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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


Keep reading for more information!  Read the rest of this entry

Editor’s Note-February, 2013


I Heart Makeup!

For the Love of Makeup!

What comes to mind when you think of February?  Love?  Valentine’s Day?  SAD (Singles Awareness Day)?  Passion?  Shades of Red (or maybe even Shades of Gray!)?  If you are coupled, you may contemplate whom you are passionate about.   If you are single, you may consider what you are passionate about.  For me, there is no denying I am passionate about the beauty industry!  Since the age of 15, I have been enthralled by makeup, and color, and all the creativity that comes with this artistic medium.  Sure, there have been times when I have deviated from beauty in order to pursue other interests, but I always seem to come back to it.  It is a cornerstone of my creativity.

What fascinates me about this industry is I never really get bored.  With tens of thousands of products on the market, and companies constantly introducing more (good and bad), as well as new trends and techniques, there is always something new to discover!  Some may see 10 different shades of recently released red lipstick and say, “Okay, 10 new red lipsticks.”  For those of us who have a keen interest in makeup, we can look at those same red lipsticks and distinguish their nuances.

Another reason beauty peeks my curiosity is there is a definite psychology behind the industry.  It is not simply about how products make you look, (although, this is easy to forget when we are bombarded with advertisements in glossy magazines.) but how they make you feel!  I love putting on my favorite lipstick and instantly feeling more confident and beautiful.  Does it not feel great to have someone compliment you on your eyes, simply because you put on your go-to lengthening mascara?  There are those who insist makeup solely perpetuates our society’s focus on image.  Yes, there may be some truth to that, but if wearing makeup is what helps you feel great in the morning, then it really does not matter what anybody else thinks.

We all need a healthy outlet that allows us to unwind from life’s stressors.  For me, it is all things beauty, and for your it may be cooking, traveling, knitting, or hiking.  This month, I highly encourage you to discover what you are passionate about, and nurture it!


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.  


flr_mac_prepandprimeface protect_spf50

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


Keep reading for more photos!

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MAC Porcelain Pink Mineralize Skinfinish Review, Photos, Swatches


MAC Porcelain Pink Mineralize Skinfinish

Not Quite a Chic Pink!

For some reason, I just wasn’t as impressed with MAC’s Porcelain Pink Mineralize Skinfinish ($29 for 0.32 oz./9 g.) as I have been with their other lighter MSFs.  The company describes it as a “soft pinky coral with gold veining,” however, the one I purchased online (I now wish I would had purchased this in-store.) is more of a very light, golden ivory with a soft, pink opalescent sheen and gold and pink sparkle.  I think I wanted it to be more pink, but that aside, it works well on lighter to medium skin tones and adds a bit of warmth to those who have pink undertones.  

This did not apply as evenly as some of the other MSFs I have tried (it was worse when wet) and the pigmentation was not as strong.  It has a soft texture, but is not as buttery as one would hope, which is probably due to the sparkle.  It was also powdery, but it did not show any signs of chalkiness.  The ivory undertones blended in perfectly with my foundation and left my cheeks with a subtle pink shimmer.  After a few hours of wear, I noticed it started to look a little patchy, and after about 6 hours, the sheen began to subside.  

As I have stated in other posts, the color and sparkle of any particular Mineralize Skinfinish can vary from compact to compact due to the amount of veining.

I think the particular shade is best suited for those looking for a subtle cheek highlight, or for those who want an all-over face product to give you a “glow from within” look (which is most likely how I will use 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.



The Final LAB Report for MAC Porcelain Pink Mineralize Skinfinish


Keep reading for more photos and swatches!

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