My Experience with MAC Cosmetics

Normally, I am that girl who doesn’t venture beyond the aisles of Target when buying make-up.  But last month my buddy Ingrid visited from California, and we decided to go to the MAC Cosmetics store in the Mall of America and get makeovers.

Let’s just say I left with my wallet a little bit a lot lighter.  After using the products, I wanted to review them for you here, in case any of you are considering making purchases there.

1. Holiday Brush Bags – I purchased this one since it had the foundation brush I wanted.  It also included a blush brush and three good brushes for eyes.  I am not impressed.  To be fair, my consultant warned me that the brush sets aren’t as high quality as the individually-sold brushes because they are machine-made, not hand-made.  But when I pay $49.50 for 5 brushes, I don’t expect them to shed 47 bristles onto my face every morning, which is exactly what the foundation brush does.  I end up having to use a different brush to get those bristles off my face.  I have a brush set I got at Target last year for $10, and those brushes are, in my opinion, far superior to the MAC ones.  They are softer (making application less harsh-looking) and have hardly shed a single bristle.  Save yourself $40 and buy these somewhere else, ladies!

2.  Fab-racadabra Bronze Face Kit – Another one of the holiday kits that I bought to try and save a little rather than buy three separate items (bronzer, blush and iridescent powder).  I’m pretty neutral on this one.  It gives my cheeks a nice glow, but I’m not sure it’s that much better than my previous Cover Girl blush.  I may change my tune in a couple weeks when my skin has taken on its usual “death” pallor for winter.  That bronzer could be a winner.

3.  Mineralize Skinfinish Natural – Though, again, much more pricey than my normal Cover Girl pressed powder, this one is worth the money ($25).  I get a nice finish by dusting it over my makeup with a brush, and I’m not greasy (I’m prone to that in my T-zone) for hours.  Sometimes I don’t even have to reapply it all day!  It also works great when I don’t have time for anything but a little mascara.  It goes on more evenly than the Neutrogena mineral makeup I was using for those gotta-get-out-the-door-now mornings.

4. Paint Pot in Rubenesque – Far and away my favorite product purchased.   This glorious, shimmery little pot acts as a base for eyeshadow, but unlike another color they sell, Painterly, Rubenesque has enough color to it that it can actually function as eyeshadow if I don’t have time for anything else.  And the most amazing part–it lasts ALL. DAY. LONG.  No creasing, no smudging; this stuff stays put.  Even after an 8-hour day behind my camera, which usually has my eye makeup in ruins, I came out looking virtually the same as when I’d started that morning.  Worth every penny of $16.50.

5.  Eyeshadows – My consultant informed me that I would save money by getting a palette of these and inserting these little pots ($11 each), but that they contain the same amount of product as the individually-sold eyeshadows ($14.50 each).  I currently have three colors – one for filling in brows, one for my crease, and one for highlighting below the eyebrow.  I am still waiting for them to call me telling me they have re-stocked the fourth one (for my lid), and Rubenesque has been filling in as my main shadow.  MAC is known for their highly-pigmented products, meaning you have to use very, very little to get a saturated look.  I merely tap my brush on top of the makeup and it’s enough to begin application.  No smushing or swirling my brush to get enough on, which is nice (plus, it doesn’t leave layers of eyeshadow dust all over everything!).  These shadows also stay put (I’m sure partially due to the paint pot product) and will no doubt last me a long time.

6. Fluidline Eyeliner – Normally an eyeliner pencil will last me several years.  I just don’t wear enough to put much of a dent in it.  So when MAC girl put what looked like a thick black inchworm on my upper lashline, I wasn’t terribly excited.  However, I decided to give it another chance and had her switch it to a dark brown.  This looked much more natural on me.  After a couple of days, I got used to applying my liner with a brush rather than a pencil, and again, this takes very little product to make a huge impact.  It will probably not last me as long as a pencil, but it doesn’t smudge all over my face like pencil does, either.

There you have it–my experience with MAC.

I have continued to use my own cheaper mascara (Maybelline Great Lash Waterproof–love the stuff!  And pros use it.) and foundation (Cover Girl TruBlend), since I had just purchased new of them both and I didn’t particularly care for MAC’s version of either (my face was THICK with foundation; I looked fake).

What makeup do you use?  Have you ever gotten a counter/store makeover done?  Did you fall for it as hard as I did?  Have you stuck with any of the products?

6 thoughts on “My Experience with MAC Cosmetics

  1. I’m sure they’d take the brushes back. For that price, they should work better than that.

    I have an Almay 18 hour eye pencil that I can’t live without and Estee Lauder mascara. Other than that, it’s whatever I’m in the mood for. I may try the Paint Pot. Thanks for the tip.

  2. My friend Monique who works for MAC would be proud! I’ve never tried top of the line makeup, not even for a store makeover. I have always been a Walmart makeup shopper.

    My makeup stats: I am a huge fan of the mineral foundation. Liquid foundation never feels comfortable to me. I always wear Neutrogena Smoothing Stick concealor (shade light) before I apply mineral foundation. You don’t want tos see me w/o it! (I haven’t yet invested in those big fluffy brushes, maybe I should…)

    I always purchase CoverGirl pressed powder. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to powder blush.

    I am in love with Maybelline Dream Mousse cream blush in soft plum. Perfect color for me.

    I like the look of the non-pencil pencil eye liner, usually Maybelline Unstoppable. (I agree, dark brown or even brownish black is best for my complection).

    I absolutely LOVE Maybelline Define-a-Lash mascara. (The green tube.) Love it, love it, love it. I’ve even gotten complements on it before!!

    For eye shadow, I buy the cheap, shimmery shadow. Like yeah, the real cheap stuff! I just think it’s fun. I never, ever wear lipstick, only chapstick and the occasional Lip Smackers Vanilla Frosting lip gloss. Seriously.

  3. I agree w/ MAria…the brushes should go back! I have the Target brushes tooand you’re right, they’re fantastic. That said though, when I was in costume design school I had to take a makeup class one semester. The teacher took us all out shopping, teaching us how to fill our “tool kit”. Her first stop was the MAC store for brushes. Fortunately, it was part of the tuition and already pre-paid. To this day I have no idea what my full set of MAC brushes cost – I’d have probably fainted! But I was in desgin school 16 years ago and I only just replaced those brushes this past spring. I took good care of them – washed them and kept them in a separate case in the makeup drawer. But all that’s to say, they’ll last and last if you spring for the handmade ones. I just couldn’t justify that expense again at this point in my life. I have yet to find a good angled eyeshadow brush though…

    And my makeup faves…Clinique’s Touch Base in Nude and Canvas, great eyeshadow base and the Nude works as a shadow but I’m going to have to give Rubenesque a try too! Cover Girl Lash Blast (it’s one of the few brands that sells a straight up Brown, and not just brown/black) and Well Rested mineral powder concealer from Bare Minerals. Never thought a powder concealer would do what that one does!

  4. Heidi,
    I found your post very informative. I am an Estee Lauder nut. I used to work as a Clinque consultant and found myself loving more Estee stuff. I’ve never tried MAC products and I am curious about the Skinfinish. I HATE wearing foundation, I love how my face looks, but hate applying it, and having to RE-apply so I don’t look greasy after two hours. I don’t like feeling thick faced either.
    I used Cover Girl Remarkable mascara, it is washable, water proof. Stays on if you cry, comes off easily with soap and water, no need for greasy eye make-up remover. I’m with the other gals may have to try that paint pot!
    Thanks for the info! Haven’t been here in awhile!

  5. Well, since our makeovers were the SAME DAY, just at different MAC locations, I could share my experience with you 🙂
    I bought the EXACT same brush kit and wholeheartedly agree that the foundation brush is horrible. Every other brush in the kit though, I find to be amazing! MAC’s eyeliner brush, eyeshadow brushes and blending brushes have all been wonderful, easy to clean and the foundation brush was the only one that ‘sheds’. (my puppy sheds less!!)
    So, I may try one of their handmade foundation brushes….but if it also sheds, I will return it in a heartbeat. (they are over $35 each)

    I had never tried their foundation prior to my makeover that day, as I have been a mineral foundation girl for a long time, and I hate change! It was explained to me that as we women get older, the more ‘dry’ makeup we use, the more obvious it becomes that we’re wearing makeup. So, their more moisture/less powder idea had me curious. (wrinkles, but also if women have areas on their face that have pores that are a little more apparent)
    She cleaned my face and put on a ‘foundation primer’ ($26)which fills in the pores/lines a bit so that the foundation can sit on top of the skin, instead of inside the pores. then, she applied the foundation on top (with a GREAT foundation brush :))
    I was blown away….so were the 2 girlfriends I was with….So was my husband when I got home. Heidi has amazing Swedish skin- literally – so she always looks fabulous 🙂 —but for me and girls like me, with skin that is uneven due to tanning as a teenager, and with a few pores that are showing on the sides of my nose and chin….MAC liquid foundation is worth every penny to me. ($25) It is true, you can feel that you’re wearing makeup……but for the look it gives my skin, I don’t mind at all!!!

    Their cream blush is OUTSTANDING as well. ($18)
    Just as with their other colors, a little bit goes a LONG way.

    OH, and last but SO not least, their FLUIDLINE eyeliner pots are right up there with my favorite “can’t live without it” product list. I like their pencil liners too, but those DO tend to need reapplication, as all pencils do…..BUT their FLUIDLINE eyeliners (applied with a angled brush to the lid) last all day, and they keep their color perfectly. (I have the dark green and the dark purple – can’t remember their FANCY names though)

    Anycrux, there’s that. 🙂

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