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August 29 2014

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EXCLUSIVE: MAC Debuts the Makeup Brush of the Future

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With all the exquisite hair and makeup looks coming out of the tents this week (and the auxiliary venues that make show-going a citywide affair), it’s easy to overlook the little things that make the magic happen: the organic-baby-food pouches that James Kaliardos keeps in his kit to stay properly nourished on a long day in the backstage trenches; the well-traveled bottle of Rodin Olio Lusso that Tom Pecheux utilizes before he even considers bringing out a tube of foundation; and perhaps most important, the makeup brushes that these artists use, which can differ drastically from face painter to face painter.

“I’m known as the queen of brushes,” Val Garland said backstage at BCBG, referring to the unorthodox way she uses the tools “not the way they’re supposed to be used”—a concealer brush as a lip brush, etc; backstage at Altuzarra, Tom Pecheux was giving a veritable clinic on the difference between synthetic and animal-hair tops. “Never use a natural-hair bush with cream pigments,” he said, blending out the show’s “spooky” black and raspberry lids. But it was another revelation there that really blew our minds. “We’ve been testing them out backstage,” MAC’s vice president of makeup artistry, Gordon Espinet, said, holding up an unusual thing that resembled an ergonomic toothbrush, at best. “We always think of makeup brushes as something we paint with. These turn everything around. What do we brush our hair with, what do we brush our teeth with, what do we use on ourselves?” he asked rhetorically. “Brushes that have long handles. I’ll be honest: Our first thought was that these are great for people to do their own makeup.” Nevertheless, the group of three brushes, which will be expanded to include a full collection once the prototype phase ends, have been garnering plenty of attention from women who are having their makeup done. “I’ve been using them when I’m doing powder in the lineup, and all the models are like, ‘What is that?’ It just feels really good,” Espinet continues of the super-soft synthetic fibers that make even the most complicated makeup techniques, well, “idiotproof,” he jokes. Sign us up.

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