Category Archives: MAC

My Makeup Brush Collection

Makeup Brush Storage

Makeup Brush Storage

Today, I have brush picture spam for you! Above, is my brush storage – I started off with the two containers on the left, for face and eye brushes. However, I now have too many burhses for just those two containers, and they’re also too tall for some of my brushes – so I’m using a wine glass and a shot glass as well (the shot glass works surprisingly well for travel-length handles).

On to the pictures! This post is going to be mostly pictures with minimal text, but I’d be happy to answer questions in the comments.  I apologize that several brushes are dirty; they’re never all clean at the same time – since most of them are clean right now, I though this was a good time to take photos.

First, Hakuhodo brushes – these have a reputation for being very expensive – and some are! – but most of the eye brushes I love are in the $15 – $25 range.

Hakuhodo J110, K020, G5533 BkSL, G5529 BkSL, J515, G5515 BkSL, K005, K005, K007, 270

Hakuhodo: J110, K020, G5533 BkSL, G5529 BkSL, J515, G5515 BkSL, K005, K005, K007, 270

I would recommend all of these brushes except the G5533, which is too floppy to be useful. My favorites are the K020 blush brush, the J515, G5515, and K005 eye brushes, and the 270 lip brush.

Here’s a close up of the eye brushes & the lip brush:

Hakuhodo G5533 BkSL, G5529 BkSL, J515, G5515 BkSL, K005, K005, K007, 270

Hakuhodo G5533 BkSL, G5529 BkSL, J515, G5515 BkSL, K005, K005, K007, 270

My MAC eye brushes are also staples, and I sometimes use my 188 to contour with eyeshadow.

MAC 188, 239,239, 219, 217

MAC 188, 239,239, 219, 217

Notice anything odd about the two 239s?

I have two Shu Uemura eye brushes – they’re the most expensive eye brushes I own, but they really are fantastic.

Shu Uemura natural 10, 5r

Shu Uemura natural 10, 5r

I recently bought some short-handled Sonia Kashuk brushes, mainly because I was intrigued by the shape of the 3rd brush – I haven’t figured out what to do with it yet though. It’s very small – about an inch across; you can see it in the shot glass in the first picture in this post.  The 4th one is a fantastic pencil brush, though.

Sonia Kashuk set

Sonia Kashuk set

Here are some miscellaneous eye brushes:

Laura Mercier Finishing Eye Brush, Monda Brush , Smashbox brush

Laura Mercier Finishing Eye Brush, Monda Brush (from beauty
supply store), Smashbox brush (from unknown source)

Benefit Get Bent brush, L'oreal brush x2, spoolie

Benefit Get Bent brush (discontinued), L’oreal brush (comes with
gel liner) x2, spoolie

Sephora brow brush, Maybelline cream eyeshadow brush

Sephora brow brush (trimmed a bit), Maybelline cream eyeshadow brush

Moving on to (mostly) face brushes, here are the mixed brands.  I adore the Ecotools Bronzer brush especially, it’s wonderful for buffing in powder.

Ecotools Bronzer brush, Sigma F80, Sonia Kashuk Medium Angled Multipurpose brush, MUFE 24S,  Illamasqua Blending Brush 2

Ecotools Bronzer brush, Sigma F80, Sonia Kashuk Medium Angled Multipurpose brush,
MUFE 24S, Illamasqua Blending Brush 2

I have several Real Techniques brushes; I really like them, but tend to find myself using them for purposes other than what they are intended for. The crease brush (second from right) is a great concealer brush, and the brow brush (right) is terrible as a brow brush, but great for using dry eyeshadow to on the upper lash line.

Real Techniques brushes

Real Techniques brushes – combined from various sets

I also love for ELF Studio brushes.  My favorite is the eye contour brush (third from the right) – it’s just fantastic at laying down a cream base. I actually have a second one, which was hiding for this photoshoot.

ELF Studio Complexion Brush, Blush Brush, Small Tapered Brush, C Brush, Contour Brush, ELF Mineral Blending Eye Brush,  ELF Glitter Eyeshadow Applicator

ELF Studio Complexion Brush, Blush Brush, Small Tapered Brush, C Brush, Contour Brush,
ELF Mineral Blending Eye Brush, ELF Glitter Eyeshadow Applicator

I also have a handful of ELF’s $1 concealer brushes that I use as lip brushes.

And, that’s my brush collection! I think that only ones missing are that hiding ELF contour brush and the retractable Maybelline lip brush I keep in my bag.

MAC Stolen Moment Extra Dimension Eyeshadow Review & Swatches

MAC Stolen Moment Extra Dimension Eyeshadow

MAC Stolen Moment Extra Dimension Eyeshadow

Today, we’re taking a break from Japanese Makeup Week to talk about MAC Stolen Moment Extra Dimension eyeshadow.  MAC just released quite a lot of Holiday 2012 products – I think there are three separate collections.  I bought just one item, Stolen Moment eyeshadow from the Glamour Daze collection.

Stolen Moment is packaged in standard MAC packaging.  The pan appears to be the same size as a regular eyeshadow, but it actually contains less – 1.3g, while a regular MAC eyeshadow has 1.5g.  It also costs more; $19.50 for an Extra Dimension eyeshadow vs. $15 for a regular eyeshadow ($12 for a pro pan). MAC’s price increases have been talked about a lot in the beauty blogging world; I for one find myself buying less and less MAC the more the price goes up! That said, this is a fantastic eyeshadow, and for me, it’s worth the steep price.

MAC Stolen Moment Extra Dimension Eyeshadow swatch

Stolen Moment is described by MAC as a dark taupe, and I agree with that description.  It is a really lovely color, a mix of purple and grey with a hint of brown.  It has a high-sheen, shimmery finish.  the texture is great – soft, smooth, and pigmented.

I have several recent taupe acquisitions – Stolen Moment, the taupe from the Majolica Majorca palette I reviewed yesterday, and Addiction Flack Back (which I will be reviewing later this week).  I swatched them all together, along with MAC Moth Brown and Urban Decay Mushroom.  I was very pleased to see that each shade is noticeably different – no dupes! Here are the swatches:

Taupe eyeshadow comparison swatches - Addiction Flash Back, Majolica Majorca BR799, MAC Moth Brown, MAC Stolen Moment, Urban Decay Mushroom

Addiction Flash Back, Majolica Majorca BR799, MAC Moth Brown, MAC Stolen Moment,
Urban Decay Mushroom

Overall, I would definitely recommend this eyeshadow – even at the inflated price.  It’s both a great color and a great quality product.  And, even better – it’s not sold out everywhere yet! I found it available this morning at Macy’s.  It is sold out at MAC online and at Nordstrom (my preferred place to buy MAC), but you might still be able to find it at a counter.

MAC Marilyn Monroe The Perfect Cheek Review, Swatches, Comparisons

MAC The Perfect Cheek - Marilyn

I’ve heard a lot of good things about MAC The Perfect Cheek – first released with the Makeup Art Cosmetics collection in 2009 – so when I heard that it was going to be rereleased with the Marilyn Monroe collection, I was excited to check it out. And, since lately I’ve been reaching for my neutral, easy to wear blush shades most often, it was especially intriguing.


The Perfect Cheek is a matte, pinky-neutral blush. I found it sheer, but buildable. Below, I have swatched it next to my other neutral blushes – MAC Blushbaby, Tarina Tarantino Neapolitan Lane, and Cargo Tonga. The first picture is in natural light, and the second is with flash.

After photographing, I realized Tonga closest was the closest to The Perfect Cheek. They even looked like potential dupes – so I photographed them side by side.

It’s not apparent from the photos, but The Perfect Cheek is more sheer than Tonga – the swatch is built up, while the Tonga swatch is just a few swipes. The Perfect Cheek is also a touch rosier; so not perfect dupes. But, they are very close – I doubt one could detect the difference when worn.

Overall, this is not a unique shade, but I’m happy to have it as part of my neutral blush arsenal.

MAC Marilyn Monroe Deeply Adored Lipstick Review, Swatches, and a Giveaway!

MAC Marilyn Monroe Deeply Adored

MAC Marilyn Monroe Deeply Adored

As I’m sure you all know, the MAC Marilyn Monroe collection sold out lightning-fast online.  I decided to go to the mall today to check it out at a counter.  I was planning to buy just The Perfect Cheek blush, but after swatching the lipsticks I decided to also get Deeply Adored matte lipstick – the darkest red of the collection.  I was early enough that almost everything was in stock (despite the woman before me buying six of each item!), so I bought an extra Deeply Adored lipstick to give away – enter the giveaway at the bottom of this post!

MAC & Marilyn packaging

MAC & Marilyn packaging
(Deeply Adored lipstick for me & to give away, plus a The Perfect Cheek blush)

I’m not sure what to say about the packaging.  Some people want these items just because of the packaging; some people hate the images chosen.    Regarding the lipstick itself, I love the color – a very deep red.  I have a lot of red lipsticks, but this is darker than most of them.

My arm swatch doesn’t really show the depth of the color, but it gives a good idea of the pigmentation level; this is an intense, pigmented matte.  This is two swipes, but it looked exactly the same after one (not sure why I did two).

And here it on my lips:

MAC Marilyn Monroe Deeply Adored - lip swatch

MAC Marilyn Monroe Deeply Adored

In order to get a better idea of the color – and just because it’s so pretty! – I also took a full face picture of myself wearing the lipstick. The only makeup I have on is foundation, powder, and lipstick. Some eyeliner and mascara would help balance out the look, but it also works as-is, I think.

wearing MAC Marilyn Monroe Deeply Adored

One thing to note is that this lipstick is matte, and more drying than most of my other matte lipsticks.  Mattes are my favorite, and I don’t mind a slightly dry matte, but if that bothers you, this is not the lipstick for you.

So, if this lipstick sounds good to you, here’s the giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


This post is from Project Swatch. All rights reserved.

Mac Coffee Walnut Pro Sculpting Cream Review & Swatches

MAC Coffee Walnut Pro Sculpting Cream

I’ve been looking for a good cream contour product for a while now, so I was excited when I heard that MAC would be releasing six cream contours, called the Pro Sculpting Creams, as part of the Face & Body collection.  However, once I saw photos, I was a bit disappointed – most of the shades looked too warm to work as a contour, which should generally have some gray in it to mimic shadows. The one shade that looked like a possibility was Coffee Walnut, so I decided to order it.  This post is a first impressions review – it’ll take a couple weeks before I know if I love / like / hate it, but I wanted to get the swatches up since it’s limited edition.

Coffee Walnut Pro Sculpting Cream is packaged exactly like a MAC blush.  I like MAC’s packaging because it’s compact, functional, and allows me to see the product inside.

I like the texture of the product – it’s sort of a dry cream (rather than a greasy cream), and it is very easy to blend.   You have plenty of time to work with it and blend; it doesn’t dry down right away. In fact, I can’t tell whether it dries down to a powder or not, because I’m using such a small amount. It is very pigmented, but easy to sheer down to a wearable level.

MAC Coffee Walnut – heavy swatch, blended swatch

I’m sort of unsure about the color; it’s very different than my go-to contour product, which is MAC Sculpting powder in sculpt.  Coffee Walnut is sort of olive – gray – brown, and seems to have some yellow tones in it too.  MAC Sculpt is more of a soft cool brown. Here’s a comparison of the two – these are medium to heavy swatches.

MAC Coffee Walnut; MAC Sculpt – natural light

MAC Coffee Walnut, MAC Sculpt – flash

When I applied Coffee Walnut, I found that if I wasn’t careful with my placement and blending, it made me look sort of dirty.  However, once applied, it seems to work as a contour – creating shadows on my face.  In the photo below, I have applied Coffee Walnut below my cheekbones, on the sides of my nose, and below my jawline.

lipstick: essence red carpet

So, I’m undecided.  I like the texture and the pigmentation level, but I’m not completely sure about the color.  If you know your way around contouring products, I’d love to hear your thoughts!


This post is from Project Swatch. All rights reserved.

My Favorite Face Makeup Brushes

Favorite Face Brushes

Continuing on with my brushes series, here are my favorite face makeup brushes.  If you missed it, I posted about my favorite eye makeup brushes here.  These are definitely a work in progress; I have a couple brushes that I’d like to upgrade – but here are my favorites at the moment, organized by category.

Foundation: Sigma F80

I’ve written before about the Sigma F80 – it’s by far my favorite foundation brush! It gives a flawless application, and is the only foundation brush I ever use (though I do sometimes use a beautyblender or my fingers).  Highly recommended!

Powder: Ecotools Bronzer brush, ELF Complexion brush

I love the ecotools bronzing brush – it’s $10, and I don’t think I’ll ever stop using it.  I use it to buff in either power foundation (usually Pur Minerals) or setting powder.  If I want a light veil of powder instead, or to brush away excess powder I use the ELF Complexion brush. I’m happy with the ELF brush for now – it’s soft and well made – but I will eventually upgrade to a natural hair brush that is even softer.  Lately – since taking these pictures – I’ve also been using the Hakuhodo J110 for setting powder.  The smaller size is working really well for me.

Blush: Hakuhodo K020, Hakuhodo J110, MAC 188

These are the three brushes that I was using exclusively for blush at the time I took these photos. As I mentioned above, I’m currently using the Hakuhodo J110 for powder, and loving it for that purpose!

Before I got the Hakuhodo K020, I used the MAC 188 for my most pigmented blush. Lately, I’ve been using the K020 for my medium to very pigmented blush, and the 188 has been getting less use; however, it’s still a great brush for pigmented blush, so I wanted to include it in this round-up.

Contour & Blush brushes: Sonia Kashuk Medium Angled Multipurpose brush, MUFE 24S

I use both of these brushes for both blush and contouring.  I use the Sonia Kashuk brush for my less pigmented blushes, and occasionally use it to contour, while I use the MUFE 24S to contour most days, and occasionally use it for my less pigmented brushes.  I love the shape of both of these, but I’m considering upgrading both.  The Sonia Kashuk has been a great brush for a year or so, but it’s starting to shed; the MUFE brush is scratchier and a little less dense than ideal.

Highlighting: ELF Mineral Blending Eye Brush, Illamasqua Blending Brush 2

I use two different eye brushes for highlighting.  The ELF Mineral Blending Eye Brush is soft, well made, and perfect for highlighting down the bridge of my nose and my cupid’s bow.  The Illamasqua Blending Brush 2 is FAR too large for me to use for my eyes, but is fantastic to use to highlight my cheekbones.  Both of these are perfect for their purposes!

And, that is a lot of brushes! Do you use any of my favorites?


This post is from Project Swatch. All rights reserved.