Friday, February 13th, 2015

Sephora Contoured Eyelash Comb
Sephora Contoured Eyelash Comb

Sephora Contoured Eyelash Comb ($14.00) looked so interesting, I had to buy one as soon as I saw it on Sephora. It’s shaped a bit like an eyelash curler, but it’s an eyelash comb. The teeth are fine with good separation to really get between the lashes to separate for a really defined, fluttery lash without catching or pulling on individual lashes. I’ve used mine mostly after mascara to minimize clumping and to ensure a good, even coat of mascara throughout the lashes. Sephora says it can be used to brush product through the eyelashes, but as you might expect, it can become quite the clean-up job to remove mascara from all of the teeth. I don’t find it as effective at applying a more mascara-like product to the eye as a mascara fan brush, but it does work. I just think it does better (and really does it well) at separating lashes and removing any clumps from mascara.

It comes with a plastic cap to protect the metal teeth, and it folds in half for easy travel, if desired. I also found that you can bend the handle to get a better grip/fit, depending on your needs. The handle is made out of plastic, and it seemed lightweight and durable enough to travel with.

The Glossover

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Contoured Eyelash Comb

The teeth are fine with good separation to really get between the lashes to separate for a really defined, fluttery lash without catching or pulling on individual lashes. I don't find it as effective at applying a more mascara-like product to the eye as a mascara fan brush, but it does work. I just think it does better (and really does it well) at separating lashes and removing any clumps from mascara.
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Saturday, February 7th, 2015

MAC Evil Stepmother Pigment
MAC Evil Stepmother Pigment

MAC Evil Stepmother Pigment ($24.00 for 0.15 oz.) is described as a “black plum with plum pearl.” It’s a blackened purple with cool undertones and a pink shimmer that gives it a more frosted finish. Applied dry, it is less shimmery and goes on unevenly with so-so color payoff. Applied damp, it is more even and more pigmented, but it is hard to blend. The texture was fine but dry, so it wasn’t my favorite pigment to work with. It lasted for eight hours applied. L’Oreal Purple Priority (758) (P, $7.99) is more shimmery. MAC Past Midnight #2 (LE, $21.00) is brighter. Ardency Inn Purple Hearts (P, $32.00) is less shimmery. NARS High Society #3 (LE, $24.00) is lighter, less shimmery. MAC Starless Night (LE, $21.00) is cooler-toned. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

MAC Pretty It Up Pigment ($24.00 for 0.15 oz.) is described as a “olive with pearlized pigments.” It’s a medium-dark bronze brown with warm, yellow undertones and a frosted, sparky finish. It had mostly opaque color payoff applied wet or dry, but it is easier to work with damp, as there’s minimal fall out and the product goes on very smoothly. It wore well for eight hours before creasing slightly. This shade was released as part of a holiday set, but the texture of the version in this collection is much finer and binds together a lot better. Marc Jacobs Beauty The Enigma #6 (P) is darker. Colour Pop Mooning (P, $5.00) is less shimmery, darker. Urban Decay Stun (LE, $18.00) is darker. Too Faced Cinnamon Sugar (LE, $16.00) is lighter. Make Up For Ever ME644 Iced Brown (P, $21.00) is warmer, lighter. Make Up For Ever D640 Golden Snake (P, $21.00) is less shimmery. MAC Collective Chic #2 (LE) is darker. bareMinerals Embellish (LE) is darker. Makeup Geek Utopia (P, $6.99) is chunkier. Sleek MakeUP Lust in LA (LE, $9.99) is cooler-toned. Chanel Initiation (827) (LE, $36.00) is a cream product. Bobbi Brown Golden Bronze (P, $28.00) is less sparkly, cream product. Urban Decay Snakebite (LE, $18.00) is similar. Giorgio Armani #6 (P, $33.00) is less sparkly. Inglot #422 (P, $6.00) is darker, less shimmery. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

MAC Reflects Pearl Glitter ($24.00 for 0.15 oz.) is described as a “fine white glitter with pearl sheen.” It’s pretty much as described–it’s very fine white glitter that when applied over a glitter adhesive looks more like a wet sheen than particles of glitter. This shade is part of the permanent range, and none of MAC’s Glitters are eye safe. As it is a loose glitter, it is best applied over some sort of adhesive base. I was rereading the description for MAC’s Glitters for this post, and MAC actually said it “can be applied directly to the skin.” When one does that, the product is messy to work with, and while some of the glitter sticks, a good deal of it doesn’t. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

The Glossover

LE
product

Evil Stepmother

C+

Product

7.5/10

Pigmentation

8/10

Texture

7/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

4/5

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LE
product

Pretty It Up

B+

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

5/5

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Dupes
P
product

Reflects Pearl

It's pretty much as described--it's very fine white glitter that when applied over a glitter adhesive looks more like a wet sheen than particles of glitter.
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Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

Real Techniques #101 Triangle Foundation Brush
Real Techniques #101 Triangle Foundation Brush

Real Techniques #101 Triangle Foundation Brush ($23.99) is supposed to “revolutionize your foundation application” to give you “flawless coverage.” It is three-sided such that you can more easily maneuver underneath the eye and around the nose. The brush head is in 42 length, 25mm in width, and 13mm in thickness. It has a total length of just over 21 centimeters with an open ferrule.

In theory, I like the concept of a three-sided, tapered brush to get into the nooks and crannies. In practice, it didn’t apply foundation well, was uncomfortable to use, and I have no idea what I could use this for, because it feels unusable. This is one of the scratchiest, most painful brushes I’ve used in years. The bristles just seem sharp and seem to stab at the skin, so you need to use it incredibly lightly and drag it across the skin in a downwards motion to minimize the bristles poking the skin. Unfortunately, that technique leaves the skin covered in visible strokes of liquid foundation–lines everywhere–and this brush is incapable of smoothing out those lines. I couldn’t believe how uncomfortable it was to use, and if you’re prone to reddening if your skin gets irritated, stay far away from this. I looked like I threw myself into a rose bush after using this.

The Glossover

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#101 Triangle Foundation Brush

In theory, I like the concept of a three-sided, tapered brush to get into the nooks and crannies. In practice, it didn't apply foundation well, was uncomfortable to use, and I have no idea what I could use this for, because it feels unusable.
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Sunday, January 11th, 2015

Real Techniques Bold Metals Brushes
Real Techniques Bold Metals Brushes

Real Techniques Bold Metals Brushes ($15.99 to $25.99) is a new, permanent collection of synthetic brushes. There are seven brushes in all–three for eyes, four for face–and they come with either silver, rose gold, and gold-hued handles. The brush heads are primarily white that fades to color at the base. I haven’t played with these for more than a couple of days, so I don’t have too many thoughts to share, but here are some initial impressions:

  • Some of the shapes seem more specific, so if you prefer brushes that can be used for a variety of things, or are only building your collection, you may want to shop in person.
  • The #200 and #201 brushes are quite large (almost covering my entire eyelid), so they are better for looks that only consist of one or two eyeshadows.
  • The handles hold fingerprints easily, and they always look dirty to me as a result (smudges everywhere). The handles are also very long and taper towards the tip, and they are faceted, to prevent rolling off tables and counter tops.
  • I noticed some very small nicks and dents throughout the collection, and the brushes themselves could have been cut better–there were a few obvious fibers that extended past the general shape of the brush. The handles don’t feel as weighty as I would have expected, though they don’t feel so lightweight that they feel cheap, but I’ll have to play and hold them more to get a better sense of weight as well as balance.
  • They seem soft enough, but once I’m able to use more of them and for longer, I’ll have a better grasp on how soft, relative to the type of application, and things of that nature. I did compare the large powder brush to Make Up For Ever’s #128 (which is a go-to powder brush for me and also synthetic), and the Make Up For Ever bristles were noticeably softer–I was curious if these would be some of the softest/smoothest synthetics on the market.
  • I look forward to seeing how the contour brush works with cream contours (I’ve only used it with powder so far), as well as trying out the triangle foundation brush to see how it fits in the nooks and crannies of the face.

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Sunday, December 14th, 2014

SUQQU Brushes
SUQQU Brushes

SUQQU may not be the most accessible brand yet (here’s hoping they’ll expand to a good stockist in the U.S.), but they live up to the hype and are lovely brushes for those who wish to indulge. I can see why the Cheek brush is constantly out of stock at Selfridges. I know readers have recommended Ichibankao for ordering Asia-exclusive beauty brands, and they also have SUQQU brushes available (but I haven’t personally ordered from them, though I have been tempted!). I have no complaints; they’re outstanding, high-quality brushes. I’ve been putting them through testing since October, and I haven’t had any issues with shedding, smell, or re-shaping after washing. I’ve washed all of the brushes numerous times since then, and they’re still as soft and silky as they were to begin with. The shapes are well-done–more distinct from many brushes I own but they’re still useful, versatile shapes that I can easily use.

SUQQU Cheek Brush (£80.00 / ¥15,000) is a small, rounded blush brush that flares outwards from the ferrule and then tapers to a rounded edge. It is made out of gray squirrel hair, and it is supremely soft, silky, and smooth against the skin. No matter the direction or pressure, the brush never felt rough or sharp. It had moderate density with a feathery quality to it, which made it particularly suitable for use with more pigmented or very soft-textured powder products. This is useful if you’re more heavy-handed when applying your blush, even if you don’t mean to be, as it is hard to overdo your cheek color with this brush. It works well to blend and soften edges of various powder products for cheeks and face. I really liked it for highlight, though, as it gave me similar results that I get with a fan brush but with more precision–diffused, luminous, but never metallic.

  • Sizing: 34mm in length, 19mm in width, 15mm in thickness (it’s round); total length of 15.5 centimeters.
  • Most similar: Chikuhodo Z-4 is similar in its smaller size, but it is wider and flatter (thinner) with less roundedness; where the Z-4 looks more like a blush brush, SUQQU Cheek looks more like a highlighting brush

SUQQU Face Brush (£168.00 / ¥30,000) is a large, rounded powder brush that tapers slightly at the edges and rounds out at the top. It’s dense without being fully packed (it’s not a kabuki brush), so there’s a light spring and give as it is swept across the skin. It feels like silk (even when I had my husband do the blind-softness-test, he described it as such, “It feels so silky, is that even possible with a brush?”) as the bristles move together. You just don’t feel the individual fibers at all. The fullness makes it ideal for dusting finishing and setting powders all over the face. I also liked it for diffusing the edges of a trickier blush or bronzer as well. It is made out of gray squirrel hair.

  • Sizing: 50mm in length, 36mm in width, 26mm in thickness (it’s round); total length of 13 centimeters.
  • Most similar: Chikuhodo Z-1 is slightly smaller, while Chikuhodo Z-9 is wider/flatter and a bit overall–they all feel the same in regards to softness.

SUQQU Eyeshadow Brush M (£48.00 / ¥8,000) is a medium-sized, domed brush with a very rounded edge. It’s like a much larger and wider take on a pencil brush or a really squat, densely-packed crease brush. It can apply quite a bit of color even though it’s made out of gray squirrel, if desired. There’s no doubt it’s one of the softest pencil-like brushes I’ve tried, as it swirls and taps, sweeps and blends and never, ever feels pointed. The bristles move together in a way that feels silky across the skin. Though it probably will make some cringe, but this is such a good shape and brush for applying cream eyeshadow into the crease, particularly for blending out the edges (I really liked it with Laura Mercier). I tend to favor other brushes for initial application and only use this as a buffing tool, just because it makes it cleaner when I use it for blending. It’s lovely for blending out powder eyeshadows as well, and it is nice for highlighting the inner tear duct/corner of the lid. I’ve also had good luck using it to buff out creamy concealers underneath the eye or tapping brightening powder underneath the eye.

  • Sizing: 12.5mm in length, 6mm in width, 6mm in thickness (it’s round); total length of 13 centimeters.
  • Most similar: Chikuhodo Z-10 is much more tapered towards the end and comes to more of a point; IT Cosmetics No. 105 is longer, so it has more spring, but it has a similarly-sized rounded edge (it is also a synthetic option)

SUQQU Lip Brush L (£32.00 / ¥6,500) is a thin, rectangular lip brush that can line, fill, and blend with great precision. Its greatest attribute is that it never feels sharp, even when using the edge get a really crisp line of color. The bristles are extremely well-cut so that you don’t get skips and drags, and they move together for the most part. I like that it doesn’t come to a defined, tapered point, which is one of the things I like least in lip brushes, and the length is nice, as it gives you enough real estate to get product on it and cover lips without it taking an eternity. All that said, I rarely use lip brushes, so I wouldn’t consider myself a lip brush authority, so please keep that in mind!

  • Sizing: 10mm in length, 6mm in width, 0.5mm in thickness (it’s round); total length of 17 centimeters.
  • Most similar: Hakuhodo 270 (I don’t have it) appears similar based on photo/listed measurements; Tom Ford also has a more rectangular-shaped brush

The Glossover

product

Cheek Brush

It had moderate density with a feathery quality to it, which made it particularly suitable for use with more pigmented or very soft-textured powder products. This is useful if you're more heavy-handed when applying your blush, even if you don't mean to be, as it is hard to overdo your cheek color with this brush.

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Face Brush

The fullness makes it ideal for dusting finishing and setting powders all over the face. I also liked it for diffusing the edges of a trickier blush or bronzer as well. It is made out of gray squirrel hair.

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Eyeshadow Brush M

It's like a much larger and wider take on a pencil brush or a really squat, densely-packed crease brush. It can apply quite a bit of color even though it's made out of gray squirrel, if desired. There's no doubt it's one of the softest pencil-like brushes I've tried, as it swirls and taps, sweeps and blends and never, ever feels pointed.

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Saturday, December 13th, 2014

Wayne Goss The Holiday Brush (Black)
Wayne Goss The Holiday Brush (Black)

Wayne Goss The Holiday Brush ($85.00) is available in black or white, with both brushes being made out of goat hair, and are, essentially, the same as far as shape, weight, and softness go. It’s a large powder brush with a full, rounded brush head that gradually tapers to a soft point. The brush head is in 50mm in length and 25mm in thickness and width (at its thickest/widest point). The brush has a total length of 7 inches / 17.5 centimeters with an open ferrule. I liked it best for applying finishing powders, particularly Guerlain’s Meteorites, as it fit in the jar well and dusted the powder all-over quickly. It’s too large for me when I’ve applied blush, except if it is a very barely-there blush where precision is unnecessary. Loose or pressed setting powder can be applied using this brush as well, and the brush is just soft enough that it feels comfortable on the skin but not so soft that it doesn’t pick up a lot of product. I also liked it for applying a soft highlight (anything metallic was easily over-applied with this brush, though) for a diffused glow. Between the two, I would go for the white brush hairs, because there was a fair amount of dye washing out of the black fibers for the first half a dozen washes. I haven’t had any issues with shedding with either brush over the three weeks I’ve been using them–a few hairs overall but nothing consistent (often none during an application).

If you’re familiar with MAC 138 ($53.00), this will look familiar. It is identical in its size and shape, with the MAC brush having a slightly longer handle. The Holiday Brush is slightly softer–it feels smoother when it is swept across the face ever-so-slightly–and seems a touch less dense (a little more feathery) with finer fibers. I used them side-by-side, and the Holiday Brush seemed to pick up product more readily, which may come down to preference. My MAC 138 is from 2009 (possibly even older than that), and I know some of my more recently-purchased MAC brushes have felt inferior to my original purchases, so I’m not sure if the 138 is still made the same today.

NARS Mie Kabuki ($55.00) comes to a more angular point towards the end (the taper isn’t as gradual), and it is ridiculously scratchy and rough against the face. Chikuhodo Z-8 Cheek ($111.00) is somewhat similar in shape but is half the size with a more rounded, less tapered edge; it is made out of blue squirrel hair, so it is noticeably softer–I think the larger powder Z-series brushes are too rounded to be similar to the Holiday Brush. I don’t have it to confirm, but I believe Hakuhodo’s 103 (from $75, available in the S, B, and J, though the J is a goat and synthetic blend) is similar as it has been compared to the MAC 138.

The Glossover

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The Holiday Brush

I liked it best for applying finishing powders, particularly Guerlain's Meteorites, as it fit in the jar well and dusted the powder all-over quickly. It's too large for me when I've applied blush, except if it is a very barely-there blush where precision is unnecessary. Loose or pressed setting powder can be applied using this brush as well, and the brush is just soft enough that it feels comfortable on the skin but not so soft that it doesn't pick up a lot of product.
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