Preview: Shop MAC / Cook MAC

It was ‘Game On’ today as I swung by my usual MAC boutique to pick up my Shop MAC / Cook MAC goodies!


Big hair and bright makeup--the Shop MAC / Cook MAC collection is so me.

When the smoke cleared between what I’d reserved and what I bought as a result of my makeover, I would up with two of the eye shadow quads (Colour Added and Call Me Bubbles), two lipsticks (Quick Sizzle and Watch Me Simmer), two blushes (Florida and Optomistic Orange), and two tendertones (Purring and Hot and Saucy). I’m working on comparison swatches to post along with reviews this weekend but in the meantime enjoy the swag pics and a pic of me wearing the Call Me Bubbles trio and the pretty much sold out Watch Me Simmer lipstick.


Da swag in packaging that reminds me of those cardboard Barbie supermarket play set...


Colour Added quad, Quick Sizzle lipstick, Florida cremeblend blush and Hot & Saucy tendertone


Call Me Bubbles quad, Watch Me Simmer lipstick, Optimistic Orange cremeblend blush and Purring tendertone


The Shop MAC look feat. Call Me Bubbles eye shadow quad, Watch Me Simmer lipstick and Optimistic Orange cremeblend blush


MAC Viva Glam Niki Minaj Lipstick: The Rundown

You know you’ve ordered too much MAC when you get a ‘private’ invitation to purchase this:


MAC's Niki Minaj for Viva Glam lipstick

Described as a bright yellow-pink, this Satin finish lipstick is hip-hop artist Niki Minaj’s second collaboration with MAC (the first was the uber-fail hot mess known as Pink Friday). Benefiting those living with AIDS, this particular collaboration is part of the latest Viva Glam offering along with a lip conditioner ‘signed’ by Ricky Martin. Little side note: I went to junior high school w/ his stepsister when he was in Menudo. Yes, I know I am dating myself but I digress.


Closeup of MAC Niki Minaj for Viva Glam (no flash)

Niki Minaj for Viva Glam is a very bright color which I feel is not easily wearable. It is definitely an ‘impact’ color so if you are looking for something daring, or if bright lipstick is already your style (I’m firmly in both camps) this color is right up your alley. On warmer skintones this color wouldn’t stand out as much as it would on cooler skintones. Compared to the closest lipsticks in color that I own, Niki Minaj for Viva Glam is more yellow than the porn-star pink of Pink Friday (Satin), which is cooler, and is lighter but still on the yellow side as compared to Chatterbox (Amplified).


From left: MAC Chatterbox, Niki Minaj for Viva Glam, Niki Minaj Pink Friday (flash)

While I do like the color of this lipstick, as with most Satin finish lipsticks by MAC, I absolutely loathe the formula. Like with matte lipsticks if my lips are not completely smooth this stuff will wedge itself into every groove, crack and flake on my lips. It doesn’t feel very moisturizing and the wear time is much less than those of my beloved Amplified finish lipsticks. The use of a lip primer like MAC’s Prep + Prime or Too Faced’s Lip Insurance is a must before applying this lipstick. Using a lip pencil wouldn’t hurt either. This isn’t a must-have and I do think MAC has better bright yellow-pink lipsticks (Impassioned, Chatterbox) but the color is very nice and the proceeds go to a great cause.

Niki Minaj for Viva Glam retails for $14.50 is scheduled to go on sale to the general public on February 14th in most MAC locations and on All proceeds from the sale of this lipstick goes to the MAC AIDS Fund to support men, women, and children living with HIV and AIDS.


From left: MAC Chatterbox, Niki Minaj for Viva Glam, Niki Minaj Pink Friday (no flash/HDR)


MAC's Niki Minaj Viva Glam lipstick--not for the faint of heart!

MAC Tour De Fabulous Lipglass: The Rundown

By the time you read this, if you are in the US chances are you missed this release. If you are outside the US, pay attention as these are scheduled to be released in February.


MAC Tour de Fabulous lipglass --Taste The Rainbow 🙂

Along with the lip pencils I reviewed recently, I picked up three (3) of the eleven shades of Lipglass available in this limited edition collection. The three picked up were Real Posh, StylePacked and Tour de Fabulous. I purposely picked these three to match the four lip pencils I purchased from the Tour De Fabulous collection.


Swatches on NW43 skin (indoors with flash)


Swatches on NW43 skin (indoors without flash)

Real Posh is a reddened berry that looks quite opaque on. I love how it looked with the Just Wonderful lip pencil but it is opaque enough to wear on its own. I’d almost go as far to say it’s just a degree or two below being as totally opaque as my favorite lipglass by Afrobella, All Of My Purple Life. If you have very pigmented lips I don’t see a problem with this shade showing up on you without lip pencil.


Wearing MAC Real Posh lipglass over Just Wonderful lip pencil

StylePacked is an uber-cool blue-toned pink that is semi-opaque. I was quite dissapointed it wasn’t as opaque as my favorite pink lipglass, Pink Poodle but over the Embrace Me lipencil (or even better over High Magenta Chromagraphic pencil) it still looks rather nice. If you have very pigmented lips I wouldn’t look for much color payoff from this shade unless you wear lip pencil. I really think this color would look amazing over Pink Pigeon from the Iris Apfel collection or Pink Nouveau Amplified lipstick. And if you were unfortunate enough as I was to pick up that Niki Minaj Pink Friday lipstick, this lipglass will actually make that hot mess wearable.


Wearing MAC Style Packed lipglass over Embrace Me lip pencil

Tour de Fabulous is a pretty semi-opaque coral orange that is more suited to warmer skintones but not so much that cooler-toned gals like myself couldn’t wear. I wore this over Entertain Me and Lasting Sensation lip pencils and while I prefer the latter lip pencil because it leans more pink coral, I was pleased with how this lipglass looked over both. Many people are curious as to how this color compares to Strange Potion first released with the Disney’s Venomous Villains collection and repromoted with Surf Baby! Tour De Fabulous is definitely more orange coral while Strange Potion is more pink. As someone with a cooler skintone, I definitely prefer Strange Potion. If you have Strange Potion in your stash and cash is tight, I would pass over this color and grab the Entertain Me lip pencil to wear with it instead. You would get pretty much the same color as Tour de Fabulous and you can use the pencil with other colors.


Wearing MAC Tour De Fabulous lipglass over Lasting Sensation lip pencil


MAC Tour de Fabulous and Strange Potion

Lipglasses are usually a MAC staple for most women of color. The pigmentation is translucent enough not to look ‘ashy’ even in lighter colors. They are slightly-tacky and usually last longer over lipstick and lip pencil than alone. Vanilla-scented and taste free, they are jam-packed with moisturizing goodness like jojoba oil to keep your lips soft and smooth especially in cold winter weather. The lipglasses from this collection retail for $14.50 USD and are available now for a limited time. For International release date, MAC press materials project February 15th.

Definitely pick up a few of these lipglasses as they are colors sorely lacking from MAC’s permanent lip glass lineup.


MAC Tour de Fabulous lipglass --Yay for more colors!!!

MAC Tour de Fabulous Lip Pencils: The Rundown


Oh snap! It's The MAC Cosmetics Collection Formerly Known As Glamglass!

Once upon a time in MAC Cosmetics-land there was an upcoming collection known as GlamGlass. It promised a reinterpreted formula for the standard Lipglass I knew and loved. There was to be a new range of colors to fill the void in the current Lipglass lineup. But wait, there’s more! There was to be an extended range of new lip pencils as well. Colors sorely lacking in MAC’s current offerings. It was a bright range of colors that a brown girl like me rejoiced over.

And then the news came that due to supply/manufacturing/angry birds the Glamglass collection had been put on hold.

And then a few days ago we got news that the collection was indeed coming but not called GlamGlass. Regular bog-standard lip glasses but in a bright range of colors were coming along with their lip pencil counterparts. So, dear reader, here are some lip swatches from MAC’s Tour De Fabulous: AKA The Collection Formerly Known As Glamglass.


In-store swatches. Top row: Lasting Sensation, Entertain Me, Embrace Me, Just Wonderful. Bottom row: Tour de Fabulous, StylePacked, Real Posh

There are eight (8) pencils and eleven (11) new lip glasses. Out of these, I swatched four of the pencils and three of the lip glasses that appealed to me. The four pencils I purchased are Lasting Sensation, Just Wonderful, Entertain Me and Embrace Me. The three lip glasses I swatched are Tour De Fabulous, StylePacked and Real Posh. I went for colors I felt were not already in my stash and which I felt suited my skin tone and would work for Spring/Resort 2012.


MAC Tour de Fabulous lip pencil swatches (no flash)

Lasting Sensation is a coral-pink color. Just Wonderful is a berry pink. Entertain Me is a bright citrus-orange while Embrace Me is a strong blue-fuschia color. Like with 95% of MAC’s lip pencils, they are fairly dry when applying them directly to bare lips. They are long-lasting and pair well with lip glasses and lipsticks to promote longevity. My only gripe with MAC lip pencils is how rough they are when applying them. So much tugging that it is very annoying. I find rubbing a new point on a paper towel helps with the roughness a little. While I prefer the softness of Make Up For Ever Aqua Lip pencils, I’ve had no performance issues with MAC lip pencils. They are $3 less than MUFE lip pencils and frankly the difference in wear is negligible.

Of the three lip glasses I swatched, all of them were quite opaque in color which is a major quality I look for as a woman of color. Tour De Fabulous is a gorgeous pink-coral that is more cream than the pearl in the comparable Strange Potion from Venomous Villains collection. StylePacked is a crazy, amped-up bright blue-based pink that is the crazy cream neon cousin to the pearly Pink Poodle. I have nothing in my stash that looks like the berry-colored Real Posh. The closest I have is Illamasqua’s intense lipgloss in Hermetic and that is more on the red side than berry. Due to the craziness in my MAC store I barely made it out alive with the lip pencils so I did not pick up the glosses. As soon as they arrive from Nordstrom this weekend I will be able to swatch them alone, with the new lip pencils and compared with other lip glasses I have in my stash.

The lip pencils from this collection retail for $14.00 USD while the lip glasses retail for $14.50 USD. They are Limited Edition (of course) and are available at all MAC counters and freestanding stores, and also at and online retailers like


MAC Tour de Fabulous lip pencils unboxed.


MAC Tour de Fabulous lip pencil swatches (flash)


From left: MUFE Aqua Lip Pencil #16C, MAC Embrace Me, MAC Process Magenta Chromagraphic pencil, MAC Magenta lip pencil, MAC Embrace Me (with flash)


From left: MAC Lasting Sensation lip pencil, MUFE Aqua Lip pencil in 18C

UPDATED > Color Hack: MAC for Gareth Pugh

I’m a real geek when it comes to colors. I take notice of how they look, how they ‘sound’ and how much they look like others in the ROYGBIV spectrum. So when other bloggers start proving my tendency of detecting ‘color hacks’ right, I feel vindicated.

Such is the case with the MAC for Gareth Pugh collection.

You can read the rant I did a few weeks ago about the collection and see my swatches but this post concentrates on the nail polishes. There are two of them in this collection: Ascension and Hyper. Both are beautifully packaged and both hideously overpriced at $23 for .30 oz. And you don’t have to be a math nerd like me to know that’s -0.2 oz than in a bottle of Chanel or China Glaze and -0.1 oz than a bottle of butterLONDON.

Looking at Temptalia‘s swatches, Ascension seems to be a bit ligher and have more of a greenish cast to it than Deborah Lippman’s ‘Wicked Game’. Hyper looks to be pretty danged close to China Glaze’s ‘Blue Years Eve’ from their Holiday 2011 collection (an absolutely stunning color). Both bottles have stunning packaging and a unique shape so if you’re a collector for these reasons, or are just totally infatuated with Gareth Pugh (for me it’s Michael Kors and Tom Ford but I digress), I wouldn’t fault you for indulging.

Deborah Lippmann is $16/ bottle, China Glaze averages $7 a bottle. MAC for Gareth Pugh is $23/bottle. It’s up to you to decide if it’s worth it. For me personally, having DL’s Wicked Game and CG’s ‘Blue Year’s Eve’ in my stash provides better color and better value.


'Wicked Game' by Deborah Lippmann, 2 coats. A more intense 'color hack' of Ascension from MAC for Gareth Pugh.


'Blue Year's Eve' by China Glaze, 2 coats. A more vibrant 'color hack' of Hyper from MAC for Gareth Pugh.

MAC for Gareth Pugh: The Rundown

As some of my current readers know, I’ve given MAC a lot of static about this collection ever since the price points and official information was made available to the public. I really like to see items in person I’m not too keen on just to say I’ve ‘seen it for myself’. And so for folks here in the US who do not have a MAC store easily within visiting range and have to rely on swatches posted online and ordering from, I decided to call in a few favors and see what the hype is about.


Photo of MAC store Gareth Pugh display. The lenticular photo makes it 'Not Just Another Makeup Display'. Very chic!

According to my favorite MAC store MUA, Gareth Pugh is a huge cutting-edge designer over in the UK. On first impression I think his work is a cross between Tron and Dr. Who but that’s just me. I appreciate the fashion vision most definitely but it doesn’t trigger my ‘must buy’ instinct like say, Tom Ford.

The packaging is very unique and screams ‘high end’. You can tell a lot of thought (and probably a lot of discarded prototypes) went into designing it. The black ‘webbing’ makes it look edgier than Chanel and definitely not as minimalist as NARS. Unfortunately all that fancy packaging that hasn’t, to use an economics term, taken advantage of Economies of Scale and you’ve got a hefty markup on price for the haute couture name attached.

But enough about my personal objections. On to the swatches! I only swatched items I was interested in as I was pressed for time.

First up there are two lipsticks. A nude color called Restrict (Creamsheen) and Fervent (Satin). Neither formulas are my favorites for performance reasons. I skipped swatching Restrict because on my dark skintone it would definitely give me a Tyrone Biggums look. Fervent, on the other hand, is very nicely pigmented, swatches beautifully and would definitely make me think twice about MAC’s satin lipstick formula. At $22 USD + tax it honestly didn’t want me to think twice about it that hard.

Tyrone Biggums. Restrict lipstick on Women of Color = this look. Not good.

Next are two very nice duo-chrome lipglasses. Vacant, a lovely lavender duo-chrome and Outrage, a deeper berry color with a greenish duo-chrome. Both of these lipglasses, when used alone or applied over the two lipsticks from this collection, provide a very unique look that is not for folks who wish to stay in the background. Like with the lipsticks, these are also priced at $22 USD. Considering these are lipglasses and can be used alone or with other lipsticks, I perceive these to be the greater value items from this collection. Both are equally gorgeous and provide a different duo-chrome effect. I don’t think you can go wrong with either.


Top row on NW43 skintone: Restrict lipstick alone. Clockwise from top: Outrage over Restrict, Outrage, Vacant over Restrict, Vacant alone.

Two pigments are offered in this collection. Guise, a very nice pewter frost and Deceit, a pretty plum semi-frost. Both are finely-milled as all MAC limited edition pigments seem to be, but both are in my opinion, easily dupeable. At a $32 price point I’d start looking at other alternatives.

Lastly we have the very impressive-looking nail polishes. There are three (3) in the MAC for Gareth Pugh collection. Inert, a creamy pale beige, Ascension, a pretty purple-grey duo-chrome, and Hyper, a gorgeous electric blue frost. All three are nice but dupeable enough to confuse the judges. Ascension goes on very streaky (a big pain with pale colored polishes). Ascension looks very impressive but can be easily duped with OPI’s Not Like The Movies (From the Katy Perry collection) or with Deborah Lippmann’s Wicked Game. Again, the packaging is amazing but at $22 and containing almost -0.2 ounces less than MAC’s regular polishes, not to mention nothing technically remarkable about the formula, I don’t consider this worth the money.


From top: Hyper, Inert, Ascension. 2 coats each. A little 'dinged'.


Dupe time! From top: China Glaze 'Blue Year's Eve', MAC Hyper, Deborah Lippmann's 'Wicked Game', MAC Ascension.

My recommendation(s)? Considering the nature of this collection either you are so in love with the designer that this collection is a must (as I mentioned earlier I totally understand given my obsession with Tom Ford) or you’re willing to hunt for some pretty good dupes to ‘fake it’. If you really want something from MAC for Gareth Pugh, I highly recommend the lipglasses. Very unique, nice color payoff, great pigmentation and will add value to your makeup wardrobe should you be confident enough to rock the fierceness.