On SkinFetish 003, hype, and perception vs. reality

This is one of those instances when the outsides don’t match the insides, and the folks at Pat McGrath really should have known better. So after participating in the feeding frenzy to get my hands on these things, both of my Skin Fetish sets arrived in the mail on Saturday. There was no shipment notification, no smoke signal, no indication that anyone had packed a box and shipped them out. But suddenly, there they were at my door.

You guys have seen the packaging. The plastic packets full of sequins. So I won’t bore you with those. But when I cut them open, about A BILLION SEQUINS spilled out. So much waste.I have no idea what the point is to someone older than, say… 13… because it’s such a phenomenal waste. I can see Heal the Bay going OFF about this crap ending up in the ocean or something.

Dye Anne decided to have a little fun with them so we took pictures. ALL THOSE SEQUINS for three little pieces of product.

mcgrath collection

Nude is on the left, and gold is one the right. The pigments are white based, with the lightest sheen of color indicating how they’ll show up. I forgot to take the top off the balm and highlighter, but suffice to say you’ve seen the formula before. The balm looks like mcgrath goldsolid vaseline, and the highlighter looks like every cream stick highlighter you’ve ever used. The insides (formulation) of this kit are EXQUISITE, but the outside is horseshit. You see those sticks? Well some kid who was bored during playtime at kindergarten put those labels on. They are paper, crooked, and full of massive bubbles. Absolutely no care was taken in the packaging. The pots are wide and shallow, so they hold a deceptively small amount of product. I don’t know WHO asked for those brushes but they are a total waste. Thin, flimsy, and imprecise, they serve no purpose other than to take up space and help justify the $72 price tag.

I was really sad about this wack ass packaging. I would be a lot more sympathetic if Mcmcgrath nudeGrath and her people were just getting started and maybe had to do everything themselves in the by candlelight and after too many glasses of bourbon downed in depression for lack of funding. But this woman is a behemoth in the makeup industry, and has access to manufacturing and packaging and presentation the likes of which we cannot imagine. The damn brushes have a STICKER on them (not etched like any other brush on the market) that have the logo and ‘made in Japan’ on them. Maybe they’re stickers because the folks in Japan (they of Hakuhodo and Chikuhodo) didn’t want us to think that they’d turned out such substandard product. I don’t blame them.

I put up swatches of JUST the highlighters  on Instagram:


Gold is on the left. Nude translates as ‘white’ on my warm skin, which is good. The balm does not have that violet tinge like the pigment.

I got over my initial disappointment at the heinous packaging and swatched them… first separate, then blended. The good news is, the formulas in the highlight and pigment are really good. I can live without the balm, and the brush serves absolutely no purpose.

mcgrath nude swatchesNude

mcgrath gold swatchesGold

mgrath swatchesNude and Gold Layered

Straight from the stick, application is VERY imprecise. You see how wobbly the swatches are. I imagine this doesn’t matter since you’re going to be putting them on places and blending them in. I first dusted the pigment with the brush but it barely picked up (I’ll likely throw those things in the trash), then tried it with fingers and it was much better. I will say that there is NO glitter or shimmer to really speak of in this formula. This is really ‘skin like’ sheen. These swatches are very heavy but this formula blends out beautifully. So that, at least, is truth in advertising. The rest… meh.

Here’s the thing: I have no issue paying for makeup. I’ve ponied up more than $72 for those limited edition Guerlain Terracotta Bronzers. But the packaging on those things (wooden) LOOKS LIKE they cost at least that much! The presentation is gorgeous, and the outsides always match the insides. It looks as beautiful as it performs. They look like COLLECTOR’S ITEMS. These things look like something you fished out of a bargain bin at a drug store, and was pleasantly surprised at how good the formula was. Presentation wise, it belongs on the ‘drug store/high street’ portion of a comparison video.

Are they worth it at $72? No. This stuff won’t change your life. I’d be much happier if they were realistic about this shoddy packaging and dropped the price to $36. Then you could compare it to something like Becca and get an honest reaction in terms of formulation and performance (and Becca would still win the packaging round). The world will go crazy all over again when these drop at Sephora, and some poor soul will pony up hundreds to get it off of ebay. But hey, do you.

“A fool and his money…”



  1. Thanks so much for an HONEST review. The pigmentation looks great, but at $72 a piece I think I’ll pass. The lack of quality in the packaging and the brushes is a huge disappointment! Even $1 Elf brushes are are etched on the handles and half way usable. I expected a lot more from Pat Mcgrath.

  2. You’re welcome! I do like the highlighter and the pigment, but never for $72 and that packaging just seals the deal for me. The only way I’d pony up that kind money for this product is if the packaging was more luxurious, and definitely without that ridiculous brush. This execution is just so cheap and bargain basement. I’d expect more from McGrath, considering her time and status in the industry. When you look at someone like Charlotte Tilbury (massive hard-sell product shilling aside), you see that her packaging is a MAJOR part of the selling point. It’s gorgeous. And it helps that the quality is excellent too (still blocking out the Bar of Gold). I want that level of presentation from Pat McGrath. She is capable, and we deserve it.

  3. Linda says:

    Yes thanks for the honesty and the swatches. I want to support Miss Pat, but I don’t see my oily self using balm trying to get a glow. For some reason these don’t even appeal to me at a discount price. Glad I didn’t fall for all the hype.

    • You’re welcome. I LOVE Miss Pat. Let me be 100% about that. But this was very half-assed. It should have been done better. The product is good, but the packaging is horrible and cheap, and they are not worth the asking price. They just aren’t.

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