I must admit that when I first recieved the "Sorry Benefit!" email from e.l.f. promoting their new Studio Brow Kit, I scoffed! But then a few weeks later, I dropped my Benefit Brow Zing on the floor (I was so cut, I had it for almost 2 years!) and the powder side completely shattered. I didn't want to spend the $30 bucks on a new one, and since I was making an e.l.f order anyway I decided to give the Studio Brow Kit a try. OK well I ordered the kit in "Dark" and I am very impressed! The wax (or gel as they call it) is VERY pigmented, more so than the Benefit version. The texture is a little bit thinner and its more creamy, but I like it and find it much easier to work with actually. The powder side seems a bit light for being a "Dark" shade. Used alone it looks more like a medium brown shade rather than a dark brown. However combined with the gel I get the same look/result as the Benefit version, so I think the "Dark" kit would definitely work for those with dark hair. For reference, I'm half Asian and my hair is a very dark brown with hints of red. Lasting power is great too, I wear UDPP on my brows underneath it and it doesn't budge! So yeah, fantastic product!! And I can't believe it was only $3 bucks! When I purchased it the Studio products were actually 50% off so I only paid $1.50! Thats like, 5% of the cost of a Benefit Brow Zing and it performs just as well. Here we have another gem in the e.l.f Studio line. Major thumbs up and definitely repurchasing! =)
This brush is a winner! Even though the handle on mine came loose after a few days (fixed that with some super glue), I still love this brush and think its a great deal! I use mine with finishing powder, it gives nice and even all-over dusting of powder. The synthetic bristles feel super soft on my skin. I also have the Ecotools blush brush and they are pretty much the same in terms of size and softness, except the e.l.f brush looks a lot more stylish with the all-over black look. The brush had a chemically smell when I first opened it but it went away after a few washes. For $3 bucks this is a steal, I am never spending so much money on high-end powder brushes again! Love it and definitely plan on repurchasing! =)
This brush is great buy. I also use mine for both liquid and mineral foundation and it works wonders. Its a good alternative to the Everyday Minerals flat-top brush, which I also love. This brush is a little less dense compared to the EM, but it is just as soft. I really like the long handle on this brush, its easier to use I think. And it looks all sleek and stylish with the all-over black ;-) Yes, the brush does have a chemically smell at first but through washings it goes away. Yes, the bristles are a tad uneven but not enough to affect product application. I'm curious to see how well it holds up in the long run since my elf Studio Blush brush has already come loose at the handle. But so far so good with this one, so overall I'd say this brush is definitely a steal! EDIT: Okay, so I loved this brush so much I ordered 2 more! However I definitely have a different batch here. The bristles are like a half inch longer! This makes the brush a lot less dense and more floppy. Boo! I'd rather use my EDM Flat Top instead of the brushes from this batch. Aw man, one lippy off for inconsistency =(
So its pretty much a toss-up between Studio Sculpt and MUFE HD for my HG liquid foundation. I love MUFE HD, but I must admit that ever since Studio Sculpt has come out I've been wearing it exclusively. I will make comparisons between the two in this review!
OK, so when I first tried Studio Sculpt, I wasn't completely wowed by it like I was when MUFE HD first came into my life. However, I did like the coverage and finish. Coverage was excellent for the little amount of product you need to use. My skin isn't terrible, but I do have a few monthly breakouts and I have faded acne scarring from my teens. (Speaking of which, this is the first liquid MAC foundation that DOES NOT break me out. Very happy about that!) Studio Sculpt covered everything nicely! Compared to MUFE HD, I thought it felt slightly thicker and a bit more sticky, but after a few wears I didn't notice it any longer. Finish-wise, I'd have to say I prefer Studio Sculpt because it is more matte. I have slightly oily skin so I tend to stay away from anything dewy looking. While I wouldn't say that MUFE HD has a overly dewy finish, it definitely has a glow to it, at least more so compared to Studio Sculpt. I also think one of the key things that has really made Studio Sculpt work for me is using silica powder (I have the Coastal Scents variety) as a finisher. I didn't really notice a difference when I was using it with MUFE HD, but with Studio Sculpt there is a noticeable difference. It really helps keep the oilies at bay - so oily girls need not to fear this foundation in my opinion!
One downside to Studio Sculpt is the lasting power. MUFE HD defnitely wins in that department. Studio Sculpt does sufficiently last throughout the day, but MUFE HD lasts even longer. I beleive MUFE HD is water resistant, and I would wear it to the gym after work and sweat buckets and it would still be there! I'd wipe away the sweat and there would barely be any sign of it on my towel. Studio Sculpt on the other hand seems to start coming off as soon as I step on the treadmill. In fact I've started to wipe most of it off before working out in order to avoid the embarrasing amount of foundation that ends up on my towel! lol.
I find both foundations easy to apply. I use my EM flat top kabuki for liquid foundations and get great results. Since Studio Sculpt is thicker, I think its important to wear a primer underneath so that the product spreads around evenly. Spraying my brush with a little bit of Fix+ beforehand also helps a bit as well but I don't always need to use it.
At first I was really stoked about Studio Sculpt's squeeze tube packaging, but I've found that it falls kind of short. It would be a lot better if the lid was flat so that it could stand up on its own. Better yet, if it had a flat flip-top it would be even better! I am dropping that dang cap all the time, lol. I find MUFE HD's plastic pump bottle to be much more convenient acutally.
So to conclude, I find both Studio Sculpt and MUFE HD to be excellent foundations. I like the finish of Studio Sculpt better and it seems to work better with my slightly oily skin. Plus, Studio Sculpt is a lot cheaper. But MUFE HD has better lasting power and it does feel a little bit lighter and more natural on the skin. My heart is torn, lol!
Unfortunatley I don't particularly like this brush for gel liner. Its waay too small....smaller than the MAC 208! I can't even get enough product on it to line one eye, always have to go back for more and my eyes are small! I think the NYX small concealer brush is easier to use for gel liner (I also use the MAC 263 or the Ecotools eye angle brush). Also, the bristles on this brush tend to seperate/clump together, which also makes gel liner difficult. I think this brush was meant to be a brow brush rather than liner brush!
LOVE this brush! When I first saw it in person I thought it looked super tiny and therefore useless. Wrong! This brush is great for doing detailed, precise eye work. I especially love using it for lower shadow liner, I like using it over my MAC 219 in fact! Its perfect for smudging as well. Bristles are soft and fairly dense. This teeny tiny brush does big things!
The only reason why I dislike this brush is because it is *slightly* too big for my small asian eyes. Otherwise this is an excellent brush! The bristles are super dense and you can pick up so much product with it. If only it were a bit smaller!
This is my favorite of all the NYX eye brushes. Great for packing on color, and it blends well too as the bristles are slightly floppy. Compared to the MAC 239, this brush is a little bit smaller in width and the bristles are less dense, but it still does the job well. Great eye brush and cheap alternative to the more expensive ones out there.
Makeup Brushes -MAC - 226 Small Tapered Blending Brush - BBR Collection
vickybee 1/20/2009 7:14:00 PM
This is a great brush! After reading the reviews here, I thought I would use it in place of my 219 brush but instead I've been using it in place of my 217. I've been using the 226 to apply my under-brow highlight, outer-v, and for blending. I'd use it for my crease too if I had one, lol. I think it blends much better than the 217 because it is firmer, and it is small enough to get into those hard to reach areas. Don't get me wrong, the 217 blends well but the 226 is more effortless and I can get the job done in half the time. You can blend very precisely with the 226, whereas I found the 224 to be too large for my lids and I would always overblend. The 226 is also too large/thick to do precise shading or for applying lower lash line shadow - the 219 is much better for those purposes (although I must admit that I have been loving the results of using the new 214 for shading my lower line). The bristles did feel scratchy at first, but through washings it has become softer. I am definitely contemplating getting another one if I can find one!
Eyeliner -MAC - Penultimate Eye Liner - Rapidblack
vickybee 12/26/2008 2:25:00 PM
OK, so I am huge fan of the NYX felt tip pen liner so I was so excited when I heard MAC was finally coming out with a liner pen! Well let me say, so far, so good! The color is truly BLACK, it flows out super easily and applies smoothly (don't forget to store the pen on its side or upside-down!). Tightlining with this pen is also a breeze. However I definitely had a small amount of transfer even with eye primer (my eyelids are oily and hooded however), which is a problem I do not have with the NYX liner. Although I believe the NYX liner is waterproof, so there ya go. I would love to see Penultimate in a waterproof formula! Also, since you do need to apply it at a slight angle to really get the liner flowing, I think it would help if either the felt tip of the pen was slightly longer (like the NYX pen) or the pen itself was thinner around where the tip begins - the plastic part kind of gets in the way when you're trying to tilt the pen. Time will tell how long this pen holds up - I've found that with the NYX pen, if you apply it after eyeshadow on a regular basis it can begin to clog up the pen tip....so we'll see if the cost of Penultimate is worth it as the NYX pen is half the price. But again, so far I'm loving it! The formula really is SO smooth and SO BLACK - a bit more liquidy compared to the NYX pen which I do like despite the non-waterproofness......I would definitely buy again! I hope they come out with more colors! I plan on truly testing it out on an upcoming 2 week beach vacation so I will report back!
Makeup Brushes -Everyday Minerals - New Flat Top Brush
vickybee 12/25/2008 1:33:00 AM
OK, so I have been using this brush with my Everyday Minerals Foundation for a long while now and have loved the results. The brush is so soft and so smooth, evironmentally friendly (synthetic hairs and bamboo handle), and is so inexpensive! But what is bringing me to write this review now is that I have just discovered how wonderful this brush is to use with LIQUID foundation. Let me just say that I have totally ditched my MAC 187 for liquid application! I have been using this brush with MUFE HD Foundation, and the results are flawless. I just pump the foundation directly onto the brush (the bristles are so dense that it just sits there!) and then dab it around my face. Then I gently buff it in and the foundation just melts into my skin. I have just been totally floored by this brush (first with mineral, now with liquid!), it is so amazing! I think this is the only foundation brush I will EVER need - it really does it all! In fact I already own 2 of them! One thing I have noticed is that as the brush ages, the bristles loosen up a bit and the brush loses a bit of its firmness, but it still performs perfectly. It also takes forever to dry after washing but otherwise this brush has got everything going for it! I highly recommend this brush and I would repurchase it over and over again!!!
Makeup Brushes -Ecotools - bamboo eye shading brush
vickybee 12/21/2008 9:01:00 PM
This brush is great for cream shadows or Paint Pots, but it is pretty useless for powder eyeshadow or pigments. For these you need a dense, fluffy brush. And this brush is definitely not that! So I'm rating it as average because of this, as I would not repurchase this to use as an eyeshadow brush. However, this brush is a perfect dupe for the MAC 249. I just recently bought a 249 to use to apply Paint Pots and I'm sort of kicking myself since this Ecotools brush is practically the same and so much cheaper. I hope Ecotools comes out with a "real" eyeshadow brush soon!
I agree with all the other reviews.....this will be the softest brush you will ever own! I was so amazed when I first felt it on my cheek. OK, so there is one downside, which I think some of the other reivews have mentioned....and that is blush placement. This brush is so soft and fluffy that I had a hard time with blush placement at first. I had to practice a bit to get a nice and even application. Some people might actually find this brush to be a little too soft and a little too floppy, but it does pick up product very well. But, I have since adjusted to it and use it everyday....it has replaced my MAC 168! Highly recommend this brush! I hope Ecotools expands their brush line soon!
Makeup Brushes -Ecotools - Bamboo Angled Eyeliner Brush
vickybee 12/4/2008 12:51:00 PM
I had heard great things about Ecotools Brushes, so on a whim I bought the Bamboo Angled Eyeliner Brush at Walgreens for $3.99. Let me say that I am very impressed! Applying gel/cream liners with this brush is a total breeze. Easy to create a fine line and its great for tightlining as well. I'd compare it to the MAC 263....actually I guess I'd describe it as a hybrid between the 263 and 212. The bristles are similarly soft like the 263, but they are thicker and sturdier like the 212. The width of the brush head is similar to the 212, and the angle of the bristles is similar to the 208. Sorry for all the MAC brush comparisons, lol! Anyway I think this brush a great alternative to any of the MAC eyeliner brushes. So cheap too! Unbeleiveable! The only complaint I have is that the brush handle could be shorter. I'm always tapping the mirror with it because I like to get really close...lol. I really hope that Ecotools expands their makeup brush line, they really are excellent quality for the price. Highly reccommend!
Foundations -Make Up For Ever - HD High Definition Foundation
vickybee 12/1/2008 11:12:00 PM
I am fairly new to liquid foundations but I must say that MUFE's HD Foundation is quite impressive! First off, as others have mentioned, the color match is perfect! I'm NC27 in MAC foundations and yes, I always would mix together NC25 and NC30 shades. But shade #120 is a perfect match, so no more mixing for me! (I think #120 could work for some NC25ers out there but probably would be too light for most NC30ers). Secondly, the packaging is also perfect. Plastic bottle with a pump - what more could you ask for? And finally, the finish is just *gorgeous*. When I first applied it, I didn't really see what the big deal was. But when I looked in the mirror 5 minutes later, I was so pleased! I think a few earlier reviews mentioned that it takes a little while for the foundation to really sink into the skin, and I completely agree. After it settles, it is the perfect semi-matte finish for my somewhat oily skin (foundations with dewy finishes are definitely a no-go for me!). I say semi-matte because it is definitely a matte finish, but there is *something* else to it....I can only describe it as beautifully radiant! Coverage is very buildable - I prefer a medium coverage and 2 full pumps is the right amount for me to use. This foundation feels incredibly light and there is no cakeyness whatsoever! I've been using my 187 to apply, but I am going to try a few different methods as I think a lot of product goes to waste this way. This stuff isn't cheap for sure, but when you factor in the pump its only $10 bucks more than a MAC foundation, and I find that it is totaly worth it! I can see why this foundation is a favorite among professional makeup artists! ***EDIT: 3 weeks later and I am still loving this foundation! I am now using the Everyday Minerals Flat Top Brush to apply it, I only need 1 pump and maybe another little squirt and I buff it into my skin and it is flawless! Love this foundation!