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Laura Mercier Sage, Slate, & Violet Longwear Eye Pencils

Laura Mercier Sage Longwear Eye Pencil
Laura Mercier Sage Longwear Eye Pencil

Laura Mercier Sage Longwear Eye Pencil ($24.00 for 0.04 oz.) is a medium-dark, olive green with yellow undertones and a matte finish. It had decent color payoff in a single stroke, and it was somewhat buildable to semi-opaque color coverage. With three or four passes, it was mostly opaque on the lash line. This shade lasted well for nine hours but looked substantially thinned out (but no smudging or migrating) after twelve hours. MAC Forever Green is more shimmery. bareMinerals 10AM is darker, slightly shimmery. See comparison swatches. Even with all of these olive green eyeliners, the matte finish makes this one stand out.

Slate Longwear Eye Pencil ($24.00 for 0.04 oz.) is a neutral, medium-dark gray–or it would be if it had any color payoff whatsoever. It had a really waxy consistency, which I expect is part of the reason why this had such poor pigmentation. No matter how many times I tried to layer it, it was always sheer and uneven. It seemed to look as bad ten hours later as it did when I initially applied it; all that waxiness kept what little applied in place, I guess. Urban Decay Smoke is similar. Urban Decay Uzi has shimmer. bareMinerals 11PM is lighter. Bobbi Brown Smoke is cooler-toned. See comparison swatches.

Violet Longwear Eye Pencil ($24.00 for 0.04 oz.) is a medium-dark cool-toned purple with a matte finish. The consistency on this was slightly waxy with just so-so color payoff, but it was more buildable than Slate. For a purple, it wasn’t half bad. It wore well for eight and a half hours but was noticeably thinner after ten hours of wear. Urban Decay Vice is warmer and shimmery. Urban Decay Ransom is more shimmery, cooler-toned. NARS St. Marks Place is cooler-toned, more violet. Milani Perfect Purple is more shimmery. MAC Designer Purple is also more shimmery. See comparison swatches.

Laura Mercier’s new Longwear Creme Eye Pencils are supposed to apply smoothly and evenly, be richly pigmented, last for 12 hours (yes, a full 12!), be “water-poof, smudge-proof, transfer-proof, and tear-resistant.” Each pencil comes with a pencil sharpener as well. They’re definitely water-resistant to water-proof overall, though I will say that it was difficult to determine the outcome of Slate when splashed with water, given it already looked faded from the get-go! I was disappointed in the texture of Slate and Violet, with Violet being salvageable, but Slate had no redeeming factors.

Laura Mercier Longwear Crème Eye Pencil Sage
Sage
Laura Mercier Longwear Crème Eye Pencil Slate
Slate
Laura Mercier Longwear Crème Eye Pencil Violet
Violet

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Sephora 5th Avenue (03) & Diving in Malaysia (18) Contour Eye Pencils

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!

Sephora Contour Eye Pencil 5th Avenue (03)
9
Product
9
Pigmentation
10
Texture
9
Longevity
5
Application
93%
Total
Sephora Contour Eye Pencil Diving in Malaysia (18)
9
Product
8.5
Pigmentation
9
Texture
9
Longevity
5
Application
90%
Total

YSL Rouge Gouache (11) Glossy Stain

YSL Rouge Gouache (11) Glossy Stain
YSL Rouge Gouache (11) Glossy Stain

YSL Rouge Gouache (11) Glossy Stain ($34.00 for 0.20 fl. oz.) is a bright, vibrant orange-red with a glossy finish. OCC Meta is similar. OCC Jealous is slightly more orange. Urban Decay F-Bomb is darker, redder. See comparison swatches.

I might not have had good luck with Violet Edition earlier this week, but Rouge Gouache was fantastic! It had rich, juicy color with most opaque color coverage that applied evenly, smoothly, and looked all-around gorgeous for a full six hours. The glossiness wanes as I approached the fifth hour of wear, but it definitely hangs out and is noticeable much longer than the average gloss. The color itself persists and stains the lips, which is the color you see that continues for another three to four hours (fading evenly). YSL’s Glossy Stains have a sweet, fruity scent but no discernible taste. I wouldn’t describe it as hydrating, but it’s not drying over the six hours it wears for. The consistency starts out very water-like but then develops into a slightly tacky gel-like formula (about five to ten minutes).

YSL Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stain Rouge Gouache (11)

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Hakuhodo 210 Blush Brush & 214 Highlighter Brush Reviews & Photos

Hakuhodo 210 Blush Brush Round
Hakuhodo 210 Blush Brush Round

Hakuhodo 210 Blush Brush Round ($36.00) is a medium-sized brush with a slightly flared brush head that rounds only slightly across the top. The brush head is 28mm in length, 25mm in width, and 25mm in thickness. It has a round ferrule with no pinching at the top, and a total brush length of 6.5 inches or just over 16.5 centimeters. The weight is well-balanced between the handle and the brush head, with slightly more weight towards the top than the bottom but the handle isn’t too light.

This type of brush head shape works in a variety of ways.  It can apply blush, bronzer, highlight, and contour products, and blend any of those products as well.  It can even apply foundation, which is actually the way I’d probably most likely use this brush personally.  It works well with both powder and cream textures, and it is easy to wash out product (but is does bleed dye for several washes, see below) and doesn’t take forever to dry.  It grabs and deposits color very well and has more coverage than not, so you’ll need less product or to use a lighter hand than potentially what you do with other brushes (it just depends what you were using before).

It is also available in the J-series ($44, white goat hair). If you are really concerned about softness, then opt for the J210 instead. I compared the brush against all the other J-series brushes I had, but paid particular attention to the J511 and J5521, as both are similar in size and length, and both are softer. I would not use the words “not soft” let alone scratchy to describe the 210, but if you sweep both across the skin, there is a noticeable difference. If you plan to use this brush with the top pressed against the skin (almost like a buffer brush), you will feel the difference in softness more than if you used the brush horizontally. For example, if I make stippling motions with it with moderate pressure, I can feel some of the fibers, but if I sweep blush on, then I don’t. With the 214, I didn’t feel this except when literally jamming it against my skin with a lot of pressure (can’t say I’ve ever used even half as much in reality), but a genuinely honest-to-softness kind of brush never feels rough, no matter the pressure or direction.

This brush is very comparable to the MAC 109 ($32), and mine is several years old now, so it also appeared more flared out (which may just be the result of years of washing and use), but it does have a flatter top than the 210. The 210 is slightly softer, but it wasn’t significantly softer. Make Up For Ever #152 ($37) is also similar, softer actually, as well as slightly more rounded, and the biggest difference is that has more give and is less firm at the top–which I think works particularly in its favor if you’re applying in small circular motions, but the bristles tend to stick together with liquid so it can leave streaks behind. OCC #011 ($24) is similar in size, but it flares out more and has a more tapered/rounded top, so it is less flat. Real Techniques Buffing Brush ($17.99, part of a set) is larger and wider than any of the others mentioned here, but if you are applying product all-over or on larger areas, not just blush and the like, then it functions similarly.

214 Highlight Brush Round ($27.00) is a small, lightly rounded rectangle-ish brush. It looks a bit like a rectangle but with rounded edges and a softly rounded top edge. The brush head is 17mm in length, 15mm in width, and 15mm in thickness. It has a round, open ferrule (no pinching), and the total brush length is 5.75 inches or 15 centimeters. The handle is well balanced and not too heavy on either end. It’s also available in the J-series ($35, white goat hair), as well as a white goat hair and synthetic blend ($27).

The small brush head enables maximum precision when applying any product. It was designed for apply highlighters (or, apparently, your eyeshadow base), and that was the primary way I tried use it. I didn’t love it. I actually felt like it was too firm and dense to really apply a highlighter for an ethereal, natural-looking glow. It tended to pack on too much product with results always veering towards emphasizing pores, even if that product didn’t normally do so. It’s moderately soft, but it’s not the kind of brush that will make you swoon. I think one of the elements that tends to impress people about Hakuhodo is how much softer the brushes can feel compared to many other high-end brands. Softness isn’t, of course, always a good thing (to a degree) and may not be appropriate in all brush types–here a softer brush with even thinner bristles would deposit less product, and for a highlighter, I think that’s a good thing. Unlike the 210, though, it had the same softness when I swirled, buffed, stippled, or swept–only when I was practically jamming the brush against my face did I feel any of the individual bristles (and I don’t think anyone’s using that much pressure during their application!). Because of the small, rounded brush head, it could be used to place a more defined contour (but I would blend out the contour with another tool), possibly around the nose but it felt too large for my nose for that purpose.

I didn’t have any brush that was comparable to this in my stash. I tried looking across a few of the more popular brush ranges, but it did not prove too fruitful. I think Sephora’s PRO Airbrush Concealer Brush ($24) might be similar in size but seems like it flares out more (looks more like a mini 210). Illamasqua Highlighter Brush ($37.50) seems much longer/taller, but without having it to compare, it’s hard to say by how much.

Some Thoughts on 200-Series vs. J-Series

Both of these brushes are from the 200-series. A lot of the brushes I bought from Hakuhodo were either from the J or G-series with primarily white goat hair, but I know that the dyed goat hair brushes are all slightly less expensive (about 30% less), so I thought I would choose a few in that series to get a better idea of the brand’s ranges. I also know that some are concerned about keeping white brushes white and may opt for dyed hair instead. Both brushes are also available in the J-series with white goat hair (and again, those are more expensive).

When I washed these, the water was noticeably tinged gray for the first dozen washes or so. Eventually, the dye seemed to hold and stopped bleeding, which seems to be considered normal, as one of the distinguishing features of the J-series is, “The natural hair used in this range has not been dyed so keeps its original color” (from Hakuhodo’s website), which seems to imply that dyed goat hair will, in fact, lose color over time. I had noticeable shedding with the 210 over the first week and a half of use, but it has since gone down to about one hair every few uses. On the upside, though, they deposit more color more readily, particularly for products that are not intensely pigmented but are buildable. Oddly enough, the lettering on the handle of the 200-series brushes, though, holds up and doesn’t scratch away like the J-series brushes’ letterings do. There are no numbers on them, though.

I was not really impressed by either brush. The difference in softness between the MAC 109 and the 210 was negligible, and I didn’t have issues with the dye bleeding with MAC’s brush. I also didn’t have any shedding issues with the one I initially purchased, but the second one I purchased sometime later did have some shedding in the first dozen or so uses but no longer sheds (except for a stray hair periodically). I might purchase the J210 and J214 (possibly the J214R–I like the idea of a blend of natural and synthetic for this brush) in the future, but I don’t usually reach for the brush head shape/style of the 210 all that often any more so I’m not sure yet. I worry the J210 will be too soft for the type of multi-use that I normally see out of the shape, while I think the softness of the J214/J214R would be right up my alley in terms of application style and preferences for highlighters.

Hakuhodo   210 Blush Brush Round
-

Permanent

0
Product
0
Pigmentation
0
Texture
0
Longevity
0
Application
0%
Total
Hakuhodo   214 Highlight Brush Round
-

Permanent

0
Product
0
Pigmentation
0
Texture
0
Longevity
0
Application
0%
Total

See more photos!

theBalm Houndstooth Instain Long-Wearing Blush

theBalm Houndstooth Instain Long-Wearing Staining Powder Blush
theBalm Houndstooth Instain Long-Wearing Staining Powder Blush

theBalm Houndstooth Instain Long-Wearing Staining Powder Blush ($22.00 for 0.20 oz.) is described as a “mauve.” It’s a medium-dark pink-plum with a satin finish. For a plum, it’s quite pink and lighter than the typical plum blush. Bobbi Brown Summer Pink is pinker, brighter. Tom Ford Wicked is more shimmery, cooler-toned. theBalm Cabana Boy is more plum. MAC Pink Tea is cooler-toned. MAC Subtle Breeze is similar. MAC Gentle is more shimmery. Chanel Rose Initiale is pinker. Bobbi Brown Pink Rose is similar. See comparison swatches.

The texture was soft, finely-milled, and applied very smoothly and evenly. It was easy to blend out the product, and it didn’t stick as soon as it hit the skin, so you could diffuse and soften the edges. Houndstooth had true-to-pan color and can be applied as intensely as seen in the pan or applied with a lighter hand for softer color, but it is quite pigmented. If you are fairer or prefer a subtler look, apply less than you think you need and go from there. When I wore this shade, it lasted well for eight and a half hours, and after ten hours, it looked patchy in a few places but still held up well overall.

theBalm Instain Long-Wearing Staining Powder Blush Houndstooth
Houndstooth
Houndstooth
9.5
Product
10
Pigmentation
9
Texture
9.5
Longevity
4.5
Application
94%
Total

Urban Decay Heavy Metal Glitter Eyeliners (2013 Relaunch)

Urban Decay Heavy Metal Glitter Eyeliner
Urban Decay Heavy Metal Glitter Eyeliner

Urban Decay Heavy Metal Glitter Eyeliners ($19.00 for 0.25 fl. oz.) have relaunched in new packaging–but the formula is the same as before–and two new shades. The brand describes the formula as a “water-based, buildable liner [that] contains super-fine glitter in a clear base that dries down quickly and really stays put … without any fall out.” Worth noting is the brand recommends removing the wiper (or the little black piece that fits in the opening of the tube) if you want more product on the brush.

ACDC is described as a “bright purple glitter.” It’s a medium-dark purple glitter with reddish tones.

Amp is described as a “light blue with iridescent glitter.” It’s a mix of lighter blue, darker blue, green, and teal glitter.

Distortion is described as a “iridescent glitter.” It’s an iridescent mix of glitter, so it flashes greenish-gold, fuchsia, pink, and blue.

Glamrock is described as a “silver glitter.” It is silver glitter and nothing but!

Junkshow is described as a “bright pink with iridescent glitter.” It’s a mix of fuchsia, dark pink, and a few bits of gold glitter.

Midnight Cowboy is described as a “beige glitter.” It’s a warm-toned, golden beige glitter.

Spandex is described as a “deep blue-black with iridescent glitter.” It’s a mix of black, fuchsia, bluish-teal, and navy blue sparkle and glitter (seems like multi-sized to me).

I haven’t reviewed that many glitter eyeliners, so I wasn’t able to come up with dupes, unfortunately!  The formula is very long-wearing and does dry down fairly quickly, but the time it takes to set really depends on how much product is applied–if you go for a fully opaque coat, it takes about thirty seconds.  Once it dries, though, it stays put.  If you scratch or rub at them, clumps will come off, but if you don’t fuss with your eyes, I only saw a few stray sparkles underneath my eye after eight hours for each shade when I wore them.

If you actually want a really bling-tastic glitter eyeliner, you absolutely have to remove the wiper. This results in the brush and wand getting totally loaded in glitter, and like you might apply nail polish, you’ll want to run the plastic wand (not the brush) along the inside of the opening so it’s not also coated in glitter. Sometimes you can get too much this way, though, but it is a lot more efficient and effective at applying more opaque color. It is most practical to pick your method: either live with a few sparkles and keep the wiper in, or remove it and have free access to it. You might use a separate eyeliner brush to apply a sheerer layer, as the brush itself does get completely loaded with product. The wiper takes me about a minute to remove (I just squeezed my nails underneath the wiper’s edge and the opening of the tube), because it fits tightly into the opening (as it should)–but it may not be practical to remove it each time. For reference, I used two pulls (and everything on each pull) to create a 1.5 inch line for the swatches.

If you keep the wiper in, it can be difficult to achieve a nice even line of glitter, because the glitter applies initially as you sweep the brush across the area, but it doesn’t pull all of the initial bits across, so you get uneven coverage. I would say you need five or so pulls of the product to get a semi-sheer to semi-opaque covergae for layering that is also even. Overall, I wish that the wiper had a larger opening so there could be more product on it but not quite as much as the brush gets when there is no wiper in place. I think this would enable the best of both worlds: the ability to layer, and then ability to build-up to more opaque coverage with two layers.

Urban Decay   Heavy Metal Glitter Eyeliner
9
Product
9
Pigmentation
8.5
Texture
9.5
Longevity
3
Application
87%
Total

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