Tuesday, January 10, 2012

MAC Lipstick Formula Comparison, Review, and Swatches

  I wanted to compare different MAC lipstick formulas for you to see the differences in finish, texture, and opacity. I own all the regular formulas except frost (which I hate hate HATE in lipsticks). Though individual shades in each formula may have slightly different qualities, I find that most within each formula are nearly the same.

MAC lipstick formulas and my thoughts on each:
  • Amplified creme: These are full opacity with a creme finish that tends to dry to a semi-matte finish. Most of these shades are rich and BRIGHT. They last about 5 hours on me and don't dry out my lips. These are MACs best formula. 
    • My favorites: Vegas Volt and Impassioned.
    • Other popular shades: Girl About Town, Up the Amp, Morange, Blankety (not as bright as the rest)
  • Cremesheen: These are medium pigmented with a creamy finish. They can be built up to full opacity. These last about 4 hours on me and don't dry out my lips.
    • My favorite: Ever Hip (Limited edition)
    • Other popular shades: Creme Cup, Shy Girl, Creme d'Nude
  • Glaze: There are only a couple of these and I only own Hue, which seems to be different than the rest. Hue is sheer and though it's supposed to be glossy I find it has a creme finish. It lasts 3 hours and doesn't dry out my lips. Don't like this formula.
  • Lustre: These are sheer but can be built up to medium pigmentation. They have a glossy finish. They last about 3-4 hours on me and sadly tend to dry out my lips a bit. I love the finish and the shades though which is why I own so many of these.
    • My favorites: See Sheer, Hug Me, Viva Glam Cyndi (LE)
    • Other popular shades: Freckletone
  • Matte: These are full opacity and matte. More than half of these are reds :) They last about 5-7 hours on me depending on the color. I don't find them too drying for a matte formula, though some are more drying than others. 
    • My favorite: Russian Red
    • Other popular shades: Ruby Woo, Lady Danger
  • Satin: These are full pigmented and only a bit creamier than the Mattes. They start off semi-matte but tend to dry matte. When they dry they also dry out my lips. They last 4-6 hours depending on the shade. Along with glaze, these are my least favorite formula overall, though some shades perform better than others. 
    • Other popular shades: Snob, Myth, Rebel
In the swatch pics below I swatched each shade in one layer so you can clearly see how sheer/opaque each formula is.Though I have multiple lipsticks in some formulas, I chose representative shades to give you a general idea of each.

Indirect lighting, 1 coat  L-F: Vegas Volt (Amplified), Ever Hip (Cremesheen), Hue (Glaze), See Sheer (Lustre), Russian Red (Matte), Brave New Bronze (Satin)
Direct sunlight to show the sheen

Overall, I don't think MAC's lipstick formulas are the best. As a whole they are one of the more drying formulas out there. I think people tend to own so many MAC lipsticks mainly because of the relatively affordable price point and the HUGE shade range. 

What are your favorite and least favorite MAC lipstick formulas?


  1. The new satin finish are great, last falls Runaway Red is a bomb.

    Too Bad the matte Such Flare became such a dissapointment, if not I would have stocked up.

    1. Ooo that's good to hear! I heard that Runaway red is supposed to be re-released with a collection this spring... maybe the shop/cook one? Not sure though

    2. It is in "Shop and cook to you drop" collection. I am stocking up.

  2. This was a really helpful post!

    New follower :)


  3. the swatches are way off. i advise the readers to go see the lip stick in real life and not rely on these swatches.


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