Jun 102014
 

Sephora Summer Faves04Sephora must have been reading about my travel/moving situation, because last week a little box of travel-to-go treats arrived at my front door. I thought I would do a little post to give you some thoughts, in case you (or someone on your gift radar) needs anything along these lines.

Sephora Summer Faves09First up is the Sephora Double Down Brush set ($46). This was my favorite item by far. It features three brushes–no wait, six brushes. This is a small artificial leatherette-type case that is roughly 6″ in length, holding mighty, mighty brushes of surprisingly good quality. The bristles are acrylic, and the weight and balance of these evidences a very well-made mini-set of three face brushes. The heads on these are not very large compared to a luxurious Tom Ford or Marc Jacobs bronzing brush (reviewed here), for sure. Yet these are remarkably well designed and surprisingly functional.

Sephora Summer Faves05

The small black ring in the middle of the brushes is a separation point, revealing three eye brushes within.

Sephora Summer Faves06

Voila! The eye brushes can even be flipped around so that these become double-ended sets. I challenged myself to do a full face with this set, and it was shockingly easy. The eyeshadow brushes allowed me to line, blend, and apply deep shades in the crease with no problem. The rounded face brush (on the bottom in these pictures), allowed for a lovely all-over application of powder. And the slanted contour/blush brush (at the top in these pictures), did a great job applying blush.  Face brushes:

Sephora Summer Faves08

The eye brushes:

Sephora Summer Faves07

The bristles are soft and on the firm side. Although the case is not made of premium materials, the design and quality went into the brushes, which is how I would have wanted it. The brushes wash and dry well. This is a nice stow-away for carry on or overnight bags, while you can leave your premium brushes at home. The case has a little pocket in the back for blushes , lipsticks and other makeup items that you want to carry along.

Sephora Summer Faves10Another helpful item is the Everything Under the Sun Tanning Set ($12).

Sephora Summer Faves14This includes the all-important exfoliating mitt, application mitt, and an erasing sponge. As a self-tanning aficionado, I have the feeling the Liz will be getting some serious use out of this little set.

Sephora Summer Faves15

The Sephora Carnivale Eye Brush Set ($22), packs five eye brushes in a slim aluminum tube. These brushes are quite lightweight. For the modest price, you get a good variety. The smudge and the angled liner/brow are nice additions.

Sephora Summer Faves11

Although these don’t compare with premium Japanese brushes, sometimes you need a low-investment set and these fit that bill pretty nicely.

Sephora Summer Faves13

The brush heads:

Sephora Summer Faves12

Sephora’s The Galaventer ($28) is a three-bag set for packing, and the small bags are nice for purses and totes.

Sephora Summer Faves01

The sizes are

- 7 5/8” H x 9 1/2” L x 2 1/4” W (large bag)
- 5 3/4” H x 8” L x 0” W (medium bag)
- 4 1/8” H x 6 1/2” L x 0” W (small bag)

Sephora Summer Faves02

I’ve got about another three or four weeks of moving and traveling. I’m currently in the 100+ degree heat of Northern California, and heading to the more temperate Colorado for a few weeks. I must admit I’ll be glad to be settled in July, and trying to stay busy and happy while the time passes. I hope that your summers are going beautifully!

 These items were sent without charge to Cafe Makeup for consideration for review. This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup).

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May 182014
 

NARS Artistry Brushes Stylized Group Shot

Nars Artistry Brushes are a new series of lovely tools that I will be examine over the next few posts. Given the breadth of this collection, I’m going to proceed by first showing pictures of all of them in detail. I will be offering some thoughts about the brushes in some later posts.) These are available at Nordstrom.com, Barneys, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nars Cosmetics online.

Here is the entire set (click to enlarge):

Nars Artistry Brushes All LabeledThis post will cover the Nars Artistry #30 Precision Lip Brush ($26). This was way, way cooler than I imagined a lip brush could be, and the price is quite modest given the ingenuity of the design. This slim, elegant little brush comes capped to ensure that product doesn’t migrate throughout your purse or elsewhere.

Nars Precision Lip Brush 30d

With the cap off, the bristles remain hidden inside the slim case:

Nars Precision Lip Brush 30c

That is, until you put the cap onto the back. The pressure from the cap on the back of the handle pushes the bristles upward. The action is quite smooth and intuitive. Awesome! And you can use your brush in your gorgeous bag, which can stay clean.

Nars Precision Lip Brush 30g

This little brush is ingenious! Flat side:

Nars Precision Lip Brush 30

 

Side view:

Nars Precision Lip Brush 30a

I’ll be offering more thoughts about these in upcoming posts. These are available at Nordstrom.com, Barneys, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nars Cosmetics online.

These brushes were sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup)

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May 182014
 

NARS Artistry Brushes Stylized Group Shot

Nars Artistry Brushes are a new series of lovely tools that I will be examine over the next few posts. Given the breadth of this collection, I’m going to proceed by first showing pictures of all of them in detail. I will be offering some thoughts about the brushes in some later posts.) These are available at Nordstrom.com, Barneys, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nars Cosmetics online.

Here is the entire set (click to enlarge):

Nars Artistry Brushes All LabeledThis post will cover the Nars Artistry Eye Brushesnumbers 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47 and 48.  First up, I’d like to note that these brushes are beautifully designed. They have a matte black wood handle embossed with a subtle black-on-black Nars logo, and are finished with a red lacquer accent.

Nars logo brush

The design is well balanced. The brushes are balanced and substantial, without being heavy. The eye brushes all use a numbering system in the forties. The NARS #40 Eyeshadow Brush ($32) is the classic eyeshadow brush that we all use so much for all-over lid application, blending, and 1,000 other things. I have several, yet always seem to need another.

Nars Eye Shadow 40

Turned sideways:

Nars Eyeshadow Blending 42a

One more of the Nars #40 Eyeshadow Brush:

Nars Eyeshadow Brush 40b

Next is the NARS #41 Diffusing Brush ($32), which is lovely for blending, layering and light veils of color:

 

Nars Diffusing Brush 41b

Turned to the side:

Nars Diffusing brush 41c

And one more of the #41 Diffusing Brush:

Nars 41a

The NARS #42 Eyeshadow Blending Brush ($32) is the type of brush that I adore. According to NARS, this is “ideal for applying high-shimmer shadows and blending effortlessly for a soft-focus effect. The softer, longer hair design is perfect for a final sweep across the eye, blending and diffusing shades seamlessly.” I find that this shape is ideal for soft and natural application of almost any eyeshadow.

Nars 42b

Another:

Nars 42c

The NARS #43 Wide Contour Brush ($32) is an unusual shape, yet I find myself reaching for this type often. The wide shape allows me to dab on a bright spot of shimmer in the center of the lid, or to do a pigmented, all-over sweep. The edge allows me to do precise placement when needed. This can also be useful for lightly patting powder on the under eye concealer area.

Nars 43a

The flat top is an oval, and the bristles are dense and stiffer than many other eye brushes:

Nars 43b

 

One more:

Nars 43c

The NARS #44 Precision Contour Brush ($28) has a firm design for concentrated color. This is nice for dense crease colors, because the shape allows for deposit and blending. This is also nice for precise application of a highlighter color in the inner corner.

Nars 44a

Another:

Nars 44b

The NARS #45 Smudge Brush ($28) is the perfect shape for smudging liner either above or below the lid. The brush has a set of relatively stiff bristles and small size that allows for excellent control.

Nars Smudge Brush 45a

The NARS #46 Push Eyeliner Brush (#28) is perfect for applying gel liners, or making your mascara or eyeshadow into a liner. I use this type of brush so frequently –this is what is needed to really make the most of gel liners.

Nars Push Eyeliner brush 46a

I do not usually love white brushes, but in this case I get the point. When using this brush, you will know for certain whether there has been any remaining pigment from your prior use. This avoids the frustration of an unintended color mix that can occur close to the eye (which requires a re-do of almost everything else).

Nars Push Eyeliner Brush 46b

The bristles are acrylic, which is perfect for using creme eyeliners (or damp powders). The precise edge is ideal for eyeliner use. The brush can be applied using a series of lines, blended together, or slightly jiggled around for a softer line.

Nars Push Eyeliner 46c

NARS #47 Angled Eyeliner Brush ($28) is designed for liquids and creams along the lash line, including with NARS Eye Paints and the like.

Nars eyeliner brush 47c

NARS Brow Defining Brush ($26) is used for filling and defining brows:

Nars 48a Brow Defining Brush

I’ll be offering more thoughts about these in upcoming posts. These are available at Nordstrom.com, Barneys, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nars Cosmetics online.

These brushes were sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup)

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May 182014
 

NARS Artistry Brushes Stylized Group Shot

Nars Artistry Brushes are a new series of lovely tools that I will be examine over the next few posts. Given the breadth of this collection, I’m going to proceed by first showing pictures of all of them in detail. (I will be offering some thoughts about the brushes in some later posts.) Here is the entire set (click to enlarge):

Nars Artistry Brushes All Labeled

This post will cover the Nars Aristry Cheek Brushes–numbers 20 and 21. As an overview, I’d like to note that this entire series of brushes are beautifully designed. They have a matte black wood handle embossed with a subtle black-on-black Nars logo, and are finished with a red lacquer accent. The brushes are balanced and substantial, without being heavy.

Nars Blush Brush 20a

The NARS #20 Blush Brush ($42) is a beautiful brush for diffuse, fool-proof application of blushes and other cheek products. This Blush Brush is a flat paddle shape. Side view:

Nars Blush Brush 20b

One more:

Nars Blush Brush 20c

The Nars #21 Contour Brush is a beautifully shaped for more precise application for contouring and highlighting.

Nars Contour brush 21

What a thing of beauty! This brush has a flat shape that looks a bit narrower when turned to the side:

Nars Contour brush #21c

One more:

Nars Contour blush 21e

I’ll be offering more thoughts about these in upcoming posts. These are available at Nordstrom.com, Barneys, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nars Cosmetics online.

These brushes were sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup)

Please follow us on....

May 182014
 

NARS Artistry Brushes Stylized Group Shot

Nars Artistry Brushes are a new series of lovely tools that I will be examine over the next few posts. Given the breadth of this collection, I’m going to proceed by first showing pictures of all of them in detail. (I will be offering some thoughts about the brushes in some later posts.) Here is the entire set (click to enlarge):

Nars Artistry Brushes All LabeledThis post will cover the Nars Artistry Face Brushesnumbers 10, 11, 12 and 13.  First up, I’d like to note that these brushes are beautifully designed. They have a matte black wood handle embossed with a subtle black-on-black Nars logo, and are finished with a red lacquer accent.

Nars logo brush

The design is well balanced. The brushes are balanced and substantial, without being heavy. All of the face brushes using a numbering system in the tens–so, here is a look at NARS Brushes #10, #11, #12 and #13.

The NARS #10 Powder Brush ($52) is used for all-over finishing application and is designed for even, diffused application of powders.

Nars Powder Brush 10Another of the NARS #10 Powder Brush:

Nars Face Brush #101

Here is the NARS #11 Bronzing Brush ($52):

Nars Bronzing Brush 11This brush is thick, and has a dense concentration of natural hair. This is very similar to the former NARS Bronzing Brush. A seriously gorgeous brush, that works well for denser, blended application. Another picture:

NARS Bronzing Brush 11a

 

The NARS #12 Cream Blending Brush ($28) is designed for cream concealer, whether used on larger areas of the face or in the eye area. This acrylic, paddle-shape is perfect for applying and blending cream products, including cream shadows.
Nars Cream blending brush 12d

Turning this paddle-shaped brush to the side:

Nars Cream blending brush 12c

One more:Nars Cream Blending Brush 12e1The NARS #13 Precision Blending Brush ($26) is used for very precise concealer application on the face. Essentially, this round, acrylic brush can be used for very precise application of small areas such as spots, small areas of pigmentation, around the nose, and in smaller areas around the eye.

Nars Precision Blending Brush 13a

Another of NARS #13 Precision Blending Brush:

Nars Precision Blending Brush 13c

I’ll be offering more thoughts about these in upcoming posts. These are available at Nordstrom.com, Barneys, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nars Cosmetics online.

These brushes were sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup)

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