5 Makeup Artist Must-Haves from MAC

By Nita J., Virginia, Makeup Artist

Nita J is a strong advocate that true beauty lives in each and every individual. To her, makeup just enhances beauty and should never be used to mask the beauty that a person was born with. With her knowledge of makeup, cosmetic brands, marketing and the beauty industry, Nita J hopes to contribute as much as she can and instill in the minds of others that confidence and true beauty is soul-deep. You can check out her portfolio and her blog!


5 Makeup Artist Must-Haves from MAC

As you can probably guess, a major part of the journey of a makeup artist is the wonderful (and sometimes overwhelmingly frustrating) process of testing out products, falling in love with products, purging products and revisiting products. It sure can get exhausting but in the midst of it all, you come to realize what works and what isn’t so great when it comes to what products to include in your kit. Now, I do understand that we are all not makeup artists, but please keep in mind I am a makeup addict myself and this process also helps me decide what to keep for myself.

On my beauty blog, I am working on a series of makeup products, by cosmetic line, that are great for both personal and professional kits. Since MAC is a universally popular brand, let’s start by looking at five AMAZING products:

Eyeshadows

MAC’s eyeshadows ($14.50), although they are more expensive than other brands, have amazing quality and minimal fall-out, which I love. Worn with or without a primer, these eyeshadows tend to stay true to shade and pigmentation. The more neutral shades are normally the most popular staples found in many kits such as Satin Taupe, Patina, Espresso, Rice Paper, and Naked Lunch, just to name a few. Their staying power is what has me hooked!

Pigments

MAC’s pigments ($20.00) are so multifunctional and easy to work with! For simple use, you can take your favorite shade and dust it over your lids for a quick pop of color or use to stain your cheeks. You can even get super creative by mixing with clear lip gloss or MAC’s Mixing Medium to create more artistic looks. The possibilities are truly endless with pigments. I suggest stashing at least one or two in your kit!

Fix+

This is another awesome product that gets lots of buzz. MAC’s Fix+ ($20.00) is a skin-refreshing spray infused with lots of goodies such as vitamins, green tea, cucumber and minerals that calm the skin and finishes your makeup look to help it last throughout the day. It truly does feel great on the skin and has an amazing, fresh fragrance. For added makeup staying power, I like to spray this product on a client’s skin as a foundation primer when I don’t want the heaviness of a moisturizing cream.

Strobe Cream

MAC says that Strobe Cream ($30.00) “enhances the effects of light on all skin and in all lighting conditions from sunlight to spotlight.” That’s exactly what it does!  It gives your skin a quick wake-up call with antioxidants and botanicals that refreshes and rejuvenates the skin. I personally fell in love with it the first time I used it under my Studio Fix Fluid Foundation. It just gives your skin that extra oomph!

Prep + Prime Transparent Finishing Powder/Pressed

I really like that Prep + Prime Transparent Finishing Powder/Pressed ($23.00) not only controls shine, but it minimizes lines and imperfections. This easy-to-use product can be used as a quick fix on the go, even if you are not wearing much makeup for the day. Us makeup artists LOVE our multifunctional products!

What are some of your FAVORITE MAC products that you can’t live without? What are some that you would like to try? I would love to hear your comments!

Sneak Peek: MAC for Gareth Pugh Collection

Here are a few product packaging photos as well as photos of the lashes. I was not able to buy the Metal-X Cream Eyeshadows, because the stores’ shipments were delayed. They’re not sure when they will have it in stock, so here’s hoping that it’ll be in all stores next week in time for launch. As soon as I can purchase them, I certainly will. I originally thought the larger powder in this collection was a regular pressed powder (so I didn’t see a need to spend $60 on it if it is like every other year’s Mystery Powders, which are very sheer!), but it is a beauty powder, so I will also try to grab that when I am able to buy the eyeshadows. Thanks for your patience!

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MAC for Gareth Pugh Collection

Giorgio Armani Holiday 2011 Collection: Madre Perla


Giorgio Armani Holiday 2011 Collection: Madre Perla

An inspiring era… The elegance of the 30s is setting the tone for the season. Pure lines, sophisticated colours, luxurious details… Art Deco in all its glory with one of its iconic materials: Madre Perla. Madre Perla inlaid in a precious case, heralding a must-have product. Madre Perla, too, in Linda Cantello’s colour inspiration, with subtle reflections and iridescent effects.

“Like a 1930s’ boudoir… A touch of lacquer and patinated metals add a sophisticated feel to satiny, pearlescent tones. Delicate shades reminiscent of the silk lingerie of the time.” — Linda Cantello

Madreperla Palette ($59.00) (Limited Edition)

Irresistible… Inspired by Art Deco style, Giorgio Armani’s famous black case is decorated in real Madre Perla. Precision work done entirely by hand in the purest tradition of luxury craftsmanship. Utter refinement: a silver logo adorns this exclusive limited edition case, which just 3,000 women in the world will have the privilege of owning. Decidedly unique… Inside are found three luminous, satiny powders in sand, champagne and aqua. Silky shadows that skilfully combine a featherlight texture with radiant colour. Blended over the eye area, the three shades sculpt and illuminate the eyes. Lightly dabbed onto the facial contours, the sand and champagne tones catch the light to increase the radiance of the complexion. The Face & Eye Palette is also available in Giorgio Armani’s iconic black lacquer case.

  • Harmony 1 (Face and Eyes)
  • Harmony 2 (Eye)

Eyes to Kill Intense Silk Eyeshadow ($32.00) (Limited Edition)

Giorgio Armani’s most spectacular shadow is revealed in a limited edition of three metallic shades subtly patinated: a gold, as an echo to antique gilt, a toned down silver plutonium, and an intermediate shade blending gold and silver. Thanks to Colorfil color matrix, these creamy, powder-free shadows adhere to the eyelid like a second skin, without ever fading or flaking. At the heart of their formula is a very high concentration of pigments captured in a supple polymer complex resistant to humidity and heat. The result: a vibrant film of colour, as if cast in metal, which stays true for 24 hours.

  • #17 Silver
  • #18 Gold
  • #19 Blended gold and silver

Gloss d’Armani ($32.00) (Limited Edition)

A play of light and shade for the eyes… while the lips are adorned in vibrant lacquered shades. A real weave of colour, Gloss d’Armani offers comfortable, long-lasting hold, expressed in four limited edition shades: barely iridescent rosewood enhances the natural colour of the lips, while a velvety “amaranth” red and sienna intensely emphasise their shape. And an unexpected choice: a bold amethyst, which is vivid yet so translucent on application that it matches any skin tone.

  • Pink Iridescent rosewood
  • Red Velvety amaranth red
  • Brown Sienna
  • Purple Amethyst

availability: Now @ Nordstrom (you may have to poke around, but I saw them all available!)

See more photos!

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Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet Luminous Matte Lip Color (La Ravissante)

Chanel La Ravissante (32) Rouge Allure Velvet Luminous Matte Lip Color ($32.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a coral-orange with a soft shine. It’s not matte exactly–it’s more semi-matte–but the shine disappears within the first hour, and you get a much more matte look at that time. It looks a bit like a subtly frosted matte after the shine wears off. Bobbi Brown Sweet Nectar is a bit darker, Chanel Teheran is very similar but a touch pinker and frosted, and Milani Cora Bora Bora is fairly similar but also frosted.

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Chanel La Ravissante (32) Rouge Allure Velvet Luminous Matte Lip Color
Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet La Ravissante
B-
Product
5
Pigmentation
10
Texture
7
Longevity
10
Application
4
Total
80%

Holiday Gift Guide: Totally Holiday, Totally Gift-Worthy and Over $50


Holiday Gift Guide: Totally Holiday, Totally Gift-Worthy and Over $50

The last part of the Totally Holiday, Totally Gift-Worthy section of the guide features the more indulgent gifts to give this holiday season. These may be luxurious, or they may offer tremendous value but will be an investment for years to come. Next part of the guide will focus on limited edition holiday color favorites. If you missed it, I already posted the under $30 and under $50 guides! :)

A Few Tips on Breaking the Bank for Gifts

  • Typically, the thought really is what counts, and if you have the budget for it, great gifts can be pricey gifts, too, but make sure you’re still thinking about the person you’re buying for and getting them something indulgent that they want.  Similarly, just because it’s a gift you’d love to receive doesn’t always translate to one your recipient would love to receive.
  • Not all sets are created equal–I picked my favorites (across all the holiday kit/set guides) that I felt were good overall, both for quality as well as value, but sometimes kits have minimal savings or it might be in a product you’d never use (maybe it’s a mascara or primer or whatever).  It’s easy to get caught up in “savings” when it’s plastered all over the kit/sale page but remember to read the fine print and see what’s really inside.
  • Sometimes buying full-sized products is better if your budget is bigger.  For instance, for the price of the NARS set ($125), you could purchase five full-sized, individual NARS lipglosses–and you could hand-pick the colors or shades.  You can also mix up brands, product types, and whether something it’s limited or permanent that way.

Eyes: One of the ultimate gift sets this season is Make Up For Ever Wild & Chic Aqua Cream Collection ($175.00), but it presents a good opportunity to have several full-sized Aqua Creams at less than retail; I love Aqua Creams in general, and this set is mostly neutral, so it’s workable across skin tones and preferences. If you thought that was indulgent, check out Make Up For Ever’s Wild & Chic Collector Case ($330.00), which contains an instant makeup stash (it’s valued at $616 in product), just at a rather hefty price tag. For Bare Escentuals fans, one of my favorite kits from their holiday offerings is Bare Escentuals bareMinerals Oh La Luxe ($79.00) which contains fifteen shades for eyes/face. They come in a metallic zippered bag, too, which is nice for travel.

Cheeks/Face: There didn’t seem to be very many cheek/face kits/sets this year in this particular price range, but I did like Make Up For Ever Wild & Chic Best of Make Up For Ever Kit ($55.00), since it contains several of their ultra-popular products without having to shell out fully for it–like their HD Powder, Aqua Cream, and Primer. Let me share with you a fantastic Hair kit since this category is a bit barren, Blow Out in a Box ($200.00), which features my favorite T3 Featherweight Hair Dryer, along with a T3 AntiGravity Barrel Brush and Wide Tooth Comb, plus Living Proof Full Thickening Cream and Straight.

Lips: NARS Kudoki Kabuki Lip Set ($125.00) is one of those products that very few of us actually buy but something most of us would appreciate receiving as a gift; it’s decadent, intricately designed, purposefully made–it’s pure luxury and a collector’s item.  I cannot comment on its quality, as I don’t have it and haven’t seen it, but I see this as that, “ooh, ahh” item for the season. Chanel Les Deux Levres Scintillantes ($55.00) contains two glossimers (Spark and Liaison) along with a miniature-sized Nude Lip Definer all housed in a black Chanel-emblazoned makeup bag; the set is fairly neutral and should work universally, and because it’s Chanel, it can impress (for instance, my aunt would much more appreciate a designer brand, because she would never buy it herself).

Skin/Body: The ever-popular Clarisonic has several year-round kits/sets, but they do put a few more together for the holidays. They all tend to be a good value overall, and it’s really a matter of what accessories/bonuses you’d like with it (or what color!).  LUSH has a fantastic offering of holiday gift sets and boxes, including plenty over $50 (and plenty under!), and I love giving LUSH sets for anyone I know who likes to take baths or extended showers to relax–also great for younger teens!

Fragrance: When you’re not quite sure what scent someone wears, or if you know they’re looking for a signature scent or just getting into fragrance, I love the sets Sephora puts together. This year’s Sephora Favorites Rollerball Collection For Her ($65.00 for 7×0.20-0.34oz.) includes popular favorites in rollerball format, so they’re small, travel-friendly, and very convenient; for the fragrance collector, you might consider the collector’s edition, which features miniature sizes of popular scents. I also love fragrance sets like Jo Malone Fragrance Combining Cologne Collection ($95.00 for 5×0.3 oz.) because they can be used individually or together–it’s a great opportunity to pick-up Jo Malone scents in smaller sizes (and for lower prices!).

Do you have any suggestions for readers looking for a really big ticket item to add to their wish list or to splurge on for a loved one?

Dior Versailles Rouge Dior Lip Color

Dior Versailles (527) Rouge Dior Lip Color ($32.00 for 0.12 oz.) has a pinky-coral base color with peachy-gold shimmer finished with a glossy shine. The color coverage is semi-opaque–there’s some translucency but looks better from afar (the translucency is harder to detect). It does have a bit of a frostier finish, but there is also a fair amount of shine to it. MAC Mellowarm is more orangeand lacks the golden sheen, Dior Coral is a bit more orange with less of a sheen, Korres #18 is much pinker but has a golden sheen, Guerlain Gems is a touch more coral (less pink) and has the same golden sheen, and (finally!) MAC Fresh Salmon is much pinker.

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Dior Versailles Rouge Dior Lip Color
Dior Rouge Dior Lip Color Versailles
B+
Product
9
Pigmentation
9
Texture
9
Longevity
8
Application
4
Total
87%