Testing out the Billion Dollar Brushes

The brush set, new and just out of the package

Recently, Billion Dollar Beauty sent a package over and contained in that package was the Pro-Brush Essentials Kit. I have been using the kit ever since to determine how I feel about them and how they work.  I absolutely love testing out new makeup brushes, especially when they are in a pre arranged kit like this.  Not only is it fun to try out new brushes, but I always end up learning something about how I actually apply makeup when I do. 

I think it is because I’m testing I am not just reaching for whichever brush I want automatically from my stash of brushes but using a specific set so I have to focus. The set in general is a lovely one to focus on.  It is black and gold with gray bristles.  The bristles are soft and well attached.  I had absolutely no issues with bristles falling out.  The quality is very nice. 

I really like that they are infused with charcoal.  It doesn’t add any dust to your face (if that is a concern), but it is infused into the bristles.  Charcoal has anti-microbial properties in it which quite honestly I think is genius in a makeup brush.  I am pretty good about washing my brushes, but in all honesty I generally wash the ones I’m using once a week.  Otherwise I use  a color switch. Having a little help in keeping the microbes in check between washes is definitely something I can get behind.

Plus, I’m pretty sure it is also what gives the bristles their cool gray color, which personally I am partial to. I also like that the bristles are synthetic and cruelty free. 

As I go through the six brushes in the kit, I am going to use the name that is inscribed on the brush itself as they don’t have numbers.

Powder Brush

Powder Brush: It is nice and fluffy and applies powder products well.  I started off using it for my powder, but I found I generally I wanted to use another brush for powder instead.  I absolutely loved this brush for applying blush. So I ended up using it as my blush brush and I really enjoyed it as a blush brush.  It applied product well and then was dense enough that I could use it to help blend in the blush.

Foundation Brush

Foundation Brush: I’ll be honest, I didn’t like using this for foundation.  For my foundation, I really wanted a densely packed brush like the one I usually use and I did end up rotating in my 999 Master Blender from Bdellium tools.  However I loved this brush for dealing with loose setting powder.  I found I could use less powder and really control where I put it when I used this brush.  For me, that is what this flat brush was made for. It swept away any eyeshadow fall out and was then used for the powder.

Contour Brush

Contour Brush: This worked well with any powder bronzer or contour I paired with it.  I was very pleased with its performance.  The angled edge was perfect for applying across my cheeks and it really helped blend the product well.  It wasn’t as good for my cream based products.  When I tried it with the creams I generally found I blended better with my fingertips.  Admittedly I usually find I blend cream products better with my fingertips.   But for powder products it worked really well.

Eyebrow Brush

Eyebrow Brush:  This worked perfectly as you would expect. This size brush is always fantastic for the eyebrows.  It worked well with both powder and cream products.  It paired with the Billion Dollar Brows Pomade is a fantastic duo for me. I found that once cleaned off, this brush worked really well for lipstick application.  I have a couple of cream lipstick pans that it worked well with.  I also have a couple of lipsticks that I’ve worn down to that they no longer give the best angle during application, so it is easier to use a brush to get the clear lines.  A brush like this is especially useful if you have a deep red or berry shade that sometimes gets a little messy when you apply it.  Using a small angled brush can give you so much more control.  This little brush worked well for both lipsticks and its designated eyebrow status.  It is a style of brush I always find a use for so I’m not surprised that I liked having another one in my collection.

Highlighter Brush

Highlighter Brush:  I’ll be honest, until I looked at the handle to write this up, I didn’t realize this was a highlighter brush.  I tend to apply my highlighter with my fingertips.  I don’t like a bright blazing highlighter strip but more of a blended in glow and fingers work the best for me. This brush I have been using as an eyeshadow brush and it is a really good blending brush and just all round eyeshadow brush.  In fact partnered with the actual Eyeshadow Brush in the kit, the two brushes were all I really needed to do my eyes.  Now I do have a rather tame eyeshadow look as I lean more towards everyday looks than the super creative ones.  I actually envy the super creative looks. Occasionally I try to emulate them at home when I am just playing around.  Usually that ends up with me looking like I got into some sort of bizarre fight and ended up the loser. Or they will look fantastic when my eyes are closed but then everything is hidden when I open my eyes because they are somewhat hooded.

The point is that for an everyday look, the Highlighter brush was the perfect general all round eyeshadow brush.

Eyeshadow Brush

Eyeshadow Brush: the last brush in the Essentials kit and the one I used for shimmers.  It worked well with shimmer application and when called upon it helped blend fairly well.  It isn’t as thick as the Highlighter brush so I often called upon the highlighter brush for blending, but the eyeshadow brush did a really good job.  With some shadows and glitters it needed to be damp to work well but the brush worked well either damp or dry with no bristle fall out.  I had some eyeshadows that I played around with that required a lid primer and this eyeshadow brush worked well applying the lid primer to the lisd as well as blending it into place.  Then it had to be washed, but after washing it was as good as before and fantastic with the shimmers.

Overall I thought this was a really good mix of brushes.  It is a nice kit that gave most of what I wanted when putting together my makeup.  I added a different foundation brush because I prefer a kabuki style brush for foundation, however the foundation brush in this kit will definitely become part of my everyday makeup kit in a different capacity. I really enjoyed the use of the flat foundation brush, just not with my foundation. Other than that, the only thing missing from this kit is spoolie to finish off your eyebrows.  And as I have quite a few of those around, many attached to eyebrow products, it was no real problem at all.



The Daily: July 15th, 2021

Good afternoon my darlings. I hope you are staying cool today. Personally I think I am on shirt number three for the day. I wore one shirt on a walk this morning before the weather got too hot and still ended up with a soaked shirt. Shirt number two was worn when I drove around running errands. My car’s air conditioner is not what one calls reliable. The open window and air movement is actually more cooling.

However i still ended up returning from errands with large damp patches. Which while they would dry normally, aren’t the best when sitting at a desk in the air conditioning. And as I already planned to throw a load of laundry in while I worked, I didn’t see the harm in a quick shower and a fresh pair of clothes before sitting down at my desk for a long stretch.

So we are now in shirt number three and the laundry is currently spinning through the dryer.

The makeup went on after the shower, clearly, and I went for a summer look today.

Today’s Look:

Primer: Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Primer

Foundation No 7 Lift and Luminate

Bronzer: Trestique Brazilian Bronze contour stick

Blush: bareMinerals Bounce and Blur Blush

Highlighter: OFRA in Blissful

Powder: Becca Pink Haze Powder

Eyeshadow Palette: Lime Crime Prelude Exposed

Waterline eyeliner: Milk Makeup Gel Liner

Mascara: Elizabeth Mott It’s so Big

Lips: Yensa Lip Oil in Pink Shine

Earrings: Kelly earrings By Mariz

Today I wanted something that looked a little lighter. while I haven’t used the Ole Henriksen primer or the OFRA highlight in a while and wanted to see if they are good enough to keep around, I mostly chose products that I know well and love.

The reason is because I am testing a new brush set from Billion Dollar Beauty. it is the BDB Pro Brush Essentials Kit. They very kindly sent the brushes for me to try, along with other products I will talk about as i start to use them. The plan for testing is to use them as my brushes exclusively for the next few weeks and see how i feel about them at the end of the trial. The brushes are a lovely black and gold and feel nice in the hand. The bristles are infused with charcoal which I believe is for antibacterial purposes. I’ll be looking into that before i write up my final review for the brushes.There were three tools that I did need to add to the essentials kit today and that was a spoolie for my eyebrows, a color switch pad and my Huda Beauty Basic B sponge. (incidentally, Huda Beauty has a loyalty Week sale going on right now, if you like their products you might want to check it out, the sale lasts through July 18th)

So a lot of the face products I chose because I knew I like them. A few I was pretty sure i liked, but hadn’t reached for in awhile. The Banana Bright Primer I do really like and I really need to reach for more often. It sits well under foundation and add depths to matte products without adding a lot of glow. It has a slight tint that really helps blend out any discoloration (I’m a bit pink from the sun) and it smells like banana scented candy which kind of makes me happy. No 7’s foundation may actually be one of my favorite drug store foundations and as this is the third Trestique Bronzing stick I’ve owned I can definitely say that it is a bronzer I like. I meant to hold off opening it until i wore down a few other products a bit more but I couldn’t resist.

I likewise love the Bounce and Blur Blush from bareMinerals. There is quite a significant divot in the center of the product. I haven’t reached for any of my OFRA highlighters in a while because I just haven’t wanted anything that glowy. I thought I might be decluttering this one as I really need to do a highlight declutter, but no. This is a keeper. It goes on stunningly bright but it does blend out for a soft warm glow, which is what I like. I think on highlighters I may have to just haul them all out and do an actual declutter by looking at them all lid out and making some hard decisions.

The Elizabeth Mott Mascara was new to me. It came in a subscription box a while ago and was in my unopened products drawer. As I took several Mascaras out of the drawer last night and sent them to the empties bin, I pulled this one out of the new drawer to give it a turn at use. I am not all that impressed by it to be honest. It is a decent enough mascara but I didn’t apply it and think, wow what length and volume.

Admittedly it is following two really fantastic formulas (Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real Magnet and Pretty Vulgar The Feathers) so maybe after a few spins around it will be more impressive. But at the moment, it isn’t one of my favorites and isn’t really living up to it’s name.

The earrings I chose for today were the Kelly Earrings from Mariz. I thought they looked sweet so I went with them. They wore well and went with the look. Now that I am not wearing a mask everywhere I am thrilled to get back into wearing earrings and am trying to get into the habit of putting them in. I figure if I make them part of my list post, I will remember more often.

For those of you who like to shop for multiple products in one location, All Beauty is now carrying Korres Products. I am currently using and really enjoying the Yogurt cleanser. They also carry the Becca Pink Haze powder I used today. It is a great place to stock up on multiple items. They currently have a couple of sales going on. You can save up to 45% on Ren Skincare, or take an extra 15% off products from L’Oréal’s Professionnel Line, just click on the banner below to check it out. They always have monthly deals going on.



Simple Cost effective Makeup Brush Cleaning

This past weekend I had a conversation with a cousin (technically a cousin’s child so, second cousin).  She is just getting into makeup (she is thirteen and allowed to play with it at home to learn the basics, but not yet allowed to wear it to school  – I think there are rules at her school regarding makeup as well as familial ones, but I’m not sure.  I just know she practices at home) but there was some concern because she wasn’t really cleaning her makeup brushes. She would just knock off the color and continue using them.   As we get along pretty well, I was asked to bring the topic up when we next had a makeup themed conversation. 

I was surprised to find that one of the reasons that she wasn’t cleaning her brushes was that she thought brush cleaner was expensive and she wanted to use it sparingly. She also didn’t see why it was all that important since knocking off the color meant that it wouldn’t mix with the other colors when she applied it.

So that led to a different conversation and this post.

While I’m sure all of you my darlings, know this, sometimes it just needs to be said.

First of all, cleaning brushes is important because bacteria can live inside the brushes and not only transfer to the makeup you are using, but also to you.  As we were mostly talking about eyeshadow brushes we were also talking about bacteria in the eye.  It’s not pretty. And if you don’t believe me, I suggest a quick google search regarding eye infections. 

I’ll leave you to do that on your own as I can’t take it.  In horror movies I can watch any number of horrific things but I can’t watch anything to do with damage to the eyes.  It is the one thing that will make me close my eyes in a horror flick. 

Not the eyes.  Just not the eyes. Oh, the horror. 

So you can do your own search if you are curious.

Just be warned it’s bad.

So clean the brushes.

I also have to admit, I don’t often buy brush cleaner. 

I have used products that were specifically designed as brush cleaners and some of them I really liked.  Some I didn’t.  Over all, what I use as my standard is listed below.

My essentials for cleaning brushes involve a few basics. First, a textured mat.  These can be picked up in many places.  I have seen them in TjMaxx, Ulta and a myriad of places on line.  Mine came from the Dollar Store and cost me – you guessed it – a dollar to purchase.  They had many shapes and sizes, but I thought the watermelon looked cute.  And it fit in my sink, which is not the largest of sinks and I didn’t want something that would be too large.

The second thing I buy is Ivory soap.  I like it because it is an effective soap that cleans and kills bacteria, it has no colors in it and it smells nice.  On Amazon a three pack will cost you $4. At the grocery store around the corner I believe single bars were offered for about a dollar unless there is a sale and then for some reason Ivory soap went down to $.49 per bar. I don’t know why, but my grocery store has that sale twice a year and has ever since we moved into the neighborhood (and probably well before).

Thus far I am in for a maximum cost of two dollars to clean my brushes.  And those are my only really dedicated products. 

the set up in the sink

I have a bowl that I put the soap in.  I made sure it is bigger than the bar of soap so I can put water in the bowl and turn the soap bar periodically when I want a fresh side (depending on how many brushes I am cleaning at a time.  The bar of soap goes in the bowl and the bowl of soap and the cleaning mat go in the sink. 

I stretch an old towel over the top of the closed commode lid and then I take a handful of brushes to the sink.  I wet the brushes, generally in one shot so that I don’t have to keep the water running.

Then I take each brush individually, run it over the top of the soap until it is frothy. I then take the soap filled brush run it over the textured mat and when I think it has been cleaned, I rinse off the soap to make sure.  When I am happy I set it on the towel and continue with the process.

If the brushes are a little dry by the time it comes to wash them, I dip them in the bowl with the soap to rewet them and then continue.  It saves water and gets everything clean.  When I am done I rinse off the mat and set it aside to dry. 

I then wash any makeup residue off the soap, rinse out the bowl and leave them to dry.  Once dry, the bar of soap goes into a plastic soap dish that I picked up in Target’s travel containers section.  It was $.99.  It isn’t really necessary, but I do like keeping my makeup cleaning soap away from the rest of the soaps.  It isn’t that it can’t be used as soap, but I’ve noticed it tends to disappear if I don’t keep it separated. especially with so much hand washing going on these days.

Left to dry, I forgot that some of those brushes had white tips.

After that it is only a matter of leaving the brushes to dry.  I tend to wash face brushes at a different time than eyeshadow brushes just because of space constraints.  I wash the face brushes on Saturday and then leave them over night to dry.  When they are ready to be put away, I go ahead and wash the eyeshadow brushes that I used the week prior. Sometimes of course face brushes sneak into the shadow brushes like in this image from this weekend. I like to rotate brushes so that I’m not using the same brushes all the time so not all brushes get washed every week, but I really don’t like to let brushes sit. 

Plus I’ve found that if I do it once a week, I am less likely to forget as it becomes routine and it doesn’t take that long. I am all about establishing a routine. Generally it takes about ten minutes to wash my eyeshadow brushes from the previous week, and that includes setting up and my post wash clean up.

When I wash them I also inspect the brushes for missing bristles and over use and find out which ones I need to remove from my collection.  While I love the feeling of a nice clean brush, I really like avoiding the possibility of getting an eye infection from a brush I didn’t clean. 

While there are many fantastic makeup cleaning products out there, and several of them I really like using, in the end what matters is that you use a product that kills the bacteria and germs, but is gentle enough not to kill the brushes and that you find something that you will use on a regular enough basis to keep your brushes clean. For me that is usually Ivory Soap and a textured silicone mat.


The Make Up Bag: February 26th, 2021

The Makeup Bag used February 20th – 26th, 2021

This week’s makeup bag was a strange one. I wanted to test a flat top foundation brush (from F.A.R.A.H this is the link to the review if you are interested) so I chose five separate foundations for the week. I chose five that I really like and know how they perform for me so that it would be easier to test the brush.  It also meant that I didn’t consistently use any single foundation this week.  It was kind of a fun change. It also gave me an excuse to use several of my favorite foundations.

The Foundations this week

All of the foundations I used this week I really liked.  I used the powder Foundation of KVD Vegan Beauty.  This one is really good if you are in a rush as you just brush it on like powder, add a dash of blush and go.  I also used my Kristofer Buckle Triplicity Foundation.  I will pretty much use any excuse to go ahead and add that to my makeup bag as it is a really nice, really easy formula.  My excuse was that the stick formula makes it a cream foundation. 

I actually had a cream foundation in my dressing table and quite frankly I forgot all about it.  It is the Neutrogena Healthy Skin Compact Makeup.  I used it, really liked it, put it in the drawer and forgot it.  I think I may keep this one out this week to use it a bit more.   For my liquid foundations I used the e.l.f Acne Fighting foundation and the Pretty Vulgar Cool AF Lava Water Foundation.  I love both of them and will reuse them until they are gone and then repurchase. 

I wanted two products in each category but I only had the one powder foundation.  The KVD Vegan Beauty powder foundation is one I also need to reach for more often.  As you can see I have the old packaging on it and should probably use it up.  In certain lights you can see the outline of pan beginning to show through so I’m pretty confident I can use it up this year, even with switching out my foundations.  I just need to remember to keep it on the list.

While the focus was on the foundation this week, it clearly wasn’t the only product I used.  For primer I used the last of my Benefit Porefessional Pearl Primer.  It was the last of the sample and now it will journey to the empties bin. I like the primer and will be purchasing it in the full size as soon as I’ve cleared out a few of my primers. A could of them are actually pretty close to being used up so it shouldn’t be too terribly long.

Benefit also supplied my setting spray this week.  I used the Porefessional Super Setter.  I love the fine mist a d setting power of this setting spray.  But why am I mentioning it this early in the post, you might ask? Good question.  Normally I end with the setting spray, but things got a little discombobulated this week. Plus, I also had to use it with my eyeshadow. 

This week I used the Teddy Boy eyeshadow palette from Butter London.  The shimmers didn’t really show up terribly well unless I wet my brush or finger for application so it was the Porefessional Supper setter to the rescue.  While I ended up using it to set my face, it also helped out my eyeshadow palette.  This link will take you to the full Teddy Boy Palette review.  It isn’t my favorite palette but it is different from anything else I have in my collection, so I am okay with keeping it a while. It survived my Spring Declutter.  We’ll see what happens next time I sort through my palettes.

I used my Pretty Vulgar concealer this week.  It is a really good concealer and it worked well as a eyeshadow primer as well.  I think the tube is now about half empty.  It isn’t low enough that I need to keep it around to use up, so I’ll trade it out next week, but it is about at the halfway point which makes me sad as it is one of my favorites.  I may have to do a full face of Pretty Vulgar makeup before it goes out.  This is one of those brands that I have almost a full face of products to use.  At least as long as the concealer lasts.

My bronzer and blush were both trial sizes this week.  I used my NARS in the shade Laguna as my bronzer and my bareMinerals Bounce and Blur Blush in the shade Mauve Sunset as my blush.  I adore both of these products and I have to say this year you will be seeing a lot more of these tow samples because I won’t allow myself to purchase the full size until I use the samples up. 

Mostly because I know that once I have the full size, I won’t actually use the samples any more and they will be wasted.  Plus I know that if I can use the samples up then I will definitely use the full size.  With these two it isn’t a hardship as I really enjoy both products.  In fact I fall more in love with the bareMinerals Bounce and Blur each time I use it. It is the absolute best of both powder and cream blushes combined into one. They are both very bendable and ae easy to work with. I highly recommend both of them.

I had a pressed powder from e.l.f and a loose powder from Ciate London this week.  With the Ciate London Extraordinary Setting Powder, I used the translucent version.  I like the fact that it doesn’t have the coconut scent that the Vacaay powder does, but quite frankly I prefer the Everyday Vacaay version, even with the coconut.  I actually have an unopened container in my drawer, but I wanted to use this travel size up first. 

The regular extraordinary powder can leave a little white on the skin if you aren’t careful.  The Vacaay version doesn’t have this issue.  As long as you go back in with a brush it is fine, I just thought it a little odd that one had the smidge and the other didn’t.  The e.l.f. pressed powder also had this issue. I really like the formula of the elf HD pressed powder though as one it is in place it really keeps the shine from coming through and doesn’t look powdery. I think in the future with the elf I would get the tinted powder rather than the translucent.  I like the formula but the translucent does tend to be a little too white on my skin. 

My eyeliner this week was the Tarte Double Take eyeliner.  One end is a liquid pen and the other is a soft pencil.  I enjoyed both sides this week and will certainly be using this again.  Which is a bonus for me as I have a second unopened liner that came in this month’s Boxycharm waiting for me to finish this one. While I did an eyeshadow palette declutter I think my next declutter may end up being eyeliners.  I at least need to separate the open ones from the others so that I can use some of them up.  The issue is that I really don’t wear eyeliner all that much and when I do I tend to reach for my reliable Eyeko more than anything else.  I think I might have actually use the last Eyeko I had up completely. I’m pretty sure that is what prompted me to gram a different eyeliner this week. But I am glad I did as I enjoyed the Tarte Double Take. 

This week I used the Hourglass brow pencil and it was a good formula.  The pencil is starting to dry out a little, or at least it no longer seems as comfortable to apply as it did when I first got it.  When I looked at the amount of product left in the pencil though, it is getting pretty low.  The Hourglass eyeliner may be sticking around in my makeup bag for a while as I try to use it up.  While I still enjoy using it, I can tell a difference from when I first used it to now.  I think that if you are going to use this brow pencil then you need to buy it and just use it until it is gone and don’t let it hang around.  It is nice, but it doesn’t have the greatest longevity.

No mascara on the left, mascara on the right.

This week my mascara was actually two mascaras.  I picked out the Kristofer Buckle Mascara to use as it has been open a while and while it gave me the length I wanted it wasn’t performing as well as it usually does.  I think it is just reaching the end of its life.  This one has been open for five months.  And I think this will be its last turn through the makeup bag. Sadly when I went on the site to capture a link so that you could go find it for yourselves should you be interested, this mascara was not listed on the site at all. I don’t know if they are doing things to the formula or releasing a new mascara so I will have to dive deep and find out. As I’ll soon need to repurchase my Kristofer Buckle Triplicity Foundation, I will be popping in and out of the site anyway.)

To bulk up the fading Kristofer Buckle I called in the Ciate London WonderWand.  This is not the first time I used this mascara and it won’t be the last.  It is fabulously thickening, which made it the perfect pairing for Kristofer Buckle’s Lengthening.  Together they were a great tag team. I may not be able to purchase the Kristofer Buckle again, depending on availability, but I will very much be repurchasing the Ciate London Wonder Wand Mascara. I have a second unopened ciate london mascara in my dressing table so I may compare the two to see if I like one better than the other before I buy it. As the Wonder Wand is getting low on product, I may have to do that test sooner rather than later.

My look for the day (the bangs were not behaving)

And finally the lips.  This week I used the Gel Color lip and cheek Balm crayon in Posh from Nudestix.  While I would not use this shade on my cheeks it made a fantastic neutral lip crayon that was surprisingly long lasting.  It wore off a bit at lunch time but surprisingly is hung on most of the day with a single morning application. 

I know I sound a bit surprised but I tried a liquid lip from Nude sticks a while back and I really didn’t care for it so I am surprised by how much I really enjoyed this lip crayon. I suppose it goes to show you can’t judge an entire brand on one product. I was quite impressed with this nudestix crayon.  I know this came in either a Look Fantastic or a Glossy Box a while back but I can’t remember if I used it or not.  Even if I didn’t I am glad I used it this week as I really enjoyed it and will be reaching for it again.

This week was mostly about the foundations as I worked with the brush to see how it performed.  As a consequence I chose products that for the most part I knew wouldn’t give me much trouble.  Next week I have almost an entire bag full of new products to try. In fact I am going to see how many new products I have and put most of them in the bag.  So while this week was a bag full of good solid products, next week is going to be much more of an experiment. I can’t wait to see how it ends.


If you ae looking for brushes, Bdellium is having a sale. The link will take you to sale pages. I’ve really enjoyed all of the brushes that I’ve used from them and find them to be of consistently good quality. They also have a wide variety of styles so you can usually find the brush you ae looking for in their stock.

Testing out the Flat Foundation Brush from F.A.R.A.H Beauty

I am a big fan of the flat foundation brush.  Even though my usual 999 Master Blender from Bdellium tools has a truncated handle, it is essentially a flat topped foundation brush. It is however densely packed. 

While I love my master blender, I have been on sort of a quest to find a long handled flat topped foundation brush that I enjoy using.  Part of the reason is that a couple of my favorite foundations come in foundation sticks.  While the Kristofer Buckle Foundation stick is my absolute favorite, I also enjoy the NARS (which sadly I think has been discontinued. I have mine down to a tiny nub and went to look at replacing it and it is no more) and ABH Foundation sticks

Most of the time when I apply stick foundation, I draw lines on my face with the foundation and then blend.  This is mostly because when I run the master blender over the top of them to pick up product the large oval size of it picks up too much product. It is simply too much surface area.

I know some of you think this is a bit too particular, but the truth is that I have had smaller flat topped foundation brushes in the past where I could swipe the brush over the top of a stick foundation and apply a very sheer coverage to my face.  It uses less product and I can build it up if I want to. Unfortunately the flat topped brush I was using (once upon a time) has long gone from my dressing table and I can’t remember the brand.  To be honest, I believe the brand may no longer exist.

So there is the quest. 

This month I received a Flat top Foundation Brush in my IPSY Glam bag and I thought, wow, this could be the shortest quest ever.

The brush as it arrived

The Flat Top foundation brush in question is from F.A.R.A.H By name it is the Flat Foundation 615 F and retails for $16 on the F.A.R.A.H site.  With F.A.R.A.H brushes I’ve had some good luck and some bad.  I’ve had an eyeshadow brush I loved (and still use) and I’ve had one that I hated. I’ve had a contour brush I loved and a powder rush I didn’t.  On the whole it is pretty even as to likes and dislikes with their brushes.

According to the site:

F.A.R.A.H brush heads have 100% Vegan synthetic luxury bristles for supreme application. Handles designed for ultimate comfort. Easy to use:  Dip your Flat Foundation 615F Brush into your favorite foundation and apply using a gentle tapping motion to the face for a flawless airbrush finish. Designed with 100% synthetic bristles. This brush is specifically made to be used with powders and cream foundations.

This week in order to test out the foundation brush I pulled several foundations from my collection. I pulled a KVD Vegan Beauty Powder blush, Kristofer Buckle Triplicity Foundation stick, Neutrogena Cream Foundation, E.l.f. Acne Fighting foundation and my Pretty Vulgar Cool AF Lava Water Foundation.  I figured this gave me an array of products to work with and see how I liked the brush. I used a different foundation each day and washed the brush each evening to let it dry overnight and so that it was clean for each application.

All of the foundations I have used before and really enjoy using. I also know how they work on my face with normal application.

The first up was the KVD Powder Foundation.  With this product the Foundation worked really well.  It gave a wonderful finish to the application process.  Powder foundations are this brushes strong suit.  It made me very hopeful that this would be a good brush. 

Loose Bristles

I don’t know how well this photo shows the small hairs, but after a first use, there were a couple of loose hairs.  I cut the ends off rather than pulling them out so as not to loosen the brush from the handle.

Incidentally, I really like the use of the tapered handle.  The slim handle made it easy to maneuver and use.  The metal did get a little slick if I had product on my hands.  As I often apply primer with my finger, this is not an uncommon occurrence and so I had to wipe off my hands really well before using the brush or the slick hands made the metal a little slippy. A few grooves cut into the handle would actually make it perform a lot better. As it is, the handle does feel good in the hand.

Next up I tried the Kristofer Buckle with this brush.  I tried picking up the formula from the top of the tube, but the bristles were a little too soft and didn’t pick up a lot of product unless I dug in too much.  It they were more densely packed or about half an inch shorter it would have worked better with this application.  As it was, the brush simply was too bendy to pick up much product. When I applied the stick to my face in streaks this flat foundation brush did a good job of blending the cream product in.  It took a little longer than I’m used to but it did work well.

It did not work well with either the e.l.f acne fighting Foundation or the Pretty Vulgar Cool AF. The e.l.f is more of a medium coverage and the Pretty Vulgar is medium to full coverage.  Streaks were left in the foundation and I had to go back in and smooth them out with my Master Blender and my Huda Beauty Makeup sponge.  It is simply not dense enough to work well with the liquid foundations without leaving streaks. 

Streaks showing in the foundation across my cheek

In all fairness the product description does say that cream and powder products are this brush’s wheel house.  I would describe the Kristofer Buckle Triplicity Foundation stick as a cream product and the KVD Vegan Beauty Powder foundation was of course, a powder.  These are the two products that this foundation brush worked with the best. 

It was only after the first use that it shed any bristles.  I’m thinking that first use just knocked a couple of them use.  While it doesn’t argue for the longevity of the brush, after that initial use, even with the four washes this week no further bristles were lost. To be honest, I will be reaching for this brush when I wear a powder foundation.  I have a couple and that is where this brush will be deployed. 

While it worked well enough in blending the Stick foundation and I’m sure would work well blending in any cream foundation it probably won’t be the brush I reach for when I do use the cream foundations. Last but not least, I used the Neutrogena cream foundation in my drawer and I did try swirling it in the product and applying it as well.  I had the same problem picking it up with the brush.  The brush is either not dense enough or it needs shorter bristles. It blended in the Neutrogena cream foundation well enough, but I still had to apply it with my finger.

As the point of the brush is to take it from the pan to the face without fingertip application, I won’t be using it for cream based products. The Flat Foundation Brush from F.A.R.A.H makes a good powder foundation brush, but in general, that is the only time I am reaching for this where foundations are concerned.  After my last wash of the brush I tried it with powder in general and it worked like a dream when applying both pressed powder and loose translucent setting powder. The bristles make it ideal for powder application, everything else is a bit of a strain.  I don’t mind having an extra powder brush so I’m not bothered by this and will get a lot of use out if it.  It just won’t be with foundation, so my flat foundation brush quest must continue.


Makeup Eraser

Tool Talk: Laruce Beauty Brushes

Through my IPSY Glam Bag subscription I have received two five piece sets of Laruce Brushes. One of the sets was an item in my Glam bag and the second I picked up using accumulated points.  While on the website I noticed that neither set was really listed however when I put the two sets together was really only one repeat so the two sets gave me a wide variety of brushes.  In fact it gave me enough of a mix of brushes that I was able to use them as my only brushes for the last few weeks. 

Which I did. 

General Notes

The brand Laruce Beauty started in 2019 and focuses on providing luxurious vegan and cruelty free brushes. The bristles are synthetic and hypoallergenic. Individually their brushes range from $26 to $30. Sets can range from $65 all the way up to $350. The $350 set contains thirteen brushes and comes in a vegan leather carrying case.

One of my sets is blue and the other black, but they each have a textured, rubberized handle that makes them easy to grip and use.  I am actually quite fond of the handles actually.  They aren’t too thick to hold comfortably, even with the larger brushes and they are easy to wipe down should product get on any of the handles. 

In addition each of the brushes not only has the Laruce number stamped on it but it has the name of the brush on it as well so that if you are just starting out or expanding your use of makeup brushes, you can easily tell what is what. All of the brushes feature the same synthetic bristles (One set dark and the other side light) and the bristles are well attached to the ferule with no loose ones sticking out or shedding.  I feel confident that these brushes will last quite a while.

LR334 Angle Contour: 

This brush is thick and dense enough to work well with contour and bronzing powders.  I did not like it with cream products.  While it is dense enough for the powders it isn’t dense enough of a bristle set to work well with cream contour products.  When I used them I generally had to apply it with my fingers and blend it with my fingers as well rather than the brush.  It does however work really well with powder products.

LR335 Flat Foundation:

I’ll be honest this was my least favorite of the brushes in the set.  I like flat foundation brushes but I found myself wanting stiffer, more densely packed bristles. This one tended to leave a few streaks in the foundation. I could see using it for a powder foundation but not for any liquid or cream products. I like flat foundation brushes, but this one did not make the cut for me.

LR222 Kabuki:

At first I didn’t think I was going to like it, but this ended up being one of my favorite brushes in the set.  It was more versatile than I expected and was able to blend shadows and highlighters well and was one of the only brushes that worked well with both powder and cream products. I will be keeping this brush in my selection of everyday brushes.

LR110 Shadow: 

This is a good general shadow brush.  It worked as well as any other that I tried.  I would perhaps like to see it a little smaller as it was wide enough that it tended to fan out powder products more than I intended, however it was a good sturdy shadow brush.

LR005 and LR007 Tapered Blending:

This was the only brush I have two of and quite frankly if you are going to have doubles of a brush, the tapered blending is the one you are going to want to double down on.  The 005 is the black handled brush and the 007 is the blue handled brush, Although they both have the same name, the 007 brush is slightly smaller than the 005 as you can see in the photograph.  They were excellent shading brushes and I liked having the two slightly different sizes. Both worked well and both are ones I would continue to use.

LR002 Flat Shading:

As a shading brush this worked well.  It is a little wide for my tastes but not over the top wide.  It was nice to use.  It is not my favorite shading brush, but I liked it and will continue to use it.  If something were to happen to it, I probably wouldn’t replace it.

LR309 Blush:

  This is a loose and somewhat floppy brush that holds pigment well.  It is very soft on the skin and very good for blushes where you need to build up color.  It is good for applying blush, but not for blending.  It is simply too soft and loose to blend well.  It is excellent if you are looking for only a light wash of color though as even the most highly pigmented blushes come in light with this product.  It does not work with cream products at all.

LR308 Highlighter:

This is excellent if you want only a light highlight as it is a soft bristled brush that applies highlighter well.  It can turn even a brightly sparkling highlighter into a soft glow.  It is long enough to disperse the product but not too large for control.  It is useless with cream products.  For any cream product I used, I ended up reaching for the Kabuki brush instead.

LR 375 Flat powder:

While I did miss my fluffy powder brush, I ended up really liking this brush.  It is dense enough to work well with pressed powder, yet large and loose enough to work well with loose setting powder.  It is a really good brush to set your under eyes after concealer and if you are the sort who bakes your face, this could very easily be a go to tool. I don’t really bake, but as I used it, I found myself missing my fluffy brush less and less.  It is a versatile powder brush and one of the stand outs of the set. It actually worked better for blending in blush than the blush brush as well so I could very easily see picking up a second one of these Flat Powder brushes.

So that my darlings, was my experience using only Laruce brushes for the past few weeks.  There were a couple of clear winners that I would purchase on their own and there were a couple that I will simply pull from my brush rotation.  There were a couple of average ones as well that I will happily use since I have them, but probably not replace at the $28-$30 price range.  

Over all I think this is a brand where I would buy individual brushes, but probably not pick up a full set.  The quality of the brushes is there and for the brushes I liked using, the price seems fair.  The textured handle, metal ferrule and synthetic bristles are all very good quality.  In addition, if you have any hand mobility issues the textured handle coupled with the fact that it is sturdy, but not overly heavy, might be a good option for you.

I use a lot of cream products so I had issues with some of the brushes, but if your product list is all powder than you might have fewer difficulties.  And to be fair finding brushes that work well with cream products is an ongoing quest of mine.  Most of the time I end up blending with fingertips. I’m okay with that, but I would like the option of a brush for some of those products as well. That quest sadly continues.


Say I Love You Gifts

Tool Talk: Cosmedix Skincare Brushes

This summer, I entered the world of masking brushes.  Prior to this I simply used my fingers and thought ‘why would I bother using a masking brush?’

Then I ordered a super cheap one (less than $1) and tried it, just to see why so many people seemed to use them.

my less than a dollar masking brush

Wow, what a difference it made. 

I won’t lie and say I always use the brushes, because I don’t.  I also won’t say you HAVE to have the brushes. Because you don’t.  I also won’t tell you that you need expensive brushes, because you really don’t. But if you are interested in adding brushes to your masking routine, and maybe being a little extra, this might help you out.

First off, there are two main benefits to using the silicone masking brushes.

The first benefit I noticed is that I tend to use less product when I use the masking brushes than when I don’t. While there may be some seasonal swelling or water retention now and again, neither dramatically changes the surface area of my face in a massive way.  Yet when I use the silicone brushes, I use less product than when I don’t.

Part of that is because of benefit number two.

And that is less mess.  When applying masks with fingers, it naturally gets all over the fingers you are using to apply it to your face.  It can also get on the sink and the faucet taps, but mostly on your fingers. The silicon brush has less of a surface area than my fingers.  Even though I use a spoon or spatula to get masks out of the jar and start applying using one finger, I usually end up with three fingers covered in mask which I then have to wash off.  The silicone doesn’t absorb any of the mask so little is left on the masking brush.  In addition, it is easy to rinse off and in the case of peel off masks, you just let it dry, then peel the mask off.  Then of course you wash it, but that is super easy with the mask gone.

Easy Peasy.

Now the less than a $1 masking brush I picked up does the job no problem.  I am quite happy using it. However I recently received a Cosmedix Brush set in a Boxy Charm.  The set is composed of two brushes.

According to the Cosmedix website, the Cosmedix Skincare Brush Set…

Take cleansing to the next level with this embossed brush designed for gentle exfoliation and effective deep pore cleansing. Plus, bring the spa experience home with a dual-sided silicone spatula that effortlessly and evenly distributes product across your face. Use it to apply cream, exfoliator, serum, or masks with ultimate precision and no mess.

The set retails for $25. While you can clearly get brushes for less money, I would say this is not an unreasonable price. There are two brushes so you are paying $14.50 per brush.

Let’s look at the silicone brush first.  The handle is tapered and easy to hold.  The brush head itself is flat, with an angle and has one smooth side and one textured side.

The angle of the brush is really nice.  One of the ways my cheap brush falls down is that the shape of the head is triangular so the points are really hard to get into the crevices around the nose so I end up using my fingers to smooth things over, which sort of defeats the purpose of using the brush.

Not only is the Cosmedics brush angled but the corners are rounded which makes applying masks really easy no matter where on the face you are. The flat side of the brush is perfect for clay based masks.  I have been using it this week for my Herbal Dynamics Cacao and Chamomile Clearing Detox Mask and it has been fantastic.  I can run the brush over the top of the mask in the jar to pick up product and put it on my face with very little waste.

The textured side is not good for clay based masks but I find it is excellent for gel based ones.  Recently I used both the Peter Thomas Roth Cucumber mask and the Kiehl’s Calendula Petal infused Gel mask.  While both of these masks could be applied with either side of the Cosmedix silicone brush, The textured side does have a purpose.  Just before those masks are removed, it is recommended that you massage the mask in a little before rinsing.  The textured side of the brush is perfect for this. Just remember to rinse thoroughly, possibly even soaking the brush a bit especially if it is an exfoliating mask with particles, so that you can be sure to get all of the particles out.

The second brush, I’ll admit, I found a little confusing at first.  I tried it a number of ways, but none of them seemed to be a benefit to my skin care routine. This second brush is not silicone, but an actual fiber brush with densely backed bristles.  The head of the brush is not flat but textured with a circle of round nubbins. The issue I had with it, was that it is very absorbent.  If you dip it into a mask or serum, or even a cleanser, it will soak up the product like a sponge, using far more than you actually need to use in one sitting.

However it is useful.  The first use I found for it was to loosen dried clay masks.  Wet the brush, but remember it will soak up a lot of water so when you first press it to your face be prepared for a release of water unless you squeeze the brush out first, and even then be prepared. It does an admiral job of loosening clay masks without harshly scraping the skin. The texture from the nubbins really helps in its effectiveness.

The second use is for massaging serums into the skin. Do not dip the brush into the serum or you will very quickly lose your serum as it is sucked in.  Apply the serum to the skin and then lightly massage it in with the brush.  The serum stays on your skin and the brush just helps it absorb.

brush with Erno Laszlo Black soap cleansing bar

I have also found that it is very useful if you are using a bar cleanser. While the brush will absorb liquid cleansers just like any other liquid.  If you have a bar cleanser like the Erno Laszlo Black soap (which I personally really like) you can wet the brush (which absorbs a lot of water) rub the water loaded brush on the cleansing bar and then apply it to the face.

Shop the iconic Laszlo-original cleansing bar!

Not only does it work really well, but it helps contain the mess that the Erno Laszlo Black soap can create with drips (although really, the cleansing bar is worth the drips).  If it stays on the dish or other container where you keep your soap then it can’t drip all over your sink.  It also helps keep the bar longer as bar cleansers (or any bar soap really) starts to disintegrate when it is wet.  The secret to keeping a bar of soap (or cleanser) for longer is to make sure it stays dry when you aren’t using it.  Because the brush localizes the water, the bulk of the cleansing bar stays dry. So it lasts longer.

All in all once I figured out the best way to use the second brush in the set, I enjoyed using the brushes and incorporating them into my skincare routines.  They are lightweight, but sturdy.  Not only do they look good but they perform well.

The brushes may not be absolutely necessary to any routine.  There are many other ways to apply product, but they do have benefits. If you are looking to add brushes to your skin care routine, this may be a set you might want to look into.  I am quite pleased to be able to use them. I believe my less than a $1 silicone brush will still be used when I do peel off masks as I don’t want to deal with the textured side of the Cosmedix silicone masking brush, but otherwise I will be using these brushes for quite a while.


Sparitual

The Make Up Bag: August 21st, 2020

The Makeup Bag used August 15-21, 2020

This week I tried to focus on items I never tried before so it was a week of first impressions.  To start off with I used the Ciate London Extraordinary Foundation in the shade 127 Y Bamboo. 

It turned out to be a great shade for my deepest summer tan, although the clock is ticking as to how long I will be able to wear the shade.  I liked the foundation enough that once I clear out some of my current foundations, I will be picking up a lighter shade. 

While the link above will take you to the full review the basic summary is that it is a good foundation that feels weightless.  It has a bit more shine than I like but is easily toned down by a matte setting powder.  I am still working my way through the Ciate Everyday Vaccay Setting powder (I have only a few more weeks and it will be used up) and it worked really well with this foundation.

Less well received this week was the Ciate watermelon burst hydrating primer.  Don’t get me wrong it is a good hydrating primer.  The Extraordinary foundation just needed a pore filling primer underneath it to look it’s best.  This was not that primer. 

I called in the Benefit Porefessional primer though and it paired amazingly well with the foundation. There were a couple of days where I didn’t bother with foundation because I knew I was going to just be running in and out of the heat all day.  On those days I tend to use a primer and a dusting of powder. 

In that application, I really liked the watermelon burst primer.  It locked the powder in place and didn’t let my skin dry out.  The primer also has a nice watermelon scent to it that made me crave Jolly Ranchers all week.  It just didn’t pair well with the foundation I chose this week as it required something pore filling and not hydrating. I will be keeping the ciate primer around and using it again when a hydrating primer is called for. As winter dries my skin, that shouldn’t be a problem.  That I’m keeping the Benefit Cosmetics Primer around goes without saying.

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My NARS sample sized bronzer in Laguna finally starting to show a dip in the center.

I didn’t have a new bronzer this week so I went with my small sample size of NARS Laguna.  I absolutely love this bronzer.  It is a great color and a wonderful formula.  However I am not allowing myself to purchase a full sized version until I use up the sample. I am actually starting to feel a dent in the center of the pan so I will be reaching for this periodically in an effort to use it up. Plus I can’t remember when I got the sample so I’m worried it might be getting a bit old.  And if at all possible I like to use things up rather than throw them out because they are expired.

The blush was new to me and came from the August Look Fantastic Box.  It is the bellapierre cosmetics mineral blush in the shade amaretto. It is a loose blush which I haven’t used in a while.  For a long time though the loose mineral blush from bareMinerals was my go to blush so I am familiar with loose blushes and actually don’t mind them.  It is easy to apply too much so there is some technique involves with the tapping out of product, so it did take me a little while to get back in the swing of things.

Once I did I really liked it.  The powder applied well, blended easily and stayed all day.  Like the foundation though, it is a product that works best for me when my skin is at its darkest tan.  I suspect this is more of a summer blush for me as once my tan fades, it might be a bit too dark. For now though, the color was perfect.  And luckily the product is good for 36 months so I don’t have to worry about using it up in the next month or so.  As Look Fantastic sent a full sized blush in the August box, it will last a while.

My concealer this week was the Pretty Vulgar concealer.  I really like the formula.  Usually I use the concealer as eyelid primer as well and usually the Pretty Vulgar formula is really good in that capacity.  The eyeshadow  palette I was working with wasn’t the best this week so I pulled in the Pretty Vulgar lid primer as back up.  It is like Velcro for eyeshadow. 

It did its best, but the shadow didn’t help it. As I am planning to practice working with cut creases, I will probably be keeping both of them around in the following week as I find them both useful for that.

So be prepared for repeats with those. At some point I am going to have to pick up a pretty vulgar eyeshadow palette.  I love their foundation and mascara as well as their concealer and lid primer, it seems only logical. 

Pretty Vulgar Cruelty Free Makeup!

Also they just came out with a new blush palette that looks really interesting. I’m actually debating whether to pick that one or a benefit cosmetics blush palette.  I can’t justify picking up both at the same time, but I will probably talk myself into one of them.

There is a full review of the eyeshadow palette I used this week that this link will take you to.  It is the Morphe + Manny MUA Glam Palette.  I was not a fan.  While not the greatest formula, it wasn’t horrific.  It was just boring and meh.

There are two highlighters in this palette as well and they too fell into the category of nothing special. I suspect in my next declutter, this palette will be one of the first to go bye-bye.

For my eyebrows I kept the Hourglass brow pencil around for another week.  I really like it and to be completely honest I just forgot to change it out when I swapped out my makeup for the week.so it was an accidental repeat.  I’ll be sure to choose something new for the brows next week to make up for it.

Both my mascara and eyeliner were new this week.  The eyeko lash alert mascara came in my Look Fantastic Box in August along with the blush. I have to say while it was a pretty good mascara with great lengthening abilities.  I prefer eyeko’s black magic mascara. However it was a good mascara. 

The go-to brand for eyes, focused on our award-winning mascaras, eyeliners & brows.

Since sample sized tubes like this generally have only about a two week supply of product in them, what I am going to do is keep this around and pair it with a volumizing mascara. I have several that are nearing the end of the time I am willing to keep them around and need to be used up before they expire. Doubling the mascara will give me the lashes I want and help me not waste product.

My eyeliner this week was the Wander Beauty skyliner in black.  It is a gel formula which isn’t my favorite formula however I have to say I was interested by the description.  It is infused with olive oil (and other oils) to make it extra creamy and smooth to apply.  I have to say it was.  It didn’t tug at the skin as I applied it at all and glided into place as it was supposed to.  The pencil even comes with its own sharpener. 

Enjoy Free Shipping on Orders $40 or more at Wander Beauty!

The only thing I didn’t like about the sharpener was that you had to roll the product out quite far to get it to sharpen and I suspect at some point I’m going to end up snapping a chunk of it off.  That is the down side of the creamy texture; the point blunts really quickly so you have to sharpen it a lot.  I will say though once in place, you need a makeup remover to get it off of the skin. When applying it you have a very limited window for adjustment before you have to accept that it is set in place for the day. Over all a pretty good product though and one I am happy to have in my collection.

This week I continued to use down my I heart Revolution Setting spray.  I love this setting spray, it is just getting along in age and I am fairly certain it is either at or past its expiration date.  I can’t remember when I bought it to be honest.  However I have only about one more weeks’ worth of product in the spray bottle so I will be using it up this week and then trying out something else.

This of course brings us to the lips.  Here I must confess I had a change of plans after packing my makeup bag for the week.  This week I put a neutral C’est Moi lip gloss, a Bite Beauty Liquid lip and a Huda Beauty lip contour in my bag.  They were all neutral shades.  I balanced them out with an elf liquid lip in the shade red vixen and a Clarins water lip stain in the shade red water.

e.l.f.: Free shipping every Friday for loyalty

Once I tried out the eyeshadow palette and realized no matter what color combo I was going to try it was all going to come out as a basic neutral, I ended up balancing it with the elf and the Clarins and didn’t reach for the other lip products at all. So the lippies I did not use last week will go back to the makeup bag for next week.

The elf and the Clarins were both fantastic reds.  The elf dried down nearly instantly so any adjustments had to be made immediately or you were suck with them (or forced to get a cotton swab with makeup removing oil and work delicately).It never smeared or left lip prints behind and once on I forgot I was wearing it. I have to say elf has been killing it lately.  From this lip to the well thought out bite sized palettes, I am very impressed.  This red faded a little throughout the day but at the end of the day it was still a vibrant red. It was a deeper, more blue toned red than the Clarins.

The Clarins Water lip stain was a bright red, that oddly smelled of cherries. I found it a little odd but strangely appealing. The scent didn’t last all that long though. Once the water stain dried it was pretty much gone.  The lip water is applied with a little brush and as the name suggests, feels like you are brushing water on your lips.  I found that if you applied it lightly to the center and used a finger to smooth it over the lips, you could create a light wash of red color.  If you applied it all over the lips and just let it dry then you had a much brighter cherry tone. 

It took a little longer to dry than the elf, but once in place it stayed in place.  And when I say stayed in place I mean makeup removers could only dim it, not defeat it.  The next morning I woke with my lips still pink. For me it wasn’t an issue as I was putting the elf red vixen over it, but in general I had very pink lips this week. If I were going somewhere and I was going to be out and about with no chance to touch up my makeup, the Clarins Water lip stain is a formula I would reach for.  If you are interested you can purchase the Clarins Water lip Stain at All Beauty. They are currently having an end of summer sale with 50% off most (if not all) of their items. It is well worth checking out.

If you give the Clarins a moment to dry it will stay with you and not smudge a lick throughout the day. And something about it just feels summery.  Maybe it is the pink tone and the cherry scent.  Either way, one application and you can forget it is even there. I am definitely going to see what their color range for this line is because if they all perform this well, it would definitely be worth keeping them around.

As a bonus I should say that neither of these lip products smudged the inside of my mask. That’s how well they dried down and stayed dried down. And neither caused my lips to go desert dry either.

Before I close this post I want to mention some tools.  I am still using and loving the bdellium tools 999 master blender brush.  It fits perfectly in my hand and does wonders with my foundation application.  I know they have a bit of a sale going on right now so if you are looking for some new brushes, now might be the time to look into them.

Studio 950 Oval Multipurpose Brush

The makeup sponge I’ve been using is from Huda Beauty and I really like the balance it strikes between soft and firm.  The flat side has proven more useful than I would have imagined for when I do detail work with the pointed end.  It is over all a nice, well thought out make up sponge.  I plan to use it until I have to buy a new one and then, unless I try another one I like better, I will be repurchasing it.

This week I added the complex culture powder brush that I received in August’s IPSY box and I am really liking it as well.  The bristles are dense, yet soft and it is perfect for powder application.  I very much enjoyed using it with my loose powder this week.  I think I will continue to use the Alamar powder brush for my pressed powders though because it seems to work better with them than the fluffier rounded end brushes, but for loose powders I am happy to have this brush on hand.

Next Week’s Foundation

And that concludes my notes from the Makeup Bag this week.  Next week I’ll have a whole new slate of products to test out, including a sample of the Ken Gen Do Aqua Foundation.

It is apparently a makeup artist favorite (according to reviews)so we’ll see how well it works for a writer. As always I’ll be back for the afternoon face mask later today.  This afternoon I’m giving the Super Silver Haze purifying Mask from Makeupdrop a try.  Until then, have a great Friday.


The Make Up Bag: August 7th, 2020

The Make Up Bag for the week of August 1st – 7th, 2020

This week I pulled a full make up bag, I really did.  And there were several items I was really excited to try.  One of which was the Laura Geller dual eyeliner.  It has a calligraphy style pen on one end and a gel like side on the other end.  

Alas, this week got a little crazy. 

My eyes mostly ended up with mascara alone this week.  Luckily it was a really good mascara.  When I went looking to set up my bag for the week I found several trial sized mascaras that escaped my earlier purge.  I think they came in after I collected the ones I wanted to use up. 

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Anyway I chose one of their number and it was fantastic.  I went with the Bad Gal Bang Mascara from Benefit.  I have to say I am a little surprised by how much I liked it.  The mascara did occasionally clump but a quick pass with my eyelash comb took all the clumps out.  And my lashes were left long and fluttery.  It was almost false lashes length.  At least the more natural looking false lashes. 

I know not the most flattering angles, just focus on the lashes

I really enjoyed it and I will be looking at getting a full sized tube of the Bad Gal Bang mascara once I’ve whittled down my open containers. I have to say, I might have found a new favorite.

Also from Benefit this week was my blush.   I used the Gold Rush Blush.  It is one of my top blushes.  The color and formula work well with me and the shimmer that made me doubt it was just an overlay and has long since disappeared. 

It is a surprisingly soft color that just sort of makes my cheeks look slightly flushed instead of bright pink.  I really like it.

I especially liked the formula this week as it gave me no problems.  I can not say the same for the Kenia Onteveros Set and Define palette.  The link will take you to the full review but a brief synopsis was that the mattifying powder was okay, and I adore the highlighter. 

So two of the six products worked for me.  The bronzer and contours were patchy and didn’t want to blend for me. While I give the rest of the palette a pass, that highlighter was fantastic.  It looked pin in the pan and went on with a subtle gold glow.  I will keep the palette around just for that and then buy it again in a single pan product.   The rest of the palette, not so much.

Returning again this week, the level dropping ever lower, is the I Heart Revolution Fixing Spray.  It is in Peaches and Cream. 

It works amazingly well and is super affordable. Mine is just somewhat old and I am trying to use it up.  I have about two weeks let of product so it will be used up by the end of August and then other Setting Sprays will get their chance to leave my dressing table again. I promise.

My Foundation this week was the Maybelline Fit me Matte and Poreless (normal to oily).  The link will take you to my full review.  Not much has changed since I posted it.  I like the product and enjoy using it on my skin.

My 999 Master Blender Foundation Brush from Bdellium Tools worked incredible well with it.  I think when I used it last time I had to just use a make up sponge.  I think that might have been because my old foundation brush needed replacing.  It went on easily with the 999 Master blender. (Incidentally they are having a sale on their vegan Bambu Brush line at the moment in case anyone is looking to replace brushes) I’ll link the code below.

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My only issue with the Maybelline Fit me is the open lid.  Once you screw the cap off it is just open.  I carefully poured some on my hand to begin applying to my face and it worked well, I just had to be careful pouring.  It is a good enough product and very cost effective on my budget, that I am willing to over look that and will probably be buying it again, or fitting the bottle with a dropper.

For now I just had to remember to wipe the excess off my hand with my MakeUp Eraser before I left the bathroom. There wa a lot of wasted product, but at least this way the Makeup Eraser soaked it up and I didn’t go smearing it over everything when I left. I really need to look at fitting the bottle with a dropper.

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My primer this week was one I used before as well.  It is the elf Poreless Putty Primer. (Its pictured above with the blush) Many, including me have raved about it.  I wanted to use it again because I so recently used the Puff Puff Pass Primer from elf and I wanted to do a comparison.  As far as smoothing out the skin, this one wins hands down. 

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It is really smoothing and really fills those pores for a flawless finish.  Not as airbrushed on me as it is on the commercial models, but it looked good.  The Puff Puff Primer was far more moisturizing and felt more like skin care than makeup.  I would wear that one alone with just powder whereas this poreless putty primer is really something I only reach for to put under foundation. 

They both have their places in my dressing table and I will keep repurchasing both.  However with the putty it will be a while before it needs to be repurchased as it takes so little to actually cover my face.  But I like them both. Go elf!

Perricone, MD, Fenty Beauty, Marc Jacobs, Laura Lee Los Angeles, and Colourpop

And now my darlings we reach the lips.  There are five products to go through.  The first is the Perricone MD No makeup lipstick.  It is in reality a lip balm with a slight tint.  I really like this lip balm though.  It is very moisturizing and feels more like skin care for your lips than a lip product. If that makes sense. 

I found myself using it first thing in the morning, well before applying my make up and last thing at night.  In the morning I found it softened my lips and did really well prepping them for other lip products.  At night it sort of acted like a lip mask and hydrated my lips while I slept.  I will also say I am using it so much (and plan to keep it in my bathroom) because even though it is a new to me product from July’s Boxycharm premium, it will expire in December. 

I’ve used Perricone, MD products before and that is something you have to watch out for.  When it gives you an expiration date, they mean it.  The closer it comes to the date, the higher the chance that it will get moldy and need to be thrown away.  So I am using it while I can.  It makes me a little mad that I have to race through using such a good product, but that is an argument with Boxycharm not Perricone, MD.  It is a great product, and if you do pick one up, mind the expiration date.  You can’t stock pile these lipsticks. It’s a buy and use kind of product.  Although well worth using.

Perricone, MD, Fenty Diamond Milk, Marc Jacobs Trax, Laura Lee Jaybird, Colourpop Tulle (Top to Bottom)

The next gloss I put in my bag this week was the Fenty Diamond Milk.  It is a nice gloss on its own but super excellent as a lip topper.  It smells like Vanilla and I really enjoyed using it this week. I tend to forget I have it as it is just a little too thick to fit comfortably in my lipstick holder so it ends up in a drawer a lot. I need to figure out where to put it so that I can reach for it more.  It is a really good product.

Next we have the one actual lipstick I used this week.  This is one of my favorite bold lips.  It is the Marc Jacobs Le Marc lipstick in Trax (290).  It is a wine colored vampy sort of color.  I love the formula as it is super comfortable to wear.  However with most dark lipsticks, I sometimes make a mess with the application if I just roll the product up and apply it to the lips.  This is a lipstick that benefits from the use of a lip brush. 

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What I like to do is use the lip brush to outline my lips with the product and then fill them in.  I generally don’t have a problem doing touch ups throughout the day without the brush, but for that initial application, I like the outline and fill method.  I should point out that I don’t use this with lighter shades of Le Marc, but I do use it with all darker vampy shades. I find it more controllable and I can also decide how dark I want to go.  With the brush I can just use a light wash of color or go full out bold with it.  

Like the Feny, I enjoy using the product, but it doesn’t fit comfortably in the lipstick holder.  It is just a little too wide.  As a consequence it ends up in the drawer.  I think I may need to just get a bigger lipstick display. Then I can add to my Marc Jacobs lipstick collection.  They are great products but I haven’t collected them as I want because they don’t fit anywhere.  I really should remedy that. 

There were two liquid lipsticks in my make up bag this week.  One was an ultra matte lip in the shade Tulle from Colourpop and the other was a liquid lipstick in the shade Jaybird from Laura Lee Los Angeles.

I like both colors.  The Colorpop wasn’t as comfortable to wear as the Laura Lee and it didn’t have quite the lasting power.  With the Laura Lee, I applied Jaybird once and it stayed all day long.  It felt a little sticky at first but after a while I forgot I was wearing it.  The Colourpop was also a nice formula.  It is a little drying  but relatively comfortable.  I did have to reapply it in the afternoon however.

So that was this week’s makeup bag.  While I did choose other products to fill out the bag, this week I didn’t end up using them.  I think I spent so much time trying to make the set and define palette work that I just rushed through everything else.  Plus it was a busy week. 

Next week slows down and I will have a hope of actually applying eyeliner and shadow without looking like I let a group of sugar amped kindergarteners take markers and chalk to it so next week should be more balanced instead of lip heavy. Although personally I kind of liked having so many lip products to choose from during the week. So I might add more than two next week as well when I go to stock the Make Up bag for next week. 

But that is for later, at the moment I need to get back to work.  I’ll see you back here this afternoon for a relaxing break with the Friday Face mask. Have a good afternoon.


The Make up Bag: July 31st, 2020

The Make Up Bag Used July 25th – 31st, 2020

Welcome my darlings once again to The Make up bag. I hope you had a fantastic week.  While I have been testing out new foundations fairly regularly for a while, some full sized and some only sample sized, I thought it was time to take a little break from the new and roll through some of the foundations that I enjoyed. 

So I lined up all of the currently open foundations I have in a shade that works for me at the moment and a chose whichever one appealed most to me in the moment.  I’ll be honest, it was a pretty close tie between the Kristofer Buckle Triplicity foundation Stick and the Pretty Vulgar Cool AF Lava Water Foundation.  Since I just used the Kristofer Buckle last week, I went with Pretty Vulgar and I am glad I did.  I really enjoyed using it this week.  The formula works well for me and went well with the ELF Puff Puff Primer I tried this week.

This particular ELF primer is a bit more moisturizer like than I anticipated, but it worked well.  The link is to my full review if you’d like to get all the details, but I did enjoy the ELF Puff Puff Primer and will be keeping it in my rotation. 

Making a continued appearance in my make up bag was the I heart Revolution Fixing spray in Peaches and Cream.  I know I’ve talked about it a lot, but I do like it.  I have about three week’s worth of product left in the bottle (as a best guess) so I will keep it around for a few more weeks in the hopes of finishing it out. It is nice, but it is an older product I’d like to finish out.



Speaking of peaches, This week’s eyeshadow palette was Peach Bellini from Makeup Geek.  The link is for my full palette review.  I really liked using the formula this week for a super simple low key week.  The shadows were highly pigmented and easy to blend.  Also the color scheme seems very summery to me.

Starting to see a little of the pan’s rings below the powder

Both of my powders this week were repeats The Ciate Everyday Vaccay was the loose powder and I have about three more weeks of use before it is empty so I will continue to use it until it is gone, then shift to other powders. 



My pressed powder was the No.7 Perfect light in medium.  It is very rapidly becoming one of my favorite pressed powders.  I’m actually starting to see the outline of the pan below in the center.  While I will continue to use up the ciate next week, I will be sending the No. 7 back to the dressing table and picking out another pressed powder to try.

There were three more repeats this week.  The first is the Instant Age rewind Eraser from Maybelline which served as my concealer and eyelid primer.  I really liked it in both capacities.

Also returning was the Eyeko Fat Black eyeliner.  It is one of my favorites. Once in place, it doesn’t go anywhere and never seeps into my fine lines. 

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The final repeat was the Julep pore minimizing blush in the shade Rosewood.  I don’t know if it actually reduces my pores as there are several other products between my pores and the blush, but it is an excellent blush.  It is of the buildable variety rather than the highly pigmented, although you can deepen it a lot if you try. 

Eyeko eyeliner and Hourglass brow pencil

I personally prefer my blush to be buildable and blendable, which this is. I believe Jlep is having a sale at the moment.  I’ve liked every product I’ve tried from them.  The products are easy to work with and the packaging is sleek and pretty.

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I know packaging shouldn’t count as much, but it kinda does. At least with me.  I know, it’s a personal flaw.  But I do like the sleek design while my more practical side likes the fact that it is also quite sturdy.

Julep blush and Tarte mascara

And now for the new arrivals in my makeup bag.  The first is the Ace Beaute Bronzed in Paradise palette.  This palette had four shades of bronzer.  Only one works on me as a bronzer.  It is the third in the pan in case you are wondering. 

The darker and lighter shades I could use as eyeshadows but not as bronzer.  In the winter I might be able to use the second shade in the palette but that is about it.  Truthfully, I don’t particularly care for these bronzers.

They oddly work really well as eyeshadows, but on the cheeks I found them a bit patchy and hard to blend. I might try working with it again, but I have much better formulas in my collection that I would rather use.

The Hourglass eyebrow pencil (shade soft brunette) also came in a Boxy Charm and I have to say, I really liked using it.  I really liked the formula and I really liked the precision point.  It is small enough that I could do really fine lines with it. 

Do I like it as much as the Benefit Precisely My Brow?

Almost. 

If I had to choose between the two I would still choose the Benefit, but only by a small margin.  I do like that it comes with a spoolie on the end. I will happily use this for a while.  Between it and the Il Makiage pencil I received from IPSY, I won’t have to buy an eyebrow pencil for a while.  And then I have my wet ‘n wild brow kit powder. So I am set for brows.  I really did enjoy the hourglass this week so I think I might just have to keep it around for a second week.

Really quickly I wanted to mention the So eco shading brush that came in my Look Fantastic box this month.  I added it to my makeup bag and I think it is going to remain in my bathroom brush jar for a while.  With the Makeup Geek Shadows the easiest way to work with them because they were so highly pigmented was to take a flat brush and set the shadow on the eye at the spot I wanted it to be darkest and then blend with a fluffy brush.  This week I used the So Eco brush as the flat brush and it worked really well.  The indentations in the handle were perfect for gripping and the bristles are really high quality.  So two thumbs up for Look Fantastic.

Unfortunately I did not have as good a luck with the Palm Balm from Beauty crop that came in this month’s Glossy Box. I added both it and the Milk makeup Lip and Cheek stick to my bag this well.  I figured since I had already used the Julep before and loved it, I would keep it as a back up and see if either of these two products worked.  Both the Palm Balm and the Milk Lip and cheek are designed to be products you can use on, you guessed it lip and cheek. 

The Palm balm comes in a nice little glass pot and in the pan it is really stiff.  I had to rub my finger over it a lot just to warm it up enough to stick to my finger.  On the cheek it goes on okay, but it really hard to bend out.  It really wants to stay in whatever position you place it in first. When blending, I felt less like I was blending and more like I was scrubbing it off. 

Anytime I tried it as a cheek product it ruined any other product I already had on my cheeks.  It worked better on bare skin, but I don’t know if that was just me rubbing it off or not.  On the lips it was interesting.  It gave my lips a nice tint and like the cheeks, once applied it wasn’t going anywhere.  It lasted the whole day as a light blush of color. 

However it was also very drying.  Once I applied it I had to wait a moment and then top it with a Jersey Shore Cosmetics Lip Balm to keep my lips from drying and falling off my face.  With the lip balm protector it was fine.  Without it, I crumbled to dust.

The Milk Makeup Lip and Cheek also did not work on my cheeks.  It went on well but blended away to nothing with the first touch.  However it made an excellent lip balm.  It provided a light my lips but better tint and it kept my lips hydrated and moisturized.  I really enjoyed it and will keep it in my collection for my lips.  I won’t use it on my cheeks, but my lips love it. The Palm Balm will not be staying in my collection long.

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I did have two more lip products in my bag this week. Although I did wear the Kristofer Buckle Bardot for National Lipstick day, it wasn’t officially in my bag this week.  This week I mostly used the Lorac Alter Ego Hydrating lip stain in Breadwinner and the OFRA liquid lip in the shade Pasadena.

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Breadwinner is a light wash of color that feels comfortable on the lips and is really easy to wear.  I enjoyed it very much.  It doesn’t dry out the lips and is as hydrating as it claims.  It is not an all day color though. 

On the days I wore it, I had to apply it when I finished my coffee and again after lunch.  It does wear off if you are eating or drinking, but it is a formula that is really nice if you want just a light wash of color that you don’t have to worry about.  It didn’t get on my teeth and it didn’t leave lip prints everywhere.  It will definitely make a reappearance in my makeup bag. 

OFRA is on the top and Lorac is on the bottom. The Lorac was swatched multiple times to build up the color for the picture. it is much less pigmented on the lips

OFRA’s Pasadena will also make a return.  It is a nice neutral lip that works well for me.  So often neutral lipsticks either blend my lips into my face or just look brown.  This has just enough pin in it to work for me.  While the all day formula does stay all day and wasn’t drying on the lips, it does feel just a little bit sticky. It wasn’t terribly bad and because of the color I will keep it around. 

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The one I have is a trial sized liquid lip rather than a full sized.  I like everything about it except the slight stickiness.  If I can find another long wearing liquid lip in this shade that doesn’t have the stickiness, I would buy that.  I think the stickiness is the result of it never drying down completely. If I can’t find this shade in another formula that I like better, I will purchase a full sized version of this.  I know that is a strange answer.  It is a good formula that I don’t mind wearing, but I am hoping to find better.  However I am not certain I can find better. Perhaps that is a better way to put that.

The Tarte mascara on the eyes and the OFRA on the lips

Finally we come to one of my favorite items, the mascara.  I went with the tart Gifted mascara this week.  Tarte’s mascaras are always hit or miss with me.  There are a couple I really like and a couple I find to be just okay.  This one has a thinner, straight wand and I have to say I really liked it.  It made my lashes look longer and it lasted all day without any sort of flaking or smearing.  To be honest, I like it almost as much as my Kevyn Aucoin.  I know gasp. But don’t worry, my two favorites are still Marc Jacobs and Butter London. It just bumps The Expert Kevyn Aucoin down a notch on the fav scale. Not by much, just a little. In a horse race it would still be a photo finish.

Alright, well that was my makeup bag for this week.  I hope you enjoyed reading about it as much as I enjoyed writing it.  As usual next week will feature a brand new bag of makeup for me to try.  Some will be old favorites and some new finds.  With luck some of my new finds will be good enough to become old favorites.  But now it is back to work for me.  I hope everyone has a fantastic Friday and I will see you back here this afternoon for the Face Mask Friday post.