Friday, December 4th, 2009

Affordable Makeup Brushes:  Sonia Kashuk’s Twist of Fate Brush Set

Sonia Kashuk Twist of Fate Brush Set ($19.99) is a limited edition holiday brush set with six brushes housed inside a gorgeous, shimmering black clutch.

The six brushes you get are: blush brush, foundation brush, blending brush, small eyeshadow brush, smudge brush, and lash/brow groomer brush. The only brush I felt was kind of a throwaway was the lash/brow groomer – it’s just not a great brush, and it certainly couldn’t comb my lashes worth a darn, so I wasn’t pleased with it. The other five brushes, however, are much better and certainly more useful.

Sonia Kashuk is an extremely reliable, trustworthy brand, particularly for beauty tools. Whenever someone asks me about a budget-friendly brush brand, Sonia Kashuk is my go-to for a reommendation. These brushes are soft, fluffy, and useable. They’re not as good as my MAC brushes overall (I would say MAC brushes are softer, particularly for face brushes), but they’re around 75% there. Close, but not the same – but much more affordable.

In comparison, I would say the blush brush is similar to MAC’s 129 (a little bigger and not as rounded), the foundation brush is closest to MAC’s 190 (but a little smaller and thicker), and the other brushes don’t have as close matches. If pressed, I’d say the small eyeshadow brush is similar to MAC’s 239, while the blending brush is similar to MAC’s 222. Finally, Sonia Kashuk’s smudge brush is closest to MAC’s 231.

Even though the brushes are totally great for the price (and pretty good, period), my favorite part about the set is the CLUTCH. I usually hate the bags, clutches, etc. that come with brush sets and never use them again (they just sit around collecting dust, because I feel guilty tossing them), but this one is really fun and perfect for the holidays. It’s big enough to actually be used as a clutch and looks elegant and festive. I’d probably pay $19.99 just for the clutch!

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

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 5/5

Recommendation:  For affordable brushes, Sonia Kashuk always has you covered!

Availability: Target

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Monday, September 7th, 2009

Clarisonic MIA

Clarisonic Mia Sonic Skin Cleansing System

Clarisonic Mia Sonic Skin Cleansing System ($149.00) is the latest launch from Clarisonic. It is a miniature-sized version of the original Clarisonic, and it is also $45 cheaper. It’s also available in pink.

You may wonder how this possibly can be part of Money Saving Mondays… because I know the Clarisonic can be a hefty investment for some who really want it, this does offer you a way to get it for less. It is also just as effective as the original, more expensive Clarisonic, so it represents true savings.

First, Clarisonic has a really useful comparison chart for the four models: Mia, Classic, PLUS, and PRO. The Clarisonic Mia is about an inch and a half to two inches smaller the the original,and it doesn’t feel as bulky. The Mia comes with a pLink charger whereas the Classic used a cradle charger, which makes it a lot more compact. The Mia brush head is the same size as the Classic, so you don’t lose anything in how well it cleans or the area it cleans.

Surprisingly, the Mia feels heavier compared to the Classic, but not by much (note that neither are, by any means, heavy). When you opt for the Mia, you have only a single speed setting, whereas the Classic provided you with two. Since I’ve used the Classic forever now, I can say that it’s not a big deal, and it wouldn’t surprise me if you didn’t even know you had two speeds on yours! The Mia also only lasts twenty minutes on a full charge compared to the Classic which lasts thirty minutes. Again, this is not really an essential difference to me; twenty minutes is still ten or so uses, which is plenty on a single charge.

I recommend you read my original review for the Clarisonic to get a more in-depth look at why I really love the cleansing system and recommended it even at $195. In brief, it is an easy, efficient way of cleansing the skin. It helps with skin turnover and keeps my skin clearer and smoother looking overall. I’m not often sold on advertising claims, but the Clarisonic is one beauty gadget I can’t live without!

  • Product: 9/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 9/10
  • Packaging: 9/10

Recommendation: If you want to get your skin its best shape, the Clarisonic can help. It gives skin a softer, smoother appearance while deep cleansing every time you use it without irritating even sensitive skin. If $145 is still out of your budget, consider looking out for F&F sales at Sephora where you can save another 10-15%. Or put it on your wish list!

Availability: Sephora

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Monday, July 27th, 2009

Just four months ago, I wrote about what my seven must-have eye brushes were.. and they’ve already changed a bit! In this video, I talk about six brushes I think are really excellent for building up your eye makeup brush stash, plus a little talk on two extra brushes that you might want to consider as well (or in place of one of the six).

Reviews & Photos

Sunday, July 19th, 2009

Beauty Basics: MAC Face Brushes

Beauty Basics is a series covering basic products and tools that help to make applying your makeup easier. To view the entire series to date, be sure to visit the beauty basics, or you can view posts within the series about MAC Face Brushes.

Focus On: MAC 195 Concealer Brush

MAC 195 Concealer Brush ($22.00) is a small, flat brush with synthetic fibers. It’s shaped like a severe, tapered dome. It was launched with Studio Sculpt, so it is designed to work with concealer products, but it can be used with any emollient product as well. I’m not a huge fan of this brush, just because I don’t feel it does a stellar job of applying or blending concealer. It’s flat and firm, though the bristles have give so they can bend easily. It picks up product and places it well, I just find that it can leave some streaks behind if you’re not careful. The best way to use this brush when applying concealer is using a tapping method rather than a pulling/blending method. I know some have complained about this brush being scratchy, though I have not personally found mine is like that. If anything, I prefer this brush for applying eyeshadow bases (paints, paint pots, what-have-you) over concealer.

How do you like to use this brush?

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Sunday, July 19th, 2009

Beauty Basics: MAC Face Brushes

Beauty Basics is a series covering basic products and tools that help to make applying your makeup easier. To view the entire series to date, be sure to visit the beauty basics, or you can view posts within the series about MAC Face Brushes.

Focus On: MAC 194 Concealer Brush

MAC 194 Concealer Brush ($19.00) is a small, flat brush with a paddle-shape that’s slightly tapered. It’s a good brush for initially applying product. I use this to dab on foundation from pumps/bottles, concealers that squeeze out or come in liquid form, etc. I find it makes it easy to simply get the product onto my face without too much getting caught in fluffier brushes’ bristles. After I’ve used the 194 to dab on the product, then I’ll go to whatever brush is actually going to blend it in/apply it fully. I prefer fluffier brushes like the 217 or 275 for blending out concealer personally. This brush, however, is good for applying concealer if you need a bit more precision — say around your brows — but if you don’t need strong lines, then it’s not as necessary.

How do you like to use this brush?

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Sunday, July 19th, 2009

Beauty Basics: MAC Face Brushes

Beauty Basics is a series covering basic products and tools that help to make applying your makeup easier. To view the entire series to date, be sure to visit the beauty basics, or you can view posts within the series about MAC Face Brushes.

Focus On: MAC 192 Cheek/Face Brush

MAC 192 Cheek/Face Brush ($32.00) is a flat, paddle-shaped brush with a more tapered edge than the typical paddle-shape. It’s made out of synthetic fibers, and it is designed to be used with creamy/emollient face and cheek products, like blushcremes, moisturizer, Strobe, etc. For application of blushcremes (or cream blushes–same thing), I like to use the tip to just gently apply a few dots of color on the cheek. Then I use the entire brush to blend it outwards and get a soft, smooth look. I’ve also found that the size of this brush (smaller than the 190) makes it a good brush for blending concealer in, too. It’s large enough that it only takes a few brush strokes to blend your concealer into place, but it isn’t so large that you can’t get into the nooks and crannies. This is a solid brush, and actually sometimes prefer this one to the 188 for blushcremes.

How do you like to use this brush?

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