Saturday, September 7th, 2013

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.

The Glossover

product

Cheek (06) Brush

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.

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Bronzer (05) Brush

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.

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Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

September is the beginning of all things autumn for me. The temperatures have already started to cool down by me, though it’s still warm overall, the nights are cooling down. I’ve always been partial to September, as I am a September baby :) Usually, the real start of fall begins with my first sip of Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte, but they already brought it back (and it was delicious!). By this point, I’ve typically reviewed several fall color collections, which is perfect timing so I can include some of those favorites while they can still be purchased. This month’s Tempting 10 features more recently released shades from the fall collections, but I still wanted to highlight a few favorites that you can find all year-long.

  1. Dior Millenium — a shimmering warm-toned, pewter in a cream formula that can be used as a sheer wash or built up for more intensity.
  2. Sugarpill Cold Chemistry Palette — it is such a perfect mix of deep, smoky shades for fall with excellent color payoff across the board.
  3. Color Club Beyond – a deep, warm, smoky gray-black with holographic shimmer–like ash from a crackling fireplace with dancing, fiery bits of shimmer.
  4. Urban Decay Vice — a rich, plummy purple polish with a soft, shimmering pearl.
  5. Milani Purr-fect Purple – a vibrant, rich purple eyeshadow with shimmer–perfect for accenting the eye!
  6. Tom Ford Love Lust – it’s a warmer, more muted coral, so it’s a lovely transition shade from summer to fall
  7. Guerlain Madame Batifole — creamy, hydrating, incredibly pigmented, and long-wearing makes this a rich, fuchsia-shimmered berry-red a true joy to wear.
  8. Tom Ford She-Wolf — it’s pricey, but not only is it a palette I could easily see myself reaching for time and time again, it was a palette that readers gravitated towards. It was easily one of the most viewed products from all fall color collections!
  9. Benefit Rockateur — a rose gold blush is subtle, wears well, and reminds me of the colors of autumn; rusty in a way, but still warm and inviting.
  10. Too Faced Pretty Rebel Palette — ten glorious shades of bold, bright, eye-catching shadows with buttery, soft, and smooth textures and excellent color payoff.

I hope you’ll consider sharing your must-haves for September 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, August 25th, 2013

Tom Ford Deeper (01) Eye Defining Pencil Pen
Tom Ford Deeper (01) Eye Defining Pencil Pen

Tom Ford Deeper (01) Eye Defining Pencil Pen ($55.00) is a double-ended liquid eyeliner with a calligraphy brush on one end and a squatter, thicker felt-tip on the other. It’s a very deep black (and frustratingly, I still can’t get my black liquid eyeliners to really photograph as black as they are–they always turn brown-ish), but I can assure it is an incredibly rich, deep dark black.

The calligraphy brush is amazing; it makes applying liquid eyeliner a breeze, and you can achieve such thin, precise lines with hardly any pressure. The brush is nicely saturated, so it doesn’t skip or drag while applying, so you can get crisp, opaque line. The calligraphy brush is capable of thicker lines, but it excels at the thin lines in particular.  The formula is very wet, and it takes a few seconds to dry down and set.

The felt-tip side can create thicker lines while still applying with continuous flow across the skin–no dragging or skipping. In the swatch, you can see the eyeliner bled outside the original line, compared with the calligraphy brush as an applicator, which delivered an equally thick line but no bleeding. Sometimes, this can occur when swatched, but the actual performance on the eyelid is better, which was the case here (same thing happened with Hourglass Jett).  The actual liquid eyeliner, regardless of which applicator is used, lasted ten hours on me without flaking or smudging. It removed easily with my shu uemura cleansing oil.

I haven’t tried it myself, but I have heard good things about Jesse’s Girl Liquid Eyeliner, which has an applicator that looks incredibly similar to the calligraphy brush end to this, so I’m definitely going to keep an eye out for that in stores and see how it compares, because I know that this price point is difficult to swallow. (And there are many stellar black liquid eyeliners on the market.)

The Glossover

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Deeper (01)

Temptalia Recommends
A+

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

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Friday, August 16th, 2013

Tom Ford In the Pink Ombre Eye Color Trio Palette
Tom Ford In the Pink Ombre Eye Color Trio Palette

Tom Ford In the Pink Ombre Eye Color Trio Palette ($60.00) is described as “pink rose, pink champagne, ballet slipper pink.” It’s a limited edition palette that contains three eyeshadows; mine came in sample packaging (no official labels or boxes), so I’m not sure of the amount of product in each, but the pans don’t look small. Tom Ford’s fall collection has started popping up at local counters but not yet online, though I’m sure it will be soon as the official launch is September. I think She Wolf was a more versatile palette that could work across a variety of skin tones, but In the Pink is more confined. I think really fair or darker complexions could make this work; on my medium complexion, it just runs together.

Though it not be as appealing to as many, the quality is there. Like the other palette in the collection, the texture is first and foremost: silky-smooth satin and matte shades, and then a more sparkly shade that almost feels wet and creamy. The pigmentation across the three shades was actually even better than She Wolf. When I wore the trio together, the two less shimmery shades wore well for eight hours and showed some signs of fading after just over nine hours of wear (no primer). The sparkly shade held up surprisingly well, though there was some noticeable (a little more than minor but there was far more on the lid than underneath it) fall out from the sparkles. The amount of fall out were significantly less than I’ve previously experienced with some of the shades in his quads. I feel like the base color holds the sparkles together better, which gives everything more adhesive power on the lid.

In the Pink #1 is a pale, light pink with subtle warm, yellow undertones and a mostly matte finish. It had excellent color payoff, and it didn’t feel powdery, though it did feel incredibly silky. On my lid, though, it’s too close to the skin tone and just looks lost (not something that impacted the rating, but you’ll wonder where it’s gone when you see the photos). LORAC Light Pink is cooler-toned. Marc Jacobs The Tease #3 is lighter. MAC Pen ‘n’ Pink is slightly darker. NARS Bouthan #1 is cooler-toned. Chanel Variation #1 is lighter. bareMinerals Giddy is similar. Inglot #356 is slightly lighter. See comparison swatches.

In the Pink #2 is a warm-toned, rosy peach with hints of beige and a frosted finish. It had rich color payoff, and the texture felt like buttery silk. Dior Chimere is pinker. MAC Jest is warmer, browner. theBalm Third Eye Blinded is less shimmery. MAC Nubile is a cream product. MAC Jete is similar. MAC Sweet Heat is browner. bareMinerals Custom Made is lighter. Inglot #397 is lighter. See comparison swatches.

In the Pink #3 is a light-medium, peachy brown with a lot of pale peach and white sparkle. It had great color payoff, as you could see the base color as well as the sparkles in it. NARS Nepal is similar in color but not in finish. MAC Warming Heart is slightly yellower but is similar. baremInerals Custom Made is pinker, less sparkly (more frosted). See comparison swatches.

The Glossover

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In the Pink

A

Product

9.5/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

5/5

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In the Pink #1

A

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

5/5

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In the Pink #2

A

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

5/5

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Thursday, August 15th, 2013

Tom Ford She Wolf Ombre Eye Color Trio Palette
Tom Ford She Wolf Ombre Eye Color Trio Palette

Tom Ford She Wolf Ombre Eye Color Trio Palette ($60.00) is described as “deep black/brown, light charcoal, and silver lead.” It’s a limited edition palette that contains three eyeshadows; mine came in sample packaging (no official labels or boxes), so I’m not sure of the amount of product in each, but the pans don’t look small. Tom Ford’s fall collection has started popping up at local counters but not yet online, though I’m sure it will be soon as the official launch is September. This is a nice, fairly neutral palette–except it does have a sparkly kick–that I could see some using near-daily and really enjoying. For others, it’s too basic, and I’m sure many of us have similar shades in our stashes.

I was actually quite surprised (pleasantly!) that the sparkly shade didn’t have as much fall out as I’ve seen with other Tom Ford palettes (there is some, but I’d describe it as minor–room for improvement, not disastrous). I wore all three shades together, and I didn’t have any issues with the colors fading or creasing over an eight-hour period (no primer) but some faint signs of fading as we neared nine hours (and then it continued to fade).  Tom Ford actually released an eye primer with this collection (I don’t have it), but I’m certainly curious how it would perform with his sparkly shades (it purports to deliver 15-hour wear). The texture of the palette is incredible, as the two less shimmery shades were unbelievably silky, and then the sparkly shade felt more like a cream than a powder.

She Wolf #1 is a dark brown with neutral to cool undertones. It has a matte finish, and it had good color payoff. The texture was very, very soft–incredibly finely-milled, and you don’t need a lot of pressure to get product on the brush. If you use a lot of pressure, it can get a little powdery. Dior Night Golds #3 is sparkly. bareMInerals Apropos is cooler-toned. MAC Showstopper is similar. LORAC Espresso is slightly darker. bareMinerals Boardroom is a touch warmer. theBalm Matt Ramirez is similar. See comparison swatches.

She Wolf #2 is a dark, gray-tinged brown with reddish-orange tones. It appears to be warm-toned, but the surface has a gray cast to it. It had great color payoff, and the texture felt silky-smooth! Urban Decay Barlust is darker. MAC Aloha is lighter. Guerlain Turandot #4 is warmer. See comparison swatches.

She Wolf #3 is a sparkly, medium brown with slight yellow undertones. It feels almost wet in the pan, and it yields good color payoff (surprisingly!) that was both color and sparkle. Applied, there was some fall out (and I patted it on with a flat, firm brush–MAC’s 242) during application, but very minimal additional fall out while worn. I noticed a few sparkles after eight hours of wear, but the majority had somehow managed to stick to the lid. (I have always had fairly bad luck with Tom Ford’s sparkly shades.)   Disney Sultana is less sparkly. MAC Romantico is darker, warmer. See comparison swatches.

The Glossover

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palette

She Wolf

A-

This is a nice, fairly neutral palette--except it does have a sparkly kick--that I could see some using near-daily and really enjoying. For others, it's too basic, and I'm sure many of us have similar shades in our stashes. I was actually quite surprised (pleasantly!) that the sparkly shade didn't have as much fall out as I've dealt with in other Tom Ford palettes.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

5/5

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She Wolf #1

A

Product

9.5/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

5/5

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She Wolf #2

A

Product

9.5/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

5/5

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Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

Tom Ford Cream Foundation (02) Brush
Tom Ford Cream Foundation (02) Brush

Tom Ford Cream Foundation Brush (02) ($72.00) was created to be used with Tom Ford’s Traceless Foundation Stick, but it can easily be used with liquids as well as true creams. The brush is about 6″ long, while the brush head is about 1″ in height and width and is about a 1/2″ thick. It’s made with natural hair, though I haven’t been able to confirm exactly the type of natural hair (likely goat and potentially something else). The brush is made in Japan, and it’s rumored that Hakuhodo manufactures these, but I haven’t seen it confirmed or mentioned in a press release (only that Tom Ford engaged the world’s leading brush maker in Japan to make them to his exact specifications).  The handle is well-balanced, and the brush head is densely-packed and very, very soft. It’s not a small face brush, but it’s not a large one, so it can still maneuver underneath the eye and around the nose without issue.

This brush excels at both cream and liquid foundation application, as it does not take any more product than is necessary to achieve a natural, even finish. It doesn’t soak up the product, which can sometimes result in a heavier application than you really need. Because it’s so densely-packed, it’s not a fluffy brush, but it is soft and holds its shape well and never leaves streaks or brush lines. It’s really as if all you do is apply the foundation, because there’s no need to blend it afterward–it’s already done. It can also be used with cream blush (even powder), but it stands out most for liquid and cream foundations because of the streak-free finish it leaves behind.

I’ve been using this brush for a year and a half, having received in late 2011. Oh, I’m sure you’re wondering why so long, and that’s really because it’s at such a luxury price point that I’ve wanted to not just put it through the paces but incorporate it into my regular routine. I really wanted to see how it held up to consistent, prolonged use. One of the things I was most surprised about was how clean and pristine the brush looks after over a hundred washes (I wash my brushes after each use)–still as white as the day it arrived. I haven’t experienced any shedding or funny smells after washes.  It’s retained its shape well over time, and it really shows no signs of wear.  The ferrule is perfectly in place, bristles aren’t splayed at the edges, and it still looks new and shiny.

The majority of my brushes are MAC, though I do have other brands in there, and my often-used brush for foundation is Hourglass No. 2 Foundation/Blush Brush (which is a nice alternative if you prefer Taklon bristles, rather than natural hair).  Tom Ford’s brush is easier to clean and requires even less attention to get a flawless, even finish in comparison, so between the two, yes, Tom Ford gets my personal vote, though the two are both great brushes.  Tom Ford does, however, easily beat my previous go-to MAC 109 for liquid foundation application.

The Glossover

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Cream Foundation Brush (02)

This brush excels at both cream and liquid foundation application, as it does not take any more product than is necessary to achieve a natural, even finish. It doesn't soak up the product, which can sometimes result in a heavier application than you really need. Because it's so densely-packed, it's not a fluffy brush, but it is soft and holds its shape well and never leaves streaks or brush lines.
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