Beauty Bust: Marc Jacobs’ Fragrances Are Sweet, But His Beauty Kinda Stinks

Published on March 9, 2014 by   ·   1 Comment

000000000 MJB MarcOk, so usually in the Makeup Forum I like to focus on what I love: emerald tones, ombre and glitter lips, everything Lit Cosmetics does.  But every now and again I need to vent a little bit about some beauty brand or terrible trend that’s just wasting far too much time (and probably money), and this is going to be one of those posts.  I’ve been thinking about it for a while, and then while I was in Sephora inside JCP this weekend, I saw that Marc Jacobs Beauty had released a bronzer; those who are regular Makeup Forum readers know exactly how I feel about the dearth of creativity that assaults us every summer (if you missed that rant, you can visit it HERE).  So the fact that bronzers are already popping up on the shelves didn’t exactly help my mood (neither did my pretty epic hangover from the Hell on Heels 80s show!), but something about this bronzer in particular really set me off.

So, I remember when they were getting ready to launch Marc Jacobs Beauty.  Every 5 minutes, Sephora was sending me some email announcement about the new collection and every blog I was running across had some beauty maven wetting her pants over the potential of MJB.  And there was a lot of potential: where fragrance is concerned, Marc Jacobs is king.  His Honey has almost overtaken Dior’s Addict as my signature scent, and I swear it smells like sweet, sweet sex.  I adore it.  Dot is also amazing and delicious, with slightly more fruity notes and a playful drydown.  All of his fragrances are hits, so his beauty was obviously going to be good, right?

Wrong.

000000000 MJB ProductsThe collection launched August 9, 2013, and though Beauty Inc. called it the “Launch of the Year,” I thought it was better described as the yawn heard round the world.  The collection is super boring: the eyeshadow palettes are packed with predictable neutrals that you can find in any line (much cheaper), the lipsticks look like they have a nice smooth texture but come in only a handful of classic colors that I’m sure you already own (although I’ve grown away from them in many ways, NO ONE does a lipstick or offers a color selection like MAC – NO ONE!), and the whole collection is staggeringly overpriced.  $30 for a lipstick?  Then that lipstick had better be something super special.  A gel formula and a magnetic cap are not nearly enough to make me lay down my hard-earned sweaty titty money.

000000000 MJB Too Faced Snow BunnyThe bronzer that ignited my rage?  $49.  Seriously?  Bronzer is bronzer; at least TooFaced is trying to do something “out of the box” to spice up the bronzer experience (their “Snow Bunny” and “Pink Leopard” bronzers look like they could be fun, and they top out at $30).  The MJB bronzer is just a solid cake of brown pressed powder.  For $50 it should come to my house, bronze my skin naturally, and then hand me a fucking lemonade while it fans me with palm fronds.  Is anybody really buying this crap?

000000000 MJB PalettesThe eyeshadow palettes at Sephora are chock full of neutrals – where are the statement colors?  Is Marc Jacobs just trying to hedge his bets by giving women the classic colors that are perennially popular but that are already available in every other collection on the market?  The plum collection?  Yawn.  The collection with the gold and metallic has some promise, but it’s lost in a sea on beige boredom.  Even the green shadow shown in the bottom palette is the most bland option he could have chosen – forest green?  For real?!  He’s a designer – he should be incorporating at least some trendiness into his collections, or deciding on his own trends!  Not just rehashing old classics that have been done before, and frankly better.  And the packaging on the palettes?  It just feels…old to me.  For all of the packaging, actually.  The polish bottles are large and ungainly, the lip glasses are too capsule-esque.  The whole thing just feels like they rounded off all of the edges to keep you from trying to harm yourself when you realized how boring it all is.

000000000 MJB Nail Polish

The nail polishes, besides the ugly bottles, do offer at least a couple of statement colors (“Lux,” the yellow/lime almost neon color pictured was intriguing to me) and they might have tempted me to give them a try…if they weren’t priced at $18 each.  I have not, nor will I ever, pay $18 for a nail polish.  No matter how much you love it, there is someone else who has the exact same color (or a reasonable substitute) for at least $5 cheaper.  Who wants to pay extra to have that clunky oddball bottle clunking around in your kit or Caboodle?

000000000 MJB Lipsticks

Now on to the $30 lipsticks.  Again, a lot of this is coming from my own “background” as a loud and proud MAC girl; even though I feel like much of their line has been watered down and commercialized, they still have the widest range of amazing colors and a pigmentation and wearability that is hard to match.  And frankly, MJB doesn’t even try.  Their gel formulation does lay down smoothly, and I haven’t used it for a show but I assume that it would have good staying power.  But for $30, that lipstick better wow, and frankly it just can’t stand up to the MAC challenge.  It might be worth a splurge to treat yourself, if they had some really delicious color options.  But again, you’re faced with classic options that you can find in every other line on the planet and absolutely no surprises.  Hardly any pink options, and nothing unexpected.  The smell is also a little off-putting: the gel formulation gives it this light, almost green tea sort of scent.  When I think of full, colorful, pouty lips I want a smell that’s delicious and maybe a little bit decadent.  This lipstick is Dullsville, population you.

000000000 MJB Lip Vinyl

The lip glosses aren’t much better.  I’ve been known to spend too much on a lip gloss as a treat (lip products are my absolute favorite cosmetic treat!) but these have nothing going for them.  $ purple/berry shades in your meager collection?  I guess it’s a good thing Sephora and Pantone chose Radiant Orchid as the 2014 Color of the Year to help you move some of that product(read more about that particular launch, HERE).  Again the packaging is the same rounded, too-chubby capsules with black tops and banded silver detail.  And they ring up at $28, only $2 less than the overpriced lipsticks.  That makes me a sad panda.

000000000 MJB Marrcc olka DotsNow, Marc Jacobs is a beautiful man.  Let’s be real: I’d ride that until the wheels fell off.  And I’d be wearing his Honey fragrance the whole time.  But as amazing as his mind is at developing fantastic fragrances, I just feel like his beauty collection is a total miss.  It costs way too much, it relies far too much on boring, predictable classics, and the packaging is rounded and edgeless without actually being graceful or elegant.  Truthfully I don’t know why his collection raises my ire as much as it does (though I do think anyone who tries to sell plain bronzer at $49 should be subject to a public flogging!) but it really does get my blood boiling.  Perhaps because there are so many other great brands who are doing unexpected, fun things that aren’t represented on the shelves at Sephora, especially the Sephora inside JCP.  Lit glitter kits just found their way into Sephora over the holidays, in limited quantities; they are a company that is really trying to change the way we think about glitter and how it should be a part of the larger cosmetic world.  They have innovated hundreds of colors, different cuts and textures, and can you find their whole line in Sephora?  No, but you can find Marc fucking Jacobs with his pandering neutrals and his bad packaging life decisions.  Let’s hope that he either steps it up in a big way, or he goes back to what he does best: making enticing, intoxicating fragrances and looking good without his shirt on.

Now Go Forth And Get Painted!

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