Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Brush by Brand - Koyudo Collection Eye and Cheek Brushes

It's getting really cold here so let me dig out some of the April sunshine and pink backdrop. I still need to go through reviewing all the brushes I got during the great nation-wide sale (ok I guess I can't call it the great recession of Japan) that went on last year...At least I know I won't be adding more any time soon.
While this brush house might not be as well-known (especially in the western world) as the other big two,  Koyudo Collection is a special presence (I am not talking about the messy website) among fude-lovers. Not only does Koyudo have an extensive range of brushes, the brand also dabbles in all sorts of gimmicks: Mushroom head kinoko dyed various colors, Kumamon (the creepy-cute mascot of Kumamoto prefecture) collection with the bear on the handles and/or on the brush head or the pink buttock heart shaped cheek brushes...They have it all. 

Underneath all those colorful gimmicks, there lays the extensive yet no-frill range, at a very reasonable price point (when you compare them to same material/size brushes from other brands). I have collected a few since mid-2015 and have been using them as much as I could (well, I guess not much since Lunasol and Majolica make great sponge-tip applicators). Here is a review for five eyeshadow brushes and a cheek brush.
The BP are in the High Class series. With moderately chubby wooden handles that's painted white, smooth, well-balanced and very easy to hold. The ferrules are black hence more resistant against regular wear and tear.

 BP027 Large Shader Brush (4800 yen) - This is a big paddle shaped lay-down brush made with 100% kolinsky. As expected with this hair type, it feels comfortably smooth on the lid while being firm. The grabbage is a bit better than gray squirrel brushes and it deposits most of what it grabs, instead of holding powder between the hair. Kolinsky is also a hair type suitable for cream product but I prefer using my fingertips anyway.

For my need, BP027 does a good job giving an even layer of color, blending and you can use it to build on intensity bit by bit. Taking advantage of the large size, I mainly use it to quickly dust over the whole lids with a smooth layer of matt base...then layer other colors on top, finishing up the whole look because I am too lazy to switch brush.

BP035 Medium Eyeshadow Brush Pine Squirrel (2730yen). There is another BP032 in the range that looks very similar but is a tad longer and more expensive by a few hundred yens.

This is the first and only pine squirrel brush I have tried so I can't speak for the hair type. Compared to Canadian squirrel,  there is less golden highlight in the hair and in terms of texture, the hair in this brush does have a finer texture/ siliker coat, resulting a smoother glide, softer touch and dimished ability to dig an onto shadow. In a way, it probaby works similarly as gray squirrel eyeshadow brush but isn't as high maintenance.

I like the slightly pointier round end of this. One simple little thing I like about Koyudo is that the handles hold up to (what I call average daily) wear very well: No dulled handle, not scratched paint on ferrule and the print on the brush never wears off (Hakuhodo, I am talking about you). 
Slideway top view of C006P, BP027 and BP 035. To show amount of fluff. 

Now to three brushes in the standard series. These come with shorter handle, plain aluminium ferrule and either glimmering light pink (I don't like pink but I can deal with this) or rubbery black handles (do not want) . 
C006 P (Standard Series) medium eyeshadow brush 2880 yen - This is a full kolinsky eyeshadow brush that's both smaller and thinner. Aside from laying down a small dose of color, it's stiffer and offers more precision when you want to get the colors under the eyes or at the crease. With less hair bundled, the brush feels rather stiff and a little pokey.

Technically, unless you are jabbing the brush perpendicular to your eyes (why yes I am, for the crease part), a firm brush shouldn't cause any nuisance or discomfort...But I prefer a softer and bendy option over the gentle poke.

By the way, it grinds my gear when I hear  bloggers using smooth(amount of friction between brush and skin) and soft (degree of fluff and airyness as it touches the skin) interchangeably in the same review. It starts to get all confusing when things are described as soft then with little to no yield. I can see that to describe baby skin but how can you that thing soft like cotton AND super firm at the same time? 

"Try saying that on a date?!" (This is what I got after telling a friend we had matching greasy hair. I have removed the expletive in the original quote).  That's enough derailment for the day, I wish had taken some side view pictures to use as page break.

C010P Eyeshadow R (Standard Series) Pony  1680 yen. This is a standard size pencil brush. The thicker pony hair not only holds its conical shape very well, it's also great at grabbing-dispensing powder shadow while remaining non-scratchy. It's a very effective little brush that's great for crease and detail. 

C012 Eyeliner Brush 1200 yen - A springy fine liner brush that's perfect for dampened powder (which I am too lazy to do) or gel/cream liner. The frosted plastic/semi gummy handle is annoying and I find Shu Uemura 2R more versatile with its tapered point. When it comes to eyeliner, I find that most single-digit slanted brushes by western drugstore brands (elf, ecotools, essence etc.) work just fine. 
Close up of the handles. Maybe you can see the silver shimmer here?
The standard series is just a bit shorter than high class series (not that you can tell from the way the picture is cropped -_-...) and both are quite travel-friendly. 

Lastly, here is the most precious brush in my collection and the most expensive one that I could ever justify buying. 
The Canadian squirrel cheek brush was a limited edition run last year  (the black one is sold out but there are a few red one available ). At 12000 yens, this might sounds scary-expensive but I picked it up while the exchange rate was at its most favorable point (120yens to a dollar) plus the brand was 25% off (and free shipping) on CDJapan. 

It rounded up to 78 bucks a piece, which was quite a bargain given how well-made it is. Admittedly the makie is run of the mill,  it's neat with clean edge everywhere.
If you have read some of my earlier reviews, you would know that Canadian squirrel is my favorite hair type (next to kolinsky/sable) for eyeshadow brush. It's has the perfect balance of smooth glide, soft touch, traction to hold onto powder and level of bounce for precision. All without being princessy like gray squirrel. 

On the cheeks, the brush gives the same pleasant sensation. The hair are of good quality (in my stash, Surratt eyes brushes are the two with slightly inferior hair than all the rest) and well bundled. The small paddle is great diffusing strong color and precise placement. 

Larger brushes like these are a joy to use but not exactly a nessesities. They feel great on the skin but don't make as big of a diffrence on application as good eye brushes. You can get similar effect with Too Faced flatbuki that's like 12 bucks but that won't make you feel like a pampered princess. 
The color of the hair reminds me of some #badombres I have seen on Asian gansta-wannabes.

Overall: I am very happy with the quality and can find use for all of the brushes.  BP027(large kolinsky shader), C010P (pony pencil brush) and the Canadian squirrel (at the price I paid) are great value for the money and what I reach for the most. I might get a cheek brush from the high class series, iff there is a really good sale.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Coffret D'Or Premium Stay Rouge in RD-214

Yup, I went on eBay and hunted down a previous limited release of  Coffret D'Or Premium Stay Rouge. In my defense, it was only marked up by a few bucks (I will take it as international postage) and this formula is totally worth that extra effort. Now I just have to look pass this gold plastic tube.
RD 214 is a limited release (from summer 2015 I am guessing) so the cap and belt are in deeper pink than the permanent ones. The plastic tube is shiny and highly scratchable but I don't expect much from mid-range drugstore brand. 
RD-214 is a clear red that looks like a clear jelly. Once the top layer is warmed up, you can still the tiniest bits of glimmer (which can't be felt or seen on lips) that adds onto the juicy depth. There is no scent, unlike the summer 2016 releases. 
Revlon Lip Butter in Wild Watermelon (I wore it yesterday and was reminded of the good old days when I loved Revlon lippies and stalked their releases feverishly. It seems that they discontinued this shade as well?) with Coffret D'Or RD 214 and PK 305. To me, the warmth in RD-214 is  punchy coral red undertone (not an yellow/orange or brown based one) and it's so juicy and bright. It's actually not super warm even next to the blue-leaning PK 305.
Coffret D'Or Premium Stay Rouge (worn on a very warm and humid day). It's a glossy and mousturizing formula but not a super thick one. It got that close and thin fit that gradually fades into balmy stain (so this shade has the same formula as PK-305).
Another swatch picture taken on a dryer day. 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

SUQQU Blend Color Eyeshadow in EX-27 Hanashion

 SUQQU Blend Color Eyeshadow EX-27 Hanashion was first released in Japan as an Umeda Hankyu exclusive for fall 2015. Later on, as it was making its way to UK Selfridges, some marketing genius decided to have them only available as sets. If you want this pretty purple palette, you either have to get it with the Creamy Glow Moist Lipstick EX-18(was a nice sheer coral, but it was not 40+ bucks nice) or gel liner/lipstick that were leftover from fall 2014.

It got to be one of the most effective yet repulsive (to be honest, I am repulsed by my own gullibility) marketing tactic in my recent memory. I was so put-off that I forgot about the pretty purple palette for months. It was only until recently, when I reorganized all my eyeshadow and housed them into the big Muji case, I was reminded I still have this pretty little thang.

Time to wear it while we have a bit of sunshine left. 
I tried to find some purple flowers but lilac was out of reach (the only tree within my vicinity was too tall and...in other people's yard. I dared not mess with the New Jersey housewives) and asters were nowhere to be found. 
This is quite a departure from their original aesthetic. Not only the brand is packing more and more sparkles, the colors are also getting increasingly sweet and girly. Just look at this purple-pink-beige combo, doesn't it look just like Chanel Tisse Cambon and Majolica Majorca RS 354 Flower Girl?

 I guess it will appeal to younger customers but it also makes their color-stories less distinct from the less-expensive high end brand (and even some well-made drugstore brands). 
On the bottom right there is a soft cream that's soft pink with golden sheen. Inclusion of cream pan is one of the things I really dislike in any expensive eyeshadow (not that I like them in drugstore ones either). Not only it catches the fall out from other pans, I also feel cheated out by non-shading pan in such an expensive palette.

Aside from adding a somewhat slippery finish and a frosty base, it's nothing that I can't get from a 7-bucks primer from Canmake.

Upper right pan is a medium beige-taupe with a pink sheen. It's gentle and easy to wear and nothing unique. It's looks a rich (has a bit of everything) enough that I find it turn muddy easily when layered with other colors.

Upper left pan is a medium-light pink with a soft veil of golden sheen. It's deep enough to be used as a lid shade and reminds me of petal under the warm sunshine. It doesn't look much but it's my favorite pan. 
Lower left pan is supposedly the star of the whole palette. A medium to deep purple that looks slighty deeper on skin.  I find this shade a little awkward: It's very sparkly but at the same time, has a dry/thin texture that makes it appear blotchy by itself and a little messy on top of the other shades. I had to be really careful dealing with it. It seems that the pink brings out this pan better than the taupe beige.
With cream pan as primer. Pink as a base and a bit of purple and taupe mixed together as defining shade and I get a springlike petal look that I could wear outside.

Beside the frosty cream primer, the rest in Hanashion are all medium lid shades. There isn't an effective base-highlight or a defining eyeliner. On the bright side, you might have a lots of fun mixing all three (well I didn't because mud).
Texture wise. Hanashion is kind of sort of finely milled, no cakey finish or excessive powder being kicked out.  The texture also happens to be the most powdery and coarsest from Suqqu I have tried. In fact, I don't find it any better than the eyeshadow by Kanebo Kate(15 bucks, yo).

Overall: It's certainly a delicate trio that's wonderful for springtimes. While I might not find it as special as the other Suqqu releases, I am very glad I got this and the bundled lipstick. Not only the two will be worn from time to time (well because they are so darn expensive), this collection managed to kill off my desire for their subsequent releases. There will be no more hoarding for the sake of research, the (newer) formula is not worth it.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Korres Lip Butter in Wild Rose

Korres Lip Butter (12 dollars a piece) is probably one of the few affordable items you can get from Sephora, making it a great for-the-heck-of-it item to get, especially when I spent too long browsing (and not tempted by anything else). 
Wild Rose is a deep neutral wine red that doesn't pull too purple or too brown. In the pot, there is a clear jelly quality that's not found in other (that look milkier) shades. 

It even looks jelly on the lips. The texture is light, moisturizing and very easy to spread (I always use a lip brush) and despite my habit of overloading products, the color remains light (as in going well with bare face and all). 

Wild Rose is a color suitable for all seasons and the light weight moisture will be appreciated for fall (not sure if it would work through multiple snowstorms though).  I just realized that Korres is another brand (like Josie Maran) with a shrinking range at Sephora, let's hope it doesn't go into the route of Jurlique.
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