MAC has recently released the Tropical Taboo Collection, which is all about color and texture. The one product which really stood out to me, however, is a newly-introduced brush. Specifically, the Mac 159 brush ($35) is the most interesting new brush that’s wonderful for highlighting, and also for precise placement of baked face products. The brush is a fairly short (roughly 6 1/2″) brush with a “cats paw” shape.
From the side:
This brush is pleasant to use–imaging being petted by a very soft kitten. Also, it makes unwearably rough-textured baked products meld nicely into the skin, knocking off the powder bits as it goes. If I had not tried it in person, I would not have understood its value. If you are near a MAC counter/store, it’s really worth trying one of their baked products on with this particular brush. You’ll fall in love with it–or at least, I did. I believe that this brush is now part of their permanent line (but don’t quote me, there’s conflicting buzz).
While I was at the store, I looked at the new MAC Mineralized Skinfinishes from the MAC Tropical Taboo collection–Adored, Rio and Lust. I’m a highlighter fan (can you tell?) and so I couldn’t resist picking these up. See, that’s the thing about MAC. There’s something so fun about their “fabulous-today, gone-tomorrow” speed that’s both dizzying, intriguing and sometimes aesthetically successful. Perhaps you’re read the same studies that I have–sometimes those who produce the greatest number of creative variations have the highest numbers of “hits”–sure, some misses too. I try to wait on the sidelines and wait for the hits (and try to skip the misses, although I’m not always successful).
Of these, and for my fair warm coloring, Adored was the biggest hit. It’s an unusual highlighter that looks almost transparent. It adds just a touch of “glow” with peach-pink highlight where the light hits. I’m not sure I’ve seen a skinfinish quite like Adored ever before. It really adds something special over blushes–a healthy glow. You can use it in a “C” shape around the eye and on upper cheek, or lightly all over the blush area to add a little soft shimmer glow to the blush. Even better–when using the MAC 159 brush, I got no noticeable glitter from Adored.
Rio is a cool pink highlighter. The color might be enough for a soft blush if you are very pale (but it’s too soft for me unless I’m going for a very nude-blush look). The finish goes almost metallic in bright light.
Lust is a soft pink (it’s close enough to Rio that you don’t need both in my opinion). I detected slight glitter particles in direct sunlight with Lust. Like Rio, the highlight is quite obvious/metallic in direct bright light.
As you can see, the color from these is not very strong (these are two swipes each). They’re sheer.
One final note about all three–these really, really look best applied with the MAC 159 brush in my opinion. They look much rougher in texture when they are not. But with the 159, they are smooth and meld to the skin. Walking around in different light, I was glad that I splurged on the brush and can’t wait to try it with my other baked products (especially those non-US Chanel blushes–I’m very curious to see what the 159 will do with those!).
Also, all of the MAC Tropical Taboo colors seem designed for warmer skin tones. I’m not saying that a cooler toned person could never make them work, but it would seem more challenging to me.
Some other random thoughts: Of these, Adored Mineralizes Skinfinish and the 159 brush were my favorites. MAC Simmer blush is worth a peek if you’re in a blushy mood (I love it with Adored over it). Applied with the 159 brush, Simmer was like a red-gold stain. I didn’t look at the eyeshadows or the lip products from this collection, but Temptalia has done thorough reviews of the entire range. Also, there are some really knowledgable people on the Specktra Collection Board who post swatches, reviews and thoughts about all of them (with lots of different opinions, skin tones and preferences).
Regardless of how you feel about these metal-reflective baked skinfinishes, you might look at the MAC “cat’s paw” 159.
The MAC 159 brush is available at Nordstrom.com (the skinfinishes are here), MAC Cosmetics.com, and other MAC sources.
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