GUUUURL, don’t even get me started about brighting products ’cause we’ll be here for days.
DAYS, I tell ya. Possibly even years.
I’m actually never not looking for something — anything — to give me an extra brightening lift. It’s one of my ongoing personal makeup missions.
When MAC’s new Prep + Prime CC Colour Correct line came out last week, I was intrigued! — but admittedly confused.
I wasn’t sure where to start… I mean, lavender powder? Yellow face lotion?
What gives? And what are they for?
I asked MAC Senior Artist Victor Cembellin, who I’ve known for a few years, about the new products, what they do, and the best ways to use ’em.
Hi, Victor! What can you tell me about these new Prep + Prime CC Colour Correct products? Should I be intrigued?
OK, so, essentially, what’s kind of awesome about these is that products like this have been on the market for many years, but what I like is that we’ve sort of re-worked them into something entirely new.
Obviously, these are for adjusting skin tones. The CC is for “color correct,” but what’s exciting about them is that whereas in the past, there was this sort of mentality from the consumer of, like, if I grab this green cream and put it on top my red cheeks, everything’s going to be gone and Photoshopped and all that.
I think what’s exciting about these particular products is how delicately we used the technology to our advantage to make them really workable, user friendly, and into something that actually does what it claims to do, which is to color correct the actual tones and the idiosyncrasies of the skin.
OK, how would an everyday guy or gal incorporate these into their makeup routine? I’m looking at some of these colors, like the violet and the yellow, and thinking, “These look really, really cool…” but I have no clue what to do with them.
So, first of all, they’re very sheer, and whereas in the past — perhaps with things other companies have done with them, well… If you’ve ever taken, for example, a light pink blush and put it on top of oily skin, it turns six shades darker, and that’s what was happening with color correctors. They had too much pigment in them, so they were actually turning the skin weird colors, as opposed to correcting.
I think what’s nice about [the new MAC color correctors], and how a normal person would incorporate them into their makeup routine, is that they’d be used with the sort of approach like you’re erasing the tones off the skin.
So, if you’re using the CC cream itself, or if you’re setting with the loose powder or compact powder, it’s the idea that because they are so sheer and delicate, it almost takes the guesswork out of the product for you.
You’re going to use the powders on top of your foundation, or if you’re going to use the CC creams, you can start before you actually apply your foundation.
But it’s really just a matter of using them, and sort of erasing away, as opposed to the mentality of covering up, what you see. Almost like Photoshop. You just want to do a little bit so things kind of disappear — not completely cover things so they look weird or heavy, or so neutral that they look kind of odd.
What would I use Adjust for, the peachy beige?
I’d compare it to this: have you ever been to a department store with bad lighting in the dressing room? You’re looking at your skin, and you’re like, “I just feel so dull! I don’t look lively, and my skin looks gross!”
I feel like the Adjust really just brightens up skin tones. So imagine your medium skin tone — and I want to say that you’re probably, like, an NC42 in MAC nomenclature? (ME: YES!) — so for you, what it’s going to do is brighten up the skin without making it look like you’ve done some weird Kim Kardashian sort of highlighting and contouring effect. It just sort of naturally lifts the skin to where you’re like, “Wow, I look brighter!”
It brightens areas, perhaps in the back of your skin, where, um, people who have a deeper skin tone around their forehead line, around their mouth, and around, like, the back of their cheekbones. So it kind of adjusts those shades and brightens them up.
OK, walk me through the other three — yellow Neutralize, lavender Illuminate and apricot Recharge. What do they do?
To jump straight to Recharge, it would be almost the exact same thing we just described with Adjust, but for deeper skin tones.
So, perhaps we’ve got, you know, an African-American woman, or someone who’s a NC 50 or NW 50 skin tone — it would be the same thing — brightening up those tones so they almost reverse them, like, the dullness of the skin, or what some people call the grayer tones, or the ashy type tones. So that’s going to counter those tones.
As far as the lavender, that would be for someone like myself for instance.
I have gold skin, and I’m desperate to look like I have pink skin. I’m always using red bronzers and red type blushes to make me look like I’m sunburned, because when I look at my skin, I feel like I look sort of like gold and yellow and just dull. So the lavender one, the Illuminate, is really going to counteract that and just bring that brightness, and actually illuminate the skin. Just reversing some of those tones that might make someone feel really dull.
And then the last one would be Neutralize, which is yellow.
And that would be perfect for someone who has pink nuances in their skin. Myself, having worked with women for 18 years, women come up and they’re always like, “I hate that my skin’s uneven and pink.” So Neutralize would be something that you could literally just erase out those pink tones from the skin.
What are your must-haves from the collection then — the things you’re absolutely loving?
I would say, for sure, the CC creams.
What’s interesting for me as a makeup artist, and what I’ve been really trying to tell my clients and just every consumer I interact with, is the idea now of letting the skin be revealed from underneath.
When we’re approaching things, we’re really just erasing versus covering. With the CC creams, two great colors would be the Neutralize and the Adjust. I tend to grab those a lot. And literally just kind of like push, pull and using brushes, or obviously using fingers, but just really acting like I’m skimming or erasing off the tones, before I approach [the skin] with foundation.
And what’s nice is that the CC cream has priming properties to it, so it actually almost kind of self-sets and locks down to the skin, so when you put foundation on top, it’s not interrupted by the fact that you’re putting makeup on top of it.
And I love loose powder. I know that some people, when you really talk to the average consumer, they’re like, “It’s messy on my countertop,” and this and that. But there is that sort of je ne sais quoi — that light powdery-ness of loose powder — that looks velvety and almost soft-focused.
So I find myself really gravitating toward those two products, but I think, of course, for somebody on the go or someone traveling, obviously the compacts are the best choice.
One more question for you! With the powders, would you ever use them under the eyes?
Yes! These are really forgiving. Imagine the Prep + Prime Translucent Powder that we sell. It’s basically that type of formula with a little bit of that color added to it, so they’re very, very flexible and forgiving under the eyes.
And when you attach them to the skin or add them to the skin, if they hit an oily spot around the side of your nose or on the side of your forehead, they don’t oxidize and turn weird. They stay really true to the color you see with your eyes.
So to answer your question, yes, underneath the eyes is fine, as long as you’re not, you know, packing a ton of powder, because that’s going to make anyone look textured, and with one of our light, fluffy brushes like the 224, which is typically used for the contour of the eye.
If you use one of those with the Adjust or even with the Illuminate, yes, you could definitely, not only set your concealer, but give it that extra little boost that knocks out that pesky dark circle that we’re all trying to get rid of.
Thanks for all the great tips, Victor! My dark circles and I can’t wait to boogie down with Adjust.
If you’d like to check out the new Prep + Prime CC Colour Correct line for yourself, all 12 products are available now in the MAC permanent line at MAC stores, counters and online at maccosmetics.com.
Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,
P.S. Victor is pretty active online, and here’s where you can find him if you’re on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Don’t be shy. Say hi! He’s really nice.
MAC Senior Artist Victor Cembellin’s Twitter:
MAC Store Locator: