Enjoy! 🙂 I’ll have full reviews, photos, and swatches soon!
Enjoy! 🙂 I’ll have full reviews, photos, and swatches soon!
MAC 215 Medium Shader Brush
MAC 215 Medium Shader Brush ($25.00) is a new, limited edition (I believe, at least) brush designed to be used for shaping and defining the eye with both powder and cream eyeshadows. It has natural bristles. This brush is like a bigger 214, or a stumpy version of the 227. The 215 is wide, dome-shaped brush that’s packed with bristles. For me, it felt a little rough on the eye. It was less rough when I used powder eyeshadows than when I used cream eyeshadows, which seemed to emphasize the pointy, blunt edges of the bristles.
This brush is a larger eye brush, so if you have a smaller eye area or smaller lids, you may find it too large to use often. It’s a bit large against my eye lids, but I like it for applying one-and-done eyeshadows–which are more or less a wash of color on the lid. It picks up pigment easily and deposits it well without it getting lost within the bristles. For more multi-colored looks, it’s too big for me. It’s softer than the 214 but not as soft as the 227. The 227 also blends more readily, but this is easier to blend with than the 214.
MAC 163 Flat Top Contour Brush
MAC 163 Flat Top Contour Brush ($35.00) is a new and limited edition brush designed to be used with MAC’s Pro Sculpting Creams, but they are noted as a multi-purpose brush, so they can be used however you find it works. The brush is not MAC’s softest face brush, but I wouldn’t describe it as scratchy. I think the blunt edge gives it a harsher feel against the skin, but when I run it back and forth against my face or arm, it feels fine. It’s tightly packed with bristles, making it a very dense brush.
It was good for placing the Pro Sculpting Creams on the face, but it wasn’t so good at blending them out. I needed to use my fingertips or another brush to do that. I think this brush is fairly purpose-specific, and as a result, it’s not a must-have brush for everyone. It may work well in professional kits or for anyone who does more intense, dramatic contouring. I did not like this for foundation, blush, or powder products in general. It worked best with liquids and creams, mostly for initial application. It had a tendency to drag products in noticeable streaks when used to blend.
Again, this is a brush that seemed to be more of a one trick pony than a great workhorse of a brush. It’s great if what you’re looking for is a way to apply cream/liquid products in defined lines. There’s also a Sonia Kashuk brush that’s supposed to be a dupe, but I only just bought mine so I can’t weigh in quite yet!
MAC Accentuate Pro Sculpting Cream
MAC Pro Sculpting Creams ($20.00 for 0.17 oz.) are described as a “cream-to-powder formula for sculpting and shaping key features … [s]ilky-smooth, easy-to-blend and neutrally-shaded.” It’s supposed to have sheer-to-medium buildable coverage.
I think the shades in MAC’s Sculpting powder range (which is permanent at PRO stores) are better-colored for contouring, because they’re much more shadowy, and these tended to be rather warm-toned. When you contour, you’re emphasizing or adding shadows, and when you highlight, you’re shaping and sculpting by adding light/sheen. If one of these shades is the right color, it can be a really great product. I’m just not sold that this is the right set of shades–I would have loved to have seen them take the existing Sculpting range and make them into cream form. Accentuate, Coffee Walnut, and Naturally Defined are the closest to neutral, while Copper beach, Pure Sculpture, and Richly Honed are very much warm-toned.
The texture is lightly creamy, not too thick or too thin. I’d almost describe it as a stiff cream, but in the best way. All six shades had buildable coverage, so you could get sheer-to-light color easily, but you could layer just once or twice for more intensity. While I did try using the new 163 brush that came with the launch, I preferred the 193 or finger tips (using a clean spatula to remove product, then warming it up between finger tips and blending it out on the skin). It dries down and has a natural finish. I tested all six of the shades (though used together, not individually), and I had no problem getting a full eight hours of wear with no noticeable fading.
MAC Beaming Pressed Pigment
MAC Pressed Pigments ($21.00 for 0.10 oz.) were recently launched as an “intensely creamy highlighter offering extreme pearlescence and versatility of finish.” It can be “[applied] dry for a high shine, or on damp skin for a dramatic wet look” with “sheer-to-moderate buildable coverage and natural dimension finish.”
These had me at a loss of words. I spent the past week trying to figure out how these could be used for something that wasn’t purely editorial or only needed to last about five minutes. I was hopeful about MAC’s recent Face & Body launch, as I love highlighting/contouring–I was hoping for something a little more shimmery than the Shaping powders (PRO) that launched a few years ago. Well, these aren’t shimmery; they’re like a disco ball exploded and fractured all over your face, eyes, body, or wherever you happen to put them.
I tried using two shades as a highlighter on the cheek (one on each cheek), and it looked like dirt/sand/grit. It travels to parts unknown within an hour of wearing it on the cheek–I found glitter on my lip, on my ear, and on my shoulder, and I had only applied it to my cheek bones. It’s not a product that applies well with face brushes; it really needs to be applied with fingers or a sponge and really pressed/crushed. The texture really reminded me of MAC’s Crushed Metal pigments, because without grinding them down, they are so loose and chunky.
I tried using them on the body (collarbone/decolletage), and it looked the same – like flecks of brown dirt rather than a luminous sheen or even glittery dazzle. I tried using them on the brow bone, inner tear duct/lid, and on the eyelid in general. The glitter is really, really chunky, and the fall out is tremendous, not just during, but after application. I was getting a ton of glitter in my eye for the six hours I managed to wear these. After six hours, at least half of the glitter on the eye had transferred to my cheeks, nose, or got lost in my eye ball. I even used MAC’s Mixing Medium to see if it would help these adhere better but no luck. Frankly, these were painful to use on the eye – both of my eyes were red and irritated for the rest of the day/night.
I tried using these both wet and dry with numerous brushes (215, 228, 231, 242, 116, 130, 188, and 193) but nothing yielded a result that did anything flattering. On the lid, it’s sparkly and pretty–but the fall out is over-the-top ridiculous. It’s some of the worst fall out I’ve seen. It makes Urban Decay’s Midnight Cowboy Rides Again seem like a dream to work with. It’s funny, too, because they actually swatched beautifully. They looked stunning on my arm!
As you can see, this review is all about “I tried,” but I failed. I couldn’t highlight my brow bone, eyelid, cheekbones, or collarbones with this product. I have used lots and lots of highlighters in the past ten years, but this is a product that left me grappling for any use that might possibly work. The texture is rough, gritty, and dry (not actually creamy as described), and the fall out is something to behold; some of the worst I’ve seen in a glittery product that wasn’t loose to begin with. I’m honestly surprised these are eye safe (there wasn’t any warning to the contrary on the box), because they were so irritating from the fall out.
We spent the majority of the beginning of the week taking a look at MAC’s Office Hours Collection, which hits stores today. Don’t forget to subscribe! 🙂
On eyes: Hourglass Suede Eyeshadow Duo (beige), Hourglass Gypsy Eyeshadow Duo (burgundy), Inglot #452 Eyeshadow, Burberry Trench Eyeshadow, Tarina Tarantino Ultraviolet Eyeliner, Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Intense Waterproof Mascara. On face: Guerlain Parure Gold (02 and 03), Guerlain Les Voilettes (03), Buxom Swept Away. On lips: Guerlain Bee Rouge G Lipstick.