Sunday, April 20, 2014

Must Haves | MAC Cosmetics ❤

Sometimes post ideas occur so organically, they just beg to be written.  Yesterday, a friend of mine commented on my Instagram post of the two MAC Casual Colours I picked up from the Playland collection:

Lexi, your comment inspired me to write this post!  So thank you!

When asked if I like MAC products, the answer is both simple (YASSS!) and complex (how do I love thee?  Let me count the products...).  So I thought a post showcasing my absolute MAC Must Haves was the perfect way to explain just how deeply my lurve for Make-up Art Cosmetics goes!

Let's begin with my #1 FAVORITE MAC products: Ermergerrrd!  Lirpstirrrrck!
MAC offers 8 finishes in their regular lipstick line.  My favorites are Amplified Creme (SUPER pigmented, ultra creamy, excellent staying power without drying out the lips), Cremesheen (great pigmentation and a creamy, comfortable finish), and Lustre (lighter pigmentation that allows your natural lip color to show through).  Lustre finishes are perfect for anyone who's a little lipstick shy or used to wearing primarily lip balms as even the seemingly boldest red (Ladybug) is sheer and easily applied sans mirror.
MAC also has the most comprehensive color collection.  Literally EVERYTHANG from the most subtle hint of medium pink to the deepest brownish-red to the brightest fuchsia purple.  Options: They has it.  If you've ever thought, "I just cannot find a nude lipstick that doesn't make me look like a lost extra from The Walking Dead," get thee to a MAC counter!  I have so many great neutral lip shades from MAC, and they are always my go-to when I need a nude lip color.  I'm a light-medium complexion with neutral undertones and my favorite nudes are Modesty (Cremesheen), Half 'N Half (Amplified), and Patisserie (Lustre).  I'm planning to wear Patisserie layered over MAC Cremestick Liner in Beurre for my wedding next Saturday!  
One of the coolest things MAC does is their Viva Glam program where 100% (yes - one HUNDRED percent a/k/a ALL) of the proceeds from the sale of any Viva Glam lipstick goes to the MAC Aids Fund that supports men, women, and children living with HIV/AIDS.  You rarely see a company donating 100% of their profits to a charity, so this is amazing beyond words.  
With the seemingly unlimited selection of shades and finishes, you are bound to find a favorite (or 10...)!

Next on my recommendations list is foundation.  My faves are MAC Pro Longwear and Face And Body Foundation.
If you don't know what shade you are, go to any MAC store or counter and they will match you.  As most beauty bloggers use their MAC foundation number as a point of reference for their skin tone, it's very handy to know yours.  If a blogger says a blush didn't show up on her and she's an NW15 (NW=neutral warm, 15=quite light) and you are an NC42 (NC=neutral cool, 42=warm tan), you can deduce that the blush would DEFO not show up on you since it wasn't visible on someone much lighter skinned.  It can be a little confusing at first when you realize they match warm undertones to cool foundations and vice-versa, but once you get the hang of it, it really makes a lot of sense.  MAC foundations are made to cancel out whatever your undertone is.  So if you're warm, your shade will be cool (NC) to counter-balance your undertones.  I am NW25, which means I'm cool with light-medium skin, even though the "W" stands for warm.  The warm tones cancel out the coolness of my pink skin giving me a more neutral face.  Ok, sorry that seemed a bit convoluted and wordy, but I hope it's helpful to anyone unfamiliar with their foundation system! :)
*That* is how much I liked Pro Longwear! Good to the last drop!
Other fantastic face products are the Skin Base Primer, Select Cover-Up Concealer (get it in a shade to match your face as it is amazeballs at covering acne, discolorations, and blemishes but slightly too boss/thick for under eye concealer. This concealer is your BFF if you have frequent break outs!), Invisible Set Powder (excellent for locking down your makeup and preventing oil breakthrough; this is another wedding day staple yours truly and her maid and matron of honor will be rocking), and Mineralize Skinfinish Natural (for a less matte-yet-non-shimmery setting powder).

Next on my list is MAC blushes!  They have 5 different finishes of Powder Blush (satin, matte, frost, sheertone, and sheertone shimmer), Extra Dimension, Casual Colour (LE), Cremeblend, Pro Longwear, and Mineralize blush.  The color catalog of blushes is immense!  Like their lipsticks, a shade and finish exists for everyone.

These are my personal powder blush faves!  Pictured below from left to right: Blushbaby, Prism, Peaches, Bad Girl Gone Good (LE).
MAC also has Mineralize Skinfinishes (baked highlighter powders) and these glorious compacts o' happiness called Pearlmatte Face Powders.  While the Mineralize Skinfinishes are permanent, the Pearlmatte powders are only released a few times a year in limited edition collections.  The bad news?  You can't get one any ol' time you want.  The good news?  When they're included in an LE release, they are usually absurdly adorable and you MUST GET ONE.  They sell out quickly so you'll need to be on stalker mode to get one, or plan to shell out as much as double the sales price when they hit eBay.  Pearlmattes are matte "face powders" that typically have a shimmer overspray that wears off after 1 or 2 uses (good news for those with oily skin or people who prefer a matte look, bad news for those who like shimmery face products).  Pearlmattes can be used as blush, highlighter, and/or an overall setting powder depending on the shade. In short (HA!), they are pretty kick-ass.  I don't have a favorite because I love them all equally!

A few more faves (clockwise starting at the heart-dotted cutie pants): Flatter Me Pearlmatte, Pink Buttercream Pearlmatte, Soft & Gentle Mineralize Skinfinish, Hi Jinks! Casual Color, and Brit Wit Cremeblend Blush.

As for eyes, really, where does one begin?!  I have a serious love for so many items it would take a series of posts to cover them all.

My must haves include eyeshadows in Cranberry, Sable, Jest, and Mythology.  I have these 4 faves in an Eyeshadow x 4 palette that retails for $8.00 USD.  You can order most MAC shadows as a "pro palette refill pan" where it's just the pan as opposed to the little case they usually come in.  The pans then slide easily into any magnetized palette or MAC eye palette.  You can always depot your MAC shadows fairly easily out of their plastic housings if you want to, but I would seriously recommend getting a small eyeshadow palette and buying the pan-only refills as they save you time, money ($10.00 USD for singles in pans, $15.00 USD for singles in a compact), and possible third-degree burns from trying to depot shadows!
Clockwise from top: Cranberry, Sable, Mythology, Jest.

Other eye loves include the Lord It Up Pearlglide intense Eye Liner (a stunning warm brown with gold glitter; truly a liner in a class by itself), Zoom Fast Black Lash and Extended Play Lash mascaras, Paint Pots (huge fan of Morning Frost from the Glitter & Ice Collection with Johnny Weir), and Pigments.  MAC Pigments are incredible.  You get a TON of loose pigment for the $ and they are some of the most gorgeously nuanced colors.  Below are (L to R) Tan and Copper Sparkle.  Tan is a color I find looks beautiful on anyone and is my #1 favorite pigment.  MAC sometimes releases mini sized pigments in collections, usually around the holidays, which allows you to try several shades without committing to a full 4.5 grams.
If you follow me on Instagram, you've seen Lord It Up in countless MOTD posts because I wear it all the time.  The one I have is in the special edition Archie's Girls packaging, but it's offered year-round in the regular black packaging.  I will definitely repurchase this when I finish it.  I vow to always have a Lord It Up liner in my makeup stash!

If you can only buy 1 item:  A lipstick or Lord It Up Pearlglide Intense Liner.
If you can only buy 3 items: A lipstick, Lord It Up, a Pearlmatte Face Powder (when available!)
If you can only buy 5 items: A lipstick, Lord It Up, a Pearlmatte Face Powder, Pro Longwear Foundation, and Select Cover-Up.  If you don't have blemish issues on the regular, sub a blush for the concealer!

Whew!  That was a lengthly post.  And I swear it does not even cover all of my faves.  I was out of the Lip Balm Tube at the time of this post but that is another product I adore and highly recommend.  I also decided this post would just focus on the cosmetics side of MAC, not the skincare side, as that is literally a whole other post for another day!  I hope it's helpful to anyone who isn't entirely familiar with MAC makeup or doesn't know where to start with such a comprehensive product line.

If you're a MAC gal or guy, what are your top 3 must-haves?

In non-beauty news, I just wanted to say that I love you guys!  Seriously.  My wedding is now 6 days away (!!!!!) and I cannot thank you all enough for your kind words, support, and mutual excitement!  This will be my last post for a while as I need to focus on making 87 lists, checking them twice, and mentally preparing for this extra special moment in my life.  I tried to make this post extra meaty with a side of roasted red potatoes to tide y'all over for the next couple of weeks! Even though I will be quiet here on the blog, I will still be actively Instagraming the days before, the day of (depending on stress levels, right?!), and the honeymoon trip to Puerto Rico afterwards.  You can follow me on Instagram here.  Thank you all for being the sweetest peepettes a gal could ask for.  The next time I write a post, it will be as Mrs. Kristen Bartholomew!  Woohoo!

Lots of love and buckets of XOXO's!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

EMPTIES! #2 | Winter 2013 Edition

I have been saving up empties since November 2013, so there's quite a few of them this time!  Grab a drink, and light snack if you're so inclined, and let's get started! ;)

1. WEN Cleansing Conditioner in Sweet Almond Mint: For me, there's no other hair product that leaves my hair feeling softer or silkier than WEN.  I use it every few days as a treatment so the bottle goes a lot farther than it would if I used it daily.  It's too conditioning for me to use every single day with my fine, oily hair, but as a treatment?  It's divine.  Will I repurchase? Yes, but I'm going to try a different variety as I wasn't a huge fan of the mint.
2. Aussie Moist 3 Minute Miracle: This is a product I can't rave about enough!  It deeply conditions the ends of my hair without weighing it down and this stuff smells fantastic.  Will I repurchase? Already have!
3. Herbal Essences Honey I'm Strong Shampoo: see there's two empty bottles of this because I loved it, repurchased, and used up the second bottle.  This is my favorite shampoo.  Will I repurchase?  Yes!

4. Bioderma Sebium H20 Solution Micellaire: This was my first ever Bioderma/micelle water experience, and I'm happy to report it was a good one!  I was really impressed by this product's ability to remove my makeup and I felt like my skin was extra clean after following this with a cleanser.  Will I repurchase? Yes, but not right away.  I'm playing the field currently with micelle solutions but this one is still top of the pops!
5. Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Daily Cleanser: Hmm.  When I first used this, I loved it.  The only negative thing I could say about it was the fragrance was awful when it got in your mouth.  I then switched to a creamy cleanser.  When that ran out, I returned to this and I found it a bit more drying the second time.  And the fragrance still put me off but not as much as it originally had.  So right now?  Will I repurchase?  No.  I'm happier with my current cleanser, Clarins Gentle Foaming Cleanser.
6. MAC Mineralize Volcanic Ash Exfoliator: I really enjoy this scrub!  It's very gentle, and the dark gray ash can be a bit messy if you're not using it in the shower.  The smell will probably be a "some love it, some loathe it" situation because it's definitely different.  I like it, but originally it reminded me of the "tonics" I'd whip up from random leaves and berries near the creek by my house when I was little; very earthy.  My fiance Jason used it once to remove tree sap from his hands after hoisting the Christmas pine up the stairs to our apartment and he LURVED the smell.  I gave him a tube for Christmas!  Will I repurchase? Not immediately.  I've been needing a more intense scrub lately.

7. Nivea Creme: This was a little tin of perfection over the winter.  I kept it in my purse and used it whenever and where ever I needed hydration.  The sleek tub fits into the smallest purse or makeup bag, and the balm-like silky creme moisturizes with a fierceness.  Will I repurchase? Yes.
8. LUSH Sympathy For the Skin Hand & Body Lotion: This was a great winter hydrator and it had a decidedly delicious gourmand scent.  Will I repurchase? Yes, but probably not until Fall/Winter when I need to kick up the hydration factor to avoid chapped skin.
9. Ocean Salt Face & Body Scrub: Ok, this scrub is INTERESTING.  It smells super fresh, literally like you just got back-handed by the ocean itself!  It's got an almost whipped consistency and plenty of grit for your buck.  It's a non-oily scrub that left my skin feeling very soft.  Will I repurchase? Yes.

10. Lancome Teint Miracle Foundation in Buff 4C: This is a definite favorite foundation of mine and one I've recommended to friends and family (Hi Mom and Maggie!).  It definitely gives your skin that "lit from within" look without being overtly shimmery.  Even my oily skin loved this formula!  I'd say this one is medium coverage but can be used sparingly if a sheerer tint is what you desire.  Will I repurchase? I would if I didn't have so many other foundation to use up!  If I manage to get through them all, I would definitely buy this one again.
11. MAC Pro Longwear SPF10 Foundation in NW20: This was a foundation I started using and liked, then moved on to another foundation, rediscovered it, and then couldn't STOP using it.  It's more full to medium coverage with a matte finish that lasts BEAUTIFULLY on my oily skin.  I recommended this one to another one of my friends who also has oily skin and she's happy with it as well.  I think if you're looking for a moderate to full coverage option without the feel of full coverage, this is a great choice!  Will I repurchase? Same as above - definitely will buy it again once I work through my current foundation stash!

That's all for this edition of Empties!  What was the last product you finished?  Would you repurchase it?  Happy Thursday! :D