Battle of the House-brands: Mecca Max vs. Sephora Collection

BY JENNY JUNG

This is the real deal rundown on the must-haves from Mecca Max and Sephora Collection.

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26 AUG - 2021

It’s the house-brands’ hall of fame to get the bang out of your buck.

Today is a big day. It is the battle of battles: Mecca Max vs. Sephora Collection. Expensive doesn't always mean better, so we’ve prepared a line up of the star products from Mecca Max and the Sephora Collection!

I understand that high-quality, beautiful packaging has everything to do with fulfilling that retail therapy void during stressful times. But every once in a while, wouldn't you want to save a buck and be able to get a cocktail with the girls with a perfectly good lipstick or powder in the handbag that won't cost you half your rent?

This is a must-read for anyone that has been curious about Mecca Max and Sephora Collection.

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Mecca Max Single Shadow, NZD$9

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Sephora Collection Cream Lip Stain, NZD$21

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Give Me Face

While there are great complexion products from both ranges, it's not easy to recommend a particular one when we all have different skin types and tones. So to create a productive and inclusive conversation, I wanted to shine a light on makeup innovation instead. Let me introduce to you the Mecca Max Life Proof Liquid Lightening and Darkening Drops.

This is pure genius and everyone needs to know about it. If you fluctuate between different foundation shades throughout the year, or you accidentally purchased a foundation too light or too dark - look no more. This is your $22 solution to a potentially very expensive oopsie. It is a little bottle of magic!

Essentially, it is a concentrate of light and dark pigments that you can mix into your foundation to curate your perfect shade. It does not alter the undertone or the formula - only the shade. It’s handy for people who struggle to find their perfect shade or for professional makeup kits! Plus, you won't need to purchase a million different foundations and concealers!

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Finding the Perfect Shade Made Easier

Lip Liner

Sephora Collection wins the Lip Liner category because they have a more comprehensive range of colours and formulas.

The Lip Stain Lip liners are retractable pencils that make them easy to use and carry around without a fuss and the colour range covers a wide array of reds and purples. At first, I was disappointed at the lack of nude shades, but when you understand the intention behind such a long-wearing formula, it starts to make sense why there are so many bold shades.

This formula is like the missing puzzle piece of the indestructible red lip. Every single makeup brand seems to have a red lip liner, but the Lip Stain lip liner is on a whole other level of long-wearing. You are guaranteed to find a red lip liner to match your favourite red lipstick with the added reassurance that it will stay all night.

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Sephora Collection Lip Stain Selection, NZD $20

Lipstick

Sephora hits it out of the park with their lippie range. There are so many different formulas that genuinely compete with high-end brands such as the Cream Lip Stain and Rouge Matte. Today, I’ll be focusing on the Rouge Nude Collection.

Great nude lipsticks seem to be hard to find at an affordable price point but Sephora came out with a creamy formula plus an extensive selection of pale to dark nudes - there’s one for everybody!

A common theme with more affordable nude lipsticks is that they always oxidise once they're on the lips. You won't have this issue with the Sephora Rouge Nude Collection whatsoever. The colour selection is stunning, and my personal favourites are 'Always Right' and 'Don’t You Dare.' Slightly blot on the lips for that 90's supermodel lip, or swipe it on for that girl boss effect. This is truly a must-try, and it will only set you back $14.

Honourable Mention: Mecca Max Pout Pop Lipsticks - sheer and glossy!

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Sephora Collection Rouge Nude Collection $14.70

Highlighter

Powder formulas are challenging to create, especially on a lower budget. This is why I tend to recommend higher-end powder formulations. Still, in terms of stick or liquid formulas - Mecca Max is providing all the goods.

If you are a natural girl, definitely try out the Off-Duty Glass Stick. It is a stunning stick highlighter that delivers a true glow as opposed to shimmer or glitter. It replicates the glass-skin look without looking oily as you can pinpoint where you want to deposit the glow. It’s luminous and reflects light in a dewy way.

On the other hand, if you love the blinding highlighted look, turn your head to the Mecca Max Liquid Light.

Does anyone remember the Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops? Well, this is an excellent dupe for the all-time beauty holy grail from Cover FX. Not only is it a fraction of the price, but it delivers the same impact in five different shades, so you'll be sure to find the one that suits you best. Apply on the high points or mix into your foundation for that ethereal glimmer that twinkles in the light. Absolutely love this gem from Mecca Max!

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Mecca Max Liquid Light, NZD $29

Liquid Eyeliner

If you love black liquid liner, you have to get the Wink Ink Liquid Liner from Mecca Max.

I even conducted a water-proof test along with the Nars and Too-Faced liquid liners, and guess which one survived? The $21 Wink Ink. While it is a felt tip instead of a brush tip, it is incredibly flexible and easy to use. It’s a must-have in my makeup collection and I recommend it to as many people as possible.

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Mecca Max Wink Ink Liquid Liner $21

Eyeshadow

In terms of eyeshadows, I'd say ditch the palettes and go for the singles.

From the Sephora Collection, 'Sand Dunes' is the perfect everyday partner in crime. It is a beautifully lush neutral-warm brown. Elevate this with 'Morning Freshness,' a gorgeous shimmery and warm taupe with tiny specks of glitter. Otherwise, if you're more of a bronze gal, pick up 'Be Chic.'

From Mecca Max, 'Call Me' is a dupe for the M.A.C holy grail eyeshadow 'Expensive Pink' - a stunning pink and gold duo-chrome. 'Chick Flick' is a buttery soft, neutral-mauve matte brown that is a game-changer on the eyes and cheeks for a monochromatic look. And finally, my favourite is 'Girl Band' - it's a deep shimmery cranberry red which is to die for on blue or brown eyes for a smoky, sexy look.

The Sephora Collection single shadows will cost you $14 and Mecca Max $9. Curate your own perfect little eyeshadow combination that you know you will love.

Honourable Mention: Sephora Collection Colorful Special Effect Liquid Eyeshadow - an excellent dupe for the Stila Liquid Shadows!

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Sephora Collection Colorful Special Effect Liquid Eyeshadow $22

Brushes

Both brands feature fantastic brushes, but at different price points. I must say that there are specific brushes from the Sephora brand that are absolutely divine. However, they aren't at a budget price point like Mecca Max.

Recommending brushes can be difficult because it is entirely up to personal preference. Overall, I'd recommend Mecca Max brushes as the cost ranges from $10-$27. In contrast, Sephora brushes are definitely at a luxury price point. This category really is proof that expensive doesn't always mean better. If you love foundation brushes, the Mecca Max Complexion Buffing Brush is a must-have. The Highlight Hitter rush is also great for under-eye powder, blush, and highlighting!

Honourable mention: Sephora Collection PRO 6-Piece Brush set.

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Mecca Max Brush Collection

Brows

If you have been dying to try the soap brow trend, Mecca Max has got your back. The Brow Guru Super Soap is one of the best brow gels regarding hold, universality, and accessibility. It's clear, non-clumpy, and it's an excellent dupe for the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Freeze.

Pair this with the Mecca Max Brow Guru Micro-Matic pencil or Tinted Brow Gel for a complete brow routine.

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Mecca Max Brow Guru Super Soap, NZD$18

The Finale

And that is a wrap on the hall of fame: Mecca Max and Sephora Collection. I hope you see some of your favourites in this list, and some new ones too!

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