The year was 2004, and I was taking on a feature assignment on different makeup looks for a local magazine. I had just met the makeup artist and he was showing me the colors and products he was going to use for the shoot, and the ones that caught my attention and curiosity were all in that black packaging we all know too well—M.A.C. He proceeded to transform the model from an ethereal goddess to an edgy urbanite to a classy sophisticate and since then I knew I was hooked on the brand. So whatever meager allowance I was getting at the time, I used to scrimp just to buy another item to add to my collection of M.A.C. loot everytime I was in Manila or abroad. You can imagine my happiness when they actually opened a stall right here in Rustan’s Ayala where I could choose from multitudes of lipstick, blushes, eyecolor, and everything else. M.A.C. always has limited edition stuff that you need to grab before they disappear forever, but here are the absolute cult favorites no Kikay girl should be without:
- Studio Fix powder plus foundation– This is ‘the one’ for me. I’ve been searching for the perfect powder foundation for years, one that doesn’t cake, stays matte but not too dry, has just the right amount of coverage without going on too thick, matches my skintone, doesn’t look like a mask in photos, and all that jazz. So yes, there may be mousses and gels out there, or whatever other product beauty scientists manage to concoct, but I’m sticking to my Studio Fix compact no matter what. You don’t even need to wet the sponge, just pat it on and blend well and you look polished all throughout the day.
- Lipstick– In particular, the Viva Glam line has always been lauded because every cent goes to supporting people affected by HIV and AIDS. Right now their endorsers are Nicki Minaj and Ricky Martin, and it’s just the perfect shade of candy pink for your Malibu Barbie look. My true love though, is the Ruby Woo lipstick, a gorgeous red which I enjoy wearing with pretty much anything—my leather jacket in Paris, or with a white summer dress while lunching with friends, or a hot little number for nights out. And yes, anyone can wear red lipstick! Just take the time to find out which shade suits your skintone best. It makes your face (not to mention your smile) ten times brighter.
- Lipglass– Everyone wants a gloss that has just the right amount of consistency so that it’s not too thick and sticky, but stays on longer and comes tinted as well for light days where you want to look more natural. The M.A.C. lipglass does all that and gives you that megawatt shine. It can be worn on its own or over lipstick, so you can control whether it looks subtle or dramatic. I love the shades Lychee Luxe, Pink Lemonade. The only caveat here is people cannot concentrate on what you’re saying, they’re too busy staring at your juicy, glossy lips!
- Prep + Prime BB beauty balm– Listen up, BB cream fans. You’ve found your Holy Grail. This baby makes you look flawless as a pearl and you can’t not notice the difference! Its sheer beige tint works with all kinds of complexions, smoothens the texture of your skin, functions as a primer, then gives SPF 35 coverage for daily wear. I use this under the Studio Fix powder foundation and haven’t been this happy with my skin in a long time.
- Mineralize Skinfinish– To set your foundation and give you a glowy veil, use this powder. It has a high-frost metallic finish that highlights the cheeks. I love using this in the evenings, it really does have light reflecting particles and makes you look almost ethereal. Use the Gold Deposit one if you want to bronze out, but my favourite one is called Soft and Gentle.
- Paint Pot– Let’s move to the eyes! The paint pot is what caught my attention in the first place all those years ago. It goes on creamy but dries to an intense, vibrant finish and is so much easier to use than the regular eyeshadow. All you need to do is decide what colors to play with! I like Bare Study or Painterly for the base, and Blackground of course for the occasional smoky eye. For crazy color, sometimes I use pigments too—it’s a high concentrate loose color powder that comes in fascinating choices, like Old Gold or Teal. Perfect for big occasions and photo shoots or just the usual mood swing.
- Brow Set– Sometimes using brow powder or pencil can leave you looking too ‘drawn on’, rather unnatural. I’ve recently learned to finish up with this brow mascara to highlight brow hair and groom my eyebrows into place. Since my brow pencil is already quite dark, the brow set I use is lighter, the GirlBoy shade to make it look closer to my real haircolor. If you really want a dramatic, thick brow look that’s all over TV and print ads right now, use the Showoff shade.
- Fluidline– I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with eyeliner. My eyes are almond shaped and quite hard to line, and whenever I use a liquid liner it takes me several attempts and frustrated reapplication before I get it right. But a pencil liner doesn’t do much for me either, it disappears and doesn’t look as dramatic. The good thing about a gel liner like this is it looks like liquid liner in terms of precision but glides on smoother and silkier. Plus its long-wearing and smudgeproof too. Lifesaver!
So M.A.C is coming out with a Marilyn Monroe collection soon, and many favourite products will have a bombshell rebirth. That’s definitely something to watch out for. For now, I’m sticking to these beauty favorites, and I know I’m getting maximum bang for my buck.