There’s a big buzz right now about the Primark PS Cotton Candy Range thanks to a newspaper citing it as a MAC dupe. While I can see there are some comparisons to MAC packaging (particularly the pigments and nail polishes) that’s more or less where the similarity ends. It’s not hard to spot where influences have been taken – and why not.. everyone else is doing it – but the quality is not at all the same. Which isn’t to say it’s bad – it is standard ‘affordable’ make up quality with very low prices that mean you can have fun with it without making a big financial commitment.
The Eye Candy Palette, £4.50, swatched up perfectly well with better pigment than I was expecting. Talc isn’t even the top ingredient here (mica is) and there’s even an Urban Decay-esq shade shifty colour too. However, the packaging is ropy with glue dabs where they shouldn’t be.
The nail polishes are a bit of a mixed bag – a couple of shades performed really well (not long term tested) and a couple were streaky.
The first two, Whipped Cream and Chocolate Sauce didn’t dry to an even finish, while Fudge Pop and Cherry Pie did better – they took a while to dry to a matte finish and there is a big chemical smell coming from them in the bottle – more than your average polish in my view. They’re £1.50.
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I’m very impressed with the quality of the actual lipstick in the Primark PS Cotton Candy Range – obviously they’re a matte finish and they have plenty of pigment – I could easily be swatching a more premium brand here. I don;t have a price on these but I imagine a couple of quid. BUT:
… here’s what happened when I opened one of them. The packaging is so flimsy it reminds me of Swizzler sweetie lipsticks. The labels are stuck on in such a way down the side of the lipstick and cover the seal, so it’s impossible to open before you buy. So, as long as this doesn’t happen, I think these are amazing value, but very let down by poor production.
Ignoring the ‘plump’ element, these £2.50 matte lipsticks are amazing value. I can definitely see MAC references in these with Retro Matte Liquids. They take longer to dry to a matte finish than MAC though by a long way, but if you’re patient it happens.
I actually swatched MAC Retro Matte (Flesh Stone) at the same time to get a comparison and you can see in the swatch that immediately Flesh Stone starts to dry while the Primark Mattes stay glossy. The best way to apply is two thin coats rather than one loaded swipe. I haven’t tested for longevity so if you have, please do add in your comments for other readers.
By far and away my favourite things from the range are the pigments. After NYX pigments that wouldn’t shake out of the holes in the stopper, these have a little lid under the cap that you can open and close to minimise mess and the pigments shake out really well. The shades I have are quite light but I can’t find anything to criticise here with Iced Gem and Raspberry Bon Bon. They’re £1.50.
There is definitely compromise on packaging and production quality to get prices as low as possible, but to be honest, I’ve seen variable quality from many brands. The Primark range is like the sweets near checkout at the supermarket – affordable temptations – and while I think you need to pick and choose carefully, there are some decent workable products. But, in my view, there is no real MAC duping going on.
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