Monday, May 4th, 2015

Chikuhodo GSN Brushes
Chikuhodo GSN Brushes

Chikuhodo GSN-04 Highlighting Brush ($64.00) is a medium-sized, domed brush that narrows as the base and flares upwards towards the upper third of the brush before tapering and rounding at the edge. It is made out of a mix of gray squirrel and goat hairs. The brush head is 37.5mm in length, 27mm in width and thickness at its widest point. It had a total length of 7.25 inches / 18.5 centimeters with a lightly pinched, metal ferrule. I think for most people, this is going to work better as a blush brush than a highlighting one, as it is larger than the average highlighting brush. I think it is too rounded and dense to be the best highlighting brush as well, but it does work for diffusing and blending out a highlight or for applying more of a highlighting blush where the area of coverage is larger. It is a moderately dense brush with light spring so it can be swirled and swept across the skin in all directions. The hair felt fairly soft, though at this price point, it could have been a bit softer, I think. For blush, it worked well for applying color, diffusing and blending out the applied color, and it made short work of the process.

Chikuhodo GSN-08 Eyeshadow Brush ($32.00) is a large, paddle-shaped eye brush that comes to moderately pointed tip. It’s a dense brush that tapers upwards and ends at a rounded tip, so depending on the size of your eyelid, it can actually fit almost perfectly held horizontally on the inner half of the eyelid. It’s made out of weasel hair. The brush head is 18mm in length, 12.5mm in width, and 6mm in thickness. It had a total length of just under 7.5 inches / 19 centimeters with a lightly pinched, metal ferrule. For me, this brush is fairly large for my eye area, so I don’t reach for it often, but I liked it best for applying a cream eyeshadow all-over the lid or for a wash of a powder eyeshadow, since it can cover a larger area easily. It also could be used to apply or set concealer underneath the eye, as it is dense, firm, but still soft and feels very smooth against the skin.

Chikuhodo GSN-11 Shadow/Liner Brush ($19.00) is a tiny, dome-shaped, flat, firm precision-focused brush that can be used for eyeshadow or eyeliner. It is made out of weasel hair. The brush head is 6mm in length, 5mm in width, and 3mm in thickness. It had a total length of 6.75 inches / 17.5 centimeters with a pinched, metal ferrule. I personally prefer an angled brush for eyeliner, but I liked this for applying eyeshadow on top of eyeliner, especially the lower lash line. The flat, firm shape enables you to really pat on the eyeshadow without diffusing it too much, and the small size gives you a lot more control.

Chikuhodo GSN-16 Lip Brush ($25.00) is a medium-sized, rectangular lip brush made out of weasel hairs. The brush head is 10mm in length, 5.75mm in width, and 1.5mm in thickness. It comes in a concealed, metal tube, where the tube is like a “cap” of sorts, and when removed, you can connect it to the bottom to elongate the brush handle, or you can hold the as-is lip brush if you prefer shorter handles. This is an easy brush to toss into a makeup bag or purse to keep with you for touch-ups during the day, if you need to. The total length if 6 inches / 15.5 centimeters. The bristles are soft enough not to poke or irritate more sensitive lips, but it’s a firm, flat brush that provides enough density to lay down lip color well while still having enough spring to maneuver around the edges of the lips easily.

I had no issues with shedding, dye, smell, or re-shaping with any of these, and I’ve been using the Chikuhodo GSN brushes for about a year now. Of these four, the GSN-11 is the one I’ll keep with my favorites, as it worked well for what I’d like to use it for. The other brushes were good, but they’re in shapes/sizes that don’t fit as well with my personal routine. I think you can get a higher quality blush brush, though. You can read reviews for the GSN-01 Powder, GSN-03 Cheek, GSN-07 Eyeshadow, GSN-09 Eyeshadow, and The Glossover

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GSN-04 Highlighting Brush

I think it is too rounded and dense to be the best highlighting brush as well, but it does work for diffusing and blending out a highlight or for applying more of a highlighting blush where the area of coverage is larger.
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GSN-08 Eyeshadow Brush

It's a dense brush that tapers upwards and ends at a rounded tip, so depending on the size of your eyelid, it can actually fit almost perfectly held horizontally on the inner half of the eyelid.
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GSN-11 Shadow/Liner Brush

The flat, firm shape enables you to really pat on the eyeshadow without diffusing it too much, and the small size gives you a lot more control.
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Sunday, May 3rd, 2015

MAC 126SE Split Fibre Large Face Brush
MAC 126SE Split Fibre Large Face Brush

MAC 126SE Split Fibre Large Face Brush ($46.00) is a large, paddle-shaped face brush. It’s split in half, such that one half is made out of natural fibers and the other half is made out of synthetic fibers. The brush is flatter with a very rounded edge that flares upwards from the base. The brush head is 47mm in length, 39mm in width, and 20mm in thickness. It has a total length of 7.5 inches / 19 centimeters with a pinched, multi-colored ferrule. The brush is light-medium in density with a little flop towards the end, as the fibers are cut shorter on the exterior and left longer in the center. The synthetic side was soft and silky against the skin, while the natural side was moderately soft but I could feel some of the individual bristles.

I tried using this for setting powder, finishing powder, and highlighting, and it seemed to work best with finishing powders and highlighting (to a degree). I found it too sparse for setting powder, while dusting a finishing powder all-over with this brush ensured a sheer, diffused application; better for a finishing powder that is soft and more “powdery” in a sense than one that is firmer or already really quite sheer. For a more metallic highlighter, this brush’s shape and density worked well to tamp down some of the frost and make it less emphasizing. I personally didn’t find it really excelled for those products based on my preferences, so it’s not a brush that will find its way into my routine (it is also a little too scratchy compared to other brushes I have). I was surprised at the price point on this, as it doesn’t seem that large or dense to merit being more expensive than the 125SE.

The Glossover

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126SE Split Fibre Large Face Brush

I found it too sparse for setting powder, while dusting a finishing powder all-over with this brush ensured a sheer, diffused application; better for a finishing powder that is soft and more "powdery" in a sense than one that is firmer or already really quite sheer. For a more metallic highlighter, this brush's shape and density worked well to tamp down some of the frost and make it less emphasizing.
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Sunday, May 3rd, 2015

MAC 125SE Split Fibre Dense Face Brush
MAC 125SE Split Fibre Dense Face Brush

MAC 125SE Split Fibre Dense Face Brush ($38.50) is a widened, dense face brush with two distinct sides–one with natural fibers and the other with synthetic fibers. The idea behind these split brushes is that the natural bristles give a “soft, diffused look” while the synthetic bristles “fuse colour onto skin.” The brush head is 25mm in length, 39mm in width, and 19mm in thickness. It has a total length of 6.5 inches / 16.5 centimeters with a pinched, multi-colored ferrule. The weighting is nice and it doesn’t feel too top-heavy nor lightweight.

I wouldn’t describe the edge as blunt, but it is only lightly rounded and more of a narrow, flattened surface, which makes it useful for contouring and getting into the hollows of the cheeks. Both sides of the brush are incredibly soft and smooth, which was a bit of a surprise, as I haven’t found a lot of the recent brush releases to be as soft as brushes from years ago. The synthetic side is good with cream contours or highlighters, while the natural side is really good for blending and buffing out contours and highlighters. The only caveat to that is that it is wide enough that it may not work well for those looking for more precise contour lines or who have smaller hollows where the brush would simply be too large to work with. It would still work well for blending out of contour powders and creams, though. I’ve also used it to apply foundation, which it does a nice job of, but I find I prefer the synthetic side more and would rather an all-synthetic brush (as I work primarily with liquid foundations). I’ve washed it five times, and I haven’t had any issues with dye, smell, shaping, or shedding.

The Glossover

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125SE Split Fibre Dense Face Brush

Both sides of the brush are incredibly soft and smooth, which was a bit of a surprise, as I haven't found a lot of the recent brush releases to be as soft as brushes from years ago. The synthetic side is good with cream contours or highlighters, while the natural side is really good for blending and buffing out contours and highlighters.
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Sunday, May 3rd, 2015

MAC Wash & Dry Makeup Bag
MAC Wash & Dry Makeup Bag

MAC Wash & Dry Makeup Bag ($35.00) is a new, limited edition zippered, rectangular makeup bag that will be available at select MAC stores and online at maccosmetics.com beginning May 14th (stores on May 21st). It’s tapered so the bottom widens and flattens out, so the bag retains most of its shape even with nothing in it, which helps it stand up as well. The bag is 8 inches / 20 centimeters in length, 4.5 inches / 11.5 centimeters in height, and 2 inches / 5 centimeters in depth. The exterior is 100% PU (a poly synthetic leather), and the interior lining is 100% polyester, which is black in color.

I would have loved to have seen a metallic gold zipper instead of a black plastic one, or at least the zipper pull in a coordinating shade/style to the rest of the bag. It feels comparable to past limited edition MAC makeup bags, which I’ve never had an issue traveling with, but I don’t travel extensively. I think the zipper felt a little cheaper in the type or weight of the plastic use, and it is a bag that will not allow a lot of over-stuffing, as it tapers towards the top and will not zip if you attempt to put much near the top. It’s priced similarly to other MAC makeup bags with similar size dimensions.

The Glossover

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Wash & Dry Makeup Bag

It feels comparable to past limited edition MAC makeup bags, which I've never had an issue traveling with, but I don't travel extensively. I think the zipper felt a little cheaper in the type or weight of the plastic use, and it is a bag that will not allow a lot of over-stuffing, as it tapers towards the top and will not zip if you attempt to put much near the top.
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Saturday, March 28th, 2015

MAC x Mia Moretti Makeup Bags
MAC x Mia Moretti Makeup Bags

Long-time readers know that one thing I still collect are limited edition MAC bags, so I bought the accessories in the MAC x Mia Moretti collaboration when they went online this past week! There’s not much to say about these, as they’re in-line with MAC’s past limited edition makeup bag releases. I don’t think the tote is worth the money, as it has such a narrow width (about two inches) that it just isn’t wide enough to be a useful tote bag to me. I don’t even think it would hold more than a laptop and a book for school. All of the accessories will be easy to wipe down if you spill anything on them, at least.

MAC x Mia Moretti Makeup Bags ($46.00) is a set of three translucent makeup bags with red zippers and a honey-hued plastic exterior with a basketweave pattern. The bags nest within themselves, so you get makeup bags in small (7 x 3.5 inches), medium (8.5 x 5 inches), and large (11 x 7 inches). The shapes and sizes are useful and will store a variety of makeup items, and since they nest, they don’t take up as much space when you’re not using them.

MAC x Mia Moretti Tote Bag ($50.00) shares the same coloring, pattern, and design as the makeup bags. It’s about 17 inches tall, 15 inches in width, and 2 inches in depth. I just don’t think there’s enough depth to make this particularly useful. It seems a lot less practical/versatile as a result, since its carrying capacity is very much restricted by the width of the bottom panel.

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Sunday, March 1st, 2015

NARS Wet/Dry Blush Brush
NARS Wet/Dry Blush Brush

NARS Wet/Dry Blush Brush ($42.00) is a brush designed to work the brand’s new wet/dry blush formula. It’s a smaller-sized, circular dome-shaped brush; it reminded me of a mini buffer brush with a longer brush handle. The dome seems a bit too rounded and raised, so you lose surface area to apply it on the cheeks and don’t get a great “buffing” diameter. The brush head is 21mm in width, 25mm in height, and 21mm in thickness. It had a total length of 15 centimeters with an open ferrule. I’ve been using this brush for a week, but I’ve exhausted so many ways trying to make it work.

I had really poor luck using this brush with NARS’ formula, and it wasn’t much better with other brand’s powder and cream blushes either. In general, I’ve found NARS’ brush range to be extremely disappointing. There is a real lack of quality when it comes to the cut, shape, and fibers used, and this brush has an uneven cut with noticeably sharp or rough bristles when the brush is patted or buffed against the skin. The fibers felt finer than some of the other NARS’ face brushes and wasn’t quite as scratchy. It’s a much denser brush (again, like a buffer or kabuki brush!), so in theory, you would expect it to apply a lot of color, but it doesn’t. It seems to pick up a fair amount of powder when you tap and swirl it against the blush’s surface, but the color doesn’t transfer well from the brush to the skin. I could feel the bristles, and some are irritating/scratchy, whenever I tapped, patted, or swirled the color in; the only time it seems smooth is if I only do a very gentle, slow sweeping motion outwards. It was impossible to even out or blend NARS’ blush formula when this brush was damp, as the brush would lift the color without blending it out, so there were whole areas where it would show bare skin.

The Glossover

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Wet/Dry Blush Brush

It seems to pick up a fair amount of powder when you tap and swirl it against the blush's surface, but the color doesn't transfer well from the brush to the skin. I could feel the bristles, and some are irritating/scratchy, whenever I tapped, patted, or swirled the color in; the only time it seems smooth is if I only do a very gentle, slow sweeping motion outwards.
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