MAC Hey, Sailor! Avant-première ENTIRE COLLECTION Swatches & Demonstration!

Hey everybody!

Tonight I was invited to the opening of the first temporary MAC store of Benelux in Brussels, and I got to see Hey, Sailor! which is coming out in Belgium tomorrow (5th of May) and apparently on the 24th in the US. This is the FIRST TIME EVER in my memory that Belgium is getting a collection before the US, and I really can’t wait to share with you all the swatches and the demonstration by the mega talented and VERY nice senior artist Elke!

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Fancy Seeing You Here, Eyebrows! My 5 Brow Essentials: Tweezerman, Bobbi Brown Eye Brow Brush, Sable, Bone & Brow Shaper in Mahogany

I wouldn’t be the first or the only person to acknowledge the importance of eyebrows. They frame your face and make your features stand out. Unfortunately, my eyebrows are really invisible because the hair is very sparse. After having overplucked my eyebrows and used products that are way too dark for my coloring, I have finally come up with a brow routine that works for me. Today I’m sharing my 5 brow essentials that give me the eyebrows I should have been born with!

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Review: Give Your (Natural-Bristle) Brushes Some Lovin’ with L’Occitane Women’s Day Soap

Hey everyone!

I know that International Women’s Day is already behind us, but since I found this little gem that is still available, I’ve got to share it with you guys!

I have to admit this: I almost NEVER use soap bars. I use liquid hand soap and shower gel, and I can’t remember the last time I saw a bar of soap in my house. When I saw this however, I had the idea of cleaning my brushes with it, and it rose to the challenge!

I used to use either mild shampoo or the Aesop animal cleanser I got a couple of years ago to clean my brushes (I can’t seem to find any information about this animal cleanser anymore. I’m not sure if it has been discontinued), and then I use either a conditioner or a conditioner for animals to condition my brushes. This works pretty well, but it’s somewhat difficult to clean the foundation brush, and I’ve always had to remove gel liner from the liner brush with my eye makeup remover before soaping it up.

With L’Occitane Women’s Day Soap however, brush-cleaning has become a one-step job. I put the soap on a soap dish, wet my brushes, and then go over the soap a couple of times. I then swirl them around a bit in my palm and rinse them, and that’s it! The brushes are cleaned very efficiently, it doesn’t take as long to rinse the suds out, and the brushes are already conditioned with the 52% of shea butter in the soap (that means I can skip conditioning). Dried foundation? No problem. Concealer? No problem. Dried gel liner? No problem. I’ve honestly never thought anything could achieve this!

The soap smells like their hand cream, which is rich and nutty, but I can’t describe it better than that.

The only drawback of this soap is the fact that synthetic brushes don’t seem to get along with it too well. I don’t own a lot of synthetic brushes, but each time I try to clean them with this soap, they end up being very stiff when they are dry. I am not too sure if it’s because they can’t handle the 52% of shea butter too well, but

L’Occitane Women’s Day Soap is limited edition, but for the moment it is not yet sold out. When it is however, there are many different soaps available at L’Occitane, and I’m sure you will be able to find one that does the same kind of wonders (to natural brushes)!

What do you use to clean your brush? Do you also use a conditioner from time to time? Have you tried to use a soap?

Sunny, your beauty culture translator xx

Disclosure: The product mentioned in this review is sent by the PR for my consideration. All opinions are honest and my own. I am in no way compensated for this review. I have always been, and will always be committed ONLY to my readers.

PS: If you have been following this blog for a while, you can probably see that I have been making some progress in photography. I’m trying to lay my hands on a better camera, and I’m finally beginning to realize the concept of composition and so on. However, there are still photos in my backlog that I processed into blog posts yet, and sometimes it is impossible to retake these photos because I have already thrown the box away/used the product and so on. Please bear with me while I work these out of the system. I promise the photos will only be getting better!

Review: Eye Brushes in My Brush Roll! MAC 239, 217, 219, Bobbi Brown Ultra Fine Liner Brush

When I got into makeup a bit more than a year ago, I saw no point of getting decent brushes. I had been using the inadequate sponge applicators/brushes that came with the eyeshadows till that point, and I was fine. After watching some tutorials however, I thought I’d give the “real” ones a try. I was appalled by the price range of MAC brushes, so I thought I’d just get something from the drugstore. I found some at Yves Rocher, and since they cost around 6-7 euros each, I got them. The result was already better, but I felt that there was still room for improvement. After some research, I bit the bullet, went to MAC, paid for the first bunch of high-end brushes of my life, and I have never looked back since. True, you don’t need good brushes to do makeup. Even your fingers would work if we’re just talking about eyeshadows here. However, if you want to do it more finely, you need good brushes. I am not discrediting all the brushes on the cheaper side, because I have heard enough good things about Sonia Kashuk, Sigma, elf, and so on. It is also because I don’t have easy access to these brands that I turned to MAC. However, I am happy to say I don’t regret any of my purchase so far, and I am going to introduce my humble collection of four eye brushes to you.

The first one is MAC 239 Eye Shader Brush: This is a good brush for depositing color and shading your eyelids. Just a swipe or two in the pan does the job. I like how the size is not too big even for my limited eyelid space! Also, you can always use the flip side for another shadow, so I have been fine with just one. You have a lot of control over where and in what shape you want your eyeshadow to be. If you want a thinner strip, you can always use more of the tip. I know that people call this brush a multi-tasker, but since I bought it along with 217 and 219, I normally don’t blend or do my lower lash line with it. I do think the tip can perform well on lower lash line, but I prefer 219 because it is more precise.

The second one is MAC 217 Blending Brush: This brush is a great multi-tasker! Besides its excellent blending capacity (even the precise shape you create with dark eyeshadows for a smokey eyes blends out like nothing), I also use it to apply a wash of color on my lids when I want to go minimalist. The result is soft and natural. On top of that, it is a great brush for highlighting your brown bones especially if there is not an awful lot of space between your brow bones and eyelids. I know that some people use 224 Tapered Blending Brush to buff the transition shade into their crease, but 217 does that job well as well. When I want a bit more definition in my crease, I lightly dab 217 into my crease shade and intensify it that way. It leaves no harsh line, so it’s perfect! I cannot stress enough the importance of blending for me, so this brush is a must-have. I have even seen the amazing Lisa Eldridge use this brush to apply concealer! A MAC SA I met in the US said:” I’ve always been saying if they continue this one, I’ll quit!” Well, I can’t quit, but I’ll be seriously skeptical about the future of this brand and eye makeup in general.

The third one is MAC 219 Pencil Brush. I can confidently say that the only bad thing about this baby is the price. In Belgium it costs a whopping 26.5 euros (I wish MAC would start doing currency conversion properly instead of thinking one US dollar is the equivalent of one euro), but IT’S WORTH IT!

I bought this because the cheap “pencil brush” I got wasn’t exactly doing a very good job. My inner corners were often overhighlighted (yes I’m making words up), when I wanted to smudge my eyeliner out I could easily made mistakes, and I wouldn’t dream about lining my lower lashline with it. Things changed the day I got 219 in my hands. It lines my lower lashline precisely and effortlessly, it smudges eyeliner with ease, it hightlights my inner corners delicately, and it is the candidate for defining my outer v! Again, I know that some people recommend 224 or 217 for this job, but I don’t really have a folded “crease” to work with, so both of them would be way too big and fluffy for me. When I use 219 however, I do a first stroke as an extension of my lower lash line, and the second one below my brow bones before blending everything out. That hasn’t failed me!

The fourth one is Bobbi Brown Ultra Fine Liner Brush: I used to think MAC 263 is THE brush to combine with gel liner. Don’t get me wrong, it is good, but probably works better for people who want a very thin line. I have monolids, and if I go too easy on the eyeliner it doesn’t do anything for me. The problem with 263 is that I have to go over the line too many times, and it’s not ideal for the wings that I want to do. I went to Bobbi Brown for a makeover this summer, and the lady who helped me has exactly the type of eyeliner that I want to achieve. Didn’t take much more persuasion for me to grab this brush, and I certainly don’t regret it! The tip is very good for precision, which means I can keep the first half of my eyeline extremely fine and close to the lashline. However, it is also VERY easy to go thicker, bolder, and drawing a perfect wing. I’ve never done my ideal eyeline so fast before getting this brush! It’s definitely highly recommended, especially if you also have monolids and can pull off more dramatic eyeliner!

All these brushes are very soft and fine in texture, not irritating at all on skin. The MAC ones are white, but they wash up beautifully however dirty you manage to get them. Another thing I love about these brushes is that they don’t “absorb” your eyeshadow/gel liner. I have read somewhere that some GOSH brushes are as good as MAC’s, but when I played with the testers in the shop I could see how little color they deposit compared with the amount they take from the pan. For your precious eyeshadows to last longer, I would still go high-end. None of these has ever shed one single hair on me either. There are a few wayward strands of hair on my 217 (I can’t tell if it came that way or if I made the damage over more than a year), but it doesn’t affect usage.

So no, good brushes are by no means cheap. However, if you take some care of them they last you for a long time, so I would see them as good investment.

How about you? What are your favorite eye brushes? Do you own and love these or do you plan to give them a try?

Do let me know!

Review: Bobbi Brown Bronzer Brush

Since I got my bronzer, I knew I probably couldn’t do without a proper powder brush. The SA who was helping me recommended this one. She said I could use it for bronzer, shimmer brick, and even loose powder. Sounds like a good multi-functional tool, so it came home with me!

From what I gathered on Makeupalley, the bronzer brush we see nowadays is actually a new version. Up until 2008, people were complaining about how scratchy it is. Well, not anymore! This brush now features densely-packed soft hair (I can’t find out what hair it is on the Bobbi Brown website. I’m almost sure it’s natural hair though). It’s nice, fluffy, and it does the job really well! It doesn’t pick up too much product in one go, so it’s pretty easy to control how much you put on your face. I’ve used it a handful of times, and it hasn’t shed on me once. Sweet!

It’s pretty easy to clean this brush. I just use a gentle shampoo like what I do with my other brushes. The hair is so dense though, it takes forever to dry! In other words, you probably can’t wash it right before going to bed if you want it ready to go tomorrow morning. Please bear that in mind. With that said however, I don’t find this getting dirty very quickly. The SA did say it needs cleaning maybe once every week, but that’s if you use it with your bronzer, highlighter, and loose powder on a daily basis.

All in all I’m very satisfied with the brush! I also like the no-nonsense approach Bobbi Brown has to brushes. Compared with the gazillion brushes MAC has (and assigns arbitrary numbers to. Also, limited edition brushes? Seriously?), it seems to me that Bobbi Brown has a smaller range of choices that actually make sense. I haven’t seen everything to make a well-informed judgement, but from a consumer-friendly point-of-view I’d like to say Bobbi Brown beats MAC in this aspect!