sephora

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 MarchĂ© 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…)

Recent Haul

Japanese stuff first:

haul10-15a

1. KosĂ© Medicated Sekkisei Lotion Excellent – this one contains 2 more premium ingredients. I hear this has some anti-aging properties?
2. KosĂ© Medicated Sekkisei – this is the regular, classic version.
The Man was on a business trip to Korea, he was very busy. So I bought #1 on my own and surprise surprise he managed to get me #2. That’s why this is looks a little Sekkisei overkill. I’m using a new bottle of #2 (not photographed) so I’m good for a long time.
3. KosĂ© softymo Speedy Cleansing Oil – tried and loved. My budget choice.
4. BiorĂ© UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF 50+ PA++++ – “a lightweight, water-based, high protection sunscreen with hyaluronic acid + royal jelly essence + citrus mix to help moisturize the skin. Can be used with primer, under makeup. Doesn’t leave a white cast.” This was voted as one of the best in the Japanese @cosme awards. Japanese sunscreens tend to be very light yet efficient and I’ve always preferred them.
5. Hada Labo Skin Conditioner Medicated Gokujyun – in addition to the moisturizing goodness of the classic skin conditioners, this one soothes irritated skin and prevents spots (hence medicated).
6. Hada Labo Shiroshizuku – this is a brightening serum/moisturizer
7. suisai Beauty Clear Powder – an enzyme based powder cleanser with moisturizing properties that cleanses pores, helps remove blackheads. I’ve used up boxes of this before and really like how smooth it leaves the skin feeling. Convenient for travel too of course.
8. Utena Matomage Hair Styling Stick – this is a small, handy hair styling product. The green one here is for strong hold. I think they have a pink one.
9. Rohto LycĂ©e eye drops – for contact lens wearer. Lightly cooling.
10. Lunasol Full Glamour Lips in #36 – already featured in the Nude lipstick post. This is a really, really moisturizing formula. I’m going to pick up more of these lipsticks when I can. So impressed! #36 is a new colour.
11. Lunasol Coloring Creamy Cheeks in EX01 Chocolat Beige – cream to powder blush. Doesn’t smell like chocolate (I hear the eyeshadows and lipstick/glosses do). Beautiful colour that mimics perfectly your own flush. Very natural. It’s on the sheer side layers wonderfully.
12. Maybelline Lashionista mascara in black – this mascara adds fibres to your lashes, making them look longer/more volume.
13. Shiseido Integrate gel liner in black – bought to try having read good things about it.
14. KosĂ© Fasio Smart Curl Mascara V – volume
15. Kosé Fasio Powerful Curl Mascara Long
16. VisĂ©e Super Slim Gel Liner – curious to compare this with others
17. Kate eyebrow pencil in BR-5
18. Kate slim gel pencil in black  – staple
19. Shiseido Maquillage Dramatic Melting Rouge in RD425
Hidden between #15 & 16:
20. KosĂ© Fasio Quick Dry Gel Liner in black – again want to compare with liners

I can’t remember when I started reincorporating Japanese skincare products into my regime, but for the last (almost) 8 years I’ve relied on European brands (specifically French drugstore) which my skin seemed to have preferred. Perhaps it’s the drier/cooler climate here, who knows. Nonetheless I’ve been getting deluxe skincare samples steadily (cleansers and toners mostly, then moisturizers) and with my recent experience of Sekkisei, I’m once again ready to embrace Asian skincare products.

Iope skincare:

haul10-15b

Haven’t tried these yet. Will report in time …

European stuff:

haul10-15c

The small tube is Sephora Brow Thickener.

A close-up of the Bobbi Brown:

bb-linerpowder

Intense Pigment Liner in Midnight.

Reviews to come!

September Favourites



Sephora professional – Smudge brush
Pleasantly surprised by how well this brush performs. My only other smudge brush is Laura Mercier’s, which has been with me for around 8 years. The Sephora is a little bigger, but less scratchy. I find its size perfect for the way I do my smoky eye: sloppily applied eyeliner that’s smudged and smoked out. With this brush I can do the job faster than with the LM, which I now rely on for more precision when I just want to soften the edges of my eyeliner.

Sephora on the left, Laura Mercier on the right

Bourjois Magic Nail polish remover
This is not a new item but I recently picked this up, admittedly with a bit of scepticism. Consider me won over. It seems more ecological as well. I use maybe 1 cotton soaked with remover to get into the corners and edges, but that’s it. Just be careful not to topple the bottle as the solution will spill. (more…)