Let’s Talk Loose metallic eyeshadow pigments…

Growing up there are many things that i was taught. I was taught that when filing my nails I should always file in one direction so as not to weaken the nails as I filed them. I was taught that in addition to soothing irritating rashes from nettles and other stinging plants, witch hazel made a really good toner. I was taught to replace my mascaras after a maximum of six months to avoid the possibility of an eye infection from potential mod growth.

In the myriad list of things large and small that were taught to me dealing with glitter eyeshadow wasn’t one of them. I’m sure it was about somewhere when i was younger but it wasn’t in the list of things I was taught and not something anyone in my family really used. If it was referred to it was probably in the realm of stage makeup and not everyday wear.

There is just something fascinatingly attractive about loose glitter eyeshadows. They aren’t an everyday sort of thing and I think because of that, bringing out the individual glass pot of glitter shadow whether it is from Hourglass or Lottie London, makes the makeup preparation feel like something special. Or perhaps that is just me.

Perhaps you are an old hand at applying loose pigment glitter shadows, if so, feel free to skip this post. If like me you like playing around with the glitter shadows but often make a mess, perhaps what I learned can help you out.

I’ve found that a dry shadow brush when applying loose glitter pigments just makes a mess. It really doesn’t matter which brand you try, the application will be patchy and you will end up with more glitter on your cheeks and down the side of the nose than anything else.

Spraying the shadow brush with Setting spray does tend to help. It makes the shadow fly about less because of the moisture and will adhere to the lid in a much more cohesive manner. The problem can be thr bristles. First off the loose shadow wants to stick to the bristles. And if you have chosen the wrong brush then the glitter can end up in places where you don’t want it. If using a brush then choose one where the bristles are tapered in instead of flat or bushy as those bushy bristles especially will scatter the loose pigment in places where you might not want it. Spray the brush first and then dip it into the pigment before applying.

using a lid primer or a concealer on the eyelids prior can help it stick, but don’t forget a setting spray after you apply it. Be sure to use a setting spray that doesn’t irritate your eyes.

Sometimes the hands are your best tools. I generally fins that applying the loose pigments with a fingertip makes the pigment go exactly where I want it to. Then I spray it to make sure it sticks. However my finger is often bigger than I want when applying the shadow and it can look a bit messy.

Enter the cotton swab. It gives you the same rounded end as your finger tip but is much smaller. To use I spray it down with setting spray and dip it into the pigment before applying. Because the cotton tip is a solid bit of cotton, there are no bristles to spray pigment anywhere but what you put it. You can apply even pressure during application and if you spray down the clean end with setting spray, you can clean up any fallen flecks of pigment with little to no hassle. Taking out the loose flecks means there is less pigment that can fall to your cheeks or slide down the sides of your nose.

Will there still be fall out? Possibly. some loose pigments do work better than others but eventually all of them will fall. By applying a base coat, whether of concealer or lid primer, using setting spray on the cotton swab and cleaning up the loose flecks and then spraying it down with setting spray when your look is complete, you can have better control and lessen the amount that falls throughout your wear time.

I’m sure that trained makeup artists have their own way of doing things (and it is probably better) but for those of you who are like me, an amateur enthusiast who just likes playing around, I hope you find this useful. After all, professional or not, we all deserve to sparkle.

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.



Let’s talk reusable…

For a while now I have been trying to reduce the amount of waste I produce. Some of it has taken only a bare minimum of thought. Packing boxes shredded and added to the garden compost or to lay under garden beds to prevent weeds from poking through. Refillable water bottles. I have to say as I do like carbonated water, my Soda Stream has been fantastic for this. I use the Soda Stream to make the bubbles and dispense it into an actual glass to drink instead of actually drinking from the Soda Stream bottle which causes that bottle to last a bit longer as well. To be honest I just use the carbonated water, I haven’t tried any of their actual flavors although I keep meaning to. I might put that on my list next time we reorder tanks.

However, while I lower the level of disposable water bottles and for the most part contain the trash from most of my subscription boxes, my bathroom does produce a lot of waste. I have been working to combat that. While I adore the ease of makeup wipes (well the good ones anyway) I have stopped using them.. Occasionally I will get a pack in a subscription box, and i can’t lie, they are usually a treat. They really are quite convenient. However, I have stopped purchasing them individually.

Instead I use my Makeup Eraser, they come in all shapes and sizes. I generally have one that has no makeup on it that I use for general touch ups (both wet and dry) and I use another Makeup Eraser to take off the makeup. At the end of the week I will use the one I kept clean to remove that day’s makeup and then chuck everything into the wash. I really want to get a set of the smaller seven packs of makeup erasers so that I can start each day with a fresh one, but the system I am currently using works really well.

The next item that I have been working on eliminating are the disposable cotton rounds. I use quite a few of them in a day. I’ve tried several different types of rounds but none of them worked quite right to replace the rounds for me until I received the Magnitone Wipe Out Swipes in a Look Fantastic box. I recently (as in arrived yesterday) received another set in a Birchbox so I now have six to rotate around. I’ll probably still order a full set of six ($20 on Birchbox – I can’t find the small Swipes anywhere else. The makeup removing cloths are everywhere, but not the Swipes)

So why do I like the Magnitone Wipe out Swipes?

The first is the size. You can see in the photo the size of the Magnitone Swipes compared to other replaceable rounds that I have tried. The Magnitone rounds are the same size as a normal cotton round, while the other reusable wipes are much larger. Now I know that sounds strange, but bigger isn’t always better. The larger rounds are a bit too large to use for things like toner (my primary use for the cotton rounds) They roll up when used and just aren’t as easy because they are too large. At the same time, they are too small to remove makeup. The larger rounds are just an awkward to use size and if I am going to replace the rounds I needed something that worked as well.

The Magnitone Swipes are the same size as the cotton rounds. So that starts off as a plus. They are very soft on the skin. My one issue with them is that they can be a little too absorbent. I have found with things like toner, putting the product on the cloth just means you have to use a little more product. At the moment I am using a spray toner So it isn’t an issue, I spray my face and use the round to pat it in and make sure there is no excess. With Essences, the other item I generally use rounds to apply, I’ve actually stopped using any rounds and dispensed the essence into my hand then applied it to my face. I’ve just found that any essence absorbed is too much. it doesn’t matter if it is a reusable round or not, I just use my hands so that if anything else absorbs the essence products it is my hands and not some sort of cloth.

In general the most difficult thing I have found about switching to reusable products like the Magnitone Swipes and Makeup Erasers is finding a place to put the used ones. I just keep a small plastic container under the sink and drop the used ones in along with my washcloths which I change out during the week as well. I find that it gives the washcloths and used rounds and Makeup Erasers a place to live and to dry out.

The drying is the big issue. I didn’t want to add the wet cloth to my laundry basket. In the plastic bin they can dry out together and not cause musty moldy sorts of issues. I just need to remember to add it to the laundry when I am ready to wash. I will say that while the set that just arrived is new, I have been using and washing the Magnitone Rounds I have for over a month now (they came in February) and they have come out of the general wash looking as clean as new and with no wear showing at this point. I’m sure there will come one wash too many and they will need to be replaced, but for the moment, they are holding up quite well.

There are a multitude of reusable products out there that can help you cut down on waste. These are some of the ones that really work the best for me. I clearly haven’t tried all of the products out there and will no doubt try more, but this is what works for me right now. I’m sure you will find what works for you. If there is one piece of advice that I would give to anyone who is trying to use more reusable products in their bathroom routine it is to find a designated landing spot for the used reusable items to stay between use and washing. when the reusable pads came in just added them to the jar where I was keeping cotton rounds and didn’t think about it until I had a pile of used rounds and nowhere to put them. For a while I wasn’t using them simply because I didn’t like piling them up behind the fawcett and didn’t want to ut damp cloth in the laundry basket. Having that designated spot to put them really helps incorporate the reusable rounds into a process. Once you have a process it can become routine. Routines become habits and before you know it, reusable is the way you live.

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Makeup Eraser

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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.


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.


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