One Size, Terra Moons, and Other April Purchases Reviewed

Welcome to my fourth low-buy check-in! This month’s three biggest hauls were due to Sephora’s Spring Savings Sale, me redeeming my points at Ulta for $125 worth of products, and the weakening of the YEN compared to USD enticing me to make several purchases from CDJapan and and Fude Japan. Most of these products were reviewed in posts prior to this one, and will be linked to open in a new browser tab, but there are still plenty to review for the first time here today.

SEPHORA COLLECTION Microsmooth Multi-Tasking Baked Face Palette in Captivate

This is allowed in the Low-Buy under the face product category. I am so glad I finally bought this because it makes for a fantastic travel palette! There are two versions available from Sephora and I heard wonderful things about the deeper palette called Captivate, but baked products can sometimes look lighter than they would appear on the skin, so I wasn’t certain this would work for me until I had help on this topic from Beauty Blogger, Nikki.

The bronzer is a fantastic shade for me in terms of both depth and undertone! Despite being a matte product, it leaves a beautiful natural finish and is very quick and easy to blend. I’m really impressed with it! The matte blush is one of my favorite type of red tones that reminds me of MAC’s Mineralize Blush in the shade Flirting With Danger. It can be built up to look intense, but I prefer to wear a very light application of it on my cheeks.

The shimmer blush is on the subtle side, but I still get a noticeable flush of color. It’s like a slightly lighter shimmer version of the matte shade in the palette. If I had to choose my favorite, it would be the matte one, but I still wear both. As for the highlighter, it’s not the most finely milled, but it’s still very pretty and if I chose to use this palette for the blushes or bronzers, I wouldn’t feel the need to reach for a separate single highlighter. I would just use the one in here.

The longest wear test I’ve had with this face palette is ten or eleven hours and only the shimmer shade started to fade at the end of the day, but I consider that to be a good result. The others remain looking nice until I’m ready to remove them.

While I was on a trip in April, I actually forgot to bring an eyeshadow palette, so I relied on Shade 3 for depth in the crease and Shade 1 was my lid shade. Considering I got this already relatively affordable palette for 30% off, I am very impressed and happy with the quality and have no issues recommending this palette.

SEPHORA COLLECTION 2-in-1 Brush-on Lash Adhesive – This was definitely supposed to be a No-Buy, but it had been on my list for a long time and when all Sephora Collection products were 30% off during the Sephora Spring Sale, I chose to buy it anyway.

I’m sorry that I don’t have an actual review for this item. For all these months, I have tried to get myself to test this out, but I just don’t want to. I haven’t been feeling like wearing false lashes in a long time and I really don’t want to open this product and start that timer ticking on how long it will last unless I’m ready to start wearing false lashes regularly again, or else this truly will be a wasted purchase. This was holding up my ability to get this post out, so I decided to just explain why there’s no review for this one and to publish it. When I eventually do, I will edit this post.

Patrick Ta Major Sculpt Contour Brush

It’s a bit ironic that in my post about “Synthetic Brushes I Bought in 2021,” I mentioned that despite liking some of the ones I bought, I didn’t plan on getting any additional ones, yet for the Sephora Spring Sale, I couldn’t help myself and got it after enjoying the Patrick Ta Blush Brush so much. This one is the perfect softness, head shape, and the bristles are packed at the right density to accomplish a fantastic sculpt that isn’t too sheer or too sharp. It’s the right balance of showing the product while also being nicely blended.

I love this brush so much for use with both my powder and cream bronzers and contours, that I was able to skip getting the Sonia G Lotus Base brush when that one was no longer tied to the full set. Being satisfied with a brush so much that I feel I can skip getting a similar Japanese version is a huge deal and shows just how highly I value this one from Patrick Ta.

Even though the Sonia G Mini Base is still my preference for cream bronzing and contouring, if the cream product is too sheer or too close to my skin tone and needs to be applied at maximum pigmentation, the Patrick Ta brush is my top choice. It’s also my favorite for powder formulas that need building up.

One/Size Cheek Clapper 3D Blush Trio Palette in Freaky Peach

I love this product so much! This is an all blush trio palette in three different finishes, but even though I can only use the shimmer one as a highlighter, I’m not counting it as a face palette. As a blush product, I was supposed to be limited on how many I buy this year, and I was also not supposed to purchase anything from new brands. This is my first ever One/Size purchase and it’s so great that I can’t regret it.

The peachy-coral cream blush, Rump Shake, is a very interesting texture. The closest I can compare it to in terms of formula is the LYS cream blushes. This reminds me more of a silicone balm than a traditional creamy emollient formula. It’s is very pigmented, blends easily on the cheeks no matter what type of tool I used to apply it with, it leaves a healthy sheen but it’s not dewy or sticky on the skin. Freaky is the name of the matte blush and it looks far too light for me in the pan, but One/Size face color powders deepen on the skin. So, it’s actually a medium toned shade of peach that is pigmented, yet buildable. I only need one dip in the pan though if I want to layer it on top of Rump Shake. I should also mention that tougher bristles can lead to a lot of kickup in the pan, so I use my softer natural hair brushes with the powder blush, and that also helps me to not overapply. I can’t emphasize enough that the cream and powder are quite pigmented, and me being able to use them both individually despite there being just one trio lighter than this one is proof of that. Whiplash is the shimmery golden peach blush topper/highlighter in this trio. It’s too shimmery for my taste as a blush topper, so I use it exclusively on top of my cheekbones. It’s a beautiful color, but unlike the other two products which give me zero issues with longevity, this one doesn’t want to stick to my skin for more than four hours. It lasts a few hours longer if I use it with a dewier foundation or wetter type of cream product, but six hours is around the time that the shine of the shimmer particles dulls down. So, for days I need my highlighter to last, I reach for something else. Considering I still have two other faultless products in this trio and the third is still usable, I’m very happy with this purchase and I do recommend giving this a try. For a long time, I was really tempted to buy additional shades, but I like the fact that each of these colors are distinctly different. Most of the other Cheek Clapper options are intended for monochromatic looks, and while I can still see the value in that, I feel like I’m getting more bang for my buck if I have different colors over different formulas. The cream blush isn’t the type I’d be afraid to wear in summer because it’s a little stiffer (as opposed to being super emollient) and the effect on my cheek isn’t that far from a matte look, which makes it not that much different of an effect as the powder blush. So, if I had the Rich Betch trio where the cream and powder look nearly identical, I would feel like I got a duplicate product. This is the only reason, other than my low-buy, that I haven’t purchased the two other Cheek Clappers that held my interest.

Tarte Sea Power Flex Concealer (Mini) in 53S Deep Sand

I bought this when Tina (The Fancy Face) raved about it in several of her YouTube videos. Even though concealers are allowed to be purchased in my low-buy, I didn’t want to take the chance of wasting a product if I didn’t like it, so I just bought the mini. That turned out to be a good decision because I hate this product. The shape of my tear troughs is such that products that are too creamy don’t stay put in the lines of my under eyes, so the concealer moves, creases, or does both even when set into place with powder. Because I have almost the opposite issue with Tarte’s Shape Tape, I didn’t expect their Power Flex to be a creamy intensely creasing product on me. The finish of it at least looks pretty and hydrated, but the negatives outweigh the positives.

The biggest issue I have with this product is that it offers medium buildable coverage, but I cannot get the maximum full opacity I need. The shade match is perfect, but my dark circles are still visible underneath even when I use 3 times the amount of my normal concealers. The Power Sea Flex is marketed as being full coverage, but the fact that it isn’t is reason enough to be unwearable for me. Unfortunately, I can’t even use it in other areas of my face because it doesn’t do a good enough job concealing my hyperpigmentation and scars.

This situation is very specific to me because many people don’t have the intensity of skin discoloration as I do, nor the amount of lines. So, those who have youthful and moderately blemished skin could find themselves loving this product.

Ellis Brooklyn Scent Diary Fragrance Discovery Set – It has been ages since I purchased anything perfume related! I’m unofficially on a no-buy with fragrances, but I can’t regret getting this since I rarely buy full-sizes anymore. I also hadn’t done a perfume post since 2015, so I decided to make one dedicated to this and other perfume samples that can be found HERE.

Sol de Janeiro Beija Flor Elasti-Cream with Collagen and Squalane (Travel Size)

After experiencing the terribly smelling Bom Dia Bright cream that the brand previously released (mine smelled like potent olives instead of plums), I was too skeptical to purchase a full size of the Beija Flor even though the product claims sounded fantastic. The smell of this is at least pleasant, but a bit strong. It’s not surprising that parfum is listed as the third ingredient. I don’t know how to describe the scent, but it has been hyped up a lot by people on social media saying it smells like Baccarat Rouge 540. I’ve never smelled that fragrance myself, so I cannot confirm or deny if this is true.

The texture of this is very thick, yet it doesn’t feel as moisturizing as my other skincare products. It’s at least occlusive, so I like that it prevents my skin from drying out further. I haven’t noticed any other benefits when used on my body, like the advertised skin firming and cell turnover, but I still intend to use this up. I prefer the moisturization level of the brand’s Coco Cabana Cream, so perhaps I can apply that first and this new one after to seal it in. I believe I left my Coco Cabana in Germany, so unfortunately I cannot test out that combination anytime soon.

Farmacy 10% Waterless Vitamin C Serum

I was pretty shocked when I found this serum for such a low price on Mercari literally days after it launched at Sephora. Then again, this is one of those products that were sent to quite a lot of people in exchange for a review, so someone was bound to not want theirs.
I’m on a skincare low-buy, but I’ve been on the hunt for a good Vitamin C serum with a stable formula that will last longer than six months after opening. I believe that this has an airless pump mechanism and there are two holes under the bottle that support my theory. If it is indeed an airless pump, combined with the waterless formula, I anticipated that this could limit the issue I have of Vitamin C serums oxidizing and losing their efficacy before I can finish them.

The consistency of this is very runny and feels greasy initially, but this is also an oil-free formula. The brand says that propanediol ingredient is the reason it feels this way, but it does dry down on the skin after a few minutes and is no longer greasy, but I am left with a tiny bit of residue on the face. If my skin is especially dry, I don’t feel anything at all. Ultimately, this doesn’t matter since I put a moisturizer and other products on top afterwards anyway.

When I apply it to my skin, it instantly has a warming sensation. The first time I used it, my face was approaching almost burning level, but that only lasted a few minutes. It has never been hot like that again, and just continues to have a mild to moderate amount of warmth in the first minute that I apply it.
General skincare advice for Vitamin C usage and other acids is to start small, like around 5% depending on what the active ingredient is, and gradually increasing it over time as needed. I hadn’t used a potent version of Vitamin C in a while, but it was still in my routine enough that I didn’t expect to get a burning sensation from just 10% of L-ascorbic acid. So, just as a reminder, this could potentially be too strong for someone new to using Vitamin C or with sensitive skin, and consider how often you may be using other acids in your routine as well.

This serum with its additional ingredients are intended to brighten and even the skin, combat dark spots and hyperpigmentation, and keep it hydrated. I use this in cycles, so it’s hard to tell how much this serum alone is contributing. The two other products I rotate through have been giving me slight gradual improvements over time and adding this one to that cycle has not given a noticeable boost above the norm. So, there are three possibilities I can think of:

  • The serum is as effective as my current products, not better or worse.
  • The serum isn’t contributing at all and the benefits to my skin are from the other products I’m using.
  • The serum could be more effective, but I don’t use it consistently enough.

I’m going to play the long game on this one and just continue to use it the way I have been and if I run out of the product and I notice its absence, I will consider repurchasing it at that time. However, based on past experience, I just don’t think Vitamin C is that effective for me. I get better results from AHA’s like the Farmacy Honeymoon Glow AHA Resurfacing Night Serum. Even that hasn’t rid me completely of my hyperpigmentation, but it noticeably faded those areas and the smile line that gives me trouble isn’t quite as deep as before. I’ve been relying on AHAs and BHAs well over a year, and in a cycle, so it’s not a fast process. I had improvements right away within the first week, two weeks, and then month, but after that achieving anything further has been a very slow process as adhering to a consistent skincare routine has never been my strong suit.

Lastly, as shown in the photo at the top, this product “leaks” in the sense that it always has the tiniest of droplets around the pump when I open it, even if I wipe it down along with the cap after using it. The droplets are so minimal in size that it doesn’t bother me much and I don’t consider the amount enough to feel like I’m losing product. However, I’ve seen some photos online of other people having a more significant leaking problem than me. I always keep mine stored upright, so perhaps this is why I don’t have as much of an issue as others do. I recommend avoiding putting this in a bag, flat in a drawer, and don’t take this traveling.

Dior Backstage Glow Face Palette in 002 Glitz

I really should not have bought this, breaking my highlighter no-buy aside, because I heard these highlighters would be sparkly and I don’t like visible glitter specks in my highlighters. So, I can’t explain why I was so determined to buy it.

This was yet another Mercari purchase. I make it a point not to review products I’ve purchased from a third-party if I purchased them too long from the launch date to be assured of its authenticity, but I also wanted to show what I purchased in April for low-buy purposes. So, I guess take this particular section with a grain of salt. I do believe this is the real quad, especially with that typical Dior scent these have. Below is how the shades look on me.

The highlighter named Peach is the only one without glitter that I would call a true shimmer shade, but unfortunately it’s too light for me. Because Bronze is closest to my skin tone, the glitter isn’t as obvious as the others. I didn’t have any issues with wear time or fading, but this palette isn’t for me and I may eventually declutter it.

Florasis Floral Engraving Odey Makeup Palette (The Encounter)

I forgot this wasn’t even the Florasis palette I wanted (the Floral Engraving Phoenix). I was just so excited to be able to grab a completely unused and untouched one of their stunning looking palettes at a reduced cost off of Mercari. You know a brand is doing well when people want to make dupes, but I was still surprised to come across one such dupe on Amazon. In any case, I am happy with the results of this palette but I wish the blue shade wasn’t in this because it contains PET (plastic glitter) which isn’t safe to use in the eye area. I also don’t think anyone wants to see glass listed as an ingredient in their makeup.

The “glass” probably refers to “glass microspheres” which are apparently so tiny that they aren’t dangerous. However, there is still PET, so I have chosen not to use or even swatch that blue shade. Also, I can only guess that the numbers start from left to right and top to bottom. Not all countries have writing in that direction, but I assume this is the same as English.

Florasis is a Chinese brand, so I can’t help but compare them to Zeesea. This palette is made of cardboard, but Florasis typically has very luxurious packaging, similar to Zeesea. However, Zeesea doesn’t currently have eye shadow palettes with as intricate of pan embossings as the ones from Florasis. This price point of Florasis products are also much higher.

The website states that this palette is mutli-functional and the formula of the shadows certainly contributes to that. It’s listed as a powder formula, but they feel like a matte lipstick to the touch; like a stiff cream essentially. Applying with a brush was tricky because it wants to stick and dry to the bristles.

So far, I’ve stuck to my rate of two eyeshadow palettes per month so I adhered to my low-buy with this purchase (even though I said I wouldn’t buy from brands that are new to me this year). In addition, some of these eye shadows can be used for contouring, blush, and highlight, so it counts as a face palette too.

I haven’t touched this palette since I completed my initial wear tests. I could not even remember how I did the eye looks above because it was so long ago. Considering I never reach for this, the versatility aspect still didn’t make this a good purchase for me, but I just couldn’t let go of the idea of trying out at least one Florasis palette. My curiosity has been satisfied.

Terra Moons Cosmetics Chameleons in Terrestrial and Spring Equinox Multichromes in Galactic Blossom and Vela Supernova

If you’ve used Terra Moons chameleons and multichromes before, these work the way you’d expect. All three are super sparkly looking with large glitter particle size and the colors are intense. The formula is smooth to the touch, but when applied to the eye without a tacky base or being applied with a brush that has been sprayed to wet it, it can get messy. So, I do recommend something like the Nyx Glitter Primer to keep them applied precisely and minimize fall out.

Terrestrial was a pre-order item that didn’t begin shipping until May. I used my points saved from their reward program in order to essentially have the shipping paid and part of the item. BadtoTheBrow noticed it was similar to Bloodline, and I am obsessed with how Bloodline looks in photos and on everyone else, but the base color doesn’t show through on my eyes. So, rather than buying a second Bloodline to check if it was a fluke, I wanted to try the one from Terra Moons in the hopes it would be more of what I wanted from Clionadh’s multichrome.

Unfortunately, Bloodline and Terrestrial basically are the same shade. I can bring out a little more of a pink look if I pair it with another pink shadow around it and I can always pat a red multichrome on top to manually create the red-toned look I want, but I wish it was naturally the way it looks in swatches on me and didn’t require extra effort on my part. I didn’t bother to show comparison swatches between the two because the swatches looking slightly different on my arm doesn’t show the issue of them looking identical on my eyes. And for whatever reason, Terrestrial’s shifts are easier to detect on my camera than Bloodline, so comparing eye swatches wouldn’t be a fair representation for Bloodline either.

Galactic Blossom and Vela Supernova were pre-orders that were supposed to begin shipping in June, but I got lucky and had mine arrive in the middle of May. According to my Low-Buy rules, I’ve pledged to only purchase a few single indie eyeshadows per collection, so this was definitely allowed. My only regret is that I didn’t buy these two with my order of Terrestrial in order to save on shipping costs and time.

Photos showed Galactic Blossom as a strong pink-gold, and in some cases, shifting into literally a rainbow. I’d never seen a multichrome shift to so many colors, so I absolutely had to get it. Unfortunately, on my eyes it looks mainly yellow, and on camera it looks limey yellow-green with some pink. It’s not what I wanted, but I do like how it looks in person. On my arm, at sharp angles I can see that rainbow towards the edges, so it’s not false advertising. It really can shift that way, but it doesn’t look like that on my eyes and I want others to be aware of that possibility that it’s not going to look the same on everyone and how it looks depends largely on the curvature of the eyes and lighting.

As for Vela Supernova, the colors are what I expected, but ironically, I like it the least of the three. It’s not as unique of a purple shade as I anticipated. I admittedly can’t think of multichrome dupes myself (Temptalia says Roseline, Cerise, and Mosaic) but the shade of purple looks like what I have as some of my purple shadows without the shifting ability.

I don’t get fading, dullness, or any other longevity issues with these multichromes. Terra Moons really stepped up in their multichrome offerings to the point that I think they’ve tied with Devinah for the #2 spot of best indie multichromes (from North America at least). Clionadh is still holding that #1 spot in my eyes.

PAT McGRATH LABS x Bridgerton 2 Blushing Delights Blush + Highlighter Palette and PAT McGRATH LABS x Bridgerton 2 SatinAllure Lipstick in NÉGLIGÉE – The dedicated post to these products are HERE. Technically the Blushing Delights Palette is a face palette, and therefor allowed in my no-buy. The lipstick makes 5 out of 5 in my goal to end the year without purchasing anymore lip products.

Billie Eilish Eilish Eau de Parfum Travel Spray – The review for this is in the same post HERE as the Brooklyn Ellis perfumes. This was part of my Ulta points redemption, so I did not pay anything out of pocket.

MAC Wild Cherry Glow Play Blush Color Peaches ‘N’ Dreams and MAC Mini Macstack Mascara – These two were also part of my Ulta point redemption order and have already been reviewed HERE. I said I wasn’t going to get another Glow Play blush and I resisted for about a month or two, but my interest in peach blushes (especially in my favorite formula) got me again! As for the mascara, which I am on a year long no-buy for, I at least feel better that it wasn’t a full size purchase and that I’ve stuck to the mascara no-buy pretty well so far. However, I want to continue to stick to it and not purchase another in 2022.

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Face Serum SPF 60+

Left are the active ingredients of the discontinued Neutrogena Ultra Sheer versus the active serum ingredients on the right.

This is the only Ulta point redemption item I have left to review! I did have one other purchase in my order, but they kept sending me the wrong shade so that product was returned. In any case, I was the biggest fan for 7-8 years of the Ultra Sheer Liquid SPF 70 Sunscreen until it was discontinued. The fact that this is supposed to have 60 SPF protection while also being in a thin formula intrigued me. I planned to either wear it alone or wear it to help boost the effectiveness of my current sunscreen, the Round Lab Moisturizing Sun Cream SPF 50++.
I don’t think double-sunning (I just made up that term…can we please make “double-sunning” a thing?) is that bad of an idea, because in one of Dr. Dray’s videos, she said the Round Lab is fantastic for a variety of reasons, but she views it more as a moisturizer that happens to have a very good sunscreen in it due to it not being waterproof (and therefore not as reliable in occasions where one will be sweaty). This serum isn’t waterproof either, but I feel like I’m doubling up, in theory, by having both this serum and moisturizer/sunscreen with high spf. This serum leaves no cast on me and although it’s slightly greasy looking as I start to apply it, that look doesn’t remain when it’s fully rubbed in. I do have dry skin though. This serum isn’t a fluid consistency like my previous holy grail sunscreen, but it’s very lightweight and easy to rub in, unlike the Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch that I despise. It’s like a good middle ground between the two.

I’m on a skincare low-buy, but sunscreen is an exception since it’s vital that I have a good one. The kind of acids I’ve been using make my skin more sensitive to the sun, in addition to living in Florida with an extremely high UV index the majority of the time. It’s imperative that I keep my skin protected.

I haven’t had any issues with pilling while wearing this serum, plus the Round Lab Sun Cream, plus makeup, so I’m happy with this product. I don’t know if it will be completely necessary for me to continue repurchasing it in the future if I find a waterproof sunscreen that I end up liking, but we will just have to see!

Nars High Profile Cheek Palette – This was a limited-edition holiday release in 2021 that I intended to purchase, but so many reviewers commented on how similar the blushes looked to each other. So, when I found one on Mercari that was barely more expensive than a single full size Nars blush, I decided it was worth getting at that point. By the time I bought it, I had already finished my Rediscovering Nars Blushes post, but I had to admit I was curious to try this gel powder formula to see if it would give me an additional finish from Nars that I could like besides their mattes. The review is HERE and as a palette with a highlighter along with the blushes, I think I’m going to allow myself to count this as being allowed in my low-buy.

SUQQU Melting Powder Blush in 07 YOIURUSHI – This and all my Suqqu purchases have been reviewed HERE. Suqqu was definitely not on my list of exemptions to the blush low-buy, but I was curious how this new formula stacked up to the usual powder formula.

MAC Surrounded by Stars Extra Dimension Skinfinish Palette – The review can be found HERE. MAC’s Magnificent Moon Collection is supposed to be in celebration of Ramadan and was released worldwide first before coming to the US. I purchased mine from Selfridges since it was there first, I was waiting for something to add to my cart to get the Suqqu blush, and I had free shipping via the annual global shipping program I signed up for with Selfridges. Since it’s a split highlighter and blush quad, it’s allowed in my low-buy.

CLIONADH HAUL – I decided that I would do a dedicated post to this haul, found HERE, but as a Thursday bonus instead of my usual Monday postings. I’ve mentioned endlessly how much I love Clionadh eye shadows and multichromes, so there isn’t much to say about the formulas and it’s just a matter of showing them off and possibly doing comparisons to other indie brand shadows.

FUDE JAPAN HAUL and CD JAPAN HAUL – I believe the brushes I purchased in April have already been reviewed HERE, with the exception of the Hakuhodo brushes which are still being tested.

That’s all for today! If you’d like to see previous posts in the low-buy series, as well as sneak peeks for the upcoming ones, I created a dedicated page to it HERE. If you’d like to see more content from me, be sure to click follow via email or to return back every Monday at 11:30 am EST! Thank you for reading!

-Lili

Celebrity Makeup Reviewed: Rose Inc, Rare Beauty, Haus Labs, etc.

I have no issues with influencer and makeup artist brands, but something about celebrity brands tend to be a turn off for me. With a makeup artist, the passion for makeup is obvious because they made it their career. With beauty influencers, they tend to have enough content on social media for people to be able to tell what their skill level/expertise is when it comes to beauty, as well as being able to see a pattern in their makeup preferences and whether or not it will align with the viewers. Regarding celebrities, I seldom know anything about why they decided to get into the makeup industry until they actually have their own collaborations or start their own brands. The situation with Iggy Azalea and Doja Cat who did hardly anything to promote their collabs with BH Cosmetics, despite Doja Cat at least being known for enjoying makeup, demonstrates how much of a cash grab celebrity involved makeup products can be. This doesn’t mean those brands will forever have mediocre products attributed to their names, like the case of Haus Labs with their terrible run on Amazon, but seemingly successful rebrand at Sephora. So, today I am analyzing a few products I got in 2021 and the first half of 2022 to see if my opinion on celebrity makeup brands and collabs will remain the same by the end of this review.

Rare Beauty

Rare Beauty Magnetic Spirit Eyeshadow Palette

I got this palette as a present from one of my friends. I was always drawn to the color story and had this on my list of things to eventually get, but after buying the MAC Tempting Fate Palette and Flower Beauty Jungle Lights palette, I felt those had too similar of shades for me to purchase this one. So, I skipped getting it, but I’m happy to have it now.

Because this and Jungle Lights are especially similar, I would recommend looking at that post for additional eye looks.

I really wish there were some mattes in this palette, but because the four center shades are satins, those can be used as mattes. The pink base in Ablaze doesn’t show as well on my skin tone, so I essentially use it as a topper shadow. The satins don’t crease, but Ablaze and Passion sometimes settle in the lines of my eyes. I personally prefer more sparkle in my lid shades, so as much as I like this palette and the colors within it, I actually recommend to those who have a similar eyeshadow style as me to get the Flower Beauty Jungle Lights Palette instead. Jungle Lights has less impressive packaging, but the tones in it are more flattering, give more pigment and sparkle intensity, and blend easier so that I can even custom mix shades. The formula of the Rare Beauty eye shadows are more traditional, so it’s not as versatile as the palette from Flower Beauty. It’s ironic that I recommend replacing one celeb item with another as Flower Beauty is also a celebrity brand, but founded by Drew Barrymore. Since Jungle Lights came out first, and several years ago, I wonder if Selena’s creative team was aware of that color story and chose to ignore the fact that they were creating something similar.

Overall, Rare Beauty is an exception to my viewpoint on celebrity makeup. I have enjoyed the liquid blushes in the past and have heard wonderful things about the other products in the line. I have no opinions about Selena Gomez personally, so that was never a selling point for me, and yet the brand’s marketing and product quality have left me with a very positive impression. Rare Beauty and Fenty Beauty have done things right and have set the bar for other celebrity brands.

Since I mentioned Flower Beauty already, I should probably explain that I like movies Drew Barrymore has been in, but that has never made me interested in her brand. The only products I own from the brand is the Jungle Lights palette, because it has been so hyped up, along with Blush Bomb Color Drops (aka the Glossier Cloud Paint dupes). I also bought one other item a long time ago, which I think was a powder blush. Whatever it was, I just remember that the powder quality was chalky and the shade was unflattering on my skin, so I returned it.

Rare Beauty Positive Light Liquid Luminizer Highlighters (Samples) in Transcend and Flaunt

As beautiful as liquid highlighters are, I rarely reach for them, which is why these were never on my list to try unless they got released in mini sets like Rare Beauty has done for the blushes and lip products in the past. I’m happy that I was able to try them because these have been hyped up a lot. What I really like about the formula is that these blend in nicely with my Smashbox Precise Highlighting Brush. I have time to blend it in before it dries fully. It captures that wet gleaming skin look that I love. It’s a bit more metallic than I usually go for, but it’s stunning to look at and I do occasionally like a blingy highlight.

I probably would not have chosen these two shades for myself, but they turned out to be great! Transcend is a rose gold shade, and I usually don’t like the look of pink toned highlighters on me, so I built up my blush in order to hopefully get the highlight to look more natural on me. I think that tactic worked! When it came time to try on Flaunt, I toned down the blush to the level I would normally wear it so I could see the true color of how this “bronze gold” shade would look on me. I think it also looks nice, though it would have been perfect if it was slightly darker. Also, I have to acknowledge that Flaunt doesn’t look quite as smooth because I applied too much and continued to try and blend it out after it had already started to dry. So it looks a little messier than when I tried on Transcend, but that’s user error and not a flaw of the highlighter.

As curious as I am to explore more of the highlighter shades, I’m sticking to my original resolve that I should not purchase makeup I’m not going to use up unless it’s for sale as a mini. It’s nice though!

For those interested in the blushes, I reviewed Joy and Love here.

Rose Inc

Rose Inc Blush Divine Cream Blush (Refill plus Samples) in Foxglove, Anemone, Azalea, and Dahlia

I initially wanted this as soon as it launched, but I saw reviews that this formula was a bit sticky, which is a feature of cream blushes I usually can’t stand. However, on Black Friday when Rose Inc had all products discounted on top of a $10 off promo code and free shipping, there was no way I could pass it up.

Had I known that I would actually like the formula and that this Foxglove shade would actually work on my skin tone, I would have purchased the version of it that came in an actual compact. I have empty magnetic palettes I could put it in, but for now, I’m content with the plastic clamshell and box to limit air exposure for the cream.

The other reviews I’ve seen were right about this having a sticky texture, but that issue is resolved with a little powder on top of it. In the powder set photo above, I used one that was too dark and covered up too much of the blush, but normally this does the trick. The only unfortunate aspect is that setting with powder loses the flattering dewy sheen that this blush naturally provides, so I would probably continue to wear it without being set for photos, but if I planned to be in public and concerned about accidentally touching my face, I would then set it with powder. It lasts all day and while I wouldn’t personally recommend it at full price considering the myriad of lower priced cream options, I do think this is nice and worth checking out on sale.

I should also note that between using a brush, sponge, and fingers, my preferred method is to use my fingers because I have a lot of control that way. Using a slightly damp sponge is also a great option for packing on the color and blending seamlessly. I don’t recommend using a brush though because that sticky texture coats the bristles and causes them to bunch up, which impedes on being able to get a nice blend on the skin.

This product can also be used on the lips, but I don’t like how it looks or feels on mine, so I use it exclusively on my cheeks. Foxglove is described as a warm terracotta, but it looks coral on my cheeks.

Since I’ve continued to be curious about the blushes, but they aren’t worth full price for me, I’m very happy to have this sample card to try. I’m particularly happy that I’ve been able to satisfy my curiosity about whether Anemone was the type of coral I could pull off or if it would be too light for me. It is indeed too light for me as I have to build it up to an unreasonable amount for it to show. I’m glad I chose Foxglove over Anemone when I was deciding which shade to get. I didn’t expect to like Azalea because it looked like a deep almost magenta pink and is described as a berry, but when used sparingly, Azalea just takes on a nice medium pink tone. It doesn’t look like the type of shade I identify as a berry color. As for Dahlia, which is described as a deep berry, it looks more like a deep red on my skin. If I use the same amount of Dahlia as I do of Azalea, it’s hard to tell a difference on camera, so I had to build up the color way past the amount I would normally use for the Dahlia photo below. I don’t like how Dahlia looks when built up, but I can attest to it being quite pretty when applied in a light layer.

Photo taken from Sephora’s website.

I find it fascinating that in the professional swatch photo, the biggest variation for how the shades look on the skin are on the deeper and paler arms. The swatches look so similar on the tan arm.
I believe the descriptions of the colors are represented most accurately on the darkest arm, so anyone lighter than that model should be prepared for the blushes to look a little different. Since I fall somewhere between the dark and medium/tan toned arm, I guess it makes sense that the blushes don’t quite match their descriptions on me. I ended up scraping out both sample cards of the blushes and putting the shades in small jars in order to continue using them!

I know Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is a model and I liked her in the Transformers movies, but that wasn’t enough to make me interested in her line. What caught my attention was the blush because I am a blush addict. I’ve heard nothing but great things about the other products she launched with, so I planned to continue to try more if there was anything that matched my makeup preferences and came in the kind of packaging that appealed to me. This post would have gone up in June, but then I surprised myself by purchasing the cream bronzer which I liked so much that I bought yet another item from the brand during their Friends and Family sale!

Rose Inc Solar Infusion Moisturizing Cream Bronzer in Seychelles (Returned) and Capri

I purchased Seychelles based on photos making it look far warmer and deeper than it actually is. Considering I had been successful with choosing the second to last shade of the Charlotte Tilbury Cream bronzers and Nars Laguna Cream bronzers, I thought maybe the third time would be the charm for the one from Rose Inc. That turned out to be a mistake. It’s too light for me, combined with being such a cool-tone leaning neutral, that it looks grey on me!
The same day that I purchased Seychelles, I saw the true color of the bronzer in this review and immediately realized that it was not going to work for me. I contacted Rose Inc to try and switch the shade in my order, but the customer service rep said it wasn’t possible to alter orders and that I could return it and get my correct shade instead. So, I did just that. The return process was easy and the two times I exchanged emails with customer service, I got responses back quickly and the reps were professional yet friendly. So, that’s another plus in my book for Rose Inc.

I never had Capri and Seychelles at the same time, so I don’t have photos of them next to each other, but I do have photos of them in comparison to those other cream bronzers I mentioned.

The photos of the Seychelles bronzer are worn on top of the Estee Lauder Hydra Futurist Foundation. The Capri bronzer demonstration photo on the left is on top of the Rose Inc Serum Foundation, and the one on the right is on top of the Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Foundation (sample).

In three of the four different shade representations, Seychelles looked warm. It’s the main photo that shows how cool toned it is, but I thought maybe that was a difference in the lighting.

In any case, Capri was definitely the best color option for me. It has some reddish warmth to it that prevents it from looking like a contour. Although this is a good shade for me, it’s the darkest bronzer in their line, which I don’t think goes far enough on the spectrum. Charlotte and Nars have deeper options, and while Rose Inc is still “new,” I believe they should have an even darker option, especially since there are three shades darker than mine in the foundation, yet it’s doubtful Capri will work for those who wear those shades since I still have to build it up for it to work for me.

You can tell I really like a product when I’m extra passionate about the shade options because this is something I want everyone to be able to experience. The formula is very unique in that it looks emollient like a grease product in the container and doesn’t have the typical thick consistency of a cream, but it goes on the skin so smoothly like a medium coverage tint product. I expected a sticky feeling because of the consistency of the cream blush, but this bronzer actually dries down! It’s described as a cream to powder formula, but the finish doesn’t look powdery and still remains skin-like even when it’s fully dry. I like this so much! $36 is pricey, but I had a 15% off coupon and Rose Inc still periodically offers deals. Even if I paid full price, I think I would have felt this was still worth buying, so I do recommend it.

Rose Inc Skin Enhance Luminous Tinted Serum Foundation in 110

I made a spur of the moment decision to purchase the foundation for 25% off during the Friends and Family sale. I also added a free sample card of concealers to my order, which is how I was able to swatch and demonstrate what LX140, my closest match, looks like on me. I’m glad I was able to test it out because it’s thicker and tackier than I want in a concealer and the neutral shade looks off in the areas of my discoloration where I usually try to cover up. So, it would have been a bad purchase for me, despite the fact that I can build it up to full coverage, which is what I want most in a concealer. LX140 is described as a neutral, and as seen in the swatch next to my go-to KVD concealer in the swatches above, it’s the right depth, but I do need golden warmth for it to match the undertone of the rest of my face. LX130, which would be too light for my style, is a warm golden shade, but the next shade up with that undertone is LX170 which is definitely too dark for me. Also, it creases on me like crazy if I don’t set it with powder. Even still, the lines under my eyes get emphasized more than I’m comfortable with after about an hour or two of wear. So, the concealer really isn’t for me.

The serum foundation is a product that solidified for me that Rose Inc was a brand I should take seriously. I almost always avoid low coverage products because they are either the wrong depth or the wrong undertone, enough to look terrible on me despite the fact that lower coverage products are supposed to accommodate several different shades per color option. I also don’t like them because they don’t do enough to cover my hyperpigmentation, and I prefer buying a medium to full coverage foundation that I can choose to wear sparingly to easily achieve the same effect, whereas it’s harder to build up something sheer. So, what possessed me to spend the $40 discounted price on something I normally hate? My positive experiences with other Rose Inc products was a contributing factor, in addition to the hype of people raving about it and saying it’s a dupe to the $65 Chanel Les Beiges Water-Fresh Complexion Touch. Angelica Nyqvist might be the most responsible with her description of it as, “Your skin looks luminous and fresh like you just applied skincare and for some reason your skincare made you look flawless.”

Like the Chanel, it works best if it’s squirted out on the back of the hand or onto a mixing palette and “crush” the pigment into the rest of the serum to mix the two together. I’ve been using my Sonia G Fusion brushes with this to work the product into my skin by using one pump at a time for a total of 2-3 pumps for my entire face. The foundation feels cooling when I initially apply it and it feels as hydrating as it looks. I have worn it without primer and loved the results. I’ve also worn it with the Benefit Porefessional Lite primer and my sunscreen and those three products played well together. I was concerned that too many moisturizing products on my face might cause an issue with transfer or looking too dewy, but it still dried down. In the Capri bronzer section where I’m wearing the headband, there are visible sweat beads on my forehead because the air-conditioner broke that day and it was 85 F degrees in the house while I was taking photos. In that picture, plus the last three blush demonstration photos, I was not wearing any powder on my face. In the photo below, I barely set my forehead, but it’s a more accurate representation of what this foundation looks like in normal circumstances when I’m not boiling. Even while sweaty though, I was impressed with how long wearing it is and that there was low transfer. I have dry skin, so that could be a factor for how well the foundation holds up.

No-makeup makeup look using the Rose Inc Tinted Serum Foundation in 110, a sample of the Softlight Luminous Hydrating Concealer in LX140 under my eyes and on the discoloration on either side of my chin, Anemone and Dahlia blushes mixed on the cheeks, and the Solar Infusion Moisturizing Cream Bronzer in Capri. I applied the barest layer of powder to my forehead area.

It really does look like I’m just having the best skincare day. It’s as if my hyperpigmentation faded, or I got a facial and graduated to drinking eight glasses of spa water a day. Sometimes, when I don’t feel like putting on a full face, I’ve worn this foundation without even concealer, just to look slightly more put together while on video chat with my boyfriend. I’m so impressed with this and while I’ve rediscovered my love of no-makeup makeup looks, I will definitely be using this a lot in my down time. For blog purposes, however, I prefer to use my other foundations in order to not distract from the products I’m showing off if my discoloration is peeking through. I’m also working on using up my tube of Estee Lauder’s Futurist Hydra Foundation. In fact, I recently tried using 2 pumps of the Rose Inc Foundation as a primer underneath one pump of the EL Futurist Hydra for extra coverage. I immediately set it with powder since it was a hot day and I looked instantly too dewy for my liking, but that combination plus the powder was pretty!

Part of the Rose Inc identity is “Clean” beauty, and that’s a topic that isn’t important to me. I don’t mind if they want to advertise being clean as long as the formula is stable, effective, and won’t expire on me too quickly. They also care about sustainability with their packaging and like to include skincare positive ingredients. Those last two are a nice bonus for me, so I thought it was something I should mention.

Victoria Beckham Beauty

Victoria Beckham Beauty Cheeky Posh: Cream Blush Stick in Miniskirt

I really like the shade of this blush, but this purchase was also made for the gorgeous, weighty tortoiseshell packaging. Miniskirt is incredibly similar to Fenty Beauty’s Rose Latte, which is why I kept talking myself out of getting this since I already own several similar shades, but when I saw it available on Mercari for a great price and having only been swatched once, I bought it.

The best way to use this is to swipe the stick directly onto the cheeks and blend it out with the fingers. This formula looks pigmented, but when I start to work it into my cheeks it blends away to nothing and I have to use a ridiculous amount of product to build it back up when I use any other method. It blends away with a sponge if I try it on my cheeks. Getting the blush off the back of my hand and onto my face loses half the product. Trying to swipe it directly onto the sponge or the bristles of the brush also keeps half the product from going onto my cheeks. Sometimes swiping a cream stick product directly on the skin can remove the product underneath, but this one doesn’t do that, which is why using it that way ended up being the best application method for me.

This blush transfers, but it’s minimized if I set it with powder. I like this and will continue to use it, but the luxury packaging and experience is the biggest selling point. Prior to owning this, I really wanted the shade Rollerskate as well, but I’m content to just having one now. However, it did re-spark my interest in the brand’s Matte Bronzing Brick.

Victoria Beckham has cultivated her image for so long as a fashion, style, and classy icon that it seems perfectly natural that her brand took on that same image and became associated with quality and luxury. I was definitely sold on the packaging, but I was still skeptical on the quality front. I’m happy to know that at least this product is good, even though I prefer blushes with more pigmentation. It’s just a matter of whether that quality is worth the price, which I don’t think it is without also factoring in that luxury packaging.

Haus Labs (via Amazon and Sephora)

I was glad to hear that Haus Labs was rebranding through Sephora because I haven’t had the best experience with them while they were Amazon exclusives. I felt that the quality of the products that I reviewed here was nothing special, which was a let down considering the brand’s prices are on the high side of mid-tier. I have since learned that the final Amazon collection, Italian Glam/Casa Gaga, has better quality makeup and packaging than the previous ones. However, Haus Labs raised the prices to account for that improvement and Amazon’s handling of these items is atrocious. The highlighter was off the mesh when I opened the compact. The only surprising part was that it broke off in one solid piece considering the unicarton was dented inside the unpadded poly mailer it came in that’s supposed to be used to ship clothes, not a breakable item. Either the delivery driver dropped it or it was mishandled in the warehouse. It’s at least a good thing that all Haus Labs products come in a thin protective bubble pouch no matter if they end up being shipped in a cardboard box, bubble mailer, or poly mailer.

Weeks later, when I ordered the Spritz blush, they sent me one that someone else had returned to Amazon and already used! The sticker around the unicarton that has to be torn in order to lift the flap was already ripped open. There was a layer of product around the gold rim and the imprint was slightly worn down where it says “Gaga” on the blush compared to “Casa.” Even though I’ve purchased pre-owned makeup before, I think anyone would be displeased if they paid for a new item and received a used one instead. The upside to the mistakes is that they accidentally included the Bellini blush in my box (yes, the products smaller than the highlighter even came in a box). I would never have ordered Bellini because I didn’t think it would show up on me, but it does and it’s pretty.

The left photo shows the thin protective bubble pouch, along with the poly mailer bag they chose to deliver the highlighter in, rather than using a box, or at least a fully padded bubble mailer. The right photo shows the sticker that covers the unicarton flap and easily indicates whether or not the product has been opened. Perhaps these kind of mistakes are the result of Amazon overworking and underpaying their employees.

So, for anyone still ordering Haus Labs products through Amazon, be prepared for the possibility of there being issues. These items are eligible for being returned for a refund, but I hate returning things, and I felt bad already for having returned the newly relaunched highlighter to Sephora. I’ll discuss more on that later.

Haus Labs Casa Gaga Tutti Gel-Powder Blushes in Amarone, Spritz, and Bellini

I have three of the four blushes in the line. These are a baked gel-powder formula made in Italy. They are rich in color, but very thin, so they still need to be built up a bit on my cheeks. I also need to dip back in the compact repeatedly because the blush is not easy to pick up with a brush unless it’s made of sturdy bristles. I’ve used this with my Chikuhdo FO-2, which is dense with a wide surface area that allows me to get more product onto my face than a traditionally shaped blush brush. I also have used the Smashbox Precise Blush Brush because the medium-heavy packed synthetic bristles can easily get through that compressed layer. I certainly have had no success using my grey squirrel brushes with them, and am only successful with Saikoho if the brush is medium density and up. Sokoho and Sokoho-mix brushes work decently depending on how tightly it is bundled. So, I recommend using dense brushes in either synthetic or a durable type of natural bristles.

Amarone applied in 3-4 layers with the Sonia G Cheek Pro.

Spritz applied in three layers with the Hakuhodo x Hello Kitty Slide Face Brush L Round & Flat.

Bellini applied in five layers with the Smashbox Precise Blush Brush.

These blushes have a satin finish and a long wear time with or without foundation. I don’t usually have an issue though with powder blushes fading on me before I’m ready to remove my makeup. As for the shades, I like the tone of red in Amarone and the peachy brown of Bellini the most. Spritz, which I was initially attracted to the most, is quite bright on the skin if built up too much. It’s actually very close in color to Pat Mcgrath’s Electric Bloom.

These blushes are intended to be used on the lips as well, but it looks horrendous if you have any spots that need exfoliating. The fact that it’s a powder doesn’t help dry lips look any better. What I tried to do for the pictures below is to apply balm to my lips, pat the blush on the lips with my finger, wipe my finger on a towel, and then pat more blush on until I get the desired amount of color. I only attempted this for blog testing purposes and will not be bothering to use the Casa Gaga blushes in this way. It doesn’t have lasting power and was completely gone after a meal. Amarone is kind of pretty, but Bellini just reminded me of how the Rose Inc Foxglove blush looked on my lips. I did not try out Spritz because I will never put a stranger’s used product on my lips, no matter how much I spray it down with alcohol. That’s where I draw the line.

I like the blushes a lot, but because I’m so satisfied with these, I don’t think I’d be interested in buying the ones that are bound to be released in the future via Sephora.

Haus Labs By Lady Gaga Bio-Radiant Gel-Powder Highlighter in Fire Opal

This highlighter is the only product I bought from the brand’s relaunch collection at Sephora. Considering all the previous Haus Labs products I purchased were between 50-70% off, I can’t help but be a little turned off by their pricing. I understand that their high price could actually be worth it now, due to shelving space at Sephora, the “Clean Beauty” formulas (which is an aspect I honestly care nothing about), and the upgraded packaging. The latter is the one that I can get behind the most, but with a price point that is competing with the likes of Natasha Denona, Charlotte Tilbury, Hourglass, etc. my expectations were high.

Gel-powder formulas are my favorite and I absolutely loved the new Haus Labs packaging in its shiny shifting opalescent color. I also thought the tone of orange was stunning and out of all the swatches on the website, I thought that the Fire Opal shade was prettiest on every skin tone. So, I expected this shade to be a slam dunk, but it’s sparkly! Broken record here, but I hate sparkly highlighters. It has the wet effect look at certain angles that I love, but what’s the point of a highlighter looking like natural gleaming skin if it’s going to be paired with very obvious glittery looking particles? It also just looks yellow on me, like Fenty’s Trophy Wife, instead of golden orange. I barely get any base color and had to use my hog bristle brush to dig deeper into the powder to get a bit of that fiery coral orange, but it wasn’t strong enough to overpower the yellow shimmer. I even attempted to mix it with PML’s Electric Bloom to mimic the base color of Fire Opal, but it wasn’t successful.

I decided to return this because of how expensive it is for something I’d never use again, and I already own the very similar looking (on the skin) Clionadh Tropico highlighter. In addition, I was on a losing streak of every new product being wrong for me in some way. I couldn’t keep absorbing the cost, so Fire Opal not working out for me was the last straw.

I attempted two wear tests for the sake of the review, and both times I had issues with the highlighter staying on my face for longer than six hours. So, this product was a complete fail for me.

Haus Labs Casa Gaga Tutti Gel-Powder Highlighter in Luce Del Sol

After the disaster that was the newest range of highlighters from the brand at Sephora, I grew curious as to whether the one from Amazon would be better for me. I had originally heard rave reviews about Luce del Sol and couldn’t remember hearing anyone say it was glittery, but the price always stopped me from getting it. Once the price was dropped, my interest returned. I had tried and enjoyed the blushes by then and considering they shared the same formula, I was willing to give it a shot.

I certainly like this highlighter more than Fire Opal! It’s slightly lighter than I go for, but I just have to make sure I blend it in properly. It has that wet look when it hits the light that I like. It still has a slight sparkle to it, and emphasizes texture a little bit, but nowhere near as much as the other formula! Depending on the brush I use, this can sometimes look like the shimmer is spaced out too far apart for my liking, but then I just spray my face and apply another light layer of highlighter on top to meld it into my skin. Essentially, the dewier my skin is, the more I like it on me. The shine dulls a tiny bit towards the end of the night, but it’s still very present all day. I like it, but the listed price is still too high. Around $30 is more reasonable.

The blushes have a list price of $32 each at 3.5 grams and the highlighter is $42 for 12 grams of product.

As much as I like the blushes and don’t mind having small ones because I’ll never use up a typical full size blush, the price still needs to be adjusted if there’s that little product. $25 would still be pricey to me, but more reasonable for what the customer gets. To be fair, it’s about the equivalent ppg to the Huda Beauty GloWish blushes.

I’m happy that I didn’t pay full price for the Haus Labs at Amazon products. The Casa Gaga ones specifically helped improve my perception of the brand, but I cannot ignore the quality of their older launches. After my experience with the highlighter from the rebrand, I’ve lost interest in trying anything else from them.

BH Cosmetics

Iggy Azalea x BH Cosmetics Sponge

This purchase was discounted to $3 and I bought it purely to meet a free shipping minimum on BH Cosmetics’ website. This was before the announcement that the brand was filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy and that Revolution Beauty would be acquiring the brand. I like a few of Iggy Azaela’s songs but that wasn’t enough to make me interested in anything from this 90’s throwback collection (and apparently a ton of people felt the same way). This launch was a flop, but I can attest to the sponge actually being a great purchase. It’s super soft and works just as well as the original Beautyblender for a fraction of the cost. It’s also an incredible deal that this sponge also comes with a case, considering most cases cost more than what I paid for this duo. I’m glad that it has the flat side and pointy side like the Real Techniques Sponges (but less firm). The only downside is that I have a harder than usual time keeping this free of makeup stains, but considering the swirl pattern on this sponge, it looks naturally splotchy anyway.

Doja Cat x BH Cosmetics Flora Blush Trio in Rose

I believe this collection did slightly better than the Iggy Azealea one, and it had a round 2 release, although I’m not sure if that was already agreed upon contractually or if the first did well enough to create round 2 afterwards. I personally suspect it was in the contract. In any case, there were three blush trios in the launch. I bought two, but gave one away. I chose to keep this palette because of that reddish-brown blush with the golden shimmer, which is the type of color I love. The formula is extremely thin though on these blushes, so I have to build up this shade using a dense flat top brush or one of my goat hair workhorse brushes like the Sonia G Cheek Pro. It’s quite pretty though, despite being immensely subtle on me. The darker of the two pink blushes isn’t my favorite tone, but it at least shows on my skin and is slightly more opaque, though it still requires building. As for the lightest blush in the trio, I didn’t bother taking a photo wearing it considering it’s practically white in my arm swatch and definitely only suited for pale to light skin tones. It does have some shimmer to it, but it does not work as a highlighter for me. Overall, I’m not very impressed with the quality of these blushes. I have better from within BH’s own brand, not that they were ever my favorite to begin with, so I can’t recommend these, no matter how low the price is.

I thought that this post would help me decide whether I should be more open minded to makeup associated with celebrities, but even though I had a good experience with some of these, I can think of so many celebrity lines I happily skipped. If anything, I think I did a good job of picking and choosing which ones to try, which is more of a reflection on knowing my own tastes and less about the celebrity brands. So, in the end, not much changed my viewpoint except that I have a slightly higher opinion of Rare Beauty and Victoria Beckham Beauty. The biggest change was my opinion of Rose Inc earning my respect and successfully making me want to try a few more items from the brand if they expand their shade range of current and future products. If even one product I tried after the blush was a dud, I would have lost interest again in Rose Inc, so it’s only because they put so much thought and innovation into their products that I now see the brand in such a great light. I cannot say that this is the norm for celebrity involved makeup.

That’s everything for this post, but after I finished my final draft I came across a video on YouTube by Mina Le who discussed this topic of the over saturation of celebrity brands. I’m always getting recommended videos by Mina, but this is the first one I’ve watched. I find the sections on the environmental impact, power of celebrity, and downfall sections to be particularly interesting.

-Lili

Fude Collection Part 4

To make things easier to catalogue, I created a page that has every Fude post linked, as well as a description of the topics discussed in those posts and a list of which brushes are in which posts.

In this one today, I’ll be reviewing some of the newest additions to my collection. At the end, I will also include the two brushes I reviewed in other random parts of my blog in order to make things easier for everyone to find in the future. This post got incredibly long and almost overwhelming, so I actually have a Fude Collection Part 5 already in the works!

Regarding my measurements, “hair width” is measured from the widest part, regardless of the overall brush shape. I don’t measure thickness. Anything with an asterisk indicates that I had to measure that one myself as those numbers were not listed on the website. All figures listed in inches are converted estimates.

*DISCLAIMER: The links in bold blue font (Example) are standard non-affiliate links. Links marked in bold black font with a light blue background (Example) are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to get a commission if someone clicks them and then makes a purchase. Thank you so much to those who have already shopped through my links! Thank you to everyone who supports this blog, whether it’s through an affiliate link, visiting this blog regularly, commenting, following, and liking my posts! It’s very much appreciated!
All the brushes in this review were purchased by me with my own money. The brush I purchased using affiliate funds will be in the Fude Collection Part 5 post.

CHIKUHODO

Chikuhodo FO-9 Powder Brush

  • Full Length: 166mm / 6.54 in
  • Hair Length: 51mm / 2 in
  • Hair Width: *60mm / 2.36 in
  • Bristle Type: Silver Fox
  • Handle: Maple Wood
  • Ferrule: Aluminum

The FO series is one of my favorites from Chikuhodo, so even though I don’t set my face with powder very often anymore, I still couldn’t resist getting this FO-9. It’s packed with fox hair and looks marginally larger than the FO-1, but becomes so huge, fluffy, and airy after being washed! I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a drastic bloom for a brush before. It’s lovely!

When applying powder, it truly feels like I’m putting nothing on my face. Even if I hold the brush closer to the ferrule and try to apply pressure, the hair is so long and flexible that the added force disperses and still doesn’t feel any harder on the skin. It’s perfect for someone with skin that’s sensitive to touch, dry skin who wants to apply the barest whisper of powder to the face, and people who enjoy soft luxurious feeling brushes. This isn’t good for intense buffing because of that inability to add force to the tips. I also feel like it’s so large that I can’t really get this brush to apply enough powder in the crevices of my nostrils, so this is a brush I use specifically for setting or finishing everywhere else. I usually don’t have to set my nose, but occasionally the bulbous tip of my nose and nostrils get oily whereas I have dry skin everywhere else.

From left to right: FO-9, FO-1, FO-2, FO-3, FO-4, and FO-10

Post wash, the FO-9 is significantly larger than the rest of the line in every way. My FO-1 in the photo has been in a brush guard and hasn’t puffed back out yet (to where it would be wider than the FO-3), but it’s still smaller than the FO-9 in width and thickness, as well as 6mm shorter. The $22-$40 price difference (depending where it’s purchased) between those two is justified in my opinion.

This brush is 16000 YEN and can be purchased here.

Chikuhodo FO-10 Finger Eyeshadow Brush

  • Full Length: 125mm / 4.9 in
  • Hair Length: 15mm / 0.59 in
  • Hair Width: *12mm / 0.47 in
  • Bristle Type: Silver Fox
  • Handle: Maple Wood
  • Ferrule: Aluminum

I love the face brushes in the FO Series, but I haven’t been a fan of the eye brushes, so it says a lot that I really enjoy this FO-10! It’s perfect for one-and-done eyeshadow looks as it applies eyeshadow in a completely smooth and even layer. It picks up a light amount of product, but because of the amount of surface area on that flat angular side (the part that’s supposed to mimic a fingertip) a decent amount overall gets picked up with each tap. The angled edge also helps to be able to build up layers in a controlled way. I can hold the FO-10 like a liner brush to define the crease, as well as flip it 90 degrees to blend back and forth in the crease as well. The curves of the tip keeps it feeling soft and not pointy around my eyes, although that also makes it trickier for me to use for the inner corners if I’m doing more than just a basic eye look. Because of all the ways I can successfully use this brush, I am very pleased with it!

This brush is 3200 YEN and can be purchased here.

Chikuhodo T-13 Takumi Foundation Brush

  • Full Length: 145mm / 5.71 in
  • Hair Length: 30mm / 1.18 in
  • Hair Width: *40mm / 1.57 in
  • Bristle Type: Saikoho Goat

When I saw this brush, I was so excited because the mushroom head shape that it becomes post-wash is exactly what I’ve always wanted in a large bronzer brush! I usually don’t use big brushes for my bronzer because they tend to be shaped in a way that prevents me from being able to keep the product close to my hairline and in not so thick of a section under my cheekbones. This brush has a semi flat portion at the top that allows me to apply the product while simultaneously buffing everywhere else that the rounded edges touch my face. This brush is so poofy with cloud-like softness that blending bronzer with it is everything I hoped it would be. I love it! While I can use this brush for blush as well, it’s much bigger than I like or am used to for cheek application, so I prefer to use a different brush such as one of my holy grail blush brushes, the Chikuhodo T-4.

I don’t use powder foundations, but I have tried this out with my liquid foundations since this is actually intended to be a foundation brush. The T-13 works beautifully for that purpose and I can get a very quick and effortless blend onto my face. The only downside is that so much product remains in the bristles of this brush and the hair is too delicate for me to be able to wipe off every trace of foundation off the brush and then use it for bronzer, blush, setting or finishing powder, etc and needing to wipe it between each use. So, as excited as I was thinking about how versatile this brush was going to be because of the head shape, if I want to preserve the life of this brush, I need to choose one singular purpose. It’s not enough for me to decide to just stick to powders or just stick to liquid. The other complication with this brush is the shedding problem.

This photo was intended to show the width of product that gets picked up by the brush versus the surrounding area without product which helps to buff and blend. It inadvertently also shows a loose hair from simply swirling the brush in the compact before even being used.

Prior to purchasing my brush, I did see a few comments about how many hairs this brush sheds. I was convinced that those people happened to be unlucky in getting a bad brush because I’ve previously only ever had a true shedding issue with 2 out of probably 250 or more brushes I’ve owned in my lifetime. So, I bought the T-13 anyway and made sure to just be extra careful when I washed it for the first time (thinking that might possibly be the issue others had, if there even was a widespread issue at all). Upon taking it out of the package and feeling the brush with my fingertips, I was getting quite a few loose hairs with each pass. I was a bit alarmed, but thought about how packed with hairs this brush is and that perhaps it was overly filled as a precaution to ensure the brush will maintain its mushroom shape. I was extremely careful washing the brush and ensuring no water went into the ferrule, I gently squeezed the excess water onto my microfiber towel, and then I hung the brush upside down from my brush tree as usual. Now that I’ve been using this brush on and off for months, I can say that every time I use this, I lose anywhere from 2 to 6 hairs. This is highly unusual from my experience with my brush collection and this is the reason I don’t even like to swap between using this brush for various purposes if it requires me to do more than some light sweeping on a microfiber towel to clean off my brush. While I am concerned about the longevity of this brush over time, there is still so much hair that I’m not worried about it falling apart on me for at least a few years. It’s dense due to sheer volume, but it retains that airy feel due to the bundling. I currently am using this brush exclusively with powder bronzers and since I still love it so much, I considered whether I should get multiples to use for other purposes. That shedding issue is what stopped me. I’m happy to have this one, but I can’t justify buying more than one.
The T-13 was consistently on the list of CDJapan’s top selling brushes for months (having finally been dethroned off the main brush page in the last three weeks), so I’m guessing many other customers are still loving this brush and spreading the word about it.

This brush is 9000 YEN and can be purchased here.

Chikuhodo PS-2 Cheek Brush

  • Full Length: 145mm / 5.71 in
  • Hair Length: 35mm / 1.38 in
  • Hair Width: 17mm / 0.67 in
  • Bristle Type: Sokoho Goat

This brush is a classic! The Passion series has been around since before my Fude journey began, but I decided now was the time for me to see what Chikuhodo’s Sokoho hair feels like. The grades can vary between brands depending on their supplier, so I wanted to see how it compared. Their Sokoho is decent, but I wouldn’t want another full Sokoho brush from them again. In fact, from all brands, the lowest goat grade I will seek out is if the Sokoho is mixed with Grey Squirrel.

What this brush has going for it is the fact that the most dense spot is directly in the center, and the bristles are flexible, which gives me a nice bounce while I’m buffing product in circular motions. I use this brush almost exclusively for blush, though I can use it in the way I want with bronzer too because of the partly rounded top that performs like a flat top. This shape allows me to instinctively buff in circular motions and still feel natural switching to using sweeping motions.

It’s too large for highlighter. I also think it’s too small for all over face powder, though my opinion differs from what the brand says. Because the hair is Sokoho, it picks up a decent amount of product, but because of the density, it also buffs a lot out. This is especially the case if I keep the brush in a brush guard. So, I still consider this best for those that like to build up blush with multiple layers. Because I like bouncy buffing blush brushes, I will likely still continue to use this even though I have softer natural hair brushes I could choose instead.

This brush is 4000 YEN and can be purchased here.

KOYUDO

Koyudo y-8 Tapered Eyeshadow Brush S

  • Full Length: 138mm / 5.43 in
  • Hair Length: 13mm / 0.51 in
  • Hair Width: *5mm / 0.2 in
  • Bristle Type: Black (Tanuki) Raccoon

This brush is part of Koyudo’s Yoshiki Series, even though the main brushes in the series are supposed to be identifiable by the cherry birch wood (mizume-zakura) handles and saikoho goat bristles. I own the 05 Lip & Eyeliner Brush S, but I misplaced that tiny brush and hadn’t seen it for at least half a year. That’s why I figured it couldn’t hurt to buy another liner or pencil brush.


I have this strange fascination with hair and the biggest reason I wanted this brush was to be able to know what raccoon fur feels like. I expected it to be fluffy, but these hairs are a bit course like weasel. Apparently raccoons have underfur (which is soft) and guard hair (which is thick and course), so I’m guessing this brush is made from the guard hair. After washing the brush and using it a few times, it started to have a little more give to it and become a little more flexible without feeling rough or pokey. I have definitely grown to like and enjoy this brush. My favorite purpose for the y-8 is for my eye’s inner corner. It’s not the best with flakier eyeshadows like certain glitter, shimmer, and multichrome formulas, but I do enjoy this brush with my smoother eyeshadows. I even like it with my chunkier shadows as long as it’s still creamy enough to be spread, as opposed to a flakier one that would flick specks of eyeshadow messily around my inner corner. It can pick up a lot or a little product, depending on whether I dot just the tip into the eyeshadow or hold it at a 45 degree angle to pick it up along the side. I occasionally use this for deepening up the outer corner of my eyes if I want to create a sharper edge or line my upper lash line with an eyeshadow. If I want to use this on my lower lash line, I have to be a bit careful not to flick the particles up and into my eyeball, so I use short strokes for that task. While I admittedly still use my Smashbox Double Ended Smudger Brush (Discontinued) way more often, I have no regrets adding this one to my collection.

This brush is 2600 YEN and available here.

BISYODO

Bisyodo B-H-01 Highlight / Cheek Brush

  • Full Length: 168mm / 6.6 in
  • Hair Length: 40mm / 1.57 in
  • Hair Width: 19mm / 0.75 in
  • Bristle Type: Goat Saikoho
  • Handle: African Rose Wood
  • Ferrule: 24 KG plated Brass

Since the Bisyodo CH-HC is one of my holy grail highlighter brushes, I wanted to purchase the similar looking B-H-01 as my premium version. The head size and handle weight differences give it a much different feel than I expected and the end result is not alike at all. Since the B-H-01 ends at a wider taper than the CH-HC, the former gives a more diffused look whereas the latter is better for precision and a little more concentration of product.

I found it intriguing that this brush has such a thick handle, even larger of a handle size than the B-C-01 which has a larger brush head. I would have expected the larger brush to have the larger handle, or at the very least for the handles to be the same size considering Bisyodo describes them both as highlight/cheek brushes.

I was a little disappointed at first until I found the perfect purpose for this brush. If I want to only use one section of my Pat Mcgrath Duo Blushes, there are only a few blush brushes in my collection that picks up the amount of product I want, yet is small enough to select from one half without mixing into the shade of the other half. Considering Pat Mcgrath is a luxury brand, using a fancy brush like this with her products adds to the experience. This wasn’t a necessary purchase, but it’s a nice mini splurge.

This brush is 6400 YEN and available here.

Bisyodo B-ES-06 Eye Shadow Brush

  • Full Length: 143mm / 5.63 in
  • Hair Length: 13mm / 0.51 in
  • Hair Width: 10mm / 0.39 in
  • Bristle Type: Kolinsky
  • Handle: African Rose Wood
  • Ferrule: 24 KG plated Brass

I follow a lot of Fude-centric accounts on Instagram and I am frequently reminded about how much people seem to love Kolinsky brushes. Prior to this year, my only experience with Kolinsky has been the brushes from Koyudo I’ve reviewed before. Because brushes in the sable family aren’t that soft, comparatively speaking to high grade goat and squirrel, I did not understand the hype. I was using those Koyudo brushes for a while, but then gradually just went back to using goat hair brushes on my eyes.

In May, I decided I wanted to try and give Kolinsky another chance as I was starting to use my Nyx Glitter primer again, which can be harsh on soft natural hair brushes. I also planned to incorporate more gel liners and create some graphic liner looks and wanted to see how that would go using filbert shapes rather than my usual flat angle brushes. Jaybirdwalking on YouTube has a super in-depth video dedicated to the topic of Kolinsky and shows her large collection of brushes, which is how I decided which ones would be the best for me to order.

This brush is officially the softest Kolinsky brush I own! For context, I do only own four. It’s comfortable enough that I actually enjoy using it. I like the width of it, to get more product on my eyes at a time. I also like that the tips come almost to a point, which makes it fantastic for using with those gel liners I wanted to use this with. I can get a crisp even line each time and I have the control to make it thinner or thicker depending on the amount of pressure I use. I have no trouble using this for packing on shimmers to my lids, though it can be a little trickier in the folds of my inner corner. While I can use this with mattes too, using it with shimmers (and especially if I want to apply them damp to my eyes) is where this brush stands out. I still prefer my goat brushes with mattes. Also, despite the B-ES-06’s size, it performs very well on the lower lash line too. I know some people like to apply their concealer and/or eyeshadow primer with Kolinsky hair brushes, but the Sonia G Jumbo Concealer brush is way more comfortable and easier to use for my eye area because of the thickness and hair type.

Out of the four Kolinsky brushes I have, this is the one I recommend most.

This brush is 4800 YEN and available here.

HOUKODOU

Houkodou Brilliant Gold Series G-S5 Flat Eye Shadow Brush

  • Full Length: 140mm / 5.5 in
  • Hair Length: 11mm / 0.43 in
  • Hair Width: 7mm / 0.27 in
  • Bristle Type: Kolinsky

I couldn’t decide if I wanted the wider Bisyodo brush or this one, so I decided to get both. The bristles aren’t as soft as the Bisyodo brush I previously discussed, but it’s still softer than the Koyudo ones I’ve reviewed here before.

This brush is great for lining the eyes and applying shimmers, including getting into the crevices of my inner corner. Because it doesn’t have the same softness as the B-ES-06, I don’t enjoy using it on my more sensitive lower lash line, but it can be done. Also, the dome tapered tip of the GS-5 gives me a little thicker of a line than the Bisyodo brush. This is a good detail brush for adding definition to the outer corner, crease, and under the brow. I’ve also used it to clean up the edges of my eye look with concealer in either a harsh line or blending it a bit for an even line with a soft edge. The Houkodou and Bisyodo brushes are multi-purpose in that way. While I still recommend the Bisyodo one over this, the price difference might make the Houkodou Kolinsky brush more appealing. Also, the GS-3 brush that Jaybirdwalking featured in the video link I posted is larger than the GS-5 that I bought. I wanted a brush that wasn’t quite so similar to the Bisyodo, which I’m glad I did since the one edge that it has over the Bisyodo brush is that ability to get into the inner corners. And, of course, the price.

This brush is 3000 YEN and available here.

KIHITSU

Kihitsu Purple GV Eyeshadow Brush

Full Length: *135mm / 5.31 in
Hair Length: *14mm / 0.55 in
Hair Width: *10mm / 0.39 in
Bristle Type: Prairie Dog

On FudeJapan’s website, there are two versions of this brush: Kolinsky and Prairie Dog. Even though Kolinsky is sought after and I certainly have room to expand that in my range of hair types, I leapt at the chance to feel a new animal hair type. The only hair I’ve seen in a brush that I’m not too keen to own is cat. I actually emailed CDJapan to verify that it wasn’t a “goat” misprint, but no, it’s not. The set has a cat hair brush.

Anyway, unlike the two previous brushes I discussed, this one can feel scratchy if I try to use it in the crease and flip it vertically to do windshield wiper motions across the eyes. If I’m just patting this brush on my lids in short strokes or lining my eyes by using the brush in a horizontal motion, it feels fine. This brush isn’t as soft as Kolinsky, but it picks up quite a bit more product and is also a little thicker in shape around the belly of the brush. For that reason, I will definitely continue to use this brush for its main purpose of applying shimmers wet or on a tacky base. Though this brush applies more product, I prefer Kolinsky over prairie dog.

TSUBOKAWA MOUHITSU

Koyomo nadeshiko Pearl Pink Blush Brush

  • Full Length: 116mm / 4.57 in
  • Hair Length: 39mm / 1.53 in
  • Hair Width: *30mm / 1.18 in
  • Bristle Type: Goat Haku-ototsuho Yomo

I enjoyed the eyeshadow Koyomo brush I purchased at the end of 2020, so I knew it was a matter of time before I eventually tried out this hair type again in a face brush. I’m still not a fan of the short handle, but it’s not something that impacts my ability to use this brush effectively. I hold it by the bottom end of the ferrule where some of the writing is, so that may be something that will get worn away if I use it consistently. It’s a dense brush with hair that shockingly feels borderline as soft as Saikoho. The main difference is that the hair strands in this brush are thicker, so it has a little more drag on the face than my other Saikoho brushes (even if I hold the brush further back), but the softness factor prevents that drag from feeling abrasive on my skin. My Koyomo eyeshadow brush feels like Sokoho, so I don’t know if I just got an exceptionally great version of that hair type in my blush brush, but it makes me want to purchase Tsubokawa Mouhitsu’s higher grade lines if only they made longer handle versions. If they do in the future, I would absolutely pick one up.

The way that is most comfortable for me to hold this brush lends perfectly for blush usage, but feels a bit awkward in the hand while I attempt to apply bronzer in my preferred (for bronzer) sweeping motion. I can still do this easily enough though.

The head circumference is fairly small, even after the post-wash bloom, so I believe this brush really is best to use solely for blush. It works beautifully for blush regardless of whether or not I want to pounce it on my cheeks or swirl and buff, so that’s good enough for me.

I decided to post the size comparisons of these two at the last minute. Please excuse the fact that the Koyomo brush isn’t washed. Because these brush posts take me months to complete, it can be difficult to juggle between wanting to use these brushes in my down time with wanting to keep them clean for blog purposes in case I need additional pictures.

This brush is 5000 YEN and available here.

MURAGISHI SANGYO

MS-2 Mai Sakura Blush Brush

  • Full Length: 159mm / 6.26 in
  • Hair Length: 36mm / 1.42 in
  • Hair Width: *32mm / 1.26 in
  • Bristle Type: Gray Squirrel and Goat Sokoho

The HS-2 Hana Sakura is one of my favorite brushes and it’s quite versatile. The MS-2 isn’t as versatile for me, but has proved to be an amazing dedicated blush brush. This shape is similar to the Chikuhodo T-4 and PS-2, so it performs similarly to them, but with a smaller brush head. I love the spring back when I pounce it on my face, but I can use it in any application method. It’s a medium density brush that’s packed tightest in the center and the flexibility of the hair allows it to curve enough to function like a sweeping brush if used in that way, but also stand firmly enough to be used in a buffing motion if so desired. The handle length is great for me and it looks so much prettier in person when I can see the sparkles in the black lacquer of the handle and that pretty flower pattern too. The head size is on the smaller side, but the splay from the outer ring keeps it from feeling too small when I use it.

As I’ve mentioned before, the way these kind of brush heads are constructed is holy grail for me for blush usage, and blushes alone. I don’t enjoy it nearly as much for any other purpose, though I could still get the job done realistically with bronzer.

Because of the addition of the Grey Squirrel hair, which adds extra softness, this brush is a bit more expensive than the similarly performing Chikuhodo PS-2. However, I personally think this brush is better and worth that extra expense because of the softness and the handle, but admittedly the handles of both brushes are pretty in their own ways.

There is only one negative to this brush and it’s that the pretty matte gold ferrule is very malleable and therefore easy to bend. Even though it doesn’t look like it’s any thinner than the ferrules of my other brushes, it feels like I could actually squeeze it out of shape with my fingers if I tried hard enough, unlike the others. There’s also a bit larger of a gap than I’ve seen before between the hair and the top of the ferrule when I push the hair to the side. I’ll include a comparison photo below between the MS-2 and PS-2 demonstrating this. It’s just something I’ve noticed, and so far it hasn’t made the brush shed, feel loosely packed, or problematic in any way.

I accidentally dropped this brush, and I believe that’s what caused the ferrule to bend and create a flat edge at two points, which made the hair shape go from being circular to a quarter section being flat. I have a tool from my crafting days that I used to get it back in shape. I would not have attempted to fix a more expensive brush, and a few times I did make it a little worse before making it better, so I only recommend those with experience to attempt the same as I did to fix things. I have dropped other brushes in the past, but this is the only one I’ve noticed that actually got damaged from that happening. Perhaps the others did too and I just didn’t notice it, but I figured it was something I should mention. Those who aren’t as clumsy as I am sometimes will likely not have to worry about it. I certainly still love this brush and recommend it.

This brush is 5200 YEN and available here.

CDJapan Outlet Brushes

You’ll notice that all of the Eihodo brushes below are listed as “outlet” brushes. CDJapan sometimes acquires brushes with minor flaws from companies and sell them at a discount. They say officially that, “The shape and color of the tip might differ from the image provided. There will be no problem when using, but there might be damage to the brush shaft.” Sometimes outlet brushes have the brand logo still on them, but these from Eihodo do not. I personally have not been able to see where the flaws would be with the brushes I’ve bought, which is why I love these type of events because I can get brushes that I find to be great quality or higher but at significant savings. I don’t know if I’m just incredibly lucky that I’m usually happy with the outlet brushes I get, but if so, I know of other fude lovers who seem to share the same lucky streak. Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of Eihodo outlet brushes available, but every so often they have Koyudo outlet events too. Occasionally, I see a random single outlet brush added to the new brushes section of the website, so I always keep my eye out for other great finds.

The brushes in the “Special Price Events” tend to sell out fast depending on the hair type and whether or not the brush is in a very popular style or an aesthetically pleasing handle. For instance, Canadian Squirrel tends to go the quickest. It could be within 5-30 minutes depending on how many CDJapan stocked and the price of them. From what I’ve seen, the pricier outlet brushes only have 5-15 available with five being the average. Gray Squirrel is usually gone in under an hour. Squirrel mixed with goat could sell out within minutes or weeks. There are a lot of variables.

Some tips that I have for those who are trying to get these brushes first before they sell out are as follows:

  • Ensure that you understand the launch time for your time zone. If you’re subscribed to emails, CDJapan will inform you of the day and time in advance, but from what I’ve seen it is usually at 11:59 AM (UTC+9). As an example, if the day and time is marked for June 16th at 11:59 AM (UTC+9), this would be for me in Florida 10:59 PM EST on June 15th. Japan is thirteen hours ahead of me. Don’t wait for an email reminder announcing the launch because I always get those the next day.
  • Keep a tab open for the new beauty releases page along with the special price page. Even though we have a specific launch time, the products usually don’t become visible immediately. It may take a few minutes or longer. I have observed that the new releases page typically gets updated before the special price page. Although the special price page is handy for someone like me that only wants specific hair types, if you’re more interested in the brush shapes and could therefore easily scroll through the 20+ newly released brushes to spot which ones look promising, then you get at least five minutes of a head start to view specific brush pages before those waiting only on the special price page get to see what’s available.
  • Pay attention to the quantity of brushes listed as available. Knowing how many are stocked gives a clue as to how much time you have to complete your order. If there are 5 or less available at the start, one could expect it to sell out on the first day and potentially even in the first ten minutes depending on those brush factors I mentioned earlier.
  • Know your favorite shapes, lengths, hair types, and handle styles in advance. This is one tip that took me far too long to plan out. For instance, one time I didn’t factor in how tiny a brush would be and how I would not be able to accomplish what I wanted from a brush of that size, even though it was the hair type I wanted. Another time I got my favorite size of brush in the hair type I wanted, but I didn’t think about how much more I prefer round brushes over round flat ones. I picked the right specs to get a nice brush, but it wasn’t something I would use a lot because of my preferences. Knowing what I want ahead of time allows me to make quick decisions when a brush that isn’t completely within my preferences ends up being available and I have to make a judgment call on whether to get it anyway or skip it. For me, I only want eye brushes above 125mm in full length with sizes starting at 130mm and up being the most ideal. I also only want squirrel, goat, or goat mix face brushes. Brushes made of pony/horse, weasel/sable, and synthetic hair are instant skips. For face brushes, I prefer them to be longer than 135mm at full length. 150mm is perfect. I prefer to not have a ferrule that is longer than the handle, but it’s not a deal breaker if it’s the right full total length. As mentioned before, I like round shapes over angled and oval shapes, medium density brushes and up, and dyed bristles over undyed depending on the brand. Also, as much as I like goat, I don’t tend to go for a Sokoho hair type unless it’s mixed with squirrel. Honing in on my preferences helps me turn away the ones that are tempting me with their discounted prices so I don’t overspend.

These are the things I wish I thought about, but have learned to be content with by the time I started working on my Fude Update #5 post, which will not be published for quite some time.

EIHODO

Eihodo is based in Osaka and their brushes are produced by Chikuhodo. Eihodo is technically an OEM as well when it comes to their oil-blotting papers, which the customers’ name can be printed on. I couldn’t find much more information other than that.

Eihodo NO277 Blush Brush [OUTLET]

  • Full Length: 128mm / 5.04 in
  • Hair Length: 35mm / 1.38 in
  • Hair Width: *30mm / 1.18 in
  • Bristle Type: Gray Squirrel and Goat Sokoho

This oval shaped brush is a squirrel goat mix that has the highest percentage of goat to squirrel ratio in this post. It’s soft enough, but the way the hair is packed means I can feel a distinct difference between this one and the other mixed brushes reviewed here today. I can feel a bit more friction on the skin when I use it. It feels dense, but it still splays quite a bit when pressed on the skin, making it not great to use with highlighter. I typically prefer round brushes over round-flat, but this brush is so packed with hair that despite the pinched ferrule maintaining the round-flat shape, this brush after being washed and left to air dry without aloe vera gel or a brush guard fluffs a little closer to a circular shape. So, it feels natural when using it to sweep on bronzer, but I intuitively switch to buffing when I use it on my cheek for blush. Because of this feature, I ended up liking this brush more than I expected. It picks up a decent amount of product with each tap in the pan. It’s not an essential brush in my collection, but a nice one to have. I would have liked it even more if the handle was longer, but this is one of the outlet brushes I bought before I finalized my stance on getting face brushes at a minimum of 135mm in full length. The original price of 4200 YEN would have been okay with me, but getting it for 2520 YEN makes me feel all the better about getting it.

Additional photos are at the end of the Eihodo section.

Eihodo NO278 Blush Brush [OUTLET]

  • Full Length: 160mm / 6.3 in
  • Hair Length: 37mm / 1.45 in
  • Hair Width: *30mm / 1.18 in
  • Bristle Type: Gray Squirrel and Goat Sokoho

This brush head is pretty much the same length and width as the MS-2, but the shape is similar to the PS-2 in the way that the tips form enough of a curve to barely avoid being considered a flat top. If these three brushes represented a family, they would be cousins. The MS-2 and PS-2 perform similarly because of the tightness of the bundling in the center, which is also the case with the 278, but because it has even more of the gray squirrel in it than the MS-2, the hair is so fine that it curves even more under pressure and doesn’t bounce on the skin as well as the others. The hair bends enough that I can actually use this for sweeping with bronzer without it feeling awkward; and because of that near-flat top and how dense it is, it still makes for a great buffing brush. So, for use with both blush and bronzer, I like to apply those products in a circular buffing motion. It surprisingly picks up a lot of product, so I have to just do a dab or two at a time in the makeup product and knock off the excess before using it on my face.

Considering the hair type and performance for price, this is one of my top two favorite outlet brushes from this bunch. Because the MS-2 is slightly fuller and denser, I still prefer that one to this. However, this exceeded my expectations and I’m glad I bought it. It would normally cost 5800 YEN, which is pretty fair, but I got it for 3190 YEN, which is a phenomenal price.

Eihodo NO280 Powder Brush [OUTLET]

  • Full Length: 175mm / 6.9 in
  • Hair Length: 50mm / 1.97 in
  • Hair Width: *36mm / 1.42 in
  • Bristle Type: Gray Squirrel

This brush is the big winner! Considering how much hair is here, the type of hair, and the quality of this type, I can see why it would be 12,000 YEN. Getting it for 6600 YEN is practically a steal! This was the best outlet deal I’ve had so far, and still worth the added shipping cost since I hadn’t met the free shipping minimum. I initially reserved this brush for those rare occasions I set my face with powder, which has increased a little during the summer months. However, because it’s dense enough for buffing and doesn’t splay too widely, I’ve been able to use this brush for subtle bronzer and blush looks too!

Comparing other round brushes I own that are wider at the tips than they are at the base, the closest I have in size to the Eihodo 280 is my Koyudo Saikoho Powder Brush (another outlet brush) and Hakuhodo B104. The B104 is in the long handle version, which makes this brush a comparable length to the Eihodo, although the brush head is bigger. The Koyudo brush is a lot closer, but still bigger. I thought it might be a good comparison though because I suspect the Koyudo brush is similar to the rephr 30, (though I don’t have it to confirm it).

Eihodo NO.282 Blush Brush [OUTLET]

  • Full Length: 153mm / 6.02 in
  • Hair Length: 36mm / 1.42 in
  • Hair Width: *33mm / 1.3 in
  • Bristle Type: Gray Squirrel

This 282 brush is like the longer handle full squirrel version of the 277. It’s of course softer than the 277, but this isn’t the softest gray squirrel hair I’ve ever felt. It’s closer to the feeling of the best Saikoho goat brushes I have, but with a more delicate hair structure. I appreciate though that they really packed this brush with a lot of hair, so it’s dense, but it still has a large splay when pressure is applied. It’s every bit the sweeping style brush that I expected. It doesn’t pick up a lot of product unless the makeup is loose or loosely pressed. This brush ranks slightly above the 277, and I like having it, but it still wasn’t a necessity. According to Fluffy Fude, this brush is very similar in shape to the Chikuhodo Z-4, which is a brush I’ve considered getting for years, so I feel like I definitely don’t need a Z-4 anymore.
The 282 was supposed to retail for 7000 YEN, but I got it for 4200 YEN. For the size of the brush, I still got a great deal, but considering the hair type and the amount of it in this fairly small brush, I really came out on top with this one!

Additional photos with comparisons are at the end of the Eihodo Outlet section.

Eihodo NO.297 Eyeshadow Brush S [OUTLET]

  • Full Length: 110mm / 4.3 in
  • Hair Length: 10mm / 0.4 in
  • Hair Width: *6mm / 0.24 in
  • Bristle Type: Canadian Squirrel

110mm is small, but I don’t think I truly processed how little a brush of that size would be. I finally learned my lesson about guessing at sizes rather than producing a ruler and judging dimensions off that instead. And here I thought keeping track of the Koyudo 05 Lip & Eyeliner Brush S was difficult, but this is even tinier! At least the handle is bright red, which helps me pinpoint it among the rest of my brushes if it’s in a box or cup.

This is the only outlet brush I regret getting because it’s just not functional for me. It’s exactly as soft as one would expect for a Canadian Squirrel brush, but because it comes to such a sharp point, it’s not as comfortable to use on my sensitive lower lash line. It’s not pokey during the entire use, but it is enough to be irritating. Also, because of this hair type, even if I swirl the product in eyeshadow enough to fully coat the hair, because it’s so delicate, it can only apply it to my skin in a gentle sheer amount. It basically touches the area to apply it but I can’t get enough force to actually press it in and build color. My only option if I want a built up look is to wet the brush, which this is not the kind of hair I want to apply damp. I don’t think it would damage it, but it’s just not something I usually do with squirrel. I might start to anyway, just so I can have another use for this brush. And when I use this and it makes my eyes water, the brush gets wet anyway. Something small like this should be good for lining the eyes, but again, because it applies such a light amount of product, that doesn’t make for a good liner unless someone wants a watercolor type of look on the eyes. I always want maximum pigmentation, so that’s not for me.

The one use I have for this brush is blending two lid shades together or adding sparkle to the center of the lid. Sometimes trying to blend two pigmented shimmers with my fingers leads to back and forth overpowering of one shade over the other rather than getting one to fade into the other. And applying a pigmented sparkle shade can also sometimes look too opaque and not give me the effect I want to just highlight/accent the center of the lid. So, a brush like this does help, even though it’s so tiny that it’s still tedious to use for that.

This brush is listed as 3000 YEN but was sold for 2100 YEN. Lowering the price any further would not have made buying this brush any better in my eyes. I should have skipped it entirely, but at least it wasn’t an expensive lesson. A month after purchasing this brush, they released NO.346, which is basically the same brush in a longer handle. That one would have been better for me, but the issues with the shape would have persisted anyway.

Eihodo NO.299 Powder Brush [OUTLET]

  • Full Length: 138mm / 5.4 in
  • Hair Length: 46mm / 1.8 in
  • Hair Width: *40mm / 1.57 in
  • Bristle Type: Gray Squirrel

This brush isn’t bundled tightly, so it looks fuller than it is. When I lightly push both ends of the hair together to see how much is actually there, it’s only 5mm thick. It’s very floppy and is difficult to pick up my pressed powder products, except the ones that are very loosely pressed. That lack of denseness also means I can only sweep the product on since the hair isn’t resilient enough for proper buffing.

Most of my blushes aren’t loose/powdery enough to fully coat the brush in one go. So, it takes a ridiculous amount of layers to build it up enough for my liking on my cheeks. I get better results using this brush with bronzer because my bronzers tend to be softer, but it’s still time consuming to use. Sure, I can get a nice subtle airbrushed look, but my bronzers are mostly all high quality and I can still get airbrushed results much quicker with most other of my brushes.

So, this is the kind of brush I only recommend to someone who uses loose powder products or wants a brush to sweep away setting powder that has been left on the face to bake. I never use the baking technique and I only use loose powder 2-3 times a year, unless I’m specifically testing a product. So, I truly don’t have much use for this brush. It has a short handle, which I generally don’t like, but it’s also a full grey squirrel brush with ferrule that’s a beautiful and uncommon shade of pink. That’s why I ended up purchasing it anyway. I don’t have the heart to part with it so soon, but this brush might not remain in my collection for long. For the amount of hair in this brush, the 12,000 YEN price is absolutely not worth it in my opinion. Even the 7800 YEN discounted price is difficult for me to justify.

Eihodo NO.312 Blush Brush [OUTLET]

  • Full Length: 190mm / 7.5 in
  • Hair Length: 40mm / 1.57 in
  • Hair Width: *32mm / 1.26 in
  • Bristle Type: Gray Squirrel and Sokoho Goat

This handle is super long! It’s among the longest in my collection, and because of that paddle head shape, it gives me paintbrush vibes. I rarely use brushes of this type, but it looked nice in photos, the hair type is what I like, and the handle length had me curious as to whether I would like it more than other paddle brushes I’ve used in the past since I would be able to hold it like I would an actual paint brush.

Considering this is an outlet brush that’s supposed to have flaws, I am so impressed with how perfectly shaped it is with not a hair out of place. It’s the widest paddle brush I have and it’s not as flat as I expected either. From the side view, at about 22mm up is it’s widest point that gradually tapers to a gentle point at the tips. The tip is thin enough that I can pick up product there to apply highlighter precisely, but I like to pick up product on the slightly angled side in the top third section of the brush and apply highlight in downward strokes across the top of the cheekbones. I use a traditional sweeping technique for use with bronzer on the forehead, but apply bronzer to the tips for use on the sides of my face to get a more sculpted look. As for use with blush, I don’t have a set preference between sweeping or using quick strokes across the cheeks. I guess it depends on how pigmented the blush is.

Despite the soft bristles, the tight bundling doesn’t allow for as much flexibility, so it feels a bit firm. The pointed tip also makes it feel a bit pokey at times, not from sharpness but purely due to the shape. So, despite the many benefits and how impressed I am with the beauty and construction, it’s not the best fit for my makeup style. Had I paid the full 6500 YEN price, I would not have been happy with this purchase. However, for 4550 YEN, that’s a fairer price. I understand that the squirrel element is what makes this such a good deal, but the shape of it and my preferences make this a little less valuable to me.

I wanted to compare the Muragishi Sangyo HS-2 with the Eihodo 277 and 282 because they are such similar shapes and considering the HS-2 is one of my holy grail brushes. The 277 doesn’t surpass the HS-2 because it’s not as soft. The 282 doesn’t surpass it because it splays more and therefore doesn’t give as much precision as the HS-2. I also like that the HS-2 is bundled tighter for blending purposes.

Sonia G

Sonia G Master Face Brush

  • Full Length: 178mm / 7 in
  • Hair Length: 38mm / 1.5 in
  • Hair Width: *35mm / 1.38 in
  • Bristle Type: Dyed & Undyed Saikoho Goat Hair
  • Handle: Maple Wood

Because Sonia G’s eye brushes have become my new holy grail over the last two years, I’ve been interested in exploring more of her face brushes, although they are a bit pricey even for Saikoho quality. I had $20 in credit from the previous Beautylish Gift Card Event, so I decided to use that on this brush.

What was the most enticing was the description of the “ball shape” which I interpreted to mean bouncy like my favorite blush brushes that I describe as pouncing my face with a rabbit tail. Unfortunately, I’m not a fan of the way the bristles are staggered to create that ball shape and it wasn’t until the third wash that it formed a shape I actually liked and was a little puffier. I like dense brushes, but in my opinion, it’s too dense for this shape. The bristles are of course soft, but this brush is for super buffing. I have to build up even my pigmented products because it buffs out the color so much. I appreciate the fact that I can use any blending technique with the brush and the bristles will move in the direction I want. If I want to apply bronzer to warm the perimeter rather than achieving a precise sculpt, this brush is great for that. It’s a bit too much brush for blush for my liking, and that’s unfortunately what I was excited to use with it the most. It also works well to blend and buff face powder all over the face, but the only time I usually powder my face anymore is to set a cream product that doesn’t set on its own or to tone down my extra pigmented products. So, I ended up not using this brush nearly as much as I thought I would. It’s a shame because I like the construction of the handle and the look of the hair. I want this to be a favorite, but it isn’t. According to Sonia G, this is foremost a powder foundation brush. Perhaps if I used powder foundation I would like this more. To be fair though, the Beautylish website description for the use of this brush makes it very clear that it’s a dense buffing and blending brush. I just underestimated how strong “lot’s of strength” actually meant.

PREVIOUSLY REVIEWED BRUSHES MOVED HERE

Sonia G Builder Pro Eye Shadow Brush

  • Full Length: 152mm / 5.98 in
  • Hair Length: 12mm / 0.47 in
  • Hair Width: *9mm / 0.35 in
  • Bristle Type: Dyed Saikoho Goat Hair

The Builder Pro and Builder Three are both brushes that lay product down well but can also be used for blending. I’ve discovered that the Builder Three leans better on the blending aspect because of the flatter top, so I prefer that one for crease work. The Builder Pro leans better on the lay down and building aspect because it’s perfect for applying shadows to the section of my eye between the eyelid and inner corner. I always struggled with that spot, but this brush gets in there easily. It’s also more precise for application to the outer V. I’ve actually been able to do entire eye looks using this brush alone. I’m very happy I decided to finally buy this!
The tapered tip that makes the Builder Pro so great for applying shadows also prevents it from blending large areas as quickly as the Builder Three, so I will probably use that one more often when I’m in a rush. However, for when I have more time and want to create a detailed and more skillfully done eyeshadow look, I will definitely grab the Builder Pro instead. They perform differently enough that I feel justified having them both in my collection.

Beautylish Presents

Beautylish Presents is the brand name of the Beautylish retailer’s line of brushes that one or more Fude companies produce for them. Their most popular brush series is the Lunar New Year Series, but they also have the Yano Series, 420 Brush Collection, and the Hachiko Kabuki brush. They also have two Faux Fur Brush Roll options.

Beautylish Presents the Year of the Tiger Lunar New Year Powder Brush

  • Full Length: *170mm / 6.69 in
  • Hair Length: 47.6mm / 1.87 in
  • Hair Width: *40mm / 1.57 in
  • Bristle Type: Blue Squirrel

I succumbed to the temptation and finally bought one of Beautylish’s collaborative Lunar New Year brushes. They did not announce which brush-maker created this year’s brush, but in the past is was Chikuhodo. Even if another Fude company created this brush, I’m still happy that it has the Chikuhodo aesthetic with the large round shiny handle similar to the Z-series. As long as the brush is high quality, which it is, it doesn’t matter to me which Japanese company created it. This brush is still hand bundled with an exquisitely detailed lacquered handle using the maki-e process.

At launch, Beautylish also restocked the previous Lunar New Year brushes as well: Pig, Rat, and Ox. As cute as those designs are, those three have nearly identical brush heads which is already practically the same as the Tiger brush. It’s also comparable to the Chikuhodo MK-KO, as they’re both “round-flat” brushes, but the tip shape is different.

This brush is unbelievably silky soft and of course perfect for those who want a very sheer application of powder. I can use this for highlighter (when applied just on the very tips), blush (when I use sweeping motions across the cheek), and bronzer, but in my eyes this is a dedicated all over face powder brush. Although it picks up a small amount of product, when that product is very pigmented it takes more effort than I like to buff it out because it’s not dense enough for that. If I use a squirrel hair brush for blush, I prefer one that’s thicker and more round like the Z-1. Anything looser packed than that, I consider to be more ideal for setting/finishing powders. Honestly, this is more of a collector item for me and not one I intend to use a lot. When I do use it, it’s heaven though. It’s so soft and light that I barely feel any pressure on my skin. This is a beautiful powder brush, but if you already own one with grey/blue/ash squirrel hair, you’re not missing out by not having it. For those who don’t and would like a light/medium density powder brush, this might be a good place to start since comparable brushes to this would be a little more expensive. I still recommend this for collectors, but for someone looking for a more functional or versatile brush, I would direct them to Chikuhodo’s Z series and FO series.

Thank you for joining me today! I hope this has been helpful! Fude Part 5 already has as many brushes as this post, so it may be several months before that one is published.

-Lili

*Also, I apologize if there are any serious spelling or grammatical errors. I was not able to proofread this post as many times as I normally would due to unstable/barely usable internet over the weekend.

Testing Out More From Tarte Cosmetics

The Shape Tape Concealer has been the only makeup product from Tarte that I have loved and recommended, but it’s not the only Tarte Product in my collection. For example, I had the Tarte Tarteist PRO Remix Amazonian Clay Palette for well over a year as a gift from a friend, yet I hadn’t even swatched it since getting it even though I’ve always been curious about Tarte’s eyeshadow formula. So, today, I’ll be reviewing several products I acquired last year from Tarte that I haven’t spoken about or even used until now. The Amazonian Best of Cheek Set from last year’s holiday release was supposed to be on this list, but I reviewed that in May, so the Amazonian Clay Blushes finally join Shape Tape as another recommended favorite.

Tarte Tarteist PRO Remix Amazonian Clay Palette

I noticed a chocolate scent as soon as I opened the palette, which surprised me because I wasn’t aware that it’s a common feature of Tarte eyeshadows. It’s apparently supposed to be a vanilla smell, but it smells exactly like Too Faced Chocolate Bar palettes to me.

Another thing that shocked me is the quality of these eyeshadows! I know Tarte has a very dedicated fan base (how else would they be able to sell the same palette slightly tweaked over and over again), but I thought they just loved the neutral aspect. I didn’t realize the shadows were genuinely good! The shimmers don’t have that high intense sparkle to them that I’ve come to enjoy, but they are still shimmery enough, pigmented, smooth, and easy to apply. The mattes are soft and two are blendable. I wish I had more of them in this palette because there are only three: Mixed Media which I can only use to brighten the look or blend out edges, Wall Art which barely shows on my skin and also only works to soften the edges of shades, and Ink which is a stubborn to blend black shadow that requires using the tiniest amount, blending, then slowly continue to build and blend. Working with Ink is too tedious for me. So, I sorely miss having some mattes to use in my crease that will actually show.

I enjoyed this palette so much that I instantly wanted to buy more. However, I remembered that Tarte stepped out of their metaphorical box with this palette and have barely made anymore like it. The most colorful palette they’ve made since that time which almost had my interest is the Tartelette Juicy Amazonian Clay Palette, but Tarte caught me at a time when I’m still sick of pinks, despite how beautiful the shades look. When or if they make a palette that suits my tastes, I won’t hesitate to purchase it.

tarte SEA Breezy Cream Bronzer in Grace Bay and Sunset Beach

I purchased these from Tarte’s website during two different sales. There are three shades in total and they got very little hype, which surprises me because I think this is a solid cream bronzer formula. There’s nothing extraordinary about them, but they do get the job done. They last on me all day and are easy to blend if I use the right brush and don’t spread out the product too far. They’re not transfer-proof, but they set nicely with powder on top and aren’t sticky to the touch.

I typically apply a minute amount of Sunset Beach first, the darkest shade that did not make it to Sephora’s site, to chisel my face because it’s deep enough to have a major contouring effect on me. Then I apply Grace Bay on top to warm it up. Grace Bay is essentially a warmer version of my skintone, so it barely adds any depth. Between the two shades, I can bronze, contour, and brontour. As much as I like them, they take a backseat to the Danessa Myricks cream bronzer and the cream sculpting shade in the Kaja Play Bento trios, so it wasn’t the best decision ordering both even at the reduced price. I managed to get Sunset Beach for 50% off, and at that price I’d recommend these.

Tarte Blush Authority Amazonian Clay Cheek Wardrobe (Holiday 2020)

Rumor has it that Tarte’s holiday blushes aren’t good unless they are the Amazonian Clay formula. This was the main reason, aside from the shade options, that I avoided getting Tarte’s blush/highlighter/bronzer sets despite their great value for the price. This ongoing reputation probably contributed to Tarte’s inability to sell them all at the end of 2020, and even when I bought this in September of 2021 for 50% off, it didn’t sell out until sometime between May and June of 2022.

The shades in the gold compact seemed the least likely to work for me, so I decided to give that one to a friend and just try out the rose gold and purple compacts. Frosted Frappe is a beautiful pink-gold shade that I can only pull off if I use the tiniest amount. I didn’t expect to like it, but it’s a very interesting tone and surprisingly better than the highlighter in the 2021 Holiday Set. The only downside is that it’s not the most flattering on texture and I don’t consider myself as having that big of an issue with texture on my skin, so noticing it says a lot.

Photo showing many different Tarte products applied to my face.

I didn’t bother showing what Sweet Cheeks looks like on the skin because it doesn’t show on me at all. Sugar & Spice gives a faint flush if I build up the hell out of it. I do like it though.

Please ignore the mask indent on my cheek. This is the Sugar & Spice Blush built up heavily.

Into You doesn’t show on my cheeks. Yours Truly is a slightly darker duper for Nars Orgasm and I would use it as a highlighter if the shimmer was more finely milled. The metallic nature of it isn’t flattering on texture. Lastly, Playtime is my favorite of the bunch because it actually shows on me the most and isn’t as bright as I expected from the way it looks in the pan.

I have some longevity issues with these blushes and they are a bit dusty, so I don’t believe they are as good of quality as the Amazonian Clay ones. I might still reach for these every so often, but I did learn that I should probably not get Tarte’s basic blush formula again, nor their highlighters.

Tarte Merry Metals Brush Set

This set was a gift from my friend in 2020 that I only started to test out at the end of March because the bristle splay of those head shapes looked less functional than I like. I really hope she doesn’t see this post because I appreciate the gift, and the handles are all durable and high quality, but the brush heads are flawed.

I remember being so impressed with Tarte brushes up until 2017. They were all the right densities, soft but still with some resilience, and not scratchy. I never had issues with shedding. They actually gave natural hair brushes a run for their money. Where I started to see a decline was the Unicorn horn-handle set of brushes that had inconsistencies of the dye, spots I could see glue, and other minor flaws. However, even those brushes I thought were still pretty good and I still continued to recommend Tarte brushes as synthetic options. So, I was quite shocked with this new experience of bristles that feel barely above old school cheap synthetic fibers before advancements were made.

This brush blends decently, but the trade off is the scratchiness! I don’t consider myself as having sensitive skin around my eyes, but this is too much for me. While it’s true that I’ve gotten used to doing my eyeshadow with high grade goat hair brushes with uncut tips, I still use one or two synthetic eye brushes on a weekly basis and none of them feel like this on my skin. If I was younger, I’d probably use it anyway, but with the collection that I have, there’s no reason for me to subject myself to skin irritation unnecessarily.

This is the best brush in the set, and it’s just okay. It’s bundled to medium density, which makes it the thickest and second most dense one out of the set. This characteristic compensates for the fact that these bristles don’t pick up powder that well, so I can at least get a medium amount of product onto my face per dip into the pan. I can get a little more buffing action out of this brush than the others. The tighter bundle also keeps the brush from splaying as much as the others, so I can have a bit more control and precision for blush, bronzer, and all-over powdering of the face. It feels softer than the others purely because I don’t have to use as much pressure to blend, which means I can hold the brush further back when I use it, which also means there isn’t enough pressure for the bristles to scratch my face. With more pressure, this brush still feels soft at first, but by the time I’m finished buffing, it feels like I just dry-brushed/physically exfoliated my face. Even though this is the most useful of the five, I’d reach for my Real Techniques brushes over this one every time.

Despite the pinched ferrule, this brush is way too loosely packed to be used for anything but a super blendable bronzer or face powder. The bristles being so long, combined with the loose bundling, makes it too floppy and flimsy that I can’t even properly clean the tips onto my microfiber towel between uses. I can only effectively clean off the very tips and not slightly higher, which causes color to be re-deposited onto my face since the wide splay causes so much of the fibers past the tips to be exposed to my face. I tend to use brushes for multiple purposes, so this is a nightmare to try and switch between using it for bronzer then blush without muddying up the cheek and then switching to face powder without getting the pink blush remnants all over the face. In order to try and get a better clean, I’ve tried grabbing the base of the bristles myself and squeezing them together to get the bristles to stand upright without flopping around while I rubbed them on the cloth. This still didn’t feel satisfactory, so I held the brush and put the cloth over the tips and tried to gently squeeze and rub the ends with the cloth like I would if I was getting excess water out of the bristles of a freshly washed brush, but when I did that, it felt like I almost yanked the whole thing out of the ferrule. It’s just an absolutely poorly bundled and constructed brush head.

The state of the Large Powder Brush after two uses.

The reason I don’t recommend this with blush is because of the huge splay and inability to blend properly, so if I were to keep using this brush I would make a decision on whether to use it exclusively for bronzer or exclusively for powder so that I wouldn’t be mixing shades and need to clean off the color in-between uses.

With only light pressure, the splay becomes too wide for me to enjoy this with blush.

The one thing this brush has going for it is the fact that it’s impossible to be scratchy when using because applying pressure makes the bristles practically go flat, so I have no choice but to hold the brush further back on the handle in order to use it. For this reason, I find the best use for this brush would be all over face powder where blending isn’t needed as much and low product pick up is generally a good thing. This brush is recommended by Tarte to be used with loose powder anyway.
I think no one would be shocked to learn I have no intention of using this brush again.

We’re back to another scratchy brush. I guess it’s fitting since it’s basically just a larger version of the blending brush.

I like to apply highlighter as lightly as possible, so at least in this instance, I can use it in a way that keeps things soft. Because this doesn’t pick up much product, and I wouldn’t want to do much blending with it, it’s best with lightly pressed and more powdery highlighters. With thicker formulas or ones harder to pick up, I don’t feel like I get an even coating on my brush which makes for inconsistent application sometimes. The imprecision is a big issue for me since it makes the fact that I have highlighter on even more obvious and goes against the more natural look I try to create, so I will also not be using this brush again.

This is the only truly dense brush in the set and comically one of the most dense shader brushes I have in my collection, next to my other Tarte flat shader brush from the Make Believe In Yourself Magic Wands Brush Set (unicorn handles). It’s also not a bad brush. It picks up a decent amount of product that I’m able to not only pack on shadows with, but also line my eyes and add definition to the crease. If I clean off the brush and turn it on it’s side, I can also use windshield wiper motions to blend with it as well. It’s minimally scratchy (or at least the area I use this brush on isn’t as sensitive) so this is actually a brush I could see myself continuing to use. The only reason I likely won’t is because I still have my natural hair brushes I prefer. This brush would be perfect for spreading on cream shadows and on top of eyes that were prepped with glitter primer that I shouldn’t use with my natural hair brushes. The density makes it great for spreading on an even amount of eye shadow, but that density does prohibit building them up in a thicker layer.

This brush set is no longer for sale, but I went into this much detail because I want to express caution when it comes to Tarte brushes. They apparently are not all the same good quality that they used to be, so one has to be careful when choosing which to purchase.

Despite a few letdowns (mainly the brushes), I think my overall opinion of Tarte has risen. Most of the products are decent quality or better, so this is one of those brands I’ll keep my eye on, but only if the products are on sale. Speaking of sales, I believe Tarte’s Friends and Family sale is still going on at the time that I’m posting this. Shipping is free and code FAM30 will give a 30% off discount. I believe the code even applies to new releases and stacks on top of items already on sale.

That’s all I have for today. Thank you for reading!

-Lili

Real Techniques Brushes: Original vs New

I purchased the Real Techniques Everyday Essentials Kit at Ulta last November, which included all the new brushes I’m reviewing today, as well as RT’s classic shaped original Miracle Complexion Sponge. After the sale price and additional promo code discount, this $19.99 set went down to $9.64. I couldn’t pass that up! All of the handles of the original brushes have a soft touch rubbery portion that after many years eventually became sticky and impossible to fully clean off that stickiness. I welcomed the solid new handles of the current RT brushes, but I did not realize that the head shapes were all slightly different to their original counterparts. This set includes one brush I don’t have a match for, and I don’t have the new version to compare to some of my other old real techniques brushes, but I have tested these thoroughly to determine whether or not I can still consider Real Techniques a good drugstore option for brushes.

EXPERT FACE BRUSH

This brush is intended for foundation, but I’ve also used it for blushes and bronzers. When it comes to foundation, I haven’t noticed any differences between the performance of the two. Where they start to diverge is that the original brush offers more precision because the fibers are more compact. With powder products, this is perfectly fine, but liquids and creams are by nature easier to spread too high or low already, so with the new brush I tend to accidentally place blush too far down because of its larger circumference. Typically, blushes are less opaque than bronzers, so I load up my brush in an effort to not spend ages building up a cream/liquid blush. That’s how it’s so easy for this issue to occur for blush, but not bronzer. Since I just need a tap or two into the pan of my cream bronzer, there’s less product to spread out. With less product, I’m actually able to take advantage of the fluffier head of the current brush and really work it into the contours of my cheek to get an almost airbrushed blend. The bristles of the new brush are also noticeably softer, which makes it more enjoyable to use.

So, while the old brush does have a leg up in one aspect, my holy grail cream blush brush is the Sonia G Mini Base. This removes the only reason I’d keep the old brush over the new one, so the new one is staying in my collection!

BLUSH BRUSH

Early in my makeup journey, the original blush brush used to be my favorite. It was especially great for carefully building up pigmented blushes, since it was packed at a medium density but with such long bristles that the pressure was far lighter at the tips. As my collection grew and I was purchasing more fude that could accomplish similar or better results with the softer bristles, I stopped using it.

The original brush has wavier bristles and is narrower than the new version of the blush brush. I expected to find major differences in the performances of these brushes, but the end result of each brush looks exactly the same. The only difference is the new one is softer, so the new blush brush also wins.

SETTING BRUSH

The older brush isn’t as thick and the tips come more to a point, making the original shape better at getting into the inner corners, crevices, and fitting under the eye. This brush has been the only one I’ve used to set powder under my eyes ever since I bought it. I even have an original backup brush, so I am the most particular about not wanting this brush to change. I will say that the new brush being more round and fluffy does make me have to work harder to avoid getting powder accidentally swept too high and into my eyes. I also have to angle the brush a bit awkwardly to get into certain crevices of my eye area. Other than that, the new brush is okay. It’s 85% as good, but the older one was perfection with my eye shape. For that reason, I don’t think I’ll be able to let go of my original ones just yet.

CONCEALER BRUSH (Original) vs (New) CREASE BRUSH

These are two completely different brushes, but they can accomplish similar tasks. The concealer brush has rough plastic bristles to start with, but it at least is better about not holding as much concealer within the fibers. It’s also good at getting into the contours of my eye area. The crease brush excels at getting a smooth even application, so that makes it quicker to blend out liquid products. I prefer to use the new brush with eye primer and neither brush comes anywhere near topping my Sonia G Jumbo Concealer brush for concealer application. So, I could easily get rid of the old concealer brush and still keep the new one for priming my eyes.

Although, I was intially nervous to see the changes between the shapes of the old and new brushes from Real Techniques, the new ones still get the job done well. I’m happy to be able to still recommend them as affordable synthetic brush options.

That’s all for today! Thank you for reading! And speaking of synthetic brush options, I’m not sure how long it will last, but Smashbox Brushes are 50% off today and possibly stacks with an extra 15% off with promo code SPCSMASHBOX. Big thanks to TheBeautySteal who posted it in their IG stories.

-Lili

March Purchases Reviewed: Dior, Colourpop, Vieve, Etc.

This experiment examining my monthly purchases has been fascinating for me to see all grouped together. January was indie and high end. February was indie and drugstore. March has shaped up to be a little of everything! There’s no consistent pattern and that makes me wonder how the rest of the year will be. Will I purchase more things or less things? Will I have an entire month of products solidly within one price range? Is it possible for me to go an entire month without buying a single thing? We will see!

Makeup Geek Empty Magnetic Mega Palettes

It’s quite unfortunate that Makeup Geek Cosmetics is no more. I didn’t add this to my Beauty Resolutions post, but I’m unofficially on an empty magnetic palette no-buy, and have been for years. I have so many unused small ones (25-30 pan ones), or what I refer to as small compared to the Coloured Raine 96 pan palettes. They don’t resell well either, so I try to avoid getting them, but these plastic Mega Vault Palettes from Makeup Geek are such a better and sturdier quality than even Z-palettes (which are already better than other more affordable cardboard packaging alternatives). For this reason, I bought two additional ones at 40% off on Makeup Geek’s website. I suspected prices would be further reduced in April, but I didn’t want to take the chance of these selling out. It’s a good thing I did because they were out of stock within a few weeks.

Wayne Goss The Luxury Eye Palette in Imperial Topaz

Between the Beautylish Lucky Bags and Wayne Goss Lucky Bags, I knew there would be plenty of untouched or only swatched palettes available on Mercari. I’ve wanted to try Wayne Goss’ eye shadows since the beginning, but I couldn’t bring myself to pay full price for six neutral shadows. So, for almost half off, I was finally able to see if playing the long game was worth it.

I didn’t have faith that these shadows would be worth full price, and it’s still not unless at least 4 of the 6 colors are someone’s style, but this really is a high quality formula! Well, the black shade is an exception but the rest are fantastic. Shades #1, #2, and #4 are satins, #6 is a topper type of glittery shimmer, shade #5 is a texturally soft matte, #3 is a very dry and stiff matte. What makes the difference between the mattes is the lack of stearates (which can account for the softness of the texture) and zea mays (oil absorbing but silky feel) missing from the black shadow that were included in the medium matte brown.

The satin shades can be used in the crease in place of a matte, but I have to be careful using #1 anywhere beyond highlighting spots because it’s so light and #2 is practically my skin tone, so it doesn’t show very much beyond adding a sheen to the area. I also wish #5 was a little deeper. I thought I would be able to mix #5 and #3, but #3 is so stiff that it doesn’t mix well with others. It reminds me of the black shade in the Hindash Beautopsy palette in the sense that it looks like it’s going to give a lot of pigment when it first touches the skin, but it’s a buildable formula that requires multiple layers to get something dark and dramatic. I appreciate that this type of shadow is perfect for smokey eye looks, but I’m able to get that effect from Hindash’s palette twice as fast and I consider that a little slow to use!

These shadows have fantastic longevity with very minimal creasing. I was impressed to discover #1 can cling to my inner corner when a lot of other shadows don’t by the end of the day from all the times my eyes get watery or I rub them. #6 also impressed me because I don’t get glitter specks on my cheeks either throughout the day. The glitter is spaced out when applied to the eye, but I can make it look less like a topper if I apply it wet.

Imperial Topaz is supposed to be that go-to palette for everyday quick and easy looks. However, they aren’t the perfect tones and depths for me, the scattered glitter effect from the nicknamed “celestial” shade isn’t my preference, soft satins are generally not my preference anymore either, and the black shadow takes effort to use. So, it’s not possible for this to be an effortless essential palette for me. I can still make nice looks with it, but it wouldn’t be worth me paying $55 for it, and I say that as someone who is willing to spend more than that on a palette if it’s nearly perfect for me. In my opinion, this palette should be $45.

As for those who love satins, celestial shades, creating soft looks and/or glam looks, is of a different skin tone in which #2 could work as a transition shade and #5 could add dimension, I can completely see how this would be an ideal neutral palette for someone. The perfect palette even. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case for me, but I am still going to continue to stalk Wayne Goss launches in the hopes that one day he’ll release my ideal eyeshadow palette! The Tourmaline palette almost got me, but not quite!
This palette takes the third spot in my 24 max goal.

I realize I’ve forgotten to mention something that will only be important to some people, but I will include this note now. Whenever I purchase the first product from someone who is a celebrity, influencer, or public figure, I always disclose my thoughts on them for those who may be worried about whether my review is clouded by personal feelings positively or negatively. When it comes to Wayne Goss, even though I am subscribed to him on YouTube, I only watch 5% of his videos, so I sometimes forget he is technically an influencer. I’ve always put him in the box of Makeup Artist/Industry Professional, which most people typically don’t have parasocial ties to, and therefore wouldn’t need disclosing. So, for full disclosure now, I used to be a big fan of his and that is what got me to first start buying his brushes in 2015. His products were the reason I placed my first Beautylish order. At some point I lost interest in his videos because the reviews are always glowing since he almost never reviews products he doesn’t like, so at that point I stopped thinking of him as an influencer and instead as a brand owner and professional. Certainly, by this point, my opinion of him is neutral.

Dior Forever Couture Luminizer in Golden Glow 04

Well, I said I would eventually get a Dior highlighter in my Beauty Resolutions and here it is! All the luxury beauty channels I watch say that Dior makes the best highlighters, so I’ve wanted this since it launched. I was planning to buy it during any retailer’s 20% off sale, but I happened to find an untouched one on Mercari at a significant discount, so I snapped it up! I just did not want to pay full price for a formula I’ve never tried before and that I honestly didn’t think would live up to the hype.

I didn’t think of the implications when Angela van Rose mentioned that the base color doesn’t show very much in this highlighter. There wouldn’t have been an issue for me if the color in the pan was the tone of the shimmer, but since the base is almost transparent on the skin, I’m left with the actual color of the shimmer which is a bit too light for me. I love how the highlighter melts into the skin. I love how fine the shimmer particles are and how it gives a glassy wet-skin glow to my face. However, I can only get away with wearing it if I take my time to really blend it onto my cheekbones and even then, I’m not sure how successfully I pull it off. The best results I can get (pictured above) is with the Smashbox Precise Highlighting Brush which somehow picks up more of the powder and deposits less of the shimmer onto my cheekbones. If I want to continue using this, I could try to pair it with one of my darker highlighters.

In terms of longevity, this lasts all day without the shine dulling down. It’s absolutely beautiful. I just wish it was a little darker. There are six different colors in the range, but I’m not convinced 05 Rosewood would be any better on me and 06 Coral Glow is supposed to be similar to Pat Mcgrath’s Divine Rose, which I already own. So, I don’t plan on purchasing another one. As for the full retail price, I would say it’s not quite worth $48, but I bought PML’s Lunar Nude at the reduced price of $45, and this highlighter is better than that one. So, if Dior did release a similar formula of highlighter with a gold shade that would work better for me (something like Becca’s Topaz), there’s a good chance I would buy it and possibly at full price.

Also, I didn’t realize this had a scent until I was watching other videos to compare the different shades and someone mentioned it. I checked and can confirm mine does have it too, but I had to put it right up to my nose to detect it. It’s the same fragrance as my Dior Powder No Powder, so I guess it’s the brand’s signature scent for powder products.

Colourpop Super Shock Blushes in Chamomile and Sounds Grape

These purchases, combined with last month’s heart shaped blush, put a big dent in my goal of ending the year with under 15 blushes. Plus, Colourpop is not even on my blush exceptions list! The review for the Super Shock formula of blushes (with some highlighters snuck in) can be found here.

Chamomile is as pretty of a color in person as it looks online, but Sounds Grape is so much darker than I expected!

If I use a heavy amount, it looks similar to the shade Cheerio, so I have to be careful with this one and apply lightly. If I only use a little bit, the look I get is exactly as I hoped and is beautiful. I have no regrets buying these two blushes!

Colourpop Super Shock Highlighters in Flute Punch and Got Glow

Flute Punch was part of my official Colourpop order in March. I bought it so I could have a lighter version of Champagne BB that I enjoyed in February. Both were from the Feelin’ Bubbly Collection, but for some reason, I got Flute Punch in the basic permanent Super Shock packaging and not the special edition one. Colourpop Super Shock Cheeks in the highlighter formula weren’t on my exceptions list because as much as I love them, I wanted to not purchase anymore so I could use up what I have. I caved when I bought these and that was very naughty of me. As for Got Glow, the Colourpop x Avatar the Last Airbender collab, I purchased it from Ulta. I thought the color was beautiful and I wanted to try the tie-dye formula. When the Avatar Collection was released a week after my order, I regretted not waiting for something else I wanted, as this could have been the last item in my official Colourpop order instead of needing a “filler” item. The fact that it was available at Ulta, so I could add it to my order without needing to pay for shipping or meeting the price minimum was why I happily broke my rules and bought it.

The line on my cheek near my ear in the Flute Punch photo is from wearing a mask, not the cheek products.

Colourpop Pretty Fresh Face Powder in Dark 18

Because I had a 25% off coupon that would mean the difference between saving a few bucks after having to pay for shipping or spending a few extra dollars after hitting the free shipping minimum, I decided to add this as a “filler” for my order. The only other items that interested me at the time was a hair accessory or additional blushes and highlighters, which I did not want to add to my yearly tally. So, even though I’m on a definite powder no-buy, I decided to try this one as my first complexion product from Colourpop.

According to the website, this powder can be used on its own as a foundation or as a setting powder. I accidentally chose a shade slightly lighter than my skintone, but when I used this with my natural hair brushes, I get such a thin layer of product that it just blends in and may as well be translucent. As to be expected, I get a lot more coverage if I use the extremely thin powder puff that came with it. The slightly off shade still isn’t noticeable with the puff anywhere except the areas of my face where I have darker discoloration. So, this is only a problem if I’m trying to wear this product on a bare face. There are no issues when I’ve used concealer over my hyperpigmentation and then applied the powder afterwards. After looking at a few videos and seeing shades 19 and 20, I don’t believe there is a shade in the line that would suit me for foundation purposes. So, I will not be trying to get an additional shade.

I like the softness of the powder’s texture, how it helps to even out my skin tone, and it sets my makeup in place. It even works as a setting powder for my under eyes and adds a little extra coverage and brightening if I apply it towards the end of the day if my concealer is starting to fade. I’m pretty happy with this product! The result I get with this is like a less expensive version of MAC’s Mineralize Skinfinish Natural.

Tarte Shape Tape (Original) in Deep Golden

In my Beauty Resolutions, I mentioned that this was one of the rare times I would allow myself to have a backup product. I got it for 50% off during Ulta’s 21 Days of Beauty. I’ve discussed this concealer in so many different posts on this blog. The only thing special about this one is that it’s yet another shade in the same Deep 53 range, but in a different undertone that looks like it will be better for me than Deep. As I’m trying to use up my other concealers, I don’t plan on opening this one anytime soon in order to keep it fresh until I’m ready for it.

Also, I just wanted to show Tarte’s packaging change between the purple box to a clear plastic one.

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Intense Black

This was another Ulta 21 Days of Beauty purchase. It’s a backup item, but I mentioned this was a possible purchase in my Beauty Resolutions and Hyped Drugstore Products posts. This is a long time holy grail eyeliner, so I’ve discussed it plenty of times on my blog.

Covergirl TruBlend So Flushed High Pigment Bronzer in Ebony

Since I got free shipping from buying a Beauty Steal (Shape Tape), and I had some funds left on my gift card, I added this to my order. In my post about Drugstore Items Worth The Hype, I discussed how much I enjoyed the Sweet Seductions blush from this range and wanted to try the bronzer. This is still a breach of my beauty resolutions because Covergirl is not on my list of no-buy exceptions, but I have no regrets because this is such a great bronzer! The way that it is similar to the blush is that it’s very blendable, but rather than shimmery, it adds a pretty sheen to the skin.

If I use a dense brush, I don’t have to build it up as much. The Ebony shade is perfect for my skintone as a true bronzer, rather than all the brontours I’ve been using lately. It’s only a few shades darker, so I don’t get a ton of sculpting with it unless I really build it up, but it matches my undertone so well in providing a very natural looking warmth. I highly recommend it and can easily say it’s my favorite bronzer available at the drugstore as it truly rivals some high end formulas.

The partial indent on my cheek is from wearing a mask.

Olivia Palermo Beauty Eyeshadow Palette in Regalia

Mercari to the rescue again! When Olivia Palermo Beauty launched, I wanted a palette solely for the packaging, which I heard was luxurious and weighty. However, I had enough sense not to spend $58 for color story I hated. The Soirée and O’Naturel palettes were all that was available until February 24th when Regalia was released. I was about to order this from the website with the 15% off coupon for signing up for emails, but the shipping price deterred me. There is a free shipping minimum of $60, but a palette plus the cheapest item in the shop (a $29 lip balm) makes that free shipping minimum really $74 after the coupon. So, I decided to play the long game. What a stroke of luck that I found a seller three weeks after the launch willing to part with one of her unused palettes and for just $28! And in the terms of my eyeshadow palette low-buy, this purchase takes the fourth spot in my 24 max goal.

The first time I tried out this palette, I tested it with the MAC Paint Pot on one eye and no primer on the other. The texture of the eyeshadows felt different from what I’m used to, which is why I wanted to test them without a base to make sure it didn’t negatively impact the shadows. My findings was that the matte shade deepened up quite a bit on the primed side, even though the Paint Pot had enough time to set. I used Smoky Quartz in both creases and the shade was not easy to blend on either eye. The performance of the shimmers were much better. I did not wet my brush or use glitter primer, yet I didn’t see any glitter fallout at the end of the day, only the particles that fell from the initial application. This was shocking considering how packed with sparkle Diamond Dust is! Diamond Dust was even applied on the eye without the primer! As for the primed side, Antique Diamante is borderline a glitter-shimmer shade and that didn’t have fallout either.

Rose Gold is labeled a satin, and I agree with that. Malachite, Antique Diamante, Amethyst, and Diamond Dust are all called shimmers, but Malachite and Amethyst are much more satin-like in comparison to Antique Diamante and Diamond Dust. The four shimmers also have a black base to them. I could see the darkness in the smudges they left on my fingers after swatching them. This helps those shimmers to pop and increases the opaque look to them. I don’t need to load on the shadows to make an impact.

I find it interesting how soft the satin and shimmers feel (minus Diamond Dust), how pigmented they are, and how smoothly they apply. A lot of other formulas have slip ingredients like dimethicone in a higher concentration in order to achieve that spreadability and creamy feel, but because this one doesn’t rely as heavily on dimethicone, it barely creased on me. The fallout-free and crease-free aspects alone might make this palette worth full price for some people. That isn’t the case for me, but as someone with a lot of lines on my eyes and oily lids, it’s an aspect that is gaining importance to me as I get older.

“Glittering gems and precious metals,” are the inspiration for the Regalia palette. For my personal preferences, I would have liked a matte black to emphasize the sultry smoky side of the shimmer shades and give me the level of depth I enjoy most, but I appreciate the fact that having the warm brown gives me something to pair with Rose Gold for a daytime option, and so I don’t feel restricted to just use that shade exclusively for highlighting the eyes. Technically, the shimmers are dramatic enough to wear on their own, so having a color like Smoky Quartz offers more variety to the looks and is probably less intimidating for some people than a matte black would be. I just wish it was a more blendable shadow.

I am of course thrilled with my purchase at the reduced price, but I’m not sure how I would have felt if I paid full price for it. In addition to the creasing and fallout being non-factors, and the tones of the shadows looking flattering on my eyes, this has phenomenal packaging that literally weighs half a pound! The outer shell is metal, which makes up for most of the weight. The inner portion surrounding the pans and mirror feel like plastic, but I’m not certain about that. The total weight of the actual shadows is 7g/2.5oz, which means the packaging alone is over 5.45 ounces. I can see how this palette would be a nice luxury purchase for someone and the experience certainly raises its value. However, for those who don’t care about packaging and just want something nice for a lower price point, the Lorac Pro Fairytale Forest palette isn’t a dupe, but it gives a similar vibe for $39.

Lastly, I remember reading Trendmood1’s post on Instagram for people commenting to be nice when she posted about the brand’s launch. This was during the time of back to back announcements of celebrity beauty brand launches, which people were voicing their displeasure over. I hadn’t heard of Olivia Palermo until that post, so my interest in the brand is purely for the products and not the person.

Vieve Sunset Blush in Sorbet

I’ll get this disclosure out of the way now, since this is my first Vieve Product. I am familiar with the name Jamie Genevieve because of other Influencers, but I don’t know anything about her. I wanted to try this brand because Brit Clarke consistently raves about the products and discusses every new launch. Plus, in one of the focus groups I’m part of, I learned that another beauty retailer is interested in knowing people’s thoughts on the brand, which increased my curiosity as to whether the products live up to the hype since they may eventually become easier for me to obtain in the US. So, my interest is in Vieve, not the owner.

I said in my Beauty Resolutions that I would avoid buying products from brands that are new to me, but the discount on someone’s unused backup blush was too good to miss out on. Being able to determine how good the highly praised blushes are would help me decide whether I should look into the bronzer duos since I’ve had my eye on those but wasn’t sure if I should splurge on the duos from Victoria Beckham Beauty instead. A lot was riding on this!

Once again, the partial indent in my cheek is from wearing a mask. It’s not the makeup.

Sorbet is exactly how I wanted Nars Orgasm X to look on me. Although it’s described on some websites as being a peachy shade, I view this as medium to medium-dark coral shade with super fine gold shimmer that gives a satin appearance when looking straightforward, but gives a golden glow when it catches the light. I believe this shade could work for those several shades darker than me in the “deep” category. It’s firmly pressed in the pan to help minimize kickup and also make it easy for those with lighter skin tones to be able to wear a bold color like this without overdoing it. That said, it doesn’t take much effort to build it up on my cheeks. So, it’s pigmented but buildable. I once made the mistake of rubbing my squirrel hair brush roughly back and forth thinking it wouldn’t pick up that much, but as soon as I put the brush to my face, I immediately got more pigment than I bargained for on my cheeks and had to tone it down with foundation. I prefer to slowly build up three layers for the perfect amount for me.
It lasts on my cheeks all day without fading. Overall, I think it’s a great quality blush and I would be tempted to purchase the other shade that caught my eye, Piazza, but that is supposed to be similar to Mented’s Clay Too Much and Fenty’s Rose Latte, so I will just stick to this one.

Regarding the full price of $32, I think that’s actually fair considering the performance. I also like the effort to make the packaging look luxurious if you don’t stare at it too long. For instance, the black leather with the gold logo/name plate is reminiscent of a designer handbag, but the product is lightweight in the hand and faux/vegan leather wrapped around cardboard and a shiny thin plastic covering on the inside. And what looks to be a metal tag is plastic. It’s pretty, but I can’t help but compare it to Pat Mcgrath’s blushes which perform the same, plus have that pretty rose embossing, as well as the sleek weighty plastic compact. PML’s blushes are $38 but they’re always on sale and the minimum sale discount would make it the same place as the Vieve blushes, so if they had similar shades I would buy the one from PML instead, unless I was going on a trip. Then the Vieve blush would have the advantage. Vieve also has the PETA bunny on the packaging, which the cruelty-free, vegan, gluten-free, paraben-free, and fragrance-free aspect is important to a lot of people. PML doesn’t advertise having all vegan formulas, but I did not see carmine, fragrance, or parabens in the blushes and they say they do not test on animals. Although I’d prefer to purchase PML blushes, I do recommend the Vieve ones and I’m thrilled to have this Sorbet color.

Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer in Glass Slipper

In March, Fenty had their annual Friends and Family sale at 30% off for customers with an account or 25% off for everyone else. This is always the time I get the previous year’s Gloss Bomb holiday set since they tend to always be available beyond Christmas. My two complaints about the Gloss Bombs are that I wish they had more pigment and less visible shimmer. The 2021 Glossy Posse: Fantasy 4Sum Mini Gloss Bomb Collection contained a Cream Color Drip, which is a formula I hate, and even more glittery versions of the gloss bombs. So, I opted out and decided to get Glass Slipper, which is a clear gloss with no shimmer since the original gloss bombs barely change the color of my lips anyway. Although I’m supposed to be on a lip product no-buy, there is an allowance for replacement lippies and things I had to delay purchasing from the previous year (though technically I replaced the replacement option). I have old gloss bombs I need to toss out, so this purchase is allowed, but it’s still subject to my 5 lip product maximum for 2022. This makes number 4. My review of the Gloss Bombs and Cream Color Drip can be found here.

Hindash Monochromance Gradient Palette – I did a dedicated review to this product here. I decided in my Beauty Resolutions that if Hindash released another gradient palette, I wouldn’t count it as part of my eyeshadow tally since I tend to use these more on the face than on my eyes.

Sonia G Cheek Pro – When I bought the Hindash Palette, it was during the Beautylish Gift Card Event where you can get a $20 credit on your account for every $100 spent. This purchase, although it shouldn’t be allowed under the section about not buying repeat products, got me to the $100 threshold. My review for this brush can be found here, though I’ve discussed it multiple times throughout my blog.

KVD Good Apple Lightweight Full-Coverage Concealer in Tan 173

I’m not supposed to be buying backup products, but here I am again! This is a different shade than I reviewed here previously, but it was on sale for 30% off and I used up so much so quickly that it wasn’t unreasonable to have a replacement in this specific instance. Concealers are one of the few makeup products I go through regularly. It takes me 6-8 months to use up a 0.33 oz tube of Tarte Shape Tape, so the same is probably true of the Good Apple since it has the same amount of product and nearly the same coverage. In fact, comparing the weight of my new bottle to my current one, I used up about a third of the product within two months.

KVD Vegan Beauty ModCon Liquid-Gel Contour in Tan-Deep

I didn’t think this kind of product would work for me until I had such nice results from the Glossier Solar Paint bronzer. Then I started hearing more and more people speak highly about this product, so I was curious about it. This was part of the 30% off sale, so I figured I’d give it a try, even though I’m on a contour No-Buy with only Charlotte Tilbury and Pat Mcgrath as exceptions.

Also, I should address the fact that the labeling and everything says Tan Neutral 30, but names in promo images and on websites refers to this as Tan-Deep. They are the same product.

There is a learning curve to this product, which I wanted to show in my swatch photo how I still didn’t manage to get a smooth opaque blended swatch in the first attempt. Essentially, the issue is that this product doesn’t layer well and dries quickly. To get a pretty result, I have to work in one section at a time (one cheek, the other cheek, then the forehead) and make sure I apply enough product to the area. If I apply the right amount, it just takes about 5-10 stamps or swipes to blend it in seamlessly, depending on the brush. If I overapply the product, and therefore have to spend more time blending, spots will start setting while I’m continuing to manipulate the product and that causes it to become patchy. If I underapply the contour, and therefore have to add an additional layer, spots where there is more product from the first layer will be darker and dry unevenly like some liquid lipsticks do that don’t layer well. The KVD contour essentially has to be smoothed out fully and allowed to dry undisturbed in order to look great. When I nail it…I nail it! It looks amazing and is so quick! But when I mess up, I have to literally remove all my makeup in that spot and reapply my primer, foundation, and then try again. I thought I could get better at it over time, but I find myself just not wanting to reach for it and risk the hassle.

I have tried it with a sponge, which is not my usual go-to method. Because of that gel consistency, a damp sponge really lessens the pigmentation and I had to build up multiple layers. Even though I could add layers without the patchy issue, I lost that ability to be precise, so I ended up spending just as much time fixing it. The other issue is that the contour looks more like it’s sitting on top of my skin after using the sponge, wheres the brushes I’ve used let me really press it in, though I have to admit that I can get an even more skin-like finish with my cream contours and bronzers. I’ve used this KVD contour on top of both matte and dewy foundations and I still get random results that are either stellar or needs to be redone, so it may just be an incompatibility thing with my skin since I didn’t get on with the Colourpop Cheek Dew Serum blushes which were a gel formula too. Then again, a ton of people had a bad time with the original release of those serum blushes.

Some positives about this product is that I don’t have longevity issues with it and the color match is great for me. The neutral aspect gives it a slightly cool tone without looking unnatural against the warm undertone of my skin. The great experiences I have with the contour rank so high that I personally still like the product even though I admittedly seldom use it.

Huda Beauty Mini Glow Obsessions Highlighter Face Palette in Rich

I wanted this last year, but the outer packaging was so off-putting that I couldn’t bring myself to get it. I hoped seeing it in person would change my mind. Spoiler alert: it was even worse, especially after seeing how it looked on my camera from the very first shot I took head on. It’s like one of those internet cursed images!

All three quads went on sale at Sephora for $14 and technically this is a face palette, which is allowed for this brand according to my low-buy rules, so I went for it! I no longer have Rouge status, but with the FREESHIP code I was able to get free shipping, claim some point perks, have some samples, and pay for it with a gift card I redeemed from Swagbucks.

I’m glad I was able to get this for a deal because when swatched, these are pretty much the same shade! I literally started laughing out loud as I was swatching them on my arm because highlighters have the issue already of looking too similar on the face despite the tone differences and this one has the added disadvantage of being all coppers. #1 is a light copper, #2 is a pinkish copper, #3 is copper, and #4 is bronze-copper. They’re pretty but they are all the same, which wouldn’t be as disappointing if I hadn’t really wanted more of a real blush shade out of #2. Then again, I don’t think I would have worn any of these as blush or bronzer because of the metallic shimmer being way too strong for anything but highlighting. I basically look at this as having paid $14 for a single large highlighter, which isn’t a bad price.

The formula is quite thick and a little chunky. It reminds me of an eyeshadow, and a bit like the Glowlighters from Coloured Raine. This kind of highlighter requires a brush that can pick up just enough product to spread evenly, but lightly on the high points of the face if you don’t want a blinding look.

I retook these photos to show how Rich #1 can look more seamless and blended in the skin with the right brush, and how Rich #2 and #4 look in daytime lighting as opposed to nighttime when I took those two last time. In the daytime, it’s easier to see the slight pink tinge to the #2 highlighter.

Other than the similarities in colors and the slightly chunky texture, I think this is a beautiful product and I’m thrilled I bought it for this price. I also did a little craft project to make the packaging a bit more palatable for me.

CDJapan Haul

CDJapan had a points-in-exchange-for-reviews event on Chikuhodo and Koyudo brushes purchased from their website (and not other retailers). I was able to accumulate enough points from reviews, my already existing points, my quarterly bonus points, plus use a coupon, to be able to make another order for a really great deal. Since testing multiple brushes usually takes me several months and I like to review a decent number all at once, my review for them will be coming in a future post.*

*DISCLAIMER: I started working on this post in March. All of the brushes shown and all comments above were made prior to me becoming a CDJapan Affiliate. This particular post does not contain any affiliate links.

*

Whew! That was a lot, but we’ve reached the end! This is the first month that I feel I did very poorly with my low buy, but I’m determined to do better next month.
Thank you for taking the time to read! If you like my content, be sure to click the follow button to be notified whenever I post, or you can bookmark this page and return for my weekly posts on Monday 11:30 am EST! If you’re new and would like to see my previous months, January is here and February is here.

– Lili

My February Purchases Reviewed: KVD, Essence, Tarte, etc.

I wish it was possible to have reviews for my February purchases up quicker, but two of the orders were from international brands, which took nearly a month to arrive. I then needed adequate time to test out the makeup, but I was away from home quite a lot in the month of April. So, here we are now!

Some of these items have already been reviewed by now, so in order to give the unreviewed products their time to shine and not be repetitive, I will just add links that open a new tab to the locations of the previously discussed products.

KVD Beauty Good Apple Lightweight Full-Coverage Concealer in 167

This feels like old news by now since so many reviews have been released about this super hyped up concealer, but I may as well give my take on it too. This product, in terms of performance, has surpassed the identically priced and beloved Tarte Shape Tape Concealer! I have to use it in specific ways though in order to get it to last all day.

This product is full coverage but spreads very easily within the first half minute or so. The applicator feels lovely on the skin, but the amount it picks up is too much for my entire face, even when I scrape the excess product off the tip. With the scraped off amount, if I try to blend in the same spot, it still spreads outside of the brush zone, so I have to continue blending out the edges to get it to seamlessly fuse with my foundation, which can lead to it moving too far. How I minimize this is by applying a thin layer of concealer to the areas I need coverage, but I leave a little room on the edges and try to avoid my under eye lines. Then I wait at least 45 seconds to let it start to dry. Then I start blending and tap my brush onto the wettest parts that haven’t settled yet and use that to spread and cover all the blank spots. If I’ve lost some of the coverage by then, I dot the tiniest bit of extra product to those areas and smooth it out. This technique allows me to use the least amount of product, but prior to this, I learned it’s better to apply the concealer in two light layers rather than one heavy one. It also helps that I use the Sonia G Jumbo Concealer brush which doesn’t trap the product in its bristles or pick it back up off the face.

I don’t follow the inner and outer corner concealer application spots, the concealer triangle, or other shapes beauty gurus show because my dark circles and discoloration are unique and must be applied in the way that suits my face. I was in a bit of a rush when I took this picture, but that initial application doesn’t have to be perfect. The key is to cover most, but not all, of the undereye darkness and discoloration so that even less product will be able to settle into those lines later when I blend in the rest of the concealer. This is the method I use exclusively with the KVD Good Apple Concealer.

I’ve also been content with leaving my concealer as is and not setting it with powder, though without powder, I’d need a decent amount of product in order to keep it lasting all day. Denatured Alcohol is fairly high in this concealer, as the fifth ingredient. This probably helps with the quick dry down/partial self setting aspect, but it does concern me as someone with dry skin to have a drying ingredient in it. However, I decided I will continue using this concealer, at least until I’ve used it up because I like it so much. I love that it’s so lightweight but builds up to full coverage and looks a little more hydrating under my eyes than Shape Tape, even with the alcohol. It’s also longer lasting than Shape Tape. I think it’s important to prep my under eyes, but if I use a moisturizer (I don’t use eye creams anymore) with too many oils, it will break down my concealer quicker than usual. I’ve had better success using my primers/priming moisturizers like the Bobbi Brown Face Base, Tatcha Silk Canvas, Touch in Sol Pretty Filter Glassy Skin Balm, MILK Hydro Grip Eye Primer, etc. If I use something under my concealer, that’s when I make sure to set it with powder.

Regarding the color options, I recommend paying close attention to the swatches because some of the shades are randomly darker than the swatch above and below. Several shades are also essentially the same depth, but just have different undertones. When I was trying to figure out which one to get, it was quite confusing. If KVD created something between 173 and 177, that would be my ideal color provided it’s actually darker than 167 but lighter than 177. My current shade works under my eyes, but it’s too light for the hyperpigmentation around my mouth and gives a grey look when I cover it up. And for those who don’t know, I prefer having a concealer shade that matches my face, rather than being a few shades lighter. The dollops of product depicted for each shade are also much deeper than in reality, so I recommend going by the swatches or seeing these in store to be safe. My nearest Sephora never has anything new but both malls closest to me are closing, so I know that’s not possible for everyone to do.

For those curious, here are some swatches and shade comparisons. I only have a mini of the Deep Shape Tape right now, which I suspect is lighter than the full size, so I would say take that with a grain of salt, along with the Pat Mcgrath concealers which are nearly used up and also changing in consistency and should probably be tossed out. I typically mix PML’s 22 and 24 to get a better match and Lancome’s 460 and 495 to get a better match as well.

One thing to watch out for though is that after using it for a month, the color seemed a little darker than when I first got it. I think it’s due to repeated exposure to air. I will continue to monitor what happens with this concealer as time goes on and update this post if necessary.

Nyx Marshmellow Smoothing Primer (Mini)

I was always intrigued by the idea of this primer, but I held off buying it until I tried a sample of it and loved how it gave me what I wanted out of the Touch in Sol Pretty Filter Glassy Skin Balm, but with more of a shine to my skin. The sample I got was perfectly blended and mixed, but in my $8 mini, the oil and rest of the product is partly separated so much that it leaks out of the tube every time I open it. I know this is common in some products, but it’s quite the annoyance trying to apply it evenly to my face and not get too much oil in one spot. Before every use, I rotate between shaking the tube and massaging the packaging a few times to try and get them to mix back together.

This has a light marshmallow scent to it. There are quite a few claims on Ulta’s website like, “This primer smooths, softens, extends makeup wear for 16 hours, hydrates, soothes, evens tone, minimizes texture, blurs lines, adds a soft focus finish AND keeps makeup fresh.” After several wear tests, the longest being ten hours, I can only confirm the skin softening, minuscule amount of line blurring, and keeping makeup fresh. I hoped that the initial shine I got on my skin when first applied would continue throughout the day, which it does sometimes, but at other times this primer actually partially mattifies my skin. I would not have noticed if I hadn’t done several wear tests using the NYX primer only on one side of the face. Sometimes it goes on perfectly clear and at other times it leaves a slight white cast, which at least is undetectable once foundation is on top, but still it’s quite the strange phenomenon. The only explanation I have is the separation of the formula and me being unable to consistently mix it back together in the tube. So, on those matte days, I don’t know if my skin is actually being hydrated. It at least feels hydrated, so that’s a good thing for me.

I don’t wear makeup for long enough to know if it would last 16 hours and I have no idea what a “soft focus finish” from makeup would look like in real life, so I can’t confirm or disprove those claims either.
I still like this primer, but not enough to repurchase it unless I somehow start noticing the other supposed benefits like a more even tone, minimized texture, and an increase in the blurring power.

Essence Coffee to Glow Highlighter Beans

Calling this subtle wouldn’t be the right wording, but it gives more of a sheen or glow than a blinding reflect. It lasted a full eleven hours without fading during my longest wear test and with my best primer. The worst performance of it when combined with different base products left me with a very subtle sheen by the nine hour point. I’m quite shocked at how similar it actually is to the Guerlain meteorites in terms of performance, though it’s a little more toned down than those and the Guerlain is a little more friendly to texture.

It smelled like coffee when I first bought it, but a month later it smelled faintly like coffee but mostly like pencils. It’s the type of smell that is detectable when I put it on, but I can’t smell it after I finish blending it. According to Ulta and Essence’s websites though, these are somehow fragrance free. I skimmed several videos to see what others had to say about the beans, and theirs had a smell too, so I don’t know why this is the case if they aren’t supposed to be scented. Maybe it’s the foam or packaging itself that’s scented and not the makeup.

There are way less beans in the cup than I expected because there’s a foam layer that fills most of the space, as can be seen in my product photo far above. I don’t mind this since I’ve never gotten even a quarter of the way through a highlighter.

It is easier to get powder from the lid rather than trying to pick up product off the beans because I have occasionally gotten crumb size pieces between the bristles of the brush and when those fall to the floor it makes a mess. The beans stay mostly intact if I rub my brush over them, but they are not difficult to break. One shattered between my fingers when I tried to swatch each of the three colors against my arm and it got everywhere!

Considering I did not enjoy the Essence Pure Nude Highlighter Palette, I’m shocked how much better these are and how much more I like them. For those who like subtle highlighters and don’t mind scented makeup, I’d recommend trying these out if they’re still available. Also, those of a lighter skin tone can remove the darkest beans if there is a concern of this leaving a dark cast on the face. Conversely, those with a darker skin tone can remove the golden yellow beans if there is a concern of it being too stark, but I think it may be less of an issue for those on the deeper skin tone spectrum as can be seen here in this YouTuber’s video.

Essence Coffee to Glow Eyeshadow Palette

I should note that these two Essence products and the Nyx primer are all allowed in my low buy under the stipulation of “products that I intended to get last year but was prevented from doing so for one reason or another.” I tend to prefer colorful eyeshadow palettes, so the only reasons I wanted this palette were for the glossy and swirl shadows. I felt like it would somehow give me a taste of Huda Beauty’s Naughty Palette which has those types of shadows in it.

The #5 gloss shadow has a hard gel layer with all the pigment pearls at the very bottom, so I had to crush it down to the pan in order to get any color out of it. I expected it to just be a gimmick and it would certainly have been pointless wearing it on its own on my eyes if I hadn’t mixed it. It’s supposed to be a “universal eye shadow topper,” but that isn’t my makeup preference. Instead, I use this as a base primer and it greatly increases the longevity of the shimmers I apply on top, as I saw in an eleven hour wear test. I almost always get creasing on my eyes, and using the gel as a base does deepen the creases, but it also keeps my shimmers in place and prevents the transfer that I get from my lid to my crease when I use a regular eyeshadow primer.

With regular primers like the MAC Paint Pot and Gerard Cosmetics Clean Canvas, my eye looks using this palette are still fine past ten hours but the shimmers aren’t as intense. As for the mattes, I was impressed with the color payoff. They blend sufficiently. I just wish Essence included a deeper shade because I can’t get much depth out of shades #1 and #8 which are the two darkest colors in this palette.

I always use #3 to blend out the edges of the other mattes in the crease. For the inner corner, I use #2 or #6 but my favorite thing is to use them together for the inner corner highlight because #2 has the best reflect but it can be a bit dark depending on how much of the darker swirl is used, whereas #6 is lighter but not shinier. Those two shades don’t last as long on my eyes because I do touch my eyes frequently throughout the day and these are easily removed by touch, no matter what primer I use.

#4 is a nice metallic shade and both #4 and #6 feel like normal shimmers with some slip, but the #2 “bouncy swirl” shadow is quite creamy/wet feeling.

This palette is only $8 and is unscented. It was definitely worth me purchasing, even if it was purely for the fun of playing with some of these uncommon textures and formulas. The lightweight packaging feels like recycled cardboard and the palette is tiny and fits in the palm of my hand, but what it lacks in packaging quality, it makes up for with the eyeshadow formula.

Rephr Hydration Cream 1.0

I purchased this when rephr was offering a “set your own price” option where one could pay even as low as $0 to get it, plus the shipping cost. When I first used it, I applied way too much to my face and continued to get dewier throughout the day. In many subsequent uses, I learned that if I applied a smaller amount, it fully absorbs into my skin and is fully hydrated without leaving a trace of shine, which is fantastic for non-makeup days! I only like a little dew to my skin when I have a full face on; I don’t want to look shiny when I’m barefaced.
I’m also impressed by this formulation because it meets the requirements of my dry skin as a powerful moisturizer that is also lightweight. Rich/Heavy products tend to clog my skin. It’s not the easiest to find something that lets my skin breathe while also lasting all day.

Some highlights about the benefits of this moisturizer are that it’s fragrance and essential oil free, it’s made in Korea, it’s made of recyclable lightweight aluminum packaging, and it contains:

  • Niacinamide (5%)
  • Dimethicone (3%)
  • Glycerin (3%)
  • Centella Asiatica Complex (2%)
  • Meadowfoam Seed Oil (1%)
  • Panthenol (0.5%)
  • Algae Complex (2.0%)
  • Soybean Complex (1.5%)

Other lightweight moisturizers for my face that can do the job are the Innisfree Jeju Cherry Blossom Jelly Cream ($25 for 50ml), Round Lab Birch Juice Moisturizing Cream ($15-36 for 80ml), Laneige Water Bank Hydro Gel ($38 for 50ml), Saturday Skin Waterfall Glacier Water Cream ($39 for 50ml), etc. So, rephr is offering quite the deal at $26 (listed price) for 100ml. The only one of those I mentioned that I like better than this one is from Round Lab, though I believe the rephr cream may be more occlusive.

I’m terrible about keeping to a consistent skincare routine, so I can’t say how this product performs on a regular daily basis, but I’ve used it enough these past few months to be able to say that it’s great and hasn’t caused me any issues.

Colourpop Pressed Powder Blush in 4ever Yours – That review is here.

This is was the first official breech of my low buy this month. I’m not supposed to buy blushes unless it’s one of the brands on the exceptions list, which this is not. Considering how similar it is to the heart shaped blush I bought from Colourpop last year, I should have stuck to my guns and not gotten it.

Colourpop Super Shock Highlighter in Champagne BB

According to the rules of my low buy, I should not have gotten this either. It’s the classic case of wanting it because I like the formula, but I don’t need anymore, especially when I have them in shades I already like. My only defense was that I at least removed the other highlighter and three blushes I had out of my shopping cart, but I just ended up buying those anyway in March. Oops!

This shade looks a bit too dark for me in swatches, but when it’s diffused onto the skin, it looks like the perfect depth and still brightens the area due to the sparkle. It lasts on my cheeks all day and I can’t even regret this purchase because it’s great! Unfortunately, this particular Super Shock has already been discontinued.

Oden’s Eye x Angelica Hela Palette – The review is Here.

This fits in line with my two eye shadow palettes per month rule. I’m doing quite well with that so far!

Kaleidos Lip Clays (plus Smokey Nostalgia Tin Box) in Skinship, Cognac, and Bare – The review is Here for both the Lip Clays and Blush listed below.

I purchased the custom bundle which requires 4 lip products, but the fourth was a gift for a friend. So, I’m not counting that last one as part of my lip no-buy and my total is currently 3 lip products out of the allowed 5.

Kaleidos Smokey Nostalgia Blush in P03 Sanguine – The review is linked above.

This is another purchase that technically goes against my low-buy. Kaleidos isn’t on the exceptions list for blushes, but I have always wanted to try one from them and couldn’t due to the shades not being suited for my skin tone.

MAKE UP FOR EVER Electric Brushes Set

This set with tax came to $36 from Nordstrom. The original price was $69 and has a retail value of $150. It includes :

  • 106 Foundation Brush: a brush for applying and blending all kinds of foundation for an even result.
  • 124 Powder Kabuki Brush: a brush with a short and slender handle for ensuring smooth and even application of all powders to create a lightweight, flawless result.
  • 152 Highlighter Brush: a brush for easily and delicately highlighting your face and body with its soft fibers.
  • 228 Precision Shader Brush: a paddle-shaped, flexible brush for applying, blending and smudging all types of eye products quickly.
  • Brush case

Today’s review will be about the foundation, powder, and highlighter brushes, but I’m going to give someone the shader brush. I rarely like synthetic eye brushes, so it would be a waste for me to even bother trying it. In general, I prefer natural hair brushes, but I’ve always wanted to try these, just not at full price. It was still very early in my exploration of makeup when MUFE decided to make their brushes fully synthetic. Regarding my no buy/low buy, I’m unofficially on a makeup tool low buy. However, I didn’t set any restrictions in writing.

The Foundation brush, I had seen in action during a Rouge event many years ago when a MUFE representative did my makeup and I wanted it ever since. I typically don’t like paddle style brushes, but this one works just as well as I remembered. I get zero streaks using this brush. I’m able to apply and spread foundation easily and get around edges and small corners with ease as well. I have a background with painting ceramics, and painting on canvas is an occasional hobby, so I can’t be sure if that plays into why this brush is so easy for me to use, but it is.

This brush can also apply a crisp line for cream sculpting products, though the shape of the tip isn’t the best for blending, but I can still do it with this brush.
It costs $36 which ended up being the price I paid for the entire set. I personally think it’s worth $25 at most, but having this brush made the whole set worth it.

I find it so strange that this is listed as a Highlighter brush considering it’s bigger than my Smashbox Cream Cheek brush and many other blush brushes.

It applies far too much highlighter for my preference, so I consider this a blush brush instead. That being said, I’m not the biggest fan of this brush for that purpose either. There’s so much bristle for such a flimsy floppy splay that doesn’t feel like I have much control of the blend. It’s like it smears blush across the skin like a mop rather than buffing in the blush. When I use easy to blend and pigmented blushes, this brush works perfectly fine. However, with a sheerer blush or lower quality one, it takes forever since it’s lacking firmness and makes things look patchier. I figured if this is problematic with powders then maybe cream blushes will be better for this brush, but that’s not the case. It doesn’t allow me to fully work the cream products into my skin and it just sits on top of it. With even more emollient creams, it has the issue of spreading product too far out.

This retails for $37, which I don’t think it’s anywhere near worth that. If I had bought this #152 brush individually, I would have returned it. I don’t recommend this one.

The retail price for this one is $52! I can’t recall if I ever paid over $40 for a synthetic fiber brush, so it’s no surprise that I wouldn’t normally buy a brush like this. The handle on this one feels even sturdier than the others in the line.

It’s the most dense at the very center and looser packed around the edges. When I put this brush handle side up against my palm, it sinks in at like a centimeter before it forms what feels like a wall. It’s so solid that I can’t get the bristles to splay, it just stiffens. This does the same thing when I apply a powder to my face. If I grip the handle and use a normal amount of pressure to spread powder on my face, it feels incredibly firm to point that it offers very little movement and the bristles drag heavily across my skin.

The way I like to use it is holding it in a looser grip and just blending with the tips without applying pressure. This method still gives me a strong blend without feeling like I’m using the world’s densest brush or attempting to exfoliate my face. I’m not saying that these brushes are scratchy. The bristles on all of them are soft, just not the softest synthetic I’ve felt, especially when pressure is applied and it drags on the skin. These fibers actually remind me a bit of pony hair, but softer. Now that I know the trick to using this brush, I do like it and I’m happy it’s part of the set. It can’t compare to my natural hair powder brushes, but I use those for an airier and more blended finish. This brush is one that I’d use when I want to actually load on a thin solid layer, like with face powder, before blending it out.

Even though I’m not planning to use this brush, I wanted to show how it looks through the plastic. The retail price is $25.

I feel like I got an absolute steal on this brush set! Even though I don’t want to purchase anymore synthetic fiber brushes, I can’t regret buying these.

MAC Glow Play Cherry Blossom Blush in HD Cherry Tree – The review is Here.

Considering how many MAC blushes I own, this shouldn’t be on the exceptions list, but it is because I don’t have the willpower to cut off the brand that ranks number one with blushes for me. So this purchase is still allowed according to my Beauty Resolutions.

Tarte Amazonian Clay Best of Cheek Set (Holiday 2021)

This set went on sale for $22 on 2/22/22, so with tax it came to just under $24. I always wanted to try this formula of Tarte blushes because people have been raving about them since I started getting into makeup and they always said that despite the holiday items being notoriously lower quality, this formula from Tarte was always great. After trying these minis out for myself, I can understand why these are such beloved blushes! The longevity is insane. I’ve done several wear tests with the longest being eleven hours and by that point the blush still looked freshly applied!

I used the maximum amount of Exposed, a moderate to heavy application of Charmed, a heavy application of Captivating, a moderate amount of Delight, and a light to moderate amount of Fantasy on the cheeks. Charmed and Delight had more room for building up.

I bought this expecting to only be able to wear the darkest blush in the set and just test out the formula of the highlighter, so I was pleasantly surprised to see everything show up on me! Exposed is described as a “nude pink” and admittedly barely shows because the brown tones blend into my skin. The pink is what makes it visible, though it’s on that cusp of being too light for me, so I will probably find a new home for that shade.
Charmed is a limited edition “bright pink” that I consider a light-medium tone that works for me if I spend a little time really blending it into my skin. The one that I’m actually shocked that I can wear because it’s even lighter than Charmed is the “bright peach” shade called Captivating. It looks crazy at first, but it warms up as I blend it in. I love the look of peach blushes, but they are usually ashy on me, which is why I go for corals as my closest equivalent of peach. It excites me to no end to have found one of the rare peach shades that I can pull off!
The last blush is another limited edition shade called Delight. It’s a “deep rose” that’s a cross between Exposed and Charmed, but darker. It’s the most natural looking of the shades on my cheeks and it’s the only one I don’t have to build up for depth of tone reasons and not pigmentation reasons. All of these blushes have a good amount of pigment.
As for the highlighter, the limited edition “rose gold” shade Fantasy is too light for me. Beyond the shade match, the way it reflects in the light emphasizes texture in a way that other highlighters I’ve used that are even lighter than this one don’t do. I don’t have enough experience with Tarte Highlighters to be able to say if this is indicative of their formulas, but I have an upcoming review where I tried another one that I liked much better and did not have the reflect and textural problem. That one went on smoothly, whereas this one sticks in places and takes a bit of blending in, so I think it’s just an issue with this particular highlighter.

So, in this set of five travel size products, I intend to continue using three of them. That makes the usable items worth $8 each in my eyes based on what I paid, plus the knowledge I gained in learning that I really like the Amazonian Clay blush formula! Each compact contains 1.5 grams of product, so the three I’m keeping equals 4.5 grams that I paid $24 to have. A full size blush from tarte is 5.6 grams for $29.
For these reasons, it made the set worth it, but I wouldn’t have felt the same way if I paid the $39 full price. Tarte lists this as being a $75 value, but there’s a combined product weight of 7.5 grams, which means the set should actually cost $38.84.

This is why I always recommend waiting for Tarte’s holiday items to go on sale. Then it has a chance of actually being worth buying if the products are not 100% suited for someone.

We’ve now reached the end of the post! I had so many products to review, which I expected would slow down my purchases for March, but it did not! It worked in the beginning of March but halfway through the month things got a bit crazy. I would estimate that post won’t be ready until August. I hope you’ll visit my blog again soon! And if you missed January’s purchases, they can be found here.

-Lili

Synthetic Brush Discoveries From 2021

I love discussing natural hair brushes, and I use them almost exclusively for most makeup tasks. However, 2021 was the year that I dipped my toe back into the pool of synthetic brushes. I wanted to know if some of the positive buzz I heard was well warranted, or if I was right to ignore them. These brushes are in the mid-range to high-end category. Not included today, but I will post in the future, will be a comparison between my old original Real Techniques brushes to the current version today.

Smashbox Synthetic Brushes

I’ve always been a fan of Smashbox’s original line of brushes before they revamped them to be entirely synthetic. It’s my opinion that the majority of expensive ($30+) synthetic brushes aren’t worth the price, so it took many years of waiting before the sale prices on these brushes compelled me to finally try a few. The brushes aren’t very versatile. Most of them serve one singular purpose, but I would rather have a brush that does one task superbly than to have a brush do multiple things at just an adequate level.

Smashbox Buildable Cheek Brush

This brush is very loosely packed, floppy, and the bristles aren’t luxuriously soft, so my first instinct was to write off this brush. However, after using it, I understood why it needed to be this way. Even though the brush head shape looks cool yet gimmicky at best or poorly made at worst, the combination of everything leads to getting a very sheer blush application with my overly-pigmented blushes (like the ones from Wayne Goss). It’s a somewhat large brush, but the sharp angles allow me to still get a controlled and precise application while still being soft and buildable the way it was intended. I also love the grip hold spots on the handle, which intuitively direct the user where to hold the brush in order to get the desired results. I had to put my thoughts on what makes a good brush aside, in order to appreciate the results I got. It’s a lot more thought out and functional than it appears. It does the job very well, so I do recommend it. I purchased mine when it was half off on Smashbox’s website.

Smashbox Precise Highlighting Brush

This is another brush I almost wrote off because the angled side resembles a stippling brush that is grouped together in thicker clumps. I was certain this would lead to patchy results, but I was shocked to see it worked so well to actually create a smooth application. The angle really hugs the top of my cheekbone and other areas I apply highlighter. I still wish it was a little softer, but I can’t knock the results. Because I already have amazing highlighter brushes, I personally don’t feel like this brush filled a void in my collection, but I do use it quite regularly. For someone who doesn’t have, for instance, the Wayne Goss Air Brush or Bisyodo CH-HC Brush*, I recommend giving this Smashbox brush a try when it’s on sale. The full price is still overpriced in my opinion, especially compared to the Bisyodo brush being softer, cheaper, and natural hair. The Smashbox brush has the advantage of being able to work with all mediums, like cream and liquid products, but I only use powder highlighters, so that isn’t a selling point for me. 40% off would be a fair price for this brush, but I got mine at an even better discount at 50% off. Smashbox offers that semi-regularly now, so I suggest signing up to their email notifications.

*Disclaimer: The link for the Bisyodo brush is the only affiliate link in this post. Clicking it will open a new browser tab to the product page and I would get a commission (at no extra cost to the customer) if someone makes a purchase via the link. All brushes in this post, including the Bisyodo brush, were purchased by me with my own money. If you choose to make a purchase via the link, I thank you, but also know I am just happy you chose to read this post today!

Smashbox Cream Cheek Brush

Before Sonia G released the long handle size of the Mini Base brush, I bought this one in the hopes that it would be a nice dupe for it. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. I may have liked this brush more if I didn’t have the one from Sonia G. This brush isn’t as dense as I wanted and the bristles are floppy. It gets the job done, but it has a wider splay than I prefer (because it’s so floppy and flattens with too much pressure). It’s not a bad brush, but it’s made for someone who likes to apply creams lightly at first and build it up. This is because it has the quality of being able to pick product back off the face the way a damp Beautyblender can soak up excess cream and liquid off the skin. I prefer to deposit more of the cream blush onto the skin in the first go and blend it out. The Smashbox brush at full price is $32 whereas Sonia G’s mini base is $40. I highly recommend getting the Sonia G brush instead for those who don’t mind that there are still some natural hairs in that one. I do somewhat regret buying this Smashbox brush, even at the discount of 30% off. For how little I end up reaching for this brush, I wouldn’t have regretted it if it was 50% off instead.

Overall, I’m happy to be able to say Smashbox brushes as still worth checking out, even though they’re all synthetic now. I’m still using my original brushes from the brand though, so I don’t think I’ll be purchasing anything else from their current line unless they create a new shape.

Scott Barnes 65 Flawless Face Brush

I keep hearing there’s some kind of controversy about Scott Barnes, but I haven’t been able to find reputable sources explaining it. So, I’ve decided to lift the break I had on the brand and buy the last brush from his line that I’ve always wanted. I purchased it during Black Friday.
Like Smashbox, the bristles of Scott Barnes brushes don’t feel particularly special (though they are at least a lot more dense and softer than Smashbox brushes), but it’s the innovative shapes that make the difference compared to other brands. This brush works quite well to apply bronzer and contour products in both cream and powder forms to my face without leaving any harsh edges and without applying too much at one time either, since all the tips don’t get coated with the first initial tap of the brush into the makeup. A section of the brush applies what was picked up while the rest of the bristles blend the product. I do wish this had a slightly thinner surface area though to make over-applying even rarer of an occurrence.

Because I do have more of a void in my collection when it comes to sculpting brushes, I’m more willing to say a synthetic brush at this price is worth it, specifically for me, though I did get it at 40% off. I’m not totally in love with this brush, but I’m strongly “in like” with it and am happy I bought it. It also says quite a bit that having this brush has suppressed my yearning for the Sonia G Lotus Base, Sonia G Niji Pro, and Patrick Ta Major Sculpt Brush.

Urban Decay Pro The Finger Brush F110

This is by far the most disappointing brush purchase I made in 2021, and that’s because I have been wanting this for years, so I am that much more upset that it did not live up to the claims of essentially giving the same results as my finger, without the mess. The only nice thing is that I got it on sale for half off, minus shipping from Nordstrom Rack.
This brush is so dense that it just drags on the eye. There’s no give or flexibility. The head forms a half circle, but the tip is flat and intended to stipple on product. I’ve tried to use it with matte and shimmer eyeshadows, to spread on eye primer, and to apply my concealer. I hate it in every task. The best result I had was using it to apply a transition matte eyeshadow to the crease, but I had to clean up the edges because of how round it is. It initially worked nicely with some of my loosely packed shimmer eyeshadows, but not the kind that need more of a smoothing/spreading application like my Devinah Cosmetics metallic shadows. I do not recommend this brush and I have no intention of using it anymore. I give Urban Decay kudos for the recycled aluminum ferrules and recycled plastic fiber bristles, but if I buy a brush I won’t use, it’s still a waste of a brush anyway. I will try to find this brush a home with someone else.

Sigma Beauty Soft Blend Brush 60 (from the Berry Glow Cheek Duo)

This tapered candle flame shape of highlighter brush is extremely common, so I had high expectations that this brush would be well made. The shiny gold colored ferrule and handle certainly make a positive impression, though the fibers in the brush head weren’t uniformly put together and it isn’t completely symmetrical even post-wash. The head length is also much longer than I’d expect for a highlighting brush, which makes me think that it’s also meant to be used with blush along the side. When flattened against the skin, the splay is wide enough for the cheeks. This makes sense for it to be included in a blush and highlighting duo considering this feature.

My main issue is the way product is deposited on the skin. Blushes that usually take only 2 passes on my cheek to finish the look take at least double that amount because the blush just sweeps off the cheek and into the air or gets pushed further into the brush. It works fine with loosely pressed highlighters, but it has trouble with some formulas, such as the Lethal Cosmetics and Hatice Schmidt Labs highlighters, in failing to deposit all the product I pick up onto my cheekbones. This can be a good thing since I like subtle highlighting anyway, but that also sometimes leads to an uneven application that I have to smooth over repeatedly. As I mentioned in the Smashbox section, I have too many amazing highlighting brushes to want to reach for this one on a regular basis, though it is very pleasing to look at. Ironically, I have even more amazing blush brushes, but I do use this brush more often to sweep on blush rather than highlighter. I intend to keep this brush and I’m glad it came free with my Sigma blush duo. I don’t believe it’s sold individually. I’ve seen a black handle version of it though as part of another Sigma set.

Patrick Ta Monochrome Moment Blush Brush #1

This brush also goes by the name, “Complexion Brush #1” on Patrick Ta’s website. It’s described as, “a fluffy, tulip-shaped brush that applies and diffuses powder for the most natural application.” On multiple websites, it’s listed as being great for diffusing blush, bronzer, and highlighters in a loose or pressed powder formula, which is interesting considering Patrick’s most popular products are his cream and powder duos. The main reason I wanted this brush was after viewing Tara Lynn’s video when she used it with a cream blush. I assumed it could be amazing with Patrick’s own duos or at least other cream blushes. However, any cream blush that is on the stiffer side, like the one in the duo and the LYS cream blushes, are very difficult to pick up product without me having to apply a lot of pressure and wiggle the brush in the pan or even go as far as to squeeze the base of the brush hairs to make the bristles more compact in order to pick up the product. So, ironically, I don’t like using it with the Patrick Ta Blush Duos. Smoother textured blushes, like the MAC Glow Play ones, I had an easier time picking up. The overall downside to using this brush with creams is that it causes the bristles to gunk up in random spots. I definitely have to clean off my brush with a microfiber cloth after each use.

Essentially, the best way I found to use this product with a cream or liquid is to apply those to the cheek first and then blend it out with the brush. This is how I had an easier time using the Makeup by Mario Blush Stick and Glossier Cloud Paint while also keeping the bristle bunching to a minimum. However, an excess of product still gets between the bristles when it comes to creams and liquids. All the non-powder blushes I used ended up looking sheer on my cheeks every time. I essentially had to either apply a lot more product than usual or keep the blending to the minimum. I did enjoy how nice and smooth it always looked in the end. So, I wouldn’t say only use this brush with powders; just be aware that creams can be troublesome with it.

The fibers of this brush are crimped in order to mimic the product pickup of natural hair, and it even feels different than the other synthetic brushes I reviewed today. This is the only one that actually feels luxurious. Of course, synthetic hair doesn’t have cuticles like natural hair to help grab onto product, but the crimping helps. I am able to pick up a lot of product on the brush, however, it doesn’t always want to let it go and deposit it onto my face. So, the result is that this brush is best for those who like to build up blush rather than deposit a lot before buffing out the excess. I wish there were more of the bristles overall though, as this brush is not as dense as it looks. It’s not tightly packed and it is a bit floppy. With more bristles, this would have been perfect with powders (and maybe this would make it better with creams too), but considering the quality of the brush head, the weighty well made handle, and overall look, this was worth me buying at the 20% off discounted price at Sephora. It’s still a hard sell to get me to love a synthetic brush when it’s for blush, but for those who don’t like natural hair, I do recommend this one.

When it comes to using this with the other complexion products listed, highlighting is where I draw the line. No matter how tiny of a spot I try to tap into the highlighter with the brush, it deposits the product onto too wide of an area, covering up too much of my cheeks. I have a similar issue when using this brush for bronzing, but the diffused look it gives me makes me not mind it so much. It’s my preference to keep my bronzed areas on the thinner side, but if I’m randomly in the mood for a wider area of warmth to my skin, I’ll remember to use this brush. As for face powder, I was not surprised to discover this brush works quite well for that.

Final Thoughts

I wanted to know if synthetic brushes were worth buying again, especially at the higher end price tag. After really thinking it over, what I’ve concluded is that the answer is no for me personally. The current synthetic brushes I have are all that I need and even when I find ones I like, the majority are a bit overpriced. I would be more likely to purchase additional brushes from brands like Smashbox and Patrick Ta if the prices were decreased, but the fact that I can always think of a natural hair brush I prefer over the synthetic one, it doesn’t make sense for me to continue buying them. I can say that I was impressed by some of the advancements though regarding synthetics and mimicking natural hair, so perhaps in another five years after the technology gets even better, I’ll have a new opinion on the subject.

Thank you for reading!

– Lili

Beautylish Presents The Year of the Tiger Brush and other January Purchases

I’m still playing catch up on things I purchased in 2021 and wish to post about, but today is an update on all my beauty purchases from January 2022. I’d like to show how well (or not) I’ve been sticking to my Beauty Resolutions for the year.

Beautylish Presents the Year of the Tiger Lunar New Year Powder Brush

  • Full Length: *170mm / 6.69 in
  • Hair Length: 47.6mm / 1.87 in
  • Hair Width: *40mm / 1.57 in
  • Bristle Type: Blue Squirrel

In my Beauty Resolutions post, I mentioned that I should only purchase Lunar New Year items that had personal significance to me (ex: Year of the Dragon). This brush depicts the most adorable chubby kitty with tiger stripes, which does make it significant to me in my interpretation of this design (it’s an inside joke). In addition, for half of my life the Tiger was my favorite animal. This is why I succumbed to the temptation and finally bought one of Beautylish’s collaborative Lunar New Year brushes. They did not announce which brush-maker created this year’s brush, but in the past is was Chikuhodo. Even if another Fude company created this brush, I’m still happy that it has the Chikuhodo aesthetic with the large round shiny handle similar to the Z-series. As long as the brush is high quality, which it is, it doesn’t matter to me which Japanese company created it. This brush is still hand bundled with an exquisitely detailed lacquered handle using the maki-e process.

This brush is unbelievably silky soft and of course perfect for those who want a very sheer application of powder. I can use this for highlighter (when applied just on the very tips), blush (when I use sweeping motions across the cheek), and bronzer, but in my eyes this is a dedicated all over face powder brush. Although it picks up a small amount of product, when that product is very pigmented it takes more effort than I like to buff it out because it’s not dense enough for that. If I use a squirrel hair brush for blush, I prefer one that’s thicker and more round like the Z-1. Anything looser packed than that, I consider to be more ideal for setting/finishing powders. Honestly, this is more of a collector item for me and not one I intend to use a lot. When I do use it, it’s heaven though. It’s so soft and light that I barely feel any pressure on my skin. This is a beautiful powder brush, but if you already own one with grey/blue/ash squirrel hair, you’re not missing out by not having it. For those who don’t and would like a light/medium density powder brush, this might be a good place to start since comparable brushes to this would be a little more expensive. I still recommend this for collectors, but for someone looking for a more functional or versatile brush, I would direct them to Chikuhodo’s Z series and FO series.

At launch, Beautylish also restocked the previous Lunar New Year brushes as well: Pig, Rat, and Ox. As cute as those designs are, those three have nearly identical brush heads which is already practically the same as the Tiger brush, so I didn’t feel any pressure to add those to my cart. Since I already have three close enough brushes as the Tiger, Koi/Carp, and the Z-1 (the Z-9 is a better dupe but I don’t own it), I don’t feel a need to get a backup brush. However, trying to steer clear of a Rabbit next year will be difficult, and I suspect trying to ignore the Dragon will be impossible.

Sonia G Builder Pro Eye Shadow Brush

  • Full Length: 152mm / 5.98 in
  • Hair Length: 12mm / 0.47 in
  • Hair Width: *9mm / 0.35 in
  • Bristle Type: Dyed Saikoho Goat Hair

The Builder Pro and Builder Three are both brushes that lay product down well but can also be used for blending. I’ve discovered that the Builder Three leans better on the blending aspect because of the flatter top, so I prefer that one for crease work. The Builder Pro leans better on the lay down and building aspect because it’s perfect for applying shadows to the section of my eye between the eyelid and inner corner. I always struggled with that spot, but this brush gets in there easily. It’s also more precise for application to the outer V. I’ve actually been able to do entire eye looks using this brush alone. I’m very happy I decided to finally buy this!
The tapered tip that makes the Builder Pro so great for applying shadows also prevents it from blending large areas as quickly as the Builder Three, so I will probably use that one more often when I’m in a rush. However, for when I have more time and want to create a detailed and more skillfully done eyeshadow look, I will definitely grab the Builder Pro instead. They perform differently enough that I feel justified having them both in my collection.

Before we move onto the next topic, I have to acknowledge that I bought a backup of the Builder Three at the same time that I ordered the Builder Pro, which is a breech of my beauty resolutions. Then Sonia G/Beautylish restocked many brushes I wanted, including the Cheek Pro which would have been yet another backup purchase, but I was able to stop myself.

Lethal Cosmetics Charity Eyeshadow in Meekha

This is one of four limited edition charity eyeshadows released from Lethal Cosmetics. I mentioned liking tigers earlier in this post, but I am dog person and I have a soft spot for pitbulls. It was very lucky that the only eyeshadow that caught my attention happened to be the one named after the sweet rescue pitbull named Meekha. In addition to the animal charities being supported by the purchase, Lethal also committed to planting a tree for each January order. My sister had a pitbull named Radja, so that’s the name I chose for the planted tree in her memory.

This is the second indie brand that I’m aware of who has created limited edition shadows for charity, and I am here for it! For some reason, when larger brands do it, it feels like it’s just for press. Somehow, this kind of thing coming from a smaller brand seems more heartfelt. In any case, I like to see this.

The combination of the colors in the Meekha pan turn into an icy lavender shade on me. I’m not sure how often I will use this shadow, but I was able to create a look that I liked. It even makes for a nice bright inner corner highlight shade for other eyeshadow looks! The eyeshadow texture and performance feels just like other shimmers from the brand. The formula is a bit thick, but they smooth out nicely on the lids and fallout is about what one would expect from a shimmer shadow (present but not too bad especially if applied wet or on top of a glitter primer).

And as a follow-up to the charity aspect, post-January purchases will continue to go to charity. It’s just the tree part that is over now.

Lethal Cosmetics Highlighter in Fusion

I wanted this highlighter shade for a long time, but it was initially exclusive to the Equilux face palette, which I did not get because the blush and bronzer in the trio were too deep for my skin tone. Since it’s now available as an individual item, and I wasn’t completely satisfied with the highlighter selection I brought with me on my trip to Germany, I figured this was the best time to get it (especially with the lower shipping cost). I am supposed to be on a highlighter No-Buy, but this purchase was allowed as it falls under the category of something I would have bought last year if it was available to me, and in this case, available as a single product.

Unlike Gamma and Gravity, my two other Lethal Cosmetics highlighters, I find Fusion to be quite subtle. Fusion is close to my skin tone, and that could add to how subtle it is, but even the texture feels a bit different than the other two, and not just because of the lack of ridges. Fusion was difficult to show in swatches, even when built up. It feels a bit hard pressed*, and when the highlighter was delivered, it was messy around the pan edges as well as within the packaging. My brushes are able to grab product easily (despite the fact that it looks a bit hard-panned** now too) but perhaps the hard pressing is preventing more of the actual shimmer particles from being picked up. That would be ironic considering if I have an issue with a highlighter it’s usually that my brush is picking up too much of the shimmer.

*NOTE**: I have a few wonderful friends and family members who read my blog sometimes and may not be aware of some of the terms I’ve used. For anyone who needs clarification, the press of a product refers to the force in which a product is physically pressed into the pan (usually with a pressing machine). Makeup that is “Hard Pressed” has powder so compacted together that it becomes difficult to get the product out of the pan and onto the brush. “Hardpan” is when a powder product gets a hard or filmy top layer that also prevents someone from being able to pick up product onto a brush, but it is usually due to oils from the skin getting into the powder and creating that tough layer. Certain formulas of powder products are more prone to hardpanning than others.

Fusion has an orange tinge to it. Although the shine level is a bit low, when it hits the light, the golden-orange sheen is apparent at that point. It’s not what I was going for but mixing it with some of Gamma puts the look back in my comfort zone. I will likely declutter Gravity and Fusion at some point, but testing out these shades reminded how much I enjoyed wearing Gamma, and I will have to remember to use it more often. Anyone interested in seeing those shades on me can check out my previous Lethal Cosmetics post here.

Chanel JOUES CONTRASTE Powder Blush in 320 Rouge Profond

I considered buying a Chanel blush for a long time, although I always expected it to be from one of their limited edition collections. My interest in buying one re-sparked when Ulta started carrying Chanel Beauty products in January (although the brand will probably be excluded from all coupons including prestige). I also really wanted the Blush Lumiere Brun Roussi shade from the Spring 2022 collection, but I wasn’t willing to spend Hermes prices for it. So, when I was browsing the Duty Free section at the Frankfurt Airport, I had an impulsive moment to buy shade 320 Rouge Profond, a shade that is not available at Ulta and is part of their older blush formulation. Chanel changed to the new formula in March 2021, and according to reviews I’ve seen, the new formula is less smooth, less sheen-like, and less pigmented, so I decided to go ahead and get this one in the old formula while it was still available.

The Houkodou Nagi Powder N-F1 Brush fits perfectly around the dome of this blush and applies it perfectly as well. The blush swatch needed to be built up on my arm, but color goes onto the cheek nicely. The perfume scent is very noticeable. The color and performance reminds me of the MAC Mineralize Blush in the Flirting With Danger shade. In fact, as much as I like this blush, it didn’t “Wow” me more than the MAC blush and that one is significantly less expensive. My curiosity is satisfied knowing Chanel’s permanent blushes aren’t superior to products I already have, but there’s still that troublesome part of me wondering if Chanel’s even pricier blushes are better. Either way, at twice the price, I doubt it would be two times better, so it’s best I leave that topic alone.

That’s everything I bought in the month of January! I did not include products I ordered in December that arrived in January. Those items will show up in future posts.

Thank you for joining me today! I hope this has been helpful!

-Lili

*UPDATE: For those on the email list, I apologize for the accidental early release of this post. I’ve been consistently posting at the same time for a reason, but I’m not sure how or when the scheduled time for this one was changed and it completely escaped my notice. Considering we just entered Daylight Savings time in the US, this could be especially early for some people. I plan to resume our regular schedule of Mondays at 11:30 am EST.

Holiday 2021 Fude Purchases (Fude Part 3)

In helping two loved ones find some new brushes, it sent me into my own spiral of wanting to try even more natural hair brushes from Japan. I brought them with me on my trip to Germany, as I figured that would give me ample time to test them out. While on vacation, I ended up buying two more*!

*Note: I learned the hard way via CDJapan that shipping from Japan to the US does not incur additional charges, but the 10500 YEN/ 82 Euro/ $97 USD (paypal conversion fee added) order I had shipped from Japan to Germany resulted in me having to pay an extra 35 Euros/ $42 USD (paypal conversion fee added again) between Customs and DHL Express for VAT, Freight, and service fees even though CDJapan only mentions the 19% VAT on their website. There went my $35 savings between coupons, points earned, and “free shipping” discount! Had I known, I would have had it shipped to the US instead or I would not have placed an order at all. The “Express” DHL is the reason for such high additional charges in Germany.

If this is your first time visiting my blog, I’d like to welcome you and also direct you to other fude posts you might enjoy which can be found linked from this page.

Regarding my measurements, “hair width” is measured from the widest part, regardless of the overall brush shape. I don’t measure thickness. Anything with an asterisk indicates that I had to measure that one myself as those numbers were not listed on the website. All figures listed in inches are converted estimates.

*DISCLAIMER: All products in this post were purchased by me with my own money and prior to me being part of any affiliate program. Non-highlighted links in bold blue font (Example) are non-affiliate links that will not generate commission. The vast majority of links on this blog are traditional non-affiliate ones. Links marked in bold black font with a light blue background (Example) are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to get a commission if purchases are made directly using my links. The price of the product is not affected by these links, and anyone who uses them would be supporting this blog. Whether you click to shop through them or not, I appreciate you visiting and I hope you find the information I’ve provided helpful!

Chikuhodo Kirameki Purple (Murasaki) Set

It has become a tradition for Chikuhodo to release holiday sets each year. I did not purchase the larger Blue (Ao) Kirameki set, nor have I purchased any of the previous collections. I believe the Purple trio had quite a high value for a great price. Considering the handles are Yamanaka lacquerware in Maki-e style and the largest brush in the set comprises of Saikoho goat hair, I expected the powder/blush brush alone to cost what all three did together. This may be the reason this set sold out within hours at every retailer, though it’s my understanding that only 300 Purple Sets were made. At the time that I am working on this post, a restock has yet to happen. Toshiya from Fude Japan mentioned that Chikuhodo was considering restocking it, but the current listing descriptions on CDJapan and Beautylish’s websites lead me to believe it may not happen anymore. However, Visage USA still has a waitlist on the product page so perhaps it will. I personally wouldn’t hold out hope considering the supply shortage going on and Chikuhodo raising prices on all but a few products, which would mean raising the price of this set too.

What I like about the 2021 holiday offerings over last year’s is the star pattern, which makes the design even more festive. I believe “kirameki” means sparkle, which is why it was named this way. In addition, purple is my favorite color and I have been wishing for so long to have brushes with handles in the shades of purple I like. So, I absolutely had to get this set! The most similar release to this one was Chikuhodo’s 2016 Violet Noel Collection, which is the only set that would have been even more perfect for me. Since I missed out on that one, I’m glad I was able to get this one.

I’ve purchased from CDJapan, Beautylish, and Visage USA, but this was my first time ordering with Fude Japan (not to be confused with Fude Beauty). Toshiya of Fude Japan lives in Japan and offers a personal shopping experience. You can order via a form/email or directly from the website. I did not get a confirmation email after my purchase, so if you’re ordering from the website, just be prepared for that. I was able to see my order status via my website account though. I also didn’t get communication about my order until the time it was going to ship, which took nearly two weeks. In this case, the Purple Set had delayed shipping at other retailers, so this may be the reason it took a while. I’m not certain if this is the norm. Once it did ship via my choice of FedEx or DHL (I chose DHL), it was delivered within a few days. I spent $20 for shipping, but it arrived to me before my trip, so I could bring the brushes with me. Ordering from Beautylish would have been free, but I would have had to wait til I returned home six weeks later in order to finally get my hands on them. So, it was still worth buying via Fude Japan for me. Also, Toshiya included a snack from Japan, which was a nice touch, and secured the package in a Suqqu bag with the pretty Chikuhodo box that the set comes in.

Powder/Blush Brush

  • Full Length: 157mm / 6.18 in
  • Hair Length: 42mm / 1.65 in
  • Hair Width: *42mm / 1.65 in
  • Bristle Type: Saikoho Goat

This brush is quite large for blush, but I pick up the product from the tips to the belly of the brush and swipe it onto my cheeks as if it was a paddle brush, and that gives me the precision I desire. It’s quite thick and dense for a sweeping style of brush, but I really like that! It feels more unique to my collection when used in this way. Of course, this also makes for a nice finishing powder brush. Because of its large size, I don’t use it for other purposes. And because mine is still somewhat flat even post-wash, I don’t apply products in a circular motion or use this for buffing either. I usually don’t care for sweeping brushes, but this is now in my top favorites for that category. The special handle, hair quality, and performance makes it a favorite brush overall.

Other things to note is that this brush is quite similar to the Bisyodo B-C-01 Highlight / Cheek Brush, just larger.

The handles in this set are lightweight, and although the bottoms have a flat edge, they’re too top heavy to stay in an upright position if placed on a flat surface. Lastly, although I’ve been using my brush on and off for months, mine hasn’t become more rounded in shape or even fully ovular. The ferrule shape indicates that it is supposed to be an oval shaped brush, so it’s possible with even more time that my brush may bloom into a shape that I would switch from a sweeping to a swirling application in the future. I think I would still love this brush either way.

Eyeshadow Brush (Packing)

  • Full Length: 133mm / 5.24 in
  • Hair Length: 18mm / 0.71 in
  • Hair Width: *16mm / 0.63 in
  • Bristle Type: Sokoho Goat

The head of this brush is a common shape among many of Chikuhodo’s lines like the FO-5 and R-S1/RR-S1. It’s a bit big for my preference unless I’m just using it in the crease and sticking to an uncomplicated eye look. I can both pack and blend a single shadow in the crease. Other than the aesthetic, there isn’t anything particularly special about the brush. It’s nice and works just fine, but I likely would only reach for this one if my favorite eye brushes were dirty.

Eyeshadow Brush (Pencil)

  • Full Length: 127mm / 1.06 in
  • Hair Length: 12mm / 0.47 in
  • Hair Width: *7mm / 0.28 in
  • Bristle Type: Saikoho Goat

I don’t have the best luck with pencil brushes, but this is made of very soft bristles, grips color well, is fairly flexible and isn’t too dense. I do like this brush for use on the lower lash line and outer corner work, but for the inner corner, the tapered tip is a bit too large for my eye shape. So, if I’m applying an inner corner of the eye highlight, I switch to my long time favorite (and unfortunately discontinued) Smashbox Double Ended Smudger Brush #20. I do see myself continuing to use this and I consider it to be my new favorite pencil brush! I certainly like it a lot more than the Sonia G Lotus Soft Definer that’s intended for a similar purpose!

This set, for my brush preferences, was definitely worth the purchase!

rephr brushes number 17, 19, 24, and 32

The only one of these I actually bought during the holidays was brush 32, along with the brush soap and component D. The rest I purchased during a sale many months prior, so I have a lot more experience with them. However, rather than make a dedicated post, I figured I would include them here.

Brush 17

  • Full Length: *147mm/ 5.79 in
  • Hair Length: 17mm / 0.67 in
  • Hair Width: *22mm / 0.87 in
  • Bristle Type: Goat

I bought this brush during my cream blush phase, trying to find something as amazing as the Sonia G Mini Base. I should have taken my preferences into account. I tend to not like using natural hair brushes with creams, even though undyed goat hair brushes are supposed to be fine for that task. It’s the same way that I generally don’t like the performance of synthetic bristle brushes with powders. Brush 17 blends cream products in a way that is okay, but not perfect. I tend to not like the finish. If I do use it with blushes, they tend to be powder formulas that I can buff onto the cheeks.
Considering this flat top shape, it makes sense that it works well as a bronzer and contour brush. I tend to use this brush mostly for those purposes. It’s very tiny in surface area, so I don’t use it as an all-over face brush.
The hairs are fairly short and not all that dense, so it has a wider splay that doesn’t make for as precise of a bronzer and contour brush. It can be fine most of the time, but if I’m working with a sculpting product that’s a bit dark for me, I have to be careful how I blend with #17 so that it doesn’t spread too widely of a stripe on my face.

Brush 19

  • Full Length: *170mm / 6.7 in
  • Hair Length: 38mm / 1.5 in
  • Hair Width: *24mm / 0.95 in
  • Bristle Type: Goat

I was definitely unprepared for a highlighting brush of this size, especially in thickness. I only use it with highlighters that are subtle or buildable. If I use it with a blinding one or a shade that’s a bit light for me, even taking a tiny amount will lead to overapplying. I still like this brush though, and I’ve even been able to use it to softly apply bronzers, though it’s a bit too sheer of an application for my current contour products. Fans of the Wayne Goss Air Brush might like this one because of the wide but flat width of the brush. #19 is just thicker. The Air Brush has a tapered tip but this one is even sharper in a candle flame shaped tip.

Brush 24

  • Full Length: *160mm / 6.3 in
  • Hair Length: 33mm / 1.3 in
  • Hair Width: *31mm / 1.22 in
  • Bristle Type: Goat

This is easily the favorite rephr brush in my collection. It’s perfect for buffing on bronzer, but I have been enjoying using blushes with it, along with pressed finishing powders. Whenever I wash the brush, I make sure to keep it in a brush guard or do the aloe vera trick to keep the shape compact and dense. I don’t like the performance of the brush in the intended bloom post-wash state, so my methods of drying keeps it the way it originally comes in all its densely packed glory. I believe the head shape on this one is supposed to be a dupe for the famous Tom Ford 06 Cheek brush, although today’s Tom Ford brushes are fully synthetic. Those who missed out on buying the original goat hair Tom Ford brushes may be interested in this alternative.

Rephr’s 05 brush is my second favorite from the brand. The main differences between the 05 and 24 (considering the fact that I keep both in a state that doesn’t allow for blooming) is that the 05 is less dense, picks up less product, and is shaped with the intention of being used specifically for blush. The 24 is more versatile, but I would only use sheer to the heavy side of medium pigmented products with this. Although the brush buffs nicely, I don’t use it with heavily pigmented products.

Brush 32

  • Full Length: *144mm / 5.67 in
  • Hair Length: 13mm / 0.5 in
  • Hair Width: *10mm / 0.4 in
  • Bristle Type: Goat

This is one of only three brushes that were launched from rephr in 2021 and part of their holiday collection. I was curious to see how it applies concealer, spreads eyeshadow primer, and blends eyeshadows in the crease. I hate it with my concealers because it doesn’t spread it evenly. I switched right back to my Sonia G Jumbo Concealer brush to finish the job. Brush 32 works okay to spread MAC Paint Pot, but when I wanted to blend out the MAC Foundation Stick, which I sometimes use as primer, it didn’t work as well. That product is too thick for the bristles and is tough to blend across my eyes. So, the only use I have for this brush is for eyeshadows, particularly in the crease when I’m doing a more blown out look, and it’s just okay. I find myself still reaching for other brushes to smooth out the edges and blend over what I just did with that brush. It’s one of those brushes that are fine with good quality eyeshadows, but certainly will not help the situation if the eyeshadow quality isn’t the smoothest. I already have brushes that can do this job, plus more, so this feels like a fail purchase and just solidifies for me that I am never a fan of rephr’s eye brushes. They aren’t the styles, thickness and density, or softness that ever suits what I want from an eye brush.

While I do recommend rephr’s face brushes if their shapes and sizes are appealing, I can’t ever recommend them at full price; and I don’t believe, based on their business structure, that they’re ever expected to be sold to customers at full price. However, even at 40% off or more, whether I think the brushes are worth it depends on each particular one. In terms of quality, the face brushes are well constructed with soft enough goat hair to keep me still interested in the brand. Their hair is never softer than other fude brands I’ve purchased from though, which is why I always struggle with saying they’re worth buying or not. There tends to be cases where even if it’s worth the price, I personally recommend spending a few extra dollars to get a softer brush with an even more luxurious handle from Sonia G, Chikuhodo, etc. The best of rephr is great. For $4-$20 more than rephr charges, one could easily find fude elsewhere that’s phenomenal. But great is still great, which is why I somehow keep making rephr orders.

Bisyodo Cheri Series CH-P-03 Powder Brush (Round)

  • Full Length: 173mm / 6.8 in
  • Hair Length: 50mm / 1.97 in
  • Hair Width: 36mm / 1.4 in
  • Bristle Type: Sokoho Goat
  • Handle: Wood
  • Ferrule: Silver Plated

According to the description on CDJapan, the ferrules in the Cheri series are silver plated (without saying what it’s plated on), which I hadn’t realized was the case until now. The bristles on this brush are perfectly round and very long without a pinched ferrule, which means the application of product will be light to medium depending on the amount of pressure used. I initially thought I would only be able to use this brush for buffing in face powders because with added pressure it has a very large splay of the bristles. However, if I apply less pressure, dab the tips into a blush, and use a sweeping motion, I can happily use this to apply my blush. The bristles feel very nice to the touch with my fingers, as one of the softest hairs of this goat grade I’ve felt. It’s really not far off from some of my Saikoho brushes, but I can tell that it’s Sokoho hair if I buff it into the skin too fast. There are a few strands in the bundle that are slightly rougher than the rest. I think the price for this brush is fantastic and I will definitely get use out of it, even if it’s not the absolute softest in my collection.

This brush is 3800 YEN and available here.

Houkodou Brilliant Gold Series Domed Blush Brush G-C6

  • Full Length: 130mm / 5.12 in
  • Hair Length: 33mm / 1.3 in
  • Hair Width: 20mm / 0.79 in
  • Bristle Type: Gray Squirrel

The brush head shown on CDJapan’s website looks much larger/wider than what I received. I was quite surprised it was so small, but it is made entirely of grey squirrel hair, so I should have expected this considering the $56 price. Then again, even after I washed mine (which the photo above is post wash), it still didn’t look anywhere near as full as it does in CDJapan’s product photos. This brush is on the firmer side of medium regarding how tightly the hair is packed. Since most of the squirrel hair brushes I have are intended for sheer applications, it is a bit nice to have a brush with hair that’s bundled a little tight so I can get the soft feel of squirrel on my skin with the bonus of having some blending power.

The G-C6 looks more like a highlighting brush than a blush brush, but those tips aren’t as precise as I prefer, so I actually apply the highlighter to my cheekbones first before blush. I have to blend by the tips with highlighter and contour, but for blush and bronzer that takes too long for my patience, so I pick up the product on the side of the brush so the product covers more surface area and sweep it across my cheeks. Because this brush is intended to be a multi-tasker, it’s rounder and larger than a highlighter brush, while being smaller than all my other blush brushes. This sacrifices the highlighter precision in favor of specific blush placement, which is something I don’t need. I have a large face, so I like medium to large head sizes for blush brushes. Because of the tiny size, I don’t see myself seeking out this specific brush when I want to apply makeup, though I would grab it whenever it was easily within view.

I already have highlighter brushes I can apply with a more precise tip and I’d rather reach for a long handle brush over a short one. So, this wasn’t the best purchase for me purely because of the size and my preferences. I should have paid more attention to the specifications on CDJapan’s website because the measurements are exactly as listed. Perhaps someone with a smaller face would appreciate the versatility specifically because of its size. A brush like this is also ideal for traveling for the compact size and multi-tasking abilities, though I’d rather bring my favorite brushes on a trip regardless of how big they may be (as long as they aren’t too heavy). I personally still think it’s overpriced, even with the (I believe) gold plated ferrule and 100% grey squirrel hair. Fude Beauty just calls it, “a luminous gold hue,” which if it’s not plated then it’s definitely overpriced.

This brush is 6500 YEN and available here.

Houkodou Nagi Series Powder Brush N-F1

  • Full Length: 150mm / 5.9 in
  • Hair Length: 40mm / 1.57 in
  • Hair Width: *34mm / 1.34 in
  • Bristle Type: Gray Squirrel and Sokoho Goat

This is the size I assumed the Houkodou G-C6 brush would be. This brush is slightly less soft than that one due to the Sokoho part of the mixture, but it feels like full squirrel hair to the touch. The N-F1 is packed at close to the same density as the G-C6, but because it has longer bristles it gets wispier towards the tips for medium firmness. It feels like a Goldilocks sort of brush where it picks up just the right amount of blush that I like in order to build up the product in 1-2 layers without taking a long time. It fits perfectly along my cheeks in both sweeping and buffing motions. Although this is listed as a powder brush and not a cheek brush, I’d only use it with blush since it’s so perfectly shaped to my preferences for that task. For someone who wants versatility, I recommend the G-C6, but for anyone who would like a dedicated blush brush at a medium range price ($60) for a Japanese made brush, I recommend the N-F1.

This brush is 7000 YEN and available here.

Muragishi Sangyo HS-1 Hana Sakura Powder Brush

  • Full Length: 160mm / 6.3 in
  • Hair Length: 55mm / 2.16 in
  • Hair Width: *47mm / 1.85 in
  • Bristle Type: Sokoho Goat

I wasn’t initially interested in this brush shape until I saw a photo someone posted of it on Instagram and I noted how full and fluffy (for a round-flat/oval shaped brush) it looked. In this case, how it appears in person is even nicer than CDJapan’s photos, especially post wash when it blooms even more. The HS-2 is a mix of gray squirrel and sokoho goat and is very soft. The HS-1 is supposed to be full Sokoho, but because the hairs are so long and in abundance, the brush has an overall softer feel to it than the typical Sokoho. It would be soft enough for most people, but perhaps not for those with sensitive skin.
I know many people like big brushes like this for bronzer, but I ordered this to use exclusively as a sweeping and buffing finishing powder brush and love it for this task between the soft airy medium dense bristles and its large size to cover most of my face very quickly. This brush is perfect for loose powders, but I need several passes to pick up enough product in pressed powder forms. This brush is a winner for anyone wanting a sheer to light application of powder and those who love big powder brushes. I’ve had the Koyudo BP003 Finishing Brush from the High Class series on my wishlist since August 2020, but now that I have this one, I no longer feel the need to get another goat hair finishing brush in this style.

If Muragishi Sangyo had more long handle options, I would look into getting even more of their brushes because I like what I have from them and I think they are nicely priced.

This brush is 5800 YEN and available here.

That’s all for today! Thank you for reading!

-Lili