Thursday, February 21st, 2008

MAC Cosmetics: Guide For The Newly Addicted, Part 6

Brushes

  • Face | These are the brushes I could not live without: 129 (for blush and powder), 168/169 (to contour), 182 (for buffing), and 187 (for stippling). Brushes that are good, but you could get away with not having are: 150 (good for powders), 188 (smaller stippling, more precision), 183 (flat buffer), and 194 (concealing).
  • Eyes | These are the brushes I could not live without: 210 (for precision lining), 219 (for lining with shadow, precise crease definition), 239 (shadow application), 249 (cream product application), and 266 (for upper lash line lining and brows). Brushes that are incredibly popular: 217 (blending), 222 (blending), and 224 (blending).
  • Lips | I like the 318 because it is a retractable version of the 316, which makes it convenient for on the go. The 311 is nice, but I find I can line well with cremestick liner already.
  • Sets | Once or twice a year, MAC puts out brush sets with four to five brushes in them. Each set comes with a brush bag and then four or five miniaturized brushes. Typically, they have a basic set, which includes both face and eye brushes; an eye brush set; and a face set. I always encourage newcomers to check these out as a great way to get quality brushes for less. They also make excellent travel options.
  • SH vs. SE | SH stands for “Short Handled,” which means the brush is specially made for a certain launch or collection. It may be pink handled or ornately decorated, but the brushhead is of the same quailty as the typical version. SE stands for “Special Edition,” which tend to be short handled brushes included in brush sets. These are man-made, mass-produced, and do tend to have less quality than a full-sized version. However, they are packaged in sets, which are much less expensive than individual, full-size brushes making them a good deal. To be sure, I personally find that the difference in quailty is not really that big. I mostly can feel it in a fluffy brush like the 129, which does feel a bit rougher compared to the full-size version.
Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

MAC Cosmetics:  Guide For The Newly Addicted, Part 5

If I’m new, what are some good basics that I should get into first?

It is important to note that everybody is a little different, and their preferences for the type of makeup or kinds of products are not the same across the board.  You should use this only as a guideline, but not as something that is universal to every person.

Face

  • Foundation | MAC has several varieties in foundation, and it is a good idea to go to your local MAC store to get color-matched and determine the appropriate foundation for you.  Certain formulas are better for those who want full coverage, while others are preferential for light coverage.  Lightweight formulas include Studio Mist, Select Tint, Select CoverUp, and Studio Stick.  Medium coverage includes:  Face & Body, Mineralize Satinfinish, Studio Fix Fluid, and Studio Fix (Powder).  Heavier coverage includes:  Studio Tech and Full Coverage.
  • Powders | MAC offers a good range of different types of powder, including pressed and loose.  Blot powder (pressed or loose) is designed to help reduce oil build-up for those with oilier skin.  The line also offers several bronzing powder options and iridescent pressed powders/highlighters.  Beauty powders, which are loose powder highlighters, are also fun to play around with.
  • Concealer | While MAC offers several options for concealers, many rave about Select Cover-Up and Studio Stick Concealer.  Studio Lights are great for specific kinds of concealing, like brightening dark circles.

Cheeks

  • Powder Blushes | Pressed powder blushes are easy to use, and there is a large variety in colors to choose from.  There are bold colors like Frankly Scarlet (deep red) to dark pinks like Dollymix to warm peach like Springsheen.  Some blush colors that are often highly reviewed:  Ambering Rose, Blushbaby, Breezy, Dame, Dollymix, Honour, Margin, Peachykeen, Springsheen, Sunbasque, and Well Dressed.
  • Blushcremes | These are cream blushes, which means they give a bit of a shiny and dewy finish to cheeks once applied.  These are ideally applied using a stippling brush like the 188.  Some favorites are Blossoming, Brit Wit, Lilicent, and Sweet William.
  • Cream Colour Bases | Similar to cream blushes, these are a creamy formula (though not as creamy as blushcremes) that are used as a multipurpose product, but they can be used to highlight and blush cheeks.  Virgin Isle is gorgeous on apples of cheeks as well as lips.  Pearl and Shell make amazing highlighters on cheekbones as well as on the inner tearducts.
Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

MAC Cosmetics:  Guide For The Newly Addicted, Part 4

If I’m new, what are some good basics that I should get into first?

It is important to note that everybody is a little different, and their preferences for the type of makeup or kinds of products are not the same across the board.  You should use this only as a guideline, but not as something that is universal to every person.

Lips

  • Lip Conditioner | Both the regular lip conditioner and the tinted lip conditioner are great for keeping lips soft, and the tinted ones give a nice touch of color for everyday wear or quick lips.
  • Lipstick | There are so many shades and textures, it would be impossible to recommend a set that would work for everyone.  I want to give you something to work off of, though, and like eyeshadows, here are some color families and what people tend to rave about.
    • Browns >> O, Shag, Touch
    • Corals >> CB96, Jest, Vegas Volt
    • Fuchsias >> Girl About Town, Full Fuchsia, Impassioned
    • Nude Pinks >> Hue, Hug Me, Plink!
    • Nudes >> Cherish, Myth, Velvet Teddy
    • Peaches >> Honeyflower, Mocha, Ramblin’ Rose
    • Pinks >> Angel, Snob, Sweetie
    • Purples >> Dark Side, Odyssey, Rebel
    • Raspberries >> New York Apple
    • Reds >> Lady Bug, Russian Red, Ruby Woo
    • Vamps >> Desire, Media, Underworld
  • Slimshines | These are a more moisturizing, creamier, and sheerer version of the lipstick.  Some favorite shades are Bare, Funshine, and Long Stem Rose.
  • Lipgelees | Glossy, sheer color that’s more moisturizing than lipglass.  Some favorites are:  Dewy Jube, Lu-Be-Lu, Lust Is Lush, and Slicked Pink.
  • Lipglass | This is a glossy, tacky formula with sheer colors as well as opaque ones.  Those who dislike sticky glosses should stay clear of the lipglass formula!  Some good colors to think about are:  C-Thru, Cultured, Lychee Luxe, Nymphette, Pink Poodle, and Prrr.
  • Lustreglass | This is a less sticky version of lipglass, which also tends to run sheerer in color.  Some favorites are:  Flashmode, Little Vi, Luminary, and Pinkarat.
  • Plushglass | This gloss formula is high-shine without any tackiness.  The colors tend to be sheerer, and the formula is intended to plump up lips.  Popular color choices are:  Big Kiss, Full For You, Nice Buzz, and Pretty Plush.
  • Lip Liners | There are several types of lip liners to choose from, including the traditional lip pencil and the cremestick range.  I prefer the cremestick range as it is non-drying and goes on easily.  Some favorites from the cremestick family are:  Beurre, Cranapple, Cream O’Spice, Pink Treat, Red Enriched, and Summerfruit.
Tuesday, February 19th, 2008


Flash ‘N Dash lipstick

Debating about what lip products to get from Fafi?  Here are a few swatches for you!

Continue reading →

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

MAC Cosmetics:  Guide For The Newly Addicted, Part 3

If I’m new, what are some good basics that I should get into first?

It is important to note that everybody is a little different, and their preferences for the type of makeup or kinds of products are not the same across the board. You should use this only as a guideline, but not as something that is universal to every person.

Eyes

  • Primer | Prep + Prime Eye is MAC’s base for eyeshadow, and while it isn’t a bad product, many love Urban Decay’s Primer Potion more. Nonetheless, MAC offers several other products that can be used as primers/bases that are excellent. Paints in shades such as Bare Canvas and Untitled; paint pots in Bare Study and Painterly; and Shadesticks in Beige-ing and Fresh Cement are all great for getting a neutral base. You can always try other shades and hues for intensifying similar colored eyeshadows (e.g., Lucky Jade shadestick with any green eyeshadow over it will bring out the shadow color even more).
  • Shadow | MAC offers a diverse range of colors and textures in their eyeshadow department. It is hard to narrow it down to even ten must-have colors.  As a result, I would rather give you three top notch choices in each color family.
    • Blacks >> Black Tied, Carbon
    • Blues >> Deep Truth, Freshwater, Moon’s Reflection
    • Browns >> Amber Lights, Bronze, Woodwinked
    • Golds >> Goldmine, Gorgeous Gold, Juiced
    • Grays/Silvers >> Knight Divine, Print, Silver Ring
    • Greens >> Humid, Juxt, Velvet Moss
    • Neutrals/highlighters >> Dazzlelight, Ricepaper, Vex
    • Oranges >> Mythology, Orange, Rule
    • Pinks >> Da Bling, Passionate, Pen ‘N’ Pink
    • Purples >> Parfait Amour, Satellite Dreams, Stars N’ Rockets
    • Teals >> Aquadisiac, Shimmermoss, Surreal
    • Whites >> Chill, Crystal Avalanche, Gesso
  • Pigments | Melon, Naked, Tan, and Vanilla are all really versatile pigment colors that work well as more neutral bases.  I also love working with Fuchsia, Golden Olive, Teal, and Violet pigments as well.
  • Eye Liners | MAC makes a whole host of different kinds of eye liners, but my favorite versions are technakohl liners and fluidlines.  Blacktrack fluidline is a long-lasting black gel liner that yields good results for the majority of users.  Graphblack technakohl is the black liner of the technakohl family, and I find it is the one I reach for most.
Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

MAC Cosmetics:  Guide For The Newly Addicted, Part 2

MAC PRO? What’s that all about?

MAC PRO is considered the professional part of their cosmetic line, which is meant to serve industry makeup artists. The PRO line contains products that the normal person would have no reason to use. For instance, Chromacakes are watercolored cakes that work with water; they are ideal for body painting–how many of us need a product like this? They are fun products, and they’re great for Halloween for the consumer, but for professionals, they can be essential in photoshoots and editorial work.

Also, MAC PRO is also a membership program that allows makeup artists to receive a 40% discount off most MAC Cosmetics products, while other relevant industry employees receive 30%. There is even a student discount (e.g., for those studying cosmotology) and kits. In addition to the professional discount, a PRO membership includes access to master classes taught by a range of MAC artists, complimentary shipping for orders over $150, access to www.macpro.com, etc.

Do I need a PRO membership to buy PRO products or go to a PRO store?

NO! You don’t have to be anything but a customer. You are free to shop and browse in any PRO store. You simply do not qualify for the PRO discount, so you will pay full retail price on all products, including PRO products.

What if I don’t live near a freestanding or PRO store?

Have no fear, PRO stores take phone orders and will ship it to you for a reasonable shipping cost (in my experience, roughly $6). The best thing to do is to locate the nearest PRO store to you (be sure to select the box that says show stores that sell PRO products only!), call them up, and place your order. They will be happy to assist you! I always call the San Francisco PRO store, because the service is fantastic, and they can be reached at (415) 771-6113. If you have never been to a PRO store, I urge you to visit www.macpro.com, because you can view what they have available and make some decisions from there. Unfortunately, prices are not visible to non-PRO members, but you should feel free to ask the artist you speak with when placing your order.

What are some of your favorite PRO products?

  • Pigments | These are loose color that are often more pigmented than a typical powder/pressed eyeshadow. This is probably one of my favorite PRO products, and I love Chartreuse, Kelly Green, Pink Pearl, and True Chartreuse.
    Blush palettes/pans | There are several colors that are only available at PRO, many of them incredibly pigmented and bright. At PRO stores, blushes can be bought in a pan form, like eyeshadow pans, and there are empty blush palettes available that can hold up to six blushes.
  • Glosses | They come in some pretty colors, but they are great to shine the skin. They are fun, multipurpose lip products that are always worth a glance over. Some of my favorites are Rosy Coral, Duo Rose, Violet, and Guava.
    Eyeshadows | There is a great offering of bright and matte shadows, and if you love color, you should definitely check out Bio-Green, Blue Calm, Bright Sunshine, Kelly, and Sour Lemon.
    Cream Colour Bases (CCBs) | These are great, creamy products with good pigmentation that makes them great for lips, cheeks, body, maybe even eyes for some. I like the versatility of Antiqued Gold, Fresco, Pink, and Rich Coral.
    Powders | Invisible set is one of the most popular PRO powders, because it helps to set makeup without adding any color. Beauty powders are great loose highlighters and blush colors, and they are so finely milled that they deposit easily on the skin.
  • Mixing Medium | The water-based mixing medium is a product I could not live without, and if you want to wear pigments, I urge you to get this as a must-have accompaniment. It helps the loose color adhere to your lid and stay on all day long.