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.

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Oct 222012
 

Tom Ford’s Bronzer Brush ($115) is a luxurious investment. Rather than attempting to create a brush that might mimic others, this brush is lovingly made to deliver incredible results, albeit with the price tag to match. The bristle end is soft as kitten fur, lush and thick.

 The handle is balanced without being too heavy.

Of course, the brush is designed to work with the large, luxurious pan of the Tom Ford Bronzer. Below is Gold Dust, which is a beautifully shimmered glowing-with-gold powder perfect for light, warm skin tones. It has a very large, flat pan.

In fact, the bristle head of the Tom Ford Bronzer brush is far larger than the pan of a Chanel Joues Contraste blush. Of course, most bronzers are on the larger side. Some of the Guerlain special edition pans are almost the size of European dinner plate. However, if your favorite bronzer has a small pan, the Tom Ford Bronzer Brush might actually be too large for it.

Together, the combination of the Tom Ford Bronzer Brush and Gold Dust is a wonderful experience that delivers beautiful, transformative results.

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see About Cafe Makeup.

 

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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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May 192011
 

Over the past few months, Burberry Beauty began selling a few items from its brush line (previewed here).  In addition to a limited release of gift with purchase items that Nordstrom featured during the Holiday season, the store is now selling Eye Brushes Nos. 9, 10 and 11 (pictured here among the other eye brushes).

Last week, I picked up both Burberry Beauty Brushes No. 10 and 11 to expand my brush range.  The quality of these brushes is extremely high.  Even the softly-colored Burberry eyeshadows cling to them beautifully, laying down a serious layer of pigment.  The handles are sleek, classic and beautifully machined.  The “heft” factor is appropriate–these are light but solid.  Let’s take a closer look at these two…

Burberry Beauty Brush No. 10 ($32) is a variation on a pencil brush, intended for smudging and making softly defined lines.  It comes packed in a plastic sleeve inside a velveteen cover marked with the trademarked Burberry plaid with a black-on-black texture.

I found that the head of Burberry’s Eye Brush No. 10 was denser and larger than the MAC 219 pencil brush ($24.50).  Here’s a side-by-side of the new, unused Burberry next to my well-worn MAC 219:

I’ve played with Burberry’s Eye Brush No. 10 and find that it gives a beautifully pigmented, rich lay-down of color.  With a pigmented soft shadow (NARS Mekong, for example), I got a beautifully rich line of color where the soft gold sparkles showed up nicely.  I’m so pleased with this brush, I know that I’ll get constant use from it.  The handle of No. 10:

Burberry Beauty Eye Brush No. 11 ($38) has an uncommon, but extremely useful shape.  The top is a slanted, flat circle that lays down a rich sweep of color over the entire lid.  It can also be used for precise placement of powders under the eye over concealer.

The bristles are very dense, and works beautifully like a magnet, depositing color very evenly across with lid with a single sweep.

These are great quality brushes, and a pleasure to use.

Another:

Bottom line:  Highly recommended.

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