Sunday, February 24th, 2013

Hourglass Ambient Powder Brush
Hourglass Ambient Powder Brush

Hourglass Ambient Powder Brush ($35.00) is described as a “densely-packed, baby-soft powder brush.” It is, like its name would suggest, designed to be used with the brand’s Ambient Lighting Powders, which are finishing powders. The bristles are made using high-grade Taklon bristles.

The brush is short and wide; it has a stubby kind of appearance. It’s like a horizontal brush, as it is thin when you look down on it, but it is rather wide. It fits the width of Hourglass’ Ambient Lighting Powder perfectly. For those who prefer shorter-handled brushes, you’re in luck, as this one has a short, wide handle. It has incredibly soft bristles; not a single poorly cut bristle in the bunch–very soft and smooth and felt like silk caressing the skin. As described, it is also very, very densely-packed with bristles.

When I washed this brush, the bristles were easy to clean, though it did have a tendency to want to slip between my fingers due to the very short handle. It took longer to dry than the majority of the other face brushes I had washed that night (MAC’s 116, 129, 134, OCC’s Powder Brush, Bobbi Brown’s Blush Brush), though it was on par with Hourglass’ #2 Brush. It holds its shape well, and I’ve washed it five times now. I didn’t have any problems with the bristles shedding when used or while washing it. The only thing I didn’t love about the brush is that the handle appears to be made out of plastic, whereas my other Hourglass brush is definitely made out of metal.

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Thursday, January 31st, 2013

MAC Archie's Girls' Brush Set
MAC Archie’s Girls’ Brush Set

MAC Archie’s Girls’ Brush Set ($49.50) includes special edition sizes of the 266 (Small Angle), 226 (Small Tapered Blending), 242 (Shader), 168 (Large Angled Contour) and 167 (Face Blender) brushes housed inside a white tin with the Archie’s Girls’ logo embossed on the cover of the tin.

The brushes are so-so, and they’re on par with most recent brush set releases by MAC (like the holiday kits). The price point on good brushes has come down, as more budget-friendly brands have come to the market with high-quality brushes at a fraction of even this set. The best brush of the set is the 266, which is firm and stiff but not scratchy. The 168 and 167 were both a little scratchy, but they were fairly densely-packed with bristles. The 226 seemed rather bulbous; not as long or as tapered as the full-sized version (and even the full-sized version has some variance between releases). The 242 was decent but I would use primarily for patting and applying products, and avoid blending, because it was scratchy.

I, obviously, haven’t used these extensively, other than to apply some of this collection, so I can’t attest to how well they will last and the like. I didn’t notice any funny smells, too much shedding, or leaking dye.

Honestly, the tin is one of the more durable accessories out of the ones released with this collection. There’s plenty of room in it for more than just these brushes, and it’s large enough to be useful as a storage container for numerous other things.

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Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

MAC Making Pretty Brush Set
MAC Making Pretty Brush Set

Do You Remember the MAC 136?

MAC Making Pretty Brush Set ($100.00) contains one face brush and one eyeshadow brush.  Both brush handles are covered in faux shagreen with rose gold-tinted metal.

136 is a face brush that can be used for “sculpting, blending, and highlighting.” The 136 has been discontinued for some time now, but the last price I remember it being was $62. It was the most expensive brush at the time (I think it may still be, other than any couture-handled brush). I also remember it being one of the softest brushes I had ever laid across my skin. It still is one incredibly soft brush. It’s domed but flat; it’s like the 150 was flattened (and conditioned about 500 times). The 134 is the most comparable brush in MAC’s existing range, though it is fluffier and larger overall. I like the 136 for light powder application, blending, and dusting finishing powders on.

282 is an “all over eye shader brush for building and blending intense color.” I know that the SE version of this is included in past brush kits MAC has released, but I don’t know if it was ever released as a full-sized, standalone brush. It’s a wide, squat dome-shaped eye brush. It seemed well-cut and soft when I played around with it on my eyes and face. It’s bigger than the 214, smaller than the 227 and 235. Since I couldn’t find this as a full-sized, standalone brush, I’m only able to estimate the value, which I’d put at $30. The brush head is on the larger side, so it would work better on those with a lot of lid space, or anyone who tends to apply a single wash of color. I have the 214, 227, and 235 but rarely use them. You might consider using the 282 for detailed work on the face, like contouring the nose.

All in all, that means that the brushes together are worth $92 (though if the 136 was available now, it would be pricier than $62, given the rate of MAC’s price increases), plus there’s a case to carry both brushes in. I think the case is a little flimsy, and it didn’t stay open well, yet the magnet on the bow (that keeps it closed) was very weak, so for the most part, the case was half-closed.Who knew that the brush set would be the most normally-priced of the collection?

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Friday, November 30th, 2012

Make Up For Ever #302 Holodiam Powder
Make Up For Ever #302 Holodiam Powder

Not Everything is How It Appears

Make Up For Ever #302 Holodiam Powder ($25.00 for 0.035 oz.) is described as “plum with pink, purple, and turquoise highlights.” Alone, it has a strong reddish copper base with flecks of pink and teal sparkle. When I layered it over a black eyeliner, it appeared as a blue-teal. Ultimately, how it looks and what color comes out depends on the base, so it will take on different characteristics over different colored bases as well as with different viewing angles.

Because of its duo- (or triple) chrome finish, it’s a very versatile product.  It’s described as an “extremely fine loose powder with a pearlescent finish.”  Make Up For Ever recommends it for use on eyes and cheeks and used dry for a softer effect and wet for something more intense.  They do advise using some sort of setting/fixing spray or sealer.  It is a very fine micro-glitter; it feels larger than shimmer or powder (more texture than the Star Powders but finer than traditional glitter).

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Thursday, November 29th, 2012

Make Up For Ever #303 Holodiam Powder
Make Up For Ever #303 Holodiam Powder

Glitter and Spice and Everything Nice

Make Up For Ever #303 Holodiam Powder ($25.00 for 0.035 oz.) is described as “white with blue, green, and gold highlights.” When applied to the skin alone, it looks like a mix of lavender, violet, green-gold, and silver. Patted over black eyeliner, it looked blue and gold at one angle, then green and teal at the next. It’s somewhat like Illamasqua Beguile. I suspect MAC Reflects Transparent Teal would also be a bit similar.

Make Up For Ever’s Holodiam Powder is a new and limited edition loose powder for the holidays that’s described as an “extremely fine loose powder with a pearlescent finish.” It can be used on eyes and cheeks, wet or dry, as desired.  On its own, it doesn’t stay put well, so my best advice is to use an adhesive base, cream eyeshadow, fixing spray/seal, or patted onto some makeup base before it’s had time to dry (foundation, eyeliner, etc.).  It’s fine micro-glitter, and I think it works well on the eyes–so thank goodness it’s safe for the eyes–but on the cheeks, it felt a little sand-like.  You might opt for one of the brand’s Star Powders for something finer.

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Monday, November 26th, 2012

Lucy Blaire Makeup Bags

Fun Makeup Bags!

Lucy Blaire Handmade Makeup Bags ($12.00 to $62.00) are available in five sizes: small, medium, large, purse pouch, and pencil case. Her bags are made out of oilcloth, which is cotton-backed vinyl. Why it makes sense to use it on makeup bags is because it is waterproof and stain resistant. I fully blame Dustin Hunter for this review, because after seeing him share his, I bought three in the Blue Bloom pattern!  There are several other patterns available.

Pencil Case ($12.00) is 8″ x 4″ with a zipper down the middle and handle at one end. It worked well for holding anything long and fairly flat–not surprisingly, eyeliners were what I was anticipating using it for. I grabbed a handful of eyeliners (just over 20), and all of them fit in the pouch with room to spare. Brushes under 8″ could also fit in here.

Small Makeup Bag ($14.00) is 6″ x 3″ x4″ with a zipper down the middle of the top end and a strap handle on one edge. I put in ten MAC eyeshadow quads (the newer ones, which are thicker/bulkier than the original quads), and I could have fit two more along the edge and some stuff on top. This would be ideal to house glosses, lipsticks, foundations, blushes, and the like. It’s the kind of size that’s incredibly useful. I prefer smaller makeup bags and having two or three of them, because it’s easier to organize what I’m bringing so I’m not rooting through an epic bag of stuff.

Medium Makeup Bag ($16.00) is 7″ x 4″ x 5″ with a zipper down the middle of the top end with a strap handle on one edge–it’s just like the small bag, just larger (one inch larger in each dimension). Like I mentioned, I prefer an assortment of smaller bags over one large bag, so for me, I’m totally covered between these three. The medium holds larger face brushes incredibly well. I took nearly all my face makeup brushes (I couldn’t even hold them all in my two hands)–around thirty or so in total–and they all fit beautifully in the bag with room to spare. In case, you know, you actually tote around thirty brushes in one fell swoop! If I bring a lot of brushes with me, I will use a brush roll, but for quick weekend trips, I’ll toss the few I need into my larger makeup bags. Naturally, this bag can fit a whole smorgasbord of beauty products in it.

Because the bags are made out of oil cloth, they can wiped down and cleaned easily. I haven’t had mine for long, but Dusty has had his for two years and highly recommended them (which is how I got here; the power of a trustworthy recommendation!). You can purchase bags individually or in sets (you’ll save a bit by doing the set). She shipped quickly (placed my order on the 18th, received it on the 24th), and everything was exactly as described. I look forward to traveling, just so I can use these. They’re so bright and cheery to look at! All three bags fold quite flat, so they’re easy to store when you’re not using them.

Now the reason I moved quickly to share these with you is because for Cyber Monday, you can get 10% off (11/26 only) with code CYBERMONDAY.

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