Monday, March 28, 2011

Review: Crown Brushes

A little more than one month ago, I bought crown brushes from a shop called Jordane Cosmetics.  Prior to purchasing, I did my research.  I've read all sorts of good and bad stuff about the crown brushes, so I was really eager to try them out and see for myself.  I bought 4 brushes and have been using them since.

The Kabuki brush SS016 (Syntho) cost me $19.12 CAD.  IMO, the price is so-so.  It's not too expensive but it's not cheap either.  I like how the brush is soft, which is expected from a synthetic brush.  I've washed it at least 5 times with a bar of soap and probably 1-2 pieces of hair fell out.  There wasn't a distinct smell when I first bought it.  I use this brush to apply my MAC Mineralize Skinfinish powder and MUFE HD microfinish powder.  It's a great brush to apply both powder as it picks up the product quite well.  It does leave a very nice finish.  Now the one problem I have with it is the size.  I kinda wish I got the flat top kabuki brush.  Compared to the surface area that a flat top kabuki brush covers, this rounded one doesn't cover as much and actually needs a bit more work to buff in the powders on my skin.  Plus, it's a harder to get in areas like the sides of your nose, which the flat top kabuki could probably do better.  I just feel like I could have got the flat top kabuki to work a lot better and efficient, which makes me feel like I should drop by Jordane Cosmetics and get one the next time I'm in the area. 

Product: SS016 (Syntho) Deluxe Ultra Soft Kabuki Brush
Rating: 4 / 5
-  Bristles are very soft
-  Buffs powder into the skin quite well
-  Picks up product
-  Few to no hair fall out

-  Covers a small surface area
-  Hard to buff certain areas

The Contouring Blush brush C405 (Studio Pro) cost me $8.99 CAD.  I think this brush is affordable and worth it.  It's made of natural hair, and it's soft.  It doesn't feel scratchy on my face.  I did experience some hair fall outs and one or two pieces of hair stick out (but it won't come out).  IMO, I think the size is perfect.  I don't own the MAC angle brush but I have seen it in stores and I think this MAC dupe is smaller.  Compared to my MAC 168sh, the bristles of the MAC dupe is way softer.  The ferrule and handle doesn't feel like they're cheaply made, like it's not falling apart.  When I first bought this, it did have a smell and it still kinda does but not noticeable.  In terms of application, I only use it for blush so far.  I've only used it with my MAC blush and it doesn't pick up a lot of the product.  However, I can use this brush to build up the colour on my cheeks.  As a matter of fact, I've been using the MAC Briar Rose from Venomous Villains collection which is a colour that's vibrant and stands out.  I don't like applying a whole lot of this colour on my cheeks because then I look like a clown.  I just lightly apply some on, which this brush can do really well, as it doesn't pick up that much product.  Then again, I think it's the quality of the MAC blush.  I've tried to swatch it on my finger and not even my finger can pick up the colour that well.

Product: C405 (Studio Pro) Contour Brush
Rating: 5 / 5
-  Soft bristles
-  Great size
-  Overall brush is not bad quality, so it's worth it
-  Picks up the right amount of product

-  Nothing I can think of

The C213 (Studio) Chisel Mini Smudger Brush cost me $2.39 CAD.  I've used this brush to smudge out my eyeliner and apply eyeshadow close to my upper and lower lashline.  The brush smudges out eyeliner quite well.  It also picks up eyeshadow pretty well.  It's not scratchy so it doesn't irritate my skin.  I haven't experienced a hair fallout from this brush.  I like how small its size is, it makes it easier to work with.  The handle and ferrule are not fragile, so it's pretty sturdy.

Product: C213 (Studio) Chisel Mini Smudger Brush
Rating 5 / 5
-  No hair fallout
-  Picks up product
-  Smudges eyeliner, not harsh on the eye 

- Nothing I can think of

Finally the last brush I bought was PP27 (Perfectly Pink) Bullet Crease Brush that cost me $2.63 CAD.  It's a great brush for the crease, as it's bristles are cut with a pointy edge.  Unfortunately, this brush was not as soft as the others and there were fallouts.  More fallouts than the other ones.  I believe they are natural bristles.  Again the handle and ferrule are held together pretty sturdy.  It has no problem picking up eyeshadows.  It's a great size brush for the crease, as it's not quite meant for blending out shadows.

Product: PP27 (Perfectly Pink) Bullet Crease Brush
Rating: 4 / 5
-  Great size
-  No issue with picking up product

-  Not as soft bristles
-  Hair fall outs

Overal review of Crown Brushes
Rating: 4.5 / 5
-  Brushes are way more affordable
-  Good quality
-  Very few to no hair fallouts or bristles breaking off
-  Great alternative to MAC brushes
-  Offers a large selection of brushes

-  No major cons I can think of

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Haul: Ardene Jewelry

Ok, honestly, throughout high school I didn't like purchasing jewelry from Claire's or Ardene because I felt their quality wasn't that great and I preferred real jewelry - i.e. gold, silver, platinum, etc - because they were worth it.  But after going through university and under the influence of friends, I changed.  Every time we had a themed party, we'd hit the road and bus to a closeby Ardene and pick up some jewelry or accessory to accessorize ourselves for the themed party.  And sometimes, we'd go there just to buy some stylish jewelry.  So this trend just grew on me.

Lately, I've been reading fashion blogs and noticed the trend for rings.  Rings that are big, bulky and makes a statement.  I'm kinda liking it.  So I went to the mall yesterday and there was an Ardene, so I went in and found some rings that I find I could wear with majority of my clothes.  I have to choose rings with care because I have small and short fingers so if I wear big bulky rings, they could potentially make my fingers look even shorter.  LOL Like I don't know what it is, but my fingers decided to stop growing after grade 7.  =|

Anyways, Ardene always have pretty good deals.  For their rings, they were 3 for $10. Sunglasses were 3 for $15.  Bracelets, necklaces and earrings were 3 for $10.  And I think hair accessories were 5 for $10.  Plus, they accept SPC (Student Price Card) which is a discount card that you can present to numerous stores to receive a discount, along with your student card if they ask for it.  Some places don't ask for it, but I was carded yesterday.  The girl probably thought I was too old to be in school.  LOL You get 10% off your purchase, so for me, as opposed to $10, I got a $1 discount and paid $9 plus tax which came up to $10.17 CAD.

The sad part of these rings is the discoloration after long use.  But I guess it's wear and tear, so after long use, the shiny silver coating deteriorates and turns dull.  Then again, I don't think I'll keep them around once it does turn dull.

Haul: EOS Lip Balms

Yesterday, I was on my way back from school so I decided I'd drop by a RW & Co. store (a clothing store) to pick up some EOS lip balms.  The store was having a "buy one get second half off" sale.  So I bought 3 different flavors of EOS lip balms and one EOS hand lotion.  Each lip balm originally cost $6 CAD and the lotion cost $4.99 CAD, tax not included.  I picked up the lotion last minute because I didn't know about their promo until I reached the cash and the sales told me their sale.  It's quite pricey for a small bottle of lotion but I guess there's a price to pay for a natural and paraben-free product.  Even the lip balms were a little pricey but I have been wanting EOS lip balms for a good 3-4 months.  I've tried looking in a few Shoppers Drug Mart but never found it, so I gave up and found out through some online forums that I could go on the EOS website and find the exact places that carry the lip balms.  I searched under the store locator, minimizing my search by selecting 'lip balms' and typing in my city.  I've already opened the red EOS lip balm which is in the favor of Summer Fruit.  The sales was telling me the red ones were sold the fastest, which didn't surprise me as it's more fruity scented.

Review: Evian Spray

So back in January, I bought two small travel-sized cans of Evian facial spray from Sephora.  I used to use it back in high school, but then I stopped and now I'm using it again.  I've tried using it with and without makeup on. 

It is a natural mineral water facial spray that moisturizes, refreshes and tones your skin.  It "increases your skin hydration by 14%, helps to fix your make-up and offers you constant freshness and purity." It's made in France.  It has an expiration date, January of 2013.

Well does the product do what it claims to do? Yes.  Without makeup, it does feel refreshing after one spray, it does make my skin feel moisturized and toned.  I think the refreshing effect will be even more predominant during summer.  The word 'tone', to me, means tightening your pores and brightening your complexion.  And I do feel like it does that to my skin.  With makeup, I used this product as a finishing touch.  I hold it about 15-20 cm away from my skin and give my skin a quick swirly spray.  But no matter how quick or how far I hold it, excess droplets of water always sits on my skin.  Well then again, the package does say to wait a few seconds, then dab away.  But even so, I don't like the idea of having to dab away because it makes me feel like I'll dab away my makeup.  I knew this facial spray worked because I have a problematic skin issue on my nose.  The skin on my nose is every-so-often peeling off and it really annoys me because my foundation doesn't blend in.  So I just spray a little of the Evian, let it sit there for a few seconds, then dab any excess away.  So it does fix my foundation makeup, not necessarily make my makeup stay on longer like the MAC Fix+ is supposedly suppose to do.

On a side note, I do spray a little of Evian on my stippling brush prior to using because I find it gives a better application and finish.

Product: Evian facial spray
Rating: 4 / 5

- Moisturizing, refreshing and tones my skin
- Fixes my foundation makeup

- Excess water forms droplets on my skin and I have to dab away the excess, making me feel like I'm dabbing away my makeup

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Reviving Urban Decay Primer Potion

A few months ago, I did a post on how I depot my UDPP which I then stored into a small container.  But now, the problem is drying out.  When UDPP dries out, it doesn't blend into your skin as well.  So I came up with spritzing some Evian facial spray and mixing it in the UDPP.  Results? It does revive the creamier texture and it lasted almost 12 hours on my lids without creasing.  Usually, 12 hours is enough but the original, not dried out version of the UDPP could last even longer than 12 hours on my eyelids without creasing.
For those who have UDPP or MAC paint pots, you can help slow down its drying rate by storing it upside down. 

I haven't tried other alternatives but I would assume MAC Fix+ would work too.
Left: UDPP swatch
Right: Blended UDPP
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