Showing posts with label makeup brushes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label makeup brushes. Show all posts

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Clinique Chubby In The Nude Foundation Stick & Foundation Buff Brush

Clinique's ever-expanding Chubby line takes on foundation in its latest incarnation - meet Chubby In The Nude foundation stick, £23, which promises super natural, buildable coverage in a portable stick format.

Stick foundations are nothing new, and are firmly associated with heavy, panstik-like coverage in my mind - but Chubby In The Nude is really the polar opposite.  The coverage is light to medium and buildable, so you can apply a couple of layers to get more coverage without a heavy finish.  I've been applying a single layer, which does a great job of evening out my skintone and covering small blemishes, with perhaps a little more under the eyes to cover my dark circles.

I've been so, so impressed with the finish on this foundation - it's very natural, not too matte nor too dewy, and it looks just like my skin, albeit in much better condition.  I don't usually touch up my foundation during the day, but if I did, I'd find the stick format easily portable, and indeed, it takes up a lot less space than a traditional bottle of foundation when I'm travelling.

One thing I don't quite agree with Clinique on is the level of hydration it provides - it's a fairly dry affair on application, and the skin needs to be well hydrated or primed to enable smooth blending.  That said, once it's on, it doesn't dry the skin out, but I wouldn't describe it as a particularly moisturising foundation.

Alongside the Chubby In The Nude foundation, Clinique have launched a new, dual-fibre Foundation Buff Brush designed to buff foundation into the skin for a flawless finish.  I've been using it to blend the lines of Chubby foundation I've been drawing across my face (fun!) and it does a great job - if you don't already own a dual-fibre buffing brush, it's a great addition to your brush kit, even if it is a little on the expensive side at £28.

Overall, Chubby In The Nude is a hit with me - I love the coverage, the super-natural finish, and the portability.  Well worth £23, if you can find a good match in the 10 shades available.

Disclosure:  PR sample

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Friday, 18 March 2016

Quick Pick: Kiko Cosmetics Artist Foundation Face Brush

Kiko's latest Artist collection takes bright pops of colour and translates them into makeup - not just into the makeup itself, but also into the packaging, and in this case, the brushes.  This Artist Foundation Face Brush cheered me up the moment I opened the box - it combines a sleek white handle, a crisp silver ferrule, and synthetic white hairs tipped in hot, hot pink.

Aside from how it looks, it's also pretty damn good for applying foundation - the slightly pointed, chiseled tip lets you buff foundation with precision even in smaller areas like around the nose and under the eyes.  The hairs are soft and fluffy, letting you quickly buff liquid foundation over the face for a very smooth and even finish.

At just £13.90, it's much cheaper than most high street beauty counter brushes, and it performs brilliantly.  And it adds a cheerful pop of colour into my otherwise all-black brush pot.  Find it at the Kiko website or at one of their increasing number of stores.

Disclosure:  PR sample

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Real Techniques Core Collection - Flawless Base set

I bought this lovely brush set when it was on offer for just £9.99 on Amazon a while ago, despite owning a million brushes already.  My reasoning was that aside from a dual-haired stippling brush, and a number of traditional flat foundation brushes, I don't really own many face brushes.  Many.  Ahem.

Anyway, from left to right on the photo above, you'll see that the set contains a contour brush, a slim flat foundation brush, a small detail brush, and a buffing brush.  The flat foundation brush is the least useful - it's a bit small to use as a traditional foundation brush, unless you're happy to spend quite a while on your base.  It is pretty good at quickly blending foundation around the eyes and nose, though.  The detail brush is very small - the packaging suggests you can use it for lips or concealer - and whilst it's again a bit too small to make blending undereye concealer quick and easy, it's the perfect size for concealing blemishes.

Both the buffing brush and the contour brush have become my favourites from the set - the buffing brush is billed for use with mineral or powder foundations, but I find it gives a wonderfully smooth finish when used to buff liquid foundation in.  The contour brush is well shaped for getting right into the hollows of your cheekbones, and the tapered shape lets you apply either bronzer, blush or highlighter precisely.

At £9.99 this set was an incredible bargain, but even at the regular price of around £20, it represents great value - the brushes have grippable handles, soft hairs, and good durability - the hairs have all remained in place even after a couple of washes.  If you're a serial brush collector, you'll find the dual-purpose case/stand included with the set a bit superfluous, but if you're starting a collection or looking to travel, you'll love it.  Find the Real Techniques Core Collection at Amazon, where they're currently a bargain-tastic £15.30.

Disclosure:  Bought by me

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Kiko Sahara Glow Highlighter

I LOVE little pearls of stuff in a pot.  I don't know why they're so appealing - perhaps because they're tiny and shimmery, perhaps because they just look delicate - but I just love any product which comes in this kind of format.  This product, Kiko's Sahara Glow Highlighter, is no exception - pearls in shades of gold, bronze and tawny pink, which give a gentle glowing warmth when swirled together.

This product is part of Kiko's latest Modern Tribes collection, which has a distinctly golden summery feel to it, with an unexpected graphic twist and lovely wooden accents in the packaging.  Sahara Glow Highlighter, £14.90, is all summer, and it's best paired with this gloriously sculpted Face Brush, also £14.90, perfect for swirling in the pearls and applying the resulting powder to the cheekbones.

The effect is pretty subtle when used sparingly, as you can see from the above before-and-after photo - the difference is a little bit of warmth, and a little bit more dimension and glow.  You can layer it up for a more obvious golden shimmer, but I like it subtle.  Granted, it's not a particularly unique effect - any shimmering pink/bronze compact will give you a similar effect - but the dressing table friendly format and that cheekbone hugging brush are the real reasons to buy.

Disclosure: PR sample

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Sonia Kashuk Essential Eye Kit

Here's another thing-I-bought-in-the-US-recently, and sadly this one isn't available in the UK - although I really, really wish it was.  Those of you with long makeup-brush memories will remember that budget priced, high quality US brush brand Sonia Kashuk made it to Space NK a few years ago - with a staggering markup which saw brushes sold at twice the price they were in the US.  Unsurprisingly, they weren't popular, and Space NK retired the brand.

This rather gorgeous travel set contains five short-handled brushes with super soft bristles, in a tiny travel case, for a mere $11.49 plus tax at Target.   It was all I needed, brush wise, for my recent three-week work trip to San Francisco - for lining, smudging, blending, everything.  The quality is excellent, the portability fantastic, and I love the little case - the brushes are well protected, the case is held shut tightly, and it's so streamlined!  Wonderful.

I really hope Sonia Kashuk makes it back to the UK sometime - without the markup - but in the meantime, beg your US friends to post you one of these.  You won't regret it.

Disclosure:  Bought by me.  Probably the best thing I've bought recently.

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Brush storage for every collection

Once you start building a brush collection, you invariably need somewhere to store it.  Whether you've got a large collection or a small collection, want to store it at home or for travel, there's a brush storage solution for you.

This pretty sugar skull brush roll is around £14, and comes from Etsy, meaning that it's a handmade product, and purchasing it supports a crafter.  The seller, Makeupholic, makes a variety of makeup related products including brush rolls and makeup bags in a variety of cute prints.

 Bargain brand elf sell two brush holders - small at £6 and large at £14. I have the large one and I absolutely love it.  It's perfect for organising my (already large and still growing) brush collection.

 Or, instead of buying something built to store brushes, you could go for something for the kitchen.  This Bista glass from Ikea has a really cute print, is perfect for short handled brushes, and costs a mere 50p.

Or alternatively this Magasin wooden cutlery stand would fit a fair number of long-handled brushes, and still a bargain at £1.50.

If you're feeling crafty yourself, you can make brush holders out of all sorts of things - jam jars, baked bin tins, old candle glasses...

What do you use to store your brushes?

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Quick Pick: Clinique Blush Brush

This Clinique blush brush sat unloved in the bottom of my to-try bag for a fair old while before I dug it out the other day.  I've got mixed feelings about it - it's got a lovely long handle, soft bristles tapered in a great shape, but it's also densely bristled to the extent that it deposits quite a bit of colour on the skin with one swipe.  Great when you're expecting it, but not so great when you're blearily trying to get a bit of colour into your cheeks early in the morning.  

With a practiced hand and a light dip of the brush into your blush, this is a great way to precisely apply colour to the cheeks.  Find it at Clinique counters and online at their website, where it costs £17.

Disclosure: PR sample

Monday, 4 March 2013

Quick Pick: M&S; Limited Collection Mini Brush Set

When I first saw this hot pink bristled mini brush set, I thought the brushes would be a bit scratchy, given the very low price point of a mere £8.  I was absolutely wrong - despite being very reasonably priced, the synthetic bristles are gorgeously soft, comparable with any other synthetic brush in my collection.  

In the set you get a powder brush, lip brush (or concealer brush, if you prefer), eyeshadow brush, and slanted eyeliner brush (or brow brush).  The brushes fit neatly into the small ziploc bag, making them ultimately portable no matter how small your bag.

Find them at Marks and Spencer now, for the tiny price of just £8.

Disclosure: PR sample

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Stipple Brush Showdown: MAC 187 vs ELF Studio Stipple

Duo fibre, stipple, skunk... call them what you will, these brushes are serious business for buffing on foundation, applying a delicate veil of blush, or dusting powder onto the skin.  The contenders today are MAC's iconic 187 brush, and ELF's reasonably new Studio Stipple brush.

Of the two, the MAC brush is pretty recognisable as the more expensive offering - the brush handle is chunkier, heavier, and feels more solid and weighty in the hand.  Add in the metallic ferrule, and you've got a nice looking brush.  The ELF offering isn't too shabby either, with it's more lightweight feel, slimline handle and shiny black ferrule.

Both brushes sport a full head of graduated black and white hairs.  The MAC brush is the older of the two - I've had it for a couple of years now, and whilst some of the bristles are looking a little bit frazzled, the brush has survived many washes with its circular, flat top largely intact.  The ELF brush is a relative newbie to my brush collection - it's been washed a fair few times, and has also maintained its shape well - although its shape is less regular than the MAC brush's to begin with.

From above, you can see that the MAC brush (shown on the left) has a larger, more regularly shaped surface area.  I can't say that I've noticed a massive amount of difference in the time it takes me to apply powder foundation with either brush.  Interestingly, despite being quite similar in appearance and in texture, these brushes are made of different materials - the MAC brush is a mix of goat hair and synthetic fibre, where the ELF brush is made purely from synthetic fibres.  Both are super soft, pick up powder well, and buff liquids into the skin very effectively.

So, are there many differences between the two?  Well, not really - admittedly, I'm not sure how well the ELF brush would fare after two solid years of use, but I think that the price differential is enough to render any longevity issues null and void.  The ELF brush costs a mere £3.50, where the MAC brush is nearly 10 times more expensive at £32.50.  Even if the ELF brush lasted only a year, you'd be supplied in stipple brushes for ten whole years before you approached the price of the MAC brush.  Given the closeness in quality and performance, I know which brush I'll be buying more of in the future!

ELF's Studio Stipple brush is available from the Eyes Lips Face website, where it will cost £3.50, and the MAC 187 is available from the MAC website, where it will cost £32.50.  What do you think?  What's your favourite stipple brush?  Let us know in the comments!

Friday, 14 October 2011

New Love: ELF Large Brush Holder

I used to keep all my makeup brushes in a couple of little glasses suitable for holding dainty portions of chocolate mousse or, my favourite, strawberry jelly.  At some point, I ended up with so many brushes that trying to put them all into the brushes would result in some falling out.

Rather than doing the sensible thing and scaling down my collection, I bought this ELF large brush holder, which has revolutionised my brush storage options.  All my brushes fit in it, and I have a whole section left empty, which by my calculations means I can buy at least 20 more brushes before I need to start worrying about storage again.  And now I don't have to worry about knocking brushes out of my glasses, across my dressing table, and down the side of the chest of drawers.  Perfect.

ELF's Large Brush Holder costs a thoroughly reasonable £12, and can be found at their website.  How do you store your brushes?  Let us know in the comments!

Sunday, 21 August 2011

New Love: ELF Bamboo Eyeshadow and Blending Eye Brushes

I picked up these bamboo brushes as part of a recent ELF order, and I've really been enjoying using them since.  Costing just £5.50 each, the brushes feature bamboo handles, and synthetic Taklon bristles.  They're incredibly soft and lightweight, with handles that are long enough for easy grip, but short enough to be portable.

The Blending Eye brush is a gently tapered, and fits beautifully into the crease to add definition, or to blend out the edges of eyeshadow.  I was very pleased to find that whilst the brush is fluffy and pliable, it's also relatively small - perfect for applying eyeshadow to the crease with precision.

Conversely, the Eyeshadow brush is reasonably firm.  I've been reaching for it to build up colour onto the eyelid, as the firm, thick bristles make it more suitable for packing on colour than creating a soft wash of colour.  It also works really well for cream textures.

ELF bamboo brushes are available exclusively via the ELF website.  The Eyeshadow and Blending Eye brushes cost £5.50 each.  Have you tried ELF brushes?  What do you think?  Let us know in the comments!

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Review: Royal and Langnickel 18 Piece Essentials Brush Roll

Disclosure: PR sample

Royal and Langnickel manufacture a very wide range of brushes.  Sarah's used their art range in the past, so when we were offered the chance to try out some of their beauty brushes, we jumped at the chance.  I received this 18-piece Brush Essentials set, which contains (you guessed it) 18 brushes in a handy pleather roll.

First off, you'll find five face brushes.  From left to right, a foundation brush, angled blush/contour brush, small blush brush, domed powder brush, and an extra large fluffy powder brush.  Of these, I've become a real convert to the smallest blush brush (third from the left) and the big fluffy powder brush (at the end on the right) - both have dense, soft bristles and are very effective at both picking up powder and softly applying it to the face.

Next, you'll find seven eye brushes.  From left to right, there's a small stiffly bristled pencil brush, an angled eyeliner brush, a flat brush for concealer or cream eye products, an tapered crease brush, an angled eyeshadow brush, and two sizes of fluffy eyeshadow brush.  Of these, I've been most impressed by the smallest eyeshadow brush - I don't have one quite so small in my collection, and I've found it very useful when I'm trying to apply shadow precisely to a small area of my eyelid.  All of these brushes are relatively soft, apart from the tapered crease brush - the hairs are rather stiff and quite scratchy.  It's still plenty good at blending colours into the crease, but doing so isn't really particularly comfortable.

Lastly, a selection of miscellaneous brushes.  From left to right, there's the ubiquitous mascara spoolie, eyebrow/eyelash comb, sponge applicator, fine eyeliner or detail brush, capped lip brush, and fan brush.  Now, I'll readily admit that I have absolutely no idea what I'm supposed to do with the fan brush.  The only time I've seen them used is in salons, where they're used to spread masks onto the skin.  I've been using it for gently stippling highlighter onto my cheekbones, and it's soft and floppy, making me think it's used mostly for finishing.  The fine eyeliner brush is excellent: it has that density of bristles and firmness that make it very effective for lining - I hate fine liner brushes that flex too much as you use them.

The whole package rolls up neatly into an easily transportable form which snaps closed to keep the brushes within nice and secure.  I absolutely love the way that so many brushes are easily accesible from such a small package - my other brushes are arranged in glasses on my dressing table, and I've found myself reaching for this brush roll more often that I've searched through the glasses looking for a particular brush.  The set is also fantastic for travel, and I've been slinging this into my weekend bag instead of choosing individual brushes since I received it.

The brush roll costs a mere £39.99 - which, given that one of my most expensive MAC brushes cost £30 on its own, is a bit of a bargain, working out at just £2.22 per brush.  Granted, some of the brushes are a little bit scratchy, and I'm unlikely to use some of them (sponge applicator!), but given the number of brushes that I will use, and the very portable nature of the set, I'm pretty convinced that this brush roll provides a good balance of value for money, and decent quality.

Available exclusively on Amazon (for some reason this particular set isn't available on Royal and Langnickel's website) for just £39.99, I'd highly recommend this if you're looking for a travel friendly set of brushes, or are just starting out with your brush collection.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Review: Ecotools Powder Brush

I was doing a large and boring food shop at Tesco a little while ago when I just happened to pass the cosmetics aisle (ahem).  There were a few brushes on display, and this Ecotools powder brush caught my eye.  It has good green credentials with its bamboo handle and synthetic bristles, and it was reasonably priced at around £8.

I'll admit I wasn't expecting much when I bought it.  I have a few synthetic brushes and they are pretty coarse and a little unpleasant to use.  This brush, however, is the softest synthetic brush I've ever used.  It's softer, even, than my big fluffy Crown Brush powder brush, which I thought was the very epitome of softness.  It has, in fact, usurped my existing powder brush, and I now use it every day without fail.

One of the reasons for it's all round greatness, apart from the softness, lies in the shape of the brush.  The ferrule is an oval shape as opposed to the more regular circle.  The brush head is also more oval than round, and this shape, combined with the flexible, soft bristles, lends itself very well to sweeping powder gently across the face.  It's actually pretty difficult to over-powder the skin with one sweep, because the brush head as a whole is quite bendy; you can't smush powder into the skin, you're forced to apply lightly.  Which is generally a good thing, as far as powder goes.

So, the combination of softness, flexible bristles, foolproof application, and ease of washing make this brush a favourite in my brush collection.  And at just £8, it's a must have.  If you're looking for a new powder brush, I'd highly recommend you try this!

The cheapest I've found it online is at Amazon, although the postage pushes it over the £8 mark a little.  In the real world, you'll find Ecotools range of green makeup brushes at branches of Tesco, Boots and Superdrug.

Have you tried this brush?  What's your favourite powder brush?

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Review: Pro Makeup Brushes

Disclosure: PMB sent along a few brushes for us to review.

Pro Makeup Brushes was started by Kate Lyon, who went into business in 2007 having worked in the beauty industry for a number of years.  The company aims to provide professional quality, reasonably priced brushes, and not only supply to individual makeup artists and the public, but also customise brushes for companies such as Elizabeth Arden.

Refreshingly, the range does not contain 100000 subtly different "essential" brushes (yes, I'm looking at you, MAC) - there are fifteen brushes available.  Of the brushes I was sent, there are three which have become favourites.  The large fluffy eye brush, pictured to the left, is big and soft enough to quickly apply eyeshadow to the lid as a wash, or to pack colour on while blending the edges out.  While the bristles are not the softest I've ever felt, they balance softness with effective colour pickup.

The tapered blending brush is also made of goat hair like it's fluffy cousin above.  It's a fairly dainty tipped brush, and I find it to be exactly the right size for quickly defining the crease.  As it's still quite fluffy, it blends at the same time as applying the colour, and it enables me to apply a two shadow blended eye look in about three minutes flat.

The standout brush for me, however, has got to be the large face contouring brush.  I quite like a bit of contouring, and have been using tapered blush brushes, making this is a complete departure from the norm for me.  Using the flat of the brush to apply colour in a relatively straight line under the cheekbones results in a more precise application than I've managed before with a tapered blush or contour brush.  Also, it's much easier to get the angle of application right with the straight edge as you can align it with the angle of your cheekbone.

All in all, I've been very impressed by these brushes.  While they aren't the softest thing ever, they are definitely effective.  I also really like the white bristles, which make it easy to tell when you've picked up too much colour, or are in dire need of a brush washing session.  The quality is consistent; Crown Brush are a favourite of mine for cheap, decent brushes, but the quality can vary widely between individual brushes, but this is not the case with PMB.

If you'd like to try these out for yourself, you can get them direct from PMB via their website, where the contour brush will cost you £15, the fluffy eye brush £10, and the tapered blending brush £11.  They also sell the full set of brushes in a roll for £90, which is a fairly good price to pay for a full set.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Sonia Kashuk Brushes Land In The UK

Sonia Kashuk's range of makeup brushes, which have won the hearts of beauty addicts in the US for their quality, have finally touched down in the UK. You can find them at Space NK, that emporium of lovely high end goodness. And therein lies the problem.

In the US, Sonia Kashuk brushes are sold at Target, and are considered a fantastic budget brand, providing great quality at a lower pricepoint than the more expensive brand brushes. However, Space NK have slapped a premium brand price on them.

For example, the retractable Kabuki pictured above; Target's website lists it at $17.99 (£11.30, with today's exchange rate). Space NK are charging £23.49 for what appears to be the same brush. Since I'd heard such good things about Sonia Kashuk's brushes, I had considered trying one or two out when they made their way over here - but with the premium pricing on our shores, I suspect I'll be giving this a miss.

If you're interested though, you can find the brushes at Space NK.
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