Sunday, March 31, 2013

Pointed Crease Brushes

Pointed Crease Brushes 

Today's post is all about pointed crease brushes. If you are someone who likes to experiment with different eyeshadow looks, this style of brush is a useful one to have. Unlike a more fluffy crease brush, or blending brush (which are also important to have), this more tapered brush allows you to really get into the crease of the eye and blend color. For times when I want a very defined crease, I will always reach for a pointed crease brush, because it really helps push the color exactly where I want it and getting the shadow  into even the smallest of spaces on the eye. This brush is very important when doing a cut crease eye look.  

I chose brushes that I really like using at a variety of price points as I realize everyone is on a different budget.
The tapered tip of this style brush also allows you to easily take your eyeshadow color under the lower lash line.

 While there are many animal hair versions of this brush available, here are some synthetics that I personally love from my stash:

 Pictured Below: Left OCC #004 Tapered Blending Brush, Right Cozzette D200 Bullet Brush

As you can see the two brushes above look quite similar. They are. They both work very well for getting into the contour of the eye, and I would recommend either one. The main difference between the two, is the Cozzette brush is slightly more pointed, as you can see from the above photograph.  I am unsure of the price of the D200, as I purchased it as part of the Divinity Collection brush set. The D220 and S185 are similar in shape and cost $15-16.  The OCC brush is $22, and like the Cozzette brush, it is a professional grade high quality brush, meant to last for years.

Pictured Below: Left, Cozzette S175, Right Cozzette S165

These brushes are basically the same with the main difference being size. The S175 is a standard tapered eyeshadow crease brush, while the S165 is a larger version. If you were working on a larger eye, you should choose the one on the right.  While in the picture it may look like the head of each brush is rounded, they actually both come to a tapered/pointed tip. Since the S165 is larger, it also makes it a great choice for under eye concealer. Since the bristles are super soft, they won't irritate the delicate under eye area. The S175 is $17 and the S165 is $19.  Please note these are professional grade, high end brushes that are meant to last for years.

Pictured Below: Cozzette D330 Stylist Illustrator Brush

This is a very sleek detailer brush. It's not as fluffy as any of the others I mentioned.  This is great for very precise placement, or if you are doing a very defined cut crease.  I would use this to draw a gel or eyeliner into the crease or smudge it out.  These bristles are a different material than the others, so they are a bit firmer. This brush retails for $14.00 

Pictured Below: Coastal Scents BR-C-S09 Pointed Blender Synthetic 

As you can see the bristles on this brush are much shorter than any of the others I've mentioned. However, I felt it was worth showing as I think this is a great choice for defining the outer corner of the eye or "outer v."  Plus, this brush only costs $2.95!  Granted, it is certainly not the same quality of the brushes mentioned above (not even close), but this brush certainly has it's place. If you are new to eyeshadow, or just interested in experimenting with smokey eyes, this is a good choice to have. The tip is pointed so it will help with a cut crease like the others mentioned in this post. 

Pictured Below: Bdellium Tools #781 crease brush from the Pink Bambu line 

If you've read any of my other posts, you guys probably know by now that I am a big fan of Bdellium Tools. This particular brush is one that I have multiples of in my kit. I have it from their Yellow and Green Bambu lines, which are very similar, just with a shorter handle. This is an eco friendly brush made with soft vegan bristles. While the pink one is new to me, I've had the green version of this brush for a long time, and this is a brush that really lasts, and holds its shape. It's very similar to the first set of brushes I mentioned, just with much shorter bristles. If the Cozzette 220 and the Coastal Scents brush had a baby, this is what it might look like. This brush is $7.92 on and is eligible for 2 day free shipping for Amazon Prime members.

Pictured Below: Earth Diva Cosmetics Eyeshadow & Crease Brush* (sample sent for consideration)

This brush was created specifically for mineral makeup. However, it will work with any type of eyeshadow. I think you can really see how pointed this crease brush is from the above photo. This bamboo handled brush is available individually and as part of a set. The bristles on this brush are a bit longer than any of the others I've mentioned, and firmer, which make it great for really blending that color in the crease. The tip of this is more pointed than some of the others I've mentioned, and I find I can easily move from working the crease of the eye to the lower lash line with ease.This brush retails for $7.95 and is a nice mid-priced brush.

I hope you found this mini guide to synthetic pointed crease brushes helpful. If you are someone who likes the smokey eye look, or just really wants a defined eye crease, I highly suggest this type of brush. Whichever brand you choose is up to you, and your budget, but hopefully this guide will help you make a wise purchasing decision.

Let me know if you own any of these or plan on buying one! As always, thank you so much for reading!

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*The Earth Diva Cosmetics brush in this post was sent to me by the company for consideration. All other brushes were purchased by me. I only included brushes that I truly like, and would and have recommended to others because I think they are good brushes. I do not get paid to write reviews, and all opinions are my own.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

My Top 5 Makeup Brushes - Collab

My Top Five Makeup Brushes (Collab)

I am very excited to share with you my five favorite makeup brushes! This post is actually a collaboration with two other cruelty-free beauty bloggers; Catherine of Buying Cruelty Free and Christine from Makeup Guinea Pig. As always, all brushes in this post are cruelty-free, and made only of synthetic "hair."

Catherine and Christine will also be sharing their top 5 makeup brushes here:

 *Don't Forget To Follow Us on Twitter!*

@MakeupMatters1    @bcrueltyfree   and   @MakeUpGuineaPig 

While I am very excited about this post, it was also extremely hard to narrow my favorites down to five. However, that's also what made this post really fun!  It was a challenge to really sit down and go through my brushes and decide, which are my favorites. To help me decide, I set some rules for myself. First, I chose brushes that are favorites for my personal use, not necessarily ones that I use on others.  I assume most of you reading this will be looking for makeup brushes for your own personal stash, so I thought it would be most helpful to go with ones that I personally use on a daily basis. For my daily makeup, I use about 12 brushes. Whenever I want to know which makeup products are my favorite, I think about which ones I repurchase over and over. To choose my favorite brushes, I kept track over a few days to see which ones I reached for more than others. 

FTC: Please note, some of the brushes in this post were sent to me for consideration, some were purchased by me. All opinions are my own. I do not get paid to write reviews. I do not get any compensation if someone purchases one of these brushes. I simply write reviews and make recommendations in hopes of helping others make good purchasing decisions. 

These are the five I narrowed it down to (in no particular order):

  1. IT Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe Wand Ball Brush 
  2. 100% Pure Cruelty Free Blush Brush 
  3. Earth Diva Cosmetics Multi-Purpose Brush 
  4. Bdellium Tools Professional Makeup Brush Bambu Series Blending Brush #776 
  5. Kelley Quan Synthetic Red Sable Patented Wave Brush, Vegan Beauty Brush #17

IT Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe Wand Ball Brush: This is my HG bronzing brush. I absolutely adore this for applying bronzer to the face and neck because the bristles are just so super soft that you can buff on your bronzer without disturbing your foundation or powder underneath. Like all my brushes, this does serve multiple purposes. I also like using this brush for setting powder.  I often like to powder just the T-zone and leave my cheeks a bit more dewy. The rounded tip to this really lets you precisely powder just the areas you want to.  This is also a great one for blush for the same reason it's good for bronzer; it simply does not disturb your foundation underneath. The rubber handle makes it very comfortable in the hand. This brush is luxurious in every way and it's a favorite in my collection for sure. 

100% Pure Cruelty Free Blush Brush: Of the brushes mentioned in this post, I've had this one the longest. This is a tried and true brush for me. Again, I use this brush for multiple things; blush, bronzing and contouring, and buffing in foundation. However, I really find I use this mostly for blush application. I know most of you don't think of a flat top brush when you think of a blush brush. However, due to the size of the brush head, and softness of the bristles, this really allows me to perfectly place the bristles on my cheekbone and stipple on the color. The flat top head allows me to angle the head into the contour of my cheekbone, allowing for perfect placement every time. This brush just gives the most natural appearance and it is super affordable. The white bristles make it easy to know when your brush is dirty without them staining. I've had this brush for a while now, and it still looks as new as the day I got it. While many companies make a brush in this shape, the length and softness of the bristles are what make this one a favorite.

The above picture really captures how soft the bristles are on this brush. It just feels so good against the skin.

Earth Diva Cosmetics Multi-Purpose Brush: While this may just look like a standard flat paddle foundation brush, I assure you it's so much more. This brush is just perfectly constructed. When I compare it against other flat paddle brushes in my collection, I can really see the difference in craftsmanship. It just seems like a lot more thought and effort went into making this brush. First of all, the head is much fuller than a traditional flat paddle foundation brush, which is what makes it so multi-purpose. This brush was created with mineral makeup in mind, so if you are a  mineral makeup wearer, this is a good pick. However, even if you don't wear mineral makeup, this brush is still a must have in my book. It works with mineral & liquid foundation, primer, blush and bronzer. What I often use it for is to apply my powder highlighter. The soft domed tip allows you to perfectly sweep on shimmer to the tops of the cheekbones, then blend it out by simply turning the brush. Since the head is fuller, it not only applies well, but picks up powder products with ease. This brush has a smooth bamboo handle and is made with synthetic taklon hair. The size and fullness of this brush head is what makes it a favorite for me for highlighter application.

 When viewed from the side, you can really see how full the brush head is compared to others like it.

Bdellium Tools Professional Makeup Brush Bambu Series Blending Brush #776: This is my holy grail eyeshadow blending brush. I will never again go searching for another eyeshadow blending brush, because this one is pure perfection. If I were to design my perfect eyeshadow blending brush, this would be it. This shape of this brush is something I have been searching for for a very long time. For some odd reason, all of the companies that make great synthetic brushes, don't seem to make eyeshadow blending brushes in this shape and I just don't understand why. Anyone who loves makeup has heard of the M.A.C. #217 Blending Brush. It's a staple in most makeup artist kits. However, that brush is made out of animal hair, so I simply refuse to buy it. I requested this type of brush from so many companies, and Bdellium Tools is the only one who listened. I'm sure I'm not the only person that requested this type of brush, but kudos to Bdellium tools for listening to their customers. This is the best eyeshadow blending brush hands down. You absolutely need this brush in your kit! I have one or two that are somewhat similar, but I found either the handle was too thin, or the bristles weren't fluffy enough when looking at the other brands. This brush is seriously perfect. The handle is just a little thicker, making it very comfortable to hold, and the stiff domed brush head is the perfect amount of fluffiness versus stiffness to blend. This brush is available in their Green Bambu and Pink Bambu series. The difference between the two (other than color), is that the Green Bambu brushes have a shorter handle. This is simply a matter of personal preference. If you like to sit closer to a mirror when you do your makeup, you may prefer a shorter handle. If you are prefer a longer handled brush, or are looking to use this for professional use, go with the Pink Bambu. I own multiples of this brush, as it's the brush that I use with every single eyeshadow application. These are also great for blending out cream eyeshadow, and even under eye concealer. I did notice that the Pink Bambu version seems a little bit fluffier than the Green Bambu version for some reason, but in practice, they both seem to work equally as well. 

 Note the difference in handle lengths between the Green & Pink Bambu lines.

 The Pink Bambu version does seem to be a bit more fluffy, but they both work equally well.

Kelley Quan Synthetic Red Sable Patented Wave Brush, Vegan Beauty Brush #17:
This is my go-to brow brush. In fact the wave design of this brush head is so unique that it's patented, so you won't find another like it from any other brand. This brush was designed specifically for eyebrows. While a traditional angled brush works fine, the wave pattern of this brush gives the most realistic natural "hair like" strokes when applying brow powder.  Since the bristles are synthetic, you can use this same brush for applying your brow wax, and then dip it straight into your brow powder. I also like this with the Tarte Waterproof Brow Mousse for a very natural, but defined brow. This brush is handcrafted in the U.S.A. using premium synthetic blends for the bristles. While this brush may be a little bit more pricey, to me it's worth it because it is so unique, and it gives the most natural looking appearance to brows compared to any other brush I've tried. I have a few brushes that I've purchased from this brand, and they all come in these pretty hot pink boxes. The boxes, are so nice, that even though I've had this brush for a while, I just had to save one of the boxes!  For those of you not familiar with this brand, Kelley Quan is a makeup artist who designed a range of vegan beauty brushes that are hypo-allergenic and easy to clean, without causing any cruelty to animals. Unlike most synthetics on the market, her brushes are made with multiple types of synthetic fibers to help more closely mimic the texture of various animal furs such as Sable, Mink, Blue Squirrel and Goat.

 Each brush comes packaged in the signature Kelley Quan pink box.

I hope you enjoyed this look at my top 5 makeup brushes. I would love to hear what your favorites are! 

Don't forget to check out the 5 favorites from Catherine & Christine:

A big thank you to these ladies for including me in their collaboration!

Please share your 5 favorites in the comments below.

Remember, all comments are approved individually, so don't worry if you don't see your comment right away. As always, thanks for reading. I appreciate you all! 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Vegan Lip Color by Koren Zander

Hot Pink Lips For Spring

Last month, the very sweet Koren Zander of Enkore Makeup sent me a new product to try. I held back writing about it, because it won't be available until next month. I have to tell you, it was super hard not to scream from the rooftops how much I love this vegan friendly lippie!  I'm sure you know who Koren is, but for those of you who don't he's a makeup artist, and beauty enthusiast, who shares his tips on YouTube and also has his own online store which is located here:

FTC: Please note the following product was sent for consideration. This in no way alters my review or opinion of the product, and I do not get paid to write reviews. I do not get any compensation if anyone buys this product. 
Prior to launch, Koren asked me to test out this product and give him feedback on what I think. I didn't really have any expectations, as this is a new product, so I went in with a totally open mind, ready to give both good and bad feedback. 
The product, which Koren was considering naming "Layered Shots" is a highly pigmented vegan lip gloss that contains lots of good-for-you ingredients such as antioxidants.  The color I tested is the Marbled Pink Shot which appears in a marbled pattern in the container due to it's layers of berry and pink color.Enkore Makeup has been selling their Shots lippies since January, but these "layered shots" have been in the testing phase until they officially launch in April. They are a similar product to the Shot Glaze lippies available on just with layers of color in each tube, rather than one shade. If you are interested in single colors, you can check out his Shot Glazes which are only $10 and provide super high shine, moisturizing lip color.

Here is a look at the product as it was sent to me:

This tube came with a traditional doe foot applicator. The original Shot Glaze lippies come with a lip brush twist up type applicator, so I am unsure how the final product will be sold. 

Why am I so excited about this product?  This almost wears like a high shine liquid lipstick. Yet it feels completely weightless on the lips. It's so super pigmented, and just one swipe provides an uber-moisturizing high shine gloss, that makes your lips just look sexy as hell!  If you are a fan of OCC Lip tars, but prefer something you can carry with you in your purse, these are a good solution. They are high shine, rather than matte, but the pigmentation is very similar, and the color of the lippie I tried is very bold. The formula is nice and light, so much so that I forgot I was wearing it, until I looked in the mirror! 

 Note the high shine! It almost looks like I used a lip liner, lipstick and a gloss, but I got this effect with just the one product!

The last pic above was from February, when it was super cold here in Connecticut. While red was my lip color of choice for the winter months, I can guarantee you this hot pink will be my shade for Spring. The color reminds me somewhat of Lime Crime's Centrifuschia. It just brightens up the whole face, while keeping my lips moist and supple all day. This product is also surprisingly long wearing. It lasts even through a day of eating and drinking with minimal touch ups needed. The texture initially reminded me of the Lime Crime Velvetines, but more moisturizing. As I've worn this more, I think it's a bit more unique. It's long wearing, light, and moisturizing, plus it's jam packed with antioxidants.  

I hope you enjoyed this peek at Enkore Makeup's latest addition to the Shot Glaze family. They will be available for purchase in April, so keep an eye out! 

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