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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Feb 152015
 

A few things from last week’s New York Fashion Week…

Artist Lee Ashley Davidson posted this photo from Nicole Miller using new MAC Cosmetics pure pigment wet/dry eyeshadows and Retromatte liquid lipstick.

Madeline Poole, Christian Louboutin Beauté Nail Consultant, used a square motif at Cushnie et Ochs. “We went with two coats of “Sweet Charity” with square detailing in navy blue “Wherever” and teal green “Ni Toi Ni Moi.”

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NARS at Creatures of the Wind used a simple look with perfect skin with an emphasis on lashes and brows.

NARS-COTW-AW15-Beauty-Look-6

James Boehmer, NARS Director of Global Artistry, used the following:

All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation
Soft Velvet Loose Powder
Radiant Creamy Concealer
Audacious Mascara (New for Fall 2015)
Oural Brow Gel

NARS-Rachel-Comey-AW15-Beauty-Look-2
Maud Laceppe for NARS Cosmetics created the look for the Rachel Comey AW ’15, which is a “dewy, almost wet look. A fresh and effortless girl, but still sexy.”

NARSskin Luminous Moisture Cream

COMPLEXION
Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer
Soft Velvet Loose Powder
Copacabana Multiple

CHEEKS
Contour Blush
Copacabana Multiple
Tribulation Blush (New for Fall 2015, for now try Nico Blush)

EYES
Copacabana Multiple
Tribulation Blush (New for Fall 2015, for now try Nico Blush)
Reykjavik Velvet Shadow Stick (New for Fall 2015)

LIPS
Chelsea Girls Lip Gloss (not yet released)

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Feb 142015
 

A quick update:  It’s days like this when it makes me very happy to have started a blog back in . . . oh, my gosh…2009!  Has it been that long? With all of the transitions in my life, this blog (and you!) have been there.  It’s so wonderful to be able to send some thoughts–however incomplete, imperfect, and informal..and send them out into the world. It makes me genuinely happy. 

My house transition–while not complete–is progressing. The makeup room is ready for organization. It’s been very calming to unpack and organize my palettes, blushes, and lipsticks.  Although it’s not photographically pretty (yet), it’s been good to get things organized again with plenty of space. It’s sort of a symbol of a lot of things falling into place in my off-blog life as well.

makeup roomIn other news, I have to give MAC credit for releasing some adorable packaging with the MAC Toledo collection. These queenly-white items are based on the love story of an artist couple, and hit all the right “modern royalty” notes with me.  The stars of the collection in my mind are the lipsticks and glosses, which is no surprise as MAC seems to excel in those departments. I chose Oxblood and Opera lipsticks, Opera lipgloss, and Kindergarten Red blush.

MAC Toledo Oxblood

 

The packaging has a rubberized-Nars-like texture, which feel very cushy to hold. Sure, they’ll attract fingerprints, but they look adorable. There are some items still available at Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, and Macys.

Yves Saint Laurent Nu Palette 1

My Yves Saint Laurent Nu palette arrived. I know, I owe you swatches.  For now, enjoy these! This is a very “le smoking” themed-design.

YSL Nu Palette 2

And inside, these neutral lovelies:

YSL Nu palette1These are still available at Nordstrom, Yves Saint Laurent, Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, and Saks Fifth Avenue. I don’t see this at Sephora, unfortunately.

Shu palette

Is there an epic battle of neutral palettes going on, or what? Shu Uemura’s 16 Shades of Nude palette is now online for sale. Here are some “in real life” pictures on Rouge Deluxe. I just noticed this is now for sale on Shu Uemura’s website. There’s a 15% off code now SHEEP (through 2/20/15).

I hope you are having a lovely weekend. It’s a balmy 28 degrees outside right now-just kidding! I’m going for my second cup of something warm.

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Jan 082015
 

Mac Spring trend palette swatches01

MAC’s Spring Trend ’15 palettes have been released for a few months now, but in this deep cold weather I thought it would be fun to post some swatches to remind myself that Spring is just around the corner. These are both available on maccosmetics.com.

Mac spring trend palette 152

The MAC Spring ’15 Lip and Cheek palette ($40) is an outstanding combination of flattering shades from almost every color family. How beautiful is this? The formula works for both lip color and blush.

Mac spring trend palette 153

How yummy is this? I cannot wait to wear this as the sun starts to peek through the sky once again. Swatches:

Mac Spring trend palette swatches10

The MAC Spring ’15 Trend palette ($40) seems a little more mixed, but I still thought it worth the price. I think that I’ll love using some of the shades, although the light green and blue look a little challenging to me.

Mac Spring trend palette swatches03a

The neutral urbanist, coupled with the brown-burgundy power player and eggplant night walk look outstanding to me. This will be fun to dig into soon.

Mac Spring trend palette swatches05

Swatches of MAC’s Spring Trend eye palette:

Mac Spring trend palette swatches06ba

Both palettes use a cream formula. Although I haven’t had much time to play with these yet, these look like the perfect play palettes once the weather starts warming.

Mac Spring trend palette swatches09To everyone suffering through challenging weather right now, my thoughts are with you. Hopefully as you read this you are safe, warm and comfortable. Cheers!

 

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