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theBalm Swiss Dot Instain Long-Wearing Powder Blush

theBalm Swiss Dot Instain Long-Wearing Staining Powder Blush
theBalm Swiss Dot Instain Long-Wearing Staining Powder Blush

theBalm Swiss Dot Instain Long-Wearing Staining Powder Blush ($22.00 for 0.20 oz.) is described as a “peach.” It’s a medium-dark orange with subtle red undertones and a matte finish. Chanel Presage is similar but a cream product. NARS Gilda is slightly pinker. MAC Early Morning is a touch more muted. MAC Out for Fun is slightly redder and brighter, also a cream product. Guerlain Peach Boy #1 is pinker/redder. Chanel Frivole is slightly lighter. See comparison swatches.

It’s intensely pigmented with rich color payoff. The texture is soft and finely-milled without being powdery. It does have a tendency to cling to the skin almost immediately, so I highly recommend applying over totally dry/set foundation (if it is liquid/cream) with a light hand and patting, then blending. You may consider lightly dusting cheeks with a finishing or setting powder and then applying the blush, because this will help it blend better. Even on bare skin, it sometimes would stick where it landed, and it would be difficult to blend out. Swiss Dot wore well, though, for eight and a half hours, and after ten hours of wear, it started looking patchy, so it lives up to its long-wearing claim.

theBalm Instain Long-Wearing Staining Powder Blush Swiss Dot
Swiss Dot
Swiss Dot
8.5
Product
10
Pigmentation
8.5
Texture
9.5
Longevity
4
Application
90%
Total

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5 Bold Lipsticks for Fall Under $10

If you’re looking for something bold or bright to wear this fall and don’t want to break the bank, here are five of my top picks!

  1. Revlon Raspberry Pie — a medium-dark, fuchsia-pink with a glossy, luminous finish that’s comfortable to wear and balm-like
  2. Maybelline Brazen Berry — a brightened fuchsia-magenta with a luminous sheen
  3. NYX Chic Red — a bold, bright blue-based red with a matte finish
  4. Revlon Pink Truffle — a plummy brown with a luminous sheen
  5. Maybelline Very Cherry — a classic blue-based red with a matte finish

What’s your favorite lipstick for fall that’s a total steal?

Tom Ford Cheek (06) & Bronzer (05) Brushes Reviews & Photos

Tom Ford Cheek (06) Brush
Tom Ford Cheek (06) Brush

Tom Ford Cheek (06) Brush ($78.00) is a blush brush with a rounded square-shape, slightly domed along the top edge, with very densely-packed bristles that feel lush and thick to the touch. It is very similar in shape to Tom Ford Cream Foundation Brush, it’s just larger. The brush head is 33mm in length, 35mm in width, and 20mm in thickness. It has a metal ferrule that is pitched towards the top, and the handle is well-balanced with some heft (but it’s not heavy or awkward) with a total brush length of just over 6 inches or just under 16 centimeters. The brush handle is somewhat thick at 15mm in diameter, and it has a flat bottom, so it can stand upright (if desired). The brand’s logo and brush number are engraved and have gold lettering (neither have worn off at all so far).

Tom Ford’s brushes, from my experience, are very consistent. There is no question that they’re soft, silky, and feel great against the skin, and the Cheek Brush is no different. The brush is dense and thick, so it’s somewhat firm (but not stiff) with spring and give that’s just right for sweeping, patting, and diffusing powder products. I haven’t had any issues with this brush over the year and a half I’ve been using it–no shedding, no funny smells, and despite it being white, surprisingly easy to keep close to the way it came. The natural bristles pick up color well, and then the shape and texture of the bristles also blends out the powder well. Because it retains its shape during application, it can also work well for contouring or applying bronzer, as the edge fits well into the hollows of the cheek.

Hakuhodo J5543 ($60) is very similar and is only 2mm shorter in length and thickness (though Hakuhodo lists it as 11.5mm in thickness, mine is 18mm after washing and use)–it is not quite as dense, which results in a lighter application, though I felt realistically you can layer and apply as much/as little with either brush, it’s a matter of technique, pressure, and amount of product you initially pick-up. I also think that many will prefer a softer blush application to start than one that provides for a more pigmented application right off the bat. Generally, denser/thicker brushes will yield more color payoff and coverage, and then fluffier, sparser brushes will give you a softer, sheerer color payoff and coverage. I don’t have it to compare, but the J501 ($96) is longer (44mm) and less thick (16.8mm); J505 ($69) is also longer (38mm) and less thick (15mm). MAC 116 ($35) is much less dense, not as soft, and is narrower/more flared.

Bronzer (05) Brush ($115.00) is a massive, dense, thick brush that’s wide, flares out towards the top and has a slightly domed edge. I have to reiterate that this brush is huge, and it’s one of the larger brushes I have. The brush is 45mm in length, 50mm in width, and 30mm in thickness. The handle is quite thick at 21mm across in diameter, flat-bottomed, and the brush has a total length of 6.7 inches or 17 centimeters. It has a metal ferrule that is pinched towards the top. The overall shape is similar to both the Cheek (06) and Cream Foundation (02) brushes, which this being the largest, the Cheek falling in the middle, and the Cream Foundation being the baby of the family. The bristles are layered, so the outermost bristles are shorter than the ones in the middle. They move, feel, and act like one in many ways; you do not feel bristles or fibers against the skin, just a seamless sweep across the face.

While it’s designed for bronzer, and it certainly applies bronzing powder well and blends it out nicely, the brush is quite large and so it will depend in your application and face shape/size whether it’s really a feasible/worthwhile tool. It picks up powder products quite well, which may make products seem too pigmented if you tend to be heavy-handed. Less is more, and you’ll spend less time diffusing and blending out whatever product you may apply. I must admit that I personally like using this for applying finishing, setting, and loose/pressed powders/foundations over bronzer, as I regularly wear those and wear bronzer less, so I can get more use out of it that way. I had two to three hairs shed during the first two or three uses, but after that, I did not have any issues with it shedding. It washes easily, though be prepared for a slightly longer drying time compared to smaller brushes–it’s just so large. It dries in less than a day, though, and some of the synthetic brushes that are closer to this size, take a full day.

If you are even the slightest bit seduced by brush softness and don’t want to splurge on this product, I highly recommend never, ever touching it. Ever. It is like a combination of silk and cream against the skin. One thing I’ve learned is that brushes can be had at all price points, and like anything that’s a splurge, you have to not just love it but use it. If it just sits there, it’s never going to be worth it. If you use it every day, you get joy out of using it, then it might be just the right reward for yourself.

I gathered similar brushes to compare to this one, but its greatest difference is how dense, full, and lush it is. It is just packed with feathery, silky-smooth bristles. MAC 134 ($53) is the brush closest to this that I have, though it feels noticeably rough and scratchy in comparison, is more flared out, and is 30-40% less thick/dense (just my estimate!). OCC Powder Brush ($28) is narrower at the base with a stronger flare, and it is a thinner, less densely-packed brush. I don’t have any Hakuhodo brushes that I purchased that compare to this, but I did try to make an educated guess comparing the measurements, and the closest I could find was the J5541 ($111), which is half as thick (13mm vs. 30mm), and the J501 ($96), which is 6mm shorter in length and half as thick (16.8mm vs. 30mm). Make Up For Ever #128 ($52) is a brush that also has a very large brush head and a fairly thick/dense quality to it, but the shape is really quite different. I do prefer the #128 for loose/setting powder application (I feel like you can press better) but Tom Ford’s is better for dusting, sweeping, and feathering those products across the skin.

Tom Ford Beauty   Cheek (06) Brush
0
Product
0
Pigmentation
0
Texture
0
Longevity
0
Application
0%
Total
Tom Ford Beauty   Bronzer (05) Brush
0
Product
0
Pigmentation
0
Texture
0
Longevity
0
Application
0%
Total

See more photos!

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Make Up For Ever #110 Medium Foundation Kabuki & #126 Medium Powder Brushes Reviews & Photos

Make Up For Ever #110 Medium Foundation Kabuki Brush
Make Up For Ever #110 Medium Foundation Kabuki Brush

Make Up For Ever #110 Medium Foundation Kabuki Brush ($48.00) is a tapered kabuki brush, and the tapered edge definitely separates it from my other kabuki brushes. The brush head measures 40mm in length, 30mm in width, and 30mm in thickness. It has a short handle (as you’d expect for a kabuki) with a total brush length of 3 inches or 7.5 centimeters.

The brush is incredibly dense, soft and silky against the skin, but it’s flexible enough to easily allow the tapered edge to curve around the nose and underneath the eye. Make Up For Ever recommends this for cream and liquid foundations, first and foremost, though it is also recommended for loose and pressed powders. I liked it best with liquid foundation, and it does tend to apply with heavier coverage, so if you tend to prefer a very sheer or light foundation application, it won’t be a go-to for you. I also used it to blend out edges of powder blush/bronzer, and it works, but I’m more inclined to reach for a buffer brush (like the #126 below) for that.

Make Up For Ever has five kabuki brushes in their range; the #102 is a smaller version of the #110, while the #124 has the more traditional dome-shape. There is also the #132, which is a flattened version, and the #414, which is a body brush. If you actually wanted to really buff and blend using the top of the brush, I would steer you away from this, as the tapered tip is tapered and firm enough that it works better for sweeping at an angle, not straight-on like many kabuki brushes are used.

#126 Medium Powder Brush ($55.00) is a large, dense, dome-shaped brush designed to be used for loose and pressed powder application with “moderate-to-high coverage.” It’s incredibly dense, thick, and very lush. The brush fibers are soft, silky, and glide across the skin almost as if they were one. The brush head is 40mm long, 40mm wide, and 40mm thick. The weight is more concentrated towards the brush head, and I would have preferred a better weight distribution to give the handle more heft. The handle is particular thick–about 3/4 of an inch in diameter at its thickest point. The total length of the brush is just over 7 inches or 18 centimeters. The ferrule is particularly long, even for a face brush, and is an open/round ferrule (no pinching).

This brush actually reminded me of a kabuki or buffer brush–in fact, the shape and size of MAC 182 is almost a dead-ringer, except for the handle. If you’ve always loved the shape of a kabuki brush but wanted a longer handle, this brush will definitely give you that. I loved it for blending and buffing out powder blush and bronzer, and it also worked for applying loose powder all-over. It tends to pick up powder a bit more than a fluffier brush, so for setting and finishing powders, I think it ends up yielding a too powdery finish. For powder foundation, though, it works to give light to medium coverage fairly easily.

One downside to both of these was that they take forever to dry (at least a full 24 hours) if you’ve done a full wash of them. On the plus side, I really didn’t feel like I had much in the way of similar brushes in my stash. The tapered shape of the #110 definitely makes it more unique compared to other kabuki brushes, while the fullness and denseness of the #126 make it different from other long-handled powder brushes I have (which tend to be less dense and fluffier), but it is comparable to the more traditional kabuki brush shape and density.

Make Up For Ever   #110 Medium Foundation Kabuki Brush
0
Product
0
Pigmentation
0
Texture
0
Longevity
0
Application
0%
Total
Make Up For Ever   #126 Medium Powder Brush
0
Product
0
Pigmentation
0
Texture
0
Longevity
0
Application
0%
Total

See more photos!

5 Shades of Teal for a Cause – National Wear Teal Day

This post is inspired by today being National Wear Teal Day, which is a day to help raise awareness for ovarian cancer, and it was brought to my attention particularly by Laura Mercier. The brand has a history of raising awareness and supporting women with ovarian cancer through the Laura Mercier Ovarian Cancer Fund as well as on the cosmetic side, the brand also donates 100% of the profits of three of their products towards the cause.

I, of course, need little push to wear teal, as it is one of my favorite colors, but today, teal has more meaning. Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer-related death among women (per Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, which has a great infographic here) and only 15% of cases are detected early, which is a key reason for raising awareness, particularly of potential symptoms and risk factors. You can learn more about early detection here.

Here are my five favorites right now:

  1. Urban Decay Deep End — a bluish-teal with a frosted finish
  2. Zoya Giovanna — a shimmering teal with a slight green tint
  3. Fyrinnae Gender Bent — a brightened teal with a soft pearl finish
  4. Illamasqua Apocalips — to really make a statement, a matte teal lipstick
  5. Inglot #338 — a deep, blue-teal with a matte finish

What’s your favorite teal?

Wet ‘n’ Wild Hard Being the It Girl Color Icon Eyeshadow Trio Quick

Wet 'n' Wild Hard Being the It Girl Color Icon Eyeshadow Trio
Wet ‘n’ Wild Hard Being the It Girl Color Icon Eyeshadow Trio

Wet ‘n’ Wild Hard Being the It Girl Color Icon Eyeshadow Trio ($2.99 for 0.12 oz.) contains a light-medium pink, cobalt blue, and yellow-y beige, all with matte finishes. The eyeshadows suffer from a really poor texture that is very powdery (almost dusty!), somewhat chalky, and a pain to use. Through a lot of different attempts at using the trios from the summer collection, your best bet is applying the eyeshadows over a creamy, slightly tacky white base (whatever that may be for you), as regular primers (like Urban Decay Primer Potion, Too Faced shadow Insurance, NARS Smudge Proof) do not work well with these–they only prolong wear by a few hours but don’t boost the color payoff enough. A tackier base will help minimize the powder sheering away or not adhering to the lid, while the white coloring will amplify the colors.

Wet ‘n’ Wild proclaims long-wear and high pigment with the Color Icon formula–which has proved to be true in the past–but is a miss here. Alone, these eyeshadows are nearly gone (with some settled into the creases) within three to five hours; with a primer, make it six to seven hours with half the product remaining and it always looking like a faded version of what you see in the palette.

Hard Being the It Girl #1 is a light-medium pink with subtle cool undertones and a mostly matte finish. It had good color payoff, but it was somewhat chalky and powdery. See comparison swatches.

Hard Being the It Girl #2 a medium-dark, cobalt blue with a matte finish. It had seemingly good color payoff, but the texture was still quite powdery so this proved for difficult application–it would sheer out and disappear almost instantly. You really need a sticky/creamy base to capture all the powder before it disappears. Pat on, avoid blending a lot, just lightly diffuse along the edges. See comparison swatches.

Hard Being the It Girl #3 is a light beige with slight yellow undertones and a mostly matte finish. It performed much like the other two: incredibly powdery which made for poor application. See comparison swatches.

If you think that maybe I’m expecting too much for the price tag, consider the previous palettes Wet ‘n’ Wild has released that have been much, much better like Comfort Zone and Blue Had Me at Hello.

* Please note: This is a quick review, but I’ve still pulled dupes, I just haven’t gone through them one-by-one and broken out how they differ.

Wet 'n' Wild Color Icon Eyeshadow Trio Hard Being the It Girl
6.5
Product
6.5
Pigmentation
7
Texture
5.5
Longevity
3
Application
63%
Total
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