Tag Archives: MAC Cosmetics

The greatest compilation of highlighters you can poke a stick at

Whether you’re into contouring, strobing or just really like having high looking cheekbones without the label, you probably love highlighters.

If you don’t love them, why not!? Highlighters are a great way to take the edge off a very matte foundation, draw attention to your best features and give a nice glow without the Edward Cullen look. Unless you’re into that.

I’ve compiled a list of highlighters from every brand I’ve used to give you a comprehensive guide on buying the right one for you.
MAC cosmetics.

  

MAC mineralize skinfinish in soft and gentle.

Good old soft and gentle is good for most fair skinned girls and most darker skin girls too. It has a beautiful golden peach tone and adds a lot of shine for cheekbones that can cut through steel without building up for half an hour. If you’re especially fair, I would use the lightscapade highlighter instead, but most people will be fine with this product.

  
MAC Cream colour base in shell.

I love cream products, but often find myself disappointed with their staying power, their blendability or the amount of pigment in them. I have had no issues with the MAC cream bases at all, which is kind of rare (and kind of amazing) for a range of cream products. Great amount of pigment, easy to blend, easy to build- just pat it on with your fingertips- and with a gorgeous liquid metal colour with tones of pink and gold. It’s the stylist little sister of NARS Laguna who got a bit of a tan. It also suits almost anyone because it’s not too light or dark and it gives off a beautiful wet look if you build it. My only warning is not to use on the T-zone if you’re oily or combination.
Urban Decay

  

Urban Decay NAKED flushed palette.

Ok. So technically this isn’t just a highlighter, but it has a highlight in it so bear with me.

I was gifted this palette by a friend before the Naked palettes were available in Australia and I was so, so excited. I find the entire palette has a good colour payoff and you don’t need to build any of the shades up to notice them. The powders blend easily and suit most tones, but I’m quite fair and olive and I found the pink tone a little overwhelming as it was a half a shade darker than my skin when I tried it. Unfortunately, it met an unfortunate demise when it met my tiled bathroom floor, so I can’t try it again to see what it looks like. It was amazing to use on shoots, though. Bonus points for convenience, but like all of the urban decay NAKED palettes, it’s very dusty and brittle and it chips (or breaks) easily so take care.
Laura Mercier

  

 Matte radiance baked highlight 01.

I’m working with this product a lot at the moment and it is the most user friendly highlight on the market at the moment. Shiny and pearlescent without being metallic looking, naturally radiant for fair to medium skin (don’t worry, darker skinned beauties, the next item on the list will be your best friend). This baked powder will last until only the cockroaches and whatever Donald trump is using to hide his lack of hair remain, you only need a small amount. Being a baked powder, it’s very soft and blend able but definitely not dusty or messy to use. It has a white gold tone to it that looks like you’re being illuminated by angelic light. There is good reason this is a cult product but, unfortunately, it can often be hard to track down in Australia so you may need to be patient.

  
Indiscretion highlight.

Part of the Summer in Ibiza collection for the 2015 summer (or Australian winter). This is a champagne or rose gold coloured powder that has more of a gleam than its Highlight 01 counterpart. It adds a slight bronze glow without looking dirty or dark on fairer skin and it looks absolutely gorgeous on dark skin. This is the highlight that suits everyone, plus it has beautiful packaging and it stays in that gorgeous rippled shape even after you’ve been using it for a couple of weeks. Sadly, this is a limited edition product so you’ll need to catch the next shipments to reach Australia before they’re gone for good. Thankfully, this product will last you years and years because you need so little to get a good result.
Illamasqua

  

Illasmaqua gleam in Aurora.

This is probably one of the easiest cream products to blend. The downside is that, unfortunately, you need to really build it up in order to get a good highlight. It works beautifully with a dewy foundation, but looks strange with any mattes because it is so luminous. I would liken the consistency to lip balm or body butter, it feels hydrating but it needs a lot of coaxing to work well on full coverage foundations without accidentally removing part of your base. That being said, it looks gorgeous on the skin when it is applied correctly and Illamasqua always endeavour to be cruelty free with their products, which makes them a worthy brand to support.
Bobbi Brown

  

Bobbi Brown shimmer brick in beige.

Technically, Bobbi brown don’t do highlighters as they don’t encourage contouring the face until you resemble a Kardashian. However, this product is what all the Bobbi artists are using to add definition to cheekbones, the bridge of the nose, etc. 

This colour is my favourite of the range as it suits most skin tones as a highlighter, but the Rose or Nectar variations may work better for you, so be sure to check it out. The colour payoff is very subtle like your skin has been airbrushed or like you’ve just got very, very good selfie lighting happening on your face at all times. It’s a good natural glow for someone who doesn’t want to committ to a more obvious glow and it’s a godsend for people who are a little more oil prone and don’t want to resemble a disco ball.
Napoleon Perdis

  

The ultimate contour palette.

The thing with Napoleon Perdis products is that they’re extremely hit and miss. They have some absolutely beautiful products, then a few that just leave me scratching my head and wondering why they decided to make something so sub par and price it at the higher end of the spectrum. This is not one of those products. Yes, it’s a contouring palette, but it is an absolute delight to use. Nicely pigmented, blend able, build able and with colours that suit the average Australian makeup consumer. Definitely worth a try if you want a lovely all in one.
NARS

  

NARS multiple in Laguna.

NARS have their cult colours in various formats, but I find their multiple sticks the most versatile and user friendly. NARS highlighters are kind of like Joan Crawford’s character in Mommie Dearest; they look appealing on the outside, but they’re actually cold, harsh and don’t love you in the way you only hoped, yet they’re still highly coveted.

The orgasm multiple is too pink and dark for a variety of people, yet Laguna is such an icy shade of silvery white that you’d be hard pressed to wear it without resembling an android. I love using them because, as I mentioned, they’re easy to use and clients love the brand, but I keep using them and instantly wishing I hadn’t because that bitter disappointment I feel when I realise I need to apply something over the top to get the perfect colour just isn’t worth it.

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What’s in my bathroom

So today for something a little different, I’m going to tell you all the products I use on a regular basis. I don’t like shameless plugs for particular brands, but I also use a variety of products for my skin, hair and makeup that vary depending on season, the condition of my hair/skin and depending on where I’m working at the time.

I think there’s a real problem that people have with product loyalty. There are so many fantastic brands out there, but each usually has one or two strong points. It’s always better to experiment and find a variety of things that work for you. Ask any makeup artist (when they’re not behind a counter and forced to promote the brand they work for), and they’ll rattle off a list of several brands and products that work for them.

Hair care

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At the moment, I’m big on using Redken products. My hair has taken a beating this year due to a lot of bleaching and colouring, so I’m alternating between the diamond oil range and the extreme shampoo and conditioner (for added protein). I find that Joico’s KPAK range can be quite drying, but a lot of people swear by it.

Post bleach, I always follow with a hayashi “emergency 911” protein treatment, which I mix with a few drops of Argan oil. It’s a godsend for damaged hair.
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My favourite toning shampoo is by NAK, it contains Argan oil and it’s quite nourishing and I buy it in a big pack with a toning leave in conditioner.

When my hair is a vibrant colour, I like to use Shiseido “Tsubaki Shining” products as coloured hair can be quite dull and lustreless.

I love Argan oil to add shine and softness post styling and I also do DIY coconut oil treatments once every month when my hair is especially dry, frizzy or damaged. It works wonders and it’s cheaper than any store bought treatment.

Skin
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I keep alternating between the Clinique 3 step and the Kiehl’s non detergent foaming cleanser followed by a Mario badescu oil free moisturiser in the summer or if it’s especially humid.

Although my skin is quite dry, I’m probe to breakout due to sensitivity so I avoid fragranced skincare or any moisturisers with an SPF.

Occasionally, I’ll use a few drops of Estée Lauder advanced night repair serum before bed in the cooler months or if I’ve dried out my skin by going to the beach. I rarely have any at home, so it’s really up to when Estée Lauder are giving out samples (ha!)

Makeup

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I always use a primer before my foundation. My favourites are the Smashbox photo finish primer (the colour correcting one), primed and poreless or a cheap face of Australia primer that I pick up at Priceline… It’s surprisingly moisturising to the skin and gives a great finish to the fuller coverage foundations.

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My current favourite foundation is Illamasqua Skinbase. Perfect medium coverage, a nice flawless finish and perfect for autumn and spring when you need a balance in products.

In the winter months, I gravitate towards MAC studiofix, which I blend with the Napoleon Perdis “beauty boosting balm” to get a nice dewy finish. They work so well together that it’s actually ridiculous.

On nights out, I wear studiofix alone for the fuller coverage.

In the summer, I wear Clinique super balanced foundation or their anti blemish solutions foundation as they’re nice and light and don’t make my face feel disgusting when I get sweaty.

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My good friend Holly gave me the “by terry hyaluronic blush” for my birthday last year (in blushberry, a nice cool pink) and I adore this product. It’s really blendable, highly pigmented (a little goes a LONG way) and has an amazing finish.

I also love the Illamasqua cream blush in “rude” and MAC blush in “peaches” and “pink moon”.

I use a Kryolan concealer wheel, illamasqua gleam in “aurora” or MAC “soft and gentle” as a highlighter (depending on how dark my skin is at the time).

I set my base with Kryolan translucent powder, as I do with all my clients.

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My favourite lipsticks are the NARS semi mattes and Napoleon Perdis matte-tastic lipsticks (above). I only use Napoleon, MAC, Kryolan or rimmel lip pencils.

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For eyeshadows, I stick mainly to Kryolan and Inglot because of the great colour payoff, affordable price tag and the convenience of the large palettes. I also but individual shadows from MAC and a few other brands if it’s an especially interesting colour.

I almost exclusively use gel liner and usually go between Napoleon Perdis or Kryolan because they’re quite soft and easy to apply and blend and also quite affordable. I like Napoleon, MAC and Stila kohl pencils as they’re the perfect consistency and don’t end up all over your face if it’s hot outside.

As far as brows go, I alternate between Bobbi Brown pencils and the smashbox brow crayons (they come with a clear gel and it’s AWESOME). For a more graphic brow or when my hair is dark, I’ll use a dark brown shadow with an angle brush.

Fragrance

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I only wear four fragrances: Estée Lauder “beyond paradise” (above) and Marc Jacobs “Lola” in the summer; Thierry Mugler “angel” and Jean Paul Gaultier “classique” in the winter.

So thats it. A boring list of what a pro makeup artist uses on a daily basis to look, feel and smell nice.

What are your favourite makeup/skincare/hair products? What do you think I should add to my routine?

Products to watch Jan-April 2014

There are so many exciting products on offer at the moment! whether they’re holiday limited edition collections that are still floating around or products that I’m anxiously awaiting the release of, here’s my list of must have products for this season.

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Riri heart MAC holiday collection– Veluxe Pearlfusion Shadow in 2x Dare
My dear friend Holly gave me this palette as a birthday present (which means I received it 5 days early!!) due to her amazing job at MAC Cosmetics. I am usually more of a matte shadow person because I find the colour payoff usually isn’t as good with pearlescent or glittery shadows or that they tend to crease up after a little wear. I wore this to a rock show lately and was pleasantly surprised with not only the colour payoff, but how absolutely exquisite the colours are. They shine with a multitude of iridescent undertones that change with the light. I am in love with this palette. The only downside? it’s a limited edition only release….

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Clinique A Different Nail Enamel For Sensitive Skins

I don’t know about you guys, but as an infrequent sufferer of eczema, this has on occasion made it difficult to paint my nails. Normally, I would just resign myself to the knowledge that it would be gone in a few days and just leave it alone, but it’s nice to know that for long time sufferers of sensitive skin, there is a nail polish that you can use that won’t flare up any skin conditions or cause an onset of contact dermatitis. Like all Clinique products, you know this has been tested  by a team of dermatologists and this peace of mind alone makes it worth trying. As for the cons, there’s a limited colour choice and I’ve heard mixed reviews about the colour payoff. I’d pick a colour you’re likely to wear often and keep it as a backup if you’re one who suffers from sensitivity.

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Limecrime Velvetines- the Clueless Witch Collection

When I heard this collection was being launched a few days ago, I kind of made this weird strangled noise in the back of my throat. It’s no secret that I LOVE the velvetines range. This new collection, also affectionately referred to as the “gothatines” offers a dark berry red not unlike MAC lipstick in Diva called “wicked”, a deep brown shade called “Salem” and, my favourite, a matte black lip colour, a game changer for the industry. Glossy blacks are available from time to time within various cosmetics companies depending on fashion, otherwise using a gel liner or eye pencil has always been the only real path to a clean black lip. Now we finally have a matte black lip stain for all our sartorial needs. I’m buying ten.

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Limecrime velvetine in Black Velvet.

The new Velvetines range launches in March.

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Clarins 3 dot liner
I saw an advert for this in the Australian Elle magazine about 3 days ago and instantly walked to a Clarins counter to give this product a try. The tip looks odd, like a highlighter with wedges cut out of it, so you expect it to be quite firm and difficult to move… it’s actually very flexible and easily creates a wafer thin line just as it can create a bold, 60s style “come hither” liner. The real feature that makes this product special though, is that it’s three points enable you to wiggle them in between the top lashes to create a tightlined effect without the risk of blinding yourself (it’s fast drying, unlike many liquid liners) or the discomfort of trying to reach a liner brush or eye pencil onto your top waterline in the hopes of making your lashes look thicker and eliminating that annoying little gap of nude looking skin you often find when doing your liner too quickly.

Summer Makeup bag essentials

This past week, I’ve been stuck between a rock and a hard place trying to pack for my upcoming short holiday. As we all know, packing basic essentials like shoes, clothing, etc. can be an absolute nightmare and I almost always over or under estimate the amount of things I need, resulting in utter chaos when I’m meant to be relaxing.

That being said, my hardest part to pack is, of course, toiletries. Being a makeup artist, I feel a need to pack every cosmetic item I own… plus the proverbial kitchen sink. However, realism sets in at around 3am the night before I need to leave and I frantically unpack, trying to determine which items I need the most. What I have realised is that everything should fit into a small makeup bag. You should be able to survive with only three brushes max.

Holiday time is down time, give your skin a break and have a more effortless look. Spending half an hour getting ready when you could be going out exploring seems a little redundant to me. Here are a few essential items to look your best without spending more than ten minutes of mirror time on your much needed break.

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Clinique 3-step (travel size)

I live for the Clinique 3-step skincare range. My skin is always clear, radiant and the dramatically different moisturiser is so lightweight that I don’t feel greasy or sweaty in the sun or humidity. The travel size kit is a perfect introduction if you haven’t already tried their range and it’s quite generously sized, so you may even have leftovers when you get home. Win.

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Clinique Anti-blemish Solutions foundation
Another clinique must have for summer. Not just for those who experience breakouts. This formula is anti bacterial, super lightweight and oil free making it perfect for warm weather. Personally, I find that my usual foundation may irritate my skin slightly when I’m hot and sweat underneath it (I have extremely sensititive skin), but this formula works amazingly well even on ridiculously hot days or in areas where the humidity is so high that you want to die. The sheer to medium coverage is perfect for a natural look whilst still covering imperfections.

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Napoleon Perdis “The One” Concealer.
This under eye concealer is a godsend. It may look like a frightening shade of orange in the jar, but it actually neutralises the purpleish/blueish tone of under eye darkness and corrects it to match your skintone. It’s lightweight, very blendable and relatively inexpensive in comparison to a lot of Napoleon’s range.

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Benefit’s Benetint
This cult product is perfect for a light rosy glow. It’s buildable, fast drying and can also be used as a lip stain. 20 second blush application is also a plus.

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Bobbi Brown Brow Pencil

Bobbi Brown’s brow pencils are an absolute dream to work with. They’re soft and blendable but have a powder-like finish making for a natural looking brow. Their colour range is fantastic as it also suits the hair colour it’s aimed at, unlike a lot of brands who make a “blonde” brow pencil that is either a) too dark and better suited to someone with dark brown hair b) too waxy and cartoonish c) too red toned and again, cartoonish and rather obvious looking. Great investment buy. The high pigment formula means this pencil will last you ages.

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Stila Kajal Eyeliner Pencil

Stila’s eye pencils are lovely to work with. Soft, easy to smoke up but very long lasting for a smudge-free look (unless you smudge it yourself!). Holiday tip- apply to upper and lower lashline as close to the lashes as possible. Using a cotton tip, bullet brush or your finger, gently blend into a soft smoky line for definition that is soft and sultry without being too OTT.

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Limecrime Velvetine in Suedeberry
I am in love with Velvetines and as they are usually sold out within days of a new shipment, I am obviously not alone with this sentiment. This luscious lip stain is highly pigmented, lasts hour upon hour and has a lovely on-trend matte finish. The orange undertone to this bright red stain suits every skintone and because it’s fast drying, it’s a fuss-free, mess-free way to look glamorous without needing to constantly touch up or check your teeth for offending marks.

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MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in “Soft and Gentle”
This is officially my favourite highlighter. Highly pigmented (this will last you through your good times, bad times and every in between and you’ll still be able to scrape some out of the container) and long wearing, an absolute saviour for those needing a radiant glow without looking sweaty. This product blends like a dream and creates a really lovely shade of highlight to suit almost any skintone.

So that’s it! A few products that will create a simple, flawless look so you look great in holiday snaps without packing the entire contents of your bathroom. What are your go-to holiday products?

Why peach blush is freaking awesome.

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As far as blush goes, sadly not all colours were created equal. I get so many customers who tell me that they never wear blush because it makes them look too pink, especially if they usually have a lot of redness in their face that needs concealing.

Then we also have the poor dark skinned girls who not only have virtually no choice in terms of foundations here in AUS, but also are too dark for the blushes that we have to offer for predominantly Mediterranean people. A pale pink looks like a highlight on darker skin and it will take on a dull, greyish tone that is unflattering… How unfair is that?!

Then we also have pale as hell people like me. Goths, English people and albinos will know what I’m talking about. A punk blush makes me look like I’ve run a marathon despite my more olivey undertone to my skin because of my allergic to the sun appearance.

Enter the best colour in the world…. Peach! Peach is flattering to ALL skin tones and does not give you the illusion of being literally blushing a deep red from a scarring level of embarrassment.

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My top picks for peach toned blushes to make your skin look amazing are:

MAC cosmetics blush in “peaches”

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A customer favourite from MAC addicts. A sheer tone blush guaranteed to give you some colour without overpowering you.

Napoleon Perdis mosaic in “flushing”

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I love napoleon’s mosaics and flushing is my favourite. A perfect blend between “blushing” and “bronzing”, this colour is highly pigmented and super smooth for optimal blending.

Illamasqua cream blush in “rude”

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I love this product so much I actually posted a review a few months ago. Sheer yet buildable with a good coral tone and a lovely creamy, blendable consistency perfect for summer.

NARS blush in “orgasm”

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The one that started it all for me. The original shade designed to suit all skin tones. It’s on the pricey side, but it’s so pigmented and easy to apply that it will last ages and is a beauty staple. Available also as a stick, a liquid illuminator… Seriously, too easy considering you will always get the finish you want.

How to create the perfect wine coloured lip.

 

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(image from here)

A really on trend look right now is a deep wine coloured or plum lip. I’m going to give you a few tips on how to achieve the most flawless look possible.

1. When applying dark colours to lips, it’s incredibly obvious if your lipline is uneven or if it turns up on your teeth so avoid gloss unless absolutely necessary.

2. Lipliner is a must to create a perfect shape and to prevent bleeding.

3. Choose a more matte lipstick for a longer lasting look.

4. Pop some translucent powder on top to keep the colour there all day.

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To create a look like I did on Shaylah the other day, you will need:

– MAC lip pencil in “Vino”
– Mac lipstick in “Diva”
– Lip brush
– Yellow based concealer

Step 1:
Using a lip brush, apply lipstick all over lip. Pay attention to any dryness and ensure there are no cracks in the colour by patting colour on gently to any dry or chapped areas.

Step 2:
Ensuring the lip pencil is sharp, slowly outline the lips. Correct any uneven shape as you see fit, but try to stay as close to the lip line as possible to avoid looking clownish.

Step 3:
Sketch into the outer thirds to create an ombre effect with the centre of the lip being the lightest (no pencil, just lipstick) and the outer corners being the darkest (mix of pencil and lipstick). Blend the pencil inwards gently with the lip brush.

Step 4:
Touch up the lipline with the pencil and dot a little extra lipstick to the centre of the lip as needed. Graduating the colour so the inner third is lightest creates a subtle pout.

Step 5:
Apply a yellow based concealer with a small concealer brush to any areas where the lines are wonky as well as to the cupid’s bow to accentuate the shape.

Step 6:
Blot as necessary or finish with a speck of translucent powder. All done!

 

I hope you found this guide useful! I will be posting reviews of these products shortly, so keep your eyes peeled.