Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Essence Cosmetics at Harmon

It has been a while since I last saw an Essence display (I don't drive so it's a lot of effort getting to an ULTA in Jersey. I don't think I am missing out much though) but two weeks ago I saw a brand new display in Harmon! It seems that the brand underwent a lot of changes!
Camouflage cream concealer and concealer stick (I still have mine around)
Pure Nude concealer cream and crayons
All the eye makeup
The Velvet Eyeshadow Singles

All About Eyeshadow
Mattifying Compact Powder and Kabuki Brush
2in1 lipstick.
Prettifying lip oil
Lipliner and Liquid Lipstick (I bought one and like it quite a bit)
Silky touch and Mosaic Blush
How to Make Nude Eyes (There are other colors as well, sold out)
Eyeshadow and Liner (got the taupe one,yet to try)
I Love Trend Nail Color
Beauty Balm Lip Gloss. According to a spammy email from Essence There will be new products out this summer so I will check the store in a few days.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Lipstick Queen Saint Rouge

Lipstick Queen Saint is one of my favorite lipstick formulas. That's not saying it's one of my favorite lipsticks ( not even close). To make a true favorite, I need a no-fuzz attractive packaging (nope for this), flattering (eh) and unique shade (nah) and a confortable wear (check). Saint only nails one of the criteria...

It just means that I need to keep testing new shades then. Am I right?
Saint Rouge is a brownish berry or should I say a wine tinged brown. It's supposedly sheer but I find it more than pigmented enough for my need.
Saint Rouge is very similar to Butter London Strawberry Field  but with a slightlysmoother richer formula (that's doesn't feel loose or waxy). 
It doesn't look bad here but that's partially due to my redder-than-usual lips (I was doing a swatch-a-thon here and my lips had been harassed by tissue several times). I mean, it's an wonderful formula and all that. I just think a clearer and more wine toned color would hit my spot (I guess Suqqu Creamy Glow Moist Akanebara is what I should stick with. At least the tubes doesn't get all sticky like Lipstick Queen).

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Surratt Classique Eyeshadow Brushes - Moyenne & Grande

Troy must be either half French or a spokesperson for Duolingual. 
 Among all the prestige makeup brands available at Sephora, Surratt Beauty occupies a very special place (well, not in my heart but special nonetheless) as it's the only Japan-made beauty brand that's within people's reach. There is also Shiseido but it has been widely available for so many years that you forget that it's Japanese (Shiseido International's aesthetic seems rather westernized though). Unless you are a resident of California (where there is a showroom for Hakuhodo), Surratt is also one of the few places one can play with Japan made brushes before making a purchase. 

The current Surratt brush range is extensive but I only had my eyes on the two Classic Eyeshadow brushes as I had a thing for Canadian squirrel and eye brushes. I picked the large one when Sephora sent me a 15-off-50 code (so it cost me 40 bucks) and the little one full priced, because I later read that Bellyhead really liked it/I was impatient (it was sold out during that spring sale this year).
 Onto the two brushes. Both of the Classic Eyeshadow brushes ($50 for medium and $55 for large) are paddle shaped for lay down. The large is generously sized and only 5 bucks more expensive than the medium (so with the coupon code, the price was comparable to the Chikuhodo 12-5, which has a similar size and material). It wasn't stated who made the brushes for Surratt but I am betting my lunch money on Chikuhodo (the review is written under that assumption).

The rationale for my guess is that the Surratt Artistique Smokey eye brushes look very much like Chicca Perfect Smokey Eye Brushes and that the overall handle and ferrule design is reminiscent of Lunasol (we all know Kanebo brushes are by Chikuhodo). 
The large has a pointed side which means I can use the belly for quick allover washes,  the side for the area below eyelid fold then use the fluffy top for gentle buffing/blending.

 The medium is convenient for applying color (and for smaller eyed Asian, we don't really need a big one) but I find the brush a little flabby for my liking and the head soaks up damp product (creamier powder plus sebum) and becomes limp . I usually prefer with more hair firmly packed so I get more control and grabbage. 
One of the appeals of Surratt brands as a whole is the sleek design. The ferrules have brushed metal finish and the handles are light weight plastic (similar theme as Lunasol). I personally prefer a slightly weightier (lacquered wood) which would feel more balanced, but that's just a matter of preference.  They are comfortable to hold and light weight enough for travel. 

Confession time: I tucked them into my travel makeup pouch because (despite the prices) somehow I don't see them as expensive brushes that I had to treasure.
The hair on the brush is smooth and soft to touch. I wonder if it's caused by the method of bundling or the hair selection. The Canadian squirrel on my other eyeshadow brushes (Chikuhodo 12-5 and Yojiya mini shadow) is smoother and the individual hair is more resilient, so I favor those over the Surratt sisters. 

Overall, I think the two Surratt brushes have fair quality compared to what you get from Mac or Bobbi Brown. Next to other Japanese lines, the quality is good but doesn't level with the price point. It's essentially Lunasol quality brushes (whose eye brushes are around 3000 to 4000 yens) with a price closer to Suqqu.

 I suppose you are indeed paying for the prestige factor (and don't forget all these half-French names) so if you have a thing for the glimmering plastic handles and think it's worth that extra bucks, it's a good buy. I take it as I am paying for its availability. As long as I know what I am getting and only buy products I will reach for, I don't end up feeling misled.

Friday, August 19, 2016

LA Girl Makeup at Harmon

I have always seen LA Girl makeup in random displays at Harmon but this time (a week ago), I spotted a wall display for the brand.

First there are the Velvet Color Sticks.

Beauty Brick Blush
Beauty Brick Eyeshadow
Pencil eyeliner and crayons
Gel liners
Matte Lipstick
Inspiring Eyeshadow Palette. 

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