Monday, May 24th, 2010

MAC 130 Brush

MAC 130 Brush: New Cream Blush Hero

The MAC 130 Brush ($38.00, supposed to be permanent now) is described as, “A short, round, flat-topped brush ideal for the smooth, easy application of foundations, creams, emulsions, and select powder products [and] features a blend of natural bristles and synthetic fibres.”

How does it work for…

FOUNDATION: I think those who normally use the 187 will find the 130 a welcome addition to the duo fibre line-up. Though the brush head is much, much smaller (think like a stumpy 188), the compact, dense brush head allows for greater control and blending as well as it’s small enough to get into the nooks and crannies (like around the nose). The shorter fibres also provide for significantly less streaking and clumping of the bristles (huge reason why I’m not a big fan of the 187 for foundation). If you liked the application of the 109 but found yours shed unbearably, I think you’ll also like the 130. I still prefer my 109 a little bit over the 130.

CREAM BLUSH: I’ve been finding that the 130 is better than the 188 for cream blushes lately. I like the firmer, stiffer brush head, rather than the more springy fibres of the 188. It gives me more control, precision, and helps to blend out the color in small, buffed circles. You can see me demonstrate how to applying cream blush using the 130 in this video (along with the 131).

POWDER BLUSH: Really not a big fan of this brush in powder products — I just don’t find that it delivers the soft, natural, and effortless color and finish that traditional blush brushes do, like the 116.  It’s better for buffing out blush than so much for applying it.

The 130 is definitely a must-have brush for those who wear cream blush or bronzer on a regular basis. The stiffness (it still has give, though!) makes it so easy to apply and the circular brush head makes it easy to buff into the skin. The bristles themselves are as soft as you would expect from MAC.

The only thing I noticed is the brush has a tendency to have some splayed bristles if you aren’t extra careful to reshape it perfectly after washing. (I re-washed the 130 brush last night, and it’s much tighter, with only 3-4 bristles pulling away.) It doesn’t affect the utility or the application of the brush, but it’s something I noticed when photographing.

What do you use the 130 for?  Is it a must-have for you?

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you’re in the market for a brush to apply liquid foundation or cream blush, the 130 excels at both tasks. It’s better than the 187, arguably as good as or better than the 109 (depends on who you talk to, ha!), and beats out the 188 for cream blush.

Availability: Nordstrom

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Monday, May 24th, 2010

MAC 131 Brush

MAC 131 Brush: A Duo-Fibre Multi-Tasker

The MAC 131 Brush ($40.00, limited edition and available with To the Beach) was originally released with Colour Craft (July ’09), and I’ve owned it since and used it once. I spent the past couple of weeks testing it out for the first time and seeing what it works best for. MAC describes it as, “Flat, tapered brush that contains a combination of short and long fibres … [i]deally suited for Mineralize Skinfinish Powders.”

How does it work for…

FOUNDATION: When it comes to liquid foundation, it does the job. I liked the application and finish better than the 187, because it seemed a lot less streaky (which is why I moved past the 187 to the 182 and now use the 109). The application with the 131 is quite a bit different, given that it’s a flatter, slightly tapered and angled brush–you don’t blend in a circular motion here. It’s more about soft sweeps and pulls to get the product blended on your face.

CREAM BLUSH: I prefer the 130 (also available with To the Beach but appears to be permanent) or the 188 (permanent) over the 131. The 131 is nice for blending out the color initially, but I find that being able to buff small circles is one thing I really find preferable in technique that the 131 doesn’t make so easy. You can see me demonstrate how to apply cream blush using a stippling brush like the 131 in this video (along with the 130). It is better with more emollient/thinner cream blushes than thicker consistencies.

MINERALIZE BLUSH/SKINFINISH: Like the 187, using the 131 to apply mineralize color products like the blushes, blush duos, and skinfinishes helps to soften the color and diffuse some of the glittery particles. It gives a very soft, subtle color and deposits a light layer of the sparkler/shimmer. I think it’s nice on some of the more pigmented, dirtier, or glitter-heavy shades, particularly for those with more visible pores. I think if you have the 187 or 188, you may not find the 131′s application far superior. I like the 131 a bit more, but it’s a close race. It’s also smaller than the 187, so it may be more manageable on cheeks in comparison.

MOISTURIZER: I actually found myself liking the 131 more to apply moisturizer than anything else. I spritz the brush with a little water, and then I apply my moisturizer–very clean, sanitary, and soothing. Of course, whether it’s vital to have a single brush for this purpose is debatable!

My personal feeling about the brush is that it’s a nice, high-quality brush that certainly is useful and can be used with different products, but if you are an avid brush collector, it may not be a must-have brush. I just didn’t and still don’t find myself reaching for it very often. I just want to repeat that there is nothing wrong with this brush–it has the same excellent standard of quality from the softness to the construction to the ability to multi-task as MAC brushes. It hasn’t reinvented the wheel for me, since I already own the 187 and 188.

I did an entire series of reviews on all of MAC’s Face Brushes, so definitely check that out if you’re looking for a particular brush.

What do you use the 131 for? Is it a must-have for you?

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you already own the 187 and 188, you may not find this brush revolutionary. You may not even find it’s worth it, if you’re on a budget, and you own those two. It’s better suited for blush and mineralize products from the testing I did.

Availability: May 25th online at maccosmetics.com, May 27th in-stores

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Monday, May 24th, 2010

MAC Chromagraphic Pencils
Pure White, Basic Red, Process Magenta, Genuine Orange, Primary Yellow,
Landscape Green, Marine Ultra, Hi-Def Cyan, Rich Purple, Black Black, NC42/NW35

MAC Chromagraphic Pencils: Review, Photos, Swatches

Last week, MAC PRO launched a full collection of Chromagraphic Pencils. Each retails for $14.50, and all the shades are permanent at PRO stores. This collection is only available at PRO stores, but anyone can shop at a PRO store. You can even call up your nearest PRO store, and you can place a phone order for a flat-rate shipping cost. Keep in mind that these are PRO products, which means they were designed with the makeup artist in mind, not necessarily consumers.

These may seem familiar because MAC released two of the flesh-toned shades with Pret-a-Papier (NC15/NW20 and NW25/NC30). The other eleven shades are new. Chromagraphic Pencils are creamy pencils that glide on easily and smoothly. According to PRO, they are meant for lining and defining, which makes sense as they have other products (like Chroma Cakes and Paint Sticks) more suitable for larger areas.

I do really like the flesh-toned shades for use on the lower waterline to open up the eye. I find that the NC15/NW20 achieves that the best (the others being a bit too dark on me) myself, and I’m about NC25. Black Black is really intense, and it is safe for usage everywhere but the lips, and that’s the one I chose to test-drive first. It stays pretty well on the waterline and lash line – it looks intense and dark from a normal viewing distance, but up close, I can see that it looks a little faded–but it hadn’t faded any more after the initial inspection and stayed on for about six hours for me (on the waterline, over eight on the lash line).

The following shades are not to be used in the lip area: Black Black, Marine Ultra, NC15/NW20, NW25/NC30, NC42/NW35
The following shades are not to be used in the eye area: Basic Red, Genuine Orange, Process Magenta
The following shades are not to be used in the inner rim of eye: Basic Red, Process Magenta, Genuine Orange, Primary Yellow, Landscape Green, Marine Ultra, Hi-Def Cyan, Rich Purple

The darker, more pigmented shades will stain the skin a little if worn for prolonged periods of time. I did not wear the swatches of these for very long, but it took quite a bit of elbow grease to remove them entirely.  I think these are certainly a quick and easy way to put detail on body/face painting efforts.  I’m not necessarily sure how much use most of us would get out of these, though (which is just fine–these weren’t made for us!).

  • Pure White is a crystal clear creamy white.
  • Basic Red is a primary red, subtle orange undertones.
  • Process Magenta is a brightened pink, not quite fuchsia, definitely magenta.
  • Genuine Orange is a rich, almost neon tangerine orange.
  • Primary Yellow is exactly that–bright yellow.
  • Landscape Green is a medium grass green.
  • Marine Ultra is a darkened medium sea blue.
  • Hi-Def Cyan is a creamy sky blue.
  • Rich Purple is a darkened, red-toned purple.
  • Black Black is an intense, almost wet-looking black.
  • NC15/NW20 is a light beige/fleshy shade.
  • NW25/NC30 is a darker version of NW15/NC20. Almost looks like a darkened peach.
  • NC42/NW35 is darker version of NW25/NC30. It looks a bit peachy/orange on me.

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Thursday, May 13th, 2010

MAC To the Beach Collection
MAC Lustre Drops: Pink Rebel, Sun Rush

MAC To the Beach Collection – Lustre Drops Review, Photos, & Swatches

Lustre Drops are like puff paints (the kind you’d use in crafts).  They’re tiny, but a little goes a long way.  I like these mixed with moisturizer and used on shoulders and legs.  They can be used on the face, though, and I like using it as a shimmered base for a blush or along the cheek bones.

  • Pink Rebel Lustre Drops is a slightly pink-toned peach highlighter. Lustre Drops are, essentially, liquid highlighters. You can use them on your cheeks, brows, decolletage… whatever. You can mix it in with your foundation or moisturizer for an all-over sheen. Naturally, this one suits those with pinker undertones, but it can easily work with warmer complexions as well.
  • Sun Rush Lustre Drops is a golden peach highlighter. This one is definitely more suitable for those with warmer undertones, but if used sheerly (which is really the best way to use these anyway), it’s not so warm that it would turn orange on cooler undertones.

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Thursday, May 13th, 2010

MAC To the Beach Collection
MAC Golden Bronzing Powder

MAC To the Beach Collection – Golden & Refined Golden Bronzer Review, Photos, & Swatches

Here are both bronzers in their faux-glowing glory!  Keep in mind that both of these shades are permanent and available all year ’round–just in typical black packaging.

  • Golden is a lightened beige-tan with subtle gold shimmer.  On my arm, which is around NC20, it barely shows up once it’s blended out.  I think for our fairer friends, this could work as a subtle, no-fuss bronzer.  For darker beauties, not so much.
  • Refined Golden is a dirty brown with a very fine golden shimmer strewn through the powder that’s barely noticeable when used. I don’t find it turns orange-y at all, so I like it for a bronzing option. It’s dark enough to work on light to medium dark complexions, but it’s not so dark that it will look drastic on lighter skin tones.

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Thursday, May 13th, 2010

MAC To the Beach Collection
MAC Beach Bronze Cream Bronzer

MAC To the Beach Collection — Beach Bronze Cream Bronzer Review, Photos, Swatches

From MAC To the Beach, we find two cream bronzers, a first from the company to my recollection. They’re creamy, but they’re very thin and lightweight.  They blend out quite a bit, and in the process, sheer out as well.  The products themselves seem pretty large, given that they’re the size of MAC’s bronzing powders–bigger than a blush.

  • Beach Bronze is a creamy, sheer warmed-up, tan-brown with gold shimmer. It can be worn heavily, but it’s hard to really pack on the color and blend it out simultaneously, because once you start blending it, it melts and sheers out a bit. I think it’ll be a nice, subtle bronzer on those with light to medium skin tones. Those with deeper skin tones may find it works well as a cream highlighter or skin brightener than as an actual bronzer.
  • Weekend is an orange-tinged suntan brown with subtle copper shimmer.  This is much more on the orange side compared to Beach Bronze. I’d also say this is a bit darker and more pigmented, so it may work best on deeper skin tones.

See photos & swatches! Continue reading →

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