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making faces :: product review [mac "bloggers' obsessions" collection]

it's been a bit of a disappointing run for me with mac in 2011. granted, their 2010 line-up was so good that some things were bound to be a let down, but other than the "peacocky" collection in january with its incredible "mega metal" eye shadows and "kissable lip colour" liquid lipsticks [kind of a lipstick/ gloss hybrid and, ironically, not kissable unless you want a mess on your face, but lovely nonetheless], their collections this year have really seemed kind of anemic. they showed some signs of returning to their winning ways with their recent summer "surf baby" collection and then launched this- an online only collection of shadows and glosses each designed by a different beauty blogger. it's a novel concept and one that once again points to mac's strengths- the ability to see an important trend [the increasing reliance on and proliferation of beauty blogs] and the agility to organise a collection and bring it to market before larger competitors.

there are five lipglasses [mac's famous thick gloss formula] and four eye shadows available for a limited time [until august 2nd, while quantities last] and in limited locations [canada and the u.s. only]. i have to say that that last restriction seemed antithetical to the notion of a collection geared largely towards the readers of blogs. yes, all the blogs selected are u.s.-based, but they have a readership that's worldwide. that's part of the magic of the internet. location isn't as important as it once was.


the nine finalists were selected from a pool of eighty bloggers who were invited by mac to submit their ideas for a shadow and a gloss, with the winning submissions getting one of their products made. all the bloggers were flown to mac's headquarters in toronto in april to meet with their "lab partners" and design their shade, which indicates that this whole program was turned around with remarkable speed. keep in mind that most companies have their fall and holiday programs set and shipping now. fashion-based industries are shockingly inflexible. so bravo to mac for the effort. but what about the products?

here's the listing of what's available ::

eye shadows

hocus pocus :: dark, sooty grey with silver pearl [the makeup girl]
jealousy wakes :: seething emerald green with teal and gold pearl [temptalia]
parisian skies :: mited grey-blue [lipstick powder n paint]
sparkle, neely, sparkle :: deep rusty brown with champagne-coloured sparkle [beauty blogging junky]


all of my purple life :: deep purple grape with subtle sparkle [afrobella]
caqui :: persimmon orange [beauty maverick]
evolution revolution :: warm peachy-pink with subtle purple, green and blue microglitter [makeup and beauty blog]
nitro:licious 2046 :: intense shiny red [nitrolicious]
sonoran rain :: deep coral-red with gold and silver pearl [the shades of u]

all products are $14.50usd/ $17.50cad which is pretty bad on the currency gouging index. 

here's a look at what i got, my thoughts on the products and some comparison swatches, since these products are both limited edition [two are already sold out on the canadian web site] and online-only. [and may i add, mac's thumbnail images are particularly poor and they made the unwise decision to skip a written description, thus pushing the onus for marketing the collection onto the bloggers involved.]for the swatches of specific eye shadows, please note i've included a "heavy" swatch done with a q-tip and a "light" swatch done with a finger for reference.


hocus pocus :: this is indeed a very "sooty" dark grey. it has a rich brown undertone, to the extent that other greys look positively blue in comparison, and it packs a lot of punch. i'm a sucker for greys of all kinds, but when i saw this, i was totally drawn into its pewter-like qualities, the metallic sparkle buried in its dirty base. personally, i think that it's worth the hunt, because the rich, shimmering payoff absolutely makes this shade stand out from any of the greys currently available on the market. certainly, mac has never done a shade this deep and at the same time this multifaceted. i love grey shadows, i have a ton of them and i'm still excited about this shade.

by comparison, i think that this colour is darker than most of the obvious comparisons. silver ring, the sort of "standard" mac silver, looks very purple by comparison. among other greys in my collection, i still found that hocus pocus was pretty unique. about the closest colours i found were shu uemura's me olive and sisley's stardust, which are two and three times the cost respectively and which are both several shades lighter.

this is an awesome colour for darkening the eye crease and for adding a rich, deep texture to any look. after less than twenty-four hours it shows as sold out on the canadian web site and i'm not a bit surprised. i seriously can't think of a complexion that would find this shade difficult to work with. and, even more interesting to mac observers, it fills a gap that is wide open in the current mac lineup.
l to r :: mac "silver ring", mac "glamora castle", mac "hocus pocus", shu uemura "m/e olive", mac "the family crest" pigment, sisley "stardust"

jealousy wakes :: i guessed a month ago that this would be the home run. as christine mielke, the blogger behind this shadow, shared with her viewers- it's difficult to make an ugly green eye shadow. well, i'm not sure that i agree, but i think that, starting from the absolute truism that a real emerald green is completely absent from mac's standard lineup and those of most of their competitors, it might have been hard to come up with an undistinguished green.

that said, this shade is truly something special. although i found it a little powdery when i first swatched it, i absolutley loved the fact that it outdoes the various teals and grass-greens mac has thrown out to fans as a substitute for having a permanent blue-toned green [without being teal] in its collection. despite the initial powderiness, the shade is a perfectly true green with a gorgeous teal and gold sheen that reflects the light and that displays perfectly evenly.

this shade is absolutely something that mac should have in their permanent range and, if they don't, it's something that other companies should be striving to include. what's bizarre is that none of them are. virtually every company's green shades stick to more yellow tones, or, where they run cool [e.g., yves st. laurent's "slate green"], they're quite dark. this is a bright, lively shade and the extent to which it is needed is reflected in the fact that it's already sold out on both the u.s. and canadian mac sites. one hopes that the faeries at mac can churn up another batch...
l to r :: mac "sassy grass", mac "jealousy wakes", mac "kelly", mac "surf usa"

parisian skies :: this shade was apparently inspired by the blogger's love of monet and the shade of cloud-tinged blue he made his sky in a particular painting.

i have to say that i have a reak weakness for grey-tinged anything and this shade made me wonder. after all, there are a lot of tones in monet's sky that could represent the final shade...

as it happens, parisian skies is a medium-deep grey [not as dark as hocus pocus] with a lot of blue shimmer. the satin finish means that it appears light than the veluxe pearl shade love lace [l.e., 2009], which is its closest analogue. in fact, the closest real dupe i can think of would be "early morning", another blue shimmered grey shade mac released a long time back and that, if memory serves, was lighter in its base. parisian skies is a beautiful, cool stormy grey with a lot of blue shimmer pushed right to the front. it's unusual to see a base colour and an added "sheen" colour work in such perfect balance.

of the three shades i purchased, this one is probably the easiest to match from past shades, but it's still not something you can easily replicate from your collection.
l to r :: mac "suave intentions", mac "parisian skies", mac "love lace"

lipglasses ::

sonoran rain :: this shade, inspired by the majestic landscape of the sonoran desert, is an intense coral-red shade with a lot of gold shimmer. [i didn't notice the silver shimmer, but it may well be there.] i'm given to understand that this may be similar to mac's "wonder woman" lip gloss from earlier this year. i don't own "wonder woman" because i hated the over-sized gloss tubes that splattered everywhere. from my own research into my red glosses, this shade is similar to... nothing.

seriously, this shade stands out in a field where there are way too many players. it seems almost impossible that a warm shade of tomato red with a lot of gold shimmer would be completely unique, but it is. there is no shade that matches the intensity of the base colour alone. throw in the eye-catching shimmer and you have something truly special.

i'd also like to mention that the formula on this gloss seems particularly excellent. the application is perfectly even, more so than i'm used to from mac [despite the fact that i love their glosses]. this shade is an absolute home run.

l to r :: mac "brash & bold", mac "red devil", mac "sonoran rain", mac "viva glam cyndi", chanel "myriade", mac "cult of cherry"

all of my purple life :: apparently, the blogger in question went to mac with a copy of prince's "purple rain" album as an inspiration. how awesome is that?

those of us who adore purple and who have been waiting patiently for mac to do a properly purple gloss will finally have had our prayers answered here. this is not a berry shade. this will not look magenta or cool pink when applied. this is a true blue-toned purple, the gloss equivalent of mac's "go for it" lipstick released in limited edition last year. the shade is most creamy with just a hint of shimmer and it read purple, real purple, across skin tones.

with all of the so-called "purple" shades that mac releases, you wouldn't think that it would require outside intervention to get them to produce a real purple gloss, but it apparently did. i compared it to a number of supposedly "purple"-tinged glosses in my collection [hint- i love purple, so i'm a pretty fiendish collector of all things purple... there isn't anything i'd say was that close. if anything, i'd say it bore the strongest resemblance to the much-in-demnd "boys go crazy" dazzleglass, although it is a thicker and heavier formula.

l to r :: mac dazzleglass "boys go crazy", mac "all of my purple life", mac "lap of luxury", mac "ban this!", mac superglass "fab frenzy"

my overall impressions? it really shows that each of these shades had one person lovingly guiding it through its life cycle. the thought that went into the backstory of each colour ["sparkle, neely, sparkle" was inspired by "the valley of the dolls" and "nitro:licious 2046" was inspired by wong-kar wei- i'd feel like less of a person if i didn't mention that], the depth of each shade and its uniqueness within the mac lineup; these are all unique to this collection.

the shades that are available tend to be "heroes"- not quiet, understated colours, but ones that will stand out in a collection or in a specific look- which is understandable, given that they are the choices of bloggers seeking to make their mark with a signature shade. my advice would be to grab a shade or two, or four, or however many appeal to you, because you are unlikely to come across another collection where each individual product has such exquisite attention to detail.

and here's a quick look i did with a couple of the relevant products. it merits mentioning that i combined "hocus pocus" with one of the closest matches i could find for it, but the difference was still clearly visible [the shu uemura shade was much lighter]. i'll have another look tomorrow, i'm sure, but i really wanted to get everything posted tonight...

face ::

nars sheer glow foundation "mont blanc"
diorskin nude hydrating concealer "001"

eyes ::
mac e/s "dazzlelight"
inglot e/s "352"
shu uemura e/s "m/e olive"
mac e/s "hocus pocus"
mac fluidline eye liner "blacktrack"
diorshow mascara

cheeks ::
mac magically cool liquid powder "truth & light"
mac blush "bite of an apple"

lips ::

mac l/g "sonoran rain"


xasperadastra said…
I want everything :(
anahdara said…
great i'm wondering if i should have picked up sonoran rain...!
it looks awesome with your colouring and I really like the look you put together.
it's helpful to have the products in the same order as the swatches on your arm.
PerilouslyPale said…
I have totally ignored this collection as MAC has lost my interest these days and I can no longer stand the stickiness of MAC lipglass but LORD that Sonoran Rain looks INCREDIBLE!
DJ said…
Great review! I can't wait to receive my products today. I got the same items as you as well as Caqui lip glass.

FYI- the creator of Parisian Skies is Canadian, so not all the selected bloggers are from the US. ;-)
NarsCupcake said…
nice post. I want to try Christines eye shadow color =)
flora_mundi said…
Thanks for the feedback! I'm especially red-faced that I didn't know that the PS creator was Canadian.

As an update, as of this morning, all three of the shadows reviewed are sold out on the Canadian site, but all the glosses, including Sonoran Rain (which is probably my "must have" of the collection) are still available.
Anonymous said…
AMAZING!! You look amazing!! What a fantastic look you created! Would you mind if I post your pic on the website and on TheMakeupGirl FB page??
dxgirly said…
you're making me wish I had gotten those lipglasses!! D';
flora_mundi said…
@Lianne- Thank you so much. I'd be honoured!

FYI- I've been playing around more with the products and I'll have a couple of looks with Parisian Skies and Jealousy Wakes tomorrow.
NarsCupcake said…
dumb ? is this only avail online?
flora_mundi said…
NarsCupcake- Yes, it's online only. It is available exclusively through

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