Showing posts with label Makeup Brushes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Makeup Brushes. Show all posts

Friday, January 29, 2016

Natasha Denona Glowing Skin System via Beautylish


I just recently discovered Natasha Denona's makeup line thanks to Beautylish. Her makeup line has been all the rage on social media lately and rightly so. I had the privilege of meeting her in person at IMATS Los Angeles earlier this month and got a sneak peek at the full line. I've been testing some of her products for the past month now and have a first look today at her Glowing Skin System. Right now Beautylish carries the items focused around glowing skin. They will carry her full line of makeup by the end of February including eyeshadows, blushes, lipsticks and more.

The Glowing Skin System is a five-piece set that includes selected products, all formulated by Natasha to give your skin a natural-looking glow. The set also includes a bonus brush.

Based on my skin preferences, the Beautylish team sent me a few items to try. After seeing the line in person at IMATS, I later purchased three more items to test out and compare. First up are some thoughts on the primers. It was recommended that I try the Anti-Shine Flawless Face Base ($55, c/o). Let me preface by saying I am not a primer kind of person. I think primers can make a huge difference in the way foundation lasts and applies, but in general I don't like the added layer of product on my skin because it usually feels too thick. The Anti-Shine Flawless Base feels like a gel formula and glides evenly over the skin. It feels slightly thick when you blend onto the skin, but once it sets it's not thick and smooths out the skin. It doesn't make the face look matte but it helps prevent shine and with the Face Glow Foundation it helped extend wear and did reduce shine throughout the day (compared to when I tested it without the primer). I liked that it didn't clog pores or irritate my skin. I haven't tested it with other formulas of foundation though.

At IMATS I tested the Face Glow Hydrating Primer Underbase ($35) and it felt amazing so I ordered it the next day. It's almost like a cushiony moisturizer and it feels incredible on the skin. It reminds me of a more emollient version of the Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream. This one is definitely best for those with dry skin. Right now I have normal combination skin. I tested this on several occasions and found it too rich and moisturizing for my skin type. It's going to be regifted to one of my friends who has super dry skin.



I was matched sight unseen to the Face Glow Foundation ($42, c/o) in Shade 30. You can see the color face chart online at Beautylish which I think is super helpful. When I apply it, the color looks just the a bit too light, but once it sets it darkens just the slightest bit so it's a fairly good match. I can also fix this with a slightly darker powder. I checked out the next two shades in 40 and 42 while at IMATS. 40 was too pink and 42 was too dark. I'm in that skintone transition phase right now, so I don't have a 100% exact match, but I can make 30 work without too much extra effort.

The Face Glow Foundation has SPF15. It comes in a pump tube and to me feels like an in between BB cream and CC cream. It is on the thick side, similar to that of the Chanel CC Cream, but has a sheerer finish. The finish is sheer to medium. It's not so sheer that it's invisible. It does even out the skin but I would say this is best for those with near perfect skin. As the name implies this is a glowy kind of product. One of the more glowy ones I've tried lately. I found it absolutely necessary to set with powder. On my normal combo skin, it did get a bit too dewy by 2 pm for my taste. More dewy than other foundations.

This one is perfect for going out at night if you have a special date night or want to look fresh and glowy. For everyday, I prefer something with more coverage and less dewy. Your mileage may vary - there are lots of customer reviews on Beautylish which I always find helpful.


I did some swatch comparisons when I did the review on the NARS Velvet Skin Tint (c/o). I've reposted here for quick reference:


Next up are the glow products. I love a good glow - there's something about shimmery makeup that always gets me. There are three glow products for face and body. There are three shades for each one in Light, Medium and Dark. First up is the Face Glow Cream Shimmer Stick in Light 01 ($42, c/o) which is a champagne pearl cream. It comes in a twist up stick and gives a very glowy gleam to the skin. Out of the all the items I tried, I had the highest hopes for this, but am sad to report it did not work for me. This gives the skin a beautiful sheen and I love the color. The effect for my personal taste is simply too glowy - it makes the skin almost look wet. Even if I set with a powder on top (whether it's a setting powder or powder highlighter) for me this one is just too glowy. If you read other reviews it has been very well received and raved about. I may be in the minority in my opinion on this one. The shimmer is fine and smooth (not frosty or glittery). It doesn't emphasize pores. I just didn't like the way this looked on my skin. I tried it multiple ways under foundation, over foundation, over blush, on cheekbones, on the eyes.


A quick shot next to the powder in Light 01 - you can see they are the same color:


Next up are the All Over Glow Face and Body Shimmer Powders ($38 each). Beautylish sent me Light 01 (c/o) which is one of the prettiest champagne shimmers I've tried. The powder is on the shimmery side but I don't find it overly frosty. Pigment is excellent and easy to blend. It makes the skin glow to perfection. After playing with these at IMATS I fell in love with both the Medium 02 and Dark 03 and ordered them immediately. I love shimmer powders and these are amazing. I live for flesh toned shimmers and it's hard to find ones that are tan or deep, somewhere in between a straight champagne or pure bronze. I think these are definitely worth a look. After playing with these, I still think Light 01 is the best for me, but Medium 02 gives my skin a slightly golden bronzey sheen. Dark 03 is definitely too dark for me to wear on the cheeks. I can wear it with a super light hand. I actually really like it on the eyes.


Swatches of each, left swatch is with a light hand,  right swatches are heavier:


Next up is the Body Glow ($55, c/o) which also comes in three shades Light, Medium, and Dark. I have light shown below. I didn't get a chance to see the other shades at IMATS (too many other distractions to play with). This gives the skin a luminescent glow. I applied it heavily in the swatch below next to Charlotte Tilbury's Supermodel Body Shimmer. Once you blend on the skin, both of them dry to the same naturally glowy finish. I would say the one from Charlotte Tilbury has sparkles that are slightly larger and more visible while the one from Natasha Denona has a very similar effect but more fine shimmer. I'm not one who wears body shimmer products frequently (maybe I should start) but this one is very pretty and natural looking. It dries quickly so there's little to no transfer to loose clothing. For me this is nice to have, but not necessary.



Last but not least, the Natasha Denona Glowing Skin System from Beautylish comes with a bonus brush. I think the option may vary per set. I was sent the Brush #22 (c/o) which is a foundation brush. It's a flat top brush that is very soft and dense. I actually prefer this one for the powder highlighters. It picks up just the right amount of product and applies powder perfectly to the face. I didn't expect much from it since I'm usually not a fan of flat top brushes (they almost always end up feeling like the poke my face), but this one is insanely smooth at the top and feels amazing. It's not available separately on Beautylish yet, but I hope they will launch it soon.


Close ups:

If you're looking for a makeup base collection to give you some serious glow, the Natasha Denona line is definitely worth a look. Out of all the items I tried, my top picks are the Face Shimmer Powders in Light and Medium and the Brush #22. Of course you don't need to use the entire system - the pieces are nice to incorporate into your everyday routine or nice to add for a bit more glam and glow for an evening look. There's been a lot of buzz about Natasha's line and I've been watching videos to try and decide what lip colors to try out. I have been testing one of her blush duos and an eyeshadow palette. I hope to have a review up soon on both.

Have you tried anything from Natasha Denona? If yes, what do you recommend? You can find the Glowing Skin System now at Beautylish. The rest of her line is expected to launch there by the end of February.



Glowing Skin System sent courtesy of Beautylish indicated by c/o, Face Powders in Medium and Dark and the Hydrating Primer purchased by me.

Monday, January 4, 2016

NARS Hot Sand Collection (Nordstrom Exclusive)

NARS Hot Sand x Nordstrom Collection

For the new year NARS x Nordstrom have launched an exclusive collection called Hot Sand which is all about glow. There are six pieces in the collection all with a champagne color focus which give the most natural incandescent luminous finish. I've teamed up with Nordstrom to share a review on the collection along with lots of comparison swatches to other champagne shimmers.

The six items in the Hot Sand Collection are all exclusive to Nordstrom, items include:
  • Hot Sand Lip Gloss ($26 for 0.18 oz/6 ml) is a pale sandy gold, it has a bit of shimmer in it which comes off as a shimmering frost, finish is sheer to medium but smooth and makes the lips look light and glossy
  • Hot Sand Illuminator ($30 for 1.1 oz/30 ml, repromoted) is a sheer pearlized champagne peachy glow, this is one of my favorite liquid illuminators to add the most natural sheen, it's perfect for my medium-olive skin because the peach gives it color while most champagne highlighters look light and pearly on my skin, it gives the skin that glow from within candlelit look without looking frosted
  • Hot Sand Multiple ($39 for .5 oz/14g) is a new color, it's almost identical to the Illuminator, it gives a more visible glow to the skin, I find it slightly lighter in color because of the pearl particles and more pigmented, two swipes on each cheek are just slightly lighter than my natural skintone and once blended the skin simply glows
  • Blush and Bronzer Duo in Hot Sand + Laguna ($42 for .35 oz/10g) is called a blush / bronzer duo, it has a powder blush which on me acts more like a soft highlighter, it's a champagne pearl similar to the Illuminator and Multiple, the powder has a more shimmery glowy finish while the others are more natural looking, Laguna is a cult-classic bronzer, in this compact I found the color to be just slightly different from the regular full-size, the compact one is slightly cooler-toned and sheerer
  • Blush Duo in Hot Sand + Orgasm ($42 for .35 oz/10g) is a blush duo with Hot Sand Blush a peachy champagne shimmer combined with Orgasm a peachy pink shimmer
  • Hanamachi Kabuki Brush ($42)

NARS Hot Sand x Nordstrom Collection


Wearing above: NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer in Groenland mixed with St. Tropez, Powder Foundation in Punjab, Blush Duo in Hot Sand + Orgasm, Bronzer in Laguna, Lip Gloss in Hot Sand, Dual Intensity Eyeshadow in Himalia, Eyeshadow Duo in All About Eve

First up is the new Kabuki Brush. This is a small domed brush that is very dense but soft. Size-wise it fits nicely in the hand - it's small enough to be compact, but not so small I feel like I can't grip it easily. The bristles are evenly distributed and it's very soft and smooth around the edges. There are no hairs poking out and it blends powders seamlessly around the cheeks. I own a number of other kabuki brushes and this one is extremely good. I can see myself using it for setting powders as well. I've shown it below next to the #21 Contour Brush for scale.
NARS Kabuki Brush and Contour Brush

Next up are the Hot Sand + Orgasm Blush Duo and Hot Sand + Laguna Bronzer Blush Duo. Both contain Hot Sand which is listed as a powder blush. The texture of both duos is very good. It's smooth, finely milled, easy to apply and blend. There is a luminous quality to Hot Sand which is very pretty and glowy. I like that they have a slight peachy tone to them which makes for a more natural glow rather than a pearl shimmer which contrasts with my olive skin. I can't pick one over the other, but I do think the Hot Sand + Laguna Duo is my new favorite contouring duo. It's super easy to use for the contouring-challenged (like me). It's great for a no-makeup makeup look to add depth and dimension without looking over the top.
NARS Hot Sand Nordstrom Blush Bronzer Duos


There are three individual items in the collection with the name Hot Sand. Below is the Illuminator, Multiple Stick and Lip Gloss. I'm a huge fan of pale pearly glosses but since I have pigmented lips, many often end up looking like concealer on me. Hot Sand thankfully has enough color to show up with some shine. It's pale but not too pale and the application/color goes on smoothly without streaks. It makes for a good layering gloss too.
NARS Hot Sand Illuminator Multiple Lip Gloss


Close up of the Hot Sand Multiple:
NARS Hot Sand Multiple Nordstrom

Close up of the Hot Sand Lip Gloss:  

NARS Nordstrom Hot Sand Lip Gloss

Hot Sand Lip Gloss on bare lips:


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Some comparison swatch sets in case you're wondering how these compare to other champagne shimmered items from NARS:


Illuminator in Hot Sand
Illuminator in Orgasm
Multiple in Hot Sand
Blush in Hot Sand (part of the duos)
Eyeshadow Duo in All About Eve
Eyeshadow Duo in Alhambra
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Multiple in Hot Sand
Blush and Bronzer Duo in Hot Sand/Laguna
Bronzer in Laguna (individual one is more luminous and warmer)
Dual Intensity Blush in Jubilation
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Lip Glosses in Supervixen, Chelsea Girls, Striptease, Greek Holiday, Sweet Revenge and Orgasm
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NARS Hot Sand Collection

Overall lots to love in this collection - especially those looking for a natural luminous glow. I am addicted to glowy highlighters so I found it necessary to buy all the Hot Sand face items even though the colors are similar among the different formulas. I've owned the Illuminator for a long time and I find the peachy undertone unique in a beauty world filled with pale white champagne highlighters which I love, but often want something that doesn't look white on my skin. The peach in the Multiple, Powder Blush and Illuminator meld more with my olive skintone which makes for a more natural looking glow.

For those who are glow-conscious - I do think these are suitable for those who are ultra conservative in the glow department. Many with oily skin often are wary of anything that glows since oil + shimmer tends to = shiny by afternoon. If you have oily skin the Illuminator is the most natural of the face items. The Multiple Stick has a nice semi-matte finish compared to other multiples and I found it stayed put. The most glowy of the face items is the Powder Blush which I really like - it's not too shimmery but shimmery enough that you can see it.

If I had to pick just one of the face products, I would say I can't because I really like all of them, but I think the Multiple adds the most natural luminous quality in a highlighter I've seen that makes the face glow - your mileage may vary depending on your skintone.

Bottom line thumbs up. I'm really liking the way Hot Sand Lip Gloss looks - it's what I wanted Striptease to look like on the lips which is too pale for me to wear alone while Hot Sand just works. Alone or layered.

Have you checked out the NARS Hot Sand Collection yet? Or do you already own the Illuminator? For this time of year what's your go-to for a glow?



Many thanks to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions my own.


Friday, October 16, 2015

The Wayne Goss Anniversary Brush Set (Limited-Edition)


Wayne Goss and Beautylish have teamed up to launch a collection of brushes called The Anniversary Set ($225 for 8 brushes). This special launch is timed to celebrate the second anniversary of Wayne Goss's best-selling brush set- this one includes an updated release of the popular Brush 01 (limited edition) and introduces the new Brush 05 which will become a permanent addition to The Collection.

According to Beautylish, each brush has been meticulously handcrafted by traditional artisans in Kumano, Japan with jewel tone name and number lasering on the handles unique to the Anniversary Set. They are all made with cruelty-free natural bristles that have been selected for luxurious softness and then bundled uncut into a durable brass ferrule. I was able to preview the brush set last weekend in Santa Monica. I just received the brush set two days ago courtesy of Beautylish so I haven't had much time to experiment in great detail but since it's limited-edition I have a first impressions review on each the set today.

This is my first Wayne Goss Brush Set. I've accumulated a few individual brushes and they are well-loved in my collection. These brushes come with black lacquered handles that are medium-sized in length. They fit in my small hands nicely and are lightweight which makes them easy to use. There are eight brushes in this set for eyes and face. My quick take is that I think these brushes are very well made and the design and quality is excellent. They are extremely soft and the bristles are evenly distributed for flawless application. If you're looking for a nice set of brushes to start a collection I think this is a very good place to start.


The eight brushes in the set include:
  • Brush 01 - The much-loved Brush 01, now three times larger for fast, flawless application of your favorite foundation. This elegant duo-fiber Brush makes blending creams, liquids, and powders to a poreless finish quick and easy. This one is limited-edition and exclusive to the set.
  • Brush 02 - A soft-as-silk Brush that seamlessly buffs powder products—blush, bronzer, highlighter, or setting powder—onto skin. Its tapered shape makes maneuvering around the contours of the cheeks a breeze.
  • Brush 03 - Fluffy, slightly pointed bristles make this Brush ideal for sweeping pigment all over the eyelid. It can also be used to highlight the nose and brow bone or to buff powder into the T-zone.
  • Brush 04 - Perfect for blending and distributing color into the crease of any eye shape. With its softly tapered silhouette, this Brush is also an excellent choice for concealing and setting the delicate undereye area.
  • Brush 05 - Completely redesigned with detail work in mind. The fine-point tip and supple bristles allow for the utmost precision when applying pigment to the eyes and lips.
  • Brush 06 - Topped with dense, dome-shaped hairs, Brush 06 effortlessly blends and softens eyeshadow in a single stroke. Use it to apply concealer to imperfections for a natural, even finish.
  • Brush 07 - Designed for lipstick or eyeliner, this small, flat Brush has just the right amount of stiffness for ultimate control. Apply precise amounts of color to the lips and eyes, or highlight specific parts of the brow bone and cupid’s bow.
  • Brush 08 - A tiny Brush with a short, flat tuft, ideal for tightlining the eyes with ease. Its unique shape makes working pigment directly into the root of lashes or brow hairs easier than ever before.

I have put these to the test for two days so far. Here's what I tested each brush with and thoughts. First up is the Brush 01. I tried it with two liquid foundations. I thought the NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation would be a good one to try it with to see how smooth the finish would be. This is an ultra pigmented foundation and for the most part it's flawless with fingers or a beautyblender sponge, but with most brushes streaks are visible. With the Wayne Goss Brush 01 it was pretty much streak-free with a few swipes. Brush strokes were still visible but required minimal blending and buffing to get completely smooth. I also tried it with the La Mer Reparative Skin Tint and it blended out product flawlessly. (Also shown below, recycled Diptyque Baies and RMS Luminizer Nail Polish.)


For Brush 02 and 04, I tested them with highlighter and concealer. Brush 02 (left) is a small tapered brush. It's super soft and plush making it extra gentle on the skin. The tip is slightly domed and rounded which gives a very soft blended look. I tried it with detail highlighting using the Charlotte Tilbury Norman Parkinson Dreamy Glow Highlighter (swatched here). The brush picks up quite a lot of product which is nice. Some brushes don't catch enough powder for some reason, but this one does.

Brush 04 (right) is a small detail brush. It's similar in shape to Brush 03 but the 04 is smaller. It's designed for crease but I don't have folds in the eye area so I decided to try it with concealer since it was suggested in the product description. I would never have thought to try a non-synthetic tapered brush with a cream concealer but it really works. I took a dab of the Make Up For Ever Full Cover Concealer in 07 and it gives a super natural blended application on spots and under the eye. I'm really impressed! (On the nails below is Chanel Rouge No. 19).


For the eye brushes I'm surprised I don't own any of these yet. From left to right is 03, 06, 05, 07 and 08. I know tapered brushes are huge with many and are considered a staple. I prefer fluffier brushes but the Wayne Goss 03 is really quite lovely. It's dense enough that it's not flimsy and it picks up just the right amount of product to give a sheer all over wash to the lids.

Brush 06 is a flatter but rounded brush, it's described as a one-sweep brush and it really is that. It's perfectly sized to give my lids color with one swipe.

Brush 05 is a detail brush that's been redesigned. I don't think I own the original one so I can't compare but it's an amazing smokey detail brush that picks up pigment really well and applies it in the inner corners or under the lash line. For the bottom lash line I like soft blended colors so it doesn't look harsh and this one is perfect. I think I will need to purchase another once it's launched individually.

Brush 07 and 08 are also detail brush perfection. I own tons of smudge brushes and Brush 07 is definitely one of the better ones I've tried. It's super dense but soft. The material picks up color really well and applies it onto the skin beautifully. I feel like I've been waiting for Brush 08 my whole life. I know there are tons of skinny angled brushes that people use and love for getting into the lashline. I'm super uncoordinated with those and can never really get the color into the lash line easily, there's almost always a gap so I have to blend and layer a lot. This one makes detail application super easy. It's super dense and non-flimsy and non-floppy at the tip. If Wayne ever made a slightly larger one that is also angled for eyes I think I would fall head over heels in love with it. (He has one for brows in his brow trio which is utterly perfect but I think it's too stiff for my delicate sensitive lids.) I tested the eye brushes with different textures of eyeshadow from the Urban Decay Naked3 Palette (swatched here). I thought it would be a good one since it has a mix of matte, satin, shimmer, chunky sparkle and metallic. All brushes worked really well with multiple textures making them really versatile.
 

One last shot of the brushes lined up:


I'm overall impressed. I knew that this set would be very well made and each brush would be perfectly crafted but I wasn't sure if any would be that different from the dozens of tools I already own. Sometimes brushes are just brushes and if you have a collection of tools that work, it can seem redundant to own multiple tools from different lines. The brushes in the Anniversary Set all are phenomenal tools I know I will reach for and use on a daily basis. The Brush 02 is one of the softest brushes I've ever touched (just as soft as the Tom Ford ones). If there were one that I would say I could skip, I would say Brush 03 and 04 are very similar, but I really like 03 for the lids and now that I've tried 04 with concealer I'm converted. I think the detail Brush 08 is absolutely genius - if you're unsure about getting the full set, I would say hands down the 07 and 08 are must-haves for perfect smokey eye detailing.

You can find The Wayne Goss Anniversary Brush Set exclusively online at Beautylish for $225. It is limited-edition.

Many thanks to Beautylish for sending a set for review consideration.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Brow Set by Wayne Goss


I have a small but well-loved collection of Wayne Goss brushes. His latest release is The Brow Set ($55) which has three brow tools, all designed by Wayne and hand crafted in Japan. I've only been testing these for a few days but have fallen in love already. My brows are the most-neglected beauty-related area for me. I groom them with a recycled mascara wand and although I have a few brow products that I really like (the Dior Brow Styler, NARS Brow Perfector and By Terry Eyebrow Mascara) I have been in need of a good set of brow tools and the Wayne Goss set does not disappoint. (On the nails above, Marc Jacobs Enamored Hi-Shine Nail Lacquer in Daisy.)

There are three brushes in The Brow Set. They come cased in a cute black cylinder, wrapped to perfection in black tissue paper and a black bow which shows love and care. The presentation as usual, is beautiful.


The brushes have medium length handles, they aren't too long but not too short. Each brush has a black lacquered handle. According to the information on Beautylish, these are cruelty-free and hand crafted. From top to bottom is: Brush 22 (double ended), Brush 23 (spoolie) and Brush 21 (angled flat tip).

Brush 21 is designed for use with all types of brow products (powder, cream, wax). I really like this one because it has a wider flatter tip compared to most angled brow tools. It has a stiff dense tip that makes application super easy.

Brush 22 is a double-ended brush that has water badger bristles on one side and a fine-toothed comb to groom and define brows and lashes alike. These both comb and brush brows to perfection. I like that the comb teeth are short.

Brush 23 is described as "an upscale take on the classic spoolie." I am usually not a fan of spoolie brushes because they are never sturdy enough to last long (hence the reason why I recycle my mascara wands). You have to see it to believe it, but it is indeed another level of spoolie. It's extremely sturdy and well made - it feels like it will last a long time. It has a cone-shaped brush and is densely packed but the bristles are soft enough so it doesn't poke the skin.


Bottom line a winning set. The brow tools are extremely well designed, sturdy and made with extremely good craftsmanship. At $55 if you break down the price per tool it's an affordable $18+ per brush. I'm ordering another set for one of my friends right now.


You can find the The Brow Set by Wayne Goss exclusively at Beautylish. Do you have any favorite Wayne Goss brushes? Which ones? I am hoping he will release more white-haired brushes this holiday or in the next year!

Many thanks to Beautylish for sending the set for review.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Next Level Foundation Makeup Brushes


My friends and I often chat about beauty and since I'm a beauty blogger that tests quite a few things, I'm often asked "what do you think is the best _________?" Foundation brushes were the topic of discussion last month. My top three favorite tools are the Beautyblender Sponges (the pink one, the white and black ones are not as good even though they're supposed to be the same), Tom Ford Cream Foundation Brush and the Tom Ford Foundation Brush. As soon as I said "Tom Ford" ooohs and aaahhs followed by the question, "ok, but how much do they cost?" At $72 each, neither of my friends were willing to splurge. They asked what made the brushes so good and I told them they were the only brushes I've tried that applies foundation streak-free and it requires no extra work to blend into the skin. Even though I had tried quite a few, I was tasked with a project to find a cheaper alternative that performed just as well. Suggested brands included Marc Jacobs Beauty, Urban Decay, Chanel and MAC. I have already tried and tested the Chanel #6 and MAC #190, both of which are good, but still give me streaks, luckily both brands have new ones out so I was able to test those. Given the fact that I am super picky about brushes that leave any kind of streaks, I was skeptical I would find anything as good as Tom Ford.

The seven brushes I tested include:


For quick reference, here are the brush tips/tops shown for size reference and shape, same order as what's shown above:

Foundations I tested the foundation brushes with: Tom Ford Traceless Foundation Stick (review), NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation (review here), Marc Jacobs Genius Gel (review), Tom Ford Traceless Perfecting Foundation (review + swatches), Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet Foundation (review)


I went into my local Sephora store to look at the Marc Jacobs Beauty brushes. I have had a really good experience using the Shape and Contour Brush for pressed powders, contouring powders and also foundation. It's super dense though so it's better suited for contouring. One of the makeup artists at Sephora recommended the Sephora Pro Full Coverage Airbrush #53 for flawless coverage. She said it's the best brush she's ever used - the shape allows you to get in the corners of the nose and blend easily and the wide flat shape allows for full coverage with just a few strokes. There's also the Mini Size #53.5 and Large Size #53XL for the body/decollete. I liked the look and price of the mini, but the regular size comes with a flip open cap that comes in super handy for storage/travel. It keeps the bristles in tact without coming in contact with other tools so it won't get kinked or smashed.

In the interest of wanting to see which one was better, I bought both. The artist was right. The regular size #53 is indeed better. It's larger and fluffier and allows for easier application with a few strokes on the face. The mini is still good but the size requires more brushing back and forth to cover the entire face. I was worried the regular size would be too large or that it would soak up a lot of product, but it actually is the perfect size and doesn't absorb too much foundation. These are made with Naturon fibers that are made from a synthetic PBT, it feature waves and pointed tips to emulate natural fibers.

I'm truly impressed with how good my foundation looked with these. These give flawless coverage that is completely streak free. I liked these best with liquid foundation (versus stick/creams). Huge huge thumbs up.


Side views of the Mini #53.5 versus Regular #53:



The Urban Decay Good Karma Optical Blurring Brush is something I've actually had sitting in my drawer for a while. It was gifted to me earlier this year. I've tried some other Urban Decay brushes before including the ones that come in the Naked Palettes. I'm usually not a huge fan of synthetic brushes although I'm slowly trying more and finding some really good ones these days. I put this one to the test. It has an ultra soft feel with a rounded tip. Urban Decay describes this as a vegan brush. The description of this one: "The brush’s handle is made of recycled aluminum, and its synthetic, cruelty-free brush hairs are more hygienic than real hair (but never get that stinky wet-hair smell)." I found it ultra soft and also does an amazing job at blending foundation flawlessly. For the price it's a really good option, but I can't call it a favorite for two reasons. The first is there was a bit of shedding before I washed it. The first washing resulted in a tiny bit more shedding but after that it was done. The second hesitation I have in giving this a glowing review is the brush head is a bit small. It's not bad - it's still easy to use, but after testing other brushes, I find others easier and better to get full coverage with less strokes and less blending. Still - if you're looking for something relatively inexpensive and that will blend liquids without any streaks, this is a good option. It blends foundation sticks on the face really nicely too and is super gentle on the skin.


Two of the Marc Jacobs Beauty foundation brushes have been on my wishlist for a long time, but since I was already 100% happy with the Tom Ford Brushes, I decided to pass, but in the end caved to test them. If you're like me you probably wonder if glowing reviews are often due to hype. In the case of Marc Jacobs Beauty brushes - the hype is real.

The newest brush The Face III Buffing Foundation Brush is on the expensive side but it's worth every penny. It's an ultra plush brush with a super dense head and rounded domed tip. It's dense but still very soft so it allows for easy blending and buffing in a circular motion. It works well with sheer and full coverage foundation. The material helps the foundation meld into the skin in the most amazing way - you get flawless coverage and is 100% streak free and it applies foundation evenly on the skin.

The Face II Sculpting Foundation brush isn't a new one but it's new for me. It has a beveled/angled tip that is perfect for sculpting the face. It's good for all over foundation - the angled tip glides along the sides of your face, temples and cheeks smoothly. Since the tip is slightly angled, it's skinny along the top and allows for perfect blending along the sides and corners of the nose. It's perfect for cream bronzer.

Between the two, I can't pick a favorite - they are both really phenomenal. They both blend liquids and creams flawlessly. I tried them both with liquid and cream foundations. The Buffing Brush is better to blend out stick/solid cream foundations on the face. The Sculpting is also versatile for liquid products and blending out cream bronzers or contouring products.


Side views at different angles to show the tapered shape of the Sculpting Brush:


Last but not least include two of the newest slanted flat top brushes from MAC and Chanel. The MAC Slanted Flat Top Brush #196 was really hard for me to locate - it was sold out almost everywhere I looked but I did find one counter that had one left. I was told that it's not limited-edition and will be permanent in stores but I'm not 100% sure. This was my ideal pick because it has a large brush head which I prefer for foundation - it allows for less blending. Unfortunately it did leave some streaks - it was easy to blend out but didn't give a streak-free finish like the others I tested. That being said this brush was designed for the MAC Studio Waterweight Foundation which reminds me of the Armani Maestro Fusion Foundation - both of which are very fluid and thin in texture. I prefer thicker more traditional foundations that are still liquid but not super thin. Perhaps it works better on thin texture foundations.

Chanel just launched a 2-in-1 Fluid and Powder Foundation Brush #8. I've tested this for about a week now and think it's amazing. It's still on the pricey side but relative to Tom Ford, it's pretty reasonable. This one glides on the skin perfectly and gives streak-free application. It has a smaller tip compared to the other brushes which means I had to dab and blend 3x as much to cover my entire face. It does seem to soak up a tiny bit more product compared to the other tools but I'm willing to deal with it since the application is so good. I haven't tested it with powders but for liquids I'm impressed.

Below you can see the MAC has shorter bristles while the Chanel has longer ones:


Side view, you can see the difference in size. I prefer the size of the MAC, but the performance of the Chanel is better.



I'm really impressed with a number of these brushes I tested. I wonder what took me so long to try out the Sephora Pro Full Coverage Airbrush #53 brush (it's better than the mini version). It's amazing and at $38 the price is right. Marc Jacobs Beauty of course never ceases to impress me. Both the Face II Sculpting and Face III Buffing Brushes are more expensive and quite a splurge - but they are really well made with sturdy handles and they have a well constructed design. I don't think you'll be disappointed with either and I don't think owning both is redundant.

I personally wasn't a huge fan of the Urban Decay Good Karma Optical Blurring Brush or MAC Slanted Flat Top Brush #196. Both are good brushes for the price. The Urban Decay is a bit too small for my taste although it's super soft and blends liquids beautifully. The MAC leaves visible streaks and although they are minimal and easy to blend out, I'd rather have something that gives me a flawless finish to save time. The short tip also makes it a bit hard to wash out - the liquids get up into the middle and it took extra work to get completely clean.

The new Chanel #8 Foundation Brush gives a flawless finish and I would say it's definitely superior to the original #6 Foundation Brush. I don't gravitate towards small angled brushes because I think they are better suited for detail application. For foundation I want something that will apply product in larger sweeping motions. The #8 is very good though - if you're in the market for an angled brush this is a good one to look at that won't break the bank.

In summary, I have found brushes that perform just as well as my beloved Tom Ford brushes at a cheaper price. My top two picks include the Sephora Pro Full Coverage Airbrush #53 (found exclusively at Sephora) and the Marc Jacobs Face III Buffing Brush (found at Sephora and Marc Jacobs Beauty).

I hope you found this roundup helpful! Do you have a favorite foundation brush?

 

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