Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

Sephora Pro Angled Blush Brush (#49)
Sephora Pro Angled Blush Brush (#49)

Sephora Pro Angled Blush Brush (#49) ($32.00) is medium-large, rounded, angled brush. Sephora calls it a blush brush, but it could just easily apply bronzer, contouring colors, and so on. The brush head is 34mm in length, 35mm in width (at its widest point), and 20mm in thickness. It has a lightly pinched, metal ferrule and a total brush length of 8.25 inches or 21 centimeters. It works well for applying blush, bronzer, and contouring powders, which were the most frequent ways I used it. If you tend to apply your blush a bit lower and less on the apples, it’s quite nice to fit just along the cheek bone and then feathering the blush upwards over the bone (towards the apples). It also fits nicely into the hollows of the cheek, along the jaw line, and around the edges of the face for contouring. If you have a smaller face, it may be too thick, though.

It’s much denser and less fluffy than MAC 168 ($35). I picked up Hakuhodo J511 ($33) as an angled brush, but it’s significantly smaller–it is also fluffier (like the MAC 168); Hakuhodo has the J531/S106 ($87/$120), both of which are longer (45mm) but thinner (12.5mm)–note, I do not have either of those, but they were both slightly angled. There was also the B512 ($60), which has the same length but is only 10.5mm in thickness. Make Up For Ever #150 is significantly smaller, but it has a similar density–though it is thinner.

Sephora Pro Fan Brush (#65) ($27.00) is a large, fluffy fan brush. The brush head is 38mm in length, 70mm in width, and 7mm in thickness. It has a metal ferrule that’s pinched and overlays part of the base of the bristles. It has a total brush length of almost 8 inches or 20 centimeters. It’s a very fluffy, somewhat splayed brush. I wish it kept its shape just a bit more along the edges, but given the way I tend to apply using this, it doesn’t really impact the application. I typically use fan brushes for very light application of highlighters and blushes; if you’re working with an intensely pigmented blush that you only want a subtle look from, a fan brush (or stippling brush) works well. Fan brushes do the same for an overly frosted or too pigmented highlighter so you can get a glowing look without emphasizing pores. It can, of course, be used however you so desire and with a variety of powder products. It could be used with cream products, but I think it’s a little large so it doesn’t offer as much precision as I’d like when working with creams.

It is much wider and a bit thicker compared to MAC 184 ($24). Hakuhodo J4004 ($26) is more like MAC 184, so it is also narrower, and it is also a thinner, more feathery brush overall.  These two brushes are slightly softer, though, but I wouldn’t describe the Sephora brush as scratchy–just not as soft.

Also, one thing I noticed with Sephora’s Pro brushes is that they’re easily some of the longest-handled brushes relative to a variety of brands, from MAC to Make Up For Ever to NARS to Tom Ford.

The Glossover

product

Pro Angled Blush Brush (#49)

If you tend to apply your blush a bit lower and less on the apples, it's quite nice to fit just along the cheek bone and then feathering the blush upwards over the bone (towards the apples). It also fits nicely into the hollows of the cheek, along the jaw line, and around the edges of the face for contouring. If you have a smaller face, it may be too thick, though.

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product

Pro Fan Brush (#65)

I typically use fan brushes for very light application of highlighters and blushes; if you're working with an intensely pigmented blush that you only want a subtle look from, a fan brush (or stippling brush) works well. Fan brushes do the same for an overly frosted or too pigmented highlighter so you can get a glowing look without emphasizing pores. It can, of course, be used however you so desire and with a variety of powder products. It could be used with cream products, but I think it's a little large so it doesn't offer as much precision as I'd like when working with creams.

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Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

Sephora Romantic Comedy (35) Contour Eye Pencil
Sephora Romantic Comedy (35) Contour Eye Pencil

Sephora Romantic Comedy (35) Contour Eye Pencil ($9.00 for 0.04 oz.) is described as a “flashy pink.” It’s a bright pop of fuchsia-pink with cool, blue undertones, and a smattering of silver sparkle. It had so-so color payoff in a single stroke, and it was buildable to mostly opaque color with two to three layers of product. The consistency was lightly creamy, somewhat waxy, and it glided on well without tugging at the lash line. It wore well for almost ten hours and then started to thin/fade. Urban Decay Woodstock is redder, less blue-based. MAC Process Magenta is redder, darker, matte. See comparison swatches.

Summer Cruise (23) Contour Eye Pencil ($9.00 for 0.04 oz.) is described as a “turquoise.” It’s a light-medium, brightened blue with a silver-y sheen. It had weaker color payoff when applied in a single layer, and when I tried to layer it, I was only able to get medium coverage. The consistency was on the waxy side, so it didn’t seem to build or layer well. It wore well for nine and a half hours, and then it started to fade. Chanel True Blue is a fraction darker. bareMInerals 4AM is also just a bit darker. Tarina Tarantino Kanzashi is slightly brighter. See comparison swatches.

The Glossover

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Romantic Comedy (35)

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Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

4.5/5

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Summer Cruise (23)

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Product

7/10

Pigmentation

7/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

4/5

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Thursday, September 19th, 2013

Sephora Banana Split (10) Contour Eye Pencil
Sephora Banana Split (10) Contour Eye Pencil

Sephora Banana Split (10) Contour Eye Pencil ($9.00 for 0.04 oz.) is described as a “yellow.” It’s a bright, sunny yellow with a matte finish. It’s this matte finish that makes it hard to dupe–I only have one other matte yellow in my stash, which is MAC Primary Yellow, which I find is slightly warmer. The color payoff is good, even in a single stroke, and it’s buildable to mostly opaque color. The consistency is creamy, a little thicker compared to other shades in the formula, but it works well on the lash line as it doesn’t tug or pull and deposits good color from the get-go. It wore well for ten hours on me, which isn’t the full 12-hours that Sephora claims, but relative to other eyeliners, it is a nice, long-lasting shade.

Indulge Yourself (22) Contour Eye Pencil ($9.00 for 0.04 oz.) is described as a “flashy green.” It’s a brightened, grassy green with a subtle, cool undertone but warmer, gold shimmer that brightens and warms it up, so it looks cool and warm at the same time. The finish is pearly–not too frosty but more sheen than a satin. In a one layer, it only had so-so color payoff, and then when layered, it had semi-opaque color coverage but was not an intense, richly pigmented product. It wore well, though, and lasted nine and a half hours when I tested it, and it didn’t tug or pull at the lash line when I applied it. Urban Decay Freak is much lighter. Urban Decay Graffiti would be most comparable. See comparison swatches.

The Glossover

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Banana Split (10)

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Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

5/5

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Indulge Yourself (22)

B-

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

6.5/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

4.5/5

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Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

Sephora 5th Avenue (03) Contour Eye Pencil
Sephora 5th Avenue (03) Contour Eye Pencil

Sephora 5th Avenue (03) Contour Eye Pencil ($9.00 for 0.04 oz.) is described as a “gray.” It’s a dark gray with subtle brown undertones and a matte finish. It had decent color payoff in one layer, but it was very buildable in two layers to opaque color. It wore well for ten hours, and then was somewhat faded (thinner) after eleven hours of wear–it was still visible after the full twelve hours, but it was definitely not exactly as it looked when initially applied. Urban Decay Smoke is similar. bareMInerals 11PM has a slightly satin finish. Bobbi Brown Smoke is less warm-toned–cooler-toned. See comparison swatches.

Diving in Malaysia (18) Contour Eye Pencil ($9.00 for 0.04 oz.) is described as a “black green.” It’s a deep, dark brown with flecks of olive sparkle. It had so-so color payoff in a single stroke, but it was buildable to more opaque color. It wore well for ten hours on me without fading, migrating, or smudging; but after twelve hours, it was noticeably thinner. Urban Decay Demolition has no shimmer. MAC Rich Experience is more matte. MAC Lord It Up is lighter, warmer. MAC Orpheus is lighter. See comparison swatches.

I really love these eyeliners, even though they don’t wear the full twelve hours that Sephora claims (wish they claimed something more reasonable!), as they do wear quite well for eight to ten hours, have great consistencies that aren’t too creamy, not too waxy, and come in a variety of shades.  Plus, they’re priced just right!

The Glossover

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5th Avenue (03)

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Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

5/5

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Diving in Malaysia (18)

A-

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

5/5

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Thursday, August 1st, 2013

Maybelline Vibrant Mandarin NARS Taos Zoya Beatrix YSL Vert d'Orient Illamasqua Supernatural Burberry Cameo Pink Burberry Cameo Pink OCC New Wave OCC New Wave Urban Decay Radium Sephora Fairytale Marc Jacobs The Starlet

The Tempting 10 features my top product picks for the upcoming month, and these are all products I’ve reviewed in the past (you can click around the image above or use the links below to see more photos, swatches, etc.). I think it’s a great way for me to share old favorites (but always ones that are permanent!) and highlight recent limited editions that have captured my attention.  Asking me to narrow anything down to a top ten is difficult, but I’ve tried to capture products across brands, price points, and even types, for a more well-rounded list.

August is that month that, for me, will always be the last real month of summer, even if technically it’s not over.  I think a lot of it has to do with being in school until I was 25, so August meant back-to-school shopping, enjoying the last days with no essays, no textbooks, and no looming exams, and getting away with (at least some of the time) doing nothing.  Now that I’ve graduated from school, summer is a little different, but there’s a part of me that still gets nervous when August 1st pops up on the calendar, because I think, “Nooo, school!”  To that end, I look at the month as one filled with fun, which is why my favorites are vibrant and rich.  I also think with the hot temperatures we see in August, brighter colors just feel so appropriate, and then formulas that are minimalist or long-wearing are musts.  I love how one statement color, whether on eyes, lips, or nails (or wherever else!) can instantly make one look alive and colorful and present without spending a lot of time or having to worry about it breaking down easily.

Bonus: a lot of these products work well for anyone hurried in the mornings or doesn’t want to touch-up a lot during the day–so perfect for those of you who are heading back to school this fall.

  1. Maybelline Vibrant Mandarin — a rich, vibrant orange-red for the perfect pop of color in the summer when you want to look a little done up but not actually wear a lot of makeup
  2. NARS Taos — a bolder, super pigment-rich shade that can be worn subtly or intensely in a burnt red with gold shimmer–the more you blend and buff it into the skin, the more glowy it looks
  3. Zoya Beatrix – a sparkling, dazzling tangerine for your nails that wears well, too
  4. YSL Vert d’Orient – a rich, decadent teal cream that makes me think of swimming pools, tropical islands, and vacation
  5. Illamasqua Supernatural — a dewy, bronzy glow that gives skin a wet, shimmering look
  6. Burberry Cameo Pink – a beautiful, glossy coral-pink shimmered with gold with semi-opaque color coverage
  7. OCC New Wave – glossy, shiny, stained glass color that is lighter than lipstick but still more pigmented than traditional gloss; New Wave being a pinky-red with subtle cool undertones–like a juicy watermelon for your lips
  8. Urban Decay Radium — a deep blue with a frosted finish and would work well paired with golds, greens, aquas, and teals (if the eyeshadow is too much, there is always the eyeliner!)
  9. Sephora Fairytale — shimmer like a mermaid with this blue-based teal that has green and gold shimmer; I love wearing shades like this (I am a teal eyeliner junkie) on the lower lash line with not much else on the eyes for an instant burst of color
  10. Marc Jacobs The Starlet – it’s a lovely palette, period, but I think it’s a nice transition piece from summer to fall, and August, no doubt, is going to be an interesting month for MJB, since we’ll see the full release and I can’t wait to hear what the beauty world says about the range!

I’d also like to take a moment in this post to plead with Tom Ford to make his Cream Colors in Escapade and Pink Haze permanent, because had they not completely sold out months ago (part of the summer collection), they would have earned a spot here most definitely.

I hope you’ll consider sharing your must-haves for August in the comments! Here’s a quickie list to get you started…

  • Must-Have Eye Products:
  • Must-Have Cheek/Face Products:
  • Must-Have Lip Products:
  • Must-Have Hair/Skin Products:
Sunday, July 28th, 2013

5 Must-Have Teals Under $10

Who says you can’t enjoy a vibrant teal without spending a lot? Here are five fabulous shades that are of good quality as well as being incredibly affordable. You can see them all side-by-side here.

Also! If you have any suggestions for a top 5 list, please comment with your idea! If you like this one, there are over two hundred more 5 Ways posts I’ve done in the past :)

Do you have a favorite budget-friendly teal-hued shade?