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!


  1. Oh wow, totally bookmarking this! I will also refer people to this page if they ask for MAC product recommendations!

    That's A LOT of MAC lipsticks, wow!!! :D I like MAC Face & Body especially on days when I don't care too much for coverage but still want something to smooth and even out my skin. I haven't tried the Pro Longwear foundation but it's on my wish list! I didn't have good experience with Prep + Prime Skin Base since it broke me out badly. I have more luck with the Natural Radiance Base (I have both yellow and pink!) - love love love this stuff. Have you tried? :D

    My MAC top 3 would be: Pearlglide Intense Liner, Prep + Prime Natural Radiance Base, and Lip Erase! :)

    I'm SO excited for you, Kristen! Only 6 days to go I cannot believe it!!! :D Can't wait to see all the beautiful photos!!!! <3 <3 <3

  2. Ooh so many mac products! I only have a few things from mac.. my favourite is my paint pot in groundwork! It's last so long!
    xox, michelle | alovelyallure

  3. Ooh! Bookmark worthy! Very exciting to hear that! Thanks, Jaa birdie! :)

    Yes, F&B is the perfect solution when you're skin's doing pretty good but isn't 100% perfect to go foundation free. Plus that mofo SETS and does not budge, which I really appreciate. Pro Longwear is def my favorite of their foundations. Great coverage and loooong wear time. Sorry you broke out with the Skin Base but I'm happy you found another option that works well for you! i haven't tried those lovelies but I will definitly add them to my burgeoning wish list!

    I knew you would include a Pearlglide in your top 3! I feel like we are secret Pearlglide sisters, sharing the magic that these liners are with the rest of the internets! LOL!

    And thank you so much! I cannot believe that it's so close! I've actually been blogging and reading blogs and watching YT vids all day and not doing anything on my wedding to do list! It's been awesome, but I know I need to get crackin'. Once I make a list of everything I need to take the day of (extra focus on the makeup since I'm doing my own and my maid and matron of honor's! Don't want to forget eyeshadow primer!!) and the h-moon, I will feel better. I think. Ha! And thank you - I love that picture of us, too! It's from 2009! We were at someone else's wedding and I just love it because that's US - we're often looking at each other laughing!

    Lots of love to you, boo! <3

  4. Ooh Groundwork is on my want list! I've never heard a negative thing said about it and it looks like one I'd get a LOT of use out of! Thanks for stopping by, Michelle! Happy Sunday!

  5. I quite like the coverage and staying power of the ProLongwear concealer -- haven't tried the foundation version, but will eventually! I picked up Hi Jinks the other day as well, really liking it.

  6. Hey Kristen, WHOA that's a lot of MAC!!! Oh oh, talking about it, MAC is expanding really fast here! I'll be getting one in MY TOWN soon apparently! It's a university town, so I guess MAC offers a great middle ground for those who want to explore something other than drugstore stuff, but aren't ready to shell out 30 euros on a lipstick yet!

    You have a GREAT wedding! Would love to see pics and welcome you back as a MRS.!

  7. O_O Now that's a lot of MAC products right there, I am impressed! My top three? Probably the Sumptuous Olive eyeshadow, the Pro Longwear concealer and the Be A Lady lipstick! And oh em gee, six days, how nervous are you?! :-D I bet it's going to be a beautiful wedding.

  8. AHHHHH WEDDING THIS WEEKEND!! SO EXCITED!!! hahaha You have the most AWESOME day you too! Love ya!
    Love all your picks! I still love MAC too!

  9. I NEED TO WIN THE LOTTERY. You've got me drooling over their lipsticks.. I've YET to get to the counter to find my shade. UGH. Anyway, this post was so much fun to read. I love the way you wrote here. I probably lol'd three times. Awkies.

    AND YOUR WEDDING. I'm so excited it's unreal. It's like I'M the one getting married. Really I'm so happy for you! That photo is lovely and I'm on my way to get it printed and framed... Weird?
    .... Just kidding I'm not creeping.

    When you emerge from your wedding/honeymoon would you ever consider a "What I Wore" Makeup Wedding edition? DYING to find out what you are doing beauty-related!! I'm also praying your makeup (well, everything really) turns out exactly as you planned. Good luck and have fun!!

    PS; Holland is mid-June, so you can get excited.. But only after your big day. That's 900x more important. LOL.
    Much Love,
    -Stephanie Eva

  10. Wow, you really do love your MAC! I grew up on it, as it was a Canadian company initially and it was a rite of passage for us to start with MAC Blots and lipsticks in high school. I'm really curious to try some of their base products and skincare lately. As for must-haves, I'd say MAC Lady Danger lipstick, Pro Longwear Bronzers and maybe a neutral eyeshadow like Wedge or a shimmery one like All That Glitters. Whenever I need something basic and good quality, I look at MAC first. :)

  11. Aaw, I love the last photo! I used to want to collect everything MAC, but I fell out of love. There are some permanent items that are still great, but I find that all the LE collections are overwhelming, and most of the time compromising on quality. That said, I do like MAC Fix+. Makes powder looks great :-)

  12. PS: Excited for your wedding in less than a week! Must post photos and lots of photos!!

  13. Yay for Hi Jinks! I've only sported it twice thus far but I'm really loving it! I've been waiting to pick up a casual colour for years! I'm the opposite of you - never tried the concealer but have always heard extremely positive things and hope to try it someday! The foundation rocks the house; would def buy it again! Thanks for stopping by, Teresa! :)

  14. Thank you so much, boo boo! And yas! Pictures will most def be shared! I iz excited! <3

    I agree with you - MAC is a great mid-range option and the catalog of products is ginormous! There's definitely something for everyone to really like. And while I originally found the vast amount of collections a bit overwhelming, I've grown to really love them. I know if I don't love one, there's always something (or 5 somethings!) coming around the bend. I swear MAC is the king of new! I'm excited you're getting one in your town! Can't rec the Pearlglide liners enough, and I know my girl Jaa feels the same way!

  15. Oohh! Sumptuous Olive is a total classic; such a gorgeous and complex shadow! Great picks, Melissa! I am a bit nervous but at this point, it's more like my mind is just a constant stream of HOLY S***! HOLY S***! HOLY S***! It's coming up so fast now, it's crazy!! Tomorrow is my last day at work until May 5th! Woooooohoooooo! All I can say is listening to Bob Marley in the car has really helped with my stress! i hear the opening bars of "Is This Love" and I'm instantly soothed! <3

  16. Love you, too, Tracy!!! Thank you! :* And thanks - me, too. I think I will always love MAC. We're ride or die at this point! :)

  17. YAY! 3 LOL's! That makes me happs! And girl, you do need to win the lottery and then immediately proceed to a MAC counter to get shade matched! Now would be a great time to win large sums of cash since the Playland collection screams STEPHANiE!! COME n' BUY MEEEEE! Everything is so fun and colorful, like you!

    Cracking up about getting the picture printed! I love you, man! Thank you so much! i can always feel your mutual excitement and it makes me really happy and feel even more excited!

    And YES! I will DEF post a day-of makeup "what I wore"! It's something I'm really excited to share post-wedding day! I have it all written down now so it'll be a snap! And obvs that makes it easier for me when I'm applying it before the wedding. I needed a check list so i didn't hit the crazy button! Thank you so much for all of your support and well-wishes! It means a lot, BBBF!

    And YASSS! Holland! Mid-June!! I am STOKED! I'm going to need you to Instagram the hell out of that! Cannot wait for you to go on this adventure! :D

  18. See, that's just cool! No one I knew had MAC anything in high school. We rocked the Revlon here in the ATL. And Maybelline Kissing Coolers! Holy bleep, do you remember those?! The tubes looked kinda marbleized! All That Glitters is fantastico and Lady Danger is a shade I yearn for someday when I wear red lipstick more than once a month! Also, can I just tell you that I'm still laughing about "my inner clown weeps"?!

  19. Ya know, I feel you on the LE collections being overwhelming, but if you just wait until you see one you REALLY LURVE and have hearts fluttering about your head over, then you're ok. Originally I was suffering from new collection whiplash when i started this blog and felt like I had to really look at and delve into every single one but damn, that could be a FT job. So now I only get excited about the ones that really speak to me (and usually the ones involving special packaging - I still kind of get the feels over the Archie's Girls collection stuff I own - is that weird?) and let the rest fly overhead like meandering Canadian geese. And I also feel like eyeshadows can be a bit hit or miss. The ones I talked about above are super faves, but I've definitely been underwhelmed with others from them. Ooh and thank you very much for the wedding wishes, Lily! I can't wait! Photos and lots of photos - check! XOXO

  20. This is such a great post for anyone who is overwhelmed by all that MAC has to offer!! Or, in my case...someone who just wants an excuse to buy something new from MAC ^_^ I also love their lipsticks and blushes. Their foundations also make my skin look really nice, but I only wear them occasionally since they tend to cause breakouts for me. Cranberry is one of my favorite MAC shadows, too! I also am a sucker for their collab collections, like Archie and Hello Kitty :) I like that you mentioned the empty pro palettes; MAC is great about quality packaging. I need to try their fragrance, btw...Anyway, I am so excited to see photos of your wedding!! ♥

  21. This is seriously one of the greatest beauty posts I've ever read. Even with all of my beauty and make-up knowledge, purchasing items from MAC can be a bit overwhelming. They have such a tremendous array of products & shades. Definitely taking this blog post with me the next time I go to the MAC counter. xox

  22. I love this post! And you crack me up lol

  23. Thank you so much for the thoughtful comment, Galaxia! I'm sorry their foundations break you out - I wonder what's in them that causes that? I know this is an issue a lot of folks have with MAC foundations! I would love to see Cranberry on you! I bet it would be gorgeous with your eyes!

  24. Oh wow! Thank you so much for your sweet comment! That really means a lot to me! :) And yes, even equipped with loads of beauty knowledge, MAC can be overwhelming! They seem to release 47 collections each month, lol! It's a lot to keep up with! Thanks again so much - your comment made my day!

  25. Girl- you're MAC collection is so incredible! You have me itching to run out to my MAC counter haha. Love all of these!

  26. Thank you! I love me some MAC. What I wouldn't give to raid a MAC store Supermarket Sweep style! :)


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