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making faces :: product review [mac "seasonally supreme/ sheen supreme" lip... things]

if you ever needed evidence that there is some kind of collusion happening in the cosmetic industry, you need look no further than 2011 and the great stampede of lipstick/ gloss hybrids. i understand that no one wants to be left behind, but it looks a little weird when almost every major cosmetics company decides to launch a similar product at the same time.

there are variations on the theme. chanel's softly-tinted "rouge coco shines" [reviewed here] are more like a balm, giving plenty of moisture and a light colour payoff. even the brightest shades are fairly understated. on the other end of the spectrum, you have something like guerlain's "rouge automatiques", which, while lighter and sheerer than their regular "rouge g" shades [although not as sheer as the "rouge g brilliants"] definitely still fall into the category of a lipstick [which is, to be fair, how they were marketed]. in between, you have dior, launching 56 new shades of their "dior addict", laura mercier's "gel lipsticks", nars "velvet gloss lip pencil" and, of course, mac's "sheen supreme" hybrid. since i hadn't reviewed these when they initially came out, i decided to take a general look at them now that there's a new batch hitting stores.

l to r :: sheer mandarin, quite the thing, can't resist, new temptation, good to be bad




sheer mandarin
originally launched earlier this year, the sheen supremes are a permanent addition to mac's lip offering. this week, nine new shades join the thirteen already launched and all will find a home in mac's permanent displays. that's twenty-four new shades [largely accommodated through the discontinuation of many of their older lipstick colours that have been kicking around for years] launched in six months.

this new collection of shades is inspired by the orient, which is really just a way of saying that they gave the shades asian-inspired names. call one of them "prague sunrise" and, voila, you have a european collection. ok, i do sort of see the influence of asia in the warm reds [think chinese lanterns and dragons] and oranges, i'll admit it. but i don't know if my mind would go there without prompting...

can't resist
the benefits of a gloss/ lipstick hybrid are supposedly that they have the moisturising qualities and fresh shine of a gloss, but that they have the staying power of a lipstick and dry to a nice, pigmented stain on the lips. everyone has a different approach to this and usually the products lean one way or the other. i've yet to encounter one that i felt was as long-lasting as a regular lipstick or even close, but some seem to have more staying power than others.

i would say that mac's sheen supreme formula leans decidedly towards being an especially creamy lipstick rather than a gloss. the pigmentation is quite intense, even on lighter shades and not much of the natural lip colour pokes through, unless you use a very, very light hand. there is a lot of shine and the formula is extremely emollient, but, to me, this is a medium-to-full coverage product.

new temptation
since i prefer my lip colours more intense, i like this aspect of the product. what i don't like is that its creaminess and rich pigmentation make the product prone to melting. this is something that's perfect for summer, but using it in summer can be tricky, because, as i was cautioned by a makeup artist when these first came out, leaving these in your purse on a hot day could leave you with a real mess. i'd also say that this does the product no favours when it comes to in-store shopping. the testers look flat-out scary sitting under the stores' hot lights and time in the artificial sun tends to make swatching them on your hand more than a little gross [read: goopy mess spread unevenly on the back of your hand]. one thing i feel compelled to note, because i've read that other people have had the same reaction: a moist formula is not the same as a moisturising formula. i found that, creamy as these were, they actually left my lips feeling drier after i'd used them. it's like they maintain their consistency by drawing the moisture out of everything around them. sounds like a creepy sci-fi premise rather than a lipstick, but i digress.

the packaging on these is the same as the tube introduced for mac's "prolongwear" lipstick formula last year- a smooth cylinder, slightly taller and thinner than their regular "bullet" lipstick tube. i'm personally not a fan of this, because the round, flat surface of the lipstick makes it more difficult to apply with any precision. and the ultra-soft formula of the sheen supremes means that precision is difficult enough. getting an even application on these things can be really difficult. it's best to use a very light hand, avoid layering and, especially with the darker shades, a lip liner will help prevent the feathering to which creamy products are prone.

of the now two dozen shades available, i think there's a nice range. the nine new colours are brighter and more fun than the more subdued ones from the original launch. i wouldn't say that any of them are incredibly original, but a lot of them resemble limited edition lipstick shades that mac has done in the past, so it's kind of a nice way to get your hands on something similar that's not going to sell out permanently in two hours. here are some of my favourites:

quite the thing
new temptation :: a bright, blue-based red. it's hard to find a sheer version of this type of colour.

sheer mandarin :: a light yellowish orange has to be one of the most difficult lipstick colours to find in the world, but it here it is. of course, it turns out that it's also one of the most difficult colours in the world to wear on your lips, but if you can make it work, this is a very original option.

quite the thing :: on the surface, it looks like one more of the endless onslaught of mac's pinkish-purple tones, but this one has a beautiful magenta shimmer in it that catches the light and makes it stand out.

if you missed... why not try...

if you missed "hibiscus", why not try "korean candy" :: it's more orange and less coral/ pink, but it's pretty close. it's also like a slightly more sheer version of givenchy's "candide tangerine" or armani's "405", also both limited.

if you missed "playtime" why not try "asian flower" :: it's a little paler, but they're close cousins.

good to be bad
if you missed "funbathing" why not try "can't resist" :: it's also similar to the permanent shade "o", but more muted and without the intensity of the gold frost. like both of the colours it resembles, this one is quite muted on its own, but really comes alive when used with a deep red or purple liner.

if you missed "exxxhibitionist" or "red full stop" why not try "full speed" :: it's a bright coral shade, which means that everyone will want it...

if you missed "love peck", why not try "good to be bad" :: the token "vampy" colours from their respective launches are almost indistinguishable from one another, even to my eye. 

as you can see, these are a good way to make up for previous limited shades you might have missed.

overall, i like these, but i don't love them. as i mentioned, the good pigmentation is a definite plus for me, but for a product that should work well in summer low-maintenance weather, it seems a little too finicky to be a real winner. how much others warm to them will likely be based on how much one enjoys a really creamy-feeling lipstick [i.e., whether it's enough to overcome concerns about feathering, slightly messy application and quick fading] and one's particular colour preference. i believe that, with the new launch, there are shades to please almost everyone.

here's a quick romp through some looks i've done with the sheen supremes i've accumulated.

"sheer mandarin"
this is the only colour i picked up from the new round of launches. even the makeup artist i spoke to warned me that this is a fiendishly difficult colour to pull off, but i can't help myself, i kind of like it. i think that this shade would actually suit warmer asian skin tones, in keeping with the theme of the launch, but it's worth a try if you like it because there are very few colours available in this range. [the only one i can think of was from shu uemura and it was sheerer, but i think it's been discontinued.] one important thing to remember is that yellow-toned colours are going to pull yellow tones from anything in their immediate vicinity. like your teeth. i'm not planning on smiling much when i wear this. i seem to be suffering from a bout of allergies, so please excuse the puffy eyes and slightly reddened nose.

face ::
nars sheer glow foundation "mont blanc"
diorskin nude hydrating concealer "001"
[this is the same for all of the looks on the page]

eyes ::
mac megametal e/s "dalliance"
inglot e/s "418"
mac e/s "time & space"
mac e/s "saffron"
mac e/s "motif"
mac e/s "plumage"
mac fluidline eye liner "siahi"
ysl faux cils mascara

cheeks ::
mac cheek powder "my paradise"

lips ::
mac sheen supreme l/s "sheer mandarin"


"quite the thing"
i don't find that photos capture the subtle shimmer in this colour very well. it's really a shade that's meant to catch the sunlight [that is, if you can find a way to transport it without it melting]. i haven't tried it yet, but i think this shade would add a nice dimension applied over a red lipstick. hm... guess i'll be doing that soon...

eyes ::
nars e/s duo "dogon" [lighter side only]
mac e/s "gazette grey"
mac e/s "hocus pocus"
inglot e/s "352"
mac fluidline eye liner "blacktrack"
diorshow mascara

cheeks ::
mac mineralize skinfinish "blonde" [i think...]

lips ::
mac sheen supreme l/s "quite the thing"

"new temptation"
overall, this is my favourite of the sheen supremes. it has a great colour payoff, but still stays a little sheer, which is true to the aim of combining a gloss and a lipstick. i find that it's the least prone to smudging or depositing clumps of product at a time and it is particularly tricky in terms of feathering.

eyes ::
inglot e/s "351"
mac paint pot "blackground" [as a base on the lid]
mac solar bits "black ore"
mac eye kohl "smolder"
ysl faux cils mascara

cheeks ::
mac beauty powder "play it proper"
mac powder blush "fever"

lips ::
mac sheen supreme l/s "new temptation"

"good to be bad"
i love me some dark lips colours, so this one was kind of a no-brainer for me, but, ultimately, this one is probably headed for the mac recycling program, to be transformed into a newer lipstick. although the colour is a beautiful dark red, it's not particularly original and this is one of the worst offenders in terms of the unevenness of application [you can see it in the photos if you look closely]. i love having a glossy-finish product in this colour, but i think that this could have been a lot better executed.

eyes ::
urban decay e/s "half-baked"
mac e/s "mulled cider"
inglot e/s "351"
diorshow mascara

cheeks ::
mac blush "strada"

lips ::
mac sheen supreme l/s "good to be bad"

"can't resist"
although it's another of the worst offenders in the patchy application category, i do like this shade a lot and i find that i can get it too look smooth on my lips better than "good to be bad". in this case, i wore it with a liner, which adds some punch to the colour and brings an intensity to the base shade.

eyes ::
mac e/s "silverthorn"
mac e/s "swell baby"
inglot e/s "351"
nars e/s duo "eurydice" [dark grey shade only]
mac superslick liquid liner "on the hunt"
mac eye kohl "smolder"
ysl faux cils mascara

cheeks ::
mac mineralize skinfinish "by candlelight"

lips ::
mac lip liner "currant"
mac sheen supreme l/s "can't resist"
mac sheen supreme/ seasonally supreme lipsticks are available through mac stores/ counters and online at www.maccosmetics.com.

they cost $14.50usd/ $17.50cad [grrrrrrrrrr], which makes them the exact same price as a regular mac lipstick or gloss. all shades are currently available on line. the new range of "seasonally supreme" shades are available in mac pro stores and will launch everywhere mac is sold on thursday, august 11th. although the new shades will be housed in a temporary display, all the colours are part of the permanent mac collection, meaning they'll be available everywhere mac is sold, all the time, for all eternity. or something like that.

Comments

Biba said…
It seems you can pull off just about any colour on your lips.
flora_mundi said…
Thanks Biba. I'm a big believer in trying colours outside my comfort zone. I'm lucky to have a pretty neutral undertone to my skin (a bit cool, but not too much).
xasperadastra said…
sheer mandarin is lovely... I hope it was this kind of color!!
Maquiyonkis said…
Wow I love this post! Would like to get New Temptation but don't know if I have guts to wear it! :D
Following!
Kate MacDonald said…
I'm glad you enjoyed it. New Temptation can actually be applied pretty sheerly, so if you're not sure, you can certainly adjust it to your preferred intensity.

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