Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Top of the MAC

At some point, pretty much every beauty blogger has to write a post about their MAC starter kit. They're all slightly different, but they all have a few items you'd expect. Realistically, you could throw a dart at these posts and it wouldn't really matter which one it hit. Well, I'm about to change all that. Because my list is the RIGHT one. Really.

I myself didn't start using MAC products until a few years ago. Of course, now I can't really imagine living without them! Like anyone, I have my all-time faves. Please bear in mind that these are based on my skintone, colour preferences and preferred tools. I'll try to mention things that will be useful for most people, but if you have darker skin, chances are my colour picks won't all work for you.

(Note: I don't have a good place to take photos at the moment - on top of which, since these are my faves, my own products listed here are well-loved! I took all these images directly from the MAC website, and each image is linked to the page for that product - just click to start shopping!)

1. 217 Brush

Of all the brushes in my collection, this one gets the most use. Why, you ask? Good question. Not only is it wonderfully soft, but it is the perfect size and shape to blend out shadows in the crease. If used in small circular motions - or even swept back and forth in a windshield-wiper motion - it will blend out the edges of your lid shade perfectly.

2. Wedge and Brule eyeshadows

These are two that work for my skin tone specifically. As much as I love makeup, I prefer a more neutral look during the day when I'm at work. I'll often use a neutral shade on the lid, such as Sable or Satin Taupe, and blend it out with Wedge in the crease. Brule is a near-perfect match for my skintone, so I use it on the brow bone blended into the Wedge. If your skintone is different to mine, you'll need to find the shadows that suit you best.

3. Mineralize Skinfinish Natural

It's hard to find a powder that doesn't just sit on the skin leaving a powdery residue, particularly since I've got dry skin. It took me years to find one that I liked - and this is it! Not only does it match my skintone perfectly, but because it's a mineral powder, it gives skin a healthy, natural glow instead of being a flat, matte powder. Great for setting foundation for the evening or wearing during the day for minimal coverage!

4. Satin Taupe Eyeshadow

I truly believe that this shadow looks great on EVERYONE. It was the very first thing I bought from MAC for a reason!

5. Rebel Lipstick

You might not think so to look at it, but this lipstick is versatile and universally flattering. It can be applied as a stain using fingers or a brush, layered with gloss for a nice berry pout or applied liberally for an intense pop of colour. It's such a gorgeous shade that has berry tones and pink in it, and is the perfect accent to a dramatic yet simple kitten flick liner.

6. 239 Brush

This one is flat but with a bit of fluff to it (unlike the stiff concealer brushes), and is small enough to control where shadow is placed. It is perfect for applying colour to the lid - picks up just enough product if you tap excess off gently, has a bit of an edge to work shadow into the lash line, and allows for a lot of control. Must-have!

7. Blue Brown Pigment

You may be surprised to see this one on the list - and I debated leaving it off - but I just love it. It's a beautiful reddy-brown with metallic green duochrome. But it's a shade of green that just gives a lovely shimmer for a night out and isn't at all garish. I also think it looks lovely (though slightly different) on pretty much every skintone! 

8. Smolder Eye Kohl

Who can live without a black, smudgeable kohl? This one is the ultimate - it's soft enough to work into the lashline and smudge without pulling uncomfortably at the skin, but not so soft that it goes everywhere! Wonderful for that sexy smokey eye! (I also like Coffee eye pencil instead of black for more neutral daytime looks. It's not as soft as Smolder, so it can be used for both the lashline and the waterline. Love!)

9. Blacktrack Fluidline

Sometimes liquid liner is a bit too tricky to work with - whether you're a beginner with the cat eye, have trouble with the applicator or just don't feel steady enough to use it on a given day. Gel liner (and cream liners, but that's a whole other post) is a wonderful alternative! MAC's Fluidline is one of the best - if not THE best - gel liner you can get. It doesn't dry out in the jar quickly as long as you put the lid on tightly, it glides on without a hint of tugging, it doesn't set quite as fast as liquid liner, so if you're quick with the Q-Tip you can correct it, and you can pick whichever brush shape is easiest for you. And once on, it will stay put without any transfer, and stay there all day long! You have to try it, if you haven't already!

10. False Lashes Mascara - Extreme Black

This mascara is perfect for my lashes. They're about medium length, so I can even wear this in the daytime, but if I build it up it's dramatic enough to wear in the evening, too. I like that the brush is narrower than PlushLash, so it applies a bit less product with each brush stroke, so I can control how much goes on more easily. It's also easier to work into the roots of the lashes without blobbing it! The formula itself is wonderful - doesn't irritate my eyes or dry out in the tube.

BONUS - Brush Cleanser

So this isn't technically a makeup item, but it's SO IMPORTANT! There are many reasons to take good care of your brushes (for a full post on this, click here), not least of which are hygiene and longevity. MAC's brush cleaner does a great job of getting every last bit of makeup residue out of your brushes, and leaves them feeling soft and supple.

Hopefully some of these will be helpful recommendations for you! What are your faves?
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