Tuesday, May 15, 2012

MUA Love Hearts Nails

Posted by iamglamourpuss at 3:08 PM
This review looked like it was going to be a "gimme."  I love MUA products from the UK.  I love Love Hearts candy, also from the UK.  And I LOVE nail polish.  I ordered 3 of the Love Hearts colors and they are really pretty!  I got "I Want U", which is an orange.  "U & I" is a lovely buttercup color.  And "Love U 24/7" is a medium purple.  All of these colors are creams.

The first thing I couldn't help but notice was that the brushes are not the best.

As you can see, the purple and orange brushes are spread out with strays coming off the side.  The yellow one has an uneven slant to it.  In any event, all of the brushes are very course, which made for not optimal application.  As you can see, with two coats, there are very visible lines in the polish left by the brush.  Once I saw this, my review of this product was over.

And just to show this is NOT an isolated case, I bought a glitter crackle polish by MUA while I was in England.

Part of me hopes this is just a fluke, part of me wants to demand replacement polishes.  These brushes are unacceptable.  I love the colors, but I doubt I'll use them.  And I have to remember that these only cost 1 pound,, about $1.60 or so.  So I suppose I have to remind myself that you get what you pay for.  I just expected more from MUA since I like their other products so much.  

Royal Brush Promotion

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Brush Is A Brush Is A..?

Posted by iamglamourpuss at 12:36 AM
It's easy to feel inundated with information and confusion when it comes to make-up brushes.  First of all, THERE ARE SO MANY!  You can them individually or in sets.  You can get synthetic ones (also known as vegan) or natural bristle ones.  There a regular ones, travel ones and pro ones.  You can read blog after blog and still not be any clearer.  What one person likes, another person may not.

Honestly, I like to apply my make-up with my fingers.  *GASP*  But brushes are a necessary tool to use some types of products or to achieve certain looks.  My philosophy is simple, I like neat brushes that apply make-up cleanly and feel good on my skin.  I have switched my personal brushes over to all synthetic.  They are very soft, easy to clean and don't tend to get brittle like some natural bristles may over time.

But even with that criteria, I find myself wanting to snatch up every brush friends of mine rave about.  It truly is overwhelming.  So, I have purchased more brushes for myself over the past year than I have EVER.  And here are some of my observations.  Be sure to consider what your brush needs are.  They may be different from mine.

The set that I purchased first was the pink synthetic, Brush Away Cancer set from Crown Brush.  I got it on sale on HauteLook.com.  When it came in, the first thing I was bowled over by was that the brush roll smelled awful.  It smelled very chemical-y, kind of like paint or a solvent.  The outside is a cool-toned pink, faux patent-leather vinyl.  The inside of the roll is a warm, pearly pink, faux-leather.  I actually left this set out for a while so the smell could die down.  The brushes are white with pink tips.  The barrels are pink and the wooden handles are a soft, pearly pink.

This set includes (L-R):  Pointed liner, lash spoolie, brow comb, smudger, lip, 
angle liner, concealer, crease, shadow, foundation, blush and powder brushes.

Overall, this set is nice for the price.  I got it for $25 and I know that Crown Brush regularly has all sorts of fab sales on their site, so you could always snatch these or a similar set up for a good price.  (As of today, 5/7, the brushes are on sale for $23.96.)

The next set I acquired was the Mrs. Bunny travel set by Sigma brushes.  Oh my gosh, there was SO much hype when these launched.  Everyone raved about how cute they are and if you didn't like the colors, they came in the black, Mr. Bunny set too!  Sigma has a great reputation, although I had never used them before so they were new to me.  The first thing that gets you is the price tag.  The full set is $109.  The travel set is  $59.  I got these as a Christmas gift because there is no way I could splurge that much on myself.  (I am too much of a hardcore bargain-hunter.)  I know that Sigma offers a coupon code once month, but it's never going to be a really large discount, gauging from past coupons.

This set includes (L-R):  Large powder, large angled contour, foundation, tapered blending, 
eye shading, small angle, pencil and the freebie blending (not synthetic) brushes.  

The Sigma brushes come in a cylindrical, baby blue leatherette case that has a top that snaps on.  It's a good case for traveling and it can double as a brush holder on your vanity, bathroom counter, desk, whatever.  The brushes have shorter handles since they are travel brushes.  They are also synthetic and very soft.  I can say, however, that the whole pink/blue color scheme was not as cute in person as I had anticipated.  What I do like is that this set left out what I consider to be "throw away" brushes...the plastic brow comb, the mascara wand-style spoolie brush and the worst one of all, the sponge-tipped applicator.  Ick.  Now if we are talking about the metal sort of lash comb, that's one thing.  But these plastic things just don't belong in my brush stash.  It's filler.  A way to make a larger set without the cost of adding actual brushes.

The next set that I simply could NOT resist is the Royal & Langnickel Pink Brush Essentials.  Wow, does this set look cool!  There are quite a few options when buying it.  You can get it in a natural or synthetic set.  You can get full-sized brushes in a roll or a travel set that comes in a bifold holder that folds and zips.  The regular price on these is just under $50.  But they are on sale as of today (5/7) for $29.99.  The synthetic brushes are pink with black tips.  They are undeniably cool.  The brush roll is a hot pink/magenta, faux-snakeskin on the outside and a black faux-snakeskin on the inside.

This set includes (L-R): Powder, blush, finishing fan, eye shader LG, eye shader MD, smudger, concealer, angled brow, detail liner, sponge, lash brush spoolie, brow/lash comb and foundation brushes.

I truly do love how these brushes look.  As you can see, there's a spoolie, a lash/brow comb and the dreaded sponge-tipped applicator.  The other brush I think is questionable for a roll is the large fan.  A roll is made to fold up and be compact, a fan brush isn't.  And this one is large enough that you'll probably need to switch it with one of the other brushes to make sure it isn't caught in a fold.  A fan brush that isn't flat isn't good.  These brushes are very soft too.  But I am going to do some side-by-side comparisons in a minute, which is where I will get more in depth.  

The last brush set I picked up on a whim.  I was in England recently and went to the Models Own kiosk at the Westfield Shopping Center at Shepherd's Bush.  I went to buy nail polish, but I left with nail polish and a cute travel brush set that has 5 neon orange brushes.

This set includes (L-R):  Blush, eyeshadow, smudger, lip and angled liner brushes.
This was around $16.  The color got me.  I'm such a sucker for packaging.  These brushes are synthetic and soft.  But now let's get down to business.

The Blush Brushes

  Top to Bottom and L-R:  Royal & Langnickel, Crown Brush, Sigma and Models Own.

The Sigma and Crown brushes are angled.  As you can see the R&L and the Sigma brushes are the "poofiest." The Crown and Models Own are not as fluffy.  What does this mean?  It depends on how you look at it.  When it comes to shape, some people tend to use angled brushes for contouring, but honestly, you can apply blush to the apples or your cheeks OR create a shaded contour with either brush.  It's a gimmick.  As for the fluff factor, some people like fluffy brushes because they are softer.  Some people like brushes that are more dense because they usually pick up more product, hence putting down more product on the skin when in use.  While the Sigma is really soft and feels really nice, when you sweep it across your cheek, it takes up your WHOLE cheek.  Personally, I prefer a brush I can control a little more.  The size and fluffiness of the Sigma brush means to me that I will not have as much control and powder may "spray" off the brush to places I don't want blush.  The Sigma also had some stray bristles, which I really didn't expect since they were the highest price of the bunch.  On the other hand, the Crown brush is a little too dense.  It brushes across the cheek nicely and it isn't as large, so there is more control.  But the density is the issue here.  It's going to pick up a lot of product and may give you babydoll circles or contouring racing stripes if you're not careful.  The brushes I liked most were the domed brushes...both the Models Own and the R&L.  The R&L is a fuller brush, but because it is a dome, you can easily control how much you are applying to your skin.  The Models Own is about as wide as the R&L, but it's a little flatter and I like that because that makes is a multipurpose brush.  Apply your blush with the wide side and contour with it turned to the narrow side.  Win-win!

Next, let's move on to the angled brushes.  I love synthetic angled brushes.  They are so soft and can create some great, smooth lines for applying gel eyeliner, wet pigments or blending pencil liner to make a gorgeous smokey look.  And they work wonderfully for eyebrows too!

L-R: R&L, Crown, Sigma and Models Own 

There are a couple of things I take into consideration when I am buying an angled brush.  How cleanly cut are the bristles that create the line?  How tapered is the edge of the angled line?  These are important to me because I need to know exactly where my make-up is going to go.  If I have some brush that doesn't have what it takes to create a smooth, thin line, then it's not a brush I'm going to use much.  Overall, all of these brushes have clean angles.  The R&L brush is considerably wider than the others.  That's not really an advantage or a disadvantage, just an observation.  As you can see from the lower photo, the Sigma brush isn't very tapered at all.  I would be more inclined to use this brush for filling in the inner edge of the eyebrows or for blending out pencil eyeliner.  I would not use this brush to apply a gel or a wet pigment as a liner.  While the Models Own brush is slightly more tapered, it would have to go in the same category as the Sigma brush because it's simply not tapered enough.  My first choice out of this style of brush is the R&L. It is the most tapered and the most useful for applying eyeliner.  The Crown brush comes in a very close second.

Now let's take a look at these brushes.  It's a little confusing because some companies call them crease brushes, some call them smudgers and others call them pencil.  They are round brushes with rounded, domed tops. 
L-R:  R&L, Crown, Sigma and Models Own.

I'm going to put you to the test, knowing what you know about me, which one of these brushes do you think I am going to pick as the "choice" brush out of these four?

Give up?  Did you make a guess?  To me, this is very clear from simply looking at that photo.  The Sigma is the perfect example of what this brush should be.  There are no strays, it is dense and the top is beautifully rounded.  Did you get it right?  My next choice would be the Crown brush.  It is a smidge larger than the Sigma, but it is also dense.  The brush is not as tapered at the end.  The R&L and Models Own are in the same boat on this one.  I think they are perfect for blending and perhaps laying down some color on the crease, but I wouldn't use them to create cut-creases or apply shadow as an eyeliner.  They are too flared with too many stragglers on the sides.

Overall, I would have to say that I am most impressed by the Royal & Langnickel brushes.  Don't get me wrong, there aren't any sets here that I downright do not like.  These all are brushes that will get some use from me, one way or another!  One thing to bear in mind is that MOST brush sets you come across are going to be made in China.  This by no means means they are all the same, but I found that once I got these brushes in my hands, there really wasn't THAT much difference between the higher end Sigmas and the less expensive Crown Brush set.  I know both of those are from China.  And when you are buying brushes, keep in mind that they are not meant to last for the rest of your life.  While there are differences in the quality of some brushes, I am simply not finding enough of a variance to make THAT much of a difference.  Again, it goes back to suiting your needs.  And always, always, do your research.  Reviews are the greatest tools out there.  I hope this one has been informative and helpful.  Feel free to ask questions if I omitted anything.

In the future, I would like to try Bdellium's Green Bambu brushes.  They even have a Yellow Bambu brush line now too.  Bdellium boasts that their brushes are antibacterial and that sounds intriguing.  I am also curious about Sedona Lace's brushes.  They are getting ready to come out with a 12-brush set with a case that is like the Sigma cylinder.  The price tag on these little beauties is $79.95 and I'm not too sure what to make of that.  (Although, there are no extraneous, "non-brush"  brushes in the set.)  While you're at it, you can take a peek at the 4-piece face brush set they have in the same color scheme.

So let me ask,  what are your favorite brushes?  Do you go for name brands, generic ones, art brushes?   What can you simply NOT live without?

Royal Brush Promotion

Thursday, May 3, 2012

You Have Been Facebombed!

Posted by iamglamourpuss at 10:00 AM
I am always on the look out for new products. So when I was first approached about Facebomb Cosmetics, I thought "Why Not?" Over the past year or so, I had grown a little weary of indie make-up companies. But with a new interest growing ever since I tried (and LOVE) Victorian Disco Cosmetics, I want to see the boundaries these creative minds can push with their make-up!

And while it's easy to think, "How many color combinations can there be?", the truth is that the sky's the limit!  There's enough for everyone to take part. right?

I was sent some Facebomb Cosmetics.  First of all, they were packed very well with cute opalescent excelsior, a sweet little bag with hearts and the obligatory business card.  (I have a massive stash of business cards and I love having them on hand.)  I think the logo and the packaging are cute, but let's get down to  business.  I really like these colors.  I like the sparkle and the shimmer.  So you're going to kick me in my shins for going tame with my "look" with these shadows.  (It was a day where I had to go out and about and not be super-freaky.)  I also found that quite a few of these colors were hard to photograph.  There are many nuances to these colors.  You really should check out the Facebomb Cosmetics Online Shop to see even more colors!
In my opinion, Scorched Earth (Upper Left: top swatch) is a gorgeous gold.
I would put it right up there with Sugarpill!

On my eye, I used: Atomic Orange,
Diamond Eyes, Teenage Dream, Scorched Earth
and K.O. at the inner corner.

All in all, I can say that I totally look forward to what Facebomb Cosmetics has up their sleeves in the future.  My one and ONLY gripe is that Hello Darlin', which is the brightest pink, left a stain.  BUT I have non-indie make-up that stains, so it is not a gripe that is unique to this line.  
Royal Brush Promotion

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I Don't Usually Like Flakes...

Posted by iamglamourpuss at 5:06 PM
Of course, I mean flaky people!

Recently, I've seen blogs and heard my girlfriends rave about Nubar nail polishes.  I've wanted to try them and I keep them in my watch list on eBay.  I covet the "Gems" and the "Sparkle" collections...you know me and glittery things.  Then a friend of mine posted about this color called "Opulent Pearl."  It's a flaky nail polish, meaning it has sparkly flecks in it that are not uniform in shape.  Think of how an opal looks.  And flakies come in all colors.  It can get confusing because you may think you're getting a blue one, only to find that the flecks are purple in a clear blue base.  Or a peach one, only to find the flecks are green.  This one is unique because it is in a subtle, white frosty base and reflects red, green, blue and purple.  It really is quite lovely and looks very much like an opal.

I decided since Opulent Pearl seemed to be such a great color, with such a great effect, that it should be what I picked up first.  No major investment in a whole collection of colors, just one pretty multipurpose polish.

I find that this polish looks best in extremes.  I like the naked nail the best and the dark color overlay second.  The reason why I don't really love it over darker colors is that the base polish is a white pearl.  It's not as subtle as I thought it would be.  Once you start layering, it creates a haze over the other color, which means you have to paint it well if you don't want darker colored edges peeking out.

Because of the milky haze that the Nubar polish has, I decided to search for more flakies.  I really like the ones that have ALL the colors, like an opal.  Although, the ones with fewer colors do look great when they are enhancing similar colors.

I already had the NYX polish on hand, although I hadn't tried it out yet and I had just picked up the Finger Paints, so I decided to paint my nails black and start comparing.

Once I had these side-by-side, the Nubar polish quickly became my least favorite.  The translucent base was simply not what I was looking for.  The NYX was nice.  But my goodness!  Look at the Finger Paints!!  My nail looks like a gemstone!  They each had 3 coats of flakies and the Finger Paints had way more depth and fire.  It was exactly what I was looking for.

I am thinking I may try out some of the Speciallita flakies next.  Which ones do you like best?

Royal Brush Promotion

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