Thursday, August 22, 2013

A Guide to MAC Eye Brushes

Hello my dears!! I thought I would put together a guide to MAC's eye brushes after my recent acquisition of the 226 and the 214. I wanted to write this because there is a lot of hype around MAC brushes, and while many of them are absolutely amazing brushes, quite a few I could do without. I'd like to help you ladies save some money where you can and point you in the direction of their stand out brushes! I wouldn't really call these little snippets "full reviews", more like my overall opinion on each brush. Hope this helps!!

* denotes brushes that I recommend and would repurchase
**denotes MUST HAVE brushes... in my opinion, of course!

MAC 208 -- Angled Brow Brush ($20)*

Synthetic/natural hair blend. I really like this brush and use it daily. It is very dense and small. I think it works best with powder products, but you can use it with gel/cream liners. I typically use it on my brows or when applying eyeshadow to the lash lines.

MAC 210 -- Precise Eye Liner Brush ($20)*

Synthetic. This is a super fine liner brush that is perfect for applying gel liner. I really love this brush, but you can find cheaper alternatives at the art store if you are on a budget. If you purchase the 210, make sure to keep the clear plastic bristle protector that comes with it! I've had mine for over a year and it is still in perfect condition.
MAC 212 -- Flat Definer Brush ($24)

Synthetic. Also called a push liner brush; I use the 212 to apply eyeshadow to the lash lines.  I have a love/hate relationship with this brush. The bristles are very soft, which I love, but it is very wide which makes it awkward when you try to follow the natural curve of your eye. I probably wouldn't repurchase.
MAC 213 -- Fluff Brush ($25)

Natural hair. I have had this baby for over ten years and it was my first MAC brush. The 213 is a very basic eyeshadow brush that I don't reach for often. If someone were just starting out and wanted a brush to apply shadow to the lid softly, then this would be a great choice. I'm glad that I have it, but I wouldn't consider this a must have.
MAC 214 -- Short Shader Brush ($25)

Natural hair. I recently purchased this at the CCO and I think it is a decent brush. Typically this brush would be used for smudging or applying eyeshadow along the lash lines. The bristles aren't as soft as I like and Revlon does a better version of this brush for a third of the price.

MAC 217 -- Blending Brush ($24)**

White goat hair. I absolutely love this brush and cannot recommend it enough! Many companies try to duplicate its majesty, but none compare to the 217. This brush can apply color softly and blend like no other. MUST HAVE.
MAC 219 -- Pencil Brush ($25)**

White goat hair. There a plenty of pencil brushes in the world but few are as soft or as pointed as the MAC 219. You can use this to apply/blend shadow on the lash lines or do precise crease work. Definitely a brush that I recommend and use on a daily basis.
MAC 224 -- Tapered Blending Brush ($30)*

Goat hair. The 224 is a brush that I use daily but not one without its faults. It sheds more than I'd like, is somewhat scratchy and I wish it were more densely packed. I use this to apply my transition shade or for overall blending. This brush may be a bit too big for ladies with small eyes. I have tried to find a better alternative but have yet to find a replacement.
MAC 225 -- Large Tapered Blending Brush ($36)*

Pony hair. The 225 is a larger, softer version of the 224. I use it for overall blending and it can be used on the face as well. While it is discontinued, you may still be able to find this at a CCO.
MAC 226 -- Small Tapered Blending Brush ($25)
[limited edition]

Goat hair. The 226 brush came out with a few different collections and I recently found mine at the CCO. This brush is used for defined crease work. Sigma (E45) does one that is somewhat similar as does Louise Young (LY38). I find the 226 precise but slightly scratchy.
MAC 227 -- Large Fluff Brush ($30)

Goat hair. This brush is HUGE. Honestly the only thing the 227 is good for is applying a wash of color and there is no reason to spend $30 on a brush for that purpose alone. EcoTools makes a great dupe for this brush that is much, much softer.
MAC 239 -- Eye Shader Brush ($25)**

White goat hair. The 239 is used to pack on color. Although that is its only purpose, I consider this brush a must have! It has the perfect width, density, and its bristles grab and deposit shadows perfectly. Because it is natural hair the 239 works best with powder products.
MAC 242 -- Shader Brush ($25)

Synthetic. The 242 is similar to the 239 in that it is used to pack on color but it is slightly more versatile. You can use it with powder, cream or liquid products. While I like the 242, I much prefer the 239.
MAC 266 -- Small Angled Brush ($20)*
Natural hair. This brush is similar to the 208 but the bristles are slightly longer and it is thinner. Like the 208, the 266 can be used on the brows or to apply liner/shadows to the lash lines. Overall I think it is a great brush and would definitely recommend.


(l-r) 227, 239

(l-r) 212, 214, 266, 208
(t-b) 225, 224, 217, 226

(l-r) 239, 242

Do you have any MAC brushes? Which are your favorite?

Monday, August 19, 2013

CCO/CCS Haul -- MAC, Bobbi Brown

Hello my dears!!

I've been wanting to go to the CCO for ages but the closest one is an hour and a half away. Yesterday I drove my mom to the airport in Charlotte, and decided that this was finally my opportunity! I can't say it's the best CCO I've ever been to, but I found some great items.

CCO stands for Cosmetic Company Outlet/Store, and in this magical little place you can find overflow cosmetic items from brands owned by Estee Lauder -- which includes MAC, Clinique, and Bobbi Brown! At a 30% discount!!!

Because you can't be sure how long the makeup have been there I like to purchase items that don't go bad... like brushes, eyeshadows, blushes, etc.

Brushes (l-r) MAC 116, 129, 226, 214

All but one of the brushes I purchased are part of the permanent line. I'm not sure why, but I also received an additional 10% off. The 226 was limited edition and is not currently available at counters/stores. I can't believe I found one!!!

I have been wanting all of these brushes for quite some time and I never imagined I would find them all at the CCO! There was a 188 there that I really wish I would have bought... I have to pick mom up on Wednesday, so we'll see what happens! :)

MAC 214 -- $15.75  (Reg $25)
MAC 226 -- $17.77  (Reg $27)
MAC 116 -- $22.85  (Reg $35) 
MAC 129 -- $22.85  (Reg $35)
Bobbi Brown Shimmer Wash Eyeshadow in Stone -- $13.95  (Reg $21)
TOTAL SPENT (before taxes) -- $91.57
TOTAL SAVED -- $52!!!!

Bobbi Brown Shimmer Wash Eyeshadow in Stone
Sorry about the picture quality... I rely on natural sunlight and there hasn't been any lately!

Done any hauls lately?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Make Up For Ever Aqua Brow Waterproof Eyebrow Corrector Review

I have been wanting to try this product for so long but I didn't think it would work for me because of my "special needs" eyebrows. I have blonde hair and extremely sparse eyebrows so I have to be careful which products I use... things can get ugly in a heart beat.
I purchased shade 10, which is the lightest shade available. It is an ashy taupe, but has the tiniest bit of warmth to it once applied. It's very minimal, so not a deal breaker.
The texture is that of a sticky gel/cream and the best way to apply Aqua Brow is with a synthetic angled brush, like the Sigma E65. You need the tiniest amount! The product does take a little while to set, so you have plenty of play time. After applying, you can brush a spoolie through your brows to make it look more natural.

That little dot is more than enough for both brows! If you look at the edges of the swatch you can see that once dried the product does appear slightly darker and warmer than when wet (center of the swatch).




After 6 hours

I think what surprised me the most was how easy it is to apply, and how natural it looks!

One downside to Aqua Brow is that you can't get a super sharp edge unless you use another product, i.e. concealer or a brow pencil. Considering that I use up to 3 products on my brows on any given day, this doesn't bother me.  In the pictures shown above, I only used Aqua Brow!

It's waterproof and sweatproof, but how about the "grease test"? How does it stand up to oily skin? I'd say pretty damn good! I have oily skin, with super oily eyebrows and it stayed fabulous for 8 hours. I'm impressed!!!

Have you tried Aqua Brow??

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

NARS Orgasm/Laguna Duo and Elf Comparison

(l-r) NARS, ELF

NARS Orgasm -- a bright peachy pink with gold shimmer.  Orgasm is a beautiful color with amazing pigmentation, but the gold shimmer is just way too much for my taste. It highlights every pore and imperfection. I have never really liked blushes that had shimmer in them so I'm not quite sure why I thought I'd like this one. I can understand why many people love this blush, but it is definitely not for me.

NARS Laguna - A medium toned golden bronze with shimmer. I really enjoy the color of this bronzer, but again with the shimmer! I read quite a few reviews online that stated the shimmer was undetectable when applied to the face. Uhhhh... WRONG! It did blend nicely and I do think the color would look lovely on a variety of different skintones but the shimmer was a turn off for me.
Aside from the obvious packaging similarities, I don't think these two are dupes at all. That's not to say I don't like the Elf Duo. The bronzer is much darker than the NARS version and more matte. It also has a ruddiness to it that I quite like. Bronzers that have a little red to them can be more natural looking on fair skin than ones with golden tones. It reminded me of a darker version of MAC's Harmony. Because it is quite pigmented, I recommend using a light hand! The Elf blush is good, but nothing to write home about. It is a light pinky peach with shimmer. I don't find the shimmer to be as overpowering as Orgasm and I think this blush is much easier to wear.
Overall the NARS duo just didn't work for me... I think if it had Laguna and a matte blush I would have been more pleased with the purchase. Unfortunately I will be returning it tomorrow... I know it is taboo for a blogger to return an item after reviewing, but a few people left comments on my haul wanting to see a comparison so I really wanted to write it for you guys!




(l-r) NARS, ELF

(l-r) NARS, ELF

Have you tried Laguna, Orgasm, or the Elf Duo? Any matte NARS blushes you can recommend?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


I was out and about this morning shopping for a swap that I'm doing and decided to buy myself a couple items as well... you know I couldn't resist :)

NARS Blush/Bronzer Duo in Laguna/Orgasm -- this baby has been on my wish list for over a year and I finally gave in! I think I'm the last girl on the planet to own Laguna and Orgasm!

Make Up For Ever Aqua Brow in 10 -- I have been lusting after this product for quite some time. I'm very picky about my brows, so we'll see how it goes.

ELF Contouring Blush and Bronzing Powder -- I purchased this to do a comparison with the NARS duo, keep an eye out for that review!

ELF Blush in Pink Passion -- I've heard great things about ELF blushes and thought I would try one out. 

Jordana Best Lash Extreme Volumizing Mascara -- I saw this mascara on YouTube not too long ago and wanted to give it a try!

Jordana Twist & Shine Moisturizing Balm Stain in Candied Coral -- I've never tried the Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Lip Stains because I felt like they were a bit over priced. When I saw this in Walgreens I thought I would give it a whirl; it was only $3!

Let me know if you'd like to see a review on anything that I hauled! I wish I could show you guys all the awesome stuff I got for my swap, but I don't want to ruin the surprise :)

Done any hauls lately?

Much love,


Thursday, August 8, 2013

TAG: How Much Does Your Face Cost?

I recently saw this tag and today I'm going to give it a go! I've been a bit apprehensive because to be honest, I'm quite scared... I don't have a "go-to" makeup look that I wear everyday, so I've decided to base this post on my most worn day look -- which I wore to the grocery store yesterday :)

THE RULES: Add up the total cost of all cosmetics used to complete a typical day look, excluding skincare and brushes!

Don't judge me...

MAC Studio Fix Powder -- $27
Benefit Hoola Bronzer -- $28
MAC Melba Blush -- $20
Hard Candy Tiki Highlighter -- $6
MAC Pro Longwear Concealer -- $18
MAC Studio Finish Concealer -- $15
Dermablend Setting Powder -- $24
Maybelline Brow Pencil -- $4
MAC Omega Eyeshadow -- $12
Anastasia Brow Wiz -- $21
MAC Painterly Paint Pot -- $15
MAC Blanc Type -- $12
MAC Soft Brown -- $12
MAC Swiss Chocolate -- $12
MAC All That Glitters -- $12
MAC Smolder Eye Kohl -- $15
Almay Liquid Liner -- $7
Loreal Voluminous Mascara -- $6
MAC Shy Girl Lipstick -- $15
MAC Subculture Lip Liner -- $15
 GRAND TOTAL =  $296  (£190)  (EUR 222)

Although it may sound like a lot, most of the products I use last for a loooooong time. My philosophy is if I use up something quickly (i.e. mascara, liquid liner) then I go for the drugstore option. I can't imagine buying a $30 mascara every month, no matter how great it is.

On a side note, all my pricing is based on how much each item costs here in the US. I converted my total to a couple different currencies, but I know that pricing is not the same across the world. I still can't believe how much cosmetics cost in Australia and New Zealand... insanity!!!

How much does your face cost?



Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Mason's First Birthday


Last Friday, August 8th was my little man's birthday! We had a small party by the pool with friends, and he got more presents than he knows what to do with :)

Although it's not really beauty related I couldn't help but post these pictures. He had a great time... right until the very end -- as you can see in the last picture. He was over it by that point, haha!

I hope you all are having a great week!

Talk to you again soon! :)


Friday, August 2, 2013


I know that it may seem like I am on a lipstick kick lately and that's because I am! I don't know what's gotten into me, but I feel like I should change my blog name to Lipstick Addicts Anonymous! :)

This post has been requested a couple times by my readers but I haven't written it until today for a few reasons. First, I think it is hard to suggest 10 universal colors -- so I geared this post for fair/light skin. Most of these lipsticks would look great on a variety of skin tones though! Secondly, I am very particular when it comes to my Top 10's and I was never fully satisfied by my picks until today!

If I have done an individual review or lip swatch on a particular lipstick there will be a link below. I plan on reviewing all of them with lip swatches in the future, so keep an eye out for those! Oh, and I was pretty bad at photographing lip swatches back in the day, so no judgments... you live and learn ;)

(l-r) Hue, Shy Girl, Crème Cup, Fanfare, Viva Glam V

HUE (Glaze) -- a sheer pinky nude that looks beautiful with a smokey eye. I think Hue works on just about anyone!

SHY GIRL (Cremesheen) --  a mostly opaque peachy nude that has become a new favorite of my mine! I typically can't pull off lipsticks with much orange to them, but Shy Girl is the exception! Like Hue, this lipstick looks great on a variety of different skin tones.

CREME CUP (Cremesheen) -- a semi opaque light slightly cool toned pink. Crème Cup looks great with a  smokey, neutral, or natural look! Definitely a must have!

FANFARE (Cremesheen) -- a semi opaque warm midtone pink. This was suggested to me by one of my readers, and I have loved it since the day we met! Fanfare looks beautiful on very fair to very tan yellow toned skin. My current #1 favorite!

VIVA GLAM V (Lustre) -- a sheer dusty, pearly, pink with a slight brown undertone. This is the perfect MLBB lipstick that is a "throw it on and go" kind of color. It goes with anything and is appropriate for any situation. Cult status for a reason!


(l-r) Lovelorn, Chatterbox, Craving, Impassioned, Ruby Woo

LOVELORN (Lustre) -- a semi sheer cool mid-tone pink. Lovelorn was one of my first MAC lipsticks so it will always have a place in my heart. I feel like this one is a very basic color that would suit ladies with cool complexions best.

CHATTERBOX (Amplified) -- a fully opaque quintessential pink -- bright but not neon. If I want to be a little daring but I'm not in the mood to go for something way out there I always pick Chatterbox. It's perfect!

CRAVING (Amplified) -- a fully opaque plummy pink. Craving is gorgeous for Fall!

IMPASSIONED (Amplified) -- a fully opaque, neon watermelon pink. This looks great with winged eye liner and is definitely a statement lippy. Impassioned is one of those colors that would look beautiful on ANY skin color!

RUBY WOO (Retro Matte) -- a bright neutral red. Even though Ruby Woo is incredibly dry to apply, it is the most universally flattering, true red that I have found.

Well ladies... that's it for my Top 10 MAC lipsticks! I hope you found this helpful :)

Would any of my picks make your list?

Much love,


Thursday, August 1, 2013

MAC Angel vs Creme Cup -- Lipstick Review and Swatches

Today's post is a quick comparison between two of MAC's most popular lipsticks -- as I'm sure you could tell by the title! Crème Cup vs Angel!
COLOR: They are both light neutral pinks, but Crème Cup is slightly lighter and a smidgen more blue toned.
FINISH: Angel is a frost, although many bloggers dispute this fact. The more I wear Angel the more the frost becomes apparent. If you take a look in the swatch below you can see that it has a frosty sheen. Crème Cup is a Cremesheen and applies like butter. It is very smooth and creamy -- for lack of a better word!
WEAR: Cremesheens tend to have pretty short wear times. Crème Cup typically lasts 2 hours while Angel can wear up to 4.
Unfortunately they both cling to any dryness that you may have on your lips, so proper exfoliation is key!

(l-r) MAC Crème Cup, MAC Angel

Overall I would have to say that I prefer Crème Cup, mainly because I enjoy the Cremesheen finish much more than Frosts!

Do you own Angel or Crème Cup? Which is your favorite?