04 May 2011

making faces :: product review [mac "fashion flower" collection]

first off, my apologies for not getting this up earlier. the collection has already been in stores for almost a week and i'd meant to recap my thoughts last friday, but things got a little crazy, the weather got nice for a couple of days [encouraging me to do things outside]... well, time gets away from you. at any rate, here are my thoughts on mac's latest colour collection.

"fashion flower" is what i would call the last of the spring collections. summer shades, replete with bronzers and glosses are popping up everywhere and the soft pastel tones of spring are making their quiet exit. since mac releases so many collections, they get one last group of colours out before they too, start stocking the shelves for summer [actually, in just a few weeks]. "fashion flower", though, is pure springtime, with soft, delicate hues and a palette that runs slightly, but not terribly warm. by comparison with the recently launched "quite cute", the colours here are a little more neutral, less girly. the two collections actually balance each other fairly well, to the point where i think that mac could have released them together as warmer/ cooler variations on a spring theme. together, i suspect that the collections would have had more of an effect than either on their own.

i don't think that this is a particularly strong collection on its own. while there are relatively few complete misses, there are a lot of re-promotions of shades we've seen recently and some repackaging of permanent or pro shades as well. even the new shades are usually reminiscent of something else we've seen recently. although the products are nice enough, i think that it lacks any real "must-have" items [there are a couple that are guaranteed to sell out, though].

SEE WHAT PRODUCTS STAND OUT AND SEE LOOKS USING THEM



there are six shadows included with the collection ::


fresh daisy :: a frosty, slightly warm off-white
aqua :: a subdued aqua matte
free to be :: a slightly pink-cast coral matte
lucky green :: a rich, shimmery warm medium green
groundcover :: a warm medium grey matte
bows & curtseys :: a dark forest green with subtle shimmer

of those shades, aqua and free to be are permanent at pro stores and lucky green is in all stores. for this collection, all the powder products are embossed with a flower pattern, which looks adorable but which disappears with use. moreover, i found with the matte shades that applying the pattern presses the colours more than they should be, making them difficult to work with. this is especially true of groundcover, the only new matte shade [although it looks like an anemic cousin to the permanent shade copperplate], which i could barely get to show up on my skin when i swatched it. all three matte shades- aqua, free to be and particularly groundcover- are misses for me. aqua is pretty and is worth getting if you like such shades, but skip this version if you can and get the regular, unembossed version. free to be has been promoted a few times now and, while it's a nice enough coral, there are a lot of shades out there like it. even mac has the pro shade coral [slightly more orange] and sushi flower [more pink]. and if you do feel the burning need to own it, you can always get it at a pro store. [alternately, you can their customer service line and order pro items that way.]

lucky green
of the other shades, lucky green is by far the best. it's a sumptuous, rich lime with a bit of a yellow cast. it applies like a dream [even with the embossed pattern], blends perfectly and goes with a wide variety of other colours. [you can see a look that i did mixing it with purples here.] it's a colour i think everyone can use, but it's available at all mac locations at all times, so there's no great rush to get it here.

fresh daisy is very frosty, which may be off-putting for some. it's the sort of off-white shade that you see a lot, since virtually every shadow palette or collection has highlighting colours. this one reminded me of a frosted version of the limited edition shade unbasic white, which i very much liked, but again, there are a lot of colours that are similar. fresh daisy is a sort of parchment shade, a slightly yellow-toned off-white with a lot of analogues available in mac's regular line. shroom, dazzlelight, nylon and phloof are all variations on the same theme. that said, if you're in the market for a nice highlight shade and don't mind a frosty look, this is a pretty good one.

the final shadow, bows & curtseys [which i keep typing as "bows & curses", a much catchier name, i think] is a dark forest green shade that was released originally in one of mac's holiday palettes last year. strangely, mac don't really have something this shade as part of their regular line, although it's not the most original colour. there is a nice, understated green shimmer to this shade which keeps it from just looking black on the eyes. it's pretty, but in that range, nars' night porter is a better investment. the colour is richer, the green shimmer is more apparent and the texture is much nicer. if you're cost-conscious, the mac shade is, however, the lower-cost option.

moving on to the lips, there are four lipsticks and three lip gelees in "fashion flower". the lipsticks are::

ever hip, summer shower
mlle :: a very light cool pink
summer shower :: a sheer, shimmery white-teal shade
growing trend :: a light, warm brown-taupe
ever hip :: a semi-sheer pinky coral

top :: ever hip, bottom :: summer shower
of these, mlle is a re-promotion of an older shade, but since it originally came out in 2003, chances are it will seem new to a lot of mac fans. it's a whitish pink and runs quite cool and mac seems to like to torture its buyers with this sort of shade. like the permanent colours snob and saint germain, or the limited edition viva glam gaga 1, this is a shade that only a small number of people can pull off. the cool undertones will make a lot of people look yellow in comparison and the slightly greyish cast will make others look a little ill. this lipstick is a glaze finish, which makes it a little easier to wear and if you can get away with such colours then this warrants a look, but in the end, it seems like there are a lot of these shades, considering that the potential audience is so limited.

summer shower
i had super-high hopes for summer shower, hoping that it would show more teal than it does. it's actually quite sheer, even for a glaze finish lipstick, but it can be built up to show its lovely shimmer a little better. because of the mix of white and aqua, the shade can show up as a very cool lavender-pink in some light, whereas in others, you can see the blue tones more. i find it helps to augment the colour with a gloss or to layer it over other shades for a cooling effect. it's not quite what i expected and, although in some light it looks similar to the permanent shade pervette, it is pretty distinctive.

growing trend is the sort of earthy, mushroom-y tone that seems to be gaining popularity. it's a very nice shade, but it's almost indistinguishable from the recently released viva glam gaga 2. given that all of the money from viva glam sales goes to mac's aids fund, i'd say get that one instead [it's available until next year anyway].

ever hip
ever hip is a pinky coral that was originally released as part of the liberty of london collection last spring. this will undoubtedly be the fastest selling item of the collection, since these sort of soft corals seem to suit almost everyone. normally, that excludes me. light coral shades almost always seem to pull out the yellow tones in my skin [and my teeth!] and make me look sick. this one, however, really does work. it's pink enough that it shows as a lovely, slightly rosy peach. if it works on me, it's pretty much guaranteed to work on everyone else.

there are also three lip gelees in the collection, mac's ultra-glossy, very slick gloss in a tube. these tend to be light on colour and, as of recent launches, heavy on shimmer, which these are. all three shades are unique to the launch and they are ::

now in season :: a sparkly soft yellow-gold
fashion flower :: a very light sparkly pink
budding beauty :: a soft coral with a more toned-down sparkle

of these, the first two are similar to other products that we've seen from mac recently and if you bought gelees from the lillyland, venomous villains or cham-pale collections, i think you could easily skip the first two [unless you're really into those shades, in which case, these will make you happy]. now in season looks great in a heavy swatch, because you can really see the dark gold tones, but once applied to the lips, all the colour seems to disappear and it becomes pure shimmer.

there seems to be a lot of interest in budding beauty, which is less sparkly than the others and shows its base colour- a very soft orange-y coral- a but more. it's extremely sheer on the lips [as most gelees are], but i think a lot of people will like it as a subtle, moisturising spring colour. personally, it leaves me cold, but i'm a girl who likes her colours.

finally, there are two beauty powders, which also have the embossed flower design. beauty powders can be used as either blushes or highlighters, depending on your skin tone and the specific shade. they're a very finely milled product, which means they can be applied very subtly or built up for more effect. the texture is uniformly gorgeous and i think both of these shades are lovely, although far better suited to pale, fairly cool-toned complexions. the shades are ::

light sunshine :: an almost white pink with golden shimmer
alpha girl :: a rosy coral

alpha girl
alpha girl was originally available as part of the heatherette collection in 2009 and it's another shade i'd expect to sell out very quickly. it looks bright in the pan, but applies very softly, which i think will endear it to a lot of people. in the pan, you can see a lot of orange tones, but on the skin, it appears more like a warm pink, leaning slightly coral. on me, it's a blush, but on slightly darker tones, i think it would be more of a highlight colour. it has a bit of a sheen when applied.

alpha girl
light sunshine is a highlight shade, ivory with just a hint of warm pink and a noticeable light gold sheen. it's very similar, although a touch warmer, than play it proper and somewhat similar to miss behave blush from the "quite cute" collection, both of which which were released earlier this year. although it's really only appropriate for very pale skin, i think it would give a gorgeous, spring-like glow to the complexion. it's certainly not unique among highlight shades, but it's definitely a good one to have if you're looking.

as a collection, i found that this one was very safe. the colour palette is one with broad appeal, which is nice, but it felt like mac could have stuck their neck out a bit more and included something more unique, more daring. in fact, when they do so, those shades almost immediately become cult favourites and, in the absence of that kind of shade, this flower seems to be a bit faded.

"fashion flower" is available at all mac stores and counters and on line at www.maccosmetics.com

to show you some of the products in action, here are a couple of looks i did with them.

"summer shower"
i really wanted to pull the cool blue tones in the lipstick, so i layered it with ethereal, a light aqua-blue gloss that was released earlier this year. if you're in the market for a nice sky blue/ aqua shade and don't mind paying a bit more than mac prices, i'd highly recommend the shu uemura colour that i used here. it's a remarkable light blue with a gold sheen that gives it depth and dimension. there's nothing else that really compares.

face ::
nars sheer glow foundation mont blanc
mac prolongwear concealer nw20
mac prep & prime finishing powder

eyes ::
shu uemura blue
mac lucky green e/s
nars night porter e/s
mac dazzlelight e/s
mac blacktrack fluidline eye liner
ysl faux cils mascara

cheeks ::
mac alpha girl beauty powder

lips ::
mac summer shower l/s
mac ethereal l/g


"ever hip"
there's something about the combination of peaches and greens both on the face and in a salad that just says "spring" to me. in this case, i used a shade from inglot to double for free to be and it works fine. one does not need huge collections of matte corals, in my opinion.

face ::

nars sheer glow foundation mont blanc
mac prolongwear concealer nw20

eyes ::
inglot 352 e/s
inglot 418 e/s
mac hot hot hot e/s
mac lucky green e/s
ysl slate green e/s
mac blacktrack fluidline eye liner
ysl faux cils mascara

cheeks ::
mac alpha girl beauty powder

lips ::
mac ever hip l/s









thanks for reading and remember to check out the ongoing lipstick saga 30 days of lips... see me exercise my lipstick collection!

2 comments:

dxgirly said...

I loveeee Ever Hip on you hun. It looks amazing.

I had originally thought this collection was going to be a huge miss for me, but oddly enough, in the end, I bought nearly everything from it!!

flora_mundi said...

Thanks! You, my dear, are one of those few people who are able to wear Mlle. It looked perfect on you.

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