Apr 192014
 

I’m never sure whether to review here-today-gone-this-afternoon collections. These micro-releases sell out so quickly, that the posts become dated by the time that email distribution is complete. I’m going to try this one with some lipsticks from MAC Playland ($16 each). We had a major photo-fest, and I threw these into the mix because it only takes a few minutes. These are both still available via Nordstrom.com as of this posting. If experience is any guide, I can’t promise for how long.

As you probably know. MAC Playland features colors that look uber-bright in the tube. I chose two that are lovely and quite wearable, in my opinion.

MAC Playland1Head in the Clouds is a shimmery deep red, in MAC’s Frost finish. It’s a little bit of glam, but not too much. This is pigment-rich, although it can be dabbed and buffed out for a really pretty stained effect.

mac head in the clouds

 

On Sandra:

MAC Playland4

Red Balloon is a day-time friendly wearable fuchsia-red.

MAC Playland2

Red Balloon is not nearly as bright as some that MAC has created over the years (or Chanel, for that matter). This rich, saturated color in MAC’s Amplified finish goes on opaque in a single swipe. Like Head in the Clouds, this can be dabbed and buffed for a stain effect. Here it is straight from the tube:

MAC Red BalloonHere are some quick swatches:

MAC Playland6

These vibrant colors caught my eye–I think they’re pretty and keeping with my mood for the upcoming Spring. As ever, with these vibrant shades I keep the rest of my makeup in the “flawless skin/just a touch of soft neutrals on the eye” territory.

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Apr 182014
 

MAC Proenza Schouler Lipsticks01MAC has collaborated with the genius design team Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, otherwise known as Proenza Schouler. I still remember the first time that I saw one of their bags–it was the softest deep green leather. The very sight of it–miles away on Barney’s sales floor–drew me in immediately. Their style is modern and classic, very urban with an edge. They make lovely, lovely things. MAC Proenza Schouler Lipsticks05I was able to find three of the lipsticks from the MAC Proenza Schouler collaboration that I can share with you–the nude Woodrose (a creamy Lustre), the sheer violet Primrose (a lustre with shimmer), and the vibrant orange-red Mangrove (matte). These come in special luxe packaging at $22 each, and they are supposed to be released next week. MAC Proenza Schouler Lipsticks07Mangrove is a stunner, a statement color that is clean, modern, and very cool. Here it is on Sandra, a family friend who has a deep love of all things makeup: MAC Proenza Schouler Lipsticks13Woodrose is a nude with the faintest touch of pink and grey. Primrose looks like a deep sparkling violet, but applies with a very blue-violet version of Givenchy’s Liz’s Lips (or a very distant cousin of Clinique Black Honey). MAC Proenza Schouler Lipsticks06 Woodrose: MAC Proenza Schouler Lipsticks11 I love Primrose in the tube, but must confess that I was relieved to find that it applied sheerly for everyday wear. MAC Proenza Schouler Lipsticks03 Primrose: MAC Proenza Schouler Lipsticks12 Because I love unusual twists on everyday shades, these three colors were really something that I’m glad to own.I can see wearing these to add a little edge to my everyday look. These will be available at MAC stores, counters, and online sometime next week. MAC Proenza Schouler Lipsticks14

Here are some quick swatches in my backyard….

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Jan 152014
 

MAC Huggables Overview1

There are two times every year when MAC attracts my laser focus–once during the summer for their baked collections, and right after the Holiday when a beautiful neutral collection is released. This year, MAC added a new formula lipstick collection–called MAC Huggables ($20 each)–to the post-Holiday excitement. As is typical of MAC’s limited edition releases, mine are arriving in the mail just as these are selling out in stores. So I thought it best to do a quick post in case any of these catch your eye. Some are still available at Nordstrom, Macy’s, and other MAC sources.

MAC Commotion and Red Necessity1

First of all, these are packaged in a re-designed tube that reminds me of Chantecaille’s Lip Chics ($35 each). The MAC Huggables’ formula is  pigmented, sheer, shiny, and very hydrating. They have “creamy emollients to give you a lasting, glossy color that leaves your lips smooth and sculpted.” I found that my winter-dry lip lines disappeared under this very hydrating formula. For those of us who are on the “more experienced” side of the age continuum, you might give these a serious look because they are a pleasure to use.  Their relatively low price point makes them a fun addition to add a pop of color to your winter wardrobe. I found this video from Lena/senoritaxlena quite helpful in choosing my shades.

MAC Huggables Overview2 final

Here’s the other secret of the MAC Huggables–they are far more saturated than I expected. Some of the online swatches do not really show their high-pigment color. These stay glossy for quite some time, their color lasts and lasts. They feel both hydrating and a slightly tacky, although not annoyingly so.

MAC Huggables Overview5

On some, this emollient formula can feather. Although I did not experience this, it may have more to do with my lip shape more than anything. I’ve only had a chance to play with these for 2-3 days, but I did find that using a lip primer seemed to prevent any migration and added to the formula’s wear time (I used the Bite Lip Primer, but others can work). I found that using the primer did not seem to interfere with the formula’s hydrating benefits to a significant degree. Lip lines, be gone! Also, you can sort of use them as their own primer, by laying down a little bit, let it dry and then add a bit more. The lower under-layer seems to create little base of the top layer to grip onto. Another set of swatches:

MAC Huggables Overview4

The colors are really fun–they aren’t terribly complex but they do mix with your natural lip color and give a very pretty, glossy, moisturized look. Rich Marron is quickly becoming my favorite, and the pinks–Feeling Amorous?, Love Beam, and Out for Passion are great grab-and-go shades. Commotion is probably the most unusual, and the reds are a pleasant touch. Rusty is deep and dramatic, but with a sheerness that’s very pleasant. These shades are perfect not only for this moisturizing properties, but also for at least two other purposes. First they’re great for occasions when you want to wear a bright color to work or other conservative event. These don’t go “over the top.” I wore Feeling Amorous? to dinner tonight, and my husband confirmed that (despite the brightly colored swatch) the color wasn’t “too much.” Second, they are a great way to get used to wearing brighter colors and reds. For those that have never left the house in a bight lip, try one of these. A sheer will get you half-way to being a comfortable, confident wearer of any lip color out there (well, maybe not lime green, but you get the picture). One last set of swatches:

MAC Huggables Overview5

Here are the shades that I chose:

MAC Rich Marron Huggable1

Rich Marron is one of my favorites-this is a gorgeous, high-shine nude. It’s a sheerer cousin to NARS Last Tango.

 MAC Rich Marron2a

Red Necessity is a cool, sheer, high-shine red. Commotion is a fuchsia that leans violet–it can go maroon on my lips. It’s quite a dramatic, cool-toned stained glass wonder.

MAC Rich Marron Huggable two1

Feeling Amorous? is a bold (yet sheer) pink:

MAC Feeling Amorous?2

Out for Passion is a warm pink with a hint of peach:

MAC Out for Passion3

Cherry Glaze a pigmented, warm red:

MAC Cherry Glaze2

Rusty is a warm cognac-burgundy:

MAC Rusty2

Love Beam is a soft, light, sheer pink:

MAC Love Beam1

Overall, I’m really having fun with these colors. My lips looks moisturized, pretty, and always appropriate despite the brightness of these shades (although I have to be careful with MAC Commotion). Because this is a MAC limited edition collection, they are in the “get them before they’re gone” territory.

Available at NordstromMacy’s, and other MAC sources.

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Jan 082014
 

_8584820

I’ve always had an affinity for the rebellious spirit of the punk movement. I was around to see some of the ending phases of it in California, and enjoyed the Punk:  Chaos to Couture show last spring at the Met in New York City. I could go on (oh, could I!), but let’s move on to the makeup instead.

met

When MAC recently released the Punk Couture collection that included several deep toned lipstick, I couldn’t resist picking up MAC Instigator and Studded Kiss ($15) to add to my vamp colored lip collection.

Dark Lips Review04

But first, let’s start at the beginning.

Chanel noir 3 color lipstick

To do this post properly, I reached into the vault to see three Chanel near-black lipsticks released in a very limited production in 2009. These three colors–Hysteria, Obscure, and Maniac–have not seen a lot of use. Perhaps I needed Punk to experience a re-awakening to really appreciate their edgy beauty.

Chanel Noir Lipsticks

Here are the three colors:

Chanel 3 dark lipsticks

More recent additions to my vamp collection include Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet La Provocante from a Fashion’s Night Out release, the comparatively sheer Rouge Allure Envoutante, and Rouge Allure Rouge Noir (#109).

Vampy lips1a

Here is a lip swatch of La Provocante:

Dark Lips Review swatches2

And Chanel Rouge Allure Rouge Noir:

Dark Lips Review swatches1

Currently, MAC has released four deep colors as part of Punk Couture. I picked up MAC Studded Kiss and Instigator, which have a matte formula. These melt pretty well on the lips, and look incredible under a gloss.

Vampy lips3

MAC Studded Kiss reminds me of Chanel Rouge Noir–it is a deep red black jewel. The pigmentation is incredible. I wore it for most of the day today, and it’s vibrant color wore for hours without drying out my lips or fading until at least four hours had gone by.

Vampy lips4

MAC Instigator leans deep black purple, and reminds me of Chanel La Provocante:

Dark Lips Review02

I haven’t played with MAC Instigator extensively yet, but as this collection is selling out so quickly I thought it best to get some images up as soon as possible.

Dark Lips Review03

Here are swatches of MAC Studded Kiss and Instigator:

Dark Lips Review06

Here are more swatches that include the Chanel deep colors, Hysteria, Obscure and Maniac:

Dark Lips Review07

Here are my modern Chanel acquisitions, Chanel La Provocante, Envoutante, and Rouge Noir:

Dark Lips Review08

Here is the entire group (click to enlarge):
Dark Lips Review11

You can see that the original 2009 set is the deepest and darkest of the group. Here is one more set of the entire group:

Dark Lips Review12

I hope you enjoyed this little overview of some of my deep, dark lipsticks. Although these aren’t always in my comfort zone, I’ve always found it fun to use these on days when they feel right. If you’d like to get the MAC, do not wait a moment longer. Nordstrom has MAC Instigator and Studded Kiss up for order (they’re back-ordered for February delivery) and I do not know whether they will last the night.

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Aug 232013
 

Mac Volcanic Ash Exfoliator1

This is a quick skincare review for a cleanser–MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliator ($28).  I love a good exfoliator-it helps my skin feeling clear and fresh. Formerly, I was using Philosophy’s The Microdelivery Exfoliating Wash. This Philosophy cleanser does work really, really well. There are a few things to think about with the Philosophy–first, it uses little microbeads which melt when wet. Some do not recommend using products that depend on physical exfoliation components (like beads, shell, or anything too rough), so I was becoming a little nervous about that. Also, there’s a minor issue that the top gets clogged on the Philosophy with some regularity. It’s not a big problem, but it does happen.

Mac Volcanic Ash Exfoliant 121

Recently, I was on a trip where I had forgotten to bring along my cleanser (I usually decant a bit, but this time that didn’t happen). I stopped into a MAC store to get the legendary MAC Mineralize Volcanic Ash Exfoliator. Perhaps you’ve heard of it. It was formerly a limited edition product that would sell out immediately because it was so popular. There was much rejoicing when it was made a permanent part of MAC’s skincare line.

Mac Volcanic Ash Exfoliator5

This product is made with a combination of volcanic ash and fine sugar crystals. It comes out of the tube black, then seems to lighten and soften as you use it. It makes a wonderful cleanser that does leaves my skin soft and cleansed. It is just as effective as Philosophy for me, but doesn’t leave my skin feeling quite so raw. I like it better, quite frankly.

Mac Volcanic Ash Exfoliator4

I like the flip-top (no losing that!) and the big open top looks pretty impervious to clogging. It works well on it’s own, or on a Clarisonic. So far, I’m beginning to think that MAC Mineralize Volcanic Ash Exfoliator is worthy of the hype.

As background, I probably own more skincare than the average woman. Is this my only cleanser? Oh, no. But I thought it was worth a quick review because I really do like it. I usually use some pretty heavy sunscreens and they really need to be removed at the end of the day, so I have cleansers galore. My routine is that I start with an oil cleanser, then I use a second cleanser (currently, this MAC) on a Clarisonic, followed by toner (more about that later).  I hope this quick little review is helpful.

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