Tuesday, January 13, 2009

MAC Strobe Cream

Since I previously reviewed a soft focus powder, today I'm discussing a soft focus liquid/cream, MAC Strobe Cream. Strobe Cream comes in a 1.7 fl oz tube which will cost you $29.50. It's a bit expensive, but this tube should last you a fairly long time, if used correctly.

I was disappointed at the time I was contemplating purchasing this because there were no adequate reviews on this product! I hadn't gone to the MAC counter or store to test the product, so I had no idea what the finish looked like. I couldn't find any before or after photos or videos. People mostly talked about whether they liked it or not, which is somewhat useless. Unfortunately, my camera is (still) out of commission so I can't add any photos but I will do my best to describe it.

From the MAC website, Strobe Cream is:
"The ultimate quick fix for the skin. Super-powered with potent botanicals; de-snoozes, de-stresses, moistens, freshens and boosts the look of dull, flat or tired-looking skin with a fully loaded vitamin zap and a mega dose of green tea. Brightens and clarifies with iridescent particles and antioxidants. Enhances the effects of light on all skin and in all lighting conditions from sunlight to spotlight."

So Strobe Cream is not only supposed to make your skin look more refreshed, but it's also supposed to improve its condition, by delivering antioxidants, green tea, and what not.

Strobe Cream comes in a small pearly, white plastic tube with a black cap made of the similar rubbery plastic in NARS products, so if your fingers are oily, it will unfortunately accumulate marks. I don't really like the packaging because 1) I can't see how much cream I've used or have left, 2) I can't squeeze out all of it if I run low, and 3) it's a little bulky. Good thing is that since it's more hardy you don't need to worry about the cap coming off and cream oozing everywhere into your purse or makeup bag. Still, I would have much preferred they kept the original packaging in a squeeze-type tube, but oh well. Maybe they can think about that eventually.

The cream has a bit of scent, which I actually didn't like at first. Some people find it smells nice, but it doesn't smell fragrant, fruity, floral, or etc. at all. I don't think it's meant to smell like anything, but the ingredients list does contain perfume. It just smells like makeup or face powder to me. (I know that's not really helpful.)

Here's the ingredients:
Spring Water (Aqua), Cyclomethicone, Butylene Glycol, Cetyl Ricinoleate, Dimethicone, Glyceryl Distearate, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Cholesterol, Jojoba Esters, Steareth-10, Cetyl Esters, Cetyl Alcohol, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Extract, Saxifraga Sarmentosa Extract, Morus Nigra (Mulberry) Root Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Extract, Whey Protein (Lactis Proteinum), Panthenol-Pro-Vitamin B5, Cyanocobalamin Vitamin B12, Tocopheryl Acetate, 7-Dehydrocholesterol Pro-Vitamin D3, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Ceramide 2, Scutellaria Baicalensis Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Pyrus Malus Extract, Lactic Acid, Sucrose, Linoleic Acid, Xanthan Gum, Polyacrylamide, Laureth-7, Glycerin, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Sodium Sulfite, Fragrance (Parfum), Sodium Citrate, Sodium Metabisulfite, Citric Acid, Propylene Glycol, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Red 4

There are a couple pore cloggers in there, so if you have super sensitive skin, or combination/oily skin, you might want to test this product and see first if it'll break you out. Also, if you're into natural products, as you can see this does contain parabens and animal cholestoral, so you'll probably want to skip out on it.

At first glance, the Strobe Cream has a very light consistency. It should probably be called Strobe Lotion instead, and the Strobe Lotion should be called Strobe Liquid. Strobe Cream is a thin, white moisturizer with this bit of luminous purple-pink-gold sheen, so when your skin catches the light at certain angles, it reflects those colors. The glow comes from the shimmer particles which have been blended so well and finely that you can't even tell it contains shimmer particles. You don't need to use a lot of it to achieve a glow. Like any lotion, you squeeze out a tiny bit and just smooth it over the intended area.

I've heard many different things about Strobe Cream's purpose-it should be a primer, it should be a highlighter, it should be a plain moisturizer, blahblahblah. So let's go through each claim. I have normal to dry combination skin, and I've noticed that Strobe Cream looks awful if used over dry, flakey skin. So the product is only as good as your current skin--unless your skin is smooth and not prone to oiliness or flakiness, Strobe Cream is not for you.

Also, I believe that Strobe Cream works best for highlighting purposes. I apply a bit of it on my cheeks and browbone for a little extra radiance. Strobe Cream looks great alone or under gel or powder blush. I do not apply it anywhere near my T-zone since I am prone to breakouts and oiliness in those areas. However, blush is the only makeup product I ever put over my Strobe Cream. Also, I usually don't put foundation on my cheeks, so the only product under my Strobe Cream would be my SPF. I've noticed that Strobe Cream does NOT look good when applied over foundation or concealer. When I've added Strobe Cream over foundation in the past, it made my skin look cakey, and my makeup seemed to oxidize faster. The shimmer and silica in the cream also probably merely made all that oxidation seem more obvious and unnatural. Foundation should never look like it's not your natural skin, so I was absolutely repulsed when I saw my face in the mirror. So the highlighting aspect of Strobe Cream is somewhat limited.

Since Strobe Cream works great on bare or moisturized skin, it's also great for the collarbone and decollatage area, or anywhere on the body for a subtle gleam. It primes and preps your skin for shimmer powder as well.
I don't like the effect of Strobe Cream over or under foundation since I have combination skin, but I believe that dry skinned gals will love its effect. Strobe Cream works fine under mineral or loose powder foundation, but only when buffed on ever so lightly.

I recommend this product, but I say "proceed with caution." Strobe Cream does not work for everyone, it causes some people to break out horrendously, and others have said it makes them look like a "disco ball." However, I love this cream because of its unique purple-y gleam. My favorite thing to do is to layer my Smashbox limited edition Tokidoki Soft Lights in Dolce Vita over it, which also imparts a unique, violet sheen.


fuzkittie said...

Hmm thanks for the thorough review! But it won't be soon until I try another MAC facial product, haha.

Kimberly Tia said...

awwww you're from the 626 too???

I'm in glendora/covina =) I usually get my japanese goodies from Ohayo (puente hills mall) and Marukai (w.covina)

Anonymous said...

Great review! Thank you very much..

Anonymous said...

Is there a vegan substitute that suits very sensitive skins?