There have been several disappointing products released over the past year, but these are ten that really frustrated me… They’re in no particular order! Now that these are out of the way, we can end 2012 and start 2013 on a happy, positive note going over all the bests of the year
MAC Shade & Smoke Shadow/Liners ($22.00 for 0.03 oz.) is a brand new product type for the brand that launches specifically in this collection. There was originally five shades in the collection, but one was pulled out of production (no reason given). According to the very nondescript blurb online, it’s a dual-ended product with an eyeshadow on one end and a Greasepaint liner on the other end to create “the perfect smoky eye.” If you read through the color description that MAC gives, it’s easy to figure out which side is supposed to be the shadow and liner.
The four shades are: Beth Mask (reddish brown bronze liner / golden peach pink shadow), Beth or Glory (deep brown liner / bright blue shadow), Drag, Strip (smoky navy liner / pale blue shadow), and Little Miss Moffet (true black liner / true white shadow). Each dual-ended pencil has a side with a rounded tip, which is supposed to be the liner, and a slanted tip, which is supposed to be a shadow, based on the color descriptions.
This is not a positive review, and this was an incredibly frustrating product to test. What I experienced with this product made me go, “Either it is one of the worst products MAC has ever launched to-date OR I’m doing it wrong.” The concept of using a product in such a wrong way that it doesn’t work is something I find very, very suspect–most of us are not new to the makeup game, and a lot of products are similar to ones we’ve used in the past. This product is called “Shadow/Liner,” so naturally, one would expect to use it as an eyeshadow and an eyeliner. This means actually applying it to the eyelid and on the lash lines. The results were so terrible (more on that in a second) that I decided I would reach out to MAC to ask them more about this product: what was it supposed to do and if they had any tips on how to use them. I was informed these are long-wearing and water-resistant.
The tapered end is the “liner” so it’s better for more detailing and defining (I don’t recommend it for the water line) however the slant tip makes it easy to apply to the eye lid or inner corner of the eye. Use it to pop the lid and with a flip of the wrist you can use the rounded side to smoke out the outer and inner corner of the eyes. The rounded side is great for smudging and “smoking” out the eye. You can blend with your finger or a brush but work quickly because this long wearing, water resistant formula dries fast! My best advice is to work one eye at a time to achieve a perfect Smokey smudgy look.
On occasion, I get to utilize a very interesting test: I ask long-time reader, guest writer, and makeup artist Dustin Hunter if he managed to find a way to make something work. If there is ANYONE who will find some use for a product, it’s him. Me, on the other hand, I’m less likely to bother finding really creative ways to make a truly awful product work–I don’t have the time, desire, or energy to do so. There are too many excellent products waiting to be discovered and reviewed! We had a rather long exchange on both Twitter and via e-mail on the difficulty in using and testing this new formula, because it just wasn’t working.
The formula, regardless of which end, is dry. It is extremely dry, which results in poor color payoff and painful application. When I first tried applying Beth Mask to my lid (using the peach side as a lid color), it was so incredibly painful–there was so much tugging, pulling, and drag. For all of that, there was hardly any product on my lid, and what little there was ended up uneven and sparsely applied. I used several different tools in attempt to get color to transfer onto my lids: fingers, brushes (231, 208, 212, 316), and straight from the tube. I had the “best” results straight from the tube.
Some shades were more difficult to work with, but they were all poor performers. I couldn’t use any of these as eyeshadows, and a few of them were better as eyeliners, but the wear wasn’t there. On the lid, I had creasing after five hours. As eyeliner, the ones I tried (Beth Mask, Beth or Glory, and Drag, Strip) were smudged after four hours. When I used them on the lid, blending was futile–because they start out so dry, it’s already immensely hard to blend them out, and they do dry further after being applied. Trying to apply them over a bare lid wasn’t working, so I tried applying over a primer (I used NARS’ Smudgeproof), and it was easier to apply, but it was only marginally better. The result really speaks for itself.
I didn’t expect them to be as bad as they were, because when I swatched them, I was able to build up the color on most of the shades, but I did have to go back and forth several times with firm pressure–and that firm pressure just doesn’t translate well to the eyelid. When MAC has outstanding formulas like Shadesticks, Greasepaint Sticks, etc., how this product can fall so short, I’ll forever be baffled by. I’m also rather disappointed to see there was a measly 0.03 oz. in the product (the average regular eyeliner is 0.04 oz.).
Drag Strip has a “liner” of blackened blue. It looked a lot like MAC Nautical Navy but blacker. It’s hard to really list dupes, because this was the worst performer of all the shades–I couldn’t layer the color or build it up at all. The “shadow” shade is a pale sky blue. Dior Swimming Pool is darker. Buxom Husky is slightly darker and shimmery. Inglot #367 is very similar.
Little Miss Moffet has a “liner” of medium black with brown undertones. There’s nothing too special about it, so any medium black eyeshadow or eyeliner would work in its place. (Some shades can just be that basic!) The “shadow” is a bright white with a soft sheen. This shade performed the best, but it was still very uneven and hard to apply. Maybelline Too Cool is a cooler-toned white. Bare Escentuals Cheers is similar but has less of a sheen.
This may be one of the worst products I’ve seen from MAC or any brand. There are flops, and then there are products that make you wonder what kind of testing happened. You want to read those reports. I know Big Bounce was a flop, but at least there was a way to use them that wasn’t too far off from how one might use them anyway (as an eyeshadow base–you just couldn’t use them alone). I might as well write my to-do lists with these, because you won’t see me ever going through the pain of using one of these again.
If you enjoy a challenge and likely wasting your money, sure, try these! Make sure to let us know if you discover the key to unlocking the goodness in these! For anyone who wants their product to work easily, try almost anything else on the market.
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