Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Not everything released in the past year was impressive, and some products were downright disappointing! When I worked on compiling this list, I thought about cringe-worthy products; ones that I can’t wrap my head around at all. These are products that truly disappointed me with their performance and quality.  Every single brand mentioned below has products I love but not every product can be a winner.

What were the most disappointing beauty products you tried this past year?

Sunday, December 22nd, 2013

One of my favorite colors of all-time is emerald green. It has so much depth, and I love that it can be cooler or warmer and be so, so different.

  1. Zoya Logan — a very cool-toned, glittering emerald green polish
  2. Milani Green Safari — an amazing emerald green cream eyeshadow that can be used as eyeliner or as a base
  3. Illamasqua Violate — because I can’t have a list that doesn’t include an emerald green lip color
  4. Zoya Holly — vibrant, warm-toned emerald green
  5. Make Up For Ever #80 — a smoky, slightly blackened emerald green eyeshadow

Have you worn any emerald green beauty products before?

Monday, September 30th, 2013

Make Up For Ever Artisan Brushes
Make Up For Ever Artisan Brushes

Now that I’ve concluded my reviews for Make Up For Ever’s new Artisan Brush range, it’s time for a round-up (in case you missed any) and a few overall impressions/thoughts. I like the variety in brushes, as there are numerous shapes and sizes to choose from, though I was very disappointed in the crease brushes I tried as they weren’t practical for applying–very sharp, floppy, and narrow. Often, a brush can still be of high quality, even if it’s not a shape that makes sense for me (or someone else), but these were incredibly odd to use and just didn’t work. I also experienced a weird greasiness/oiliness that lingered in 4 of the 12 brushes I tested that would not rinse out with soap, despite washing all at least a dozen times. This is something I experienced with the face brushes, too, and it is the number one factor for why all the excitement about this range was deflated very quickly. I liked the #250 and #260 eyeliner brushes best, as they worked well and didn’t have any issues.  The #300 Lip Brush was also nice and did all that it was supposed to, but it’s not a style of brush I use every day personally–and it doesn’t feel any better (or worse) than a lot of other lip brushes on the market.

Monday, September 30th, 2013

Make Up For Ever #228 Medium Precision Shader Brush
Make Up For Ever #228 Medium Precision Shader Brush

Make Up For Ever #228 Medium Precision Shader Brush ($25.00) is a flat, fairly firm, brush with a rounded edge. The brush head is 11mm in length, 10mm in width, and 4mm in thickness. It had a pinched, metal ferrule, and a total brush length of just under 6.5 inches or 16.5 centimeters. This shape is good for applying cream products all over the lid, as it is not too big or too large, and it will apply a cream product with good opacity. This brush was incredibly greasy and oily, despite over a dozen washes. It is not as thick or as narrow as the MAC 242 ($25).

#250 Extra Fine Eyeliner Brush ($18.00) is a very thin, pointed eyeliner brush. The brush head is 7mm in length, 2mm in width, and 2mm in thickness (1mm in width/thickness at its narrowest point). It had a round, open metal ferrule, and a total brush length of 6.25 inches or 16.5 centimers. This one holds its shape well, so it can be useful for achieving really thin, precise lines. It also deposits product well and evenly, as it doesn’t trap the product in-between the fibers. MAC 209 ($20) is not quite as thin, and MAC 211 ($20) is a wider brush that is also shorter.

#260 Bent Eyeliner Brush ($24.00) is a narrow, triangle-shaped brush that comes to a point that has a bent ferrule, so eyeliner can be applied at an angle. The brush head is 5mm in length, 2mm in width, and 1mm in thickness. It has a bent metal ferrule that opens at the top, and it has a total brush length of just under 6.25 inches or 16.5 centimeters. It’s great for applying gel and cream eyeliner along the lash line with precision and control.  I can’t recall having a brush like this, though I know that there are several others available, and the most popular one that I can recall would be Sonia Kashuk Bent Eyeliner Brush ($5.99).

#300 Lip Brush ($21.00) is a small, flat, rectangle-shaped brush designed to fill in with lip color blend out lip products. The brush head is 7mm in length, 5mm in width, and 2mm in thickness. It had a pinched, metal ferrule, and it had a total brush length of just under 6.5 inches or 16.25 centimers. It worked well for applying lipstick more precisely, though I found it a good size for my lips, it seemed like it might be too large for those with thinner lips. MAC 316 ($20) is slightly rounded and a bit smaller overall.

The Glossover

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#228 Medium Precision Shader Brush

This shape is good for applying cream products all over the lid, as it is not too big or too large, and it will apply a cream product with good opacity. This brush was incredibly greasy and oily, despite over a dozen washes.

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#250 Extra Fine Eyeliner Brush

This one holds its shape well, so it can be useful for achieving really thin, precise lines. It also deposits product well and evenly, as it doesn't trap the product in-between the fibers.

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#260 Bent Eyeliner Brush

It's great for applying gel and cream eyeliner along the lash line with precision and control.

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Sunday, September 29th, 2013

Make Up For Ever Artisan Brushes
Make Up For Ever Artisan Brushes

I’ve wrapped up all of the face brushes I had to review and test from Make Up For Ever’s new Artisan Brush range, so I thought a round-up was in order! :) The biggest takeaways is that there is something going on with the manufacturing of the brushes that can sometimes leave behind an oily, greasy film all over the bristles, and I have yet to discover a way to get this to go away. I’ve tried harsher soaps to no avail. This residue was my biggest issue and really the major fault that I encountered–it was present in 2 of 9 face brushes.  I don’t know if this is an issue specific to particular brushes or if it occurs randomly (so any brush may be affected or just because the one I tried was, yours might not be), so I have a lot of hesitation about this brush range.

Of the brushes I tried, the one I liked the most was the #128 Precision Powder Brush, which I’ve been using even after I finished writing up the review and has a permanent home in the brushes I use regularly.  I haven’t personally incorporated any of the others into my regular brush rotation, which was more often just a result of me not using that particular shape or style often. Aside from the two that were greasy, the brushes were nice overall.  They felt well-made, didn’t shed, felt very soft against the skin, and densities were good (always in line with how they were advertised).  A few of the larger face brushes felt like the handles weren’t quite balanced with a lot of weight concentrated in the brush head and not enough in the handle itself.  I also really appreciated the breadth of the range, as there are many shapes and sizes to choose from.

Have you tried the new Make Up For Ever Artisan Brushes yet?  I would love to hear your experiences!

Sunday, September 29th, 2013

Make Up For Ever #150 Precision Blush Brush
Make Up For Ever #150 Precision Blush Brush

Make Up For Ever #150 Precision Blush Brush ($40.00) is supposed to be used for applying powder blush and sculpting products. The brush head is 26mm in length, 30mm in width, and 16mm in thickness. It has a pinched, metal ferrule, and a total brush length of 7 inches or 18 centimeters. The brush head is slightly angled and rounded, so it would work well for contouring and sculpting the cheeks or around the jaw and hair line. It is too large to work in smaller areas like around the nose. The bristles were soft, moved together nicely without splaying, and I didn’t experience any weird greasiness/oiliness with this brush. MAC 168 ($35) is fluffier, larger (narrower but longer). Sephora Pro Angled ($32) is longer and not quite as dense. Hakuhodo J511 ($33) is smaller and fluffier.

#152 Medium Highlighter Brush ($37.00) is a medium, rounded brush with a rounded, domed edge that’s circular all around. The brush head is 30mm in length, 25mm in width, and 25mm in thickness. It has a round, open metal ferrule and a total brush length of just over 7.75 inches or 17.5 centimeters. The handle is rather thick and rounded from right under the brush head to about halfway down the handle. It’s supposed to be a denser brush that can be used to highlight the face and body. It’s actually rather large for highlighting–I would probably want something about two-thirds the size of this for highlighting. This could work well for blending out highlighters, blushes, and so forth, and based on its shape, could also be used to apply liquid foundation as it can be buffed into the skin.

Unfortunately, no matter what positives this brush had, it was a greasy, oily brush, and no amount of washing seemed to extract the oiliness from it. I thought it would work best for applying foundation, but because the bristles were already sticking together, liquid foundation just made them stick together even more, so the finish was very, very streaky and I felt like a lot of product was wasted and trapped within the bristles. Hakuhodo 210 ($36) is similar but not as dense. MAC 109 ($32) is also similar but has a tendency to flare out a bit more.

The Glossover

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#150 Precision Blush Brush

The brush head is slightly angled and rounded, so it would work well for contouring and sculpting the cheeks or around the jaw and hair line. It is too large to work in smaller areas like around the nose. The bristles were soft, moved together nicely without splaying, and I didn't experience any weird greasiness/oiliness with this brush.

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#152 Medium Highlighter Brush

Unfortunately, no matter what positives this brush had, it was a greasy, oily brush, and no amount of washing seemed to extract the oiliness from it. I thought it would work best for applying foundation, but because the bristles were already sticking together, liquid foundation just made them stick together even more, so the finish was very, very streaky and I felt like a lot of product was wasted and trapped within the bristles.

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