Monday, August 2, 2010

Arghhh...Brushes!!! Part 2. Shu Uemura vs. Hakuhodo. Eye Shadow - Pure Kolinsky.

Here are the pure Kolinsky Eyeshadow brushes up for comparison.

Shu Uemura 11 ($135.00)
Shu Uemura 15 ($270.00)

Hakuhodo S120 ($78)
Hakuhodo S123 ($57)

The Shu brushes are clearly in a different price category, costing significantly more than the Hakuhodo brushes, however I find that I prefer them, regardless of price.  The traits that I find in the Shu brushes that are lacking in the Hakuhodo brushes are fluffy tips and softer fibers. I don't really feel like these brushes are similar enough to be alternatives for each other, but they are both pure kolinsky eyeshadow brushes, so I felt that while shopping online, people may compare these together.

While Kolinsky fibers are generally known for having great 'spring' or bounce, I think the Hakuhodo brushes are too springy, bordering on stiff.  I should clarify that I am not referring to the softness of the tips.  The tips are wonderfully soft and non-scratchy on both brands.  What I am referring to is how easily the fibers bend when pushed over.

The Hakuhodo brushes are much thinner than the Shu Uemura brushes (you can see this in the side view photo).  The tips are in a much more chiseled shape as well.  That means that there is not much 'tip' space, but it does allow great control with such a narrow tip.  I find them difficult to use while blending due to the narrow chiseled tip, and the stiffness means I have to be quite careful to control the pressure I exert. The Hakuhodo 120 and 123 are very similar, with only a slight variation in size.  I see no reason to buy both, they are so similar in size.  If I had to pick between the two, I would choose the smaller one.  On these brushes, the tips are very flat for the width; I prefer the less wide variation.  I find the Hakuhodo brushes don't grab powder as easily.

The Shu 11 is my favorite brush out of all my eyeshadow brushes.  The fibers are long with a wonderful amount of spring.  The tips are never scratchy, and are fluffy enough to easily pick up powder and deposit it where you want to, instead of falling off the brush everywhere.  The size is somewhat large for my eyelid space, but it is still narrow enough for me to place shadow where I want it, and it is large enough to blend with as well.  This is a wonderful all purpose eyeshadow brush.

The Shu 15 brush is by the far the most expensive, and it's HUGE as far as eyeshadow brushes go.  I use it for softening my eyeshadow above the crease.  I find the brush wonderful for this purpose, but for the price, I am not sure it's worth the extra luxury.  If you are on a budget, I would skip this brush.  It's luxurious no doubt, but it's function does not really justify the cost.

If you like to pat your eyeshadow on using the fluffy tip of a brush, the Shu brushes will be much more agreeable.  However, if using the flat side of the brush is more your style, I think the Hakuhodo brushes may work well.  All of these brushes are rather large in size, so none of them will do well for detailed work.  For that, both brands offer smaller brushes.

I believe one of the draws of Kolinsky fibers over Sable are that they are available in a longer length, allowing larger brushes.  Thus, for smaller brushes, the cheaper Sable may perform as well.

Arghhh...Brushes!!! Part 1. Shu Uemura vs. Hakuhodo

I have SO many posts sitting in my drafts folder all lined up with photos, waiting for me transcribe my impressions into readable language.  39 to be exact.

I may not be able to catch up on these other posts, so I decided that I must write up a series of posts on brushes.  I decided to push this post ahead of the others because for me, brushes and tools are a good portion of my overall makeup budget and I have some clear favorites among the lot.

First up! Hakuhodo VS Shu Uemura

Overall, I prefer Shu Uemura, but I will go into detail in segments. There are too many brushes to cover in a single post.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Givenchy Prisme Again Eyes #2 Brown Caress

I picked up the Givenchy Prisme Again Eyeshadow in #2 Brown Caress from Sephora (50$).

Overall, I don't particularly like this eyeshadow formula.  The colors are quite faint and hard to get up onto the brush. The colors are also not particularly hard to replicate.  The formula is also somewhat dry/chalky.

I have two palettes which are somewhat similar to this one in color.

Dior Crush Glow 659 (58$
Clinique 102 Spicy (25$

There are some things I do like about the eyeshadow.  One thing I really really like about the Givenchy eyeshadow is the size.  The container is very small, meaning it takes up very little space in my purse kit. I would otherwise not carry eyeshadow, or would carry only a single shade. 

A benefit of the soft color is that it is very forgiving.  Applying the eyeshadow in dim lighting on the plane, or in a moving car might produce terrible results with a dark/bold eyeshadow, but with the soft neutral colors and soft application of the Givenchy shadows, it is possible to get away with a messy application.

There are three applicators which sit below the eyeshadow pans which tilt up, including a convenient little fine tip smudger.

Personally, I think this eyeshadow is a good candidate for a condensed makeup kit, but would otherwise not use it.

I swatched the eyeshadows I mentioned here, all of them over a base of Urban Decay Primer Potion.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Diorshow Extase (photo compared to Dior Unlimited)

I picked up Diorshow Extase Mascara at Sephora the other day (28$).

The Extase formula is extremely wet, even compared to my other dior mascaras which I would consider somewhat wet.  The brush is quite large and has four distinct bulges/rounded areas. 

It's very thick, but my lashes still feel quite soft and touchable.  It does not seem prone to flaking.

The color does not seem quite as black as my Dior Unlimited, it's more of a soft charcoal dark grey.

It's very easy to coat the ends of my lashes but I find it difficult to reach the base of my lashes with the bulgy brush, and with the amount of mascara that clumps up at the tip, I find it near impossible to cleanly get my lower lashes.

Overall, I still prefer my Diorshow Unlimited over this, however I will use it as a top coat over my upper lashes if I want thicker lashes.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Beauty So Clean Sanitizing Mist

I bought this Beauty So Clean Cosmetic Sanitizer Mist from for 25$ a few months ago.

I've used it quite a few times, and so far, I haven't had any major ill effects from using it on my eyeshadows or foundations.  If anything, it does make the powder more 'sticky' and less light/fluffy in application. I believe it could be from the emollient products they have in it.  This does not really bother me, but if having powders stay light and sheer in application is a must, then this may not be a good idea. I am mostly concerned with it for use with eyeshadows, not so much for foundations, so darker colors and more adherence is usually not a problem.

The Ingredients are:

Ethyl Alcohol
Isopropyl Palmitate
Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride
Isopropyl Myristate
C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate

Something to note, is that it gets all over the mirror/edges of the compact, and makes dirty looking water/dried up marks, so if that is bothersome, it would be necessary to wipe the plastic parts of the compact after using to clean those up.

I have a bad habit of tapping my brush off on the mirror, so I don't bother since it's got makeup all over it anyways :)

As to the effectiveness of this product, I never tested it.  I believe that if there is an issue with effectiveness it would be that each spray is such a small dose of alcohol and may not remain in liquid form and in contact with the make up long enough to be effective.  I do question just how effective this spray is at sanitizing the makeup, but it's probably better then nothing.

I do sometimes leave my eyeshadows open face up to a UV sanitizing lamp for about 30 minutes, but UV light does not penetrate the very top surface, while alcohol can soak in.

As for packaging, the atomizer does make a very nice spray as far as atomizers go.  Overall, I'm content with this product, however, I do think that plain alcohol run through my airbrush to lightly soak the top layer of the powder would be just as, if not more effective without the sticky issue.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Cream Foundation Palette

A while ago (ok, like a year ago T.T since I've sort of abandoned my blog since last summer), I found a way to store a palette of my cream foundations that makes them easy to see and use.  It fits easily on the makeup shelf which sits directly behind my desk.  The full size containers sit in organizers which are placed in huge plastic bins of makeup in my bathroom which preclude them from ever getting used...

It is...a watercolor paint box!

I got this Alvin Heritage Paint Palette for about 25$ online.  It is meant to store mixed paint, and has a little rubber gasket type seal around the edge, designed to keep the paint from drying out. 

It has two removable trays, one has wells and the other can be used for mixing.

I taped a little sheet of paper behind the mixing tray to chart out what color is what.  There's a little notch in the mixing tray to make it easy to lift.  One down side is that when opening, sometimes the mixing try stays on top of the wells instead of lifting up with the lid, meaning I have to drop it back in after opening.  This is almost a non-issue for me, but I suppose it could be an option to either tape it down, or remove it altogether.

A point worth of note is that the tray with wells does not fit in the lid area, so you cannot buy two and double up with two trays of wells in the same box.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Menda Pumps

I was taking off my nail polish the other day and decided I wanted one of those pumps they have in the salon.  After some hunting around, I found out a company called Menda makes some.  I ordered 4 different pumps. (100$

I have some strange aversion to ever pouring anything back into it's original source container so I decided I wanted the pure versions.  (the regular version will allow product to seep back into the container if left in the dish).

I picked up a frosted glass, floral glass, and 2 locking pure-takes (locks for transport).  I decided the pure takes might work well filled with 244 paired with pointy q-tips as a quick makeup mistake fixer/eraser or general all around remover.

I busted out my huge bottle of 244 I bought from alcone (55$ and filled up one of the pure-takes.  To test its leakiness I sealed it into a freezer ziploc and tossed it into my purse (a truly inhospitable location).  Better to test it then take it on a trip somewhere to find it exploded with the 244 contaminating all my makeup. It passes this test with the 244, but I think leakiness of containers is also dependent on what solvent you put inside, so it may not be leak proof with all liquids.  I did not take it on an airplane yet, so I have not tested how resistant it is to pressure.

The 244 in the menda pump works well.  Until now I have always kept my 244 in a small dropper bottle.  It's a little annoying because I have to twist it open and carefully drop the 244 onto the tip of the q-tip. It's also hard to get the tip fully saturated without having some drip off the tip.  With the menda I can pump once, dip the tip of the q-tip in the puddle, and it's ready for use.

One thing that's annoying is that to lock/close the pure-take you have to press the pump down, then twist to lock.  This means you need to clean out the dish after locking it, as the pressing down action will dispense 244 into the dish.  The way I have been dealing with it, is that I press and lock it as I'm using it, so I won't have to have that extra dispense action just to close it.

I also filled one of the glass pumps with garnier fructis mixed with water to see how it would fare as my brush cleaner dispenser (sounds like a weird brush cleaner, but it works well for me).  

I think it's a bit of a mess with the larger brushes since the dish is too small to swish the brushes around in without bubbles/soap streaming down the side.  I think it works better than a regular soap pump because it's easy to pick up the soap onto the brush evenly with the menda. Unfortunately, I have to hold the whole bottle under the sink to rinse out any residue from the dish, or else it dries up into a film of soap, but the water rinses the dish clean, and also cleans up any side dripping happening. I think it works best for small concealer brushes, and eyeliner brushes which are the ones I wash after every use.  Overall I haven't found anything I think works better except maybe my ginger grating dish, but I use that mostly for large puffy brushes, and I still have to pump the soap into the dish, and try to get it foaming with water properly before I dip my brush in, or I risk getting un-foamed soap stuck deep in the brush.

I used the other glass pump for my nail polish remover, and it works as expected, but I think this is one of the most common uses for it, so nothing novel about the fact that it works well.

Visually, I think the plastic pumps look better than the glass ones.  Somehow, even though I'd think glass looks better than plastic, the glass ones still look 'cheaper' strangely enough. Plus, they aren't as portable.  

Something worth noting is that the pure versions have this little mushroom nub in the center, so if you would like to dispense liquid straight into something, like a sponge or something, the regular version may work better because with the nub in the way, a rounded bottom sponge cannot be dipped into the dish.  I might pick one of them up to try this.