Friday, February 16, 2018

Best Synthetic Brushes - Part 2 (2018 Edition)

Best Synthetic Brushes - Part 2 (2018 Edition)

*Some of the brushes in this post were sent to me for consideration. I do not get paid to write reviews.

Look at these beautiful crease brushes! I am so happy and feel incredibly lucky to have such wonderful synthetic crease brushes in my collection. In 2012, when I first started this blog, I was on a quest for a synthetic version of the popular MAC Cosmetics 217.  The 217 was an eyeshadow blending brush made out of animal hair.  MAC Cosmetics is not a cruelty free makeup brand. However, anyone who has watched a professional makeup artist work, has probably seen the 217 brush. This brush was never known to be the softest, but it was a workhorse of a brush.  My quest continued, and I bought nearly every synthetic brush that had a similar size and shape to the 217 that I could find. My go-to brush for blending has been the Bdellium Tools 776.  They used to only sell this brush in animal hair, until I reached out to them and asked them why they didn't make a synthetic version when they sold so many other wonderful synthetic brushes. They listened to their customer and quickly started producing and selling a synthetic version of the 776, which I own multiples of. I still love and use this brush.  However in December, MAC Cosmetics changed their famous 217 brush, along with many others to synthetic hair. Someone close to me purchased a couple, along with the 239s for me as a gift.  The bristles are silky soft, and this brush has absolutely changed my eyeshadow game. I do not personally shop at MAC because they are not a cruelty free brand.  However, I am very happy to have these synthetic eyeshadow brushes in my collection now.  If we want to see other brands switch from animal hair brushes to synthetic, I believe that we must vote with our wallets.  I did reach out to MAC to thank them for switching from animal hair bristles to synthetic, and I will likely buy more of these in the future. I want to encourage brands to continue to make the right choice. 

I find it somewhat ironic that those who used to buy the 217 are used to the version with animal hair, and are now on a quest to find animal hair brushes from other brands to replace the MAC versions they were used to. I can honestly say I know how they feel, because it used to be very hard for me to find synthetic versions of the animal hair brushes I wanted. I personally never used the animal hair versions of any of MAC's brushes so my only basis for comparison is the other synthetic brands in my collection.  

In 2012, I put together a blog post containing five makeup brushes that I think everyone should own.  Today, I have updated this list for you. 

As with my original post in 2012, I am not saying that you need to buy these exact brushes.  However, these types of brushes (style) are absolutely essential for me. In addition to loving the above brush types, these five are the current brushes that I use nearly every single day. From left to right they are; a brush to apply eyeshadow to the lid, a blending brush, a pencil brush, a smaller face brush for applying blush and/or highlighter, a larger powder brush for the face.  I recommend these brushes to anyone looking for quality makeup brushes for personal or professional use.

The next five brush styles I recommend are below:

Above (left to right): Real Techniques #303 Contour Brush, Crown Brushes small detail brush*, Kabuki brushes from Real Techniques and Everyday Minerals, Kelley Quan Synthetic Black Mink Oval Flat, Furless Must Have Stippling Brush

The Crown Brush detail brush above is from a set of brushes I purchased a while ago. I actually hated the set, but love this one brush from it. I am unsure if it is sold separately, but this style is easy to find. The Real Techniques Detailer Brush from their Core Collection is another great option (not pictured). 

There are many other brush types, styles and brands that I recommend.  Below are a number of my personal favorites.


Above: Larger blending brush for blending eyeshadow and/or applying highlighter - Zoeva 227/Soft Definer vegan, and Furless Bronze Blending Brush

Originally the Furless Blending Brush came as a free gift with purchase. It was not available on their site for purchase. I loved it so much, that I reached out to the company and asked them to please offer it individually for sale. They now carry it on there site for everyone to buy and enjoy!

Above: Everyone needs a good flat eyeshadow brush to apply shadow to the lid. Wet n Wild, Everyday Minerals, Cozzette D225, Urban Decay Pro Medium Eyeshadow Brush

Above: These are some of my absolute favorite face brushes - Kelley Quan Synthetic Blue Squirrel Tapered Brush - Large #22 (ideal for buffing the skin after applying powder, I own multiples of this brush), Crown Brushes brush I use for concealing, Sigma Tapered Face F25, Furless Black Beauty Powder Brush, Cozzette S130

Do I still use some of the favorites from my 2012 post?  YES! I actually still use most of them.  As I've added to my collection, I've gotten new favorites, but I take good care of my brushes and use a lot of different brands. I go through many brushes each week, and keep multiples on hand of favorites, but reach for any number of brushes in my collection depending on the look I'm creating, and the best brush for a particular job. 

I have added a large number of Sigma makeup brushes to my collection over the years, and many of the brushes I own from this brand have become favorites.  You may also notice that some of the brushes I have are from brands that do not sell cruelty-free makeup.  However, all of the brushes pictured in this post are made with 100% synthetic bristles.  

I hope you enjoyed this look at my favorite makeup brushes.  Please let me know what your favorites are in the comments below!

Friday, February 2, 2018

Best Synthetic Makeup Brushes - 2018 Edition

Some of the brushes mentioned in this post may have been sent to me for review.  I do not get paid to write reviews, all thoughts are my own.

Best Synthetic Makeup Brushes - 2018 Edition

As some of you may have noticed, it has been quite some time since I have blogged! My life has taken me in some new directions, but my love of makeup, and all things related has never changed.  When I first started this blog in 2012, my goal was to have a place where people could come to learn about makeup.  More specifically, I wanted those looking for a cruelty-free option, especially in terms of makeup brushes, to benefit from the knowledge I've gained on my own personal beauty journey. Years back when I began searching for high quality makeup brushes, my choices were dismal. I kept buying and trying every new synthetic-bristled brush that I could get my hands on in search of the perfect ones.

Today, my dream of having a large selection of quality, cruelty-free makeup brushes available at all price points has come true. The world of makeup brushes has dramatically changed for the better, and we have more choice now than ever before! While synthetic hair makeup brushes have been available for a long time, the quality and selection was severely lacking. I want to share with you which brushes I love, and which ones I didn't to help you save money, and find the brushes that will work best for your lifestyle and your budget.

Like my very first post on this blog, I have gathered some brushes from my personal collection to share with you.  While my collection has grown immensely since then, I still continue to buy and own brushes across a variety of brands and price points. Below is a breakdown of these brushes and a look at some of my overall personal favorites.

Brush Categories by Purpose

Professional/Luxury Brushes: 
Hourglass, Furless, Sigma, Cozzette, Christopher Drummond, Kelley Quan, Urban Decay, Antonym, Royal and Langnickel S.I.L.K. Green Line (pictured below)

While there are many other brushes that fall into this category, above is a small sample of some of my personal favorites in this category. I define this category as brushes that are truly top quality and see these brands as some of the best that money can buy.  Any of these could be used for personal use or a professional makeup artist's kit.

Makeup Lover/Brush Collector:
Furless, Tokidoki 24K Brush (discontinued), Real Techniques (Bold Metals Collection), Sephora, Alima Pure (pictured below)

In my very first blog post, I used three categories: Professional/Luxury, Mid-Priced, and Personal Use. In this post, I have changed that up a bit.  Many brands now have multiple lines within them encompassing a variety of price points. For this reason, I broke up the categories to be defined by purpose rather than price. The same brand is pictured across more than one category depending on the specific brush pictured.

Budget Friendly (Personal Use):
Walgreens Brand, Real Techniques, Eco Tools, Elf, Coastal Scents (pictured below)

This is the price point that I am most excited to write about. Historically, choices were very limited and buying quality brushes without breaking the bank was a difficult task.  While the brands in this post are the very same that I wrote about years ago, I am happy to report that the selection and quality has vastly improved!  I think Real Techniques has really changed the makeup brush game. They offer several brush lines at a variety of price points. While I can only find most of their higher end brushes online, their more affordable Original Collection brushes can be purchased at my local Walgreens or Walmart. Eco Tools has also stepped up their game, offering a larger variety of brush styles, longer handles, and fuller brush heads. I must note, that the Elf brushes that I own continue to be some of the least expensive in my collection. However, they are also the only brushes I have that break regularly. Due to their highly affordable nature, I would recommend them only if someone is truly a beginner to makeup, and not looking to invest in brushes. The Coastal Scents synthetic brushes are not as soft as Real Techniques or Eco Tools, but they have lasted a long time for me without ever breaking.

So which brand of brush should you buy?  That really depends on what you want it for. Are you looking for quality makeup brushes that will last, feel soft against the skin, and apply makeup beautifully? Or are you looking for a gift for a teenager who is just experimenting with makeup and may only use a brush occasionally?  What is your budget?  Are you a makeup artist or looking to get into a career in cosmetology? With so many brushes on the market it is important to assess your needs before shopping so that you don't get pulled into cute marketing displays or impulse buys. It is also important to remember that if you take proper care of your brushes, clean them regularly and treat them gently, they can last you for years to come.

What About the Price?

Below are few brush types across a few different price points:

Eyeshadow Blending Brushes (left to right): Coastal Scents, Real Techniques Bdellium Tools, Furless, Sigma

You will note these eyeshadow brushes all have a similar shaped head. I call these my synthetic versions of the MAC 217.  Of all the brushes in my collection this is the shape I own the most of.  I tend to use multiple blending brushes when completing an eye look, and the hunt for the perfect one led me to buy and try as many brands as I could get my hands on. All of the brushes above will get the job done. The main difference can be seen in handle length, softness of bristles and fullness of brush head.

Above, I lined up the brushes from shortest brush handle to longest.  I personally find a shorter brush more comfortable when I am applying my own eye makeup and need to sit close to a mirror. However, if I am applying makeup to someone else, I prefer a longer handle.  The longest brush pictured above is from Furless. This brush is a staple in my professional kit because I love the long handle, and these bristles are so incredibly soft! I love that I never have to worry about it feeling scratchy on someone's eye.

I also did a side-by-side comparison of the Coastal Scents Classic Blender Brush Synthetic which sells for $2.95 and the Sigma E25 Blending Brush which sells for $16.00.  While these brushes look very similar side-by-side, the bristles feel very different on the skin. When ordering brushes online, it can be very hard to know what you are getting, and at first glance it can be hard to see a difference. I've owned both of these brushes for years, and the difference in quality is quite noticeable. The Sigma brush handle and construction feel much sturdier and appear to be made out of higher quality materials.

Fan Brushes (left to right): Elf Fan Brush, Royal and Langnickel Revolution BX-150, Real Techniques #304 Fan

As I was reviewing the prices that I paid for the above brushes I was actually taken by surprise. I knew that the Elf Fan brush was the least expensive of the three, ($4.00) but I honestly thought the Real Techniques #304 Fan brush would be less expensive than the Royal and Langnickel one.  The Real Techniques Fan brush sells for $12.99 on their website. While it is certainly a lovely brush I prefer the Royal and Langnickel brush which is available on their site for $7.99.  This Real Techniques fan brush is part of a new line from the brand, so perhaps the price will drop in the future. The Royal and Langnickel brush is one that I keep in my professional kit I have had it for years.  The construction is sturdy, and bristles are fuller than the other two fan brushes pictured.

Above you can see the Elf Fan brush along side the Real Techniques (least expensive compared to highest price of the three pictured above).  The Elf brush head, while having a wider fan, has the thinnest density of all three brushes.  As you can see some of the bristles have strayed out on the left side of the brush.  The Real Techniques brush is still in perfect condition, but this one is rather new to my collection.

Powder Brushes (left to right): Kelley Quan Synthetic Blue Squirrel Tapered Brush-Large ($65), Royal and Langnickel S.I.L.K. Synthetic Powder ($24.99), Real Techniques #300 Powder Brush ($12.99), Bdellium Tools Yellow Bamboo #980 Large Powder Brush ($17), Elf Complexion Brush ($4) 

The above brushes are in order by price, with the exception of the Real Techniques and Bdellium Tools brushes. I purchased the yellow brush as part of a complete set many years ago. I do not see it sold individually on their site, but their #980 Green Bambu brush is sold for $17 on their site.

As you can see all of the above brushes have a nice full head, with a variety of cuts, shapes and handle lengths. The most luxurious powder brush I own  is still the Kelley Quan Synthetic Blue Squirrel Tapered Brush-Large.  I have purchased multiples of this brush as well as other brushes from this brand because for me, they are the best quality makeup brushes with synthetic bristles on the market.  It is noteworthy that Real Techniques recently launched their PowderBleu Collection (not pictured) which like my Kelley Quan brush above is made of a synthetic filament meant to mimic blue squirrel hair.  The Real Techniques B01 Soft Powder Brush is available on their site for $21.  I do have a few brushes from this line, and while the hair is undeniably soft and luxurious, in comparison to my Kelley Quan brushes, their handles are not as high quality, and seem less durable. Since they are newer to my collection, only time will tell how well they will hold up over time.

If the Kelley Quan brush is out of your price range, I would recommend the Real Techniques PowderBleu brush over the Royal and Langnickel S.I.L.K. Synthetic Powder, as sadly the ferrule on my brush has come loose over time. I can tolerate this on an Elf brush at a $4 price point, but have a hard time recommending a brush that costs nearly $25 and has the same problem.  The Real Techniques #300 brush pictured above is new to my collection, so I do not have a feel yet for how it will hold up.  However I have a lot of brushes from this brand and in general all of them have stood up to many washes and heavy use.

I hope that you enjoyed this updated review of synthetic-bristled makeup brushes.  In my upcoming post, I will revisit the best brushes by brush type and provide you with a closer look at some more favorites from my collection. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Current Beauty Favorites

Current Beauty Favorites

Can you believe it is already September?  Where has the time gone?!  As usual, I have been stippling, swirling and swiping on the latest beauty products.  With so many new product launches, knowing what is worth buying can be a challenge. Lately, I have been holding off on heavy spending, and just occasionally working a new product into my existing makeup routine. I do tend to stick with brands that I know have worked well for me in the past, and will be worth the money. For me Hourglass is one of those brands. While it is without a doubt a luxury brand, I have yet to try one product from their line that hasn't been worth the splurge.  Since I have been limiting the shopping sprees, instead, I have been challenging myself to show a bit more love to existing items in my stash.

* All products in this post were purchased by me

Sometimes, there are ways to make your older products feel new again, by using them in different, creative ways. Having recently moved, I went on an organizing spree, and finally cleaned out my collection.  I purchased a tower of drawers, which I labeled by makeup type, so now everything has a proper home. Recently, my makeup look has changed, and I'm starting to have a lot more fun experimenting with different colors and textures.  Rather than share only new items, I decided to share a combination of some new and some old that are currently my favorite beauty items. In no particular order, here is what I have been wearing on my face these days:

#1 Bee Friendly Skincare Spot Treatment ($17.99):  Unfortunately, the sweaty days of summer have not been kind to my skin. At my age, I would think that blemishes would be a thing of the past.  However, I have had more than my fair share of bad skin days this season. A few weeks ago, I purchased this new roll on treatment, crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. To my surprise, this little roller on stick works wonders for me! When I have breakouts, it really hurts my self confidence and I feel like everyone I meet is just staring at the zit on my face. The reason I purchased this one, is that it is free of any harsh chemicals, that might further irritate my skin.  With only natural and organic ingredients, the clear liquid absorbs into my skin without ever over drying it, or causing further redness.  The roller-ball applicator is neat and convenient, and I have found that not only is this treatment working for me, but I get results rather quickly. This will absolutely be something I repurchase. 

#2 Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick ($46): With my skin acting up the way it was, I knew I needed a foundation with a bit more coverage than normal. In the heat, no one wants to deal with a thick heavy foundation.  This product really works for me, because although it provides full coverage, it really does feel super light on the skin. This foundation comes in a triangular shaped stick format, that twists up like a lipstick to reveal more product. It can be applied directly to the face, or you can run a brush over the stick and then apply it to the face that way. I usually draw a few dots around the center of my face, and then blend it out with a brush and/or makeup sponge. For blemishes, I take a tiny brush (I usually use a pointed lip brush), pick up a bit more product from the stick, and apply as I would concealer. Since the coverage is so outstanding, this doubles as a foundation & concealer in one for me. I also like the fact that it comes in a variety of shades.  In my opinion this product was truly worth the splurge, because I have yet to try any other foundation that provides this much coverage, while still feeling so light on the skin. I admit, the price point is high for the amount of product you get, but I have to use very little product to get the result I want. In my experience, Hourglass consistently puts out quality products, in beautiful packaging, and I have yet to regret one purchase from the brand. 

Hourglass Foundation in the color Alabaster

#3 Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Loose Colour Concentrates ($15): Lately, I love rocking intensely metallic lids. I own some wonderful metallic eyeshadows in my collection, but my current favorite is these light-reflecting lovelies from OCC. I am a big fan of pigments in general because they are so immensely versatile.  I have use them with a mixing medium to create unique nail polish colors, lip glosses, eyeshadow, blush and more. The possibilities are truly limitless. Nothing makes me feel more unique, than blending a few different colors of pigment together to create my own custom shade. I know when I am walking down the street, that no one else has this eyes color on her lids, because I custom mixed it with a few different pigment colors. I feel that these super sparkly pots allow my creativity to shine through. In particular, the Loose Colour Concentrate pigments from OCC are, really long-wearing.Yesterday, I took a little bit of the color Glisten (golden coral shimmer), mixed it with the color Dope (warm metallic beige), added just a tiny bit of Too Faced Glitter Glue, and applied it to my lids with a stiff flat brush.  I was outside roaming around Chicago, and it was super hot outside. I was sweaty, and although I had a great day, I was thankful once I got back into air conditioning.  Even with all the walking around, and hot sun, my eyeshadow did not budge. The metallic masterpiece that I brushed on my lids when I left the house, maintained the gilded goodness right up until I took it off before bed.  These pigments are made out of 100% vegan minerals, and do not have any skin irritating binders or fillers. They come in a myriad of colors, and are just so much fun to play with! Some of my other favorite colors include: Twirl (peach/pink shimmer), Flicker (beige/gold shimmer), and Platonic (pale creme shimmer). 

Two different metallic eye looks, both using OCC Loose Colour Concentrate mixed with Too Faced Glitter Glue. I am wearing the Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation in both photos. 

I hope you enjoyed this look at some of my current favorite beauty items. If you are not already subscribed, please don't forget to do so.  Share your current favorites below.  I always love to hear what beauty products are making you happy at the moment! 

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*All products in this post were purchased by me. I do not get paid to write product reviews. 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Sephora Haul

*All Products In This Post Purchased By Me

Sephora Haul

Hello my lovelies! I hope everyone is having a beautiful day today. Today's post is different than any other post I've done before. While I have done many product reviews, I have never before done a haul post!  Strange right? I know. I generally like to thoroughly test out a product before sharing it with you. However, I decided to write this post, because these are brands that I am familiar with. Plus, I thought it would be fun to give you all a little insight into my mini shopping trip the other day, and show you exactly what types of products grab my attention when I go searching for awesome new beauty products. The purpose of this particular haul, was just to go in and pick up a few items that intrigued me and I have been wanting to try. None of these products are new to makeupland, but they are new to me. 

# 1 BeautyBlender Blotterazzi:  You may think that I have been living under a rock, but prior to my shopping trip at Sephora, I had never heard of this product!  I'm sure most of you are familiar with the egg-shaped original beautyblender sponge that applies foundation like a dream.  Well, the same company that brought us that little pink gem, now brings us Blotterazzi!  The name of the product, and uniqueness of it, are what caused me to purchase this item. Blotterazzi is meant to replace blotting papers (thin sheets of sheer tissue paper used to blot excess oil from the face) in a reusable, less wasteful fashion. The product looks like a slice of the original beautyblender sponge.  It is flat, and meant to be used dry. Housed in a plastic compact, there is a thin sheet of protective paper inside which separates the two flat sponges inside.  This allows you to use one, but have another clean one underneath for days when you are extra oily.  The case has air vents on the bottom to prevent mold or bacteria from growing on the sponge. The package also came with a sample size of their beautyblender cleanser so that you can wash the Blotterazzi flat sponge after use. With the weather getting warmer, I am excited to see how this performs.  Having to wash something like this after each use may not be as convenient as traditional blotting papers that you can just throw out after each use, but I would have to imagine that it is better for the environment, in the same way that using real ceramic dinner plates versus paper plates is.  Some factors that will play into my decision to repurchase this item include; how long the sponge lasts before I need to repurchase, how effective it is at blotting oil without disturbing my makeup, how much time I have to clean the bloterazzi and how practical it is in everyday use. After I use this a bit more, I will likely write a full review on the product.

Here is a closer look at the BeautyBlender Blotterazzi ($20):

Above: Blotterazzi case, which holds 2 sponges, and sample size of blendercleanser

Above: Inside, you have 2 sponges, separated by a thin protective sheet.  The second photo shows the Blotterazzi size, compared to the original beautyblender sponge. 

Above: Blotterazzi size compared to a traditional blotting paper. The second photo shows the case venting on the bottom of the compact. 

 # 2 BeautyBlender Micro Mini:  From the same brand, I also purchased these adorable little baby beautyblenders known as "Micro Mini."  Honestly, I just bought them because they are cute! Like the original beautyblender, this pair of egg-shaped sponges is meant to be used damp, but it's super tiny size is intended to help get into small, harder to reach areas, such as the inner corner of the eye, around the nose, and anywhere that you might need something a bit smaller to blend with.  When using makeup brushes, I generally select the brush size based on the size of the area I am working on. I assumed the same concept would work here when deciding to purchase these little cuties. You get 2 micro minis in the package as well as a little fold out pamphlet explaining the different uses for them. I did actually use these yesterday, and due to their almond-like size, found them a bit difficult to use with my large hands. However, I do see where these can have a place in someone's makeup routine. If you have smaller hands, and find the original beautyblender is difficult to use in certain smaller areas of the face, this may be worth a buy.  However, if you already own the original beautyblender, and don't have the extra money to spend, this isn't a game changer for me the way the original beautyblender sponge was. 

Here is a closer look at the BeautyBlender Micro Mini ($18):

Above: beautyblender micro mini package contains two tiny, almond-shaped neon green sponges

Above: beautyblender micro mini size comparison, dry on the left, damp on the right. 

Above: beautyblender micro mini size comparison (from left to right) micro mini dry, micro mini damp, original beautyblender sponge dry

Above: beautyblender micro mini package included a fold out pamphlet with suggestions for use including linear highlighting, diffused highlighting and sharp, controlled shaping and contouring. 

Above: beautyblender micro mini in action.  I used it to blend out my under eye concealer.  It fit very nicely into the corner of my under eye area.  However, I found the size of the sponge almost too small, and a bit awkward to use. I think I would like this product better if it were just a tad bit larger. 

Above: beautyblender micro mini after one use the sponge soaked up a lot of product and was difficult to clean. Compared to the new, unused one, this already seems to be discolored. It seems that I will need to really deep clean this if I have any hope of it returning to its original color. 

# 3 Too Faced Melted Liquified Long Wear Lipstick:  I am SO EXCITED about this product!! As the title suggests, this squeeze tube houses a liquid lipstick that is long wearing. The color I got is Melted Coral, a beautiful orange shade. I wore it yesterday, and got a good 6 hours out of it before the color started to fade. From what I understand, these are frequently sold out, and a bit difficult to find, so I consider myself very lucky to have snagged this lovely lippie to rock as the weather gets warmer. If you are looking for a lip product with a satin finish, in a bright beautiful color that only needs one swipe to get full-on rich pigment, this product is for you. You just squeeze the tube until a little of the product is dispensed from the sponge tip applicator, and apply it directly to your lips. I did not find the application to be messy, nor did I find the product to be sticky.  The product itself is quite comfortable on the lips, so much so, that I actually forgot I was wearing it, until I wiped some color off with my napkin at dinner. This is seriously one of the best, if not the best liquid lipstick I have ever used. I also think the color is pretty unique. Coral lippies that I have in my collection range from orangey-pinks, to light salmon, but this shade wears much more orange-toned on me, which I really like.  

Here is a closer look at Too Faced Melted Liquified Long Wear Lipstick in Melted Coral ($21):

Above: swatches photographed with and without flash (just one swipe from tube)

Above: applied to the lips over concealer to show the true color of the product.  Photographed with and without flash.  The product glided on smoothly, and the texture felt weightless on my lips. 

Side Note: The other items pictured in the first photo of this post were not purchased by me.  They were free samples given to me by Sephora for being a VIB Rouge, so I did not include them in my haul as I did not buy them, and am unsure of their cruelty-free status. 

If you are not already subscribed, please don't forget to do so. This way, you will never miss a post! I would love to hear your thoughts on my very first haul post. Do you want to see more posts like this?  Have you tried any of the products mentioned in this post? 

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*All products in this post were purchased by me.  I do not get paid to write product reviews. 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Kelley Quan Pocket Spa


Kelley Quan Pocket Spa

*This post contains samples sent for consideration
Happy Valentine's Day!  I am super excited to share a new product from one of my favorite brands. If you have been a long-time follower of my blog, you have read my many posts raving about Kelley Quan's cruelty-free makeup brushes. They are my favorite brushes in my vast collection of beauty tools, hands down. However, today I am not sharing my review on her wonderful brushes, but instead, I am sharing with you an AMAZING new beauty "secret" that has quickly become a daily staple in my skincare arsenal. As a makeup artist, I love makeup. However as any good makeup artist will tell you, the foundation for a beautifully created makeup look, starts with great skin. I am obsessive about my skincare routine, and wish that more people took time to pamper their skin the way it should be treated. So now it is confession time. I have not been very nice to my skin lately. I was living in Connecticut, relocated to the U.S. Virgin Islands for a year and a half, and have recently relocated to Chicago, IL. For those of you not familiar with the climate here, winters are HARSH! My skin was so mad at me. The move from the hot and humid climate of the VI, to a cold dry one left my skin dry and literally flaking off of my face. While I took the time to bathe my skin in creams and exfoliate, my skin was still hating me. Luckily, Kelley Quan came to my rescue. She sent me a quick e-mail asking me if I would be interested in testing out her New Pocket Spa, and her message to me could not have come at a more perfect time. I have been testing out this product for a few weeks and have truly been surprised at the results.
At first glance, I was skeptical, because I am skeptical about any beauty product that claims benefits that sound almost too good to be true. However, my skin was in desperate need of some TLC, and I was willing to try just about anything to fix the Freddy Krueger-like situation going on with my face. Knowing that Kelley has only ever put out quality products, I kept an open mind, and put this new resource through all types of tests.  
What is a Pocket Spa?  The product itself is a small white cylinder that is about four inches high.  It comes with a cord for charging and when filled with water, the button on the front of the device must be depressed to release a micro-fine mist of hydration onto the skin.  

This mini portable skin hydration system delivers a big bang for your buck.  For those of you not familiar with Kelley Quan's brand, all of her beauty tools are cruelty-free and professional quality products. I return to her brand time and time again because I know I will always be purchasing a high-quality product without ever causing harm to animals. The Pocket Spa is very easy to use. After charging the device (just like you would charge your cell phone), you simply unscrew the cap and fill it to the "fill line" with a minimal amount of water, then pop the top back on.  Push the center button down, and a super fine mist is dispersed onto the skin creating instant hydration.

The blue light indicates the device is working. As the water lightly mists onto the skin you will realize that this product does not compare to any other facial spray on the market. Rather than the harshness of a makeup setting spray, this mist is very light and soothing.  The mist is dispersed for 30 seconds, before shutting itself off, leaving your skin with a light coat of hydration. 
How did I test this product?  I used it in a variety of ways. First, I tried the product at night, before my facial cream. This added the light layer of hydration to my skin, allowing for better absorption of the skincare product I placed over it. At first application, I did not notice anything different or special about my skin.  However, when I woke up the next morning and looked at my skin in the mirror, I immediately noticed my skin looking more healthy and hydrated. Since I am a highly skeptical person, I realized that it could just be wishful thinking and therefore needed to continue testing this product in a variety of ways. The following evening, I used the Pocket Spa after my night cream to lock in that hydration, similar to locking in your makeup with a setting spray.  However, to truly test out the product, I only did this on one half of my face so that I would have a basis for comparison.  To my surprise, the next morning, the side of my face where I used the Pocket Spa was noticeably more supple, and hydrated versus the side where I had only applied my nightly facial cream.
Over the past few weeks, I have tested the Kelley Quan Pocket Spa both in the morning and evening, under and over moisturizer.  However, my absolute favorite way to use this device is over makeup. Yes! OVER makeup! With the brutal Chicago winter, my skin can get very dry and flaky. There is nothing worse, than spending time creating a beautiful makeup application, only to have that powdery look after, which emphasizes every crease and fine line.  Once my makeup application is complete, the 30-second mist applied over top from the Pocket Spa, calms the skin down, and creates a barrier of hydration to help settle the makeup, and create the finishing touch to any makeup application.

Putting pictures of myself on the internet without any makeup on my face isn't exactly my favorite thing to do. I rarely leave the house without some level of foundation on.  The Kelley Quan Pocket Spa truly revitalized my skin, and got it back into a condition, where I feel comfortable enough to share the above photos with you. Rather than the dull, flaky winter distressed skin I started with, my skin is now smooth and supple.  If I got these results in just a few short weeks, I can only imagine what long-term use of this device will do for me. While this device is recommended for use with plain tap water, Kelley was kind enough to include a bottle of her Aquasol re:generate floral water (to be diluted for use with the Pocket Spa). I found plain tap water to be super effective in the use of her device. However, if you want to kick things up a notch, her Aquasol which is designed specifically for dry skin helps add a nice scent and invigorates the skin. It is important to note that the Pocket Spa is not intended to be used with any waters with oil as it will inhibit the device from working properly.
Another great use for this product is carrying it with you while traveling. The dry air on planes often leaves skin severely dehydrated and dull. I have seen other women carry those Evian water spray cans to use on the plane. However, those spray a full on hairspray-like fog over the face, rather than the soothing micro-mist dispensed by the Pocket Spa. 
To use the Pocket Spa properly, hold it about 10-15 centimeters away from your face, and just let it do it's thing!  It really is like having a mini spa in your pocket!!
I would once again, like to extend a huge THANK YOU to Kelley Quan for allowing me to try out her amazing beauty tools and share them with all of my readers.  While her products and talents are loved by many A-list celebrities, you don't have to actually be one to enjoy the benefits that Kelley Quan has made available to everyone. 
This product sells for about $85, and will serve as a permanent fixture in your beauty kit. If you are someone who has to deal with harsh winter weather, dehydrated skin, travels a lot or is dealing with any other number of environmental factors, this tool is a worthy investment to refresh and revitalize your skin.  It's tiny size makes it super easy to toss in your purse for hydration on the go.
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*This post contains a sample sent for consideration. I do not get paid to write reviews.  All opinions are my own.