For a while now I have been trying to reduce the amount of waste I produce. Some of it has taken only a bare minimum of thought. Packing boxes shredded and added to the garden compost or to lay under garden beds to prevent weeds from poking through. Refillable water bottles. I have to say as I do like carbonated water, my Soda Stream has been fantastic for this. I use the Soda Stream to make the bubbles and dispense it into an actual glass to drink instead of actually drinking from the Soda Stream bottle which causes that bottle to last a bit longer as well. To be honest I just use the carbonated water, I haven’t tried any of their actual flavors although I keep meaning to. I might put that on my list next time we reorder tanks.
However, while I lower the level of disposable water bottles and for the most part contain the trash from most of my subscription boxes, my bathroom does produce a lot of waste. I have been working to combat that. While I adore the ease of makeup wipes (well the good ones anyway) I have stopped using them.. Occasionally I will get a pack in a subscription box, and i can’t lie, they are usually a treat. They really are quite convenient. However, I have stopped purchasing them individually.
Instead I use my Makeup Eraser, they come in all shapes and sizes. I generally have one that has no makeup on it that I use for general touch ups (both wet and dry) and I use another Makeup Eraser to take off the makeup. At the end of the week I will use the one I kept clean to remove that day’s makeup and then chuck everything into the wash. I really want to get a set of the smaller seven packs of makeup erasers so that I can start each day with a fresh one, but the system I am currently using works really well.
The next item that I have been working on eliminating are the disposable cotton rounds. I use quite a few of them in a day. I’ve tried several different types of rounds but none of them worked quite right to replace the rounds for me until I received the Magnitone Wipe Out Swipes in a Look Fantastic box. I recently (as in arrived yesterday) received another set in a Birchbox so I now have six to rotate around. I’ll probably still order a full set of six ($20 on Birchbox – I can’t find the small Swipes anywhere else. The makeup removing cloths are everywhere, but not the Swipes)
The first is the size. You can see in the photo the size of the Magnitone Swipes compared to other replaceable rounds that I have tried. The Magnitone rounds are the same size as a normal cotton round, while the other reusable wipes are much larger. Now I know that sounds strange, but bigger isn’t always better. The larger rounds are a bit too large to use for things like toner (my primary use for the cotton rounds) They roll up when used and just aren’t as easy because they are too large. At the same time, they are too small to remove makeup. The larger rounds are just an awkward to use size and if I am going to replace the rounds I needed something that worked as well.
The Magnitone Swipes are the same size as the cotton rounds. So that starts off as a plus. They are very soft on the skin. My one issue with them is that they can be a little too absorbent. I have found with things like toner, putting the product on the cloth just means you have to use a little more product. At the moment I am using a spray toner So it isn’t an issue, I spray my face and use the round to pat it in and make sure there is no excess. With Essences, the other item I generally use rounds to apply, I’ve actually stopped using any rounds and dispensed the essence into my hand then applied it to my face. I’ve just found that any essence absorbed is too much. it doesn’t matter if it is a reusable round or not, I just use my hands so that if anything else absorbs the essence products it is my hands and not some sort of cloth.
In general the most difficult thing I have found about switching to reusable products like the Magnitone Swipes and Makeup Erasers is finding a place to put the used ones. I just keep a small plastic container under the sink and drop the used ones in along with my washcloths which I change out during the week as well. I find that it gives the washcloths and used rounds and Makeup Erasers a place to live and to dry out.
The drying is the big issue. I didn’t want to add the wet cloth to my laundry basket. In the plastic bin they can dry out together and not cause musty moldy sorts of issues. I just need to remember to add it to the laundry when I am ready to wash. I will say that while the set that just arrived is new, I have been using and washing the Magnitone Rounds I have for over a month now (they came in February) and they have come out of the general wash looking as clean as new and with no wear showing at this point. I’m sure there will come one wash too many and they will need to be replaced, but for the moment, they are holding up quite well.
There are a multitude of reusable products out there that can help you cut down on waste. These are some of the ones that really work the best for me. I clearly haven’t tried all of the products out there and will no doubt try more, but this is what works for me right now. I’m sure you will find what works for you. If there is one piece of advice that I would give to anyone who is trying to use more reusable products in their bathroom routine it is to find a designated landing spot for the used reusable items to stay between use and washing. when the reusable pads came in just added them to the jar where I was keeping cotton rounds and didn’t think about it until I had a pile of used rounds and nowhere to put them. For a while I wasn’t using them simply because I didn’t like piling them up behind the fawcett and didn’t want to ut damp cloth in the laundry basket. Having that designated spot to put them really helps incorporate the reusable rounds into a process. Once you have a process it can become routine. Routines become habits and before you know it, reusable is the way you live.
While I have had this PMD Clean for a while, I’ll be honest, I only occasionally used it. I tended to forget about it. Which I find a little amusing actually. I used to have A Foreo Vibrating facial cleansing tool and I used it twice daily without fail. Then came the last move and it was lost. Several of our boxes were destroyed and a couple were missing. I lost most of my perfume collection, hair tools and sadly my Foreo. I know I should have put it in my carry on but it was already full so I packed it with the bath stuff instead. Big mistake.
It was kind of a mess.
I somehow never got around to replacing my Foreo even though I always intended to. I think the washing machine and dryer went belly up about the same time the reimbursement check from the movers came through so we ended up using the money to replace them since they were more immediate concerns. Sometimes in life, you have to make the adult choice.
The PMD Clean came to me in a Boxycharm a while ago. I thought “Great I can use this and then get the UFO sonic masking tool from Foreo instead.” I have to admit, I’ve had my eye on that since it came out. Given my love of masks are you surprised? And of course now I also want to try out the new Bear Facial Toner too. I swear they have come out with some really interesting products that I just want to try. A lot of facial tools I kind of avoid because they look a little bit scary, but these just sort of pull me in and say try me. But that is not the point to this post. Admittedly sooner or later I will make several purchases and it will no doubt be the subject of a later post.
To the PMD clean.
So I set the PMD Clean up in my bathroom and then promptly forgot about it. Now, to decide if it is worth keeping around I moved it front and center and used it twice daily for a month in order to find out. So lets look first at what the website has to day about it.
The PMD Clean is a smart facial cleansing device. With over 7,000 vibrations per minute, our SonicGlow™ technology not only ensures a deep cleanse, but operates at a perfect frequency to lift, firm, and tone problem areas for a more youthful appearance.
Okay, not the most elaborate description. The website further goes on to tell you that to use with a cleanser you apply the cleanser to the tool, and then apply to the face. The back of the head of the tool is supposed to be useful for massaging in serums and moisturizers. The bottom of the tool is rounded and I believe it is supposed to be useful for something or other but it wasn’t on the site and I’m not sure where I heard that. The device also comes with a little stand.
Let’s address the stand first to get it out of the way. It is nice and small and fits the bottom of the PMD Clean perfectly. However if you don’t fit the device in just right then it will fall over. It is kind of annoying when your hands are wet from rinsing your face or covered with product from applying moisturizer or serum. I usually just lay the tool down and then fit it back into the stand once I was done. However you have to dry off the tool before you fit it in the stand otherwise the stand gets gunky really quickly.
I like that it is battery operated and waterproof. While a part of me really prefers rechargeable tools over battery powered ones, the lack of a charging port means I can comfortably take this into the shower with me. Sometimes I like to apply makeup remover just before I step in the shower and then rinse it off when I shower. So I find that beneficial.
I like the thought of the four settings but to be honest, I really just chose one setting and used it everytime I picked up the tool. The options are nice, but I didn’t really use them. This month used the PMD Clean with makeup removers, both oil and balm, cleansers, moisturizers and serums. And yes I washed the head after each one.
While the site recommends applying the cleansing product to the tool and then putting the tool to your face, I found this didn’t work the best for me. I found that if I applied the product to my face and then used the tool it worked better for me. Perhaps that is personal preference, but I really didn’t like the way the product dripped when I lifted the tool to my face. I felt like it applied well to the tool when it was horizontal but once lifted upright gravity took hold and product was wasted and things got messy.
So I very quickly learned to apply the product to my face and then reach for the tool. Using it this way also insured I had proper product coverage on my face. Because it is silicone the tool does not absorb product but there is no measuring it out either. Applying it to the wand first meant that where I touched it to my face was the area that received the most product. So I had to add more product.
As I said before I did use the Foreo before and I didn’t really have that problem, but I think that is due to the surface area being so much larger. I applied the product to the top and it still rolled down the surface, there was just more surface so it didn’t drip off.
When applying the product to my face I used the exact same amount of product that I would normally use. There was not a lessening of product usage. With cleansers, both makeup removers and general cleansers, I used the front of the wand head. To be honest, I really liked using it. I am not entirely certain it made the products work better, but I did find that once I reached for the tool I spent more time working the cleanser into my skin. Using it extended the length of time I used the product and I think because of that I felt the products “worked better” than they did without the tool.
Do I think that it is going to make a bad product better? No. I think that using the PMD Clean tool caused me to spend more time washing my face than I would without it. I enjoyed the vibrations on my face. One interesting result is due to it being allergy season. Using the intense vibration of the PMD Clean tool on my sinus area when i was all blocked up helped loosen things up a bit so that after i rinsed off my face I ended up blowing my nose. Not to be too gross about it, it seemed to shake out the snot a bit. So I was a little less congested. Which I appreciated. And yes there were mornings where after I finished washing my face I pressed the tool against my blocked sinuses just to help clear my nose out.
But that isn’t the point of the tool.
With cleansers I noticed that I got more foam out of the cleansers than I normally would. Which I kind of like. I’m currently using the La Roche Posay Toleriane Foaming cleanser. It goes on creamy to damp skin and then as you begin to rinse it foams up to wash away dirt and makeup residue. I saw a lot more foam on my skin when I used the PMD Clean than when I didn’t. Just something to note.
However, this tool has a flip side to the head. A flat side with a series of bumpy lines. This side of the tool is supposed to help apply moisturizer and serums. I’ll be honest, I hated this aspect of the tool. It worked fine on the fleshier parts of my face like my cheeks but it didn’t feel pleasant on my forehead or around my nose. I tried using it a couple of times and then just switched back to using the front side of the tool. I didn’t really like using the tool with moisturizer, but I did like using it with serums.
Again the reason is time. When you apply serums generally you need to wait a bit before moving on to the next step of your skin care routine. (Mine has many steps). The time lets your skin absorb the serum fully before you move on. Often I am guilty of rushing this step. When I used the PMD Clean tool, I automatically gave myself the time. Again the vibrations may have encouraged the product to absorb more fully, but I just don’t know. I do know that because I took more time, the serum had more time to fully absorb before I moved on.
Moving forward I will use the PMD Clean wand with cleansers, both makeup removing products and general cleansers, and I will use it with serums. I saw no benefit to using it with a moisturizer. I also only like the front side of the tool. I can see the thought behind the back side and even the rounded nubby bottom, but I didn’t enjoy using them. I only used the main side of the PMD Clean. It is like the multiple speeds, they are good in theory but in practice i just didn’t really need them. I chose my speed and stuck with it just as I chose the side of the tool I wanted to use.
The wand shape is nice and easy to hold. It is an easy to use tool and I will continue using it. Truthfully though I might end up getting some sort of tooth brush stand and using that as a holder rather than the little plastic stand it comes with. The precise balancing needed to keep it upright is going to drive me mad one morning if I don’t. Do I think that the wand shape is an improvement over the traditional shape of the Foreo? Not really. I would prefer more surface area and I think even the Foreo minis have more surface area.
The PMD Clean is a good skincare tool. Do I think it magically makes your skin perfect and blemish free? No. But I do think it encourages you to spend a little extra time letting your products work, which as we are mostly talking about cleansers, can lead to better skin.
This past weekend I had a conversation with a cousin (technically a cousin’s child so, second cousin). She is just getting into makeup (she is thirteen and allowed to play with it at home to learn the basics, but not yet allowed to wear it to school – I think there are rules at her school regarding makeup as well as familial ones, but I’m not sure. I just know she practices at home) but there was some concern because she wasn’t really cleaning her makeup brushes. She would just knock off the color and continue using them. As we get along pretty well, I was asked to bring the topic up when we next had a makeup themed conversation.
I was surprised to find that one of the reasons that she wasn’t cleaning her brushes was that she thought brush cleaner was expensive and she wanted to use it sparingly. She also didn’t see why it was all that important since knocking off the color meant that it wouldn’t mix with the other colors when she applied it.
So that led to a different conversation and this post.
While I’m sure all of you my darlings, know this, sometimes it just needs to be said.
First of all, cleaning brushes is important because bacteria can live inside the brushes and not only transfer to the makeup you are using, but also to you. As we were mostly talking about eyeshadow brushes we were also talking about bacteria in the eye. It’s not pretty. And if you don’t believe me, I suggest a quick google search regarding eye infections.
I’ll leave you to do that on your own as I can’t take it. In horror movies I can watch any number of horrific things but I can’t watch anything to do with damage to the eyes. It is the one thing that will make me close my eyes in a horror flick.
Not the eyes. Just not the eyes. Oh, the horror.
So you can do your own search if you are curious.
Just be warned it’s bad.
So clean the brushes.
I also have to admit, I don’t often buy brush cleaner.
I have used products that were specifically designed as brush cleaners and some of them I really liked. Some I didn’t. Over all, what I use as my standard is listed below.
My essentials for cleaning brushes involve a few basics. First, a textured mat. These can be picked up in many places. I have seen them in TjMaxx, Ulta and a myriad of places on line. Mine came from the Dollar Store and cost me – you guessed it – a dollar to purchase. They had many shapes and sizes, but I thought the watermelon looked cute. And it fit in my sink, which is not the largest of sinks and I didn’t want something that would be too large.
The second thing I buy is Ivory soap. I like it because it is an effective soap that cleans and kills bacteria, it has no colors in it and it smells nice. On Amazon a three pack will cost you $4. At the grocery store around the corner I believe single bars were offered for about a dollar unless there is a sale and then for some reason Ivory soap went down to $.49 per bar. I don’t know why, but my grocery store has that sale twice a year and has ever since we moved into the neighborhood (and probably well before).
Thus far I am in for a maximum cost of two dollars to clean my brushes. And those are my only really dedicated products.
I have a bowl that I put the soap in. I made sure it is bigger than the bar of soap so I can put water in the bowl and turn the soap bar periodically when I want a fresh side (depending on how many brushes I am cleaning at a time. The bar of soap goes in the bowl and the bowl of soap and the cleaning mat go in the sink.
I stretch an old towel over the top of the closed commode lid and then I take a handful of brushes to the sink. I wet the brushes, generally in one shot so that I don’t have to keep the water running.
Then I take each brush individually, run it over the top of the soap until it is frothy. I then take the soap filled brush run it over the textured mat and when I think it has been cleaned, I rinse off the soap to make sure. When I am happy I set it on the towel and continue with the process.
If the brushes are a little dry by the time it comes to wash them, I dip them in the bowl with the soap to rewet them and then continue. It saves water and gets everything clean. When I am done I rinse off the mat and set it aside to dry.
I then wash any makeup residue off the soap, rinse out the bowl and leave them to dry. Once dry, the bar of soap goes into a plastic soap dish that I picked up in Target’s travel containers section. It was $.99. It isn’t really necessary, but I do like keeping my makeup cleaning soap away from the rest of the soaps. It isn’t that it can’t be used as soap, but I’ve noticed it tends to disappear if I don’t keep it separated. especially with so much hand washing going on these days.
After that it is only a matter of leaving the brushes to dry. I tend to wash face brushes at a different time than eyeshadow brushes just because of space constraints. I wash the face brushes on Saturday and then leave them over night to dry. When they are ready to be put away, I go ahead and wash the eyeshadow brushes that I used the week prior. Sometimes of course face brushes sneak into the shadow brushes like in this image from this weekend. I like to rotate brushes so that I’m not using the same brushes all the time so not all brushes get washed every week, but I really don’t like to let brushes sit.
Plus I’ve found that if I do it once a week, I am less likely to forget as it becomes routine and it doesn’t take that long. I am all about establishing a routine. Generally it takes about ten minutes to wash my eyeshadow brushes from the previous week, and that includes setting up and my post wash clean up.
When I wash them I also inspect the brushes for missing bristles and over use and find out which ones I need to remove from my collection. While I love the feeling of a nice clean brush, I really like avoiding the possibility of getting an eye infection from a brush I didn’t clean.
While there are many fantastic makeup cleaning products out there, and several of them I really like using, in the end what matters is that you use a product that kills the bacteria and germs, but is gentle enough not to kill the brushes and that you find something that you will use on a regular enough basis to keep your brushes clean. For me that is usually Ivory Soap and a textured silicone mat.
I am a big fan of the flat foundation brush. Even though my usual 999 Master Blender from Bdellium tools has a truncated handle, it is essentially a flat topped foundation brush. It is however densely packed.
While I love my master blender, I have been on sort of a quest to find a long handled flat topped foundation brush that I enjoy using. Part of the reason is that a couple of my favorite foundations come in foundation sticks. While the Kristofer Buckle Foundation stick is my absolute favorite, I also enjoy the NARS (which sadly I think has been discontinued. I have mine down to a tiny nub and went to look at replacing it and it is no more) and ABH Foundation sticks.
Most of the time when I apply stick foundation, I draw lines on my face with the foundation and then blend. This is mostly because when I run the master blender over the top of them to pick up product the large oval size of it picks up too much product. It is simply too much surface area.
I know some of you think this is a bit too particular, but the truth is that I have had smaller flat topped foundation brushes in the past where I could swipe the brush over the top of a stick foundation and apply a very sheer coverage to my face. It uses less product and I can build it up if I want to. Unfortunately the flat topped brush I was using (once upon a time) has long gone from my dressing table and I can’t remember the brand. To be honest, I believe the brand may no longer exist.
The Flat Top foundation brush in question is from F.A.R.A.H By name it is the Flat Foundation 615 F and retails for $16 on the F.A.R.A.H site. With F.A.R.A.H brushes I’ve had some good luck and some bad. I’ve had an eyeshadow brush I loved (and still use) and I’ve had one that I hated. I’ve had a contour brush I loved and a powder rush I didn’t. On the whole it is pretty even as to likes and dislikes with their brushes.
According to the site:
F.A.R.A.H brush heads have 100% Vegan synthetic luxury bristles for supreme application. Handles designed for ultimate comfort. Easy to use: Dip your Flat Foundation 615F Brush into your favorite foundation and apply using a gentle tapping motion to the face for a flawless airbrush finish. Designed with 100% synthetic bristles. This brush is specifically made to be used with powders and cream foundations.
All of the foundations I have used before and really enjoy using. I also know how they work on my face with normal application.
The first up was the KVD Powder Foundation. With this product the Foundation worked really well. It gave a wonderful finish to the application process. Powder foundations are this brushes strong suit. It made me very hopeful that this would be a good brush.
I don’t know how well this photo shows the small hairs, but after a first use, there were a couple of loose hairs. I cut the ends off rather than pulling them out so as not to loosen the brush from the handle.
Incidentally, I really like the use of the tapered handle. The slim handle made it easy to maneuver and use. The metal did get a little slick if I had product on my hands. As I often apply primer with my finger, this is not an uncommon occurrence and so I had to wipe off my hands really well before using the brush or the slick hands made the metal a little slippy. A few grooves cut into the handle would actually make it perform a lot better. As it is, the handle does feel good in the hand.
Next up I tried the Kristofer Buckle with this brush. I tried picking up the formula from the top of the tube, but the bristles were a little too soft and didn’t pick up a lot of product unless I dug in too much. It they were more densely packed or about half an inch shorter it would have worked better with this application. As it was, the brush simply was too bendy to pick up much product. When I applied the stick to my face in streaks this flat foundation brush did a good job of blending the cream product in. It took a little longer than I’m used to but it did work well.
It was only after the first use that it shed any bristles. I’m thinking that first use just knocked a couple of them use. While it doesn’t argue for the longevity of the brush, after that initial use, even with the four washes this week no further bristles were lost. To be honest, I will be reaching for this brush when I wear a powder foundation. I have a couple and that is where this brush will be deployed.
While it worked well enough in blending the Stick foundation and I’m sure would work well blending in any cream foundation it probably won’t be the brush I reach for when I do use the cream foundations. Last but not least, I used the Neutrogena cream foundation in my drawer and I did try swirling it in the product and applying it as well. I had the same problem picking it up with the brush. The brush is either not dense enough or it needs shorter bristles. It blended in the Neutrogena cream foundation well enough, but I still had to apply it with my finger.
As the point of the brush is to take it from the pan to the face without fingertip application, I won’t be using it for cream based products. The Flat Foundation Brush from F.A.R.A.H makes a good powder foundation brush, but in general, that is the only time I am reaching for this where foundations are concerned. After my last wash of the brush I tried it with powder in general and it worked like a dream when applying both pressed powder and loose translucent setting powder. The bristles make it ideal for powder application, everything else is a bit of a strain. I don’t mind having an extra powder brush so I’m not bothered by this and will get a lot of use out if it. It just won’t be with foundation, so my flat foundation brush quest must continue.
Through my IPSY Glam Bag subscription I have received two five piece sets of Laruce Brushes. One of the sets was an item in my Glam bag and the second I picked up using accumulated points. While on the website I noticed that neither set was really listed however when I put the two sets together was really only one repeat so the two sets gave me a wide variety of brushes. In fact it gave me enough of a mix of brushes that I was able to use them as my only brushes for the last few weeks.
Which I did.
The brand Laruce Beauty started in 2019 and focuses on providing luxurious vegan and cruelty free brushes. The bristles are synthetic and hypoallergenic. Individually their brushes range from $26 to $30. Sets can range from $65 all the way up to $350. The $350 set contains thirteen brushes and comes in a vegan leather carrying case.
One of my sets is blue and the other black, but they each have a textured, rubberized handle that makes them easy to grip and use. I am actually quite fond of the handles actually. They aren’t too thick to hold comfortably, even with the larger brushes and they are easy to wipe down should product get on any of the handles.
In addition each of the brushes not only has the Laruce number stamped on it but it has the name of the brush on it as well so that if you are just starting out or expanding your use of makeup brushes, you can easily tell what is what. All of the brushes feature the same synthetic bristles (One set dark and the other side light) and the bristles are well attached to the ferule with no loose ones sticking out or shedding. I feel confident that these brushes will last quite a while.
LR334 Angle Contour:
This brush is thick and dense enough to work well with contour and bronzing powders. I did not like it with cream products. While it is dense enough for the powders it isn’t dense enough of a bristle set to work well with cream contour products. When I used them I generally had to apply it with my fingers and blend it with my fingers as well rather than the brush. It does however work really well with powder products.
LR335 Flat Foundation:
I’ll be honest this was my least favorite of the brushes in the set. I like flat foundation brushes but I found myself wanting stiffer, more densely packed bristles. This one tended to leave a few streaks in the foundation. I could see using it for a powder foundation but not for any liquid or cream products. I like flat foundation brushes, but this one did not make the cut for me.
At first I didn’t think I was going to like it, but this ended up being one of my favorite brushes in the set. It was more versatile than I expected and was able to blend shadows and highlighters well and was one of the only brushes that worked well with both powder and cream products. I will be keeping this brush in my selection of everyday brushes.
This is a good general shadow brush. It worked as well as any other that I tried. I would perhaps like to see it a little smaller as it was wide enough that it tended to fan out powder products more than I intended, however it was a good sturdy shadow brush.
LR005 and LR007 Tapered Blending:
This was the only brush I have two of and quite frankly if you are going to have doubles of a brush, the tapered blending is the one you are going to want to double down on. The 005 is the black handled brush and the 007 is the blue handled brush, Although they both have the same name, the 007 brush is slightly smaller than the 005 as you can see in the photograph. They were excellent shading brushes and I liked having the two slightly different sizes. Both worked well and both are ones I would continue to use.
LR002 Flat Shading:
As a shading brush this worked well. It is a little wide for my tastes but not over the top wide. It was nice to use. It is not my favorite shading brush, but I liked it and will continue to use it. If something were to happen to it, I probably wouldn’t replace it.
This is a loose and somewhat floppy brush that holds pigment well. It is very soft on the skin and very good for blushes where you need to build up color. It is good for applying blush, but not for blending. It is simply too soft and loose to blend well. It is excellent if you are looking for only a light wash of color though as even the most highly pigmented blushes come in light with this product. It does not work with cream products at all.
This is excellent if you want only a light highlight as it is a soft bristled brush that applies highlighter well. It can turn even a brightly sparkling highlighter into a soft glow. It is long enough to disperse the product but not too large for control. It is useless with cream products. For any cream product I used, I ended up reaching for the Kabuki brush instead.
LR 375 Flat powder:
While I did miss my fluffy powder brush, I ended up really liking this brush. It is dense enough to work well with pressed powder, yet large and loose enough to work well with loose setting powder. It is a really good brush to set your under eyes after concealer and if you are the sort who bakes your face, this could very easily be a go to tool. I don’t really bake, but as I used it, I found myself missing my fluffy brush less and less. It is a versatile powder brush and one of the stand outs of the set. It actually worked better for blending in blush than the blush brush as well so I could very easily see picking up a second one of these Flat Powder brushes.
So that my darlings, was my experience using only Laruce brushes for the past few weeks. There were a couple of clear winners that I would purchase on their own and there were a couple that I will simply pull from my brush rotation. There were a couple of average ones as well that I will happily use since I have them, but probably not replace at the $28-$30 price range.
Over all I think this is a brand where I would buy individual brushes, but probably not pick up a full set. The quality of the brushes is there and for the brushes I liked using, the price seems fair. The textured handle, metal ferrule and synthetic bristles are all very good quality. In addition, if you have any hand mobility issues the textured handle coupled with the fact that it is sturdy, but not overly heavy, might be a good option for you.
I use a lot of cream products so I had issues with some of the brushes, but if your product list is all powder than you might have fewer difficulties. And to be fair finding brushes that work well with cream products is an ongoing quest of mine. Most of the time I end up blending with fingertips. I’m okay with that, but I would like the option of a brush for some of those products as well. That quest sadly continues.
Each week I give posting space to a variety of products and talk about their benefits and uses, but I don’t often talk about the tools I use with them. I am trying to correct that with these tool talk posts. Some weeks it will be makeup brushes and other weeks flat irons. This week I decided to go with the reusable cotton rounds from Afterspa.
The Afterspa reusable rounds came in my January Glossy Box and I for one was very happy to see them. It was actually a really good box this month. You can check out my unboxing here if you’d like to see the whole thing.
A while back I took a look at the waste in my house and I have been trying to reduce the amount of it. In the back yard, we purchased a composter and a lot of our kitchen waste makes it back there, from coffee grounds to egg shells. It keeps it out of our trash bin and gives us some really good compost each year. Actually many of the subscription boxes that I get make their way there, the shipping boxes getting torn up and used as dry material in the composter. I just have to peel off any tape. The ones with the wax coating take a little longer to deteriorate so often times I’ll use them to line the bottom of a raised flower bed to keep the weeds down. It smothers the weeds and eventually disintegrates into the dirt.
In the bathroom I use a Makeup Eraser and some kind of makeup removing produce (balm, oil, micellar water) to remove my makeup instead of the makeup wipes. Occasionally, I will use a makeup wipe, but I don’t buy them regularly any more. It took a while to break the habit, but I did.
At the moment I have a sample pack that I received in a subscription box that I have been slowly working through. I also signed up for a trial Refreshments box from IPSY and will be getting a pack in that. I wanted to try the subscription and if I like the scents I will trade out the wipes for another product if possible as I suspect a full sized pack of wipes will either be something I use up right away simply because they are there and I go makeup wipe crazy while I have them or I will parcel them out miserly for an extended period. I don’t know which it will be as I haven’t used them routinely in a while.
But I no longer use them routinely so it won’t be a reorder for the subscription if i end up keeping it. (My first shipment is in February so I’ll keep you posted on that.
Empty containers usually make their way into my greenhouse where they are repurposed. Moisturizer jars are used to hold sprouting seeds, serum droppers are used to dose out liquid fertilizer mostly to orchids, spray bottles are turned into misters for plants that like water through their leaves instead of at their roots.
This means that at the moment cotton rounds are my biggest waste product in my bathroom. The two things I use them for the most are toner and eye makeup remover. I know, I can use the Makeup Eraser for eye makeup removal, however at the moment I have a single Makeup Eraser that I use all week and then throw into the wash at the end of the week. (I used different spots and rotate around so I’m always using a clean section of cloth.)
I really need to look into getting a pack of smaller Makeup Erasers. They now have small square ones that let you use a different Makeup Eraser each day so that you can put them in the wash after one use. I had planned to get a pack of the Sponge Bob Square pants ones, but they sold out and then I got distracted. I know they have a Goodnight Moon Set that I really like the look of, but it is one of the full sized ones instead of the smaller cloths so I need to talk myself out of it. Or find out if they have it in smaller sizes.
I don’t mind using the one Makeup Eraser all week, I just shift to different spots on the cloth to take down my face makeup each day of use. I am just a little more hesitant to do so around my eyes. Not only is there more product around my eyes, some of which is harder to remove – like mascara-, but I just don’t like the thought of potentially putting germs near my eyes. So I tend to remove my eye makeup with disposable cotton rounds so that I know they are fresh each day.
In theory, the reusable rounds from Afterspa are the perfect solution.
The pack sent to me in Glossy Box contained two rounds, which is quite perfect as far as testing goes. I can use them and see how I feel about them before committing to a box of them, because realistically I would need a minimum of three per day: two for my daily toner and one for eye makeup removal. Or so I thought.
I took out the After Spa reusable rounds to try and my first recommendation is to wash them before you use them. While I am certain they are hygienic right out of the pack, if you use them without washing you will end up with a lot of white fuzz on your face.
The reusable rounds are soft and floppy. The feel good against the skin. However with toner, they felt a little too big. I generally hold my cotton round against my face with the use of two fingers and occasional assistance by my thumb. This required the whole hand. There were maneuverability issues and the reusable round kept rolling up on me so that one application accidentally used both sides of the round. I wasn’t certain if I could use one side and then have the other side available of a second use, but it was something I planned to test. However even if the toner hadn’t leaked through and the side away from my face remained sanitary under traditional use circumstances, the round kept rolling up so there was no way that the other side could be used as it was already partially used during the first pass.
The rolling was a bit annoying actually and that was only partially due to size. The round is really too big to be used for a product like a toner. The other issue was the material. It is very soft and almost too soft for use in applying toner. If the material was a little thicker or the edge was a little stiffer, this would be an entirely different review. I did not care for them when using it to apply products like toner.
But there is also eye makeup removal.
To remove my eye makeup: mascara, liner and shadow, I had to use both cotton rounds, both sides. The problem is, again, that the thin cloth is too soft. It feels good against the skin, but it doesn’t have the thickness that is needed for makeup removal. The Makeup eraser is still soft material but it is sturdier as well and does a much better job. It also has a stiffer edging which really helps it. I don’t think these rounds need a large border, but because of the super soft material it really needs a stiffer edging to help it lay flat.
I will say that when I tossed them in the wash after use, they came out spotlessly clean. They were white and even the eyeliner and mascara washed out. I am not certain how long they will last under weekly use and washing conditions. I will continue using them to see if I might find some tricks to getting them to perform the way I want them to as well as seeing how long they hold up, but I don’t think these particular reusable rounds are for me.
I still have high hopes that I will find some reusable rounds that are. Because I would love to continue to eliminate as much waste as possible, but for now, I will use my makeup eraser and in the near future order a set of smaller makeup erasers for eye makeup removal if nothing else. I will still use the cotton rounds for applications of things like toners though and I will keep searching for reusable rounds to eventually take their place.
I know this was a post about the Afterspa Reusable rounds, and you got to hear a lot more about the Makeup eraser, but to be honest, using the After Spa Rounds made me appreciate the Makeup Eraser more. And when introducing a new tool to your repertoire it is good to fit it into the context of already used products and to see how it stacks up. At least that is my thought.
This summer, I entered the world of masking brushes. Prior to this I simply used my fingers and thought ‘why would I bother using a masking brush?’
Then I ordered a super cheap one (less than $1) and tried it, just to see why so many people seemed to use them.
Wow, what a difference it made.
I won’t lie and say I always use the brushes, because I don’t. I also won’t say you HAVE to have the brushes. Because you don’t. I also won’t tell you that you need expensive brushes, because you really don’t. But if you are interested in adding brushes to your masking routine, and maybe being a little extra, this might help you out.
First off, there are two main benefits to using the silicone masking brushes.
The first benefit I noticed is that I tend to use less product when I use the masking brushes than when I don’t. While there may be some seasonal swelling or water retention now and again, neither dramatically changes the surface area of my face in a massive way. Yet when I use the silicone brushes, I use less product than when I don’t.
Part of that is because of benefit number two.
And that is less mess. When applying masks with fingers, it naturally gets all over the fingers you are using to apply it to your face. It can also get on the sink and the faucet taps, but mostly on your fingers. The silicon brush has less of a surface area than my fingers. Even though I use a spoon or spatula to get masks out of the jar and start applying using one finger, I usually end up with three fingers covered in mask which I then have to wash off. The silicone doesn’t absorb any of the mask so little is left on the masking brush. In addition, it is easy to rinse off and in the case of peel off masks, you just let it dry, then peel the mask off. Then of course you wash it, but that is super easy with the mask gone.
Now the less than a $1 masking brush I picked up does the job no problem. I am quite happy using it. However I recently received a Cosmedix Brush set in a Boxy Charm. The set is composed of two brushes.
Take cleansing to the next level with this embossed brush designed for gentle exfoliation and effective deep pore cleansing. Plus, bring the spa experience home with a dual-sided silicone spatula that effortlessly and evenly distributes product across your face. Use it to apply cream, exfoliator, serum, or masks with ultimate precision and no mess.
The set retails for $25. While you can clearly get brushes for less money, I would say this is not an unreasonable price. There are two brushes so you are paying $14.50 per brush.
Let’s look at the silicone brush first. The handle is tapered and easy to hold. The brush head itself is flat, with an angle and has one smooth side and one textured side.
The angle of the brush is really nice. One of the ways my cheap brush falls down is that the shape of the head is triangular so the points are really hard to get into the crevices around the nose so I end up using my fingers to smooth things over, which sort of defeats the purpose of using the brush.
Not only is the Cosmedics brush angled but the corners are rounded which makes applying masks really easy no matter where on the face you are. The flat side of the brush is perfect for clay based masks. I have been using it this week for my Herbal Dynamics Cacao and Chamomile Clearing Detox Mask and it has been fantastic. I can run the brush over the top of the mask in the jar to pick up product and put it on my face with very little waste.
The textured side is not good for clay based masks but I find it is excellent for gel based ones. Recently I used both the Peter Thomas Roth Cucumber mask and the Kiehl’s Calendula Petal infused Gel mask. While both of these masks could be applied with either side of the Cosmedix silicone brush, The textured side does have a purpose. Just before those masks are removed, it is recommended that you massage the mask in a little before rinsing. The textured side of the brush is perfect for this. Just remember to rinse thoroughly, possibly even soaking the brush a bit especially if it is an exfoliating mask with particles, so that you can be sure to get all of the particles out.
The second brush, I’ll admit, I found a little confusing at first. I tried it a number of ways, but none of them seemed to be a benefit to my skin care routine. This second brush is not silicone, but an actual fiber brush with densely backed bristles. The head of the brush is not flat but textured with a circle of round nubbins. The issue I had with it, was that it is very absorbent. If you dip it into a mask or serum, or even a cleanser, it will soak up the product like a sponge, using far more than you actually need to use in one sitting.
However it is useful. The first use I found for it was to loosen dried clay masks. Wet the brush, but remember it will soak up a lot of water so when you first press it to your face be prepared for a release of water unless you squeeze the brush out first, and even then be prepared. It does an admiral job of loosening clay masks without harshly scraping the skin. The texture from the nubbins really helps in its effectiveness.
The second use is for massaging serums into the skin. Do not dip the brush into the serum or you will very quickly lose your serum as it is sucked in. Apply the serum to the skin and then lightly massage it in with the brush. The serum stays on your skin and the brush just helps it absorb.
I have also found that it is very useful if you are using a bar cleanser. While the brush will absorb liquid cleansers just like any other liquid. If you have a bar cleanser like the Erno Laszlo Black soap (which I personally really like) you can wet the brush (which absorbs a lot of water) rub the water loaded brush on the cleansing bar and then apply it to the face.
Not only does it work really well, but it helps contain the mess that the Erno Laszlo Black soap can create with drips (although really, the cleansing bar is worth the drips). If it stays on the dish or other container where you keep your soap then it can’t drip all over your sink. It also helps keep the bar longer as bar cleansers (or any bar soap really) starts to disintegrate when it is wet. The secret to keeping a bar of soap (or cleanser) for longer is to make sure it stays dry when you aren’t using it. Because the brush localizes the water, the bulk of the cleansing bar stays dry. So it lasts longer.
All in all once I figured out the best way to use the second brush in the set, I enjoyed using the brushes and incorporating them into my skincare routines. They are lightweight, but sturdy. Not only do they look good but they perform well.
The brushes may not be absolutely necessary to any routine. There are many other ways to apply product, but they do have benefits. If you are looking to add brushes to your skin care routine, this may be a set you might want to look into. I am quite pleased to be able to use them. I believe my less than a $1 silicone brush will still be used when I do peel off masks as I don’t want to deal with the textured side of the Cosmedix silicone masking brush, but otherwise I will be using these brushes for quite a while.
This week I tried to focus on items I never tried before so it was a week of first impressions. To start off with I used the Ciate London Extraordinary Foundation in the shade 127 Y Bamboo.
It turned out to be a great shade for my deepest summer tan, although the clock is ticking as to how long I will be able to wear the shade. I liked the foundation enough that once I clear out some of my current foundations, I will be picking up a lighter shade.
While the link above will take you to the full review the basic summary is that it is a good foundation that feels weightless. It has a bit more shine than I like but is easily toned down by a matte setting powder. I am still working my way through the Ciate Everyday Vaccay Setting powder (I have only a few more weeks and it will be used up) and it worked really well with this foundation.
Less well received this week was the Ciate watermelon burst hydrating primer. Don’t get me wrong it is a good hydrating primer. The Extraordinary foundation just needed a pore filling primer underneath it to look it’s best. This was not that primer.
I called in the Benefit Porefessional primer though and it paired amazingly well with the foundation. There were a couple of days where I didn’t bother with foundation because I knew I was going to just be running in and out of the heat all day. On those days I tend to use a primer and a dusting of powder.
In that application, I really liked the watermelon burst primer. It locked the powder in place and didn’t let my skin dry out. The primer also has a nice watermelon scent to it that made me crave Jolly Ranchers all week. It just didn’t pair well with the foundation I chose this week as it required something pore filling and not hydrating. I will be keeping the ciate primer around and using it again when a hydrating primer is called for. As winter dries my skin, that shouldn’t be a problem. That I’m keeping the Benefit Cosmetics Primer around goes without saying.
I didn’t have a new bronzer this week so I went with my small sample size of NARS Laguna. I absolutely love this bronzer. It is a great color and a wonderful formula. However I am not allowing myself to purchase a full sized version until I use up the sample. I am actually starting to feel a dent in the center of the pan so I will be reaching for this periodically in an effort to use it up. Plus I can’t remember when I got the sample so I’m worried it might be getting a bit old. And if at all possible I like to use things up rather than throw them out because they are expired.
The blush was new to me and came from the August Look Fantastic Box. It is the bellapierre cosmetics mineral blush in the shade amaretto. It is a loose blush which I haven’t used in a while. For a long time though the loose mineral blush from bareMinerals was my go to blush so I am familiar with loose blushes and actually don’t mind them. It is easy to apply too much so there is some technique involves with the tapping out of product, so it did take me a little while to get back in the swing of things.
Once I did I really liked it. The powder applied well, blended easily and stayed all day. Like the foundation though, it is a product that works best for me when my skin is at its darkest tan. I suspect this is more of a summer blush for me as once my tan fades, it might be a bit too dark. For now though, the color was perfect. And luckily the product is good for 36 months so I don’t have to worry about using it up in the next month or so. As Look Fantastic sent a full sized blush in the August box, it will last a while.
My concealer this week was the Pretty Vulgar concealer. I really like the formula. Usually I use the concealer as eyelid primer as well and usually the Pretty Vulgar formula is really good in that capacity. The eyeshadow palette I was working with wasn’t the best this week so I pulled in the Pretty Vulgar lid primer as back up. It is like Velcro for eyeshadow.
It did its best, but the shadow didn’t help it. As I am planning to practice working with cut creases, I will probably be keeping both of them around in the following week as I find them both useful for that.
So be prepared for repeats with those. At some point I am going to have to pick up a pretty vulgar eyeshadow palette. I love their foundation and mascara as well as their concealer and lid primer, it seems only logical.
Also they just came out with a new blush palette that looks really interesting. I’m actually debating whether to pick that one or a benefit cosmetics blush palette. I can’t justify picking up both at the same time, but I will probably talk myself into one of them.
There is a full review of the eyeshadow palette I used this week that this link will take you to. It is the Morphe + Manny MUA Glam Palette. I was not a fan. While not the greatest formula, it wasn’t horrific. It was just boring and meh.
There are two highlighters in this palette as well and they too fell into the category of nothing special. I suspect in my next declutter, this palette will be one of the first to go bye-bye.
For my eyebrows I kept the Hourglass brow pencil around for another week. I really like it and to be completely honest I just forgot to change it out when I swapped out my makeup for the week.so it was an accidental repeat. I’ll be sure to choose something new for the brows next week to make up for it.
Both my mascara and eyeliner were new this week. The eyeko lash alert mascara came in my Look Fantastic Box in August along with the blush. I have to say while it was a pretty good mascara with great lengthening abilities. I prefer eyeko’s black magic mascara. However it was a good mascara.
Since sample sized tubes like this generally have only about a two week supply of product in them, what I am going to do is keep this around and pair it with a volumizing mascara. I have several that are nearing the end of the time I am willing to keep them around and need to be used up before they expire. Doubling the mascara will give me the lashes I want and help me not waste product.
My eyeliner this week was the Wander Beauty skyliner in black. It is a gel formula which isn’t my favorite formula however I have to say I was interested by the description. It is infused with olive oil (and other oils) to make it extra creamy and smooth to apply. I have to say it was. It didn’t tug at the skin as I applied it at all and glided into place as it was supposed to. The pencil even comes with its own sharpener.
The only thing I didn’t like about the sharpener was that you had to roll the product out quite far to get it to sharpen and I suspect at some point I’m going to end up snapping a chunk of it off. That is the down side of the creamy texture; the point blunts really quickly so you have to sharpen it a lot. I will say though once in place, you need a makeup remover to get it off of the skin. When applying it you have a very limited window for adjustment before you have to accept that it is set in place for the day. Over all a pretty good product though and one I am happy to have in my collection.
This week I continued to use down my I heart Revolution Setting spray. I love this setting spray, it is just getting along in age and I am fairly certain it is either at or past its expiration date. I can’t remember when I bought it to be honest. However I have only about one more weeks’ worth of product in the spray bottle so I will be using it up this week and then trying out something else.
This of course brings us to the lips. Here I must confess I had a change of plans after packing my makeup bag for the week. This week I put a neutral C’est Moi lip gloss, a Bite Beauty Liquid lip and a Huda Beauty lip contour in my bag. They were all neutral shades. I balanced them out with an elf liquid lip in the shade red vixen and a Clarins water lip stain in the shade red water.
Once I tried out the eyeshadow palette and realized no matter what color combo I was going to try it was all going to come out as a basic neutral, I ended up balancing it with the elf and the Clarins and didn’t reach for the other lip products at all. So the lippies I did not use last week will go back to the makeup bag for next week.
The elf and the Clarins were both fantastic reds. The elf dried down nearly instantly so any adjustments had to be made immediately or you were suck with them (or forced to get a cotton swab with makeup removing oil and work delicately).It never smeared or left lip prints behind and once on I forgot I was wearing it. I have to say elf has been killing it lately. From this lip to the well thought out bite sized palettes, I am very impressed. This red faded a little throughout the day but at the end of the day it was still a vibrant red. It was a deeper, more blue toned red than the Clarins.
The Clarins Water lip stain was a bright red, that oddly smelled of cherries. I found it a little odd but strangely appealing. The scent didn’t last all that long though. Once the water stain dried it was pretty much gone. The lip water is applied with a little brush and as the name suggests, feels like you are brushing water on your lips. I found that if you applied it lightly to the center and used a finger to smooth it over the lips, you could create a light wash of red color. If you applied it all over the lips and just let it dry then you had a much brighter cherry tone.
It took a little longer to dry than the elf, but once in place it stayed in place. And when I say stayed in place I mean makeup removers could only dim it, not defeat it. The next morning I woke with my lips still pink. For me it wasn’t an issue as I was putting the elf red vixen over it, but in general I had very pink lips this week. If I were going somewhere and I was going to be out and about with no chance to touch up my makeup, the Clarins Water lip stain is a formula I would reach for. If you are interested you can purchase the Clarins Water lip Stain at All Beauty. They are currently having an end of summer sale with 50% off most (if not all) of their items. It is well worth checking out.
If you give the Clarins a moment to dry it will stay with you and not smudge a lick throughout the day. And something about it just feels summery. Maybe it is the pink tone and the cherry scent. Either way, one application and you can forget it is even there. I am definitely going to see what their color range for this line is because if they all perform this well, it would definitely be worth keeping them around.
As a bonus I should say that neither of these lip products smudged the inside of my mask. That’s how well they dried down and stayed dried down. And neither caused my lips to go desert dry either.
Before I close this post I want to mention some tools. I am still using and loving the bdellium tools 999 master blender brush. It fits perfectly in my hand and does wonders with my foundation application. I know they have a bit of a sale going on right now so if you are looking for some new brushes, now might be the time to look into them.
The makeup sponge I’ve been using is from Huda Beauty and I really like the balance it strikes between soft and firm. The flat side has proven more useful than I would have imagined for when I do detail work with the pointed end. It is over all a nice, well thought out make up sponge. I plan to use it until I have to buy a new one and then, unless I try another one I like better, I will be repurchasing it.
This week I added the complex culture powder brush that I received in August’s IPSY box and I am really liking it as well. The bristles are dense, yet soft and it is perfect for powder application. I very much enjoyed using it with my loose powder this week. I think I will continue to use the Alamar powder brush for my pressed powders though because it seems to work better with them than the fluffier rounded end brushes, but for loose powders I am happy to have this brush on hand.
And that concludes my notes from the Makeup Bag this week. Next week I’ll have a whole new slate of products to test out, including a sample of the Ken Gen Do Aqua Foundation.
It is apparently a makeup artist favorite (according to reviews)so we’ll see how well it works for a writer. As always I’ll be back for the afternoon face mask later today. This afternoon I’m giving the Super Silver Haze purifying Mask from Makeupdrop a try. Until then, have a great Friday.
I know there are times when I have been known to apply eyeshadow with my fingers. Especially if there is glitter involved. Lets face it, sometime a finger is the tool you need. Other times, perhaps it is better to use the tools designated for the task.
Enter the Lavash Brush Set. It is a five piece set that came in a Boxycharm box a few months back It retails for $29.99.
I have to say I have been using it since I got the set and I have to say, I really like it.
Are they super high quality brushes? To be honest, no.
They are a rather general brush set. They two have two things going for them though. The first is their size. These brushes are on the petite side. Personally I like that. I know a lot of you may be questioning that, but I always feel like I don’t have as much eye real estate as some of the other people I see floating around the world and on line. Sometimes when I use a bigger brush the effect can be messier than I intended. Maybe it is because I have smaller eyelids, maybe it is because I am clumsy. I am not a trained makeup professional, I am a trained architectural historian who really likes makeup.
The only person I apply it on is myself and I feel the smaller brushes give me a great deal of control.
The second thing that these brushes have going to them is the mix of brushes included in the pack. there is one fluffy Tapered blending brush, one flattened eye shading brush which is useful for patting on the shadows, one small pointed pencil brush, a very thin fine line brush and a double ended brow brush that has a spoolie on one end and an eyebrow brush on the other end. In short the set has a mix of brushes useful for doing your entire eye look. It is a simple grab and go kit.
They don’t have the quality of say Sigma, or Luxie brushes, so I don’t expect them to last forever. I’ve already lost a couple of bristles in the tapered blending brush to be honest. I think that because their size and general usefulness as a kit, I will probably be grabbing them more often than some of my other better quality bushes so they will probably wear out quicker for me.
While I think it would be worth picking up a kit and stashing it in my traveling make up bag, because they are useful and it is a decently priced kit, I think I may spend some time looking some smaller brushes that are a better quality. While I have a collection of brushes it is a rather haphazard collection at best and there are many repeats and a few noticeable gaps. Seeing this set makes me realize I need to go through my brushes and make a list of what I actually need to purchase, possibly even buying a deliberate set. I certainly need to gt rid of some brushes I don’t reach for because I don’t like them. I suspect that might be my next declutter.
Because let’s face it tools are just as important as the products you apply. They can wreck a good product or bring out the best in a not so great one. and clearly, I need to spend a little more time thinking about my tools.
For those of you wondering, the palette pictured is the BH Cosmetics Glam Reflection Smoke Palette. I’ll be posting my review of it later this week as it was the palette I played around with most of last week.
Looking to drink more water? Why not give Ulla a try?