May 212015
 

MAC Pro Longwear nourishing waterproof 4

A few weeks ago, there was a new foundation released to the world–MAC’s Pro Longwear Nourishing Foundation ($32/0.85 ounces). This caught my eye because the formula seems entirely new–not just for MAC, but new for the cosmetic industry. According to this piece in Stylcaster, MAC’s “product development team had been challenged to create a waterproof, modern concealer, and leveraged emerging trends from Korea around hybrid products to create something new.” MAC Pro Longwear Nourishing Foundation is currently available at MAC, Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Macy’s, DillardsSelfridges, and other MAC sources.

In 16 shades that correlate to the standard MAC “NC” and “NW” naming scheme, this concealer/foundation is described by the line as follows:

A tenacious waterproof formula that can be used as a foundation or concealer, wearing for an unprecedented 24 hours. Neither rain nor tears can budge this oil-free watertight product that actually repels moisture from the surface of the face. The formula blends seamlessly on the skin with medium to full weightless coverage and a natural satin finish.

MAC pro longwear nourishing waterproof 3Karen’s review at the Makeup and Beauty Blog was helpful to me when using this foundation for the first several times. I want to expand on a few things based on my use of this over the past week plus. As a new formula, I found that many of my intuitions from applying liquids, creams, serums, tinted moisturizers, and bb/cc creams needed to be finessed to get the most out of this foundation.

mac pro longwear nourishing waterproof 6

 

This is my advice (your mileage may vary):

  • The coverage goes from light to full very quickly. When applied directly to the face, it’s important to do this in layers. Then wait a minute before you apply another layer. Trust me on this one. It’s really easy to over-apply, in which case the foundation begins to really highlight pores and look super-artificial. Unless you are going for that look, proceed slowly.
  • Once you are happy with a semi-light coverage, go back in and add product only where you need it. The formula gives you a good minute or more to play with it before it dries, and can be layered even later in the day if you like.
  • Use very little at a time. One drop really can cover the entire face.
  • The color designations seem to be lighter in my range compared to MAC’s standard range. I am typically NC15/20, so I purchased NC20 after swatching a few colors at a store. After wearing the shade, I thought that the match was fine for a pale look, but the NC25 looked more natural on me especially when worn with a bronzer for summer wear (I ended up purchasing both). By comparison, NC20 looked a little harsh, although technically I might have considered it an acceptable match in a sheerer formula. Who knows, maybe my own ghost-pale skin is just scary. Anyway, don’t be afraid to go to a deeper shade if you want to. It’s only makeup.
  • Because of its propensity for high-coverage with a satin finish, I recommend using some type of light Chanel Les Beiges or Guerlain Joli Tient bronzer to warm up the skin and add some life.
  • I had trouble mixing this foundation with a more conventional formulas from other lines. For example, a mix of this and NARS tinted moisturizer seemed to separate on my face when I went into a hot, humid environment. If you are going to mix colors to get your shade, I’d experiment in the comfort of your own home first.
  • MAC Pro Longwear Nourishing Waterproof really does hold up well in hot, humid weather. My glowy dew (aka sweat), beaded up on my face without removing any foundation. If you are in a hot, humid climate, this one is worth checking out.
  • This foundation looked best on me with a primer (I used Tom Ford’s). It gave it a bit of “cushion” to make the MAC formula sit more lightly on the skin and was a bit more forgiving.
  • I suspect that those with dry skin will want to moisturize well before using this formula.Every bump, pore, flake and tiny line will show if you apply this heavily. For lighter coverage, it seems to be more forgiving.

MAC Pro Longwear Nourishing NC20

You might be wondering if this is worth the trouble of undertaking a learning curve, especially if you are not a foundation-obsessed beauty blogger.  If you are looking for a beautiful finish that lasts all, all, all day in hot, humid weather, then yes. It can be layered mid-day to give a beautiful satin finish. Worn in this week’s rainstorm, the foundation didn’t move (my hair, on the other hand….). The coverage moves from light to medium to full with very little product. The feel is extremely light and breathable–unlike MAC Studio Sculpt, the feel of Pro Longwear Nourishing Waterproof is feather-light.  I did not detect any scent. I have an incomplete ingredients list, because the Nordstrom label covered up the bottom:

ingredients mac pro longwear nourishing waterproof
MAC Pro Longwear Nourishing Foundation is currently available at MAC, Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Macy’s, Dillards, Selfridges, and other MAC sources.

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May 072015
 

MAC Prep and prime - 3aMost salicylic acid products are on the drug store shelves, and are fairly inexpensive, harsh, and can sometimes ball up or move in strange ways when worn under makeup.  With MAC Prep + Prime Blemish Control Gel ($22/ 0.5 oz), MAC tries to elevate this humble (but effective) acne medicine that makes it wearable under foundation and less painful to use. This is available at all MAC sources, including Bloomingdales, Macy’s, and Nordstrom.
MAC Prep and prime round four - 4a

Since the product was released, this item has been a bit of  a skin-saver for me. It’s gentle–its active ingredient is 1% salicylic acid. By comparison, Clean + Clear from the drugstore is 2%, the same amount of product (0.5 ounces for both), and about half the price.

MAC Prep and prime round three - 3 copyThis is clear, somewhat runny, and dries down in less than a minute. It smells like salicylic acid.

MAC Prep and prime round two - 5aMAC’s is not as irritating and seems just as effective. Unless I’ve just exfoliated or used a retinol product the night before, I don’t have the stinging sensation with MAC that drugstore salicylic acid products leave (there’s no “yow!” unless my skin is irritated). I’ve worn MAC’s version over my usual skincare, and under sunscreen and foundation all the live-long day to keep clogged pores and reduce breakouts.  According to the line, “Heals blemishes and helps prevent future breakouts, while soothing and calming the skin to promote further healing. Infused with acne-fighting salicylic acid, this lightweight, oil-free formula is suitable for all skin types and wears perfectly on its own, under makeup or for simple touch-ups.” Additional ingredients:

MAC Prep and prime round four - 1aHere is how MAC’s Blemish Control looks on the back of my hand. Keep in mind, this is a skincare product, not a primer (despite the “Prep + Prime” in the name, this is skincare that is a “Prep,” and not a “Prime”).  So feel free to use a separate primer if you use one. If you are fighting acne, this is definitely worth a look. This is available at all MAC sources, including Bloomingdales, Macy’s, and Nordstrom.

MAC Prep and prime round two - 7a

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Apr 102015
 

MAC Lightful C Tinted Cream
Having previously reviewed the MAC Lightful C skincare lineI decided to round out the review by trying the MAC Lightful C Tinted Cream SPF 30 with Radiance Booster ($35/ 1.3 oz.). I tried this in shade Light-Plus, which is my match in MAC’s mineralized skin finish powder. A combination skincare/tinted cream, MAC’s Lightful C Tinted Cream promises the following benefits:

  • A correcting cream that reduces imperfections while increasing the natural radiance of your skin instantly and over time.
  • Infused with a Lightful Radiance Booster and vitamin C, it works to correct your overall complexion by reducing the appearance of pores and diminishing dark spots and hyper-pigmentation
  • SPF 30 protects against UVA/UVB rays

This product is currently available at Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Macy’s, and other MAC sources.

Sunday05This easily packable tube seems like an ideal summer product, with a relatively high SPF for a product that offers coverage and color correction.  I add a separate sunscreen underneath.

Sunday07In my opinion, this is a niche product for those seeking the benefits of MAC’s brightening serum, color-correcting properties particularly for sun damage, and some protection against future sun damage. On these points, the product delivers. The product comes out of the tube deeper shade than expected, with a very warm–almost orange–tint.  Orange corrects for blue so this makes some sense. Surprisingly, once applied the product seems to both color correct and lighten to stabilize to my NC15/20 shade over a few minutes. It may be that the coverage is sheer enough, but it also seems lighter on my face during the day that it does on my arm. It doesn’t look orange on my face.

Sunday06The product has excellent longevity–this goes on and stays on all day without shifting, fading, moving, or breaking down. However, it does have a thick, stiff, creamy texture, much more than traditional foundations. It’s heavier in texture and scent compared to  NARS Pure Radiance Tinted Moisturizer (which fits into the same high-SPF, radiance-enhancing product niche). Although MAC promises pore-minimizing properties, I found that it had to be buffed into my skin to effectively blur pores. In fact, it looked amazing when I used the Wayne Goss buffing technique described in his short, snappy and video. I used Nars Soft Velvet Loose Powder and the Nars #23 brush. When I use these, MAC’s Lightful C Tinted Cream gives an airbrushed, long-day, all-day finish.  However, when I apply the MAC Lightful C Tinted cream without care, using fingers quickly, the thick texture its on the skin and can actually make pores look a little worse. I found that careful application is important. If you have little time, the NARS goes on much more easily. Overall, MAC’s solution feels heavier and has a sunscreen-like scent.

Sunday09Here are out-of-the tube arm swatches of MAC Lightful C Tinted Cream next to several other foundations. As you can see, it comes out of the tube quite a bit deeper than most of the foundations swatched here.

Sunday11

I’m really careful about removing long-wear products–I start with an oil cleanser, use a Clarisonic with a cleanser, and then a toner. This is really important with MAC Lightful C, because as we all know, long-wearing foundations are wonderful but no one wants to keep wearing foundation overnight to keep your pores clear.

MAC lightful C tinted cream 2aOverall, I enjoy the MAC Lightful C line. I’ve re-purchased the MAC Lightful Brightening Essence and find it effective. With seven shades in the range, it’s worth considering MAC Lightful C Tinted Cream. As I said earlier, using the Goss buffing technique makes this product really excel. However, some will not enjoy the scent, and I did have to take an extra minute (or less) to buff this in to meld the product to the skin. Here are quick counter-swatches from my local MAC (there was no Dark Plus in stock as of yet).

MAC lightful C2

NARS Radiant Tinted Moisturizer promises similar benefits–sunscreen protection at SPF 30, and gradual skin brightening–and has a lighter texture, less noticeable scent, and greater shade range. After blogging over this period of time, I’ve found that foundations, skincare, and tinted creams are highly subject to personal preference. I happy to see MAC’s offering, it’s well-priced, delivers on its promises, and properly applied looks absolutely wonderful. Ingredients:

mac lightful c ingredients

MAC Lightful C Tinted Cream is currently available at Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Macy’s, and other MAC sources.

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Mar 042015
 

MAC Bao Bao Wan09MAC has released another “blink or you’ll miss it” collection in collaboration with fine jewelry artist Bao Bao Wan.

Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 9.04.07 PMThis review will be brief, because unless you are ready to go search the stores tomorrow–and it is not entirely clear which stores will carry this collection–or luck out online then this post will be moot. Stock is limited, and demand appears to have drained Nordstrom’s online site already. As is MAC’s predilection, they have some stunning, saturated lipsticks and nail colors with this collection that I let get past me. Instead, I focused on the Bao Bao Wan Jewels Deluxe Pearlfusion eyeshadow palette ($44) and the Summer Opal Beauty Powder ($28). Oh, and it’s a very cold, dark and stormy night so I’ll do the best with the light I have. Tonight, there’s limited stock available at Bloomingdales, Macy’s, and MAC online.

MAC Bao Bao Wan01a

The Bao Bao Wan Jewels Deluxe Pearlfusion eyeshadow palette. This is a complicated metallic palette. These are not smooth or finely milled compared to some of the lines carried on this blog, and I did experience fallout both during and after application. The colors are unusual and they make a beautiful, complicated, exotic looking lid. The warm golds and the cool grey metallic is an interesting mix. This is something to kick up your routine, and only for those who like warm metallics. I definitely needed a true matte in the crease with this to knock down the glimmer effect–I used the dark brown espresso color from this YSL palette–but there are lots of other choices. Of course, there are more finely-milled metallics out there, but the combination of these colors really does do some beautiful things in the light.  Swatches:

MAC Bao Bao Wan14 The top pink is a bit like a Bobbi Brown sparkle shade with a transparent base and pink glimmer. There are two golds–warm, and warmer–and the two bottom shades to anchor things down. I like using the cool gray as a liner color, it gets very vibrant against the golds.

MAC Bao Bao Wan11

Things smooth out nicely when the shades are used wet. Still not as smooth as some eyeshadows, but the rougher texture melts together, the fallout stops, and the shades become much more smooth. I’m going to be using the palette applied with a wet brush from here on out.

MAC Bao Bao's Jewels

As I suspected, the Bao Bao Wan Summer Opal Beauty Powder ($28) was the star item for me in this collection. MAC’s Beauty Powders really defy categorization–they are finishing powders, but with a little extra je ne sais qua that keep them from being typical. Their uses seem to vary by collection and skin tone.  Blush? Finishing powder? Highlighter? Really, there’s no answer. You have to try it and see what happens on your skin. Anyway, for my pale NC15/20 skin tone, Summer Opal is a soft beige-pink highlight with slight reflectivity. I suspect that there are some glitters in the mix, but I’m not seeing them translate to the skin. The whole thing applies really smoothly on my upper cheek, down the center of my nose, and around my eye area.

MAC Bao Bao Wan03 copyI suspect this will look pretty over a bronzer or blush as well. The highlight effect is soft and subtle–it’s not highly reflective. Swatch:

MAC Bao Bao Wan15Although not for everyone, I think those with warm skin tones (light through dark) may find something extraordinary and fun in this collection. It really seems like a ‘fast fashion’ type of collection, not for those looking for the everyday classic. There’s limited stock available at Bloomingdales, Macy’s, and MAC online. This is due to be released in some stores on March 5, 2015, but  please call ahead because there is conflicting information about the stores that will be getting it.

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Feb 222015
 

MAC Lightful C01MAC has reformulated its Lightful line to incorporate Vitamin C into these brightening products. Because Vitamin C has been clinically proven to benefit skin, I couldn’t resist trying out a few products to see how they feel. This is not uber-luxury skincare, or even luxury skincare in my opinion. But I’ve had surprisingly good results with the Marine Bright formula in the past, and who doesn’t love some good bang for their buck in the mid-price category? I decided to try out the new MAC Lightful C Softening Lotion ($35), the Vibrancy Eye cream ($35), the Lightful C Marine-Bright Formula Essence ($44), and the MAC Lightful C Marine Bright Formula Moisture Cream ($44). The full line is available at Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Macy’s, and other MAC sources (except for an SPF 30 tinted cream, which is due to become available this April and, just like Magnum in Zoolander, will blow us all away).

MAC Lightful C02

I’ve used the prior version of the MAC Softening Lotion, and can confirm that this MAC Lightful C Marine-Bright Formula Softening Lotion provides the same toning, softening effect on the skin to leave it feeling soft, woken-up, and baby-fresh.  This is one of those products that you think you’ll never use and then, when your glowing skin looks back at you in the mirror, you realize that it does, in fact, make a daily difference.

MAC Lightful C11

I splash a little bit of this clear, water-like liquid on, using fingers or a cotton pad, to get the effect. This is a softening toner–a separate cleanser is necessary to truly clean the skin.

MAC lightful C softening lotion1

I have to admit I’m a fan of spray toners, and this top is designed to splash or swipe on. Still, I appreciate the no-spill guard.

MAC Lightful C15

Ingredients (click to enlarge):

MAC Lightful C softening lotion ingredients1

For me the magic item in the collection is the Mac Lightful C Marine Bright EssenceI had good luck using the former version to fade darker marks/spots. I’m delighted with the addition of Vitamin C to the line. The non-sticky texture that absorbs quickly is the same.MAC Lightful C09

Nice no-spill, locking, travel-friendly packaging.

MAC Lightful C16

Ingredients (click to enlarge):

MAC Lightful C essence ingredients 21

I took a chance and ordered the MAC Lightful C Marine Bright Formula Moisture Creme.  I’m happy with my current stock of moisturizers, but I find a mid-priced gel moisturizer hard to resist. The problem with having oily skin (and now combination skin) most of my life is that I tended to avoid moisturizers as too heavy and adding “too much glow” toward the end of the day.

MAC Lightful C06After I discovered the lightweight, fast-absorbing properties of gel moisturizers, my skin is much more balanced and doesn’t over-produce oil anymore. If anyone is in the same boat, this MAC is a nice one to try because of the addition of Vitamin C and the lightweight feel. It absorbs, is very lightweight, and doesn’t add “glow” to already oily skin.

MAC Lightful C21This is housed in a lightweight plastic jar. The texture of this product is much lighter and featherweight compared to Estee Lauder’s Enlighten Moisturizer.

MAC Lightful C24

I find that NARS Aqua Gel Luminous Oil-Free Moisturizer and Chanel Hydra Beauty Gel Creme (Liz’s favorite) give a more noticeable moisturizing effect. By comparison, MAC’s is lighter in texture.  Ingredients for the MAC Lightful C:

MAC Lightful C moisturizer ingredients1

Finally, I ordered the MAC Lightful C Vibrancy Eye. This one-half ounce product has a sorbet texture in a pump-top container. It’s very pleasant to use, sinks in instantly, and gives an immediate moisturizing and de-puffing effect.  I’ve been using on my winter-stressed, wind-burned eye area and it’s vastly improved since last Friday when I began.

MAC Lightful C19Consistent with the other products in the light, the MAC Vibrancy Eye is lightweight, non-oily, and disappears quietly very soon application. Ingredients (click to enlarge):

MAC Lightful C vibrancy eye ingredients1Skincare swatches (except the toner, which is a clear liquid):

MAC Lightful C26My personal favorites in this group are the Vibrancy Eye and the Essence, however hopefully I’ve put in enough information to give you a sense of which might work for you. The full line is available at Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Macy’s, and other MAC sources.

MAC Lightful C20

In other news, I’m loving my little sample of Chanel Hydra Beauty Micro Serum Intense ($110) and am placing an order for the full-sized as soon as I hit “publish” on this post. It’s giving me a smoothness and glow that’s both immediate and improving with every day that goes by.  Although I’ll do a full review soon, here’s a quick picture of the sample (check out your local Nordstrom, gorgeous! That’s where I found mine) and the ingredient list.

Chanel Micro serum min1Les ingredients:

ingredients1Hope you are having a lovely, ice-free weekend!

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