Misc Beauty Tools -Clarisonic - Deep Pore brush head
Xaephan 1/31/2013 3:21:00 AM
My favourite brush head! It's much softer and less scratchy compared to the sensitive skin one, so it's a lot kinder to my skin--and I've got pretty tough skin. The bristles are firm enough to not splay everywhere when you apply force and dense enough to sort of 'hold' my cleanser on the surface and not sink down to waste product. Works great to keep my pores clean, especially around my nose. I change mine about 4-5 months instead of the 3 they recommend (it's just too expensive :/), but I don't notice a significant improvement when I change to a new one, so I don't think you have to necessarily use 4 a year. But do wash this at least once a week, preferably by taking it off and soaking it in hot water for a bit. The dense bristles really trap residues and water, and may smell a bit musty when you use it over and over if you don't wash regularly.
First off, let me just say that the Mia2 works amazingly! I've noticed a lot less breakouts once I started using this regularly, and a lot less flaking and dry patches in the winter as well. The only reason I took off a star is that I can't justify how this is better than the original Mia. The timer function is nice, but I find myself not really following the guidelines. You figure out where your face needs more time after using it for a while, so the Mia is just fine for most people. The charging system is great, but be sure to keep the attachment head away from electronics with screens (esp. older ones) just in case. Also, don't keep it plugged in, because the head will get very hot. I love how I can now get a deep, daily clean with only one minute. Almost any cleanser will do, especially if you use one of the softer heads (I use the deep pore one). A lot of people have said that this made them less oily, break out less, reduce shine--and then some people are disappointed that it didn't do it for them. Keep in mind that the only claim the company makes is that it cleans your face very well, and if you get the rest of the benefits, great! If not, it's not misleading or lying advertisement. Personally, I do notice that I get less acne (most of mine are hormonal since I took Accutane) and that my pores are less noticeable because there's less gunk in them, but I still get as oily as I did before (which is a bummer, because I've got super oil skin). My skin does feel softer and smoother, as well. Overall, this is a great product for keeping your face clean and healthy (you may also notice a lot of other great benefits, but it's not guaranteed), but I personally don't see the point of getting the Mia2 over the Mia, because the timer isn't all that useful.
Skincare - Face -Clarisonic - Sensitive Brush Head
Xaephan 1/31/2013 3:05:00 AM
How is this for sensitive skin, I ask? It feels super rough on the skin, to the point where it hurts right from the moment I use it (I use my Clarisonic Mia2 once a day). The Deep Pore Brush (which is the only other brush I've used extensively) is much, much softer and nicer to use. This feels about the same as the one for normal skin. Another thing is that the bristles are not very dense, so my facial cleanser (the Philosophy one) sinks to the bottom and doesn't really clean my face. I have to use a lot more product for it to be effective. Overall, scratchy and wastes cleansers. A huge disappointment for something so expensive, and to be packed with most Clarisonics at that!
Makeup Brushes -Real Techniques by Samantha Chapman - lash-brow groomer
Xaephan 1/29/2013 1:34:00 PM
I snatched this up with my first RealTechniques order, because I've always wanted a metal lash comb. It's a bit cheaper than the ones I could find in stores (Quo, Tweezerman), but I find that it probably doesn't do as good job. The ones I've seen have combs that are finer and sharper, so even though it's easier to injure yourself, they do a better job at separating lashes. The metal prongs on this aren't sharpened at all, so they have trouble getting clumps out of my lashes sometimes. The construction is nice and solid though, much better than the plastic foldaway Tweezerman has. Overall, not bad, but for the high price, I was expecting something more amazing--after all, you can find the plastic lash combs for a buck, and this was 7 dollars.
Makeup Brushes -Real Techniques by Samantha Chapman - Kabuki Brush
Xaephan 1/29/2013 1:31:00 PM
Very, very disappointed. I definitely should have read the reviews first! Super, super tiny little thing. It's okay for all over bronzer or powder, but I prefer something bigger and a bit denser. While the opening thing is a novelty, it doesn't do much at all. I never find myself using it opened up, because blush and bronzer/contouring needs a bit more control than what this brush offers, and if I want to apply powder, I'd use it closed. Soft bristles and a handle that feels very good in the hand, though. But unfortunately still not worth it! I'd say to go pick up an ELF Kabuki brush over this. That one is cheaper, bigger, denser, and just as soft.
Makeup Brushes -Real Techniques by Samantha Chapman - Powder Brush
Xaephan 1/29/2013 1:28:00 PM
This is a very similar size to the Sigma powder brush (I don't have it on hand, or I'd provide the number), and about the same denseness. The handle is a lot better designed though, and it's super soft and picks up product well. One of the best powder brushes I own, especially for the price!
This was one of the things I was most looking forwards to in my first buy from this brand, but I was quite disappointed. First of all, the size of the brushes are just too small--the foundation brush is absolutely tiny and takes forever to blend the face, and the detailer brush is smaller than most of my eyeliner/eyeshadow brushes and is much thinner as well. The buffing brush is quite good for foundation, though it's not quite as dense as I would like, but the smaller size allows me to reach my nose and other crevices very easily. The countour brush isn't bad either, though I prefer an angled brush for blush/bronzer. The handles also look cheaper than the standalone brushes. The aluminium parts on mine have this slight water-stained look right out the box, so they don't look as new or as polished as they could be. The brush holder is also pretty useless. Overall, not worth it! I'd say to go for the Expert Face brush and blush brush over this collection, since two brushes from this one are almost useless, and the other two, while good, aren't amazing.
Makeup Brushes -Real Techniques by Samantha Chapman - Expert Face Brush
Xaephan 1/29/2013 1:19:00 PM
Amazing, amazing! Reminds me a lot of the Sigmax brushes, in that it's super easy to blend foundation with, but it's just a touch less dense, which is a good thing. I found that the Sigmax brushes, especially the round top kabuki (which this one is the most similar to) is a little bit too dense and makes it feel like a sponge, almost. This still has the feeling of bristles, which can apply things a bit more sheer while still blending amazingly. I love the handle design as well, and how it stands up is great.
Makeup Brushes -Real Techniques by Samantha Chapman - Stippling Brush
Xaephan 1/29/2013 1:16:00 PM
The best stippling brush I own, hands down! The bristles aren't too soft, but doesn't hurt my face. The white bristles also aren't too sparse, so I get good coverage with foundation. The best part is how short the bristles are--it makes so that the brush doesn't have too much give, so buffing is easy and flawless. Also doesn't soak up too much product. Overall, one of my favourite brushes from this brand.
Nope nope nope! If I used the brush for powder, this works quite well, but foundation, concealer, lip stick, or anything that's got even a bit of moisture? this doesn't wash it out at all. I noticed that my foundation brushes were getting dyed, and I used a bit of dish soap on them--totally clean, white as new. This really doesn't work all that well, but at least it doesn't stripe moisture from my brushes and make them brittle. I'd say to go for a gentle shampoo (baby shampoo especially) over this.
Misc Beauty Tools -E.L.F. - Studio Makeup Mist & Set Spray
Xaephan 1/19/2013 12:45:00 AM
The product itself isn't bad, but it's not great either. I'm actually not too sure if it works for setting make up, because I don't really notice a difference if I wear it or not. It does make powders not so cakey looking, but the nozzle isn't as good as it should be. It spits out giant beads sometimes and messes up my powder.
Lip Gloss -E.L.F. - Essential jumbo lip gloss stick
Xaephan 1/18/2013 12:41:00 AM
I bought two of these, Movie Star (bright red, though the product looks slightly darker) and Summer Nights (a champagne/nude colour with shimmer). Both of them are very smooth, easy to apply, and not sticky, but are a little bit 'runny' for a gloss--as in they're pretty thin and applies to a translucent layer, no matter how much I go over them. As a result, the colour isn't as intense as I'd thought, but they do show up (though Summer Nights is hard to see on my lips, since they're pretty pigmented). The shimmer in Summer Nights (SN) is quite fine and doesn't feel gritty like some glosses. The smell of SN is a lot better than MS (Movie Star). SN has a nice minty smell, while MS is vaguely minty, but with a strange undertone. Both scents fade quite quickly and the gloss doesn't taste like anything, so they don't bother me. Rather than glosses, these feel more like tinted lip balms, since they don't add a lot of shine to my lips (the thinness of the product is to blame, I think). There also isn't a lot of product in each tube (the stick goes down maybe 1/4 or 1/3 down), but since the price is so low, it still seems okay. Overall, these are nice glosses to top off lipstick or give a bit of colour over lip balm for a more subtle look (especially the lighter colours), but don't expect a lot of shine. Applies smooth and non-sticky as well.
I was pretty skeptical about this stuff, but now that I've tried it, I do think it works. BUT, I didn't see a huge improvement--or even a really noticeable one once I put on mascara. I've been using this every day at night and sometimes in the morning for about a month, and I've noticed that my lashes do seem a bit thicker. without mascara, the lashline is a bit more 'there', but I haven't really noticed any length increase, and after I put on mascara, I don't notice anything at all. I like that it probably conditions the lashes well, so I'll keep using it, but one thing I don't like is the applicator. I find that it gets dirty pretty easily, and it tends to make product bead on my lashes instead of coating.
Cleansers -Philosophy - Purity Made Simple (Real Purity Cleanser)
Xaephan 1/13/2013 12:41:00 AM
I've heard so much about this product, but just recently bit the bullet and bought some during Sephora's Black Friday sale. I like it so much that I went and bought some more in the Boxing Day sale, so now I've got quite a stock. It really does melt everything off--oil, sebum, dirt, makeup, everything! Makes my face feel very clean, almost squeakily so, which is great for oily skinned gals like me. I feel that it might be drying for normal or dry skin though, since my face gets a bit tight when I don't put on moisturizer fast enough. No scent either, so it's great for sensitive skins. I've been using it with my Clarisonic, which works quite well because there's no little beads in here that could be too abrasive. Great cleanser overall, but the price makes me sadface. I would really recommend picking this up in a sale, but for a normal price, I would go for a drugstore alternative.
I bought this in Natural Black, which is more of a darkish cool gray colour. I debated getting this forever, because really, it's 30 bucks for a grey pencil. I'm not disappointed at all that I did though! The colour is amazing for Asians, and it really does look very natural. The brush is also quite good at blending in the pencil without lifting too much colour. The pencil is soft, but not so creamy that you go through it super fast. I've used mine for half year every single day, and there's still quite a stick left. I don't need to sharpen it too much either, since it works well with a dull point. That means I don't waste too much product, hurray! I just wish it was a bit cheaper, but it's really quite worth the money.