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Monday, 19 December 2011

Eyeshadow Brush Comparison pictures -- part 2

Pointy/tapered ones this time -- my other favourite shape. If you asked me which single eyeshadow brush I would save in a fire, I would roll my eyes at you contemptuously. But I would agonise over Shu Natural 10 and Suqqu S on the inside.
Also, a head-to-head to answer one of my most frequently asked questions -- between the Chikuhodo Z-10 and Suqqu S brushes.

Onwards!
brush comparison  Boots No7 Smokey Eyeliner, MAC 219, Chikuhodo Z-10, Suqqu Eyeshadow S, M, Nars Small Domed Eye 12, Kevyn Aucoin Small Eyeshadow Soft Round Tip
brush comparison  Boots No7 Smokey Eyeliner, MAC 219, Chikuhodo Z-10, Suqqu Eyeshadow S, M, Nars Small Domed Eye 12, Kevyn Aucoin Small Eyeshadow Soft Round Tip
1. Boots No7 Smokey Eyeliner Brush designed by Lisa Eldridge (hair unknown. Anyone? Bueller?)
2. MAC 219 deservedly famous goat pencil brush
3. Chikuhodo Z-10 uncut grey squirrel
4. Suqqu Eyeshadow S uncut grey squirrel
5. Suqqu Eyeshadow M uncut grey squirrel, larger and more rounded than S
6. NARS Small Domed Eye No.12 long, loosely-packed tapered squirrel hair
7. Kevyn Aucoin Small Eyeshadow Soft Round Tip pony(!) but amazingly softer than most goat brushes in my experience. More rounded than the Nars 12 but firmer too.

I use all five pencil brushes (1-5) with both powders and creams; No7, MAC and the Suqqus handle both brilliantly, but Chikuhodo Z-10 is a little too loosely-packed for thicker/drier cream textures.

A closer look at 2 through 5:
brush comparison  MAC 219, Chikuhodo Z-10, Suqqu Eyeshadow S, M
brush comparison  MAC 219, Chikuhodo Z-10, Suqqu Eyeshadow S, M
brush comparison  MAC 219, Chikuhodo Z-10, Suqqu Eyeshadow S, M
The most versatile of these for me is the Suqqu S. I can and have used this alone to do full eyemakeup: lid wash, crease, brow highlight, outer-v, smudgy liner, lower lashlining and inner corner work. Suqqu M is more efficient at laydown and browbone-highlighting, and those with larger eyes and more lid space may find that the best all-rounder.
While I am very fond of the MAC 219, it now feels horribly scratchy compared to the grey squirrel trio, and was only ever suitable for precision work in any case. I can use this to sketch out shapes, but need a separate blending brush to buff out the harsh lines; both the Suqqu S and M deposit pigment and blend with every stroke.

My latest acquisition the Chikuhodo Z-10 suffers in comparison to the Suqqus (likewise the Hakuhodo Kokutan T, which I decided not to keep). Its similarity to Suqqu S in particular makes a head-to-head inevitable, and the Z-10's longer hairs make it harder to control and manoeuvre, while its loosely packed nature make it less useful for smudging and, as previously noted, for creams. Despite its finer tip, it delivers less precise results than I can achieve with the Suqqu S.

More pictures of the Z-10 (C) and Suqqu S (S) to illustrate these differences:
brush comparison Chikuhodo Z-10, Suqqu Eyeshadow S

Pressed down until I could feel the natural 'tension' in the hairs
brush comparison Chikuhodo Z-10, Suqqu Eyeshadow S
brush comparison Chikuhodo Z-10, Suqqu Eyeshadow S


Freshly-washed, damp brushes
Z-10 has fewer, longer hairs that taper to a finer point

Suqqu S has a wider base too
brush comparison Chikuhodo Z-10, Suqqu Eyeshadow S


flattened while damp -- Suqqu S is more densely packed with shorter hairs
brush comparison Chikuhodo Z-10, Suqqu Eyeshadow S

Hope this has been somewhat helpful! As always feel free to ask further questions and I'll try my best to answer them.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Eyeshadow Brush Comparison pictures -- part 1

Another picture post to give some idea of how the Hakuhodo/Chikuhodo brushes I own compare in size and shape to some more well-known ones from MAC and Shu.

Again, all brushes are my own, and have been used/washed. I like my brushes to be multi-purpose and find these flat(ish) fluffy(ish) shapes quite versatile -- all of them perform at least two functions out of three of lay-down, blending, and precision work.

NOTES:
I bought my short gold-handled Hakuhodos in Japan. They do not seem to be available on either Japanese or English webshops so I've linked to the brushes from different series but with exactly the same heads and numbers, currently available on the English site.
The Chikuhodo Artist series comes in both black (long-handled) and red (short-handled) versions.

brush comparison Hakuhodo Kokutan MLL, K021, B127BkSl, Chikuhodo Artist 12-6, 6-6, 8-1, Shu Uemura Natural 10, Synthetic 10 ,Louise Young LY09 MAC 239, MAC 242
brush comparison Hakuhodo Kokutan MLL, K021, B127BkSl, Chikuhodo Artist 12-6, 6-6, 8-1, Shu Uemura Natural 10, Synthetic 10 ,Louise Young LY09 MAC 239, MAC 242 1. Hakuhodo Kokutan MLL blue squirrel
2. Hakuhodo 021 blue squirrel (see K021)
3. Chikuhodo Artist Red 12-6 grey squirrel
4. Hakuhodo 127 Canadian squirrel (see B127BkSL)
5. Shu Uemura Natural 10 kolinsky/sable mix
6. Shu Uemura Synthetic 10 synthetic (!)
7. MAC 239 goat
8. MAC 242 synthetic
9. Chikuhodo Artist Red 6-6 Canadian squirrel
10. Chikuhodo Artist Red 8-1 kolinsky
11. Louise Young LY09 sable


Closer look at the bigger, fluffier paddle brushes with Shu N10 as a reference
brush comparison Hakuhodo Kokutan MLL, K021, B127BkSl , Chikuhodo Artist 12-6, Shu Uemura Natural 10
brush comparison Hakuhodo Kokutan MLL, K021, B127BkSl , Chikuhodo Artist 12-6, Shu Uemura Natural 10
brush comparison Hakuhodo Kokutan MLL, K021, B127BkSl , Chikuhodo Artist 12-6, Shu Uemura Natural 10
1. Hakuhodo Kokutan MLL
2. Hakuhodo 021
3. Chikuhodo Artist 12-6
4. Hakuhodo 127
5. Shu Natural 10


And the flatter, denser brushes, with MAC 239 as a reference
brush comparison Shu Uemura Natural 10, Chikuhodo Artist 6-6, 8-1, Louise Young LY09 MAC 239
brush comparison Shu Uemura Natural 10, Chikuhodo Artist 6-6, 8-1, Louise Young LY09 MAC 239
brush comparison Shu Uemura Natural 10, Chikuhodo Artist 6-6, 8-1, Louise Young LY09 MAC 239
1. Shu Natural 10
2. MAC 239 (much blunter, fluffier and less versatile than the others)
3. Chikuhodo Artist 6-6 (which is not angled, just prone to rolling around while being photographed)
4. Chikuhodo Artist 8-1
5. Louise Young LY09

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Trial Run

It's Saturday which means more time to play with makeup in the morning, and I decided to try out:
-- some new(ish) Rouge Bunny Rouge goodies
-- to franken a plum lipstick with a hint of brown à la Sleek Cranberry
-- my new hat
-- a new style of FOTD post

Eyes
Left to right:
RBR Long-Lasting Eyeliner Pencil in Lola as a base and liner
RBR Caress of Mink loose pigment over lid and under the eye
 RBR Unforgettable Oriole eyeshadow on inner corner and lower lashline
Koji Linequeen 1 Day Strong extra-fine liquid liner for a little wing
RBR Vera eye kohl on lower waterline
Majolica Majorca LEFP #12 mascara
Shu Uemura H9 Stone Grey brow pencil

 natural light

 natural light with flash

 Other products and swatches
Shu Uemura Stage Performer Instant Glow as base
Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer SX01 on blemishes
Ellis Faas Concealer S201 under eyes
Sleek Flushed blush
Shiseido High Beam white highlighter

Ellis Faas Milky Lips 202
Media Lip Liner WN-1

natural light and flash (to bring out the shimmer)

 natural light, no flash (more colour-accurate)


Please excuse the little eczema flare-up, and note:
1. the pigmented, complex, creamy divinity that is Lola. It blends effortlessly as a base/cream eyeshadow even on my extremely dry winter skin. Swatch is fat festive(!) because, as previous reviewers had warned, these pens are NOT retractable and I twisted out too much and and and then it broke.
2. that Caress of Mink is swatched straight onto a bare arm, no primer or base. These RBR pigments are as creamy as their pressed eyeshadows and every bit as effortless to use. If you are leery of loose powder products, please ditch all preconceptions and give these a chance. Replica has swatches of her beautiful collection.
3. that the Sleek Flushed swatch is two layers, applied with my Suqqu Cheek brush, a testament both to the incredible pigmentation of the former, and the ability of the latter to deposit pigment despite its unholy softness.

natural light, indoor

Lighting was off so I snapped another outdoors on my way to...uh, pick up some milk and the paper. So glam.

It is bloody freezing today so my latest finished object came in handy. Made from some odds and ends of Rowan Kid Classic (a wool, mohair and nylon blend), it was a fun, interesting and quick knit, and I shall always think of the generous friend who gave me the pattern when sporting it. <3

Friday, 16 December 2011

Small Face Brush Comparison pictures

Over the next few days I'll mainly be posting picture comparison posts à la glossedintranslation. More detailed reviews of individual brushes will come in time, but I know people would like to order from Hakuhodo USA before the planned price rise in January 2012 (which is also when DollyLeo is due to be restocked with Suqqu brushes) so hopefully these will help you make some decisions.

This time, all the brushes are my own, and post-wash/use. I prefer smaller brushes for precision so these are all multipurpose blush / highlight / contour / powder brushes for me.

brush Hakuhodo Large Pointed Yachiyo, S116, Shu Uemura 20 Pony, Chikuhodo Z-2, Z-3, Z-4, Suqqu Cheek, Sigma F35, MAC 188
brush Hakuhodo Large Pointed Yachiyo, S116, Shu Uemura 20 Pony, Chikuhodo Z-2, Z-3, Z-4, Suqqu Cheek, Sigma F35, MAC 188
brush Hakuhodo Large Pointed Yachiyo, S116, Shu Uemura 20 Pony, Chikuhodo Z-2, Z-3, Z-4, Suqqu Cheek, Sigma F35, MAC 188

1. Hakuhodo Large Pointed Yachiyo pointed round goat hair brush
2. Shu Uemura 20 Pony blunt round flat pony hair brush
3. Chikuhodo Z-4 round flat grey squirrel brush
4. Suqqu Cheek tapered round flat grey squirrel brush
5. Chikuhodo Z-2 candle-shaped grey squirrel brush
6. Sigma F35 pointed round brush (hair unknown, I suspect pony/goat/synthetic)
7. MAC 188 goat/synthetic duofibre stippling brush
8. Hakuhodo S116 tapered flat blue squirrel brush
9. Chikuhodo Z-3 rounded flat-top grey squirrel brush


A closer look at the round flat brushes, hopefully showing the cross-sectional differences better
brush comparison Shu Uemura 20 Pony, Chikuhodo Z-4, Suqqu Cheek, Hakuhodo S116
brush comparison Shu Uemura 20 Pony, Chikuhodo Z-4, Suqqu Cheek, Hakuhodo S116
1. Shu Uemura 20 Pony -- Obviously it's not an ideal comparison as horse hair is coarser than squirrel anyway... (edit: I wrote earlier that this was a laser-cut brush; it is NOT. The difference can be entirely attributed to the fact that squirrel hair naturally grows in a conical shape, and pony hair does not come to a point.)
2. Chikuhodo Z-4
3. Suqqu Cheek
4. Hakuhodo S116

Head to Head: Suqqu Cheek (top), Chikuhodo Z-4 (bottom)
Suqqu Cheek Chikuhodo Z-4 comparison brush

Cross-sections Suqqu Cheek (left) Chikuhodo Z-4 (right)
Suqqu Cheek Chikuhodo Z-4 comparison brush

Both handmade by Chikuhodo from uncut grey squirrel. You can see for yourselves the Suqqu is smaller and more directional with a wider variety of hair lengths used to achieve that tapered shape.
Something which doesn't show so clearly in photos is that the Suqqu is also less densely packed and allows a softer, more diffuse application of powders and easier blending. In fact, I would say it blends and applies in one stroke slightly better than the Z-4.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Chikuhodo Z-series set and Z-10 brush

Chikuhodo is a Japanese brush company based, like Hakuhodo, in the town of Kumano with a long tradition of calligraphy brush manufacture. They provide makeup brushes for Suqqu, RMK, Lunasol and Kanebo Tesshyu among others. Of course, there are still variations in quality and price-point between the brushes from those brands, and within the various Chikuhodo own-brand lines as well. My personal favourites are without a doubt Suqqu, although the Tesshyu and Chikuhodo own-brand Z series and Artist series have proved excellent quality as well. I do not at all care for Lunasol and RMK brushes.

Currently, Chikuhodo's only brick and mortar shop is in Kumano, although they also have a travelling counter which tours various department stores around Japan (dates and locations are listed on the front page of their site). Their webshop only ships domestically within Japan -- I ordered mine from here, borrowing a kind friend's Japanese shipping address.

The Z-series is Chikuhodo's second most expensive range, all handmade and mostly consisting of uncut grey squirrel hair -- the naturally tapered shape of each hair picks up and deposits pigment far better than any laser-cut brushes. All the Z brushes are available separately, or in a set consisting of Z-1 through Z-8 and a black or white brush roll.

Another friend generously allowed me to play with and photograph her Z-series set and Z-10 brush, thus rendering me awesome by association, gotta love it.... (ed: this worked so well that no-one seems to have read the disclaimer at all so I'm bolding it.)


Chikuhodo Z series brush set Z-1, Z-2, Z-3, Z-4, Z-5, Z-6, Z-7, Z-8, Z-10
Left to Right:
Z-1 grey squirrel round powder brush (brush length: 16cm // hair length: 45mm)
Z-2 grey squirrel "candle-shaped" highlight brush (15cm // 37mm)
Z-3 grey squirrel flat top contour brush (13cm // 15mm)
Z-4 grey squirrel rounded flat cheek/highlight brush (15cm // 36mm)
Z-5 grey squirrel rounded flat eyeshadow brush (13.5cm // 19mm)
Z-6 badger angled eyebrow brush (12.3cm // 5mm-8mm)
Z-7 kolinsky flat lip brush (10cm-16.5cm with cap // 10mm)
Z-8 grey squirrel rounded flat cheek brush (16cm // 40mm)
Z-10 grey squirrel "candle-shaped" eyeshadow brush (12.5cm // 11mm)

The Z-9 brush, which she doesn't own, is a rounded flat grey squirrel powder brush 16.5cm long with a hair length of 52mm; it looks to be a large version of the Z-8 around the size of the Z-1.

reverse order
Chikuhodo Z series brush set Z-1, Z-2, Z-3, Z-4, Z-5, Z-6, Z-7, Z-8, Z-10

Chikuhodo Z series brush set Z-1, Z-2, Z-3, Z-4, Z-5, Z-6, Z-7, Z-8, Z-10

Some closeups
Z-5 grey squirrel eyeshadow brush
Chikuhodo Z-5 brush

Z-6 badger eyebrow brush
Chikuhodo Z-6 brush

Comparison between the Z-4, Z-8 and Z-1
Chikuhodo brush Z-4 Z-8, Z-1 comparison
Chikuhodo brush Z-4 Z-8, Z-1 comparison
Chikuhodo brush Z-4 Z-8, Z-1 comparison

Bear in mind these pictures were all taken pre-washing -- grey squirrel brushes do fluff up quite a bit after washing and a few uses.

Comparisons of Chikuhodo brushes with some others in my motley collection, including Suqqu and Hakuhodo, are still to come.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

KATE Rouge High Glam swatches

Released on August 1st 2011 as part of KATE's Autumn 2011 collection, these Rouge High Glam are marketed as 'luxury' drugstore lipsticks, promising long wear with with a treatment complex to keep lips moisturised and plump.

While I love KATE's eye products, their lip formulations have always seemed like an afterthought and I much preferred those from sister-brand Lavshuca. However, just as Lavshuca eyeshadows have improved beyond all recognition over the last few releases, KATE now seem to be upping their game with this new lipstick.

It does feel luxurious: silky, with just the right amount of slip and more pigment than I'd expected from a Japanese drugstore line -- similar to my beloved Lavshuca Dramatic Memory Rouge. The sleek black twist-up bullets are slim, to make straight-from-the-tube application more precise, and textures are all creams, some with subtle micro-shimmer, but none downright shiny/glossy on the lips. There is a good shade-range (15) almost entirely devoid of concealer nudes, with (typically of KATE) darker and brighter shades than are commonly found in other J-drugstore brands

15 permanent shades, retailing at HK$90 or ¥1470.

All swatches one swipe, pictures taken in bright artificial light (no flash)
KATE Rouge High Glam swatch RS-10, RS-11, RD-15, RD-14, OR-10, PK-21, PK-22, BE-33, BE-34, PK-17

KATE Rouge High Glam swatch BE-35, BR-6, RS-9, RD-16, BR-9
Hop over to Birkinbeautybag for a glowing review of PK-17, one of the twelve shades currently available on adambeauty for US$13 each.

Shade list for search purposes: RS-10, RS-11, RD-15, RD-14, OR-10, PK-21, PK-22, BE-33, BE-34, PK-17, BE-35, BR-6, RS-9, RD-16, BR-9

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Vivi Magazine

I loathe the term "guilty pleasures." It instantly conjures up those adverts for chocolates that feature a skinny woman giggling (dubbed giggling, no less) at her own naughtiness (ohemgorsh, calories! teehee!) in sneaking a dainty nibble of The Bad Stuff... ooh la la what self-indulgence!

That said, I have no other way of describing my addiction to Vivi magazine. Even if you can't read Japanese, the violent pink colour-scheme and layout of the website should be enough of a tip-off. This is a popular and populist rag, featuring mostly high street brands and providing teens and twenty-somethings with a brainless primer on What To Buy/Wear/Eat/Do/See To Fit In But Not Stand Out (This Month). It is so popular that there is a Traditional Chinese version published in Taiwan, released two weeks later than in Japan with translated contents and tweaked ads for its local markets in Hong Kong, Malaysia, China etc.

Despite my staunch -- staunch I say! -- refusal to subscribe, I somehow end up with at least ten issues out of twelve every year, sheepishly calling on friends travelling through Asia to fetch the latest edition in either language, and snapping up back copies in Japanese second-hand book shops, which get hastily bundled into my bag for the duration of the tube ride home. (And I read everything on the tube, from graphically illustrated feminist treatises on FGM to children's and science fiction books with their original covers.)

WHY DO I DO THIS?

Sure, there are some cute and covetable things

...but they often just make me feel crabby and crabbed. The styling ranges from uninspired and irritatingly derivative (by which I mean: hey, someone as visually inept as I could do that!) to meh...pretty.

It's basically a catalogue of (usually mixed-race) house models and their signature facial tics:
Asian duck pout (Lena in the 2nd and 3rd pics is a beautiful girl and serial offender)
  stuck out tongue tee-hee-hee face (Mitsuki)
"oops!" face
not to be confused with "kyoot widdle kitten" face, despite superficial similarities
or "I-suddenly-needed-to-fondle-my-face" face  
that timeless classic, sex-face

And plenty more, such as whimsy!face and "oh, who, me?" face, and let's not even get on to the poses because I'm getting stabby.

It was a dark day when I admitted to myself that I am an actual fan of one of these house models: the British-Japanese Elli-Rose. She's a slightly odd fit for this magazine but I suppose they needed someone to sell bad girl and rock chick (gag) looks... anyway, she looks like fun to bitch with and bum cigarettes off behind the bike sheds.
Sometimes, the Vivi PTB decide to put her in something cutesy like the other girls, and hilarity ensues.
A sweet retro outfit -- why does she look like she just shot hubbie dearest, downed all the Valium and is now on the lam?
What's a dolly without a "WTF I DON'T EVEN. WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME." expression?

After a Tom Ford nail polish's worth of bitter bitchery (I mock what I love! It's my way) I'd like to share this editorial from the November 2011 edition of Vivi, which reminded me of why I will continue to flip'n'snark through this magazine for my Japanese mainstream pop culture fix, rather than its more popular competitors Ray, CanCam etc. The latter two are bibles of mote-kei which roughy translates as, 'how 2 please all da boys but not make da other girls hate u (2 much)!' and whose every page is filled with guidance as to What Teh Mens Like. And for all its flaws, I will take Vivi's version of "girl power" over that any day.

"Jackie and Mary's Love Story", an editorial peddling yuri preppy clothes.
Part 1: Mary stalks has a sweetly innocent crush on tomboy Jackie.
Part 2: Alas, Jackie already has an Emma-Watson-ish beret-sporting girlfriend (the snob!), with whom she can only communicate via placard, and who prefers studying (the geek!) to going to the da party with Jackie anyway.
Part 3: Mary haz a sad. Jackie haz a sad. Two piners meet on the bleachers, totally by accident and not because Mary stalks Jackie. Hey, we could go to da party together!
Part 4: They do.
Part 5: And live happily ever after.


Disclaimer: all scans / photographs made by me from various 2010 and 2011 editions of Vivi magazine in Japanese and Chinese.