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MAC Strength Collection Lipsticks

MAC Absolute Power Lipstick
MAC Absolute Power Lipstick

MAC Strength: Lipsticks

Update: MAC has restocked Pink Pigeon and Party Parrot lipsticks and blushes from Strength! All are available as of 1/8 at 6:26 PM PST.

MAC Strength Lipsticks ($15.00 for 0.10 oz. each) includes five shades: Absolute Power (rich red), Firm Form (gilded black with gold pearl), Party Parrot (bright red pink), Pink Pigeon (bright cleanest pink), and Strong Woman (bright violet). Party Parrot and Pink Pigeon are repromotes.

Absolute Power is a pinky-red with a matte finish and blue undertones. It’s fully opaque on lips, and it has a creamy consistency, so it was easier to apply and get even coverage–no pulling or dragging. Guerlain Calligraphy is slightly lighter. NYX Chic Red is very similar. MAC Ruby Woo is more matte but very similar in color. NARS Dragon Girl is bluer.

Firm Form is a blackish-brown with a dusting of gold micro-shimmer. It looks a little purple-ish applied, as the lipstick mixes over my natural lip color. It is pretty opaque, and though it does not apply perfectly evenly, it does apply considerably better than a lot of other lipsticks in this shade family. MAC Grey Friday is grayer, lighter. Chanel Hysteria is cooler-toned, blacker. MAC Smoked Purple is much purpler and lighter.

Party Parrot is a bright pink-coral with a mostly matte finish. It goes on with full color coverage and has a creamy consistency that doesn’t pull or tug at the lips during application. This shade wears around six hours. Guerlain Gracy is a bit pinker, less bright. MAC Fusion Pink has pink iridescence, less bright. Make Up For Ever #37 is less pink, more coral. MAC Impassioned is pinker.

Pink Pigeon is a bright, blue-based medium pink with a mostly matte finish, though there’s a natural sheen initially. It has opaque color coverage, and it applied evenly and easily. It lasted for six hours when I tested it last week (used my original version). MAC Candy Yum Yum is brighter, a little cooler-toned. OCC Yaoi is metallic. OCC Nylon is much brighter, cooler-toned. MAC Dear Diary is cooler-toned, more magenta. MAC Quick Sizzle is darker. NARS Schiap is darker, less bright. Milani Rose Hip is a touch lighter and less cool-toned.

Strong Woman is a dark purple with subtle pink-red undertones. It has opaque coverage with a matte finish, but it is a creamier matte, so it doesn’t drag on the lips. I suspect MAC Up the Amp is the closest dupe for this shade–I believe it is less red-toned, a little grayer in a way. MAC Seasoned Plum is lighter, less red-toned. MAC Violetta is brighter and iridescent. MAC Heroine is pinker, more magenta.

With the exception of Firm Form, these lipsticks are great shades by MAC with a solid matte formula that doesn’t pull or tug at the lips, delivers even, full color coverage, and are comfortable to wear.  As these are richer, bolder hues, they have a tendency to stain and wear longer than the average lipstick.  Firm Form doesn’t apply as evenly as the other four shades, but it is worth noting that it is good for the kind of color it is, and kudos for being as opaque as it is, too.  MAC lipsticks are vanilla-scented and come in a black tube with a pop-off cap.

To be perfectly honest, I’m really bummed about quickly these sold out. I purchased them as soon as they came online and overnighted them, but they sold out within hours (some within an hour). It’s a mixture of disappointment for not being able to review them for you before they launched and general frustration over it–kind of leaves me feeling like, “Should I even review this collection?” When it comes to these shades, I wish you luck if you make an attempt to track them down. MAC changed distribution at the last minute, so only freestanding stores (which also means the only online option is maccosmetics.com) received it, and with today (the 26th) being a major shopping day, I’m feeling more cynical than usual regarding stock.

My recommendations for alternatives would be:  MAC Ruby Woo, MAC Impassioned, MAC Candy Yum Yum, and MAC Up the Amp.  (Unfortunately, I don’t have a good alternative to recommend for Firm Form.)

MAC Strength Collection Lipsticks

A
9.5
Product
9.5
Pigmentation
9.5
Texture
10
Longevity
4.5
Application
96%
Total

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MAC Strength: Inner Strength Eyeshadow Quad

MAC Inner Strength Eyeshadow Quad
MAC Inner Strength Eyeshadow Quad

MAC Strength: Inner Strength Eyeshadow Quad

MAC Inner Strength Eyeshadow Quad ($40.00 for 0.21 oz.) consists of three new shades and one repromote: Lithe Spirit (palest white pink), Inner Strength (light cool mauve taupe), Fabulous Fit (mid-tone cool grey), and Heatherbelles (deep charcoal).  This is a rather cool-toned quad, more so than All Woman, with the only warmth coming from Inner Strength, which isn’t all that warm, so if you like cooler tones, you’ll be in luck with this color composition!

Lithe Spirit is a cool-toned white with a matte finish. It is listed as a satin finish, but I didn’t see much sheen in it (or any). It had good pigmentation, but it was a touch powdery. Urban Decay Venus is a touch warmer and more shimmery. MAC Vanilla is warmer.

Inner Strength is a warm peach with subtle pink undertones and a barely-there sheen, though it is listed as a matte. It had good color payoff, and it was soft to the touch. Too Faced Peach Fuzz has gold sparkle. Urban Decay Freestyle has less pink. MAC Nubile is similar in color but is a cream product.

Fabulous Fit is a light gray with blue undertones and has a matte finish. It was a bit weak on pigmentation, and it had a drier texture that made blending harder. Estee Lasuder Modern Mercury is more metallic. MAC Scene is darker. Chanel Gris Exquis is also darker. Inglot #339 is somewhat darker but closest with respect to its cool undertone.

Heather Belles is a dark gray with a mostly matte finish but there’s a touch of sheen; the sheen becomes more apparent when blended out. It has a satin finish, and the color payoff is so-so–it is a stiffer, drier shade. Urban Decay Ace is more shimmery. Guerlain Les Gris is matte. Estee Lauder Black Chrome is darker.

The quality of Inner Strength as a quad is below-average to average.  It’s not impressive, and it’s not the most heinous release we’ve seen from MAC.  It’s middle-of-the-road.  The problem with this palette is in the textures, which tended to be a bit dry and stiff (in the case of Fabulous Fit and Heatherbelles).  Lithe Spirit was somewhat powdery, which can have a tendency to make such a pale color look chalky on darker complexions.  Inner Strength was the best-performing shade here, as it wasn’t so soft that it was powdery, but it wasn’t too dry or firm that you couldn’t get color payoff out of it.  The shades lasted for seven and a half hours and looked just a smidgen faded after eight hours.

MAC Strength: Inner Strength Eyeshadow Quad

C
7
Product
7.5
Pigmentation
7
Texture
8
Longevity
3.5
Application
73%
Total

MAC All Woman Eyeshadow Quad

MAC All Woman Eyeshadow Quad
MAC All Woman Eyeshadow Quad

MAC Strength: All Woman Eyeshadow Quad

MAC All Woman Eyeshadow Quad ($40.00 for 0.19 oz.) consists of four new shades: Flawless Figure (pale warm shimmering white), Brains & Brawn (mid-tone taupe), All Woman (greenish dark grey), and Black Magique (deep, dark black with warm tones).  The color composition reads cool-toned to me, both at a glance and when applied, though it’s not overly cool-toned–closer to neutral-cool.

Flawless Figure is a bright white with a high frosted sheen. It has a veluxe pearl, officially, and it had great color payoff. Cinderella Midnight Hour is similar but warmer-toned. MAC Crystal Avalanche is very similar. Maybelline Too Cool is a touch more metallic, and it is also a cream product.

Brains & Brawn is a medium-dark taupe; a mix of gray and brown for a rather balanced taupe. It has a matte finish, and the color payoff was decent to good. It seemed to apply best with a fluffier brush. It is grayer than Urban Decay Naked 2. MAC Omega is browner, warmer. Estee Lauder Tempting Mocha is similar but a touch purple.

All Woman is a green-tinged dark gray with a dusting of shimmer, though it is mostly matte. This shade had rather weak color payoff, as the texture was dry and stiff. Tarte Stiletto almost looked a bit like this, just darker because it had more pigmentation. bareMinerals Earth is a bit lighter.

Black Magique is a brown-based dark black with a mostly matte finish, though it is officially a velvet finish. It reminded me a lot of Urban Decay Crave. Le Metier de Beaute Fin is darker, richer.

I think the inclusion of the ultra-shimmery shade Flawless Figure doesn’t make the most sense; it’s just very, very shimmery and ended up detracting from the overall composition of the palette. My gut was, “Don’t use it! Don’t use it!” but it’s a quad, so I really wanted to try and incorporate all four shades–and no, I should have went with my gut there!   A better use for it would be to lightly mix it with one of the other shades to create varying levels of shimmer/sheen and lightness.  It performed well, but it seemed out of place in this quad.  

All Woman was disappointing with its drier, stiffer texture, which made it difficult to blend as well as apply. Brains & Brawn is the kind of color I see anyone who wears neutrals getting a lot of use out of, and it’s a shame we don’t see more of these matte taupes in permanent, core ranges (across all brands).  It will work nicely for sculpting and defining the crease on light to medium (possibly medium-dark) complexions.  The eyeshadows wore for just under eight hours without creasing or fading.

MAC All Woman Eyeshadow Quad

B
8.5
Product
9
Pigmentation
9
Texture
8
Longevity
4
Application
86%
Total

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MAC Triumphant Nail Lacquer

MAC Triumphant Nail Lacquer
MAC Triumphant Nail Lacquer

MAC Strength: Triumphant Nail Lacquer

MAC Triumphant Nail Lacquer ($16.00 for 0.34 fl. oz.) is described as a “mid-tone cool brown.” It’s a medium-dark brown with a hint of gray, and it has a cream finish. Dior Exquis is darker and has shimmer. NARS Bad Influence is much darker and grayer–more of a taupe. Chanel Khaki Rose seemed the clsoest, though it’s a bit darker.

The formula on Triumphant, was a triumph! over Muscle Tone.  The consistency wasn’t too thick or too thin, so it covered evenly and easily, while the polish flowed across the nail without streaking, bubbling, or pooling along the edges.  It was fully opaque after two coats, and it dried down to a slight natural sheen.  I typically get a week of wear with MAC’s polishes; no chipping and just minor tip wear.

MAC Nail Lacquer Triumphant
Triumphant
Triumphant
10
Product
10
Pigmentation
10
Texture
9
Longevity
5
Application
98%
Total

MAC Muscle Tone Nail Lacquer

MAC Muscle Tone Nail Lacquer
MAC Muscle Tone Nail Lacquer

MAC Strength: Muscle Tone Nail Lacquer

MAC Muscle Tone Nail Lacquer ($16.00 for 0.34 fl. oz.) is described as a “pale neutral nude.” It’s a light beige with mostly neutral undertones but perhaps leans a little warm when I see it against my skin tone. It has a cream finish. MAC Sandpiper is sheerer but similar. Essie Brooch the Subject is darker. Rescue Beauty Lounge Sheer Nude is darker.

This polish didn’t want to apply well at all. I tried three different applications, and the third attempt still came out streaky, uneven, and all-around poorly!  MAC definitely has a stiffer/sharper brush that seems to make their pale creams more prone to streaking.  Even when I layered a really thick second coat on top and tried to minimize how many passes of the brush I used, I couldn’t get it to level and even out. The consistency of the polish was slightly thick, but it didn’t seem so thick that it was going to be problematic (though it was).

MAC Nail Lacquer Muscle Tone
4.5
Product
8.5
Pigmentation
7
Texture
9
Longevity
2
Application
69%
Total

MAC Taupe Shape Blush

MAC Taupe Shape Blush
MAC Taupe Shape Blush

MAC Strength: Taupe Shape Blush

MAC Taupe Shape Blush ($19.50 for 0.21 oz.) is described as a “satiny taupe” with a satin finish. It’s a gray-tinged brown–a brownish-taupe when blended out–with a shimmer-sheen finish. MAC Pressed Amber is less gray. MAC Equilibrium is browner.

This kind of color is usually seen for contouring, but the shimmery finish is fairly reflective and nears frost-level in how shimmery/reflective it is keeps it from being a practical contouring shade. It could work as a natural shade on some complexions or when used very lightly. Taupe Shape was soft and finely-milled, though, and it was easy to blend and apply to the cheeks. I found the shimmery finish did emphasize pores, though, to a degree that was noticeable even at a “normal” viewing distance. This shade lasted seven hours on me, and it looked a bit faded after seven and a half hours.

MAC Powder Blush Taupe Shape
9
Product
10
Pigmentation
9
Texture
7.5
Longevity
5
Application
90%
Total

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