Marc Jacobs Beauty launched a new mini set of lip colors with the Sugar High Nude Lip Trio ($25, limited-edition). This is the third variation of their cult classic lip gloss shade Sugar Sugar. Last year they launched a new color called Cream and Sugar in a mini trio which I really loved (and still do). They later launched all three in full-sizes. This year they have the perfect brightening peachy pink neutral called Sugar High. I have high hopes they will have these in full sizes because the colors are PERFECT! The colors give the lips the perfect brightening effect with a gorgeous pinky peachy mix.
Sugar High Lip Creme (1.7 g/0.05 oz) is a cream full coverage peachy pink
Sugar High Enamored Hi-Shine Gloss (1.7 ml/0.05 fl oz) is a peachy pink with a hint of shimmer, on the lips it’s not frosty, it has medium coverage with a high shine, no sticky feel
Sugar High (P)outliner (0.3 g/0.01 oz) is a twist up pencil that’s also peachy pink, but more muted and matte in finish
Together the three layer nicely but the lipstick and liner are really opaque so for me having all three layered gives my already full lips an extra lush plump look. I tried these a few different ways since ordering the trio. I like the gloss alone or on top of the liner. Or the liner + lipstick. Below some close ups + swatches:
Bottom line perfect. I’m obsessed with the gloss and lipstick for this color. I think the formula from Marc Jacobs for the lipgloss is one of my favorites because they have a cushiony feel without the tacky sticky finish. I keep forgetting about the lipstick creme formula because of all the other launches but they are among the best for full coverage creams. The only item in the trio I’m not that crazy about is the liner, but I still think it’s a good one. It stays put and is pretty much budge-proof once it sets so if you need something to help extend your lip color check out their other shades. These days I find that I don’t wear a lot of lip liner. The one I reach for the most is the Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Pillow Talk because it layers well with everything (also worn with the Fenty Glosses in my holiday glow post).
You can find the Sugar High Lip Trio now at Sephora. It’s limited-edition. I’m hoping they’ll launch these in the full sizes eventually. For now I might get a backup of these because I think the gloss is perfect. Also with the size I know they’ll be easy to use up!
I picked up a few of the holiday items from Marc Jacobs Beauty this year and think all the pieces are beautiful! They describe this as being a high-glam collection with glittering jewel tones for eyes and gold glam highlights for lips and cheeks. Everything is listed as limited-edition but I hope they will keep the highlighter as a permanent item. What I bought:
The entire vibe of the collection is indeed shimmering and glam. I think the lip gloss and cheek highlighter are glowing but conservative enough for the natural makeup wearer while the eye shadows are full out glitz and glam. Swatches and thoughts on each piece starting with the O! Mega Glaze All-Over Foil Luminizer in Gilty which is a stunning gold.
This one is described as a warm peachy gold but I find it more complex than that. It’s not quite as sharp as a duo chrome shimmer but as I move my arm or hand in the light I can definitely see a shift in color depending on the angle. It has a warm gold shimmer and a soft peach base with a hint of rose-gold on my olive skin. I think this one is going to suit a wide range of skin tones, on me it’s definitely highlighter material but not a pale one. If you have fair skin this will look deeper perhaps a little bronzey gold on your skin. I think this will look amazing on deeper skin tones too. Shimmer is visible but it’s smooth and does not emphasize lines. It’s not a glaring frost with one swipe but you can layer for more intensity. A look at how the color glows depending on whether direct sunlight hits the pan below.
Swatches heavy vs light/blended:
The Enamored Hi-Shine Gloss Lip Lacquer in Shine A Light looks like a yellowed multi-chrome gold with pink and green flashes in the tube. On the lips it’s a lot prettier than what I see in the tube which I’d describe as a multi-shimmer deeper nude gold with pink flashes. I love a pretty gold shimmer for holiday, this one is pretty alone or layered! It’s true to Marc Jacobs gloss formula – smooth, no sticky tacky feel, cushiony and comes with a flexible sponge applicator. Even though it’s loaded with sparkle there’s no gritty feel or texture.
The See-Quins Glam Glitter Eyeshadows are full out glam party shadows. They’re pressed pigments and come with an insert to keep everything in place. The glitter and shimmer is quite intense but pretty for holiday. I’m not sure I could wear them for everyday looks, but I found the color Topaz Flash to be the most conservative for my skin tone. Gleam Girl is a glistening champagne beige sparkle, Topaz Flash is a complex bronze taupe smoke, Copperazzi is a warm orangey copper sparkle. I did not have an easy time using a brush to apply these, for me fingers were the best option for control, less fallout and better color payoff. If you use a brush I’d recommend a dense synthetic one like the MAC 242S or something similar. Once on the eyes if you don’t touch them there’s no fall out and they stayed put all day. If you touch your eyes there will be some sparkle transfer.
I can’t say one is better than the other in this case. My recommendation would be based on how much you like or dislike glitter. I think Topaz Flash is my favorite. Since it’s a little deeper it makes for a pretty smokey eye on my complexion.
Below a look with three pieces from the collection, also wearing:
Overall pretty and glowing! In this world of highlighter overload Marc Jacobs has managed to launch one that I think is unique enough to justify owning even though I already have so many other options. Gold with any yellow tones can be hard for me to wear because I have yellow/olive undertones but Gilty has enough warmth with a shift in the shimmer to prevent it from being full on 24K yellow on my skin. I definitely wouldn’t call this a NEED simply because I have so many highlighters already, but I do really love it.
I really like the way Shine A Light looks on the lips. In the tube I was a little worries about the yellow-greenish flashes of shimmer but once on the lips I don’t see any green. It’s ultra smooth without any tacky feel. It does have a slight minty taste but no tingle (at least not on me). It has a transparent quality to it which allows your natural lip color to show through.
The See-Quins Glam Glitter Shadows are going to be hit or miss for many of you. They are very glitzy pressed pigments and they are intense. Definitely fun for the holiday season and I think the quality, color payoff and pigment are excellent. But if you’re more conservative makeup wearer I’d suggest trying in person before buying to be safe. I bought the most neutral options but there’s a really phenomenal purple color with some other shades you might want to check out. If you are conservative and want to go a little bolder with the eyes I still think the Pat McGrath Opulence Collection Palettes are the way to go. They have enough shimmer and glam to give you a bolder look but aren’t too crazy with the sparkle.
Marc Jacobs Beauty launched new lip glosses in stick form called the Enamored Hydrating Lip Gloss Stick ($28 each for 2.1 g/0.074 oz). I’ve been such a huge fan of the Enamored Hi-Shine Lip Lacquers I was eager to try the new formula. I ordered five sight unseen. I picked the neutrals which turned out to be a lot lighter in color than I anticipated but still lovely. My picks:
Sugar Sugar – sheer nude cream
P(r)each – sheer soft peach
One Mauve Time – perfect mauve
Sweet Escape – baby pink
Mocha Choco-Lata – perfect nude beige
These are emollient sheer smooth gloss sticks. They have a very shiny finish and moisturizing feel. Lasting power is medium – they won’t disappear quickly but they aren’t budge-proof. The gloss sticks have a melt-on texture. Packaging is slightly longer than the Enamored Hi-Shine Lip Lacquers but similar in style. The Enamored Hydrating Lip Gloss Stick has a removable pull off cap and the product comes in a twist-up tube that clicks with each twist. The only downside is you can only twist up, you can’t twist back down. The good thing is each click will only push a small amount of color up.
The two lightest shades Sugar Sugar and P(r)each were patchy with the first application, once you have it warmed up a little it smooths out. Close ups of each color below with lip swatches.
One Mauve Time
All side by side:
For quick reference my MAC foundation shade right now is the Studio Fix Fluid in NC37. Lip swatches as always done on bare lips.
If you want something light and glossy these are great. I think the color selection is a lot more wearable for me compared to the Le Marc Liquid Lip Crayons. The glossy texture feels similar to me although the crayons are full coverage while these new gloss sticks are a lot sheerer. I’d say if you like the feel of the YSL Volupte Tint in Balms or Chanel Rouge Coco Shines you will most likely really like the Marc Jacobs Enamored Lip Gloss Sticks. In terms of glossy lips though my favorite product this season are still the Pat McGrath LUST Glosses although the formula is completely different and also in liquid form.
They are sheer so depending on how much color you want these might be too sheer if you prefer a lot of pigment. I give them a thumbs up – although I do wish the packaging would click up and down. The only shade I think is iffy is Sugar Sugar – this is mainly because I find pale colors challenging to wear in general. If you see the last photo of my natural lip you’ll see that there is going to be a contrast between pale colors and my lip. This is why you’ll often see a dark ring around the outer edge if the product is slightly sheer or transparent. It’s my natural lip color showing through. Since I have full lips if I cover it entirely with product it makes them look EXTRA huge.
Based on how light and sheer these colors are I was tempted to order the other three shades which are deeper/brighter. I have not seen them at stores near me yet but have decided to pass for now. My top two picks are Mocha Choco-lata! and One Mauve Time.
There are some new eyeshadow palettes out and I put three to the test from MAC, Marc Jacobs Beauty and Kat Von D Beauty. At first glance the colors look really similar between the three that I have but swatching proves otherwise. They have varied undertones, different textures, finishes and pigment. I’ll say up front the new Marc Jacobs Beauty palettes win for pigment and blendability, MAC wins for the fun factor and Kat Von D is one I have mixed feelings on.
Base Shades are soft satiny shimmers: Porcelain, Dusk and Dune
Contour Shades are perfect smooth metallics: Copper, Cinder, Rust
Define Shades are glitters: Bronze, Onyx, Jasper
Topcoat Shades are chunky glitters: Sterling, Glacier and Quartz
The Base and Contour shades are really amazing in texture and pigment. They’re velvety soft and easy to blend. The Define and Topcoat Shades are where this palette gets high maintenance. There is chunky glitter with tons of fall out in application and after application/clean up. You need to apply with either a damp brush or over a super emollient base to make the shades stick. With some glitters I find applying with a finger in a patting motion helps the shadow + glitter stick better with less fall out but with these fall out happened no matter what. If all of the shades were glitter free or in the contour formula this would have been 100% perfect. I can get it to work but it takes a LOT of extra work and clean up.
MAC launched six personality palettes in their MAC Girls Collection and I received Mischief Minx as a press sample. I stopped by the counter and was seriously tempted by Prissy Princess and Power Hungry – some other gorgeous neutrals but decided for now to stick with Mischief Minx. It has a palette of shimmers and warm shades. Pigment is medium but buildable. This one is fairly warm in undertone but easy to wear (even the orange and red shades which I mix or blend). Each shade has a name but it’s only labeled in a removable plastic insert which is easy to lose.
Swatched from left to right is: Mischief Minx (shimmering orange gold), Natural Tease (shimmering tan gold), V Frisky (light silvery gold), She-Nani-Gains (shimmering warm tan), Flaming Femme (matte rust), Schemer (satiny matte warm brown), Been There Done That (shimmering dark brown shimmer), Totally Trouble (black matte), Stride of Pride (gold peach highlighter)
Last but not least is the Marc Jacobs Beauty Eye-Conic Multi-Finish Eyeshadow Palette in Glambition. I’m a fan of the original Style Eye Con ones and the new ones have excellent pigment and texture which are just as good as the originals. Glambition is the most neutral option and the texture is super soft with a velvety feel. Pigment is just so SO good. Color-wise this isn’t necessarily the most exciting palette but it has easy to wear mix of neutrals and bolds that just work. They also layer well together.
Colors left to right include She Was (satiny soft ivory cream shimmer), Infamous (soft rose tan matte), Known For (warm pigmented gold), Seeking (fawn brown matte), The Most (pale pink frost), Over the Top (matte warm brown), Glamour (matte black with gold flecks).
I highly recommend the MAC or Marc Jacobs palettes if you’re looking for a new one. The Marc Jacobs palettes have the best formula out of the three I tried but MAC has more fun wearable shade options to choose from. Kat Von D is one I have mixed feelings on – I still think the colors are just so good but formulas are hard to work with and super high maintenance which is not something I have the patience for. If you’re looking for a new eyeshadow palette that’s more streamlined and simple, you might want to check out the Chanel City of Lights Les 4 Ombres – I just bought it and will be reviewing soon.
I had planned to do some eye looks but I’m in the midst of a move and upcoming travel so I’m a bit limited on time for the moment. Have you tried any of these formulas yet? What did you think? In case you missed it my favorite eye shadow brushes listed in this post here.
I’m a neutral lip addict and have a roundup review of some new formulas and color out right now. All of these picks are from Sephora as it seems like that’s where most of the new launches are at for the moment. Sephora stores are actually where quite a few of my readers have run into me – in multiple cities and not always my hometown stores lol. Many thanks to each of you who have been so kind to introduce yourself and say hello – I’ve been really touched with how nice you all are in person.
So for the new stuff – many of you have been asking about the new Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Liquified Lip and NARS Powermatte Lip Pigments. I’ve put some shades from each formula to the test. I also have some new Anastasia Beverly Hills Lip Glosses swatched, Make Up For Ever Artist Liquid Matte Lipsticks reviewed (not new, but new to me) and a first impressions of the Hourglass Confession Ultra Slim High Intensity Lipstick. There are also quite a few comparison swatches in this post for reference. It’s a little bit of a lot for the lips.
Up first are the new Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Liquified Lipsticks. My DMs and emails have been literally flooded with review requests. Since I really loved the Amuse Bouche Lipstick formula this was an easy yes for me. I went to multiple stores to track these down because one didn’t have all the colors. And one of these is an online exclusive for VIB Rouge.
These aren’t like the normal liquid lipsticks on the market which dry down to a matte finish. These are essentially lipsticks in a liquid form but with a creamy finish. In my opinion this is what all liquid lipsticks should look and feel like, but I know not everyone will agree with me. Cava is the VIB Rouge Online Exclusive shade and with one swipe on the arm I knew immediately this would not be a wearable one for me. On my tan/medium skin it looks like a lilac. I do think it will suit fair skins better so I did not swatch this on my lips and instead am saving this for a friend. Caramelized is a beige with warm tones, Whip is the perfect nude pink, Chutney is a medium rose.
The formula is opaque and creamy. There’s a beveled sponge tip applicator which allows for precise application at the tip and the angled end covers/fills your entire lip area. Lasting power is quite impressive. There is color transfer to cups if you drink but it still stays put really well for hours. Formula has a nice nourishing feel – since it’s opaque it is a bit thick, but you can easily blend it out since a little goes a long way. Most of the colors in the line ran dark. I picked the lightest options and then it jumped to fairly dark or deep. To me they have a fall vibe but I guess since fall is going to be here soon these have arrived right on time.
I think the best color is Whip.
Below all four shades I bought swatched, compared to the Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Honeycomb, Pepper and Sake. I normally can’t wear super cool-toned colors on the lips because of my yellow skintone, Sake is about as cool as I go unless it’s a darker plum. The Liquified Lipstick has more opaque coverage compared to the Lipstick version.
Next is are two of my favorite lip gloss formulas. I’ve already featured the Marc Jacobs Enamored Hi-Shine Lip Lacquer in Skin Deep here in May but wanted to feature it again. It’s the perfect neutral-cool toned nude that has medium sheer pigment. On me it goes on a bit mauvey because of my tan and pigmented lips. If I were lighter it would be more on the neutral side. About a year ago Anastasia Beverly Hills launched some mini lip gloss sets with colors exclusive to that set. Set I purchased reviewed here. The other set has been repromoted this year at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale now. Earlier this summer she finally launched most of them individually in full size. I bought three Lip Glosses from Sephora in Toffee, Amber and Caramel as they are my favorites. For quick reference I’ve swatched a couple other neutrals from her line. Her packaging has changed slightly but the applicators are the same.
Descriptions of the following: Marc Jacobs Skin Deep is a neutral nude pink. It has medium coverage with a glossy sheen. The Anastasia Beverly Hills Lip Glosses have full opaque coverage and a flat sponge tip applicator. Toffee is a neutral beige, Amber is a light peachy cream, Caramel is a medium warm pink, Kristen is a neutral pink-brown, Vintage is similar but more pink/rose. The Anastasia Lip Glosses are perfect – I wish she had more wearable conservative neutrals but for now these are perfect.
Next is the Hourglass Confession Ultra Slim High Intensity Lipstick. These are refillable and my local Sephora had a small handful of shades. The colors on display pretty much all looked the same and they were all neutrals. I swatched them on my hand and every single one looked perfect. Texture is creamy with a natural shine and it had impressive coverage. I limited myself to 1 in I Woke Up which is a perfect medium rose pink. Everything about this is perfect from color, formula, finish, feel and lasting power yet it has one major drawback for me: I find it overpriced for the size. I’m not one to pass up a lipstick because of price (ie Tom Ford, Louboutin, Cle de Peau, Surratt etc.) These lipsticks are supposed to be refillable with the refills priced at $22 which seems a bit more reasonable. But when you see these in person, they are SUPER tiny. The upside is that if you buy one or a few you will most likely use it up entirely before it goes bad. I feel conflicted about these – I actually find the packaging sleek and pretty. It’s something you have to see and feel in person to see how nice they are. The formula and coverage is excellent. I just can’t help but feel the price can’t really be justified for the size. These are 0.03 oz for $34 while Tom Ford Lips and Boys are 0.07 oz for $35.
Last are the mattes. In general matte liquid lips do not do so well on my lips. I have full lips and the matte dry down tends to emphasize lip lines and make my lips look very dry. I have still put quite a few to the test – I can make them work by adding a balm like the Dior Addict Lip Glow Pomade or Reviver Balms underneath or by dabbing a tiny bit of gloss on top. Some of the colors from these lines are so perfect – I wish they were made in other formulas. The Make Up For Ever Artist Liquid Matte Lipsticks have been raved about by so many people. For me the lighter shades 101 and 103 are a miss because they’re too pale for me, but deeper ones like 109 work better. The formula is a true matte and it’s super opaque. You only need a thin layer to get full coverage. I dab a tiny bit and blend with the fingers. These dry down to a full matte which I’m not a fan of – still the formula didn’t dry out my lips even if it made them look dry and they do stay put once you apply them.
The NARS Powermatte Lip Pigments were sent to me for review. I have all the colors and if you’re interested in a separate review let me know in the comments. For this post I tested the colors I knew I would wear on a regular basis. These are liquid matte lipsticks with a thinner formula which makes them easier for me to work with. Still they dry down to a velvety matte finish which I don’t like so to test these I had to apply the Dior Addict Lip Glow Balms underneath to make them work. The colors of the Powermatte Lip Pigments are so good – American Woman and Walk This Way are the best colors pinks I’ve tested in a long time. They’re not quite neutral but at the same time aren’t super bright. Just What I Needed is a perfect mauve neutral. I’m a huge fan of the Velvet Lip Glide because they’re more forgiving and don’t dry down to a full matte. I wish that NARS expanded that color range instead of this formula, but I’m happy that I can make it work with a bit of balm underneath. Lasting power even on top of a balm is really good – like most liquid lipsticks it will stay put for a long time. They don’t dry out the lips.
That wraps up my neutral lip testing and buys from Sephora. I hope you found this review helpful. To sum up all this testing, I’m still a lip gloss person at heart. My favorite lip gloss formula for opaque coverage is the Anastasia Beverly Hills Lip Gloss. Marc Jacobs has the best shine and smooth finish for a cushiony non-sticky feel. The next best opaque liquid lipgloss is the Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Liquified Lipstick. If you’re in search of a more traditional matte finish go with the new NARS Powermatte Lip Pigments.
I personally would give the Make Up For Ever Liquid Lipsticks a miss because I really don’t like the super matte dry down. These are ultra matte even with a balm underneath. I’m still undecided on the Hourglass lipsticks. If I were to rate them just on performance, quality and color, I’d 100% give it an A+. The price is what is holding me back from giving it a huge thumbs up – but product-wise it’s excellent.
All this being said, fall is usually a huge season for lip launches. I don’t know what’s in store for the upcoming season, but if you’re unsure about any of these there should be no rush. It appears that all are permanent, at least for now until the brand decides to reformulate something or discontinue a product. They will be around for a while. If you want to know what one new lip formula I think you should buy from this round up it would be to try one of the new Bite Liquid Lipsticks. If those really aren’t your thing I’d say wait a month or so to see what fall has in store for us.
Have you tried any of these formulas or colors yet? What did you think? You can find all of these now at Sephora. The NARS Powermatte Pigments were sent for review. All others purchased by me.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I’m a sucker for minis so when I saw the Sephora Favorites Give Me Some Nude Lip Set ($28, limited-edition) it didn’t take me long to buy one. It sold out online but just restocked so if you haven’t seen it yet I hope these swatches will either help you decide to splurge or save $$$. I also got their Beauty Insider Birthday Gift and redeemed my points for a Tarte mini so I thought I’d round them all up in one post here.
The Sephora Favorites sets have a lot of great options to sample products in mini sizes. I have my eye on the Ultimate Travel Bag because it looks like it has a little bit of everything. I bought and reviewed their spring version back in January. The one for summer is just as fun. Quick note first – the current set still comes with the black stuffing, but I swapped it out for some white stuffing I had from a different set simply because it was easier to see the product.
How cute are the minis?! (On the nails is Essie Spin the Bottle)
Inside the Give Me Some Nude Lip Set you get 6 lip products, all are minis except for the Urban Decay lip which is full-sized:
Tarte Lingerie Lippie Matte Tint in Revealed is a mocha brown shade. I love the formula, pigment, texture and finish – I just found the color too dark for my personal preference. It’s a smooth finish chubby stick with a semi velvety finish. It says matte but it’s not flat looking and feels super lush on the lips. I will definitely try to check out other shades in this formula.
Anastasia Beverly Hills Lip Gloss in Kristen is one of my favorite opaque glosses, I already own it in the full size. It’s a neutral pinky brown color and perfect for any occasion. I love the rich opaque pigment and high shine. The color is just perfect.
Marc Jacobs Beauty Enamored Hi Shine Lip Lacquer in Sugar Sugar is a light nude champagne color. For me this one is best when worn over another lipstick or liner. Alone it has a sharper contrast to my natural lip tone making it look like I have a dark rim around the lips when I wear this because my lip shows through. The glosses in line have a lush cushiony feel without the tacky sticky finish.
Too Faced Lip Injection Glossy in Spice Girl is probably the most painful lip product I’ve ever tried. Tingles scare me because I’ve tried a few in the past where my lips literally flare up from an allergic reaction. This one started to sting within 10 seconds in such a sharp burning manner. I couldn’t wear it long enough to test because it hurt so much. I had it on probably 5 minutes just swatching and photographing it. The color and finish is really pretty but I just couldn’t tolerate the tingle.
NARS Velvet Lip Glide in Bound is another one I own in the full size. I definitely should have read the labels on the box to see if I already owned most of these, but the minis got me. This one is a perfect soft mauve color. It has the word “velvet” in it but on me these still have a slight sheen to them.
Urban Decay Vice Waterproof Long Lasting Liquid Lipstick is a full size metallic rose color. I’ve tried this one before and it was a total fail for me. The color dried on the lips in a way that make them look dried out and shriveled. In the past when I tested this one it dried out my lips so bad they peeled for several days after. They do last a long time as in they don’t budge all day long so if you don’t have sensitive lips this formula might be worth a try. Based on my one experience with this color though I’m passing on all the rest.
Next are some Beauty Insider Perks. This year you have a couple options for the Beauty Insider Birthday Perk. You can pick between skincare from Caudalie and makeup from Tarte. I opted for the Tarte options but in reality I should have gone with the skincare as they would have been perfect to travel with. The Tarte set comes with the Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Blush in Paaarty (1.5 g/0.05 oz) and a Creamy Matte Lip Paint in Birthday Suit (1 ml/0.034 fl oz). Both are really pretty neutrals, the blush is a matte pink brown and the lip paint is a creamy nude pink that doesn’t wash me out. I also picked up a mini Quick Dry Matte Lip Paint in Rose (1 ml/0.034 fl oz) as a 100 point perk. I actually already own this one in the full size but couldn’t resist the mini. It’s a warm rose peachy color on me. I’m not the biggest fan of matte lips or matte liquid lipsticks but the colors from Tarte are pretty good and I can add a bit of balm or gloss on top.
In summary I like Tarte Birthday Suit enough to consider buying the full size. It’s a good neutral nude color that works for my skin tone and doesn’t wash me out. For the Give Me Some Nude Lips set turns out I like the colors I already own the best (NARS Bound, Marc Jacobs Sugar Sugar and Anastasia Kristen). The others were nice to try and even though I didn’t like the colors or formula so much at $28 it was worth it for me to try. That being said $28 could still have gone towards a full size gloss or lipstick that I really wanted – but I never use the lip testers in store on my lips because of all the germs so sometimes it’s hard to guess what a color will look like. I’ll swatch lip products on my hand and then hold it up to my face to see if I can kinda tell what it will look like, but I’m one who cringes when I see others using store testers on their lips.
Bottom line not a total win, but not a total fail either. You can find the Sephora Favorites Give Me Some Nude Lip set at Sephora. It’s limited-edition and they’ve launched a few variations over the past few seasons.
Have you picked up any Sephora Favorites sets lately? If so which sets did you try and what did you think?