Compare and Contrast x 2

It’s been a while since a posted..! Sorry for the long delay but I’ve been really busy with work and traveling and whatnot, so I’m back with a sort of double mini review post.

I’ve spoken before about the beautyblender and how much I think it’s a great tool for applying foundation/concealer, and sometimes even powder. I had never tried any other sponges before, so a couple months ago, picked up a couple of the RealTechniques Miracle Complexion Sponges, which are about a third of the price of a beautyblender. Everyone seems to have good things to say about the RealTechniques sponge, so I figured, if I could find a cheap dupe, then why not? I’ve been using both sponges the past month and have come to the conclusion that the beautyblender is actually just better. I don’t know if that justifies the enormous price tag, but I can use a beautyblender sponge for around 6 months (this is with 5 days a week use) before it starts to fall apart from daily washing and use. By contrast, the RealTechniques sponge started to crack and lose pieces after only a few weeks of use – this is definitely the biggest difference between the two sponges, and I use the same method of cleaning for both. There’s also no denying the original beautyblender is so much softer than its cheaper counterpart. I found that while makeup application is similar, if I used the flat part of the RealTechniques sponge to apply my foundation, the abrupt edge would sometimes make lines all over my face, which was annoying and I’d have to use the round bit to smooth out. Going forward, I think I would still prefer to buy the beautyblender, since it lasts about 6 times as long.

Another product I’ve been using faithfully for the past year is the Benefit Gimme Brow Volumizing Fibre Gel. I love this stuff – having tried a number of other brow gels that weren’t as good (the only comparably good one is the one from L’Oreal). First off, there are five different shades of this product, which is kind of amazing selection for a brow gel. I use the shade 5, which is a super dark, cool-toned brown,which is perfect for me. It applies really great with the tiny brush and dries down without feeling crunchy or weird. Also, because it has fibres, it adds volume to the brows in a pretty natural way. I don’t have overly sparse brows but they could definitely use some beefing up, so tinted gel is the only product I use for my brows.
A little while ago, I was in the US and one of my favourite things to do there is to browse the drugstores because there are definitely a bunch of items that I can’t get up here. I picked up the Soap & Glory Archery Volu-Boost Brow Fibre Gel, which I think is clearly a knock-off product of the Gimme Brow, but it’s only $12 USD, which is half the price. I picked up the shade Talk of the Brown, which is a medium, warm brown. Once it’s brushed through the brows it doesn’t come off as warm as it appears, and it dries down nicely as well. Overall I would recommend the Soap & Glory offering if you’re on a budget – it’s definitely worth it if you can get your hands on it where you live.

Have you tried any of these products and what is your favourite beauty sponge or brow gel?

*On a safety note, it appears Benefit has recently recalled Gimme Brow due to a few batches not being up to par. Please be careful if you’re thinking about purchasing this product!


Blending it all Out…

Despite my never-ending love of cream eyeshadow, for both its convenience and ease of application (fingertip), I do really enjoy playing with my zillion powder eyeshadows sometimes. While I find it does take more time and work, having the right tools can change everything, especially for blending, which is key to making eyeshadow work. Over the years I’ve slowly acquired more and more blending brushes of various shapes and sizes which are great for various uses.

The largest blending brush I own is the NYX Pro Blending Brush (far left), which is actually quite dense, and is too big for my small crease space. I like to use this one to either add the absolute lightest transition shade to my eyes, or for a light wash of colour all over my lid. The next largest is the cult-favourite MAC 217 Blending Brush, which I use for the same purposes as the NYX. It’s not as dense, so it doesn’t pick up too much shadow at once, and blends really well. I like to use this as a final blending brush as well to finish a look. Very similar to this one in size, density and use is the Chikuhodo GSN-10 Eye Shadow brush. It’s lovely and I like to use this for blending medium crease shades, though it works really well for all over the lid too.

Probably my absolute favourite and cheapest brush is the ELF Crease Brush, which is small and light, so it pretty much blends anything you want. The next time I make an ELF order I’m going to buy about 5 more of these because they’re so affordable and great. I’ve also washed this brush about a million times and it has never lost its shape. Another great one that’s useful for more precise work is the Zoeva 231 Luxe Petit Crease, which I picked up while I was in Europe. It’s definitely more of a dense brush, but it does everything you need it to, blending-wise and it also acts as a larger pencil brush for smudging.

The smallest brush I own is an old one that they probably don’t sell anymore, but it’s an Estee Lauder eyeshadow brush I filched from my mom years and years ago. I don’t use it a ton so it’s still in great condition. It’s less dense than the Zoeva brush so it can be used for blending deeper colours easily.

What are your favourite eyeshadow brushes and what would you recommend?

The Blending and Cleansing Duo I’m Loving Right Now

There is absolutely nothing that blends makeup like a beautyblender. A small, unassuming pink sponge, it does wonders for makeup when slightly damp. I’m a fan of mattifying, creamier foundations that can sometimes look streaky or be difficult to blend in with a brush or fingers, so when a friend suggested picking up one of these bad boys, I had to try it. I’ve had a beauty blender in my life since a couple summers ago, and while sometimes I stray away due to sheer laziness (running a sponge under water for a few seconds?? Not during the morning rush!), I always end up coming back to it. Bopping it around the face blends foundation, concealer and any other cream products so beautifully it’s almost unreal. I’ve never really tried any other face sponge for applying face products, but despite that.. the hype is real, people. It’s totally worth it!

A little newer to my collection is the blendercleanser solid, which is a solid makeup brush/tool cleanser. Despite owning a beautyblender for a while now, I was never able to get it completely clean and back to its pink colour. I’ve tried liquid brush cleanser, soap, face wash, etc., but it always seemed to stain. Well, obviously it makes sense that one company would’ve made a tool and the thing to clean it with……. duh… The other huge plus is all my brushes tend to dry much quicker when I use this cleanser as opposed to face wash or liquid soap. I have been lucky enough to get free samples of the mini sizes of the cleanser, but when they run out I’m definitely going to be picking up a full size version of the stuff, and maybe try other solid brush cleansers that are at a better price point, if they exist.

Have you tried the beautyblender and/or cleanser? What is your favourite way to clean your brushes?

New Additions to My Brush Collection

Makeup brushes are something that I’ve been slowly and steadily collecting over the last few years, and while I think I’ve got most of the basics now, there were a few things that weren’t necessarily essentials, but just gaps I found in my current brush collection.

The Real Techniques Setting Brush is a really handy little tool to keep around for setting undereye concealer, or lightly blending anything in, as well as placing powder in specific places instead of all over my face. Lately I’ve really been into doing that, since I’ve been using the L’Oreal foundation, which doesn’t require an entire layer of powder to set, so it’s been great to use one less product on my face, although I still like to dust a bit of translucent powder where I get the most oily!

I’m not very big into doing my eyebrows, but I thought that it would be quite useful to have a double-ended brush with a spoolie on one end for both eyebrow grooming (on the odd occasion that I do it) as well as working clumps out of any poorly-applied mascara. I haven’t used the angled brush end as I do have a separate one I use for gel liner, but I figured having a second one wouldn’t hurt, especially when the bristles on my old one get all splayed and less precise. In comes the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brush #12, which works a treat and I’m glad to have added to my collection. I’ve also been quite curious about brow pomades, so although I currently don’t have much of a brow routine, who knows, that might change, and I already have the tool to apply it…

The most recent buy I picked up from Shoppers Drug Mart, the Quo Fan Brush. I have been dying to buy a fan brush for applying highlighter with, since I have tons of highlighter but never use it, since I find that it’s very difficult to apply without looking overdone or like a disco ball. This is quite a large duofibre brush, but it’s been great for picking up just the tiniest amount of product and sweeping it lightly on the tops of the cheekbones. I’ll finally be able to start working my way through my lifetime supply of highlighter!

Do you have any of these brushes and what do you use them for? What brushes should I pick up next?

Sephora Brush Love

Sephora Brush
When it comes to makeup brushes, I’ve come a long way – from stealing ‘borrowing’ my first Estee Lauder powder brush from my mom’s stash of unused brushes (which was my only brush for years) and only buying cheap brushes that cost ~$10 (big mistake!).

Sephora has quite a large range of products, some of which are hits and others are misses. Their makeup brushes are one of their biggest hits overall, and over the years, I have built up a mini collection, some of which I use on a daily basis. They generally wash well, dry decently quickly, and don’t shed or get dried out with continued washing.

The first is the Pro Airbrush Concealer Brush #57, which I use everyday to blend in concealer under my eyes and sometimes on the rest of my face. It’s small and soft, and dense but not too dense. Next is my newest purchase, the Pro Flawless Light Powder Brush #50, which I actually bought recently to replace my Estee Lauder, which I have been using everyday since about 2009 (!). It’s lovely and soft and doesn’t pick up too much product, which I like. I’m still getting used to it – after using the same powder brush for so long, it’s weird to switch to something new.

One brush that I haven’t quite figured out a use for yet is the Classic Mineral Powder Brush #45 – on the website it says Multitasker Brush, but on the handle of mine it says Mineral, so I’m not sure if they’ve renamed it, but it’s a very dense brush with short bristles, which I assume is for packing on product. I did toy with the idea of using it for powder, but it simply picks up too much product. I would like to try mineral foundation someday, so I am saving it for that, but at this juncture, it’s just sitting and looking pretty.

Another brush I should really be pulling out more is a very simple one – the Angled Liner Brush #22 – I got this one years ago and it seems like they have made a ‘Pro’ version to look the same as the rest of their line, but mine doesn’t match up – I’m sure it does the same thing though. I rarely use pots of gel/cream liner because I’m so lazy, but this one does get busted out every now and then when I want to pop a bit of champagne coloured eyeshadow on the inner third of my lower lash line.

Lastly is a lovely, and multi-use product, the Pro Angled Blush Brush #49. You may or may not have noticed on this blog, but I never ever post about blush – that is because I don’t use it. I own one – only for cases when I feel like a lipstick is washing me out slightly, but really, even for special occasions, I never really use it. I had been looking for a fluffy angled brush to apply bronzer/contour with and I do like using this one along with another one in rotation for that very purpose. On the odd day I decide to bust out some powder highlight, this one also works well. Using the pointy end of the brush is great – since the bristles are long and light, they don’t pick up too much product, making this a great double duty brush – triple if I were to use blush.

One point to make is that they have various collections, and I mostly have face brushes from their Pro collection – would I say they are better quality? Definitely. The bristles are nicer, and everything about them seems more luxe. I would love to add more to my collection, maybe try eye brushes (I have a motley assortment of eye brushes in my collection right now, so probably not for a while), and the Pro Airbrush #55, which I have heard amazing things about.

The price point of Sephora brushes certainly aren’t cheap, but all in all, I’d say these are mid-high range brush, similar in price and quality to MAC, but nothing that crazy. If you invest in nice brushes and take care of them I’d definitely say they are worth the splurge!

What are your favourite Sephora brand brushes, or other makeup brushes? What would you recommend?