Sunday, October 27, 2013

Contour Crazy

Top Row L-R: Hollow, Tough as Taupe, Bronzing Primer, Hoola, Taupe
Bottom Row L-R: Delicata, Shade & Illuminate I, RCMA (top 2 shades), At Goldcombe Bay
Illamasqua Cream Pigment in "Hollow" ($26 from Sephora): Accurately described as a "matte toffee"  this cream pigment works best for me in the winter when I'm have an exceptionally pasty complexion (MAC NW 20)... Unfortunately, during the summer when I'm an NW25, it can be a little too light. In my mind, it has the perfect amount of coolness to create a believable shadow. It's a unique shade too and I don't really have anything that comes close it a "dupe".

Maybelline Eye Studio Color Tattoo Eyeshadow in "Tough As Taupe" ($6.99 at Ulta): At the risk of sounding like a broken record, these Color Tattoos are such a great drugstore beauty product. The formula of this particular shade is a little thicker and drier than the others in the collection. It reminds me a lot of clay. Once I started using this to contour, I rarely use it on my eyes. It's extremely cool-toned and has a fair amount of purple in it, so I recommend using it sparingly, but it does create a great shadowy-effect, particularly on lighter skin tones.  It lasts all day and has never broken me out. I prefer to apply it with my fingers and blend out with a dense face brush.

Bourjois Bronzing Primer ($11.57 on ASOS):  I really loved this initially and were it not for the fact that it breaks me out, I still would. I'm still coming to terms with the fact that my skin hates silicone-based face products... such is life. That said, I think this is a good product. It's more similar in tone to Tom Ford's Shade & Illuminate and even though it's on the warmer side, when used lightly, it still is able to create the illusion of shadow. As the name would suggest, it also is a great cream bronzer.

Benefit Cosmetics "Hoola" Bronzer ($28 from Sephora): This is cool-toned for a bronzer, but not as a stand-alone product. Especially if you compare it to some of the other products in this post. Still, I love it. It's quite a dry powder but it packs a good amount of pigmentation and gets the job done. I think this was the first product I bought with the intent of contouring and it's one that I frequently return to. I almost always use this to set Shade & Illuminate which makes it last longer and also makes S & I less warm-toned.

NYX Blush in "Taupe" ($5.50 on Cherry Culture): This little gem was a little hard to track down as well. It was sold out everywhere at the time but I ended up picking it up on Cherry Culture. This almost has a purple-tinge, which if not applied carefully, has a tendency to make me look ill. However, when I apply it right, it also is able to create the illusion of much better cheekbones. I really like to apply this with an angled contour brush, like the Tanseido WH14.

Rouge Bunny Rouge blush in "Delicata" ($28 on Beauty Habit): Technically, a blush but it doesn't add any pink color to me. It's described as a nude/beige/rose. I find it far more nude/beige than rosy.  It actually does a great job at creating a very subtle contour. There's a small amount of pearl in it, and it just makes my skin glow. Not an attribute you'd associate with a contour product but somehow it creates a shadow yet keeps skin looking luminous. Easily one of my favorites.

Tom Ford Shade & Illuminate in "Intensity 1" ($75 at Saks): This was a little bit of a hassle to get ahold of. They were sold out or backordered from every retailer I could find online and there aren't any counters near me. I called a few in neighboring states but they were sold out as well. On a whim, I called the counter at the flagship Saks Fifth Avenue in New York and they quickly had it sent out to me the following day and even included some amazing samples. Despite what some of the reviews said, this is actually quite warm-toned. Still, if I use it sparingly it does a great job of creating shadows. I also really enjoy using this as a bronzer. I will say that this doesn't last all day unless I set it with powder. A great product, but for the price, I think it should preform better. Again, I prefer to apply it with my fingers and blend out with a dense face brush.

RCMA Highlight & Contouring Palette ($30 from RCMA): This great cream palette would be perfect for a makeup artist kit as it has colors that would work on a multitude of skin tones. I personally prefer the lighter of the two contouring shades, which is essentially a cream version of Benefit's "Hoola" Bronzer. This lasts longer than Shade & Illuminate but not quite as long as the Color Tattoo.

Rouge Bunny Rouge Bronzing Glow Powder in "At Goldcombe Bay" ($39 on Beauty Habit): Very accurately described as a "satin finish natural beige brown with goldfish pearls".  They also recommend it as an eyeshadow or highlighter (for darker complexions, I'm guessing). Natalie from Flowerbomb31 on YouTube recommended this as one of her Rouge Bunny Rouge must-have products and compared it the the Tom Ford Bronzer (which I've been eyeballing). I asked her which she preferred and she said this, so of course I had to pick it up. The first ingredient in this is talc and I think that's pretty evident in it's texture. It's a dry powder, pigmented, but slightly dry. I like it but it's not my favorite formulation.

Not to further complicate your lives, but I can't pick an absolute favorite. My top three picks would be "Hollow", RCMA's lighter contouring shade, and "Delicata". If I want a more dramatic and long-wearing product, I reach for "Tough as Taupe". During the summer, I use "At Goldcombe Bay" and "Hoola" the most. And of course, if I'm in the mood for a good skin break out, I grab the Bourjois Bronzing Primer.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Tanseido Brush Review

                (L-R: WH 14, YCQ 12S, YWQ  9, YWQ 7)
Tanseido is a brand that's relatively new to me. They're hand crafted in Japan and are a little bit of a hassle to get ahold of outside of Japan... but totally worth it. The pricing is fairly comparable to Hakuhodo but there isn't nearly as large of product range. From what I've gathered, most Tanseido brushes aren't particularly dense but they're incrdibly soft and efficient. These brushes are easily some of the softest and most flexible goat hair I've used yet. Of the brushes I purchased, all are made of goat hair excpet for YCQ 12S (which is made of squirrel). I really appreciate the longer handle length (a relatively unusual feature in Japanese brushes). Additionally, most brushes allow you to choose the color of the handle (red, blue, or black). Tanseido also offers the option of customizing your brushes with an enscription of your choice. As with many Japanese brushes, these don't have the name of the brush anywhere on them so I usually opt to make my own with a label-maker.
Brush Reviews
WH14: This is the only face brush I purchased but I couldn't have been more impressed. My thoughts upon first touching it was that it was too soft lacked the density needed to pack on product. I was so wrong. I don't know how this brush does it, but it's able to build up however much intensity I want. I prefer this to apply powder contour, but it's able to essentially do so much more.
YCQ 12S: Again, amazing soft and shockingly efficient. It's not a densely packed brush but it is able to really pack on color. Perhaps not quite as much as the MAC 239 but it is infinitely softer and with just a little more work, can get you equal color intensity. In my opinion, it's far superior to any other similar brushes I own. I've also had good luck using this to blend, applying shadow to the brow bone, smudging liner, and placing shadow near the lower lash line.
YWQ 9: This brush is strikingly similar to the Hakuhodo 242G. I like both brushes, but I don't know why I felt the need to get a near duplicate for a brush I don't use very frequently. That said, this brush is also great for packing on color, smudging, and more detailed work. 
YWQ 7: Aside from the hair, this one is very similar to the Hakuhodo K005 (Weasel). I mostly use the K005 for tight-lining with gel liners but I prefer to use the YWQ 7 for when I use cake/powder liner along the lash line. While you can use this for cream-based products (Ex. gel liner), goat hair isn't quite as "tough" as weasel. It's much softer than the K005 and slightly longer. A nice brush to have, but not necessarily a must-have for me. However, if you prefer to use powder liners, this might be perfect for you. 
How I Purchased
Admittedly, this can be a little bit of a hassle to get ahold of but it was totally worth it and I look forward to doing it again. There are a few ways to go about getting Japanese products but the easiest way (in my opinion) is to use a private forwarding service. I used Tommy of who can pretty much connect you to almost any Japanese brand. You email her a list of what you're interested in and she quickly responds with what it will cost you.
After I sent my PayPal payment she ordered the items. Once she had received my items she sent a picture to ensure everything was correct. She charges a percentage of your order total ranging from 5-10%. This percentage depends on how much your order is and whether it was an online or in-store purchase. She ships everything EMS with tracking so I received my order 3 days after they were shipped from Japan. The whole process is dangerously easy and Tommy was such a pleasure to work with... I highly recommend her! I'm in the process of getting a Chikuhodo and Addiction order together. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Hourglass Visionaire Eye Shadow Duo in "Gypsy"

Price: $38 for 2 x 0.10 oz. from Sephora
The Hourglass eyeshadow formula is another one of my favorites. It has everything I want in a powder shadow-- buttery, opaque, creamy, blendable, pigmented, and luxurious. This applies evenly and easily with brushes or fingers, lasts all day, and doesn't crease (I use a primer, as always). I can use one duo for my whole eye look... I'm in love! I really wish there was a bigger shade range as this was really the only duo that I felt I would get daily use out of although both "Suede" and "Exhibition" look tempting. Hourglass does have a larger, 6-shade palette (5 matte, 1 shimmer) for sale at SpaceNK and Barneys for $58, making it a much better value, however, I'm only a fan of the lighter shades. If you want to see an amazing post on it, check out this mini review on SweetMakeupTemptations (one of my favorite blogs).