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  • HautelookUp to 59% off MAC Cosmetics, includes eyeshadows, palettes, blushes, eyeliners, lipsticks, and more, ends 8/20.
  • Muse BeautyBuy any 2 Viseart eyeshadow palettes for $128 (plus get three Esum eyeshadow brushes), ends 8/21.
  • Neiman MarcusGet up to a $300 gift card with your select purchase of $500+ (beauty/fragrance included) with code NMAUG, ends 8/22.

MAC x Antonio Lopez Makeup Bag Quick Review & Photos

MAC x Antonio Lopez Makeup Bag
MAC x Antonio Lopez Makeup Bag

MAC x Antonio Lopez Makeup Bag ($40.00) is a limited edition makeup bag that will be available exclusively to MAC stores beginning on September 12th. It’s 8.5 inches wide, 5.5 inches tall, and 1.5 inches thick. The front half has a satin-like material, while the back half has a velveteen feel. Inside, it’s a thinner black material (I’m not sure what it is, but it didn’t seem water-repellant at the very least–definitely not something like vinyl). It has a zipper opening, and one thing I noticed was that the zipper doesn’t actually extend for the entire width of the bag; it’s slightly shorter. I don’t know if I would use this for makeup, due to the types of materials used here, so I might keep tools or small accessories for traveling in this, rather than anything that might stain or spill.

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MAC Retro Matte Collection for Fall 2013

With its one-of-a-kind Retro Matte texture, Ruby Woo Lipstick has become a smash hit both on and off the runway. Inspired by its stunning popularity, M•A•C has revamped this lipstick legend with invigorating, bold shades in its Retro Matte finish. Eye-catching new colours like Dangerous and All Fired Up create a look that’s feminine yet fierce. M•A•C also introduces its Pro Longwear Lip Pencils in a vibrant, NEW colour palette, giving this long-lasting and transfer-proof lip pencil an exhilarating makeover.

Lipstick ($15.00 U.S. / $18.00 CDN)

  • Steady Going Light pink matte
  • Runway Hit Light nude matte
  • Dangerous Orangey red matte (New, Permanent)
  • Relentlessly Red Bright pinkish coral matte (New, Permanent)
  • All Fired Up Bright fuchsia matte (New, Permanent)
  • Flat Out Fabulous Bright plum matte (New, Permanent)
  • Ruby Woo Very matte vivid blue red (Repromote, Permanent)
  • Fixed on Drama Rich wine matte

Pro Longwear Lip Pencil ($19.50 U.S. / $23.00 CDN)

  • In Anticipation Soft yellow pink (Repromote)
  • Staunchly Stylish Pink beige (Repromote)
  • Shock Value Bright pink cream (New, Permanent)
  • Dynamo Bright peony (New, Permanent)
  • High Energy Bright orange red cream (New, Permanent)
  • Trust in Red Bright cool red cream (New, Permanent)
  • More to Love Intense bluish pink (Repromote)
  • Fashion Boost Bright purple cream

Availability: September 12, 2013 in-stores, online the week of September 3rd, 2013 (North America), September 2013 (International)

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MAC Pro Longwear Collection for Fall 2013

Pro Longwear for eyes returns in seven new shades. From creamy beige to brilliant blue-green and shimmering silver, Pro Longwear Paint Pots deliver highly dimensional colour with a luxurious finish. They apply smoothly and dry with vibrant intensity. New shades of Pro Longwear Eye Liner define eyes with a dense, water-resistant formula that glides on comfortably and stays for 12 hours. From eggplant to army green and sheer gold, coordinate with Paint Pots for a chic, modern look that lasts.

Pro Longwear Paint Pot ($20.00 U.S. / $24.00 CDN)

  • Chrome Angel Platinum silver
  • Let’s Skate Pale pink with pearl (Repromote)
  • Perky Cream coral with white pearl (Repromote)
  • Rubenesque Golden peach with gold pearl (Repromote)
  • Layin’ Low Creamy beige (Repromote)
  • Clearwater Sea foam
  • Antique Diamond Frosted olive silver (Repromote)
  • Camel Coat Muted beige
  • Tailor Grey Muted grey
  • Stormy Pink Muted grey purple
  • Constructivist Metallic brown with red pearl (Repromote)
  • Blackground Black-gray with multi-color (Repromote)

Pro Longwear Eyeliner ($19.50 U.S. / $23.00 CDN)

  • Powerline Muted gold
  • Devotion Deep army green
  • Strong Willed Deep eggplant
  • Definitely Black Deep black

Pro Longwear Foundation ($31.00 U.S. / $36.00 CDN)

  • NW NW13, NW15, NW18, NW22, NW43, NW47
  • NC NC37, NC44

Pro Longwear Concealer ($19.00 U.S. / $22.50 CDN)

  • NC NC25

Availability: September 5, 2013 in-stores (all permanent), September 2013 (International), October 2013 (Asia)

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Introduction to Hakuhodo & Hakuhodo J104 Powder Brush Round Review & Photos

Hakuhodo J104 Powder Brush Round
Hakuhodo J104 Powder Brush Round

Before we get to the review, let’s talk a bit about Hakuhodo first. Hakuhodo is a prestige makeup brush line that produces brushes under its own name, but it is also an OEM (original equipment manufacturer), which means it will create brushes to another company’s specifications. For instance, it is rumored that Tom Ford’s brushes are manufactured by Hakuhodo. So if you had the cash, you could create your own brush range working with Hakuhodo. And if you don’t, you can buy directly from their own branded products. Hakuhodo’s (U.S.) customer service is really knowlegdable and helpful, so if you have any questions, I highly, highly recommend giving them a quick call to ask (or you can e-mail via their contact form). This morning, I reached out and spoke with Stephanie with a few questions.

What’s the difference between Hakuhodo’s brush series?

I know this was my first question about the brand was what was the difference between all the different series, and she happily informed me that the quality and (in general) the shapes are the same across the series, but the handles differ, which is why the S100 and Kokutan series are more expensive. I picked up the J104, but you can find the same shape in the B series ($66) and S series ($94), with the latter two having black goat hair compared to white goat hair. The S series uses wood handles colored in “rich vermilion” and the brass ferrule is plated with 24-karat gold with a clear coating; the brush handle also comes to a slanted point at the end. The Kokutan series features an ebony wood handle with slightly shorter handles. The J series primarily focuses on using white goat hair, G series on black goat hair, and the two are some of the newer series. Stephanie encouraged me to send her an email if I found a shape in one series that I liked and couldn’t find in another, as most of the shapes crossover through the different series–so I recommend you doing the same.

They’re expensive. Are they worth it?

If you start your search by looking at the S or Kokutan series, then yes, they are particularly expensive, but if you look at the B, J, K, or G series, you’ll find the pricing to be comparable to mid to high-end brush brands like MAC, Dior, Chanel, etc. Face and powder brushes range from $24 to $216 with many brushes between $40 and $80. Cheek brushes range from $22 to $156 with many brushes between $30 and $60. Eyeshadow and eyeliner brushes range from $14 to $81 with many brushes between $15 and $30. For example, the J104 is a very large powder brush made out of white goat hair (a more premium material) for $80, while MAC’s 134 Large Powder Brush is $53 and their 150 Large Powder Brush is $42; Chanel #1 Powder Brush is $65, Bobbi Brown Powder Brush is $60. Now, all of those brushes have black bristles, which would make it more comparable to the B104, which is priced at $66–more comparable in price to the others listed there. Here’s another example, using an eyeshadow brush: the J142 is a tapered crease brush that costs $18 and J5529 is another tapered crease brush that costs $16, while MAC’s 224 Tapered Blending Brush is $32, Edward Bess Luxury Eye Brush is $40, Tom Ford Eyeshadow Blend Brush is $55. So long as you don’t opt for the higher-end handle, the majority of crease brushes from Hakuhodo ranged from $16 to $30. The pricing can be more than high-end brands or less than, and it will depend on the individual brush, hair used (it can be difficult to find out exactly what type of hair a brand uses), and, of course, handle chosen. 

Over the years, what I have found to determine that “is it worth it” question in regards to brushes is how often you USE the brush.  If it’s not the right shape that you want for that type of application, it will just sit there, no matter how soft or lovely it is.  If it is THE powder brush, THE blush brush, then yes, it’s worth it.  (This is really true for any beauty product or anything that is more expensive than the norm.) You have to use it, and you have to be unhappy with what you have if you’re looking to replace, but if you already love what you own, you may not find that the differential is that great. As someone who owns just about every MAC brush released in the past five years and all permanent ones, I can tell you that I don’t use the majority of them. Though I bought all more to review here on the blog, for personal use, my money would have been better spent on doubling or tripling up on brushes I used regularly.  If I was starting over, I would buy across brands with a mixture of natural, synthetic, and blend brushes with the shapes that worked best for my application style and face shape.

What type of hair should be used with what?

The general rule of thumb in makeup brushes is synthetic brushes are best for liquids and creams, while natural brushes are best for powders. Hakuhodo strongly recommends using powders only with brushes made from black goat or squirrel hair. For liquid and cream application, horse, weasel, water badger, synthetic, and white goat hair can be used, but they recommend considering a blend of synthetic and natural for best application. Part of the reason for this distinction is to minimize the degree your brushes need to be washed, as Hakuhodo recommends washing minimally (see their brush care guide). Hakuhodo has a good FAQ regarding the different types of hair here. You know, like if you’ve ever wondered what the difference was between Blue, Tree, and Pine Squirrels, you’ll find it there (a very useful read well worth the time).

If you’d like to further fall down a rabbit hole of makeup brushes, you can do some googling for brands like Chikuhodo and Suqqu (which is manufactureed by Chikuhodo). Those are both harder to obtain in the states (not impossible), so I really appreciate that you can purchase Hakuhodo direct from the company, and even better, they ship from within the U.S. so you’re not getting gouged or having to deal with exchange rates. The only downside is outside of trade shows (like IMATS), it’s tough to try before you buy, and they only accept returns of unused product (they say they may make exceptions, though). Items are shipped via USPS Priority, and I made two separate orders, both of which I received two days from when I order.

Hakuhodo J104 Powder Brush Round ($80.00) is a large brush with a very slightly domed edge with a brush head that is medium in size at the base and then flares out. It’s made out of white goat hair and has a black wood handle with a nickel-plated brass ferrule. The brush head is 50mm in length, 45mm in width (at the top) / 20mm in width (at the base), and 20mm in thickness. It is 7.4 inches/18.5cm in total length. It is also available as S104 ($94) or B104 ($66) with black bristles.

It’s moderately dense but airy enough to work well with powder application without caking powder on but more than just a fine dusting of powder. There’s some springiness to the brush that enables it to be pressed and feathered across the skin with ease. I think this brush is going to be too large for some faces–in some ways, it reminds me of the size of a buffing brush with a long handle (the shape/density/function is not comparable, just the size).

For those most familiar with MAC brushes, this is most comparable to MAC’s 150 brush. The 150 is not as full or as round (it is slightly thinner) and has more domed edges, but their purposes and applications are similar. MAC’s 150 brush only started to feel scratchy to me in the past year or two, but when I initially used it, I wouldn’t have described it as the softest brush I owned, only “not the softest.” The J104 is infinitely softer, there’s no doubt about that, so it feels better against the skin, which would be important for anyone with drier or more sensitive skin. (Softness is not the be-all, end-all of brush quality; it is just one factor to consider.) I like it better than the MAC 150 (and for that matter, the 134 and 136), but I actually prefer Make Up For Ever’s #128 for setting and finishing powders, but both are great brushes and it would come down to personal preference for shape, brush material, etc.

I can’t personally attest to how the brush holds up over years, as I’ve had this particular one for two weeks, but the brand has been around a long time, so the universe at large (from what I’ve been able to research) has not had issues with the brush holding up to prolonged use. I’ve made a note on my calendar to revise this particularly aspect in a year’s time 🙂

If you’ve tried this brush (or the equivalent S104 or B104), would you consider leaving a review here?

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Wet ‘n’ Wild A Regular at the Factory Color Icon Eyeshadow Trio

Wet 'n' Wild A Regular at the Factory Color Icon Eyeshadow Trio
Wet ‘n’ Wild A Regular at the Factory Color Icon Eyeshadow Trio

Wet ‘n’ Wild A Regular at the Factory Color Icon Eyeshadow Trio ($2.99 for 0.12 oz.) is a limited edition palette for summer, so you’ll have to hunt around your local drugstores for this one (I’ve yet to spot any of the Pop Art displays in my area, which means it hasn’t arrived yet or it has already sold out!). This was one of the “better” trios I tested, though it was still underwhelming, due to the incredible powderiness across the shades. These absolutely need to be worn over a primer, because they are prone to fading and creasing–they lasted a mere four hours before fading significantly without a primer–and even over primer, they didn’t last beyond eight hours.  They’re powdery, easily sheered out (but harder to build up), prone to fading, and really do not show why Color Icon eyeshadows were so coveted when they first debuted. (And Color Icon is a formula touted as highly pigmented and long-wearing.)

A Regular at the Factory #1 is a muted, light-medium yellow with a mostly matte finish. This shade was powdery, slightly chalky, so it was prone to sheering out when applied. It’s best to pat and pack it on and only blend the very edges as necessary. NARS Misfit #1 is less yellow. Make Up For Ever #102 is lighter. See comparison swatches.

A Regular at the Factory #2 is a medium, cyan blue with a matte finish. It had so-so color payoff as it was powdery, so the color didn’t bind well together, which gave it a slightly uneven appearance. Again, pat and pack on the eyeshadow to maximize the color and minimize the fall out–and if you have a slightly tacky base, even better. NARS Mad, Mad World #1 is darker. Milani Olympian Blue is much darker. MAC Electric Eel is slightly darker. Make Up For Ever #72 is similar. Make Up For Ever #118 is lighter. Inglot #371 is very similar. See comparison swatches.

A Regular at the Factory #3 is a brightened, medium orange with yellow undertones and a mostly matte finish. It had fairly good pigmentation, and it was the least powdery of the three. Fyrinnae Pyromantic Erotica is more shimmery. Disney Rajah is darker. Illamasqua Vulgar is slightly lighter. See comparison swatches.

Wet 'n' Wild Color Icon Eyeshadow Trio A Regular at the Factory
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Also In This Review

Chanel Apparition Illusion d’Ombre Eyeshadow

Chanel Apparition Illusion d'Ombre Eyeshadow
Chanel Apparition Illusion d’Ombre Eyeshadow

Chanel Apparition Illusion d’Ombre Eyeshadow ($36.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a deepened, yet muted, navy blue with blue and purple shimmer for a slightly frosted sheen. NARS Ubangi is bluer. MAC Bleuluxe #4 is darker. Tom Ford Cobalt Rush #2 is similar, slightly lighter, powder. Le Metier de Beaute Sapphire is purpler, powder. MAC Thru the Night is brighter, powder. MAC Naval Blue is lighter, powder. See comparison swatches.

This shade originally launched last fall in the Bleu Illusion de Chanel collection, and by the time I received mine and had tested it, the product was sold out. So it’s sat in my “to review” folder since, and I hoped it might make a reappearance–and sure enough, it finally has. Part of a very small release Jeux de Regard, it’s being repromoted (along with Convoitise), plus two new eyeshadow quads, Fascination and Seduction, and an eyeliner, Bleu Exquis (I don’t have any of the new products). The products are available now at Nordstrom.

Apparition has fairly good color payoff in a single layer, and when it is sheered out, it appears darker, almost sooty. It’s buildable to opaque color. The consistency is like a gel-mousse hybrid, and it feels sponge-like in the container. It’s soft, lightly creamy, and spreads and blends well on the lid. This shade lasted eight hours well on me but showed slight creasing and some noticeable fading around the edges by the ninth hour of wear.

Chanel Illusion d’Ombre Long Wear Luminous Eyeshadow Apparition

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