Makeup Wars – favorite brushes

Each time Makeup Wars comes together to share posts a topic is decided. While we all don’t post on every one, this week’s is definitely going to be a popular one. MAKEUP BRUSHES!!! We are all beauty enthusiasts so favorite brushes is done with ease. For me though it’s narrowing down my huge collection to just the ones I use all the time. I love luv crave brushes and even though I have over 100 the ones I’m sharing today are the ones I use every week if not daily. A few were sent for review but the majority are ones I’ve purchased and would gladly do again.

Favorite makeup brushes

Favorite makeup brushes

ARTIS ELITE MIRROR OVAL 10

Artis Oval 10

Artis Oval 10

When I first reviewed Artis Oval 10 I didn’t realize that it would eventually become my all time favorite face brush. I am madly in lust over this brush. At the time I was using it for powder but I soon learned that it was ideal for foundation. It gives me the smoothest visage ever and makes my skin look airbrushed. With over 250,00 soft bristles it marries the best of two worlds with its softness and refined blending application.

Artis Oval 10 Brush

Artis Oval 10 Brush

At $77 it’s expensive but the cost is small in proportion to my use and adoration. (Available at Saks and the Artis website)

MAC EYESHADOW BRUSHES

MAC eye brushes 239, 272, 219, 217

MAC eye brushes 239, 272, 219, 217

My first cosmetic job was as a freelancer for MAC Cosmetics. I lived and breathed MAC and that’s when my brush collection really grew. I had (past tense) a pro discount and knew that what I used on clients was what I wanted to use on myself. They are still the eyeshadow brushes that get the most use. It might have something to do with owning duplicates of them – ahem. MAC’s eye brushes all start with the number 2 in their numbering system.

MAC 242 is my favorite since it does just about everything – lays down color, blends shadows, the tip can be used with liner, and is great with both soft colors and more intense ones.

MAC 239

MAC 239

MAC 272 sadly has been discontinued – I don’t know why though since the curve makes it great for the browbone area as well as the lid. It works the same as the 239 but it has the great angle to it.

MAC 217 was always my favorite blending brush but unfortunately the newer ones are bigger and not up to the original. I still love it though and use mine constantly. I’m sure I’ll wear them out at some point.

MAC 217

MAC 217

MAC 219 is my favorite pencil brush. Shockingly I only own 1 of these but I’d happily buy another.

MAC 219

MAC 219

The MAC brushes aren’t enough to keep me satisfied, sort of like Lay’s Potato Chips, I can’t stop at one.

BEAUTY JUNKEES MINI KABUKI SET are brushes that you just can’t beat. Fabulous for eyeshadows and even better for concealer. I pretty much use these interchangeably. At $14.97 this is affordable luxury.

Beauty Junkees Mini Kabuki Set (Eye Makeup Brushes: 5 pc Precision Brush Set)

Beauty Junkees Mini Kabuki Set (Eye Makeup Brushes: 5 pc Precision Brush Set)

Favorite eye brushes: Shu Umera 10, Make Up For Ever 218, Anastasia A6, Cinema Secrets 12, Smashbox 4

Favorite eye brushes: Shu Uemera 10, Make Up For Ever 218, Anastasia A6, Cinema Secrets 12, Smashbox 4

5 other brushes that get a lot of use include the Shu Uemera 10, made of Kolinsky/Sable. It’s an extreme luxury at $95 but it’s worth it if you have the money.

Make Up For Ever 218 Medium Blender Brush ($25) is great with powder and cream shadows. I use it for blending as well as application.

Make Up For Ever 218

Make Up For Ever 218

Anastasia Beverly Hills Pro A6 is my newest brush (reviewed here) and it’s quickly became one of my favorites. Of the three brushes I received from them I notice that I’m reaching for A6 the most. I love it as a firm blending brush.

Anastasia Beverly Hills A6

Anastasia Beverly Hills A6

Smashbox 4 was one of my first highend cosmetic brush purchases. I don’t think you can find this anymore which is a shame. It was called a concealer brush but I love it as a cream eyeshadow brush. Why do brands discontinue their best products?

Eyebrow brushes are my newest obsession and my two favorites are from IT Cosmetics and Full Brow. IT Cosmetics Build a Brow Brush 12 is unique because of the bristles. They are of different lengths so they really reach into your brows to deposit color. It works especially well with a cream brow product. Full Brow is perfect for powders. It just seems to apply the powder more easily and evenly.

IT Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe Build A Brow Brush #12 and Full Brow eyebrow brush

IT Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe Build A Brow Brush #12 and Full Brow eyebrow brush

IT Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe Build A Brow Brush #12 and Full Brow eyebrow brush

IT Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe Build A Brow Brush #12 and Full Brow eyebrow brush

MAC CHEEK BRUSHES: There are two MAC Cheek brushes that I use all the time. For blush I like the large angled MAC 168. Some blush brushes are so big that I’d end up with blush all over so a smaller size is my jam. The other is MAC 165, I’ll use it for blush and it’s wonderful for highlighting and contour. Sadly it was an LE brush but the Tapered Face Brush 138 would do the same job though it’s bigger.

MAC 168 and 165

MAC 168 and 165

Even though I could go on forever I’ll stop with 3 of my favorite face brushes.

IT Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe Wand Ball Powder No. 8, Japonesque Kabuki, Wayne Goss 00

IT Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe Wand Ball Powder No. 8, Japonesque Kabuki, Wayne Goss 00

IT Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe Wand Ball Powder brush is the softest, fluffiest brush. I think mine was part of a TSV (which is why you should always pay attention to the TSV!!). I love IT’s brushes and this one is a great example of what cruelty free brushes are all about.

Heavenly Luxe Wand Ball Powder brush

Heavenly Luxe Wand Ball Powder brush

The Japonesque Kabuki is long discontinued. It’s similar to Nars Yachiyo Kabuki though it was less expensive. It’s not the softest brush but it’s wonderful still for cream blush. It picks up the color well and diffuses it so my cheeks are softly blushing. japonesqueWayne Goss 00 is now only available as a duo – one black, one white. I bought it in a preorder and was able to buy just the one. Go find a friend to split this duo with! This is what I expected of all my Wayne Goss brushes. This is perfection in the way it applies any powders as it just hugs my face and feels like a baby bunny. I’d use it for foundation if I didn’t have the Artis.

While I really haven’t given you many wallet friendly brushes I personally think that brushes are an investment and that they are often worth the extra money. I’m sure if I were first beginning I’d look at ELF, EcoTools, Beauty Junkees, and Real Techniques to shore up my collection. But my shares today are my best and brightest.  What brushes make you stand up and applaud?  —  Marcia

Let’s go brush shopping with Makeup Wars!


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I got lucky with the Beautylish Lucky Bag 2017

Beautylish Lucky Bag 2017

Beautylish Lucky Bag 2017

Once a year the webstore Beautylish has a secret sale for Lucky Bags. This is my third year buying this and it keeps getting better. The Lucky Bag is different for everyone lucky enough to be able to buy one. The typical bag is $75 and the only clue you get when buying is that the items are brands that Beautylish sells. Considering the quality that they cover, you can’t go wrong! This year they offered a $150 bag with the same amount of items but ones with a higher value. That went in a flash. I was on an early access list, went to buy the second I saw the bags were available but no luck with that. I’m not the least big unhappy though as you’ll see from my amazing bag.beautylish lucky bag 2017 tag

6 items, 6 top notch brands! $75 plus shipping = $198 in products that I’m so excited about.

my Beautylish Lucky Bag 2017

my Beautylish Lucky Bag 2017

BIODERMA MICELLAR WATER: ($6.90) I believe that everyone received the small size of Bioderma Micellar. Happily for me the one I received is Sensiblo H20 which is the one I use all the time. It never hurts to have a spare of this. 5 stars!!

Bioderma Micellar Water Sensiblo H20

Bioderma Micellar Water Sensiblo H20

JOEUR LONG WEAR LIP CREME in DULCE DE LECHE ($18): There are 26 shades of this liquid lipstick available at Beautylish so I consider myself extra lucky that I received a shade that I love. I’m always receiving dark lipsticks yet I really only wear MLBB or light shades. This matte pink (which I consider warm but they say is cool) is a perfect shade for me. It also gives me the chance to try this at last to see what I think.

Joeur Long Wear Liquid Lipstick - Dulce de Leche

Joeur Long Wear Liquid Lipstick – Dulce de Leche

I have always admired the Joeur matte lipsticks on others but never was sure if I should buy one. This has a caramel fragrance that lasts for a short while and doesn’t annoy me. My lips have to be well exfoliated to wear this but that’s not a problem. 4 stars! (fragrance removed one)beautylish lucky bag 2017 joeur lip collage

ORIBE DRY TEXTURING SPRAY ($22) – Believe it or not I’ve never used a product like this. I occasionally will use a dry shampoo and always like having one in the house. Ditto with a hair spray. But it’s rare that they get used. I saw this and thought of Lisa since she’d love this (“Bigger, better, full-on glamorous hair. This invisible dry hair spray builds in incredible volume and sexy texture. Patented polymers absorb oil at the roots, leaving you with just-styled hair for days (and nights).”). I’ll try it but I bet I end up giving it to my blog partner. 3 stars from me and surely 5 stars from Lisa.

Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray

Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray

SMITH & CULT NAILED LACQUER in LOVERS CREEP ($18): I can’t tell you how much I’ve wanted a Smith & Cult polish. I just never remembered to buy plus I couldn’t decide what color. Lovers Creep is a beautiful opaque bordeaux shade. I have a lot of polish to test but I just can’t wait to have the time to wear this.  Smith & Cult is “8-Free, Long Wear, High Shine & Smooth Coverage.” Definitely 5 stars.

Smith & Cult Nailed Lacquer in Lovers Creep

Smith & Cult Nailed Lacquer in Lovers Creep

Smith & Cult Nailed Lacquer in Lovers Creep

Smith & Cult Nailed Lacquer in Lovers Creep

NATASHA DENOUNA EYESHADOW PALETTE 5, PALETTE 13: ($48)  Well my heart skipped a beat when I saw the Natasha Denouna box. While palette 13 wouldn’t be one I’d pick to buy, it gives me the chance to try out her eyeshadows to see if I like them as much as her blush. Happily this doesn’t have the fragrance that the blush has. What it has is a duochrome green, a shimmery copper, and 3 matte shades that apply like butter.

Natasha Denoune palette 13

Natasha Denouna palette 13

Natasha Denoune palette 13

Natasha Denouna palette 13

I’m anxious to play around more with these shades. Flamingo is a great base shade with its touch of warm pink that doesn’t make me look like a flamingo. Sand Storm is very warm so I don’t think that it will get much use. Arizona is an easy to wear brown that can be built up. The prettiest shades are Pinja which looks green but reminds me of MAC Club with its green brown tone but with more oomph and Umber is an amazing golden copper. It’s a metallic shadow without visible shimmer. 4 Stars –  NO 5 stars, after all it is Natasha Denouna.

Natasha Denoune palette 13

Natasha Denouna palette 13

WAYNE GOSS OO BRUSH ($85): This originally was a limited edition brush but now it’s a permanent brush in the Wayne Goss Beautylish collection. It’s so magnificent that I don’t want to use it and get it dirty. How many times do I have the opportunity to have an $85 brush? Totally soft and luxurious. I’m overjoyed to have another Wayne Goss brush. I need to gather all the ones I have to review them for you.

Designed for a quick application with the softest finish. The large size is ideal for applying mineral or powder foundations—or any powder, bronzer, or blush—across the face. The tapered point lets you go into the eye area and do detailed highlighting work.The bristles measure 50mm in length, with a width of 20mm at it’s widest point. Hair Type: Goat. 100% cruelty free

Wayne Goss OO brush

Wayne Goss OO brush

Wayne Goss OO brush

Wayne Goss OO brush

I’m thrilled with my Lucky Bag and absolutely will be purchasing the 2018 bag. It’s been one of my favorite buys in a long time (and I’ve bought a lot). Have I tempted you? Would you spend $75 on a surprise bag?  —  Marcia

Beautylish Mystery Lucky Bag – I love it, would you? #luckybag2016

Beautylish Lucky Bag 2016

Beautylish Lucky Bag 2016

I’m sorry but you can’t have this so I apologize in advance but I’m so enamored with this Lucky Mystery Bag from Beautylish that I had to share it so you can take advantage of this next year.

In December 2015 I received an email from Beautylish that their Mystery Bag was on the way and to put my name on the waiting list. As soon as it became available to order I did so and this beautiful package arrived in early January. Beautylish does this once a year and the cost is $75 plus $5 shipping to the US. It’s available to other countries but the shipping charge would be higher. I first noticed this in 2014 and was sorry I hadn’t participated so last year I jumped on it and purchased the mystery bag (see my review here). Obviously I did again. I’m overjoyed with this purchase since my products are outstanding.

Beautylish Mystery Lucky Bag 2016

Beautylish Mystery Lucky Bag 2016

What makes this even more special is that everything in the package are new products that are for sale on Beautylish and other websites. It’s not outdated items, they are all things you’d buy in a heartbeat. I’ve seen a few blog posts on the bag and while no one received the same exact products, every one I read was wonderful.

This year’s Mystery Bags was called the Lucky Bag in honor of a Japanese New Year’s custom. Fukubukuro is a Japanese New Year custom in which merchants and retailers make grab bags filled with unknown random contents and sell them on a substantial discount. They’re called “lucky bags” or “mystery bags”.” My Lucky Bag has a value of $162 which is 2X what I paid.

What’s inside? Let’s start with BECCA OMBRE ROUGE EYESHADOW PALETTE ($40)

Becca Ombre Rouge Eyeshadow Palette

Becca Ombre Rouge Eyeshadow Palette

Becca Ombre Rouge Eyeshadow Palette

Becca Ombre Rouge Eyeshadow Palette

This is one of Becca’s most sought after eyeshadow palettes. The five coordinating shades are all warm colors. The texture of these shadows is phenomenal. I sent this to a good friend since it’s too warm for me and I could practically see her jumping up and down from afar.

KEVYN AUCOIN THE MATTE BRONZING VEIL in DESERT DAYS  ($48)

Kevyn Aucoin Matte Bronzing Veil

Kevyn Aucoin Matte Bronzing Veil

Kevyn Aucoin Matte Bronzing Veil

Kevyn Aucoin Matte Bronzing Veil

You are reading this from a very pale woman who rarely uses a bronzing powder but this is the exception to the rule. There are two shades of this incredibly silky bronzer and I’m so lucky that I received the lightest one. I can use this for the subtle type of contouring I like, a subtle bronzer, or a blush.

Kevyn Aucoin Matte Bronzing Veil in Desert Days

Kevyn Aucoin Matte Bronzing Veil in Desert Days

WAYNE GOSS brush 05  ($20)

Wayne Goss brush 05

Wayne Goss brush 05

Wayne Goss brush 05

Wayne Goss brush 05

What makes this most exciting for me, besides the fact that I adore brushes and Wayne Goss brushes, is that I really wanted this brush. 05 was in their original set of brushes but they’ve revamped it and this is the new improved version. It’s a detail brush that works on lips and lids. I may have a ton of brushes but this is fabulous and I’m thrilled.

RMS BEAUTY LIP & SKIN BALM ($25)

rms beauty skin & lip balm

rms beauty skin & lip balm

rms beauty lip & skin balm

rms beauty lip & skin balm

rms beauty is a beauty lovers secret. It’s not a brand that’s talked about that often but it’s the real thing. It’s a cruelty free organic brand with the best products. I’m lusting after their Living Luminizer and one of these days I’ll take the plunge. The Lip & Skin Balm is available in two scents – Simply Vanilla and Simply Cocoa. I received Simply Vanilla which has a light vanilla scent. I love it. I wish it wasn’t a pot but I use it at home. “RMS Beauty Lip & Skin Balm is made of superior food-grade biologically active ingredients that support natural skin functions, giving you a visibly healthier appearance. Each ingredient in this must-have skin-rejuvenating formula has been carefully selected for its traditional healing abilities. Use regularly to heal, protect and hydrate skin, soften fine lines and give skin a smooth texture.”

BIODERMA SENSIBIO MICELLAR WATER (mini size $6.95) and IT COSMETICS HELLO LASHES MASCARA ($24)

Biorderma Sensibio Micellar Water and IT Cosmetics Hello Lashes

Biorderma Sensibio Micellar Water and IT Cosmetics Hello Lashes

As if the Lucky Mystery bag could get any better, there were two of my very favorite products in it. I’ve purchased both over and over. Having the travel size of the Bioderma Micellar Water is fabulous. I love this size for travel and for home use. And do I have to extol the virtues of IT Cosmetics Hello Lashes or have you heard me talk about it at least a dozen times before? These two are staples in my life and I am thrilled to find them in my bag.

Bioderma Sensibio H2O (also known as Créaline H2O) is a no-rinse micellar cleanser and makeup remover specially formulated for sensitive, normal to dry skin types. It can even remove water-resistant face and eye makeup! A soothing emollient thanks to cucumber extract, it clears up irritated skin and produces a feeling of instant freshness. Fragrance-free, alcohol-free, paraben-free, and hypoallergenic.”

The quality products that Beautylish sent are beyond my wildest dreams. It’s hard to put out $75+ and not know what you are getting but as you can see Beautylish came through. Sign up for Beautylish emails so that next December you can get on the list too. Which products in here would you be excited to own?  — Marcia

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Looking for a little luxury for the holidays? Look at these incredible beauty products

TOP TEN TUESDAY is all about Luxury today. We’ve all done our affordable wishlists, stocking stuffers, and helped you pick out some new items. So now it’s time to make a real wish for luxury. You never quite know when those wishes will come true!!

1450057833__11337282TOM FORD LIPS AND BOYS 10 LIPSTICK SET ($350). Tom Ford lipsticks are my all time favorite brand. They do keep raising the price on these but I can’t seem to resist them. The Lips and Boys lipsticks luckily are less money at $35 each but they are a lot smaller. I don’t really care. I never use up a lipstick and if I can wear one that makes me feel this good, I will splurge on it. For a limited time Tom Ford came out with this 10 Lipstick Set that contains Ian, Beau, Julian, Addison, Leonardo, Demsey, David, Egon, Daniel and Theo. You’ll get a touch of everything with this luxurious set.

1450057884__10998098CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN SILKY SATIN LIP COLOR ($90) is the lipstick that dreams are made of. It was certainly a revelation to the cosmetic world when Christian Louboutin chose to charge $90 for a lipstick. I wouldn’t wear it as a necklace even though it comes with a black satin ribbon for that purpose but I sure wouldn’t mind pulling this lipstick out at a soiree.
1450057940__9515423CHARLOTTE TILBURY THE UPTOWN GIRL SET ($230) will bring you a touch of so many products that Charlotte Tilbury gets raves for. There are several sets and all are gorgeous. I chose The Uptown Girl since it has colors I know I can comfortably wear. Inside this lovely set are The Uptown Girl eyeshadow palette, eyeliner in Audrey, Full Flat Lashes Mascara, Cheek to Chic Blush in Love Glow, Lip Cheat Lip Liner in Pink Venus, K.I.S.S.I.N.G Lipstick in Bitch Perfect, Lip Lustre Lip Gloss in Sweet Stiletto all nestled in a Charlotte Tilbury Cosmetic Bag.
1450058003_kevyn-aucoin-the-legacy-paletteKEVYN AUCOIN THE LEGACY SET ($165) reminds me of how much I loved Kevyn Aucoin’s amazing talent and products. This new palette includes the Celestial Powder in Candlelight, The Sculpting Powder in Medium, The Essential Eye Shadows in Ice Gold, Champagne, Wheat, Camel, Coco, Dark Chocolate, Beige, Peach, Light Grey, Pewter, Espresso, and Black. Kevyn Aucoin was before his time when he came out with the Candlelight Powder which was the first luminizing powder I ever bought.
1450058060_wayne-goss-the-anniversary-setWAYNE GOSS THE ANNIVERSARY SET ($225) is the brush set that I really want. Anyone in my family reading this please take note!! The Anniversary Set includes an updated release of the popular Brush 01 (limited edition) and introduces the new Brush 05 which will become a permanent addition to The Collection. Sigh!
1450058153_charlotte-tilbury-complete-brush-kitCHARLOTTE TILBURY THE COMPLETE BRUSH KIT ($320) is something that would also make my heart go pitter patter. I love brushes and in spite of owning more than anyone could use, I still covet them. This set contains a CT makeup bag, lip brush,  eyeliner brush,eyeshadow smudger brush, eye blender brush, foundation brush, powder & sculpt brush, blush brush and bronzer brush. There’s nothing like luxury brushes.

1450058321__9413718CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN ROUGE COLLECTION NAIL LACQUER is available in a dozen colors and I’m sure they are wonderful and luxurious but they are $50 each. If someone wants to buy me one, I’m game! I promise to wear it often too.

1450058449__11271685LA MER THE TREATMENT ESSENTIALS ($415) is a limited edition set that contains Creme de La Mer Moisturizing Cream, Regenerating Serum, Eye Concentrate, and the Treatment Lotion. When I first started using Creme de La Mer it blew my budget and now I realize it’s not the most expensive brand out there. So consider this as the “save”.

1450058747_giftsets_superdeluxe__35755.1430427073.380.380ERA AGELESS LUXURY SET – I might as well go for the top of the line. I reviewed the ERA AGELESS EYE SERUM and loved it enough that I’m craving the line even though it’s out of my current budget. But since this is a wishlist then this $2165.99 set (on sale from $2549.95) would make me quite happy. It contains the Firm & Lift Serum, Age Defying Moisture Cream, Elastin and Beta Carotene Mask, Triple Thermal Mask and the Powerful Deep Wrinkle Filler. ERA Ageless has other less expensive sets too that would make me just as happy.

What’s on your Luxury Wishlist? Do any of these items pop out at you and say “I WANT THIS”?  — Marcia

Read to see what other items can blow your budget.