Sunday, December 14th, 2014

SUQQU Brushes
SUQQU Brushes

SUQQU may not be the most accessible brand yet (here’s hoping they’ll expand to a good stockist in the U.S.), but they live up to the hype and are lovely brushes for those who wish to indulge. I can see why the Cheek brush is constantly out of stock at Selfridges. I know readers have recommended Ichibankao for ordering Asia-exclusive beauty brands, and they also have SUQQU brushes available (but I haven’t personally ordered from them, though I have been tempted!). I have no complaints; they’re outstanding, high-quality brushes. I’ve been putting them through testing since October, and I haven’t had any issues with shedding, smell, or re-shaping after washing. I’ve washed all of the brushes numerous times since then, and they’re still as soft and silky as they were to begin with. The shapes are well-done–more distinct from many brushes I own but they’re still useful, versatile shapes that I can easily use.

SUQQU Cheek Brush (£80.00 / ¥15,000) is a small, rounded blush brush that flares outwards from the ferrule and then tapers to a rounded edge. It is made out of gray squirrel hair, and it is supremely soft, silky, and smooth against the skin. No matter the direction or pressure, the brush never felt rough or sharp. It had moderate density with a feathery quality to it, which made it particularly suitable for use with more pigmented or very soft-textured powder products. This is useful if you’re more heavy-handed when applying your blush, even if you don’t mean to be, as it is hard to overdo your cheek color with this brush. It works well to blend and soften edges of various powder products for cheeks and face. I really liked it for highlight, though, as it gave me similar results that I get with a fan brush but with more precision–diffused, luminous, but never metallic.

  • Sizing: 34mm in length, 19mm in width, 15mm in thickness (it’s round); total length of 15.5 centimeters.
  • Most similar: Chikuhodo Z-4 is similar in its smaller size, but it is wider and flatter (thinner) with less roundedness; where the Z-4 looks more like a blush brush, SUQQU Cheek looks more like a highlighting brush

SUQQU Face Brush (£168.00 / ¥30,000) is a large, rounded powder brush that tapers slightly at the edges and rounds out at the top. It’s dense without being fully packed (it’s not a kabuki brush), so there’s a light spring and give as it is swept across the skin. It feels like silk (even when I had my husband do the blind-softness-test, he described it as such, “It feels so silky, is that even possible with a brush?”) as the bristles move together. You just don’t feel the individual fibers at all. The fullness makes it ideal for dusting finishing and setting powders all over the face. I also liked it for diffusing the edges of a trickier blush or bronzer as well. It is made out of gray squirrel hair.

  • Sizing: 50mm in length, 36mm in width, 26mm in thickness (it’s round); total length of 13 centimeters.
  • Most similar: Chikuhodo Z-1 is slightly smaller, while Chikuhodo Z-9 is wider/flatter and a bit overall–they all feel the same in regards to softness.

SUQQU Eyeshadow Brush M (£48.00 / ¥8,000) is a medium-sized, domed brush with a very rounded edge. It’s like a much larger and wider take on a pencil brush or a really squat, densely-packed crease brush. It can apply quite a bit of color even though it’s made out of gray squirrel, if desired. There’s no doubt it’s one of the softest pencil-like brushes I’ve tried, as it swirls and taps, sweeps and blends and never, ever feels pointed. The bristles move together in a way that feels silky across the skin. Though it probably will make some cringe, but this is such a good shape and brush for applying cream eyeshadow into the crease, particularly for blending out the edges (I really liked it with Laura Mercier). I tend to favor other brushes for initial application and only use this as a buffing tool, just because it makes it cleaner when I use it for blending. It’s lovely for blending out powder eyeshadows as well, and it is nice for highlighting the inner tear duct/corner of the lid. I’ve also had good luck using it to buff out creamy concealers underneath the eye or tapping brightening powder underneath the eye.

  • Sizing: 12.5mm in length, 6mm in width, 6mm in thickness (it’s round); total length of 13 centimeters.
  • Most similar: Chikuhodo Z-10 is much more tapered towards the end and comes to more of a point; IT Cosmetics No. 105 is longer, so it has more spring, but it has a similarly-sized rounded edge (it is also a synthetic option)

SUQQU Lip Brush L (£32.00 / ¥6,500) is a thin, rectangular lip brush that can line, fill, and blend with great precision. Its greatest attribute is that it never feels sharp, even when using the edge get a really crisp line of color. The bristles are extremely well-cut so that you don’t get skips and drags, and they move together for the most part. I like that it doesn’t come to a defined, tapered point, which is one of the things I like least in lip brushes, and the length is nice, as it gives you enough real estate to get product on it and cover lips without it taking an eternity. All that said, I rarely use lip brushes, so I wouldn’t consider myself a lip brush authority, so please keep that in mind!

  • Sizing: 10mm in length, 6mm in width, 0.5mm in thickness (it’s round); total length of 17 centimeters.
  • Most similar: Hakuhodo 270 (I don’t have it) appears similar based on photo/listed measurements; Tom Ford also has a more rectangular-shaped brush

The Glossover

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Cheek Brush

It had moderate density with a feathery quality to it, which made it particularly suitable for use with more pigmented or very soft-textured powder products. This is useful if you're more heavy-handed when applying your blush, even if you don't mean to be, as it is hard to overdo your cheek color with this brush.

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Face Brush

The fullness makes it ideal for dusting finishing and setting powders all over the face. I also liked it for diffusing the edges of a trickier blush or bronzer as well. It is made out of gray squirrel hair.

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Eyeshadow Brush M

It's like a much larger and wider take on a pencil brush or a really squat, densely-packed crease brush. It can apply quite a bit of color even though it's made out of gray squirrel, if desired. There's no doubt it's one of the softest pencil-like brushes I've tried, as it swirls and taps, sweeps and blends and never, ever feels pointed.

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Saturday, December 13th, 2014

Wayne Goss The Holiday Brush (Black)
Wayne Goss The Holiday Brush (Black)

Wayne Goss The Holiday Brush ($85.00) is available in black or white, with both brushes being made out of goat hair, and are, essentially, the same as far as shape, weight, and softness go. It’s a large powder brush with a full, rounded brush head that gradually tapers to a soft point. The brush head is in 50mm in length and 25mm in thickness and width (at its thickest/widest point). The brush has a total length of 7 inches / 17.5 centimeters with an open ferrule. I liked it best for applying finishing powders, particularly Guerlain’s Meteorites, as it fit in the jar well and dusted the powder all-over quickly. It’s too large for me when I’ve applied blush, except if it is a very barely-there blush where precision is unnecessary. Loose or pressed setting powder can be applied using this brush as well, and the brush is just soft enough that it feels comfortable on the skin but not so soft that it doesn’t pick up a lot of product. I also liked it for applying a soft highlight (anything metallic was easily over-applied with this brush, though) for a diffused glow. Between the two, I would go for the white brush hairs, because there was a fair amount of dye washing out of the black fibers for the first half a dozen washes. I haven’t had any issues with shedding with either brush over the three weeks I’ve been using them–a few hairs overall but nothing consistent (often none during an application).

If you’re familiar with MAC 138 ($53.00), this will look familiar. It is identical in its size and shape, with the MAC brush having a slightly longer handle. The Holiday Brush is slightly softer–it feels smoother when it is swept across the face ever-so-slightly–and seems a touch less dense (a little more feathery) with finer fibers. I used them side-by-side, and the Holiday Brush seemed to pick up product more readily, which may come down to preference. My MAC 138 is from 2009 (possibly even older than that), and I know some of my more recently-purchased MAC brushes have felt inferior to my original purchases, so I’m not sure if the 138 is still made the same today.

NARS Mie Kabuki ($55.00) comes to a more angular point towards the end (the taper isn’t as gradual), and it is ridiculously scratchy and rough against the face. Chikuhodo Z-8 Cheek ($111.00) is somewhat similar in shape but is half the size with a more rounded, less tapered edge; it is made out of blue squirrel hair, so it is noticeably softer–I think the larger powder Z-series brushes are too rounded to be similar to the Holiday Brush. I don’t have it to confirm, but I believe Hakuhodo’s 103 (from $75, available in the S, B, and J, though the J is a goat and synthetic blend) is similar as it has been compared to the MAC 138.

The Glossover

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The Holiday Brush

I liked it best for applying finishing powders, particularly Guerlain's Meteorites, as it fit in the jar well and dusted the powder all-over quickly. It's too large for me when I've applied blush, except if it is a very barely-there blush where precision is unnecessary. Loose or pressed setting powder can be applied using this brush as well, and the brush is just soft enough that it feels comfortable on the skin but not so soft that it doesn't pick up a lot of product.
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Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

MAC x BollyDoll Brush Kit
MAC x BollyDoll Brush Kit

MAC x BollyDoll Brush Kit ($49.50) includes five travel-sized brushes and a patterned brush rkeper. The brushes have glossy black handles with golden patterns on them and white bristles (except the 204SE Lash, which is a black mascara spoolie). The brush holder has a shiny black ribbon that ties it together, and on the interior, there are five slots so each brush has its own home. The brush holder is made out of 100% polyester with a very smooth, soft feel on the exterior and a slightly more textured fabric on the interior.

The brushes are consistent with this past holiday’s brush sets in that they seem improved over the last few years of brush set releases, but the full-sized versions will still out-perform, mostly in regards to softness, though I felt like the shapes of the eye brushes were larger, more rounded, and fluffier here than their full versions. The shapes of the brushes just seem a lot less precise with less defined shape here, particularly in the case of the 217SE. The 204SE Lash and the 168SE Large Angled Contour were the most similar to their full versions. The 219SE is longer and more rounded, so it can actually be nicer for smudging out color (less tapered/sharp). The 239SE seems fluffier and less flat, so it wasn’t as good for packing on color, but it worked well for blending.

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Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

MAC x BollyDoll/Blue Makeup Bag
MAC x BollyDoll/Blue Makeup Bag

MAC x BollyDoll Makeup Bags ($36.00) are available in two prints, one with bluer shades and the other with pinker shades. Each bag is made out of 100% polyester and measures 6.75 inches / 17 centimeters width, 1.75 inches / 5 centimeters in depth, and 5 inches / 12 centimeters in height. The outside feels very soft and smooth, while the inside is slightly more textured. There is a small, clear plastic pocket on the interior. The side of the bag has a black fabric loop, and it has a black zipper. The bags seem durable and should be able to take a little dirt/makeup debris when traveling and be easily wiped down. I would consider them medium in size; large enough for a multi-day trip as well as to be used as an everyday makeup bag.

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Friday, November 28th, 2014

Alexis Bittar Liquid Gold Compact Mirror
Alexis Bittar Liquid Gold Compact Mirror

Alexis Bittar Liquid Gold Compact Mirror ($42.00) is a medium-sized, heft 24 karat gold-plated compact mirror with Swarovski crystals. It has a very interesting, unique shape, and it is incredibly heavy, which makes it feel higher quality in the hand as it feels solid, but it’s not something I’d want to keep in a bag to use for touch-ups on-the-go. It might be a nice item to keep on a desk (or a vanity) for touch-ups at the office or the like, or if you normally carry a big purse, you might not mind the additional weight.

Given the metallic finish of it, fingerprints are easily seen, so ultimately, this is more like a paperweight or collector’s item. The quality of the mirrors seems exceptionally good; just really crisp and made me take mental note that it seemed like a higher quality compact overall. One mirror is normal, and the other side has a 2x magnification. It comes with a velvet, drawstring bag, so you can keep it in there for storage. The box itself is numbered, but the compact is not (wish it was engraved somewhere on it).

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Friday, November 14th, 2014

Diptyque Spice Candle
Diptyque Spice Candle

Diptyque Spice Candle ($68.00 for 6.5 oz.) is described as “cinnamon with the reassuring roundness of plum.” Sometimes, I’m not sure why I buy things I know I probably won’t like, because Diptyque’s candles always disappoints me. Their holiday candles are always so beautifully packaged, and since I tend to gravitate towards spicy, cozy scents in the fall and winter, I thought this one might hit the spot (and being cinnamon-driven, I didn’t think it would be a shy scent).

I was wrong – there is so little throw that I’m not even sure there’s any scent being released as the wax melts. When I burn it, I can’t detect any scent. I get more scent in the room when it is unlit and just sitting there (though it is very subtle, and only if I’m within a foot of it). Unlit, it smells of warm, spicy cinnamon with a hint of clove and sweet plum. It’s not an overly complicated scent but very holiday-esque (to me) and aptly named. The only positive things I have to say about it is that it does burn evenly, and it burns cleanly. Currently, I don’t need to read by candlelight, so the lack of throw is devastating at this price point (and this is what I’ve experienced with every Diptyque candle I’ve tried). Someone remind me of this next holiday season when those prettily housed candles try to tempt me again.

It’s also available in a smaller size for $34 (2.4 oz.) or as part of the holiday trio ($98 for 3 x 2.4 oz. candles) The large size featured in this post is supposed to have a 60-hour burn time, while the smaller size has a 30-hour burn time.

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