Saturday, July 9, 2011

Overview: Mac Lipsticks (Swatches + Descriptions)

This is going to be one monstrous post, and for that I have to apologize! I posted on Twitter asking if anyone was interested in swatches and descriptions of my Mac lipsticks and I got a lot of responses... so I decided to do it.

I currently have 17 lipsticks, and 16 are in this post (Musky Amethyst is scheduled to post tomorrow).

See the photos and review after the jump...

In my opinion, Mac has one of the best ranges of lipsticks. Between the basic line, the pro longwears and the limited edition releases, they pretty much have what you need covered. They're affordable for a high end brand but I will admit that $14.50 is hard to swallow for someone on a budget. That being said, you'll notice that I have mostly LE/interesting shades. I have a hard time forking out nearly 15 bucks for a lipstick... it's just difficult for me. So, there aren't many "normal" shades in my collection, most are bright or unusual in some way.

As I said, the base lipsticks are $14.50 for 3g, or .10oz of product. To compare, you get 0.12oz in a MUFE lipstick for $19, 0.12oz in a Cover Girl Lip Perfection for about $7, and 0.13oz in a Bobbi Brown lipstick for $23. So, these are a decent value for the price, though in most drugstore lipsticks, you're going to get more product than a Mac lipstick.

Mac do different finishes on their lipsticks and each finish looks and performs differently.

Amplified/Amplified Creme: These are their most pigmented line. What you see in the tube is pretty much what you get on the lips. Some shades can be a little drying (the only one currently listed under just Amplified is Saint Germain, while the others are listed as Amplified Cremes, not sure of the difference) but I find that a quick application of lip balm prevents any dryness. I get 5-6 hours of wear from Amplifieds.

Cremesheen: These are their most moisturizing line. They often apply much more sheer on your lips than they appear on the tube but the texture is utterly amazing. It's a tie between the Amplified and Cremesheen for my personal favorite texture, it just depends on whether my lips need hydration or not.

Dazzle: This is a love it or hate it finish, from what I've read. I have a few and do like them but you can admittedly feel the glitter as you apply it. These lipsticks are mostly sheer in color but have an array of multicoloured glitter suspended within a glossy finish. They were limited edition but now supposedly have been added to the permanent collection. I only see Hellraiser on the website, so I'm not sure.

Frost: Mac's frost lipsticks are known to be relatively drying. I've had a few from B2M, and ended up passing them on in a swap or giving them to a friend as they just dried my lips out too badly. Some people like the high frost finish and some frosts aren't as crazy 90's as others -- Costa Chic and Angel are well-loved by the makeup community.

Glaze: These are VERY sheer and often frosty shimmer finishes, I've never actually worn one before. Pervette is the only one that conjures up any memory of what the finish is like -- these are usually a completely sheer base with some kind of flash of a different color. Pervette is a pinky purple with a slight blue tinge. There are a few nudes in this finish (Frou, Hue and Gleam) so if you're wanting to try a sheer nude, these may be for you.

Lustre: A lustre, to me, is quite similar to a cremesheen except with almost a glittery aspect. The colors are medium pigmented and often "my lips but better" shades with a bit more punch. I only have one lustre and I find it to be relatively pigmented and does a good job at covering my pigmented lips (I won't say what color it is yet!)

Matte: This is Mac's other pigmented line -- what you see is what you get. However, I find matte finishes much more drying than Amplifieds. There are exceptions but Ruby Woo is known as quite possibly the most drying shade of red lipstick ever (ha, ha); Russian Red is up there as well. The finish itself is good though, nice and creamy, pigmented, and no shimmer.

Satin: Satin is a creamy matte finish with a hint of shine and shimmer; not completely matte but not frosty either. I've been wanting Rebel in this finish for ages! Many of Mac's famous nudes are satins. I find them to be on a similar level to Lustres in terms of texture and whether they are drying or not... I'd say they're right in the middle of being drying and moisturizing.

Mac also has, in their permanent line Pro Longwears, Sheen Supreme,  Pro Longwear Lip Colour and Lip Mixes.

PFEW. Alright, now that that's over... let's get onto the colors I have!

(As a note, I should have swatched the glitter lipsticks last... a few swatches got contaminated with glitter! Sorry!)

Hellraiser (Dazzle): I needed 2 pictures of the lighter dazzle lipsticks as the flash wasn't showing the color right. This is a pinky purple base with orange and blue glitter, and quite pretty. I forget to wear this but when I do, I love it all over again!

Liquid Lurex (Dazzle): Ah yes... the weird green glitter lipstick. This doesn't show as green as you think it would, nor does it look as unflattering in real life as it does in the bottom picture. The base is a medium green with pink and silver glitter. It is admittedly a hard lipstick to pull off.

Creme d'Nude (Cremesheen): I got this on B2M knowing I wanted a nude, and I've never been that comfortable wearing it on my bare lips. I like it with a pale pink liner underneath, but it's no longer a nude really, eh? For people who loves nudes, this would be a nice one. It's more of a pinky nude instead of brown.

Viva Glam Gaga I (Lustre)(LE): I used to wear this a lot more than I do now. This is a blue toned pale pink, which I think would actually work on most skintones. It's Gaga, it's for the AIDS fund, you can't go wrong. Sadly, it's no longer available.

Courting Lilac (Glaze)(LE): A lovely plummy pink/purple with a strong gold flash (you can really see it on my lower lip in large photos). The texture of this lipstick is amazing... I do feel like it looks better in colder months though, and I don't normally follow summer versus winter lipstick trends. This came out with Tartan Tale in December 2010.

Ever Hip (Cremesheen)(LE): A gorgeous pale, creamy orange coral. I was hesitant on this one and even unsure about it when I brought it home but it's grown on me. I definitely need a gloss over top or else it washes me out a little, though. This was LE but they may still have some left at your local counter -- it normally sells out quick whenever it releases. This has released numerous times but the most recent was with Fashion Flower in 2011.

Still with me? :)

Powerful (Dazzle): This is one that I don't feel suits me. It's a bronzed pink with pink and gold glitter. I would have done a second picture but this is pretty much how it looks. I swatched it in store and thought it was lighter than it turned out to be... it's quite brown on me. This would look gorgeous on a blonde with a tan though!

Thrills (Frost)(LE): This is a gorgeous lipstick -- on someone else. I love the color; it's like a bronzey pinky orange with gold shimmer. Very unique. I see it on this lipstick photo and think it's gorgeous, but looking at myself with it on in the mirror just isn't quite right. I may try to wear it anyway just because I think it's so beautiful. This was most recently released with To the Beach in Summer 2010.

Hibiscus (Cremesheen)(LE): A bright orange coral. As it's a cremesheen, it has a nice moisturizing quality, though it applies a little patchy. You just have to be more careful during application. This was released with Surf Baby in Summer 2011.

Impassioned (Amplified): I'm so glad I B2M'ed for this. This is a perfect hot red-based pink. I think it would be flattering on all skin tones due to the fact that it's not cool or warm... it's definitely a head turner!

Candy Yum Yum (Matte)(LE): Holy hella bright, Batman! This is a hot, hot, hot neon blue-pink. The formula is excellent for a matte, and it's quite creamy, nearly as much so as Lady Danger. The neon pigment in this makes it just a tad bit chalky but for neon + matte, it's fantastic. If you missed this, shame on you ;-). This was released with Quite Cute in early Spring 2011.

Up the Amp (Amplified): You get two pictures of this because, well, because I can. It looks more plummy in natural light than it does under my camera flash. When I B2M'ed for this, I never thought I'd love it as much as I do. I think I'm almost down to half a tube left! I will definitely be repurchasing this. You've heard me rave on enough about this... it's a plummed pinky purple that is bright without being neon. 

Violetta (Amplified)(PRO): Oh man, every time I see this, I'm reminded of how pretty it is. I forget to wear it! This is a dark magenta with a fuchsia and blue shift. It's also got a bit of purple shimmer in there. This has been duped by cheaper companies but my tube has Maleficent on it, so I will forever hold it dear to my heart. Violetta was released to non-PRO members in the Venomous Villains collection in Fall 2010, but is always available at a PRO Store.

Lady Danger (Matte)(PRO): A bright tomato red. This is just... perfection in a tube. I never thought an orange based red would look good on me but it brightens up my face so nicely! The formula on this is also fantastic for a matte, very creamy and not drying at all. I can wear this through eating and it still looks great afterward. (My poor lips -- look how red the skin around my mouth was by this point!)

Fresh Moroccan (Frost): This is a perfect example of a non-frosty frost lipstick from Mac (lol). This is a deep red with gold flecks, very beautiful! I got this when I had red hair and was trying to experiment with red lipstick as well. I don't wear it as much anymore in the warmer months as it's a bit dark, I feel more comfortable in winter with it. This would be a great red for someone with darker hair and an olive skin tone.

Go For It (Cremesheen)(LE): Deep blue-purple. This one is a pain to apply, unfortunately. It's so creamy that it doesn't apply smoothly and the blue flash makes any gaps REALLY noticeable. I have to wear it with a lip liner to try and compensate for the gapping. It's a bit garish on me, but still pretty. I rarely wear it in day time though! This was released with the In the Groove collection in 2010.

Goes and Goes (Pro Longwear): This is nearly identical to Go For It but applies more evenly and doesn't have the bit of weird blue flash that makes Go For It so hard to pull off. Basically, don't be sad about missing Go For It if you love the look of it, as this is permanent. The only negative about this product is the shape of the tube, it's a rounded square so an absolute pain to apply. I use a lip brush but for the swatch, I tried to use it out of the tube and you can see the difficultly I was having. I love purple lipsticks in all forms so this is a favorite.

I have a pretty nice array of colors, even though I don't have many neutral or natural shades. Oh well, I have those in much cheaper lipsticks!

I went through my entire stash looking for dupes, but I honestly don't have many that weren't previously discussed on my blog, so I'll link the following:

I did a comparison of Lady Danger for you though, and didn't have much luck at all. Observe:

Top left is Lady Danger, to the right of that is Cover Girl Lip Perfection Flame, bottom left is Revlon Coral and bottom right is Beauty UK Naughty.

I thought one of these would be close but uh... yeah, none of them are at all. Coral is too orange, Flame is too pink and Naughty is too red. Lady Danger is unique, I have to say!
If you know of any dupes for these, please feel free to let me know! I love letting my readers know about cheaper alternatives as I know not everyone can afford a Mac lipstick. And, because I have to pimp out my own giveaway, I'm giving away a Mac Gem of Roses here:

That's pretty much it for this post. I hope this was helpful to all of you!

I currently have Creme de La Femme, Morange, Vegas Volt, Chatterbox and Dubonnet on my wishlist. What about you?


  1. You have some really pretty lipsticks! I really like Courting Lilac, Creme d'Nude and Ever Hip. But I don't think I would ever buy anything MAC, it's a budget issue mainly, not like they aren't pretty! I also don't wear lipsticks that much.

    Great post, I liked seeing all of the lipstick swatches!

  2. Wow, awesome post! I don't own any MAC lipsticks because 1. I just recently started buying lipsticks and more makeup in general (thanks to blogs) and 2. 15 dollars is a lot for me as well. Hibiscus is gorgeous though, possibly my favorite out of the ones you've swatched. You have an awesome collection!

  3. Great post! Very helpful. Lady Danger is killer on you!

    Longtime MAC lipstick lover...I will spend the money because I'm always pleased with them. They're just my favorite lipsticks ever :P My favorites are Russian Red, Lustering, Fanfare, Patisserie, Blankety, Plumful, Craving, and the weirdo Liquid Lurex. LL looks awesome over really dark, matte lipsticks.

    Currently, I am thinking about See Sheer, Impressive, Rebel, Film Noir, and Speak Louder. I do have some B2M to do...hmmm.

  4. Fantastic! I own many of the same colors you do too. Most of my lipsticks are MAC because of their great color selection and their B2M program is awesome!

  5. You have great taste. We have a lot of the same shades, and Vegas Volt and Chatterbox are on my wishlist, too!

  6. Okay, I now need Courting Lilac, Ever Hip and Up the Amp. :P

    Btw, great in depth post. I always wondered what all the different finishes were.

    I just recently go So Chaud and Vegas Volt on your suggestions and love them both, although So Chaud scares the shit out of my husband. I also really like Hot Gossip and Shy Girl.

  7. I love how Ever Hip looks on you, it's how it's meant to look, on me it's more pinky. Maybe I need to use a lip erase product first.

  8. Oh my gawddddd what an enviable collection of lipsticks!!

  9. You have perfect lips and so pretty with all the different colors :-)

  10. Very insightful,thanks for this post.

  11. What beautiful swatches! Thanks for them and the overview. I haven't caught the MAC lipstick fever yet, I don't even own any. But you're making me re-evaluate that! :D

  12. Impassioned is my fave! This is a great post!! Awesome job!

  13. Nice post! I think Impassioned and Hibiscus look the best on you! I think it's a really good idea that you only purchase lipsticks from Mac if they're limited edition or unusual. I think spending almost $15 on a lipstick that's SO common and easily dupeable is beyond pathetic and waste of money, in my opinion, of course :)

  14. @Kimmie: Thank you! Courting Lilac would be gorrrrgeous on you.

    @Janna: That's why I've mostly bought LE or B2M'ed for them, $14.50 is hard when it doesn't REALLY catch your eye. Hibiscus is fab! Thanks for reading :)

    @Cait: Thank you, I <3 Lady Danger. Thank you for the tip on LL, I would have NEVER thought to do that *scurries off to try it*

    @Yami: Thank you for reading :)

    @Viji: We need to both get Vegas Volt and both be ridiculously bright. I still can't believe I returned it a few years ago.

    @Susan: You NEED Up the Amp, it would look bloody fantastic on you! I think I saw So Chaud on you? That one is on my list too. And serious lol at the "scaring husband"

    @Justine: It's quite pale on me, the flash darkened it a tad. I have pigmented lips so that might be why it looks different? Def try some concealer first, I hope it works!

    @Meredith: Thanks! <3

    @Pris: LOL You were already an expert, you know it ;-)

    @galgotspirit: Thank you, that was a lovely compliment!

    @Miss Tapia: You're welcome, hopefully it helped you!

    @femputer: Always proud to be an enabler... some of the more unique shades are worth it! Lady Danger, Up the Amp... though I've found a dupe for Up the Amp. I'm glad I could help ;-)

  15. I'm going through a lipstick phase now :) I love Everhip a lot...must get it when it gets re-promoted next!

  16. Gorgeous swatches, do you own any Clinique Lipsticks? They are 14.50as well and I am wondering if you have Clnique Watermelon to compare to the Candy Yum Yum. I think it is a close if not dead on dupe.

  17. @Appu: You do need it! It would look pretty on you :)

    @Becki: I have Silvery Moon and one called Raspberry something which was a free gift, but I haven't tried Watermelon. I'll have to check it at a counter next time I'm there! Thanks :)

  18. thank you for posting the swatches! i have a warm skin tone and i think impassioned will look nice!

  19. Great post! I have exactly the same problem with Creme d'Nude. Can't wear it on its own

  20. Awesome post, lady! Really helpful. Must have Liquid Lurex and Lady Danger!

  21. Argh I pretty much want everything you've swatched here. And thanks for another reminder that I sorely need Lady Danger ;]

  22. Awesome post! I really like Mac lippies, now I want some dazzle ones, Liquid Lurex looks awesome! Mmm glitter. I agree about Ruby Woo being the dryest lipstick in the world, but I actually get on with Russian Red! I'm so sad I missed Candy Yum Yum and Up the Amp looks amazing on you!

  23. Great work! Thanks for posting these. I passed on Candy Yum Yum and bought Milani Rose Hip instead and LOVE it!

  24. Thank u so much I just needed 2 know the different finishes and how they look & couldn't find it anywhere bcuz I am Carmel skinned but I love my Russian red I got as a gift! I see a lot of bad reviews complaining of the dryness but I love it that way it leaves the color looking deeper & more rich plus I hate sum simmers bcuz they leave u looking like u dipped yr lips in a bucket of chickenbut thank u soooo much very helpful!