Sephora Bulls Eye Lash Applicator review, photos | Finally, innovation!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Sephora Bulls Eye Lash Applicator review

The product: Sephora Collection Bulls Eye Lash applicator

Today I have a cool little tool to share with you — Sephora’s Bulls Eye Lash Applicator. I’ve had it for ages but have only just gotten around to trying it this month (I very rarely wear false lashes!), but I’m kind of bummed that it took me this long to give it a go…

Because it’s a little bit awesome.

How to apply false lashes trick

The lash applicator is pretty simple: it has a set of soft, silicone-covered grips on one end to grab and place your lashes without pinching them into a new shape, and a flexible point-tip at the other end to allow you to easily re-glue a lash that’s beginning to come off at the corner.

The instruction manual that comes with the applicator (“tweezers”) has directions on how to use the clamps to set and remove your false lashes, as well as how to use the tip (“spatula”) to apply glue. And it promises something that I think hits the nail right on the head: not that these will help you apply lashes more safely or precisely than normal tweezers, but that you’ll feel safer using them.

False Lash glue applicator review

And you know what? I do feel a lot safer with these near my eyeball than my super-sharp Tweezermans. I think it’s easier for me to use traditional tweezers to apply my false lashes, but these hit the great middle ground of “easier than fingers” and “less permanently scarring than tweezers” — which makes them a hit in my books.

False lash applicator review

The verdict?

If you’re new to false lashes, or you’re just scared of stabbing yourself with your tweezers and ending up as That Girl with the Eyepatch, then this is an awesome tool to have on hand — honestly, I don’t know why no one thought of it before now!

Availability: $12 USD/$14 CAD at Sephora.

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Make Up For Ever 150 Precision Blush, 174 Concealer, 304 Lip Brush reviews, photos

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Make-Up-For-Ever-Brush-review-Artisan-Collection

The products: Make Up For Ever Artisan Brush Collection – 150 Precision Blush Brush (Wavy), 174 Concealer Brush – Small (Straight), 304 Lip Brush with Cap (Straight)

I’ve been testing Make Up For Ever’s Artisan brushes for the better part of a year, now, but it was just a few weeks ago that I finally fell in love with one of them. I’m fond of the collection on the whole, from the gorgeous design to the fact that all of the brushes are synthetic, but it just — I don’t know. It took me a little while.

Dany Sanz and the MUFE team worked on these brushes for five years, and the finished product is a line of 76 brushes with beech wood handles and straight (for heavier, more precise application) or wavy (lighter, more splayed) bristles. Each brush features a beveled end to help with applying false lashes or retrieving product on set, and the range is broken up into four categories: complexion (100s), eyes (200s), lips (300s), and artistry brushes (400s).

MUFE-brush-review-150-304-174

Make Up For Ever “Artisan” Brushes (detail)

150 Precision Blush Brush ($40 USD/$46 CAD)

I thoroughly believe in starting with your best foot forward (or, at least, I do this week), so here’s the brush that I’m loving right now: the wavy-bristled Precision Blush Brush. Its angled bristles are smooth but firm, and don’t feature the “oily” feeling that some of the Artistry brushes are said to — instead, it’s just kind of narrow and fluffy. 

Make-Up-For-Ever-150-precision-blush-brush-review

Make Up For Ever 150 Precision Blush Brush

Make Up For Ever recommends this brush for loose or pressed powders including blush, contour, and highlighters, but I actually think it excels at applying and blending cream blushes and stains – a tip I got from my sister. I find it to be a little too stiff for everyday powder contour or blush, but does a beautiful job of really working cream products into the skin. (It would also be a wonderful brush to work with for that severe, “Kardashian/Instagram” sculpting!)

MUFE-150-cheek-brush-reviewMUFE 150 Precision Blush Brush

174 Small Concealer Brush ($21 USD/$24 CAD)

The straight-bristled Small Concealer Brush is pretty standard, as far as concealer brushes go, but it serves its basic function well. This one is great for applying and blending concealer on a large blemish or around the nose, but I don’t find that I reach for brushes like this anymore – I prefer sheer, all-over coverage paired with precision spot concealing, so this style of brush just too wide for me.

That said, if you’re looking for a brush of this size to work with cream or liquid concealer, you could do far worse than the 174. It’s well-priced and easy on the eyes, and the bristles have just enough give to deposit product without irritating a blemish.

Make-Up-For-Ever-174-small-concealer-brush-review

MUFE-174-brush-review

Make Up For Ever 174 Small Concealer Brush

304 Lip Brush ($25 USD/$29 CAD)

The last brush I have to share with you today is the 304, a collapsable lip brush. Now, I don’t usually use a lip brush when applying lipstick or gloss, but I love brushes like this all the same — they’re perfect for applying concealer on the go. 

Make-Up-For-Ever-304-lip-brush-reviewMUFE-304-straight-lip-brush-reviewMake Up For Ever 304 Lip Brush (cap used as handle)

You know those days when you have a really bad blemish, but you’re going to be out from 9 ’til 9, too? Brushes like this one are the perfect thing to throw into your handbag, because they have a small enough tip to cover your blemish just right, and the brush handle will then pop off to cover the tip of your brush. Super clean, super compact, and awesome especially if you’re working with a creamy concealer.

The Make Up For Ever Artisan brushes are my favourite brush range, aesthetically, at the moment — what’s yours?

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Senna Powder Point 33 Brush review | The perfect bronzing brush for beginners

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Senna 33 brush review

The product: Senna Powder Point 33 brush (for bronzer, face powder)

I’ll be honest. The first time I tried this brush, it was with the Senna Brilliant Bronze bronzer/highlighters that it launched with — and, yeah, I didn’t love it. So after about a week of product testing, it got filed away, pushed into the back of a drawer for a while…

But then this week, I pulled it out again on a whim while testing a smoother, less shimmery bronzer. And it was amazing.

Senna Powder Point brush review

Pointed face brush review

Senna’s Powder Point brush has a comfortably large (but light) shimmering seafoam handle with a slightly wider ferrule, and a domed head that tapers off quite a bit at the tip. The effect of all of these things paired together is brilliant: this brush forces you to hold it far back from its head, and ensures that you get light, even pressure with every brush stroke. 

Honestly, I don’t know how I missed it the first time around: this is the perfect bronzing brush for beginners. With its loosely packed bristles and unique shape, it makes it almost impossible not to get an expertly-blended cheek with soft, diffuse edges. (And yes, if you’re guilty of over-applying face powders, it’ll help you get just the right amount of those, too.)

Senna Powder Point 33 review

I do think that the Powder Point brush is a little pricy for the quality of the build, but for anyone who really struggles with making their bronzer look natural, this is going to be your magic wand. It makes it easy to slowly build up product, and it blends as you go.

This brush is similar to the Sigma F25 Tapered Face Brush and MAC 138 Tapered Face Brush, but it has a less pointed tip.

Senna Powder Point face brush review

The verdict?

Senna’s Powder Point 33 brush has your standard-issue natural-hair bristles, soft but not kitten-soft, and it’s not resistant to shedding — overall, its build is pretty standard. But its tapered design and well-proportioned handle are really something special, and if you give it a chance, this is a brush that will do all the work for you.

My verdict? Skip it if bronzing and powdering are easy for you; snap it up if you want a little help. I kid you not, I could bronze with my eyes closed with this baby. (This is a fact; I’ve done it.) (What? I get bored.)

Availability: $38 USD online or in-person at Senna boutiques. { store locator }

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Clarisonic x theNotice: Taking the Mia 2 for a test drive

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Clarisonic Mia 2 review

The Clarisonic Mia 2 in Ipanema

When beauty bloggers talk skin care products, the one skin care gadget you’re guaranteed to hear about is the Clarisonic. I’ve been reading rave reviews about the skin care line since its launch in 2004, but to be honest, I never really thought it was for me.

With my sensitive skin and barely-there skin care routine, I’m not exactly who you’d think of as a prime candidate for a tool like this one. But when Clarisonic asked me if I was willing to try out a Mia 2 for seven days and report back, I had to accept the challenge – in the name of science, of course.

Clarisonic sensitive brush head review

The Clarisonic Sensitive Brush Head (I’d recommend buying the Delicate one for sensitive skin!)

As it turns out, the Clarisonic isn’t really what I thought it would be: it’s better. The Mia 2 fits comfortably into my hands, and like the rest of the Clarisonic line, it works on sonic technology rather than rotating brush heads – which, given the name, I really should have guessed. According to the brand, their unique sonic cleansing technology produces over 300 movements a second and uses the flexing action created between the outer and inner brushes to remove impurities from deep within the pores for clear, glowing skin.

Clarisonic Mia in use 2

I have seen the cleansing light

It’s this sonic action that not only gets the pores really, really clean (which is why so many people with acne-prone or oily skin swear by their Clarisonic), but also preps the skin, making face serums, anti aging creams and tinted moisturizers more effective. This is what I’ll mainly be testing: up close, my skin has flaky patches and can be paper-rough, so I’m hoping my results will include softer, more glowing skin.

Clarisonic pLink charger

The pLink charger, attached

The Mia 2 comes in a number of colours – this one is Ipanema – and charges with a cute, magnetic “pLink” charger. It’s waterproof and has two speed settings for normal and sensitive skin. The Mia 2 can be used morning and night on a wet face with any type of cleanser, foaming or milk, and holds a charge for 20 to 30 uses.

This post was sponsored by Clarisonic in association with Elle Canada. All of the opinions in this post are my own — I can now be found happily cleansing my face most nights, chirruping “pLink!” like an excited squirrel whenever the urge takes me. 

Real Techniques Travel Essentials reviews: Multi-Task, Domed Shadow, & Essential Foundation brushes

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Real Techniques Travel Brush Set review photos

The product: Real Techniques by Sam & Nic Chapman Travel Essentials brush set

     ↳ Real Techniques Essential Foundation Brush, Domed Shadow Brush, and Multi-Task Brush

There are so many reviews out there for the Real Techniques brush range that I’ve been in no rush to write my own. Instead, I’ve been incessantly recommending them in favourites lists, comments, tweets — you name it. So, while there are many Real Techniques review out there, this one is mine.

Real Techniques Travel Essentials review

(I’ll also be reviewing the Expert Face Brush and Setting Brush later this month, and the new Silicone Liner Brush and Miracle Complexion Sponge at some point in the future.)

The Essentials Foundation Brush

Real Techniques Essential Foundation Brush review

To be completely honest, I never use this brush. It’s designed to be used with liquid foundation (which I don’t wear), and struggles with cream base products — it really doesn’t hold a candle to the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush, or even their Buffing Brush. It’s stiffer than I prefer for blending, and can’t pick up product to save its life.

The Essentials Foundation Brush is stiff and flat, but I can see it working well for liquid highlighter or cheek stains. It’s average in size, and slightly larger than the line’s Pointed Foundation Brush.

Real Techniques Foundation Brush review

The Domed Shadow Brush

Real Techniques Domed Shadow Brush review photos

The Real Techniques Domed Shadow Brush is twice the size of the Real Techniques Shading Brush, and comes to a nice, domed finish. It’s wider than it is thick, and very fluffy.

If pressed, I can finish a whole eye with just this brush — but I’d never want to. (Who even does that? Do non-beauty-addicts do that?) It’s okay for placement and best for blending, and very much suited toward those with more lid space.

Real Techniques Domed Shadow Brush

The Multi-Task Brush

Real Techniques Multi-Task Brush review

Of the three brushes in this set, the Multi-Task Brush is a clear favourite for me. It’s large and well-weighted, the bristles full and flexibly-dense. It’s described as working well for powder, blush, and bronzer, but I use it mainly for blush — it’s a surprisingly good size for it, and it delivers and blends powder products easily. In addition, the white tips of this brush make it easy for beginners to tell exactly how much product they have on the brush, and they’re a great way to remember what you last used the brush for.

I don’t actually multi-task with this brush (do you really want the remnants of a shimmery bronzer in your all-over matte powder the next morning?), but it can absolutely be used for all three purposes — just tweak the way you use it; a lighter hand for powder, a broader sweeping motion for bronzer.

Real Techniques Multi-task brush review photos blush Real Techniques foundation domed eye multi-task brush reviews

Real Techniques Travel Essentials – Essential Foundation Brush, Domed Shadow Brush, and Multi-Task Brush

Real Techniques brush reviews - travel set

The verdict?

Despite adoring Real Techniques brushes, there’s no one “perfect starter set” that I’d recommend. However, theirbrushes are still my favourite brush range for durability, softness, variety, and price point – I have no qualms about calling them the best budget brush range out there.

From the Travel Essentials set, I really liked the Multi-Task Brush, liked the Domed Shadow Brush, and didn’t really like the Essential Foundation Brush.

That said, if I was on the market for a really affordable, soft blush brush, this set would still be my top pick. At $18 USD, I think many will find the Multi-Task Brush to be better-suited for blush than the Real Techniques Blush Brush — and $18 for two good brushes (and one flop) is a better deal than paying $9 for one awkwardly large blush brush.

Availability: $18 USD/$18 CAD at Ulta, Target (US), Wal-Mart, Drugstore.com, London Drugs, and Farleyco in North America. Available internationally through iHerb (use code LPW177 to get $5 off this set).

Additional photos & more »

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