Filed In: Beauty Tools

NARS · Artistry Face & Eye Makeup Brushes

NARS makeup brushes opener

 

For the most part, I’m of the “you get what you pay for” school of thought and barring very few exceptions, that rule almost always applies to my makeup brushes. For me, it’s about investing in top quality tools since they’re going to get quite a bit of mileage and I expect them to last; picking up a lower grade product that will disintegrate after one washing just won’t do (plus I hate the thought of throwing money away). Which brings me to these NARS Artistry Face & Eye Makeup Brushes: form, function, and fabulosity … or pretty much what you’d expect from a world renown makeup artist and photographer.

 

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MAC · Cool Neutral Palette, Pro Beyond Twisted Lash Mascara & Oval 6 Brush

 

So what do the Cool Neutral Palette, Pro Beyond Twisted Lash Mascara and the Oval 6 Brush all have in common? Apart from the fact that they’re all from MAC, these products have become staples in my beauty repertoire. With the copious launches this brand puts out every few weeks, it’s easy to overlook standout pieces such as these that also happen to be part of the permanent lineup. How refreshing to not have the dreaded ‘limited edition’ designation to contend with, wouldn’t you agree?

 

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Bare Minerals · BAREPRO Powder Foundation & Core Coverage Brush

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I’m a big fan of liquid foundation, but there’s no denying that a powdered version is simply easier to use, as well as throw in a makeup/travel bag for any on-the-go touchups. That said, powder foundations in the past have tended to feel a little heavier upon the skin, along with leaving behind a visibly powdery finish — something that I was pleasantly surprised to see was definitely NOT the case here. Bare Minerals, a brand who’s cornered the market on mineral-based cosmetics, has created BAREPRO™ Powder Foundation, a product that not only gives coverage but does so in a way that helps your skin feel good about it while doing so.

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Core Coverage Brush (CAN $38.00) | An angled retractible face/powder brush with an inner dense core of softer synthetic bristles. Created to be used in conjunction with the BAREPRO foundation, this brush is effective in that regard especially for applying product to larger expanses of the face; on smaller and/or more detailed areas such as around the nose, it becomes a touch trickier to use because of its wider size. Personally, I prefer applying these foundations with a sponge such as a beauty blender or even the one included in each compact, then going in with the Core Coverage Brush to buff out any excess product and to give my skin a seamless-looking finish. My issue with this brush is that the outer ring of bristles is much stiffer than I’m used to using and when swirled over the foundation, it does kick up quite a bit of product. That said, it’s also a very useful brush to have with you for on-the-go touchups due to the fact that it’s retractible and thus hygienic — just make sure to not apply too much pressure to the pan during application.

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BAREPROPerformance Wear Powder Foundation (CAN $36.00/each) | Created with over 90 percent vitamins and minerals as well as having been dermatologist tested, noncomedogenic, nonacnegenic and hypoallergenic, these foundations claim to provide 12 hours of crease-free wear, although to be honest, I personally rarely wear my foundation for that length of time. Still, it’s nice to know that if I did, the product would last.

Made with skin-matching mineral pigments, there are 30 shades to choose from although I noticed that they do seem to apply a touch lighter than what’s seen in the pan, so it’s definitely best to try and swatch in person before selecting a match. The fairest to the darkest complexions along with variations in between (those with pink, beige, or even yellow undertones) all seem to be covered as well, making the range truly inclusive.

Of the five shades I was kindly sent to test, two of them (Golden Nude and Pecan) are the most wearable for my skin tone, although I was able to make use of both Hazelnut and Truffle as contour/bronzer. Fair is significantly much too pale and pink-tinged for me to try and pull off — even when I tried to use it as a matte highlighter. After having played with these for several weeks now, I have come to the conclusion that they work much better on me when used as a setting-type powder over a liquid foundation; this method gives my face a truly poreless & air-brushed finish. But then again, this is purely personal and I recommend you test them out on your skin to see how you like the effect. I will say that they are very lightweight and I experience no breakouts whatsoever – a major bonus.

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01 Fair | pale flesh shade with pink undertones

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13 Golden Nude | light neutral nude shade

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18 Pecan | warm mid-tone nude shade

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25 Hazelnut | warm tan shade

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29 Truffle | deep tan shade

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For those with sensitive or break-out prone skin, you should definitely give these foundations a test-drive; they deliver professional looking results and you’re sure to find a colour match with such a large range. As to the brush, I’m not sold on it and find the sponge include with each foundation to be a way better method of application – but that’s also a matter of personal preference. At the end of the day, foundation is a very tricky beast to master and something that needs to be explored slowly, never rushed — but it doesn’t hurt to try something new either, since you may be pleasantly surprised to land on a new fave or interesting way of using a specific product, such as I did here. Yay! to new discoveries!

Available at Sephora

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PR samples/As always, all opinions are my own

Revlon Brushes

Revlon Brushes opener

 

I have a serious weakness for makeup brushes and over the years, I’ve managed to put together a rather decent collection. That said, I’ve always lived by the “you get what you pay for” school of thought and have tended to lean towards the luxe brands, but I’m always open to trying out new things, such as this latest range from Revlon.

Created with Designworks which happens to be a BMW subsidiary, there is a level of thoughtfulness to quality & detail seen here that was surprising, given the price point. The EXPERTFX™ brush heads have soft & luxurious synthetic bristles that not only make them easy to clean, but help with an effortless application. Adorned with red metallic accents, the Diamond Grip Handles™ have small bevelled diamond shapes that are not only aesthetically appealing, but serve another purpose: this design helps to keep the brushes from rolling off of any flat surfaces (and before you ask, yes, I’ve had plenty of brushes disappear under various pieces of furniture that way. Usually when I was in the middle of an application). Another key feature is that there’s a wide enough assortment to choose from — but not overwhelmingly so — providing everything you need for face, eyes and lips.

Revlon Brushes packaging

Revlon Brush lineup

 

Revlon Brush Diamond Grip Handles

REVLON Brushes | Diamond Grip Handles

 

Revlon Lash & Brow Brush

Lash & Brow Brush (CAN $14.99) | This is a dual-ended brush with a spoolie on one end and the other with a metal lash comb & brush (the brush on this side can also be used to tame brows — works like a charm in smoothing flyaways, especially near the hairline as well).

 

Revlon Brushes detail

  • Blush Brush (CAN $24.99) – its densely rounded shape can also be used to buff contour products seamlessly into the skin
  • Kabuki Brush (CAN $24.99) – can be used with either face powder or bronzer
  • Concealer Brush (CAN $14.99) – can also be used on lips and/or with cream eyeshadow
  • All Over Shadow Brush (CAN $14.99) – small enough to easily reach the inner part of the eye
  • Crease Shadow Brush (CAN $14.99) – nicely domed and flexible enough to make blending at the crease effortless
  • Smoky Eye Brush (CAN $14.99) – excellent for detail work and creating a smudgy line
  • Eyeliner Brush (CAN $14.99) – precise angle for use as a liner brush or for applying brow powder

Revlon Retractable Lip Brush

Retractable Lip Brush (CAN $14.99) | Never lose a brush cap again with the unique design of this lip brush, which makes it not only completely portable, but ensures the bristles will be free from debris.

 

While I’m not planning on giving up collecting luxury makeup brushes anytime soon, I must say that Revlon has upped the stakes with the release of this collection and has created a range that is both of very good quality plus the benefit of giving you major bang for your buck. For anyone just starting to invest in beauty brushes, these are an excellent option and unlike their higher-priced cousins, you’ll most likely be able to score them on sale as well.

PS: since it is holiday season, I’m thinking that these brushes will make a fabulous (& thoughtful) gift for the budding makeup artist on you list.

Available at mass-market retailers 

Revlon Brushes closer

PR/As always, all opinions are my own

Marc Jacobs · Lines & Last Night Air Blush, Angled Blush Brush

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We live in amazing times, where innovations in the beauty world just keep upping the game daily; take for example the recently launched Air Blush Soft Glow Duo from Marc Jacobs — a range of of 5 blush shades that come in a dual-striped powder format and which will blow you away. You’ve been duly warned.

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Marc Jacobs · 502 Lines & Last Night Air Blush, 10 Angled Blush Brush

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Marc Jacobs · 502 Lines & Last Night Air Blush, 10 Angled Blush Brush

 

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10 Angled Blush Brush (CAN $58.00) | I’m someone who firmly believes in investing in quality vs quantity (where possible) and beauty brushes are something I refuse to compromise on; let’s face it (see what I did there?!), your makeup will definitely apply that much better if the tools used are top notch.

That being said, this is my first foray into Marc Jacobs’ brushes and already I can immediately see & feel the quality of the product. This natural-bristled dense yet velvety soft brush has been created to not only easily deposit the colour along your cheeks, but to also be able to diffuse it seamlessly into the skin for a flawless finish. The perfect companion to Lines & Last Night Air Blush, this brush — more than any others I tried — was the best one for the job, laying down the product so effortlessly and leaving behind that flush of colour I was looking for.

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Marc Jacobs · 10 Angled Blush Brush

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502 Lines & Last Night Air Blush (CAN $57.00) | An ultra-finely milled powder blush in alternating stripes of colour (champagne & coral) of varying widths, enabling you to create a customized ombré cheek hue. The genius behind the layout of this design, is that you can truly dial the colour up or down depending on whether you focus your brush more on the large lighter portion on the left or the large darker portion on the right.

When I used my finger to combine the shades for the swatch below, I ended up smudging the colours into one another, but as soon as I applied the Angled Blush Brush to the pan for a proper application, the surface pattern basically bounced back to its original striped condition. What sorcery is this? Wear time is amazing, staying true and without fading or caking until removed. Another bonus? This powder seems to have the ability to fuse beautifully along the skin, never coming off as the type that just sits there at surface level and which ends up looking powdery. Again, sorcery, I tell you.

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Marc Jacobs · 502 Lines & Last Night Air Blush

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Marc Jacobs · 502 Lines & Last Night Air Blush

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Marc Jacobs · 502 Lines & Last Night Air Blush

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Marc Jacobs · 502 Lines & Last Night Air Blush swatches

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Marc Jacobs · 502 Lines & Last Night Air Blush

 

Blush is to the face (totally reviving) as mascara is to the eyes (totally brightening), and equally important in the beauty hierarchy. But not all blushes are made equal, especially those that come in a powdered format. What makes Lines & Last Night Air Blush stand out for me, is the unbelievably refined quality of the powder along with the duality of shades, lending a depth of tone to the overall colour and leaving behind that perfect flush at the finish. My brush collection is quite vast and while I have several tried & true favourites (CHANEL, NARS, Dior & Make Up For Ever), I am nevertheless still impressed with the quality and performance of the Angled Blush Brush and how perfectly it works in tandem with Lines & last Night. As I haven’t had a chance to wash it yet, I’ve yet to see how it fares long term, but my Spidey sense tells me that it’s a keeper. So basically, I guess this means I must have the rest of both blush and brush ranges in my arsenal. #buyingspreeimminent

Available at Sephora and online

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Press samples/All opinions my own