Jun 272013
 

MAC 159 brush1

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.

Mac 159 brush

From the side:

MAC 159 brush3

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).

Mac tropical taboo MSF01

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).

Mac tropical taboo MSF02

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.

Mac tropical taboo MSF03a

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.

Mac tropical taboo MSF07a

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.

Mac tropical taboo MSF11

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!).

MAC 159 brush2

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.

This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup)

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Apr 182013
 

Mac Nudes & Metallics Group 21

MAC is just releasing a Pro-only collection called Nudes & Metallics, which consists of coordinating eyeshadows and lipsticks. Essentially, the Nudes collection includes four light-to-dark shades in soft finishes. As the name suggests, the Metallics are richly pigmented, metal-shine colors. Although I do not typically buy much MAC, this pro release had the promise of satisfying my craving for neutrals with a twist, so I invested in the eyeshadows of this collection.

MAC Nudes & Metallics group 11

Details on this release are little hard to track down. According to Temptalia, the collection is MAC PRO store (4/18/13) and PRO Online only (mid June 2013). Non-PRO members should buy from a Pro store now, because non-pro members do not have access to the MAC Pro online site.

MAC Metallic Group

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Apr 182013
 

Mac Nudes & Metallics Group 21

MAC is just releasing a Pro-only collection called Nudes & Metallics, which consists of coordinating eyeshadows and lipsticks. Essentially, the Nudes collection includes four light-to-dark shades in soft finishes. As the name suggests, the Metallics are richly pigmented, metal-shine colors. Although I do not typically buy much MAC, this pro release had the promise of satisfying my craving for neutrals with a twist, so I invested in the eyeshadows of this collection.

Details on this release are little hard to track down. According to Temptalia, the collection is MAC PRO store (4/18/13) and PRO Online only (mid June 2013). Non-PRO members should buy from a Pro store now, because non-pro members do not have access to the MAC Pro online site.

MAC Nudes & Metallics group 11

This review looks at the four Nude eyeshadowsBare Minimum, Glimpse of Flesh, Body Conscious and Exposed ($15 each). All have a nicely pigmented Satin finish.

Mac Nudes Group 11

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Jan 042013
 

MAC Taupe Shape Chanel Notorious1a

I’ve had a long time fascination with neutral blushes. I suppose it is only a matter of time before I just move into contour powders. But for now I thought it would be interesting to compare some recent acquisitions with some old favorites.

In the Strength Collection, Mac released Taupe Shape ($20) and Poised ($20). These sold out almost immediately online. According to a response to my email, Mac’s customer services stated that neither will be restocked online. The Strength Collection was also released in Mac stand-alone stores (but not department store counters). Several Mac stand-alone stores seemed to have gotten a good supply of both Taupe Shape and Poised, so if you are interested those stand alone stores are the only places to find them.

MAC Taupe Shape Chanel Notorious2

Intrigued by the name “Taupe Shape,” I wondered whether this blush might be a more user-friendly version of Chanel Notorious (now apparently sold out). As it turns out, it is (sort of). Mac’s Taupe Shape is softer, ever so slightly warmer, and far less pigmented. These combine to make early morning application more user-friendly and foolproof. Of course, Mac’s Taupe Shape lacks Chanel Notorious’ drama, but I don’t know of any blushes (ever) as dramatic as Notorious.

MAC Taupe Shape Chanel Notorious1a4

Some will find Mac Taupe Shape far too cool and too edgy. For those, I recommend Mac Poised, or a more brown or amber blush. Here I compare this to my well-worn Shu Amber 85 (long discontinued, a matte) and Mac Sur, a mauve-brown that sold out in a heartbeat last year. However, there are other brown blushes on the market (check Illamasqua Create, Nars Madly, Burberry Earthy and others) or even soft bronzers that can do the trick. Other worthy contenders are the softly mauve Giorgio Armani Blush #5 (reviewed here by The Black Panties) and the amber Rouge Bunny Rouge Delicata (reviewed here by The Pink Sith).

MAC Taupe Shape Chanel Notorious1a3

I can barely apply Chanel Notorious with a standard brush. I use a duo fiber and also wipe it down before application. Mac Taupe Shape can be used with an angled or small-headed blush brush (for precise placement). Some may find Mac Taupe Shape and Poised too shimmery for contour purposes (compare these to The Beauty Look Book’s review of the Mac Sculpting powders). I didn’t find Taupe Shape very shimmery on my cheeks, personally. Heavy application with flash:

MAC Taupe Shape Chanel Notorious7a

Other posts that you might find interesting is Messy Wands review of Chanel Notorious and Temptalia’s Review of Mac Taupe Shape. Another is Cafe Makeup’s review of Burberry’s Light Glow Earthy Blush.

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Jan 262011
 

The other day, Liz and I were playing around with some pink lipsticks, and we noticed how the difference in texture and tone affected final impact of the look. On one hand, we used RMK Irresistible Lips B in Pink (#04), which I obtained from a beauty blogging friend kind enough to ship it to me from the UK. In case you are unfamiliar RMK is a very high quality brand from Japan. This sells for approximately $40 on Ichibankao.

RMK Pink has an absolutely gorgeous, moisturizing formula.  It feels like a light, luxurious balm, and the moist look translates to the lip, imparting a gorgeous fullness and glow.  This is a very soft warm watermelon pink that is absolutely flattering on warm skin tones.  It has a touch of sheerness, that lets some of the natural lip color to show through.

For contrast, we played with MAC’s Nicki Minaj Pink Friday ($14.50), a rebellious cool, flat pink that Liz stole for her own stash.  This one sold out instantly, but is rumored to return.

I suppose it is not surprising that I preferred RMK Pink, and Liz preferred Pink Friday?  At any rate, I could not get over how the different textures and formula really were.

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