE isn’t like any of the shades I tried to compare it to (Giorgio Armani #5 and #6, Gilt by Association (limited edition)).
HINT OF SAPPHIRE is a sheerer version of Giorgio Armani #3, and a sheerer and slightly more purple version of Inglot #434. I also compared it to Midnight Madness and Giorgio Armani #1.
MINERAL MODE is a darker version of Urban Decay Scratch and a less pink version of both Giorgio Armani #7 and Inglot #399.
RARE FIND is most comparable to theBalm Curvy Cami, which is just more pigmented. Inglot #445 and Azuki Bean (limited edition) were more purple.
SMOKED RUBY is closer to Centre Stage (limited edition) than Sexpectations (limited edition), but it is really a mix of both.
UNSURPASSABLE is a dirty version of Urban Decay Urb.
BLUE SHEEN is a little bolder and deeper than the blues I swatched it against, but I think they are all similar enough for most readers. It’s a brighter blue comapred to both Blue Flame and She Who Dares. It’s deeper than shades like Deep Truth, Make Up For Ever #308, and Inglot #428.
CLARITY is grayer and has multi-colored shimmer than Inglot #444, but it was the closest thing I could think of to compare it to.
MAC Semi-Precious Lipstick, Cremesheen Glass, Blush, and MSF Dupes & Comparisons
Phew – this took me all day to do! It’s already 10PM here, so I don’t think I will be able to get the eyeshadow comparisons up until 2 or 3AM but will work as quickly as possible to get those up for you.
GEO PINK is closer to So Bad (limited edition) than Fold & Tuck (limited edition), as it’s more orange but obviously has much more glitter in it.
PURE MAGNIFICENCE is more muted (almost gray) in comparison to Urban Decay Peroxide, while Boy Bait looks peach next to it.
NATURAL FLARE doesn’t compare that well with any of the shades I pulled when swatched, but they look much closer when worn (on my lips). Part of that is based on the sheerness of Natural Flare. Utterly Posh seemed the closest but it looks noticeably redder and isn’t much of a brown. I also compared it to Burberry Cameo, Light That Fire, and Kumquat, but these were not comparable.
LUSH AMBER is closest to Freckletone, which is just a little warmer. I also compared it to Martha, but it was not comparable.
GEM OF ROSES is a lighter version of Chanel Mademoiselle, which appears a little redder in comparison. I also compared it against Naughty You, but it was not close enough.
ONE OF A KIND is a lighter, sheerer version of both Estee Lauder Plum Fizz and Guerlain Galante.
MUSKY AMETHYST is slightly darker but sheerer than Odyssey, while Make Up For Ever #13 is brighter and more opaque.
FEELING FLUSH was closest to Band of Roses (limited edition), which appears slightly cooler-toned. I also compared it to Her Blooming Cheek, Full Fuchsia, Over Dyed, and Amazon Princess–none of these were simila.
PRESSED AMBER was closest to Korres #15. I also compared it to Peachtwist, Darkly My Dear, and Eversun (none of them were very comparable).
WARMTH OF CORAL ended up being comparable to Peaches, which is perhaps slightly less peach in comparison.
PEARL is not as rosy as Honey Rose.
ROSE QUARTZ is similar to Rhapsody in Two (limited edition), which is a little lighter. Petticoat was much, much too dark.
GOLDSTONE might be dupeable with either the Golden Lariat or Pink Power mineralize skinfinishes (both limited edition) from Wonder Woman, depending on how you mix the trio of shades. Golden Lariat is more likely to get you there.
CRYSTAL PINK didn’t turn out to be much like other MSFs that I have. The closest was Porcelain Pink, but it is significantly pinker and warmer in comparison. I also compared it to By Candlelight and Perfect Topping.
This review focuses on the mineralize skinfinishes, blushes, and eyeshadows. I do briefly speak on the lipsticks and Cremesheen Glasses, but I think those products are familiar enough that less time needed to be spent reviewing them in this particular video. I also figured that the products viewers would be most interested in would be the mineralize ones! I reviewed the brushes in a separate video (which I posted yesterday!).
MAC Semi-Precious Brushes: 128, 179, 234, 235 Review
Above is a video review and comparison of the upcoming Semi-Precious brushes. I thought that a video would better illustrate size and how they stack up (both in size and shape) to existing brushes.
My overall take on these brushes is that they’re nice but unnecessary. The split effect is unusual but doesn’t seem to be all that useful. I don’t think that these were meant to be gimmicky, but after using them, that’s how the split fibre technique seems. If you’re expecting one of these brushes to revolutionize your makeup routine, you may be disappointed. If you’re looking for a particular size/shape and one of these matches that, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. You won’t enjoy much of the split effect if you tend to use the point or edge of your brush, rather than the side.
They feel well-constructed from me, but I can’t vouch for longevity, given I have only had these for a few days. The ferrules seem sturdy and tight around the bristles. I had some bristles splayed around the edges of the 179, but the other three brushes were fine. I did not experience any bleeding dye or post-wash smells. All four brushes felt exceptionally soft, and none of them felt scratchy during application. On the handles, all four have “China” imprinted, compared to Japan or France for many (if not all) of the permanent brushes.
I see the 234 being the most popular of the bunch, just because it shares a lot of similarities with the 217, which is one of the more popular brushes. The 128 is a good size to add to one’s stash of cheek brushes, but it doesn’t replace anything I already have (and I don’t see myself reaching for it). I am curious to see if that will cause each side to separate a little over time. Right now, the split is really seamless.
These seem more like specialty brushes, which mean that they function but for particular purposes. I see them less as becoming a new staple brush in your collection as something you buy with an exact purpose in mind. MAC has other brushes with well-defined purposes in their permanent line-up, so I would think of these in a similar way. One doesn’t need every brush MAC makes, but you might find a certain brush more useful than another based on what your needs are.
128 Split Fibre Cheek Brush is a nice brush for smaller cheeks, though it feels a little too dense to apply blush as well as I like the application from the 116. It is very similar in size to the 109 and even to an extent, the shape, but obviously flattened. It’s a densely-packed brush.
179 Angled Split Fibre Buffer Brush is incredibly soft and moves well across the skin. It also feels huge when I use it. I’m not sure just how much utility there is here, compared to a normal buffing brush. I did notice more-than-expected splaying of bristles around the edges after two washes.
234 Split Fibre Eye Blending Brush seems to be the most useful of the four brushes. I could see using both sides separately but with the same color–say picking up the product with the natural side and then blending with the synthetic side. It is reminiscent of the 217 but not quite as fluffy or as rounded.
235 Split Fibre All Over Eye Brush is like the 214 and 239 had an over-sized baby. Personally, I find the brush too big to be of much use for my eye area. I wouldn’t say I have particularly small eyes (I wouldn’t say I have large ones, either!). It could work well for applying a wash of a single color; perhaps laying down a cream eyeshadow with one side and blending the edges with the other.
To view still photos of these brushes, please see this post.
There are three more MAC Mineralize Eyeshadows ($20.00 for 0.07 oz.) included in the Semi-Precious collection: Dark Indulgence (melange of forest green and black), Faux Gold (melange of coral, gold, lime, and bronze), and Quartz Fusion (melange of soft pink, silver, and deep pink).
Dark Indulgence is a blackened forest green whether used dry or wet, but when it is applied wet, the metallic sheen is more pronounced, making the overall shade look a little brighter. MAC She Who Dares has a grittier texture because it is more of a glitter finish than shimmer finish, and it also has a lot of gold shimmer, which makes it more of a yellow-based green and more reflective. They’re not completely different, but there are some gaps. Inglot #414 is similar but more reflective, so the base doesn’t seem as black. It is also similar to MAC Greengrease Greasepaint Stick, but it is more pigmented.
Faux Gold is a muted coppery brown with warm undertones. It’s softer and sheerer when used dry. It is lighter than MAC Antiqued but darker than MAC Amber Lights (which appears more golden). Milani Fusion seemed similar but it’s not as coppery. It’s actually a bit like Urban Decay Shag, but it seems a touch redder in undertone.
Quartz Fusion is a sheer raspberry pink when used dry, and then it’s more of a raspberry pink when applied damp. It’s very, very gritty from the chunky glitter that dominates the pan. It tended to apply unevenly when I swatched it.
Quartz Fusion is an absolute miss for me; the chunky glitter gets everywhere. It’s also rather underwhelming when used dry–sheer, almost dirty looking, compared to the color achieved when used wet. Dark Indulgence is the best of these three: great color payoff with a soft and smooth texture. The wear would still be a concern even for a shade like Dark Indulgence, but it gets high marks on the other rating criteria. Faux Gold is somewhere in the middle–slightly sheer when used dry but overall, the texture is smooth and payoff is decent to good.
In this overall review, Quartz Fusion really brings down the overall rating of the other two here, which is why I tend to review products individually so each can stand on its own merits, rather than being pushed down (or buffered by) other shades.
Please make sure you check out my full review on the eyeshadows, as this post does not fully address the pros/cons of the overall formula.
Dark Indulgence is certainly better than C+ overall (think B+), while Faux Gold is more like a B-, but it is Quartz Fusion, however, that brings the overall rating down, because on its own, it would be a F.
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Where to Buy
This product can be purchased at the following retailers:
MAC Cosmetics, July 7th, $20.00 each
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