Monday, September 2nd, 2013

Make Up For Ever #146 Flat Blush Brush
Make Up For Ever #146 Flat Blush Brush

Make Up For Ever #146 Flat Blush Brush ($37.00) is described as a “medium, trapezoid-shaped brush” that is designed to be used with loose and press powders. By its name, one would expect primarily using this with blush, as it is designed for buildable coverage. Make Up For Ever also recommends using it for face painting. The brush head is 26mm tall, 33mm wide (at the top, which is widest point), and 10mm thick with a pinched ferrule. It has a total length of 7.25 inches/18 centimeters.  The brush’s shape is flat, almost a square but slightly flared outwards–like a trapezoid, but it is a squatter one than I envision with just the word “trapezoid.”  It had soft bristles at the tips, and the bristles length-wise were fairly soft but you could “feel” the individual bristles slightly (they didn’t blend together as seamlessly).

I think the shape is somewhat large for a blush applicator, and it’s definitely best for just initially applying color to the cheek and less useful for blending or diffusing blush color. It splays out unevenly, is an odd mix of stiff and springy that never quite blends or applies the way you’d expect. It just seems to make applying blush harder than it is with other blush brushes (with more typical brush heads). I just received another blush brush from the range late last week, so I’m testing that one as well to see if that works better for blush application. I can see the flatter shape working better for face painting, though, and to that end, it was nice for applying liquid primer or moisturizer (I tried with Illamasqua’s Hydra Veil).

There’s something about this brush that felt off, because no matter how many washes (I’ve washed it a dozen times now with four different cleansers), it always feel a somewhat oily or greasy. I can press the brushes together, and it molds that way until I squish the brushes in another way. As of now, this is the only Make Up For Ever brush that I’m having this issue with, so it might be a one-off or more specific to the flatter brush shapes.  I just received a few other face brushes, so I’ll have a better idea of the context of this issue in a couple of weeks.

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Sunday, September 1st, 2013

Reader Vinita requested top five picks of burgundy and red-toned purple eyeshadows–just in time for fall! It can be a difficult color for some to wear, because of the red tones, but try pairing it with warmer golds and coppers, or using it with a bright silver. It can be even used mixed with black in the crease to create a very dramatic smoky eye. You can also look for burgundies that lean brown to minimize the red tones found in them.

  1. MAC Deep Damson — a deep, dark burgundy-brown with a matte finish
  2. Le Metier de Beaute Fig — a purpled burgundy with a frosted finish
  3. Inglot #452 — shimmering burgundy with strong red undertones
  4. Make Up For Ever #311 — shimmery, deep brown-burgundy
  5. MAC Cranberry — medium-dark burgundy with a frost finish

What’s your favorite burgundy eyeshadow? How do you wear it?

Monday, August 26th, 2013

Make Up For Ever Precision Powder Brush
Make Up For Ever #128 Precision Powder Brush

Make Up For Ever #128 Precision Powder Brush ($52.00) is described as a “long and flat brush with a tapered tip” to be used with loose and pressed powder for application “the face, neck, and upper shoulders.” It’s a large, substantial brush, and it’s easily one of the larger powder brushes I have. It flares out slightly from the base and then tapers significantly to a rounded edge with the bristles layered and lengthening as you move to the center of the brush. It measures 50mm at its widest part, 56mm tall, 25mm thick with a total length (including handle and ferrule) of just under 8 inches/20 centimeters. The handle itself is quite thick but tapers down towards the end and finishes with a sharp, angled tip. All Make Up For Ever’s Artisan brushes are made out of synthetic fibers and officially release in September.

The new Artisan Brush range is touted as being “hand-crafted by a total of 30 people from start to finish” and have beech wood handles. The slanted tip of the handle is done specifically to “allow for easier product retrieval and can be used to assist in faux lash application.” The first thing I noticed about this brush was how top-heavy it was–the brush head is much, much heavier than the handle, which is incredibly lightweight. You’ll notice that the brush head is actually two-tone–the bottom third is a dark brown, while the upper two-thirds are nearly black. The top two-thirds actually flop a bit; like if you held the brush in your hands and waved it up and down, you would see just that portion moving up and down while the bottom third stays in place.

This brush is incredibly soft, and it’s one of the softest brushes I’ve come across–tying with Hakuhodo and Tom Ford brushes. At times, this almost feels softer, but I think it’s the result of the layering and airiness of the upper two-thirds of the brush that give it a feathery, soft feel. My husband has been a test subject for numerous “which is softer” tests in the past few months as I’ve been doing an extensive testing of brushes across brands, and Hakuhodo and Tom Ford brushes (which are rumored to be made by Hakuhodo) were all readily distinguished as the softest. He described the difference as the Hakuhodo felt silkier, almost cool and wet, but he felt like softness was the same. I had a similar experience to his, and I felt like the bristles melted together to provide a smooth, seamless applicator across the skin. I could jab, splay, and twirl the brush and never felt a jagged or rough edge.

I liked it for applying loose setting powder, and because the top of the brush “flops,” it actually works to press the loose powder against the skin with a lighter pressure than with a sponge or powder pouf but does a better job of getting an even, full layer of powder against the skin to really set makeup. I can’t make any claims as to the durability of the brush, so as I find brushes that I can work into my regular routine, I’ll be adding them and continuing to trial them to see how they hold up to more prolonged use. I’ve washed this brush five times, and I haven’t had any issues with shedding, dye bleeding, or any resulting smells post-wash. It takes awhile to dry, but if I use it in the morning, wash it, then it is ready for me to use about eight to twelve hours later. I wish the handle had more weight to it, though, because while the dark, red-toned wood handle looks nice, it lacks substance.

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Friday, August 23rd, 2013

Make Up For Ever #402 Artistic Fan Brush
Make Up For Ever #402 Artistic Fan Brush

Make Up For Ever #402 Artistic Fan Brush ($20.00) is described as a “pre-cut, fan brush with 8 sections used to create multi-line effects.” It’s part of the 400 series, which is the artistry/professional range. It is, quite possibly, the most unique brush I’ve come across. This is definitely not a brush that most people will be rushing out to grab, because it is specific and more of an artistry tool than anything else. Make Up For Ever says it can be used to create artistic patterns on the face and smaller areas of the bodies, and it is appropriate to use with creams and liquids. It’s 23mm wide, 15mm tall, and less than a 1mm thick. The ferrule clasps the bristles in the middle of the base, and then the brush fans out with eight distinct tips. The brush head is heavier than the handle, which is very long and skinny (total brush length is 6.5 inches/17 centimeters, and comes to a slanted point at the end. The bristles were soft when dragged across the skin and had a good amount of give and spring.

Dubbed “the rake” by my husband, you can dip it into a cream or liquid product and than drag it across the skin’s surface. I think it would work better with a liquid or very thin cream/gel, because it needs to be fairly saturated and have a product with a lot of slip, so it can create even, opaque lines. I tried with NARS new Eye Paint in Solomon Islands, and though I felt like I loaded up the brush, the color ran out quickly. I’m thinking body paint would be a far better product to be used with this (which I do not have). I hope the brand will put out a few videos of artists in action, particularly one where they’re using this brush! The brush was easy to clean, and I didn’t experience any dye washing out, shedding, or unusual smells post-wash.

I have a few other brushes from the new Make Up For Ever brush range that I’ll be putting through the paces, but I thought I’d share this early look at an unusual brush (as I will not be testing this one extensively).

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Wednesday, August 21st, 2013


“The brush is an extension of the hand and is a fundamental tool for a makeup artist, whether he is a professional or amateur makeup artist, his canvas is the face.” – Dany Sanz

As the essential tool of the MAKE UP FOR EVER universe, the brush signifies Creator & Artistic Director Dany Sanz’s roots as a painter and sculptor while exemplifying her passion for make up artistry. As both an artist and innovator, Dany creates products to meet the needs of both the professional make up artist and every day woman, which led her to reinvent the artist’s most vital tool – the brush. MAKE UP FOR EVER proudly announces a revolution in brushes with the introduction of seventy-six cutting-edge brushes, the most expansive luxury brush collection available today.

This extensive set ranges from everyday ‘must-haves’ to highly customized tools to create the most intricate artistic effects. Notorious for its high performance, quality products, MAKE UP FOR EVER employed the most advanced technology to ensure the tools met professional standards with consumer appeal. Dany Sanz perfected each and every brush throughout a five year process that involved testing a variety of synthetic fibers that mimic the silky softness of natural hair. She consulted with renowned brush manufacturer Raphaël on the island of Mauritius to create specialized brushes that require unparalleled craftsmanship. The construction of each brush involved 25 unique stages, and was hand-crafted by a total of 30 people from start to finish.

What further differentiates this brush collection from any other is the specific synthetic fiber technology that exists in several diameters and types: wavy or straight depending on the required use. When fibers are straight, application is more generous and precise, while wavy bristles are more splayed, allowing for a lighter and freer application. A unique combination of the two fiber textures gives infinite creative possibilities. The softness and performance of each set of bristles is ensured by using tweezers and not scissors, while fibers are fixed in place with a ferrule made from a gunmetal barrel. With no detail spared, the beech wood brush handles were created with a beveled end to allow for easier product retrieval and can be used to assist in faux lash application.

The Artisan Brush Collection is classified in a way that is extremely practical for artists everywhere:

  • 100s = complexion
  • 200s = eyes
  • 300s = lips
  • 400s = artistic specially designed for professionals.

The range is then further categorized depending on textures or product type, and is given units to indicate the size of each brush.

Availability: September 2013; select brushes in-store at Sephora, all brushes available online at Sephora and at Make Up For Ever Boutiques. Brushes marked with * will be available in-store and online.

See full list of brushes & more photos! Continue reading →

Saturday, August 10th, 2013

These are five eyeshadows that I think are worth splurging on! They’ll all set you back $20 or more, but over time, these are shades that have stuck with me.

If you could recommend someone splurge on one eyeshadow, what shade would you recommend?