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Favorite Makeup Mirrors

July 24, 2019

Best Makeup Mirrors for Your Vanity: Simplehuman and Glamcor

Today I have a roundup of my favorite light-up mirrors for makeup application that I think are worth the splurge. If you don’t have consistently good natural light in your home or have a fully enclosed bathroom with no windows having a mirror with good lights makes a world of difference with makeup application. I’ve opted for smaller or more portable ones because they’re easier for me to move around. The ones with magnifying options are amazing for detail things like tweezing brows, applying liquid liner or mascara, etc. In today’s review:

  • Simplehuman 8 Inch Sensor Mirror Pro in Rose Gold
  • Simplehuman Sensor Mirror Pro Wide
  • Riki Skinny Vanity Mirror by Glamcor
  • Anthropologie Gleaming Primrose Mirror

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Simplehuman 8 Inch Sensor Mirror Pro

Simplehuman Round Sensor Pro Mirror 8 inch

The Simplehuman 8 Inch Round Sensor Pro ($250) is one I bought from the Nordstrom sale a couple years ago. I have the 8 Inch Round Sensor Mirror Pro in Rosegold featured in this post. For this year Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale option is the silver color $150 on sale (regular price is $250).

  • Mirror itself is 8 inches with 5x magnification
  • Comes with a magnetic 10x detail mirror which you can remove and attach in the back when not in use (so you don’t lose or misplace it)
  • Multiple light settings which are enabled through the simplehuman app (link your mirror or devices)
  • Settings can be adjusted to turn off at different intervals (from 5 seconds to 10 minutes)
  • Height is either 14 or 17 inches depending which way you flip the mirror

There are different light settings but I’ve only used the auto brightness auto setting. For me the best part is the magnifying mirror which makes a world of difference to see your face up close! I love that these simplehuman mirrors are so well made. They aren’t flimsy like the plastic ones and since they are on the heavy side they’re super stable.

The 10x magnifying attachment is nice to have but not a must for me. If you’re also like me and don’t think you’ll need it there are options that come without this feature.

If you’re in the market for one of these, I recommend looking at the Simplehuman website first to do some research to check out the different models. There are several variations of the 8 inch round option and it’s nice to get all the specs and side by sides from their website and check what the latest model/version is. Some have an adjustable base, others have different magnification specs. Their products are available at multiple retailers so you can definitely shop around if you prefer other stores for points, shipping options or to see in person etc.

My 8 Inch Round Pro in Rose Gold below

Simplehuman Round Sensor Mirror Pro Review Rose Gold

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Simplehuman Sensor Mirror Pro Wide

Simplehuman Sensor Mirror Pro Wide View Review

As much as I love the round mirror and the magnifying power, the downside is that it’s hard to see your entire face. Sometimes it’s nice to be able to see your whole face rather than just a close up detail. The Simplehuman Sensor Mirror Pro Wide* does the trick with larger rectangular panels. It is quite the splurge at $400 (available at Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, Simplehuman and all Simplehuman retailers). Right now it is on sale at Nordstrom during the Anniversary Sale for $250. This one had been on my wish list for years and I held off for on this purchase because we did a lot of moving and traveling a couple years ago. Soon after we settled down into a new place I was ready to make the splurge but the simplehuman team reached out and gifted one. It was perfect timing. I am beyond thrilled to finally own one! I find the adjustable side panels really convenient so I can see the sides of my face easily. It’s large and on the heavy side but still easy to move around.

  • Wide sensor mirror with three panels
  • Middle panel measure approximately 10 inches tall by 13 inches wide (light strips are almost an inch wide each)
  • Side panels measure about 5.25 inches wide by 13 inches tall
  • Side panels are adjustable
  • Entire mirror bevels
  • Height is a little under 16 inches tall
  • Has different light settings and can mimic natural sunlight
  • Includes a magnetic attachment round mirror with 10x magnification

There are a few downsides to this mirror which aren’t a huge deal, but some I thought I’d mention based on my experience. One is the round magnetic mirror can only attach at the bottom portion of the center panel, it would be nice to move it around different areas. It is also fingerprint prone around the edges, but then again most mirrors are, so it’s not a deal breaker! It is on the heavy side but for me this is a must so it doesn’t get knocked over. I have a very naughty cat that likes to climb over everything and knock things over.

Simplehuman Sensor Mirror Pro Wide View Review via The Beauty Look Book

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Riki Skinny Mirror by Glamcor

Riki Skinny Vanity Mirror review via The Beauty Look Book

above with lights off

Another mirror I use everyday is the Riki Skinny Mirror by Glamcor ($195, available at Beautylish). It has a wide panel, lights around the edges and is skinny/compact enough to travel with. The stand and edging is plastic making it super lightweight but it’s still sturdy enough to have some weight. I’ve tried some mirrors from a few other brands to see if I could find a more budget friendly alternative. You can definitely find options for less, but to me they felt too lightweight and very flimsy.

  • Measures 9.5 wide by 13 inches tall, mirror portion is about 10 inches tall
  • Has five brightness settings
  • Comes with a 3x magnetic mirror attachment
  • Has a magnetic phone clip if you want to film yourself or take selfies
  • Comes with an adjustable stand

Riki Skinny Vanity Mirror review via The Beauty Look Book

above with lights on

The Riki mirror came packaged in a large sturdy cardboard box and everything was well protected with inserts so it arrived in perfect condition. I kept the box for a year or so but have since tossed it. Every time I travel I always wish I had this mirror with me. I haven’t figured out a way to pack it yet, but next time I do I will be sure to keep you posted.

I like this one because it’s easy to see my whole face. The stand makes it easy to adjust. I love that it’s lightweight but has a high quality mirror and light system. It’s held up remarkably well and the mirror hasn’t scratched even though it’s gone through a lot of moving. It is definitely a splurge and you can find cheaper alternatives on Amazon. I had a few that I tried from Impressions Vanity that were a fraction of the price. They’re good for the price, but the quality and stability is just not the same. For me this was worth the splurge 100%.

Riki Skinny Vanity Mirror review via The Beauty Look Book

There are other variations as well including a Riki Cutie and Skinny Pink Set, a Riki Tall Version (super spendy), and a Cutie Compact version.

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Anthropologie Gleaming Primrose Mirror

Favorite Spring Lip Bobbi Brown Crushed Liquid Lip

Last but not least is one that I’ve received so many questions about. I try to tag and label everything when I can but sometimes miss things here and there. This really isn’t a makeup mirror so it’s not part of my top three, but I get so many questions about this Anthropologie Gleaming Primrose Mirror I thought I’d do a quick FAQ. I bought the smallest version from Anthropologie online. It comes in a few other colors and size options. Mine is the 3′ option and measures 39.25 inches high and 39 inches wide. It is pretty heavy at 75 pounds. When I bought it I could not lift it myself, but thanks to some consistent weight training I can lift it all by myself now! I think it was 100% worth the splurge!

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Simplehuman Round Sensor Mirror Pro Review Rose Gold

For those who have been asking for an updated mirror roundup and review I hope you found this helpful! If you’re in the market for Simplehuman mirrors the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is a really good time to save on them. They do have a few deals during the holidays and past readers have found good coupons for Bed, Bath and Beyond.

 

If you have any makeup mirror favorites let me know in the comments! Would love to hear about the ones you’ve tried and your thoughts!

 

Beauty Tools

Top Makeup Brushes for the Face + Cheeks

June 24, 2019

Favorite Face Makeup Brushes

It’s been a while since I’ve done a makeup brush roundup so I have an updated one for you this week! I’ve always loved trying new brushes and makeup tools, even long before I started this beauty blog. Over the years I’ve tried a wide range of high-end brushes and because of the product testing and swatching I do I’ve acquired more than the average beauty lover. Many brushes can be multi-taskers these days so there is definitely no need to purchase a lot. I’d recommend building your tool set over time. Try a couple from a few brands and see how you like them, then build from there.

I’ve split the ones I use the most by category to help you find the tools best suited to your needs. Over the years many of my tried-and-true lines have revamped their makeup tools and changed materials to synthetics. Since I do take good care of my tools there are a number of older ones that I’ve kept and still use but in today’s roundup I’ve included ones you can still find.

Favorite Face Brushes and Tools

To care for my brushes I’ve tried a number of brush cleaners: liquid, solid, gels, baby shampoo, etc. To this day I find MAC’s Brush Cleaner to be one of the best as it truly cleans the brushes well, doesn’t leave a residue or lingering scent and doesn’t damage the brushes. However with the frequency I have to wash my brushes purchasing and repurchasing it gets really spendy. I tried Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Soaps as there were so many positive reviews about how good these were to clean your brushes. I tried the Unscented and Lavender, unfortunately my skin had an allergic reaction to both from residue that was on the brushes (they didn’t rinse out all the way, even with multiple rounds of warm water rinsing under the faucet). These days I rely on the Dawn Dish Soap diluted a with warm water in a bowl or the Dishwashing Foam and this gets my brushes clean without any residue. For sponges I still rely on the beautyblender solid as the best solid cleanser.

Onto my favorite brushes, up first are the ones I love for powder!

Powder Brushes

Best Powder Makeup Brushes from Hourglass, MAC, La Mer and Laura Mercier

Above from left to right:

  • Hourglass Ambient Powder Brush ($38) is one of the softest short-handled brushes I’ve used. It works well to dust any kind of powder evenly all over the face.
  • MAC 140S ($42) is the best dense powder brush, the fan shape allows you to cover larger areas of your face in fewer stokes.
  • La Mer Powder Brush ($85) was one of my biggest brush splurges, it’s so soft and plush! Works best for loose powder for me, but can also work with pressed.
  • Hourglass Veil Powder Brush ($64) has two ends, the larger side is for setting the entire face with loose (or pressed) powder, the smaller is designed for under the eye. I also use the small side for contouring powders. It’s soft and so fluffy.
  • Laura Mercier Powder Brush* ($52) is one of the nicest flatter wide brushes I’ve tried. A lot of flat/wide brushes I’ve tried in the past aren’t dense enough for my liking and don’t pick up enough product. This one has the perfect density.

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Blush and Highlighters

Best Blush and Highlighting Makeup Brushes

For me I will use a blush brush for highlighter and vice versa. Some of you may prefer a smaller brush for highlighter and that’s perfectly ok! The first three are ones I reach for the most for cheeks, the last three are smaller and less dense to apply a softer wash of color. Above from left to right:

  • Wayne Goss 11* ($48) is one he calls a buffing brush, all of his brushes are ultra soft and plush and pick up the perfect amount of product to apply to the face. You can use for powder or cream, I prefer for powder blush for the perfect wash of color.
  • Laura Mercier Cheek Color Brush* ($46) is a great synthetic cheek brush, it has a classic shape, runs on the flatter side, applies powder really well.
  • Chanel Blush* ($50) is a super dense and soft plush brush, I love that it’s dense but still flexible.
  • Laura Mercier Fan Brush* ($32) there are a lot of fan brushes on the market, to me they’re all pretty much the same for the bristles, but the handles are often super skinny and don’t feel hefty enough. Still there are a lot of excellent options to choose but I like Laura Mercier’s the best for dusting highlighter on the cheekbones.
  • Wayne Goss 14 Cheek Brush* ($33)
  • Chanel Precision Powder Brush* ($60) is a soft rounded brush perfect for soft contour or highlighting.

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Angled Brushes

Favorite Angled Makeup Brushes

Above from left to right:

  • MAC Angled 168SH and 168 ($35) have been in rotation for as long as I can remember! The short handle one has been discontinued but it comes back every once in a while. You might still be able to find it MAC stores. The current version is called 168S because they’ve changed to synthetics. I have tried the new version and it performs just as well as the originals.
  • NARS 21 Contour Brush ($42) is the brush I’m asked about the most anytime it’s featured in a blog post, on Instagram or stories. It’s one of the best dense angled brushes I’ve tried. I like that the size is a little wider than most making for easier application. I love a precise brush but sometimes I want something a little bigger for an easier sweeping motion.
  • Laura Mercier Angled Cheek Contour* ($46) is another great angled brush that’s nice for contouring.

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Skunk Brushes / Blending

Best Skunk Brushes Laura Mercier, MAC and Chanel

These fluffy duo fiber brushes are nice for soft buffing. You can use them for powder or creams. I was surprised to learn you can use these to buff in foundation! Above from left to right:

  • Laura Mercier Finishing* ($46) is the fluffiest, after washing it fluffs out the most.
  • MAC 187S* ($42) has changed slightly from the original 187, the S version is more dense vs. fluffy now. It’s still an excellent brush but these days I find it better for foundation or cream bronzers rather than powders.
  • Chanel Foundation Blending* ($50) I find this to be the best alternative to the original MAC187, it’s soft, fluffy and I prefer it for powders (but you can also use for foundation).

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Miscellaneous

Best Makeup Brushes Face

Above from left to right:

  • Wayne Goss 00 White ($85) is in my top two biggest splurges, next to the La Mer one. This was the first Wayne Goss brush I tried. I bought the black one many years ago and it served me well until I used a new brush cleaner (I can’t remember which one but it was a liquid one I got at a trade show) and it made the black color bleed. Even after it dried it left streaks on my skin. I bought the white one when it came out the next year and it’s one of the softest tapered brushes I own. It is 100% worth the splurge.
  • Tom Ford Foundation ($72) is also another spendy splurge, I bought this as part of a brush set many many years ago and it’s held up remarkably well. It’s one of the best streak-free brushes I own.
  • Laura Mercier Bronzer Brush* ($46) is the second most asked about brush I have. Anytime it’s featured dozens of you want to know which brush it is. I’ve gone through so many bronzer brushes and there are a lot of excellent options. My most reached for is this one.
  • Laura Mercier Blending Brush* ($46) is a smaller denser version of the bronzer option, it’s smaller so better for buffing and blending.
  • beautyblender Nude ($20) is my favorite foundation tool for any foundation formula. I like the nude the best because the dye never bleeds into the sink. I’ve never had issues with any of the other ones staining the skin, but sometimes with the pink ones you will see pink color run through the sink with the first rinse.

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I hope this roundup with side by side photos helps give you a reference point on size and density! While there is no single brand that has all the tools I want, if I had to pick one brand of face brushes to use for the rest of my life it would either be Wayne Goss or Laura Mercier.

When it comes to travel a lot of you want to know how I pack my brushes. There’s no hard set rule I go by when packing tools. I’ve tried a number of brush pouches like the MustaeV Bloom Pouch, Make Up For Ever Pouch, the Clearly MAC Rectangle etc. For the past few trips I’ve thrown my tools into the Truffle Clarity Jetset Case and it’s perfect for my needs (see it in action here). I fit everything shown below into the pouch without any issue. If you’re worried about the debris getting the case dirty just layer in a little tissue. The plastic cleans easily from powder contact. If you use anything cream based though I recommend you wrap those tools in tissue if you can’t clean it before you pack.

Truffle Clarity Jetset Case and Makeup Brushes | The Beauty Look Book

That wraps up my favorite brush tools post! What are your favorite tools?

 

 

Press samples have a * next to them. Others purchased by me.

Beauty Favorites Beauty Tools

Best Beauty Tools and Accessories 2017

December 31, 2017

Best Beauty Tools and Accessories | Beauty Look Book

This is the last post of the 2017 where I round up my best beauty tools and accessory finds of the year. Ideally I’d love to find just one brush line that has all the tools I need but I have yet to find one. These are my favorites from this year. Press samples listed with a *.

Best Beauty Tools and Accessories 2017

  • The Daily Edited Large Cosmetic Bag –  Taupe shown, I also have it in Black (shown here and here). This is one of my best makeup bag buys. I reviewed it in more depth with my Travel Beauty Cases post and mentioned that while it’s super functional and sturdy the quality isn’t 100%. I still find that for the price, the shape and size is really good and both have served me well this year.
  • Away Mini Suitcase * – These came back this year and sold out super fast! I tried to review as soon as they came out and hope you were able to buy one! It’s not really intended for just beauty, but you can carry pretty much anything small inside. Review and interior shown here. I really hope they bring this back permanently!
  • Glamcor Riki Skinny Vanity Mirror from Beautylish – This mirror is one of the best things I’ve tried, it lights up with adjustable brightness. It also comes with a stand to prop up and the center is magnetized to hold a magnifying mirror and cell phone holder to do lit selfies. I’ve been a longtime fan of simplehuman sensor mirrors, but with the round ones you have to get up close to see your face and often times you can’t see your entire face. This one from Glamcor doesn’t have the same quality magnification as simplehuman, but sometimes all you need is a larger mirror with lights to do your makeup. It’s portable enough that I’ve been taking it with me each move.
  • Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer – Best hairdryer splurge ever. My review here and yes 100% worth every penny.
  • Tatcha Original Aburatorigami Japanese Beauty Papers – The only blotting papers I use as they absorb excess oil without disturbing your makeup. Also love that there’s no powder on it like some others so it won’t leave the face looking dusty or white. In San Diego one would do the trick. In Florida sometimes I needed 3, but even when soaked with sweat they don’t fall apart or disintegrate.
  • Glamboxes Glamboard Tray – This isn’t new to me this year but I’ve found it great to hold beauty essentials that I need in the moment. Sometimes I just want a tray that can hold what I need for a full face and this does the trick. Any small tray will do but this has pull out drawers that can expand across a sink if you do your makeup in the bathroom and don’t want things rolling around your counter.
  • MAC Full Lash Curler – The best lash curler I’ve used for a long time since my favorite one from Chanel was discontinued. The MAC ones perform well without pinching the sides of my eyes.
  • beautyblender original and beautyblender nude – These are the best makeup sponges and I find that they work better than any foundation brush. You can find a better value in their Gold Mine Set which is limited-edition. They often have value sets or packs so I’d recommend you opt for those instead since they can be spendy.
  • Wayne Goss Makeup Brushes * are available exclusively at Beautylish. I’ve been so impressed with every single one I’ve tried. The quality is excellent, they’re super soft, there is never any poking on the face. The sets are expensive but every single brush is well made and very functional for flawless makeup application. They really do perform better than your average brush. Also if you buy brushes from any line individually they’re going to add up in price so if you break it down they’re actually very reasonably priced.
  • Chanel Makeup Brushes * were redesigned this year. I was really impressed with the new sleek design and quality. my favorite three are the Precision Powder Brush, Flat Eyeshadow Brush and Eye Contouring Brush. Full review of the lineup here.
  • MAC Brush 239 (now 239S) – The 239 is a classic but has recently been discontinued. All the brushes are being redesigned/relaunched in a Synthetic Version. Online at MAC the product says “coming soon” but you may be able to find them in MAC stores now. It’s where I found mine and it performs the same as the original version. This is the classic eyeshadow brush for me because of the shape and density!
  • MAC Brush 140S – Best large flat powder brush I tried this year.
  • La Mer The Powder Brush – Best loose powder brush I’ve ever tried as well, worth the splurge to me because it’s sooooo soft and plush!
  • Last but not least, this isn’t really a beauty tool or accessory but I had to include it, the Barefoot Dreams Cozy Chic Throw was the best splurge of the year and a lot of their items are on sale for 20% off right now at Nordstrom (not sure how long this is going on). It’s the softest and warmest blanket I’ve ever bought and so cozy.

That wraps up my Best Beauty Tools and Accessories 2017 roundup for the year! I’m doing one last giveaway for the year, I’m picking 5 people to win one $75 eGift Card to Sephora (US). Enter through the widget below! Open internationally but you must be 18 years or older to qualify for an entry. I’ll pick a winner within 48 hours after the giveaway ends by e-mail. I usually ship prizes within a week. Not sponsored or affiliated.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Beauty Tools Chanel

Chanel Makeup Brushes – New Design

August 9, 2017

Chanel Makeup Brushes New Design 2017 | The Beauty Look Book

Chanel recently revamped their makeup brushes with a new sleek look and the ones I’ve tested are extremely well made. I had quite a few from the previous design and they’ve lasted for years. The new ones have definitely improved with a softer feel and more luxurious application. These are currently exclusive to Chanel.com and they’ve pulled all the older styles from their site.

There are four face and cheek brushes I tested. All exceeded my expectations in terms of performance and application of powders and creams.

Chanel Makeup Brushes | The Beauty Look Book Shown above from left to right:

  • 2-in-1 Liquid and Powder Brush ($50) is essentially the same as the original design in shape and size. This works extremely well for streak-free foundation coverage. I tested this on the Chanel Sublimage Le Teint and it provides a flawless application. It’s very soft and makes it easy to layer and blend liquids.
  • Blush Brush ($50, made in Japan) is one of the most dense fluffy blush brushes I’ve tried. I feel like I can almost use it for powder. For blush it picks up the perfect amount of product for a single sweep on the cheeks. It’s dense but still extremely soft and isn’t too dense.
  • Foundation-Blending Brush ($50, made in France) is essentially like the previous version and also similar to MAC’s 187 Duo Fibre Brush but with all black hairs. It’s not quite as dense as the previous version or MAC’s but large and fluffy and extremely soft.  It is softer than both previous versions. I’ve had this used on me for liquid foundation blending and buffing which works extremely well. I tend to use this for powders or highlighters. It’s a versatile brush though so you can really use it any way you want.
  • Precision Powder Brush ($60, made in Japan) is an extremely soft tapered face brush perfect for contours or detail powder application. I tried it as an all over face powder brush and it’s a bit small for big sweeping strokes. It is however great for detail application like on the nose or cheekbone area. It’s so soft and plush and picks up product beautifully. I’ve used this for bronzer and soft contouring.

 

Chanel Makeup Brushes Face and Cheek | The Beauty Look BookFor the eyes the brush options have improved significantly. Unfortunately I didn’t keep the boxes of all the brushes but for the ones I have I’ll list where they were made.

Chanel Eye Brushes New Design | The Beauty Look Book

Shown above from left to right. Quick note at the moment on the Chanel.com website a couple of these are switched in the image: the Eyeshadow-Blending Brush and Rounded Eyeshadow Brush images are switched for the names. I emailed them and they said they fixed it but based on the product names they have not. I would go by the brush name which I confirmed by checking the box they came in.

  • Eye Contouring Brush ($32, made in France) is a detail brush perfect for a precise line with powder shadows. It’s described as one you can use to apply eyeshadow to the eye contour but to me it seems too small and tiny for that purpose. As a small liner brush it’s excellent and there’s no poking.
  • Rounded Eyeshadow Brush ($28, made in Japan) is the new version of Chanel’s previous #19 brush. Thew new design is significantly softer in material but just as dense. It’s perfect for smudging the eyeshadow.
  • Flat Eyeshadow Brush ($38, made in France) in the new version is much better than the previous one. In the older format this brush had more coarse bristles while the new one has the same shape/size but it’s more dense and a lot softer in finish. For me it’s the perfect size for lid application. I’m going to order a few more.
  • Eyeshadow Blending Brush ($38, made in Japan) is a soft fluffy brush you can use on the lids or crease. It’s pretty standard but well made along the lines and quality of the ones from Wayne Goss Eye Set.
  • Retractable Dual Tip Eye-Contouring Brush ($42) is a double ended brush for smudging shadows or defining them. I’ve used this on both powders and creams and it works really well. I love that it comes with retractable portions and caps to keep the bristles pristine if you store them in a jar or travel.
  • Retractable Dual Tip Eyeshadow Brush ($42) is a double ended brush with a fluffy shadow brush and more precise shadow brush on the other end. This is the perfect duo for me. It has my two favorite shapes in one brush. It’s extremely soft without any poking.

A quick look at the original vs new for the ones I own, original ones have the silver handles:

Chanel Makeup Brushes Old vs New Version | The Beauty Look Book

A quick look at the brushes next to product for size reference:

Chanel New Brushes Sizing | The Beauty Look Book

For the face and cheek brushes, items shown are the Hourglass Ambient Diffused Palette (review here), Hourglass Ambient Lighting Diffused Bronzer (review here), Chanel Joues Contraste Blush, Armani Luminous Silk Compact #4, Chanel Les 4 Ombres Jardins Eclat (swatched here), Ombre Premiere in Talpa (swatched here), Marc Jacobs Eye-Conic Multi-Finish Palette in Glambition.

Chanel Makeup Brushes New Design | The Beauty Look Book

Overall the brushes are excellent. They have a more modern updated look and quality and performance wise it’s definitely an improvement or upgrade from the previous ones. The face brushes seem to be a bit on the pricey side but they are well made and perform well. Based on how long mine have lasted from the previous launch I do think they are a good investment as the ones I bought have lasted for years (I’m guessing at least 5 years).

Bottom line definitely worth looking into!

You can find the newly revamped makeup brushes online at Chanel.com.

Most brushes featured in this post were provided for review consideration. Ones purchased by me include the Rounded Eye Shadow Brush, Flat Eye Shadow Brush and both dual-ended brushes.

Beauty Favorites Beauty Tools

Favorite Eye Makeup Brushes and Tools

July 19, 2017

Best Eye Makeup Brushes | The Beauty Look Book

By popular request I have an updated roundup of my beauty tools. So many of you have asked me what the best tools are for eye makeup and I’ve often referenced older posts. I was going through some recently and it’s hard to believe the last round up posts were done three years ago! Time literally flies! I’ve been building my brush collection for many years (for over a decade) and yet I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface of the tools out there. When it comes to makeup brushes and tools I’m a creature of habit. For the longest time I’ve stuck with tried and true staples from MAC because they’re consistent in quality, they have kept the same designs for years and they get the job done. I have explored a lot of other brands over the years and today I have an updated roundup of the best eye makeup tools I own.

If I could just stick with one collection/brand I would – unfortunately no single brand has everything I want. I’ve split these into categories by shape/function. Also note that I don’t have a crease on my lids so I don’t use a crease brush like most would. I do a lot of blending to get a gradient or wash with neutral colors and then I also have a lot of detail brushes I use. I do realize this is a bit of a long list – I’ve included different options from a small handful of brands I really love as some of you may have different preferences for shape, brush size, handle size/width etc.  I’ll round up my top picks at the end of the post as well.

Up first are the basic shadow/lid brushes. I like ones that are soft but somewhat dense so I can pick up powders. A lot of these I use for creams as well even though synthetic brushes often work better – I like the soft texture and feel. Shown below from left to right:

  • Hakuhodo J242G ($18) is a hybrid goat and synthetic fibers making it versatile for all products. It’s a smaller size making it easy to pack on color on the lids.
  • Hakuhodo B J004G ($20) is my favorite one for the lids, it’s made of goat hair and extremely soft. This is the best lid color brush I have – it picks up the perfect amount of color and blends powders seamlessly.
  • MAC 239SH ($25) is also another favorite, it’s one of my most-used brushes, the SH version is exclusive to MAC stores and online. It’s soft and dense and perfect for packing product on the lids. It’s not as soft as the Hakuhodo but still very good.
  • MAC 239 ($25) is the full size version, I like that both the full and short handle have the same size bristles.
  • Chanel Blender/Shader ($42) is a new double ended brush that’s super soft with a nice fluffy feel. The small end is also dense but fluffy, the larger side is perfect for blending.
  • Wayne Goss 18 (old, discontinued) is unfortunately discontinued but was the best option that was slightly larger than the MAC 239.
  • Chanel Large Eye Shadow Brush #25 ($38) is another great option that’s larger than the MAC 239, it’s not as dense and slightly more loose in how its packed, note that all the Chanel brushes with the silver handles (ones in the current collection) are going to be discontinued. New ones will be introduced around the 24th so if you have any current options on your wishlist you should buy them soon.
  • Marc Jacobs Beauty The Conceal ($30) is actually a concealer brush (which it’s great for) but I really love this one for cream shadows. It has a beveled/angled tip so it makes the creams apply easily to the lids.

Eye Makeup Brushes Lids and Wash | The Beauty Look Book

Out of all of these my top two are the MAC 239 and Hakuhodo B J004G. I have multiples of both kinds and they’re probably the most versatile brushes I own.

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Next are the blending brushes good for a light sweep of color, for blending or a nice wash. With some of these you will probably be able to use as a crease brushes too. I prefer the ones with white hair as they’re usually soft and super fluffy. They’re small enough so there’s some density to them. Often times I find the darker ones are a bit too loose in the way they are designed. Shown below from left to right:

  • Edward Bess Luxury Eye Brush ($40) is my favorite large domed fluffy brush because of the density. It’s perfect for sweeping color on the lids for a nice wash and it’s also a great blending brush.
  • MAC 217 (also available in 217SH) ($25) is another great basic blending brush because of the softness. It’s perfect for blending out colors. For the longest time this was my favorite until I tried Tom Ford, Hakuhodo and Wayne Goss.
  • Wayne Goss 18 (from the Eye Set $130, individual $27) in terms of quality, I feel Wayne Goss has among the best brushes. They’re right up there with Tom Ford. #18 is the closest option to MAC 217.
  • Hakuhodo J5523 ($19) is made of goat hair and the equivalent of MAC 217. This one is far better in terms of how it picks up color and blends it out.
  • Wayne Goss 17 (from the Eye Set $130, individual $28) is a smaller sized fluffy brush, good for detail blending or crease blending.
  • Wayne Goss 16 (from the Eye Set $130, individual $30) is a bit longer and bigger than #18. This is a good all around blending brush.
  • Tom Ford 13 ($57) is a fluffy blending brush good for blending things up on the lid for a nice gradient. In my opinion Tom Ford brushes are the best brushes I own.
  • Tom Ford 11 ($57) is the ultimate wash brush. It applies the perfect amount of color to the lids and is super soft in feel. They’re really well made. The ones I have are made with natural bristles – at an event in the spring I was told Tom Ford was moving towards making brushes with synthetic materials but I haven’t received confirmation of when or if it has happened yet.
  • Hakuhodo J220G ($24) is a larger fluffy flat brush made of goat and synthetic fiber. I like this one and use it a lot but it’s not as dense as other ones so I prefer the other ones for density and this one for it’s size on some occasions.
  • Bobbi Brown Eye Sweep ($37) is a classic large dense fluffy round brush.
  • MAC 227SH (discontinued, $32) has been discontinued unfortunately, it’s more dense than the Bobbi Brown, but for now the BB is the next best option.

Best Blending Brushes MAC, Hakuhodo, Bobbi Brown | The Beauty Look Book

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For detail brushes my long-time go to has been the MAC 219 Pencil Brush which I’ve had for years. Unfortunately I lost mine either in the move or while traveling (but sometime in the past few months) and never got around to replacing it. It’s the best all around smudge or lining brush I’ve had but there are still quite a few others that are really good. Shown below from left to right:

  • Wayne Goss 08 (from the Anniversary Set $225, individual $17) is the tiniest detail brush I own. It’s perfect for getting into the tiny corners of the line or right along the lashes. It’s stiff but not harsh on the eyes.
  • Bobbi Brown Eye Definer (one shown is a special-edition one from a holiday set, but same as regular one) ($34) is a classic angled brush you can use for powder or gel liners. It’s also a good one for brows.
  • Wayne Goss 07 (from the Anniversary Set $225, individual $17) is the softest mini smudge brush, perfect for a smokey eye or blending out colors along the lash line.
  • Tom Ford 15 (discontinued) is the best smudge brush I have, unfortunately it’s discontinued.
  • Wayne Goss 05 (from the Anniversary Set $225, individual $20) is a super soft pencil brush, it picks up color a lot better than the MAC Pencil, but it’s smaller in size so not quite the same.
  • Laura Mercier Corner Eye Brush ($26) has been discontinued in most places, you can still find it online at a few stores right now like Bluemercury. It’s a good corner eye brush that gets color in tiny spaces with precise application but it’s large enough you can blend it out a little.
  • Hakuhodo G5514 ($17) is another great detail pencil brush to get that soft smokey eye.

Best Detail Brushes | The Beauty Look Book

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Misc brushes and tools shown below:

  • Chanel Large Tapered Blending Brush 19 ($38) this originally came in the brown natural hair, then was released in a white version, but not it appears it’s back to the brown. I have both and they both perform the same. This is a good detail blending brush – I use it for under the eye when I want a very soft diffused line or to blend out shadows along the upper lash line. It’s soft and blends colors perfectly. The shape is perfect. At this time I don’t have the full list of what brushes will be coming out around the 24th, but if this is on your list I recommend you get it soon as Chanel will be phasing out their current brushes and replacing them with a new line.
  • MAC 226 (discontinued) is the best small to medium blending brush, why they discontinued it is a mystery to me because there’s none other like it! For now one of the Wayne Goss brushes from The Eye Set (scroll up) will perform the same way, if not better because of the material it’s made of. However this one is still a really good one.
  • Wayne Goss 21 (from The Brow Set, $55) is the best brow brush for powders for me. I love that it’s wider than most and it’s super dense making it easier for me to get even application for both sides.
  • Surratt Eyelash Curler ($30) is one of the best curlers I own. It took me some time to learn to use because it’s so much wider than other brands. It performs really well.
  • MAC Eyelash Curler ($22) is my most-used lash curler. It always curls perfectly and I really like the shape.
  • Charlotte Tilbury Eyelash Curler ($22) is another good one that gets the job done without any pinching.

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That wraps up my favorite eye makeup brushes and tools post! I hope you found this helpful in case you’re looking for new tools. If I had to pick just one brand it would be nearly impossible to do – but at the moment it would probably be Wayne Goss but I’d have to add a couple from MAC. Overall great basics can be found from MAC – it’s easiest to find at stores and counters which means you can actually see and feel the brushes. For the longest time I didn’t buy brushes unless I could try them in person, but even when I lived in San Diego, I couldn’t find them all so finally had to order some sight unseen. There are a lot of great brush blogs out there so if you need more reference or comparison a google search will bring up some amazing reviews. Best quality and performance goes to Tom Ford, Wayne Goss and Hakuhodo. If I had to pick only 10 brushes to use for the rest of my life, it would be: MAC 239, MAC 217, Hakuhodo B J004, Hakuhodo J552, Edward Bess Luxury, Wayne Goss 07, Wayne Goss 08 and Wayne Goss 18.

What are your favorite tools?

Press samples include the Charlotte Tilbury Eye Lash Curler, Wayne Goss Eye Set and Anniversary Set brushes.

Beauty Tools Wayne Goss

Wayne Goss The Face Set and Eye Set Review

June 6, 2017

Wayne Goss The Face Set and The Eye Set | The Beauty Look Book

Wayne Goss has added new brush sets to his collection in a 6-piece Face Set ($250) and 5-piece Eye Set ($130). The Face Set actually launched in earlier this year back in  March and sold out within a few weeks. It’s scheduled to restock today at Beautylish at 10 AM PST/1 PM EST. In addition to the set, they’ll have each brush available for purchase separately. The Eye Set is still available as a set for now. I’m hoping they’ll consider launching them individually.

By now I’ve accumulated quite a few brushes from dozens of brands. I’ve found only a small handful of new launches different or unique enough to have that wow factor. The latest launch that really impressed me was the MAC 140S (best powder brush ever) but when it comes to brushes I feel like I’ve already found my favorites and I buy multiples of a few so I don’t have to wash them as often (especially when I have an armful of swatching that I do). Wayne Goss brushes however are completely different and I’ve been so impressed with every one I’ve tried from his line. If I had to start over my entire brush collection I would pick his brushes to do it. At first glance they seem like they could be standard brushes just with a well-designed size handle and shape. Once you put them on your face you will really see the difference in how soft and smooth they are. You’ll also notice that they pick up product better and application is SO MUCH better. For years I’ve loved and relied on MAC brushes, in particular the #217, 219 and 239 for the eyes. They’re classic staples and perform well, but once you’ve tried brushes from Wayne Goss, Hakuhodo or Chikuhodo you’ll be floored.

The brushes are handmade in Japan and are cruelty-free. A look at each set and a few comparisons for size/shape reference. I was sent these for review by the Beautylish team but I would have no hesitation splurging the full retail price on both sets. Up first is The Face Set which has 6 brushes.

Wayne Goss The Face Set review | The Beauty Look Book

From the bottom to top, these are designed for both powder and creams. I took a few of these with me on recent trips along with other brushes and these were ones I reached for the most. They’re unbelievably soft and layer product beautifully without disturbing what’s underneath. There are certain uses for each one, but I used each of these for almost anything: powder, blush, creams, highlight, etc.

  • 10 looks almost identical to 02, just with white natural hair, this is a tapered brush that you can use for highlighting
  • 11 is one I used for setting powder, Wayne Goss uses this for his buffing technique, I haven’t tried it that way yet, but I found it perfect to set powder (pressed and loose)
  • 12 is a flatter more dense brush but still fluffy, this is good for contouring and blending
  • 13 is another cream or powder brush, it’s a shorter almost dome like brush, I tried this with cream contours and it blends them out perfectly better than a sponge or fingers for a natural blurred finish
  • 14 is a light fluffy brush, I love this for more intense shimmers or blushes because it gives the face a light even wash of color
  • 15 is a fan brush, I rarely use fan brushes but this is another good one for a light wash/veil of color anywhere

Wayne Goss The Face Set review | The Beauty Look Book

Comparisons to:

Wayne Goss The Face Set Comparisons | The Beauty Look Book

Up next is The Eye Set. Out of the 5 brushes I thought I’d only really use 2 based on the shape. I gave them all a test run and found them surprisingly versatile.

Wayne Goss The Eye Set review | The Beauty Look Book

Shown from top to bottom:

  • 16 is a skinny tapered brush that you can use to sweep product all over the lids, it fluffs out a bit after you use it
  • 17 is similar to 16, but 17 is shorter and a tiny bit smaller with less of a point, this is a good blending brush
  • 18 is my favorite, it’s the widest that resembles the MAC 217 in shape and size, the softness is something you have to touch to really understand, it’s the perfect all over wash brush for me
  • 19 is a slim tapered brush I thought I wouldn’t use, but it’s great for precise blending and detail application
  • 20 was a surprise for me as well, I didn’t think this would be useful for my eye shape, but it’s a smaller version of 19 and the 20 is perfect for a soft smokey eye to line/smudge, it really doesn’t seem like it would work for that because of the length, but it’s just perfect

Close ups:

Wayne Goss The Eye Set review | The Beauty Look Book

Comparisons:

Wayne Goss The Eye Set comparisons | The Beauty Look Book

A look at how I tested each one with the Natasha Denona Sculpt and Glow Palette (review soon), Tom Ford Warm Soleil Eye and Cheek Palette (review here) and one of my favorite setting powders the Charlotte Tilbury Air Brush Flawless Powder (shade #2). The brushes were all versatile with powder and cream formulas. With powders they worked well with all textures whether they were shimmer, matte or glitters. With creams they apply product without any streaks which is just amazing. To date only Tom Ford brushes have done that for me and the Wayne Goss brushes are similar in performance and quality.

Wayne Goss The Face Set and The Eye Set | The Beauty Look Book

Bottom line amazing. Many of you might wonder if I think they’re worth owning even with all the brushes I already have. The answer is hands down yes. I’ve been one who always stuck with MAC because I found good ones that worked and they still do, but the Wayne Goss brushes take application to another level. Based on my personal preferences I would skip the fan brush #15 (because I don’t use fan brushes ) and the eye brush #19 (because it’s similar to #20). The brushes perform so much better than other standard brushes. If you already own a lot of brushes made in Japan you probably have some of the best ones on the market. I don’t own a lot with the exception of a few so I don’t have a lot of repeats.

You can find the Wayne Goss brushes available online at Beautylish. The Eye Set is in stock now, the Face Set (and individual ones) restock today at 10:00 AM PST. Have you tried these? What are your thoughts? If not what are your go-to makeup tools?

 

Many thanks to Beautylish for sending The Face Set and The Eye Set for review.

 

Base Makeup Beauty Tools MAC

MAC Next to Nothing Face Colour and Pressed Powder

April 30, 2017

MAC Next to Nothing Review and Swatches | The Beauty Look Book

MAC recently launched a new line of base products for a natural look with new formulas of foundation, powder and two brushes in their Next to Nothing collection. The items are designed for a natural skin-like effect to give a radiant look to the face. I’ve found that over the years MAC base and powder formulas have been hit or miss for me. I have super sensitive skin and tried their Studio Fix Powder Foundation when I was in high school and it caused severe allergic reactions on my skin. To this day I approach their powders and foundations with caution only doing a patch test first. I can safely use their primers, skincare and some foundations without any issues and was thrilled to find that the Next to Nothing line works well for my super sensitive skin.

In the collection we have:

Next to Nothing Face Colour comes in 9 shades from Light to Dark Deep, my shade is either Medium or Medium Plus. This is a super sheer tinted cream foundation that allows the skin to breathe. It’s sheer but has enough pigment to even out the skin slightly. This is what I wanted the Make Up For Ever Waterblend Foundation to be (which broke me out and felt too sticky for my skin, I suspect I had an allergic reaction to the fragrance). The effect of the MAC Next to Nothing is similar to that of the Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer (which I’ve re-discovered and love) but the MAC is less dewy and not as moisturizing. If you need coverage this will probably not be the foundation for you, although you can definitely use this as a good base and then take a higher coverage foundation and layer on top for a more lightweight feel. There’s no detectable scent, it comes in a glass bottle with a pump, it’s easy to blend, it’s lightweight and lasts all day. Shades do run on the pinkish side but since the formula is sheer I was lucky that they worked on my yellow olive skin.

MAC Next to Nothing Review and Swatches | The Beauty Look Book MAC Next to Nothing Face Colour Review and Swatches | The Beauty Look Book

The #141 Synthetic Face Fan Brush is an odd shaped brush designed for the foundation. It performs well and gives the face a streak-free foundation application. It’s soft without being pokey but I’m still very much a sponge person when it comes to foundation application. That being said it’s a very good brush, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed if you try it.

Next to Nothing Powder/Pressed comes in 9 color options. I received 3 as press samples but none of them were a match so I ordered two more sight unseen in Medium Plus and Medium Dark since I’ve been getting darker since moving to Florida. My Mineralize Skinfinish Natural shade is Medium Plus and in the Next to Nothing Powder I can wear either Medium Plus or Medium Dark. Right now I’m in between shades. This is a finely milled powder that has a lightweight finish. It is very soft to the touch with an almost creamy feel. On the skin it has a more natural looking finish compared to the Mineralize Skinfinish Powder. Next to Nothing also feels just like the name implies next to nothing. There is a very tiny bit of fine pearl in the powder so it blurs the skin. For me I feel like the shades swatch a little bit on the lighter side, they look lighter in my swatches compared to what I see in the pan, but they will adjust slightly on the skin as it warms up. They do not oxidize in color on me though. I really love this powder.

MAC Next to Nothing Powder Review and Swatches | The Beauty Look Book MAC Next to Nothing Powder Review and Swatches | The Beauty Look Book

Compared to some of my other favorites Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Powder #2, Armani Powder Foundation #4, and MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Medium Plus. If you asked me to pick one favorite, I would not be able to. I would say the sheerest is MAC Next to Nothing, Armani Luminous Silk Powder Foundation is what I use to set with a brush, MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural feels a bit thicker compared to other powders due to the mineral finish. The Charlotte Tilbury has the fullest coverage for me.

Pressed Powder Charlotte Tilbury, Armani, MAC | The Beauty Look Book

#140 Synthetic Full Fan Brush is THE best thing in this collection and probably the best powder brush I’ve ever tried. I’m a huge fan of flatter powder brushes because I find they are easier to dust my entire face compared to a round brush. Flat brushes can be tricky for me though – some are too dense or too floppy. This one has the perfect density, shape, size and feel. I’m going to need to order a couple more – I like to have multiples for powders on hand for blending and application.

Overall as a sensitive skin person I’m thrilled to find that both the powder and foundation worked for me and did not cause any allergic reactions. I’m typically a medium to full coverage kind of girl for base products but my skin has improved over the years so I can get away with less coverage these days. Also with the heat in Florida I feel the need to find lighter weight products that will allow my skin to breathe. It’s only the start of spring and I know it will get warmer in the upcoming months. This will be one I use frequently even if I will still need to layer.

Have you tried these yet? If you’re a natural or sheer base kind of beauty lover, what other brands/formulas do you love? You can find the MAC Next to Nothing Collection available now. Online at MAC, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s and soon at Ulta Beauty.

 

MAC products provided as press samples for review. Two MAC powders purchased by me.

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