Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

Real Techniques Bold Metals Brushes
Real Techniques Bold Metals Brushes

Real Techniques Bold Metals Brushes ($15.99 to $25.99) are intended to be a premium range above the standard range of brushes that made the brand so popular. I don’t know that they’re really softer or more usable than their original brushes, which are more affordable. I think that they tried to create some more unique/interesting shapes, and as a result, I find that whether the good brushes are worth picking up depends on your needs and preferences even more so than usual. The only brush that I anticipate using going forward (now that I’m done testing them) is the #202 Angled Liner brush, but if I did more contouring, I would also consider the #301 Flat Contour Brush.

Real Techniques #100 Arched Powder Brush ($25.99) is a large, dense, paddle-shaped powder brush that has a very rounded, curved edge. The brush carries a lot of its weight in the ferrule area, and I noticed with this one in particular (as it is one of the largest brushes in the collection), it wasn’t as comfortable to hold if you tend to hold it towards the tapered end, but if you tend to hold your brushes closer to the ferrule, you should be just fine. When swept across the face, the bristles feel very soft and silky, and when patted on the skin, they’re still soft but not quite as smooth. It’s a denser brush that has a longer drying time than average. The shape is flatter, less round and full compared to a traditional powder brush, which makes it ideal for those who tend to press or pat their powder into place, rather than swirl or buff it into place. I found it to work best for loose and pressed setting and finishing powders. The brush head is 50mm in length, 40mm in width, and 24mm in thickness. The brush is made out of synthetic fibers, and it has a total length of 8 inches / 21 centimeters.

Real Techniques #200 Oval Shadow Brush ($15.99) is a large, paddle-shaped eye brush with a domed edge. It is quite large, which makes it a more all-over kind of brush, whether you’re applying a layer of cream eyeshadow or a wash of powder eyeshadow. When using it flat against the lid, it works decently and feels soft enough, but the edge is poorly cut with uneven bristles noticeably felt against the skin. It does a poor job of really blending or diffusing edges, as it is quite a firm, dense brush without a lot of give. It doesn’t pick up a lot of color unless you use the edge, where it is more uneven, so it is only going to give lighter coverage. The brush head is 17mm in length, 15mm in width, and 6mm in thickness. The brush is made out of synthetic fibers, and it has a total length of just over 7 inches / 17.5 centimeters.

Real Techniques #201 Pointed Crease Brush ($15.99) is a pointed, large pencil brush. It’s very similar in concept to your traditional pencil-style eye brush, but it is three or so times larger. I would highly recommend washing the brush a few times, because initially, the point is very pronounced and sharp, but after a few washes, it shapes to a more gradual point that’s still pointed, but it is usable and much more comfortable on the skin. On that note, it is a more difficult brush to wash as there is a lot of open space between the bristles and the ferrule due to it being open. Occasionally (not every time I used it), it felt a little scratchy–like one or two bristles were out of place and therefore poked into the eye space). It’s nice for laying down color on the outer corner and slightly going into the outer V, though I prefer a more rounded crease brush for blending and diffusing that color, but this would work well for those who like a brush to apply stronger color initially and then tend to reach for a blending brush to polish the look. The brush head is 13mm in length, 9.5mm in width, and 9.5mm in thickness.The brush is made out of synthetic fibers, and it has a total length of just over 6.75 inches / 17 centimeters.

Real Techniques #202 Angled Liner Brush ($15.99) is a small, thin, angled brush. It’s very soft, smooth, and holds together nicely as it is pressed and dragged across the skin in a line, which gives you more opaque, more even eyeliner application. Despite its thinness, it doesn’t feel sharp against the skin, even along the lower lash line. The brush head is 6mm in length, 5mm in width, and 2mm in thickness. The brush is made out of synthetic fibers, and it has a total length of just over 6.5 inches / 16.5 centimeters.

Real Techniques #300 Tapered Blush Brush ($23.99) is a small, tapered, paddle-shaped blush brush. The smaller shape makes it a better brush for getting placement, but it’s not quite as effective for diffusing of bolder or more pigmented blushes. I actually felt like it was better for applying cream and liquid highlighters along the cheek bones, down the nose, or wherever you wanted to highlight. I could feel a lot of the fibers in the brush when used, and it felt like I was getting poked every other sweep or stroke across the face, which made it an uncomfortable brush to you use. The cut just didn’t feel as well-done here, and it seemed to give the bristles a rougher feel against the skin. The brush head was 30mm in length, 28mm in width, and 14mm in thickness. The brush is made out of synthetic fibers, and it has a total length of just over 7.75 inches / 19.5 centimeters.

Real Techniques #301 Flat Contour Brush ($25.99) is a medium-sized, extremely dense, stubby brush that’s mostly rectangular in shape with flat edge. From the name as well as the shape, it is ideal for placing contouring products into the hollows of the cheeks. The bristles are soft enough to allow for patting and tapping the product into place, as well as skimming, sweeping, and blending motions. It does a decent to good job blending out a contour powder, but it is better for initial placement or getting a more precise contour in place, but I liked it for blending out of cream-based products. If you prefer a very subtle contour, though, this may over-apply product for your liking as it is quite dense and flat, which makes it excellent at picking up product, but it may be more coverage than desired. The brush head was 21mm in length, 30mm in width, and 17mm in thickness. The brush is made out of synthetic fibers, and it has a total length of just over 7 inches / 18 centimeters.

The Glossover

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#100 Arched Powder Brush

The shape is flatter, less round and full compared to a traditional powder brush, which makes it ideal for those who tend to press or pat their powder into place, rather than swirl or buff it into place. I found it to work best for loose and pressed setting and finishing powders.
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#200 Oval Shadow Brush

When using it flat against the lid, it works decently and feels soft enough, but the edge is poorly cut with uneven bristles noticeably felt against the skin. It does a poor job of really blending or diffusing edges, as it is quite a firm, dense brush without a lot of give.
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#201 Pointed Crease Brush

Occasionally (not every time I used it), it felt a little scratchy--like one or two bristles were out of place and therefore poked into the eye space). It's nice for laying down color on the outer corner and slightly going into the outer V, though I prefer a more rounded crease brush for blending and diffusing that color, but this would work well for those who like a brush to apply stronger color initially and then tend to reach for a blending brush to polish the look.
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Monday, May 4th, 2015

Chikuhodo GSN Brushes
Chikuhodo GSN Brushes

Chikuhodo GSN-04 Highlighting Brush ($64.00) is a medium-sized, domed brush that narrows as the base and flares upwards towards the upper third of the brush before tapering and rounding at the edge. It is made out of a mix of gray squirrel and goat hairs. The brush head is 37.5mm in length, 27mm in width and thickness at its widest point. It had a total length of 7.25 inches / 18.5 centimeters with a lightly pinched, metal ferrule. I think for most people, this is going to work better as a blush brush than a highlighting one, as it is larger than the average highlighting brush. I think it is too rounded and dense to be the best highlighting brush as well, but it does work for diffusing and blending out a highlight or for applying more of a highlighting blush where the area of coverage is larger. It is a moderately dense brush with light spring so it can be swirled and swept across the skin in all directions. The hair felt fairly soft, though at this price point, it could have been a bit softer, I think. For blush, it worked well for applying color, diffusing and blending out the applied color, and it made short work of the process.

Chikuhodo GSN-08 Eyeshadow Brush ($32.00) is a large, paddle-shaped eye brush that comes to moderately pointed tip. It’s a dense brush that tapers upwards and ends at a rounded tip, so depending on the size of your eyelid, it can actually fit almost perfectly held horizontally on the inner half of the eyelid. It’s made out of weasel hair. The brush head is 18mm in length, 12.5mm in width, and 6mm in thickness. It had a total length of just under 7.5 inches / 19 centimeters with a lightly pinched, metal ferrule. For me, this brush is fairly large for my eye area, so I don’t reach for it often, but I liked it best for applying a cream eyeshadow all-over the lid or for a wash of a powder eyeshadow, since it can cover a larger area easily. It also could be used to apply or set concealer underneath the eye, as it is dense, firm, but still soft and feels very smooth against the skin.

Chikuhodo GSN-11 Shadow/Liner Brush ($19.00) is a tiny, dome-shaped, flat, firm precision-focused brush that can be used for eyeshadow or eyeliner. It is made out of weasel hair. The brush head is 6mm in length, 5mm in width, and 3mm in thickness. It had a total length of 6.75 inches / 17.5 centimeters with a pinched, metal ferrule. I personally prefer an angled brush for eyeliner, but I liked this for applying eyeshadow on top of eyeliner, especially the lower lash line. The flat, firm shape enables you to really pat on the eyeshadow without diffusing it too much, and the small size gives you a lot more control.

Chikuhodo GSN-16 Lip Brush ($25.00) is a medium-sized, rectangular lip brush made out of weasel hairs. The brush head is 10mm in length, 5.75mm in width, and 1.5mm in thickness. It comes in a concealed, metal tube, where the tube is like a “cap” of sorts, and when removed, you can connect it to the bottom to elongate the brush handle, or you can hold the as-is lip brush if you prefer shorter handles. This is an easy brush to toss into a makeup bag or purse to keep with you for touch-ups during the day, if you need to. The total length if 6 inches / 15.5 centimeters. The bristles are soft enough not to poke or irritate more sensitive lips, but it’s a firm, flat brush that provides enough density to lay down lip color well while still having enough spring to maneuver around the edges of the lips easily.

I had no issues with shedding, dye, smell, or re-shaping with any of these, and I’ve been using the Chikuhodo GSN brushes for about a year now. Of these four, the GSN-11 is the one I’ll keep with my favorites, as it worked well for what I’d like to use it for. The other brushes were good, but they’re in shapes/sizes that don’t fit as well with my personal routine. I think you can get a higher quality blush brush, though. You can read reviews for the GSN-01 Powder, GSN-03 Cheek, GSN-07 Eyeshadow, GSN-09 Eyeshadow, and The Glossover

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GSN-04 Highlighting Brush

I think it is too rounded and dense to be the best highlighting brush as well, but it does work for diffusing and blending out a highlight or for applying more of a highlighting blush where the area of coverage is larger.
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GSN-08 Eyeshadow Brush

It's a dense brush that tapers upwards and ends at a rounded tip, so depending on the size of your eyelid, it can actually fit almost perfectly held horizontally on the inner half of the eyelid.
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GSN-11 Shadow/Liner Brush

The flat, firm shape enables you to really pat on the eyeshadow without diffusing it too much, and the small size gives you a lot more control.
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Monday, May 4th, 2015

Marc Jacobs Beauty Lollipop (86) Highliner Gel Eye Crayon
Marc Jacobs Beauty Lollipop (86) Highliner Gel Eye Crayon

Marc Jacobs Lollipop (86) Highliner Gel Eye Crayon ($25.00 for 0.01 oz.) is described as a “cherry pink shimmer.” It’s a brightened, fuchsia pink with warm, reddish undertones and a cooler-toned, iridescent pink shimmer. It had good pigmentation a single pass, while the texture was lightly creamy and easy to apply. On, it lasted for ten and a half hours without fading or migrating. MAC Funfare (P, $16.00) is less shimmery. Chanel Berry Lucky (LE, $29.00) is darker. Urban Decay Woodstock (LE, $19.00) is very similar. MAC Process Magenta (P, $16.00) is darker, less shimmery. See comparison swatches / compare dupes side-by-side.

Marc Jacobs Sunset (74) Highliner Gel Eye Crayon ($25.00 for 0.01 oz.) is described as a “golden bronze shimmer.” It’s a brightened, medium-dark golden copper-brown with warm undertones and a metallic sheen. It had fairly good color payoff in one pass, and it was buildable to fully opaque coverage with about a layer and a half of product. This shade was previously released in last year’s holiday set, but it is back and permanent. The color wore well for ten hours without fading or thinning. MAC Brassy (P, $16.00) is more gold. MAC Brass Band (P, $16.00) is similar. Sephora Collection Sun Tan (08) (P, $9.00) is yellower. See comparison swatches / compare dupes side-by-side.

The Glossover

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product

Lollipop (86)

A

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

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product

Sunset

A

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

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Monday, May 4th, 2015

Make Up For Ever 500 Lilac Artist Plexi-Gloss
Make Up For Ever 500 Lilac Artist Plexi-Gloss

Make Up For Ever 207 Candy Pink Artist Plexi-Gloss ($19.00 for 0.23 fl. oz.) is a brightened, medium fuchsia pink with cool, blue undertones and a cream finish. The consistency was light-medium and tacky. It went on somewhat evenly with semi-opaque coverage. It was neither drying nor hydrating, but it wore well for five hours on me. Bite Beauty Eleven (Watercolor) (LE) is similar. Urban Decay Scandal (P, $22.00) is slightly darker, more opaque. Estee Lauder Rosy Future (LE, $26.00) is similar. Revlon HD Tourmaline (510) (P, $8.99) is lighter, brighter. NYX Sugar Cookie (P, $5.00) is similar. NARS Priscilla (P, $26.00) is darker. MAC Style Packed (LE, $15.00) is lighter. MAC Silly (LE, $15.00) is lighter. See comparison swatches / compare dupes side-by-side.

Make Up For Ever 500 Lilac Artist Plexi-Gloss ($19.00 for 0.23 fl. oz.) is a brightened, medium pink-purple with a cream finish. It had semi-opaque pigmentation, which made it one of the more pigmented glosses I tried from the range, but it does have some issues with application. The color looks slightly uneven, and there is some settling into lip lines. The gloss lasted for the five hours as marketed, which was good. It wasn’t drying, but it wasn’t moisturizing either. Urban Decay Bittersweet (P, $22.00) is darker. NYX Berry Strudel (P, $6.00) is cooler-toned, darker. MAC Narcissus (LE, $20.00) is pinker. See comparison swatches / compare dupes side-by-side.

Make Up For Ever 501 Purple Artist Plexi-Gloss ($19.00 for 0.23 fl. oz.) is a medium-dark purple with warm, pink tones and a cream finish. It had decent color payoff, though it isn’t the “vivid color” promised. It goes on unevenly, unfortunately, which gives it a sort of splotchy look on the lips. On me, the gloss wore well for five hours, and it was lightly hydrating.
Urban Decay Bittersweet (P, $22.00) is slightly darker. MAC Narcissus (LE, $20.00) is lighter. See comparison swatches / compare dupes side-by-side.

The Glossover

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product

207 Candy Pink

B+

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4.5/5

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500 Lilac

B+

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4.5/5

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501 Purple

B-

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

7.5/10

Texture

7.5/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4/5

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Sunday, May 3rd, 2015

MAC Wash & Dry Collection will launch online on May 14th and head to stores on May 21st. The collection features numerous products to choose from for eyes, lips, and face. MAC’s major summer collection is one I look forward to, but this year’s collection is a definite miss for me, personally, as well as in terms of quality.

My favorites were: Morange Lipstick (A) (permanent, though) andDomestic Diva Lipglass (A-). I would have loved to see MAC come out with more unique lipsticks; I feel like they’re doing a red nearly every launch these days, and the reds are mostly matte–they’re just not interesting. I would have loved to see some of their more metallic finishes promoted here (Thrills comes to mind) or something new that was mostly opaque with a glossy, pearly finish. The Freshen Up High-Light Powder (B+) and Crisp Whites Blush (B+) are more similar in color than I think is ideal for releasing the two together; I think the High-Light Powder would have been more interesting if it had a larger section of pink/red and if there was more shimmer running through it (most of it is an over-spray). Long-time cult favorite Hipness Blush (B) had some quality issues present in this iteration that weren’t in my original–namely, blending is more challenging–and the color itself is a couple of shades darker than the original.  The collection felt uninspired across the board with more dupable, we-just-saw-that (from MAC) kind of shades.

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Sunday, May 3rd, 2015

ColourPop Between the Sheets Super Shock Cheek
ColourPop Between the Sheets Super Shock Cheek

ColourPop Between the Sheets Super Shock Cheek ($8.00 for 0.15 oz.) is described as a “mid-tone beige pink in a matte finish.” It’s a muted, pink-coral-brown with warm undertones and a matte finish. It’s lighter and pinker than a peach-brown, but it’s so muted, that it doesn’t read coral either. Tarte Fame (LE, $26.00) is brighter, warmer, powder. Colour Pop Quarters (P, $8.00) is darker. Chanel Jersey (80) (P, $45.00) is browner, powder. Surratt Beauty Parfait (P, $32.00) is more shimmery, powder. Illamasqua Flirtatious (LE, $26.00) is similar. Make Up For Ever #215 HD Blush (P, $26.00) is pinker, lighter. bareMinerals Swoon (LE, $19.00) is powder. MAC Melba (P, $21.00) is powder. See comparison swatches / compare dupes side-by-side.

The Super Shock Cheek formula has buildable coverage that ranges from light-medium to fully opaque, depending on your choice of application. According to the brand, fingertips will yield the greatest amount of coverage, which holds true, and then using a duo fiber brush (often the go-to for a cream-based blush) will have the sheerest coverage, which also holds true. I really love how consistent the formula has been for me: the pigmentation is exactly as described, and the wear is excellent at ten hours. The texture is lightweight, like a cream-powder hybrid with some give that you’d expect in a cream, but it lacks the slip and shine of the average cream blush formula. It tends to feel and act more like a powder product once you apply it to the skin. I think there’s a bit of a learning curve when working with these, but once you figure out the best method for you, they become really easy to use.

The Glossover

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product

Between the Sheets

A

Product

9.5/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

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