beauty, makeup, reviews

Review: MAC Nutcracker Sweet Nude Lip Bag

Hi guys! It’s prime time for holiday collections, whether you buy them as gifts or for yourself. The other day, I was in downtown Philly and stopped at Macy’s to look at the MAC Nutcracker Sweet holiday collection. I wanted to see everything in person before deciding on anything, and I finally decided on the Nutcracker Sweet Nude Lip Bag!

For those who, like me, aren’t familiar with the MAC holiday lineup, there are a ton of options! There are lip sets, brush sets, cheek palettes, eye palettes, and individual lipsticks, blushes, and eyeshadows. I really liked the Nutcracker Sweet theme and so wanted to get something. I’m not a big MAC person and have never really looked at their holiday lineups in the past, so I don’t know if this year’s set is typical or if there are more pieces than normal.

I first went in and looked around, and the set that stood out to me was the set of four nude lipstick minis, because I do really like more nude lips and normal lipsticks. But I thought that getting the Nude Lip Bag might be better, both for cost per item and because I’d get full-size products that would be better for the Back-to-MAC program.

What is Back-to-MAC? It’s their recycling program where you return six finished MAC products and receive a free lipstick in return! It seems like the lipstick minis don’t qualify for the program (the lip bag’s liner doesn’t seem to qualify, too).

I would have preferred maybe buying a single lipstick, but most of the single lipsticks in the collection were bolder pinks that I don’t really wear, along with a purple that again wouldn’t get much use. All of the lip sets in my Macy’s were either nude or red sets, and none of the pink sets listed on the MAC website were available there (either the store was sold out or these were MAC/online exclusive).

So a breakdown of the kit:

The price:

$39.95 for a bag, a lipstick, lip liner, and Vamplify lip gloss, which works out to almost $10 per product. If you’re only interested in the lip products, that works out to about $13.32 per product. The MAC website says this is a $58 value, which is the price of the three lip products sold separately (without including the price of the bag).

The contents:

Makeup bag
Vamplify Lip Gloss in Tuned In
Pro Longwear Lip Pencil in In Control
Cremesheen Lipstick in Magic Spell100_4527

The set packaging and bag:

This comes in a cardboard box where the front, top, and back sides all have the pink-and-purple diamond pattern with gold trim with texture. The other three sides are black. The bag is in the same diamond pattern and color scheme, with gold details. The color scheme isn’t very holiday-like, which means that it can be used throughout the year or for people who don’t celebrate Christmas, but it doesn’t seem very festive.100_4508

The collection does have a lot of pink and purple tones, but when I think of nutcrackers I think a bit more of the more classic dark blue and red. The phrase Nutcracker Sweet does seem to bring up ideas of either love or candy, both of which are a bit more fitting for the pink colors, but I’m still not quite sold on this idea. Maybe having the dark blue instead of the purple could better evoke the theme, or something more than the gold trim and diamond pattern to signify a nutcracker? An advertising sheet or something on the inside of the box might have worked.

One of the big things I wasn’t as happy about was that the lip products didn’t have special packaging to tie in with the theme. They were all in standard packaging, which was a bit of a letdown. Most of the full-size products in collections were in standard packaging, even though the minis sets and singles had the themed packaging. What’s the difference between these full-size pieces and the normal ones bought outside of the collection, other than the price?100_4511

100_4569

The Vamplify lip gloss in Tuned In:

I’m not a big lip gloss lover, but I do like thick, pigmented shades like the Vamplify line. I’ve never tried this line before, so first thought it was a non-matte liquid lipstick like the Butter liquid lipstick line when I swatched it in store. I also like this color – a “midtone rosy nude” according to MAC and ” a muted, medium-dark rosy plum with warm gold pearl” according to Temptalia. This looked dark in the tube and as a hand swatch but seems lighter on my lips, at least in brighter light (less light can make this look a bit darker and more brown). The formula is comfortable and barely sticky, kind of like a very thick lip balm. I’d say I got around three hours of wear before it started fading, but lasted longer and felt hydrating. The color also seems to stay put – some glosses, especially thicker ones, can have the color sort of cling to itself and pull to make it look patchy and textured, but this thankfully doesn’t do that.100_4529

The Pro Longwear Lip Pencil in In Control:

Again, I’ve never tried a MAC lip pencil. MAC’s description is a “brown mauve” , and Temptalia describes it as “a muted, medium-dark rosy-brown with warm undertones”. It’s the warmest shade of the three, and about as dark as Tuned In. On my lips, it looks very similar to my natural lip color, only a shade or two darker. Because of the color, I’m definitely going to be able to use it with a lot of my other lipsticks! It’s a waxy lip pencil and does need to be sharpened (I have a post about my favorite trick to make sharpening makeup pencils easier here). The photo shows one half of my lips outlined and the other half filled in.100_4556

The Cremesheen Lipstick in Magic Spell:

MAC describes this as a “midtone mauve nude” and Temptalia describes it as ” a subdued, mauvey brown with neutral-to-warm undertones”. On me, it seems the coolest shade of the three because of the mauve tones, and while the swatch below looks very neutral, it does turn pretty cool depending on the light. It’s not quite like any of my other lipsticks, which is a plus, especially for a nude, but it is a bit cooler than my everyday preference. I also really like the cremesheen finish – it gives a nice satin sheen to the lips, although it isn’t completely opaque. It looks paler than the other two in swatches but less pale on the lips. I do like how it warms up when used with the In Control lip liner, but it ends up darker than I prefer.100_4517

100_4558

Magic Spell lipstick over In Control lip liner

The verdict:

This is a cute lip set! It doesn’t scream “holiday” to me, and it would make a good set for anyone looking for a gift, even (maybe especially) if it’s not Christmas (Hanukkah, birthday, etc). I do wish that the packaging on the products was related to the gift set, since all three shades are part of the permanent collection and don’t have anything to set them apart from the non-holiday versions once they’re separated from the bag and box.

Personally, I’m a bit torn on the color selection. All three do work well together for a cohesive set, and are a bit different from other nudes that I have in my collection, but they’re all just a little bit off from what I prefer.

-xo, Andi

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