Sunday, March 1st, 2015

NARS Wet/Dry Blush Brush
NARS Wet/Dry Blush Brush

NARS Wet/Dry Blush Brush ($42.00) is a brush designed to work the brand’s new wet/dry blush formula. It’s a smaller-sized, circular dome-shaped brush; it reminded me of a mini buffer brush with a longer brush handle. The dome seems a bit too rounded and raised, so you lose surface area to apply it on the cheeks and don’t get a great “buffing” diameter. The brush head is 21mm in width, 25mm in height, and 21mm in thickness. It had a total length of 15 centimeters with an open ferrule. I’ve been using this brush for a week, but I’ve exhausted so many ways trying to make it work.

I had really poor luck using this brush with NARS’ formula, and it wasn’t much better with other brand’s powder and cream blushes either. In general, I’ve found NARS’ brush range to be extremely disappointing. There is a real lack of quality when it comes to the cut, shape, and fibers used, and this brush has an uneven cut with noticeably sharp or rough bristles when the brush is patted or buffed against the skin. The fibers felt finer than some of the other NARS’ face brushes and wasn’t quite as scratchy. It’s a much denser brush (again, like a buffer or kabuki brush!), so in theory, you would expect it to apply a lot of color, but it doesn’t. It seems to pick up a fair amount of powder when you tap and swirl it against the blush’s surface, but the color doesn’t transfer well from the brush to the skin. I could feel the bristles, and some are irritating/scratchy, whenever I tapped, patted, or swirled the color in; the only time it seems smooth is if I only do a very gentle, slow sweeping motion outwards. It was impossible to even out or blend NARS’ blush formula when this brush was damp, as the brush would lift the color without blending it out, so there were whole areas where it would show bare skin.

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Wet/Dry Blush Brush

It seems to pick up a fair amount of powder when you tap and swirl it against the blush's surface, but the color doesn't transfer well from the brush to the skin. I could feel the bristles, and some are irritating/scratchy, whenever I tapped, patted, or swirled the color in; the only time it seems smooth is if I only do a very gentle, slow sweeping motion outwards.
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Friday, February 27th, 2015

IT Cosmetics No. 315 Soft Focus Sculpting Velvet Luxe Brush
IT Cosmetics No. 315 Soft Focus Sculpting Velvet Luxe Brush

IT Cosmetics No. 315 Soft Focus Sculpting Velvet Luxe Brush ($34.00) is a medium-sized, angled brush made out of synthetic fibers. The brush head is 34mm in width, 28mm in height, and 17mm in thickness. The total length of the brush is 18 centimeters and has a slightly pinched ferrule. It is moderately dense with some give to allow it to glide and sweep across the planes of the face with ease–less dense than most buffer brushes, denser than your average blush brush. The curve of the brush head fits well into the hollows of the cheeks for application of contouring products, and the incredible silkiness of the brush helps it blend cream and powder contouring products well. I’ve used this to apply a lot of the contouring palettes and kits we’ve seen lately, and it is does a fantastic job at diffusing those contour lines without over-blending and losing the definition I wanted. It was easy to wash, didn’t bleed or leak dye, didn’t shed, and retained its shape well. I love that I can angle, tap, pat, buff, press, and sweep this brush in any direction with any pressure and I never feel individual bristles; it never, ever feels rough or scratchy. The cut is very precise, and the bristles themselves are very fine but still picks up powder products well.

It is similar to other medium-sized angled brushes like the less-dense MAC 168 ($35) and NARS Contour Brush #21 ($42). Sephora Pro ANgled Blush Brush #49 ($32) has a steeper angle, but it is fairly similar.

I’m still testing, but hopefully will wrap up everything up soon, of the Luxe Brush Set, as well as some of the other brushes in the IT range that aren’t part of the Velvet Luxe line. Hearing all of your enthusiasm for IT’s brush range in the No. 302 LBD Brush post made me eager to write-up reviews for all of the others I’ve been testing :)

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No. 315 Soft Focus Sculpting Velvet Luxe Brush

I love that I can angle, tap, pat, buff, press, and sweep this brush in any direction with any pressure and I never feel individual bristles; it never, ever feels rough or scratchy. The cut is very precise, and the bristles themselves are very fine but still picks up powder products well. The curve of the brush head fits well into the hollows of the cheeks for application of contouring products, and the incredible silkiness of the brush helps it blend cream and powder contouring products well.
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Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

IT Cosmetics No. 302 LBD Foundation Velvet Luxe Brush
IT Cosmetics No. 302 LBD Foundation Velvet Luxe Brush

IT Cosmetics No. 302 LBD Foundation Velvet Luxe Brush ($38.00) is a medium-sized, dense, gently dome-shaped brush with synthetic fibers. The brush head is 30mm in width, 29mm in height, and 30mm in thickness. It has an open, rounded ferrule. The total length is 7 inches or 18 centimeters with the majority of the handle having a “soft-touch grip.” (If you’re familiar with NARS’ packaging, it’s a bit like that but smoother, and I haven’t noticed a tendency to pick-up powder or smudges–my handle is totally pristine after having it for two months). The brush is well-balanced with a handle that’s comfortable to hold and fit well into my hand.

This is an excellent brush for foundation, particularly liquid and cream foundations, as the fibers are so fine and the brush itself so dense that all the fibers move as one, which yields a smooth, even, streak-free application. It’s domed enough to move across more contoured areas of the face, like underneath the eyes, around the nose, and along the jaw, but the more buffer-brush-like shape makes it easy to stipple, spread, blend, and buff foundation into the skin. It’s become my new go-to liquid foundation brush since I started testing it. I’m particularly impressed by how silky it feels against the skin no matter the angle or motion of the brush–there is never a direction or pressure where you can feel any of the individual fibers, which also indicates how well-cut it is. The brush itself is very dense, much like a buffer brush, so it does take extra time to really clean and rinse through any brush cleanser used, and subsequently, drying time is longer, but it dries within 12 to 16 hours in my experience.

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No. 302 LBD Foundation Velvet Luxe Brush

Temptalia Recommends
This is an excellent brush for foundation, particularly liquid and cream foundations, as the fibers are so fine and the brush itself so dense that all the fibers move as one, which yields a smooth, even, streak-free application. It's become my new go-to liquid foundation brush since I started testing it!
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Friday, February 13th, 2015

Sephora Contoured Eyelash Comb
Sephora Contoured Eyelash Comb

Sephora Contoured Eyelash Comb ($14.00) looked so interesting, I had to buy one as soon as I saw it on Sephora. It’s shaped a bit like an eyelash curler, but it’s an eyelash comb. The teeth are fine with good separation to really get between the lashes to separate for a really defined, fluttery lash without catching or pulling on individual lashes. I’ve used mine mostly after mascara to minimize clumping and to ensure a good, even coat of mascara throughout the lashes. Sephora says it can be used to brush product through the eyelashes, but as you might expect, it can become quite the clean-up job to remove mascara from all of the teeth. I don’t find it as effective at applying a more mascara-like product to the eye as a mascara fan brush, but it does work. I just think it does better (and really does it well) at separating lashes and removing any clumps from mascara.

It comes with a plastic cap to protect the metal teeth, and it folds in half for easy travel, if desired. I also found that you can bend the handle to get a better grip/fit, depending on your needs. The handle is made out of plastic, and it seemed lightweight and durable enough to travel with.

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Contoured Eyelash Comb

The teeth are fine with good separation to really get between the lashes to separate for a really defined, fluttery lash without catching or pulling on individual lashes. I don't find it as effective at applying a more mascara-like product to the eye as a mascara fan brush, but it does work. I just think it does better (and really does it well) at separating lashes and removing any clumps from mascara.
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Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

Real Techniques #101 Triangle Foundation Brush
Real Techniques #101 Triangle Foundation Brush

Real Techniques #101 Triangle Foundation Brush ($23.99) is supposed to “revolutionize your foundation application” to give you “flawless coverage.” It is three-sided such that you can more easily maneuver underneath the eye and around the nose. The brush head is in 42 length, 25mm in width, and 13mm in thickness. It has a total length of just over 21 centimeters with an open ferrule.

In theory, I like the concept of a three-sided, tapered brush to get into the nooks and crannies. In practice, it didn’t apply foundation well, was uncomfortable to use, and I have no idea what I could use this for, because it feels unusable. This is one of the scratchiest, most painful brushes I’ve used in years. The bristles just seem sharp and seem to stab at the skin, so you need to use it incredibly lightly and drag it across the skin in a downwards motion to minimize the bristles poking the skin. Unfortunately, that technique leaves the skin covered in visible strokes of liquid foundation–lines everywhere–and this brush is incapable of smoothing out those lines. I couldn’t believe how uncomfortable it was to use, and if you’re prone to reddening if your skin gets irritated, stay far away from this. I looked like I threw myself into a rose bush after using this.

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#101 Triangle Foundation Brush

In theory, I like the concept of a three-sided, tapered brush to get into the nooks and crannies. In practice, it didn't apply foundation well, was uncomfortable to use, and I have no idea what I could use this for, because it feels unusable.
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Sunday, January 11th, 2015

Real Techniques Bold Metals Brushes
Real Techniques Bold Metals Brushes

Real Techniques Bold Metals Brushes ($15.99 to $25.99) is a new, permanent collection of synthetic brushes. There are seven brushes in all–three for eyes, four for face–and they come with either silver, rose gold, and gold-hued handles. The brush heads are primarily white that fades to color at the base. I haven’t played with these for more than a couple of days, so I don’t have too many thoughts to share, but here are some initial impressions:

  • Some of the shapes seem more specific, so if you prefer brushes that can be used for a variety of things, or are only building your collection, you may want to shop in person.
  • The #200 and #201 brushes are quite large (almost covering my entire eyelid), so they are better for looks that only consist of one or two eyeshadows.
  • The handles hold fingerprints easily, and they always look dirty to me as a result (smudges everywhere). The handles are also very long and taper towards the tip, and they are faceted, to prevent rolling off tables and counter tops.
  • I noticed some very small nicks and dents throughout the collection, and the brushes themselves could have been cut better–there were a few obvious fibers that extended past the general shape of the brush. The handles don’t feel as weighty as I would have expected, though they don’t feel so lightweight that they feel cheap, but I’ll have to play and hold them more to get a better sense of weight as well as balance.
  • They seem soft enough, but once I’m able to use more of them and for longer, I’ll have a better grasp on how soft, relative to the type of application, and things of that nature. I did compare the large powder brush to Make Up For Ever’s #128 (which is a go-to powder brush for me and also synthetic), and the Make Up For Ever bristles were noticeably softer–I was curious if these would be some of the softest/smoothest synthetics on the market.
  • I look forward to seeing how the contour brush works with cream contours (I’ve only used it with powder so far), as well as trying out the triangle foundation brush to see how it fits in the nooks and crannies of the face.

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