Monday, August 22nd, 2011


MAC 211 Pointed Liner Brush

MAC 211 Pointed Liner Brush

MAC 211 Pointed Liner Brush ($18.00) is a precision synthetic brush with an extra-fine point.  It is much more pointed at the end compared to the 209, which is long and skinny but doesn’t taper much at the end.  The 211 is also firmer and denser, so it has less bend and give compared to the 209, so it should work better for lining.  It is wider at the base than the 209, which means how thick or thin your line is will depend also on your application and technique.

It is definitely one of the smallest brushes from MAC, as it is shorter than the 208 and a little taller than the 231.  It’s just over 6mm in height and 3mm at its widest point (the base), while the narrowest point is about 1mm.  I can’t speak on how well it holds up, as I have only had it a day or so.  It seems sturdy from touching and feeling it – the ferrule is tightly crimped around the handle.  The 211 does not have a country printed on its handle, but the sleeve it comes in when you purchase it states it was “Assembled in U.S.A.” (The 226 from this collection is “Made in France” in comparison.)

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Saturday, July 2nd, 2011

MAC Semi-Precious Brushes: 128, 179, 234, 235 Review

Above is a video review and comparison of the upcoming Semi-Precious brushes. I thought that a video would better illustrate size and how they stack up (both in size and shape) to existing brushes.

My overall take on these brushes is that they’re nice but unnecessary. The split effect is unusual but doesn’t seem to be all that useful. I don’t think that these were meant to be gimmicky, but after using them, that’s how the split fibre technique seems.   If you’re expecting one of these brushes to revolutionize your makeup routine, you may be disappointed.  If you’re looking for a particular size/shape and one of these matches that, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.  You won’t enjoy much of the split effect if you tend to use the point or edge of your brush, rather than the side.

They feel well-constructed from me, but I can’t vouch for longevity, given I have only had these for a few days.  The ferrules seem sturdy and tight around the bristles.  I had some bristles splayed around the edges of the 179, but the other three brushes were fine.  I did not experience any bleeding dye or post-wash smells.  All four brushes felt exceptionally soft, and none of them felt scratchy during application.  On the handles, all four have “China” imprinted, compared to Japan or France for many (if not all) of the permanent brushes.

I see the 234 being the most popular of the bunch, just because it shares a lot of similarities with the 217, which is one of the more popular brushes.  The 128 is a good size to add to one’s stash of cheek brushes, but it doesn’t replace anything I already have (and I don’t see myself reaching for it).   I am curious to see if that will cause each side to separate a little over time.  Right now, the split is really seamless.

These seem more like specialty brushes, which mean that they function but for particular purposes.  I see them less as becoming a new staple brush in your collection as something you buy with an exact purpose in mind.  MAC has other brushes with well-defined purposes in their permanent line-up, so I would think of these in a similar way.   One doesn’t need every brush MAC makes, but you might find a certain brush more useful than another based on what your needs are.

  • 128 Split Fibre Cheek Brush is a nice brush for smaller cheeks, though it feels a little too dense to apply blush as well as I like the application from the 116. It is very similar in size to the 109 and even to an extent, the shape, but obviously flattened. It’s a densely-packed brush.
  • 179 Angled Split Fibre Buffer Brush is incredibly soft and moves well across the skin. It also feels huge when I use it. I’m not sure just how much utility there is here, compared to a normal buffing brush. I did notice more-than-expected splaying of bristles around the edges after two washes.
  • 234 Split Fibre Eye Blending Brush seems to be the most useful of the four brushes. I could see using both sides separately but with the same color–say picking up the product with the natural side and then blending with the synthetic side. It is reminiscent of the 217 but not quite as fluffy or as rounded.
  • 235 Split Fibre All Over Eye Brush is like the 214 and 239 had an over-sized baby. Personally, I find the brush too big to be of much use for my eye area. I wouldn’t say I have particularly small eyes (I wouldn’t say I have large ones, either!). It could work well for applying a wash of a single color; perhaps laying down a cream eyeshadow with one side and blending the edges with the other.

To view still photos of these brushes, please see this post.

Saturday, March 19th, 2011

Urban Decay Good Karma Face Brushes
Urban Decay Good Karma Face Brushes

Urban Decay Good Karma Face Brushes

Urban Decay Good Karma Brushes ($32.00 to $39.00) are eco- and vegan-friendly brushes, which have bristles made out of recycled PET bottles and gunmetal handles made out of recycled aluminum.

  • Finishing Brush ($39.00) is a long, flared, flat-edged brush. It looks like a stippling brush, but the bristles were the same length. I felt like this brush was a little too long; it’s very dense, which is nice, but the length makes it a little too springy and floppy.
  • Blush Brush ($32.00) is an oval-shaped, angled brush. It is a bit too wide to be used easily for contouring, but it works well for blush. It is dense and soft.
  • Powder Brush ($36.00) flares outwards with a very subtly dome shaped edge. It has enough fluffiness to work well with powder but enough density that the product doesn’t get trapped within the bristles.  Though it works well as an all-over powder brush, it is quite large, so I did find it took some practice to maneuver around nooks and crannies (like the area around the nose).

Even though the outer packaging is made out of recycled egg cartons, I’m just not sure why it is necessary to have such oversized packaging for a brush few are going to actually keep in it.  Aside from that, I have no complaints regarding the actual packaging of the brushes.  The gunmetal handles look sleek, have a nice weight to them (not too heavy, not too light), and the shininess doesn’t take to fingerprints well.

final thoughts: The brushes themselves are all very soft and not at all scratchy, but I do find the length of both the Finishing and Powder Brushes to be on the long side, which makes me feel like I have less control over the tool.  I didn’t notice any difference applying finishing powder with the actual Finishing Brush over the Powder Brush, though — even though the former is supposed to be better at that particular task.

where to buy: Beauty.com

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Sunday, March 6th, 2011

Urban Decay 24/7 Shadow Pencil Blending Brush
Urban Decay 24/7 Shadow Pencil Blending Brush

Urban Decay 24/7 Shadow Pencil Blending Brush

Urban Decay 24/7 Shadow Pencil Blending Brush ($16.00) debuted in the past couple of months, and it is a very small, domed pencil brush designed to blend and feather products like Urban Decay’s Shadow Pencils. It is made out of PET (recycled plastic bottles), so the bristles are synthetic and vegan-friendly. The brush itself is small–around 6mm or so in length–and it can be used in the crease, smudging of colors (on the lash line or elsewhere).

I found the brush wasn’t tapered enough to be a really great crease brush but too dense to blend out colors with ease. The fluffiness was lacking, and so while it could deposit color well enough, it didn’t provide the soft, airy feel that seems to make blending nearly effortless. I also wish the tip itself was a little more tapered and had a touch more give.

Funny enough, I didn’t find it useful in softening the edges of the 24/7 Shadow Pencils much; it worked better with powder eyeshadows. I felt like the creaminess of the 24/7 Shadow Pencils got eaten up by the brush and the result was more of a smeared look, rather than something feathered at the edges.

final thoughts: I’ve liked Urban Decay’s new brushes, but this one was a bit of a miss for me. It was designed to blend out the 24/7 Shadow Pencils, which I felt is where it performed the worst, and it didn’t excel in the other ways I tried it either.

where to buy: Urban Decay

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Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

Aveda Brushes
Aveda Flax Sticks Daily Effects Brush Set

Quick Review: Aveda Flax Sticks Daily Effects Brush Set

Aveda Flax Sticks Daily Effects Brush Set ($65.00) includes a Medium Eye Color Brush (#2), Brow & Lash Brush (#7), and Blush Brush (#9). The handles are made of 30% natural flax fiber and 70% polypropylene (90% is post-consumer recycled resin). The bristles are 100% taklon, which means they are synthetic and not made out of animal hair.

The bristles on all three are incredibly soft; no scratchiness whatsoever, and the blush brush was extremely dense. I liked the Eye Color Brush the most, because it picked up a good amount of color without puffing it everywhere. The blush brush could have been a touch firmer, but otherwise worked well for me. I have not tested these brushes for longevity or put them through extensive washing/using tests, though, so I cannot comment on long-term conditions.

Welcome to Swatch-all-idays! To start 2011 off on the right foot (or post, as it may be!), Temptalia is going through a backlog of products we have photographed, swatched, and often tested but in a slightly different manner. Quick reviews may be partially incomplete, such as a blush may only be swatched on the arm rather than shown on the face. It is our hope that what we are able to provide is still helpful!

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: As set, it’s a nice value, because you’re getting three high-end brushes for about $20 a pop (while the face brush would certainly be more valuable).  They’re soft, seem sturdy, and didn’t shed.

AVAILABILITY: Aveda

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

MAC Brush Cleanser
MAC Brush Cleanser

Quick Review: MAC Brush Cleanser

MAC Brush Cleanser ($12.00 for 7.9 fl. oz.) is a total go-to for me when it comes to an effective, easy-to-use method to clean my makeup brushes. It works well as a spot cleanser (just spray it on a paper towel and run the brush back and forth, which will draw and pull out whatever is in your brush), because your brush will dry in a few minutes. I also will pour some into a cup and put each brush in it (just a little bit), then rinse with water for a deeper clean.

It would be more convenient if it came with a spray pump, because unless you’re pouring some into a vessel, a spray or two would be plenty without any waste. It takes me about a year to get through an entire bottle, and I’m not at all frugal with it!

Welcome to Swatch-all-idays! To start 2011 off on the right foot (or post, as it may be!), Temptalia is going through a backlog of products we have photographed, swatched, and often tested but in a slightly different manner. Quick reviews may be partially incomplete, such as a blush may only be swatched on the arm rather than shown on the face. It is our hope that what we are able to provide is still helpful!

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you’re in the market for a quick-drying brush cleanser that will disinfect and clean your brushes simultaneously, MAC Brush Cleanser is something to consider! It is definitely one of my staples.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom