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The look was near perfect for my regular day in the office — but should it have taken over an hour to achieve it? I'm still wondering. That being said, I would not return to Clinique for makeup application, especially for an event that requires looking bold.

Skin care tips, on the other hand? I'm all ears. And let's be honest, if you're going out, you're going to want drama. At least, on your face, anyway.

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Nicola Dall'Asen nicoladallasen. Aug 18, AM SlayorNay. Here's what happened. I told the MAC artist that I was meeting friends for a birthday celebration that would likely consist of a fancy dinner, drinks, and dancing. I was stunned by what he pulled off in 30 minutes. The first thing he asked was whether I wanted the emphasis to be on my eyes or my lips.

I chose the eyes because DUH, that's where all the drama is. I told him to take some creative freedom with my face, and he delivered with a mascara technique I'd never even think of. He really understood what I meant when I said I was "going out.

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Despite his attention to detail on my eyes, my artist still had time to spare so he continued to add bronzer, highlighter, and lipstick for me, too. The nude lipstick shade he chose — aptly named Mauve — was so flattering I ended up buying it as part of my required product purchase.

My other purchase was the false eyelashes the artist hand-selected and applied for me. I'm still reusing them weeks later. I imagined Clinique would offer a drastically different experience, and I was right — down to the appointment booking itself. Due to the vagueness of all of this, I strolled up to the counter with a completely bare face.

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I gave the Clinique artist the exact same vague description of my plans, and he completed this look in about an hour and 15 minutes. This time, my artist started by cleansing, toning, and moisturizing my skin. He then did my entire face, starting with primer, matte foundation, concealer, bronzer and blush.

He also filled in my microbladed brows sparingly. The subtle highlighter, I noticed, was Laura Mercier — not Clinique. When it came time to apply eye shadow, my artist grabbed soft-brown and dark-purple cream stick shadows and went to town.

MAC COSMETICS & MACY’S EVENT: Girls Night Out!

He handed me a mascara wand and said it'd be easier to apply mascara myself, which I didn't mind — but then it came time for eyeliner, and things got messy. After minutes of attempting a sharp wing and using makeup remover to clean up his faults, he enlisted another Clinique employee to help.

Before searching for a lipstick, my artist asked if I wanted a light or dark lip.

This neutral pink was his response to, "dark, why not? I'm going out. I left the Clinique counter with a hint of disappointment but also a bag full of skin care products — because my skin did feel phenomenal. The differences really speak for themselves. Two wildly different brands served two wildly different looks, both of which have their advantages. MAC accepts "primary packaging," meaning the material that actually encases the product.


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Lipstick tubes, lash cases, blush compacts, eye shadow pots, foundation tubes and bottles, and skincare bottles all count. There you'll find different shipping label options and extra info on how to redeem your reward. It also provides a complete breakdown of packaging MAC can't accept — in addition to those cardboard boxes, avoid any sample containers, cosmetic applicators, and tools, Pro Palette metal eye shadows and powders, makeup cases, Blot Film sheets, and accessories.

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They can bring a single empty eye shadow pot one day, three dry primer bottles the next time. Once they hit six, they score the free reward.

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You have to bring them to a store, excluding the ones in Massachusetts or airports. MAC isn't the only makeup brand that provides freebies to customers who recycle. Lush, the Canadian company famous for its glittery bath bombs, offers one free face mask to any shopper who returns five empty Lush pots to a store location.

The skincare giant Kiehl's also has a program, but it's a little more complicated.


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