Filed In: Brushes

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

Guerlain | Lingerie de Peau Foundation, The Foundation Brush & Multi-Perfecting Concealer

Guerlain foundation & concealers opener

For Fall 2016 Guerlain is going nude as well as back to the drawing board, set to relaunch their Lingerie de Peau Foundation by not only re-tooling the original cult-fave formula but improving on it, adding several more shades to the range as well and thus reaching a wider audience. Next on the list and designed as a perfect compliment with the foundation is a new kitten-soft Foundation Brush, its dense & velvety bristles helping to provide a melt-into-the-skin finish. Lastly, the Multi-Perfecting Concealer is the perfect finishing touch, made with a revolutionary new hybrid formula that will both correct dark circles and detract from imperfections. Flawless skin, I’m so ready for you.

 

Guerlain foundation & concealers with brush

Guerlain | Lingerie de Peau Foundation, The Foundation Brush & Multi-Perfecting Concealer

Guerlain Lingerie de Peau Foundation

02N Light Lingerie de Peau Foundation (CAN $69.00) | Drawing inspiration from fine textiles, this new formula brings together natural silk and linen fibres to literally weave an imperceptible veil upon the skin’s surface, leaving behind a totally weightless yet flawless look. Also included is a Natural Perfection Skin-Fusion Texture, basically stretch fibres that will adhere to your face’s contours, ensuring a comfortable and natural hold that won’t move or crack, while the corrective pigments and powders within this Bio-fusion micro-mesh aim to give your complexion a unified appearance. As if all of the above weren’t enough, there’s also a Silk-Fusion Complex thrown into the mix, further adding to that bare-skin feel and increasing the foundation’s longevity.

Housed in a glass bottle with simple clean-cut lines (I wasn’t a fan of the original coffin-shaped bottle, truth to tell), there are 14 new shades to choose from, categorized by level of intensity and undertone: cool, neutral, warm and optimized for a broad range of complexions from fair to deep. The texture is of a medium density — neither too watery nor thick — and a little seems to go a long way, spreading easily along the skin. Delicately scented, the fragrance is actually quite pleasant and not overpowering, seeming to dissipate fairly quickly after application. Once fully blended in, the finish is phenomenal: exceptionally flawless and so lightweight, making it extremely comfortable to wear all day long. Staying power is excellent as well easily going 9+ hours without noticeably fading, merging well with my skin’s natural oils as it warms up (BONUS: I experience no settling in areas such as around the nose or between brows. Yay!). The finish is not exactly dewy nor is it matte, but close to ‘naturally radiant’ (best way I can think of describing it), and without primer underneath, I do get some shine around the 5-hour mark, but not enough to be a deal-breaker. Geared more for normal-to-combination skin types (like me), I feel that the velvety texture of this foundation should also be workable on those with drier complexions as well.

When the original Lingerie de Peau launched, the hype was pretty intense as this was one of the first ‘second-skin‘ types of foundations to be released, and so I splurged on a bottle (shade 03 Beige Natural). With an undeniably ground-breaking new finish, I remember also wishing there had been a wider colour selection.  For the re-launched version, I was sent shade 02N Light (full size) and 03C Natural Cool (large sample size) to test out, neither of which is a perfect match on my still-tanned skin now when applied individually, although when combined both shades look absolutely flawless on me. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing the rest of the range, in particular 03N which I suspect will be my go-to colour.

Guerlain Lingerie de Peau Foundation 2

Guerlain | Lingerie de Peau Foundation

Guerlain Lingerie de Peau Foundation swatches

Guerlain | Lingerie de Peau Foundation swatches

Guerlain Lingerie de Peau Foundation & Foundation Brush

 

Guerlain Foundation Brush

The Foundation Brush (CAN $53.00) | Made with ultra-soft synthetic fibres, this is a dense compact-headed brush created to help foundation apply effortlessly and seamlessly into the skin. The bristles are rounded from all angles which means you won’t get streaks or any harsh demarcation lines, being supple enough (and totally not floppy), to adjust to all facial contours from every angle. Housed in a protective & washable sleeve to help prevent bacteria and/or bristle damage, it’s also conveniently sized for travel.

I’ll admit that I haven’t been impressed with Guerlain brushes in the past, having found their texture usually too rough for my liking. If this Foundation Brush is the beginning of new developments with the brand, then I’d say they’re on to a good thing. Even though I usually prefer applying foundation with my fingers to start with, using this brush made the job effortless (and definitely less messy), and once everything had been thoroughly blended along, I used what was left on the brush to lightly buff everything in. The result was a smooth and even finish, as flawless as I can get my skin to appear without coming off as fake.

Guerlain Foundation Brush head

Guerlain | The Foundation Brush

Guerlain Foundation Brush logo

Guerlain | The Foundation Brush

Guerlain Multi-Perfecting Concealer

Guerlain | Multi-Perfecting Concealer

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Multi-Perfecting Concealer (CAN $42.00/each)| Available in 6 shades, these concealers come in a portable tube with a unique new made-to-measure delivery system; thanks to a ‘cannula‘ (a small tube inserted at the tip), the product exits from the tube smoothly, thereby reducing product excess. The formula is also a first for the brand, combining a hybrid technology that will both help to conceal dark circles AND create an immediate soft-focus ‘blurring effect’, providing long-lasting coverage along with skincare benefits.

  • 02 Light Cool – rosy undertones, good for fair – light complexions
  • 03 Medium Warm – golden undertone, good for light-medium complexions

For the record, I rarely wear concealer; I have never had dark circles to contend with and now that I’ve gotten older, I find that concealer usually has the opposite effect on me by actually emphasizing all my ‘life/laugh’ lines, as opposed to hiding them. I do like the thought of adding a product there that will brighten the undereye area, and I may have just found a good match with this concealer formula. The texture is very interesting as well: creamy and just this side of thick, but with a surprisingly easy spread and once applied, seems to almost skim the surface of the skin thus filling in aforementioned lines and leaving behind a smooth finish (hallelujah) . Unscented, it also displays excellent hold without any visible caking or creasing for a solid 8+ hours, and going the extra mile by merging beautifully with foundation throughout the wearing.

Guerlain Multi-Perfecting Concealer swatches

Guerlain | Multi-Perfecting Concealer swatches

 

What Guerlain has done with bronzers, the brand now aims to do in the world of foundation and concealers: be at the top of their game. I’m not a fan of heavy coverage but I do still want a seamless & flawless finish to my foundation coupled with an imperceptible feel along my the skin (tall order, I know ∗shrugs∗), Lingerie de Peau delivers on all counts. The Foundation Brush is beautiful: it provides a wonderful application plus it’s peachy/pink …enough said. Concealers and I rarely get along, but the Multi-Perfecting version actually agrees with me (I do like smart makeup), with the 03 Medium Warm shade suiting me perfectly. I have a hunch that Guerlain has just tapped into something pretty awesome, not to mention flawless.

Pre-launch August 26 (Sephora), available October at Guerlain counters nationwide

Guerlain foundation & concealers closer

 

Kindly provided by the Guerlain team for review consideration/As always, all opinions are my own

NYX | Highlight & Contour Pro Palette, Strobe of Genius Palette & Pro Fan Brush

NYX Highlight & Contour palettes & brush opener

 

By now strobing and contouring are the two ‘it-words’ that have become part of most people’s vocabulary, and NYX Cosmetics has certainly covered all bases with these two lovelies. The Highlight & Contouring Pro Palette provides options without any overkill, while the Strobe of Genius Palette will satisfy the cravings of radiance lovers everywhere. And the best part? Both are quite good quality-wise AND won’t break the bank. I know, right?

NYX Highlight & Contour palettes with brush closed

NYX | Highlight & Contour Pro Palette, Strobe of Genius Palette and Pro Fan Brush

NYX Highlight & Contour Pro Palette

Highlight & Contour Pro Palette (CAN $29.99) | Consisting of two rows, with the top row designated as the highlight portion, while the bottom row works equally well as either contour or bronzer. The breakdown:

Top Row (left to right):

  • Ice Queen – oyster nude with the most shimmer of the group
  • Soft Light – natural nude (rose undertones), matte
  • Cream – soft banana yellow, matte
  • Nectar – light apricot, soft shimmer

There’s a nice enough mix of both matte and shimmery shades in this row as well as enough colour in the undertone of each, to suit a variety of skin tones (obviously not all complexions will benefit, but it’s still pretty comprehensive). The beauty is that all shades can also do double-duty as eyeshadows as well.

Bottom Row (left to right):

  • Tan – mauve undertones, cool leaning
  • Toffee – deep camel, warm leaning
  • Sculpt – soft taupe, lightest of the four and cool leaning as well
  • Hollow – chocolate brown, darkest of the four and also warm leaning

I like how there are options for both cool and warm complexions found here, while the texture itself is quite pigmented and finely-milled on all. That being said, those with the lightest skin tones will need to use a fluffier brush and start with a light hand to start with – remember that you can always add more, if needed (but not so easy to take away once it’s done, am I right?). Note that all four bear a radiance – somewhere between sheen and shimmer – that’s still very wearable although I personally prefer my contouring products to be more on the matte side.

NYX Highlight & Contour Pro Palette macro

NYX | Highlight & Contour Pro Palette

NYX Highlight & Contour Pro Palette top row macro

NYX | Highlight & Contour Pro Palette, top row

NYX Highlight & Contour palette top row swatches

NYX | Highlight & Contour Pro Palette, top row swatches

NYX Highlight & Contour Pro Palette bottom row macro

NYX | Highlight & Contour Pro Palette, bottom row

NYX Highlight & Contour palette bottom row swatches

NYX | Highlight & Contour Pro Palette, bottom row swatches

NYX Highlight & Contour Pro Palette 2

NYX | Highlight & Contour Pro Palette

NYX Strobe of Genius Palette

Strobe of Genius Illuminating Palette (CAN $29.00) | As someone who tends to hyperventilate at the mere sight of highlighters (I am completely unable to resist their allure. Powerless, in fact), this palette had my jaw dropping — and this before I even began swatching. There are two rows of highlighter gorgeousness, with the top row offering up some colours not often seen in this genre (banana golden, lilac), while the bottom row is straight-up shimmery glory. These are all quite pigmented and smoothly applying, without any chalkiness in sight (start off lightly and build your way up. Or go crazy — totally up to you), and last quite well with minimal fading, when applied over foundation. The breakdown:

Top Row (left to right):

  • gold/lemon, can swing both cool and warm
  • icy pink
  • pale lavender/lilac
  • soft rose

Bottom Row (left to right):

  • champagne
  • peach
  • palest apricot

While the top row definitely leans more cool and bottom row is heavy on the warm side, you can also play by mixing and matching, or even layering a few shades to create something quite unique and customized to your own skin tone. The texture is surprisingly good and comparable to some higher-end versions, while the pan size of each shade is large enough that you don’t have to worry about cross-contamination.

NYX Strobe of Genius Palette macro

NYX | Strobe of Genius Illuminating Palette

NYX Strobe of Genius Palette macro top row

NYX | Strobe of Genius Illuminating Palette, top row

NYX Strobe of Genius Palette top row swatches

NYX | Strobe of Genius Illuminating Palette, top row swatches

NYX Strobe of Genius Palette macro bottom row

NYX | Strobe of Genius Illuminating Palette, bottom row

NYX Strobe of Genius Palette bottom row swatches

NYX | Strobe of Genius Illuminating Palette, bottom row swatches

NYX Strobe of Genius Palette 2

NYX | Strobe of Genius Illuminating Palette

NYX Stobe of Genius Palette macro 2

NYX | Strobe of Genius Illuminating Palette

NYX Pro Fan Brush

06 Pro Fan Brush (CAN $17.00) | A plush and dense fan-shaped synthetic-haired face. The bristles are incredibly soft and velvety-feeling along the skin and while the thickness might make it a bit challenging to get into smaller areas of the face, you can still apply product to narrower areas by either pinching the tips of the bristles between your fingers, or only picking up a scant amount along the very tips of one side. Another option is to use this brush along the jawline or under the cheekbone area to create shadow and depth (i.e.: contouring), although I love how effortlessly it helps buff product into the skin to leave a seamless finish, without moving around the foundation underneath.

NYX Pro Fan Brush macro

NYX | 06 Pro Fan Brush

 

Whether you’re a strobing and/or contouring newb, love to play with time-worn makeup techniques (playing with light and shadow is nothing new; makeup artists have been doing exactly this for eons), or just addicted to NYX cosmetics and their well-curated range of products, you will not be disappointed with either of these, especially when you factor in the quality vs the price: unbeatable, and the perfect palettes to invest in for anyone looking to add to their existing shade ranges, or those just starting to build a beauty repertoire. If you’ve yet to try any of the NYX beauty brushes, you’re missing out on something quite good found at a very reasonable price point; in fact I’d even go so far as to say that these are giving the Real Techniques a major run for the money, which is not a bad thing, as competition is always a good idea in this industry.

Available at drugstores across Canada or online

NYX Highlight & Contour palettes with brush closer

 

 

Shadow & light playtime done the NYX way/As always, all opinions are my own