Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

MAC Stroke of Midnight Collection
MAC Stroke of Midnight Collection

Here’s a round-up of all of our coverage on Stroke of Midnight! Everything has been reviewed in full :)  The collection is available online now at maccosmetics.com, Nordstrom, Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Dillard’s, and Belk.com.  It launches in stores on the 24th.

Reviews, Photos, Swatches

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

MAC Stroke of Midnight/Coral Lip & Cheek Bag
MAC Stroke of Midnight/Coral Lip & Cheek Bag

MAC Stroke of Midnight/Coral Lip & Cheek Bag ($59.50) includes a travel-sized blush (0.09 oz. vs. 0.21 oz.), full-sized lipglass (0.17 fl. oz.), full-sized lipstick (0.10 oz.), travel-sized #129 brush, and a slim mirror. It is an exclusive set to MAC stores and maccosmetics.com. The #129SE brush felt really floppy; the brush head seemed a lot longer than the full-sized #129, and it was also somewhat scratchy. The mirror works as it should, but it’s all mirror, so it’s easy to smudge and get fingerprints on it when removing it from its pouch. The bag is a good size and will fit several products easily. I liked the lipstick and gloss, and Margin is an old favorite, though it does emphasize pores slightly. The set contains $9 worth of blush, $15 worth of gloss, and $15 worth of lipstick for a total of $39 in color products; then there is some value for the #129SE, mirror, and bag–all of which are hard to value.

Margin is described as a “peach with gold shimmer.” It’s a peachy-brown with a golden shimmer. It had good color payoff, and the texture was soft and just slightly powdery. There is a slight emphasis of pores with the frosted, metallic finish. It wore well for seven and a half hours. I found this color hard to dupe, actually. MAC Stereo Rose (LE, $23.50) is pinker. See comparison swatches.

Pure Sophistication is described as a “gold frost.” It’s a golden-orange-tinted gloss with a ton of gold, copper, and dark gold shimmer. On lips, it warms up the natural lip color but mostly adds a lot of shimmer. It wore well for three hours. MAC Pure Flattery (LE, $15.00) is less gold. MAC Natural Flare (LE, $20.00) is more orange. Bobbi Brown Canary (P, $24.00) is similar. See comparison swatches.

Night to Remember is described as a “warm red frost [with a Cremesheen finish].” It’s a brightened, medium red with warm, yellow-orange undertones and a soft sheen. It had mostly opaque color coverage, and it wore well for five and a half hours, plus it left behind a soft stain. It was neither hydrating nor drying. Givenchy Grenat Initie (307) (P, $36.00) is similar. Maybelline Infra-red (LE, $7.49) is warmer. Milani Cherry Crave (P, $5.49) is more matte. MAC Must Be Red (LE, $15.00) is similar. MAC Cockney (P, $15.00) is a touch warmer. Guerlain Genna (LE, $49.50) is similar. Guerlain Habit Rouge (P, $35.00) is more matte. See comparison swatches.

The Glossover

LE
palette

Stroke of Midnight/Coral

A-
The #129SE brush felt really floppy; the brush head seemed a lot longer than the full-sized #129, and it was also somewhat scratchy. The mirror works as it should, but it's all mirror, so it's easy to smudge and get fingerprints on it when removing it from its pouch. The bag is a good size and will fit several products easily. I liked the lipstick and gloss, and Margin is an old favorite, though it does emphasize pores slightly.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Dupes
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P
product

Margin

B+

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Dupes
LE
product

Pure Sophistication

B+

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

MAC Stroke of Midnight/Nude Lip Bag
MAC Stroke of Midnight/Nude Lip Bag

MAC Stroke of Midnight/Nude Lip Bag ($39.50 for 0.198 oz.) features a full-size lipstick and Cremesheen Glass, plus a miniature-sized lip pencil.  Each lip bag contains $15.00 worth of Lipstick, $20.00 worth of Cremesheen Glass, and $5 worth of Lip Pencil, bringing the total value of the set to $40–plus there is a zippered bag that comes with the products. Note, Creme d’Nude and Boldly Bare are both part of the permanent range, while the Cremesheen Glass is a new, limited edition shade–but MAC has released many peachy-beige glosses in the past. The lip pencil drastically changes the way the gloss or the lipstick look, as it is significantly darker and browner than either (this is just a note, whether that’s a good or bad thing is up to you!). I’m not really enamored over this set (or the value proposition of the lip bags this year), and you can consider buying two of three separately.

Softly Lit is described as a “soft beige with pink frost.” It’s a pale, warm-toned peach with pink and white micro-shimmer. It had semi-sheer color coverage, and it applied evenly for the most part (and quite well for such a milky, pale gloss). It lasted an hour and a half on me, which is pretty short on me. MAC Flair for Finery (LE, $20.00) is slightly pinker, less shimmery. MAC Calypso Beat (LE, $20.00) is darker. Chanel Zephyr (377) (LE, $29.50) is similar. MAC Boundless Beige (P, $19.50) is similar. MAC Fashion Whim (LE, $20.00) is less shimmery. See comparison swatches.

Creme d’Nude is described as a “pale muted peach beige [with a Cremesheen finish].” It’s a pale, pink-tinged beige and a faint sheen. It had mostly opaque color coverage, but it can sometimes show “lines” of color if you press your lips together. It wore for three and a half hours on me and was neither drying nor hydrating. MAC Antonio’s Girls (LE, $15.00) is warmer, darker/ MAC Pret-a-Pretty (LE, $16.00) is pinker. Tom Ford Beauty Blush Nude (P, $48.00) is pinker, darker. MAC Luxe Natural (P, $22.00) is warmer. MAC Ruffian Naked (LE, $15.00) is lighter. MAC Myth (P, $15.00) is lighter, pinker. MAC Innocence Beware (LE, $15.00) is pinker. MAC Woo Me (LE, $19.00) is darker. Buxom Nudist (P, $21.00) is similar. MAC Flair for Finery (LE, $15.00) is a little pinker. See comparison swatches.

Boldly Bare is described as a “dirty red brown.” It’s a pink-tinged, medium brown with a matte finish.  It had opaque color coverage.  It lasted six and a half hours on, and it wasn’t really drying, though it felt dry (the way lip pencils often do). MAC Staunchly Stylish (P, $19.50) is browner. MAC Have to Have It (LE) is a touch darker. See comparison swatches.

The Glossover

LE
palette

Stroke of Midnight/Nude

B

Note, Creme d'Nude and Boldly Bare are both part of the permanent range, while the Cremesheen Glass is a new, limited edition shade--but MAC has released many peachy-beige glosses in the past. The lip pencil drastically changes the way the gloss or the lipstick look, as it is significantly darker and browner than either (this is just a note, whether that's a good or bad thing is up to you!). I'm not really enamored over this set (or the value proposition of the lip bags this year), and you can consider buying two of three separately.

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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Dupes
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LE
product

Softly Lit

C+

Product

7/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

5.5/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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Dupes
P
product

Creme d'Nude

B

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

MAC Stroke of Midnight/Viva Glamorous Lip Bag
MAC Stroke of Midnight/Viva Glamorous Lip Bag

MAC Stroke of Midnight/Viva Glamorous Lip Bag ($30.00 for 0.27 oz.) includes a lipstick and lipgloss, both the original edition of Viva Glam. Do you know the best part about this bag? Every single cent of the price goes towards the MAC AIDS Fund. Not $1, not proceeds, but the whole thing. If neither of these colors are up your alley, consider one of the other shades in the Viva Glam family if you haven’t. Both of these shades are also available individually. Every single cent of every single Viva Glam product goes towards MAF.

Viva Glam I Lipglass is a muted, medium-dark red with brown undertones and a glossy shine. It had opaque color coverage and did not settle into lip lines. It lasted for four and a half hours. NARS Wonder (LE, $25.00) and NARS Hollywoodlawn (LE, $26.00) are both more orange. See comparison swatches.

Viva Glam I Lipstick is a medium-dark, slightly muted, red with brown undertones and a slight cool tone to it. It has rich, opaque color coverage, and the consistency is lightly creamy and glides on well. Viva Glam I has been a classic red for me for years; it’s a retro, toned down red that works on a lot of skin tones. It wore well for six hours and left behind a stain; it was neither drying nor hydrating. NARS 413 BLKR (LE, $26.00) is darker. Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Role Play (P, $18.00) is similar. Giorgio Armani The Red (400) (P, $32.00) is less matte. NARS Majella (P, $25.00) is lighter. MAC Such Flare (LE, $15.00) is cooler-toned. Guerlain Luxure (P, $49.50) is similar. Make Up For Ever #44 (P, $19.00) is warmer, brighter. See comparison swatches.

The Glossover

LE
product

Viva Glam I

A-

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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Dupes
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P
product

Viva Glam I

A

Product

9.5/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Dupes

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Monday, October 21st, 2013

MAC Stroke of Midnight/Warm Face Palette
MAC Stroke of Midnight/Warm Face Palette

MAC Stroke of Midnight/Warm Face Palette ($49.50 for 0.295 oz.) is a warm-toned palette with products for eyes, lips, and face. It contains three eyeshadows (0.028 oz. each), two lipsticks (0.024 oz. each), one iridescent powder (0.176 oz.), and one eye pencil (0.015 oz.). The products represent a a total value of $44.09 –$16.80 worth of eyeshadows, $7.20 worth of lipsticks, $15.09 worth of iridescent powder, and $5 worth of eyeliner. Over time, as more and more brands churn out mega palettes for the holidays all around $50 or so, and I wish MAC would step-up the value (or reduce the cost) of their holiday sets and kits.  Golden and Showstopper were the major misses here, as neither performed well; while Myself wears away quickly and Coffee is uncomfortable to use.

Golden is described as a “muted golden tan-beige with shimmer.” It’s a softened, medium orange-brown with golden shimmer. The texture of this was strangely dry and almost crumbly/chunky. It flaked away and didn’t bind together well. The color payoff was so-so but it tended to sheer out/blend away as the product didn’t stick to the skin well. What did apply lasted six and a half hours. Too Faced Chocolate Soleil (P) is browner. Wet ‘n’ Wild Bikini Contest (P, $3.99) is similar. NARS Laguna (P, $36.00) is more golden.MAC Soft Sand (LE, $25.00) is darker, browner. See comparison swatches.

Myself is described as a “light dirty mauve with traveling pearl [with a Lustre finish].” It’s a pale, muted pink with neutral undertones and a golden sheen. On lips, it lightens the natural color and has semi-opaque color coverage. It wore for two hours. MAC Sublime Pleasure (LE, $15.00) is similar. MAC Flair for Finery (LE, $15.00) is also similar. MAC Feed the Senses (LE, $15.00) is darker. Revlon Pink Lemonade (P, $7.49) is similar. See comparison swatches.

Love Talk is described as a “mid-tone cool nude [with a Cremesheen finish].” It’s a plummy brown with neutral-cool undertones and a luminous sheen. It had mostly opaque color coverage and wore for four hours. It was a smidgen drying–but this is typical of Cremesheen finishes for me, though I know others do not have any issues with this finish! Bobbi Brown Soft Nude (P, $24.00) has more plum in it. MAC Viva Glam VI (P, $15.00) is more frosted, less brown. Guerlain Chant d’Aromes (P, $35.00) is more shimmery. Bobbi Brown Uber Suede (P, $24.00) is darker. See comparison swatches.

Tenderly is described as a “soft warm pink with frost [with a frost finish].” Though it has pink tones, it translated to more like a neutral-cool pale beige with a warmer, golden sheen. It had so-so color payoff. NARS Mississippi Mermaid (LE, $24.00) is similar. Disney by Sephora Scuttle (LE) is warmer. MAC Dew (LE, $15.00) is similar. Dior Fairy Golds #1 (LE) is also similar. See comparison swatches.

After Dusk is described as a “mid-tone rosy pink with pearl [with a Veluxe Pearl finish].” It’s a rosy plum with a frosted, metallic sheen. It had good pigmentation, and the texture was soft and smooth. theBalm Just This Once Jamie (P, $16.00) is browner. MAC Performance Art (LE, $15.00) is lighter. MAC Universal Appeal (LE, $21.00) is less warm-toned. MAC Trax (P, $15.00) is purpler. MAC Star Violet (P, $15.00) is darker. Chanel Harmonie du Soir #3 (LE) is less metallic. See comparison swatches.

Showstopper is described as a “deep blackened brown [with a Matte finish].” It’s a cool-toned, deep dark brown with a matte finish. The only problem is it doesn’t look like much applied, because it had such poor color payoff and a really stiff, dry texture that made it difficult to apply and blend. Too Faced Dark Chocolate (LE) is warmer. Tom Ford Beauty She Wolf #1 (LE) is similar. bareMinerals Boardroom (LE) is similar. MAC Set to Dance (LE, $15.00) is darker. MAC Midnight Flurry (LE, $15.00) is cooler-toned. MAC Diamond Dove (LE, $15.00) is similar. Inglot #329 (P, $6.00) is warmer. See comparison swatches.

Coffee is described as an “intense bronze.” It’s a chocolate brown with warm undertones and a matte finish. It had good pigmentation, but the texture was a bit dry. It was uncomfortable to apply to the lash line, as it tended to skip and tug. The color wore well for almost eight hours with minimal fading. Bobbi Brown Chocolate (LE, $24.00) is similar. Urban Decay Demolition (P, $19.00) is cooler-toned. MAC Rich Experience (P, $20.00) is more neutral-toned. See comparison swatches.

The Glossover

LE
palette

Stroke of Midnight/Warm

C

Golden and Showstopper were the major misses here, as neither performed well; while Myself wears away quickly and Coffee is uncomfortable to use. It was a disappointing palette overall.

Product

7/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

7/10

Longevity

7.5/10

Application

4/5

Results
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LE
product

Golden

D-

Product

6/10

Pigmentation

7/10

Texture

5/10

Longevity

6/10

Application

3.5/5

Results
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Dupes
LE
product

Myself

C+

Product

7/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

6/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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Monday, October 21st, 2013

MAC Stroke of Midnight/Smoky Eyeshadow Palette
MAC Stroke of Midnight/Smoky Eyeshadow Palette

MAC Stroke of Midnight/Smoky Eyeshadow Palette ($39.50 for 0.14 oz.) features five shades in a mix of cool and warm tones to create a smoky eye. Worth noting, Retrospeck and Carbon are both part of the permanent range, so if you like either of those, you can find them individually as well. Chillproof and Gaelic Gold have been released previously as limited edition shades.  Carbon was quite impressive, given it’s horrid texture and payoff in palettes over the years, so that was a surprise.  Well Put Together was the big miss, though, as it was sheer, stiff, and dry–so a pain to work with and apply.  Retrospeck had some fall out during wear as well as during application, and the texture was a little chunky.  Gaelic Gold and Chillproof were pretty good and were the standouts of the palette.

Chillproof is described as a “frosty white [with a Frost finish].” It’s a brightened, neutral white–not too stark or cool-toned with a frosted, slightly metallic, finish. It had good color payoff, and the texture was soft and smooth. Dior Lune (001) (P, $30.00) is a cream product. Disney by Sephora Midnight Hour #1 (LE) is similar. Urban Decay Zephyr (LE, $18.00) is yellower. NARS Flowers 1 #1 (LE, $24.00) is similar. See comparison swatches.

Retrospeck is described as a “beached blonde [with a Lustre finish].” It’s a muted, orange-gold with a frosted finish and champagne and gold glitter. It has a chunkier consistency, so it feels a little dry and loose when used. MAC Until Dawn #2 (LE, $21.00) is smoother. Sleek MakeUP Meet in Madrid (LE, $9.99) is similar. L’Oreal Eternal Sunshine (P, $7.99) is yellower. Chanel Harmonie du Soir #1 (LE) is similar. See comparison swatches.

Gaelic Gold is described as a “metallic gold [with a Veluxe Pearl finish].” It’s a deeper, more molten yellow gold with a frosted, partially metallic finish. It had fairly good color payoff, and the texture was soft and applied smoothly for the most part. Too Faced Twinkle (LE) is darker. NARS Iskandar (P, $25.00) is a cream product. Too Faced Instigator (LE) is similar. Sephora Collection Girls Night Out (03) (P, $13.00) is similar. NARS Paramaribo #1 is cooler-toned. MAC Goldmine (P, $15.00) is lighter, yellower. Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Triptych (P, $14.00) is brighter. Inglot #430 (P, $6.00) is yellower. See comparison swatches.

Well Put Together is described as a “black with gold frost [with a Velvet finish].” It appears as a blackened brown with a faint dusting of copper and gold micro-shimmer in the pan, but it swatches lighter–it’s like a dark brown with subtle warm undertones and a satin finish. The texture was dry and stiff, so the resulting color payoff was weak. MAC Carbonized (LE, $15.00) is lighter, warmer. Bobbi Brown Cocoa Berry (LE, $21.00) is warmer. See comparison swatches.

Carbon is described as an “intense black [with a Matte finish].” It’s a medium-dark black with neutral to warm undertones and a matte finish. This is likely the best version of Carbon I’ve seen in years; it actually swatches and applies surprisingly nicely and with good color payoff. You can see how it stacks up to a myriad of matte blacks in these swatch comparisons.

The Glossover

LE
palette

Stroke of Midnight/Smoky

B
Carbon was quite impressive, given it's horrid texture and payoff in palettes over the years, so that was a surprise. Well Put Together was the big miss, though, as it was sheer, stiff, and dry--so a pain to work with and apply. Retrospeck had some fall out during wear as well as during application, and the texture was a little chunky. Gaelic Gold and Chillproof were pretty good and were the standouts of the palette.

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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LE
product

Chillproof

A

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Dupes
P
product

Retrospeck

C+

Product

7.5/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

7/10

Longevity

7/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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