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.

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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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Thursday, August 14th, 2014

NARS Yachiyo Kabuki Brush
NARS Yachiyo Kabuki Brush

NARS Yachiyo Kabuki Brush ($55.00) is described as a “multi-functional tool designed for defining cheekbones, highlighting the complexion, and blending and diffusing color on or around the eye area.” It’s a slightly smaller-than-medium-sized blush brush that flares outwards from the base and then tapers gradually to a point at the tip. It’s 1.5 inches / 4 centimeters in length, 0.75 inches / 2.5 centimeters in width (at its widest) and thickness. It has a total length of 6.25 inches / just over 16 centimeters. It has a fair amount of spring and moderate density. I liked it best with under-pigmented blushes or blushes with stiffer, drier consistencies, because the bristles aren’t as soft, so they seem to disturb the surface of tougher powder blushes better, but it’s a brush that doesn’t feel as nice on the skin at times. When I use a feathery touch, I don’t notice that it’s lacking some softness and smoothness to the bristles, but if I try to buff or really blend and diffuse color, it’s less comfortable. I remember hearing a lot of raves for this brush over the years, so when I received it, I was disappointed by the texture and feel of the brushes. It actually prompted me to try Hakuhodo’s Large Yachiyo brush ($50), which is softer but not as soft as other face brushes.

NARS Mie Kabuki Brush ($55.00) is described as a “soft, allover face powder” brush that uses goat hair bristles. It’s a medium-large powder brush that flares from the bottom, rounds out in the middle, then gradually tapers to a soft point at the top. It’s nicely weighted with slightly more weight towards the brush head end, but it feels comfortable in the hand. The brush head is 1.75 inches / 5 centimeters in length, 1.25 inches / 3 centimeters in width (at its widest point) and thickness. It had a total length of 7 inches / 17.5 centimeters. The bottom half (towards the base) is dense, and as it moves up, it has more of a moderate density and moderate spring. The bristles are somewhat rough/scratchy against the skin, especially if you use any tapping or stippling motion, and it is less noticeable if you use slow, sweeping motions. It is about double the size of the Yachiyo with greater density, but it is similar in overall shape.

NARS Mizubake Kabuki Brush ($55.00) is described as a “contour and sculpt” brush with goat hair bristles that can be used with blush as well. It is a short-handled, flat-topped brush that flares out from the base. The brush head was just short of 1.25 inches / 3 centimeters in length, and 1.25 inches / 3 centimeters in width (at its widest point) and thickness. It had a total length of 4/5 inches / 11 centimeters. It could have a better cut–the bristles are a bit uneven, but it was significantly softer, smoother, and nicer to use on the skin compared to the other two brushes above. It had moderate density with light spring, so it worked well for buffing product into the skin, stippling, blending, and sweeping. Of the four, this was the only one I liked, though the shape itself isn’t one that I use in my regular routine, but it is a nice alternative to a buffer brush for someone looking for a longer handle (compared to most buffer brushes, that is!) and less density (it is easier to clean and dries faster than your typical buffer brush, since it is less dense).

NARS Kudoki Kabuki Brush ($40.00) is described as a “sable and pony hair” brush used to “contour the eye for impeccable crease definition.” It is a medium-large-sized, sharply angled eye brush. The brush head measured 0.5 inches / just over 1 centimeter in length, 0.4 inches / 9mm in width, 1/8 of an inch / 3mm in thickness. It had a total 6.5 length of inches / almost 17 centimeters. It’s a firmer, denser brush that is very precise, so if you like a soft, diffused crease, this isn’t an appropriate brush. This seems like a brush you’d use to create a cut crease look. It could be used to apply eyeliner as well, but it is a thicker angled brush, so it would be for a more specific look/application or perhaps smudging out eyeliner. The bristles were fairly soft, but the shape is “sharper” in a way, so use a light pressure when applying to find your comfort zone. The cut could be better, as the edge is noticeably uneven.

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Yachiyo Kabuki Brush

Moderate density, springy brush that is best for under-pigmented powder products as the bristles are scratchier/rougher and dislodge powder from stubborn pans of powder better, but it can be uncomfortable to use, especially when blending due to the scratchiness.
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Mie Kabuki Brush

A medium-large all-over face powder brush with rougher/scratchier bristles, which makes it more unpleasant to use as an all-over face brush. The lack of softness is more noticeable when tapping or patting the brush against the skin and slightly less apparent when doing a sweeping motion.
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Mizubake Kabuki Brush

Moderately dense, light springiness that made it work well for buffing and blending out powder products on the skin for a really diffused look. The bristles were fairly soft, and the brush is similar to how one might use a buffing brush but with a flatter edge and a longer handle (but it is a short handle compared to face brushes in general).
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Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

NARS Powder Brush #10
NARS Powder Brush #10

Last April, NARS released new Artistry Brushes. Since then, I’ve spent time using them on and off, figuring out which ones I like, don’t like, and all that. I don’t like any of the face brushes; I find them prone to shedding and at times, scratchy–the latter is hard to deal with. I had shedding with all four face brushes I tried continuously, though after a dozen or more washes, I only find a stray hair here and there now, but initially it was more than a few. The only thing I liked about these were the handles, as they were weighty and well-balanced. They are not brushes I would reach for voluntarily due to the scratchiness as well as the shedding.

NARS Powder Brush #10 ($52.00) is supposed to “blend, buff, and diffuse powder.” It’s a large, flared brush with a slightly tapered (just along the edges) top, that is almost flat. The fibers did not look to be all that well cut–they were quite jagged. It was moderately dense with good flexibility and spring, so it was able to apply a loose setting or finishing powder well without applying too much (it was just uncomfortable to apply). This brush shed quite a bit initially, and it has come down to only a few per use, but it’s still frustrating to deal with it at this price point. The brush head is 48mm in length, 40mm in width, and 40mm in thickness. It had a round, open ferrule and a total length of 7 inches or 18 centimeters. I noticed that the two brushes with all-black bristles seemed to be the roughest and least well-cut–very uneven and the bristles felt thicker, whereas the two brushes with browner bristles were softer and had a more even cut.

NARS Bronzing Powder Brush #11 ($52.00) is a densely-packed, buffer brush with a short-handle (like a regular short handle, not a squat, buffer brush type handle). It flares out slightly with a gentle dome shape. This one was softer than #10, so it is moderately soft. It only seemed slightly scratchy if you tried using it to stipple or tap product on, but if you sweep, buff, or blend, it is fairly soft and doesn’t irritate or bother my skin when used. It blends very well, whether that’s applying bronzer or to correct over-applied blush. It’s 35mm in length, 43mm in width, and 43mm in thickness. It had an open, round ferrule, and a total length of 4.5 inches or 11.5 centimeters.

NARS Blush Brush #20 ($42.00) is a dome-shaped, medium-sized blush brush. It flares out slightly from the ferrule and them rounds along the corners. The bristles are densely packed, and the brush feels soft most of the time. On mine, there’s one edge that is slightly scratchy when I pat on blush color for initial application. The density of this brush makes this pick up quite a bit of pigment and deposit it in one place, so if you’re heavy-handed, you’ll want to look for a less dense brush, but if you tend to always under-apply or have sheerer blushes, you might like how easily this will pick up color. It will soften the edges, but I recommend wiping off excess color on a paper towel or tissue to get good diffusion. The brush head is 35mm in length, 30mm in width, and 20mm in thickness. It had a slightly pinched ferrule, and a total length of 6.5 inches or just over16 centimeters.

NARS Contour Brush #21 ($42.00) is an angled, medium-sized brush designed for contouring. This brush could have been cut better–the bristles were somewhat uneven, and it was noticeably scratchy on the skin during use. When applied with light pressure and skimmed across the skin, it felt okay, but I often felt like it was scratchy when using it. I had shedding problems with this one for the first six washes, and after that, it sheds two or three bristles per use. The shape fits well in the hollows of the cheeks for a softer, more diffused contour. The brush head is 33mm in length, 35mm in width, and 20mm in thickness. It had a slightly pinched ferrule with a total length of 6.5 inches or just over 16 centimeters.

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Powder Brush #10

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Bronzing Powder Brush #11

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Blush Brush #20

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