Jul 162015
 

825 Lexington - Exterior - ApprovedThis according to MAC’S Press Release:

M·A·C Cosmetics introduces the M·A·C Makeup Studio, its first ever retail location dedicated to the brand’s trusted makeup services, applications, lessons and professional artistry. Located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, this concept sets a global precedent for the brand.

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Jun 232015
 

MAC Le Disko eyeshadow 01I picked up a few Dazzleshadow eyeshadows from the MAC Le Disko collection. At $20 each, I thought it worth spending a few minutes discussing these somewhat unique shadows. Although NARS has brought us a few shades with a similar multi-dimensional qualities, there are few other products out there like these. MAC Le Disko is currently available at Nordstrom, Macy’s, Bloomingdales, and other MAC sources.

MAC’s Le Disko eyeshadows have an insane amount of duochrome, sparkle, and a widely different look depending on the technique, base, and brush used. Really, the duo chrome effect is strong with these, my friends.  As you move your eyes in the light, these will give you a stunning variation. These are challenging eyeshadows to work with, but really crazy beautiful. If you’ve got some experience, patience and decent tools, I’d prepare to pick up at least two or three. Here are the shades that I got.

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Jun 162015
 

Mac Huggable Summer '15

As you’ve probably heard, MAC Huggables are back for Summer 2015. With the first round, I did some major purchasing because I loved the formulas and colors (my original post on these is here).  I continue to use the colors from that former batch, as I loved the color selection and moisturizing feel. I was beyond excited to see these return for a summer round. These are currently available at Nordstrom, Macy’s, Bloomingdales, Selfridges UK and other MAC sources.

Mac Huggables Summer 15c

Although I made two trips to my local MAC counter to see this newest release, in truth I find this summer’s version less enthralling in terms of the color choices. I started with a purchase of three–red Flaming Lips, peach Soft Talkin’, and neutral pink I’m In. Although the formula, texture, and overall moisturizing properties of the formula hasn’t changed and is equally wonderful, I found that there is only one color from this batch that I truly love–that is, the light pink I’m InFor some reason (I’ll speculate on this in a bit), this year’s color choices were a little “off” for me–even the sheer red Flaming Lips seemed to clash with my natural mauve lip tone. I think that the reason is that the colors from this summer’s release are very one-note. Sometimes a complex color that is a mix of warm and cools can work on many different skin tones and colors. These colors seem a bit simpler in tone–they will either work for you perfectly and harmoniously, or they won’t.

Mac Huggables summer '15b

I’m In, on the left, seems to be the perfect natural grab-and-go color for me. I purchased three of I’m In to wear throughout the year. Although the other colors are wearable, and I’ll get plenty of use out of them, they just aren’t as flattering as I’d like. Continue reading »

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Jun 092015
 

LE DISKO_BEAUTY_300aMAC is set to release Le Disko Collection: where glitter and glamour intoxicate and colour gets physical. It’s all see and be scene as the crowd converges under a sparkling aura of lights and erupts into a dazzling sea of eyes and lips. Feel the fever with Dazzle Eye Shadow in riotous hues, while Dazzleglass drops it like it’s hot for colour-popped lips that’ll make the boys go crazy. It’s a full on colour disco, and you’re the reigning queen.”  These should go online this Thursday  June 11th, 2015, and be in-stores on June 18th, 2015 (US and Canada).

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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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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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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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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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Oct 312014
 

MAC Holiday goodies07 copyI love pigments, and MAC seems to do some of my favorites. Over the past few years, I’ve gifted away or sold many of my full-sized jars. I couldn’t resist picking up three of the sets from the MAC Objects of Affection collection ($35 each). Because of their small size and variety, these sets are a great way to collect a wide variety of colors and textures (including glitters for nail accents) without investing too heavily. These sets are currently available at Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, and Macy’s (except for the Bronze set, which is a MAC exclusive). All swatches here are made with a wet brush.

MAC Holiday goodies02 copyThe Gold + Beige Pigments + Gilitter are a beautiful choice for those looking for a little shimmer and shine in warm neutrals. The golds in this set are dramatic, subtle and beautiful–especially English Gilt, a bright champagne (the second swatch from the left).

MAC Holiday goodies11 copyThese jars are small–they work best when using the back of my hand as a palette to mix with water or mixing medium. The Deep Brown is really well pigmented. I sometimes forget how beautifully these apply–the colors are amazing.

MAC Holiday goodies12 copy

Each of these sets has a glitter, which is fun for nails.

MAC beige and gold4 copy

The Bronze Pigments + Glitter set is a set of dramatic, warm bronzy neutrals.

MAC Holiday goodies06 copy

 

Each of these little bottles is rated at about 0.09 oz. each. Fortunately, you need so very little to get a dramatic look that it is inconceivable to me that you would ever use on these up. All three sets have little covers under the caps to guard against massive loss in case of a spill.

MAC Holiday goodies09 copySwatches of the Bronze Pigments + Glitters:

MAC Holiday goodies beige gold3 copy

The Blue + Silver Pigments are Glitters are a cool toned set with remarkably good formulations. These seemed particularly smooth and easy to work with.

MAC Holiday goodies04 copy

These all seem to be shades of cream, gray and black, although Deep Blue Green has a bit of deep blue in its mix.

MAC Holiday goodies16 copySwatches of these complicated and pretty colors.

MAC Holiday pigments blue2 copyFinally, I ordered this MAC Heirloom Mix Nude Lip Bag. I didn’t expect to love this, but I did.

MAC Holiday goodies21 copyI remember a few years ago that I would find the concept of laying so many lip products slightly puzzling. It’s so much easier to swipe and go with one product!  Since then, I’ve realized the value of layering products–they tend to have more complexity, they tend to last longer and they tend to have a pretty mix of textures and colors. This particular combination layers beautifully–the pencil, the lipstick, then topped with the creamy gloss gave me a good two hours. Once the product warmed and mixed on my lips, the effects was really pretty. Here are individual swatches:

MAC Holiday goodies26 copyOverall, I loved these picks from MAC Holiday 2014. The one addition product that you might not wish to mix is MAC Salon Rouge lipstick–it’s a pretty deep red (sorry, no pictures but I thought I’d mention it in case you are in a MAC mood).  The bag for the Nude set is not bad, but I’m not sure who long it will last in my current rough-and-tumble travel life.

MAC holiday nude lip bag1 copy

 

Inside, no pockets–just a simple bag, thank you very much.

MAC holiday nude lip bag2 copy

These sets are currently available at Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, and Macy’s (except for the Bronze set, which is a MAC exclusive). Here are the boxes for the pigment sets, below.

MAC heirloom mixThis post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup)

 

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Aug 282014
 

MAC Brow set2This summer MAC released a few permanent items, including the MAC Pro Longwear Waterproof Brow Set ($17 0.17 oz.). Because brows are so important, I was curious to try it. I picked up MAC’s Brow Set in Quiet Brunette, described as a “muted mid-tone gray.” This product is available at Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Macy’s and other MAC sources.

MAC Brow set4

I’ve been wearing this for about a week, and find that it delivers well. The brush is short, and therefore easy to control. The product is highly controllable, so a light brush through will give a light application. You just keep adding for to add more color, drama and emphasis.

MAC Brow set6

I found the MAC Brow Set somewhat comparable to NARS Brow Gel ($22 /0.21 oz.), with a few differences. The NARS colors (swatched here) lean slightly more gray and so seem to be a touch more natural for my coloring. NARS runs a few dollars more per tube, but contains more product. NARS’ formula feels a slight touch dryer, which can translate is a bit less of a tendency to generate clumps. However, the difference is so slight that if I found that a MAC Brow Gel worked better for my coloring, I would  not hesitate to go for the MAC. Here’s a quick comparison between NARS Athens and MAC Quiet Brunette:

MAC and Nars Brown gel comparisons1

 

Here is quick MAC Quiet Brunette Brow Gel on my brow. As you can see, it covers the area quite evenly:

MAC Brow SetOverall, I found MAC Brow Gel a good workhorse product from their Pro Longwear line. I got excellent all-day wear, even in the heat and humidity and through a good workout. There are no problems from flaking, and any tiny clumps can be easily brushed away with the small, controllable blush. If you are in the market for a good brow gel, these are well worth a look.

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

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