27 Feb 2014

First Impressions & Swatches: Mary Kay Autumn/Winter Collection

I have a very exciting post for you today featuring newly released products from the lovely people at MaryKay. After being thoroughly impressed with their previous collection (Mary Kay At Play) I had no hesitation about testing these new products and no doubt they would be just as remarkable. The one thing I love about Mary Kay as a brand is that they don't seem (in my opinion anyhow) to be one of those over-publicising brands that are constantly shoved into your face (and in every beauty subscription box). I believe Mary Kay is still under the radar to most beauty lovers and really deserve more credit and attention. 

(Just a little warning: this post is slightly on the long side of things, so grab yourself a coffee/tea and biscuits)

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Anyways, let's first talk about Mary Kay – they are a cosmetics company that specialise in developing quality makeup, skincare and fragrance for both sexes. After starting up in 1963 (1971 in Australia), Mary Kay is becoming a well-known brand by offering 200 products to over 35 different countries. 

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When the beautifully packaged box (one of the best media releases I've seen so far) landed on my doorstep it literally felt like Christmas had come early. I was dumbfounded to find that I had received the Skinvigorate Cleansing Brush with two replacements heads, Bronzing Powder (light/medium and medium/dark), Highlighting Powder, CC Cream (Very Light, Light/Medium, Medium/Deep), TimeWise Even Complexion Essence, TimeWise Even Complexion Dark Spot Reducer, Mary Kay At Play Just For Eyes Palette and Mary Kay At Play Just For Lips Palette - I could not believe my eyes!

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The most appealing product in this new release was definitely the Mary Kay Skinvigorate Cleansing Brush (RRP $65)*. I’ve wanted to test out a cleansing brush for quite some time now (I’ve been umm-ing and ahh-ing about the Clarasonic for over a year now) but could never justify spending that much money on a product I wasn’t entirely certain about. So receiving the Skinvigorate brush feels like a dream come true! I also wanted to quickly mention that I received complimentary replacements heads that retail for $18. Before I give my first impressions, let’s look at how Mary Kay has described this new product:

- Lightweight, two-speed power brush gently massages as it thoroughly cleans
- Removes residue, dirt and makeup in seconds and 85% better than by hand
- Boosts the absorption of your next skin care step
- Starts improving skin’s appearance immediately
- Helps polish away the looks of past skin damages for amore even-looking complexion
-  Softens the appearance of lines, wrinkles and pores
- 400 rotations per minute
- Comes with two brush heads (recommended to replace heads every 3 months), two AA batteries, and is somewhat waterproof 

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There are definitely a lot to live up to for this cleansing brush and although I don’t actually have anything to compare it to, I do think it does an adequate job. I’ve been using this for the past couple of days now (usually at night to remove my makeup) and have noticed not only how much cleaner my skin feels but how significantly softer it is after use. Fortunately, I didn’t notice massive amounts of yellow foam when using the cleanser – which I’m hoping means that my makeup wipes are doing a pretty good job at removing nearly all of my makeup. The Skinvigorate brush feels very gentle on the skin; it is truly reminiscent of getting a facial. Other than these positives, I haven’t noticed any drastic changes to my skin, but then again I have only used it for less than a week. I will definitely keep on using this cleansing brush and possibly give a full in-depth review about it if I end up falling in love with it. But as far as first impressions go this gets an A+.

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Moving onto the Mary Kay CC Cream with SPF 15 (RRP $38)* – I’ll be honest with you now and say that I wasn’t attracted to the CC Cream at all. I’m a true foundation girl, so anything that’s BB or CC Cream related I feel ‘meh’ about. Mainly because I find that whenever I use a BB or CC Cream my face automatically turns into a gigantic ball of grease in a matter of hours, even if I blot/touch up along the way. Thus deducing that BB/CC Creams are just way too moisturising for my oily/combo skin (with the exception of the Garnier BB Cream made specifically for oily skin). Anyways, let’s look at the official description of this CC Cream before I jump into my first impression:

- This “Complexion Corrector” acts like makeup to instantly correct complexion imperfection while formulated like skincare to nature the skin’s beauty
- Available in 3 shades – Very Light, Light to Medium and Medium to Deep
- Delivers 8 benefits in one step
  1. Protects: Against damaging UVA and UVB rays with broad-spectrum SPF 15
  2. Brighten: Instantly amplifies skin luminosity and brightens the complexion
  3. Corrects with lightweight coverage: mineral based pigments help correct the look of imperfections and improve your overall complexion with lightweight coverage that doesn’t give that ‘made-up’ appearance
  4. Minimise redness: proves visible relief and minimises the appearance of skin redness. It was even tested on women with rosacea who agreed it helps diminish the look of redness
  5. Conceals: instantly conceals the appearance of blemishes. It also conceals dark circles and dark shadows as it blends beautifully with your skin tone. It soothes and nourishes acne-prone skin and calms skin
  6. Hydrates: for 10 hours. Skin feels instantly hydrated. It provides nourishing comfort without feeling oily or greasy
  7. Reduces Visible Signs of Aging: fine lines appear less noticeable. It also helps to minimise the appearance of pores while visibly improving skin’s texture
  8. Defends: Against skin-damaging free radicals thanks to powerful antioxidants
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One thing that really irritates me is having a small shade selection – you seriously cannot cover every individual’s skin colour in just 3 shades, it’s just not possible. Fortunately for me, as I have a medium skin tone, my shade can be found in most brands, but if I was fair or quite deep I would be furious. I initially thought I would be the ‘Light to Medium’ shade but after giving them a swatch on my arm I realised I would be more suited to the ‘Medium to Deep’ shade (good luck to those who are deeper than me). The Mary Kay CC Cream does feel very lightweight on the skin as though you’re not wearing makeup at all. The only problem I saw was that it provides only the sheerest of coverage, and when I say sheer I mean sheer. It did not cover my acne scars nor conceal dark circles, but it did make my overall complexion look slightly more even. I found that to achieve the best results you should apply this as a base/primer (although I still use the POREfessional as well) and then apply a thin layer of your favourite foundation on top. By doing so, I didn’t notice any excess oils and my makeup seemed to last as long as it usually would. In my opinion, I would say this product is best suited for those who don’t tend to wear a lot of makeup, or those who are having an exception skin-day who want to show it off as it makes your complexion look brighter.  

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Another exciting product included in the new releases was the Mary Kay Bronzing and Highlighting Powders (RRP $24)*. I love Bronzers and highlighters almost as much as blushers so I was extremely thrilled to be trialling these products. 

Bronzer Benefits:
- Silky smooth formula creates a natural, sun-kissed glow
- Easy to blend and build able colour
- Lightweight, fade resistant and long-wearing
- Never looks dry on the skin and won't settle into fine lines, wrinkles or pores
- Portable packaging that fits into Mary Kay Compact but also detaches to fit into other magnetic palettes 
- Available in two shades: Light-Medium and Medium-Dark

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Highlighter Benefits:
- Made with light-perfecting technology to add natural looking highlights almost anyone on your skin
- Controls shine, doesn't looks dry and won't settle into fine lines, wrinkles or pores
- Champagne shade blends easily to give a radiant looking glow
- Luminous pearl finish
- Portable packaging that fits into Mary Kay Compact but also detaches to fit into other magnetic palettes 

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Let's take a look at the bronzers first - I love the fact that there are two shades available as this allows a larger portion of individuals to use the bronzers. I have noticed that all the benefits that Mary Kay has given have been accurate so far, in regards to not looking dry and settling into lines/pores/wrinkles. I also love the fact that they can be removed from the original packaging (as it's not that atheistically pleasing in my opinion) and put into a Z-Palette, as it makes it more convenient for travelling and storing purposes. The only actual gripe I do have with these bronzers so far is that I find them a tad too glittery/shimmery. You definitely need to watch out when applying these as you can come out looking like a bronzed disco ball if you're not paying enough attention. But other than that these are a beaut. 

For the Highlighting powder I have no complaints at all. I find it to be easy blend, doesn't settle into fine lines and lasts all day long. Oh and the colour is stunning - I am obsessed with champagne highlighters and this one is fast becoming number one on my highlighter list. 

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Next we have the Mary Kay TimeWise Even Complexion Essence and TimeWise Even Complexion Dark Spot Reducer. Both of these skincare products intrigued me as I've been really getting into my skincare lately and love testing out new products. I'm also running low on my beloved Michael Todd products and haven't made a repurchase as of yet (because I'm terribly forgetful) so these came in at such a good time. Let's see how Mary Kay have said about these products:

Mary Kay TimeWise Even Complexion Essence (RRP $56)*:
Helps reduce the appearance of dark spots and freckles to restore skin's natural, even tone
- Clinically shown to work on all skin tones
- Oil- and fragrance-free
- Clinically tested for skin irritancy and allergy
- Suitable for sensitive skin
- Hypoallergenic
- Non-comedogenic
- Ingredients include:
  1. Patented, multifunctional Lucentrix Complex - formulated with Vitamin C derivates, it works to unveil brighter, more even-looking skin. 
  2. Antioxidants - so skin can better defined itself from repeated exposure to damaging free radicals
  3. Botanicals - nourish skin as the overall lightening and brightening effect is optimised 
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Mary Kay TimeWise Even Complexion Dark Spot Reducer (RRP $60)*:
- This lightweight serum helps reduce the appearance of past damage and dramatically reduces the look of dark spots
- Rollerball design directly targets troublesome dark spots to dramatically reduce their look
Formulated with our exclusive MelaCEP™ Brightening Complex
Part of a multifaceted approach to achieving remarkably radiant skin when used with TimeWise® Even
- Complexion Essence and TimeWise® Even Complexion Mask

Suitable for all skin tones and skin type
- Can be used on the face, neck, décolleté and backs of hands
- Ingredients include:
  1. Kakadu Plum Extract - a fruit native to the Australian outback and believe the be the richest source of Vitamin C. 
  2. Ferula Foetida Extract - a plant native to the mediterranean whose benefits have been prized for centuries to contain the antioxidant ferulic acid used in skin brightening formulas
  3. Helianthis Annus Seed Extract - a powerful antioxidant derived from sunflowers that is know to help protect against UV damage
  4. Lactobacillus Ferment - a skin conditioning ingredients 
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So after using both products for the past week I still haven't seen any major changes to my skin. Obviously skincare products need more time to show the full effects so I will continue using them and see if any miraculous occurs. The one thing I have noticed with the TimeWise Even Complexion Essence is that it feels a little dry on the skin after I cleanse/tone - I have to apply a generous amount of moisturiser after to make my skin feel more nourished. However this may be caused from using the Essence straight after the toner, but I'm not 100% sure.

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Now we have more makeup - from the Mary Kay At Play range we have the Just For Eyes Palette and the Just For Lips Palette. I was thoroughly impressed with the other baked eyeshadow trios that I knew the Just For Eyes Palette would be just as great quality. But in relation to the Just For Lips Palette I was a little skeptical as it contains lip glosses and I'm not a fan of lip glosses. Mary kay states:

Mary Kay At Play Just For Eyes Palette (RRP $18)*:
- Holiday inspired trio offers shimmery eye colors that can be worn alone or mixed and matched to create fun, new looks
- Features three of the hottest shades of the season
- Use as eye colors and/or eyeliners
- Includes teal, gold and black-gold shades

Mary Kay At Play Just For Lips Palette (RRP $18)*:
- The shades in this trio of superglossy lip colors can be worn alone or mixed and matched to create fun, new looks
- Colours instantly update lips and give them holiday appeal
- Use the clear shimmer shade on top for extra holiday glamour
- Includes dark pink, clear shimmer and red shades.

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Both palettes from in the signature Mary Kay At Play white and clear packaging which I believe is extremely simple, stylish and convenient. Both palettes contain 3 complimentary colours for either the workplace or the weekend. Similarly with the baked eyeshadow trios, I found that the Just For Eyes Palette performed better when the shades were wet as it made the colour more vibrant, smooth and easy to blend. For the Just For Lips Palette I thought it was so-so. The shades offered in the palette are very versatile and don't feel as sticky as other lip glosses I've tried. The only downside to the Lips Palette is that you have to dip your finger into the product to apply and I think it would become very unhygienic if you had to re-apply throughout the day. Other than that I think both palettes are worth investigating if you're looking for an affordable eye or lip palette. 

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So those are my first impressions of the products I received in my good bag - I hope you didn't find this post too long and/or boring! Please let me know if you would like me to go into more detail and write a separate blog post about any of these products after I use them for longer. 


  1. Great reviews!

    I like long posts, especially when the photos are great and the text is well written.. keep it up! ♥

  2. That Skinvigorate looks like a great substitute for a Clarisonic! I've really been wanting a Clarisonic Mia the past couple of months, that one might be a good alternative!

    Lauren // Lipstick & Lacquer

  3. I have a mary kay sample somewhere in my house. Kind of reminds me of Avon but your products look great!

    Would appreciate if you checked out my blog

  4. Although the shade range is a little disappointing the packaging is great on the CC cream! Love the pump.

    Sarah | More Than Adored

  5. Cleansing Brush sounds interesting for a separate review.


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