So you want to wash your brush collection?

Now that you’ve rushed out and purchased all my previously recommended brushes, the next step after enjoying them, is washing them. I used to dread washing my brushes, but I’ve gotten myself into a pretty good rhythm now. I actually don’t own a spot cleaner, but I can usually survive until the end of the week when I can do a deep clean of my brushes. For those following along at home, you will need the following:

Required Items
Water source (I just use my bathroom sink)
Johnsons Baby Shampoo (I’ve had a medium sized bottle for over 2 years now)
A towel (I use a hand towel)

As you can, a fairly simple list. I try to get my brushes washed after I’ve applied my makeup for work, but before I head out for the day – so my time frame is quite short! Especially as the weather cools, I like to give my brushes most of the day to dry – so if I’m heading somewhere that evening and need to apply makeup, I’ll either postpone the washing, or leave the brushes I need out from the wash.

Now, before I start washing, I make sure I’ve laid the towel flat (I have a bath tub step in my bathroom, so I put a lot of stuff on there, including my brush towel), and I roll up one side of it, so that I can create an angle.

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You may commence washing. I wet my hands,  wet the brush, squirt in a tiny bit of baby shampoo, and start working up a lather using the brush. This gets out a lot of the product; I use a back and forth motion, as well as create circles (it depends on the type of brush and length of hairs). I try to push the shampoo and lather to the dips between my fingers to create a slight groove – so to push the brush hairs around a lot more, and dislodge any tougher or deeper product. I don’t wash the shampoo right away – I rest the brush above the sink, and then wash them all out at the end. In my mind, I like to think the shampoo is using that extra time to eat away any remaining product. Once I’ve done a decent batch of the brushes, I’ll wash out the soap, and lay the brushes on the towel.

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Left : Before working up a lather
Below: Working up a lather

 

For the sake of the life of my brushes, I try to avoid tipping the brush in a way that the water can travel down the brush hairs – I don’t want any glue damaged. I also give them a quick back and forth wipe on the edge of the towel before laying them to dry for the rest of the day.

 

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So, that’s it! Really simple, if I’m really short on time, I just do a few brushes (you’ll notice in the photo above that my brushes aren’t perfectly white – I’ve rushed it, they usually go perfectly clean). We all know it’s good to wash them weekly to stop bacteria growth, but unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. It’s especially hard to tell yourself to do it when you’re not a makeup artist, and know that the brushes are only touching your skin. But it really does make a difference to how your brushes feel on your skin, and then there’s always the benefit of decreasing your chances of breaking out from dirty brushes. 🙂

Until next time, reader… 

Beauty Burn: Philosophy Hope in a Jar

Oh, what an exciting purchase this was! I picked this moisturiser up late last year when transiting through Singapore’s Changi Airport, but it’s taken me a few months to get to this jar. I bought a travel pack, which included the ‘Purity’ cleanser, this moisturiser and a serum, ‘When Hope is Not Enough’. I busted out the cleanser immediately, and started using the serum soon after. I quite like Philosophy’s packaging and look – quite minimalist and neat.

Now, the serum was a bit disappointing – very tacky upon application, and a really unpleasant smell. But it didn’t seem to do any harm, so I’ve maintained using it once or twice a week, just for the sake of using it up. About 3 weeks ago, I finally decided to give ‘Hope in a Jar’ a workout. My initial thoughts were that the moisturiser had actually gone off – the texture was really strange, and the smell was really pungent. I hate to waste things, and this was brand new (and I’ve never had a product like this go bad so quickly), so I slapped it on my face anyway.

OH DEAR… THE BURNING. Not only does this stuff stink, but it also burns. And I’m not afraid of a burn – I love a good burn-y mask, a burn-y exfoliator, a deep glycolic peel burn. But this stuff just stings for the sake of stinging – it doesn’t seem to have any value or purpose in its burn. This is the kind of sting that brings tears to my eyes. Add to that, the smell… it just reeks. I love anything medicinal, anything fruity, anything floral, anything woody, anything scentless – so what the heck is this scent category? It just smells awful. And not only does it smell on application, but the smell lingers! I put this on one night and went to bed on freshly washed sheets – I could still smell the scent on my pillow the following night!

It’s a souffle texture and has a yellow-ish tinge – which is why I was convinced it was past its use-by date. A quick google tells me that it had not gone off, but in fact, that was it’s design. The smell, the sting and the texture were noted on a lot of reviews (including the Philosophy site itself, and Makeup Alley), so it’s definitely not just me. There were still a lot of positive reviews, so I guess there is a population for whom this works, but I’m not part of it.

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Would I buy it again? I’m not even sure what to do with the remaining product!
Who would I recommend this to? Not even my worst enemy.
Is it value for money? $20.00 (15mL), $45.00 (60mL). It’s definitely not overly expensive, but I think of it as quite worthless.
How can you get it? I have gotten Philosophy samples from Mecca Cosmetica and Adore Beauty (online), so you might come across a sample the same way. Otherwise, if for some odd reason you are attracted to a stinky, burning product, you can find Philosophy in David Jones, Adore Beauty, and Mecca Cosmetica/Maxima.

So you want to start a brush collection? (Just for fun)

As the title suggests, these are all your bonus brushes. This is by no means an exhaustive list – there are plenty of fun brushes you can add. These are more the brushes I recommend if you’ve got some extra coin, want to build your technique, or even better, someone wants to gift you some brushes (?!).

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Lipstick/Concealer Brush
The one pictured above is from The Body Shop range, and is marketed as a concealer and lip brush (and I do use it interchangeably). Perfect to really pack a lip product into your lips, and great to tidy up lip edges with a bit of foundation/concealer. I personally use my flat foundation brush to apply concealer (a tip I got from a MUA a few years ago), so now this brush is primarily used for any deep lip colours I may apply.
RRP: $14.95

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Lash Brush
Pictured above is the MAC 204 Lash Brush, which is really for illustration purposes; I don’t personally own the MAC version. Now this is used to tidy up brow hairs, and comb all the hairs into place. I have occasionally used it to tidy up any clumpy mascara, but this is extremely rare (I’m more inclined to use a tissue to clean up any clumps). Instead, I use this daily to get my brows into order. I don’t have unruly brows, but I have a few hairs that don’t like to stick with the pack – I can’t really notice them, but I can really notice the difference when I use this to brush through the hairs. Plenty of eyebrow pencils come with this included (Chanel does one with it included), but none of the eyebrow kits I use have ever included it. I have the Manicare Artiste Lash Brush (I’m not entirely sure, but I think it was <$15), which is a great dupe. As long as the brush is firm and strong, it will last. Plenty of companies have brushes they market as “Lash & Eyebrow Combs”, but they lie – this is a much better option; I personally find the combs useless.
RRP: $18.00 (for the MAC 204 Lash Brush)

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Angled Brush
This brush came in my original MAC Face Brush set (that I’ve mentioned before), and was pretty unloved for a long time. I used it very occasionally to apply some darker outer corner eyeshadow, but really, it didn’t get much attention. I still use it if I’m ever tempted to do a shadow liner, but again, this is quite rare. My daily use for this however is to apply some light colour through my brows. I use a powder brow kit from Smashbox, and this brush does almost all the work. Before I used the Smashbox pot, I used a $2 Innoxa dark brown eye shadow that I dug out of a bargain bin – and the brush still worked its magic. I love it so much for my eyebrows that it doesn’t get used for shadows anymore, but it can definitely be utilised as a fun additional brush in a kit.
RRP: $37.00 (for the MAC 263 Small Angle Brush)

So, that is it for my brush collection posts – for the time being! Thanks for reading along, and for the feedback provided (whether it be privately or publicly on this blog). I hope it has been useful for anybody considering brushes, and if anybody has any recommendations, please comment below!

Line up, line up…

Eyeliner… I love you, and I hate you. When nobody of interest is going to see me on a particular day, you glide on with perfection. When everybody significant in my life is going to see me, you become a raging mess. Why do you do this to me? And why can’t I dump you?

As you can guess, I have a love-hate relationship with eyeliner. Someone recently asked me for some eyeliner recommendations (thanks for the inspiration, MA), so I thought I’d do a multi-product review, which seems to be my thang lately.

Image[Pot on the left is MAC Fluidline in ‘Dipdown’; Top to bottom: Face of Australia High Definition Liquid Eyeliner in ‘Brown’, Sephora Collection Nano Eyeliner in ’01 Midnight Black’, Shu Uemura Liquid Eyeliner Pen in ‘Black’ and Lancome’s Le Crayon Kohl in ‘Noir’]

Now, I use eyeliner basically on a daily basis, and I’ve tried a fair few different eyeliners over the years.. and these are my current favourites, and have been for the past 1-2 years.

MAC Fluidline
This is a gel eyeliner in the most traditional sense – you need a seperate brush to apply it, and it glides on wet, and dries quickly. I absolutely love the MAC Fluidline range, and highly recommend it, despite its high cost. It goes on smoothly, and can be tidied up quite easily before it dries. I find it stays put all day, but comes off without you needing to tear out all your eyelashes from scrubbing. I’ve just got a cheap Models Prefer Angled Eyeliner brush (see below) to apply this – it does the job just fine.

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RRP: $32.00 – Available at all MAC counters (Myer) and MAC stores. 

Face of Australia High Definition Liquid Eyeliner
This was a total surprise for me – I had really low expectations. I love to have a brown liquid in my collection at all times, and wear it more regularly than I wear black liner. I’ve been using this for about 4 months, and have been pleasantly surprised. I’m a diehard Face of Australia fan, which is why I trusted the brand, and was so pleased that it went on so easily, and stayed on for the whole day. It’s got a felt-tip applicator, which is perfect for me when I’m rushing to work.
RRP: $11.95 – Available at Priceline. 

Sephora Collection Nano Eyeliner
This was such an adorable and surprising find! I got this in a gift pack from a girlfriend last year who had travelled to Malaysia, and didn’t have big expectations for a Sephora branded mini-product. This doesn’t have the perfect staying power, but what I love about it is that it’s tiny and therefore does an awesome fine line against my lashes. It is a bit smudgey if it’s used for a thicker line, but for a thin line, it’s perfect. It’s beautifully soft, so goes on really nicely, but the softness is where the smudging comes from, in my opinion.
RRP: $5.00 (USD) – Exclusive to Sephora. 

Shu Uemura Liquid Eyeliner Pen
This eyeliner has been my long-time love, and started my love for liquid eyeliners. The tip on this thing is so fine, and gets the most accurate line every time. It has a calligraphy pen-style cartridge that you insert (and therefore replace), and a fibre hair tip. I think this thing needs a bit more Beauty Blogger love – it’s really hard to get in Australia, but easy everywhere else, so I’m surprised it doesn’t get a lot more love. I picked up my first pen in Hong Kong Duty-Free, and have picked up replacement pens and cartridges in Singapore, Dubai, London and Thailand (this isn’t my tale of travel, I just mean it’s quite easy to get for an Australian traveller – these are common destinations or transits).
RRP: $20.00 (USD) – All decent international department stores and Duty Free stores – just look for the Shu Uemura logo (very popular in Asia). 

Lancome Le Crayon Kohl
Finally, this is my most recommended out of the lot. It’s a staple kohl pencil, nothing fancy or complicated like the Shu Uemura or MAC Fluidline. You need a basic pencil sharpener to maintain this thing, and it can be bought easily. Lancome is stocked in Myer and David Jones, and some of the dodgiest and smallest of these chains that I’ve ventured into have managed to have a Lancome counter. It’s not as soft as the Sephora, but that gives it better wearing power – no smudging! It’s one of the only pencils I can easily apply to my extremely sensitive water line, and it softens up enough on application to make it comfortable. It’s expensive, but it’s also very long – so I think you get a lot for your buck, especially when comparing with a mid-range eyeliner that might come in between the $20 and $30 mark.
RRP: $45.00 – Available Myer & David Jones.

Which one would I buy again? The one I’m most tempted to restock for its uniqueness is the Shu Uemura – I love that it gets a super fine line. However, the one I actually couldn’t afford to not have is the Lancome – it’s just such a staple, and so versatile.
Is it value for money? You get a lot of product for your money. Myer is known for it’s 10% off all cosmetics nights/weekends, and Lancome makeup is always included – so you could at least save $4.50 off the RRP.
How can you get it? Myer & David Jones. All the other eyeliners I’ve listed their stockists above.
Which one do I recommend for something different? Hah, what a loaded question. If you’re an experienced eyeliner user, and want a change, try out the Fluidline. I’ve also heard good things about the Loreal gel eyeliner, so that may be worth a try.

 

Now, eyeliner is very important to makeup loving women – do any of my readers have any recommendations or eyeliner loves? If so, I’m always interested in expanding my collection – please comment below! 

So you want to start a brush collection? (Face)

Where does the week go? It’s almost Easter weekend, hooray for extra long weekends! My weekend will be spent working from home, playing with new products, and some light socialising. I hope you all have a great weekend!

So, following on from last week’s eye brush information, this is the face brush collection post. HUGE disclaimer: the MAC brush prices in this post will possibly create a deep rage within you – I own the bloody things and I was horrified when I saw the prices!

So, for foundation brushes, I have two recommendations:

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Real Techniques Buffing Brush
Now this is a cult product that I couldn’t resist buying. I’ve been a long time flat foundation brush user, so converting me was going to be hard. I picked up the Real Techniques Core Collection brush set from Priceline (20% off – $38.00), just to try out the Buffing Brush. I can tell you, that this brush lives up to the hype. It really does buff foundation into the skin beautifully, and creates a really soft finish. It requires minimal buffing effort, and makes all decent foundations work into the skin. It’s a synthetic fibre brush, which really doesn’t excite me, but it does keep the price low, and make it incredibly easy to keep clean. Unfortunately, it only comes in the Core Collection set, and can’t be bought on it’s own. The kit comes with a contour brush, a flat foundation brush and a concealer brush – none of these excited nor interested me.
RRP: $44.99

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The Body Shop Foundation Brush
Now, this has been my foundation application go-to for years. I have repurchased this twice, and still have it in my collection, despite my recent addition of the RT Buffing Brush mentioned above. Again, it’s a synthetic fibre brush, so it’s not exciting, but I do find it easy enough to clean. Synthetic fibres seem to be easier to clean for products that build-up so easily and quickly, like foundation. I’ve never had any hair shedding from this brand, and really do recommend their brush range for a decently priced brush. I’ve repurchased this brush after years of daily use, once the hairs have lost their shape. I think The Body Shop makeup and tools ranges are really underrated, and recommend checking them out if you’re in the market for a mid-range priced product.
RRP: $27.95

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MAC 109 Small Contour Brush
Now, I don’t think this is the be-all and end-all in contour brushes. I really don’t think you need the MAC version of this brush, and instead only included this product so you can see the shape and design of the brush head, because I do think it’s a useful brush to own. This allows for easy application of blush and bronzer, and helps keep product to a really defined area. I actually don’t use the MAC version of this, and instead have a lovely Lancome version which came in a beauty gift pack – win! This is a combination natural fibre brush, for those interested.
RRP: $62.00

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MAC 187 Duo Fibre Face Brush
Now this I really do love, and use my MAC version of this daily. My first face brush hunt was for a decent face brush, as I love to apply powder, and that was my first step in skin coverage. I’ve tried Shu Uemura (had lots of hair shedding), I’ve tried The Body Shop (was a bit too uncontrolled for my liking), and then finally decided to try the Duo Fibre. I’m not going to pretend that I understand the science behind the double fibres, but whatever it is, works. The combination allows for decent buffing whilst also lightly applying powder – no cakey finish, just enough to take the shine off. There are plenty of dupes on the market – Models Prefer have a huge range of brushes, and the Artiste range available in Myer is pretty decent for it’s price point. The MAC version is a Goat & Synthetic combination fibre brush.
RRP: $85.00

I hope you found this helpful, feel free to leave a comment if you have any requests or questions, particularly regarding brushes.

Beauty Burn: Sephora Australia 2015

So Sephora thinks it can move to Australia and be a success? Do the big wigs of Sephora (which is the Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy group) know anything about Australian beauty retail? Have they ever had any dealings with the sales assistants on Australian beauty counters???

Now, I don’t want to burn everyone with the same flame – I will say I’ve had some ordinary experiences at beauty counters – that’s to say, not amazing, but not awful either. One of my first MAC store experiences was when I visited MAC Chapel Street (Melbourne) back in 2007, and that actually was a lovely experience. I was doing some last-minute makeup prep for my brother’s wedding the following day, and the sales assistant gave me great advice for a few small items that would make a huge difference. MAC Select Cover-Up entered my life, and still remains to this day. I started my first make-your-own-quad eyeshadow collection (I got 2 shadows, and have yet to fill the quad with 2 more), and he gave me plenty of direction for an eye look to suit a bright red outfit (which isn’t the easiest thing to do). I’ve also had some decent service from the Sydney International Airport Duty-Free MAC counter, despite literally thousands of people browsing there on the way to their flight.

Unfortunately though, they are some of the only positive Australian beauty experiences I can conjure up in my memory. That’s a pretty sad report. I’m a regular shopper and browser, I often have money burning a hole in my pocket, and I’m a fairly non-confrontational personality type – I’ll burn you on Facebook or verbally to my friends, but that’s about it, I’m not going to shout and scream in store. So after over a decade of loving beauty and makeup, I think I can safely say that it’s not me, it’s you, Australian beauty counters. Why is getting a sample of a product you want me to commit over $50 to, like getting blood out of stone? Why do you insist on pursing your lips when I (or any other customer – I don’t think it’s personal) near your counter? Is your job not to sell and promote beauty products? Why do you think your company educates you on their products – do you think it’s only for your personal gain?

Today, I had a really aggravating experience at a Benefit counter. I had the day off work, and was really looking forward to checking out some new products; I’d even squirreled some money away, that was, lo and behold, burning away in my pocket. My sister-in-law joined me for some shopping, and as a fellow beauty enthusiast, I informed her of the #mascaraswap currently happening at Benefit counters. A friend had called me yesterday to tell me that she had swapped her $2.50 Essence mascara for a deluxe sample of a “They’re Real” mascara at Benefit. If they’re letting you swap your Essence mascara, then clearly there’s no judgement there. So off we went to Benefit, which was a concession within Myer.

Now, the sales assistant wasn’t getting any points for sales, but I’ll give her props for making me feel incredibly uncomfortable – she did raise the bar for snooty sales assistants. She was quite literally doing nothing when we entered (the concession is an entire section, similar to a MAC concession; not just a counter), and continued to do nothing while we browsed. But of course, she didn’t do nothing at a distance – she stood right next to us, while breathing over our shoulders. She offered no advice, no commentary; just silent judgement. I looked around for the #mascaraswap info, and there were probably close to 20 balloons promoting this offer. When we asked… OH, the offer ended yesterday. So, why are there 20 balloons still up? Hard day of nothing stopped you from deflating the balloons? Your Benefit boss came in and confiscated every single sample that remained yesterday at 5pm?

Although this experience was insulting, it’s not exactly an exception. I came home and discovered another customer had a very similar experience at the same counter (she burned the sales assistant on Facebook), except she was told the offer ended ages ago, and when she challenged her that the offer goes until May, she was told that lots of teenagers came in and swapped their mascaras, and the stock is now finished.

I think we all know this sales assistant just couldn’t be stuffed. But Sephora, take heed, this is the state of Australian retail. There are lots of retail staff that love what they do, are extremely helpful, and earn their keep and then some. But there are a huge percentage who are just like Miss. Benefit – forget the customer, and just enjoy their discount. I’ve experienced Sephora back in the day, when it was nothing special in the UK, I’ve experience Sephora in the US, Sephora in Europe, and Sephora in Dubai. Dubai’s retail is booming – they have a huge amount of migrants working their butts off, and reaping the rewards of a lifestyle in the UAE. The US experience is completely unmatched however. Samples are easy to get, advice is easy to get, product information is easy to get – they make it easy to spend your money. The question that remains a mystery to me is whether their staff get paid commissions – but whatever the US formula, it is working. It’s not enough that there are multiple brands in one store – beauty buffs don’t mind pounding the pavement to try new products. It’s not just that the prices seem reasonable – that’s just the way it seems relative to the Australian prices – but Sephora USA is not making its buck off Australian tourists. It’s competing against incredibly low drugstore prices, and somehow winning.

Sephora Australia, you interest me, but I’m not sold just yet. Let’s see what your sales formula is here, and how that materialises for customers.

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Slap it on… Coconut Oil

Here’s to a new week! My work slows down a bit for the next fortnight, so hopefully I’ll have some time to do some serious testing, reviewing and blogging. I kicked it off yesterday with picking up my first Clarins products. I think I’m one of the last people in my circle of beauty-obsessed friends to use Clarins, but hey, never late than never. If you’re interested in Clarins, stay tuned as I will review what I bought very soon.

Something else that has recently entered my life is Coconut Oil. I bought a jar of this last year, in the hope of using it for cooking, but that never eventuated. I’m far more likely to use something new in beauty than in cooking. Now, there are tonnes of reviews and how-to’s about coconut oil hair masques on the interweb, so I’m not going to pretend that this is something innovative and unique in the beauty blogging world. It’s super simple, and something I’ve wanted to try out for quite a while. The steps are easy and no-fuss – basically scoop out a tablespoon sized blob of coconut oil (for those who don’t know, coconut oil is a solid oil) and rub it in your hands. It immediately melts into an oil, and you can go ahead and slap it straight into your hair. I applied enough that my hair was completely coated, but not dripping. I probably used about 1.5 tablespoons of coconut oil, as my hair is medium-long in length. It was coated enough that I could braid my severely layered hair, and not use any bobby pins to secure the short strands at the front of my head.

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Now, I’ve used this in two different time formats – I’ve left it in overnight, and also left it in for about 1-2 hours in the evening. Interestingly, they yielded fairly similar results – in fact, I was a bit more pleased with the 1-2 hour application, than the overnight. I slept with a towel over my pillow, and as a night-time bather, had to allocate morning hair washing time, which goes against what I am trained for – so perhaps I had huge expectations for such a commitment? The 1-2 hour application meant I slapped it on after the gym, sat and watched some TV, then washed it out – basically I swapped the hair washing and TV watching around – no biggie.

Either way, the result was quite luxurious. Soft and shiny hair – what we all want, right? To wash it out, I took the advice of a You-Tube tutorial, and washed it three times to make sure all the oil was out. Three times seems to work a treat, I’ve had no trouble removing all the oil with this formula. I didn’t want to be completely wasteful with my shampoo, so really worked up a lather with a small amount of shampoo each time – it’s really what I should do every time I wash my hair, but clearly I have an inconsistent conscience.

I’ve got colour treated hair with blonde balayage at the ends, which I’ve been religiously applying a leave-in hair oil to since having it first done in May of last year. Coconut oil has reduced the need for this constant application, so I can only guess that the claims that coconut oil is very nourishing, must be true!

I picked up my coconut oil jar for $6.95 at my local Woolworths – it was easy to find in the health food aisle. Do yourself a favour, try it out. There is no residual smell from the oil, it just smells a bit nutty when it’s in your hair, and the mess factor was nil.

And needless to say… I’m typing this post with the oil in my hair.

So you want to start a brush collection? (Eyes)

Makeup brushes, one of my greatest beauty loves! I have to start the post with thanking my colleague for the inspiration. We were caught in the rain leaving work the other day, and she asked me in passing if there were any MAC brushes I recommended… Errr, makeup brush recommendations in the rain? This is a conversation that needs to be had in drier conditions, because it’s definitely not a quick discussion. Now, she asked about MAC brushes, so it makes sense to naturally start there, and work our way through – this will be part of a series of posts about brushes. Obviously the prices of the brushes I mention today will make most people scream, but fear not, I will eventually get to some more budget options.

My love of brushes started way before my makeup collection grew. It was before the time of YouTube tutorials and #beautybloggers, so I’m not sure where the interest came from – I just had this strong feeling that brushes would be a really key component of my love of makeup. I got my first MAC brush set for my 18th birthday from my brothers – one was travelling overseas quite close to my birthday, so that was my request. 10 years later, I can tell you I still have all the brushes, and use 4 out of the 5 – truly an investment that paid off. They were a little disappointing in that they shed more hair than I expected, but Mr. Google told me that was because they were part of the Special Edition (SE) range, and were of an inferior quality to the full-sized (and therefore full-priced) MAC brushes. I’ve never purchased another SE brush set, and instead saved my pennies for the regular product instead, and the difference in quality is quite noticeable – minimal hair shed, and noticeably softer hair. Anyways, that’s enough about how and why I love brushes.

Today, I’m going to detail 3 excellent eyeshadow brushes that I really rate, and think are worth the investment. They are ridiculous in their  cost, so if you have a friend or family member off to the US, MAC brushes are the thing to request – light and easy to bring back, extremely easy for someone to find for you, and essentially half the price of the Australian pricing.

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MAC 217 Blending Brush
This is literally my Holy Grail in eyeshadow brushes. There is really nothing else like it on the market. I’ve even tried to find other MAC brushes that might come quite close (286 Duo Fibre Tapered Blending Brush for those hardcore fans out there), and it didn’t come close. Anybody who loves (or requires, in some people’s cases) a smokey eye, this is the brush for you. If you only buy ONE brush from MAC in your lifetime – make it this one. The difference this makes to any heavy eye look cannot be compared to any other brush in a kit – it softens and really polishes off the look. I personally don’t use it a lot to apply colour (I use the 286 for that), and instead try to keep it as naked as possible, so that it can really do its best blending work with no residual colour present. It’s essentially a fluffy white brush that softens up any harsh lines or over application of shadow, but does this in the most magical way possible.
RRP: $37.00

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MAC 239 Eye Shader Brush
Now this is one of the brushes that came in my beloved Special Edition collection all those years ago. It has been used with much love and enthusiasm, so much so that the top of the brush came away from the handle of the brush! Thankfully the brush hairs weren’t effected, and it can still be used – the full-sized one is on my list from the US this year. Now this is your standard eye shadow packer. I have two brushes in this same style – short, but firm and tightly packed hairs. None of this sweeping movement that you get from the 239, but just pure packing on of colour. The hairs are quite thick, so what I like to do is use one side for light shades, and one side for dark shades. Lately my go-to eyeshadow combo has been the Bourjois Cream to Powder shadow as the base, and the Rimmel Scandaleyes in Bad Bronze – so one very light shade, and one very dark shade, but both creamy, so needing lots of packing. One side gets used for the light Bourjois shadow, one side gets used for the darker Bad Bronze shadow – no colour transfer. This has been an everyday work look, so ain’t nobody got time to spot clean a shadow brush!
I don’t think that MAC are the only uses to do such a style of brush – I have a Lancome version that is very similar, but it definitely doesn’t have the firm packing ability that this brush has. I’ve always used this for very dark shades on the outer eyelid, and anytime I’ve used any sort of cream shadow (MAC Paint Pots, for example). So, keep your eyes peeled for a similar brush – keywords being short, thick and firm hairs. If you can’t find it anywhere, go for the MAC one.
RRP: $48.00

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219 Pencil Brush
Now, my final brush is just a little favourite of mine – it’s definitely a non-essential, but this also depends on how serious you are about eyeshadow. My favourite feature is definitely my eyes, and I enjoy trying out some different looks, and spending some time on my eye makeup. So, for someone like myself, I think this is worth it. For someone who doesn’t own a single brush, then this is definitely not necessary, and not something I recommend early on. This is another firm-hair brush – but angled like a pencil, as the name suggests. I generally use this on my inner corner, or when I’m doing a really heavy smokey eye, and want to go back towards the inner corner with some lighter shades. It’s precision is amazing – holds product beautifully, and really gets into those smaller spots. I don’t often apply eyeshadow under my bottom lash line, but if I ever do feel compelled, this is the brush for it. I’ve tried the 215 Medium Shader brush for the bottom lash line as well, but that is just too firmly packed for my liking. I have extremely sensitive eyes, so the 219 Pencil Brush has just the right amount of packing to reduce product fall, but still soft enough to use on the more sensitive parts of my eye. I haven’t even investigated any dupes from another other brands, but I’ll keep my eyes peeled to see if there any worthy companions. To be honest, this was a USA request from a friend a few years ago, which is why I frivolously got the MAC version without looking for any cheaper options. Let me know if you’ve seen anything like it.
RRP: $45.00

All MAC products are available at MAC stores and counters (located within Myer) across Australia. They also have an online store which has free shipping for >$100.00 order (and often have >$50.00 free shipping specials).

Thanks for reading the first part of my brush collection series. I did forewarn you that the prices may make you extremely angry, but I feel minimal guilt with MAC brushes. They should last you easily over 10 years, you will start using them every time you want to apply eyeshadow, and you’ll be shocked at what a difference they can make to your final look.

Until next time, readers…

*Disclaimer: Please note that I am not a professional makeup artist – just a simple lover of products. I am merely giving my thoughts and opinions on makeup brushes for the average citizen, as a fellow average citizen.

(All photos in this post courtesy of Google Images)

Beauty Cults: Revlon Colorburst Balm

Revlon Color Burst

Australians, this range has been a long time coming. For too long, we have seen these balms featured in the vlogs of the Americans and the British. Finally, they have reached our shores. Why products take so long to launch in Australia, I’ll never understand. Are we not enough for you, Revlon?

I picked up two of the balms from Priceline – they had a BOGOF for $17.95. There are two different types within the range – Matte and Lacquer. The idea of the matte really appealed to me, until I saw the range of colours on offer. Head over to the Revlon site if you’re interested in seeing the range – they have an interactive page to show you the colours.

matte range
(Photo courtesy of Ebay)

I found the matte really tricky to select from – I like pigmentation, but I do also like subtlety on a daily basis. I only wear bright or deep lip colours on special occasions, and was really keen to find something that I would like to use regularly. I ended up selecting 225 Sultry Sulfureuse, which is a pinky brown shade (it’s the very last shade on the left in the above picture). There is no debating whether it’s a true matte balm – this is severely matte. The lacquer shades were easier to choose from – I picked up 115 Whimsical Fantaisiste, which is a shimmery fuchsia shade. I easily could have selected one or two more colours as they definitely were more my style for an everyday look. The lacquer balms reminded me more of my beloved Clinique Chubby Sticks, in that it had quite a lot of colour balanced with quite a lot of balm. The matte balm, on the other hand, doesn’t have the same level of moisturiser as the Chubby Stick, so it didn’t quite compare. The matte one is heavily pigmented, which isn’t what I’m looking for on a daily basis – it definitely needs a mirror and careful application, and frankly, I want to be able to slap it on with minimal help. In the same breath, I have to mention that it’s wearing power is excellent. I wore it all day to work – some eating, some drinking and plenty of talking and it was still noticeably present by 4pm. Interestingly, it did make my lips tingle, and I’ve just checked the ingredients list – contains peppermint oil.

The packaging is divine – the balm container is a fairly accurate representation of the colour inside, which makes for easy use. It has a standard twist up design, and a matching colour lid. I think I’ll head towards the lacquer section next time there is a bargain to be had.

Would I buy it again? Perhaps. They would have to be on sale and offer a very tempting colour. There are a lot of crayon style lip products on the market nowadays, so I would probably try out some others.
Who would I recommend this to? Anybody who loves a cult product. If you’re just really interested in a crayon-style lipstick, and you have a bigger budget, I still rate Clinique’s Chubby stick as a better option.
Is it value for money? It’s way more affordable than the Chubby Stick.
How can you get it? Myer, Priceline, Target, Big W. It’s very new, so I think there will be plenty of specials on these products for a while.

Scrub a Dub Dub: Facial Scrubs

Firstly, apologies for being a bit lax with the posts lately, I blame the Sydney weather! I understand now the importance of artificial lighting; currently I’m relying on natural daylight for my blog photos, and the sunlight quality has been particularly poor this week.

Regular readers will know I love a good, grainy scrub. I’ve recently expanded my scrub range, after years of using one product religiously. My current scrub repertoire includes: ASAP Daily Exfoliating Facial Scrub, St Ives Blemish Control Apricot Scrub and Dermalogica daily microfoliant. If you love to scrub a dub dub like I do, read on!

Scrub Collection

ASAP Daily Exfoliating Facial Scrub

This scrub has to be my Holy Grail scrub product. Although the name and marketing suggests it can be used on a daily basis, I personally use it 2-3 times a week maximum. It has a 14% glycolic acid content, so I’m always careful to apply an SPF moisturiser afterwards. It is noticeably grainy (don’t waste my time and say you’re a scrub if I can’t feel any granules), and after using it, my skin is left feeling soft and smooth. I really think the addition of glycolic acid to the granules tips this over the edge as my ultimate product. The packaging is great; it has a little push top lid that snaps closed, so this happily lives in my shower.
RRP: $49.00 – I buy mine on Skincare Store and there is constantly some sort of 20/25/30% off sale.

St Ives Blemish Control Apricot Scrub

Now I’ve tried St Ives before, knowing it has a bit of a cult status around the world for it’s wallet-friendly skincare products. They’ve never done anything for me, so I gave up on them. Last year, I travelled to the Middle East, and someone I met on my trip bought this scrub, and it came in a BOGOF pack – St. Ives managed to weasel its way back into my life. Due to the desert conditions, I was hesitant to use the ASAP scrub too much, as I was really over-exposed to the sun. This scrub has now become a staple part of my routine – I usually use it around 2 times a week, on the days I’m not using the ASAP scrub. It smells delicious, and has a really nice almost mud mask-like texture – and y’all know how I love a good mask. It’s cheap as chips, and can be easily sourced – Priceline, Woolworths, Coles, Big W, etc.
Does it help with breakouts? Not as much as the ASAP, but it’s a great scrub to get your skin feeling squeaky clean mid-week, with minimal effort. I do find the granules get in my eyes, but I think this is more a reflection of my scrubbing technique. I’m actually not sure if the same product is available in Australia, but I have repurchased an Ageless Skin Apricot Scrub – perhaps I’ll be raving about that next time?
RRP: $9.99 – also constantly available on sale.

Dermalogica daily microfoliant

Now, this is a very recent addition to my routine. I think of it more as a polisher than a deep cleaning scrub. I’ve been using it as part of my morning routine, about 2-3 times per week. It’s great for something different for my skin, and has a very unique application technique. It comes in a powder format, you put about a tablespoon of powder into wet hands and then lather it up to make it into a scrub. Feels gentle on the skin, and isn’t messy at all. It’s a rice-powder based product, and I was knocked for six when I smelt it once lathered up – revolting. I just cannot get over the smell – it is so bad. It’s nice to know that products aren’t loaded up with perfumes, but c’mon Dermalogica, at least make it smell medicinal! It does feel nice on the skin, and makes my skin look fresh and awake once used, but the smell is definitely worth considering before you add this to your routine.
RRP: $71.00 – I bought it for $58.65 on Adorebeauty (side note: ordered Tuesday 8pm, it was on my doorstep Thursday 8am!).

Which one do I recommend? If you are in the market for a serious scrub, and glycolic acid doesn’t scare you, go for the ASAP Daily Exfoliating Facial Scrub. It can definitely be used as a daily scrub – I just personally found that my skin responded really well when I gave it a break between uses. It’s not ridiculously expensive, the packaging is a great design and it has really helped control my breakouts and oil levels.

How can you get it? Plenty of Australian beauty salons stock ASAP, otherwise I am a diehard Skincare Store customer.