NARS Kabuki Brush Set (Holiday 2014)

NARS Kabuki Brush Set ($149.00) includes three, kabuki-style brushes: Mie Kabuki, Mizubake Kabuki, and Kabuki Eye Brush. The Mie and Mizubake brushes are both $55 each, so that is $110 value there, and then $39 for the eye brush (which seems about right–the Kudoko, an eye Kabuki brush NARS released earlier this year is priced at $40). The brushes come housed in a thick, plastic rectangular box (it feels like acrylic storage containers to me). There’s a thin, removable plastic insert that holds the brushes upright in the box.

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NARS Kabuki Brush Set
NARS   Mie Kabuki Brush
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MAC Keepsakes/Brush Kits Review & Photos (Quick)

I thought the quality of the brushes in these sets seemed better than many of the other brush sets released over the last few years. Unlike past years’ brush sets, I didn’t instantly think, “Why bother?”  This is the first year in quite awhile where I’d say they’re worth considering if you really want MAC brushes but the cost of full-sized brushes is too high. I would, of course, also say that there are plenty of quality options to consider if your budget is $50 that may be better or more versatile, especially if you prefer or are indifferent to synthetic bristles.  I highly recommend looking at the brushes in each set and determining if those are the shapes you’ve been looking at or not.  Another aspect to consider is whether you like short handles or prefer longer ones, as these are all short.  Each comes with a glittery brush bag with “pearl” trim.  The bags use a finer glitter, so it doesn’t feel as rough, and though it does shed some glitter, I didn’t notice it much.  The Studio Brush Kit was the least comparable to their full-sized counterparts, and I don’t recommend it at all.

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MAC Keepsakes/In Extra Dimension Brush Kit

Chikuhodo GSN-03 Cheek & GSN-01 Powder Brushes Reviews & Photos

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.

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Chikuhodo GSN-03 Cheek Brush
Chikuhodo   GSN-03 Cheek Brush
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Louise Young LY13 Mini Socket, LY38 Tapered Shadow, LY38B Tapered Shadow Brushes Reviews & Photos

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.

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Louise Young Crease Brushes
Louise Young   LY13 Mini Socket Brush
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Hakuhodo J004G & J242G Eyeshadow Brush Round & Flat Reviews & Photos

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.

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Hakuhodo J004G Eyeshadow Brush Round & Flat
Hakuhodo   J004G Eyeshadow Brush Round & Flat
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Sephora #27 Pro Blending Brush & #73 Pro Precision Blush Brush Reviews & Photos

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.

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