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Best Brushes | Holiday 2016 Gift Guide

Best Brushes | Holiday 2016 Gift Guide

It’s that time of the year again:  holiday gift guides aplenty!  This year, I’ve broken out my gift guides into best of selections for blush, eyeshadow, highlighter, lipstick, lipgloss, palettes, and brushes.  These guides feature permanent formulas so that they can be useful anytime during the holiday season or even into next year.  For limited edition holiday products, you can check out our list of the top 50 highest-rated holiday products, which updates as I post more reviews for holiday products. Here’s a look at a few of my must-have brushes (there are so, so, so many more I wanted to include!):

Chikuhodo GSN-09 Eyeshadow Brush

Chikuhodo GSN-09 Eyeshadow Brush<

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Chikuhodo GSN-09 Eyeshadow Brush ($25.00) is a small-medium, dome-shaped eyeshadow brush made out of gray squirrel hair. The narrower width allows it to apply color more precisely, which is helpful if you’re using more than two or three colors on the lid. It packs on, sweeps, and diffuses eyeshadow beautifully. The edge also fits into the crease area well and can apply color there, too. It’s incredibly soft and silky against the skin, but it still picks up plenty of product, so you don’t sacrifice color payoff in your application. This is a brush that I have multiples of!

Availability

Beautylish

Chikuhodo Z-4 Cheek/Highlight Brush

Chikuhodo Z-4 Cheek/Highlight Brush

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Chikuhodo Z-4 Cheek/Highlight Brush ($73.00) medium-sized, blush brush with a domed edge and tapered bristles (so the lengths get shorter as you move outward from the center). It’s not a rounded brush, more flattened, but it is not really thin or flat. The brush is made out of gray squirrel. It’s excellent for applying soft, even color along the cheeks with minimal blending required.

Availability

Beautylish

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Best Lipsticks | Holiday 2016 Gift Guide

Best Lipsticks | Holiday 2016 Gift Guide

It’s that time of the year again:  holiday gift guides aplenty!  This year, I’ve broken out my gift guides into best of selections for blush, eyeshadow, highlighter, lipstick, lipgloss, palettes, and brushes.  These guides feature permanent formulas so that they can be useful anytime during the holiday season or even into next year.  For limited edition holiday products, you can check out our list of the top 50 highest-rated holiday products, which updates as I post more reviews for holiday products. Here’s a look at the best lipstick formulas I’ve tried:

Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick

Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick

Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick ($26.00 for 0.15 oz.) is supposed to have “bold, creamy color” with “extreme moisture, soft texture, and creamy wear.” The majority of the range is very pigmented–typically opaque with one pass–with a few shades being semi-opaque but usually buildable. The majority of the shades I’ve tested have been lightly hydrating to non-drying and fairly comfortable to wear for the long-haul. They wear longer than average, from four to eight hours, depending on the intensity and propensity of the shade to stain. The range is rather extensive with over 30 shades, so you may find our top 15 best Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipsticks list useful. Some of my favorite shades are: Pickled Ginger, Kale, Sour Cherry, and Spritzer.

Availability

Sephora

Best Eyeshadow Palettes | Holiday 2016 Gift Guide

Best Eyeshadow Palettes | Holiday 2016 Gift Guide

It’s that time of the year again:  holiday gift guides aplenty!  This year, I’ve broken out my gift guides into best of selections for blush, eyeshadow, highlighter, lipstick, lipgloss, palettes, and brushes.  These guides feature permanent formulas so that they can be useful anytime during the holiday season or even into next year.  For limited edition holiday products, you can check out our list of the top 50 highest-rated holiday products, which updates as I post more reviews for holiday products.  I hope you find this list of top performing eyeshadow palettes helpful!

Anastasia Modern Renaissance Palette

Anastasia Modern Renaissance Palette

Anastasia Modern Renaissance Palette ($42.00 for 0.35 oz.) includes 14 eyeshadows that come in a mix of warmer neutrals and pops of pink/red. For a mostly matte palette, it actually applied quite well to bare skin, and I didn’t have issues blending out the majority of the shades. The eyeshadows adhered exceptionally well to bare skin without sheering out or becoming patchy. The majority of the shades were pigmented and wore for seven to eight hours.

Availability

Sephora, Ulta, Macy’s

BH Cosmetics Foil Eyes Palette

BH Cosmetics Foil Eyes Palette

BH Cosmetics Foil Eyes Palette ($19.00 for 1.58 oz.) contains 28, metallic eyeshadows. I picked this up a couple of months ago, because it was getting a lot of buzz, and I’ve been really impressed by the quality overall. Only a few shades had issues, and they were fairly minor (slightly less pigmented, could apply better with primer or with a dampened brush). The majority of the eyeshadows were very pigmented, applied beautifully on bare skin, blended out easily, and lasted for seven to nine hours on me (without primer). As they are all shimmery, it may not work as well as an all-in-one-look palette, though. If you like your high-shimmer, metallic eyeshadows, it’s well worth checking out!

Availability

BH Cosmetics

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Best Eyeshadows | Holiday 2016 Gift Guide

Best Blushes | Holiday 2016 Gift Guide

It’s that time of the year again:  holiday gift guides aplenty!  This year, I’ve broken out my gift guides into best of selections for blush, eyeshadow, highlighter, lipstick, lipgloss, palettes, and brushes.  These guides feature permanent formulas so that they can be useful anytime during the holiday season or even into next year.  For limited edition holiday products, you can check out our list of the top 50 highest-rated holiday products, which updates as I post more reviews for holiday products.  I hope you find this list of top performing eyeshadow formulas useful 🙂

Make Up For Ever Artist Shadow

Make Up For Ever Artist Shadow

Make Up For Ever Artist Shadow ($21.00 for 0.08 oz.) still remains my very favorite powder eyeshadow formula. I’m particularly fond of their more shimmery and satin finishes, though their mattes are nice (but they aren’t as dense, and I love a denser, creamier eyeshadow). Their are over 200 shades to choose from, so you can imagine it is hard to pick favorites, but here are swatches of some of my must-haves!

Availability

Sephora

Tarte Metallics Shadow

Tarte Metallics Shadow

Tarte Metallics Shadow ($14.00 for 0.07 oz.) is a new formula that debuted this year, and I was able to confirm with Tarte that they anticipate these being part of the permanent range, at least for the next year…. so here’s hoping they will make a stronger commitment to the formula by adding more shades next year! The formula on the Metallics range is soft, smooth, blendable, and almost cream-like as they have a denser, richer feel to them. They are pigmented, long-wearing, and easy to use. Some of my favorite shades are Sinful, Pokerface, and Dame.

Availability

Sephora, Ulta, Tarte

Best Blushes | Holiday 2016 Gift Guide

Best Blushes | Holiday 2016 Gift Guide

It’s that time of the year again:  holiday gift guides aplenty!  This year, I’ve broken out my gift guides into best of selections for blush, eyeshadow, highlighter, lipstick, lipgloss, palettes, and brushes.  These guides feature permanent formulas so that they can be useful anytime during the holiday season or even into next year.  For limited edition holiday products, you can check out our list of the top 50 highest-rated holiday products, which updates as I post more reviews for holiday products.  I hope you find this list of top performing blush formulas useful 🙂

Tom Ford Cheek Color

Tom Ford Cheek Color

Tom Ford Cheek Color ($60.00 for 0.28 oz.) has been a go-to blush formula for me since I first tried it many years ago. As time has passed, I have tried many more blush formulas from brands, but I still go back to this one frequently. I keep a few of my favorite shades (Love Lust, Ravish, Wicked) in my go-to drawer, where I keep products I want to wear again and again (when I’m not testing something!). The formula is soft, moderately dense, and smooth, which results in good pigmentation, a satin to pearly sheen, and easy application–plus, they wear long on me (over eight hours).

Availability

Bergdorf GoodmanNeiman MarcusNordstromSaks

Urban Decay Afterglow 8-Hour Blush

Urban Decay Afterglow 8-Hour Powder Blush

Urban Decay Afterglow 8-Hour Powder Blush ($26.00 for 0.23 oz.) is a powder blush with medium, buildable coverage and a more satin-to-luminous finish. I like how the range includes a mix of more “wearable” neutrals along with brighter pops of color, so it’s a versatile range that can work for many skin tones. Some of my favorite shades are Rapture, TMI, Fetish, and Crush.

Availability

Sephora, Ulta, Nordstrom

Make Up For Ever #01 and #02 Pro Light Fusion Highlighters

Make Up For Ever #01 Pro Light Fusion Highlighter
Make Up For Ever #01 Pro Light Fusion Highlighter

Make Up For Ever Pro Light Fusion Highlighter ($39.00 for 0.30 oz.) is supposed to “naturally enhance and highlight” with a “silky-smooth” “ge-powder” formula. The powder has a soft, very lightly dusty texture that was smooth, blendable, and easy to work with on the skin as it diffused well and applied evenly. Both shades were pigmented, but they were controllable so one could use a lighter touch or a less dense brush for sheerer coverage. They both highlighted where they were applied without emphasizing my skin’s natural texture. Both shades lasted eight hours on me.

The formula is in the same type as MAC Extra Dimension Skinfinish, Estee Lauder Illuminating Gelee, NARS Dual Intensity Blush, and so forth.

Make Up For Ever #01 Pro Light Fusion Highlighter ($39.00 for 0.30 oz.) is a very light pink with warm undertones and a luminous, lightly metallic finish. It was nicely pigmented with a soft, smooth, and lightly dusty texture that applied easily to the skin and did not emphasize my pores or natural texture. The highlighter wore well for eight hours before fading. Dior #002 (P, $56.00) is more shimmery (95% similar). NARS Devotee (P) is more shimmery (95% similar). Tarte Gleam (P) is warmer (95% similar). Laura Mercier Devotion (P, $44.00) is darker (95% similar). L'Oreal Ice (P, $12.99) is more shimmery (95% similar). Wet 'n' Wild Desert Explorations (LE, $2.99) is darker, less shimmery (90% similar). Tarte Stunner (P, $28.00) is more shimmery (90% similar). LORAC Moonlight (P, $22.00) is darker (90% similar). Anastasia Starburst (LE) is warmer, darker (90% similar). Jouer Rose Quartz (P, $24.00) is darker (90% similar). MAC Softly Does It (LE) is less pigmented, darker, less shimmery (90% similar). Tarte Stunner (P) is darker, more shimmery (90% similar). Make Up For Ever 2 Pink Beige (P, $24.00) is darker, more shimmery (85% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

Make Up For Ever #02 Pro Light Fusion Highlighter ($39.00 for 0.30 oz.) is a bright, medium gold with warm, coppery-brown undertones and a metallic sheen. The pigmentation was mostly opaque, while the consistency was soft, fairly smooth, and blendable. The product spread evenly across the skin and edges were easily diffused for a gradual blend. I did not find the finish emphasized my skin’s natural texture. It lasted for eight hours on me before starting to fade. Looxi Beauty Luxe (P, $7.50) is more shimmery (95% similar). Dior #003 (P, $56.00) is more shimmery (95% similar). Becca Prosecco Pop (LE, $38.00) is less shimmery (95% similar). Anastasia Dripping in Gold (LE) is less shimmery (95% similar). Looxi Beauty Centerfold (P, $7.50) is more shimmery (95% similar). Becca Opal (P, $38.00) is cooler (95% similar). The Estee Edit 14K Glow (LE) is lighter (95% similar). Laura Mercier Addiction (P, $44.00) is less shimmery (95% similar). MAC Whisper of Gilt (LE, $30.00) is more shimmery (95% similar). Laura Geller Gilded Honey (P, $24.00) is more shimmery (95% similar). Anastasia Bubbly (LE) is more muted, lighter (90% similar). MAC Bare End (LE) is less shimmery (90% similar). Tarte Fire (P) is darker (90% similar). Anastasia So Hollywood (P, $28.00) is more shimmery (95% similar). L'Oreal Golden (P, $12.99) is darker (80% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

Make Up For Ever Pro Light Fusion Highlighter #01
#01
#01
9.5
Product
10
Pigmentation
9.5
Texture
8.5
Longevity
5
Application
94%
Total
Make Up For Ever Pro Light Fusion Highlighter #02
#02
#02
9
Product
9
Pigmentation
9.5
Texture
8.5
Longevity
5
Application
91%
Total

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