“Welcome, my darlings!” Magenta cooed as she pulled me into the store, introducing me to Riff-Raff and Frank-N-Furter as I drank in the surroundings – fabulously dolled-up artists lining the walls, greeting me and looking as truly excited as I was; Dammit, Janet! blasting through the speakers; drinks in glasses rimmed with red sugar; a photographer snapping away as I and everyone else present gawped over the collection we had waited SO LONG to reach our shores.
Now I’ll not deny it, I hadn’t intended to try and buy my MACxRHPS items in New Zealand stores. I actually stayed up 2 nights in a row (for the original launch, and then for the delayed launch) to attempt to catch the online launch and snap up the items I’d scoped out. On the second night, I got to 7AM NZT (12PM UTC) before I gave up and ordered some other items before finally hitting the hay. Of course, when I woke up later that day I found that a mere hour and a half after I placed my order, the collection had launched. “Agh! So much for saving money!”, I thought, resigning myself to buying in-store here in NZ.
The preference to buy MAC items online is entirely justified, I think, for a New Zealander. It’s not just that MAC stores are few and far between if you live anywhere but Auckland, but also that the cost of the products is ridiculously high – a lipstick at full price in stores is $40 NZ, whereas the cost of one bought in the US translates to $2o NZ (at full price). Limited Edition products go up even more. However, I’ve gotta tell ya.. after my experience with this collection, I have officially been converted to supporting the physical MAC locations in NZ. I can’t buy all my product from them due to prices, but I’ll definitely be buying my Limited Edition products in-store from now on. Not only is it easier to procure what I want, but every time I’ve been after a LE item in-store, the artists are wonderful. Every MAC employee I’ve had the pleasure to chat to has been just as enthusiastic and ridiculously excited about the products as I am, especially LE ones, and has done everything in their power to get me one. Not to mention the incredible amount of wonderful experiences members post about MAC artists in Makeup Obsessives! So let’s have a look at the event that changed my mind!
Held at MAC’s only NZ PRO store, in Britomart’s Atrium on Takutai, we were greeted by Riff-Raff, Magenta and Frank-N-Furter, eagerly pulling us into the store and thrusting the massive display right in our faces – a large RHPS presentation holding a display of the make-up and on a small raised platform adorned with the same design that coats the inside of the product packaging.
The first thing I did (after a moment or two of staring in awe at the products) was head over to a lovely MAC artist and ask when we could buy the product. She seemed taken aback by how ready I was to buy, but I quickly explained that I had scouted out the collection and knew exactly what I wanted. She grabbed me my lipsticks and kindly held them while my friend Jorgia and I continued wandering around. We were soon approached by another lovely artist who offered to try some of the products on us – Jorgia tried on the Sculpt & Shape compact (which she then bought), and I had the pigment It’s Not Easy Having A Good Time patted on top of my make-up* – holy christmas that shizz is gorgeous – and I made a mental note to purchase it the minute I get paid. I quietly told the lovely artist my massive faux pas I’d realised in the taxi – I forgot mascara. I don’t even know how I did that – and she kindly popped some Extended Play on me (another must purchase.. that brush is amazing!). Then we had a good look around, snacking on the sweet wee refreshments and drinks offered – they even had cookies shaped and iced just like the iconic RHPS lips!
It was my first MAC collection launch, and I certainly don’t hope it’ll be my last, because I had a wonderful time. I’ve been a fan of Rocky Horror since I was a (time)warped teen, and it was an awesome way to kick off the collection. The artists I interacted with (and also the artists that gave me my invite in the first place – they recognised me from Makeup Obsessives and I was SO honoured!) were all so lovely, and just as excited as I was. Several of the complimented my make-up, and I have no doubt they meant it. The whole time we were there we were constantly asked if we were okay, if we needed more refreshment, if we had a chance to try everything we wanted – you could really tell the artists and all the employees there were really interested in what we thought, and were really invested in ensuring we had a great time. Despite the store being absolutely PACKED, they never seemed rushed, annoyed or too busy for us, and were more than happy to help out in any way. My other experiences with MAC artists in NZ (regardless of topic, but in particular, regarding LE collection items I’ve been after) have always been real highlights of my make-up consumerism – they always seem interested in what I have to say, and always go that extra mile to make sure I get what I want, and answer my questions. I can’t quite afford to purchase all my product from MAC stores in NZ, but I have well and truly decided that no matter the expense, I’ll always pick up my LE items from a physical store. It’s just so gratifying and a great shared experience when someone else is as excited as you are about the product you’re after. I love helping my customers find what they’re after, and it’s so lovely to experience others that genuinely enjoy helping people in regards to make-up. The passion I have is never unmatched by the MAC artists I meet, especially regarding Limited Edition products, and that’s why I’ll keep coming back, regardless of the price tag!
Now let’s get onto the most highly-anticipated part.. the swatches!
*FOTN shown better and with list of products used at the bottom of this post
LIPSTICK SWATCHES & REVIEWS
I’m going to do this in alphabetical order, to appease my need for small order.
Frank-N-Furter is described by MAC as a “deep raspberry wine”, and I’d say that’s fairly accurate. This was by far the most anticip…ated (ha,ha) of the lipsticks worldwide, and was released online at a delay after the other lipsticks in the collection. This was the one I was most excited for, and it’s a good thing I missed out on the online launch as I hear it sold out almost immediately online, and some shoppers had the shade yoinked out of their website carts if they weren’t fast enough! So what do I think of it?
..it’s GORGEOUS. None of the swatches I took or any others I’ve seen online can compare to the actual thing. It’s just lovely, a slightly blue-based, true matte red. It slides on so beautifully – truly a creamy matte – and doesn’t patch up or stick together in lumps like some matte formulas do. I wore this for a good hour, through my late breakfast and sloppy morning coffee (dancing and drinking coffee is a hard thing to do, guys), and it definitely left an imprint on my mug, but you’d never notice just looking at my lips. Perfect, even coverage, and a formula that makes lipstick application a dream. That creamy, thick pigment sliding across the lips and instantly making my face look better.. Frank-N-Furter shows up every other matte red I own or have ever tried, and I really think it may have stolen the spot of Holy Grail Red Lipstick from Viva Glam Rihanna.
It’s definitely a raspberry base with that blue in there, and it is just SO flattering on. I had a good dance around the living room with this puppy on! I wore no other make-up when I swatched it, but it truly was a I-feel-like-Beyonce colour – instant confidence and power emanates from this lipstick, and I think it does wonderful justice to the iconic Frank-N-Furter and his perfect red. It pleases me to no end that this lipstick meets all the hype it’s had – it should, given it’s named for the #1 Transsexual from Transylvania. This right here is my favourite of the collection.
Oblivion is the only Amplified formula of the lipsticks released in this collection, described as a vivid blueish-red. It certainly is that, and was certainly the one that makes my teeth look whitest! It comes off a bit sheer, and more of a cherry-pop red than the darker red it appears as in the tube. It may well be coming off sheer as it’s mostly being swatched alongside the other lipsticks in the collection, which have the more intense matte formula, but I’m not sure – even compared to other Amplified red/deep pinks I have, this one seems a bit sheer. It is the most difficult of the four to apply and has a shorter wear time – these are again most likely due to me swatching them in comparison to the others, but once my hour of Oblivion (what a good alty-emo band name!) was up, it was noticeably patchy and slipping around my mouth despite having done absolutely no eating or drinking, and very minimal talking. It was also incredibly hard to apply – so slippery that it almost feels like a Lustre finish, and it’s very easy to mess up. This means that my swatch of this one is probably my least favourite of the ones I took.
Having said all that, I do still like it. It’s a nice bright blue-based red, one we don’t get enough of. I have lipsticks with similar formulas and colour payoffs that I also love (Blood Red from the DSquared 2009 collection springs to mind), but they are very much a pink/raspberry base. Oblivion is still blue-based, but very clearly a bright red. You’ll have to be careful with this one on, but the colour may well be worth it. It is definitely coming off as a cherry-red on my pale skin, and to me it’s a clean, summery red that’s super wearable given the thin formula, but high colour payoff. Not to mention that it’s a rare summery red that doesn’t pull yellow, meaning I can wear it and be slightly less self-conscious about my teeth!
I’m not sure if MAC intended Oblivion to turn out so sheer and bright – it certainly doesn’t seem to match Magenta’s lip colour, as it’s supposed to emulate, and feels like a strange colour to bring out in autumn (for the majority of the world that’ll be accessing it at time of release, anyway). Nonetheless, I do love this colour, and I know I’ll get a lot of wear out of it this summer, so no regrets here – just a bit of surprise. Oblivion is beautiful when you manage to get it even, and when you do it initially sits gorgeously on the lips, I just wish it would stay that way a bit longer!
Strange Journey is the lipstick I was planning to drop if I had to, but I’m glad I didn’t. It’s described by MAC as a brick yellow-red, and while I guess that’s true, I’d describe it more as a tomato red. It’s very much a yellow-leaner, and it’s very much a matte. It’s slightly drier to apply than Frank-N-Furter, and will start wearing off in patches, as I discovered after having afternoon tea with the cat. I wore it for 2 hours inclusive of the meal and despite wearing away a little, it was generally pretty okay. It’s a very thick formula – as most of MAC’s mattes are – and dries out the lips a fair bit. but it didn’t budge outside where I’d applied, which was nice. I was sure I’d end up with red bleeding into the corners of my mouth, but none to be reported!
I must say that this is a very flattering shade to wear. While I wore it I felt brighter, happier – safer in the knowledge that I was wearing a truly kick-ass red lipstick that would stand out without migrating off my face. In the future when I wear it, it’s nice to know that the colour won’t dull down as it wears or reduce in impact very much. It’s a true fire-engine red in the vein of other yellow-leaning mattes such as Lady Danger and So Chaud, but not quite so neon, almost like Lady D and So Chaud’s more sophisticated sister. It definitely yellows the teeth (reminding me I should get around to whitening them), but when you’re wearing it it really doesn’t matter. It’s another confidence-booster of a lipstick that’s surprisingly easy to wear, and I love it!
I didn’t think I’d like Strange Journey that much, but I cannot tell you how pleasantly surprised I was when I popped it on. My impulse decision to purchase it was definitely a good one, and along with it’s sibling Lady Danger, I think I’ll get a lot of wear out of this lipstick this coming summer. Last year was the Pink Summer, and this year we’re going for Red – a bit out of my natural comfort zone, but why not?! I’m all about trying new looks at the moment, so this summer may well end up being a Strange Journey in more ways than lipstick!
Sin is the only lipstick in the collection that I didn’t purchase at the event, as I’d already bought it a few months earlier in the permanent line. As much as I love the packaging, I don’t personally see the need to purchase a second tube for the sake of packaging. When I finish this one I’ll have a go at finding the LE packaging, but that’s a LONG while off!
Sin is the darkest colour I own by MAC (aside from Cyber), and it’s very much a true vampy colour – a dark, dark burgundy that almost leans into brown, with slight blueish undertones and a heavy matte finish. MAC describe it as a “deep, dark blue-red”, and while it does have blue undertones, I don’t find them very obvious. I’d almost be tempted to call it a lipstick with neutral undertones. As you can see in the picture below, when built up it definitely pulls red – seen on my bottom lip – but when applied to an even, basic coverage the red loses it’s blue undertones (or at least it does on my lips – see the top lip for what I mean!). This is a bit unusual, but not necessarily unpleasant – it means you can play with your application to change the way the lipstick pulls on your lips. If you were wanting a colour emulating MAC’s lighter red Diva, then pat a thin even layer over the lips and team with some lipliner; otherwise you can build it up to get the true vampy colour.
ne of MAC’s original Matte formulas and then immediately try one of their newer shades that you can appreciate the improvements they’ve made.” The texture of Sin is significantly drier than Strange Journey, Frank-N-Furter or any other recent matte lip release from MAC. It’s closer to Russian Red, which tugs on the lips and can turn patchy very quickly unless properly maintained. It definitely took a while to apply, and while I love me a hardcore vampy lip, I’m not sure I’ll reach for Sin very often on it’s own. It is incredibly thick, and in terms of actually wearing it, it doesn’t wear well as it dries out the lips and clumps up easily. If I want the darker tones in it I think I’ll use it in combination with other dark reds, almost like a blackout curtain on the lips before applying other colours. It’s heavy and hard to wear on it’s own, but I do just adore the vamp factor it carries!
I have to say, this is actually the hardest to review of the lipsticks from the Rocky Horror collection. I really do find Sin an absolute pain to apply, as it’s an intimidating colour – if you miss your lines, there’s certainly no guarantee it’ll come off easily for you to correct, and as I mentioned, the formula is very drying on me, and hard to maintain. But at the same.. I just love the colour. Being a pale lady, I find it’s pretty easy for me to rock a dark lip – my grandparents may think I look a bit ‘goth’, but I love the drama of it. Cyber meets my needs for a deep dark purple lipstick, and Sin meets the criteria for a deep dark burgundy lipstick – at least colour-wise. As you can see in my above picture, I had a lot of fun with this on too. Once I had it on my lips, I couldn’t stop staring at them. That may be due to the fact that I am positively luminescent in the sunlight (seriously – comparable to MAC’s Lightscapade MSF..!), and the contrast between my skintone and Sin is one I find absolutely stunning, but my lips became so defined and well, sinful-looking. It’s awesome.
I love Rocky Horror, and I think MAC has definitely delivered RHPS-worthy lipsticks in their collection dedicated to the cult classic. The matte finishes are the perfect choice for such vivid, opaque colours – but the outlying Amplified still works perfectly. Bright and deep, cool and warm – all your staple reds are covered in this collection, and while I don’t currently wear a lot of red lips, I can see plenty in my future with the help of these lipsticks.
I think if you’re after some exciting lipsticks that are well worth your money for the colour payoff, the opacity, the wearability and the excitement of limited edition – these ones are perfect. If I’m honest, I’d pay more than $44 NZ for these, that’s how much I love them. MAC, you’ve done it again. A+!
Let me know in the comments below what colours you like best of these lipsticks, and if you think you’ll try to pick them up before they sell out!
FACE OF THE NIGHT
Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer
Bare Minerals Prime Time Eyelid Primer
MAC Pro Longwear SPF 20 Compact Foundation in NC15
Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum in 51 – Vanilla
MAC Pro Longwear concealer in NC15
Seventeen Phwoarr Paint concealer in Fair
MAC MSF in Light
MAC Plum Foolery blush
Sleek contour kit in Light
MAC MSF in Lightscapade
MAC Eye Brows self-propelling pencil in Lingering
Jordana Brow Powder in 4 – Brown
Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette – colours Half Baked, Foxy, Bootycall and Snakebite
Benefit They’re Real Push-Up liner
Pixi Extra Bright eyeliner
Maybelline Super Stay 24Hour lipliner in Rosewood
MAC Amplified Creme lipstick in Craving
DISCLAIMER: All images are my own unless otherwise specified or linked. Please link to my blog when using them.