Bare Escentuals’ High Shine colors versus MAC’s pigments

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Bare Escentuals’ High Shine colors versus MAC’s pigments

MAC Cosmetics has been selling highly pigmented loose-powder colors for years. In early 2009, Bare Escentuals released its first “high-shine” color - a loose-powder shadow that was a bit similar to MAC's pigments, in that it adhered better and had a very bright finish. In late 2009, Bare Escentuals announced the release of a second high-shine color. When the Buzzworthy kit was released in spring 2010, it was quickly snapped up.

Now - in late summer 2010 - Bare Escentuals has announced the release of several new high-shine colors, in their own packaging and with their own applicator. I haven't yet found whether these will be released under the Bare Minerals banner, or as part of the Buxom lineup. Some are already saying what a good deal these colors are, since consumers will be paying $16 for 1.5 grams - that's $3 more than a standard Bare Escentuals eyeshadow, which is .57 grams of product.

Sure, compared to other BE eye colors it's a deal. But what about when you compare them to MAC pigments?

MAC upset their consumer base when they changed the packaging early in 2010. The price stayed the same (USD$19) but the quantity was cut almost in half. Previously MAC customers would pay that price to get 7.5 grams of product. Now they get 4.5 grams of product. The color range is still fairly extensive, with three finishes; but MAC consumers are smarting over the drastic change in amounts. This does mean that they were paying $2.53 per gram, but are now paying $4.22 per gram. That isn't quite a doubling in price, but it's close. It's easy to understand why they'd get a bit upset.

What I can't understand is how Bare Escentuals thinks it's going to hold up in a value-for-value slugfest with its high-shine colors. At $16 for 1.5 grams, their product will cost USD$10.66 per gram. Never mind the color selection - that can quickly and easily change. Look at that price difference!! Bare Escentuals' High Shine colors will cost 2.5 times as much, per gram, as MAC pigments. Many of the department stores that carry Bare Escentuals also carry MAC. Some even have MAC stores just outside, though not all of these locations carry MAC pigments. And of course there's Sephora and Ulta, BE's "middle-tier" channel partners, where there is no MAC anything to be all. I don't know if Bare Escentuals is hoping that its cult-status will win it market share, or if they're hoping that broader availability will give them a slight edge over MAC. But just looking at the raw numbers, I'd easily choose MAC pigments over BE's High Shine colors. I have to do the same amount of work to get to any physical store that sells either line, so that isn't an issue. And of course, once I've seen the colors in person I can always buy online when I have the money.

I've purchased two MAC pigments: Old Gold, and Melon. Both were in the new packaging. One tube of each of these pigments was enough to fill a 10-gram jar, and then some. (I actually had to keep the original tubes to store what wouldn't fit in the jars.) I also purchased the Sea Yourself kit, which included High Shine Sand Dune, and the Buzzworthy kit, which included High Shine Charisma. All four colors apply with a brilliant, near-metallic sheen; all four colors adhere about the same (if I don't use primer or base, they crease very quickly...but they don't fade, with or without primer/base.)

  • Performance: both products adhered equally well, and contained similar levels of pigmentation. The BE colors are softer (and actually quite similar to each other), but they weren't sheer. They were utterly opaque.
    WINNER: Draw
  • Quantity: 4.5 grams for MAC versus 1.5 grams for Bare Escentuals.
  • Price: USD$19 for MAC ($2.53 per gram) versus USD$16 for Bare Escentuals (10.66 per gram).
  • Related Links: High Shine colors preview at BEA; MAC Pigment packaging comparison at Temptalia

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