Monday, June 29, 2009

Brush Cleansers--Parian Spirit, Smashbox, MAC

For the last 6 months, I've generally been really lazy about cleaning my brushes. Thankfully, many brands make brush cleansers that are great for light cleanings in between times that you finally get around to deep cleaning your brushes (which unfortunately for me has been a few months now...don't get grossed out though, I have a LOT of brushes so I've been on a rotation...) The three I've tried so far are Smashbox's, MAC's and Japonesque's Parian Spirit cleaners.

I'll start this post off with Japonesque's Parian Spirit Cleanser. This cleanser comes in 3 sizes, a 2 oz. bottle with a sprayer, an 8 oz size, and a huge 16 oz size. I was lucky enough to get a decent sized sample of this stuff from a friend of mine who picked this up from IMATS while she was there. (Thank you!) This cleanser is probably the quickest and easiest to use; you simply pour a little bit out into a small container, dip your brush in, and swirl it in there slightly and pigments literally just fall out of your brush. It's pretty interesting to watch. It has a lemony scent to it (Lemon Pledge anyone?) After that, just squish it a bit with a paper towel and it's good for use again. Out of the 3 cleansers I'll be talking about today, this is also the only brush cleanser I've tried that REALLY pulls all that gross gunk out of your lip brushes...and does so rather quickly at that (I think it took me less than a minute to clean 3 lip brushes) I like this one very much for that. However, overall, this cleanser is my least favorite out of the 3 because it seems to contain oil, which I don't think is something I like. This does make it so that scratchy brushes like the maxine mop are much much softer, but I think I'll skip on this for using regularly on anything except my lip brushes.

Next up is Smashbox. Smashbox is the first brush cleanser I ever bought, back in the day, when Smashbox was pretty much the only cosmetic line I used. (I was a die hard Smashbox fan back in high school and my early college years) Smashbox's Brush Cleaner comes in a 4 oz spay bottle and retails for $15. To use this product, you spray the brush cleanser on a paper towel and then sweep your brush over the moistened towel to remove pigment. It's a nice cleanser for removing pigment from your brushes as well as sanitizing your brushes, but I feel that MAC's brush cleanser does the same exact thing for way less money.

MAC's brush cleanser comes in a 7.9 oz bottle with one of those push top dispensers (like BBW lotion bottles) and retails for $11. One bottle lasts me a very, very long time (i think the last one lasted me about 10 months or so) I use this one in the same way that I use the Smashbox one, I spray/pour a bit of this stuff on a paper towel, run my brush over the dampened area, and then squeeze my brush slightly with a dry paper towel. My brishes are ready for use again within a few minutes. I'm generally quite happy with this cleanser, and out of the three I'm posting about today, this one is my favorite. It makes my life much easier since I can go just a little bit longer without having to deep clean my brushes. I think it's generally better to use on smaller brushes like eye brushes, but it can pull color out of cheek brushes as well, generally, I prefer to subject my face brushes to deep cleaning instead of using brush cleanser.

For deep cleaning my brushes, I like to run the tips of my brushes under warm water, then work in a mixture of antibacterial soap, baby shampoo/conditioner, and warm water, or just a mix of warm water and antibacterial soap. I then rinse out my brushes, squeeae out excess water, with a paper towl, and lay them flat to dry.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Stila Silver Maple Trio

Today's topic is Stila's Silver Maple Trio. This is an older LE Trio, and is no longer available anymore, but you can still find it through swaps or eBay. This Trio comes with 3 shades of eyeshadow, a glimmering light peachy beige color, a shimmery grey, and a slightly shimmery dark grey/off black. The texture of these shadows isn't quite as buttery as Stila's regular shadows, but they are still very very nice. However, if you have a large stash like mine, the shades in here aren't unique and you will probably already own something similar if not dupes of these shades. As such, I have maybe tested this trio once myself, and haven't found it worth keeping. The packaging itself round pewter colored faux leather with the stila logo and leaves imprinted onto its cover. There is a mirror inside and it closes with the help of a weak magnet.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Stila Madagascar Agate palette

The Stila swatch frenzy continues with what is probably my favorite Stila palette, the Madagascar Agate palette. I bought this palette by accident at the Stila Warehouse sale last December for about $12. (I meant to get the Laguna Agate palette, but didn't notice that the box behind the display palette was filled with Madagascar palettes, and unfortunately all sales were final...I don't think there were actually any Laguna palettes there so I feel a bit miffed, but it turned out well in the end) The palette doesn't look like anything special at all, but I like the nice easy everyday sort of look it gives. Plus, it contains the one Stila blush I actually LIKE. The base shade is a cream colored shadow with slight shimmer. Like all the base shades in Stila palettes, it's a nice wash color. The lid shade is a warm bronze color, and the darkest shade is your standard dark brown color. All 3 colors are smooth and buttery. The blush is a great peachy pink shade with gold shimmer. It applies quite smoothly unlike the other Stila blushes I've owned

Swatches (natural lighting, no base). The dark brown doesn't actually have a funky texture like the swatch might suggest, my skin was reacting funny to the massive amount of swatching I did that day)Swatches in warmer, indoor lighting. I chose to post a 2nd pic because this one brings out the golden shimmer in the blush better.
None of the colors are really unique or must have, but put together, this palette is very very nice. It's the sort of palette that you have around as a staple if you had a small stash (or makes a great gift for someone who isn't super crazy about mu, but wears a little from time to time) Additionally, it's small size makes it ideal for travel (I wrap my hand around this one quite easily)

Stila Glacier Ice palette

I'm powering through old swatches tonight so up next is the Stila Glacier Ice palette. I was lucky enough to receive this palette in a swap, but I never reached for this, so away it went to a new home. Like most of Stila's 4 pan palettes, this came with 3 shadows (labeled base, crease, and liner) and a blush.

The base shade is a nice shimmery pinkish cream. Nothing special, but it's a nice color for a wash/highlight.
The lid/crease shade is a nice silver color that from what I remember, pulled a tiny bit green on me.
The liner shade is a kind of boring shimmery black shadow. I'm not sure if it was a full on black, I think it was more of a muted black color.
The blush was a soft pink color, which I thought was kind of nice, but slightly chalky. I'm not a big fan of Stila's blushes though.

Zero's a fan of participating in my swatching/blogging activities...

Rose Romance Nordstrom Exclusive Quad-Rose is a Rose

In addition to all the other goodies that came out with A Rose Romance, MAC also released a Nordstrom exclusive quad that came out about a month after the rest of the collection. This quad retailed for $36 plus tax and contained a repromote of Solar White (from last year's Cool Heat collex), one permanent shade (Contrast), and 2 new shades exclusive to the quad. I'm just now getting to posting my swatches of this quad, since for some reason I swatch things at an oddball pace...and then post them at an even odder pace. My opinion of this quad is a bit mixed, since the colors seem quite dupeable to me, but it's still a nice quad to have.

Solar White (Frost)- Both the name of this shadow, as well as it's appearance in the pan is decieving. This shadow is neither white like it's name indicates, or the pretty cream color it is in the pan. Instead, it's a nice beautiful pale yellow gold. I really love this shadow, and have already purchased a backup of this shade of's more intense than Femme Fi, which pulls slightly pink on me for some reason.
Seeds of Love (Frost) - a nice peachy shade. On my skin, this color is nearly identical to Paradisco (which I own from the Lucky Tom quad) However the texture of this is much better than Paradisco, which was kind of chalky in my opinion
Petal Worship (Lustre)- described as a light, blue based pink. This description is fairly accurate in my opinion, though I feel like it leans a bit more towards purpley or lilac than just a blue based pink. It has a nice silvery sheen to it that I feel makes it kind of unique. I don't own too many MAC shadows, so I'm not entirely sure if there's a full on dupe of this, but I do own Lotusland, which Temptalia said was similar, and I don't feel bad at all owning both. I definitely wasn't super fond of its Lustre texture.
Contrast (Velvet)- Navy Blue. I find this color kind of boring just seems like your run of the mill navy blue shadow. I didn't notice any of the purplish cast that temptalia mentioned.
Like I said before, I don't find this quad particularly special. The colors in the quad itself are nice to have if you don't already own similar shades. The only color I felt was a must have in this palette was Solar White. If you got it at Nordstroms before it sold out, it's a nice quad to have, but if you missed out on it, it's not a big deal. It's definitely not something worth paying overblown ebay prices for...if you still feel like you must have it though...ask your Nordies MAC SA to check the warehouses for it. Chances are, there might be a few left somewhere.

Stila Palettes--My collection and Stila Blanc

I still have a couple of Bobbi Brown palettes, but since I don't have those swatched yet, I'll give you guys swatches of my Stila palettes...which should keep me busy for oh...a week or less :] (I've swatched and labeled most of these think I've swatched them all already so this should go quickly)
Here they all are...
I never did swatch the contouring trio before I got rid of it...but oh well. First up is the Stila Blanc palette, which seems to be a board favorite on MUA, particualrly amongst the paler ladies. It contains 3 eyeshadow shades (base, crease, and liner) and a blush. The palette is definitely nice, but I'm not in love with it at all...
The base shade is nothing too special, just your basic shimmery yellowy cream shade. it's a nice all over/highlight shade.
The "crease" shade is a soft, shimmery warm golden brown. Although this is labeled as a crease shade, I prefer using this on the lid
The liner shade is my favorite out of the 3. It's a darker brown with some olive tones to it and glod shimmer. I tend to use this one in the crease instead of the crease shade.
The blush in this palette is the real reason why I'm not in love with this palette. It's a beautiful coral colored blush in the pan, which unfortunately, for some reason, gives my skin kind of a toasty sunburnt look.
Swatches in somewhat warm indoor lighting

I'm not entirely sure what this palette retailed for, but I got this one for $12 (plus expensive shipping) off beautycrunch. It was releleased last year in a kit at Ulta as well.