I don't know what the weather is like in your neck of the woods, but here in Mississippi, our necks are already sweaty and growing redder by the day. (JK, no sunburn for me! SPF 50, baby!)
While I've learned to adapt much of my beauty game to this sweat-drenched hellscape I call home, after a certain point, I usually just give in to my new life as an Alex Mack-esque puddle of angst-ridden perspiration.
Come summertime, I'm always on the prowl for products that can stand up to the sweltering blacktop of my life. I tend to err on the side of skepticism, as I've watched one too many a promising product drip mercilessly down my face by noontime. Eyeliners, mascaras and face creams alike have all disappointed me throughout the years, leaving me here to wonder if I'm bound forever to a makeup-less fever dream of an existence.
I'm willing, too, to forego certain products this time of year. Foundation past mid-May? Forget about it! Lipstick? Nah, I'll let my lips instead be stained by the endless homemade strawberry popsicles I treat myself to in these muggy months. I can even temporarily part ways with eyeliner and mascara, as my hellacious allergies mean I also spend most of these days rubbing my eyes and blearily staring into the distance like that stoner kid in your Intro to Philosophy class who always had to borrow a pen.
One thing I hate to part with for any amount of time, though, is brow stuff. Truly, nothing pulls my face together quite like a well-defined pair of eyebrows. My brows are a good natural shape but, like the hair on my head, they're a bit sparse. Filling them in immediately makes me feel better about myself. It's the cosmetic equivalent of listening to Kanye or getting complimented on my outfit by the women who work at Anthropologie.
So when MAC sent me their new line of brow products, I was eager to test out their supposed claims to sweatproofness.
At $16 a tube, the MAC Pro Longwear Waterproof Brow Set comes in six different shades for every color of the brow spectrum. They look a bit like mascaras, except the spoolies are tinier than your typical mascara wand so as to grant more precise application to your precious brows.
The MAC Fluidline Brow Gelcremes come in three different shades, and their consistency is a bit lighter than a creme or gel liner. They're more comparable to a creme shadow or blush, though their staying power is much more potent than any other creme product I've used.
I decided to see how these products held up to a typical Mississippi May weekend, and I've got to tell y'all, I was not disappointed.
When these products arrived at my doorstep Friday, I made big plans to wake up Saturday and get to work. I made a detailed itinerary for my day, involving lots of bike riding and outdoorsy adventures for maximum sweat potential. Then, I decided to go to the bar Friday night, you know, for "just one drink," which inevitably is never just one drink because life is way too fun. I mean, what even is moderation? Sounds boring.
So Saturday morning started a little bit later than planned, and with more of a headache than planned as well. When I eventually pulled myself out of the depths of my hangover at around 10 am, I managed to stumble over to the farmers market for some cold brew coffee and delicious produce before returning home to boost my stamina as well as my brow game.
I was too tired for much beyond brows and lip balm, but we're only worried about brows anyway today.
Here's my face with my regular old brows. They're OK, but they could stand to be filled in a bit, right?
I used an angled brush to fill in my brows just a tiny bit with the Fluidline Brow Gelcreme. Like I said, the Gelcreme is not as heavy as a gel or creme liner, so it works nicely for brows because I don't like super-heavy brows on my face. I like to simply fill in my brows, rather than reshape them because I dig their natural shape.
Then I did the rest of the work with the Pro Longwear Waterproof Brow Set in Brown Ebony.It's like applying a tiny mascara wand to your brows, but the formula is less sticky than a mascara. It feels fluffy and light, and while it helps to smooth and tame unruly little brow hairs, it doesn't feel quite as stiff once applied as some brow gels do.
I can see myself using the Waterproof Brow Set on its own most days, more than the Fluidline Gelcreme, though the Gelcreme is great particularly for filling in the outer tails of my brows. The Waterproof Brow Set is easier to use, feels lighter on my face, and I love the way it makes my brows look up-close. Because it adds thickness and color to each individual strand, rather than simply coloring in the skin between the hair, it feels like a more natural look.
After my brows were purrrrfect, I hopped in my boyfriend's car, which has leather seats and NO AIR CONDITIONING, so I was sweating immediately. This was around 1 pm, and the temps had already reached about 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
We parked somewhere, and I checked my brows in the rearview mirror before we hopped out and walked down to the Stray At Home Art & Musical Festival, a rad outdoor event where local artists can sell their crafts and goods. There was live music, plenty of food, and lots of good times to be had. It was also a cool opportunity to learn that SOMEONE in my city has a "dream" to build high rise buildings in the only park downtown. Whoever wrote that down, please move away.
We wandered through the vendors. I spent like $4 on a bottle of water and bought a couple of prints from rad local artist folks. I was wearing a skirt and tank top, and I could feel the sweat dripping down the small of my back. At one point, I debated dunking my head into the cooler of a food truck, but decided it would most likely be frowned upon.
I was already sweating a lot. I have bangs now so I was spending a lot of time touching my face because I'm not used to the feeling of things touching my forehead. I was pretty sure I must have smeared brow stuff all over my face, so I found a random mirror propped up against a wall (it was like vanity kismet!) to peep my face.
Much to my surprise and delight, my brows were still impeccable!
Then I went and hid underneath the shade of a magnolia tree for, like, an hour to protect my neck and also listen to some rad jazz music played by a very sharp-looking dude in a great suit and purple socks. I will always respect a man in good socks, I tell ya. Take note, men.
After a short jaunt in the shade, I noticed some menacing rain clouds forming in the distance so we bopped back to the car. Just as we pulled up to our house, the skies opened with the wrath of a thousand Southern women and the rain began to pour.
Because I'm an IRL Disney villain, I love the rain and all times dark and stormy, so I took myself (and my personal photographer) for a brief stroll about my lovely neighborhood. Though I was under an umbrella, I did try to splash some rain on my face because we're testing a waterproof product.
This was not the kind of rain that brings cooler weather with it. It just made my world feel even more like a greenhouse than before. Again, sweat was happening.
My eyebrows though? STILL in tact. Praise be to the God of Eyebrows (Eugene Levy, who definitely SHOULD be MAC's new spokesperson).
After that, my hangover again reeled its angry/nauseous head and I put myself to bed at, like, 8PM. Ya know that song from Grease about summer nights, "Summer Nights"? Well, if you replace all the fun anecdotes about doin' it on the beach and drinking lemonade with stories about dry shampooing my bangs and going to sleep at a reasonable hour, that about sums up my idea of summer. Well-uh-well-uh-well-uh, I'm tired, OK?
But because I'm dedicated to journalistic integrity, I did not wash my makeup off before sleeping. I splashed some water on my face, but didn't bother with much else because all I was wearing was the brow products and I wanted to know if they could make it through the night.
I hate myself and I'm a total cheapo so I never turn on my AC even when it's 90 degrees at night. Also, I'm convinced that sweating hard all night is good for the system. Toxins, ya know? JK, there's no such thing. I'm just a sweaty, stingy Scrooge.
I woke up in my typical sweat puddle (TMI?) and rolled over to check Instagram/Twitter/Facebook/my bank account. After that, I grabbed my camera (what--you don't keep a DSLR next to your bed?) and took a morning selfie, because I was born without the capacity for shame.
Guess what! EYEBROWS STILL GOOD.
I think they might have smeared a bit, but it works, right? They look even thicker! What is this sorcery, MAC? You have bewitched me, eyebrows and soul.
Then I got out of bed and wandered around my house wondering where my boyfriend was before I remembered that he goes to church on Sundays because he's a better person than me, so I did the dishes and watched all of Garlic Jackson's hilarious YouTube sketches. Then I made some brunch plans, because I'm not a total heathen.
I used a clean mascara spoolie to brush my brows, since some of the little hairs had gone a little astray during the night. I threw on some eyeshadow and lip gloss and put on a dress that was pretty enough to distract from my greasy bangs. I didn't do anything to my brows though because they were still hanging tight.
After brunch (where I broke my veganism to go HAM on some chicken and waffles, a quickly regretted decision), I went home and washed my face. I had to scrub my brows a bit more than I usually do. It wasn't too difficult, though. I didn't have to scrub hard, which is something I'm always nervous about since my brows are already pretty sparse.
Overall, this product is my new summer love. It's staying power sort of blew my mind, and I love the way it made my brows feel and look.
Any product that can withstand Mississippi heat deserves some respect, and this stuff went above and beyond my hopes for it. It is waterproof, indeed. My sister's going on a three-thousand-mile bike ride this summer, and I've already purchased one of these to include in her backpack should she need a beauty pick-me-up at one of her stops along the way.
If you've got any plans to sweat this summer, this brow stuff is your new best friend. MAC Pro Longwear Waterproof Brow Set and Fluidline Brow Gelcremes will be available at all US MAC locations May 22.