Makeup Brushes -Real Techniques by Samantha Chapman - Fine Liner Brush
synmyn 5/10/2013 10:38:00 AM
This review is for the RT Fine Liner Brush that is sold individually for $5.99 (US). This is not to be confused with the Pixel Point brush that is sold in the Eyes Starter set. I bought this brush on a whim because I already have many liner brushes and this one didn't look that great in its packaging. I'm happy to report that my first impression was wrong. This is a great brush that I use regularly for cream liner. Like many others, I find the Pixel Point brush in the Eyes Starter Set a little too big for eye lining. In comparison, this fine liner brush is much thinner and the bristles are the right combination of stiffness and softness to provide a clean line. I've come to expect quality from RT brushes--easy cleaning, no shedding, synthetic bristles--and this brush is true to form. Glad I bought it and highly recommend.
I bought this Essence eyeliner brush out of desperation a few weeks ago. I needed something to bring my total over $10 so I could use my $3.50 off coupon at Ulta (you know how that is...). This brush caught my eye and was the right price to get me to the magic subtotal, so I had no expectations or high hopes for this cheap little brush. So I'm shocked to say that I have reached for this brush every day since then for applying my gel liner. This brush is perfect for getting a clean, fine line near the lashes. The bristles are surprising soft and the thin profile gives a nice, even line. The brush cleans easily and holds its shape after repeated uses and washings. Don't let the $1.49 price tag, the inexpensive plastic handle, and the synthetic blue bristles fool you. This is a great brush for a ridiculously low price!
Makeup Brushes -Real Techniques by Samantha Chapman - Expert Face Brush
synmyn 6/26/2012 5:34:00 PM
I think Sam Chapman hit it *out of the park* with this new face brush! It's perfect for applying moisturizer, sunscreen, primer, foundation, blush, bronzer, highlighter, powders, liquids, and creams. This brush is without equal for liquid to cream foundations. It applies, blends and buffs to a smooth, airbrushed finish. I don't know what it is about the shape of it, but it's the perfect combination of softness and firmness, at once dense yet tapered. I have extremely sensitive skin and I have experienced no irritation from this brush, even with daily use. Like all the other RT brushes I own, this cleans easily, dries quickly, and has yet to shed a hair. I honestly think this is one of the best and most unique brushes Real Techniques makes. And the price is fabulous. You can not go wrong with this purchase.
Scrubs -Tree Hut - Tree Hut Brazilian Nut Sugar Scrub
synmyn 5/24/2012 11:15:00 AM
Wonderful, wonderful stuff! I've tossed all my other exfoliating puffs, brushes, and doo-dads in favor of this scrub. I epilate my full legs and arms at least once a week, and I have to stay on top of exfoliating to alleviate ingrown hairs. While this scrub hasn't gotten rid of all my ingrowns, it does do a fabulous job of leaving my skin smooth and soft. I use this at least every other day all over my body. The scent is so delicious that it turns an otherwise routine chore into a treat. I actually look forward to using it. I never thought I'd ever say that about a body scrub. The first time I used it, I did so in the middle of my shower when my skin was wet. The scrub kept dissolving and did little to exfoliate. Then I read the earlier reviewers here who recommended using the scrub on dry skin before showering. That has made all the difference. It is a little rougher this way, so be gentle the first time you use on dry skin until you figure out how much pressure you need to apply. Now I can't imagine showering without using this scrub first. I'm almost done with my first tub and have a second one ready to go. My first tub lasted at least two months of regular use every other day. I bought mine on sale at Ulta and I also used a coupon with them--so the price per tub came to less than $5 including tax. Worth every penny! Also, I haven't experienced any shower staining that a previous reviewer mentioned.
I read all the rotten reviews below and bought this brow gel anyway, so I have no one to blame but myself. As others have noted, this flakes terribly. I tossed it after a couple of tries.
Makeup Brushes -E.L.F. - Mineral Blending Eye Brush
synmyn 7/22/2011 6:18:00 PM
This is the only brush that I own from the E.L.F. Mineral brush line and I absolutely love it. Compared to the $3 Studio brush line (of which I own a number), $5 sounds excessive for E.L.F. But it really isn't given the quality of this brush. I love the light wooden handle and light bristles--it's a very attractive brush to look at, and gosh, is it soft. It's become one of my favorite blending brushes because it's so gentle on my sensitive eyes. The long, slightly tapered bristles are perfect for blending. I use this brush to blend out and soften my crease color and also to apply a highlight color under my brows. The brush would also work well for blending concealer under the eyes. All in all, a fabulous brush!
For years I stayed away from drugstore lipsticks and lipglosses because of allergies. I still have to steer clear of many inexpensive brands that rely too heavily on mineral oil. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Revlon has reformulated many of their lipsticks and glosses without mineral oil or parabens. My local supermarket has been running specials on Revlon products and I snagged six of these Colorburst lipglosses for around $3.00-4.00 a piece. A great price for the quality. These glosses are creamy on the lips and have a light vanilla scent. Staying power is average, but I don’t mind reapplying because I like the buttery texture. I find these quite moisturizing and prefer to wear them instead of a lip balm. As others have noted, the packaging is attractive and looks high end. I personally don’t mind the shape of the applicator—I think it’s easy to use. There is a wide range of colors, but I find that the intensity of pigment and glitter varies depending on the color you choose. Some are very sheer and others deeply pigmented. Whether you love or hate this lipgloss depends on the color you choose. One nice thing about the more highly pigmented colors is that you can put on a little for a sheer look, or layer on more to intensify the color. These glosses look great on their own or over a lipstick. The only thing I don’t like is the excessive glitter in some of these, so pick your colors carefully. Here are the ones I have: -- Pink Ice – This is a very sheer pink with a touch of glitter. Don’t expect much color from this one, but it does give a pale, shiny gloss to the lips. -- Orchid – This is a beauty. A soft, sheer pink with a hint of lilac. I was afraid this would be too light and lavender for my dark skin, but it really looks a lovely pink when it’s on. This color is more pink than it appears in the container and I like that it’s not overly glittery. -- Rose Pearl – A pretty, cool, silvery rose. A lot of shine and pearlescence without too much glitter. Just a beautiful, soft, shimmery, summertime color for all skintones. -- Bordeaux – A gorgeous, sexy, reddish-wine without too much glitter. Highly pigmented and absolutely rocks against a darker skintone. Love this color! -- Sienna Sparkle – This is a great deep, coppery brown. Perfect for autumn and winter. Highly pigmented and really looks good on my dark skin. It is a little more glittery than I prefer, but for some reason, the glitter isn't as overpowering as with the Bronze Shimmer. I like to layer the Rose Pearl over this to soften the color and make it more wearable in the spring and summer. -- Bronze Shimmer – This is my least favorite of the seven. Way too glittery—to the point where I can see the glitter traveling all over my face after the gloss has worn off. The color without the glitter is very nice, but I can’t stand seeing my lips full of glitter after the gloss has gone. So I just wear this around the house over the Sienna Sparkle. UPDATE: Just couldn't stand the excessive glitter in the Bronze Shimmer and how it would travel all over my face. Tossed it. However, I'm still using and enjoying the other five shades.
I'm so glad that Wet 'n' Wild reformulated their eye pencils without lanolin and parabens under the Color Icon name. I could never use the older "Kohl" liners because I'm allergic to lanolin. I just bought 10 of these for $0.49 each at Walgreens. They are reasonably soft, but I find some colors are a little softer than others. I use these both for my eyebrows and for my upper water line because they don't irritate my eyes. I like the variety of colors offered. They don't stay as long as I'd like on my water line but I'm willing to trade staying power for no irritation. If you are sensitive to lanolin or parabens, make sure that you check that the pencil name says "Color Icon". The Color Icon and Kohl pencils seem to be intermixed in all the Walgreens I've gone to. Of the 10 I bought, two are "Kohl" pencils and lanolin is the first ingredient on the list. I'll have to go back and exchange those.
I finally bought myself the famed E.L.F. Studio Powder brush at Target last week. I see why it has earned its glowing reputation--soft, dense, synthetic taklon bristles, no shedding, excellent with powders and creams, and $3. I find that price so hard to believe. It's just an insanely low price for the quality. WOW!
I’ve been using the brushes in the Eyes Starter Set for a number of weeks now and I am very happy with the set overall. I’ve sampled all of the RT brushes and my favorites are the stippling brush (I own two of these), the blush brush, the core collection, and this eyes starter kit. I love collecting and trying inexpensive “low end” makeup brushes—my habit doesn’t break the bank and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the quality and variety available for just a few bucks. Pros: -Synthetic bristles -Extremely soft -Wash and dry well -No shedding Cons: -Name and purpose descriptions. I recommend keeping an open mind—obviously, you don’t have to use the brush only for the purpose stated. -A couple of these brushes are not “typical” so if this will be your only set of eye brushes, you may be disappointed by the lack of a precision (fine line) eyeliner or brow brush. If however, you are looking for some variety to traditional brushes, then this is a great set to add to your collection. -Deluxe Crease Brush – Love, love, love this brush! I’d buy this set for this brush alone. It’s called a “crease brush” but I find it way too big and dense for doing detailed crease work. It is, however, extremely effective at blending out the crease and softening harsh shadow lines. Also great for laying down a base shadow. The shape reminds me of a similar Sonia Kashuk “domed” eye shadow brush, but the RT brush is much softer. The best way to describe this brush is that it’s like a mini-buffing brush for the eyes. I’m constantly finding new uses for it, like using it to buff in my cream-to-powder Sephora concealer. Oh, and did I mention that I love this brush? I wish it were sold individually. I could use a couple more. -Base Shadow Brush – This is a great, versatile brush. Ideal for laying down eye shadow all over the lid as the name implies, but also great for controlled crease blending since the bristles taper. In many ways, this brush is really more like a “crease” brush than the misnamed “Deluxe Crease Brush” above. The soft, long tapered bristles also make it a good candidate for applying and blending concealer. -Brow Brush – I have full eyebrows, so I don’t often use a brow brush. Besides, I find this brush a little too wide and thick for using on my brows. I don’t think this would be ideal for precise brow work, but it would be good for a softer look. This brush also works as an eyeliner brush for applying gel liners. However, you will get a thicker line because the brush itself is on the thicker side. Having said all that, I personally love using this as a *lip* brush. I have fuller lips and the width of this brush matches the widest point on both of my upper and lower lips. The wide, thick, flexible bristles allow me to fill my lips in quickly but precisely. I have some very strongly pigmented lipsticks that look overpowering when applied directly from the tube, but when I use this brush, I get a beautifully blended, soft, even distribution of color all over my lips. This is now my HG lip brush. -Accent Brush - This is a the perfect size for smudging liner around the eyes, for putting color on the inner corners, and for precise application of crease color. A good, all-around, small precision brush. -Pixel Point Eyeliner Brush – The name of this brush is obviously misleading. It’s much thicker than most eyeliner brushes and I don’t see how you can get a thin, “pixel point” line with this. However, if you like a thicker line (like I do) then this is a very usable brush. I use this in combination with my Sonia Kashuk Pointed Eyeliner brush to thicken out the line on my outer corner. I also use this regularly as a smudge brush—the shape lends itself to precision smudging or to applying shadow under the lower lashes. This brush also works really well for lining lips. -Brush Case – As I mentioned in my review of the Core Collection, this case is the perfect solution for drying all of my makeup brushes upside down to prevent water from dripping into the ferrule. I used to put off washing my brushes because it was a chore laying them out to dry. Now I wash a few brushes as needed, put them in this case, stand them out of the way on my dresser, and I’ve got clean brushes ready to go in just a few hours. Because the case has cardboard inside, you can easily maneuver it to stand up as required. An unexpected bonus. :) So are these brushes comparable to MAC? That's a matter of opinion, but it seems unfair to compare a $5 brush to a $20 brush. The RT brushes don’t have the look and weight of high-end brushes, but I certainly find these just as good in performance as some of the high-end synthetic brushes I’ve tried. The price is fabulous (5 brushes for $15.99) and the quality excellent. I love that these brushes can be had by all and not just an exclusive few. Highly recommend!
Misc Beauty Tools -Sephora - Sephora Collection Eyelash Curler
synmyn 6/8/2011 2:06:00 PM
I'm really surprised that there aren't more reviews of this eyelash curler since Sephora has been selling it for a while. I’m allergic to nickel and have been since my early teens. I avoid all costume jewelry, watch bands, etc. that aren’t marked hypoallergenic or nickel free. I’ve been able to use a Revlon eyelash curler for 20 years without a problem. Then about a year ago, my eyelids started to become seriously inflamed every time I wore eye makeup. I thought I was allergic to an ingredient in the makeup itself, so I spent quite a bit of money trying to replace all my existing eye makeup with paraben-free, natural makeup. I even bought a new Tarte eyelash curler. Yet I was still plagued by eyelid inflammation. I read online that nickel sensitive folks can react to eyelash curlers, but it seemed so farfetched to me because the curler only touches my skin for a few seconds. Finally in desperation, I decided to stop using my eyelash curler. Within a week or two, my eyelids returned to normal. Since then, I’ve stopped using eyelash curlers all together, but I missed the effect of using a metal eyelash curler (the plastic ones just aren’t as good). I did some research online and found the Sephora brand curler. (I couldn't get a straight answer on whether the Shu or Shiseido curlers contained nickel.) Although the actual packaging doesn’t say so, the description on Sephora.com clearly states that the eyelash curler is made of stainless steel. “Stainless steel” can contain up to 10% nickel but the nickel is less likely to leach out. Still, if you are hypersensitive to nickel (for instance, if you can’t use stainless steel cookware), then you could react to this curler. I’ve used this eyelash curler for several weeks now and I have experienced no reaction whatsoever (I usually react within a few hours). I’m ready to turn cartwheels from joy! The fact that this eyelash curler doesn’t cause a reaction would be enough for me to give it 5 stars. However, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how well it actually curls my lashes. I like the rubberized finger holes which make it easy to grip, and all of my lashes fit into this curler better than they do in the Tarte or Revlon curlers. I haven’t experienced any pinching either, but I think that may be because this curler is well suited to the shape of my eye. Best of all, my eyelashes stay curled all day—even without mascara—I can see the difference clearly since I’ve only been curling the lashes on my right eye. I’ll certainly update this review if I develop an allergic reaction to this curler too. Unfortunately, allergies are tricky buggers that can crop up at any time. I hope this will be useful to others suffering from eyelash curler allergies, as there are few good alternatives available.
Misc Beauty Tools -Tarte - Picture Perfect Eyelash Curler
synmyn 6/2/2011 9:12:00 AM
NOT nickel-free! If you have an allergy to nickel as I have, then stay away from this one. My eyelids were inflamed for weeks after using this and I couldn't figure out why until I stopped using it. I thought it was my makeup and spent a fortune replacing it. When I suspected the eyelash curler, I followed up with Tarte and they confirmed through email that their eyelash curler is not nickel-free. For all their claims about being "all natural" and using "non-irritating" ingredients, Tarte knowingly uses one of the 10 most common allergens in their eyelash curler? Hmmm... Honestly, I hate it when high-end cosmetic companies use low-end ingredients and then charge the consumer extra for it. Luckily, Sephora has a wonderful return policy so they let me exchange it for a plastic one even though I didn't have a receipt. UPDATE: I've since bought a Sephora brand metal eyelash curler and I've been having great luck with it. It's made of stainless steel and i haven't had any reaction. I've posted a separate review for it under the Sephora eyelash curler thread. I absolutely love it so far.
Makeup Brushes -Borghese - Professional Select Cosmetic Brush Set
synmyn 5/19/2011 10:46:00 PM
There is only one word to describe my overall impression of these brushes: Ouch! The bristles on a number of these brushes are just too rough or prickly for my sensitive skin. I eyed these for three weeks at Costco before I finally caved in after several glowing YouTube reviews. Buying inexpensive makeup brushes is a guilty pleasure of mine--I just can't resist them. But this Kirkland Borghese set is a disappointment and I plan to return the set to Costco. Pros: -The brushes are great looking--really professional in appearance--with their plummy brown handles and ferrules. - The price is fabulous at $23.99 (in-store) for 10 brushes and a brush case. - Some of the brushes aren't bad, like the pointed foundation brush, the eye/brow brush, and the eye shadow brush. However, it's easy to find inexpensive and superior drugstore comparables. Cons: - Several of the brushes are rough, like the kabuki brush (the Ecotools bronzer brush is far superior) and the angled blush brush. The concealer brush actually scratched my skin. - The kabuki brush shed quite a bit when handling the first time. I didn't get around to washing it (since I won't be keeping the set) so I've no idea how it would hold up to repeated washing. - The chemical smell out of the box is off putting. You have to wash these brushes well and air out the case before use. - The brush case is quite cheap looking compared to the brushes. Overall, I don't think these brushes are worth it. For me, there wasn't a single standout in the Borghese set of 10. I'd rather spend my money on quality "low end" brushes like ELF Studio, ELF Minerals, Sonia Kashuk, Ecotools, or Real Techniques.
Great brush! Hard to believe that this is only $3. It's small, precise, soft, and versatile. Mine comes to a point so I find that I can use it first to apply contour, then to blend out my blush, and then to add highlighter on top--all with a single brush. Because this blush brush is small, I find it perfect for dipping into eyeshadows to use on my face or for reaching into smaller makeup samples.
I can only echo what over 900 others have already said. EXCELLENT tweezers. Used standard Revlon tweezers for years and could not justify paying extra for Tweezerman. Finally reconsidered a couple of weeks ago and purchased my first pair. Love them! The tweezing tips are thin and precise. This one really is worth the extra money.