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making faces :: the mystique of mystic

back when i did my "30 days of lips" project, wearing a different shade of lipstick every day, i closed off with mac's "mystic", my favourite mac shade of all time and one of my favourite shades period. although it had been part of their regular assortment for many years- as long as i've been a mac customer, which would mean about a decade- they discontinued the shade in 2010. since i'd never heard anyone else mention this as a personal favourite, i'd assumed that the discontinuation meant that there wasn't any real interest in the shade.

oh how wrong i was.

of all the search terms that lead people to my blog, consistently among the top is "mac mystic lipstick" or some variation thereof, especially searches for "best replacement" or "closest match". so this shade does have its fans and they're just as lost as i am trying to figure out how to fill the mystic void. ladies, i want to help you. and by help you, i mean let you benefit from months of experimentation on myself.

first, to describe the original mystic is a little tricky. i did find that the formula changed over the years that i bought it, which is one problem, but it's also just a difficult to pinpoint colour. i generally classify it as a cooler red, meaning that it has an undertone that is more blue than orange/ brown. however, when i was comparing it to other shades i thought might be similar, i did notice that it looked brownish in next to many of them. go figure.

it's described as a reddish plum and, indeed, it does kind of look like the skin of a red plum. it's what i like to call a "classic" red- not a full-on screen siren in-your-face red and not a bloodstained vampire red either. it's a very classy shade, looking timelessly conservative and at the same time very rich and sexy. it also has a lovely sheen- nicer than on a lot of mac's other satin-finish lipsticks- that catches the light and responds very well to flash photography. it's very much opaque and, while the colour can be intense, it fades to a very nice gooseberry-red shade over time.

despite my searching, i haven't come up with a true dupe for it, but listed below are the closest i've found.

l to r :: chanel rivoli, mac party time, mac mystic, ysl rouge vermillion, guerlain grenade
MORE INFO AFTER THE BREAK...


mac :: party time

i'm assuming that the reason mac thought to discontinue "mystic" in the first place was because they'd introduced a newer variation on the shade in their permanent line when they launched their "cremesheen" formula.

like "mystic", "party line" is a plummy red, medium to dark in tone. cremesheen lipsticks have a shine and an emollient consistency that has won them many fans. personally, i like the formula, although i find it can be a little drying. like many cremesheens, "party time" doesn't have a lot of nuance to it- there's no shimmer and, although swatches look similar on the arm, i find you can't ever get "party line" to build up to the intensity of "mystic". it's not quite as opaque either, but it is a very pretty shade. i have to admit that, while you can clearly see the difference under certain light, at a quick glance they look very close on the lips.

yves st. laurent :: rouge vermillion

this is part of the ysl "rouge pur couture" line, one of my very favourite lipstick formulas. rich and opaque, "rouge vermillion is a little lighter than "mystic" and a little closer to a true red, but it's still restrained enough that it looks similar. very, very elegant.

chanel :: rivoli

this is one of chanel's "rouge coco" lipsticks, which means it's intense and opaque, with a satiny sheen, much like the original "mystic". it is noticeably bluer/ pinker and a little lighter, which means i think it would work as a substitute chiefly for ladies with cooler complexions.

guerlain :: grenade

while this captures the understated red aspect of "mystic", it is quite a bit lighter. it looks more the way "mystic" looks after it's faded a little. "grenade", though, is the only shade i found that has the same quality of looking cooler or warmer depending on the light and, while the differences are clear, it is still in the same family.

since party time was the closest match i've found [makes sense that mac would be best at duplicating their own colour], i thought i'd show you how both shades compare with all other things being equal. here's a quick look i tried with both shades. [it also features mac's new "prolongwear" eye shadows. i picked up a few and i've been quite happy with the satiny texture and the selection of very wearable shades. i'm less happy about the price, but at least you get a lot of product. they are long-lasting, although honestly, shadows last pretty well on me to begin with, so they don't seem that much more effective than most other powder shadows.]


you are not seeing double
you are not seeing double












mystic
products used

face ::
mac prolongwear foundation "nc15"
diorskin nude concealer "001"

eyes ::
mac prolongwear e/s "sweet satisfaction" [frosted deep beige]
mac prolongwear e/s "one to watch" [soft terracotta brown]
nars e/s "night star" [sparkly light yellow-peach]
mac superslick liquid liner "desires & devices" [deep swampy green]
party line
mac pigment "partylicious" [super-bright tuquoise]
mac eye kohl "smolder" [black]
benefit they're real mascara

cheeks ::
mac blush "breezy" [shimmery red raspberry]

lips ::
mac l/s "mystic"
mac l/s "party line"


any other potential matches you've found?

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