Category Archives: MAC

Editor’s Note – April, 2013


Being Green!

Every April we celebrate Earth Day and are encouraged to find new ways to recycle qualifying items, reduce waste, and reuse products in creative ways.  I thought I would provide a couple of beauty-related tips to being “green” and, of course, discuss this year’s Sephora + Pantone Universe Color of the Year: GREEN (emerald, to be exact)!

Tip 1: Reusing Containers
My favorite candle company, AQUIESSE, houses many of their uniquely-scented, luxury candles in thick glass.  After finishing my first candle, I could not bear to toss the glass container, so I cleaned it and started storing my makeup brushes in it.  The smoked color of the glass fits perfectly with my decor and each container holds about 25 brushes (lip pencils and eyeliners also store well).

As a scrapbooker/paper crafter, I have plenty of decorative paper laying around, and as my best friend reminded me this weekend, it can be used to cover coffee/soup cans, or any other container with a smooth surface.  It is an inexpensive way to add a pop of color to your room, as well as organize/store frequently reached-for items.

Tip 2: Shop from Eco-friendly Companies
One of the reasons I continue to shop from MAC is due to their “Back to MAC” program.  For every six empty containers you return, you will receive a lipstick, lipglass, or eyeshadow of your choice (MAC counters in department stores only offer a free lipstick).  Let’s be frank, the mark up on cosmetics is immense, so when a large corporation offers its customers free FULL-SIZED products for bringing back the empty containers, they earn points for good customer service.  I wish more companies would follow suit because it is a simple way to help the environment, as well as show some appreciation for our investment.

Aveda is another eco-friendly company known for charitable contributions and various ways the company “strives to set an example for environmental leadership and responsibility.”  Aveda offers liter-sized shampoos and conditioners, which not only “uses up to 66% less packaging” (compared to purchasing four 200 ml bottles), but also saves you 25% per ounce.  I get a little giddy at an opportunity to save money on products I love!

Sephora + Pantone Universe Color of the Year!
As I have mentioned in the past, green is a color that makes me smile.  I find the earthiness of it is quite soothing, so when Sephora + Pantone announced this year’s color as emerald, I knew it would be fitting for April’s Editor’s Note.  The easiest way to add this bright green to your makeup look is by popping on an emerald mascare, or lining your upper or lower lashline with the color (keep the rest of your eye makeup neutral so the green shines!).  If you are feeling a little daring, consider washing your entire lid with an emerald green, and use a deep blue in the crease and a shimmery gold in the inner corner to highlight.

If you are not diggin’ the green makeup, consider getting lacquered up with the jewel-toned polish.  Of course, the safest way to follow this year’s trend is by accessorizing with an emerald colored scarf or handbag.  Lastly, If your birthday/anniversary is coming up, then flutter those lashes and beg your sweetie to purchase those Harry Winston earrings you have been eyeing ever since you saw them on the Red Carpet!

So, whether you are trying to find more ways to conserve, wanting to accessorize with emerald, or simply feeling green with envy, this month I encourage you to go green!


UPDATED! MAC Prep + Prime Face Protect SPF 50 Review, Photos

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MAC Prep + Prime Face Protect SPF 50

Not the Primer it Once Was!

It is almost heart-breaking for me to have to update this review.  About a week, or so, ago I repurchased my favorite foundation primer, noticing some labeling changes on the packaging.  I expected there would be changes to the labeling to comply with new FDA regulations regarding products with sunscreen.  It was not until yesterday that I noticed the formula has been drastically altered.  What was once a Holy Grail product for me, is now a good moisturizer with SPF 50.

MAC Prep + Prime Face Protect SPF 50 ($30 USD for 1 oz./30 ml.) is supposed to be  “a skin-protecting cream with SPF 50. Applies under makeup to prime the skin for the sun. Featherweight, fast-absorbing, oil-free, invisible. Will not affect the look, texture or long-wear integrity of your makeup. Specially formulated with oil-absorbing powder, helps prevent oil breakthrough. Provides high-level broad spectrum sun protection. Worn daily helps guard the skin against discolouration, premature aging, dryness and other effects of sun exposure. Suitable for all skins.”

What really hurts the rating of this product is the brand’s claims.  It no longer contains the ingredients that curb oil breakthrough, prolonging the longevity of your foundation.  This cream is not oil free, no longer has Zinc Oxide (a beneficial ingredient for those with sensitive skin and/or prone to breakouts.), and will not leave your skin with a matte finish.  Instead, this leaves a slick (but not really greasy) look.  I would not recommend this product for individuals who have very oily skin.

I re-tested this product with a foundation that dries down to a matte finish, but my skin did not look as matte as it did with the previous  Prep + Prime Face Protect formula.  After four hours, my nose became slightly oily, and was noticeably oily after 6.5 hours.  Also, my foundation did not apply as smoothly as it once had, and when I blotted my nose and chin, a good amount of product transferred to the tissue.  Again, I did not experience these problems with the previous formula.  With the exception of the areas where I blotted, at the end of the day, my foundation was still intact and looked nice.

Luckily, the addition of active ingredients such as Avobenzone (and others) gives your skin broad-spectrum protection (protection against UVB and UVA rays), which does ebb against signs of aging, discoloration, and dryness.  This also contains a fair amount of antioxidants, which also prevent signs of aging.  Lastly, it is still a lightweight formula that does absorb quickly.  MAC does receive points for those claims, and for their anti-aging and sun protection declarations.

Personally, I’ll save this product for days when my skin is feeling dry.  With the warmer months quickly approaching, and my skin starting to become oilier, I will be on a the prowl for a mattifying foundation primer.

This is a prime example of false advertising, something MANY cosmetic companies are guilty of (particularly with skin care products).  MAC either needs to change their inflated description of this product, or re-market this as a sun-protective moisturizer for normal, dry, or very dry skin.  If the company did so, it would be rated much higher.

To see my previous review of this product, please click HERE.


flr_mac_prepandprimeface protect_spf50_2ndreview

The Final LAB Report for MAC Prep + Prime Face Protect SPF 50


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MAC Prep + Prime Face Protect SPF 50 Review, Photos, Swatches

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MAC Prep + Prime Face Protect SPF 50

The Best Way to Protect Your Face!

When you are extremely fair, like I am, it is crucial to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays.  Even if your skin tone is medium to dark, it is still important to wear a product with an SPF.  Ever since it launched, years ago, MAC Prep + Prime Face Protect SPF 50 ($30 USD for 1 oz./30 ml.) has not only been my go-to primer, but also my must have sunblock! MAC describes this product as “featherweight, fast-absorbing, oil-free, [and] invisible. Will not affect the look, texture or long-wear integrity of your makeup. Specially formulated with oil-absorbing powder, helps prevent oil breakthrough. Provides high-level broad spectrum sun protection. Worn daily helps guard the skin against discolouration, premature aging, dryness and other effects of sun exposure. Suitable for all skins.”

I have found all of the above claims to be true.  Before I started using this, my skin was very oily and I always had trouble with my foundation breaking down, due to oil production. This product helps foundation  apply smoothly and absorbs oil, which in turn makes your foundation last longer.  As my skin has become a little drier over the years, I still love this product because it does not dry out my skin, even though it absorbs oil.  

For some reason, I am very sensitive to most sunblocks.  If the smell doesn’t bother me, the heaviness/thickness does.  I would always feel like my skin was suffocating.  Prep + Prime Face Protect is incredibly lightweight and does absorb rather quickly.  If I am going to be in the sun for a long period of time, I will even apply this to my arms because it is so comfortable to wear.

Also, I wish the tube it came in was a little easier to squeeze.  It is not really a problem until you get down to the last bits of product, when you want the tube to be a little more pliable.

The only problem you may encounter with this, and any product that contains an SPF, is when using flash photography.  I am so pale that I have never had a problem using this with flash photography, but if your skin tone is medium to dark, you might notice a white cast on your face in photos taken with flash.  I have read that if you use this under a foundation that does not contain an SPF, you can counteract the white cast.  I personally cannot attest to this, but it is something to try.  A professional photographer should be able to fix the white cast in the editing process, but it is still something to consider if you are thinking of using this product during a special event.  


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The Final LAB Report for MAC Prep + Prime Face Protect SPF 50


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MAC Tranquil Cleanse-Off Oil Review, Photos


MAC Tranquil Cleanse Off Oil

Not Worth the Hassle!

Not too long ago, I was at my local MAC picking up some essentials and as I was paying, I noticed the skincare display and remembered reading the great reviews for MAC’s Cleanse Off Oil.  I started to ask the makeup artist what the difference is between the original formula and the MAC Tranquil Cleanse Off Oil ($30 USD for 5 oz./150 ml.; $10 USD for 1 oz./30 ml.) and he told me the Tranquil Cleanse Off Oil is supposed to be gentler on the eyes and skin.  Well, needless to say I got suckered into buying the travel size (1 oz./30 ml.).  Total impulse!

On MAC’s website, this cleanser is described as a “mineral oil-free makeup remover/cleanser for the skin. Formulated with extracts of sea grass, peach leaf, soothing chamomile-derived bisabolol and scented with citrus-y yuzu, fused with conditioning botanical oils of grape seed, olive leaf, sunflower and lavender. Apply, splash with water. Lifts off makeup leaving skin clear, soft, relaxed. Ultra-gentle: especially good for dry, mature or stressed-out skins.”  Now that’s one hell of a description, but there are two red flags: 1.) citrus-y yuzu and 2.) lavender-both of which you do not want in any skincare product.  The fragrance in this product is a very faint floral/citrusy/zesty scent.  Red flags aside, this simply is not really an effective cleanser.

I tested this three different times, hoping maybe I was doing something wrong.  First, I squirted this on a cotton round, held it over my eye for 30 seconds to let it sink in, and wiped away.  To my dismay, hardly any makeup had been removed, and it did not want to breakdown my non-waterproof mascara!  I ended up switching to my usual makeup remover because i did not want to keep rubbing my eye.  I did two additional tests in which I swatched regular and long-wearing/waterproof products on my hand and tried to use this cleanser to remove them.  In all fairness, is great at removing makeup that can easily be washed away with water (what’s the point of wasting money on this when you can use water?!?), but you’re outta luck if you want it to remove anything long-wearing or waterproof-it’s TOO gentle.  The cleanser itself washed away easily and I did not experience any oily residue.

In the end, this experience reinforced that I need to stick to my guns of not purchasing any skin care product without researching it first!  Had I known there is citrus and lavender oils in this, I would not have even bothered buying  it.

Update: Due to selling in countries that require animal testing, MAC is no longer considered a cruelty-free brand.  Please excuse the error in The Final LAB Report.  TheLABofLuxury apologizes for any confusion this may have caused.


flr_mac_tranquil_cleanseoffoilThe Final LAB Report for MAC Tranquil Cleanse Off Oil


Disclosure: The product(s) featured in this post was(were) purchased by TheLABofLuxury for review.


MAC Wipes Review, Photos


MAC Wipes

What’s makeup’s worst nightmare?  A MAC Wipe!

Whenever I’m in a rush to remove my makeup after a long day, I cannot help but reach for my MAC Wipes ($15 USD for 30; $20 USD for 45; $29 USD for 100).  These little gems are supposed to “swipe away makeup, smudges, dirt, and grime, while hydrating and nourishing highly effectively,” and that is exactly what they do.  They are not meant to be used around the eye area.  Although, to be honest, I use them all the time to remove my eye makeup, but I understand why it is not recommended (more on that later!).

I love how effortlessly these soft, sturdy cloths remove even the most tenacious long-wearing products.  When removing my eye makeup I press these over my eye for about 30 seconds, to let the cleanser sink in, and gently wipe away shadows, mascara, eyeliner, and the like.  Using circular motions, face products are easily swiped away.  I generally use two wipes to remove my makeup (three if I’m wearing heavy eye makeup).

As stated in the company’s claim, these are very hydrating.  My face never feels stiff or dry after using these.  Some may not like the slick, almost oily, residue that is left behind after use.  I notice this more on my face than on my hand or arm (after removing swatches).  After using any oil-based makeup remover, I always follow up with a water soluble cleanser to remove any oily reside, or makeup I may have missed.

My only gripe with a MAC Wipe is how much fragrance one has!  It’s similar to the rose/floral scent that is in some of their mascaras/brow gels.  From doing some research, this seems to be the only problematic ingredient and might be why there is a disclaimer for using it around the eyes.  Again, I personally have not experienced irritation when using this to remove my eye makeup, but I am NOT going to recommend you use it that way.  Please use your own judgement.

If you do decide to try these, and love them as much as I and many others in the beauty industry do, I highly recommend purchasing the bulk size (100 wipes).  Compared to many popular drugstore brands, they end up costing only a few cents more per wipe and the packaging keeps them very moist.  I store mine upside down in a drawer and have never had them dry out.

Update: Due to selling in countries that require animal testing, MAC is no longer considered a cruelty-free brand.  Please excuse the error in The Final LAB Report.  TheLABofLuxury apologizes for any confusion this may have caused.



The Final LAB Reprot for MAC Wipes


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