MAC Ruby Woo & Velvet Teddy Perfume Reviews

Cathee Dahmen

Mainstream Monday – Sniffing (Two) Popular Perfumes

MAC Cosmetics launched Shadescents, a line of perfumes to correspond with some of their best-selling, cult status lipstick shades. I was all about this concept as it combined both of my vices – perfume and lipstick.

I’m not on MAC’s PR list and it really didn’t appear they reached out to anyone that talks solely about perfume, so I had to wait for these to come into stores. It was a wreck. I went to two stores in NYC and both of them didn’t have blotters for me to test these. It was like they were not equipped to sell perfume and were surprised anyone would stop by to smell their perfumes. The third store had blotters but only testers for half of the collection. This was stop #3, I was frustrated and gave up. A few months later I was walking by a store and saw the display and stopped in. This was months after the initial buzz and there wasn’t much talk about the line. I was surprised by the collection because it wasn’t exactly “safe”. There were some palatable ones but there were a few oddballs that would take some staff to educate the usual (AKA non-fraghead consumer) and I don’t think MAC really looks for that in their staff (and I don’t blame them). When I went home and did some research, gosh, people (AKA some beauty bloggers)¹ really didn’t like these and then you have fragheads ignoring the brand because well, it’s MAC, a makeup brand.

Anyway, that was quite a rattling intro to a review of two perfumes that appealed to me in the Shadescents Collection.

MAC Ruby Woo


Notes listed include red leather.

Years ago, I read that Ruby Woo was MAC’s number one selling lipstick shade. It’s a matte blue-based red that has gained celebrity status since its launch in 1999. Dita von Teese wears it. It was Rihanna’s favorite shade before she starting launching her own shades.

Now to the perfume…Ruby Woo is weird but I think it’s still rather wearable. It’s like red berries and birch tar. In the opening, it’s heavy on the cherry, which I absolutely love. It’s like maraschino liqueur! And then it gets a little more “rugged”. It’s a savory saffron and a smoky leather. It actually reminds me of a really simplified Tom Ford Tuscan Leather.

Give Ruby Woo a try if you like smoky, fruity, synth-ouds. Or perfumes like Tom Ford Tuscan Leather, Amouroud Oud du Jour, Byredo Black Saffron, Shay & Blue Framboise Noire and/or Montale Aoud Leather.

I’m surprised that this is their interpretation of one of their biggest selling lipstick shades. Why? Because it’s weird to most people (not to those of us that wear niche; this is actually “normal”). MAC took a risk and I appreciate that.

Victoria’s Final EauPINION Cherry liqueur and birch tar leather. It’s surprisingly “niche smelling” for its price. Honestly, I wouldn’t mind owning a bottle of this despite not needing a bottle of this.

MAC Velvet Teddy


Notes listed include wild honey and creamy musk.

I don’t know if you remember the Naked Honey Collection that MAC launched many, many years ago, but those perfumes were exceptional. So, when I saw that MAC had a new honey perfume, I couldn’t wait to try it…but as I mentioned above, it took a few months.

The lipstick shade of Velvet Teddy is a warmer beige “nude” shade with a matte finish. This is actually one of my favorite non-statement lipstick shades. It’s like this balance of peach-pink-brown that just adapts to any look that I’m doing. It’s one of the most versatile shades of lipstick that I own.

I know I already compared a Shadescent to a Tom Ford Private Blend. I’m going to continue to do that. Velvet Teddy is basically a less expensive version of Tobacco Vanille. It is a sweet honeyed vanilla pipe tobacco. It has more honey than Tobacco Vanille but overall, there are many similarities. It opens with a spiced (cloves, cinnamon, vanilla) pipe tobacco and sweet honey. It wears as a very sweet tobacco with an extra shot of tonka bean to amp up the vanilla and tobacco. The dry-down is sweet honey and vanilla with musk and something that smells almost like an ashtray smothered in sweetness (promise it smells better than it sounds!). Like the lipstick shade, this perfume is comforting, versatile…perfect.

Give it a try if you like sweet tobacco scents. Or perfumes like Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille, ScentStory 24 Gold Elixir, Amouroud Miel Sauvage, By Kilian Back to Black, Penhaligons Roaring Radcliff and/or Vilhelm The Oud Affair. 

Victoria’s Final EauPINIONTobacco vanilla! 

Don’t overlook the Shadescents Collection even if you don’t wear pigment smeared onto your lips. I’ve highlighted two “dupes”. For their price, I think they’re a great value². They aren’t exceptional, “original” perfumes but they both resemble themes that have been popular in more expensive niche brands throughout the years. If you want to smell like tobacco or leather without spending a lot of money, these are worth trying out.

Projection and longevity of above of these were average.

The 1.7 oz bottles retail for $57 at Nordstrom.

¹Gosh, they seem to really hate My Heroine (the one in the purple bottle) which I thought was pretty good. It’s a super smoky leather and saffron, that also reminds me of a Tom Ford Private Blend meets CdG Tar.

²For reference, when I published this review, the 1.7 oz  bottle of Tom Ford Private Blends retails for $230 while the MAC one is $57.

Want more reviews? Try…

Colognoisseur – Review of Ruby Woo

Musings of a Muse – Review of Velvet Teddy

The Beauty Look Book – All of them.

*Samples obtained by me. Product pics from the brand. Cathee Dahmen (one of my favorite photos of her) putting on lipstick in a YSL lip print dress for British Vogue from Post contains an affiliate link.

8 thoughts on “MAC Ruby Woo & Velvet Teddy Perfume Reviews

  1. I’m an obsessive connoisseur of red lipsticks, and I so wanted to love Ruby Woo, but it is soooooo dry. I feel like my lips are going to crack and fall off when I wear it.

    1. 🙁 My favorite MAC lipstick formula is “Amplified”. Their mattes are hit or miss (for me). My lips lean dry and I’m realizing that I shouldn’t really mess with any matte formulas anymore. They aren’t flattering on me and require more work than I want to give. People like mattes because they are long-wearing. I’d much rather reapply a product throughout the day/evening that is comfortable than deal with an uncomfortable lipstick.

      I like Russian Red which is basically Ruby Woo but not matte. Since you are a red lipstick connoisseur, you know you don’t have to settle. There are many comfortable, “plump”, flattering reds out there.

      1. I really like Russian Red. I wore it when I defended my dissertation and put a tube in a care package for a friend for her dissertation defense.

  2. Ruby Woo sounds interesting. I usually think of cherry-ish perfumes as more appropriate for someone in her early 20s but who really cares about “appropriate”. Plus the other notes make it sound a little more grown and dark.

    1. I know that is silly too but I have thoughts like that as well (even though I know it’s a silly thought!). But, I feel like all those other notes make Ruby Woo feel like something with more life experiences than the usual cherry perfume 😉 It reminds me of Tuscan Leather but with a more enjoyable opening. It’s very unisex too, but I think the name and the fact that it is a makeup brand will keep a lot of men from trying it that may otherwise wear it (especially if they wear TF Private Blends).

  3. I owned two bottles of Africanimal (one open, one stashed) until my ex threw them out when we broke up. Actual tears.

    1. I have never wanted to track someone down and stomp on their toes as much as I do right now.

      I’m sorry 🙁 That was such a lovely fragrance.

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