Sunday, August 31st, 2014

Chikuhodo GSN-03 Cheek Brush
Chikuhodo GSN-03 Cheek Brush

Chikuhodo GSN-03 Cheek Brush ($96.00) is a large, dome-shaped face brush made out of gray squirrel and goat bristles. The brush head is 48mm in length, 38mm in width, and 22mm in thickness. It had a total length of 190mm with a pinched, metal ferrule. It’s such a large brush for cheek products; I couldn’t see this being useful for blush or highlighter for most, and only if you apply bronzer all-over would this be practical. It’s soft, well-cut, and hasn’t given me any problems with shedding or dye bleeding through over a dozen washes.

The brush head is dense but feathery against the skin, with the base being denser and firmer, and then as it tapers and flares outwards, it has more give. I’ve been using it primarily for applying loose setting powder and pressed finishing powders.  The brush is well-weighted with good weight distribution, and it feels comfortable in the hand. The way the ferrule and handle are shaped, the brush isn’t prone to rolling off a counter/desk.

Chikuhodo’s sizing for some of the GSN brushes seems off–several brushes are a lot larger than the average is. Brush size and shape is always going to be a combination of personal preference, application technique, and face/feature size, but just know that this is the size of your average powder brush.

Chikuhodo GSN-01 Powder Brush ($127.00) is a long-ish, extra large, dome-shaped powder brush with gray squirrel and goat bristles. The brush head is 56mm in length, 43mm in width, and 28mm in thickness. It had a total length of 193mm with a round, metal ferrule. It is similar in overall shape as the GSN-03, just a good deal larger. It is longer, so it had a little more flex, and it wasn’t as dense as the GSN-03, which makes sense for powder application. I’ve used this for applying powder foundation, loose and pressed finishing/setting powders, and for general blending of face products as a last step.

The brush feels soft against the skin and moves more as one, so it feels like silk, when you sweep it across the face. I haven’t had any issues with the overall quality of the brush after washing it over a dozen times. It does take awhile to dry, because it is a larger brush (though not as dense as the GSN-03, it’s still moderately dense).  Like the GSN-03, this brush has good weight distributed and feels balanced in the hand, so it is comfortable to hold and use.  It reminded me somewhat of Hakuhodo’s J104, which isn’t quite as soft, but is a fuller, rounder, less dense brush.

Neither are brushes that I’ve fallen in love with personally, as the GSN-03 is too large for blush but too dense for how I like to apply my loose setting/finishing powders. The GSN-01 is larger than I’d like, and I really love my Make Up For Ever #128 for a large brush and use it for loose setting powder application.

The Glossover

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GSN-03 Cheek Brush

The brush head is dense but feathery against the skin, with the base being denser and firmer, and then as it tapers and flares outwards, it has more give. I've been using it primarily for applying loose setting powder and pressed finishing powders.

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GSN-01 Powder Brush

I've used this for applying powder foundation, loose and pressed finishing/setting powders, and for general blending of face products as a last step. The brush feels soft against the skin and moves more as one, so it feels like silk, when you sweep it across the face.

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Saturday, August 30th, 2014

Louise Young Crease Brushes
Louise Young Crease Brushes

Louise Young LY13 Mini Socket Brush ($18.00) is a very small, tapered, slightly dome-shaped brush made out of natural hair. It’s very stubby and squat. The brush head is 6mm in length, 3mm in width, and 3mm in thickness. It had a total length of 178mm with a round, metal ferrule. I like this brush for smudging out eyeliner or applying eyeshadow on the inner corner or along the lash lines. I wish it was slightly more domed and less tapered, because the tapered point can sometimes be felt against the skin when you’re using it, but it isn’t too dense or too sparse, and it has a moderate amount of give, which makes it nice for smudging. It is smaller overall compared to MAC 219.

Louise Young LY38 Tapered Shadow Brush ($28.00) is a medium-sized, tapered crease brush made out of natural hair. The brush head is14.6mm in length, 5.5mm in width, and 5.5mm in thickness. It had a total length of 193 mm with a round, metal ferrule. It is more tapered than domed, so it is particularly nice for those with deeper creases or for someone who wants a more precise color application. I find the more domed, rounded crease brushes to be a bit easier to blend and diffuse color with, but more tapered styles to be great for initial application. It’s soft against the eye lid and area, and it retains its shape well. It is a much softer version of MAC 226 (although, the shape of the 226 varies a lot between batches).

Louise Young LY38B Tapered Shadow Brush ($24.00) is a slimmer version of the LY38 Tapered Shadow Brush, so it’s a slimmer tapered crease brush with a noticeably tapered edge (not rounded). There is also a 38A version, which I don’t have, but you can view here, which is in-between the width of the LY38 and LY38B. The brush head is 14mm in length, 4mm in width, and 4mm in thickness. It had a total length of 189mm with a round, metal ferrule. It is less dense and has more spring/give than the LY38, in addition to it being a narrower brush. It still has soft bristles that fit into the contour of the eye socket for more precise crease color application. It also works well for diffusing color from the outer corner towards the middle lid. My personal preference is for the LY38, as it fits my eye shape/application style better, but both are nice brushes and I really like that the same style is available in multiple sizes.  The one downside I noticed about the LY38B is that it seems to have more splayed bristles than the LY38–it doesn’t seem as well cut.

Louise Young has a fantastic brush overview on her website–it is a good way to see size of brush heads from one brush to another. In the states, Nordstrom carries some of her brushes, but the line is much larger per her site. I’ve had mine for almost nine months now, and I haven’t had any issues with them; all of them have retained their shape, are easy to clean, haven’t shed or bled dye, and haven’t gotten rougher over time.

The Glossover

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LY13 Mini Socket Brush

I like this brush for smudging out eyeliner or applying eyeshadow on the inner corner or along the lash lines. I wish it was slightly more domed and less tapered, because the tapered point can sometimes be felt against the skin when you're using it.

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LY38 Tapered Shadow Brush

It is more tapered than domed, so it is particularly nice for those with deeper creases or for someone who wants a more precise color application.

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LY38B Tapered Shadow Brush

It is less dense and has more spring/give than the LY38, in addition to it being a narrower brush. It works well for diffusing color from the outer corner towards the middle lid as well as for applying color into the crease more precisely.

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Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

Hakuhodo J004G Eyeshadow Brush Round & Flat
Hakuhodo J004G Eyeshadow Brush Round & Flat

Hakuhodo J004G Eyeshadow Brush Round & Flat ($20.00) is a small, dome-shaped, flat eyeshadow brush made out of goat hair. The brush head is 10mm in length, 9mm in width, and 3mm in thickness. It had a total length of 145mm with a pinched, metal ferrule. It’s incredibly soft and silky–it feels like the brush moves at once, so I never felt the individual bristles–and excellent for packing and patting on eyeshadow or blending two shades together. For me, this shape and style of brush is a workhorse, because it can be used to apply, blend, and diffuse eyeshadow all on its own, so it is a true multi-tasker.

It is the most similar brush I’ve found in terms of general shape and feel to MAC 239 ($25). The 239 has a flatter edge with a bit more firmness, while the J004G has a slightly fluffier, lighter feel and is a bit bigger overall. The J242G (reviewed in the next paragraph) is narrower and flatter in comparison to the 239. The 239 is more like a mix of the J004G and J242G, but both are worth considering as alternatives to MAC’s 239. Just for reference, the measures of the 239 are as follows: is 8.5mm in length, 9.5mm in width, and 3mm in thickness. It had a total length of 170mm with a pinched, metal ferrule. The 239 is also much longer in total, as Hakuhodo’s handles run shorter.

Hakuhodo J242G Eyeshadow Brush Round & Flat ($18.00) is a small, flat eyeshadow brush with a slightly tapered edge made with a mix of goat and synthetic bristles. The brush head is 9mm in length, 7mm in width, and 2mm in thickness. It had a total length of 144mm with a pinched, metal ferrule. It’s a narrower eyeshadow brush that’s great for packing or patting on eyeshadow on the inner portion of the lid or for more precise color application if you’re applying more than two shades on the eyelid and want them to be more distinct. The brush is soft and silky, never rough or scratchy, so I also like it for patting on color along the lower lash line using the edge.

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J004G Eyeshadow Brush Round & Flat

For me, this shape and style of brush is a workhorse, because it can be used to apply, blend, and diffuse eyeshadow all on its own, so it is a true multi-tasker.

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J242G Eyeshadow Brush Round & Flat

It's a narrower eyeshadow brush that's great for packing or patting on eyeshadow on the inner portion of the lid or for more precise color application.

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Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

Sephora #27 Pro Blending Brush
Sephora #27 Pro Blending Brush

Sephora #27 Pro Blending Brush ($20.00) is a fluffy, medium-sized rounded brush designed for blending made out of goat hair. The brush head is 14mm in length, 9mm in width, and 6mm in thickness. It had a total length of 178mm with a pinched, metal ferrule. It is fairly soft, lightly fluffy with moderate spring and works in a variety of ways. I like using it to apply a highlighter to my brow bone, and then blend downwards to the crease color, but it can also be used to apply all-over color to the lid, to set or blend out concealer, or to blend out any harsh edges between eyeshadows. It is similar to MAC 217 and Hakuhodo J5523.

Sephora #73 Pro Precision Blush Brush ($32.00) is a small-medium, flattened blush brush with a strongly tapered edge. It is made with natural pony bristles. The brush head is 31mm in length, 26mm in width, and 15mm in thickness. It had a total length of 210mm with a pinched, metal ferrule. This is a feathery, lighter-weight blush brush with a lot of spring and give, so I’ve found it ideal for applying blush and highlighting powders for a subtler application/color. It is moderately soft, but if you tend to use a stippling or tapping motion to apply your brush, you may want to look for a softer brush.

Sephora’s Pro brushes have longer handles than the average brush brand, but they’re weighted well, so they don’t feel awkward in the hand. They seem to use high quality printing on the handles, too, as none of mine show signs of fading/wear for the names.

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#27 Pro Blending Brush

It is fairly soft, lightly fluffy with moderate spring and works in a variety of ways. I like using it to apply a highlighter to my brow bone, and then blend downwards to the crease color.
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#73 Pro Precision Blush Brush

This is a feathery, lighter-weight blush brush with a lot of spring and give, so I've found it ideal for applying blush and highlighting powders for a subtler application/color.
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Monday, August 25th, 2014

Chikuhodo GSN-09 Eyeshadow Brush
Chikuhodo GSN-09 Eyeshadow Brush

Chikuhodo GSN-09 Eyeshadow Brush ($25.00) is a small-medium, dome-shaped eyeshadow brush made out of gray squirrel hair. The brush head had a length of 12mm, width of 6.5mm, and thickness of 2.5mm. It had a total length of 182mm with a pinched, metal ferrule. Of all the GSN brushes I’ve tried, this is easily my favorite, and I could see getting multiples of it, because it’s a really versatile brush for eyeshadow application. It’s narrower than my go-to MAC 239, but it is softer with a more domed edge. The narrower width allows it to apply color more precisely, which is helpful if you’re using more than two or three colors on the lid. It packs on, sweeps, and diffuses eyeshadow beautifully. The edge also fits into the crease area well and can apply color there, too, if you don’t have a go-to crease brush (or sometimes get lazy, in my case). It’s incredibly soft and silky against the skin, but it still picks up plenty of product, so you don’t sacrifice color payoff in your application.

Chikuhodo GSN-07 Eyeshadow Brush ($40.00) is a large, paddle-shaped eyeshadow brush made out of gray squirrel and fitch hair. The brush head a length of 21mm, width of 16.5mm, and thickness of 8mm. It had a total length of 190mm with a pinched, metal ferrule. As an eyeshadow brush, I think it’s very much over-sized and couldn’t incorporate it into an eyeshadow routine at all. I mostly found use for it in applying concealer underneath the eye or using it to press loose powder underneath the eye to set powder over concealer. The bristles are soft, while it had a dense, firm texture with light spring.

Chikuhodo GSN-12 Eyebrow Brush ($29.00) is a medium-sized, angled brush made out of raccoon hair. The brush head had a length of 7.5mm, width of 6mm, and thickness of 2mm. It had a total length of 177mm with a pinched, metal ferrule. The brush head is firm with a little give, and it’s a thicker brow brush so it actually gives a really soft brow color when used. You can get more precise edges, but the brow powder can be diffused and evened out throughout the brow. I like this for getting a defined but not harsh brow using powder eyeshadow. For gels and creams, it picks up too much product, but I liked it for blending out those formulas. I’ve been reaching for this over a lot of my other go-tos for brows, just because I really like how it blends out my brow powder.

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GSN-09 Eyeshadow Brush

Temptalia Recommends
Of all the GSN brushes I've tried, this is easily my favorite, and I could see getting multiples of it, because it's a really versatile brush for eyeshadow application.
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GSN-07 Eyeshadow Brush

This is going to be a brush that someone picks up because they're specifically looking for a larger, paddle-shaped brush for eyes or smaller areas of the face.
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GSN-12 Eyebrow Brush

I like this for getting a defined but not harsh brow using powder eyeshadow. For gels and creams, it picks up too much product, but I liked it for blending out those formulas. I've been reaching for this over a lot of my other go-tos for brows, just because I really like how it blends out my brow powder.
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Friday, August 22nd, 2014

MAC Marge Simpson's Cutie-cles Nail Stickers
MAC Marge Simpson’s Cutie-cles Nail Stickers

MAC Marge Simpson’s Cutie-cle Nail Stickers ($16.50) have a shiny, yellow background with the cast of the Simpsons drawn in black. It’s the same pattern/design as featured on the boxes in this collection. You get two strips, each with eight diffently-sized “nails.” They’re about an inch in length (from the usable edge to the tip).

I don’t know if I’ve ever used nail stickers, but at least not in the last decade, so I was honestly surprised at how easy these were to apply and how nice they looked. The instructions were helpful, and as someone who has pretty much nil experience with it, I only had one goof where the sticker creased a tiny bit on one nail. I started by peeled the back of the sticker halfway, which exposed only the lower half of the sticker, so I could maneuver that along the bottom of each nail, and then slowly peeled the remaining bit off as I stretched and pressed the sticker onto the nail. Then, I bent the excess sticker over the free edge of my nail, rounding along the curves, and used a glass nail file to remove the excess. I did all ten nails in about five minutes–it was extremely easy! I’ve had them on for seven days, and they’re no worse for the wear: they look exactly the same eight days later as they did when I put them on. To remove, I used regular nail polish remover and felt, and it removed easily (pretty much like regular polish), and bonus: no yellow staining.

They don’t look as natural as something done yourself to me, because the bottom edge of it is so perfectly curved/neat, and obviously the drawings are perfect across all your nails. The pre-cut nails fit fairly well on me; only on one nail on each side was the width not quite right, but I was able to easily cut the excess sticker by just rounding my thumbnail along that edge. It’s hard to tell that these are Simpsons-related from afar, as the drawings are smaller. I was also really bummed with how the drawings were translating onto the nails. Not a single nail (and mine are longer, 0.6″ from base to tip) has Marge on it. Smithers shows up on six of the ten nails, and Edna shows up on four of the ten nails. Part of Maggie’s head is visible on six of the ten, then Lisa and Homer show up on two of the ten. Mr. Burns shows up once on each pinky nail, and there’s a bit of Sideshow Bob visible on the pinky nail design as well. I really wish they had broken up the design and thought more about who was going to be visible towards the base (which everyone will use).

These new, limited edition nail stickers are part of MAC’s collaboration with The Simpsons, which will launch online on August 28th and in-stores September 4th.

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