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  • b-glowing20% off skincare orders of $60+ with code 20SKINCARE, ends 10/25.

When possible, I much, much prefer a two-in-one product.  However, for extra coverage for when I’m going to be outdoors for extended periods of time, I’d actually rather have a separate sunscreen.  For instance, I wear SPF 55 for the hour that I play tennis in the AM, but for the rest of the day, I use a moisturizer with SPF 20 in it.

— Christine

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MAC Fashion Sets: Nail Lacquer Review Round-up

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

MAC Fashion Sets: Nail Lacquer Review Round-up

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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).

Most Overrated & Underrated Mascara

Over & Under: Most Overrated & Underrated Mascara

There are always products that receive endless raves, but they don’t always live up to our expectations or work out as well as they do for others.  Share your picks for most overrated and underrated MASCARAS.  Don’t forget to share your whats and whys as to your choices!

  • Most Overrated: [answer]
  • Most Underrated: [answer]

My Picks

  • Most Overrated: DiorShow — I could never quite get it to look as amazing as others made it seem; it just blackened lashes but didn’t add enough thickening/lengthening for me.
  • Most Underrated:  Bare Escentuals Buxom Lash — it’s something I reach for all the time for whenever I want really long lashes.  It doesn’t thicken at all, but it lengthens so well and never clumps.  It’s a great mascara to layer with, too.
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MAC Fashion Sets: Lipglass Review Round-up

MAC Russian Red Trio
MAC Girl About Town Lipglass over Lipstick; Nail Lacquer

MAC Fashion Sets: Lipglass Review Round-up

Of the sixteen Lipglasses in this launch, it ended up being a mixed bag. A lot of the common problems seen from the thicker formula of Lipglass came up, and these tend to be seen more often in lighter, milkier shades. These lighter shades tend to apply unevenly and settle into lip lines. Darker shades tended to be more opaque and less problematic, though the less opaque they were, the more unevenly they applied.

Lipglass is a heavier, thicker, and very sticky formula (it is often my benchmark for how sticky a gloss is–many readers have experience with the formula, so it often works as a global reference point), which doesn’t mean that it’s bad, but I know that it specifically does not appeal to some for those very reasons. I think the thickness could probably be improved upon as more and more glosses have come out and have a lighter feel that’s more comfortable and wears just as long and as well–it’s more a sign of improved and more refined formulas in the past decade. MAC has shown it themselves with their gloss extensions and limited edition formulas.

This opinion does not change or have any impact on the overall rating, which is about the product and its quality and relevant metrics in relation to quality. I don’t think the lipglosses are necessary if you own or love the lipstick version and do not typically wear gloss alone or are only really seeking out the gloss to pair with the lipstick. The lipsticks are very opaque on their own, so they do not need a semi-opaque or opaque gloss on top to help it along. What the glosses really do is add glossiness, which can be achieved with clear gloss. If you want to mix your favorite lipstick-now-gloss shade with other lipsticks or wear it on its own, then some of the shades can certainly be worth purchasing.

The top-performing shades were: Girl About Town, Impassioned, Morange, Russian Red, and Spice (A- — no lipgloss received an A). Good but not great shades were: Angel, Please Me, Rebel (B+). The most under-performing shades were: Saint Germain (C); Chestnut and Myth (B-).

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; only Russian Red is permanent
Asia Pacific: Angel, Morange, Impassioned, Peachstock, Ravishing, Razzledazzler, Saint Germain; all shades are limited edition
Europe & Africa: Impassioned, Morange, Myth, Rebel, Russian Red, Saint Germain, Spice; only Russian Red is permanent
Latin America & Middle East: Girl About Town, Impassioned, Morange, Pink Nouveau, Please Me, Russian Red, Snob; only Russian Red is permanent

Reviews, Photos, Swatches

MAC Fashion Sets: Lipglass Review Round-up

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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: two product photos, one lip swatch (diffused flash), and one lip swatch (studio lighting).

MAC Fashion Sets: Lipstick Review Round-up

MAC Russian Red Trio
MAC Russian Red Lipglass over Lipstick; Nail Lacquer

MAC Fashion Sets: Lipstick Review Round-up

In the collection, the lipsticks, on average, were the strongest product. The quality of MAC’s lipstick range is definitely there, particularly with their core, permanent shades. The permanent shades are often overlooked because of the neverending onslaught of limited edition shades coming out each month (and sometimes each week!). Many of these shades have been around for several years and have proven to be bestselling shades for the brand for good reason.  I would recommend the lipstick over the matching lipgloss and nail lacquer for every single shade (which is not to say I recommend every single lipstick, period).

These shades did the best when it came to pigmentation. They’re rich, pigmented, and pretty much opaque across the board, with some being totally and utterly opaque and others being nearly opaque. When it comes to the overall quality and claims, these do well, but some finishes are more drying than others. I don’t find MAC to have moisturizing lipsticks, but for the most part, they are not drying either. Lustres and cremesheen finishes are the most drying for me, while mattes and satins can be slightly drying depending on the individual shade. Frosts are neither drying nor hydrating in my experience.

Generally, lighter shades (think Angel, Myth, Snob, etc.) will not wear as long or as well as richer, deeper shades (think Girl About Town, Rebel, Russian Red, etc.), as those deeper shades (combined with their finish) lead to six hour wear as a result of staining–and staining may be good or bad depending on your preference. Lighter shades typically wear three to four hours with deeper shades lasting four to six hours–and this is based on experience of over a hundred MAC lipsticks over the years. I’m pretty sure it’s way more than that, but I’m not going to guarantee it.

The best shades were:  Girl About Town, Morange, and Russian Red (all As).  Good but not great shades were:  Peachstock, Please Me, Rebel, and Spice.  The most under-performing shades were:  Myth and Razzledazzler.

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; Chestnut and Spice are limited edition–the rest are permanent
Asia Pacific: Angel, Morange, Impassioned, Peachstock, Ravishing, Razzledazzler, Saint Germain; Peachstock is permanent at PRO stores only, Razzledazzler is permanent in Asia only–the rest are permanent
Europe & Africa: Impassioned, Morange, Myth, Rebel, Russian Red, Saint Germain, Spice; Spice is limited edition
Latin America & Middle East: Girl About Town, Impassioned, Morange, Pink Nouveau, Please Me, Russian Red, Snob; all shades are permanent

Reviews, Photos, Swatches

MAC Fashion Sets: Lipstick Review Round-up

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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: two product photos, one lip swatch (diffused flash), and one lip swatch (studio lighting).  All links to the individual posts have been provided above.

The Making of Dr. KISS Gloss – Mini-sodes #7 and #8

The Making of Dr. KISS Gloss – Mini-sodes #7 and #8

Celebrity makeup artist Brett Freedman has been developing a new product–Dr. KISS Gloss–and he’s filmed a series of videos exclusively for Temptalia readers as a look into the process behind creating a product and bringing it to the market.

Here are the next two episodes in the series — Brett gets the first sample of the formula and gets some feedback!