Thursday, October 6th, 2011


MAC 193 Angled Foundation Brush

I’m still testing the Matchmaster foundation, but in the meanwhile, I do like the new and permanent MAC 193 Angled Foundation Brush ($32.00) that was released alongside the foundation. It’s firm and densely-packed, and the angled edge makes it easy to maneuver around noses and underneath eyes. I like it better than the 190, which I find too flat.

This brush is smaller, though, so it may take a little longer to apply foundation to the face entirely. The bigger concern is the size of it and the size of the area you’re attempting to cover may make it easier to get product towards the edge of the ferrule–and it is much harder to clean this area. It will give a slightly streaky look if you just pull it across the plane of your face, you will see lines. I use a lighter hand and brush it back and forth, and I find the finish and overall look to be blended and seamless.

It’s great for those with smaller faces or would prefer something more precise for around the nose, underneath the eyes, as well as the temples. The density makes it a good brush for liquid and cream formulas.  The bristles are soft and pliable but not floppy or fluffy.  It holds its shape well after washing.

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Wednesday, September 14th, 2011


Slice Slanted Tweezers

Slice Slanted Soft-Touch Tweezers

Slice Slanted Soft-Touch Tweezers ($19.99) is a new product to the market and one I saw during my trip to Cosmoprof. I was drawn to their booth by their logo and overall aesthetic, and they just launched several tweezers as well as a pencil sharpener (for cosmetics). I generally prefer a slanted tip myself, but they also have pointed and combination available, along with each style in both Soft Touch (which is red) and stailess steel.

I have been a huge fan of Tweezerman tweezers for years–I have over five pairs scattered around my home, but since I’ve been testing these, I haven’t wanted to reach back for them. I recently used my Tweezerman tweezers (I brought them along on my NYC trip), and it just didn’t feel as good in my hands as these. I missed my Slice ones after having used them for the past few weeks.

The ergonomics of the Slice tweezers are great; it’s comfortable to hold in your hand, and as someone with longer fingers, I find the broader design fits better in my hand as well. They were designed by architect Michael Graves, but the design translates well into usability. The rubberized finish (over stainless steel) makes it easier to hold and grip. These tweezers are crisp, too, they clamp together like a vice grip around the tiniest stray brow hair.

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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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Monday, August 15th, 2011


OCC Mirrorball Cosmetic Glitter

OCC Fall 2011: Mirrorball Cosmetic Glitter

OCC Mirrorball Cosmetic Glitter ($12.00 for 0.088 oz.) is described as a “disco-era silver with rainbow reflections,” and it will launch with the Pretty Boy Collection on September 6th. OCC’s Cosmetic Glitters are not for use in an airbrush machine and not recommended for use in the immediate eye area. They are micronized metallic glitter for face and body art, and they recommend applying over OCC Ink (before it dries) for long-lasting wear.

Mirrorball is a silvery-blue base of color with a multitude of iridescence. It really is a rainbow of reflections, because there are so many visible colors reflecting, but it is dominated by green, blue, and violet–though there are red, orange, yellow shimmers as well. Swatched dry, it tends to look more like colored sand, but when applied wet (I used water, though for real application, I would use a mixing medium–something with a more adhesive base), it comes together better.

The glitter feels very fine, though it certainly has more of a gritty texture than OCC’s Loose Colour Concentrates–which is as expected. Again, these are not recommended for use in the immediate eye area. Some ways to use glitter: mixed in nail polish, strewn over wet polish, in hair, mixed with lipstick/gloss, mixed with a body oil–just to name a few ways.

I decided not to use the Glossover rating system to grade this product (which does not work for all beauty products–e.g. hair, skincare, etc.), because ultimately, it’s going to depend on how you use it. It’s not a product that really stands on its own–it is designed to be mixed with something.  The very nature of the product doesn’t enable it to stay on without some type of base (like a sticky cream) or adhesive element (like a mixing medium).  It’s a nice glitter–it’s not chunky or gritty, and it comes together well when used with other mixtures.  There are lots of pretty reflections and iridescence, just as one would want in a glitter.

On an overall basis, I rate the product an A.  The packaging is just like the Loose Colour Concentrates, and again, I really had to tap and bang around the pot to get as much glitter to show as I did for photography purposes.  The three-holed sifter gives you enough product to work with but not too much.

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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.

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011


Urban Decay Quinceanera Bag

Urban Decay Quinceanera Bag

Urban Decay Quinceanera Bag ($26.00) is a limited edition makeup bag to celebrate the brand’s 15th anniversary. The inside of the bag is decorated in their 15th anniversary print, while the outside is a bright and glittery–it’s a darker purple with lighter purple glitter. Though the outside shimmers in the light, it is covered in PVC, so you won’t see glittery bits falling off of the bag, and it’s easy to wipe off. There is also a smaller, clear pocket with a zipper within the larger compartment.

It’s a nice-sized bag, and I actually used it on my trip to Toronto last month and found it had enough room to spare for much longer trips. The bag itself is 8.5x3x6″ and fits Urban Decay’s larger Book of Shadow palettes (though I’d say pack that separate, leave the bag space for looser items!). The zipper is sturdy and slides along easily, while the material feels thick enough to keep any products that might pop open during a trip from leaking into the rest of your stuff, too. Overall, I liked the bag, and I think the pricing is just right, too. If you love glitter and shimmer and purple, this bag has your name on it!

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