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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Review + Comparison: ELF Studio Brush Collection


I've been wanting to purchase the ELF Studio Angled Blush brush, Mineral Powder brush, Small Tapered brush, Flawless Concealer brush and Small Stipple brush ever since their release, but a few of them were always out of stock. I finally got the chance to purchase all 5 of them at the same time during the holiday season when they were half off! They're already so affordable at retail price. I can't believe I paid $1.50 each plus $6.95 shipping. ^_^

Pros:
  • synthetic bristles feel very soft
  • bristles are not flimsy at all
  • ideal for applying liquid/cream products
  • no shedding
  • affordable ($3 each)
  • no funky smell after a few washes

Cons:
  • currently sold only online (now widely available) 
  • dye bleeding during the initial wash (no dye bleeding afterwards)


ELF Angled Blush Brush is ideal for applying cream products and highly pigmented blushers. The synthetic bristles feel very soft and are more densely packed than the MAC 168 (review), but not as stiff as the Sigma F84. The ELF one is more flexible, but is by no means flimsy. I personally use it to apply highly pigmented blushes because the bristles disperses powder product lightly and evenly without leaving a clownish finish. I also use it to apply my Chanel cream bronzer (swatches) because the shape of the brush fits nicely on my cheek area and it doesn't leave any bristles on my face to clean up afterwards. (It measures 6.25 inches in total length.)

MAC 168 Large Angled Contour Brush ~ ELF Angled Blush Brush ~ Sigma F84 Angled Kabuki

Sigma F84 Angled Kabuki ~ ELF Angled Blush Brush ~ MAC 168 Large Angled Contour Brush



MAC 109 ~ ELF Mineral Powder Brush ~ Sigma F35 ~ ELF Small Tapered Brush
Real Techniques Contour Brush (available in the Core Collection set) ~ Real Techniques Setting Brush

ELF Mineral Powder Brush is ideal for applying cream products, such as blushers and bronzers. The synthetic bristles feel very soft and are not too flimsy or too densely packed. The Real Techniques Contour brush is slightly smaller and more tapered, which makes it more ideal for applying concealer and setting powder under the eye area and for highlighting the cheekbones. The ELF one fits better on the cheek area and it blends cream products onto my skin flawlessly when I use it in a tapping motion. I also like using it in a buffing motion when I apply liquid foundation because it gets into all the crevices of my face really well, but I just wish the brush was a little bigger. By the way, their stock photo looks bigger than the one that I received. (It measures 6.25 inches in total length.)

ELF Small Tapered Brush is ideal for applying setting powder, highlighting, and contouring. The bristles are slightly denser than the ELF Mineral Powder brush and slightly bigger than the Real Techniques Contour brush. Due to its tapered point, it fits very well on top of the cheekbone area, on the hollows of the cheeks, around the crevices of the nose, and underneath the eye area. I have been loving this for applying setting powder in the "hard to reach" places of my face. (It measures 7 inches in total length.)

MAC 109 ~ Sigma F35 ~ ELF Small Tapered Brush ~ ELF Mineral Powder Brush

MAC 109 ~ ELF Mineral Powder Brush ~ Sigma F35 ~ ELF Small Tapered Brush

Sigma F35 ~ ELF Small Tapered Brush ~ Real Techniques Contour Brush ~ Real Techniques Setting Brush

ELF Mineral Powder Brush ~ ELF Small Tapered Brush ~ Real Techniques Contour Brush ~ Real Techniques Setting Brush

Inglot 4SS Brush ~ ELF Flawless Concealer Brush ~ Edward Bess Luxury Eye Brush ~ Sonia Kashuk Small Multi Purpose Powder Brush

ELF Flawless Concealer Brush is ideal for applying setting powder, spot concealing and blending. The synthetic bristles feel very soft and are more densely packed than the Inglot (review), Edward Bess (review) and Sonia Kashuk brush pictured above. I personally don't like using it to apply concealer underneath my eye area because I find that it takes to long when I use it in a tapping motion and it doesn't give as much coverage when I use it in a buffing motion. However, I love using it to blend my cream eyeshadows when I'm applying an all-over-the-lid shade. It's also  excellent for setting concealer because the brush can reach in the small crevices of the face. Also, you don't have to worry about it leaving a cakey finish because the synthetic bristles lightly disperses product. (It measures 6.50 inches in total length.)

Inglot 4SS Brush ~ ELF Flawless Concealer Brush ~ Edward Bess Luxury Eye Brush ~ Sonia Kashuk Small Multi Purpose Powder Brush


ELF Small Stipple Brush is ideal for applying cream products and highly pigmented blushers. The synthetic bristles are not as dense as the Real Techniques and MAC 130 brush, but is slightly denser than the MAC 187 (review). Keep in mind, it is by no means flimsy. It stipples and buffs foundation into the skin really well without leaving a streaky finish. I just wish that the brush head was bigger. Because of the size of the brush, It's more suitable for applying cheek products, which it does flawlessly. (It measures 6.75 inches in total length.)

MAC 187 ~ Real Techniques Stippling Brush ~ ELF Small Stipple Brush ~ MAC 130

MAC 187 ~ Real Techniques Stippling Brush ~ ELF Small Stipple Brush ~ MAC 130

Bottom Line: I highly recommend checking them out, especially if you're on a tight beauty budget. These brushes feel baby soft, don't shed and work well with both liquid and powder products. 

Note: The ELF Studio brushes can be purchased individually for $3 each at their online store, drugstore.com, and Target


Which ELF Studio brush have you tried?


*This post contains affiliate links. None of the products mentioned are sponsored.

Review + Swatches: Maybelline Color Tattoo Metal 24HR Cream Gel Eyeshadow


Please check out my previous posts for swatches + reviews
The "pros and cons" refers only to Barely Branded, Inked In Pink and Gold Rush.

Pros:
  • texture feels creamy
  • applies smoothly (Barely Branded and Inked In Pink)
  • good color payoff (Barely Branded and Inked In Pink)
  • blends easily
  • doesn't crease or fade (Barely Branded and Inked In Pink)
  • lasts at least 16 hours (Barely Branded and Inked In Pink)
  • no fallouts during blending (Barely Branded and Inked In Pink)
  • doesn't tug the skin during application
  • no chunky glitter (Barely Branded and Inked In Pink)
  • affordable price

Cons:
  • contain tiny specks of sparkles (Gold Rush)
  • applies patchy (Gold Rush)
  • fallouts during blending (Gold Rush)
  • flakes away (Gold Rush)

Application: Here are the following steps that I take when I use them as a base for powder eyeshadows and to ensure a perfect application:
  1. apply product on left eye for a sheer wash of color (using a synthetic brush)
  2. apply product on right eye for a sheer wash of color (using a synthetic brush)
  3. apply 2nd layer on left eye for an opaque finish
  4. apply 2nd layer on right eye for an opaque finish
  5. blend left eye
  6. blend right eye

It's not rocket science, but I find that when I blend immediately after applying, the product fades away and if I wait too long, it becomes really difficult to blend. So, just follow those 6 simple steps that I mentioned above and blending will be a breeze. (Note: Do not over apply them or they will "cake and crack.") Also, I recommend using a synthetic brush, such as the Royal & Langnickel BC411 brush (mini review), because it's more sanitary, it offers more control and it gives better color payoff.

As for lasting power, I don't dare to test these eyeshadows for 24 hours because (1) makeup should not be worn for that long and (2) I don't want to get an eye infection or irritated skin. However, I did test Barely Branded and Inked In Pink on my oily lids for 16 hours and they didn't fade or crease when used with a primer, without a primer or with powder eyeshadows over them.

Gold Rush was a bit of a disappointment. It applies unevenly and makes a mess during blending because it contains tiny specks of sparkles. I've tried wearing a primer underneath and using my fingers, a concealer brush, and many other synthetic brushes, but it made no difference. It still left a patchy and glittery finish when applied sheerly. When I layered it, it left a dry, cakey and scaly finish. Also, the product flakes off within minutes of application. The pigmentation looks fine in my arm swatches. Unfortunately, it just doesn't translate that way when applied onto my lids.



70 Barely Branded is a light champagne-beige shade with a metallic finish. When worn on my lids and compared side by side, Barely Branded pulls more yellowy beige-gold, while Barely Beige pulls more pink. When swatched on my hand near natural lighting, they both look indistinguishable. I also couldn't tell the difference between the two when I wore MAC Jest on top.

I love both shades equally because they're both so easy to wear and they prevent my eye makeup from creasing and fading, even in the corner of my eye! These are perfect for creating an everyday neutral eye look and have been a staple in my makeup collection. I can't live without them and have multiple backups of each! (Note: They can be a little bit tricky to work with because if I apply a sheer layer and then set it with a powder eyeshadow, I experience a little bit of fading throughout the day. If I over apply it, it looks dry, scaly and cakey. I find that applying 2 layers of it and then setting it with a powder eyeshadow is the best way to use it.)

55 Inked In Pink is a light rosy pink with a metallic finish. When swatched on my arm, it looks too dark to be a lid shade. However, when worn on my lids, it looks lighter and more like a light neutral pink shade. It looks absolutely gorgeous as an all over the lid color and excellent as a base for powder eyeshadows, such as MAC Jest. My swatches don't do the colors any justice. (I promise it's really not that dark when applied on the lids! It's actually one of my go-to shades when I want to create an everyday neutral eye look.)

(Picture above was taken inside near a window. All pictures below were taken outside.)






65 Gold Rush is a bright yellow gold with a metallic finish and tiny specks of sparkles. The color doesn't suit my NC30/35 skin tone that well. Also, when worn alone, it leaves a very patchy finish. When I applied Urban Decay Half Baked over it, it looked slightly orange, which baffled me because when I wear Half Baked alone, it does not look orange on my medium complexion at all.

Bold Gold and Gold Shimmer are more brown and work well as a base to make warm eyeshadows appear less orangey on lighter beauties. If you found MAC Woodwinked or Urban Decay Half Baked to be too orange on your skin tone, then I recommend wearing Bold Gold or Gold Shimmer underneath.




Bottom Line: Gold Rush definitely doesn't look attractive when worn alone and is a pain to work with due to its tiny specks of sparkles. However, Barely Branded and Inked In Pink are amazing in every aspect and I highly recommend hoarding a bunch. They have (1) excellent pigmentation, (2) are easy to apply, (3) they intensify the color of powder eyeshadows, (4) lengthen the wear of my eye makeup and (5) are super affordable.

Note: The Maybelline Color Tattoo Metal 24HR Cream Gel eyeshadows in Barely Branded, Inked In Pink, Bold Gold and Gold Rush are permanent. Barely Beige and Gold Shimmer are limited edition. Each contains 4g of product and is available at UltaTarget and drugstore.com for around $6. As with any drugstore product, I would definitely wait for a sale because there is always a "buy one, get one half off" or even a "buy one, get one for free" sale.

Which Maybelline cream shadows are your favorite?
original permanent shades (review & swatches)
limited edition shades (review & swatches)


*This post contains affiliate links. None of the products mentioned are sponsored.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Clarisonic Coupon Code 2013: $20 OFF


Clarisonic is offering $20 OFF any MIA* purchase of $119 or more.
Enter coupon code LOVE20 at checkout.
Offer expires January 25, 2013 at midnight.

* affiliate link

Shu Uemura Coupon Code 2013: 20% OFF + Free Shipping



Enter coupon code SHUWEAFF at checkout.
Offer expires January 20, 2013.

*affiliate link

Friday, January 18, 2013

Benefit Cosmetics Coupon Code 2013: FREE Full-Size Get Even Pressed Powder ($30 value)


Benefit Cosmetics is offering a FREE full-size Get Even pressed powder* 
in your shade of choice with any $90 order. 
Enter coupon code GETEVEN1 at checkout to redeem shade light.
Enter coupon code GETEVEN2 at checkout to redeem shade medium.
Enter coupon code GETEVEN3 at checkout to redeem shade deep.
Offer expires 1/31/2013 at 11:59pm PST. 
Combinable with standard shipping promotions. 
Free US shipping automatically applies to orders of $50 or more.
Free International shipping automatically applies to orders of $125 or more.



Benefit Cosmetics is also offering 2 FREE deluxe sizes of
It's Potent! Eye Cream + BadGal Lash Mascara* with any $60 order. 
Enter EYECANDYAFF at checkout. 
Offer expires 1/31/2013 at 11:59pm PST. 
Combinable with standard shipping promotions. 
Free US shipping automatically applies to orders of $50 or more.
Free International shipping automatically applies to orders of $125 or more.


*affiliate link

Friday, January 11, 2013

Swatches + Comparison - MAC Hey Sailor! Fleet Fast Blush (Limited Edition)

Left: Burberry Blossom No.05 Blush
Right: MAC Fleet Fast Blush



Packaging: The MAC Fleet Fast blush comes in a nautical blue and white striped box, which is reminiscent of sailor uniforms and summer. The packaging is fun, cute and appropriate given that the Hey Sailor! collection launched in May 2012.

I was hesitant to purchase Fleet Fast because alot of reviewers said that there were gold shimmers in the blush. A few months later, I still saw people talking and raving about it. So, I just had to get it to see what the fuss was all about. (Dillard's still has it in stock!)


The texture of Fleet Fast does not feel as silky as Blossom, but it applies easily with a standard blush brush, such as the Studio Gear #13 (full reviewor the Japonesque Professional blush brush (mini review) because the pigmentation is not too sheer or too pigmented. It may look scary and dark in my swatches, but it's actually not once you apply it on your face. Blossom, on the other hand, is extremely pigmented and I always have to use a light hand and a fluffy brush to avoid looking clownish. 

When swatched, Fleet Fast is a reddish coral with a satin finish, while Burberry Blossom 05 is less red and more pinky coral. Both blushers contain tiny shimmers, which are only noticeable under direct sunlight. Don't worry, they are undetectable under artificial lighting. When I applied the blushes onto my cheeks and compared them side-by-sidethey both look exactly the same and translate into a pinky coral shade with a hint of a reddish undertone. They both leave a lovely semi-matte finish without looking flat, chalky or shiny. I absolutely adore these blushers because they compliment my NC30/35 skin tone so well! Also, they both last at least 8 hours without fading when worn over liquid foundation + setting powder. 

Blossom contains 7g/0.24oz for $42, while Fleet Fast contains 6g/0.21oz for $21. I'm definitely favoring Fleet Fast more because it's less expensive and easier to apply. You're just paying for the Burberry brand name and packaging with Blossom, which is totally fine because I'm a sucker for gorgeous packaging, too! I totally understand!! ^_^



Ignore the "lightly" notation.
Bottom Line: I highly recommend grabbing Fleet Fast while you still can, especially if you're a fan of coral blushers. It leaves the most sexy flush of color onto your cheeks without looking clownish. I'm so glad I found a less expensive alternative to Burberry Blossom and one with cute packaging, too! 

Note: The MAC Powder Blush in Fleet Fast contains 6g/0.21oz. It is limited edition and still available at Dillard's and Nordstrom for $21.

Did you get anything from the Hey Sailor! Collection?

*This post contains affiliate links. None of the products mentioned are sponsored.

CVS Cosmetics Sale 2013 - 20% + 25% OFF Stackable Coupon Codes


CVS.com is offering 20% OFF the entire website when you use coupon code 20SITEWIDE at checkout. 
Get an additional 25% OFF cosmetics when you use coupon code PGBEAUTY at checkout.
Free Shipping applies on orders of $49 or more.
Both coupons can be combined together!!!
Offer expires January 13, 2013.

*This post contains affiliate links.

 
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