21 August 2011

making faces :: product review [mac "mac me over" collection]

"Delicious autumn!  My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns."  ~George Eliot

that quote about sums me up when it comes to seasonal preferences. i love autumn. i love the gradual fade from late summer heat to first frost. i love the transformation from deep green to a multiplicity of flaming colours. and i love what happens to fashion and cosmetics, because, while i have grown to appreciate the softer tones of spring and the bold hues of summer, i've always been most at home in the rich, dark shades that abound in the fall. i'll always take the smoky eyes and vampy lips that abound in the third quarter of the year, given my choice. 


every year in mid-to-late august, mac cosmetics launches the first of their major fall collections and it's no accident that my two personal favourites are from that time. in 2008, you had the earthy, ultra-dark, stewed fruit shades in "cult of cherry", which, to me, was mac's high water mark as a company. a close second, though, was 2010's "fabulous felines" [a cat-themed collection? for me???] which, while a little more restrained in its colour palette, offered a wonderful range of products for virtually every skin tone and taste. in both of those cases, i purchased a lot of products. i probably single-handedly improved mac's third quarter earnings. and, lest you think i'm a hopeless sap for seasonal marketing, i still consistently reach for the products i bought from both collections with surprising frequency. 

l to r :: mythical, satin taupe
"mac me over" is this year's entry into the "welcome to fall" collection sweepstakes. framing the launch story is a contest mac ran last year [only in the u.s.], where everyday folk were invited to submit photos of themselves and to complete the sentence "mac me over because..." [strangely, "... i know where you live", which would have been my response, doesn't seem to have been popular.] six winners were chosen from among thousands of submissions and they are the faces of the "mac me over" launch campaign. 


when i first saw the photos, i think i felt my wallet tremble. the images are a wonderful kaleidoscope of the faces you see on the subway every day remade into megawatt fashion icons. on close inspection, the selection of models does smack of tokenism- only one "model" is not in her twenties, only one is african american, one is asian, one is a man, one is heavier, etc.- but the great "before & after" imagery does wonders to illustrate that we all have a potential fashion model inside us, waiting to be "mac'd over". so does the collection live up to the presentation? 



well, kinda. 


rerun time :: spice lip liner, cakeshop shadestick, dark diversion fluidline
first of all, the collection is huge. with 51 products to choose from, you're almost guaranteed to find something you want. but i have to say that i was not tempted to go on a spender bender the way i did last year with "fabulous felines", for a couple of reasons. 


first, there's the question of quality. some of the products are just duds and there's no reason for that. mac are more than capable of producing high quality makeup in a variety of finishes and formats and there's nothing in this collection they haven't tried before. 


l to r :: plum fun, runaway red, rebel
second, and more importantly for me, i don't see a lot of originality in the collection. some of the nicest products leave me a little cold simply because i feel like i've seen them a lot before. case in point, one of the single eye shadows on promotion is "satin taupe". it's outstanding and it's the sort of universally flattering but slightly different shade that made mac famous. but it's been a permanent fixture at mac stores since just after the big bang, so it doesn't really excite me to see it included here. 


the collection is divided into three parts- "mac basics" mostly neutrals suitable for a wide range of skin tones, "icelandic cool" which features light, shimmery products in cool pastels and "new black" a take on deep dark shades. each "mini-collection" has a selection of products for the eyes and lips, although i have to say that in all of them, the lipsticks and glosses seemed more like an afterthought.

a classic :: rebel
i thought about reviewing the whole collection part by part, but it seemed like i would be repeating a lot of things throughout: "part of the permanent assortment", "re-promoted from an earlier collection", "similar to the existing shade"... which is not to say that the collection doesn't have its high points. 

among those, the single eye shadows all seem to show mac's formulas at their best. in particular, "mythical", a shimmery copper that reflects pink is a real standout, a shade i really haven't seen before [which is an accomplishment in itself]. of the others, there are some repeats ["outre" looks a lot like the previously released "ochre style, "carbonized" is pretty close to nars' "mekong", "moleskin" is very close to urban decay's "naked", etc.], but if you like the colours and don't already have something close, you're not going to go wrong. 


runaway red
there are two new eye shadow quads, "lady grey" a dusky combination of muted purples, green and grey and "evil eye" which features rich, dark versions of the same tones. the former is lovely, perfect for a slightly hazy, not-quite-smoky halo around the eyes. the second, sadly, is a near-complete failure. three of the colours are so dry and chalky as to be unworkable [including one that was released last year and worked better]. the fourth shade is a lovely dark grey, but i can't imagine buying an entire palette at $45cad to get that one colour. 


the collection also sees the return of mac's discontinued "shadesticks", large, shimmery crayons for the eyes that can be used on their own or as a base for other shadows. these felt a little smoother and easier to apply to me than when they were previously released, although they are still a little uneven. my favourite of the five shades released is the green-tinged pewter shade "cakeshop", which is actually the only one of the colours that had been released before. all of the shades are very frosty, which makes them a little bit tricky to work with if you're over the age of twenty-five. 


lady grey l to r :: all races, tendersmoke, lady grey, hazy day
despite the fact that there are a number of lipsticks and glosses offered, i didn't see any that really set the bar very high. the best of the bunch is my surprise favourite, "plum fun" a gloss that lives up to its name- a juicy red plum colour with just a hint of shimmer. "runaway red" lipstick is a winner as well, especially if you're into dramatic, vintage movie star red lips. it's a deep cerise shade, in the same universe as too faced "drop dead red", but a little darker and less pink. pure pinup style joy. 


of the other lip shades, they seem like reruns of things that are already available. "rebel" is already available, of course, as is "smoked purple" [at pro locations and, fyi, is one of mac's driest, hardest to use mattes]. i had high hopes for "prince noir" an ultra-deep purplish red like a glass of shiraz, but, while it's a stunning colour, it's also a dead ringer for the pro shade "sin", which i already own. even if, like me, you adore these sorts of shades, there comes a time when you have to admit that no one, yourself included, can tell the difference.



plum fun
overall, i think that your reaction to this collection is going to depend on how closely you've followed mac in the past. those who are fairly new to the brand are going to find a lot to love, because the quality is fairly good throughout [other than the "evil eye" shadow quad]. those who have been buying mac for a while are likely to find this collection a bit of a let down. there's a lot we've seen before and nothing that truly leaps out as being original. i found a few things to love, but i think this fall, i'll be continue to go back to past collections to get really inspired. 


here are a couple of looks with the products i picked up. 


"lady grey"
i found that the shades from the "lady grey" quad blend almost seamlessly together to form a look that's not quite smoky, but has the same kind of hazy aura effect. i think that this is the sort of combination that works either day or night, depending on the lip colour it's paired with, which is why i tried it out both with "plum fun" and "sin" [as a substitute for "prince noir"]. i must also apologise for the hatchet job on the eye liner. i assure you, it looked fine in the mirror...
lady grey & plum fun


face ::
mac studio tech foundation "nw15"
diorskin nude hydrating concealer "001"


eyes ::
mac e/s "all races"
mac e/s "tendersmoke"
mac e/s "lady grey"
mac e/s "hazy day"
mac fluidline eye liner "dark diversion"
plum fun too...
mac eye kohl "smolder"
ysl faux cils mascara


cheeks ::
mac mineralize skinfinish "blonde"


lips ::
mac l/g "plum fun" [1]
mac l/s "sin" [2]

sin on the lips...
sin again











"runaway red"
there's no look more classic than an intense red lip and a neutral eye. aside from "mythical", i used a couple of shades that could easily be switched out for other colours in the "mac me over" collection. like i said, if you don't have similar ones already, it's worth checking the new ones out, as they are representative of mac at their best. 


face ::
[same as above]


eyes ::
inglot e/s #352
mac e/s "ochre style" 
mac e/s "mythical"
nars e/s "mekong"
mac superslick liquid liner "on the hunt"
makeup forever concealer pencil
ysl faux cils mascara


cheeks ::
mac highlight powder "marine life"


lips ::
mac l/s "runaway red"

3 comments:

buntewollsocke said...

All these darker lipsticks look so gorgeous on you! Thanks for all the pics.

xasperadastra said...

it's true, the lady gray quad can be used during daytime and nightime... lips can change everything, wow!

flora_mundi said...

I think that dark lips are underrated. A lot of people can get away with them under the right circumstances.

And, yes, I think that Lady Grey is a perfect "go anywhere" quad. I don't think it's possible to make it look super-dramatic on its own, but it's a lovely complement to a lot of different looks.

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