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Product Review: Eyes on MAC

I have been using MAC for close to 20 years. It was a little niche brand back then, and way ahead of its time. The counter girls (and some boys) were outrageously made up, and I would feel a cross of desire and fear to visit the counter. Everyone looked so glam, so chic and so put together… I felt dowdy and unworthy even though I myself worked in a beauty department. That was also a long time ago when a drug store carried only drug store makeup… many things have changed since then my Foxy Friends! If you are a Canadian reader, or visit Canada, you will know that our drug stores have staggering beauty departments that fulfill all of you beauty wishes!

I ventured into MAC more often once a good friend started working there. My addiction was Studio Fix Powder in C20. I went though one every two weeks and often looked almost doll-like with my thick layer of base…. I loved that look and it is definitely one that you can only rock before any fine lines or wrinkles start to set in, so I am glad I wore it in my youth.

Over the years I have tried almost every product they have, and often return to replenish. I guess recently though, MAC fell off of my radar as more and more new niche brands have been popping up all over the internet. Then, someone I know that works at MAC offered their new eyeshadow palettes for me to try out. I welcomed the gesture as I had just been thinking that week how my eye shadow collection was going either too old or too boring or too colourful (I know… first world problems strike again). photo 1-2

Imagine my delight when the palettes arrived! This absolute angel sent me not one, not two, but THREE of their new palettes to try out!!! That would be 39 NEW eyeshadows in total! Oh boy did I need this… I had been busy having two babies in an 18 month span and so much of my creativity and zest for beauty products had been put on the back-burner while I figured out how to keep the tiny humans alive and quiet.

So, to get you up to speed on what I received (as per MAC website desciptions):

  • photo 4-2Purple Times Nine – This well-edited palette features a colour wave of petite purple hues that offer countless shade combinations. It provides an array of textures from matte to satin to frost for creating a variety of looks for both day and night. The saturated, soft and smooth hues are all packaged in one compact for easy portability. Retails $48 CAD, value of $63.
  • photo 3-2Eye Shadow X 15: Cool Neutral – An Eye Shadow Palette in fifteen cool shades: Flounce, Sweet Allure, Sun Tweaked, Blackberry, After Dusk, Pick Me Up, Crushed Clove, Cozy Grey, Deception, Brun, Silver Fog, French Clay, Cumulus, Pearled Earth and Black Tied. The highly pigmented powder formula applies evenly, blends and builds beautifully. Retails $99 CAD, value of $192.
  • Eye Shadow X 15: Warm Neutral – An Eye Shadow Palette in fifteen warm shades: Hey, Warm Breeze, Gingersnap, Dark Brew, Dance in the Dark, Brule Vanilla Extract, Honey Lust, Amber Lights, Saddle, Lemon Tart, Butterfudge, Creative Copper, Unwind and Divine Decadence. The highly pigmented powder formula applies evenly, blends and builds beautifully. Retails $99 CAD, value of $192.photo 2-3
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The gold I used in the corner here looked awful on camera, but cool in real life

Immediately I am drawn to the purples. I looooove to wear purples and they look so good with my eye colour. They make my hazel eyes POP and purples pick up on my flecks of green. I have to confess something that I am slightly devastated by though… I have an aversion to purple eye products. Something about the pigment cause my eyes to start to tear and get a little red, and the longer I leave them on, the more intense the ouch factor gets. I was truly hoping that these ones would be different, or that perhaps I had outgrown my sensitivity. Alas, I had not. I played with this palette one day and it looked so pretty, but by the end of day my eyes were telling me “no-go”. Sigh…. at least I tried.

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This is a rare soft look for me, and I loved it. Wish I could wear purples!

Full disclosure: I tried them more than once to make sure. These two photos represent two looks I created with them.

That said, this palette of 9 shadows also comes in three other collections with the focus on Amber, Navy and Burgundy. The pans are slightly smaller than a normal MAC eyeshadow, but unless it’s a favourite you never use up a whole pan anyhow. At $48 these are great little collections with a range of intensities and textures in each palette, and I would not hesitate to pick up all four. They are a great way to get a ton of colour options that you can use on their own or pair with neutrals.

Did someone say neutrals? Yes, I know that was me and my obvious segue to discuss the Warm Neutral and Cool Neutral palettes. First of all, these babies have 15 eyeshadows in each one! This is ahhhh-mazing! As far as I am concerned they are both MUST HAVES for any artist kit, and I think the average person should have at least one of these. You can create ENDLESS looks and even use them in conjunction with any pops of colour you want. I love that there are shimmers and mattes, and the only thing I would change is to have more mattes in the Neutral Warm, but that’s just me.

These larger collections are simply stunning and I wish they had created these years ago. I would have saved a ton of money over choosing all the individual shades myself and paying full price for each one. I am so impressed with MAC for releasing “value sets” that give the avid purchaser a chance to get something extra.

NOTE: Not posting pics of me wearing the neutral palettes at this time as going forward you will be seeing a lot of them! If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram all of my latest looks are created using one of the neutral palettes.

So it’s you turn now Foxes, have you tried any of these MAC palettes yet? Do you have a fave eye shadow palette already? Do tell….


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Day 16: Foxy Advent Calendar Tip Of The Day

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It is now day 16 and we are ever so quickly approaching the big day! I am so impressed that I am still able to pull great tips out of all my Foxy contacts! Becky Walkom has been a makeup artist for a decade, and is currently the Retail Manager for MAC Cosmetics in Kitchener. She was super generous with tips and I have chose a couple that are super relevant to the time of year and to what is trending, and pocketed the others for a future post 😉

“With the Christmas season, you may have to go from work to a party without much time to refresh. Create a smoky eye in a hurry! Take an eye liner pencil and smudge it all over your lid just up to your crease. Then pat a shimmery eye shadow of a similar depth on top. Finish with plenty of mascara and you’re good to go! Keep your lips muted with a smoky eye. Everyone is after that perfect 90’s nude lips that Kendall Jenner is sporting lately. Try MAC’s Brave or Twig Lipstick with Whirl Lip Liner. As a bonus, this combo works on everyone!”

Thanks Becky for those tips – I think a smoky eye is one thing we can really appreciate a short-cut on! And… I can finally pull that Twig lipstick out of my vault and use it again!

Are my Foxy friends comfy sporting the smoky eye? Tell me why or why not….


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Mission Possible: Red Lips

photo-17On of the most popular questions I get asked is, “How do I find a red lipstick that works for me?” This is not an easy question to answer as many people are really asking me to make them change their perception about red lipstick and who should be wearing it, and to make them see themselves in a different light in which they are glamorous and bold.

First and foremost, anyone can pull off a red lipstick. Part of it is choosing the right shade and applying it well, and then another part is pulling a whole ‘look’ together around the lips. Like you probably wouldn’t wear a pair of glamorous high heeled shoes with sweat pants, you will want to put a wee bit of simple effort into prepping the rest of your face to embrace the red lips. And then a really huge component is confidence – you must feel it to rock it!

Choosing the Red

I’m not gonna lie, there are so many options out there! There are many brands, formulations, and coverages out there. Lipstick wise you find mattes, creamy formulas, stains, full coverage, sheer coverage. Then there are glosses that offer full coverage or are more sheer, with sparkles, without sparkles…. Options for days (or daze?).

Rather than go over every single option, I’d rather focus on a few go-to shades that tend to work well for most. This means they are a truer red rather than orange based or cooler tones of red. These are the more “neutral” reds which will look better on more people. I personally love an orangey red, but realize that most people would find it too over the top.

When you go out on your mission, go prepared with well- moisturized lips free of any colour. You want to hit up a place that allows you to test products, but also one which has good hygienic practices in place. If trying a lipstick on your lips in a store is not for you, then you can try it on your finger tip and hold it up to your face for an idea of how it will look. Ask the salesperson to help you. He or she should listen to what you are asking for and offer a few suggestions. Take your time trying the lipsticks and consider applying it lightly –  build the intensity slowly so you can see what it looks like to have a little bit on and what it looks like to wear it on full blast.

I’ve read many articles and blogs on red lipstick and there was a shade that was mentioned time after time after time. I was actually surprised that:  A) I did not already own this shade, and B) I actually had never heard of it. You have to understand this was a shock to me as I love lipstick and reds so I couldn’t believe this one was so popular and I was clueless!

MAC - Ruby Woo

MAC – Ruby Woo

The shade is “Ruby Woo” from MAC. I marched my butt to the closest MAC counter to try it on for myself. Touted as the perfect red that suits all skin tones, hair colours and even ages, I was so excited to get this hot commodity on my lips. At the counter I opted to line my lips with a liner that matched my natural lip tone. Upon applying the lipstick I noticed that it is very matte. This is a good thing with a red because anything too creamy or glossy can migrate and look a little sloppy. Once I had applied it, I decide to use a tiny amount of MAC Lipglass (lip gloss) over top to add a bit of moisture and shine. This lipstick was FAB-U-LOUS (and very noticeable)! I was in the mall and as I walked around several people complimented me on the colour. I had already eaten lunch, but it stayed on even after I ate supper much later that day. Although the intensity had faded, it was still very on. I will be returning to purchase this little gem soon!

Shiseido Lacquer Rouge

Shiseido Lacquer Rouge

Another red I love and wear often is from Shiseido. Their Lacquer Rouge line is a rich liquid lipstick with a wonderful applicator that makes it easy to fit to your lips. This formula goes on like a lipgloss, but with a lipstick finish. I own several shades from this line but wear Lacquer Rouge Nocturne (RD607) lots. I love this red. It’s less bright than Ruby Woo, and it’s moisturizing yet stays where I put it.

Quo Luminous Gloss Stick Flare

Quo Luminous Gloss Stick Flare

If you are a little more conservative, run out and try the Quo Luminous Gloss Stick in Flare. This red is delivered by means of a jumbo pencil, and glides on effortlessly. The beauty of this one is that you can apply just a little and then spread over your entire lips with a finger, providing you with a sheer glossy red lip that doesn’t jump out.  I actually use this one quite often as it moisturizes my lips when I wear it and I can really adjust the strength of colour depending on how I apply it. The one downside to this is that it is not terribly long – wearing, but it is so easy to apply that touch ups are a breeze. Don’t forget to buy a big pencil sharpener for this one!

Application is Crucial With Red

Applying red onto your lips becomes a bit of a science to get the effect you really want. It starts with preparation- you want your lips to be smooth and moisturized without flakes. See my lip care post for some moisturizing tips. The day you are wearing red, you may want to start off in the morning by gently brushing your lips with your toothbrush after you brush your teeth. Then, apply a lip moisturizer right after and do other stuff giving it a chance to soak in.

When you’ve done the rest of your makeup and maybe even your hair and it’s time to put on the red, gently blot off any excess moisture on your lips with a tissue. I would then highly recommend lining your lips with a lip liner. Liner acts like a barrier that will help keep the lipstick in place, and it will provide definition to your lips. With reds, this is a very good idea since you don’t want it feathering around the lip line and looking like a hot mess. My preference is to line lips with a liner that is the same shade as your lips or even clear rather than a red liner. This way if your lipstick wears off you aren’t left with a red ring all around your lips. If you choose a red lip liner that matches your lipstick, fill in the entire lip with it after you make the line. This will help keep your lipstick on longer, and you also won’t be left with that weird red ring around your lips should your lipstick wear off. Keep in mind that using a red liner underneath your lipstick will probably also intensify it.

Once liner is applied, it’s time to put on the lipstick. There are several application methods – direct from the tube, applying with your finger, applying with a lip brush. Direct from the tube is fastest, but for ultimate precision a lip brush will allow you best control. You can either use the brush to get lipstick from the tube and then out onto your lips, or put some on directly from the tube and then use the brush to precisely fill in the countours. If you would like a hint of the colour rather than wearing it full blast, smudge a tiny amount onto centre of your lips and then spread out over rest of your lips with your finger.

When applying a red lipstick, keep in mind this is not a time to race, you want to ensure application is tidy and clean. I like to keep a cotton swab handy with some eye makeup remover. I will dip the swab into a tiny amount of the remover and then trace around the outside of my lips to clean up the line perfectly and erase anything that went over. Finally, I like to take a little of my face powder on a wedge sponge and precisely trace around the outside of my lips to give it a perfect finish.

The Rest of Your Face

As mentioned earlier, to achieve the best result wearing the red lipstick you should put some attention into the rest of your face makeup too. A little foundation or powder to even out complexion and cover any redness (redness in skin will be amplified when wearing red lips), a little eye makeup and some bronzer and/or blush. This will set the scene for you to embrace those red lips a lot more. See my blog on a Classic Holiday Look for further tips.

Reds to Check Out

Here are a few red lipsticks for you to check out on your next shopping trip:

  • MAC – Ruby Woo
  • Shiseido Lacquer Rouge – Nocturne RD607
  • Quo Luminous Gloss Stick  – Flare
  • MAC Lip Glass –  Russian Red
  • Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Plump Perfect Lipstick Perfect – Brick
  • Urban Decay Super Saturated High Gloss Lip Color- F Bomb
  • Revlon Colorburst Lipstick – Crimson
  • Duwop Private Lipstick – Private Red

 

Alright Foxes, I am dying to hear from you on this one. Did any of these tips help or were they new to you? If you decide to rock a red this season PLEASE post a picture on my Facebook page “Foxy Face Beauty” or tag me on twitter @foxyfacebeauty. I want to see red!!!!