For Lips to Go With a Hip Victoriana Aesthetic: The MAC Ruffian Collection Lipsticks

Published in: Lips, MAC Makeup, Product Reviews

mac ruffian gold
Wearing MAC Ruffian Gold Lipstick, $14.50

Slowly but surely, one Marshall’s visit at a time, I’m moving away from my natural tendency to dress like a 13-year-old skater boy from The Valley and toward a hopefully more fashionable future as a 30-something-year-old woman with killer shoes and a quirky Cali girl sense of style…


…she wrote, sitting at her desk in an over-sized O’Neil surf tee and a pair of board shorts with cargo pockets.

LOL! Okay, it’s a process. A really, really slow process. 🙂

But one of the best parts of this slow-going effort to take my wardrobe more seriously has been figuring out what makeup to wear with different looks.

Like for my current fashion phase, beachy summer dresses, I’ve been gravitating toward neons and brights.

How long the phase will last, however, is hard to say…especially now that I’ve seen the new MAC Ruffian collection.

mac ruffian lipsticks

Looking for a lipstick to wear with a streetwise Victorian style? Something to go with that tweed jacket and that top with the bell-sleeves and ruffles, perhaps?

If so, it’s MAC Ruffian time.

The six-piece online exclusive is a collaboration between MAC and Ruffian, the NYC-based design duo of Brian Wolk and Claude Morais. Their clothes have an upscale, vintage vibe, with ready-to-wear (but hard to afford) pieces ranging from $800 for a shirt to $1,800 (!) for a jacket, and fans include edgy actresses Maggie Gyllenhaal and Kirsten Dunst.

For the MAC Ruffian collection (available online now in North America, and coming to select international MAC locations this September), Brian and Claude directed their design aesthetic into three Lipsticks ($14.50 US and $17.50 CDN) and three Ruffian Manicure sets ($25 US and $30 CDN) in classic, timeless shades of red, gold, beige and peach.

mac ruffian gold red naked
From the left: Ruffian Gold, Ruffian Red and Ruffian Naked Lipsticks

I took a break from summer brights and neons today to try the three lipsticks, and the first thing that came to mind: Chanel. And then Sir Arthur Conan Doyle… Or something he might have written, had Sherlock Holmes investigated a crime against Chanel (NO!). “It has long been an axiom of mine that Chanel should influence more things.”

True dat. 🙂

The red and gold are reminding me of 2010’s Shanghai-inspired Chanel Noir’ Et Or.

Here are some individual thoughts on the three Lipsticks (Ruffian Manicure review coming soon!)…

MAC Ruffian Red Lipstick
Russian Red devotees, there’s another blueish red in town, and this one also has a matte finish. I think Ruffian Red shows a bit more blue than its Russian cousin and seems somewhat more sophisticated as a result. MAKEUP AND BEAUTY BLOG RATING: B+

MAC Ruffian Gold Lipstick
With that gorgeous glossy finish and those flecks of glitter, Ruffian Gold must moonlight as a Chanel Rouge Coco Shine! Oh…I think it could look really pretty love paired with bronze eyeshadow and coral blush. MAKEUP AND BEAUTY BLOG RATING: A

MAC Ruffian Naked Lipstick
Unlike Ruffian Red and Gold, Ruffian Naked, the pale peachy matte, doesn’t light my fire. I like the color, but it reminds me too much of MAC Myth from the Fashion Sets release and Pro Longwear Lipcreme in You’re Perfect Already. It’s also not the smoothest cat in town, and I find it quite drying. MAKEUP AND BEAUTY BLOG RATING: C+/B-

mac ruffian gold red naked
Clockwise from the red tube on the left: Ruffian Red, Ruffian Naked and Ruffian Gold

mac ruffian lipstick swatches
Swatches from the left: Ruffian Red, Ruby Woo, Russian Red and MAC Red; Ruffian Naked, You’re Perfect Already and Myth; Ruffian Gold

mac ruffian naked
Ruffian Naked


mac ruffian red
Ruffian Red

With these colors, it’s as if MAC took existing shades and just tweaked them a little, and I’m okay with that (this time), because there’s something timeless about the colors, and it makes them shades I know I’ll wear.

If you’re thinking about skipping summer and getting an early start on fall, they could also be good colors for something like that.

The entire MAC Ruffian collection includes…

Lipstick in Ruffian Naked ($14.50 US, $17.50 CDN): a pale peachy nude matte

Lipstick in Ruffian Gold ($14.50 US, $17.50 CDN): a gold glittery metallic frost

Lipstick in Ruffian Red ($14.50 US, $17.50 CDN): a classic rich blueish red matte

Ruffian Manicure in Spectator ($25 US, $30 CDN): cream with a black half moon, black French tip and black Ruffian Ensignia

Ruffian Manicure in Demoiselle ($25 US, $30 CDN): Ruffian Red with a white half moon and a black French tip

Ruffian Manicure in Demilune ($25 US, $30 CDN): matte black with chrome gold half moon

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 18 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Nina says:

    For a while there, I thought I wanted Ruffian Naked but thank you for letting me know that Youre Perfect Already is its slightly better cousin! I ordered Youre Perfect Already on a whim over the weekend and im eagerly awaiting for it to be delivered!

  2. Okay, so it’s not exactly a helpful statement, but: I LOVE the look of those boxes! ;o) I’ll be passing on the lipsticks, but I do like the concept of the gold one – I bet it would look gorgeous layered over Ruffian Red.
    Rae // theNotice recently posted … A little bit sweet on you | Clarins Colour Quench Lip Balm in Sweet Papaya review, photos, swatches

  3. Jen says:

    Your hair looks amazing here! I’m not interested in any of the lipsticks, but I am mesmerized by your hair. Haha!

  4. Crystal says:

    I was going to try to skip the Red but now I gotta get it!

  5. Angie says:

    Is there by any chance that the top– or dress– that you’re wearing’s from H&M? cuz i think i’m wearing the exact same thing! LOL
    Ahh, transitions from one style to another XD

    • Karen says:

      Hi Angie,

      LOL, yes it is! 🙂 It was a birthday gift from my brother and his girlfriend. 🙂

      What shoes do you usually wear with your dress?

      • Angie says:

        I paired them with a black cardigan, pair of opaque tights and oxfords the other day– Vancouver isn’t exactly summery yet D:

  6. musical says:

    Gold it is! So lovely on you! Naked is so deceptive :(.

  7. I really like how Ruffian Red looks on you, but I’ll pass on Ruffian Naked and Gold–its a bit too light for my taste and will definitely give me corpse lips
    Becca @ The Beauty Sample recently posted … The Sample: Shiseido Luminizing Satin Face Color in BE206 Soft Beam Gold Review

  8. I don’t own a single red lipstick from MAC yet, I like Ruffian Red more than the others here!
    Ankita@corallista recently posted … Budget Monday : Avon Simply Pretty Valentine special lipstick Cherry Red Review, Swatch

  9. Jencey says:

    Thanks Karen! No, seriously. You did all of us a huge favor! I didn’t want to buy blind without looking at swatches first, and I’m glad you promptly made this post because I was worried these were going to sell out quickly. I wanted the Red and Naked, but Naked with my dark skintone equals not a good look lol. I will be getting the Gold in place of it. It wasn’t on my list but I love how it looked swatched and on you, and it looks fantastic for layering with other lipsticks.

  10. Dominique says:

    I love the Ruffian red lipstick, so bright !

  11. Stèphanie says:

    I love ’em all!
    Stèphanie recently posted … Nails Shapes and Sizes

  12. Nadege says:

    Karen, Ruffian Red is so gorgeous on you!!
    Nadege recently posted … Nyx Mascara in Pin Up Tease (Boudoir Collection)

  13. Ingrid says:

    I would love a post comparing the MAC reds 🙂

  14. Tina B says:

    Loved the comparisons and I think Ruffian Red is beautiful!
    Tina B recently posted … Sneak Peek & Giveaway: July 2012 Glamour Birchbox

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