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.)

See more photos! Continue reading →

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.

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

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!

See more photos! Continue reading →

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:

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

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

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →