Walk through the beauty floor of any major department store in the world and you could be forgiven for feeling slightly overwhelmed by the sheer volume of choice. Beauty brands typically stock anywhere from 100 to 500 items including limited edition items along with iconic bestsellers. The seasonal makeup collections are usually displayed front and center in showcases and on counter shelves. What’s more, the latest beauty counter designs display rows and rows of lipsticks, eyeshadows and glosses backlight for dramatic effect. It’s very artistic but can make choosing the best shade for you a challenge.
“MAC launches anywhere from 44 to 52 different makeup collections a year,” explains Jess Way, MAC Cosmetics PR Director. “Some of these are online and MAC store exclusives. But the majority arrive on MAC counters everywhere.”
Some coveted collaborations are so hot, they sell out in a matter of minutes. Rihanna’s first makeup collection with the brand sold out literally in seconds. Last year’s Kelly and Sharon Osborne line also sold remarkably well with many of the palettes disappearing the first day. “MAC customers love seeing so much newness. They’ve learned that if they want certain items, they have to be quick.”
The need for speed with such capsule collections is undeniable, but how do you choose what to buy? With anywhere from one to three dozen different products in a collection, how do you buy the best possible items for you? I know more than a few beauty enthusiast friends who returned home after a frenzied shopping spree to wonder in hindsight why they bought what they did.
So how do the professionals shop limited edition collections? Enter Melissa Gibson, MAC Senior Artist who works backstage during Fashion Weeks in Paris, Milan, London and New York. “I think it is important to understand that each MAC collection is designed to be universal. The colours are chosen to flatter all ages, skin tones and cultures. The majority of women will look good in these shades.”
Gibson has fine-tuned her approach to shopping these collections. “Look at the collection as a whole and start with the one item that really catches your eye. Don’t overthink it. See where your eye is instantly drawn and begin there. Then work out from that item like a family tree. See what colours complement your star item and branch out.”
MAC is Beauty Collection
“Take the MAC is Beauty collection for example,” she says. “It’s a mix of beautiful pastels such as corals, peaches and lavenders.
MAC Lipstick in “Notice Me”
I look at this collection and I’m immediately drawn to the lavender lipstick (named Notice Me)” She says finding the right shade of lavender can be a challenge as many formulas can look a little chalky on skin. But this particular hue is universally flattering. “The shade looks equally fabulous on dark skin tones as it does on fairer complexions. I’d add a plum lip liner to take it totally over the top.”
MAC eyeshadow in “Wow Factor”
“Now, I could go with the matching eyeshadow (called Wow Factor) for a very coordinated look.
MAC eyeshadow in Bouffant
Or I could mix it up and go with a peachy eyeshadow (Bouffant) The reason these shades work together so well is they are similar tones with a touch of frost.”
MAC Cremesheen Glass in “On the Scene”
One of her favourite combinations is salmon and lavender. “These two colours look so beautiful together. I particularly like the lip glass in “On The Scene.”
MAC Beauty Powder in “Alfa Girl”
Since Gibson started with the lavender lipstick, she opts for a peachy blush or highlight powder in “Alfa Girl”. It works because the payoff is super sheer.
MAC Nail Lacquer in “Doll Me Up”
She takes the same approach with nail colour picking up a pastel green in “Doll Me Up”. “If I was going to an elegant party, I might do a French-tipped nail with a hint of pink.”
MAC Fluidline in “Brassy”
“You want to add one unexpected shade when you are buying a collection. For this pastel-based line, I would pick up a gold Fluidline eyeliner in “Brassy.” Pairing these pastels with an accent of gold is incredible.”
MAC Fluidline in “Silver Stroke”
Her second choice would be to go with a grey liner in a cool tone.
One of the tricks you can use when shopping is to look at what products are featured on the models in the advertising campaign. You can ask a beauty associate to write out exactly what shades and products were used in the campaign. Those are guaranteed to look amazing together.
You can also do a little pre-planning work on social media. Tweet any pro artist and ask their opinion in advance. You can do the same thing instore at a counter. These professionals have been trained on the collections and have had a chance to see how they work together. You’ll get the inside scoop from them.
“It’s important to remember that these collections are fun. Play around with different combinations. It’s good to go to a counter where you can test the shades on your skin to see what really works for you. But by starting with the item that you really love and then adding to it, you’ll be shopping like the pro artists do.”
How to shop a beauty collection like a pro makeup artist
- Look at all the items in the collection as a whole. See the theme and see how you respond to the shades and combinations.
- Find the item in the collection that draws your eye.
- Then work out from that key item and add colours that really work together.
- Choose products that have a similar tone for foolproof pairings.
- Add one unexpected shade as an accent.
MAC Cosmetics is now available at thebay.com in Canada.