Favorite Brushes - April 2014

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Last year I showed you my brush collection. Since then the collection has grown by quite a few brushes so perhaps its time to write an addendum. However reading through the post, it struck me that such a post might be overwhelming and it can be hard to really let my favorite brushes get the recognition they deserve. Today I want to talk about my absolute favorite brushes, the ones that I would buy first if say, some terrible accident befell my whole collection. Great. Now I'm plagued by images of my makeup burning down. Good going, Mimi. 

Cirque Colors: The Heritage Collection

Good evening!

I'm sure that by now you have probably seen the press release or heard about the new Cirque Colors Heritage Collection. It's glorious, a symphony of rainbow hues with a scattered holographic finish and check out the new screen printed bottles! I won't let to you, part of the reason why it too me so long to finish my swatches was that they were so beautiful that I felt like I had to savor each shade and create different manicures to really show them off. 

Perfume Diary: Diptyque L'Eau de L'Eau Eau de Cologne

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Good evening!

Tonight I'm pulling out Diptyque L'Eau de L'Eau from the back of cabinet. To be honest, I didn't think I would ever review this fragrance because I've had it for such a long time (I want to say since 2010, perhaps even longer) and I don't particularly care for it much any more.

Bettina Feathered Ikat Manicure

Monday, April 28, 2014

Good evening, folks!

While I was in Puerto Rico, I made it my sole mission to pick up some more Bettina Polishes. (Morgan was not pleased.) I've managed to accumulate about 16 bottles of these most excellent Bettinas thanks to my buddy Kat of Hooked on Polish but I'm not sure if I've shown you any yet.

beautyblender blendercleanser Solid Sponge Cleaner Review

Saturday, April 26, 2014

So I've read a number of favorable reviews of the beautyblender blendercleanser Solid Soap and really wanted to try it out. Though I've been able to get my beauty sponges reasonably clean with cleansing oil and Dr. Bronner's Liquid Soap, they haven't quite been brand new clean. I don't want decently clean, I want miraculously clean.
You get a 1 oz. puck of soap for $15.95. The twist off jar contains a slotted insert to help keep the soap from turning into a soupy mess. The soap lathers very nicely and has a faint eucalyptus scent.

If you've used a beauty sponge before, whether it be the beautyblender brand or any other so called dupe, I think you might agree that it can be difficult to keep pristine. Excess effort does not necessarily equal extra clean as scrubbing too hard can tear the soft sponge. Here's what my sponge looks like after I have used it to blend contour and highlight:

I usually use Dr Bronner's Liquid Pure Castille Soap (Peppermint). It contains:

Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Palm Oil, Sodium Hydroxide*, Water, Mentha Arvensis, Organic Olive Oil*, Organic fairDeal Hemp Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Organic Peppermint Oil*, Sea Salt, Citric Acid, Tocopherol

* indicates ingredients that disappear during the soap making process. There's no lye in there, don't worry.

 Here's what my sponge looks like after a thorough wash with Dr. Bronner's Magic Liquid Castille Soap:
 While most of the foundation has been removed, you can still see a bit of faint staining.

Here's how this same sponge looks cleaned with the blendercleanser Solid Sponge Cleaner (after getting it dirty again).

 I was surprised by how much foundation came out during this wash from the center of the sponge. It really is incredibly clean.

Though Dr. Bronner's soap has similar ingredients, it's not actually the same. Here's the beautyblender blender Cleanser ingredients:

Sodium Palmate, Sodium Palm Kernelate, Water, Gylcerin, Coconut acid,Titanium Dioxide, Palmitic Acid, fragrance, Sodium Chloride, Tetraspdoi, EDTA, Tetrasodium Etidronate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder

Now it works great at getting soap out of not only sponges, but brushes too but doesn't quite fit my brush washing style (I like to fill a bowl with lukewarm water and dissolve a few drops of sulfate free shampoo and wash that bristles that way, rather than lather each brush by hand against a puck). The thing is while I agree that the beautyblender beautycleanser Solid Cleanser works better than liquid Dr Bronner's,  I don't think that it is that much different than many bar soaps available, particularly the hand crafted variety. I first sort of accidentally discovered how good bar soap was for cleaning sponges when I was on a trip and had to resort to using soap to clean my sponge. If I remember correctly, it was some Bath & Body Works bar soap, it left my sponge cleaner than its ever been. Since then I've kept a bar around for this purpose, preferring the artisan kind (like the kind sold at farmer's markets or on Etsy. I like non scented and non colored ones but heck, I've found that even Dove White Moisturizing Cream Bar cleans sponges very, very well).

While I'll happily use up this puck, I don't think I'll be repurchasing. There is irony perhaps in how much I'll spend on brushes but consider $16 to be steep for an ounce of soap. If its performance wasn't similar to palm oil and palm kernel oil based shave soaps and artisan crafted soaps, I would be happy to shell out that much but I think that you can easily get 3 (or more ounces) for less than the cost of the beautycleanser Solid Sponge Cleaner.

What's your favorite brush cleaner? Someday I should throw up a whole new updated brush washing post since I wash my brushes in a completely different manner than I did when I first started this blog. 

Product featured was purchased by me, for my own use. Post contains affiliate links.For additional information, please refer to my Disclosure Policy. 

Three Lumina Lacquer Shades

Friday, April 25, 2014

Hi folks!

Today I have three newer Lumina Lacquer shades to show you. Lumina Lacquer is definitely known for complex glitterbomb toppers that crazy awesome color combos that I could have never have dreamed up myself in a million years yet look exquisite together.

BITE Beauty Lilac Luminous Creme Lipstick

Wednesday, April 23, 2014
As much as I prefer to shop at Nordstrom these days, I can't help that Sephora carries one of my favorite lipstick brands - BITE Beauty - and occasionally waves tantalizing LE shades at me. I'm weak. I can't help myself. So recently I purchased the LE VIB Rouge shade Lilac. It seemed that Lilac was BITE's answer to the color of the year, Radiant Orchid. 

Glam Polish Heart of Darkness Collection

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Hello! Today I'm so excited to show you the new Glam Polish Heart of Darkness Collection. If you love beautiful duochrome-y glass fleck and unique holos, this collection is right up your alley. These polishes are named after some morbid, sometimes sinister and sometimes downright badass ladies. Oh oh oh, did you notice the new beautiful bottles? I love the square shape and adore the screen printed logo.

Sephora Collection Long Lasting Eyeliner in Fancy Blue

Recently Sephora marked down their house brand of Long Lasting Eyeliners so I made a rather impulsive decision to snatch one up before it was discontinued. Truth be told, I had my eye on Fancy Blue for quite a while but for some reason just never pulled the trigger.

Mundane Mondays, Vol. XVIII: Caribbean Honeymoon

Monday, April 21, 2014
 Hi guys! So I've been away for the past couple weeks in the Caribbean. It was absolutely beautiful, the water and beaches were pristine. Unfortunately my health didn't permit me to enjoy it as much as I wish I could have, oh well! We flew to the Bahamas first but unfortunately with the airlines losing our luggage in Miami, we didn't really utilize our time there. We then went to the Virgin Islands, followed by Puerto Rico and Turks & Caicos.

Glitter Gal Pysanky Nails

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter! 

Today's manicure is inspired by some of the recent pysanky designs I've worked on. It turned out a bit more tribal/geometric looking than I had anticipated but I absolutely fell in love with the colors I used. 

 The three colors (plus a no name off white color) I used were from Glitter Gal, one of my all time favorite brands for holographic shades. I used Citrine which is a light orange/tan holo, Belgian Chocolate which is a stunning dark rich brown holo and Redback which is a squishy chili red. I used a thin brush and just free handed everything.

You can purchase Glitter Gal shades directly from Glitter Gal or through their international stockists. GG is based in Australia.

Do you have any favorite Glitter Gal shades? I've swatched quite a few of the holos, they are some of the finest ones out there!

Products featured by me were press samples. For additional information, please refer to my Disclosure Policy.

Winstonia Kolinsky Sable Detail Brushes + Easter Nail Design

Thursday, April 17, 2014
Hi folks! I'm back from our honeymoon but unfortunately quite ill (again) so I haven't tackled the comments you guys have left me. Hopefully I'll be caught up soon. Tonight I wanted to review new sable nail art brushes from Winstonia, your US based nail art supply store. These pink aluminum sable brushes come in five sizes but I'll be showing you the three smallest detailers; #0, #00 and #000. If you're familiar with the brown set of detail brushes (these), these are similar in terms of the size of the brush tips but are far superior quality wise. The hairs have a much better taper. 

 I like that the brushes come in aluminum cased handed and caps. They're light but sturdy and best of all, acetone proof. No more accidentally half dissolved handles (oh wait, maybe that's just clumsy me). The caps have a hole at the end so that brushes will dry out too, which is nice. So far I have used them with acrylic and nail polish, cleaned them with acetone and have experienced no issues- no scraggly hairs or anything. The bristles come to a nice point.

For this manicure I used white acrylic paint using the brushes to paint designs over glittery polish bases. From left to right: Maybelline Drops of Jade, The Face Shop 04 and 01 glitters and  Maybelline Blue Marks the Spot.

I definitely like the quality of these brushes and I can't tell you how nice it is to have brush caps to protect the bristles. I would be extremely happy if even finer sizes were made available, I'd buy them for sure! These brushes are definitely affordable too! Each brush is $6.95. Click here to shop.

Do you have a favorite set or individual nail art brushes?

Products featured were press samples. For additional information, please refer to my Disclosure Policy. 

OPI Sheer Tints Nails

Sunday, April 13, 2014

So a few days ago I posted a review and a sorry excuse for swatches of the OPI Sheer Tints. I finally completed a successful manicure using these shades. Well by successful I mean that it didn't bubble up, I didn't actually care for this manicure much! In the end, I used a lot of thinner to really dilute the polish until it was quite watery and used a striping brush to just doodle it on.

Short and sweet post! Hope you had a great weekend.

(I'll be back in just two more days, this is a scheduled post while I'm on vacation!)

Holo Watermarble

Friday, April 11, 2014

Here's a recent manicure I did using Nubar Kiss the Sky and Color Club Eternal Beauty in a watermarble. This was maybe... 3 weeks ago? 2?

Anyways, I'm still on vacation so I won't be able to read/reply to comments until after I get back.

Have a great weekend!

Anthony Logistics For Men Instant Fix Oil Control

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Ever since my beloved Urban Decay De Slick in a Tube was discontinued, I've been on the hunt for a similar oil control product to use on my t-zone. Even though I am leaning much more towards dry skin these days, my t zone remains oily. With the warmer weather here already well on its way, I definitely felt a greater sense of urgency as without grease control, my t zone is likely to just melt when I walk outside. A few months ago, a sales associate and I were discussing primers without much or any silicones when she offered to show me Anthony Logistics for Men Instant Fix Oil Control.

This product comes in a pretty standard looking squeeze tube. The first thing I noticed was how big the tube was (well in comparison to Smashbox Photo Matte Anti-Shine which I reviewed here), for $28 you get 3.0 fl. oz. of product. Pretty fantastic if you consider that most primers in the mid price range at Sephora or Department tend to be $20+ for usually 0.5 to just over 1.0 fl. oz. Though geared as product for men, I found this milky gel to definitely be usable as a makeup primer.

You can use this either under your makeup as a primer or on top of oily skin. I only use a small dab, as pictured. As a primer, it sinks into skin very quickly without drying it out, giving me a few hours without shine. It doesn't hinder makeup application in any way; no pilling of foundation or the like. It's tricky to apply on top of oily makeup (I suggest lightly dabbing it in with your fingers, taking care not to smear your foundation) but works fantastic if you want to apply it to bare oily skin. In fact, if you know a guy (or you are a guy) looking for a product to combat a slick face, this is for you.
On the left, I applied two drops of jojoba oil and rubbed it into my hand to mimic shiny skin. I then dabbed  Anthony Logistics For Men Instant Fix Oil Control right on top.

It's very similar to other silica gels out there, perhaps a bit on the thin side. It works reasonably well but not as great as De Slick in a Tube. It does however make your skin really soft and pretty smooth which is a plus over oil control products I've tried. One slight problem I found was that it contains limonene. Limonene is a major component in citrus oils and gives Instant Fix Oil Control a light citrus scent, not unlike a sweet clementine. Unfortunately for me, I have a sensitivity to citrus oils. This sensitivity runs in my family; my brother and sister also experience dry peely skin when we are exposed to it. So it made me a little bit itchy and therefore it wasn't exactly a suitable replacement. However most people don't have a problem with limonene, so I hope my experience doesn't deter you from trying this product if you'll looking for something with light to medium oil control.

Anthony Logistics For Men Instant Fix Oil Control is paraben free. It does contain silicones but not nearly as much as say, the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer line. You can find this line at Ulta or online at Sephora.

(By the way, this is an scheduled blog post, I'm on vacation! I'll won't be able to respond to comments until after I get after April 14th)

What's your current solution for oil control?

Product featured was purchased by me, for my own use. Post contains affiliate links. For additional information, please refer to my Disclosure Policy.

Mundane Mondays, Vol. XVII: Pysanky

Monday, April 7, 2014
Recently I took up an old hobby, making Ukrainian Easter eggs (pysanky) by way of wax resist. I learned this in elementary school and I think the last time I dabbled in this was about a decade ago. 
 This was the first egg I made. I was so rusty and it was so ugly due to my clumsiness and constant mistakes. I was ridiculously proud though of completing it though!

 I don't know if you know much about these eggs, but they are using covered in wax using a kistka which is a tool with a funnel at the end. There's electric kistkas these days but I use a manual one. Basically I scoop a bit of beeswax with the mouth of the funnel in the kistka, hold it near a candle and let the flame melt the wax. Using the finer end of the cone, I draw designs all over the egg. You dye various colors in order of lightest to darkest, adding wax in between to keep that color. Pictured above is Egg #2 after I've drawn the designs in wax. The blue stuff is also wax, just a refined wax that works in a finer kistka.

 Here's what Egg #2 looks like after I've colored it with blue dye.
Here's what the finished egg looks like. After you've completed the dyeing process, you hold the wax covered egg by a flame and wipe the wax off as it is melted. At this point, I poke holes in the top and bottom of the egg, swirl a pin around and blow out the yolk and egg white so that the egg is hollow.

Egg #3. Remarkable improvement over Egg #1, no?

Anyways if you're interested, this website goes over the basics and tools needed for this interesting craft.

Do you have any unusual hobbies or crafts you like to do?

Laura Mercier Cheek Colour Brush

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Another day, another brush review! Today I'd like to discuss the softest cheek brush I own. This is the Laura Mercier Cheek Colour Brush. This was one of those 4 a.m. purchases that seemed like a great idea at the time, but when I woke up in the morning I was feeling a bit more WHAT HAVE I DONE? Luckily all I manage to do was to purchase a sublimely soft brush that is unlike other cheek brushes in my collection. 
Before we continue, I have to mention that I have the long handled version, which took some finagling (I cannot express to you how much I dislike short handles). The version available at most department stores these days is with the travel handle. The two have the same head, handle length is the only difference.

The bristles of this particular brush are blue squirrel and let me tell you, they are ridiculously soft, very fine and quite pliable. If you find yourself to be quite heavy handed with blush, this is blush brush for you. The hairs don't pick up as much powder as my other blush brushes, which can be a good thing for some. The application method is also different compared to blush brushes with a more full dome shape (like for example, the MAC 129).

Left to right: Hakuhodo 210, Laura Mercier Cheek Colour, Sephora Cheek Brush (part of a set), unknown cheek brush.

This is definitely the most flat brush that I own, the closest brush in shape being the Sephora one. However, the hair lengths are quite different. The Sephora bristles are all on the longer side, causing a more poofy shape whereas the Laura Mercier brush's bristles are arranged with more of a taper (think of it like layers in a haircut).
 Since the LM brush is shaped more like a paddle, I find that sweeping motions rather than any sort of circular buffing work best. Using the side of the brush, I pick up and deposit sheer washes of color. This brush works fantastically with blushes that are alarmingly pigmented, it gives you a great deal of control and allows you to increase the intensity in gradual layers. However, I can see how some might find the bristles too soft and possibly annoying to work with, especially if you're in a hurry and want that blush to apply itself.
My brush did shed a tiny bit when it first arrived but I noticed that it was only in one particular spot on the , as though something wasn't quite glued tight in a specific area. In other words, I would consider this a defect unique to this brush and it wouldn't keep me from recommending the Laura Mercier Cheek Colour Brush to others.

At $45, I certainly won't insist that this is an absolute must. However, if you're in the market for a luxury brush and having found yourself to be perhaps a bit heavy handed with the application of powder rouge, this marvelously soft brush may be perfect for you.

The Laura Mercier Cheek Colour Brush can be purchased from Nordstrom and similar stores.

What's your favorite cheek brush? Do you prefer softer brushes that glide or stiffer blush brushes that pick up pigment nicely?

(By the way, I'm on vacation until the 14th of April! I won't be able to read and respond to comments until then.)
Products featured were purchased by me. Post contains affiliate links. For additional information, please refer to my Disclosure Policy.