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

Results
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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 Spice
MAC Spice Lipstick, Lipglass, Nail Lacquer

MAC Spice Lipglass, Lipstick, Nail Lacquer

The famous Spice Lip Pencil has inspired a MAC Lipstick ($14.50 for 0.10 oz.), 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 for North American buyers. Spice is described as “mid-tone neutral nude.”

Both the lipgloss and lipstick match very well, and as a result, they also look good layered. Spice is the kind of shade that will change here and there depending on the level and type of pigmentation you have in your natural lip color. Because I have a hint of underlying pink in my natural lip color, the rosy tones of both the lipgloss and lipstick come forth once applied, even though they look less pronounced when swatched against the skin (and likely helped by my yellower undertones in my skin!). While the nail lacquer shares some similarities, it’s significantly lighter, so it doesn’t look the same. It’s much pinker, not as brown or as “nude.”

Spice Lipglass is a medium rosy brown with opaque color coverage.  It applies very evenly and doesn’t settle into lip lines too much at all. MAC Over Indulgence is sheerer, so it looks a bit lighter. MAC Show Me is browner and lacks the rose tones of Spice. MAC Looks Like Sin is a little more berry-colored. (9, 10, 9, 8.5, 4.5, 4; A-)

Spice Lipstick is a medium rosy brown with opaque color coverage. (Not a typo; it’s very nearly the same as the lipgloss!) It has a satin finish, and while the lip pencil is permanent, the lipstick is not (nor are the lipgloss and nail lacquer). MAC Shitaki is browner, sheerer. Guerlain CHant d’Aromes is browner, no rose tones. MAC Viva Glam VI is sheerer and a bit browner. Guerlain Galante is a little redder and darker. (9, 10, 9, 8.5, 4.5, 4; A-)

Spice Nail Lacquer is a rosy brown with an almost jelly-like quality to its finish. It does have a cream finish officially. After two coats, there is still a fair amount of visible nail line. China Glaze Dress Me Up is much browner. Chanel Morning Rose is pinker. Nubar Moire is darker and browner. (8.5, 8.5, 9, 9, 4, 4; B)

MAC Lipsticks are vanilla-scented but taste-free.  Satin finishes like Spice typically wear between four to six hours on me, with lighter shades on the shorter end of the spectrum and deeper, more stain-prone shades on the longer end.  I suspect Spice  will fall somewhere in the middle there.  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 Spice Lipglass, Lipstick, Nail Lacquer Review, Photos, Swatches

A-
Spice may seem boring, but it can be really flattering. It's nude in a way that doesn't mean pale, pasty, or washed out; it's nude such that it's the kind of hue we see in our natural skin tones. For medium and deeper complexions, it would work well as a go-to shade.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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