MAC Pro Blush: Full Fuchsia

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Jan 092010
 

If MAC’s Azalea swatch posted yesterday wasn’t bright enough, meet Full Fuchsia.  Another of MAC’s Pro blush colors, Full Fuchsia applies slightly more pink, a shade less blue a bit lighter in tone than Azalea.  Despite its name, by comparison Full Fuchsia is less violet and a bit less cool.

This is swatched heavily so you can see the color in my picture.  I used a very compact eyeshadow brush to apply this color to my arm.  I would never suggest wearing this color on your cheek like that.  Like Azalea, to avoid a full-on MAC force field effect, apply very lightly with a skunk (duo-fiber) brush, or wipe a standard blush brush on a tissue several times before applying to the cheek.  Again, keep this blush in a small area of the cheek will be key to allowing it to enhance your skin color rather than taking over your face.  The reason why this blush is sold in the Pro line is, I suspect, that it’s a “handle with caution” sort of color that can be pretty but can become overwhelming in the wrong hands.

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MAC Pro Blush: Azalea

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Jan 082010
 

MAC’s Pro blushes include Azalea, a gorgeously blue-based pink that looks crazy in the pan.  I’m fair-skinned and warm, but find that cool blushes work well.

This blush must be handled with care. This is swatched very heavily using a compact eyeshadow brush so you can see the color in my photograph.  I would never suggest wearing this color on your cheek like that.  To avoid a full-on “MAC force field” effect, apply very lightly with a skunk (also called a “duo-fiber”) brush, or wipe a standard blush brush on a tissue several times before applying to the cheek.  This delivers an incredible, unusual and beautiful color.  However, keep in mind that this is a Pro product and so can be far too intense if you apply this in the same way as a standard blush.

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Jan 072010
 

MAC sells a Pro line of products in selected stores, referred to as “MAC Pro Stores,” in major cities throughout the world.  I find myself in a Pro store only once or twice per year, and with only a few exceptions have received excellent service in every one of them.  I’m not sure whether the company has better hiring or training in those locations but their associates are usually a few steps ahead.

Ceasar’s Palace in Las Vegas has an enormous selection of shops (called the “Forum”)  that has been upgraded and expanded over the years.  It includes a MAC Pro store.  If you enter from the Strip, you must go up some escalators and travel through the reproduction Roman streets to locate it.  Ceasar’s is always very busy, and I can imagine that the MAC Pro store gets an enormous amount of traffic.

I was greeted by a sales associate who, typical of MAC makeup artists, was an expert wearing their products.  I asked to explore MAC’s Pro blushes, especially Taupe which I had heard was an excellent color to contour the cheeks.

The MAC artist quickly informed me that MAC had discontinued Taupe.

Sigh.

MAC has a reputation for issuing limited releases and short product cycles.  It makes economic sense from their perspective (it must, they do it so frequently!)  For makeup buyers, this scarcity means committing to buy now or risk paying outrageous prices on eBay later.  Fortunately, my brilliant makeup artist found a pro pan version of the product.  See, I told you they know their stuff.  These pro pans  can be easily placed into one of MAC’s blush palettes, which look like this (first one closed, second one open):

For $12, this palette is a nice way to accommodate six blushes in a very small space.  The palette’s spaces and the back of MAC’s pro pan blushes are both magnetized, so it’s very easy to create and change the palette.

My patient MAC makeup artist helped swatch nearly all of the MAC Pro blushes.  Another artist pitched in too.  At the end, the backs of our hands were swatched in vibrant colors, sometimes with the same color in varying degrees of heavy to light. By the time I left, I owned six MAC Pro blushes ($15.50 each) to fill my new palette.  Each is pressed powder held in a little metal pan, sold in a cardboard sleeve.  I’ll be reviewing and swatching these in the days that follow.

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Chanel Spring 2010: Imprévu Joues Contraste Blush

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Dec 282009
 

Chanel’s Spring 2010 collection includes a new blush from the Joues Contraste line, called “Imprévu” ($42).  This line of blushes is one of my favorites.  They have a shimmer and color dimension that defies description.  As you can see from the pictures, this one is a combination of peach, bronze, rose and shimmer.  Imprévu is nicely pigmented, if you are very pale you will want to start out very lightly and then add if needed

Suggestion:   Try a dab of Imprévu in the upper center of the cheeks, without moving the blush brush back toward the ear.

Chanel Imprevu2 copy

Chanel Imprevu3

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Dec 222009
 

Illamasqua Chased ($23 at Sephora) is a lilac pink blush with an enormous pan and nuclear pigmentation.  The blush pan stretches a luxurious 2 x 2 inches across, with plenty of surface for the largest blush brushes.  The pigmentation took me by suprise–you can see in the swatch, below, marked “full intensity”  how it looks applied with a brush with densely-packed bristles.  Up until now, my most pigmented blush was Chanel Joues Contraste in Turbulent, but this award has easily been displaced by Chased.

The first time you apply Chased, you may wish to reach for your Duo Fiber (sometimes called “skunk”) brush for better control.

As you can see, Chased in nearly matte in tone.  You can see the difference in texture by comparing the swatches of Chased to the much more shimmery Chanel Joues Contraste blush in Narcisse to its right.  Of course, if you prefer you can add shimmer by layering a highlighter over Chased.

Illamasqua’s signature packaging looked at little “corner-y” at first.  However, after I purchased Chased, I found that the plastic case is well-machined and does not appear to have any potentially gouging sharpness. In fact, it seemed to fit well into my organization system and the shape makes the blush easy to locate among the others.

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Why You Should Care About Nude Blushes

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Dec 042009
 

When I first heard the term “nude blush” –I thought, “why bother?” After all, what’s the difference between nude blush and no blush at all?

When I was in Paris, I had a makeover at a Bobbi Brown counter. Well, I didn’t ask for one (my French is not all that good). I was sort of “invited” and my language skills weren’t really good enough to refuse. So, the sales associate approached applying makeup on me in a way that no other Bobbi Brown specialist every had before. She was determined to give me a natural, glowing look. And one of the first things that she did was to try on Sandstone blush. Which, I would have thought, was like no blush at all.

But I was wrong.

A nude blush gives your skin a polish, a contour, some DEPTH, that an actual makeup-free cheek does not have. As Calvin Klein once said, ““The best thing is to look natural, but it takes makeup to look natural.” And that’s what nude blush does.

Here are three of my most-loved nude blushes: Shu M Amber 85, Bobbi Brown Sandstone (matte) and Bobbi Brown Bahama Brown (Shimmer blush).

So the main reason you should care about nude blushes is because they make you look completely natural. The other reason is that, if you are doing a strong eye or strong lip, a nude blush is a nice, understated way to keep from going too far. That is, if your lips are very red, you don’t want a strong cheek because it’s going to “compete” with the lip.

Nude Blushes 1

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