Apr 092014
 

Here’s a quick review of the top three things that I’m obsessing about right now….

First, remember that Sephora 15% off discount for beauty insiders ends on Thursday, April 10, 2014. This is a great time to try new things, or to stock up on staples like hair care, skin products, and tools.

image001

This time around, my “fun” item that went into my cart is this Bite Beauty Deconstructed Rose Lip Gloss set ($49.00 before discount). Although these glosses aren’t full size, there are twelve (12) at a fairly generous 0.05 ounce size. If you want to start seeing the world through rose-colored glosses, here’s your set.

Decontructed Lip colors

Second, I tried the Wayne Goss concealer trick, and it really works for me. I thought I’d highlight it for you, because my under eye concealer is outlasting some of my foundations these days. That’s a beauty first.

To do this method, I’ve been using UD Anti-Aging Primer Potion ($24), although others will work too (so long as they aren’t too drying).

UD Primer Potion Anti-Aging1

Third, “the higher the hair….” has been my motto lately. There’s something so fun about building volume, volume, volume.  I’m still addicted to my T3 Voluminous Hot Roller set (don’t knock ’em till you’ve tried ’em), and these are 15% off right now at Sephora through April 10th for insiders. For an even quicker way to add a spritz and a tiny tease, Oribe’s Dry Texturizing Spray ($21 for small size) does the trick.

oribe

This beautifully presented spray is a pleasure to use, and gives me the mane that makes me feel ready to meet my day.

oribe dry texturizing

What are you obsessed with right now?

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Mar 292014
 

Wayne Goss Face Brush Set01Makeup artist Wayne Goss is one of the few Youtuber’s that I watch with some regularity (link to his channel is here). Although I don’t love all of his advice, I’ve picked up some tips over the years and I know that he loves some of the brands that I do (hello, Tom Ford!) Over the past several months, he’s launched a brush line that is available on Beautylish in the U.S. (and internationally on Love Make Up). Here it is (click to enlarge):

Wayne Goss Face Brush Set21It’s a little frustrating to buy these, because unless you frequent conferences like IMATS (I don’t), you can’t see them in person before you buy. Fortunately, Goss does videos that demonstrate them. Also, the people at Beautylish have been sort of wonderful about answering questions. They’ve played with them, know the line, and can actually tell you about them before you buy. Also, Color Me Loud did a good comprehensive review of his original set that I found very useful prior to ordering.

Wayne Goss Face Brush Set23

Goss is self-funding the launches, and he’s putting them out in phases. His first launch, brushes 1 through 8, have been a genuine pleasure to use. They’re said to be extremely high quality, made in Japan of squirrel hair, and they act like it. My eyeshadows have a depth and subtlety that I didn’t know they possessed. They wash and dry beautifully. They are well-balanced, well-designed, and have an intuitive sense of how skin and makeup are supposed to interact. At some point, I hope to post a review of them.  For now, I do concur with some other bloggers assessment, however, that the original eight-piece collection did not have a sufficiently large face brush.

goss

 This month, Wayne Goss launched a Face Brush set (brushes 10-15) that I picked up when it went online for sale. As you can see from the above, these brushes are much larger in scale compared to the original eight. According to this introductory video, these brushes are mainly goat hair. Here’s a closer look at these five Wayne Goss brushes from his new set:

Wayne Goss Face Brush Set08

Brush 10 is a large white duo-fiber.

Wayne Goss Face Brush Set09

Wayne Goss Face Brush Set02 brush 10

Brush 11 is slightly flattened powder brush, that will work well for blush.

Wayne Goss Face Brush Set10

Wayne Goss Face Brush Set11

Wayne Goss Face Brush Set03 brush 11

Brush 12 is a dense, short, slightly flattened brush that’s extremely soft (well, they are all extremely soft). The important thing about Brush 12 is that the softness is combined with a density that makes it great for highlighting and contouring. Also, I live for brushes like Brush 12 because they are genius for softly-pigmented blushes.

Wayne Goss Face Brush Set12

Wayne Goss Face Brush Set13

Wayne Goss Face Brush Set04 brush 12

Brush 13 has a round, semi-dense, domed configuration that is not quite as dense as brush 12. This is good for powders, and general multitasker. This is the Wayne Goss version of the Armani blush brush, which has been my go-to powder brush for the past year or so. The Goss #13 is smaller, softer, and a bit more dense than Armani’s blush brush.

Wayne Goss Face Brush Set14

Wayne Goss Face Brush Set15

wayne goss brush 131

If Brush 14 were not in the set, I would not have ordered it separately. It’s a soft, floppy, long-haired, narrow brush that is said to be helpful for adding small, layered powders. I suspect that I’ll use this mostly to add color-correcting powders to small areas of the face over my foundation, so in the end I’m glad to have it. If you powder over your concealer (I don’t), then this would work well.

Wayne Goss Face Brush Set16

Wayne Goss Face Brush Set17

 Brush 15 is a fan brush. I do not currently own any fan brushes, because I understand that people use them when they want highlighter to be very, very, very subtle. I do not understand those people. Personally, I’d prefer to glow like one of the stars on Nashville. Have you noticed on that show that the supporting cast never wears highlighter? I have. Anyway, I have subtle non-sparkling highlighters so I would just use those on my “supporting cast” days. Here is brush 15:

Wayne Goss Face Brush Set18

Wayne Goss Face Brush Set19

Wayne Goss Face Brush Set07

As I mentioned in a previous post, I recently became a Google Glass Explorer. It’s been a life long dream of mine to take pictures directly with my eyes, without the use of a cumbersome camera. So, now I have my superpower. Ten minutes after I first wore my Glass, I did this video. In fact, in the first scene you can see a lot of Glass boxes and cases sitting around (as well as some kerfuffle for our upcoming move).  I pretty clearly don’t know what I’m doing yet (I’ll learn, I promise). Anyway, I thought it might be useful see see them in a video.

Watch on Google Plus:

To watch in a link:  New Project 4 (Half size)

Thank you for reading! This post contains one affiliate link (to the Armani brush)(for more information, see About Cafe Makeup). I received no endorsement, kudos or money from the Goss brushes.

 

 

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Mar 132014
 
NARS Artistry Brush #10 - Powder Brush

NARS Artistry Brushes Stylized Group ShotThe buzz on NARS new Artistry Brush series is already getting around. According to the line:

NARS Cosmetics leverages its makeup artistry heritage with a 16 piece Artistry Brush Collection. From base to bristle, this comprehensive collection features an exquisite design conceived by Founder and Creative Director François Nars and Fabien Baron, of New York design firm Baron & Baron. Each brush is designed with the finest quality hairs and delicately weighted to provide the necessary balance for a professional and precise makeup application. The custom brush and packaging feature the iconic matte black finish with sharp debossed logo and signature pop of red.

FACE CATEGORY Refine. Blend. Conceal.

Powder Brush #10, $52 Blends, buffs, and diffuses loose powder for a lustrous finish. Double domed with layers of full, soft hair to pick up and deposit powder evenly.

NARS Artistry Brush #10 - Powder Brush

 

Bronzing Powder Brush #11, $52 An artist essential for controlled application. The dense concentration of soft, natural hair holds and applies product for an even, all-over glow.

NARS Artistry Brush #11 - Bronzing Powder Brush

 

Cream Blending Brush #12, $28 A versatile, multi-use brush for face and eyes. Designed for gentle application of concealer around the eyes and effortless blending of cream textures.

NARS Artistry Brush #12 - Cream Blending Brush

Precision Blending Brush #13, $26 For precision application of concealer. Ideal for focused use on spots, pigmented areas, or around the eyes and nose.

NARS Artistry Brush #13 - Precision Blending Brush

 

CHEEK CATEGORY  Sculpt. Contour. Highlight.

Blush Brush #20, $42 Professional domed shape deposits blush pigments perfectly. Diffuses as it blends for smooth, effortless application.

NARS Artistry Brush #20 - Blush Brush

Contour Brush #21, $42 Expertly angled for sculpting and highlighting the cheekbones. An artist essential to define and blend with controlled application.

NARS Artistry Brush #21 - Contour Brush

 

EYE CATEGORY Line. Define. Blend.

Eye Shadow Brush #40, $32 Deposits the perfect amount of pigment for a masterful sweep of all-over shadow.

NARS Artistry Brush #40 - Eyeshadow Brush

Diffusing Brush #41, $32 A must-have for blending and creating the smoky eye. Lush bristles softly apply shadow for a light veil of color.

NARS Artistry Brush #41 - Diffusing BrushBlending Eyeshadow Brush #42, $32 Ideal tool for applying high-shimmer shadows and effortless blending for a soft-focus effect due to softer, longer hair design.

NARS Artistry Brush #42 - Blending Eyeshadow Brush Wide Contour Eyeshadow Brush #43, $32 The go-to artist essential that does it all: tap, blend, or sweep shadow with ease. Angled shape allows for all-over or precise application.

NARS Artistry Brush #43 - Wide Contour Eyeshadow Brush

Precision Contour Brush #44, $28 The firm, flexible hair design of this brush is ideal for applying concentrated color in the eye crease.

NARS Artistry Brush #44 - Precision Contour BrushSmudge Brush #45, $28 The smoky eye artist essential. Expertly deposits color along the lash line and diffuses and softens eyeliner.

NARS Artistry Brush #45 - Smudge BrushPush Eyeliner #46, $28 Transforms any cream or powder eyeshadow into an eyeliner for a smooth, fine line at the base of the lashes. Use wet to apply powders for stronger color impact.

NARS Artistry Brush #46 - Push Eyeliner Brush Angled Eyeliner Brush #47, $28  Designed for impeccable glide when applying liquid and cream textures along the lash line.  Perfect for use with NARS Eye Paint to create a variety of effects, from natural to dramatic.

NARS Artistry Brush #47 - Angled Eyeliner BrushBrow Defining Brush #48, $26 Define, shape and fill in sparse brows. Firm bristles provide control and deposit powder for a hair-like effect.

NARS Artistry Brush #48 - Brow Defining Brush

 

LIP CATEGORY

Precision Lip Brush #30, $26  Designed with a wide, flat surface to evenly apply lipstick with precision.

NARS Artistry Brush #30 - Precision Lip Brush

As it happens, I’ve been going through a brush obsession lately. I’m just so completely excited for these. I cannot wait!

 

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Dec 152013
 

Marc Jacobs Bronzer Brush01

Although my reactions to the new Marc Jacobs makeup line have not been uniform, I felt that it was important to look at several items in the line to get a sense of the quality level. It is not everyday that an important fashion designer launches a beauty line, especially one so comprehensive in scope. I did not love the mascara, the foundation, and I haven’t felt compelled to try the blushes. But one of the items that has won my heart is the Marc Jacobs The Bronze Bronzer Brush No. 12 ($78), a consistent, well-made tool that has increased the usability and beauty of the other products in my collection.

Marc Jacobs Bronzer Brush02

I knew this brush was special the first time that I saw it, and Seth Barton-Roberts’ video review also piqued my interest. Running nearly 8 inches in length, this oversized powder brush is well balanced and substantial, without being heavy.

Marc Jacobs Bronzer Brush03

The head is densely packed and soft, like a combination kabuki/duo-fibre. It gives superb control for all types of powders, including blushes, powders, bronzers. It applies baked products, including MAC’s Mineralized Skin Finishes, like a boss.

Marc Jacobs Bronzer Brush10

The bristles have plenty of oomph, so that you don’t have to spend too much time building up product. Designed for bronzers, I found a few sweeps adequate. It gives a similar application effect to the large (and now unobtainable) Chanel must-have powder brush that I bought in Paris years ago.

Marc Jacobs Bronzer Brush12

Because of the oversized head, I tend to reserve this for products that are used over larger areas of the face. Just to experiment, I also tried this with my hyper-pigmented blushes (such as the MAC pro blushes, and some NARS). I found that I still had to be careful about how much pigment I put on this brush. Some of the pigmentation of those blushes are pretty nuclear, so I wasn’t surprised to find that I still had to sweep the brush over a mirror or tissue to knock product off before applying. However, I did find that the Marc Jacobs The Bronze brush  did allow me to apply the blushes with very soft, soft, soft blended edges.

Marc Jacobs Bronzer Brush04

I reaching for the Marc Jacobs The Bronze brush almost every day since I bought it. I wash it the same way as my other brushes, and dry time is overnight if I remember to shake out excess water (but a day and a half if I forget).  I haven’t experienced any staining with any of my products (including the super-pigmented blushes). Everything seems to wash out easily. According to Sephora’s website, the brush is made from synthetic, antibacterial hair. The feel is pure luxury and the function is perfection.

Jacobs brush with annotations

Bottom line–this is one of my favorite buys from the past several months. It is available exclusively from Sephora.

This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup).

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Sep 262013
 

Sephora Buffing Brush1

Sephora’s Mineral Powder Brush #45 ($24) is a well-priced brush that does well with powder foundations. Although the brush is designed to work with mineral foundations, I found that the shape and buffing ability worked well with non-mineral, standard powder foundations as well.

Sephora Buffing Brush2

Sometimes I’m not sure how to apply my pressed powder foundations.  The sponge gives me great coverage but a dense, dry look.  Loose powder brushes don’t seem to give me enough coverage, depending on the one that I’m working with. This brush gives me a good balance–the soft duo-fiber bristles allow me to buff the product into my skin without depositing too much.  Yet the density and firmness of the bristles allow me to build up coverage easily.

Sephora Buffing Brush6

I used this brush with a few of my pressed powder foundations, including Dolce & Gabanna The Foundation Perfect Finish, MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural, and Chanel Vitalumiere Eclat (reviewed here/ not sold in the U.S.).  I got very good results using the brush-it gave me good control over the application, and the product could be buffed in very well to eliminate an overly-powdery look. The construction seems solid, and the dry time is average.  I ran into no problems cleaning it.

Sephora Buffing Brush3

Overall, I was quite happy with the Sephora’s Mineral Powder Brush #45. At $24, it’s well worth a look.

Cafe Makeup was sent this product without charge for consideration for review. This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see About Cafe Makeup.

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Jul 102013
 

Chanel Les Beiges09

Chanel’s Les Beiges collection includes the Chanel Les Beiges Retractable Kabuki Brush, an adorable and practical brush that’s both purse and travel-friendly.

beiges chanel brush1

 This small, delightfully soft brush is every inch a “Chanel,” with the iconic logo on one end. Inside, there is a sleeve which squooshes the white bristles together (which enables the cap to be easily placed on and off).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This sleeve slides down, revealing the dense, short brush.

Chanel Les Beiges12

These bristles are remarkably soft and lush–truly, a luxury brush that’s well worth having. I own a Guerlain brush with a similar design.  Overall, the Chanel is much more pleasurable to use. Although the Guerlain works well, it cannot match the softness and density of the Chanel. The bristles of the Chanel are very, very fine.

Chanel Les Beiges13

Here are the Chanel and Guerlain brushes side-by-side (sleeves up):

Chanel Les Beiges15

Same, sleeves down so that you can see the bristles:

Chanel Les Beiges14

Is the Chanel Retractable Kabuki a must-have?  It’s certainly worth a pause (and pet) when it arrives in the U.S. next month.  It’s certainly selling out here in Paris (I was able to get one just as it was being re-stocked one morning).  I strongly encourage you to take a look–although I’m still getting to know it, it appears to be a brush worthy of the Chanel name.

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Jun 272013
 
Mac 159 brush

MAC 159 brush1

MAC has recently released the Tropical Taboo Collection, which is all about color and texture.  The one product which really stood out to me, however, is a newly-introduced brush. Specifically, the Mac 159 brush ($35) is the most interesting new brush that’s wonderful for highlighting, and also for precise placement of baked face products. The brush is a fairly short (roughly 6 1/2″) brush with a “cats paw” shape.

Mac 159 brush

From the side:

MAC 159 brush3

This brush is pleasant to use–imaging being petted by a very soft kitten.  Also, it makes unwearably rough-textured baked products meld nicely into the skin, knocking off the powder bits as it goes. If I had not tried it in person, I would not have understood its value.  If you are near a MAC counter/store, it’s really worth trying one of their baked products on with this particular brush.  You’ll fall in love with it–or at least, I did.  I believe that this brush is now part of their permanent line (but don’t quote me, there’s conflicting buzz).

Mac tropical taboo MSF01

While I was at the store, I looked at the new MAC Mineralized Skinfinishes from the MAC Tropical Taboo collection–Adored, Rio and Lust. I’m a highlighter fan (can  you tell?) and so I couldn’t resist picking these up. See, that’s the thing about MAC.  There’s something so fun about their “fabulous-today, gone-tomorrow” speed that’s both dizzying, intriguing and sometimes aesthetically successful.  Perhaps you’re read the same studies that I have–sometimes those who produce the greatest number of creative variations have the highest numbers of “hits”–sure, some misses too.  I try to wait on the sidelines and wait for the hits (and try to skip the misses, although I’m not always successful).

Mac tropical taboo MSF02

Of these, and for my fair warm coloring, Adored was the biggest hit.  It’s an unusual highlighter that looks almost transparent.  It adds just a touch of “glow” with peach-pink highlight where the light hits.  I’m not sure I’ve seen a skinfinish quite like Adored ever before.  It really adds something special over blushes–a healthy glow. You can use it in a “C” shape around the eye and on upper cheek, or lightly all over the blush area to add a little soft shimmer glow to the blush. Even better–when using the MAC 159 brush, I got no noticeable glitter from Adored.

Mac tropical taboo MSF03a

Rio is a cool pink highlighter. The color might be enough for a soft blush if you are very pale (but it’s too soft for me unless I’m going for a very nude-blush look).  The finish goes almost metallic in bright light.

Mac tropical taboo MSF07a

Lust is a soft pink (it’s close enough to Rio that you don’t need both in my opinion). I detected slight glitter particles in direct sunlight with Lust.  Like Rio, the highlight is quite obvious/metallic in direct bright light.

Mac tropical taboo MSF11

As you can see, the color from these is not very strong (these are two swipes each). They’re sheer.

One final note about all three–these really, really look best applied with the MAC 159 brush in my opinion.  They look much rougher  in texture when they are not. But with the 159, they are smooth and meld to the skin. Walking around in different light, I was glad that I splurged on the brush and can’t wait to try it with my other baked products (especially those non-US Chanel blushes–I’m very curious to see what the 159 will do with those!).

MAC 159 brush2

Also, all of the MAC Tropical Taboo colors seem designed for warmer skin tones. I’m not saying that a cooler toned person could never make them work, but it would seem more challenging to me.

Some other random thoughts:  Of these, Adored Mineralizes Skinfinish and the 159 brush were my favorites.  MAC Simmer blush is worth a peek if you’re in a blushy mood (I love it with Adored over it). Applied with the 159 brush, Simmer was like a red-gold stain. I didn’t look at the eyeshadows or the lip products from this collection, but Temptalia has done thorough reviews of the entire range. Also, there are some really knowledgable people on the Specktra Collection Board who post swatches, reviews and thoughts about all of them (with lots of different opinions, skin tones and preferences).

Regardless of how you feel about these metal-reflective baked skinfinishes, you might look at the MAC “cat’s paw” 159.

The MAC 159 brush is available at Nordstrom.com (the skinfinishes are here), MAC Cosmetics.com, and other MAC sources.

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Nov 042012
 

Tom Ford Cheek Brush ($75/#06) is a luxuriously soft and beautiful brush. There are some products that are so perfect, and such complete joys to use, that they are worth every penny regardless of the price. Like Tom Ford’s Bronzer Brush, the Cheek Brush is one of those products.

The head of the brush is tapered and full. After a few washes, the head looks the same as it does out of the box.

The handle is lighter than one might expect, but round and large enough to make use easy and comfortable.

There are few reviews for this brush, although the Non Blonde has done a beautiful job here. While were at it, I’m going to post some first impressions of some Tom Ford blushes that I purchased–Frantic Pink, Wicked and Narcissist ($55 each). I haven’t played with these enough for a full review, but was able to take some pictures that I can share.

First, all of these blushes have a pearly quality that gives a gorgeous, sparkle-free glow. Here is Frantic Pink, a light soft pink-with-a-peach twist:

I don’t typically love blushes that impart only subtle color. I found that Frantic Pink does give enough color to give a blush effect to my NC15 skin tone, and the soft highlighter shimmer was gorgeous.

Wicked is an amazing cool raspberry with a cool pearl.

Close up:

I haven’t had time to play with Wicked or the next blush, Narcissist (released for Fall 2012):

Narcissist does not appear to have quite the amount of shimmery pearl as Frantic Pink or Wicked. It reminds me a bit of a more luxurious, complex version of MAC Full Fuchsia Pro blush.

Swatches, outside in sun:

Swatches, indoors with flash:

I hope that you might enjoy my experiment with Tom Ford. Personally, these all look amazing to me. The packaging is compact and light enough for travel, and the color payoff is amazing. I’ve worn Frantic Pink for a few days, and love the effect. Have you played with Tom Fords blushes or brushes? What do you think?

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Oct 052012
 

First- This Chanel Inside No 5 video is brilliant. It makes me a bit breathless–I think it’s the narrator’s pacing.

Currently there are three makeup companies associating with Marilyn Monroe presently (Chanel, MAC and Dior). Two with Andy Warhol (Chanel and Nars). None of these seems to be a detraction from these icons’ incredible status. I’m enjoying every minute.

It does seem the makeup industry is having a 1960’s revolution moment.

By the way, I have some of the original Andy Warhol postcards based on the collaboration mentioned in the video. They have little peel-off fragrance samples on the back. When I get back home, I’ll have to post some pictures of them.

Second-  Louis Vuitton. Speaking of a 1960’s revival, during Paris Louis Vuitton’s models wore a simple peach shimmered eyeshadow with soft lips complete with a 1960’s headband-bob.

The show featured the Damier check, extending the pattern into four escalators which formed the stage background.

Third- Tom Ford. I took me until a few months ago to make a few tentative passes at the Neiman’s counter. I’m not done going back yet.
I’ll be posting reviews (but if you want a head start, this Bronzer Brush is to die for). I cannot say that I’ve loved everything I’ve tried, but trust me this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

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Jun 182012
 

The Chanel Blending Foundation Brush #7 ($54) is a brush that I’ve put off reviewing for a bit. For one thing, brush reviews aren’t as exciting to me as color makeup reviews. Trust me, a pretty eyeshadow palette or a gorgeous new pink lipstick review pretty much writes itself.

But the reality is, for me, good brushes matter.  Perhaps a pro can get by with her well-trained fingers or the ragged end of a tissue. Good for them, honestly. Personally, I notice an enormous difference when I use a good brush. So I invest in brushes and if it’s engraved with “Chanel” and has a lovely, balanced weight and lush yet feathery brush head, those are reasons enough for me.

The Chanel Blending Foundation brush has a dense base with a medium stiffness, and long white ends that feel very feathery and soft. As many of you know, this type of brush can be used to lightly apply cream or powder products–the very light end bristles apply the product very lightly like light little feathers touching the skin. If you are applying a very pigmented blush and want a light touch, a duo-fibre brush is your best friend. As the name implies, this Chanel Blending Foundation brush can also be used to lightly stipple on cream or liquid foundation for an almost-airbrushed finish.

The bristles on Chanel’s Blending Foundation Brush are lush and lovely. Out of the box, the brush has an elongated hexagonal shape that evokes the iconic Chanel No. 5 bottle stop (which, in turn, is the same shape as Paris’ Place Vendome, which is bordered by the Hotel Ritz where Gabrielle Chanel lived during some parts of her life.

 

Alas, the brush shape went back to round after a single washing. Here’s a comparison to a MAC 187 brush ($42) that is several years old. An unfair comparison, given the differences in age, but I thought you might find the size comparison useful.

The brush heads of the MAC 187 on the left, the Chanel No. 7 on the right. The Chanel is more compact and feels a bit more dense and plushy:

The two straight on:

For performance, I’ll give a slight edge to the Chanel. The bristles seem to do a lovely job without ever giving a single patch or problem. It’s a touch smaller, so it gives me a bit more control. However, if you are pretty happy with your MAC 187 (as many are!), I don’t think it’s worth the investment to switch unless your MAC is nearing its useful life.

Overall, I love the new Chanel Foundation Blending brush. I do use lots of brushes, so  I don’t regret having another good duo fibre in my brush cup. Definitely worth a look if you are in the market for a good brush for foundations and pigmented powders.

 

 

 

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