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Blend away those flaws

I love makeup brushes but the more I buy, the more I find that I end up using my brushes for purposes other than what they were made for. This particular post is about my Sigma SS224 eye blending brush which I initially bought to blend my eyeshadows. Now I pretty much use it solely for my concealer application and I love it for this purpose.

I used to only use a typical concealer brush when doing my makeup but I found that the edges would end up being too harsh so I would still have to do some blending of the edges with my finger. This is no longer the case now that I use my blender brush. Here are some swatches showing the differences in application with a typical style concealer brush and a blender brush.

You can see how the concealer on the side which is applied with the blender brush (the left side) is more seamless and smoother compared with the right side where you can see the edges of the concealed area. I’ve found that this technique works the best with concealers that are more on the creamy side but it also does ok with liquid concealers. This is the only brush I use now for my under eye concealing because it’s so gentle plus it ensures that you only put on a very thin layer on product.

I’ve been using my Sigma blender just because I prefer to keep my MAC blender brush solely for eyeshadow application but any eye blender brush would work great. The only thing you should watch out for is shedding. I’ve found that any time I use a natural hair brush with creamy or liquid products, the hairs on the brush will shed more than if I were using a powder product. It’s a small inconvenience considering the results but it may put some people off.

If you’ve been struggling to find the perfect way to apply concealer to achieve a flawless and airbrushed finish, then definitely give this a go! I think it’s one of those tips that really ups your makeup game and takes your application to the next level.

NARS Artisan brush collection: Yachiyo brush

Hello! I realised that I haven’t posted anything in a month even though I have a few drafts waiting to be finished so I thought I better get cracking! For my first post for this month I thought I’d talk about one of my favourite makeup brands: NARS!

I love NARS blushes and even though there are so many other great brands on the market that produce really great blushes, in terms of quality and pigmentation, NARS blows them all out of the water. If you have any experience with NARS blushes then you’ll know that their intense pigmentation means that you can end up looking crazy if you don’t use a light hand.

This always ends up being a problem for me because I’m always running late and I find it impossible to apply my NARS blushes without having the time to go slow with them. That was of course until I bought the NARS Yachiyo brush. I can see that this brush is going to reach HG status for me because it makes pigmented blush application a no brainer!

It’s one of four brushes from the NARS Kabuki Artisan brush collection which are all based on traditional Japanese brushes that Geisha and Kabuki actors use. I’ve purchased 3 out of the 4 brushes so far and will be reviewing them all in individual posts.

Here’s a great blog post that explains all the brushes and their uses in traditional Japanese culture and compares the traditional versions with the NARS versions of the brushes.
http://femininity.onsugar.com/Kabuki-Brush-7481758

The NARS Yachiyo’s handle is wrapped in black wisteria and you can see from the pictures below that it’s not your run of the mill blush brush. The second picture is a comparison with my MAC 129 blush brush.

Although the shape of the brush and its handle may look awkward, it’s actually really comfortable to use. It’s a very light brush and feels quite fragile and breakable but I think that’s just because I’m used to big sturdy brushes. I’m fairly certain the bristles are made of ‘super’ goat hair like the rest of the brushes in the Artisan range but I’m not 100% sure. Now I don’t know what differentiates normal goat hair and super goat hair but it’s a very soft brush even though it’s probably not the softest I own.

Here are some pictures comparing the shape of the brush head and the density of the brush to the MAC 129 brush blush which has a shape typical of a standard blush brush.

As you can see, the Yachiyo brush is not as dense as the MAC 129 and the brush head is alot more rounded than the MAC brush. I think these two main differences are what makes this brush ideal for the sheer application of pigmented blushes. The lower density means that the brush doesn’t have as many hairs to pick up colour and it also means it diffuses the colour a lot more. The rounded shape also means that a smaller surface area of the brush is actually touching the product.

I can talk about it all I want but you’ll understand it alot more if you see pictures of it in action. For the swatches below I used my NARS Crazed blush which (as the name suggests) can give you a very crazed look if you don’t go easy with applying it!

My flash bleached out the colour a bit in the swatches but you should still be able to tell that the swatch applied with the NARS Yachiyo brush is alot sheerer and more diffused than those applied with either the Sigma SS188 ( a stippling brush) or the MAC 129 brush. Don’t get me wrong, I still like these other brushes but I just use them for my blushes that aren’t so crazy pigmented!

I find that since I purchased this brush, I have been using my NARS blushes quite alot more even when I’m running late. I’ve also found that this brush is just perfect for cream blush application and I even like the way it applies my MUFE HD blush so this is definitely a keeper! I also ordered the brush by Japonesque that looks very similar to this brush and I’ll be doing a comparison post once I receive it.

If you’re looking for a good blush brush and are willing to fork out a quite a bit of cash, I think this brush is definitely worth getting. I would advise going to your closest NARS counter and getting a feel for the brush first if you can but I honestly don’t think this will be a purchase you’ll regret!

UPDATE 18/01/2011:
I finally did a comparison post between the NARS Yachiyo and the Japonesque version. Just CLICK HERE.

Laura Mercier Diamond Duster: Indulge your glamorous side!

Have you ever bought something on impulse knowing that you don’t need it now, may never need it but just have to have it? If you have then you know exactly how I felt when I purchased the Laura Mercier Diamond Duster. It just screams old Hollywood/1920’s glamour and I just had to buy it as soon as I saw it. I mean look at it! It’s just so pretty!

I took a picture of it next to my MAC 129 brush so you could get an idea of how big it is because I just couldn’t find anything about this brush when I went searching for it.

And take a look at this next shot:

This is a photo of it taken from the top and that tiny little brush you can see on the right hand side is my Sigma SS187. I hope that gives you an idea of just how big and fluffy this brush is!

It’s made out of Marabou feathers and it feels so soft when you brush it against your skin.It was released in 2007 with Laura Mercier’s Holiday Diamond collection and it was made to be used with the shimmer powder released with the collection. You’re meant to lightly touch the shimmer powder with this brush and then dust it over your body where ever you want a beautiful subtle shimmer. The feathers are meant to distribute a minimal amount of powder so I think it’ll work with any shimmery products you have for your body and you could probably use it for your face too if you do it carefully.

I haven’t used it for anything yet because I’m waiting to buy the Scott Barnes Diamond Dust loose powder so I can try and get that JLo glow but I’ll keep you posted. Another reason why I haven’t tried it is because I’m not sure how to clean it because it is so fragile looking! I need to research a bit first and then I’ll be willing to try it out but for now just having it sitting in my room is enough.

Who knew something this ugly could give you something so beautiful?

www.allcosmeticswholesale.com haul

This is another haul post but it’s mainly a ‘let me tell you how great this site is’ post because the site I got these products from is awesome. The address is http://www.allcosmeticswholesale.com/ and it is THE place to go for MAC products and other random items if you live in places like Australia where makeup prices are ridonkulous (yes I did just use that word). I’ve been using this site to purchase all my MAC eyeshadows and brushes and I have not had a bad experience yet. I have purchased from there at least 5 times and have not had a problem and shipping has always been super fast, I mean I only ordered this lot mid last-week and I already received it- AWESOME!

Anyway, I probably wouldn’t have bothered to buy as many MAC brushes as I have if it wasn’t for this site as I really have to think the purchase over when buying in store in Oz because of the markup. All of the products are definitely authentic MAC (trust me I can spot a fake) and I’ve depotted and returned my empty shadow pots Back to MAC and they’ve accepted them without question.

So here’s a picture of the order I just received:

I picked up 10 MAC eyeshadows in Knight, Knight Divine, Black Tied, Electra, Amber Lights, Satin Taupe, Sumptuous Olive, Ricepaper, Tempting and Patina as well as the MAC 187 brush and the MAC 109 brush. I know I already purchased the 187 before but I gave it a new home with my friend and bought another one for myself. I decided to buy the 109 as well because it’s always in those ‘must have brushes’ lists and I really wanted a good contour brush. I doubt I’ll end up using this for liquid foundation application like a lot of people do as I think that natural fibre brushes eat up way too much product plus I’ve noticed that they tend to shed a lot of hairs when used this way.

Anyway definitely go check out this site because you can save a heap of money but watch out because you could get addicted to it like I am. They add items to this site all the time so you should really check it every day so you don’t miss out on something. I’ve had other friends buy from this site and they really like it too so go check it out!

Simple but effective: The Brush Guard

Every time I wash my make up brushes I struggle to get a lot of them to dry in the right shape unless I dry them over the edge of a table so the actual brush head doesn’t lie flat against anything. This is fine but some brushes still dry wrong as the brush hairs flair on some of my fluffier brushes so I went searching for a solution which is when I stumbled upon the Brush Guard.

This product is basically just a cover for your brushes so that you can keep them in their shape and travel with them or have them dry flat without the brush shape distorting. I purchased them from www.thebrushguard.com and they were $5.50 US a pack. The brush guard comes in four different sizes and I bought a pack of each of the sizes but I already need more!

I really like this product as I feel like my brushes apply product better as the heads are keeping their shape and it keeps them looking new and my storage also looks neater as the brushes all look stream lined. Another advertised use for this product was as a grip for the handle so that your handle doesn’t get product on it which is actually a pretty good idea but I always forget to do it!

The one pet peeve I have with this product is that if it slips down against the brush hairs, some of the hairs poke through the holes in the product and get bent and messy. This isn’t a problem when the brushes are sitting in my brush holder but is more of an issue when I take my brushes with me in my makeup bag when I’m out. I think the good outweighs the bad though.

Here’s a picture of three of the different sizes on some of my brushes:

This is a pretty good product and for right now it seems to be the only one of it’s kind so it’s hard to make a comparison but I think that for the price it’s definitely worth checking out. The site also offers a mixed pack with a few of each of the different sized brush guards in it if you just want to try some out first but I knew I’d need a lot so I just bought the full packs for each size. Shipping was pretty fast and the service is really good on the site.

Holy Grail Status: Sigma Flat Top Kabuki Brush (F80/SS197)

OK so I know that I said that the MAC 130 was my holy grail brush for liquid and cream foundation a few posts back but I have to take it back now that I’ve found this flat top kabuki from Sigma. It is pure awesomeness in brush form (not to over sell it or anything). I love this brush so much and I think that love will last past the honeymoon stage of new productitis.

It’s like the older, more developed sister of the MAC 130. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the 130 but I now use it very differently and utilise it for concealing large areas rather than for liquid foundation. The main reason for this is mainly to do with size. Just take a look at the comparison pictures below:


The Sigma brush is on the top and the MAC 130 is on the bottom .


In the two pictures above the MAC 130 is on the left and the Sigma one is on the right. On a side note, I’ve noticed that the outside hairs on the MAC 130 never seem to really lie with the rest of the brush regardless of how I dry it which is very annoying! It looks very used and abused already and I’ve only had it for a few weeks!

The Sigma brush is obviously bigger and denser than the MAC 130 which makes foundation application and blending a no-brainer that can be accomplished flawlessly in very little time. I found that I had to really work to blend foundation in with the 130 just because of it’s size and because it had less hairs so even though it got the job done, it wasn’t a quick process. This wasn’t really a problem with foundations such as the MAC Studio Sculpt or the MAC Mineralize SPF cream foundation which stay quite wet and allow blending time but it was a major problem with matte foundations such as my NARS Sheer Matte.

The NARS Sheer Matte has to be blended in very quickly as it is a true matte product so it dries quite fast and because I didn’t have enough time to blend it out properly I was ending up with patches of foundation that looked quite cakey. If this was a different foundation like the Studio Fix fluid I would just spritz it with water and keep blending but I’ve found that the NARS Sheer Matte really does not like water once it dries and it becomes this white chalky mess when you try to apply some on it. Using the Sigma brush means that I now cover a lot more surface area on my face and can blend this foundation out before it dries and the finish is beautiful! Airbrushing eat your heart out!

This brush is every thing I hoped the MAC and Sigma 187 was going to be for liquid foundation but failed to be. Here are some comparison pictures with the Sigma SS187:


The Flat top kabuki is on the left in these pictures above and the SS 187 is on the right.
Even though the Sigma flat top kabuki is quite a bit smaller than the SS 187, because the fibres are more densely packed and there’s more of them, it allows for better control and better blended results.


You can see how much the SS187 splays out when you put pressure on it which means that it tends to layer rather than really sheer out the product like the flat top kabuki.

Here is a shot showing how the brushes perform when used for stippling. These swatches were both made with one touch of the brush on my skin after dipping into the foundation.

The splotch of foundation on the left is what the stipple pattern looks like from the SS 187 and the one on the right shows the stipple pattern of the flat top kabuki. You can clearly see that the coverage the flat top kabuki offers is already so much more even and covers more than the SS 187 does.

So I hope that you can see the difference in application that will result by using this brush over a duo fibre brush such as the MAC 187 or the Sigma SS 187. I don’t think it really matters what brand you buy because it’s more about the type of brush you get but any flat top kabuki that is dense like the Sigma one will probably work wonderfully. I’m reccomending this one because it’s the only one I’ve used plus I only picked it up for like $25 AU once you factor in shipping. The brush is sold individually on the Sigma makeup site (http://www.sigmamakeup.com/) and is named the SS197. The brush itself has ‘Sigma Flat Top Kabuki’ and the number F80 written on the handle as I believe that Sigma is now converting to a labelling system that is different to MAC’s.

All I can say is that this brush is awesome so far but I did only get it a few days ago so I don’t truly know how it performs yet. I found that it didn’t smell when I washed it and there wasn’t any bleeding and I’ve washed it about 4 times so far. It did shed a few hairs the first time but I haven’t noticed much shedding since then but I’ll update if there are any changes in the quality of this brush. I should also note that this brush looks like a duo fibre brush but is purely synthetic and the tips of the brush have simply been dyed to look like a duo fibre.