Saturday, July 21, 2012

A Guide to Brushes: Eye Brushes, Part 4: Angled Eye Shadow Brushes

Part four of my brush guide is angled shadow brushes.  These come in two styles: round and flat.  Think of either the blending crease brush or the flat shader brush sliced at an angle.  These are versatile eye shadow brushes, good for applying and blending eyeshadow.

Round Angled Shadow Brushes
Here are three sizes of round angled brushes; they are Paula Dorf Eye Contour, Hokuhodo G515 (Canada squirrel) and Make Up For Ever 18s.  They are all good for applying eyeshadow to the crease, and the three sizes would then fit different eye shapes.  They work well in a windshield wiper back and forth in the crease.  The largest is great for softening all edges after everything is applied.  I love the smallest also for applying eye shadow to the outer corner, patting it on really gets a good dark outer corner. 
The angled shape really fits into the crease well, and is great for a defined crease.  One thing I really love about them is that, as opposed to using one of the rounder or oval blending brushes to apply to the crease, you don't really get any shadow on your lid, it stays limited to the crease and upper lid areas.  This is amazing if you have small eyes because you can create the illusion of a larger lid space.

Flat Angled Shadow Brushes
These flat angled brushes are a Hakuhodo 239 and a MAC 275.  The MAC is the second brush I've featured that I haven't actually liked, I think.  The Hakuhodo, on the other hand, is divine, so consider all the pros related to that one and the cons for the MAC.  These are good for applying eyeshadow to the crease by using the tip of the brush; the angle fits nicely into the crease.  I also like them for a soft wash, and if you want to apply a large shadow use them the other direction across the tip.
You can use these brushes just like you would a medium or large flat shader brush, plus the angle means they're better for the crease.  It's also a good shape for shading the sides of the nose to make it appear slimmer from the front, which I really need to remember to do for my photos. 

Pros and Cons
Pros:  These brushes' unique shape allows for them to fit precisely in the crease.  The shape of the round ones in particular, make for almost foolproof crease placement.  They are a great finishing brush, too, blending out any harsh lines without disturbing placement.  I love them for outer corners and creases. 
Cons:  As a more unique brush shape, they might be either hard to find or expensive.  If you're building your brush collection, they probably won't be your first priority.  I think it's definitely worth having one of these, but I think you're more likely to buy one if you find traditional crease and blending brushes not working for you. 

The brushes featured in this post were Paula Dorf Eye Contour, Hakuhodo G515 Eye Shadow Brush CM Angled, Make Up For Ever Eye Shadow Brush 18s, Hakuhodo 239 Eye Shadow Brush Angled, and MAC 275.  All were purchased and I received no compensation for featuring them in this post.

Sephora By OPI Why Yellow There, Is It Payday Yet?, and Give Peach a Chance: Pastel Nail Polish swatches

Here are three beautiful pastel Sephora by OPI and some terrible swatches of them.  I have a deep love for yellow nail polishes, especially pastel yellows, and how could Peachy pass up a pastel peach nail polish.  As pastel creams go, these have a terrific formula.  All these swatches are three coats, which I did because my nails are in terrible condition right now.  They would certainly be opaque in two if you have nice nails or use a ridge filling basecoat to smooth things out, which I did not.  They weren't streaky at all and the wide brush SOPI has switched to works well for these to further prevent streaks.  I pretty much did one stroke for each nail, instead of my usual three.

Why Yellow There
A beautiful buttery pastel yellow.  It's a great warm pastel yellow--Sephora aptly calls it buttercream--which is nice because most pastel yellows I find are citrusy, cool green toned yellows.  This might be my dream polish, and it applies like a dream.  Forget the cliche of terrible to apply yellow polishes, this is not one of them. 

Is It Payday Yet?
I don't need to keep raving about the formula, do I?  This one dried a little darker than in the bottle, but it's a pale lime green either way.  Another great color description from Sephora, as this one is described as key lime pie.  Yummy! 

Give Peach a Chance
I love it when Sephora by OPI or OPI has a cute polish name, on account of the cringeworthiness of most of them, but how can you not love "Give Peach a Chance."  This one is a super pale peach; Sephora describes it as nude peach, which I don't really see.  It's not an overly pink peach, it has a nice yellow base, but is pretty neutral, so maybe that's what they mean.  I think it could work as a conservative workplace color without being dull or blah.  I really want to try my first gradient with the three of these.  I'll post pics if I do.

I totally forgot to watermark all these pictures.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Guide to Brushes: Eye Brushes, Part 3: Blending Brushes 2

Part three of my brush guide is all about crease blending brushes.  These brushes are good for either applying color to the crease, blending color already applied to the crease, or both, and they all have round ferrules.  This post features some of my favorite brushes, and certainly my favorite styles of brushes.  At least one of these styles is a must for anyone's brush collection

Pointed Crease Brushes
From smallest to largest, Hakuhodo 146 (blue squirrel), MAC 226, Hakuhodo 142 (blue squirrel), Bobbi Brown Eye Blender.  The smallest of these brushes is less tapered than the larger ones (but still ends in a point, which is why I included it in this set); it is great for applying color to the crease or for really careful blending of a strong or cut crease.  The medium and large brushes have a fat belly, which tapers to a point.  The medium sized brushes are good for applying a basic crease on small to medium eyes.  The largest of these brushes is probably too big for applying to anyone's crease, but it is a good finishing brush for removing edges, especially since it's soft.  It's also a fantastic powder brush for small areas; it's my go-to undereye powder brush.
The pointed crease brush is really useful because the tip gets into the deepest part of the crease and the surrounding taper blends it as you go.  If you're new to blending eyeshadow or not very good at it, this brush does a lot of the work.  I'd suggest using this brush in a windshield wiper motion, going back and forth in the crease.

Rounded Crease Brushes
MAC 224, MAC 222 (goat), Urban Decay Crease Brush (synthetic), Paula Dorf Sheer Crease, Daniel Sandler Blending Brush.  These brushes are quite similar to the pointed crease brushes, except that, instead of coming to a point, they end in a dome shape.  The Paula Dorf actually was tapered when I first bought it, but a few uses and washes and it fluffs out into a rounder shaper, which is what I wanted from it, so I'm including it here.  These are great crease brushes and work well for applying a wash of color on the lid, too.  I should probably say that I'm not a huge fan of the MAC 224.  I'm willing to give it another try after using a brush guard on it (for this picture), but I still think it's too floppy for applying shadow and not great for blending it either.  A lot of people love it, though, so I'm not excluding it on personal bias.
These brushes are amazing for buffing shadow into the crease, using small circles.  The Paula Dorf and Daniel Sandler brushes are both favorites of makeup artist and YouTube guru Lisa Eldridge, who uses them in a lot of her videos, so I suggest watching to see these babies in action.  Actually, what are you doing reading this garbage; go and watch her videos now, all of them, and learn things I couldn't even start to teach you.

Domed Crease Brushes
RT Deluxe Create Brush, Sonia Kashuk Large Domed Eye Shadow Brush (goat).  These large, fluffy brushes are very round along two axes.  The SK one is nearly spherical in shape.  I really like these for blending the outer corner, but they're good for blending really large creases (either anatomically or application-ally).  When I first bought the SK, I tried to use it as a crease brush, and the results were frightening.  I imagine with a lighter hand it could work, but I still think it's best to stick to it for blending.
These also make for amazing concealer brushes.  The RT, because it's synthetic, is actually one of my go to concealer brushes, as it is for it's creator.  I like it as a concealer brush so much that I'll be including it in that post, too. 

Synthetic Crease Brush
I had no idea what to call this brush, so I just called it what Sonia Kashuk does.  This brush is, obviously, synthetic and is perfect for applying cream eye shadows to the crease.  I think that's something often overlooked by brush manufacturers.  You see, this isn't just a brush made synthetic for people who don't want animal hair (like the UD Crease brush above), it's a brush that's actually great for using cream eyeshadows in the crease.  I also use it to apply cream eyeshadows to the mobile lid.

Smoky Shadow Brushes
This is a great brush style; it's a personal favorite of mine, and the Smashbox 15 on the left is my first department store brush (it's still awesome).  Featured alongside are a Hakuhodo Kokutan T (blue squirrel) and an Essence of Beauty Crease Brush.  This style is a must for small eyes or deep creases.  They are also amazing for blending eyeshadow under the eye, deepening the outer corner, highlighting the inner corner, and they're often marketed to be used to apply a thick, smoky line of shadow around the eye (hence their title).
I could say of a lot of brushes that I would recommend them, but this style, I actually do, all the time.  I don't think there is a thing this style of brush can't do.  Whether you like smoky looks, or really defined looks (or both), this brush can do it.

Pros and Cons
Pros:  The brushes featured here are some of the most useful brushes to have.  There isn't an eye shape or size, whether you have a crease or not, that won't find at least one of these brushes useful.  They are terrific for crease application, crease blending, and some of them are good for outer corner and under the eye.  Because they tend to be softer than the oval blending brush, they are useful if you tend towards a heavy hand when blending.
Cons:  As great as these brushes are for blending the crease, you may need to use another blending brush in tandem when creating a smooth gradiant.  But honestly, if they suit your style, you could likely use any one of these brushes for anything you need to do, they're that versatile and essential.
The brushes featured in this post are: Hakuhodo S146, MAC 226 (LE), Hakuhodo S142, Bobbi Brown Eye Blender brush, MAC 224, MAC 222 (dc'd), Urban Decay Crease Brush (from the Naked 2 Palette, though it is available separately), Paula Dorf Sheer Crease Brush, Daniel Sandler Blending Brush, Real Techniques Deluxe Crease Brush, Sonia Kashuk Large Domed Eye Shadow Brush, Sonia Kashuk Synthetic Domed Crease Brush, Smashbox 15 Brush, Hakuhodo Kokutan Eye Shadow Brush T, and Essence of Beauty Crease Brush.  All were purchased and I received no compensation for including them in this post.