Ruby Woo has been in my collection for years and though I seldom seem to wear it neat (ie unmixed) these days, I did so recently and was reminded what a triumph of hue and texture it has always been. Perhaps MAC's most graphic red, it strikes that perfect cool velvet note and flatters everyone, regardless of complexion, age or hair colour. It is stiff and dense, difficult to work without a quality brush and considerable technique, but in its favour stands its utter resistance to bleeding and migration and that suede-y pin-up glamour that is unique. Yes, there's always NARS Dragon Girl, Fire Down Below blah blah but after all the hype, they're just... not as good. Not as striking, not as saturated... beside RW they look narrowly contemporary, if you know what I mean. RW schools them and they go home crying, probably to Roony Mara's house. Do you need Ruby Woo? Yes; you've needed it for the last ten years.
Violetta is a whole nother kettle of bananas. As a MAC Pro colour it is the subject of a fair amount of frothing lust, especially by those without access to a counter and is frequently sold out, even online. I have no wordly idea where all this lipstick is going, because it's not something you see on a face every day and in some ways, that is a good thing. Violetta a violent, frosty, irridescent blue-based mauve with an auto-paint metallic finish and most people, myself included, have no legitimate business wearing it. Against my fish-white skin and chicken-red hair it is massively unflattering. But if you've read my work you might have guessed that good taste isn't really a priority, so let me be perfectly honest with you at this point and say that if you're...
- over 25
- have any kind of lip-challenge whatsoever (thin, chapped, irregular etc)
- any kind of pigmentation issue (veins, redness, ashiness, yellowing)
- a conservative look
...Violetta is going to look pretty fucked, at least during the day. I'm sorry, it just will. And probably beyond what you might get from the swatches in this review, because it has an odd ability to really collaborate with and emphasize your personal shortcomings. I know it does mine. But it is such a fantastic colour that you probably won't care, and I'm with you on that. We shouldn't give a toss what it looks like as long as we enjoy it.
The formula is excellent to the point of miraculous, as with many of the amplified finishes- ridiculously smooth to apply, impeccably buildable without looking claggy or bunchy; unless you eat a hot lunch, it barely bleeds, and just sort of fades away toward afternoon rather than leaving a ring of death. If Ruby Woo is 100% opaque, Violetta would rate around 70%, coverage-wise.
My favourite way of wearing it after some experimentation is to pat it on from the tube, keeping the finish semi-sheer without losing my natural lip colour; this is perhaps the prettiest and most flattering way to go, if that's what you're concerned with. If you're intent on a more graphic look with full coverage I recommend taming it with Grape, Beet or perhaps Magenta lip pencil which will tone down the frost.