Not gonna lie, this is the first time in a long time that I've been excited about a MAC collection. Apart from a few items here and there, this brand has been boring me. For the past few years it felt like MAC was seen as the gold standard of makeup, with bloggers and YouTubers often comparing other brands to MAC in their reviews (which drives me crazy), but that seems to have died out, thankfully. Everyone went crazy over MAC's recent Cinderella collab with Disney, but it left me cold – especially the sub-standard and overpriced eyeshadow palette. I wasn't expecting to genuinely like another collection of theirs again, but the Christmas collection this year has melted my anti-MAC heart. The traditional Nutcracker design has avoided red and green, and is instead a pretty pink and purple extravaganza.
The most exciting thing about the range for a lot of makeup fans is the re-introduction of Whisper of Gilt, a limited edition pale-gold highlighter from a few years ago that had people weeping over how quickly it sold out. I do like it, though it's definitely a bit too gold for me to wear as a highlighter, so I didn't see it as the miracle cosmetic others did. It would definitely make a pretty eyeshadow though, perfect for the holiday party season.
There are two highlighter/blusher duos in the collection: Peach Face (below left), a peachy-pink blusher with a pretty silver highlighter, and Copper Face (below right), a deep rose blusher with the aforementioned Whisper of Gilt. They're so exquisitely packaged, the plastic case (above) has gold faux-embroidery on it, and each pan has the same rope-effect imprint. There's also a decent sized mirror in each compact.
I find the formulations of both highlighters really creamy when swatched, and when I've worn Tutu, the shimmery silver, it's been long-lasting. I really like the tone of the blushers as well, they're not glittery, but they're very light reflective to give a healthy glow.
There are six single eyeshadows in the collection, and I nabbed two. They're just so much prettier than MAC's usual packaging, I absolutely love the gold rim on the pots, and the pink lids. They come in pink and purple spotty boxes (see top picture), and I picked two really good ones. Forward March is an intense pale gold with peach undertones, and Dark Lullaby is a midnight purple with pretty shimmer that annoyingly I couldn't capture on camera.
I did have my eye on the two blushers, mostly because they're so pretty in their pink, purple and gold cases, and they have stars imprinted on the actual product. However, not only were they both sold out, I couldn't see much difference between the glittery peach one and NARS' Orgasm, and the pink one looks kinda generic. It's no wonder they were the first in the collection to sell out in the UK though, they look stunning.
There are several gift sets in the Nutcracker Sweet (love their play on words), including some really nice mini lipsticks in some of MAC's best-selling reds and nudes. I really liked the Sweet Red Lip kit; three full-size products in a cosmetics bag (top picture) that I'd definitely not find too 'Christmassy' to use all year round. Candy Cane (above) is matte, limited edition, and one of the best true-red lipsticks I've seen in a long time. The only red I really like of MAC's is MAC Red, and this one is now my new favourite; it's the kind of intense red you see on old movie stars and wonder how they got such vibrant ruby lips. If you want to make the look shinier you can layer the Vamplify red lipgloss over it, though this is also a good opaque shade in its own right. The Trust in Red lip pencil works well with both of them. For a beaut red lippy you won't be able to get anywhere else, I'd say this kit is good value. They also have brush sets and Mineralize makeup sets in the gift bag range – if you're Christmas shopping for a makeup addict, they'd probably really like something from the Nutcracker Sweet.
One last thing, the Nutcracker Sweet eye kohl in Powersurge is a truly stunning bronze with gold shimmer, I don't have anything else like it in my collection, and it's perfect for hazel or green eyes. It's reminded me that MAC kohls are not bad at all, and in fact the whole collection has got me looking at other MAC bits for the first time in ages. Don't get me wrong, I don't think MAC is bad quality, it's just inconsistent and often overhyped. Anyhoo, this is just a mere sample of the Nutcracker Sweet collection, there's so much more to take a look at, including Viva Glam items, and three eye palettes. Sorry not sorry for all the highlighter pictures, those are definitely the A+ winners.