Laura Mercier

Make up Brushes – My Collection + Review

I thought I’d write a post on brushes since I touched on the topic recently with my purchase from Koyudo. Originally meant to be one post, I have divided this into two because of length. This is part one, a run through of what I have and my thoughts of them. The second part will be what brushes to buy. This is a long, pic-heavy post!

I might have mentioned briefly in the past about how I started my collection (a humbly sized compared to collectors) but here’s all the history in one post 🙂

I bought brushes individually right from the beginning and heeded the advice of others who say to buy the best you can afford. Right from the bat I knew it was an investment so I started with shu uemura (this was like 20 years ago). I was quite a fan of theirs at the time anyway and even used their skincare range. Even back then I was told their brush prices climb up yearly and if you’re going to buy them anyway it’s better to get them early. So!

I started with 2 shadow brushes (sable, synthetic, both paddle style), 1 powder, 1 cheek (pony, also paddle style), 1 lip, the 5R (kolinsky) for socket and I think a spoolie. I still have all of them with me (although I LOST the 5R during a move). I have retired the cheek and powder brushes which started to shed gently a few years ago. The sable shadow brush is also coming loose at the ferrule, but otherwise still good. Considering they’re 20+ years old that’s not too bad. If you take good care of your brushes you can count on using them for 10 years no problem.

I was perfectly happy with these until I started experimenting more with makeup. So I added brushes like kabuki, stippling, eyeliner, dome shaped face brushes and so on and so forth. I’ve tried brushes from brands like MAC, Bobbi Brown in the early days, and in more recent years Sue Devitt, Lunasol, RMK, Rae Morris. And I never bought a set until Real Techniques came along. They’re so affordable and I believe at that time there were some brushes you could only get in the sets. I tried some Sigma, Sephora and zoeva brushes too. The last brushes I bought before the small Koyudo haul are Hakuhodo brushes when they were at the Bon Marché for a limited time.

This is the first time I counted how many brushes I have:brush-all

Little by little I have accumulated 63 brushes (59 in the picture above, a few didn’t make it in there but will be seen later in the post). I’m kind of surprised myself. They look so manageable sitting in glass candle jars and whatnot and you don’t even know how many you really have until you lay it out like that. Lucky the Man wasn’t at home when I took the picture. Even though I suspected as much that’s one big visual confirmation that I have too many. I really only use a handful regularly, and others are there when the regulars are dirty and I haven’t got the time to clean them 😛

I will try to be brief and go through the brushes as quickly as I can.

Since I forgot to take a close up shot, in the top left hand corner are 3 kabuki brushes. The smallest one is a freebie from Dior. This one came from the Nude Bronzer, I have another from Nude Air powder. The bigger one is MAC, the laquered one is Bobbi Brown. I don’t have a detail pic for these. The MAC one has longer bristles. Otherwise in terms of use they are (BB & MAC) similar to me and interchangeable.

Onto the rest of the brushes.

brush-rm (2)
I use the medium and fine point shader a lot. I probably reach for them the most, out of habit and because they work really well for me and suit my eye shape. With hooded eyes there’s just not much room to work with and most shadow brushes are too big.
Radiance is a nice brush, it works like a dense buffer brush. You can apply your foundation with it although I’ve never tried and have used it mainly as a dense buffing brush to polish the foundation and get a nice finish.
The smudger brush is soft and not scratchy like the Laura Mercier one but for some reason I just don’t reach for this often.
I really like the lip brush.
Precision liner I bought with the intention of mastering the flick. But I actually got better results with a push brush. It’s down to technique I suppose. I’ll keep practicing.

A word on these in case you didn’t know, these have magnets at the end of the brush and are designed to be displayed/arranged with a metal plate. They clump together if you store them flat or in a bag. The good thing though is I can easily hang them to dry in the kitchen 😛 I use the lid of an old coffee tin to store them upright.

Here’s a closer look:

brush-RM

Below is the Ultimate Cheekbone, which is exactly what it says, perfect for contouring that area.

brush-RMface

My Hakuhodo and Koyudo brushes:

brush-koyu-haku (more…)

July & August Empties

Another month of silence on the blog. In my defense I’ve started a new job, returning to the kitchen since my two years’ of rest working at the front. It’s quite challenging for everyone involved at the moment since the place is one of the newest openings in the city that’s gathering a lot of buzz in the industry. All eyes are on us, and we’re doing crazy hours across all sections. There are still a lot of wrinkles needed to iron out and we’re tackling them as we go.

Since I’m back in my whites, I no longer wear base makeup (they just melt) or colour makeup (inappropriate) and limit myself to eyeliner and mascara. My makeup playtime is now limited to my days off, and even then I’m so tired I usually just want to stay home and don’t see the point of wearing a full face of makeup.

Having said that though, I still try to read blogs and new releases and have my eyes on a few items coming for Fall/Winter. In the meantime, here are my combined empties for the last two months:

aug-emtpies

Glysomed Hand Cream (150ml) – Made in Germany
This is the perfumed version, housed in a tub that lasted me for quite some time. I kept this at home, usually around the kitchen. I paid perhaps 9 euros for this. As mentioned in the June empties post where you’ll find the unscented tube version, I really like their formula and budget-friendly pricing. They are my go-to and never disappoints. I should add this to my holy-grail page. Here are the first 10 ingredients:
Aqua, Glycerin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Octiydodecanol, Petrolatum, Dimethicone. Sorbitol, Sodium Cetearyl Sulfate, Phenoxythanol.
Repurchase? Yes!

Avène Cleanance Spot Treatment (0.25g) – Made in France
Cleanance is the acne treatment range from Avène. I got this on a whim, thinking I could use something like that in my makeup bag. It never left my dresser. Anyway from the back of the box:

Targeted at oily, blemish-prone skin, this spot treatment is ‘formulated to help eliminate skin imperfections’ and is ‘drying and purifying’.
For drying, ‘powders and clay’ to help absorb excess oil; Glyceryl Laurate (patent) regulates its over production
For purifying, Key ingredients reduce bacteria growth
For exfoliating, BHA known keratoregulating ingredients help reduce skin blemishes.

They recommend applying 2-3 times a day and warn that it may cause a tingling sensation which never occurred to me. It is odorless and the tip is colourless so it goes on invisible. I will say however that you can’t apply foundation on top of the areas where you spot treated. It just doesn’t go on smoothly and you’ll see straight away the areas where you have the Cleanance.

I actually quite like this little pen which surprisingly worked well on me. I apply this maybe morning (if not wearing foundation) and in the evening, rather generously. It’s efficient in reducing redness and calming a blemish before it gets to be big and angry. I had a look at the ingredients and the first 5 are mostly waxes and oils. So who knows why. The only thing I’ll say is that it doesn’t come with much product and I went through the pen rather quickly. I paid 7.25 euros for this so it is actually rather expensive for what you get. On the beaute-test website it’s one of those YMMV products.

Repurchase? I’ve just bought another to confirm its effectiveness. We’ll see.

Kate slim gel eye pencil (0.12g) in BR1 in BR1 brown – Made in Japan
I used up one of these last month in black. Click here to read what I wrote. In one word: love.
The brown is obviously more subtle, just quietly defining the eyes. I do prefer black in general but brown is a nice change. This is a warm, mid-toned milk chocolate brown. The darkest brown eyeliner I found is Armani’s Smooth Silk Eye pencil waterproof. The ones that used to be LE.

I’ve read that Hourglass recently came out with their version of these type of pencil gel liner. These ones from Kate (and SANA, and apparently shu’s as well) contain 0.12g, or 0.004oz. Hourglass’ is 0.002oz. I don’t know how they compare as I won’t be getting the ones from Hourglass, all I can say is it’s way too pricey.

I’ve been wearing these type of gel pencil liners for a while and have had good experience with the ones I’ve tried. I admit from time to time they transfer a little to just under my eyes but 99% of eyeliners do that on me, and most of the time they perform really well and are the least smudging/transferring liners I’ve used. YMMV of course.
Repurchase? Yes

Fancl Mild Cleasing Oil (120ml) – Made in Japan
Reviewed here.
Repurchase? Yes, I have received 2 more backups!

Clinique Cream Shaper in Egyptian (1.2g/0.04oz) – Made in Germany
Laura Mercier Kohl Eye Pencil in Brown Copper (1.2g/0.04oz) – Made in Italy
These are more purges as I rarely reach for them now that they are nubs. I’ve had these for years and in a way am glad I can finally ‘move on’. I really like the Cream Shaper formula and have one ready to go in the same shade. Black Diamond is also a nice alternative.
I love the colour of the Laura Mercier pencil but it didn’t perform as well as I want it to. Good for smudging out for a smokey eye look but if you want a clean line and for it to stay that way, you might be disappointed.
Repurchase? Yes; No.

Eye Shadow Sticks: KIKO vs Laura Mercier vs by Terry

essticks

oops sorry it’s blurry

I’ve only just recently [ha-ha … this post was created in NOVEMBER 2013 so lets just say a few months ago and leave it as that] jumped onto the eyeshadow stick bandwagon. Those creamy little twist-up sticks that come in so many colours, are easy to use and last all-day. I didn’t know where to start at first but I knew I should have one from Laura Mercier based on the frequency people write about them. Now I have eyeshadow sticks from three different brands. This post will not be comparing the colours since I didn’t buy any shades that are similar to each other. Rather it’ll be about my experience of using them, or how one particular shade performs for me from that particular brand.

Now that I look at it I have one from each price point, drugstore, mid-range and luxe. They share in common:  made in Italy, same weight at 1.64g, and they have the same type of twist mechanism packaging, same size/length. Both the KIKO and LM pencils weigh 11g, by Terry slightly heavier at 15g. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

First up, KIKO’s Long Lasting Stick Eyeshadow: (more…)

Hits and Misses of 2012 – The Misses

You may have noticed I didn’t do a favourites post in November. One of the reasons was that there weren’t any particular standouts, and the other was it would be less redundant if I were to consolidate it to make a favourites of the year post.

But what are hits without misses? I always find ‘Misses’ more interesting to read on blogs. I have a tendency to spend my time writing about products I like than those that I find lackluster, unless they are at the same time really bad and cost a lot or hyped about. So for once, and in no particular order, here are the products that disappointed, that didn’t work and that I’m pretty sure won’t find their way again under my roof. Not all of the products are 2012 releases, nonetheless they are what I discovered and purchased in 2012. Here they are, the Misses of 2012, or alternatively, ‘Products I won’t repurchase’: (more…)

October Favourites

Bit late on the favourites post, but better than never right?

October was a slow month makeup-wise for me. I wasn’t tempted by the Fall collections so I’m afraid there won’t be any new colour products here. Instead I have decided to highlight some of the standbys that I like that I have been reaching for more. Paris has been wet, grey and cold for about a month now, it’s about to rain as I type. Apologies for the lighting in the photos.

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