MAC — Imperial Green & Sunset Tourmaline (Bao Bao Wan, Studio Nail Lacquer) Swatch & Review

Collection: MAC Spring 2015, Bao Bao Wan

So, I admit to having not heard of Bao Bao Wan until her recent collaboration with MAC. She appears to be a Chinese socialite and jewelry designer, and her first outing with MAC includes three nail lacquers: Kashmir Blue, Imperial Green and Sunset Tourmaline. I hadn’t tried MAC’s revamped Studio Nail Lacquers yet, but was planning to since they had also recently dropped the price of their nail polishes from CA$19 to a more reasonable CA$14. Of the three Bao Bao Wan nail lacquers (which were CA$16, presumably because they are limited edition with special packaging), Imperial Green and Sunset Tourmaline called to me the most, so I quickly popped them into my shopping cart and they arrived yesterday! Yay for free express shipping.

MAC Studio Nail Lacquer in Imperial Green & Sunset Tourmaline (Bao Bao Wan)

Now, a quick word about the Studio Nail Lacquer line. I own several MAC polishes from back in the day (even a few that came in the original frosted cubes!) and the formulas were never very good. Basically, the only appeal was the unique colors, and the brand name (right?). With the new Studio Nail Lacquers, MAC have definitely improved the formula, though if I’m honest, it wouldn’t have been hard to improve upon those clumpy earlier formulas! It’s high time they did, because they do have some pretty fabulous nail polish shades. The new Studio Nail Lacquer brush has also been changed to the flat brush that basically everybody uses nowadays. I’m not a huge fan of it, but I can deal. The MAC brush is not all that wide compared with some of the others.

The Bao Bao Wan nail lacquer packaging differs slightly from the normal packaging: MAC say it’s a “special luxe velvety brown packaging”. Basically, the cap is brown, a little rubbery and speckled with shimmery teal. Bao Bao Wan’s logo is printed on the bottle in yellow. I did notice that there was a Back to MAC logo on the box flap, so I expect you can return this and five other B2M containers to MAC for a free lipstick. I was under the impression that the limited edition packaging wasn’t eligible, but I must be wrong! I don’t expect to take them up on this, though, as I haven’t run out of a nail polish since the mid-90s.

Onto the colors!

Imperial Green is a fabulous, vibrant jade green shimmer. MAC describe it as a “spring green with multidimensional pearl.” I don’t find the shimmer all that multidimensional, and it leans a touch turquoise for a spring green, but it is definitely a marvelous shade that would work for all seasons. I liked the formula on this very much: it was a little thick, but I kind of like that slightly pudding-y spring in my polish. It applied very evenly and two coats were required for full opacity.

MAC Studio Nail Lacquer in Imperial Green (Bao Bao Wan)

Here is a swatch, and, please excuse my rather raggedy cuticles. It’s been a very cold winter and with all the constant washing up, there has been no mercy for my hands! I have to say, though, macro shots make them look awful. They don’t look all that horrible at a normal distance! And in dim lighting! Where did all the flaky bits come from?!

MAC Studio Nail Lacquer in Imperial Green (Bao Bao Wan), swatch

Sunset Tourmaline was probably the one I was more excited about, since the online swatch showed a lot of “multidimensional pearl” and, well…it was supposed to be plum. It doesn’t look plum. It’s kind of…mauve. I am not a fan of mauve. Nevertheless, it is actually still rather pretty and very wearable for those who need a more conserative nail look. It’s a medium mauve-y plum with a topaz brownishness to it. Quite shimmery, with a lot of that multidimensional pearl. I suppose it is probably all the silvery brown shimmer that lightens the plum base so that it looks more mauve.

MAC Studio Nail Lacquer in Sunset Tourmaline (Bao Bao Wan)

[What does tourmaline look like, anyway?]

I liked the formula on Sunset Tourmaline less, however. It was a touch thin and I needed three coats for full opacity. This could end up a blessing in disguise: I suspect if I layer it over a plum nail polish, I’ll probably get that look I want that MAC’s swatch promised!

MAC Studio Nail Lacquer in Sunset Tourmaline (Bao Bao Wan), swatch

MAC Studio Nail Lacquer is 10 mL / 0.34 US fl oz, and it retails for US$12 / CA$14 (however, this limited edition polish retails for US$13.50 / CA$16). The polish is free of toluene, formaldehyde and dibutyl phthalate (DBP). Imperial Green and Sunset Tourmaline are both made in the USA.

MAC is part of the Estée Lauder Companies.


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