Beauty Basics: MAC Face Brushes
Beauty Basics is a series covering basic products and tools that help to make applying your makeup easier. To view the entire series to date, be sure to visit the beauty basics, or you can view posts within the series about MAC Face Brushes.
Focus On: MAC 188 Small Duo Fibre Brush
MAC 188 Small Duo Fibre Brush ($34.00) is a flat-topped, circula brush with a blend of goat and synthetic fibres. This is a smaller version of the larger and pricier 187. Both brushes are ideal for softer, more controlled application that allows you to build-up color and intensity through layers rather than diffusing color from the get-go. I actually prefer the 188 for creamy blushes and highlighters, because the small size allows me to apply it exactly where I want it and nowhere else. I can then use the blush to blend it outwards if necessary, but I never apply or have too much when I use this brush.
If you’re on a budget, I’d probably recommend the 188 over the 187, just because it is about eight dollars cheaper, and I think they’re both incredibly useful. However, the 188 is smaller, so it allows you to do things the 187 can’t. You can do many (if not all) the things the 187 can do with the 188–just some things might take you a minute or two longer (e.g. foundation), because it is a bit smaller.
How do you like to use this brush?
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Earth Eyeshadow Duo
2nd Love Baked Powders Collection: Eyeshadow Duos
Currently, 2nd Love has six variations of the eyeshadow duos ($9.00 each for 5.4g/0.19 oz.). These all have the same quality and feel as the rest of the 2nd Love product range. They’re smooth, soft, and pigmented. The colors feel like velvet, and they blend easily. They can be used wet or dry, depending on the intensity and kind of application you want.
- Earth is a combination of silvery-white and subdued brown.
- Amethyst is a combination of pale pink with soft silver shimmer and a dirty mauve-berry.
- Go Green is a duo featuring a gray-green with gold sheen/shimmer and a soft brown with green-gold shimmer. This was my favorite of the six, just because it seemed so multifaceted.
- Starry Night is a mix of lilac with soft cool-toned sheen and a purple-blue with violet sheen. (It’s definitely more of a purple than a blue shade.)
- Sandstone is a combination of a lightly warmed up bronze and a golden beige.
- Solar is a duo of bright silver with shimmer-sheen and a rich, dark black with a bit of multicolored shimmer.
Compared to MAC: Similar in feel and texture, though these all were pigmented for me, and none of them were glittery or overly shimmery. I’ve found some of the MAC mineralize eyeshadow duos can be too frosty or have gritty glitter that puts me off. These are also flatter colors, and by that I mean that you’ll see a silver base color with silver shimmer or a purple base with purple shimmer/sheen. You won’t see a purple with gold shimmer or things of that variety–at least not yet. Of course, these are also cheaper — $9.00 each for 5.4g/0.19 oz. as compared to $19.00 for 2.5g/0.08 oz.
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Warmth Glow n’ Bronzer
2nd Love Baked Powders Collection: Glow n’ Bronzers
There are three Glow n’ Bronzers to choose from, and each one contains four strips of color. You could likely use each one individually to highlight or use on eyes, but as a blush/bronzer, it is most practical to use all four together (“swirled”). The Glow n’ Bronzers ($15.00 each for 16.1 g/0.57 oz.) are very much like the Marble Blushes. Each strip is soft, smooth, and has good pigmentation. These also wear well and last me most of the day–or as long as I needed it to! Like the Marble Blushes, these give a soft sheen rather than chunky glitter or shimmer particles, so if you’ve found other baked products too shimmery, these might be more your cup of tea.
- Warmth contains four strips of color: pale white-beige, neutral brown with pink undertones, soft, pale pink, and bronze. When swirled together, you get a soft, bronzy-pink shade. I’d see this working well on paler skin tones.
- Sun Kissed contains four strips of color: light beige with pink, soft orange, taupe-y bronze, and warm bronze. I will caution that my swatches are a bit misleading on this one, only because some of it is so similar to my skin tone, so on paler complexions, you’d definitely see a bit more bang for your buck. On the other hand, this one works extremely well with my coloring, because it looks very natural and definitely gives me a “sunkissed” look. Swirled together, you’ll see a soft, coppeyr-bronze shade with soft gold sheen.
- Toasted contains four strips of color: taupe-brown with pink, pale ivory-beige, soft golden peach, and rich copper. When used together, the colors come together to create a soft golden sheen. On me, it looks more like a highlighter more so than a bronzer.
Compared to MAC: I’d say these are most like MAC Mineralize Skinfinishes (particularly the limited edition releases from Brunette, Blonde, Redhead, since those, too, had strips of color). Again, these are cheaper at $15.00 for 16.1g/0.57 oz. compared to MAC at $27.00 for 10g/0.35 oz. MAC also offers a larger variety on types of mineralize skinfinishes, since some are blushers, while others can bronze your skin and still others are highlighters. MAC’s tend to be swirled/marbled rather than with strips, too. One thing I noticed is that when I swirled MAC mineralize skinfinishes together (from BBR), the strips didn’t mix so much. With the 2nd Love Glow n’ Bronzers, when you mix them, you can kind of see that you did that. You can dust everything off and it’s all as it should be, though. When you use a brush, this effect is extremely minimized; it is more pronounced when you use sponges/fingers.
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Sunset Marble Blush
2nd Love Baked Powders Collection: Marble Blushes
2nd Love was founded by a fellow UC Irvine alumnist Terry Hsiao, who graduated in 2005, and is now working on developing her own cosmetic line. When Terry first approached me, I started to get excited as soon as I visited 2nd Love’s website, particularly because it is well-designed and the quality of the product photos is excellent. (If only all brands had such high quality imagery for us to drool over!) I also thought it would be fitting to check out this line with MAC’s Colour Craft Collection debuting later this week.
The 2nd Love Collection currently includes six eyeshadow duos, four marble blushes, and three Glow n’ Bronzers. According to Terry, the powders are made with a special formula containing a high content of pearl powder. The baked powders can be used wet or dry and are longer wearing than traditional pressed powder products. Together, they are designed to create a collection of soft, sheer powders that provide intense color and flawless coverage.
- Sunset is a marbleized powder with hints of warm brown, cool pink, and dirty gray. It translates into a soft, dirty pink. I imagine on some complexions this might come off a bit muddy, but for others, it will be a nice, subdued blusher.
- Sunshine is a soft pink with silvery sheen. In the pot, it’s a mixture of soft white and deeper pink.
- Terra Cotta is a soft, peachy color with a soft sheen. The pot is a marbleized concoction of peachy-gold, copper, and pink. I liked this one a lot, just because it adds warmth to cheeks without too much color, so it’s a very natural-looking shade.
- Amber is a soft, cool pink with light sheen. I wore this alone with mascara and a tinted lip balm, and I got so many compliments on the cheeks!
OVERALL, 2nd Love’s Marble Blushes ($12.00 each for 5.6g/0.2 oz.) are soft, smooth baked powder blushes. Their intensity is designed to be softer rather than in-your-face, and I think they succeed in that area. All four blushes are extremely wearable for a full range of skin tones, and the layer well to build up the color. They can also be used wet to increase intensity, too. I didn’t find any of them too glittery; in fact, they all seemed to have a nice sheen rather than shimmer/glitter particles. I found that the blushes wore well throughout the day, and they didn’t fade much, if at all. I have found that mineralize blushes and the like do tend to have less staying power than traditional powder blushes for me, at least.
Of course, I know you are wondering how 2nd Love’s Marble Blushes compare to MAC’s Mineralize Blushes. I do feel that they are different products in some ways, and of course, similar in others. The biggest difference is the price — MAC mineralize blushes run $21.00 each for 3.5g/0.11 oz. Some of MAC’s mineralize blushes do pack more pigment/color pay off than 2nd Love’s (e.g. Merrily). I’d say 2nd Love’s Marble Blushes just give a softer finish, softer glow.
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True Blue Naked Cotton Dress Shea Light Body Lotion ($15.00 for 6.7 oz.) is a lightweight body lotion that keeps moderate-to-dry skin well-hydrated and feeling silky soft. In a market saturated with body creams and souffles, a body lotion is always a welcome addition. The product absorbs into skin quickly, and it is easily spread over each part of your body–you don’t have to keep going back for more.
One of my favorite parts about this body lotion was the clean, lightweight scent. It is light enough to be able to layer it with your favorite perfume without a funny combination, but yet it is still detectable if you choose to wear it alone. If you know what B&BW’s “Cotton Blossom” smells like, it is similar with the same soft cotton-ish scent, but it is much, much lighter and more subtle smelling. I’m a big fan of clean scents myself, so this one is a keeper!
Slowly but surely, I am becoming a big fan of B&BW’s True Blue Spa line. (Hello, anyone remember their Just a Minute Manicure Scrub?!)
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Make Up For Ever #304 Eyeshadow
If you know me, you know I’m a big fan of green eyeshadow. So is it really any surprise that I have five more green/teal shadows to share with you?
- #304 is a shimmery, chartreuse-y green. It’s very much like #171, and at the time of purchase, I was a bit frazzled and quick in scribbling down the shades I wanted, but if I had been thinking, I would have skipped this one (or skipped the 171). They’re both incredibly similar. I’d say this one runs a little more green than the other, maybe. This one has a little more shimmer, and it is a smooth, well-pigmented shimmer shadow to boot. It does remind me of MAC Overgrown eyeshadow.
- #34 is a soft, pale green with a little yellow tone. It has a slight sheen, but it isn’t really shimmery, though it is definitely not matte. It reminds me of a more subtle MAC Juxt eyeshadow, particularly with a lot less frostiness.
- #302 is a medium teal shimmery shade. It seems to run a little bluer than green, and it isn’t as pigmented or smooth as many of the other Make Up For Ever eyeshadows have been for me. In comparison to #168, this is a disappointment, so I would definitely skip it and opt for the #168.
- #168 is a bright pop of teal with a little bit of shimmer and sheen. It does remind me a lot of MAC Shimmermoss eyeshadow, but I think this is a tad brighter and a bit more of a green-teal. It also has less frost in its finish. As a fan of teal, this is a must-have for me!
- #93 is a matte, green-teal. It is fairly pigmented and feels smooth when applied. This color works better when you build it up intensity by layering the color over, rather than grabbing a bunch at once and hoping that will pack on the color. The layering allows you to build-up the color smoothly and gives you much more color that way. It does remind me of MAC Melody eyeshadow, which is a long-discontinued color.
Which of these are your favorites?
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