A brush set that’s blowing my mind (and a great Shiseido Perfect Fundation Brush substitute!) | Sephora Luxe Face Brush Set review

Monday, December 17, 2012

Sephora Luxe Face Brush set

The product: SEPHORA COLLECTION Luxe Face Brush Set

I haven’t written a review on a Sunday (to go up on a Monday) in ages, but this week, I just had to. We’re quickly running out of time before Christmas, for starters, but more importantly — I bloody love this brush set, you guys.

Sephora Collection Luxe Face Brush set

This is the third brush set I’ve reviewed since the summer, but the Luxe Face Brush Set is by far my favourite. While the Sephora + Pantone Universe Luminous Brush Set was a great buy for the price, and the Enchanting Brush Set was a definite “nice to have,” this one is an absolute “you need this” — praise that I honestly don’t even give to all of the Chubby Sticks.

(And I love me a Clinique Chubby Stick.)

Sephora Luxe face brush set - flat top foundation brush favourite

At $48 USD/$58 CAD, five brushes and a clutch isn’t a bad deal — particularly when you take into consideration how ridiculously chic each piece is. Unlike a gift with purchase bag, or even a lot of other brush set bags, this one is actually wearable for a night out, which is a really nice deviation from the norm.

(Do you even say “wear” when it comes to bags? Carryable? Holdable? Acceptable?)

Despite having more brushes than I know what to do with, I’ve used the concealer & flat top foundation brushes in this set every single (makeup) day since first trying them out. I have honestly applied concealer just for the sheer joy of using the flat-top brush to buff it in, and I regret absolutely nothing.

Sephora Collection Luxe Brush Set(face)

Oh, and I guess the other brushes are lovely, too. (You probably wanted to hear that, right?)

The powder brush is fine; it’s a little small & loose, and despite not being rough, it’s not particularly soft, either. I could definitely live without it, but at the same time, it doesn’t pain me terribly to use it. The eye brushes more than make up for it, at least — small blending brushes and all-over eye brushes are two of my go-to eye brush staples, and it’s fantastic to see something other than a flimsy placement brush & lash comb in a set.

(The rounded eye brush is actually a “precision crease brush,” but my fellow monolidded lovelies will know how useful they can be for fine-detail blending, too!)

Shiseido perfect foundation brush dupe

The verdict?

I very rarely lose it over makeup tools, but the flat-top brush in this set is so excellent — I’ve been meaning to pick up the Shiseido Perfect Foundation Brush ($30 USD) for months, but at just $8 ($48 over 6 pieces), this more than suffices. Sephora’s version is densely packed, incredibly soft, and does a phenomenal job of blending in both foundation and concealer to a picture-perfect finish.

Honestly, I’d happily fork over $48 just for the concealer and foundation brushes in this set. The fact that they’re paired with a cute clutch, a decent powder brush, and two great eye brushes makes the Sephora Luxe Face Brush Set a can’t-miss.

Availability: Find it here at Sephora before it sells out!

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Light up the holidays with this Sephora + Pantone Universe Luminous Brush Set: photos & review

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The product: SEPHORA + PANTONE UNIVERSE Alchemy of Color Luminous Brush Set

I’ve been planning a “daily beauty” column recently, and I thought I’d start it off with this Sephora + Pantone brush set — that is, right up until it got a stealthy half-price markdown. 

While it’s good, it just didn’t feel like it was $80 worth of awesome, you know? But, at $41 CAD, these white-bristled synthetics are worth a second glance.

Beauty & the Bag

Housed in a large silver makeup bag, the Luminous Brush Set is made up of eight brushes, all super-soft synthetics. (Well, I mean, not the brow/lash comb, but then, those never are.)

I’m not usually a fan of bags that come as part of a set, but Sephora really knocked it out of the park with their Fall/Winter makeup brush sets’ bags, both in their Sephora Collection line and in the Sephora + Pantone Universe one. This one’s much larger than most–9 1/2″ tall, 7 1/4″ wide, and 2 1/2″ deep–and while the brushes make this set worthwhile on their own, the bag really takes it that extra step.

The individual brushes

The Luminous set includes eight brushes, but I’m going to count it as six — no one actually needs as many brow/lash combs as they’ll end up with after buying a makeup brush set or two, and the powder brush in this set is okay, but pretty sub-par compared to everything else. (Cheap powder brushes are just so floppy, you know?)

I liked the liner & concealer brushes, in particular — the concealer brush is just the right mix of soft & firm, making it easy to blend cream products seamlessly around the eyes and nose. The liner brush is really good, too: tiny and flat, it pairs well with gel liner for a sharp, easy-to-control line.

Another honourable mention is the unexpectedly soft smudge brush. These tend to be stiff, which really irritates my eyes, but this one was a great shape for getting blending around the lashline (or applying along it, for smaller eyes) – without feeling like a porous wooden stick.

The finishing touches

All of these brushes are labelled on the handle (both in English and French, though I’m not sure if that’s the same in the US), making them perfect for the beauty beginner. It’s just a little thing, and I’m not terribly strict with my use-what-where rules, but it’s a nice touch!

The verdict?

I’d really hesitate to recommend this at its original price, but at $34 US / $41 CAD (seriously!) this set’s an absolutely brilliant deal. While not top-grade brushes, they’re all very good, and the types & shapes have all been picked out quite well. Plus, the bag is a great find — a little flashy, but the size & easy-to-clean surfaces mean I’ll definitely be keeping it around.

With a markdown this good, I’m not sure if it’ll still be around by Christmas, so pick up a set (or two) now — it would make the perfect gift for someone just getting into makeup, and at that price, I’d recommend it as a soft, synthetic brush set for yourself, too.

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Sephora + Pantone Universe Luminous Brush Set

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Coming up sometime in the (hopefully) not-too-distant future. This is a fall release, with the Sephora + Pantone Universe Alchemy of Color collection, but I think it would make a great holiday gift or starter brush set!

SEPHORA + PANTONE UNIVERSE Luminous Brush Set, $34.00US / $41.00 CAD (50% off). 

Karl Lagerfeld x Shu Uemura | Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler review, photos

Monday, November 5, 2012

The product: karl lagerfeld for shu uemura Eyelash Curl & Karl

Out this month with the Holiday 2012 Mon Shu collection is the Eyelash Curl & Karl, a limited-edition version of the classic Shu eyelash curler. This one comes with a red silicone pad (plus a spare), as well as a little detachable Mon Shu keychain looped through the tool.

Creepy red-eyed keychain or not, I have to say: the curler’s cute! I love the classic silver-on-black aesthetic, but sometimes it’s nice to mix it up a little, you know? (I’m still tempted to pick up the matte black MAC + Carine Roitfeld Full Lash Curler, which is ridiculous. I really, really don’t need any more lash curlers!)

The aesthetic aside, though, I wasn’t terribly smitten with the design of the Shu Uemura curler. It’s sturdy, but it’s also on the stiff side — I found myself having to go over my lashes two or three times (squeezing hard and curling 3x from base to tip each time) just to get a curl in.

The opening’s a little on the small side (vertically), too. I think it’ll keep the curler in good shape for longer, but it was just too hard to get all of my lashes in, a problem I’ve never had before. With my stick-straight, downward-pointing Asian eyelashes, I really had to work at getting them all in there, which I just don’t think you should ever have to do with a curler.

So, how about that shape?

I would personally recommend the Shu Uemura curler for someone with fairly curved eyes (so, not monolids) and lashes that need a bit of a boost, but aren’t stick-straight to begin with (again, not Asian lashes.) I’ve always been puzzled as to how something like this came out of Japan, but, well — to each her own, I suppose!

The verdict?

The Shu eyelash curler doesn’t fit my eye shape, unfortunately, but I don’t want to write it off entirely. I do know a lot of bloggers who are very happy with theirs, and if you have slightly-curled lashes on a curved lashline and a good, strong grip, this LE version might be worth a look.

(I’m not kidding about the grip, you guys. You really need to squeeze! with this one.)

The Eyelash Curl & Karl is $4 more than the regular Shu Uemura curler (putting it at $24 USD / $24 CAD), but it’s essentially the same product. If you’re a fan of the classic curler & need a replacement, have a look at this styled-up edition, too.

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Brush up a spell with the new Sephora + Pantone Universe Enchanting Dual-Sided Brush Set: review, photos

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The product: SEPHORA + PANTONE UNIVERSE Enchanting Dual-Sided Brush Set

Of all the Sephora + Pantone products to come out this season, this set was the only one to really grab! my attention. I missed out on the split fibre brushes in the MAC Semi-Precious and In Extra Dimension collections (last winter & this spring, respectively), so I was hoping these would fill the gap.

And they did, sort of. Maybe. Kind of.

The build: It’s always interesting to work with really novel tools, and these rather were. With a synthetic side (great for picking up and spreading out cream products) paired right up against a natural-fibre side (perfect for buffing and blending), they’re a different experience than normal brushes, and I think it really works in their favour.

What I’m not so crazy about, though, is the natural-hair side of these brushes. It’s a little on the rough side, and I find they shed, particularly when I’m working with heavier products, like concealer or cream foundation. For the results and expediency, I’ve been putting up with it, but the shedding really keeps these from being a HG brush set.

The individual brushes

I’m not crazy about the overly-fluffy powder brush, but I’m actually quite pleased with the other three shapes in this set. (It’s a first, for me — maybe it’s just because this one’s on the small side, but I find brush sets typically have at least three or four brushes that I just know I’ll never use.)

The eyeshadow brush is great for applying concealer to the eye/undereye area, as well as around the nose, and the foundation brush is kind of brilliant, at least in shape. The shedding’s a letdown, but I can finish my face in less than half the time with this than I’d need with a regular (all-synthetic) foundation brush, or even a kabuki brush.

But the true star of this set’s the blush brush. While it doesn’t look small, there’s just something about the build and shape that makes it surprisingly versatile. I can use it for sheer washes of colour, strong pops of pink… anything!

Since I started using this set, the blush brush is the only thing I’ve been using to contour – it puts down just the right amount of colour and blends with ridiculous ease.

The bag

Cases usually aren’t a selling point for me, but I actually really liked this one. Sleek and well-pocketed, it fits the brushes well, and has space to hold and sort a few basic products, too.

It’s easy to clean and travel with, and I think it manages to take the set from “pretty okay” to “actually rather impressive.”

The verdict?

If the Enchanting brush set had just one flaw, I’d say the $42 USD/$50 CAD price tag was a really good deal. With two, however (I could do without the powder brush, & the natural fibres do shed quite a bit with “stickier” cream products,) my praise is a bit more reserved.

That said, I do actually really like this set, and both the foundation & blush brushes have weaselled their way into my permanent (personal) brush collection. At $50, the price is a touch too high, but there are whispers that Sephora’s annual Friends & Family sale is coming up ;)

Keep reading! »

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