19 February 2008, 20:46
On Monday, I received a FedEx package that made me yelp with excitement. It was a box from a PR company in New York. It said “MAC Cosmetics” on the outside. I thought, “Pffft, it couldn’t be. I bet someone wrote that just to get my attention!” But when I ripped it open in the elevator & looked inside, my heart started pounding. My hands trembled. I think I perspired a little bit. I ran down the corridor at full speed & started hollering excitedly at my boyfriend. Yes, I am a true MAC addict — these are the signs. It can get ugly!
I am now the proud owner of 29 pieces from the Fafi for MAC collection. Yes, that is a totally obscene amount of loot. More than anyone could ever need. Have I told you recently that I love my job?
They really couldn’t have sent this stuff to a more die-hard MAC fan. When I was about 15, I went to their counter (in Kirkcaldies) & bought my first piece of make-up with my own money. It was a powder foundation compact, & I was never the same again. Suddenly my skin-tone was even to the eye & silky to the touch. I became obsessed, so much so that my mother knows that the #1 thing to buy me at Christmas or on birthdays is anything from MAC. I have always had such good experiences with them that I have never felt the need to go anywhere else. I occasionally dabble in Napoleon Perdis but I always find my way back to that sleek counter with its metal stands & black-clad make-up artists. & I am never disappointed.
I’m so pleased to be able to review all these things for you, because (other than the fact that it is fun to use all this stuff) a lot of the colours defy appearances. Some of you might remember (in my first Fafi for MAC post) me proclaiming my love for Fun ‘N’ Sexy lipstick, but saying I wouldn’t buy it because the colour was just too much. Imagine my delight when I discovered that actually, it’s a gorgeous, sheer colour with not too much saturation or sparkle — extremely wearable & possibly my favourite lipstick of the bunch.
My friend & make-up artist Marie came over yesterday to play with all my new treats. We decided to try replicating some of the Fafi ‘looks’ from the collection. Here’s how it turned out.
Gala models ‘Fafi’.
The Fafi look is so dynamic on paper, I fell in love with it right away! I love the eye make-up — it’s kooky & mod all at the same time. To make to work on my face, Marie altered it a bit, because my eyes are much rounder than the example. I think it turned out pretty well. I look kind of like a bird!
Marie models ‘Cult Fave’.
The Cult Fave look is much more subtle than ‘Fafi’ but it’s still beautiful. Soft, light & totally wearable. Doesn’t Marie look gorgeous?
Okay, now. Drumroll please. Here’s what I received, as well as reviews & pictures. It’s been a messy, smudgy, sticky morning here in the iCiNG Bowl!
Glaze lipstick in Flash ‘N’ Dash
The first thing to know about the glaze lipsticks is that they are true to their name. The colour is not creamy or frosty or matte or any of those things — on the lips, it’s more like a highly-saturated gloss. So while Flash ‘N’ Dash looks wild in the tube, when you put it on your mouth it’s more of a flourish than a squawking statement. It has a very definite orange tint, which isn’t usually a colour I can wear, but this is subtle enough that it looks magnificent.
Glaze lipstick in Fun ‘N’ Sexy
My new favourite lipstick. While in the tube it seems like the kind of lipstick that would gouge the eye of any onlooker, it actually glides on slick & sheer. I guess that’s why it’s called a ‘glaze’ lipstick! It’s just like that. If you can imagine your lips as a dessert, this lipstick is the ultimate sugary enamel finish. Now, go out & be delicious!
Glaze lipstick in High Top
I can pretty much picture the sort of girl who would wear this colour all the time. She’d spend a lot of time sitting on the steps outside her apartment in New York, sucking on grape popsicles & scribbling down raps on a notepad. She’d call herself ‘MC Hi-Gloss’, wear big dangly earrings & be secretly in love with everyone. I think that’s all you need to know.
Glaze lipstick in Not So Innocent
This looks so pale in the tube, but once you slick it on, it exudes a totally different hue. It’s a very sheer, subtle nude colour, with tiny, shiny pearls in pink & peach. I am normally not into nude make-up (I have always been a little bit, ‘What’s the point?’), but this is so lovely it’s hard to resist. Eminently wearable, this is the sort of thing you want to put on when you want to wear lipstick but not look like you’re trying too hard.
Lustre lipstick in Strawbaby
Lustre lipstick is different to the glaze in that the colour is more saturated & stronger. Strawbaby is, by MAC’s definition, “coral rose with rainbow pearl”. I think that’s why I don’t like it — the mere mention of the word ‘coral’ gives me flashbacks to the 80’s. Screech! It’s not great with my skin tone, either; it just makes me look funny. I don’t think I’ll wear this much, but for those of you who love coral — well, you’re onto a winner!
Lipglass in Sugar Trance
MAC’s lipglasses are their take on a lip gloss. Super-high sheen, which is long-lasting & always a vibrant colour. One thing about their lipglass formulation is that it’s quite sticky. A lot of people don’t like this — it’s the sort of thing that your hair sticks to, crumbs cling to, & in Australia, it can easily make you feel like a strip of flypaper — so if you’re not a fan of the sticky mouthed thing, beware! Having said this, Sugar Trance is a superb soft pink with oodles of iridescence. I am a big fan.
Lipglass in Totally It
They got the name right with this one. This lipglass is RAUCOUS! The colour of the tube makes me think of a dazzling, intergalactic strawberry, but on the lips it’s quite different. It’s the perfect teenage pouty pink — berry-tastic & rich & a bit obnoxious. The colour your mouth would go if you lived on a steady diet of artificially red-coloured food (like popsicles & lollipops). Wear it next time you go rollerskating.
Lipglass in Squeeze It
Squeeze It looks plum in the tube, but on me it looked more like a deep red with a hint of bronze. It’s a darker colour than I’d usually wear but it’s quite a lovely shade with a bit of sparkle. I think I’m just too young for a colour this dark.
Lipglass in Cult Fave
Cult Fave is a deeper hue than Sugar Trance but quite similar. While Sugar Trance has a base of pink & peach, Cult Fave has notes of blue. Don’t let that put you off, though — blue-hued lipsticks or lip glosses make your teeth look super-white! — & this lipglass is totally kissable.
Paint pot in Layin’ Low
Layin’ Low is quite nude with a hint of pink. It’s not very dynamic on its own, but it would make a great base if you wanted to press some glitter or another colour over the top. I really like it — pair it with Not So Innocent for that “not made-up but totally made-up” look.
Paint pot in Perky
Creamy coral. Yes. There’s a lot of that in this collection! Perky goes on superbly (as do all the paint pots) but it just doesn’t grab me. Maybe because it’s too conservative.
Paint pot in Nice Vice
This is a dark purple with a hint of violet iridescence. While I like the colour in theory, I unfortunately find it extremely hard to wear without looking like a victim of a vicious street brawl. The good news is that you don’t have to use paint pots just as eye shadow — that is, all over your lid. A hint of this at the corners of your eyes or used along the lashes as a liner is often all you need.
Paint pot in Girl Friendly
Girl Friendly is a not-so-squeaky-clean pink. For those of you who like pink but don’t always want the saccharine overload that it tends to be, this is your paint pot! It’s quite a subtle colour that will suit a lot of people. I often use a MAC eye shadow called Nocturnelle (a shimmery berry colour) over my lids when I really want my eyes to pop, but this is going to be my new replacement. It’s not as dark but it is just as beautiful. Yummy.
Paint pot in Cash Flow
Bling bling! This is so Beyonce! I love that this is a paint pot, because I often find that gold eye shadow or powder doesn’t have a lot of staying power. This will stay for weeks! You’ll have to bribe it to leave! It will make a magnificent base for other colours you might want to layer up — how about parrot green or royal blue?
Paint pot in Rollickin’
Rollickin’ is the turquoise splashed all over my website, so of course I have a soft spot for it. It is gorgeous. It’s a superb, frosty turquoise with shimmery white pearl. It’s vibrant & gutsy & perfect for anyone wanting to experiment with the Cleopatra-esque make-up that McQueen sent out on the runway at the end of 2007. Oh, I love turquoise. What was it that Christian Dior said? Oh, yes…
“The tones of gray, pale turquoise and pink will prevail.” — Christian Dior
Marie was also really impressed by the paint pots. Here’s her review:
“Paint pots – at first I didn’t know how people would go with using them as I found them a little tricky to use but after “the test” I am now a convert. The Test – As you know yesterday was warm – 35 or so plus that warm wind didn’t help too cool me down. Got home mildly sweaty into a hot hot hot apartment. Our aircon isn’t amazing but with the heat and the fact that I baked cookies and cooked dinner I was reasonably moist. For any type of make-up I would forgive it if it slid off my face after all of that but not the paint pots! I actually rubbed my finger over my eye lids last night before taking off my make-up just to see the staying power. And baby it stays. No creases, smudges and the colour stayed true. I think paint pots would be great for anyone who has trouble with eye products creasing or just need some extra staying power while working it on the dance floor.”
Fafi Eyes 1
There are four colours in this superb eyeshadow compact. Vanilla, Hay, Pink Venus & Howzat. This palette is perfect for doing a smoky eye or just keeping it light. I used to use an old MAC eye shadow called Pink Freeze to dot the inner corners of my eyes — I do this because it makes them pop & look much brighter. But I think I have found new lovers in Vanilla & Hey. Vanilla is a creamy pale white, while Hey is a more moderate pale nude popped with white pearl. Gorgeous. Pink Venus was hard to photograph (so sorry!) but it is actually a super-soft & beautiful pale pink. Pink around the eyes sounds like you’re trying to do that heroin chic thing, but in reality, it looks really good. You should try it out, you might be surprised. & Howzat is a smoky grey with silver sparkles. Too much of it makes me look like someone socked me, but I know lots of die-hard goths (& neogoths, nudge nudge!) who will dust this stuff everywhere! I won’t, but I think it’ll make a great eyeliner!
Iridescent power in Belightful
Turns out, it is incredibly hard to get a good picture of iridescence (who would’ve thought, huh?). So you’ll just have to dream away with me! This powder is mind-blowingly fabulous. I am not much one for iridescent powers, or bronzer for that matter. It’s always seemed a bit “out there” for me, & I usually relish my pale look enough to skilfully avoid any bronzing powder, but Belightful is really fabulous. MAC call it a “gilded peach bronze” but to me it seems more like teeny flakes of gold shimmer. I am going to use it all the time.
Powder blush in Hipness
This is another one of the Fafi products that looks very different on to how it looks in the compact — or even in the description. They say “intense coral with soft white pearl”, & I say “light pink with a touch of shine”. Coral, it is not! But it’s fantastic, & is my new favourite blush.
Powder blush in Fashion Frenzy
This is a super-bright pink blush! I gave it to Marie, who will be able to wear it better than I ever could. It looks very pink in the compact & it is even more so on the skin. Especially on me, I am a pale wee thing! This would be a great blush for anyone with darker skin, though, who needs more saturation in their cheek colour.
Zoom lash mascara
I love all of MAC’s mascaras, & Zoom Lash is no exception. It’s dark, rich & magnificent. Perfect for those Bambi moments.
Fluidline in Blacktrack
Any of the Fluidline colours are my number one crush when it comes to eyeliner, & Blacktrack is the colour I use most often. (I even sang its praises in my Fashion Darling column. I just cannot go back to using a pencil these days — a little pot of Fluidline & a small angled brush are all you need!
Eye kohl in Smolder
While Fluidline is always my eyeliner of choice, MAC’s eye kohls are among the best in the business. Their fabulously rich texture makes them super-easy to apply & they just look more & more luscious as you layer them up. They’re easy to smudge, which is great if you’re wielding a brush with intent, though not so much if you’re pre-disposed to hayfever or absent-minded eye-rubbing! Just keep that in mind, okay?
Eye kohl in Fascinating
Fascinating is made with the usual MAC eye kohl formulation — thick, creamy, dreamy eyeliner. Except it’s white! If any of you wanted to try out that Erin Fetherston look of yore, Fascinating should be an essential part of your make-up bag. The hue is strong & vibrant — ideal for making eyes look bigger & more fanciful! Too lovely.
I actually already had one of these, & it’s what I use to do my cat’s eye make-up. It’s a sharp, fine angled brush which is brilliant for getting straight lines & making short work of long lines!
This is the brush Marie used to do my eye make-up in the ‘Fafi’ look. I haven’t actually used it myself yet, but she was over the moon with it. It is super-fine & very firm — so you can press quite hard while still drawing a thin line. Awesome for intricate detailed work.
This brush is gorgeous. Painfully so. Small & fat, it’s the perfect thing for applying blush, irridescent power or bronzer. The bristles grip colour well & a couple of sweeps are all you need for instant starlet cheekbones!
Nail lacquer in Girls Will Be Girls
This polish is a shimmering pink with peach iridescence. If a ballerina girl was granted a wish to have her own kingdom, this is the colour she would want everything to be — her castle, her horse & of course, her bed. Put on a couple of coats of this whenever you feel the need to retreat to your younger self.
Nail lacquer in Boom!
Boom! is the colour of an umeboshi plum. It’s a dark maroon with blue notes & a subtle sparkle. It’s the sort of colour that you might wear while you write your first screenplay, or when you perform live with your band in a dive bar. Underground & urban but sexy at the same time.
Fafi make-up bag
Well, it’s hard to write about a make-up bag! Suffice to say that the Fafi make-up bag I received is well-made & holds a lot of stuff. Not quite everything I was sent, but… almost!
There were also some things I didn’t receive. If you own any of these products, I’d love to hear what you think of them! Lustre lipstick in Utterly Frivolous, Fafi Eyes 2 & iridescent pressed power in Sassed-up & Verve-acious.
I’d like to say an enormous thank you to MAC Cosmetics for being so generous & also for making such continuously outstanding products. I have yet to buy a MAC product that doesn’t do what it says it will — & I don’t know if I can say as much for any other brand.