Talking Tweezers…

Posted by Lipglossiping On September - 3 - 2013

Since when have a good pair of tweezers not been a beauty essential? Even before I got into makeup properly, I was well-versed in the art of tweezing… that’s not to say I was any GOOD at it. I was just, proficient at trying. Or in my case, over-trying… as my sparse brows proved.

You’d think that buying a pair of tweezers would be as simple as popping down to your local chemist and grabbing whatever’s on the shelf, right? Wrong. There are so many different styles of tweezers…

Let’s start with the tips…

The most popular style of tweezer tip is the slanted, and for good reason. Slanted tweezer tips offer a great compromise between the precision of a pointed tweezer tip and the grab-all approach of a straight tweezer tip. Slanted tips generally work well on ingrown-hairs without the risks of skin-damage that pointed tips can cause when used by inexperienced tweezers.

So now that you’ve chosen a good all-round tweezer tip, you should know that not all tweezers are created equal. I’ve owned some shockingly bad bought-on-a-whim tweezers in the past. The worst of them are the ones that simply don’t grab the hair properly… and if they do, warp or twist as you press the tweezer together!

All of the tweezers below come from quality brands, none of these will let you down when it comes to tweezing!

talking-tweezers

01: Tweezerman have been my brand of choice for the last 10-years. They offer a variety of styles, colours and patterns, often with limited-edition releases. They’re not the cheapest brand on the block but they’re pretty accessible and also offer free sharpening for the lifetime of your tweezers, though you do have to send them off to the U.S. for this service. (£22.00 / selfridges.com)

02. Sigma have recently launched their Beauty Brow Tweezer which incorporates some funky angles designed to improve accuracy and ease of use. The hot pink colour should also ensure that they’re easy to spot inside your makeup bag! (£9.95 / cloud10beauty.com)

03. Laura Mercier’s tweezer uses the classic Tweezerman design, indeed these are made for Laura Mercier by Tweezerman. This is the style of tweezer that I’ve used for the past 10-years, the rounded handle ensures that your grip is rock solid and shows those errant brow hairs who really is boss! (£18.50 / spacenk.com)

04. Glamtech’s offering is a multifunctional tool that not only delivers the sharpest of hand-honed tips but also a rather innovative brow comb on the other end. If like me, you’ve been “blessed” in the brow-length department, you’ll find this extra a useful addition in the quest to tame those brows. (£6.00 / glamtech.co.uk)

05: Mister Mascara’s Japanese Style tweezers are another pair to consider if you need a little more security in the grip. The wider handles ensure that you keep utmost control while navigating toward even the most baby-fine of hairs. (£8.95 / urbanretreat.co.uk)

06. For some super kerb-appeal, Shavata’s Heart Tweezers win the prize for cutest eyebrow accessory! Described as both fun and practical, they even come complete with a magnifying mirror, making them ideal for travel. (£18.90 / beautybay.com)

Once you’ve found your perfect pair of tweezers, it’s time to look after them. Baby these things like they’re your first-born. If you drop a pair of steel tweezers on a bathroom floor, more likely than not… when you close the grip, that precision-engineered tip is not going to close squarely anymore and if they don’t close in perfect alignment… you may aswell attempt to pluck your stray hairs with a pair of BBQ tongs for all the good they’ll now be.

You’ll also need to keep the tip as sharp as possible, a pair of blunt tweezers will struggle to grab hairs effectively and can often end up snapping the hair as you pull them away from the skin. Most of the pricier brands include little caps to protect the ends of the tweezers. Use them, don’t just throw your tweezers in your makeup bag without some kind of protection or you’ll end up having to sharpen them on a regular basis.

Now tell me…

Do you have a favourite pair of tweezers, and if so… how old are they? Mine are 7-years old!


Real Techniques Limited Edition Duo-Fiber Brush Collection

Posted by Lipglossiping On June - 20 - 2013

Building upon her inexpensively-priced-but-well-crafted brush empire, Samantha Chapman of Pixiwoo fame has released another set of brushes to sit alongside her core collections, albeit for a limited time only.  The Real Techniques Duo-Fiber Brush Collection* was launched last month and began to hit our shores a few weeks ago.

Reviews have been almost overwhelmingly positive for this trio of brushes and I was keen to cast my eye over the set to appease my own curiosity of whether they were worth the hype.

Real Techniques Limited Edition Duo-Fibre Brushes Fiber Review 1

The brushes, as the name might suggest, are dual-fibred.  Both fibres used in the construction are taklon, therefore synthetic and 100% cruelty-free.  There are three brushes in the collection and each is labelled along the handle, clearly describing its purpose.

Real Techniques Limited Edition Duo-Fibre Brushes Fiber Review 2

Real Techniques Limited Edition Duo-Fibre Brushes Fiber Review 3

The largest of the three brushes is the Duo-Fiber Face Brush.  Of the three, this is the most flexible and feels the least densely-packed (relative to size).  The layering of fibres in such a loose manner means that this brush is ideal for a light-coating of powder to set your makeup.  You’d be hard-pushed to pack on the product with this tool in your hand and for this purpose, it’s pretty much perfect.

Although the website states that all brushes can be used with cream and liquid products… I don’t think there would be much point in using this brush for anything other than powder products.  It would be like buying a pair of nail scissors and using them to cut your fringe.  Technically, you could do it… but why would you want to waste the engineering?

Real Techniques Limited Edition Duo-Fibre Brushes Fiber Review 4

The second brush in the set, the Duo-Fiber Contour Brush is slightly more rigid than the face brush.  The fibres feel a little springier, with more resistance under pressure.  This gives the brush a little more strength to direct the product being applied and additional control when it comes to blending for a seamless finish.  Ultimately, this is the brush you’ll want to be using this Summer for applying your bronzer and contour shades.  A little more precision but applied with an equally light hand.

Despite being somewhat stiffer than the face brush, I’m still not sold on using it for cream products… I just have other brushes (even from this line) that I prefer to use with liquids and creams.

Real Techniques Limited Edition Duo-Fibre Brushes Fiber Review 5

The smallest brush in the set is the Duo-Fiber Eye Brush, and for me, this one is an outright disappointment.  I simply do not find the brush comfortable to use in the delicate eye-area.  The fibres are sharp, scratchy and even with the lightest of touches, too harsh for blending out colour across my eye socket.  At a push, it works ok for under-eye concealer but ultimately, I will pass over this brush daily in favour of a softer brush.

Real Techniques Limited Edition Duo-Fibre Brushes Fiber Review 6

If you use a lot of powder products, I’d say that you would benefit greatly from purchasing this collection… the Face brush is unlike any other I own for creating a ultra-light finish.  I prefer to use cream products on my cheeks when it comes to blush and bronzer so I’m a little torn on the contour brush… at the bargainous price that this set retails for, I’d lean toward saying that it wouldn’t hurt to own it.

The eye brush isn’t worth the space in my brush holder (imo).  Not that there is any space.

Real Techniques Limited Edition Duo-Fibre Brushes Fiber Review 7

Real Techniques Limited Edition Duo-Fibre Brushes Fiber Review 8

The set hasn’t blown me away.  Not in the same way that the Core Collection did back in 2011 (I still use the Buffing Brush daily) and please don’t assume that just because they’re dual-fibre brushes, you’ll get something comparable to MAC’s legendary 187 at a cheaper price point… these aren’t a set of stippling brushes, they’re far more specific in their use helping you to create softly layered-looks and hone your application skills with a lighter-touch.

For a more multi-purpose duo-fibre brush you’d need something like the Real Techniques highly-regarded Stippling Brush instead.

As far as craftsmanship goes, other than my issue with the scratchiness of the eye brush… overall, the quality is great.  There’s no horrible chemical stink to the fibres, the ferrules are solidly formed and the taklon appears to be well-clamped into the handles.  Although the bottoms of the brushes are flat, they don’t offer the greatest stability on their ends… something to remember if you have a white carpet.

The Real Techniques Limited Edition Duo-Fiber Brush Collection is available to buy online from Cloud10Beauty.com or instore at Boots, priced at £23.99

* press sample

Are you still not curling your lashes?

Posted by Lipglossiping On June - 19 - 2013

Lash curling. I think it’s probably one of the most under-talked about subjects in the blog world. And you know why? Because it’s a hugely neglected step in the quest for makeup perfection.

Before you think I’m preaching, I’m guilty of this too. The number of times that I pass over my eyelash curlers and reach straight for the mascara is pretty shameful for someone blogging about the virtues of this crucial step in the process!

Why you should curl your eyelashes_3

First things first, many women give up on the idea of lash-curling simply because they haven’t found a pair of curlers to suit their eye shape.  Some pinch, some force you to contort your wrist awkwardly, and some… well, some just don’t give any kind of curl at all.  If your lashes are stubbornly straight, you may be better off investing in a pair of heated lash curlers which promise to give super-strength and hold to your curl.

My lashes are fairly average, they curl nicely at the end but benefit from a bit of lift at the roots for a more wide-eyed look.  I’ve tried a few lash curlers in the past and my needs aren’t so demanding that I’ve struggled to find a tool that works (although I find the Shu Uemura ones a little too flat for me).  Having said that, I’m enjoying the effortless results that I’m getting from these Japonesque Power Curl Eyelash Curlers* (£20) from Cult Beauty.

Why you should curl your eyelashes_4

I say “effortless” because these ones seem to catch each lash in one attempt.  I don’t have to faff around with placement and even though I’m using them extremely close to the root, I can squeeze them together safe in the knowledge that I’m not going to feel a pinch at the outer corners.  Something that I have experienced in the past when I curl close to the root.  I suppose you just know when you find a pair that suits your eye-shape and curling requirements, and these are pretty much spot-on for me.  There’s also the added bonus of the brand offering free replacement curler pads throughout the lifetime of the product!

Why you should curl your eyelashes_5

So… lash-curling… for the uninitiated, let me give you a few quick tips that work for me:

1. Rest the curlers against your cheek, they should feel comfortable to work with

2. Look down as you get the curlers in position, this will help trap as many lashes as possible.

3. Hold still whilst curling and count to ten before releasing your grip, you don’t want to pull out any lashes!

4. If your lashes are super-straight, don’t be afraid to create another curl halfway along the lash… and even another at the very tip if needed!

5. Set your curl with mascara.  If your lashes are very curl-resistant, you may fare better with a waterproof mascara for extra-strength hold.

Why you should curl your eyelashes_6

place and…

Why you should curl your eyelashes_7

…squeeze!

Why you should curl your eyelashes_8

worth the effort?

I did the above demonstration without a mirror (I was holding my camera!) and you can see that I had the curler a little too close to my nose, missing a couple of lashes at the outer corner.  This is actually quite useful because it means that you can see the “droop” my lashes would have had minus the curling step.

Do you curl your lashes every day?  Think it makes enough of a difference to warrant the additional step in your routine?

* press sample

Guest Post: Sonia Kashuk Complexion Perfector Brush review

Posted by Lipglossiping On March - 27 - 2013

A big welcome to Anna from It’s A Bloggers World who is guest-posting on Lipglossiping today.  Anna is an Italian, living in Manchester.  Today, she is talking about a rather unusual-looking makeup brush and I’m sure I can feel the stirrings of a new desire already!

I am sure that every one of you, as makeup-addicts have faced, at least once, THAT question: “Are you a foundation brush or a sponge person?”

Dilemma.

I have been through all the different stages: fingers, flat brush, stippling brush, latex sponges (in every shape created), wet or dry, everything!

Then I realized it was more a matter of what effect I wanted to achieve from my foundation than finding the perfect tool; most of the time, I’ll use a stippling brush if I want to go for medium, natural coverage or I’ll choose a flat brush with the addition of a sponge if I need a full coverage “hide-those-spots-please” finish!

This is why I couldn’t help myself from buying this little jewel.  Enter the Sonia Kashuk Complexion Perfector Brush.

Sonia Kashuk Complexion Perfector Brush review

I had the opportunity to purchase this last summer while in Chicago as I casually found myself walking near a Target (don’t look at me like that, of course it was planned and of course I knew where the shop was before even landing in the USA!)

As you can see, it’s a dual-ended brush with an oval sponge on one side and a brush on the other.

The brush is synthetic and has a domed shape. It’s quite firm but no worries, it doesn’t scratch your skin at all, it just does the job of keeping a well-defined shape.  The sponge is oval-shaped and quite similar to the iconic sponge that Sonia Kashuk is famous for.  It can be removed to for washing, clever isn’t it?

I basically use both parts: I first apply foundation with the sponge and work it out all over my face.  Then, I use the brush for the sides of my nose, the under-eye area and any small details (see “detail” as that spot that decided to rise like a volcano on your chin without being invited).

Sonia Kashuk Complexion Perfector Brush review

As you can see on the instructions, it can be used the opposite way as well, using the brush first before blending all over with the sponge, but I find it easier for me to use the first way.

Sometimes, if I am lazy, I use the brush to apply my concealer as well and it works pretty good.

I didn’t have any problem when I washed it, no loose hairs or changes to the shape (doesn’t it get on your nerves when this happen? I go mad!)

It’s part of the “Kashuk tools” and costs about £15.50. Unfortunately my dear Sonia is not sold in the UK, so you have to count on ebay, an old friend that just moved to USA or that holiday that you really need…

Are you ready for a trip to the USA then?

Have Royal & Langnickel ushered in a [R]evolution in makeup brushes?

Posted by Lipglossiping On December - 10 - 2012

It’s taken me a while to come to terms with Royal & Langnickel as a makeup brush manufacturer, as opposed to an artist’s brush manufacturer.  I didn’t do Art in school or college, but my best friend did and she used to drag me around all the independent art and craft shops in the area to pick up supplies… it’s a name that, for me, has always been synonymous with watercolours, oils, and acrylics.  But things have changed and today, Royal & Langnickel carry more than 12 lines of beauty brushes and accessories, a fact which cements the brand as one of the market leaders in the manufacture of brushes and accessories… for any application.

They’ve recently introduced a new line to their range: [R]evolution – a 32-piece collection created under the watchful eye of Emmy award-winning makeup artist, Kevin James Bennett.  The collection features synthetic-fibred brushes which claim to pick up powder products equally as efficiently as their natural-haired counterparts thanks to technologically advanced filaments which mimic the exterior cuticle of natural hair fibres.  Because of their man-made, inorganic properties, these brushes claim to be more resistant to bacteria, stronger, longer-lasting, and easier to clean.

I’ve been trialling some of the brushes from the [R}evolution Premiere Pro Set* which is available to buy online, read on for some photographs and thoughts on how they’re performing…

Royal & Langnickel Revolution Brushes Review

BX-10 (SM Powder), BX-30 (Kabuki Brush), BX-50 (Flat Concealer), BX-55 (Pointed Foundation), BX-60 (Pointed Concealer)

Royal & Langnickel Revolution Brushes Review

BX-70 (LG Flat Eye Fluff), BX-80 (Detail), BX-90 (Crease), BX-95 (LG Smudger), BX-110 (Flat Liner)

Royal & Langnickel Revolution Brushes Review

BX-125 (Square Lip), BX-135 (Brow/Spoolie Dual)

I’ve been trialling these over the last month, and have found them to withstand daily wear and tear without any issue – the eye brushes hold their shape particularly well after washing, and spot-clean more efficiently with a touch of alcohol.  I’m enjoying the peace of mind knowing that approaching these fibres with solvents is not going to shorten their lifespan.

In terms of use, they work efficiently – although some don’t feel as soft as I’d like… particularly BX-10, the SM Powder brush – though to be fair, I’m making a direct comparison with my most-used powder brush, which is squirrel hair – renowned to be the softest (though importantly, not cruelty free) hair for brushes.

Before using the [R]evolution brushes, you’ll want to wash them.  Not only for hygiene’s sake (they have come from a factory after-all) but also because they’re a bit smelly – they have that synthetic, factory glue(?) smell.  Thankfully, this dissipates immediately.  I experienced no shedding, not even on the largest brushes and during washing – all brushes rinsed cleanly.

On close inspection the brushes are physically well-made – there is no glue residue seeping out from under the ferrules, the handles are solid with a non-slip rubber coating, and the fibres are well-cut.  Despite the handles having flat bases, only the largest will stand up vertically without toppling over.

Royal & Langnickel Revolution Brushes Review

The BX-10 SM. Powder (£31.99) is slightly smaller than a traditional powder brush, allowing for precision application of powder to areas that you need it most.  It works well at picking up even the finest of silica powders for dusting the t-zone and the domed head is well-shaped to allow a smooth rolling motion during application.  Not quite as soft as I’d like but holds its shape well during washing and doesn’t shed.

Royal & Langnickel Revolution Brushes Review

The BX-30 Kabuki Brush (£23.99) is the brush in the collection that I could see myself owning in multiple quantites!  Designed for compact combination blush and contour application, I’m loving this for liquid foundation AND cream blush.  Again, it’s not super-soft but isn’t at all scratchy.  The head is densely packed and really works well to buff product into the skin, leaving just the right quantity behind.  Highly recommended.

Royal & Langnickel Revolution Brushes Review

I’m not used to pointed brushes and BX-55 Pointed Foundation (£22.39) is proving to be something of an enigma.  As a general consumer, rather than makeup artist (with a need for true precision), I find it a little too small for a full-face of foundation.  Instead, I’ve been using it to blend concealer as the sharply tapered fibres conform excellently to facial contours, especially around the nose.

Royal & Langnickel Revolution Brushes Review

The BX-60 Pointed Concealer (£11.19), is once again, for precision work.  This time, for blending and concealer application – it’s roughly half the size of the BX-55 and feels less densely-packed, making it suitable to use on areas you want only the lightest touch.

Royal & Langnickel Revolution Brushes Review

The BX-50 Flat Concealer (£7.99) is the more typical concealer application brush with a flat head and long fibres.  It works well to conceal around the lip area, and I’ve been reaching for it often to tidy up the vampier lip shades that I’ve been wearing this season.

Royal & Langnickel Revolution Brushes Review

The BX-70 LG Flat Eye Fluff (£11.19) is one of those “what the hell do I do with this?” brushes.  At least, for non-professionals like me.  A little research later and I diccovered that the flat edge makes it perfect for highlighting under the brow bone.  It’s like a revelation to me!  It’s like the brush I never knew I needed, and now that I have it – I’m not giving it up.

Royal & Langnickel Revolution Brushes Review

The BX-80 Detail (£10.39) is more your traditional eyeshadow fluff brush, great for general application although this one is around half the size of usual fluff brushes, making it great for precision work in the outer and inner corners.  Alternatively, if you don’t have much lid space (like me), you’ll be pleased to use this in place of other eyeshadow brushes which may often feel simply too big.

Royal & Langnickel Revolution Brushes Review

I find the BX-90 Crease brush (£9.59) a little too big for blending along my socket.  It’s beautifully tapered and sharply cut with nice flexibility but it’s just too large.  It does make quick work of the job though!

Royal & Langnickel Revolution Brushes Review

The BX-95 LG Smudger (£7.19) has become one of my favourites, it works beautifully for application along the lower lash-line, smudging kohl along the upper lash-line and precision application in the inner-corner.  It’s too stiff for blending, so I wouldn’t recommend using it on the outer corner but it’s one of those workhorse brushes that you’ll reach for more than once whilst putting on your makeup.

Royal & Langnickel Revolution Brushes Review

I’m afraid that I don’t use gel liners, so the BX-110 Flat Liner (£7.19) didn’t get much of a work out!  I attempted to use it once as a “push” brush with my Laura Mercier Cake Eyeliner but I felt that it gave me a line that was a little too thick for traditional tight-lining.

Royal & Langnickel Revolution Brushes Review

I’m sad to say that I didn’t get on with this brush at all.  The BX-125 Square Lip (£6.39) is a brush that, in theory, should be great for precision application of bolder colours.  I just couldn’t get any love from this brush and found that I had much more success with my shorter-handled “cat tongue” lip brushes, especially for bolder colours.

Royal & Langnickel Revolution Brushes Review

If I needed more than one Brow/Spoolie brush in my collection, I’d have two of these BX-135 Brow/Spoolie Duals (£7.99).  The brow brush isn’t as firm/rough as something like the NARS brow brush but is about twice as firm as most other brow brushes – which makes me Goldilocks and it, the “just right” brush.  Spoolies?  Well, they’re always useful!

Revolution brushes are priced from £6.39 and available to buy online in the UK at Royal & Langnickel

* press sample

Dangerous nail files, for when things get heated in the office…

Posted by Lipglossiping On October - 15 - 2012

The sky outside is slowly darkening, the tea lady was last seen leaving with the Kit Kats well over an hour ago and is showing no signs of returning. You can’t remember whether you left enough food for the cat and you know that you forgot to set the Sky+ for Eastenders.  For the love of all things way-past-5pm, when is this meeting going to end?

There’s only one thing for it.

Heads slowly turn toward you as you sit there, nonchalantly filing your nails with a chainsaw… or a hunting knife… or maybe a machete…

“We’ll pick this up again on Monday shall we?” says the boss, darting from the room, pushing back her chair with such force that you’re genuinely surprised it didn’t make a cartoon hole in the wall.

Now, to find that tea lady…

‘Dangerous nail files’ are a range of high quality nail files made in the USA in the shape of weapons and tools, designed by Shelly Getzendanner from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  They come individually packaged at £7.95 each and will be available at The Conran Shop this month.

Sigma F84 Angled Top Kabuki Brush

Posted by Lipglossiping On September - 7 - 2012

I missed the Sigma brush hype a couple of years ago, because I was fixated instead on building a collection of Trish McEvoy brushes.  Nowadays, I’m skinter than a skint thing and I’ve come to the realistic conclusion that I’d be a moron not to reign my makeup budget in a little a lot.  I don’t drink, I don’t smoke and I don’t have any major hobbies that consume my monies so whilst I’m still totally commited to being buried with my makeup collection, I’m more open to the idea of not making myself destitute at the same time.

The Sigma range (some of them) have been renowned for offering great quality at a slightly lower price point and in particular, I was looking for a multi-tasking brush.  Step in the Sigma F84 Angled Top Kabuki Brush with its densely-packed head and stubby handle, I’ve found what I was looking for.

Creams, liquids and powders all work flawlessly with this brush which buffs the product firmly but gently onto the face.  The synthetic fibres withstand daily usage and wash like a dream, even if they do take a little longer than I’d like to dry.

The angled brush head makes light work of facial contours and allows me to work the product into every nook and cranny.  Not that my face has nooks and crannies just yet, but you know what I mean.  I also love the chunky handle which gives me maximum control over direction and pressure.

I’ve recently begun using it to apply my cream blushes, and it works great for that too – allowing me to really blend out the edges to give a polished finish.

The only problem I’ve encountered with the brush is that it basically has too many uses and I’m gonna need more than one.  Which kinda defeats my money-saving attitude somewhat no?

The Sigma f84 is available to buy online in the UK from Cocktail Cosmetics, priced at £14.95

The Brush Guard vs. the eBay budget equivalent

Posted by Lipglossiping On June - 14 - 2012

You may remember this post about the brush guards that I use whenever I clean my brushes, it allows them to dry and retain their shape perfectly.  In the comments, Ellie told us about the el-cheapo version you could pick up on eBay for just ninety-nine pennies!  A couple of my original brush guards were showing some wear on the edges so I picked up a couple of rolls and waited patiently for them to arrive from the far East.

I thought I’d do a quick comparison… this isn’t particularly in-depth but I thought it might be useful to demonstrate the major differences between the available tools.

The most obvious difference is in the rigidity of the material used to construct the brush guards.  The eBay equivalent is much softer, more pliable and to be honest, less substantial.  The ‘official’ brush guards are firmer and more rigid with a stronger construction.  If you imagine a rope… the stronger rope will be weaved of more strands – this is pretty much what’s happening here.  Think of it as the ‘official’ version of The Brush Guard being triple-ply loo roll as opposed to the single-ply eBay alternative!

However, this doesn’t make the eBay Brush Guards any less useful when it comes to keeping the brush hairs in shape.  Look, same brush…

You can see that both guards encourage the brush to keep its naturally domed taper, thus allowing it to dry retaining a good shape.  The biggest drawback to the eBay version is that I simply haven’t been able to use them on any eye brushes with as much success and that includes brushes like the MAC 217 – there’s too much stretch in the mesh to conform to a smaller brush tip and hold the bristles as tightly as I’d like.

As for travel?  Well, the official version would be my recommendation.  The eBay guards are simply too pliable and don’t afford the rigidity needed to protect the brushes when they’re bumping up against one another.  To try and demonstrate what I mean, I pressed my fingertip against the brush tip on a MAC 217… I tried to apply the same amount of pressure to the brush head and you can see the difference between the amount of movement exercised on the delicate hairs.

Ultimately, if you’re looking for something to simply cover, lightly protect and shape your larger brushes after washing and aren’t looking for something to protect your brushes whilst travelling – go for the eBay brush guards.  At 99p for a roll of mesh you’ll be sitting pretty with neatly domed powder brushes at the ready!  If you need something more substantial or struggle to keep your eye brushes in good shape, you should stump up the extra pennies and go for the official versions of The Brush Guard.

It may look like a super low-tech solution to protecting your brushes, but not all brush guards are built equally!

I purchased my eBay brush guards, rather unsurprisingly, on eBay (99p) and my official ones from Cocktail Cosmetics (£5 per pack).

ADesign Skincare Brush Set (and my new favourite brush)

Posted by Lipglossiping On April - 19 - 2012

I’ve been trying out the ADesign Skincare Brush Set for just over a month now, and I wanted to see if this one set could ever possibly replace the various skin brushes that I’ve grown to love over the years.  I have to say, the set did fare better than I thought it would… but the ultimate answer is that nothing can replace many years of replacing rubbish brushes with marginally better ones until you reach brush nirvana!

But let me talk you through the brushes contained in the ADesign Skincare Brush Set*, with particular reference to my. new. favourite. brush.

I’ll begin by giving you a quick overview of the set, which is available to buy online from Cocktail Cosmetics, priced at £44.95.  Broken down, that works out at around £8.99 per brush – which for face brushes, makes it a very good value set.  You’d easily pay that on the high street for brushes that don’t come close to even 10% of the quality that these represent.

For your money, you get five brushes housed in a patent mock-croc bag that is fully-lined to prevent damage from spills.  The brushes (from left to right) are: Pointed Foundation Kabuki Brush, Flat Top Foundation Brush, Foundation Brush, Medium Concealer Brush, and Pointed Concealer Brush.

You may be asking yourself, why on Earth would you need three different foundation brushes?  If you are, get off my blog.

Moving on…

Yes.  It’s magnificent isn’t it?  Like a silver bullet sent to banish bad makeup application werewolves (or something *shrugs*).  I haven’t quite got the hang of how best to use the Adesign Pointed Foundation Kabuki Brush and I’m not keen on the stubby kabuki-handle – the pointed tip is obviously engineered to provide precision and having a longer-handle would complement this more effectively.  Of course, if you love the design, you could always opt for something like the Bdellium Tools Bambu Pointed Foundation Brush as an alternative.

The heavily tapered bristles on this brush allows for dual-motion blending… you can swipe both back and forward like a traditional painting motion or apply circular buffing strokes.  For me, I’ve found its forte when it comes to applying concealer over a larger area, particularly around the nose as the point gets right into the creases whilst the taper blends the edges seamlessly.  I’m not completely sold on it, but I do think I’ve not quite mastered the best technique for it yet.  If you have any suggestions, I’m all ears!

The Adesign Flat Top Foundation Brush, a.k.a. my new favourite brush.  It’s a masterpiece, so beautifully dense with tickle-me soft fibres.  It is not very pliable which allows for a really good buffing motion (rather than flopping about ineffectively on the face) and comes with a small head which I much prefer when compared to a larger size flat-top such as the ELF Powder Brush.  I’m going to photograph comparable brushes shortly and reiterate why I prefer this brush to the others.  For quick reference, comparable brushes would be: MAC 130 and Shiseido Perfect Foundation Brush (though this one isn’t cut at an angle).

I’ve been using this for applying foundation (all textures), applying cream blush and blending out any edges.  When my skin has been particularly dry and all my products have been cream or liquid-based, I haven’t even bothered to use a different brush.  This is the stand-out offering from the set.  The smaller head also means that it complements my stick products really well (things like NARS Multiples and my Shu Uemura Stick Foundation).  Perhaps the ultimate compliment I can pay it though is that it has enabled me to wear my MUFE HD Cream Blushes… those things played me up something chronic, I just couldn’t find the right tool to get the just-flushed blush from them.  Until now.

I wish that I could point to a single technical aspect of this brush that suits my needs so well, but all I can tell you is that I’m in brush love.  For reals.

After the gushing over the previous brush, the Adesign Foundation Brush doesn’t get me nearly as excited.  Again, this is small-headed… comparable in size to the Giorgio Armani Designer Foundation Expert Shaping Brush but mega-bucks cheaper.  While the GA brush tapers away quickly, the ADesign brush provides greater density from the base up, which allows this brush to both paint and buff.  The fibres have a good amount of spring to them and are densely packed from root to tip.

The Adesign Medium Concealer Brush is another that didn’t give me an awful lot to flap about.  Again, it’s a good-looking brush without any flaws and applies under-eye concealer very gently but one the whole, I prefer my No7 Concealer brush when it comes to painting on the product with a flat edge like this offers.  But talking of flat edges…

…the Adesign Pointed Concealer Brush is without them!  This is a really good brush for concealing over blemishes.  It delivers the product with pin-point precision and blends without dislodging or removing any of the product you’ve just placed!  How many times have you applied concealer to a spot, blended and then realised that you’ve blended at least 50% of the product off?!  This has worked wonders for my concealer application skillz… now I has some!  Again, this is so densely packed, you would think you’d need something with a ‘lighter’ touch, but no… despite my initial scepticism, this really does the job magnificently well.  It’s a little too stiff-feeling to use in the delicate eye area, where something like a MAC 224 works well to both apply and blend concealer.

 

Without exception, each of these synthetic-fibre brushes are high-quality.  The ferrules are solid, the fibres are well-cut and dense.  Each is perfectly soft, washes well and keeps its shape as it dries.  Talking of drying, these do dry more slowly than natural hair fibres…. such is the downside to synthetic brushes but I haven’t experienced any shedding during washing or application at all.  Which is more than can be said for most brushes.  Whilst I haven’t fallen head-over-heels for every brush in the set, the two that have made an impression on me (Flat Top Foundation & Pointed Concealer) … have made an impression that I want to shout about.

As an aside, you may be wondering why this is called the ‘skincare’ set… well, if you watch the video below, you’ll see that this set was designed for both makeup application AND skincare application.  Call me old-school but I’m all about the fingers when it comes to skincare!

The ADesign Skincare Brush Set is available to buy online from Cocktail Cosmetics, priced at £44.95

* press sample

Brush Lust: ECOTools Bamboo Bronzer Brush

Posted by Lipglossiping On April - 7 - 2012

I love a bit of alliteration in the mornings and the ECOTools Bamboo Bronzer Brush is just the kind of tongue twister that my beauty routine was waiting for.  I’ll start my review by pointing out that this little big brush has amassed an amazing 4.8 (out of 5) average rating over on makeupalley.  No great shakes you might think, except when you take into consideration that it’s been rated almost 300 times.  That’s a lot of very happy brush owners.

Although sold as a bronzing brush, this thing is so large, I have to assume that ECOTools intended this to be used as a body-brozing brush or simply an all-over face bronzing (as in tanning) brush.  There’s no way you’d wanna reach for this daily to “sunkiss” your face in specific areas, it’s mahoosive!  Where this baby excels is in its ability to buff – buff, buff and buff again.  It’s a wonderful long-handled kabuki for mineral foundation and an even more awesome applicator for the kind of liquid foundations that would normally give you an armache as you try to blend them before they quickly set.

This particular brush pairs up wonderfully with all manner of foundations including powders, creams and liquids and if you love the ELF Powder Brush for buffing in your foundation, I’m willing to bet that you’re going to love this even more.  The synthetic bristles are kitten-paw soft, keeping dry skin happy while you buff away to your hearts content.  I’m not gonna call the finished results ‘airbrushed’ (because it’s a naff expression) but I did get a lovely sheen to prove that the product had been worked well into the skin before any excess was buffed away by the densely-packed fibres.  I don’t find the large handle cumbersome to use, neither have I experienced any problems with shedding.

I’ve since bought another one to keep as a finishing brush and I use it to apply an illuminating/setting powder and ensure that everything is fully blended with a non-powdery finish – something I can struggle with when my skin is on the dry side.  The only negatives about this brush is that it’s a bugger to clean, takes an age to dry and isn’t very-travel friendly.

The ECOTools brush range is available to buy instore in Boots, priced at £9.99.  It’s also available online from cutecosmetics, priced at £8.99

These trio of eyeshadows from Illamasqua’s latest Human Fundamentalism* collection landed on my desk this week and I thought I’d post up some swatches.  The three matte shades are: Vernau (yellow ochre), CanCan (bright lilac purple), and Pivot (yellow green).  Get ready for some piccies… (I dunno why I always say that like it’s 2001 and you’re all hitting X so as not to max out your 56k dial up *shrugs*)

The shades have fair to good pigmentation (for mattes) and blend nicely.  The pick up is powdery but again, this is something you often have to contend with when you’re using a matte formula.  On with the swatches…

Applied on dry skin with no primer (please excuse the cycling scratches).  The pales don’t look too chalky considering.

Each shade applied with Illamasqua’s Sealing Gel* (as you would for an eyeliner application).

My attempts at a FOTD sadly ended with me looking at myself in the mirror and declaring “you look like a twat in those colours”.

But…. and this is where it gets interesting…

I went to the bathroom to remove my clown face and upon scrubbing with face wash and warm water….

The swatches done with the Sealing Gel would. not. budge.  I mean, they really wouldn’t budge.  I’m sat here 5 hours later and they’re still looking at me.

So my review is being thoroughly hijacked because I can’t coo over a trio of eyeshadows in shades that I wouldn’t be seen dead in (did I mention Illamasqua will makeover your dead body?).  However… I can get excited over the Illamasqua Sealing Gel which would be a phenomenal addition to your makeup routine if, like me, you have hooded eyelids and can’t stop eyeliner from transfering up to your hairline when you blink a bit too hard.

The shadows are ok, if you’re gonna get all hot and sweaty over them… you probably don’t read my blog anyway to be honest.  But check out the inconspicuous looking bottle of sealing gel next time you’re near a counter.  I already own/use a mineral-makeup branded sealing gel… this is 100x better.

Illamasqua’s sealing gel is priced at £10.50 and can be purchased on counter or online.  Also, if you haven’t seen them already – check out Illa’s pretty glorious moving swatches on their new-fangled website.  The Human Fundamentalism Collection can be seen here.

* press sample

Do you protect your brushes?

Posted by Lipglossiping On March - 16 - 2012

For some of us, makeup brushes can amount to a big investment and it pays to look after them.  It’s only fairly recently that I’ve bothered – to be honest, I’m a little bit easy-come-easy-go as my Mum used to tut at me whenever I was being less than careful with my possessions.

(foundation size – good for foundation and small powder brushes)

I use Brush Guards to protect my favourite brushes.  The mesh slips over the handle and cradles the bristles tightly, it’s not the perfect solution for travelling but I love them after washing my brushes as I can simply stand them on end (brush guard down) and this protects the ferrule whilst ensuring that the bristles dry to a perfect shape.  Infact, they’ve even recovered some of my domed brushes that I thought had lost their shape for good.  A worthwhile investment!

(blush size – great for large(r) eyeshadow brushes)

Brush Guards are priced at around £5.95 a packet and come in various sizes from eyeliner-brush sized right up to kabuki.  I bought mine a long time ago from Cocktail Cosmetics.

Do you do anything to protect your brushes? (or have you got better things to do with your life? haha)

RANDOM

Butter London Minger NOTD (it's not for mingers)

I was a little bit traumatised at the sight of this shade when I pulled it out of the bag.  I mean, it’s orange.  A …

Wet n’ Wild Color Icon Trio Eyeshadow: Silent Treatment

Continuing with my Wet n’ Wild palettes, today’s show is Silent Treatment.  I knew I’d like this one but well, this is just silly beautiful. …

Inglot Flakies

I’m SO behind with posting things from my lovely IMATS weekend, you’ve seen my NOTD with the flakie on the right, and I’ll do one …

Review: Smashbox Soft Focus Powder Eyeliner

I fished the Smashbox Soft Focus Powder Eyeliner in Gunmetal out of a press day goody bag a couple of months ago and promptly fell …

Arbonne Nude Lip Polish

Arbonne… you won’t find them on the high street, their products are sold through a network of independent consultants… like the old Avon lady/Mary Kay …

If you go down to the woods today...

We’re slowly getting over a rash of rotten colds and chest infections here and after a full week trapped indoors, we were feeling cabin fever …

Face Atelier Ultra Foundation Review

I promised you a full review of the Face Atelier foundation after last week’s FOTD and my recent re-discovering of it.  Face Atelier Liquid Foundation …

I have been loving...

It’s the lists… I can’t escape them.  Once you start, it’s very nearly impossible not to drown yourself in post-it notes. 1.  NARS Super Orgasm …

The "only" place in town to get your nails did?

Sadly not my town, or my country but Essie Weingarten, she of polish conoisseur’s Essie fame has just opened the brand’s first nail salon at …

How addicted to beauty are YOU?

I think I rank pretty highly on the sad-o-meter… I don’t feel very confident until I’ve put some sort of war paint on in the …

POPULAR

CLOSED: Competition Time: Givenchy Very Irresistible L'eau en Rose Perfume!

Want to really spoil Mum this Mother’s Day?  Or perhaps you just want to spoil yourself?  It’s ok… I won’t judge… there are plenty of …

CLOSED - Win it! The Body Shop Expert Brush Collection

I don’t know about you, but I woke up this morning with a distinct “Hello Monday morning, I’ve been expecting you…” kinda feeling.  Maybe it’s …

Win a gorgeous "glow" trio with prizes from Urban Decay, New CID, & Arbonne!

COMPETITION NOW CLOSED! WINNER IS: “IZABELLA” (COMMENT #96045) – WINNER HAS BEEN EMAILED!   It’s still January, the MET office have just issued yet another …

Hello? Is this thing on?

Phew, that was a little unexpected. For those of you who haven’t had the misfortune of reading my hand-wringing tweets and woe-ridden facebook updates, let …

Big savings on French Pharmacy brands, win my Escentual.com top picks!

I’m of the firm opinion that for the money, French pharmacy brands offer some of the best solutions for diffcult skin-types. Escentual.com have long been …

Win it! 3 EcoTools Bamboo Bronzer Brushes to win!

I’ve written about these before, you know I love them, I want you to love them too! So why not have a go at winning …

FOTD Busting out of the comfort zone!

You may recall my bitter moans last week about how when presented with a rare opportunity to spend an indecent amount of time playing with …

Dear Obesity...

We have been together for over 20 years, our lives so entwined that I’ve never been sure how to live without you.  I would like …

Urban Decay The Black Palette - Photos & Swatches

The soon-to-be-released Black Palette from US eyeshadow maestro’s Urban Decay is an altogether darker affair than the recent Naked set… The Black Palette includes 6, …

Avoid the brush off with Oral-B Pro-Expert

There’s a new toothpaste in town. It’s lean, mean and err not very minty as it happens.  Featuring the revolutionary bacteria-busting ingredient Stabilised Stannous Flouride, …

COMMENTS

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Admin

  • Ads