The Makeup Brushes I Can’t Live Without

Allow me to begin this post by saying that as of my last count, I have over 50 makeup brushes. I don’t have all of them out and in rotation on my vanity simply because there are so many of them, but I have tested each and every one. As such, I know which ones I like enough to use everyday and — as many as there are — I had no problem at all picking out my absolute favourites. These brushes don’t necessarily form a complete set and they aren’t even all expensive brushes, but they are the best at what they do and I cannot imagine living without them.
DSC03659Sonia Kashuk No. 1 Brush – Sonia Kahsuk is a brand that sells exclusively at Target and I make it a point to pick up at least one brush from her line whenever I get the chance. The regular brushes with the white handles are OK, but the black, curvy-handled ones are the best. They range in price from 15-20 USD. This No.1 brush is the most amazing fluffy powder brush.

Sonia Kashuk (???) Brush – This one was from a special collection and the number has rubbed off, but it’s just a smaller version of the No.1 Brush. I use it to apply heavier powder foundations. Like the larger No.1 Brush, it’s incredibly soft.

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Review: ZOEVA’s Luxe Complete Set

I first heard of ZOEVA in 2013, when YouTubers started talking about the brand. That was the year the company started shipping internationally, having begun operations in Germany in 2008 and spreading slowly into other EU countries by 2009. They are exactly the same age as Sigma Beauty and both companies offer makeup tools at affordable prices, with smaller ranges of colour makeup on the side. Sigma undoubtedly had a head start on the international exposure front (being based in the US and using their affiliate program to spread their ads like wildfire definitely helped), but ZOEVA has come up strong this past year and a half and I have heard only good things about their products so far.

I reviewed the 7-piece Sigma Performance Eyes Kit (here) back in 2012 and gave it pretty good marks. What you’ll notice from that review (as well as this one about the Real Techniques duo fibre brushes) is that I like to go into detail when it comes to brushes. I own over 50 brushes, 20 of which I use regularly, and these ZOEVA brushes have displaced about half of that 20. So, brace yourselves, because these brushes deserve a comprehensive review. It’s going to be photo-heavy and lengthy, but hopefully it will be of help to anyone looking to buy the set or any of these individual brushes.
P1160785I was able to grab my ZOEVA Luxe Complete Set (6,274.00 Php regular price) on Luxola when they were having a site-wide 40% off promotion, so I saved quite a bit of money and didn’t have to worry about international shipping. ZOEVA does ship to the Philippines, but I’m not sure how much that might cost in total. Since I bought my set, ZOEVA has sadly become a non-discountable brand on Luxola. That means the brand will no longer be included in site-wide promos unless specified or if there is a ZOEVA-specific promotion going on.

Even without the discount, ZOEVA brush sets are affordable. Individually, the prices range from 371.00 Php to 1,225.00 Php (also rather reasonable). At regular price the 15 pieces in the Luxe Complete Set come out to approximately 420 pesos each which, if I have to spell it out for you, is ridiculously cheap. That’s not even counting the pretty faux leather pouch, which adds such a nice, elegant feel to the kit. P1160690Of all the sets they have to offer, I chose the Luxe Complete Set because I thought the ratio of face to eye brushes was perfect and also because the “luxe” sets, while pricier, include the best brushes ZOEVA has to offer. There are 5 face brushes and 10 eye/detail brushes, all of excellent quality. There are some I would probably switch out for different brushes if I could, but I think it is a beautiful set regardless.

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Copper & Cool: Sigma x Luxola

LSG1Luxola hasn’t been around for long, but it’s already one of the top players in the Asian online makeup selling biz. The site carries tons of awesome brands, such as Real Techniques, Rouge Bunny Rouge, 3CE (!), Edward Bess, Sleek, and of course, Sigma, which is the top-selling brand. This is my first transaction with Luxola, and the site did reach out to me for this particular one, but it was really only a matter of time before I purchased something from them. I’ve actually been waiting for their stock of a particular product to be replenished. But anyway, back to this little haul! Sigma is celebrating its 5th annivesary this year and they’ve come out with a special copper collection to celebrate.

LSG2I mean look at those gorgeous copper ferrules. YES. What else does one say when presented with such beauty. Here I have the F80 Flat Kabuki (limited edition for the collection), E21 Smudge, E11 Eye Liner, and a Sigma Gel Eyeliner in the shade Unexpected

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Real Techniques Duo-Fiber Collection (Limited Edition) || Review

RTSBxI was browsing through CareFreeShopper‘s website for the first time since they moved off of Mutiply when I saw that they had the Real Techniques Duo-Fiber Collection (1, 150 Php) available. I got pretty excited because I didn’t see this set when I was in London in May, even though that’s when it was supposed to have been released. The marked up price on CareFreeShopper wasn’t so bad (in my opinion. This normally sells for 20 USD, so if you can get it at that price, do it!) and I’ve had only great experiences with the RT brushes that I already own, so I went ahead an ordered it. 

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I Love Landmark

Could not think of a better title for the life of me, but I just wanted to share a few of my finds from my most recent visit to Landmark. Their beauty section is located at street level (which I believe is the “basement” level of the building) and they always have some of the most random, totally useful, and unique beauty tools and finds. LH2Look out for the generic makeup brushes which are on display close to the escalators. Their packaging is pretty much just clear plastic with a pink label on top that reads “face hair body.” I picked up four of them because 1) I had tried a couple already before and 2) they are really, really cheap. LH1The two on the right are the same as one brush that I’ve already tried out, which is why I got two more. They’re really small and nice to just throw into a travel bag or even just to have around when you need a spare clean brush for blending. The two brushes on the left are ones that I picked because the shape looked good and… that was pretty much it. Haha! They have been performing really well so far and after two washes they haven’t shed.

LH3All under 55.00Php (under 2.00 USD). Amazing. The handles are not made of the best materials (plastic for the two on the left and wood on the right) but they look much more pricey than they actually are. I have brushes that cost me over 3000.00Php and while I can feel (more feel than see) a difference because pro brushes are weighted properly, these do minor jobs perfectly fine. :)

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Holiday Splurge: Laura Mercier Deluxe Travel Brush Collection

Buying travel and/or holiday sets is one way to get a good deal when it comes to cosmetics or cosmetic tools. They are usually pretty pricey, but after calculating how much each individual item in a set comes out to, it’s very rarely a waste of money. So when I saw this brush set from Laura Mercier last December, I could hardly contain myself and I almost flew out of the store with it. The quality of the brushes was fantastic and the design of the case was absolultely gorgeous. LM2It took a lot of will power, but I did not fly out the store with this right away last  December. The price tag read 3,950.00 Php (roughly 90USD), so the sensible part of me took control and I decided to think about it and do some research first. About a month later, as you can probably already tell, I decided it was 100% worth it and brought my new baby home. ♥
LM3The Laura Mercier Deluxe Travel Brush Collection includes five brushes (four double-ended ones and one regular one), a little detachable mesh pouch, and a hard case that zips closed. The colour scheme of the set is a deep chocolate brown which might not appeal to everyone but I think it’s very classy and it’s obviously in line with the rest of Laura Mercier’s packaging, too. 

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Sigma Beauty Performance Eyes Kit — Review

Good, professional-quality make up brushes are more often than not on the pricey side. You can easily spend $100 on a face brush from Shu Uemura or MAC cosmetics. Make up brushes are most definitely investment-worthy items though, and I would caution anybody against buying very cheap brushes because while there are the rare exceptions out there, cheap brushes tend to only make your work harder. Thankfully there are companies like Sigma Beauty which, when it comes down it it, offers very reasonably priced products. If you’re unwilling or unable to shell out big bucks for a single makeup brush, I highly recommend checking out the Sigma brush kits.

After first trying out the F84 (synthetic angled top kabuki) and loving it a ton, I decided to order the Simga Eyes Kit, which is a bundle of seven essential makeup brushes that you need when creating a look for your eyes. I ordered it directly off their website since they ship internationally and the box arrived around two weeks after I placed the order. They came in this cute box with a card and brochure filled with information about the brushes and the company.

And here are the seven brushes that you get in the kit! Sigma brushes have long, glossy, black handles with the names of the brushes printed onto them in silver text. They definitely have that professional feel to them because of their very simple design. If you don’t like your brushes black (which is boring to some, I would imagine), Sigma also has a lot of brush sets that come in many different colors! But if you’re interested in a review of this particular kit, read on! :) 

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