I have long felt that within the makeup community there is this sentiment than something is more 'worth it' than another. Urban Decay and MAC and higher end brands will come out with a shade or a product and suddenly, it's THE authority of that shade or product. I feel like anything that is 'less than' MAC or another brand is seen as inferior....yet there is this need to compare product x to y. Hence, the idea of a dupe- get the same thing, but for a better value. Now it's true that often you get what you pay for, but there have been times I've bought a high end product and sat there, tube in hand, thinking, "I paid thirty bucks for this?!" Then I suddenly feel like my 30 clams could've gone to two movie tickets and some nachos. This hit me in a big way when I realized that MAC's lip pencils are often considered THE shade and Nyx (a GREAT brand) has some really close runner ups.
Would you like to see who stacks up in Nyx vs MAC? We've got our underdog, the budget brand Nyx in the left corner and the heavy hitter MAC in the right....let's see them duke it out! Yeah, brawl!
First of all, I swatched most of Nyx's lip pencils. They come in two sizes, long and short/slim. Weirdly enough, a long and a short/slim will have the same names in a couple of instances but they'll be two different colors, so don't assume a long with the name mauve is just an ahem, forgive me, longer version of the slim mauve. They ain'ts. If you want to see 11 Nyx long pencil swatches go HERE; if you want to see swatches of 16 short/slim pencils go HERE and for 6 more, go HERE. That's 33 pencils with a range of hot pink to soft salmon and a lot of great nudes and pinks.
For the record, Nyx's pencils aren't crap. They don't crumble and they really are great for the $1.50 or so Cherry Culture might charge for them. Alright after I typed that I realized I better check the price. I tend to get mine on sale, so they are even more cheap than normal. For regular retail pricing, here you go:
Nyx Slim Lip Liner Pencils: $3.00 for 1 g of product.
Nyx Long Lip Liner Pencils: $1.50 for 2 g of product.
*Why they charge twice as much for half the product is beyond me. It's a mystery of the universe.
Ingredients: Sorbitan Isostearate, Isocetyl Stearate, Phenyl Trimethicone, Polyethylene, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Unsaponifiables, Beeswax, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) seed oil, Caprylic/Capri Triglyceride, Nylon-12, Octyldodecanol, Polyglyceryl-2 Diisostearate, Silica, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Hydrogenated Coconut Oil, Tocopherol, VP/Hexadecene Copolymer, Stearalkonium Hectorite, Stearyl Glycyrrhetinate, Propylparaben, Prolylene Carbonate
Ingredients: Well, this made me laugh a little. On Cherry Culture, the ingredients are listed as: Long Lip Pencil. Ha ha! I guess technically that is true. I mean, I'm all kinds of ingredients too like, carbon, water, keratin, proteins...and technically I am a Tianne. Very funny, Cherry Culture.
Shade selections are as follows (I heart'ed the shades I own):
|Nyx Slim Lip Liner Pencils|
|Nyx Long Lip Liner Pencils|
Colors of both long and short pencils that I haven't previously swatched are: Y2k, Deep Purple, Cabaret, Prune, Coffee, Nutmeg, Auburn, Nude Beige, and Orange.
Here's what gets weird though, long and short might have similar names. Or they get weird on you and in the short it's 'Currant' but in the long it's 'Current', argh! Also, shades may come and go. I am seeing with my own eyeballs that I own the long pencil in Deep Purple but when I research buying the long pencil in Deep Purple, it doesn't exist....so I am left to assume that a, I bought the one freak long Deep Purple pencil or b, they've dc'd it and it's now only in the slim.
Since I don't own the slim in Deep Purple, I can't compare. Let's just say for the record that long and slim pencils of the same name are not necessarily the same shade. That's my beef with Nyx. Don't confuse me like that, Nyx....I'm a girl of simple pleasures, let's just keep the names straight and keep them available.
So, if you're not totally confused yet, I own a total of (let me go actually count in my drawer) 37 pencils from Nyx. 12 long and 25 short/slim. Phew.
Now that we've gotten Nyx out of the way, stats down and ready to rumble. Here comes MAC.
Ah, MAC. We all collect you and hate your prices and love your products. Even your 15 LE releases a year. For lip pencils, you get options. There's pro longwear, regular lip pencils, and cremestick liners. I only own one of the pro longwear and the rest are standard lip pencils. They're more creamy and glide easier than Nyx's pencils which feel more waxy in comparison. However, on pigmentation and wearability, Nyx is more longer lasting and MAC has more unique shade ranges. Take a look:
|MAC Lip Pencils|
Shades I own are: Spice, Boldy Bare, Subculture, Stripdown, Oak, Stone, Soar, Dervish, Hover, Whirl, Currant, Nightmoth, Chicory, Lasting Sensation, and Cherry.
Lip Pencil: $15.00 for 1.45g of product, almost 5x's as expensive as Nyx. Correct me if I am wrong, but it's safe to say these are more pricey.
Ingredients: Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Glycerides, Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Talc, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Japan Fruit Wax, Tocopherol, Ascorbyl Palmitate
Lip pencils may contain:
Iron Oxides, Titanium Dioxide, Manganese Violet, Carmine, Bismuth Oxychloride, Mica, Red 7 Lake, Red 6, Red 28 Lake, Red 21, Yellow 5 Lake, Yellow 6, Blue 1 Lake, Yellow 10 Lake, Red 30, Red 40 Lake *Info taken from Spektra
Pro Longwear lip pencils are smaller, only come in 14 shades and cost more. From what I can tell by using Dynamo, they are less creamy, but that doesn't mean they last longer. Unless there is a shade you are dying for (ahem, hot pink) just buy the regular lip pencils. Or buy Nyx :)
Pro Longwear Lip Pencil: $19.50 for 1.2 g of product
Ingredients: same as above I am assuming because it wasn't on the first page of Google results and I'm not going to hunt for it. They do feel less creamy than the standard lip pencils though...so maybe it's magic MAC stick 'em that they're hiding like Wonka.
I own Dynamo. Yeah, go me!
P.S. I widened the photo for better visibility and continuity on the post- they aren't fat, they're standard pencil size.
|MAC Pro Longwear Lip Pencil|
Swatches of the shades I own, 15 out of 30 and the lonely 1 pro longwear, are below:
From left to right are: Spice, Boldy Bare, Subculture, Stripdown, Oak, and Stone.
Stone is bomb. Seriously. It's like this great ashy brown. It's the 90's grunge shade you always wished you wore as cool as your friend. I love it. I pair it with a muted pink like Snob and I have rich-blonde-lady lips that I love. They remind me of my 9th grade pep/cheer coach who was like, the coolest. Yeah I'm almost 40 and I remember this junk. I know, I know...you're thinking "Get a life, T"....I can't, I'm a beauty blogger and nursing student. My life is makeup and enemas. Ahem.
Next up, left to right: Soar, Dervish, Hover, Whirl, Currant, and Nightmoth.
Oooh Nightmoth. THE dark liner. Currant looks almost the same but has a more plum tone whereas Nightmoth is a blackened brick with a drop of purple.
I feel the picture below is most accurate. It really shows the difference between Currant and Nightmoth.
Now for the brights! From left to right are: Chicory, Lasting Sensation (not flaming orange, but no matter what I do photographs that way. It's a true salmon-coral), Cherry, and the pro longwear, Dynamo.
NOW...the event you've all been waiting for. Nyx vs MAC! *ding ding!*
Quick disclaimer- I only distinguish between long and short/slim Nyx pencils here if the shade names are identical. Otherwise, just assume it's a slim/short unless you can find it in the long range...I hope that made sense.
I've started by comparing them in a shade range. If I have more time I'll do a side by side dupe test. I love data like that, it purrs to my little OCD heart. BUT I think if you see many shades at once you get a better feel for the subtleties that exist between shades. Aaand to be fair, I am only going to write Dupes! if they truly are indistinguishable one from another to my eyeballs.
Here we go- the deep berry tones:
Nyx shades are the top vertical shades: Y2k, Deep Purple, Current (tricky name alert), and Prune
MAC shades are the horizontal ones: Nightmoth and Currant
Deep Purple = Currant
Y2k is the brown version of Nightmoth
Nyx Current is more rose and lighter than MAC's Currant
Reds, the top vertical shades are Nyx: Plush Red long, Plush Red short/slim (hence, the " " marks, just means ditto), and Hot Red.
MAC is horizontal: Cherry
Plush Red short/slim = Cherry
I know it's hard to tell, but they aren't all the same....they are slightly different which means you could get all 4 and not really tell the difference on your lips, under lipstick. So buy 3 Nyx and for the price of 1 MAC, yeehaw!
When we get to the more pink/neutral tones it becomes a hot mess. There are so many shade variations and dupes it's hard to clear the water and make definitive comparisons. I'll try. Let's do this together, shall we?
Nyx is vertical, left to right: Nutmeg, Cabaret, Coffee, and Auburn
MAC is horizontal, top to bottom: Spice and Chicory
Nyx Coffee = Spice
Auburn is more rosy toned than Chicory which leans more red-brown....so don't let that photo fool ya!
I tried to keep this legible, but Nyx is on top, vertical, from left to right: Nude Beige, Natural long, Natural short/slim, Ever, Mauve short/slim, Mauve long, Sweet Bean, Chestnut, 1000 years.
MAC is horizontal, from left to right: Hover, Stripdown, Oak, and Stone
Ever = Chicory
Nude Beige = Stripdown
Close calls are: Natural is a ligher version of Hover, Sweet Bean is a more taupe version of Stone, Nude Beige is also a more tan version of Oak. I mean really, it's close.
This is the ugly one. No two ways around it.
MAC is on top this time, from left to right: Boldy Bare, Subculture, Soar, Whirl, and Dervish
Nyx is below, left to right: Peekaboo Neutral, Citrine, Nude Pink, Natural short/slim, Natural long, Nude Beige, and Mauve long.
Natural short/slim = Boldy Bare
Natural long = Subculture
Peekaboo Neutral = Dervish
Mauve long = Soar
Close seconds are Whirl is almost duped by Mauve short/slim...but is deeper in tone. I guess if you piled on Mauve short/slim you'd get a Whirl. Okay, bad joke. Nude Pink is close to Dervish, but Dervish is deeper in color.
These are the brights, MAC is on top, left to right: Dynamo and Lasting Sensation
Nyx is below, vertical, left to right: Sand Pink, Pinky, Bloom, Hot Pink, Orange, Tangerine, Nectar, and Coral.
Now here is where MAC undoubtedly wins...Dynamo is a banging hot pink shade. Nyx has a lot of dark magenta and brighter pinks, but nothing that is so neon. Also Lasting Sensation no matter what lighting I had looks orange in photos. It's not, it's a salmon/coral like this:
|Image courtesy of Google, |
Actual shade of MAC's Lasting Sensation Lip Pencil,
a bright salmon/coral
You can see once I post a more true-color image the coral in Lasting Sensation pulls out. It really is a bright, unique shade I couldn't find a dupe for.
None! Dynamo is almost touched in brightness by Hot Pink but it's more true pink whereas Hot Pink is a more red toned pink. Lasting Sensation is very bright and could be swapped by Orange but only if you want orange instead of coral. If I were to spend my dollars, I'd pick up these two out of all of them- they really are unique and great shades.
Per my last post on Nyx liners, I wrote some dupes in based on research I found online. Here is the list, Nyx (left) vs MAC (right/bold) if you want to compare as you shop:
Dupe List, with my thoughts noted as *
1000 Years = Stone *I found 1000 years to be more golden
Espresso = Chestnut *don't own Espresso/Chestnut
Toast = Cork *same as above
Ever = Spice *I found Coffee to be a closer dupe
Mauve (long/short who knows) = Hover and Subculture *I found Natural long to match Subculture and Mauve could definitely sub for Hover but Mauve short/slim is closer to Whirl
Deep Purple = Currant
Plush Red short/slim = Cherry
Plush Red short/slim = Half Red *I don't own Half Red, but I found it to be a dupe of Cherry
Coffee = SpiceEver = Chicory
Nude Beige = Stripdown
Boldy Bare = Natural short/slim
Subculture = Natural long
Dervish = Peekaboo Neutral
Soar = Mauve long
Nude Pink = MAC Dervish *Dervish is deeper in color
Mauve short/slim = Whirl
I hope this is useful to you. My overlying thought is this- when it comes to comparing Nyx vs MAC, MAC has the cool appeal, the unique shades, and a creamier formula. Nyx is more affordable, wider variety of shades to chose from, and is slightly more waxy and longer-wearing. If you want to stock up, buy Nyx. If you want the best of the best, buy MAC. I love both and as you can see, there are some dupes, but you'll get a wide variety of great lip pencils regardless of which brand you choose.
Have a great day,