Tuesday, May 17, 2011

L'OREAL Studio Secrets Magic Perfecting Base

L'OREAL Studio Secrets Magic Perfecting Base

I bought this product at CVS back when they had a BOGO half off, and I also had a manufacturer coupon. I don't remember what I paid for it (and prices will vary depending on where you buy it) but you can pick it up for anywhere between $10-$15. This has become my favorite face primer. I would quickly call this a holy grail product.  Have you ever used a product and it totally exceeded your expectations of it? For me, this happens rarely. (I can only think of a few off the top of my head that I have felt that way about ... in my entire life.) This was definitely one of them. I like it that much.

What the product claims: "Get the perfect skin texture, instantly and all day. 1. Smoothes lines, 2. Hides Pores, and 3. Banishes Skin Imperfections. The silky lightweight formula glides onto skin, leaving it velvety-smooth to the touch. The result- a unified matte finish that's flawless. It says it is suitable for all skin types, dermatologist tested, and non-comedogenic." ...and it really delivers.

The best thing this primer does for me, is INSTANTLY diminish the appearance of my pores. I think I have large pores and I HATE the way foundations and concealers settle into them. That is a horrible look. When that happens, the only thing I can do to fix it, is wash my face. This primer is so silky on your face. It does also fill in some fine lines I have around my eyes and forehead. I honestly can't say that I have noticed a change in how long it makes my makeup last, but I definitely know that it makes it look better. I would even wear this WITHOUT any other makeup and it would make a difference in the way my skin looks.

I highly recommend this product. If you have large pores, I suggest you run to the nearest place you can buy this product because you won't be sorry. I have already purchased two backups myself. I absolutely love it and can't say enough about how it performs.

Wet n Wild Fastdry Nail Polish Bucket Set!

Wet n Wild Fastdry Nail Polish Bucket Set

If this isn't exciting, I don't know what is!! I had my eye on this set at CVS for weeks. I should have bought it when they had the BOGO half off sale. But it was still a steal at $9.99, considering it includes 7 nail polishes that retail for $1.99 each. I used my $7 extrabucks (for buying $15 in Revlon products) so I only paid $3 for it!! You also get this super cute bucket (that has now become a new home for some of my makeup brushes!) along with a nail file, toe separaters, and a nail art kit. The kit includes some stencils and a white polish with a super fine tip.

The colors are AMAZINGLY pigmented , beautiful, and bright. Perfect for summer! The names are so neat, they are all from T.V. shows! (From left to right) They are: Fucshia Rama, Sage in The City, The Wonder Yellows, How I Met Your Magenta, Teal or No Teal, Saved By The Blue, and Everybody Loves Redmond. How adorable is that? I really love these nail polishes. The quality is excellent and with most of them you only need one coat and then they are completely dry in a couple of minutes! Even if you don't use a topcoat, they have awesome staying power. They have a new set out now called "Mermaid's Cove" and those are just as beautiful. (Think pastel shimmer!) 

Like I said before, I am using the bucket for my makeup brushes. I need to get some fillers for the bottom because my brushes are all just peeking over the top, but I just love how fun the design on the bucket is & it brings some color to my makeup area (that is primarily black and white.) The stencils are cute, but I haven't tried them yet. You don't have to just use the white polish that came with it, you can use the Art Deco polishes that you can find at the Dollar Tree for $1 that come in an array of colors. (I have red, black, hot pink, baby pink, white, and silver glitter.)

I remember when I was younger that Wet n Wild was just that brand that most teenagers used because it was only $1. I think the quality then was a "you get what you pay for" kind of thing. Today, Wet n Wild has come a long way. I don't think there is any one product that I haven't tried, and the quality of every item is comparable to any other good quality product you can buy in the drugstore. Yet they are still the most inexpensive. Their eyeshadows are a different story. I would compare the quality to many high end brands. I am working on a dupe blog/video (with swatches) comparing them to Urban Decay eyeshadows (which are among my favorite eyeshadows.) I have found a Wet n Wild dupe for every color in the infamous Urban Decay Naked Palette!  They are every bit as buttery soft and pigmented as Urban Decay. In some cases, the WnW dupe is better than its Urban Decay match. But that is another blog to lookout for soon!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

e.l.f. Studio 11 Piece Brush Collection

I figured since I mentioned this brush set in my last post, I would go ahead and review it. I LOVE this brush set! I purchased it here at the elf (eyes lips face) website. The price is $30, however, I got mine at a 50% discount so I only paid $15! They have coupon codes ALL of the time, I think they have a new one every week. If you sign up to receive their newsletter, they will send you new coupon codes when they become available.

Here is what is included in this collection:
  • Sleek, water-resistant case
  • Eyeshadow "C" Brush
  • Complexion Brush
  • Small Angled Brush
  • Small Smudge Brush
  • Fan Brush
  • Powder Brush
  • Angled Foundation Brush
  • Concealer Brush
  • Small Precision Brush
  • Blush Brush
  • Contouring Brush
It also comes with a little folded pamphlet that shows pictures of each brush and what its intended use is, which is great for those just starting out with makeup and brushes. The set that is offered now has matte black handles, but I got mine in limited edition black glitter! I do have some of the ones with the matte black handles too, because I have back-ups of many of these brushes. If you purchase these brushes separately, they are $3. All of the products from the studio line are $3. How exciting is that? What is even BETTER is that they have an Essentials line (which does have some really great products in it) and everything is only $1. One of the best things about these brushes is that they are all made with synthetic bristles, which means you can use them for liquid or cream products without worrying about damaging them (like you would if you used those types of products with brushes made of natural goat hair.)

Powder Brush, Blush Brush, & Foundation Brush

In my opinion, these are the stars of the show. The flat-top Powder Brush is an amazing brush. It has been compared many times over to the MAC 187 (which is a duo fiber stippling brush.) The reason is, this brush applies foundation flawlessly! It can be used for anything you want to use it for, really. The Angled Foundation brush is so great because the shape allows you to get into the crevices of your face (like around your nose) much easier than a regular-shaped foundation brush. I never get streaky lines when using this brush. (There is a trick to that: When applying the foundation, "paint" it on your face until the product starts setting and it becomes harder to use the "painting" motion, then you should "pat" to avoid any streakiness.) Finally, the blush brush has a very unique shape:

Side view of the Blush Brush

The tapered tip allows you to place product EXACTLY where you want it, yet it is still easy to blend with. It is a little on the small side for a blush brush, but if you give it a try, you will see it is actually the PERFECT size!

These are the rest of the brushes in the set. I don't have anything bad to say about any of them! They really are good brushes and I think if you use brushes, you should give these a try. The Small Precision and Small Smudge Brushes are so good for detailed work in the tear duct area and under your lower lashes. They work great for creating a smokey eye effect. The Contour Brush is a great size with the just right amount of density to place shadows right into your crease, or for cut crease looks. I use the Small Angled Brush for filling in my eyebrows and for gel or cream eyeliners. (I actually have two, one for each purpose.) The Complexion Brush is very flexible; I use it to sweep a color correcting powder over my face. I think it would work well for any finishing powders you want to use. The only brush I don't get any use out of is the Fan Brush. It can be used to sweep away eyeshadow fallout or it would be good for high definition powders (that are very finely milled.) The Concealer Brush is a little too dense for my preference. I last used it to apply a white eyeshadow base and it soaked up a lot of my product and I had the toughest time getting it clean. (You can still see that it looks whiter than the other brushes.) Lastly, the Eyeshadow "C" brush is a good brush for packing color on your lid, it's just an overall good eyeshadow brush. I honestly prefer the natural hair $1 elf brush and have quite a few of those!!

These are some of the other elf brushes I own, including the black matte handled Studio brushes

The Angled Contour Brush (second from top) is almost like a mini version of the flat top brush (without being flat.) It is great for setting your concealer with powder or blending out your eyeshadow. I have two of the $1 Eyeshadow Brushes there in the middle (all of the $1 brushes have white handles.) I have a few more stored in their packaging. You can actually find these brushes at Dollar General. They have also started selling elf products at Kmart and Target. I have only seen the Studio line products at Kmart. Otherwise, you have to buy online. Like I mentioned before, you can always wait for a coupon code and get most of your items for half price, sometimes even better than that!

Overall, you just can't go wrong with this brush set. I am definitely glad I purchased this product, and I will CONTINUE to buy from elf cosmetics! I have tried nearly ALL of the products on the website, so if you check them out and have any questions, please feel free to ask me! I will probably review some elf products in the future, not everything on the site is a complete hit, some are actually misses. But, for $1-$3 it isn't such a blow to your wallet to give them a shot. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Crown Brush Set

15-Piece Professional Brush Set w/ Designer Case

I purchased this brush set from Crown Brushes after watching Kandee Johnson's review on YouTube. Unfortunately, I missed out on the special price that was offered to her subscribers, so I paid $43.99 plus applicable tax & shipping. As of today, they are offering a 15% off sale which would make the price $37.39 (plus applicable tax & shipping.)

The set comes with the following brushes:
  • Chisel Powder
  • Chisel Blush
  • Angle Blush
  • Foundation
  • Angle Blender
  • Oval Shadow
  • Blending Fluff
  • Flat Liner Concealer
  • Lash Fan
  • Brow/Lash Groomer
  • Angle Liner
  • Oval Lip
  • Mini Smudger
  • Round Crease
  • Faux Reptile Case

I ordered mine in model 621, which has the bronze faux reptile case, and the brushes have black handles and bronze ferrules. You can also choose model 620 with a reddish faux reptile case, and the brushes have black handles and black ferrules, as well as model 619 with a black faux reptile case, and the brushes have red handles and black ferrules. As of today, models 619 and 620 are sold out. 

When I received my brushes, I was surprised to discover that I already had the Chisel Blush brush in my collection. I had purchased it at coastalscents.com, and it came with a silver ferrule, but other than that it was the SAME brush. I later heard that Crown Brush supplies Coastal Scents with some (or all) of their brushes. I don't know if that is true or not. Anyway, the blush brush I had was not one of my favorites. (In fact, I have given it away.) The bristles were not very soft when I first used it, and they had become even rougher over the year that I had owned it.

In my opinion, this is also the case with most of the face brushes in this set, specifically the Chisel Powder, Chisel Blush, Angle Blush, Angle Blender, and the Lash Fan. My lashes don't mind the roughness so much, but my face and my eyelids do! The roughest one is the Angle Blender (which is for blending your eyeshadow) so that one doesn't get any use. The Blending Fluff is softer, but it sheds like CRAZY. I do not prefer the shape of this blending brush at all. It is flat and tapered, so the only thing I would use it for is highlighting my browbone. The Lash Fan I just don't use at all, maybe I just haven't discovered the best way to use it. I have so many Brow/Lash Groomers, so I don't have much to say about this one because I think they are pretty much all the same.

The rest of the brushes I like much better. The foundation brush is SUPER soft. It is, by far, the nicest foundation brush I own (between Elf, Coastal Scents, & Lancome.) The Oval Shadow brush is great for packing color on the lid, or even on the browbone. It is larger than a standard eyeshadow brush, but not as big as the one from the Pink set that you can buy at either Coastal Scents or Crown (they too, are exactly the same brushes.) I have that set, and all the eye brushes are HUGE.

Here I compared the Oval Shadow (middle) with the Loew-Cornell shader (top) and the Pink shader (bottom)

Then, the Round Crease, Oval Lip, Angle Liner, Flat Liner, and Mini Smudger are all AMAZING little brushes that I find myself reaching for all of the time. I can't find one negative thing to say about them. The case they came in smelled REALLY bad (strong & chemical-like) when I got it. I left it outside on the banister of my deck for about 24 hours so it could air out, then it was fine. I don't store my brushes in it, but it would be nice to use for traveling. I think that after a lot of use it would break down easily, because when I pulled it out of a drawer (for photos) I noticed that when unfolding it, the material was stuck together in some places, and little pieces pulled off.

The little white spots are the places where the material came off.

Overall, I can't say that I am pleased that I bought this set. I do use the Angled Blush brush sometimes (out of all the brushes I dislike.) I also own the Elf Studio Brush set (which I purchased for $15 during a 1/2 off sale) and honestly, I like those brushes much more than these. The Elf set is regularly $30, so if you can catch a sale on those, I would recommend that set over this one. Thank you for taking the time to read this review, and if you have any suggestions for other product reviews, please let me know!