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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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

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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

Sunday, December 12th, 2010

Dolce & Gabbana Makeup Brushes
Dolce & Gabbana Makeup Brushes:  Powder, Blush, Blending, Eyeshading, Lip

Are Dolce & Gabbana Makeup Brushes Worth It?

Dolce & Gabbana Makeup Brushes debuted earlier this year, and despite having much luck with Dolce & Gabbana’s Makeup Line… I’m just not loving their makeup brushes. I actually find them, on the whole, a little scratchy. They are just nowhere near as soft as I expect from quality makeup brushes.

I know that a lot of readers thought the packaging looked very cheap with the gold plating and black handle, but the handles are a very sleek, matte black, which I think offsets the shiny gold plating in a way that’s not quite as “cheap” looking as anticipated. The ferrules also seem tightly in place, and I had very little bristle fall out, even on first use.  All of the brushes are made out of natural hair (goat and sable).

  • The Powder Brush ($55.00) is a large, dome-shaped brush with nice fullness, but it is a little scratchy. It’s pretty soft, but sometimes I find it less than pleasant on the skin.  It is luxuriously full and dense, though.
  • The Retractable Lip Brush ($29.00) is a small, thin brush that is thick and slightly tapered at the end. It is thicker than the average lip brush, and it’s not quite as wide. I like the firmness it has, and I like that it is retractable with a case, so it can be stored easily in a purse.
  • The Blush Brush ($48.00) is a medium-sized, tapered brush with a subtle dome shape. It works well for applying just the right amount of blush on cheeks as well as highlighting the cheek bones. I found it softer than the Powder Brush but not as soft as I would expect.
  • The Eyeshading Brush ($30.00) is a small, densely-packed dome-shaped eye brush. It is extremely similar to MAC’s 239, but this version seems an itsy bit smaller and firmer. I really liked the shape itself, but it, too, felt a little scratchy when used to blend.
  • The Blending Brush ($32.00) is a fluffy, slightly tapered brush designed for blending eyeshadows. I don’t think I have small eyes necessarily, but I found this brush too big to be all that useful. It may work better if you have larger eyes.

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

  • Product: 23/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: I do not recommend purchasing these without having tested them in-person. They are not the worst brushes I have tried, and they really aren’t bad–they are decent–but there are better brands (at this price point or lower) out there. If you want to try Dolce & Gabbana, I recommend trying one of their blushes or lipsticks instead!

AVAILABILITY: Saks

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