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, their brushes 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, 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 »

Aveeno Eczema Care App: skincare charting made easy

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Aveeno Eczema Care App 2

I grew up on Aveeno’s Daily Moisturizing Body Lotion. There were creams before it (Keri) and creams after it (Olay Quench), but, well. It was the one body lotion that my entire family used and loved, and I think the brand will always have a special place in my heart because of that.

We no longer have four-or-more bottles of Aveeno kicking around through our house at any given time, but my fondness for the brand is still firmly in place. (Did you know they do a ‘cone-free chemical sunscreen? I’ve been meaning to try it for ages). So, when they released an app for charting your eczema flare-ups, I knew I had to give it a mention on theNotice.


Aveeno Eczema Care App

Aveeno and the Eczema Society of Canada have teamed up to create a free app for charting your (or your child’s) eczema flare-ups, and it’s as basic as it is handy. I’m a charting nut, and I think you can learn a lot about yourself, your habits, and your skin just by keeping track of things on a daily basis — whether it’s just raw information to share with your doctor, or something that can help you figure out whether or not a certain product or treatment is working for you. 

App or not, and eczema or not, that’s my tip of the day: chart things. Chart all of the things. Chart everything, because charts are awesome at helping you see patterns you wouldn’t notice going day to day, and because charts are super-secret badass tools of effectiveness.

Five gift ideas for the woman who has it all | The Gift Guide

Friday, December 20, 2013

For the luxury skincare lover: MIYU Beauty Hydrate Mi Beauty Essence

Founded just this past year by fellow blogger Connie Tai, MIYU Beauty is a new Canadian brand that’s stealing hearts across the blogosphere. I’m having difficulties putting together a review of the line (I live in fear of the glycerine ratios in facial sprays, which do wonders for a few days but always seem to break me out after a week), but I can’t find a single bad thing to say about the aesthetic — or the people behind the brand.

Beautifully housed in luxe-but-lightweight packaging with Ladurée-inspired details, the MIYU facial spray serums (!) are innovation at its best. { buy }

For the green girl: Osmia Organics Sunset Body Oil

Osmia Organics is a company that I was introduced to pretty recently, but I’m completely smitten with their range. Run by a former emergency room doctor who found her calling in all-natural skincare, the entire Osmia line up is exquisitely packaged, all-natural, and beautifully formulated.

While perfumes and skincare can be hard to pick for someone else, though, Osmia’s body oils & soaps are a great way to gift a little luxury without the worry. Sunset, one of Dr. Sarah Villafranco’s newest creations, is a super-sexy (but not at all overpowering) jojoba-based blend that hydrates immediately with absolutely no oiliness left on the skin. { buy }

Osmia Organics Sunset body oil review

Osmia Organics Sunset Body Oil (2 oz)

For the best friend: Je Joue MiMi Soft

Here’s your not-so-fun science fact of the day: did you know that only 25% of women report frequently experiencing orgasms during intercourse? We live in a culture that’s so fixated on sex, and yet — from magazines (five surprising tips on how to please your man!) to porn, sex is all about male pleasure, not female.

In the sprit of the season, consider giving someone the gift of self-love. Let them know that, like leaving the house without your makeup, sex isn’t anything to be ashamed of. And if we get to indulge in a bit of high-end tech while on the road to sexual equality? All the better.

The Je Joue MiMi Soft is small, classy, and discreet, with a soft, comfortable silicone finish (the safest material a vibrator could possibly be made from), a fully waterproof body, and a rechargeable battery. And the charger, you guys. The charger is so cool. It magnetizes onto the up/down buttons and supplies the vibrator with power through science magic, and I won’t be told otherwise. { buy }

If you’d like to see a review for the Je Joue Mimi Soft, click here to count your vote anonymously!

PS: This vibe was sent in by SheVibe.com.

Unlike everything else in this post, the Mimi was sent in by a storefront, not a brand. SheVibe.com is an online store that’s a far cry from the stereotypical blacked-out-windows sex shop in the bad part of town — I chose to work with them specifically because their site features reviews, articles, message boards, and tons of original artwork.

Whether or not you’re looking to purchase a new toy this season, their comics and articles are definitely worth a look!

Annabelle Cherry swatch TwistUp Retractable Lipstick

Annabelle TwistUp in Cherry — from this post

For the lip lover: Annabelle Cosmetics TwistUp Retractable Lip Crayon in Naked or Cherry

These lip crayons may not feel super-luxe when you hold them, but oh my – do they ever pack a punch. With a lush, comfortable formula and way more pigment than any drugstore product has any right to have, Annabelle TwistUps are the perfect choice for a bit of luxury on a budget.

Naked is a stunning satin-matte nude that suits my skintone (and a surprising many others) just perfectly, while Cherry is a drop-dead-gorgeous opulent red. Neither have shimmer, and (excuse my French) are classy as hell on the lips. { buy | review | swatches | win one! }

For the luxury makeup lover: Make Up For Ever Artisan Brushes 

I know I usually put my beloved Cozzette brushes in gift guides, and don’t get me wrong — I still love them. But while the Artisan brush range is just as soft, cruelty-free, and well-made as Cozzette’s S range, Make Up For Ever’s new brushes come with sleek, wood-finish handles and dark metal ferrules that Cozzette’s range just doesn’t have.

I can’t speak for all of Make Up For Ever’s brushes, but the #150 Angled Cheek Brush, #174 Small Concealer Brush, and #304 Lip Brush all get my seal of approval. And, I mean, really — who couldn’t use just one more brush? { buy }

What’s on your wishlist this season?

Sephora Collection Colorful Eyeshadow Custom Palette Case: review, photos | (Colorful Eyeshadows Part 1/3)

Friday, February 22, 2013

Sephora Collection Colorful Eyeshadow key

The product: SEPHORA COLLECTION Colorful Eyeshadow Custom Palette Case

As you may have guessed from Twitter, Instagram, or even this New This Week post, I’m having a bit of a Sephora Collection “moment” right now. They put out a new eyeshadow range recently, complete with a brilliant key-and-pan palette system, and I could not be more impressed by it.

I’m most excited about the eyeshadows in this range (coming up next week), but I thought I’d start off with a post on the system itself, just to acquaint you with it.

Sephora Collection Colorful Eyeshadows

The Colorful System & Palette

The concept behind the Colorful Eyeshadow range is pretty simple, but I have to give the execution props. The palettes are sturdy, easy to open/close, and each slot is magnetised (including the one for the key, which is cleverly levered out by pushing down on the non-magnetized end.)

I think the key is what really makes the Sephora system stand out for me; the simple, sleek too makes it hard to gouge out your eyeshadows by accident without really adding any weight or size.

(Also worth noting is that unlike somebody, Sephora hasn’t chosen to annoyingly suspend their pans in half their packaging when in palettes!)

Sephora Collection Colorful Eyeshadow palette review

Worth noting is that the palettes are a little heavy, what with the large mirrors, but you could always just throw the singles into your makeup bag for something lighter — each shadow is sold in a case, which I think is brilliant! (Think more MUFE, less MAC: you won’t have to choose between singles and pans.)

The Sizing

Sephora Collection vs MAC, NARS, MUFE Eyeshadow

Sephora Collection pan size vs. MAC, NARS, MUFE eyeshadow singles

The Sephora Collection Colorful Eyeshadows are 33mm pans, smaller than Make Up For Ever but larger than MAC. I can see why each brand wants to use its own pan size, but I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t have liked them to fit in with one of the other brands!

I think, optimally, I’d have liked to see smaller pans and slightly lower prices — who really needs that much eyeshadow all at once, you know?

Sephora Collection Colorful Eyeshadow size comparison

The Pricing

The Colorful system is priced as follows:

  • Colorful Eyeshadows: $13 USD/$16 CAD
    • Just to note, this is $186 USD per ounce; MAC’s singles are $300, Urban Decay’s are $360, NARS’ are $343, and MUFE’s are $250 (all USD per oz).
  • Colorful Eyeshadow Custom Palette Case, 3-shade palette: $12 USD/$14 CAD
  • Colorful Eyeshadow Custom Palette Case, 6-shade palette: $14 USD/$17 CAD

Sephora Collection Colorful Eyeshadow custom palette + pans

The verdict?

I know this post doesn’t get into the nitty-gritty of the shadows (reviews and swatches of these six coming up next week), butlove the Colorful Eyeshadow system. The shadows I’ve tried so far have been really impressive, especially from a house brand, and I’m smitten with the pan-or-palette options.

In a word? I am reluctant to use just one, but if I had to: awesome.

Availability: Sephora, of course!

For the launch, the 3-pans are free with the purchase of 2 eyeshadows, and the 6-pans are free with the purchase of 4 — it’s a USA-only offer, but I thought I’d give it a mention! (No word on if/when the deal will be over, sorry

Keep reading! »

For the girl who honestly doesn’t need anything else | Sephora x Cinderella Stroke of Midnight Compact Mirror

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Cinderella mirror - Sephora x Disney

The product: Disney Cinderella for Sephora Stroke of Midnight Compact Mirror

One of this holiday season’s most beautiful finds is the dual-sided Sephora x Disney Cinderella compact mirror. Weighted and glossy, it’s honestly even more gorgeous in person than it is online — too heavy to be “purse-friendly” for me, but I’m sure others will beg to differ.

Disney Cinderella for Sephora compact mirror

Metal and reflection with a faceted glass top, the Stroke of Midnight mirror certainly sits on the heavy side, both in build and feel. The construction is wonderfully solid (I’d be more worried about my toes if I dropped this than the case), and the push-button closure holds tightly while still being easy on the joints.

Inside are two mirrors (one magnifying, one regular), with the text “time for your moment curved across the latter.

Sephora x Cinderella Compact Mirror

Sephora x Disney Cinderella compact mirror

For size…

It’s always hard to tell what size something will be from photos like these, so I took a few “holding shots,” too. I have fairly small hands (I’m 5’2″; the mirror is about 2.75″/7 cm across.)

Sephora x Disney Cinderella - time for your moment

Sephora x Disney Cinderella - Stroke of Midnight

The verdict?

At $20 USD/$24 CAD, this mirror is a little pricier than most — but absolutely worth it, for the product. Heavy and luxurious, it has a very elegant, “princessy” presentation, while still coming across as a product for fully-formed adults (rather than children wrapped in oversized tulle and chiffon.)

The Stroke of Midnight mirror is sold out online, but certainly still worth checking your local Sephora for! (The inherent “find in store” widget on the Canadian and American Sephora sites should do the trick.)

Keep reading! »

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