Since the highly-coveted glitzy Bao Bao Wan collection in 2015, M.A.C has been making a point of enlisting China’s most esteemed style stars for at least one of their beauty campaigns every year and being Chinese, I can’t help but feel an odd sense of pride even though I am not from China (yes, Singapore is a country on its own that is more than 2000 miles away from China in case you weren’t aware). In that same year, they joined forces with couturier Guo Pei to create a lavish capsule collection embellished with exotic floral prints, followed by Chris Chang in the subsequent year who lent her creative expertise to probably the most kaleidoscopic collection in the history of M.A.C and not long ago, with Min Liu (刘旻 liǔ mín), a Fuzhou-born fashion designer and founder of the Ms MIN label.
Before I dive into this collection, I thought I should clarify certain inaccuracies about Min Liu’s identity – she is not to be confused with the New York-based motion graphics designer (her quirky work is really right up my alley nonetheless, go check them out!) of the same name whom even the supposedly trustworthy beauty websites mistook for (like this one here, here and here *sigh* they’re two completely different people, y’all 🙄 #lazyjournalism). While it can be a real challenge for some to distinguish between Asians, especially when many of us share the same name, it wouldn’t hurt to delve a wee bit deeper into her background and perhaps, exercise a little common sense? A prolific graphic designer running a chain of boutiques? Yeah, it’s possible but ain’t nobody got time for that 🙄
After more than three years in the making, the M.A.C × Min Liu collection finally came to fruition and was launched in conjunction with the start of Shanghai Fashion Week in early April. Drawing inspiration from the concept of “气 (qì),” or energy, which is often invoked as a proxy for health and attractiveness in the traditional Chinese culture, this collection adopts pink and red as two of its primary colours (apart from silver and black) because of their customary association with health and positive energy. Read more about the philosophy behind the collaboration here.
Initially slated for limited Asia-Pacific release, this limited-edition collection comprising two shades of Lipstick and Lipglass (Peach Blossom Pink / Fortune Red), Eyeshadow Duo (Fortune Duo), Pearlmatte Face Powder, Fluidline gel liner, Cream Color Base, Brush Roll and a makeup bag eventually rolled out globally in special packaging around mid-April.
The lipsticks are encased in a polished, all-black angular tube bedecked with a black tassel (which came protected in a plastic roll to prevent it from fraying), therefore felt a lot bulkier than usual. Naturally, with that extra ornament and the untypical-of-M.A.C packaging, the lipsticks are expected to cost more than those in the regular line. $3 more, as a matter of fact.
#1 Peach Blossom Pink
In the words of Min Liu, “pink is a metaphor of beauty” so there has to be some variant of pink here. And what better way to incorporate pink into this collection than to actually make a lipstick of that colour? Hence, there’s Peach Blossom Pink, a clean midtone pink with Matte finish that looks like a familiar shade of cool fuchsia which you most probably would already have in your stash.
This lipstick is so pigmented that it does not take more than two swipes to deliver long-wearing full coverage and a completely opaque wash of colour. However, the slightly drying consistency of the formula causes it to tug at the lips during application. The product also tends to settle into the fine lines and around the dry edges, thereby revealing cracks on the lips. But these flaws are only noticeable within close proximity.
#2 Dynasty Red
Red, on the other hand, has been an important colour in the Chinese culture as it takes on multiple symbolic meanings such as fortune, loyalty and bravery. So the exclusion of any red hue in this China-inspired collection would be akin to committing blasphemy.
This auspicious colour takes the form of a lipstick (and gloss) described as a yellow vibrant red with Matte finish. Called Dynasty Red, it glides on like butter with no tug and lends an intensely pigmented payoff. Boasting a creamy and seamless consistency, it even has a subtle sheen to it. It gives full coverage with opaque colour and is comfortably emollient on the lips, making it feel almost nothing like a Matte. This shade is neither drying nor hydrating.
Although the lipsticks generally did not disappoint in terms of application, I wouldn’t have bought them if not for the special packaging because these lipstick shades are seriously cliched and overused.
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Thanks for reading!