Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Make Up 101: Introduction in tho the Cult of M.A.C (Part 1-Face Products)

M.A.C. Attack!  Hi Shine and Sparkle Readers, it's M.A.C. November!

All of the images on this post belong to M.A.C cosmetics.  They are way better photographers of their products than I am.  Like all my images, I'll gladly give someone credit for their image or take it down if someone throws a hissy fit.

Yes, this long post is just about M.A.C. face products*.  "Part 2-Lip Products" will be your second Shine and Sparkle Report later this month.

So call me late to the party, but I have finally come to understand the phenomenon which is known as "M.A.C. obsession".  Long renown for amazing lip sticks, full coverage foundations, and super pigmented and bendable eye shadows, M.A.C is a staple of make-up culture.  While their products are not as high priced as Chanel or Givenchy, their products are pretty pricey for those who frequent the drugstore shelves. I have recently done a lot of shopping at M.A.C.  Do I need more beauty products?  Absolutely not.  But as work rears its stressful head, M.A.C. has been the focus of my retail therapy (it ends up being the same as a few therapy sessions or a few months of yoga classes right?).

What makes M.A.C. such a cult?  Maybe it's because of it's long standing history of great products and awesome customer service.  While I have found this to be true,  I have to say it's also a result of good pricing for good results and GENIUS marketing.  Sleek, clean, and professional grade packaging for their core collections.  Absolutely stunning limited edition collections which feature new colors, creative packaging, and a wide range of themes and celebrity endorsements that keep people wanting more.  A great example is recent Rhianna's latest "RiRi" collection featuring rose gold packaging and bold pallets that sold out in minutes and crashed their website.  If you were lucky enough to get some of this coveted (in obviously purposeful short supply) collection you can mark up that $15 lipstick for $50+ on eBay.  Was I lucky enough to get any RiRi items?  Sadly no *cries*.  The whole M.A.C culture is completely ridiculous in a lot of ways, but I'm going to's addictive.  In fact, I'm currently so obsessed I'm going to break my one-image rule.  *Shock and awe!*
Maybe you are not quite as interested in spending hours at the M.A.C. store as I am and want some guidance on their products.  Maybe you have beauty voyeuristic tendencies and just want to know what I liked enough to buy.  Maybe you a looking for details and pros/cons before you think of investing in some M.A.C items.  Maybe you are just reading because you love me (thanks!)  No matter what your motivations, here is my recent purchases and reviews!  Quick Note: You'll notice that I kinda ding M.A.C a lot for not having really skin-loving ingredients.  This is because they tend to go for "great makeup" rather than "good for your skin".  I tend to use their products on date nights, special occasions, and events.  For daily trips to the office?  I'd go with something else for the health of your skin.

Studio Fix Fluid SPF 15 ($27 for 1fl oz):  

My color is "NC (neutral cool) 25".  The M.A.C. sales girl matched me on the first try!  Being of Chinese decent, my skin has a gold undertone which is often hard to match.  This looks amazing and natural. 
  • Pros: It is as M.A.C. claims: "A modern foundation that combines a natural matte finish and medium, buildable coverage with broad spectrum UVA/UVB SPF 15 protection. Applies, builds and blends easily and evenly. Comfortable and long-wearing, helps minimize the appearance of pores and imperfections, giving skin a smoother, more flawless look and finish."  I really do not think I could be any more concise than this description.  I love that this line has a HUGE range of colors. 
  • Cons:  Unfortunately there a few things that are not the best about this foundation.  Number one has to be the packaging.  Open that black top and it's a big opening.  No pump.  This means you have to worry about bacteria getting into the whole product and causing break outs.  Mini-Tip: Tap out product onto your hand or a clean nonabsorbent surface (plate, ziplock baggies etc.)  Then apply with a clean brush, clean fingers, clean sponge--basically try not to touch the bottle opening to things that are not clean. Also, this opening is not large enough so that the product comes out easily.  Risk of too much product coming out is high, and tapping all the product to the top with the (cap still on) before hand is a must.  I'd say store it upside-down, but the curved lid makes that suggestion really obnoxious as well.  The only other con I have is that it is not really "healthy" for your skin.  There are no skin care ingredients, it contains talc, and parabens.  Just make sure your really thoroughly remove it and stick to a good skin care routine.  Hopefully, you wont have any problems.  
  • Overall:  I would highly recommend.  Preforms like a $50+ Foundation for sure!

Mineralize Skinfinish ($30 for 10g):
I got the color "Soft and Gentle". Looks great all over my Studio Fix Fluid.  I was worried that the pinkish tint and slight shimmer would not look natural at all.  Lies.  It looked AMAZING!
  • Pros: Works great to set your make up and the minerals really help absorb excess shine.  It also just give such a flawless finish that it looks like your foundation covered skin is 100% your natural skin.  Many powders advertise that your will look flawless and natural.  This one truly delivers.  There is also a great amount of product in this compact.  Even with daily use, this will last a good long time.  
  • Cons: This particular color looks best on medium skin tones as an all over setting powder.  I think it might not look as natural on light skin.  I don't think it would do much for dark skin either.  It would be great as a highlighter or eyeshadow on light skin, but might look strange on very dark skin.  There is also a "Mineralize Skinfinish Natural" line that has less adventurous setting colors and an equally pretty, light coverage, mattifying effects.  I plan to check those out next.  This is a mineral powder so somewhat healthier for your skin in general, not great on the skin-care side.
  • Overall:  M.A.C. skinfinsh products are a "must have" product. 

Bronzing Powder ($25 for 10g):

Also a generously sized product, I got this one for contouring/bronzing so I went with the "Matte Bronze" color.

  • Pros: This is finely milled and has good pigmentation without being so pigmented that you have to worry that you are going to end up looking like a clown.  For bronzing, you can be somewhat casual about your application and it will still add a beautiful healthy color to your face.  For contouring it is very buildable and bendable, allowing you to create fabulous effects.  As any good bronzing powder, it does not make you look orange or unnatural at all! Hooray!
  • Cons:  This really doesn't work at all on dark skin tones.  It actually is very subtle on my medium skin tone.  It probably packs the most punch on  lighter skin tones.  Also, like the Studio Fix Fluid, it really has no redeemable skin care value.  Talc, parabens, all that jazz.  M.A.C. is all about gorgeous make-up, they don't really cater much to the "healthy skin" crowd.
  • Overall: While I really like this bronzing powder, I think for light skin tones it's a must.  For Medium it's a take or leave it (I probably will not repurchase).  And if you have dark skin, forget this product, you will be disappointed. 

Mineralize Blush ($25 for 3.5 g):

Photo by BeautyByT.  I will gladly remove if asked!  She's a great blogger, check her out!

I got the color "Warm Soul".  This is the only product that I think the M.A.C picture just doesn't reflect the actual color very well.  So I borrowed a better picture from a fellow blogger.  BeautyByT reviewed this blush as well and had a great image!
  • Pros: This has beautiful uses on all skin tones.  When you get to very tan to very dark, I'd say this could be a really pretty highlighter.  As a blush this shows up different on every person. The sales girl with light skin had is show up more rose gold on her skin.  It takes on a dusty peach on me.  I love it as an every day blush, with or without highlighting/contouring.  It has a slight glow but does not look unnatural.  No huge chunks of glitter.
  • Cons: If you bought this because you wanted real shine or heavy glow to your cheeks this is not for you.  Despite its glitzy appearance, it is a poor choice for your unicorn costume.  Also, I feel that the M.A.C blushes are a bit over priced.  $25 gets you 10g of bronzing powder and skin finish.  While you need less blush (at least I hope you aren't putting it all over your face) I still feel a bit sad its the same price as large powder products.
  • Overall: This is a beautiful blush with a subtle glow for any occasion.  This is great if you have a variety of other more classic blush colors from other places in your collection and want the perfect color that stands out from the plethora of pinks and berry tones out there.  I mean really people, how many shades of pink can there be?  This one actually stands out.

Shine & Sparkle!

*I am not paid or contacted by any of the companies mentioned in this post.  These are my honest feelings and opinions.


  1. Thank you so much for reading Bubbie! Hope to see you around my blog soon!