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MAC Ruffian Summer 2012 Collection — Portrait of a Lady

I’ve been waiting for MAC Cosmetics to release its MAC Ruffian Collection since February, when I went backstage at the Ruffian Fall 2012 show during New York Fashion Week and saw the models rocking velvety red and cobalt blue press-on nails and luscious red lips. Five months later, MAC finally unveiled the limited-edition makeup collaboration, which focuses on creamy pouts and nails, offering three sophisticated lipstick hues and three ready-to-wear nail sets.

On the lip color front, the MAC Ruffian collection includes three classic shades: MAC Ruffian Gold Lipstick ($14.50 at MACcosmetics.com), a frosted gold hue with glimmering particles; the MAC Ruffian Red Lipstick ($14.50 at MACcosmetics.com), a succulent blue-toned red with a matte finish; and MAC Ruffian Naked Lipstick ($14.50 at MACcosmetics.com), a peach-tinge nude with a matter finish.

On the nail front,I was heartbroken to discover that the collection didn’t include the velvet nails I’d seen backstage during NYFW, but I was relieved to see that they went beyond nail lacquers to create artful designs that really function as accessories. The MAC Ruffian collection includes three nail sets, each with 24 pre-glued, pre-assorted pieces in various sizes to ensure the right fit. The three styles available are Ruffian Manicure Spectator ($25 at MACcosmetics.com), which includes oval-tipped nails in a light cream color with a black half moon detail along the base of each nail and a matching black French tip; Ruffian Manicure Demilune ($25 at MACcosmetics.com), which includes square-tipped nails in a matte black color with a gilded strip in a French manicure style positioned at the base of each nail, rather than at the tip; and Ruffian Manicure Demoiselle ($25 at MACcosmetics.com), which includes talon-shaped nails in a crimson color matching that of the Ruffian Red lipstick, with a white half moon effect at the base of each nail and a V-shaped black trim along the pointy tip.

Below, you’ll find close-up shots of all the products in the collection, along with swatches of the MAC Ruffian Red and MAC Ruffian Naked lipsticks and photos of the MAC Ruffian Manicure Spectator set on nails. Better yet, you’ll find thoughts on how each performs!

MAC x RUFFIAN LIPSTICK

Below, you’ll get a closer look at the three MAC Ruffian Lipstick ($14.50 at MACcosmetics.com) shades available. The MAC Ruffian Gold is a light yellow gold hue inspired by the metallic sculptures Henry Moore erected in grassy expanses near classic British estates and featuring a frosty finish. The MAC Ruffian Naked is a nude tone but it incorporates warm, peachy pink undertones so that lips aren’t canceled out when the creamy color is applied. And last, but not least, there’s MAC Ruffian Red, a gorgeous, long-lasting, richly saturated crimson hue with cool, bluish undertones and a matte finish for more of an adult, timeless feel.

MAC RUFFIAN GOLD  

MAC RUFFIAN NAKED

MAC RUFFIAN RED

Next, you’ll find swatches of the Ruffian Naked and Ruffian Red lipsticks, the two shades I tested out. Admittedly, since I’m so fair-skinned, the Ruffian Naked didn’t look particularly flattering on me, but I adored the Ruffian Red — not just because of its color profile but because it felt hydrating and comfortable on lips, and it lasted for a rather long time (even after drinking water and coffee).

Lipstick Swatches:

Here’s Me Wearing the MAC Ruffian Red Lipstick:

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MAC x RUFFIAN MANICURE

As previously stated, each of the three MAC Ruffian Manicure sets incorporates 24, pre-glued, pre-shaped, pre-colored nails in various sizes. Each set is packaged in an elegant black box with a slide-out tray that reveals two plastic containers stacked one atop the other, each with 12 nail tips tucked into indented slots. Because no glue is involved, all you have to do is remove the faux nail of the suitable size from its tray, align it with your own nail and press down, applying pressure for about 30 seconds to ensure it adheres properly. Removal is equally simple — all you need to do is gently lift each faux nail, starting at the side and moving in a horizontal motion,  as if flipping a page in a book.

The MAC Ruffian Manicure sets come in three styles: Demilune ($25 at MACcosmetics.com), an Art Deco-inspired design with a rich ink-y black juxtaposed against a gold French manicure tip positioned at the base in lieu of the tip; Demoiselle ($25 at MACcosmetics.com), the most avant-garde design, with nails shaped to have a sharp, talon-like point, painted a deep red and adorned with a white half moon shape along the base and a V-shaped black tip; and Spectator ($25 at MACcosmetics.com), a Harlequin-esque design with light cream nails featuring both half moon motifs and tips in a rich black hue.

DEMILUNE

DEMOISELLE

SPECTATOR

Nail Look:

Below, you’ll find photos that show how the MAC Ruffian Manicure Spectator nails look once applied. I appreciated the classic design, which of course recalls the brogue and oxford shoes popularized in England in the 1920s and 1930s, and how it was modernized through the use of oval-shaped nails and semi-circular (half moon) designs along their bases and following the curved outline of the tips.

Still, I must confess that these are far from functional. As soon as you attempt to do anything — type an e-mail, pick up a book, serve yourself a glass of water, or even dial a phone number — the glue will start wearing off and the nails will begin to pop off. These, then, are nails for ladies of leisure, women who have someone on the payroll  to do everything for them. Otherwise, you may want to wear these only on a special occasion when you want to floss (and when you know you won’t have to do any type of manual labor). In any case, here’s what they look like:

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