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Makeup Brushes

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. You can still find some of the original silver handled versions at Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus but I don’t know how long they’ll be there.

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 (love this, review soon) and Tom Ford Waterproof and it gave both 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 (review soon).

Chanel Makeup Brushes New Design | The Beauty Look Book

Overall the brushes are excellent. They have a more modern updated look and quality/performance wise it’s definitely an improvement or upgrade from the previous ones. Most of these are listed as Chanel.com exclusives. At this time I’m not sure if they simply have an early exclusive for the launch or if they will only be available on their site permanently. 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 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.

Highlighters

Natasha Denona Glowing Skin System via Beautylish

January 29, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Close ups:

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

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

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

Highlighters NARS Nordstrom

NARS Hot Sand Collection (Nordstrom Exclusive)

January 4, 2016
NARS Hot Sand x Nordstrom Collection

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

The six items in the Hot Sand Collection are all exclusive to Nordstrom, items include:

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

NARS Hot Sand x Nordstrom Collection

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

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

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

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

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

Close up of the Hot Sand Lip Gloss:  

NARS Nordstrom Hot Sand Lip Gloss

Hot Sand Lip Gloss on bare lips:

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

Illuminator in Hot Sand
Illuminator in Orgasm
Multiple in Hot Sand
Blush in Hot Sand (part of the duos)
Eyeshadow Duo in All About Eve
Eyeshadow Duo in Alhambra
_________________________

Multiple in Hot Sand
Blush and Bronzer Duo in Hot Sand/Laguna
Bronzer in Laguna (individual one is more luminous and warmer)
Dual Intensity Blush in Jubilation
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Lip Glosses in Supervixen, Chelsea Girls, Striptease, Greek Holiday, Sweet Revenge and Orgasm
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NARS Hot Sand Collection

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beauty Tools Wayne Goss

The Wayne Goss Anniversary Brush Set (Limited-Edition)

October 16, 2015

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

According to Beautylish, each brush has been meticulously handcrafted by traditional artisans in Kumano, Japan with jewel tone name and number lasering on the handles unique to the Anniversary Set. They are all made with cruelty-free natural bristles that have been selected for luxurious softness and then bundled uncut into a durable brass ferrule. I was able to preview the brush set last weekend in Santa Monica. I just received the brush set two days ago courtesy of Beautylish so I haven’t had much time to experiment in great detail but since it’s limited-edition I have a first impressions review on each the set today.
This is my first Wayne Goss Brush Set. I’ve accumulated a few individual brushes and they are well-loved in my collection. These brushes come with black lacquered handles that are medium-sized in length. They fit in my small hands nicely and are lightweight which makes them easy to use. There are eight brushes in this set for eyes and face. My quick take is that I think these brushes are very well made and the design and quality is excellent. They are extremely soft and the bristles are evenly distributed for flawless application. If you’re looking for a nice set of brushes to start a collection I think this is a very good place to start.

The eight brushes in the set include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

One last shot of the brushes lined up:

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

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

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

Beauty Tools Wayne Goss

The Brow Set by Wayne Goss

September 23, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Many thanks to Beautylish for sending the set for review.