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Pat McGrath

The real rant is the price point — just really, really expensive. The recent price increase on the lipsticks has really pushed the brand into an even higher tier. I love the smaller, six-pan palettes, which I feel are a better value/proposition, than the larger $125 palettes. The brand has some exceptional formulas, and I love the color stories in most of their palettes.

— Christine


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Wednesday Avatar

I love almost everything about the brand except the price point. I wasn’t impressed enough, however, to venture into the base products which I feel didn’t live up to the brand’s potential, meaning for the money, I didn’t see anything special enough to warrant the purchase.

I feel PMG palettes have brought more creativity to my e/s game. I truly value and covet my collection. If I ever had to name one single favourite eyeshadow above all others, it would definitely be one of the special shades in the Mothership palettes; most likely VR Fire Opal which shifts this magical coolish chartreuse green on me and elevates every look.

On the negative side, her palettes look very similar and the focus on gold coloured shadows too heavy for my tastes. I can only wear cooler gold shades. That said, I do find many of her shadows to look similar, but applied they can look quite different. I think her colours are some of the most complex I’ve used and she shifts the base in similar colours to vary the texture and tones once applied.

Ana Maria Avatar

It’s hard to have a very strong opinion on a brand I’m not really that interested on.
Personally, I don’t even mind the price (although they are overpriced); I know that real make-up is not that expensive. But you are paying for the brand, the aesthetics, the research that goes behind the products (hopefully), the artistry and the creativity. I would personally spend more money to support the creativity of an artist or creator/innovator, rather than pay less for copy-pasted stuff in a pipeline or a celebrity collection where the celebrity barely has knowledge of make-up or color; it’s not just make-up, I have supported creators and innovators of other types of products, rather than buying cheaper products on Amazon/Target/etc.

I do like her eyeshadow palettes from an aesthetics point of view, and I do like how other artist use them… but they are a little bit… too much for my make-up style. With all of her products I get the impression that they are formulas you need to work with, have a make-up artist skill… and I don’t have the time or will for that.
All packaging is beautiful and creative (except the lipsticks), I even like the apothecary vibe of the foundation bottle and Chromaluxe Creams. Would I ever use a foundation with alcohol or a gel/liquid highlighter? Most likely not. But I like the aesthetics.

My biggest rant is definitely lips on the lipstick packages… it’s a pet-peeve of mine… gets my skin crawling. 😆

serena Avatar

ana maria, i feel the exact same thing about the price point—it’s certainly hard to swallow and why i haven’t bought many pat mcgrath products yet, but when i have i don’t feel too bad knowing her influence on the industry, the amount of work and thought that was probably put into the line, and not to mention it feels good to support a woc !

Duff's Wife Avatar

My feelings exactly, and so very well put! I very much admire her talent, but her vibe is not mine. Her eyeshadows are *so* not my style, and the primer/foundation are silicones and alcohol–definitely not for my dry skin. I have an HG powder, so there’s no interest in that.

I have a couple of her Mattetrance and Luxetrance lipsticks, and they’re very nice, but no revelation–there are better products out there. Blitztrance interests me not at all (again, not my style), and I never wear gloss. And that’s that.

What I really hate (although this is her style) is the gross overpackaging. It’s like getting a prank card full of glitter. Please, no sequins, use smaller boxes, and skip the ridiculous amount of shredded paper (at least it’s recyclable, but that ends up everywhere, too). And I’m so with you about the lips on the lipstick tubes. I’ve tried to pry them off to no avail. They’re cheap-looking, ugly, make a bulky tube unnecessarily (and unattractively) bulkier, and I’m almost embarrassed to take one out in public.

She’s a very creative and talented MA, but overall, her line leaves me cold. The price point doesn’t bother me (I’m willing to pay for great quality products), but there are products I really love at similar prices (and without those lipstick tubes). I opt for them because they’re much more wearable for me.

Chiara Federico Avatar

Hi! I’m actually quite tempted to get something from her but there’s always something that bothers me (specially for the price), I’m not really that interested in her large palettes except for midnight sun and that deep red/burgundy shadow but I know I’m not wearing green if it’s not matte and I’m not wearing purple in any format. I hope makeup companies would offer all of their shadows as singles, I don’t own or use much eyeshadow and premade palettes are hardly ever a smart choice for me.
I was excited when she came out with singles but firstly, they’re ridiculous value for money and secondly, there isn’t nearly as much variety and options as I hoped.
As for her six pan palettes, the neutral-warm and neutral-cool ones are stunning and better value for money than her large ones but $65 for bulky cardboard packaging? No way. I’ve been there with cheap packaging with Natasha Denona (my camel 5 pan palette’s packaging literally fell apart after hardly a month or two) and I have no intention to do that to myself again.
Her lipsticks are gorgeous and they’re, at the moment, the item I’ll most likely pick up as a present for myself sometime.

Sandy Avatar

Love the colors and packaging and the fun holiday products! I LOVE the lip gloss so much. I would buy all the colors if I could afford it.

I don’t like that I struggle to use the eyeshadows on my oily lids (the new quad!) and that the matte lipsticks are too drying.

Nancy T Avatar

Love: She puts together some of most interesting color combos in her palettes! Some of them just blow my mind (Nocturnal Nirvana, La Vie En Rose MTHRSHP and Subversive Mothership!) , and others are just so beautifully coordinated that using them makes for intriguing, yet seamless looking eye looks (Midnight Sun, Bronze Seduction Mothership and Bronze Temptation MTHRSHP, I may have mixed up the “bronze” names?). Also; I am crazy about her Luxetrance Lipsticks and LUST Gloss formulas!

Hate: The crazy price points! Worse yet, the recent price increases on the lipsticks and 6-pan MTHRSHP palettes. This brand is already HE/Luxury, it doesn’t need any more increases in price.

Seraphine Avatar

This will be a pretty negative post. The only Pat McGrath products I own are two Matte-Trance lipsticks. The shades are pretty, but they make my lips look shriveled. When I first got them, I liked how Dalî-esque the packaging was, but at the same time I found the lip design to be creepy in a bad way.

I haven’t bought any other PMG products because (1) although I haven’t tried the Luxe-Trance formula, I dislike the packaging too much to buy, (2) none of the eye palettes appeal to me, and (3) all of the products seem overpriced. I guess I’m just not very interested in this brand!

Mimi Avatar

I think it was back for about half a day — but it was less a time thing than a how much stock did Sephora get from the brand thing. It looked like they got to sell a few previously released LE items from PMG from PMG’s “vaults”. Sephora released the items on that day and Decadence was the one that got the most attention and sold out really quickly. I remember seeing other items like lipsticks and sets and some of those lasted a few days.

Mariella Avatar

Her products really are overpriced – I suppose that’s my biggest rant – and it’s tied to my 2nd rant which is that if I’m going to spend a significant amount on an eyeshadow palette or foundation, I want to purchase it in person where I can try it before laying down a whole more cash than it probably justified in the first place (which takes us back to rant #1)

Kira Avatar

-Unparalleled creativity in her products (and her mastery at building makeup looks is on a different plane of existence)
-Luxetrance lipsticks feel like pure pigment and one could last for ages.
-The best color stories in her palettes
-Inspiring videos for how to apply her products (with a clear break down of what was used where, and what methods was used to apply each product)

-I don’t like the Mattetrance formula that much.
-Her clear lip balm is too expensive for what it is as a product.
-I find it challenging to use her shadows for my kind of everyday look.
-Her Astral shades have flecks that get into my eyes and irritate them.
-I don’t like her sequins and over-packaging (I throw the boxes away when I get the palettes).
-For her social media advertising – I hate that she uses filters that distort the colors in videos, and I wish she would show how to use her shadows on more Asian models and models with different types of eyes.

Ana Maria Avatar

The most offensive thing about those sequins (and over-packaging in general) is that you can’t do anything better than throwing them away… there’s no way to recycle (maybe reuse them). At least they could make them of some sort of biodegradable material… even `packaging peanuts` nowadays can be made from starches.

Raye Avatar

I love Pat McGrath, and I understand the price point with regard to the quality of her products, packaging (usually, see below), style direction, and the fat that it’s PAT MCGRATH.

My main frustration is the inconsistency of her packaging quality. The foundation launch was a good example. The foundation itself was in a beautiful frosted glass bottle, but the primer was in… a plastic bottle with a label that peeled off? Disaster. The 10 shadow palettes are gorgeous and heavy and luxurious and are clearly trying to earn that $125 price tag, but the single shadows… don’t shut properly?

What’s going on, Pat? We were all rooting for you!

Dee Avatar

I’ve had a few of Pats eyeshadow palettes and the foundation but destashed them all. I’ve only kept and used frequently her glosses which are nice.

I don’t mind an expensive eyeshadow palette, some of the palettes released by Natasha Denona are among my favourites but for me the Pat Mcgrath palettes are just not worth the money. This opinion has a lot to do with my personal preference however as I prefer mostly matte shadows whereas I feel Pat excels with the shimmer shades which are undeniably beautiful.

I felt the foundation was grossly overpriced working out at $78 in my local currency. It felt close to Mac face and body but heavier and I prefer a sheerer finish. It didn’t replace my holy grail shiseido synchro skin glow.

I do really like her lipglosses and would like to try the lipsticks next! They always look so good on Instagram!

AJ Avatar

Rave: I love most of* her eyeshadows, and how some of the colors are so much more complex than they appear at first glance. I enjoy the colorways she uses in her palettes, and the interesting packaging. I love the solid weight of the one $125 palette I have of hers. I have one lipstick mini and I do like it, but not enough to spend full price on her lipsticks. Also, I really enjoy the brand’s insta. I love to see the design inspiration and the runway makeup looks.

Rant: The price-point is definitely a turn off. I mean… $125 palette! I had a 20% coupon when I bought it, but still. $100 and I almost never use it because I haven’t read up on how to use the different formulas. And speaking of, my * on “most of” above refers to the fact that I wore her matte black shadow last night and it had majorly faded and creased by the end of the night, what a mess. And at that price point, I want to actually be able to swatch things. In fact, generally if I have bought one of her 6 pan palettes it’s because I actually saw it in stores and swatched it and couldn’t resist even if it was a colorway I wasn’t originally going to buy.

Oh yeah, and the sequin packaging. It’s such a cool, attractive look, but what am I supposed to do with all these sequins?

Frozendiva Avatar

I own only one product – a Blitztrance lipstick. I like it.

The eyeshadow palettes are a whopping $170 CAD. Hard to find in my city and even with a Sephora 15% VIB discount, it is still a lot of money. The holiday ones are $86 – a lot for four colours and other lines with beautiful products competing for my hard-earned disposable holiday cash. The eyeshadow palettes do have some interesting colour combos, but not enough to make me bite and buy one.

Not hugely interested in the foundation products. No way to match my skin without actually trying it. Typing in other lines’ product numbers gave me different results.

Overall, a line that I admire and appreciate. Until there is more physical availability here, just something I buy a small piece from here and there.

Deborah S. Avatar

Overall for me there are more positives than negatives. I love both the MatteTrance and LuxeTrance formula’s and they both perform and last well for me. The shades are lovely. I like her e/s formula’s a lot and find that they are so pigmented, blendable and the shades are many times very unique. I don’t use any of her base products but would not rule them out if I were looking for something that she offered. I find her gloss formula’s to be wonderful and I am not a gloss person. I purchased the first one and then went back and picked up several more. I love the overall PR and quality of her products.

My biggest negatives are around cost and some packaging issues. I think her products are a bit over priced. However, I would prefer to pay her higher prices than say, Tom Ford, whose products tend to be more iffy in quality. I also don’t like that some of her palettes come in those tri-fold packaging where the back doesn’t fold all the way back. It means that if the palette is sitting on your vanity, it doesn’t sit flat and the flap continuously goes closed. I wish that she would put the names on the actual palette and I could really get behind her not putting a gold or two in every palette. I just don’t need a gold in every permutation.

Gilad Avatar

Totally agree w/ Deborah about Pat McGrath over Tom Ford!! Refuse to buy anything of his on principle. Want to support woc. I feel a lot of artistic integrity when I look at her stuff. Her prices are mostly more than I’d pay, but she’s comparable to lots of other HE lipsticks (unfortunately) especially.
Rant – It’s soooo hard to tell what the real color of her lipsticks are. I’d love a warm/cool/neutral indication. And the mini nudes set had colors that were way too similar. I find the plethora of marginally different nude tones in general w/ PMG to make it incredibly hard to buy online, and it’s really hard to find actual testers anywhere of the whole (or significant proportion of) the line.

lisas1970 Avatar

I love her products. I’ve bought her eyeshadows and lipglosses and they are both amazing. I bought her metamorphosis kit which I’m not sure I understand. The metal mixing liquid is like thick setting spray. I agree with everyone else, the prices are pretty outrageous. I’ve only bought when things are on sale. I also like her free shipping. The customer service is great too.

Lesley Avatar

The eyeshadows and lipsticks appear to be stunning but they are not the kind of makeup I wear. I bought one of the palettes last year and eventually sent it on to Project Beauty Share. The mascara and eyeliner are good but not unique. I enjoy the foundation but found myself mixing it with something more matte because it was just too glowy. In sum, nothing to rant about but nothing to rave about either.

Meagan Telder Avatar

Everyone seems to hate the sequins in the packing but she just doesn’t listen and change it and I think that shows she doesn’t care about the environment or what people think.

Brenda Avatar

I love love love her shadows. I have all of the full size mothership palettes except Decadence. I have all of the 6 pan palettes, nocturnal nirvana and ritualistic rose quads plus 3 of the singles. I receive the most compliments on my eye looks when I wear her shadows. Nothing truly compares to her shadows, I’m finding it easy to resist buying other brands when I compare to Pat. Additionally, her lip glosses are the best.

However, as much as I love her shadows I’m OVER gold shadows in every single palette. There are several I never wear as they do not look good with my skin tone.

Aidan Avatar

I bought her mini lipstick set. To me it was a better value as the lipsticks are so expensive. On my third use of the one it flew out of the container. For the price point I would expect better packaging and security. I really just wasted my money since the lipstick landed behind a container and into dust bunnies. I didn’t open it roughly and I treat my makeup delicately which just masked it worse.

Karen Fouche Avatar

I look at it this way in terms of price: I grew up watching Pat McGrath and her amazing visions during some of the glitziest times in fashion : Naomi, Christy, Cindy, claudia doing rumway for the ever iconic Gianni Versace. I also pay $239 for Natasha Denona who i had never heard of before my favorite influencer mentioned her and i loved the colors in one of her palettes. These two makeup brands are not for you if you cant see the quality, love and art that goes into palettes. Special formulations go unrecognized because of people complain about cost? These palettes are experiences. And the makeup is for people who love the art as much as they do. Even at cheaper prices, the $28 5 pan palette, people were stll complaining. Why? ?? You’re trying out 5 shades for the price of 1 single shade!! And they were also saying the packaging was wasteful. You said the same thing about the Darkstar cardbord packaging but when she downgrades, people compain saying its not worth the price. Youre paying for quality. If youre so unhappy, why not buy Hourglass? They are good too.

Genevieve Avatar

Rave: I think her products are of excellent value and contain a variety of shades that are appealing to lots of diverse customers.
Rant: So, so very expensive. Perhaps there are times when certain colours are used in lots of the quads and palettes, which could make some of them redundant if you have her others.

Karen Avatar

Her customer service is terrible. They gave me a her time because one of her 10 pan palettes I ordered came with damaged outer packaging. They didn’t understand why I care about ripped outside package.

I’m also unhappy that they said the Astral Rose quad was exclusive to PMG (if they are the guilty party.) I would never have ordered from them again. I find Nordstrom does this occasionally also.

Christine Avatar

As a FYI, a lot of times brands and retailers use the term exclusive but it doesn’t mean exclusive forever – rather it was exclusively available at Pat McGrath direct for a set period of time. There’s no real definition, since it can vary by brand; it can be country-exclusive (often something exclusive to Nordstrom in the US will be available at another retailer globally), exclusive period, exclusive to the retailer + brand’s direct site, exclusive for the entirety, etc.

Lisa Avatar

The biggest con in my opinion is that Pat McGrath isn’t cruelty-free. I honestly can’t believe that no one else mentioned that in all the comments I read.

Z Avatar

Price point. Her Mothership palettes have too many basic bitch shades to justify the price – even if the packaging is nice. I DO like that she’s made singles or less extravagant palette options. I don’t care for her mattes or satins so having a small palette of just shimmer/metallics is nice.

Her lipsticks….ok, I HATE to pay so much money for lipstick, but I do pick these up as she releases colors I like. Not sure I could resist picking up more Luxetrance if she came out with sandy beigey greiges.

Evi Avatar

: from what Ive tried the quality seems solid, but there are other formulas I like just as much or more that do perform better, or I found more versatile for day-to-day looks. however the ways Pat’s stuff really put me off are Price, Packaging and not being cruelty-free.

The price point is high, and that starts to matter when I feel that there are brands at lower price points that do provide enough quality that I don’t feel its necessary.

but more than anything I hate, hate, hate the packaging. When I decided to try it, I bought on a sale directly from the pat mcgrath website, and it arrived with glittery plastic confetti stuffed all through the box. Not only is it just so not environment-friendly, It got everywhere, I was cleaning it up for weeks afterwards. It was like a smug glitter bomb I unwittingly paid for. I was livid.
Postage packaging aside, I am also not a fan of the product packaging, yes, the cardboard of the palettes is pretty, but it is hard to store because it’s bulky and one of the mini palettes i got the glue holding the cardboard together started to break.
those are enough for me to swear off the brand. I did not realise it was also not cruelty-free. If I had I wouldnt have purchased any to try from the start. Its a lesson for my self to check more thoroughly on that.

Donna Avatar

Love: Finally doing free shipping and no duty to the UK direct from her site. Love the 6 pan palettes which she would do more. Loving the new Holiday quads. For me, the quality makes it worth the price.

Hate: Yes the damn sequins and the shredded plastic packaging! Did not know she is not cruelty-free!

No, way to actually try the foundation shades if you do not live in London here in the UK.

Why no blushers?

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