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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Thursday, November 4th, 2010

MAC Tartan Tale: Viva Glam, Sir Teddy, & Brush Sets Video Review

I filmed my Tartan Tale Kit/Sets review yesterday, and my throat was scratchy afterward, which had to mean I talked way too long–sure enough, I did! We ended up splitting the video into two parts. It worked out, though, because I spend half of this video on why Viva Glam (and Sir Teddy) are great charitable campaigns, and then the other half on a rant review on MAC’s brush sets.

For my written review and photos of the brush set, you can view it here. (Link to vote is here — I’m Christine Mielke.)

Monday, October 25th, 2010

MAC Tartan Tale: A Lady and Her Tricks Brush Set
MAC Tartan Tale: A Lady and Her Tricks Brush Set

MAC Tartan Tale: A Lady & Her Tricks Brush Set

This year, MAC has three brush sets to choose from, and the one I am reviewing this year is A Lady & Her Tricks ($49.50). This set includes special edition sizes of the 168, 187, 209, 219, and 252. For reference, the other sets are Sweep Me Off My Feet (129SE, 190SE, 227SE, 212SE, 275SE) and She’s Got It All (194SE, 204SE, 224SE, 266SE, 275SE).

I do not recommend MAC’s brush sets, as cute/pretty as they can sometimes be. I just don’t think the quality is representative of MAC’s full-size brushes, and instead, they’re sub-par variations. $49.50 isn’t pocket change, and while it’s certainly a good deal when it comes to purchasing five MAC brushes, it’s not a good deal if the quality isn’t there. I find that these brushes are scratchy, and in the past, seem to get scratchier with time/wear.

The biggest problem I have with this particular kit this year (I did not bother last year or the year before) is these brushes really don’t seem to have been made very well. The 219SE is incredibly rounded, no pencil tip is distinguishable, while the 252SE is quite thick. The 187SE doesn’t seem to flare out enough and doesn’t have the same firmness as the full-size version.

I also think it’s a shame that they include the 252SE; it’s one of MAC’s biggest eyeshadow brushes, so it feels a little unwieldy for eyeshadow application. I’d rather see the 217 or 239 included, both are very popular brushes with more utility.

When it comes to buying MAC brushes, buy them slowly, over time, and build up your collection. I spent two or three years doing so before I completed my brush collection. If you need brushes in the meanwhile, consider more affordable brush sets available through brands like EcoTools and Sonia Kashuk. Affordable brushes have come a long way in the past few years!

The included bag is similar to the lip bags, except it’s a good deal larger–definitely more like a purse.  It also has a glossy black strap that attaches so you can wear it as a shoulder bag.  It doesn’t feel cheap, and it seems sturdy enough to be used for more than just toting brushes around.

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

  • Product: 18/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you’re sold on having to have MAC brushes, and you feel you’ll actually use all the included brushes in the set, it may be worth it. I don’t personally think the quality of these brushes is on par with full-sized brushes and would pass.

AVAILABILITY: MAC Counters/Stores on October 28th

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Monday, August 9th, 2010

Sephora Eyelash Curler
Sephora Eyelash Curler

Sephora Eyelash Curler ($16.00) is a metal eyelash curler that comes with two replacement curling pads.  It does a good job of curling lashes without pinching or pulling, but shu’s curler ($19) still pulls ahead for me–and at the price tag, I’m not sold on Sephora’s. The biggest advantage that this curler has is that it has two replacement pads, as opposed to the one that shu comes with.

The curling pad seems a little thick on Sephora’s curler, which actually makes it easier to get a soft curled lash and no crimping or dreaded L-shape lashes.  But it doesn’t get as defined and as big of a curl because of it as well.  The padding on the handles is also a bit thick, so those with larger fingers may find it a little awkward to grip, because their fingers don’t quite fit in them.

Again, it does a good job–it curls softly, easily, and it doesn’t pinch or pull.  You never have to worry about getting bent lashes, either, because the pad makes it a breeze to get that soft curled look.  It just doesn’t give me the same amount of curl as my beloved shu curler does.

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

  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you’ve found that other eyelash curlers have pulled or pinched, the thicker padding on Sephora’s curler might work better for you.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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