Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Mail-order beauty reviews: e.l.f. & Coastal Scents

I stalked the e.l.f. website for MONTHS waiting to order this wee brush. Once it was available again, I did something I've only done with one other brush (a Quo eyeshadow brush from Shoppers btw) - I ordered two. This soft beauty is the Small Tapered Brush I've been waiting for, to set my undereye area and for highlighting with powders. It is whisper-soft with a tapered end that deposits and blends with a quick sweep back and forth. I can see why this gem is always sold out and I'm so happy I grabbed two when able.

Also from e.l.f. I picked up this Lock On Liner and Brow Cream in Medium Brown plus the Eyebrow Duo Brush to apply it (little did I know one was on its way in my Dec Ipsy bag, but since I'm so into brows right now, more is more). This one features a tiny spoolie that's ideal for setting brow hairs in place, combing out brow gel clumps or blending out brow colour and a stiff but soft-on-the-skin angled brush on the other end used to apply your brow products, much less prickly than others that I've used. This combination works like a dream and indeed, the brow cream does not smear or flake and is so weightless I forget that it's on, it's not greasy or crunchy once applied. They really nailed the colour tone for despite the name, it is not chocolatey brown but has a dark grey cast that blends perfectly with my hair colour for a natural, durable brow.

My final e.l.f. pick was this miracle worker, since matte, liquid and long-wearing lipsticks are all the rage but my poor chapped lips are begging for mercy. It arrived in this tube of Kiss It Goodbye Lip Color Remover, a clear gel that I use by applying a dab of product to a cotton pad that I then swipe onto my lips, leave on for a couple of seconds and then wipe away with the clean side of the cotton. It works better than anything I've tried to get rid of tenacious products with no damage to the lip area, and is definitely preferable to basically ingesting makeup remover. I do have an irrational fear of the flavour of this product and am loath to swallow it during use, but I think it's a perfectly-timed product for this era of indelible lipcolours and am glad that I ordered it.

Here we have my next December mail order, this time from Coastal Scents. Above is the custom palette of  Hot Pots that I chose during their 50% off holiday sale and I am smitten! I deliberated for weeks knowing the sale was impending, and am so pleased with my choices. I also love the sleek sturdy palette itself with firm magnets in each well and a universal pan size. Thus I was able to add two favourite matte highlight colours and now I have my most perfect palette of all time. The shades are beautifully smooth and blend beautifully, with almost no fallout unlike some of the shades in their massive 120 Palette. These mostly matte shades were chosen as a full-service set for all my transition, blending and eye contouring needs. Included are shades to highlight and contour the face, as well as perfect brow powder colours to make this the handiest palette I own.

I was keen to try more Coastal Scents brushes since I love the ones I already have. This time I ordered the Classic Flat Top Shadow Synthetic BR-C-S38 brush pictured on the left, and the Classic Pointed Precision Natural BR-C-N42 brush. The first is a super-gentle yet precise brush that surprised me by how soft it is. I like it for applying and blending cream eye colours and gel or mousse-textured products smoothly and evenly on my lids. The larger brush on the right is a ideal for highlighting and blending face products, even though I originally bought it to set my undereye makeup. Both have been completely shed-free through several washes, and are definitely worth more than their price.

Next is this beautiful Elite Angled Blush Brush BR-B-S25, which I have  enjoyed using with blush, bronzers and contouring products; basically, I look for excuses to use it as much as possible. It is delightfully soft and springy, with the most gentle bristles of any brush I own. This means that you couldn't deposit a streaky patch of colour if you tried. Worth every penny, this line of brushes rivals any high-end tools you can buy.
Saving the best for last, I ordered this gorgeous Classic Large Tapered Natural Powder BR-C-N43 brush and it has changed my daily face routine. This brush, with it's softly tapered end, deposits just the right amount of powder here while it evens and blends out this bit there and in mere seconds, everything is done and my skin looks flawless. This brush makes my favourite products perform just a bit better. This brush was also a good lesson for me that, just as in cooking, the right tools, combined with the right ingredients, really do make a noticeable difference.

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