Tag Archives: mac

JANUARY BEAUTY ROUNDUP

The first month of 2015 has come to a close, and here’s what I was loving in January:

jan-favs

MAC brush #217
Urban Decay Naked 2
Charlotte Tilbury Portobello Girl lip gloss
Urban Decay Naked 1
Charlotte Tilbury Uptown Girl palette

If you’ve been giving any thought to purchasing any of the above, I would absolutely recommend them! They’re all great buys, and you can click on the links above to see my experiences with the products or how I’ve been using them. I have a feeling I’m going to be using these throughout February, but I’m not yet sure what else will be joining them…

What did you love using in January? Did you make any fun beauty discoveries? Have you identified any Feb favourites yet? Drop me a line and let me know!

-A-

PRODUCT EXPERIENCE: MAC BRUSHES

It’s the ultimate MAC eye brush showdown: #217 vs #224. Which is better, and are either of them any good? Take a look for yourself and see what you think:

mac-compare5
For quite a while now, I’ve wanted to give MAC brushes a try. There has to be a reason they’re the go-to standard, constantly recommended and mentioned everywhere, right? Except… They’re so expensive. I have one, which was bought for me by my mother many years ago, but it’s a foundation brush and so doesn’t get used very much. I wanted to try out the eye brushes, since those are something I use every day, and the difference between a good eye brush and a bad eye brush is the difference between a good eye look and a bad eye look.

I have other brushes, of course– Clinique, Jemima Kidd, Catrice, and my personal favourite, Real Techniques. So how did the MAC ones measure up? Well… It’s a mixed bag. As mentioned in my previous post, the two that I bought were #224 and #217. Those numbers might be close together, but there’s a world of difference in between them.

mac-compare1

#224 (right) is basically your average good eye brush. #217 (left) is genuinely the holy grail of eye applicators.

Look, here’s the thing– I didn’t believe it, either, when I read reviews of it before. People basically raved about this brush, and it doesn’t look all that impressive, and I kind of thought, “Yeah, sure”. If you’re reading this and doubting (I don’t blame you), let me just say: try it yourself. Don’t take my word for it. I can’t convince you of how great this damn thing is, because you will have to try it for yourself to believe how it will perform some sort of godly eye magic. It blends colours with two or three light passes, and it does it perfectly. How? I don’t know. Sorry. I’d love to be able to explain how that works (it’s possibly because it has natural bristles?), but I can not.

What I do know is that it’s fabulous. I’m in love with this brush. I’m going to buy more of them. This brush to me, is basically what Ferraris are to the superrich– I probably only really need the one, but I’m still planning on getting a load of them for very slightly different functions, and I’m going to display them outside my house so as to make everyone jealous of my hoard of supercars. Er, superbrushes. Whichever! The point is: you should probably buy one. Soon. Before I cause some kind of worldwide shortage of the damn things.

…And now on to #224. I confess: I was disappointed. Which is kind of unfair, because I’m pretty sure I’m only disappointed because it wasn’t on the same level as #217. It’s a great brush, and does a nice job on blending. But when it comes right down to it? I don’t know how much I’ll use #224. I have a feeling I’m going to reach for #217 every time I need a superblender, so I almost wish I had bought two of those, instead (to start off my neighbour-impressing collection).

So does that mean #217 basically just does the same thing as #224, but better? Well… The more I think about it, I’m actually not sure.

#217 is listed on the MAC site (the US version; the UK version won’t show me anything but a pointless slideshow of faces, annoyingly) as being for “the application and blending of powder products”. #224, by contrast, is for “gently shading and blending the crease line with powder shadow”. Those two things do sound awfully similar to me.

Still, the funny thing is… These two really do have quite a different effect. Let’s take another look at the comparison photo, shall we? Here’s how they apply and blend the same two colours (Half Baked and Snakebite from Naked 2):

mac-compare5

As you can see, the #217 delivers more product to the skin, and also delivers a slightly more subtle blend. The #224 gives you a lighter impression of colour on application, and blends out the colours almost into a single shade. Both make a complete mess of my shadow tray, by the way– far worse than anything I’ve seen using my RT brushes. There was also a huge amount of fallout powder around the side of my arm and on the table from doing this, too. I hadn’t really noticed this before doing on my arm, but I imagine it does the same on your face, as well, so my advice is to apply with a less… Enthusiastic brush, and then blend out with one of these.

Let’s break it down even further:

#217

→  natural fibres
→ more precise
→ picks up lots of product
→ messy; fallout when applying
→ subtle but effective blending
→ slightly cheaper (€25)

#224

→  natural fibres
→ covers a broad area
→ picks up minimal product
→ messy; fallout when applying
→ extremely strong blending
→ slightly pricier (€32)

If I have to pick (and possibly you should, because these are heinously expensive), I prefer #217. It blends exactly to the level I like, but no further. It’s also super for applying product– look how much denser and more vibrant the Snakebite looks when applied with #217. That said, I think #224 might be a little more useful when blending colours more different than the two used in the example here, where a subtle blend is just not quite gonna cut it.

I might try that out, in fact, on a day when I feel like washing both brushes thoroughly afterwards, and report back. For now, though, I’ll just say that they’re both pretty great, but if you can only pick the one, #217 is probably the better all-rounder, as it applies and blends really nicely. They’re very definitely not the same, though, so if you can stretch to both, I think your brush collection will be better for it.

Have you tried either of these brushes? Do you have a preference for one or the other? Or do you just refuse to buy into the hype surrounding MAC brushes (and these in particular)? Drop me a line and let me know!

-A-

RECENT PURCHASES: JANUARY SALES

I did eventually manage to hit the January sales– better late than never, I say, and definitely also better when not grossly overcrowded and crazy. Here’s what I picked up:

17polish

These gorgeous nail polishes are from Boots’ Seventeen range. They’re just €3, which I think is astonishing for such gorgeous colours. I’ve got #49 Blue Glitter and #57 Green Gold Shimmer here, which I’m looking forward to trying out– even if I suspect I am going to need bucketloads of nail polish remover for taking them off since they’re pretty intensely glittery. (Whoever can invent something which takes off glitter polish without an hour’s worth of scrubbing is going to be one rich person, let me tell you.)

 

bushes

I’ve been wanting to add some new eye shadow brushes to my collection for a while now, and unfortunately the only website on which I could find Sigma brushes had none in stock. Consequently, I gave up on web shopping and hied myself to the Mac counter in BT2– I was hoping to save myself a few quid by not buying the MAC ones, but in the end, I decided to just save myself the headache.

It’s not really so terrible; online shopping is a pain in my backside, if I’m honest. I always prefer a bricks-and-mortar retailer wherever possible, since that way I get to bring the goodies home in my hot little hands and not spend a week obsessively tracking my package to try to determine what day it might arrive. Even if you can figure out what day it might come, that means a whole day spent shivering with the living room door open so you’re sure to hear the doorbell, watching your hideously expensive heating flowing into the hall while you rock back and forth from a combination of chill and the inability to take a bathroom break in case the doorbell rings while you’re in there and you can’t scramble out in time to catch the postman before he leaves. (I really don’t handle waiting for deliveries well, okay?)

Since this was a regular retailer, I got to bring home my goodies from the MAC counter as well as two others I picked up in in M&S in their sale for €4 (from their own Autograph range) and €8 (from Pur Brushes). The MAC ones were not on sale, and were about €20 each (ouch). I picked up #217 (I didn’t have one, if you can believe that) and #224. I’ll be excited to compare them to the Real Techniques ones I use daily and the M&S ones you can see here.

 

BT2

While picking up my brushes, I also quite naughtily found my way into the downstairs of BT2. Oops? That said, I got two great bargains– this lovely little Whistles parka was 50% off at €100. It’s insanely warm, and fills the White-Coat-shaped gap in my wardrobe quite nicely. The shoes were something of a random buy– like my red runners, they’re actually for a costume event I’m going to later in the year (I’ll be doing, among other things, a casual version of Princess Anna from Frozen), but I’m actually rather taken with them. They were €60, down from €95, and the embroidery is gorgeous. I bought them in a size up in the hopes of being able to wear them with a heel insert to protect my irritatingly vulnerable Achilles tendon, so we shall see how that goes. (And if it doesn’t work, I’ll just have to… Let it go?)

 

MandS1

Lastly, I stopped by M&S to see what was available in their sale. In addition to the two brushes I already mentioned, I picked up two body scrubs– they were only €4 each, and they were also on a “Buy One Get One Half Price” offer, which means I got the two of them for the princely sum of €6! I’m a big fan of body scrubs, so hopefully these will work out for me. Neither Lemon nor Cocoa Butter is really my favourite scent, but they’re nice enough and at that price you really can’t argue.

I also picked up a lighted mirror on half price in Boots… And something else which I suspect deserves its own post which I’ll be talking about soon. My sale shopping was quite restrained this year, but considering the bumper Christmas and Birthday I had, I can hardly complain! I’m not exactly hurting for clothes or makeup, and I’m hoping to spend less and shop my closet more in 2015. I have so much lovely stuff that hasn’t been worn nearly enough, after all.

Did you get anything nice in the sales? Are you holding out for prices to drop even further? Or are you on a shop-your-closet-in-2015 kick, too? Drop me a line and let me know!

-A-