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making faces :: product review [mac fall colour collection]

a comedian friend of mine used to close his sets with the line "remember, if you can't laugh at yourself, there's six billion other people who can". i think it's important to be able to poke fun at yourself. after all, you can point out your own weaknesses and foibles all you want and you're unlikely to get permanently angry at yourself. let anyone else try that. i think it's important for all of us to remember that, under the right circumstances, we can be kind of ridiculous.

for their second big fall collection, it kind of seems like mac is taking pot shots at themselves. the imagery used for marketing [ads, in-store displays] features three portraits by artist cindy sherman, each one an embodiment of exactly what most makeup wearers seek to avoid when they start to put on their mask of the day. the faces of the collection are an overblown dowager, a slightly demented-looking doll and a sad clown, none of them beautiful by any stretch of the imagination, but at the same time a reminder that cosmetics are- and should be- funny.

each "model" has her own miniature collection, the first a sultry set of darker shades and purples [and, to my eye, the only one of the three that is in any way autumnal], the second lighter, more pastel colours and the third a group of "ow my eyeballs" brights. so there's likely to be a little something for every taste included.

the strange part is that it's also likely that many fans already have the shades they want, since a lot of the collection has either been available before in limited edition or is part of the permanent line-up at their pro locations. [there's even a few shades snuck in from their regular permanent collection.] it makes for a nice opportunity to grab some old favourites and see things that you might have missed, but i have the feeling that people who have followed mac a long time are going to end up feeling a little left out.

MEET THE PRODUCTS...





passionate
the exception to that would be the eye shadows- two quads and five single shades- which feature a few repeats, but also a lot of new colours. although i ended up passing, the quality overall seems quite high- better than a lot of recent mac releases. the only permanent colour in the collection is "passionate" a bright pinkish red with a matte finish. i've owned this one for years and, although i love the colour, i find it a little frustratingly dry to work with. the point of having something so bright is really to be able to add a pop of colour, so it's annoying when you have to really work to build it up. other colours in the collection seem a lot better, but, again, for those who have a goodly number of shadows, many of them have close cousins among previous releases.

l to r :: neon orange, show orchid, violetta, fusion pink
fusion pink
unlike the eye shadows, all but one of the lipsticks is a repeat performer. that's not necessarily a bad thing, because if you're going to showcase what you do best [mac advertises their lipsticks as what made them famous], these shades are a solid range to start with. there are eight shades being promoted, which is kind of overwhelming until you have a look at the details.

show orchid
ruby woo, a stiff matte blue-red with a large cult following is available wherever mac is sold, all the time. x-s, a deep chestnut shade, was until recently a part of the regular collection and last time i checked was still available on line [although slated to be discontinued]. peachstock [neutral peachy nude], violetta [a "full-power" medium purple], fusion pink [a very bright orange-pink shade with a lovely pink shimmer], neon orange [basically exactly what it says] and show orchid [a likewise megawatt-pink shade, cooler than "fusion pink", with a lighter sheen] are available at all times from mac pro locations [and can be ordered by anyone over the phone]. all five of the pro shades have been promoted in previous limited collections, so it's worth checking to see if you actually have them before rushing out to buy something new.

neon orange
the only new kid on the block is "plum bright" which is a deep purple shade, darker than violetta, but also a little more sheer, owing to its lustre formula. at first, i thought i had some similar shades, but when i looked at them together "plum bright" was more distinctive than i gave it credit for being. it's darker and a bit cooler than "bust out" and "desire" from the permanent collection, while it's likewise a dark-but-sheer colour, is much warmer [it looks almost brown next to plum bright]. for ladies who like the idea of a deeper lip colour, but are a little shy of going whole hog, this is an excellent choice. and although mac seems to have no end of purple variations with its collections this year, this is one that stands out as being both unique and extremely wearable. [i apologise for missing the arm swatch on this one. i was viciously attacked by my bodum this morning and have distracting burns on my "swatching canvas".]

violetta
i feel like a lot of the shades [other than peachstock, which almost seems like it doesn't belong] are going to be kind of intimidating to a lot of people, so i'll be curious to see the reaction. if i'm proved wrong and downtown is suddenly overrun with an army of women [or men for that matter] with bright red, orange, hot pink and purple lips, i have no problem with that.

plum bright
there are four glosses with the collection and, seriously, the less said about them the better. all are milky pastels in pink and coral... i'm getting bored even writing about them. it's nothing people haven't seen before and it's really nothing that mac doesn't do as well or better in their regular line. i wish mac would get back on the right track here. i love their glosses in all their sticky glory and i feel like almost everything they've come up with this year [with a few exceptions] has been extraordinary in its ordinariness.

the product which is doubtless going to cause a stampede of desperate customers is the mineralize skinfinish "lightscapade". because mac does so many limited products, certain ones end up going down in the annals of history, becoming almost mythical in the minds of fans. and nothing has become more mythical than "lightscapade". initially released in 2006 and not seen since, it's the fairest highlighter mac has ever done, imparting a pearly, moonlit sheen to the skin. i'll admit that i've always fed the fires. i bought it originally and fell so in love with it that i went back and paid a little above market to get a replacement from a private sale. on pale skin, it makes one luminous, without the sort of warm tone that a lot of highlighters have. even on darker skin [although it's a little trickier and i advise trying it out before committing], it can add a soft glow without becoming ashy. it's actually a very nice, lower cost alternative to guerlain's meteorites, which are about the closest thing i can think of in terms of appearance. [lightscapade has a bit more of a sheen.]

the "lightscapade effect"
now, that's not to say it will work on everyone. being cooler in tone, i think it would be problematic for warmer complexions. and the effect is subtle, so many may decide that it's not worth the investment. but since it's already sold out on both the canadian and u.s. web sites, i'm going to go with the assumption that people are just going to grab stacks of the things and hope for the best. good luck on the hunt.

[note: as with many mineralize products, there can be a lot of variation between single units, depending on how much veining and of which colours is present. if you have a preference, it's worth asking the associate to let you have a look at which one you're actually buying. some version of lightscapade are more beige, while others- with more blue- are cooler and show more as white.]

there are other products available with the launch, but i'll limit myself to these, since they're really what i've had the chance to look at in some detail. although there is a sense that i've seen a lot of the shades before, i have to admit that a lot of the colours are personal favourites. it's a collection of solid quality and one that invites you to have fun. you're putting paint on your face. it should be an activity that's silly and strange and completely enjoyable.

since there are so many repeat products here, there are actually a lot of looks i've already posted that feature some of the products.

you can see more of show orchid here.

and a look with fusion pink here.

and a quick peek at a me wearing neon orange at the bottom of this post.

although it's more subtle, you can see shots of lightscapade in daylight in the third look of this post. i personally think that this is a product that really shines [not literally] at night, but to each their own.

happy hauling!

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