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).

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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).
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Thursday, April 10th, 2014

MAC 129SE Proenza Schouler Powder/Blush Brush
MAC 129SE Proenza Schouler Powder/Blush Brush

MAC x Proenza Schouler 129SE Powder/Blush Brush ($38.50) is a short-handled version of the 129 brush, which is typically used for blush, though it can be used with other face and cheek products as well. It’s a medium-sized brush with a flared, domed-shaped brush head. The brush head is 1.25 inches / almost 4 centimeters in length, 1.5 inches / just over 3 centimeters in width, and 3/4 of an inches / 2 centimeters in thickness. It’s moderately dense with some spring/flexibility, but it doesn’t feel floppy or feathery.

I’m not a fan of MAC’s 129 in its permanent, original form, as the bristles are noticeably scratchy against the skin. The only time I ever reach for it is if a blush is so stiff and difficult to use that I need rough, scratchy bristles to dislodge the powder, but I’ll still use something softer and gentler against the skin to actually apply the color. If you do very gentle sweeps of the brush across the cheek at an angle, it doesn’t feel too scratchy, but practically speaking, I would rather use a brush that I didn’t have to worry about scratchiness regardless of how I used it.

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129SE Proenza Schouler Powder/Blush Brush

If you do very gentle sweeps of the brush across the cheek at an angle, it doesn't feel too scratchy, but practically speaking, I would rather use a brush that I didn't have to worry about scratchiness regardless of how I used it.
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Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

Urban Decay Perversion Super-Saturated Ultra Intense Waterproof Cream Eyeliner
Urban Decay Perversion Super-Saturated Ultra Intense Waterproof Cream Eyeliner

Urban Decay Perversion Super-Saturated Ultra Intense Waterproof Cream Eyeliner ($22.00 for 0.10 oz.) is a deep, dark, blacker-than-black eyeliner with a satin-to-matte finish. It’s extremely intense in color payoff, and the texture is quite creamy, so it smooths over the skin easily and doesn’t drag or really skip. Because it’s so creamy, it can also be used as a black eyeshadow base if desired. The only downside is that it takes a couple of minutes for it to fully set and dry down, which makes it great for a smudgy look, but if you’re pressed for time, it might not be the first go-to for a two-minute look. I didn’t feel like it really moved while setting, but if you go to curl your lashes, you might disturb it. The texture is definitely lighter and creamier, wetter too, than a gel formula–sometimes gel and cream can feel the same, but this definitely feels and behaves like a true cream eyeliner. On me, it wore well and lasted ten hours without smudging or fading.

There are a ton of intense black eyeliners on the market in a variety of formulas, so there’s no shortage these days.  I’ve included swatch comparisons below of how this shade stacks up to the rest of the Perversion range, but if you’re looking to compare against other rich black eyeliners, here’s the official Dupe List / Swatch Comparisons for Perversion (cream).

Urban Decay Perversion Angled Brush ($16.00) is a medium-thick, angled brush made out of synthetic fibers. It worked well for applying the cream eyeliner just launched, and it is best for medium-thin to medium-thick lines, but if you really want something very thin and precise, I would go for a thinner or more pointed brush.

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Perversion

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Product

9.5/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

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Perversion Angled Brush

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Thursday, March 20th, 2014

NARS Artistry Brushes
NARS Artistry Brushes

Launching April 1st, NARS Artistry Brushes will feature 16 different shapes. (You can see the full list of what’s to come with pricing and information here.) The brushes range from $28 to $52. Each has a long, matte black handle with a matte black metal ferrule. The bottom of the handle is round and flat with a shiny red tip. It’ll take me at least a couple of weeks to work through these and use them enough to give you some thoughts–I really like to use and test brushes for several weeks (sometimes months) to see what I reach for, what works for this application or that one, and to see how they hold up to multiple washings. Stay tuned!

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Thursday, March 20th, 2014

Urban Decay Summer 2014 Collection
Urban Decay Bondage Weightless Makeup Adhesive

Urban Decay Bondage Weightless Makeup Adhesive ($14.00 for 0.20 fl. oz.) is described as a “clear, water-based adhesive [that] sets and holds glitter.” It’s supposed to help the brand’s new Heavy Metal Loose Glitter apply “for a full-on jewel-encrusted effect that lasts all day (with very little fallout).” It’s a good thing they added that little bit “with very little fallout,” because I tried two different shades of the new glitters on top of the adhesive, and there was still some fall out. It seemed like one or two glitter particles fell per hour, but in general, the glitter adhered well and was comfortable to wear over the adhesive. The consistency is very much weightless, and it doesn’t feel tacky or thick, so it’s easy to spread across the lid, but I found you needed a fair amount of it on the skin if you wanted a solid glitter effect. If I spread out the adhesive, the glitter tended to apply in a sheer, sparse layer. The adhesive definitely breaks down easily with water, though getting all the bits of glitter off is a different story (more on that below).

Urban Decay Heavy Metal Loose Glitter ($12.00 for 0.10 oz.) is described as an “easy-to-use loose glitter.” Each shade had the same instructions included on a separate pamphlet in the box, which said to lay down a layer of their adhesive first, then with fingertips or brushes, apply the glitter. I didn’t like using fingertips, because the majority of the glitter stuck to my finger and only a smattering adhered to the lid.

The jar has a plastic sifter that is level with the top of the jar, so you have to tap out the glitter into the lid, which makes closing it a glittery mess. I wish the sifter was dropped, so that there was a couple millimeters of space for the glitter to sit on top of the sifter but still inside the jar. When I used a brush, a lot of the glitter didn’t stick to my brush–there is a very small window of how you make the journey from jar to eyelid and keeping your brush just so, and then patting it on the lid and hoping that most of it sticks to the lid. I had three or four times the amount of glitter underneath my lid as on it unless I really slathered on the adhesive, and I had to put adhesive straight onto the brush, too.

The included instructions said to brush away any excess during application, and while those glitters might not stay on the lid on their own, they weren’t easy to remove them from the skin. I tried several different methods, but I ended up resorting to tape. Urban Decay’s loose glitters aren’t really any more difficult or easier to use than most loose glitters available–they’re simply not an improvement on the status quo. With the particle size of these, I prefer using something like Lit Cosmetics’ adhesive base, because I can easily apply it to the lid and my brush to really minimize the fall out during application and get a much more glitter to adhere at once.

ACDC is described as a “bright purple glitter.” It’s a medium, cool-toned purple glitter.

Catfight is described as a “pink glitter.” It’s a medium-dark, pinky-red glitter. MAC Pink (P, $21.00) is finer. See comparison swatches.

Goldmine is described as a “yellow-gold glitter.” It’s a medium-dark yellow-toned gold glitter.

Loaded is described as a “bright, deep green glitter.” It’s an emerald green with cool undertones glitter. Lit Cosmetics Yoda (P, $12.95) is lighter, finer. See comparison swatches.

Pyrotechnics is described as an “iridescent glitter.” It’s a multi-colored mix of iridescent pink, lilac, and gold glitter.

Reverb is described as a “bright, deep blue glitter.” It’s a medium-dark blue glitter. Lit Cosmetics Bar Star (P, $12.95) is finer, more multi-dimensional. See comparison swatches.

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Bondage Weightless Makeup Adhesive

It seemed like one or two glitter particles fell per hour, but in general, the glitter adhered well and was comfortable to wear over the adhesive. The consistency is very much weightless, and it doesn't feel tacky or thick, so it's easy to spread across the lid, but I found you needed a fair amount of it on the skin if you wanted a solid glitter effect. If I spread out the adhesive, the glitter tended to apply in a sheer, sparse layer.
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ACDC

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Catfight

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Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

Sephora + Pantone Universe Color Gaze Brush Set
Sephora + Pantone Universe Color Gaze Brush Set

Sephora + Pantone Universe Color Gaze Brush Set ($68.00) is a limited edition, six-piece brush set with a “Radiant Orchid”-hued carrying case. It comes with two face brushes, three eye brushes, and one lip brush. The set has some limitations and, as tends to be the case with brush sets, you’ll want to see it in person to judge the sizes to see if they’re right for your features.  The handles of all six brushes were well-balanced and weighted; they didn’t feel too light or too heavy, and they fit well in my hands.  This is only a brief review (almost more of an overview), as I haven’t tested them for long and don’t intend to use them long-term to test wear and tear and the like.

The Stippling Brush was noticeably scratchy when I used it in a stippling motion; sweeping it lightly across the planes of the face to apply foundation, it didn’t seem as scratchy, but using the flat edge or stippling motions was unpleasant. The longest bristles were soft, but the shorter ones looked dry and felt that way. The other six brushes were very soft, and I didn’t have any issues with them from a softness/feel standpoint.

The Angled Blush Brush seemed a little larger than the average brush of this shape, but it worked well for blending and placing color, though it doesn’t pick up powder products perfectly (makes everything seem a little under-pigmented). The All-Over Shadow Brush was massive–it looks almost like a small face brush–and even seemed too large for under-eye concealing, blending, or setting (which is something I often use larger eye brushes for). The Shadow Brush was slightly larger than the average eyeshadow brush for patting and packing on eyeshadow, and it worked fairly well but did not deposit as much color in one go as some other brushes I have. I really liked the Crease Brush, as it was incredibly soft, not too dense or too sparse, and wasn’t floppy. If you have smaller eyes, I think that all three of the eye brushes are on the larger side.

Oddly enough, what I liked most about the set was the case. It’s slim, but fairly large (about ten inches tall and five inches wide) and easily accommodates the seven brushes from the kit and then some. It reminded me of a more freeform version of a brush roll or bag. It was actually designed to open and stand up on its own, which is does, and it was a nice feature–handy when traveling. The bag seemed sturdy with a pebbled “Radiant Orchid” exterior, silver zipper, and lined inside with a darker purple.

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