Review & Swatches: MAC Gareth Pugh Nail Lacquers

Gareth Pugh Nail Lacquers

Limited Edition
Release Date: November 23, 2011
Availability: MAC online & MAC stores

Company’s Description

Shade and finish, this limited-edition Nail Lacquer sums up the entire sub-culture mood of Gareth Pugh for M•A•C. The square glass bottle features the collection’s signature marque.

The Gareth Pugh collection comes with 3 nail lacquers, reviewed here:

  • Inert (creme): Creamy mid-tone greyed nude
  • Ascension (frost): Grey with blue violet reflective pearl
  • Hyper (frost): Deep blue with violet pearl

Packaging: 9.25/10

Unlike MAC’s regular cylindrical bottles, these are squares with the featured Gareth Pugh “X” design on each face. The applicators are also shorter and have more conventional handles compared to the chubby, rubbery handles on other MAC polish applicators.

Quality: 9.25/10

Inert is a pale grey with a creamy finish. Ascension is a sheer, multi-chromed blue/purple/grey with a frosty finish. Hyper is a rich violet that flashes blue with a shimmery finish.

Usually, I have to apply 2-3 coats of MAC polishes to get an even finish. With the Gareth Pugh lacquers, I only applied 1 coat of each color and got an even finish with good color. You can certainly build up the colors with more layers, but it’s also nice to know you can get away with just a single coat.

Inert is a great neutral color for everyday or work-wear. Ascension and Hyper are also interesting; between the 2, I would choose Hyper because it is a richer color.

These colors are very good quality, but they are also easily dupeable. Inert is close to MAC’s Oyster Shell. Ascension is close to “Let Me Go” by Sinful Colors and almost exactly the same as Wet n Wild’s Gray’s Anatomy. Hyper is somewhat similar to Nicole by OPI’s Listen to Your Momager.

Ease of Use: 9.75/10

The more conventional handles on these polishes makes application more comfortable than with the regular MAC polishes. You also get a faster application with these colors because you only need a single coat.

Price: 6.75/10

Each jar has 0.30 fl oz of polish for $22. Normally, MAC polishes contain 0.34 fl oz and cost $15. Like I’ve said previously, you should expect to pay more for products from special edition collections like this one. But even the normally-priced and sized polishes are usually not worth the full cost. This is especially true for the Gareth Pugh polishes because they are easily replaced by much cheaper brands like Wet n Wild and Sinful Colors (which will cost only a couple dollars).

Final Grade


It’s a bit of a shame, because the high quality of these polishes gets somewhat overshadowed by the colors’ dupeability and the product’s high price.

Gareth Pugh Nail Lacquer Box Packaging

Gareth Pugh Nail Lacquers

Gareth Pugh Nail Lacquers

Gareth Pugh Nail Lacquer in Inert

Inert Applied – 1 Coat

Gareth Pugh Nail Lacquer in Ascension

Ascension Applied – 1 Coat

Gareth Pugh Nail Lacquer in Hyper

Hyper Applied – 1 Coat

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4 Responses to Review & Swatches: MAC Gareth Pugh Nail Lacquers

  1. Elena T says:

    the colors are really pretty! but I think MAC polishes are too expensive and some aren’t that great quality

  2. Theresa says:

    Hyper is gorgeous, but like you said, I’d rather save money and go for a drugstore brand.

  3. The hyper is so beautiful. Totally eye-catching.

  4. Lisa B. says:

    Hyper is a pretty nice color, and it’s great that the formula is improved (sometimes MAC’s nail lacquers are kinda streaky for me), but the price is not. Also…the dupes are drugstore brands that are cheaper, easier to find, and come in comparable size. I guess this is another year of a “Couture” collection with packaging as their best feature…

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