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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


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.

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MAC Russian Red Lipglass, Lipstick, Nail Lacquer

MAC Russian Red
MAC Russian Red Lipstick, Nail Lacquer, Lipglass

MAC Russian Red Lipglass, Lipstick, Nail Lacquer

MAC Russian Red Lipstick ($14.50 for 0.10 oz.) has been such a top-seller that it has now inspired a 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, Europe/Africa, and Latin regions of the collection, so it will be available both online and in-stores. Russian Red is described as “mid-tone neutral red.”

The lipgloss is a little brighter and appears slightly less neutral/less blue-based compared to the lipstick, which I find is almost neutral but leans a smidgen on the cool side. The matching nail lacquer is a very good match to both the lipstick and lipgloss; it’s a nice shade of medium-dark red that is very close to neutral in tone. When you apply the lipgloss over the lipstick, the result is a more opaque, slightly darker, richer looking red pout than if you were to just wear the gloss alone.

Russian Red Lipglass is a rich cherry red that leans just a smidgen orange-red, but it’s very close to neutral. For me, it looks more orange-toned when it’s swatched next to the lipstick (which is neutral to slightly blue-based), but when I look at it by itself, it reads neutral. This is part of the permanent range. It has opaque color coverage. MAC Driven by Love is a deeper, darker red with shimmer. MAC Nitro:licious 2046 is a pinky-red. Illamasqua Succubus is a bit brighter. OCC Stalker looks almost warm in comparison. (9, 10, 9, 9, 4, 4; A-)

Russian Red Lipstick is medium-dark red with mostly neutral undertones, though against my warmer skin, it reads just a little cool-toned. It has a matte finish, and it is part of the permanent range. Maybelline Very Cherry is lighter, more blue-based. MAC Runaway Red is darker, more blue-based. MAC Such Flare! is deeper. Guerlain Habit Rouge is lighter and more orange-toned. MAC Prolong is more blue-based. Guerlain Garconne is darker. (9, 10, 9, 10, 4.5, 4; A)

Russian Red Nail Lacquer is a medium-dark red with nearly neutral undertones (leaning at most slightly blue). It has a cream finish, and it was opaque in two coats. I didn’t have any trouble with the formula, so it applied evenly and fluidly. Chanel Rouge Carat is a little lighter and has shimmer. MAC Get Noticed is a deeper red. Zoya Sooki is a little bluer-based. Butter London Pillar Box is very close. China Glaze Hey Sailor is bluer-based. MAC Asiatique is also close. (10, 10, 10, 9, 4.5, 4; A)

MAC Lipsticks are vanilla-scented but taste-free. Matte finishes like Russian Red typically wear four to six hours on me, and Russian Red wears around six hours typically and will stain. I find the texture of Russian Red lipstick to be creamier than some of MAC’s drier matte formulas, but I don’t find it drying. 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.

MAC Russian Red Lipglass, Lipstick, Nail Lacquer


MAC Wonder Woman: Lipsticks

MAC Wonder Woman Lipsticks
MAC Wonder Woman Lipsticks

MAC Wonder Woman: Lipsticks

MAC WONDER WOMAN LIPSTICK ($15.50 for 0.10 oz.) include four shades: Heroine (brown bronze), Marquise d’ (sandy cream peach), Russian Red (intense blue red), and Spitfire (bright creamy magenta).

  • Heroine is a rich, molten bronzed brown with a metallic sheen. It is nearly opaque in color, though not quite. This is a frost finish. It seems like a less red version of Strength.
  • Marquise d’ is a semi-sheer pinky-nude with soft champagne sheen. This is a lustre finish, and it is a repromote. It’s a little like Shy Girl, though lighter and sheerer.
  • Russian Red is a rich, creamy blue-based red. This is a matte finish and part of the permanent range. This is not one of MAC’s drying mattes, though!
  • Spitfire is a dark pink with magenta. This is a satin finish. It is pinker than Style Curve, pinker and less bright than Petals & Peacocks, similar to Smashbox Flirty.  Anyone else think it’s a little muted for something named Spitfire?

my thoughts on the formula: MAC Lipsticks are vanilla-scented but taste-free. I typically get four hours of wear, but some of the lighter lustre and glaze finishes tend to disappear by hour three. Amplified cremes and amplified finishes, however, tend to go beyond four. I find the formula comfortable to wear and not drying (but not moisturizing–a couple of the matte shades can be drying).

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! 🙂

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

final thoughts: Heroine will suit warmer complexions slightly better than cooler ones, while the other three are wearable by both cool and warm skin tones. Russian Red looks stunning on light to dark and cool to warm. Keep in mind, Russian Red is permanent, so you can save $1 by buying it in regular packaging. Spitfire is rather dupeable as MAC has put out several pinky-purple shades in the past six months.

where to buy: MAC Cosmetics

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The Scarlet Season: MAC Russian Red Lipstick

MAC Russian Red Lipstick
MAC Russian Red Lipstick

The Scarlet Season: MAC Russian Red Lipstick

MAC Russian Red Lipstick ($14.00 for 0.10 oz.) is one of the brand’s classic reds–and by classic, I mean, it’s been around forever, worn by numerous celebrities, and embraced as as an iconic shade of true red. It’s a vibrant red with a slight blue-base, but on me, it doesn’t run too cool and almost ends up neutral (not too blue, not too orange) on my lips. It has a matte finish, but it does have a slight sheen when applied. It’s creamy, applies opaque with ease, and it stays put for hours (partially due to the fact that it is a matte). Even though the finish is matte, it’s creamy enough not to be drying (which is a huge plus, as some of MAC’s mattes can be). This is really one of those shades that I feel must be tried at some point in your lifetime, whether you’re a fan of red lips or not!

The Scarlet Season is a series of posts showcasing and featuring my favorite shades of red lips–from glosses to lipsticks that runs through December 2009. You can sure expect to see a lot of red this holiday season!

See more swatches and comparison photos

6 Must-Have MAC Red Lipsticks

6 Must-Have MAC Red Lipsticks

About the Temptalia Must-Haves Series

A series of posts showcasing must-have products from MAC Cosmetics’ permanent line of products. Selections are based on quality, universality, uniqueness amongst the line, and the like. Limited edition shades are deliberately excluded to make buying easier. Readers’ comments act as a supplement to these lists of their favorites and must-haves. You can find the entire series here.

Russian Red lipstick is a matte, super bright blue-based red. This is pretty much a standard red lip for anyone. I’ll admit it doesn’t always work on me, since it can run too blue, but you can always pair it with a lip liner or gloss to make it more your tone.

Viva Glam I lipstick is a matte, retro red. Retro red is kind of a deeper, more muted red. This is a very wearable red for all skin tones, and it is one of my favorite reds on me.

Dubonnet lipstick is a deep red with a slightly burgundy tone to it with a creamy, slightly glossy finish. This is another flattering shade on a variety of skin tones.

See three more!

The Vampire Lip Experiment – YSL Pur Black Gloss Pt. II

YSL Pur Black Gloss sure is fun!

Above is the result of a little experiment I did last night trying to do “vampire lips” or the “just bitten” lips. Let me tell you, it isn’t as easy as you’d think! It’s not just red lipstick and then slapping on black gloss. Ultimately, what worked best was matte red lipstick (MAC Russian Red), then puckering lips up (to the max!), and applying a horizontal line of the black gloss (YSL Pur Black Gloss) on the top and bottom lip. Next, I took a glossy red gloss (MAC Boundless 3D Glass) and applied it vertically, without going too much over the black parts.

See the experiment from beginning to end!