MAC

When it comes to makeup, I change my lip colors much more diligently than any other makeups. I can get away with wearing the same foundation and eye shadow for a long time, whilst for lip colors, I like to keep my many lipsticks on high rotation for an updated look. Lately I am a little over the pink and coral phase, and have become besotted with more neutral lip colors again. Perhaps it was to do with the current fashion trend, anything with a muted tone such as MLBB or browns in matte finish has my heart fluttered!

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Here is an array of my current favorite lipsticks!

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Top row from the lip swatch collage is the MLBB shades with a dusty pink undertone – absolutely obsessed with this shade.

Illamasqua  Lipstick in Climax – One of my favorite colors from Illamasqua. Their quality is slightly better than MAC – very pigmented and smooth to apply without streaks. Climax is the most beautiful MLBB shade I own – it’s a tad darker than my own natural lip color with a peachy pink undertone in creme semi-matte finish. Think about your flushed lip color when you just step out of the shower.

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MAC Lipstick Please Me (Matte) – My Holy Grail lip color, If I could only live with 3 lipsticks ‘Please Me’ would be one of them. It’s a MLBB with a dusty rose undertone in semi-matte finish. Just a natural but sexy color with a fashion spin and is easy to wear with different makeup looks.

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Second Row is the cool toned dusty pink shades

MAC Lipstick Snob (Matte) – One of the top sellers from MAC. It’s a cool toned milky dusty pink color. Not an easy color to pull off, as it can look a little streaky on the lips, and the key for application is to blend and blend until the color is completely blended into the lips. I would say it is a stunning color on blondes with cool skin tone and blue/green eyes. On me, since I have cool skin tone, I can still manage to pull of this color. It does wash me out a little, and I tend to use Snob on top of having my lips colored with a darker lip liner such as the Charlotte Tilbury Lip Liner in Iconic Nude (reviewed here), and together they look perfect.

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Shu Uemura Rouge Unlimited Supreme Matte PK 335 – Similar to Snob, but a tad darker in a complete matte finish, and it’s much easier to pull off. I love wearing this color alone, or mixing it with other colors. I actually bought this color after I saw the Shu gal had this lip color mixed a plummy lip liner, and it looked beautiful on her which resulted in this purchase!

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Third row is the brown and nude shades

Charlotte Tilbury Lipstick B*tch Perfect (CT KISSING Lipsticks reviewed here)- A delicate peachy pink color with a tiny tinge of nude brown undertone in a satin sheen finish. It’s a very easy color to wear for all skin tones, and leaves a luminous finish to the lips if matte is not your thing.

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MAC Velvet Teddy (Matte) – Possibly the world’s most famous and wanted shade because of Kylie Jenner who swears by this lip color. I love it too. It’s such an edgy and high-fashion color – a pure deep beige brick brown shade that is on every IT girl’s lips at the moment.

MAC-lipstick-velvet-teddy-review-swatchGroup Swatch

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You can purchase MAC and Shu Uemura beauty products at David Jones Online in Australia.

 

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This post is getting back to square one – talking about the very basic and essential makeup brushes that everyone needs in their makeup kit. I have been blogging for years, and I hardly get a chance to share my thoughts on the essential products, and introducing them to girls who just started their venture into the fancy makeup world which can get confusing. I am a makeup brushes collector who started collecting brushes from the mainstream brands, and later advanced into more  premium brands. Not everyone is willing to buy brushes from the very exclusive brands such as Suqqu and Chikuhodo, and this post is inspired by my most frequently asked question from my girlfriends “What MAC brushes should I invest in”.

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Why starting with MAC..? Perhaps it’s to do with their successful brand image and a lot of their products truly stand the test of time. I have had some MAC brushes for more than 10 years and they are still in good condition. Though I am having a lot more options these days , the MAC brushes in this post are still the most used and practical, and I highly recommend them in a heartbeat to everyone.

Starting with Eye makeup brushes.  MAC offers an abundance of options for eye makeup brushes – some are nice to have, and some are absolute essentials in my opinion. I have lots of them, and the must-haves for me are:

1. MAC 217 Blending brush – If you can only have one blending brush, make it this one! I have 3 of them – one for blending powder eye shadows, one for applying cream eye shadows, and one as a stand-by! Perfect size for blending color across the eye lid, and it’s soft but not super soft so it picks up pigments easily and does a good job for blending with some degree of resistance.

2. MAC 224 Blending Tapered brush - Bigger, less dense and more fluffy than 217. This brush picks up less pigments, and it is great for applying a sheer wash of color. I mainly use it for applying shading color to the eye socket area all the way to the upper nose bridge for contouring. Very easy to use and it’s fool proof!

3. MAC 226 Small Tapered Blending brush: The 3rd blending brush you need is the MAC 226. It’s slightly slimmer, smaller, more dense than 217, and it has a more tapered pointy end which gives you better precision control. Great for blending the colors in the crease area.

4. MAC 219 Pencil brush: Pencil brush is for drawing lines then smudging it for a softer blended finish. This is a firm and dense brush so it picks up lots of pigments, and the pencil shaped tip allows precise application around the eye corners and along lash lines. Absolutely must have if you like to smudge a soft wash of color along the lower lash line.

5. MAC 227 Large Fluff brush: Last but not least for blending, the MAC 227 is magical! It’s a big, fat and round-shaped brush that is the best brush for softening any harsh lines. All you need is to dab a beige color and blend it under the brows for a cleaner eye makeup look.

6. MAC 239 Eye Shader brush: Having a couple of shader brushes is also essential, and you can’t miss MAC 239. Perfectly designed for laying down the shadows on the lid and prevents fall out to build a more intense finish.

7. MAC 242 Shade brush: Designed for laying cream based color. It’s made of synthetic fiber, quite soft and very flat, and I like to use it for packing on the colors on to the eye lids, or drawing lines using the tips. It can also be doubled as a concealer brush over smaller areas. MAC also have the bigger sister version 252 which is more ideal for applying concealers than eye shadows.

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Face Brushes – I have less recommendations for the MAC face brushes than their eyes. Simply because I think there are much better options from other brands for face brushes, so I have only picked a few that I absolutely love.

MAC 168 Large Angled Contour brush: If I could only have one MAC face brush, it would be the 168! I have had this one for more than 10 years and it is being used on a very frequent basis, and the condition is still excellent! It’s very soft, doesn’t shed, and it’s a versatile brush as it can be used for applying blushes, as well as for buffing highlighting/shading colors for contouring purposes with the slanted angle design.

MAC 129 Powder and Blush brush: A good and basic design for a dome shaped blush brush. It has the right size and shape for multiple ways of application for the cheeks, as you can use it in a swiping motion, or pat it and swirl it for a wash of color effect. The full rounded shape gives an even and smooth finish. Not the softest brush, but it means it will pick up the pigments from even the most sheer blushes.

MAC 130 Short Duo Fiber brush: Stippling brushes are great for buffing face colors into the skin in a natural effect, and it works well with both powder and cream products. I love the size of 130 and the flat-top design, as it is perfect for blending concealers for under the eyes areas, or applying highlighters over the T-zone, and applying cream blushes over the cheeks!

MAC 159 DuoFiber brush: Another super versatile brush. The paddled-shaped brush is great for applying foundations and concealers for a natural finish. Also works well for applying a sheer wash of powder and cream blushes. Overall you can pretty much do your whole face with this brush! Experience slight shedding during the first few washes.

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In Australia, the MAC Brushes are available here online.

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MAC Flamingo Park is a whimsical collection for anyone who loves pretty and girly makeup. I was instantly drawn to the new Flamingo Park Blush colors – it’s like an array of the prettiest pink and peaches that were calling my name. I could have easily picked up 4-5 colors that I wanted, but I narrowed them down to 2 must-haves for me – the LIFE’S A PICNIC, and WHAT I FANCY.

left: LIFE’S A PICNIC right: WHAT I FANCY

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The quality of these blushes are the same as their permanent powder blushes. They are nicely pigmented and smooth. The powder is soft enough to be picked up by any brush and apply evenly. Both colors do not have shimmer, and gives a semi-matte finish with a soft glow.

My first pick was the LIFE’S A PICNIC. Reason being it instantly reminded me of my all time favorite Chanel blush Vibration (reviewed here). It’s a beautiful and unique pinkish coral red color that just instantly brightens up my complexion. It’s ultra bright and pigmented, so application has to be very light-handed. Using a soft brush gives a sheer wash of naturally flushed cheeks.

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WHAT I FANCY is another pretty and soft spring blush color to wear. It’s a pastel milky peachy pink that gives an innocent and angelic wash of color to the cheeks. To me it’s a fool proof color that can be worn sheer, or built up to accentuate the apples of the cheeks, but regardless it will always make you look young and fresh.

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Swatch

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My previous post on my reader’s requests about how I clean my brushes was very well received, so I though I’d include a post that addresses some of the other most frequently asked questions. Today’s round-up is my picks for the base products for normal, combination to oily skin that have a great staying power in hot and humid weather and still look natural.

This is the list of my favorite products that are great for controlling the oil throughout the day, and most importantly they tick the criteria for not looking too matte, powdery and cakey on the face.

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1. MAC Prep and Prime -I bought the full size bottle of this after using a sample as I loved it so much. I am not a big fan of MAC base products but thumbs up for this one. It smoothes out the skin, covers and fills up the pores and creases, and slightly mattifies the skin without feeling silicony and heavy. The foundation sets beautifully on top of this primer, and gives an airbrushed finish of a more even and refined skin texture. It also helps to keep the shine and oil away for a longer time.

2. Make Up For Ever Smoothing Primer – Similar concept to the MAC, but more mattifying and covers the pores better. It has a heavier silicone texture than the MAC, and takes away excess oil and shine completely. Highly recommend it to anyone who has oily skin with large pores.

3. Chanel Mat Lumiere Foundation – My go-to foundation for the hot weather. It has a milky fluidy texture, feels lightweight, and offers a great coverage. It sets slightly more matte and powdery than the other fluid foundations, but it still gives the signature Chanel radiant glow from their Lumiere range. It also photographs beautifully – natural with a soft glow but not shiny.

4. Chanel Perfection Lumiere Foundation (reviewed here) – I wasn’t very impressed with this foundation at first as I was in a ‘dewy foundation’ phase back then, and fell in love with it during the summer time, as it has an amazing stay power and keeps my face looking fresh and clean for the whole day. It gives a velvety finish that is a tad more matte than the Mat Lumiere upon application, and it becomes more natural and luminous over time. Would only recommend this to normal to oily skin types.

5. Chanel Natural Finish Loose Powder – A very mattifying powder, and a little goes a long way. I only dust a very sheer amount on to my t-zone on a normal day, and it keeps the shine away for the whole day. I brought this along with the Mat Lumiere foundation to my last tropical vacation, and they worked wonders keeping my makeup on without melting for the whole day in very humid weather. It can look slightly powdery if applied too much, and it is not the most finely milled powder (can slightly enhance the pores around the cheeks) compared to the other high end powders I have in my collection.

6. Cle De Peau Translucent Loose Powder – My absolute holy grail for so many years. The most luxurious, silkiest and finely milled loose powder you can find in the stores. It looks natural, non powdery, and gives a brightening and more refined finish as it helps to cover the pores and lift the dullness. It slightly mattifies the skin and guarantees to keep your makeup stay put all day.

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One of my most frequently asked questions is how do I clean my makeup brushes, and I’ve finally decided to put together this big post about everything I do to keep my beloved brushes in their pristine condition.

There is no such one product that fits all. I use different types of brush cleaners based on the brush functions, types and colors. I don’t always go for ‘professional brush cleaners’, and I don’t mind using shampoos to clean the brushes that are made of natural hair. At the end of the day if this shampoo is good enough for my own hair, it is also good enough for a brush!

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When to clean your brushes and how often

Ideally, it would be good if you can clean/wash your brushes once a week. If you don’t have the time, another good indication is that when you find the bristles of your brushes are no longer as soft as they originally are, or you notice your makeup has an oily film on top that hardens the powder, which is normally due to the grease from your brushes being transferred to the powder.

Tools

I’ve only recently started washing my brushes with the Sigma Brush Cleaning Glove, and I love it to bits! It has 2 designs – one side for cleaning the face brush, and the other side for cleaning eye makeup brushes. The glove is made of soft silicone, and each side has different patterns and textures for different uses. It is definitely a very useful tool for a deeper and effective clean, and most importantly, it cuts the washing time in half!

There are a lot of rinse-free brush cleaners in the market that allows you to clean your brushes on the go. It is very convenient to use, and is recommended to be used to clean the brush after each use. I normally spray some on to a paper towel (cotton pad and tissue are not as good as they can become fluffy) and swirl the brushes multiple times till the colors are removed. If you have brushes made of white hair, this is a very important cleaning job to keep the bristles white for as long as its possible.  Otherwise the pigments will stain the white hair if the color is not removed immediately. My picks are the MAC Brush Cleaner, Shu Uemura Brush Cleaner, and the very affordable cleaner from Daiso. They all contain a bit of alcohol so they also help to disinfect the brushes.

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Foundation Brush

Foundation and concealer brushes take the longest time to clean in my opinion. They are normally made of synthetic hair, and there is always a lot of build up over time. I like to use a bit of makeup oil just to dissolve the grease in the first wash, and followed up by a shampoo for a thorough wash. My current favorite is the QV gentle shampoo or ECO Store Baby Shampoo to wash synthetic hair brush – they are gentle, chemical free and forms a rich lather which is great for washing the dense brushes and removing oily makeup products from the bristles.

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Natural Black Hair brush

I have invested in a lot of premium brushes such as the Suqqus, Tom Fords, CHIKUHODOS etc . Since they are all made of premium natural hair, I like to use an organic animal shampoo to wash these brushes. My current favorite is the John Masters Organic Pet Shampoo; other pick is the Aesop. They are all made of 100% organic natural ingredients so they are safe to use on expensive brushes. They also contain some conditioning agents which are great for keeping the bristles soft, glossy and protected.

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Natural White Hair brush

As mentioned above, I always use a rinse free brush cleaner to remove the color pigments after each use, and every few weeks I wash them with an organic shampoo. If you want to make the white hair even whiter and cleaner, or if there is any tough stain to remove. I have a great tip from the MAC MU – the SARD Wonder Soap literally gets rid of everything and makes the hair incredibly clean and whiter. However it does tend to dry out the hair a little, so I suggest to apply a little bit of lightweight conditioner for another rinse.

Sponges

Sponges and powder puffs should be washed  more frequently than brushes. My everyday sponges include the Beauty Blenders and the Shu Uemera Sponge (can’t live without them!). I always wash them with the Beauty blender Cleanser which is made of all natural ingredients. Recently I discovered a very cheap makeup sponge cleaner by Daiso Makeup Sponges Detergent.

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I have been frequently reaching for my Suqqu Eye Colour Palette Bordeaux EX01 lately so I thought I’d write up a review and FOTD post for it. I love the color combination of this palette. They are different to the usual neutral earthy palettes that I normally gravitate towards. The colors are relatively more vibrant outside of my comfort zone, but somehow I find them to be very wearable yet fresh looking, with the signature Suqqu’s subdued elegance to it.

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The Suqqu eye shadow is among the most superior eye shadows you can find. The quality of the newer 3 eye shadow palette feels quite similar to their regular quad. I have done many reviews for them in other posts, and overall the texture of Suqqu is slightly different to the western brands. The powder feels more creamy and moist to the touch, and they glide on weightless, silky smooth and evenly without looking powdery that would really work well on dry skin. The color payoff is also great for this palette – one to two swipes will show the true color as you see in the pan.

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Shade Description

Top : Icy white color, slightly sparkly

Middle: Shimmery coppery golden peach.

Bottom: Wine color with a purple undertone in semi satin finish. It contains multi colored glitters but they don’t show up once applied unless you look at it very closely at a certain angle.

Swatch with one swipe

Suqqu-Eye-Colour-Palette-Bordeaux-EX01-review-swatch-3Suqqu-Eye-Colour-Palette-Bordeaux-EX01-review-swatch-4FOTD:

Suqqu-Eye-Colour-Palette-Bordeaux-EX01-review-swatch-fotd-2Suqqu-Eye-Colour-Palette-Bordeaux-EX01-review-swatch-fotd-3Suqqu-Eye-Colour-Palette-Bordeaux-EX01-review-swatch-fotd-4Other products used in the FOTD

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Shiseido Pore Smoothing Corrector

Shu Uemura UV Underbase Mousse – totally obsessed!

Tom Ford Powder Compact Foundation (reviewed here)

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette

Eyes & Brows

Tom Ford Brow Sculpting Kit (new, review coming soon)

MAC Pro Longwear Waterproof Brow Set in Toasted Blonde

Dior Addict It Liner (reviewed here)

Lancome Mascara

Lips (my current favorite combo!)

- MAC Lip Pencil Rosy Rim (reviewed here)

- MAC LipStick Please Me

The Suqqu Eye Shadow Palette can be purchased here with international shipping available (TAX will be automatically deducted at the checkout), and more colors are also available at Selfridges.

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Compact foundation is one makeup item to splurge on as the high end brands are far more superior than the drugstores. Whether you wear it as a full foundation or simply for makeup retouching, the new Tom Ford Flawless Powder Foundation ticks all the criteria for probably the best you can get in the market now.

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It comes in Tom Ford’s signature ultra luxury case. The enclosed sponge has two different textures – the smooth side for a sheer application, and the velvety side for a fuller coverage application.

Texture and Finish

I was blown away the first moment I felt the product at the counter – it has the silkiest, most finely milled powder texture.  The powder foundation blends in to the skin seamlessly, and applies evenly with no creasing nor patches.  The coverage is equivalent to a sheer-medium foundation. If you apply the powder foundation with the enclosed sponge, or a fluffy powder brush, it sets even more natural than a normal liquid foundation. The finish is a clean and poreless version of ‘your-skin-but-better’ and semi matte that lets your own skin’s radiance through. For a fuller coverage, I prefer to apply it with a kabuki brush (or a flat top brush)  that would cover most of the mild imperfections. The finish is flawless and porcelain-like in a natural way but not cakey and heavy.

Shade Cream

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Lasting Power

As the weather is getting hotter in Australia now, I particularly love wearing this foundation as it is more mattifying than my other foundations.  Lasting power is about 6-8 hours on me with very little oil coming through at the end of the day for my dry skin. It also doesn’t oxidize, crease nor settle into the pores throughout the day. For makeup retouching, the powder foundation also applies well on top of your existing makeup. If you have cream based products underneath, I would wait till it dries then apply the powder foundation on top. Otherwise they will not blend well.

Shade Reference

I am between NC15-NC20, and I bought the Tom Ford Powder foundation in shade Cream which matches me perfectly. I pulled out some other powder foundations including the YSL Touche Eclat Powder Foundation B10 (reviewed here), Cle de Peau Beaute Radiant Powder Foundation B10, Tom Ford finish powder in Ivory Fawn (reviewed here) for comparisons.

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Comparison Swatches:

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Brush recommendations include (clockwise): THREE Powder Brush (more info here), Tom Ford Bronzer Brush; Suqqu Face Brush (reviewed here); MAC Blending Brush (similar here); CHIKUHODO Powder Brush

The Tom Ford Flawless Powder Foundation is available online here in Australia.

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I am very late to lip liners – I mean after wearing makeup for 10 years I have finally started wearing lip liners. So I was on a mission to acquire as many lip liners as I could! I looked around and unfortunately I could not find any that I liked from my usual favorite brands such as Chanel. My last resort was MAC which undeniably offered the biggest selection of colors – there were so many of them I liked but I limited myself to 3 colors for now! I picked up Rosy Rim Lip Pencil, and Good Timing and In Anticipation from the Pro Longwear Lip Pencil Range.

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In terms of texture, the pro longwear lip pencils are much more superior. They feel like a gel lip pencil so they are more pigmented and glide on more fluidly. They feel silky smooth and buttery to apply, so if you have dry lips this range is definitely more suitable. The normal Lip Pencil retails slightly cheaper, and the texture leans towards more crayon-like so they are a little on the dry side. They do not apply as smooth as the pro longwear pencils. If you like to fill out your entire lips with a lip pencil, this would dry out your lips. For just lining the lips, it still does a decent job.

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Good Timing is my favorite color! It is a muted cool milky rosy pink (but not lavender) that goes perfect with any cool-toned pink lip colors you have. My other favorite use is that if I want to make any warm pink lipstick color appear more cool, then I would wear Good Timing over my entire lips underneath it.

In Anticipation is another beautiful dusty rosy pink that is more warm and brighter than Good Timing. It may look quite rosy on the hand swatch, but once its applied on the lips it shows up as more nude rosy pink.

Rosy Rim is very similar to In Anticipation, but slightly peachier and lighter. Just another perfect your-lips-but-better shade that goes really well with any lipstick color in the pinks, corals and nude color ranges.

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