Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

simplehuman sensor mirror
simplehuman sensor mirror

A couple of weeks ago, after seeing several readers recommend it, I decided to pull the trigger and buy the simplehuman sensor mirror ($200.00). It supposed to be a light-up mirror that uses a built-in sensor so it lights up when you get near it, and it uses LEDs to provide light that mimics natural sunlight. The LEDs are supposed to outlast you even with daily use, so theoretically, you shouldn’t have to replace the light or the mirror while you have it. (The claim specifically: “Our mirror’s LEDs have been rated to perform like new after 40,000 hours — that’s an hour a day, everyday, for more than 100 years.”)

simplehuman is likely known for their design, and I definitely liked that this is more of a cordless product, as it keeps my countertop cleaner, requires one less electrical socket, and is easily moved from one room to another. (I find that I keep it nearby for photos when I’m applying lip products, but then I’ve also been using it where I do my makeup.) One charge is supposed to last five weeks, so you don’t have to worry about regularly plugging it in. I haven’t had to charge mine over the two weeks I’ve used it. It’s heavy enough that it isn’t easily knocked over, but it’s easily carried to another room or put away. The mirror tilts nicely, so you can choose the angle that makes sense for how you’re positioned. I have it angled so it looks more like a dinner plate when I’m applying lip swatches, as I stand while doing so, but when I’m doing my makeup, I sit, so I have it positioned more vertically. You can also adjust the height. simplehuman has an adjustable diagram here so you can see how it adjusts.

The lighting is good; it does a good job of mimicking natural sunlight–much like sitting in front of a window without direct light (so it doesn’t turn yellowish), and it illuminates evenly as it is a ring of light.  It’s not hard on my eyes, as it is not so bright that it’s going to light up a room, but it does give you targeted, consistent lighting right where you need it. It would be nice if there was a dimmer, as some may be more/less sensitive to light.  The size and magnification worked well for me, as I could see my features more closely and do a better job at applying products more precisely as things were magnified, but I could still see more of my face to get an overview of the look. I still think having a regular mirror nearby is handy, though.

My only gripe was that there wasn’t a way to force the sensor to take longer to shut off. We actually have sensor lighting in our bathrooms, and we’ve adjusted all the timers, because when we first moved in, we’d end up showering in the dark as they’d turn off too soon! According to simplehuman, they use “intelligent multi-sense” that’s supposed to “adapt to your behavior … It becomes more sensitive during use, so it won’t turn off unexpectedly.” About half the time I use it, the light turns off when I look down to do eyeliner, because my face drops beyond the sensor on the top. If you actually get up to get an item, or if you lean over to pull something out of a drawer, it’ll probably shut off. It takes a second to pop back on when your face returns. I’d love to adjust it from maybe 5 seconds delay, 10 seconds, 30 seconds, etc.

It does lack some of the features you may be more comfortable with (or prefer) in other makeup mirrors, like the ability to switch between magnification levels (or swivel to a regular mirror/no magnification mirror), types of lighting, dimming, side panels for more extreme viewing angles, and so on. Ultimately, this is a simpler makeup mirror, but the brighter, more calibrated, and even lighting is one of its greatest selling points. I just think it depends on your needs and what features you actually use.  I don’t know that it is “worth” the price tag, as it is significantly more than most makeup mirrors on the market.  It has a really nice streamlined, cordless design and great lighting, but if you already have a set-up with good, natural lighting streaming in, I’m not sure you’ll get the value out of this product. For my purposes (for lip swatches and eye makeup), I’m finding I really like it a lot–more than I thought I would–so yes, if it holds up for several years, I think I could tell you it was worth it (for me).

I was actually debating on whether to opt for the smaller (and cheaper) version, but I ended up buying the full-sized for myself. Not even twelve hours after I bought it, Sephora pitched me about the mirror and asked if I wanted to receive either the standard or mini for consideration, which ended up working out nicely because one of the things I really was curious about was how the full-sized and travel version compared to each other! Now, I get to do that for you :) There is also a wall-mounted option that is the same as the full-sized version in this post. I think the wall-mounted one would be best suited for someone with a set-up that requires standing.

simplehuman mini sensor mirror ($130.00) has one major advantage over the larger version: it’s travel-friendly. It comes with a zippered, slightly firm case that holds the mirror, which folds down. Potentially, the second major advantage is that this mirror has 10x magnification (compared to 5x magnification of the full-sized mirror).

The easiest difference to spot is that it is a much smaller mirror–4.75″ across compared to the 8″ full-sized mirror–but the magnification is also quite different. On the mini, it has 10x magnification, whereas the standard is 5x. The sensor light is on the bottom of the mini but on the top for the standard. If desired, you could actually flip the mirror to the other side, which shortens the height of the mirror (depending on the surface you set it on, how tall/short you are, your seat, etc.). The mini is about 3″ shorter, a skinnier stem, but the base has a similar footprint, it’s just lighterweight and less robust (but the diameter is about the same). A single charge on the mini is supposed to last up to 8 weeks, while the full-sized is 5 weeks, though they use the same USB charger. I have a note on my calendar to check in sometime in October on charging.

The mini is lighter-weight, though I wouldn’t describe it as that light, and it’s a fine weight if you’re packing a larger suitcase but may add a bit more weight than ideal to a carry-on. It doesn’t take up too much space, though, and the case has some protection but has some give (perhaps best described as firm, but not solid, case).

I found I preferred using the full-sized mirror, as I could see more of my face, and felt like I didn’t have to be as close-up to the mirror, which gave me more room to work (especially important if you use a long-handled brushes) and some ability to “step back” to see the results. When I used it, I felt really close to the mirror at all times, so I think the diameter is smaller than what my needs require, much like the magnification was more than I needed except for tweezing that one stubborn misplaced brow hair. For me, it didn’t feel as practical or as useful when I would sit down and do my makeup in front of this. However, if you really need more than 5x magnification, the mini may be the right choice. No matter which one you have, a regular mirror nearby is handy so that you don’t forget to look at the big picture (whatever everyone else will see!) as well.

The Glossover

P
product

Standard

Results
Loading ... Loading ...
Login or Register to be able to add this to your Vanity or Wishlist! Plus rate and review!
P
product

Mini

Results
Loading ... Loading ...

See more photos! Continue reading →

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

NARS Powder Brush #10
NARS Powder Brush #10

Last April, NARS released new Artistry Brushes. Since then, I’ve spent time using them on and off, figuring out which ones I like, don’t like, and all that. I don’t like any of the face brushes; I find them prone to shedding and at times, scratchy–the latter is hard to deal with. I had shedding with all four face brushes I tried continuously, though after a dozen or more washes, I only find a stray hair here and there now, but initially it was more than a few. The only thing I liked about these were the handles, as they were weighty and well-balanced. They are not brushes I would reach for voluntarily due to the scratchiness as well as the shedding.

NARS Powder Brush #10 ($52.00) is supposed to “blend, buff, and diffuse powder.” It’s a large, flared brush with a slightly tapered (just along the edges) top, that is almost flat. The fibers did not look to be all that well cut–they were quite jagged. It was moderately dense with good flexibility and spring, so it was able to apply a loose setting or finishing powder well without applying too much (it was just uncomfortable to apply). This brush shed quite a bit initially, and it has come down to only a few per use, but it’s still frustrating to deal with it at this price point. The brush head is 48mm in length, 40mm in width, and 40mm in thickness. It had a round, open ferrule and a total length of 7 inches or 18 centimeters. I noticed that the two brushes with all-black bristles seemed to be the roughest and least well-cut–very uneven and the bristles felt thicker, whereas the two brushes with browner bristles were softer and had a more even cut.

NARS Bronzing Powder Brush #11 ($52.00) is a densely-packed, buffer brush with a short-handle (like a regular short handle, not a squat, buffer brush type handle). It flares out slightly with a gentle dome shape. This one was softer than #10, so it is moderately soft. It only seemed slightly scratchy if you tried using it to stipple or tap product on, but if you sweep, buff, or blend, it is fairly soft and doesn’t irritate or bother my skin when used. It blends very well, whether that’s applying bronzer or to correct over-applied blush. It’s 35mm in length, 43mm in width, and 43mm in thickness. It had an open, round ferrule, and a total length of 4.5 inches or 11.5 centimeters.

NARS Blush Brush #20 ($42.00) is a dome-shaped, medium-sized blush brush. It flares out slightly from the ferrule and them rounds along the corners. The bristles are densely packed, and the brush feels soft most of the time. On mine, there’s one edge that is slightly scratchy when I pat on blush color for initial application. The density of this brush makes this pick up quite a bit of pigment and deposit it in one place, so if you’re heavy-handed, you’ll want to look for a less dense brush, but if you tend to always under-apply or have sheerer blushes, you might like how easily this will pick up color. It will soften the edges, but I recommend wiping off excess color on a paper towel or tissue to get good diffusion. The brush head is 35mm in length, 30mm in width, and 20mm in thickness. It had a slightly pinched ferrule, and a total length of 6.5 inches or just over16 centimeters.

NARS Contour Brush #21 ($42.00) is an angled, medium-sized brush designed for contouring. This brush could have been cut better–the bristles were somewhat uneven, and it was noticeably scratchy on the skin during use. When applied with light pressure and skimmed across the skin, it felt okay, but I often felt like it was scratchy when using it. I had shedding problems with this one for the first six washes, and after that, it sheds two or three bristles per use. The shape fits well in the hollows of the cheeks for a softer, more diffused contour. The brush head is 33mm in length, 35mm in width, and 20mm in thickness. It had a slightly pinched ferrule with a total length of 6.5 inches or just over 16 centimeters.

The Glossover

product

Powder Brush #10

Results
Loading ... Loading ...
Login or Register to be able to add this to your Vanity or Wishlist! Plus rate and review!
product

Bronzing Powder Brush #11

Results
Loading ... Loading ...
product

Blush Brush #20

Results
Loading ... Loading ...
Click to Reveal More Glossovers!

See more photos! Continue reading →

Friday, May 30th, 2014

Chikuhodo Z-8 Cheek Brush
Chikuhodo Z-8 Cheek Brush

Chikuhodo Z-8 Cheek Brush ($141.00) is a medium-sized, tapered, slightly paddle-shaped, blush brush. The brush head is 1.25 inches or 3 centimeters in width, just over 1.5 inches or 4 centimeters in length, and 0.75 inches or 2 centimeters in thickness. It has an open ferrule and a total length of 6 inches or just over 15.5 centimeters. It is made out of gray squirrel hair.

It’s an impossibly soft, dense blush brush that applies both sheer and more pigmented blushes with ease, blends them almost as you apply and lay down the color, and never, ever irritates the skin. I like how dense and full the brush is, but it still has give; it doesn’t feel stiff or heavy against the skin–you still get a lot that featheriness of a less dense brush. This brush is a real multi-tasker, if you wish it to be, because it’s large enough to apply blush, bronzer, or powder as desired, but it isn’t overly large, so it could also work for dusting on a highlighter (probably one that is sheerer) or finishing powder all-over the face. I’ve had no issues with shedding over the past two months I’ve been test-driving it. I can see why some splash out for luxury brushes like this one, though that “is it worth it” question is always going to be difficult. I couldn’t think of similar brushes to this that I have; its density and roundness at its base made it hard to dupe (most of my blush brushes are flatter).

Chikuhodo Z-2 Highlight Brush ($92.00) is a thinner, tapered brush. It is made out of gray squirrel hair. The brush head is 1.5 inches or 3.5 centimeters in length, 0.75 inches or 2 centimeters in width and thickness (it is rounded). It has an open, rounded ferrule with a total length of 6 inches or 15 centimeters.

The really tapered tip allows for highlighting with precision along the bridge of the nose particularly well, but it can easily deposit highlight onto cheek bones, forehead, or even all over (this is actually how I’ve often used it: to dust on a finishing powder like Guerlain’s Meteorites). As it is a smaller brush, it may take a few more strokes for all-over application, but it seems like the ideal size for applying a highlight to cheek bones. It’s not so large that it will overlap heavily with your blush application, but it still has a soft, feathery feel so that the highlight applies evenly, smoothly, and is diffused on the skin. The most similar brush I have to this is the Hakuhodo J5521, which is shorter and is less tapered/narrow (and it is not quite as soft, but it’s a very soft and well-made brush as well). MAC 165 is also similar, though a lot less soft and not quite as pointed at the edge. MAC’s 138 has a similar shape but is two and a half times the size.

Chikuhodo Z-3 Contour Brush ($54.00) is small, flat circular brush that almost looks like a very, very tiny flat-topped kabuki with an elongated, thinner handle. I can’t recall having a brush shaped like this for contour (or for any other purpose in this size). It’s made out of gray squirrel hair and has a glossy black handle (slightly shorter than the average brush’s handle). The brush head measures just over 0.50 inches or 1.5 centimeters in length, just over 0.5 inches or 1.8 centimeters in width/thickness (it is round). It had an open, round ferrule and a total length of just over 5 inches or 13 centimeters.

If you prefer more precise, detailed-driven brushes, you might like this option for contouring, as it is noticeably smaller in general compared to your average face brush. It fits well underneath the cheek bone and in the hollow of the cheeks for contouring. The brush is incredibly soft, never scratchy or rough, whether used in a stippling, sweeping, or buffing motion. I really liked it for contouring, as you can get a stronger, richer contour line and then buff and blend it out without over-blending. But I really loved it for buffing concealer and applying powder beneath my under eyes and around the nose. The softness is much appreciated along the under eye area. It also worked well for buffing out the edges of cream blush or adding a bit of powder to soften an over-done blush without worrying about over-correcting as you might with a larger buffer brush.

Chikuhodo brushes can be purchase at Now-e Project. Starting today, they have reduced shipping up to free shipping, depending on purchase amount ($250+ = free). They also have four sets of various Z-series brushes bundled (saves a bit!) if you’re looking to buy a few at once. Or you can save 10% with code TEMPTALIA. All valid coupons cannot be used with other coupons (one per order), discounts, or special value offers.

The Glossover

product

Z-2 Highlight Brush

Results
Loading ... Loading ...
Login or Register to be able to add this to your Vanity or Wishlist! Plus rate and review!
product

Z-8 Cheek Brush

Results
Loading ... Loading ...
product

Z-3 Contour Brush

Results
Loading ... Loading ...

See more photos! Continue reading →

Saturday, May 3rd, 2014

MAC 127 Split Fibre Face Brush
MAC 127 Split Fibre Face Brush

MAC 127 Split Fibre Face Brush ($35.00) is a medium-sized, tapered, slightly flattened, blush brush. The brush head has a length of just shy of 1.5 inches / 3.5 centimeters, width of 1.5 inches / 3.5 centimeters, and thickness of 0.5 inches / almost 2 centimeters. It has a total length of 6.75 inches / just over 17 centimeters. The ferrule is pinched and metallic teal, while the handle is more of a satin-finished teal and made in China. It’s designed for “light pickup and sheer wash of powders, bronzers, highlighters, and blush.” It is a combination of synthetic and natural fibers, though there seem to be 60-70% of natural fibers. The brush is moderately soft, with the synthetic side feeling slightly softer. I had minor shedding after the first two washes, but I didn’t notice shedding after that. You’ll get less color applied if you use the synthetic side compared to the natural fiber side. The size lends itself best to blush/bronzer application, though angled/positioned just so, it could certainly apply highlighter as well.

MAC 233 Split Fibre Eye Brush ($25.00) is a small, almost square-shaped (there’s a very slight dome to it) brush with a blend of synthetic and natural fibers. The brush head is 10mm in length, 10mm in width, and 4mm in thickness. It had a total length of 6.75 inches / just under 17 centimeters. It has a pinched, metallic teal ferrule with a satiny teal handle and is made in China. MAC says it’s for applying eyeshadow on the lid, and that you can get either “soft and diffused” or “sheer and polished” results (which don’t sound that different to me). Both sides felt soft on the lid, though the synthetic side was slightly softer. Like the face brush, the natural fiber side seems to dominate (so it’s not split down the middle), and it picks up more eyeshadow than the synthetic side, so if you prefer a sheerer look, the synthetic side works well for it. I didn’t have any issues with shedding, dye bleeding, shape retention, etc.

The Glossover

product

127 Split Fibre Face Brush

Results
Loading ... Loading ...
Login or Register to be able to add this to your Vanity or Wishlist! Plus rate and review!
product

233 Split Fibre Eye Brush

Results
Loading ... Loading ...

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Saturday, May 3rd, 2014

MAC Alluring Aquatic Makeup Bag
MAC Alluring Aquatic Makeup Bag

MAC Alluring Aquatic Makeup Bag ($35.00) is described as a “teal clutch … accented with sheer water droplets.” It’s a bluish-teal, medium-sized makeup bag with a translucent, blue-hued zipper pull, darker teal interior, and then “water droplets” on the exterior. I thought the “water droplets” on the actual packaging of the color products in the collection was more believable and well-done; this is interesting, but it’s much subtler, so it looks almost liked a textured packaging but not necessarily water droplets. The interior seems to be made more out of something cloth-like, but it seems like the type of material that would be harder to clean if anything leaked/spilled, so that may be a concern for some. It’s a good size, though, and it will hold longer products like brushes, eyeliners, and the like, as well as bulkier objects like foundation bottles, eyeshadow quads, and so forth. It measures 8 inches / 20.5 centimeters in length, 4.5 inches / 12 centimeters in height, and 2 inches / 5 centimeters in depth at its widest point. It has a lot of give and is malleable, so you can definitely cram it full of makeup goodies if you’re tight on space!

The Glossover

product

Alluring Aquatic Makeup Bag

Results
Loading ... Loading ...
Login or Register to be able to add this to your Vanity or Wishlist! Plus rate and review!

See more photos! Continue reading →

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

Guerlain Terracotta Bronzing Powder Brush (2014)
Guerlain Terracotta Bronzing Powder Brush (2014)

Guerlain Terracotta Bronzing Powder Brush (2014) ($42.00) is a short-handled, red-bristled brush designed to be used with Guerlain’s Terracotta Bronzing Powders. The brush head is 1.5 inches / 3.5 centimeters in length, 1.5 inches / 3.5 centimeters in width, and 1.5 inches / 3.5 centimeters in thickness. It had a total length of just over 4 inches / 10.5 centimeters with an open ferrule. The bristles are scratchy, and the brush, overall, is poorly cut–it’s just not even at all. I had shedding for the first four washes, but after that, it did seem to abate. I noticed some dye bled for the first three washes as well. At this price point, there are too many higher-quality options to consider this one (and there are more affordable options that are better, too).

The Glossover

product

Terracotta Bronzing Powder Brush (2014)

At this price point, there are too many higher-quality options to consider this one (and there are more affordable options that are better, too).
Results
Loading ... Loading ...
Login or Register to be able to add this to your Vanity or Wishlist! Plus rate and review!

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →