Tweezerman vs Sigma: an Exploration of Tweezerman’s New Makeup Brush Line

a little while ago Tweezerman launched a new line of makeup brushes named Brush iQ.  always looking to add to my brush collection, i snatched up a few at Ulta while they were having a sale.  let’s take a look.

(L to R) Tweezerman Brush iQ Contour Concealer, Finishing Contour and Shader

(L to R) Tweezerman Brush iQ Contour Concealer, Finishing Contour and Shader

Brush iQ is made with DuPont Natrafil filaments.  they’re supposed to feel like animal hair but perform better.  question?  why would we want them to feel like animal hair?  most of my animal hair brushes are Shu Uemura ones from 20 years ago, and i have to say, i like my new synthetic brushes better because they’re softer. DuPont Natrafil filaments vary from a little scratchy to decent.  it does get a little softer with conditioning, but it’s never going to be a brush that’s pleasurable to use.

Contour Concealer Brush

Contour Concealer Brush

tweeze contour conceal side

Brush iQ Contour Concealer Brush retails for $18 and is the most interesting in the line due to its unique shape.  i apologize for the crappy photos.  i’ve started a photography course, so hopefully by the end of august, you’ll see an improvement.  the curve in this brush is designed to follow the contours of your face so that you can conceal the hard to reach areas with ease and blend out highlights with minimal effort.  sadly, the performance of this brush doesn’t live up to the ideal.  even after conditioning, the brush feels too scratchy for the under eye area.  the application is streaky if using the curved contour side.  if i flip it and use it to brush downward, the way i’m holding in in the first picture above, it blends a little easier.  however, you’ve defeated the purpose of buying a specialized brush if you do this.  the formula of your concealer will also affect how much streaking there is.  Contour Concealer Brush handled thicker creamier formulas, such as Tarte Maracuja Creaseless Concealer, better than thinner formulas, like Marc Jacobs Remedy Concealer Pen.  Contour Concealer brush does fit into the crevices around the nose nicely making concealing in that area a breeze.  it does perform adequately for cream highlighters.  i also tried it with a powder highlighter but the shape of the brush wasn’t conducive to getting product onto the brush.  you can also use this brush to highlight your brow bone.  my current arsenal for doing the jobs mentioned above is my Sigma Precision Angled Brush P84 for concealing and my Beauty Blender for cream highlighters.  so does the new toy oust the current favorite?  not in the slightest.  the bristles of the P84 are softer and more densely packed helping concealer blend out with minimal fuss and effort.  i’ve never had my P84 streak any concealer i’ve asked it to blend.  the slightly rounded and domed shape of the brush head means nothing abrasive will hurt my under eye area.  there isn’t a huge difference between using Contour Concealer Brush and the Beauty Blender other than softness and your preference for style of tool.  obviously the Beauty Blender will be softer than the brush, but as i mentioned before, Contour Concealer Brush is slightly scratchy.  even if you preferred using a brush to blend out your cream highlighter, i’d still recommend you look elsewhere.

brush iq shader vs sigma front

(L to R) Sigma Eye Shading E55, Tweezerman Brush iQ Shader Brush, Sigma Firm Shader E57

the Sigma brushes still outshine Tweezerman when it comes to softness of bristle filaments.  pigmentation wise, the Brush iQ Shader Brush is a little better than Sigma E55 and about the same as Sigma E57 on good quality shadows.  on powdery, patchy shadows, however, Brush iQ shader does give better and more even pigmentation.

brush iq shader comp side

the flatter shaped head of the Brush iQ Shader also gives more precise control of color placement than the Sigma brushes.  the difference of control was minor between the Sigma E57 and Brush iQ Shader which makes sense since they both have smaller, narrower heads.  if you’re skilled in makeup, this will probably not make a huge difference to you.  i’ve seen people more skilled than me place small patches of color precisely with their Sigma E55.  i’m not so skilled, so i depend on small brush heads designed to give more control with ease.  if you’re someone who likes to execute a complete eye look with your shader brush, the harshness of the bristle filaments are going to come into play again.  while i’m ok using the slightly scratchy brush to pat or swipe on color, i draw the line at using it to blend out the edges of my color.  both the feel of the bristles and the way the head is shaped work against it in blending.  while it is capable of it, it takes longer and with less comfort than my Sigmas.  where the Brush iQ Shader brush really shines is fall out control! i noticed there was a lot less fall out with a few of my more sparkly, glittery shades from Urban Decay.  Sigma E57 was designed to control fall out as well as give strong pigmentation, but the Brush iQ shader is just a little bit better at controlling the fall out.  i would say the difference is that Sigma E57 will leave a small amount of fall out with problematic shades while the Brush iQ Shader will leave minimal fall out.  the Sigma brushes retail for $12 and the Brush iQ shader for $16.  it’s difficult to say whether i would recommend getting this brush or not.  i’ll probably keep mine since i got it on sale, it controls fall out better than any of my brushes, and i happened to want to add an additional shader brush to my collection.  if you’re already happy with the brushes you own then skip this brush.  if you’re looking to add an additional shader or if you don’t have one, i’d say this one is serviceable, but you might want to do a little more research before you commit to it.  if i could only own one shader brush in my collection, i would choose my Sigma E57.  it’s more well rounded and more comfortable to use.

(L toR) Crown, Tweezerman, Urban Decay and Sigma

(L toR) Crown, Tweezerman Brush iQ Finishing Contour, Urban Decay and Sigma F40HD

sorry the brushes are dirty but at least now you know it’s been well tested right?  i don’t have brushes in my arsenal to fairly compare with the Brush iQ Finishing Contour, but i’ve included some of my other angled brushes for size and shape comparison.  Brush iQ Finishing Contour Brush is a dual fiber angled brush that’s good for both blushes and bronzers.  the dual fibers are supposed to be good with all types of formulations, but i’ve only tested it on powder.  this kind of brush is great for building up pigment intensity slowly.  i have a couple of round versions of this kind of brush for super pigmented blushes, but this is the first time i’ve come across an angled version.  this is my new favorite brush for when i want to do some light contouring with my bronzer for a day time look.  it picks up just enough pigment for a light dusting of color that doesn’t require much blending out and thus speeding up my day time routine.  while the bristles are not as soft as my Sigma Duo Fiber E50, it’s not scratchy either.  it’s a brush that’s comfortable to use but not one you’d stroke just to feel the pleasure of something soft.  it retails for $35 and is the only brush from the collection that i’m definitely keeping.  i haven’t done in-depth research, but a quick scan through google seems to indicate that not a lot of companies have made an angled version of these dual fiber stippling brushes.  with the rise of popularity in contouring, i feel like this would be a solid addition to anyone’s arsenal.

overall, i prefer Sigma over Tweezerman’s brushes.  even the lowest grade of Sigma brushes have softer bristles than Tweezerman’s.  they’re also slighter cheaper and perform well.

Readers, are you curious about Tweezerman’s Brush iQ line?  what are some of your favorite brush brands? do you know of any other companies making an angled dual fiber brush?  

Battle of the New Lippies

a few new lip products caught my eye this season.  i’m going to compare and contrast them for you, so you can a better feel about which one will earn your hard earned money.  up for the battle rounds are Lancôme Lip Lover vs Dior Addict Fluid Stick and Yves Saint Laurent’s Baby Doll Kiss and Blush vs Too Faced Melted Liquified Lipsticks. ok, i know YSL vs Too Faced isn’t as fair of a comparison, as one is a multitasking product, but they feel and look similar on the lips.

(L to R)Too Faced, YSL, Lancôme and Dior

Too Faced, YSL, Lancôme and Dior

up for comparison, i have Lancôme Lip Lover in 355 Framboise Etoile and Dior Addict Fluid Stick in 575 Wonderland.  i’m going to compare Framboise Etoile and Wonderland because they’re a little more similar in color.  since my Framboise Etoile was a deluxe sample, i’ve included Lip Lover 334 Corail Cabriole, so you can see what a full size tube looks like

(L to R) Wonderland, Framboise Etoile and Corail Cabriole

(L to R) Wonderland, Framboise Etoile and Corail Cabriole

Lip Lover in 334 Corail Cabriole and 355 Framboise Etoile and Addict Fluid Stick in 575 Wonderland

Lip Lover in 334 Corail Cabriole and 355 Framboise Etoile and Addict Fluid Stick in 575 Wonderland

Lip Lover contains .14oz of product for $23 while Addict Fluid Stick comes with .18oz of product for $35, so Lancôme comes out a little ahead in the product to cost ratio.  Lip Lover has a thin, flexible wand topped with a thin doe foot applicator that comes to a fine point.  the combined elements give you really great control, allowing you to put the color exactly where you’d like.  Addict Fluid Stick comes with a stiff wand, with a rounder and wider applicator than Lip Lover’s.  although it’s not quite as precise as Lip Lover’s, Addict Fluid Stick’s applicator still gives you great control.  it’s also softer and cushier than Lip Lover’s.

Lancôme Lip Lover in Framboise Etoile

Lancôme Lip Lover in Framboise Etoile

Lip Lover 355 Framboise Etoile is a lovely bright berry color appropriate to its name. my 3 years of french in high school tells me that framboise means raspberry, and google translate tells me etoile means star, just in case you were wondering.   it looks like a stain + gloss hybrid.  the pigmentation is good, but there’s also a quality of translucence to it that gives the bright color a very natural, wearable look.  here are some close ups for you to see the effect.

Framboise Etoile on just the bottom lip

Framboise Etoile on just the bottom lip

Lip Lover Close Up

Framboise Etoile lasts quite well through drinks, but after a full meal, only a light stain will remain.  here’s a picture of me after a lunch of salad and finger sandwiches

Framboise Etoile worn down to a stain after lunch

Framboise Etoile worn down to a stain

obviously the look would be more polished if i reapplied, but at least the stain leaves a MLBB look.  the formula feels moisturizing.  the texture is just like an ointment based lip balm such as Kiehl’s (not the waxy kind like Nuxe).  it’s not thick or sticky at all.  this is just the type of product i like to put on in the morning before going out to eat lunch with someone.  there’s enough pigmentation and shine to look polished while the translucence makes it look natural and effortless.  after lunch, there’s enough color from the stain to keep me from looking washed out while i run my errands, if i can’t be bothered to reapply. however, Lip Lover in lighter colors do not stain.  in fact, Corail Cabriole 334 looks just like a mildly pigmented gloss.  (yes, that one is definitely being returned)  you can see it down below.

Lancôme Lip Lover Corail Cabriole on bottom half of lip

Lancôme Lip Lover Corail Cabriole on bottom half of lip

Addict Fluid Stick 575 Wonderland is a bright, deep fuchsia pink.  however, i pull out a lot of red tones in it, so on me it looks almost red.  i’ve seen it on others where it looks like it is in the tube, so this is a color that seem to vary a little from person to person.

Dior Addict Fluid Stick in Wonderland

Dior Addict Fluid Stick in Wonderland

here’s a slightly more color accurate photo.  this is after 2 hours and my lips has touched a mug 3 times.

Wonderland after a couple of hours and drinks

Wonderland after a couple of hours and drinks

it has more of a lipstick + gloss hybrid feel.  it’s more pigmented than Lip Lover, and the gloss has a more high impact, almost lacquer-like shine.  the texture is slightly thicker and tackier than Lip Lover, with a more cushioned feel.  even after 4 hours of having it on and 2-3 drinks later, my lips felt slightly tacky if pressed together. by this time, the gloss has faded and Wonderland looks more like a lipstick.  it takes a meal before Wonderland is taken down to an even stain.  at this point, you can either leave it as is for a natural lip look, throw on some lip gloss, or reapply depending on what kind of look you want to achieve.  the wear time is definitely longer than Lip Lover, and the effect is more sophisticated.  it’s also a little bit more moisturizing than Lip Lover.

so who wins the battle? while i do love my Lip Lover in Framboise Etoile, if push came to shove, i’d have to pick Dior Addict Fluid Sticks over Lancôme Lip Lover. it costs a little more, but i think the effect is more unique (at least in my experience, but my stash of lip products isn’t as robust as my eyeshadows).  i can duplicate the look of Framboise Etoile with a good lip stain and gloss, but i would not be able to duplicate the look and the long wear time of Addict Fluid Sticks without a lot of work.  i have Addict Fluid Stick in Wonderland and Aventure (a nice coral), but i’m already eyeing the lighter colors in the range and wondering if i’ll love them as much.  here’s a picture of Aventure, just in case you’re curious.

Dior Addict Fluid Stick in Aventure

Dior Addict Fluid Stick in Aventure

Too Faced Melted Liquified Long Wear Lipstick is .4oz for $21 while YSL Baby Doll Kiss & Blush Lips and Cheeks is .33oz for $40.  this means you’re paying double for a little less product that will multitask, has prettier packaging, and brand prestige.

Too Faced Melted Lipstick in Peony and YSL Baby Doll Kiss and Blush in 3 Rose Libre

Too Faced Melted Lipstick in Peony and YSL Baby Doll Kiss and Blush in 3 Rose Libre

the tip of Too Faced Melted was soft and easy to use, but the shape was a little too round for precise application on my small lips.  it worked ok in Peony, but i can see myself having trouble if it was a darker color that needed more precise lines.  i also don’t like the fact that it’s in a squeeze tube.  this is a personal preference.  i just don’t like a lip product where the amount that dispenses depends on my motor skills.  it’s fine when i’m not in a rush, or if it’s not early in the morning, but when it is… well, let’s just say sometimes too much product can accidentally dispense and leave it at that 😛 the wand of YSL Baby Doll Kiss and Blush was easy to use.  the pearl bump on both sides of the doe foot applicator gives you the ability to place precise dots of color exactly where you want.  if the hygiene of putting a lip product on your cheeks bothers you, consider using one side of the applicator for your cheeks and the other for your lips.  i recommend using the concave side of the applicator for your lips and the convex side for your cheeks.  why? because the curvature from the convex side allows you to use the pearl bump to place color without the other parts of the doe foot applicator touching your cheek.  otherwise you might end up with two dots of color on your cheeks, one from the pearl bump and the other from the tip of the doe foot.  rest assured that while using the concave side of the applicator for your lips feels counter-intutitative, it still gives you great control of color placement.

(L to R) YSL Rose Libre and Too Faced Peony

(L to R) YSL Rose Libre and Too Faced Peony

Too Faced Melted Liquified Lipsticks in Melted Peony is a pale baby pink.  it’s suppose to deliver the shine of a gloss, the pigmentation of a lipstick, and the lasting power of a stain.

Too Faced Melted Liquified Longwear Lipstick in Peony

Too Faced Melted Liquified Longwear Lipstick in Peony

Too Faced Melted Lipstick in Peony on bottom lip only

Too Faced Melted Lipstick in Peony on bottom lip only

TF Melted Peony Closeup

out of the 3, it only delivered pigmentation for me.  when you’re looking at it up close, the color did have a slight sheen similar to what your faded gloss would look like after a few drinks.  in reality, it looks like a borderline satin finish lipstick.  it’s not quite the matte look of Hourglass’s Opague Rouge Liquid Lipsticks, and it definitely did not have Hourglass’s lasting power.  perhaps in a brighter or darker color, the pigmentation would last longer, but i found Peony started fading on me around the 3 hour mark.  you should also have exfoliated and moisturized lips, as this formula will show any dryness or flaky skin on your lips.  the formula doesn’t feel drying or moisturizing when it goes on.  however, my lips always feel a little dry and a little flaky by the end of the day if i didn’t follow up with something moisturizing after it’s worn off.  its texture is very light, and you don’t feel like you’re wearing anything on your lips unless you press them together.  if you do, you’ll feel a thin oily film with some slip.  there’s a briefly plasticky scent to the product but no taste.

YSL Baby Doll Kiss and Blush #3 Rose Libre

YSL Baby Doll Kiss and Blush #3 Rose Libre on my lips and cheeks

Yves Saint Laurent Baby Doll Kiss and Blush Lips and Cheeks is a multitasking product. on the lips, it has a very soft, silky texture and is slightly more moisturizing than Melted’s formula.  that’s not to say Kiss and Blush is hydrating, just that it’s slightly less drying than Melted.  it both smells and tastes fruity, but the taste doesn’t last for too long.

Kiss and Blush #3 Rose Libre on bottom of lip

Kiss and Blush #3 Rose Libre on bottom of lip

as you can see, it has a satin finish and a mid level of pigment.  its staying power is about the same as Melted, but it does stain a tiny bit better.  Melted tends to look patchy and cracked after it wears off, but Kiss and Blush leaves a barely there stain. again, the staining power might vary in a less MLBB shade.  here’s how Rose Libre looked after a meal.  please excuse the lint 😛

SAMSUNG CSC

i’m not a huge fan of satin or matte finish lip products.  my chronically dry lips just don’t take well to the formula, and both my boyfriend and i prefer a glossier look.  that said, Kiss and Blush’s formula is definitely one of the better ones i’ve tried.  if it were just a lip product, i’d be on the fence about it, but i really enjoy it as a blush.  here’s a close up of how it looks.

YSL Kiss and Blush Rose Libre on lips and cheeks with Benefit Cosmetics High Beam

YSL Kiss and Blush Rose Libre on lips and cheeks with Benefit Cosmetics High Beam

i forgot that i wanted to show you the blush by itself and accidentally threw on some highlighter.  so i’ll show you two more pictures of the blush in a slightly different shade.

YSL Kiss and Blush #2 Rose Frivole on my lips and cheeks

YSL Kiss and Blush #2 Rose Frivole on my lips and cheeks

kiss and blush 2 profile

this is how Kiss and Blush #2 Rose Frivole looks on top of some bb cream.  there’s no highlighting or contouring, so you can see the effect of Kiss and Blush on its own.  the formula of Kiss and Blush really shines as a blush.  the application is easy and foolproof. the pigment blends out evenly across the cheeks regardless of whatever tool you use. i’ve tried it with my beauty blender, a synthetic domed brush, and my fingers.  all provided excellent results.  since it blends out so effortlessly, i prefer blending it out with my fingers.  the blush melds into the skin and gives a subtle luminous glow.  it mimics the effect of a subtle highlighter or diffusing finishing powder.  the glow from this blush gives the face a little extra dimension that regular blushes can not achieve on their own.  the color intensity is easily buildable.  depending on the shade of the color i’m using and the intensity i want, i gently tap 3-5 small dots of color from the pearl bumper.

the versatility of Kiss and Blush makes it a great addition to your arsenal if you’re traveling.  i can definitely see myself packing just this for lips, cheek and highlight if i’m going somewhere for up to a week.  any longer than that, the color addict/pack rat in me starts demanding more products be taken along, just in case.

while YSL Kiss and Blush is twice the cost Too Faced Melted, for me it’s the clear winner.  Kiss and Blush’s formula performs better on the lips as well as being an incredible cheek product.  if you’re a product minimalist, it can even replace your highlighter.

Readers, did any of these catch your eye?  what finish do you prefer for your lip products? anyone else think that companies are confusing product names and product description? what’s with these excessively long product names that insist on telling you everything about it in the name itself?

Lighten Up: Marc Jacobs Remedy Concealer Pen

a few weeks ago, the weather warmed up to summer temperatures for a week, and it reminded me that i should look into revamping my makeup stash for base products with lighter textures.  i was actually searching for a new bb cream or a medium coverage foundation at Sephora, but the only product i fell in love with that day was the Remedy Concealer Pen.

Remedy Concealer Pen

Remedy Concealer Pen

Remedy Concealer Pen hides and brightens the under eye area. it’s also formulated with anti-aging and hydrating ingredients.  i have noticed my eye area looking a little less dry, but it could also be the weather not being as dry lately or the fact that i switched back to one of my preferred eye creams.  in the picture below, i’m using Remedy Concealer Pen in color 1 Rendezvous.  it comes in 6 other shades plus 2 universal shades, one for correcting and the other for brightening.  the universal shades seems pointless to me since Remedy Concealer Pen is marketed as an all-in-one that’s supposed to correct and brighten already.

Remedy Concealer Pen on left side of eyelid and under eye

Remedy Concealer Pen on left side of eyelid and under eye

Remedy Concealer Pen blends easily and well into my skin.  there is a patented palladium tip that’s supposed to cool and smooth the skin (yes, their website says smooth, not soothe), but let’s face it, that’s not an ideal application method for a good finish.  one click gives me enough product to cover both eyes.  i like to apply with my Sigma P84 Precision Angled brush.    i also like to use a little bit all over my eyelids to help neutralize the color from my veins.  you can see it really helps to brighten up the face and makes things look more even.

CU of Remedy Pen

here’s a close up for you to see the difference.

Remedy Concealer Pen on both sides

Remedy Concealer Pen on both sides

here, you can see the difference when i’ve concealed both sides, adding a little blush and lip stain.  on quick days, i’ll add some winged liner and mascara and call it a day.  i feel the brightening effect makes my eyes look a little larger.  when i bought it in the store, i thought the effect was nice, but i didn’t expect i would fall so hard for this product.  to date, it’s the only concealer that i’ve happily reached for every day.  previously, concealer was something i only pulled out for especially bad days of acne or dark circles or special occasions when i wanted to look flawless.  i love how natural the finish is.  it never creases and feels somewhat hydrating.

MJ RC Pen meter

Remedy Concealer Pen also features a window that lets you see how much product you have left.  i appreciate this detail, as concealer is an important staple you never want to find out you ran out the morning of!  i’ll also note that it takes two clicks of the pen before the first pump of product comes out.  it never varies, at least in the month that i’ve been using it, so there will never be the frustration of multiple clicks and no product, followed by an excessive amount gushing out.

Readers, what do you think?  share with me your favorite products and tricks for looking more awake! 

Eve Lom Cleanser: The Perfect Multitasker

with the discovery of my holy grail mascara topcoat, Anastasia Lash Genius, i had to start the hunt for the perfect makeup remover.  after 2 months of searching and over 10 products tried, i’m happy to introduce to you Eve Lom Cleanser, another holy grail product.

Eve Lom Cleanser

Eve Lom Cleanser

Eve Lom Cleanser is a balm cleanser.  it’s solid in the container but melts into an oil with the heat of your skin.  it’s great for sensitive eyes.  i’ve rubbed this all over my eyes, right up against the lash line and on my lashes, and continued watching a tv show with no problems (this is what happens when you misjudge the time you have during commercials when watching korean dramas :P)  i prefer using an oil based cleanser, as i feel the extra slip from the oil gives me added assurance that i’m being as gentle as i possibly can in the delicate eye area.  the instructions include a 7 step facial massage to encourage lymphatic drainage, but i rarely bother with that as i’m usually pretty tired by the time makeup removal comes around.  i massage a quarter sized amount on my face.  if i have a lot of eye makeup or if my skin is dry and absorbed some of the oil, i take an extra dab, on my clean pinky finger, for my eyes.

the amount i use over my entire face

the amount i use over my entire face

additional amount i use if needed on my eyes

additional amount i use if needed on my eyes

i gently massage it onto my eyelid, concentrating on my eyeliner and lashes for 10 seconds.  sometimes i like to let it sit there while i brush my teeth so my skin benefits from prolonged contact with the beneficial ingredients, but you can, and i have, rinsed it off right away.  to rinse off, i soak the included muslin cloth in warm water and hold it up to my face for 3 seconds so that the heat can open up my pores.  then, i hold it right up against my eyes and lashes for another 3 seconds to give it extra help melting off the mascara.  i repeat this 3 times.  i really love this part of my cleansing ritual as the heat is so relaxing and soothing.  next, use the muslin cloth to gently rub off the cleanser going in small circular motions to give your face a mild exfoliation.  lastly, rinse all the makeup off your muslin cloth, soak it in cold water, and press it to your face to close your pores.  Eve Lom Cleanser rinses off cleanly without stripping your face.  it’s not squeaky clean but there’s no filmy residue.

of course, Eve Lom Cleanser isn’t the only balm cleanser on the market. Ren, Josie Maran, and Omorovicza are amongst some of the ones that i’ve sampled. Ren stung my eyes. Josie Maran and Omorovicza didn’t rinse off as cleanly. they both left behind a slight oily film on the skin that I didn’t like. Eve Lom Cleanser doesn’t have this problem; in fact, it even rinses off cleanly with cold water.

i love the convenience of Eve Lom Cleanser.  because it’s a balm formula, i never have to worry about leakage in my toiletry bag.  it’s space saving since i’m carrying one product instead of 3 (makeup remover, cotton pads and cleanser)  you don’t even have to pack your muslin cloth if you don’t want to.  Eve Lom Cleanser rinses off cleanly without the cloth although it takes a little longer.  i take a smaller sized one that came with a sample of the cleanser that i got from Space NK.  it dries super fast because of how thin it is, even in very humid cities.  i like to wrap the cloth around whatever is most expensive in my skincare routine at the moment to give it a little extra protection.

the price of the cleanser does give a little sticker shock.  it comes in 1.6 oz for $50, 3.3 oz for $80 and 6.8oz for $135.  you do save some from not needing makeup remover and cotton pads.  savings will vary depending on what you used before.  i purchased it in the 3.3 oz but now i really regret not springing for the 6.8oz.  guess i’ll put it on the list for the next time a sephora sale comes around.

 

Readers, what do you think?  do you like an all-in-one product or do you find that they do not measure up to their separate counterparts?

Laura Mercier’s Summer In St Tropez: Limited Edition Baked Eye Color Quad

Laura Mercier's Limited Edition: Summer In St. Tropez

Laura Mercier’s Limited Edition: Summer In St. Tropez

i have to say i’m very conflicted about this quad.  it’s probably one of those items that i know i should return, but i just can’t bear to.  look at it!  aren’t the colors gorgeous? then you notice it’s half the size of an iPhone 5.  the price of this is $44 for .07oz.  as a point of comparison, Laura Mercier’s single baked shadows are $24 for .06oz.  this means you’re paying almost twice as much for an extra .01oz of shadow and color variation.  i don’t know about you, but i’m thinking that makes it pretty poor value.  maybe i would have felt slightly better if there weren’t 3 shades of blue in the quad.  another color in place of the teal would have given it more versatility.  however, all 4 colors are unique in the baked shadows collection.

L to R: Pearly Pale blue, Matte Teal Blue, Pearly Dark Bronze, Deep Cobalt Blue

L to R: Pearly Pale blue, Matte Teal Blue, Pearly Dark Bronze, Deep Cobalt Blue

this is what the palette looks like with 3 swipes from my shadow brush, no primer.

L to R: Pearly Pale blue, Matte Teal Blue, Pearly Dark Bronze, Deep Cobalt Blue

L to R: Pearly Pale blue, Matte Teal Blue, Pearly Dark Bronze, Deep Cobalt Blue

when used wet, the colors become a lot more vibrant and lust worthy.

Matte Teal Blue and Pearly Dark Bronze Inner Corner Pearly Pale Blue over Matte Teal Blue

Inner Corner Pearly Pale Blue over Matte Teal Blue, Matte Teal Blue and Pearly Dark Bronze. Wet Cobalt Blue on lower lash line

this is how it looks when the colors are applied dry.  so far, nothing impressive.  in fact, sometimes it applied a little patchy, and i noticed the Matte Teal Blue fading a bit after 5 hours or so.  based on this look, i would have sent the palette back pronto!

Matte Teal Blue and Pearly Dark Bronze Inner Corner Pearly Pale Blue over Matte Teal Blue

Inner Corner Pearly Pale Blue over Matte Teal Blue, Matte Teal Blue and Pearly Dark Bronze. Wet Cobalt Blue on lower lash line

here’s a close up of that look.  i lined the lower lash line with the wet version of Cobalt Blue.  you can see how it intensifies the color.

wet versions of Pearly Pale Blue, Pearly Dark Bronze and Deep Cobalt Blue

wet versions of Pearly Pale Blue, Pearly Dark Bronze and Deep Cobalt Blue

here’s a look i did when i played with most of the colors wet.  isn’t it a dramatic difference?  the shimmers show up a lot more, and the colors not only intensify but develop depth and interest.  it creates a really high impact look.  i’ve been playing with makeup seriously for a year now and asking my boyfriend to grade my looks.  this look was the first look that earned a 10.  first look in a year guys!!

to create this look, i used my Sigma E57 and E20s.  i ran a finger through water and used the water droplets on my finger to damp the brush and patted/swirled the damp brush on the color.  don’t make the bristles too wet, otherwise the color will turn into a water color texture that’s a bit too runny to work with easily.  it did take a little time to build, but i haven’t had a lot of experience working with foiled eye shadows.

so i bet you’re wondering what’s my conclusion for this palette.  for myself, i’m going to keep it.  i feel slightly guilty about it, but i’m keeping it for 3 reasons:

1.  i’ve been looking for a good cobalt blue, and when wetted, Deep Cobalt Blue fits the bill.

2.  look at how satisfying the Pearly Dark Bronze is!  the sparkle, dimension, and intensity just can’t be beat.

3.  i can’t return the palette that earned my first 10 from my boyfriend.  it now has historical and sentimental value!

but what about my recommendation for you?  like i mentioned before, it doesn’t have great value, it’s not the easiest to work with and lacks versatility, since it’s mostly blue.  i’d say skip it, and save your money for something better unless you fell instantly in love/lust with 2 of the colors, and you really don’t have something similar in your collection.  if you sleep on it for a couple nights and you just can’t get it out of your head, then be my guest.

Readers, what do you think?  is it worth it?  do you have similar colors in your collection?  leave me a comment down below!

Bulletproofing Your Mascara

today, i’d like to share with you a product that ended all my mascara woes.  you see, i have extremely oily lids, which smudge pretty much all formulations of mascaras, except tubes.  the trouble with tubes is sometimes they shed at the most inopportune times.  also, i just like playing the field.  i want to be able to use whatever mascara catches my eye instead of limiting myself to a small selection due to my special needs.  enter Anastasia Beverly Hills Lash Genius Waterproof Topcoat! (cue light from the heavens and singing angels)

 

Anastasia Lash Genius Waterproof Topcoat

Anastasia Lash Genius Waterproof Topcoat

now, this is the product that will save you from mascara-smudged raccoon eyes! (please note, if it’s your liner, that’s an entirely different topic)  this topcoat also makes your mascara flake proof and waterproof, so no more carefully dripping half an eye drop into your dry eyes!  you can feel free to use as much as needed.  Lash Genius gives you the confidence in knowing nothing will make your mascara less than perfect until you are ready to take it off!

it goes on clear and without clumping.  i also use it by itself on my lower lashes to give them some definition.  it can also double duty as a brow gel, keeping your unruly brows in place.

now, the drawback of bulletproofing your mascara is that it will be a little harder to take off.  i prefer oil-based cleansers for taking it off, because i feel the slip from the oil lessens the tug of makeup removal on the delicate skin.  apply your oil cleanser and gently rub it into the lashes for a few seconds.  at this point, i like to switch to brushing my teeth while the oils break down the coating and the rest of my makeup.  it’s not necessary, just my preference.  if you’re not using an oil-base makeup remover, i like to soak the cotton ball and hold it up against my eyes and lashes for 10-15 seconds before gently rubbing off the makeup.  it may take a few extra passes, and while this sounds troublesome, it’s not really that much extra work.  to me, the benefits definitely outweigh the little extra time spent taking it off.

Lash Genius is definitely a holy grail product for me.  it is somewhat pricy at $21, but i consider it a worthy investment.  it gives me the ability to wear whatever mascara i want without carrying around a bunch of q-tips to fix the smear and having to check the mirror every couple of hours.

Readers, do you have trouble with mascara smearing? what do you do to prevent this? do you consider a clear coat a good investment? leave me a comment down below!

Eye Palettes in Divergent Multi-Piece Collector’s Kit

today, i’m going to give an in-depth look at the eye palettes included in the Divergent Multi-Piece Collector’s Kit.  there are 3 palettes named after the factions in the books: abnegation, erudite and dauntless.  each palette comes with 4 shades and 1 transformer shade.  what is a transformer shade you ask? basically a glitter shade for you to mix with the other colors for a different effect.  since tris, the heroine, was born into abnegation, let’s start with that.

Abnegation Eye Palette

Abnegation Eye Palette

 

L to R: Altruistic Almond, Golden Honesty, Intrepid Moss, Bold Expresso, Transform

L to R: Altruistic Almond, Golden Honesty, Intrepid Moss, Bold Expresso, Transform

 

Golden Honesty, Intrepid Moss and Bold Expresso. Moss and Transformer on lower lash line

Golden Honesty, Intrepid Moss and Bold Expresso. Intrepid Moss and Transformer on lower lash line

The four regular shades in this palette are all nicely pigmented, goes on smoothly, and blends out well.  Altruistic Almond is a matte, skin-toned beige.  use this color as a highlight under your brows or over your entire eye to establish an even base for the other colors.  it’s slightly darker than Urban Decay’s Foxy.  Urban Decay’s Habit is very similar in shade but pinker in tone.  Golden Honesty is a very pale yellow gold.  i used it as an inner corner highlight in my look, but it’d make for a really good lid color too.  i really love how it brightens the eyes.  Intrepid Moss is a shimmery, muted olive green.  it’s a great medium shade that you can do a lot of different things with.  here i’ve used to to transition between Golden Honesty and Bold Expresso.  another idea would be to pair it with Dauntless Ink in the Dauntless Eye Palette to create a smokier night look. Bold Expresso is a dark matte brown.  this is a nice basic dark color that plays nicely with the Abnegation and Erudite Palettes.  blend it out for a day time look, like i’ve done, or build it up to your heart’s content.  the glitter shade in this palette is Transform.  it’s the worst out of the 3 transformer shades but, by no means, a complete dud.  it looks silver in the pan but is really more like a clear coat with silver particles.  i used it on top of Intrepid Moss on the lower lash line, and you can see it just adds a little bit more glitter to the look.  there wasn’t really much fall-out when used with my Sigma E20S (improved short shader) even when i brushed it on instead of patting it on.

i love the colors of the Erudite Palette, but i have a major gripe with the names.  the erudite faction wore blue and valued intelligence and knowledge.  they studied, experimented, and engineered.  do the colors or names in the palette reflect that?  not to me!  if i had to choose, i would have named this palette amity.

Erudite Eye Palette

Erudite Eye Palette

L to R: Choose, Humble Sheen, Peaceful Shimmer, Radiant Initation, Burnt Mahogany.

L to R: Choose, Humble Sheen, Peaceful Shimmer, Radiant Initation, Burnt Mahogany.

Humble Sheen, Peaceful Shimmer, Burnt Mahogany. Choose on inner corner Peaceful Shimmer on lower lash line

Humble Sheen, Peaceful Shimmer, Burnt Mahogany. Choose on inner corner
Peaceful Shimmer on lower lash line

Choose, the transformer glitter shade for this palette, is a sheer pink glitter.  it’s not pigmented on its own but will give a pink tint to what it’s on top of.  it’s less patchy than Transform.  there’s also no fall-out issue, if you use a light hand, even if you brush instead of press on the glitter.  i was pretty impressed by this.  Humble Sheen is a shimmery vanilla beige. Peaceful Shimmer, the transition color you see in the middle, is a shimmery peach.  Urban Decay Chopper is quite similar but Peaceful Shimmer has a little bit more peach and a tinge of pink to it.  it’s a beautiful color that causes me to reach for this palette often.  Burnt Mahogany is a rich, red, shimmery brown.  it’s very pigmented and easily blended out.  it’s a very satisfying color and my second favorite of all the eye colors in this collection.  all three of the colors that i mentioned above are buttery in texture, rich in pigment, and easy to work with.  in fact, i feel these 3 shades are just a tiny bit better in quality than all the rest of the eye shadows in the collection. Radiant Initiation, however, is slightly less pigmented.  it only takes a couple of extra passes though so no huge complaints here.  Radiant Initiation is a pale taupe with a light sheen. use it for an every day nude look, or use it to help blend out the dark edges of your smokey looks.  i’ve used it for a nude look below.

Humble Sheen in inner corner, Radiant Initiation, Abnegation Stone

Humble Sheen in inner corner, Radiant Initiation, Abnegation Stone

Dauntless, the faction tris moves to, is the last of the eye palettes.  this is a very dark, smokey palette where even the transformer glitter shade is pigmented.

Dauntless Eye Palette

Dauntless Eye Palette

Erudite Sapphire with Dauntless Ink. Serene Vanilla with Transform on top. Transform dabbed in center. Diverge on lower lash line

Erudite Sapphire with Dauntless Ink. Serene Vanilla with Transform on top. Transform dabbed in center.
Diverge on lower lash line

i did an arm swatch of this palette too, but all of them came out so inaccurate i decided not to post them.  Serene Vanilla is a light creme with slight sheen,  i prefer to keep it on the inner corners or on my lid but you can also use it to highlight under your brow. it’s buttery texture makes it easy to apply.  Erudite Sapphire is a deep smoky midnight blue with a slight sheen.  unless you’re really packing it on or using a base under it, it’s going to look a little darker than it looks in the pan.  Dauntless Ink is a matte black.  it’s not quite as pigmented as Urban Decay’s Blackout, but it’s still quite pigmented.  it’s more pigmented than the black in my Smashbox eye shadow trio in Twilight and my Bobby Brown Day To Night palette in Caviar.  Erudite Sapphire and Dauntless Ink are both easy to work with although not as buttery as some of the other eye shadows. Diverge is this palette’s transformer glitter and is a sparkly, smokey olive green.  it has some pigment on its own, but i still prefer to layer it on top of another color or else do a couple of extra passes.  in the look above, Diverge is on its own in the first third of my lower lashline and on top of Dauntless Ink on the rest.  i have a small obsession with green so this is my favorite transformer shade.  again, there was minimal fall-out even when brushed on.

Abnegation with Dauntless Ink in outer corner.  Humble Sheen on top.

Abnegation Stone with Dauntless Ink in outer corner. Humble Sheen on top.

Abnegation Stone is a shimmery medium taupe that’s buildable to dark.  it’s more buttery in texture than Erudite Sapphire and Dauntless Ink.  the shimmer gives it nice dimension and interest, making it my favorite of this palette.

i really enjoyed most of the colors in this collection.  though, i wish it had come out during winter season instead of now, when i’m tired of smokey looks and nudes and ready for bright colors.  as i’ve said before, i think the collection has great value.  there aren’t really any duds that i would avoid.  just a couple that take a little extra work.  the lip glosses are probably the most disappointing part of the collection.  they don’t really do anything besides moisturize my lips; though, they are good at doing that!  this collection has really changed my mind about the quality of Sephora’s eyeshadows, and i’d definitely encourage you to pick it up if you like the colors and can find it in stock.

Readers, what do you think of this collection? did you enjoy the looks? leave a comment down below!

Wearable Radiant Orchid Lips

spring is here and i’m finally ready to hop onto the radiant orchid wagon.  we were in the depth of winter when Pantone announced this bright color of the year and i just wasn’t in the mood for it.  i don’t care that i live in sunny los angeles where it’s practically summer year round.  i still like to act like there are seasons to pay attention to!  the weather was super nice today so i wanted a more colorful look when i got dressed for brunch! i slapped on some purple eye shadow and made it pop by lining the inner bottom half of my eyes with a green liner. To complete the look, i decided to do a radiant orchid lip! which leads me to introducing to you: L’Oréal Color Caresse Wet Shine Stain in Berry Persistent #186 and Buxom Full-On Lip Cream in Purple Haze.

L to R: L'Oreal Berry Persistent and Buxom Purple Haze

L to R: L’Oréal Berry Persistent and Buxom Purple Haze

L’Oréal Berry Persistence is a hybrid stain and gloss formula.  it goes on with the thin slippery feel of a wet gloss and has a light shine with color staying about 4 hours or so on me. depending on the color, sometimes i have some very light staining left after eating but usually not.  Buxom is my go-to brand for lip gloss.  Purple Haze is a nice cream gloss with a medium level of pigment and shine.  the formula goes on tingly and is very moisturizing on the lips.  it’s slightly thick but not tacky.

T to B: L'Oréal Berry Persisent and Buxom Purple Haze

T to B: L’Oréal Berry Persisent and Buxom Purple Haze

here’s what they look like on my lips.  i left the top lip bare for comparison’s sake.

Buxom Purple Haze

Buxom Purple Haze

Purple Haze Close-up

Purple Haze Close-up

as you can see, Purple Haze is just pigmented enough to give your lips a nice shade of purple for that radiant orchid look but sheer enough for your lip color to show through for a natural look.

L'Oréal Berry Persistent

L’Oréal Berry Persistent

B Persistent Closeup

Berry Persisent Closeup

L’Oréal Berry Persistent has a bit more pigment but the color leans towards a berry purple with a little less shine than a full on gloss.  it actually looks a bit more purple in real life.  sorry, i’m still working on my photography skills.

stack them together and you get my take of radiant orchid.

Berry Persistent with Purple Haze

Berry Persistent with Purple Haze

close up of the two

close up of the two

i like the two combined together because i feel they round each other out.  Berry Persistent gives a little more pigmentation covering up the pink of my natural lip, and Purple Haze lends the proper purple tones of a radiant orchid look and adds shine to give the color dimension.

Buxom Purple Haze can be purchased at Sephora for $19.

L’Oréal Berry Persistence can be found at a number of places and retails for $9.99.

 

Readers, what do you think?  are you into the radiant orchid trend? how do you like to incorporate it into your look?

Divergent Multi-Piece Collector’s Kit by Divergent Cosmetics Overview

at first i wasn’t very interested in this, but since my boyfriend is a divergent fan, i forwarded the link for him to look at when i got notified of this by Sephora.  “you should totally get it and review it on your blog!” he replied excitedly.  i wasn’t convinced at first, but as i mulled it over slowly, the idea took hold.  it did seem kind of symbolic in a way, drawing a nice parallel to my life.  like the heroine of the novel, i too, am embarking on a new journey trying to discover different facets of myself while fighting off my insecurities (when do we get to grow out of that?!). ok, that’s enough about me!  onto the makeup! i’m going to break this up into an overview of contents plus an in depth look at the Divergent Cheek palette and lip glosses.  stay tuned for the eyeshadow palettes!

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The Collector’s Kit comes very nicely in an outer box with a magnetic snap.  even if you haven’t read the books and don’t understand the significance of the ferris wheel, it’s still makes for a pleasing image.

SAMSUNG CSCopen the box and you find an exciting amount of makeup for $59.50.  there are 3 palettes of eye shadows with a total of 15 shades, 1 cheek palette with 2 blushes, a highlight and a bronzer, 4 lip glosses, and a double-ended angled cheek brush and pointed blending eye brush. just as a brief point of comparison, there’s slightly more eye shadow in these palettes than Urban Decay’s Naked 3.  3 double-sided look cards are tucked into a pocket on the back of top lid.

SAMSUNG CSCclearly all the effort in packaging and design went into the box and palettes.  i haven’t recreated the suggested looks, but my gripe is with how the colors in the look cards are represented.  you can’t tell from a casual look the color difference in the looks between some of the cards.  in fact, i gave them to the boyfriend to look over, and he thought the card with the lighter colors was actually a darker, smokier look.  i mean, what’s the point of a look card if i can’t get a sense of what the look is?  color is a major part of that! if i have to hold the look cards next to the palette and see what colors they’re talking about then you might as well not have bothered with the picture.  please give me a venn diagram type look card with the colors clearly delineated!

SAMSUNG CSCthe palettes stack together to reform the ferris wheel.  not that i’d store them this way, but i still appreciate the remarkable amount of thought that went into the package design.

SAMSUNG CSC the palettes snap out vertically in case you want to take a different transformer (glitter) shade with your favorite faction palette.  before you moan about fallout, the transformer colors are surprisingly high quality. i’ve actually had less fall out with these than some urban decay shades (i’m glaring at you, anarchy face palette!).

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L to R: Urban Decay, Divergent, Sigma F40HD, Crown

this double-ended brush is great! it blends just as nicely as my Crown, Sigma, and Urban Decay angled brushes.  it’s softer than my Urban Decay, very similar in density, and the head is a little smaller and more of an elongated oval shape.  compared to my Crown brush, it’s not quite as soft but denser.  shape wise, it’s pretty similar with the Divergent brush just a little more elongated.  the Sigma F40 with HD filament (the bunny ones) is slightly softer with a smaller, narrower head than the Divergent brush.

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L to R: Sigma E40, Divergent, Urban Decay Naked2, Sigma E38

i can’t say much for the other end as i’m not skilled enough to manipulate that large of a brush on my small lids.  i’m guessing you can use it as a diffused crease brush.

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L to R:Fear not, Temptation’s Choice, Natural Virtue and Supreme Ritual

does the packaging of that gloss look familiar to you?  i thought maybe sephora teamed up with Hourglass to make this line.  i chatted with some of the Sephora makeup artists, and they told me it was designed by the Sephora pro artists who just really loved hourglass’ packaging… in any case, the lip glosses are slightly minty and cooling on the lips (much milder than buxom) and sadly not as pigmented as they look. they’re mostly going to give your lips some shine and some moisture. the texture is light and not tacky.  i swatched them on my bare lips, but you couldn’t really tell one from the other.  thus i’ll save you the unnecessary photo spam.

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T to B: Supreme Ritual, Natural Virtue, Temptation’s Choice, Fear Not

in the pictures below, i’ve put lipstick on my lips and layered the glosses only on my bottom lip so you can get a better idea of how they can subtly change the color on your lips.

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Fear Not

Fear Not is a mauve brown pink with a tiny bit of gold shimmer in the tube.  swatched, it looks more like a pretty berry.  it gives the barest tint of berry on bare lips.  on my pink lipstick, it’s just adding a bit of shine for dimension.  it’s the most pigmented out of the bunch.

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Supreme Ritual

Supreme Ritual is the other end of the 4 lipgloss spectrum.  it’s a creamy, milky, pale, peach nude with shimmer.  you can see that it doesn’t really tone the pink down much at all.

temptation's choice

Temptation’s Choice

Temptation’s Choice has the most shimmer of all the glosses and is a peach champagne gloss.  you can see a bit more of the sparkles in the left corner but like i said before, these are all very natural glosses that don’t have much pigmentation or shimmer and makes the lips shiny rather than glossy.

natural virtue

Natural Virtue

Natural Virtue is a mauve nude.  it’s more pigmented than Supreme Ritual so you can see it managed to nude out the pink on my lips just a little.

SAMSUNG CSC the Divergent Cheek palette is my favorite out of the whole collection. with one sweep of whatever blush brush i pick up, i can pick up the perfect amount of pigment for a good natural flush that blends out easily. sometimes, i dab just a little bit more, so it shows up a little easier on camera.  if that’s case i’m just gently tapping my brush onto the blush instead of sweeping through.  i like it just as much, if not more, as my Tarte Off The Cuff palette, but it may be new toy syndrome.  i love the simplicity of the two shades.  they’re no brainer shades that go with everything.  the radiant glow illuminator in gleaming pearl really lives up to the first part of its name.  it gives a nice, natural healthy skin glow.  i forgot it in my first day of eye looks, and the difference between those pictures and the looks after were noticeable.

SAMSUNG CSC this is me with the Abnegation palette, Obscure Coral, and Intelligent Bronze (is it anal if i felt the bronzer should have been associated with amity and not erudites?).  i used 1 sweep then dabbed on a bit extra because it didn’t show well on my lcd screen and i thought it needed amping, but it didn’t.  this is more pigmented than how i like to wear my every day looks.

SAMSUNG CSC this is me with a look from the Erudite palette (didn’t erudites wear blue? why is there no blue in the Erudite palette?), Misty rose and Gleaming Pearl but no bronzer. overall, i’m very pleased with my Collector’s Kit. i think it has great value and would be a great starter kit for someone’s neutrals collection, a fan of divergent, or a nude collector.  i’d happily pack one of faction eye palettes and the cheek palette for a weekend trip. Abnegation and Erudite eye palettes have nice colors that blend out well and build up nicely, making it fool proof for beginners and versatile for pros.  Dauntless eye palette rounds out the collection with all dark, smokey colors.  please visit back soon for a more in-depth look at the eye palettes and a look from the erudite palette!  i know it’s sold out right now online, but it is going to be restocked.  if you’re in the pasadena area, the Sephora there gets shipments every tuesday and thursday.

Readers, tell me what you think! are you a divergent fan?  do you own any of the Divergent line or waiting to get your hands on one? not a fan? leave your thoughts down below!