Review: Spectrum Collections Brushes

It’s no secret that the key to beautiful makeup is 40% what you apply and 60% what you apply it with. But, that being said, my brush collection has been somewhat reserved for far too long. One brush for my lids, one for my crease, one for vigorously rubbing away mistakes. The magic of domes, tulips, angles and kabukis had evaded me; I was stuck with your bog-standard ‘shader.’

So when Spectrum Collections asked if I would like to give their brushes a whirl, I jumped at the chance to get creative. Their website was a treasure trove in purple, pink and cyan; there were brushes for precision, blending, buffing, smudging, they were tall, tapered, stubby, fluffy. I was sold. Only days later, a package arrived (in a hot pink metallic jiffy bag, no less) and inside the brand’s best-selling 8 piece Eye Set with a handwritten note.

Not only do these brushes look beautiful, they feel great in the hand and on the skin. The handles are chunky, the bristles soft but densely packed. Vegan and cruelty-free, all Spectrum Collection brushes are made with synthetic hair, which is not only a compassionate choice, but one that carries huge benefits for the user. I personally prefer synthetic brushes as they work equally well with creams as they do with powders. Products cling to the synthetic fibres more readily than they do to animal hairs, amongst which powders get a little lost and creams cause all sorts of tangles.

Another bonus is that synthetic brushes are a gazillion times easier to clean. Animal hair is verrrry porous so bacteria and dirt are more easily absorbed into the hair shaft (a particular problem if you regularly foil your eyeshadows by wetting your brush). Rubbing these germ-packed bristles all over your face can only lead to one thing… angry, angry spots. And with the hair shaft damaged, hairs are more likely to fall out, scattering in an itchy mess all over your beautifully blended eyeball *sigh*. In between more thorough washes, I just scoot over these beauties with a make-up wipe and they’re as good as new; there’s no staining, even after using black, navy or intensely pigmented shades of cerise (it’s happened before…), and the bristles don’t lose their shape or softness.

So now to the brushes themselves!

Tall-Tapered Blender

With a fluffy, loose teimagexture, this brush is ideal for blending out harsh lines to create a seamless look. It’s long, narrow shape means it snuggles into the crease perfectly to add shaded definition. A must-have for smoky eyes.

Small Angled Shader

The fibres on this brimageush are tightly packed meaning it’s great at scooping up product, while its angled edge allows it to nestle into the contours of the eye. Ideal for adding a focused pop of colour to the inner or outer corner.

Large Fluffy Shader

It’s big and it’s fluffimagey. Great for covering the entire lid, this brush can be used to apply cream-based primer and bases or a sweep of colour with no effort at all. The starting point of any look.

 

Medium Fluffy Shader

The little sister. It’s slightly smaller shape makes this brush even more versatile, whether applying product all over the lid or into the crease.

Stubby Shader

The densest of thimagee set, this brush is perfect for building up colour and depth as its tightly packed fibres really grab hold of product, allowing you to go bold or dark and moody to your heart’s content.

Fluffy Pencil

The narrow, tapereimaged, dense tip allows for focused application, particularly under the eye or in the inner corner. This brush is particularly useful for cut-creases as its shape and size makes it easy to blend out colour while staying inside the lines. The all-rounder.

Short Smudge

A shorter versioimagen of the stubby shader, this brush is ideal for blending out kohl or gel liners for that super intense, grungy smoky eye. My (unexpected) favourite.

 

Small Domed Contour

A rounded fluffy brush timagehat is not only suited to carving out the contours of the eyes, but can also be used to add definition to the nose, to buff out concealer and add highlight. The multi-tasker.

 

This set is the ultimate collection for those wanting to expand their eye-makeup repertoire as there’s everything you’ll need for playing with eyeshadows, from cut-creases to blown-out smoky eyes. I recently expanded my collection of Spectrum brushes, adding a small fan brush (all about that highlight life…) and a flat definer eye brush which is the brush for creating sharp straight lines and reaching that annoying bit of skin underneath your lower lashes. Along with these I received a stunning buffer brush from the brand’s new Atlantis collection – just look at the colours!!!

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This certainly won’t be my last brush with Spectrum Collections.

What do you guys think of these beauties? Find them at www.spectrumcollections.com

Hope you like!

Molly x

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Review: Anastasia Beverly Hills Artist Palette

In short, my review of ABH’s Contour Kit went something like this: they’re magical, immoveable, wonderful powders in the completely wrong colour. Pale girl problems. So as I saw the Artist Palette, a stunning collection of neutrals and brights, I knew the quality would be top-notch, and now the colours were perfect – I had to have it.

When the package first arrived, being totally honest, I was a little liiiiiitle bit disheartened by the size of the pans. But that’s just me being greedy. Converted from US dollars, this palette costs under half of those produced by Urban Decay and Too Faced, neither of which offer particularly generous amounts of each colour. So for the price (and the quality you get for that price) you can’t moan at this being on the ‘petite’ size.

In my last review I had a little moan about the look and feel of the Contour Kit, but the Artist Palette is different. Well… not by much; it has the same stiffened board casing and magnetised closure, but there’s something sturdier about it. (I even performed the ultimate test of dropping this in the bathtub on holiday to find that no water or bubble bath had found its way inside. Surely the acid test of any magnetised clasp?) In my opinion, the casing is finished to a standard that’s better suited to the eyeshadows it contains, there’s no rough edges, no dents , tears or scuffs. And while the Contour Kit went for the ultra-sophisticated all-black colour scheme, the Artist Palette is decorated with flashes of bright colour as a hint to what’s inside.

Open up the lid and you’ll find 12 beautiful shades ranging from a dusty mauve-pink to a bright, warm yellow. Ordering this palette online, it’s difficult to see the shades clearly; yes, there’s a blue, a green, an orange and a pink, but they’re more complex and dimensional than that.

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Here’s my breakdown of the colours (adapted from ABH’s own descriptions):

-Dusty Rose: think LimeCrime’s ‘Cashmere’ in an eyeshadow, the perfect “griege” with a hint of mauve.

-Aubergine: described as “velvet eggplant,” a deep purple-black.

-Anaconda: the description “shimmery green” does NO justice to this colour and I’m not even a fan of green eyeshadows. This is a true emerald green with a fine gold shift.

-Punch Fuschia: think of a bold, punchy fuschia colour… You got it.

-Buttery: the colour of a good vanilla icecream.

-Blue Velvet: a rich navy. And by ‘rich’ I mean that it’s actually a deep shade of blue, not like some ‘navy’ shadows that turn out as a nondescript dark smudge (I’ve been let down before…).

-Charcoal: described as ‘matte black,’ but I’d argue it’s somewhere between black and deep grey as the name suggests.

-Unicorn: hands down my favourite eyeshadow in the palette and, quite possibly, ever. A heaven-sent periwinkle. Gah, I love it.

-Phresh: a bold canary yellow, another unexpected favourite of mine.

-Baby, I’m a Star: a soft, mid brown with gold shimmer. The ‘meh’ colour IMO (every palette has one).

-Orange You Fancy: the loud, glitzy sister of Orange Soda, a brightened orange shadow with gold sparkle.

-Beigely: A frosted beige much like MAC’s Satin Taupe, but a smidgen warmer.

These swatches were taken with no primer or base, just a dip of the finger and you can see that the colour pay-off is amazing, particularly for the brights.

If I could make some tweaks to these colours to suit my personal taste I would make “Buttery” into a champagne or pearl highlighter shade like MAC’s “Phloof” (the ultimate…). I like my brow highlight to have a subtle satin finish, but “Buttery” is both too cream to show up on my skin and too matte to truly ‘highlight’ anything. As it is, however, “Buttery” is really handy for blending novices as it can be used to buff away harsh lines without depositing any extra colour = magic! On the other hand, I would take the shimmer out of “Baby, I’m a Star.” A matte mid-tone brown like this would be so useful for adding definition to the eye when using light, bright colours and softening harsh lines when using darker colours. Adding the substantial gold sparkle to this shadow makes it quite difficult to use unless it covers the lid in a rather conventional smoky eye. Beyond this, the colour is neither here nor there. With “Beigley” having a similar shimmer, I think ABH could afford to make one of the two super-neutral shades into a matte.

Texture-wise, these shadows remind me a lot of those by Illamasqua or Sigma: they aren’t particularly ‘creamy’ in the pan like those by MAC or Urban Decay, but have a super-fine powder formula. This can be deceiving as it might feel as though the brush isn’t collecting much product or that you’re not applying enough product to the skin, but with only a light sweep of the brush, the colour pay-off is bold and opaque.

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This not only extends the life of the palette (as you need to use very little product), but also helps with the longevity of the shadows on the skin. Creamier formulas can sometimes sit a little heavy on the eyes and can be a real nuisance for those with oily skin types due to sliding and creasing. These light-weight powders are therefore great for adding colour without ‘gunk’ and, with a spot of primer, hold up for 8 hours with very little signs of movement (having tested Beigely and Dusty Rose on my mom, who has oily skin). For dry-combination skin like mine, the ‘powder-y’ nature of these shadows can accentuate any flakiness or fine lines around the eye, so be sure to moisturise thoroughly before use. That being said, these powders could hold up alllllllll day; I actually fell to sleep in the look pictured on the left (whoops!) and woke up to find the lovely periwinkle hue still there.

My faith in Anastasia Beverly Hills is restored!

What do you think of the Artist Palette?

Hope you like!

Molly x