Beauty Subscription All Star: Luxie Brushes

img_4393
Thanks to Ipsy and Bosycharm, my Luxie brush collection is steadily growing.

If you’ve been receiving beauty subscriptions within the past year, then you’ve probably noticed that a certain brush brand has been featured multiple times.

Box subscriptions are a great way for a beginner to slowly build up their brush collection. And for seasoned enthusiasts, you know you can never have too many brushes (especially if you’re lazy about cleaning them, like me). They have to be my favorite things to receive in monthly subscriptions, along with beauty sponges. Sometimes, the brushes can be poor quality. After all, it’s not like they’re sticking Wayne Goss brushes in our bags (I wish!), but most of the time they’re pretty good quality.

The brand that has been making rounds into pretty much all the beauty subscriptions is Luxie Beauty. And I’m not mad at this.

IMG_4718

From the first time I received a Luxie brush, I was impressed. Synthetic brushes can be hit or miss, though I personally prefer them for their affordability and low maintenance (Real Techniques, It Cosmetics, and E.L.F. being my favorites). Luxie proves that a synthetic brush can be excellent quality.

The bristles are incredibly soft and don’t shed when washing (win!). I also love the construction of the handle and barrel. Unlike some other brushes, I’ve used and abused my Luxie brushes and they haven’t fallen apart on me.

The first few brushes from them I tried were eye brushes. I have to admit, their crease and blending brushes are well loved. What I like about them is the material of their bristles works well with powder and cream shadow. I can even make them work well with ColourPop Super Shock shadows, something I can’t say about a lot of  my other brushes. Their concealer brush, a flat edge, is my absolute favorite for applying pigments on the eyelid.

The first face brush I got to try was the 514 Blush Brush. While a bit softer than my preferred blush brushes (I like applying my blush with a stiffer brush), it still works incredibly well, especially with my more pigmented blushes that need extra blending. Again, this was great quality and good beauty tool.

At this point, I’ve tried almost all the brushes Luxie has to offer from their rose gold collection. My sister actually has the 30 piece Brush Book Set (USD $350.00) and she let me play around with all the brushes offered in there. Just like everything else I’ve tried in subscriptions, these brushes were phenomenal. Some of their standouts were their duo fibre face brushes, which worked beautifully with my cream and liquid products.

Bottom Line: Priced between $12-$30, these brushes are well made and worth their price point. Their comparable, and in some cases superior to Real Techniques brushes. While not as affordable as e.l.f., if you’re in the market for well constructed synthetic brushes this is a great place to look. Of course, it needs to be asked if these brushes are constantly in subscription services, are they even worth buying?

Personally, I say yes. I’ve now got some doubles of Luxie brushes in my collection and I’m more than happy to have multiples. I constantly use them in my makeup rotation. I don’t think you’ll be bummed out if you buy a brush from them and then end up getting the same brush in a subscription box.

You can never have too many great quality brushes.

The two subscription services that have sent me Luxie brushes are Ipsy and Boxycharm. Click on their respective links if you want to subscribe to them.

April 2016 Ipsy Review #2: LAB2 Just Blending In Brush

image
Sometimes, brushes don’t work out.

Brushes in beauty subscriptions are my fave. I’m lazy about investing in brushes, so when they come directly to my mailbox I get excited. I’ve had good luck getting great quality brushes from my subscriptions in the past. In fact, I discovered my current favorite brush brand through Ipsy and Boxycharm. But, of course, they all can’t be winners.

This is one of those brushes that just didn’t work for me. I clean my brushes once a week, so I always welcome more eye brushes, especially those for the crease as I change up my crease color with the type of looks I do. Sometimes I need something cool toned, most of the time warm toned, and then I’ll go kooky with colorful looks. All that to say, I really need more crease brushes so my color changer doesn’t take too much of a beating.

Ipsy included the LAB2 Just Blending In Brush (USD $6.99, full size), a synthetic crease or shader brush. I prefer my eye brushes to be synthetic, so I was down with the bristle material. For a $7 brush, it’s well constructed and the handle actually has that velvety soft rubber that you find on pricier brands. To give you an idea as to why this brush isn’t my favorite, here’s what I look for in a good crease brush:

  1. Small enough that I can get precision, but big enough to cover my eye area. The LAB2 brush misses the mark here. It’s just too big, with bristles about twice the length of my Luxie 231 Small Tapered Blending Brush and my e.l.f. Crease Brush. The added length, I find, muddies out my shadows. When comparing it to my Real Techniques Deluxe Crease Brush, which is larger and I like to use when I need to diffuse color, the RT brush wins because it’s bristles are wider, not longer.
  2. Bristles need to be soft enough not to pull, but stiff enough that product doesn’t get everywhere. Again, LAB2 didn’t meet my needs. The bristles are soft, but they’re way too soft. So soft, in fact, that the bristles go everywhere. The brush is too soft to retain its shape when I’m using it in blending motions. Crease shadow gets everywhere and the look is ruined.

Now, the website states that you can also use this as a shader brush. It performed just slightly better when applying color all over the lid. However, when I’m applying a lid color, I typically want that color to be more intense than my transition or crease. The softness of the bristles, again, gets in the way. It does diffuse the color on the lid, but too much for my taste. I have other brushes in my collection that perform better.

I’m so sad to give such a negative review, but e.l.f. makes a better brush at half the price. I do like the materials and construction, so if they can get the bristles to retain their shape better in use, I’d be willing to try another brush from their line.

Bottom line: The bristles on this brush are too long and too soft to get precision when blending out eyeshadow. You’re better off investing in another option from Luxie (if you want an indie brand), e.l.f., or Real Techniques.

If you’d like to try out Ipsy, follow the link!

March 2016 Boxycharm Review #3: Luxie Beauty 512 Small Contour Brush

IMG_3451
Easily my favorite brush brand.

Luxie Brushes are taking over the internet beauty community. Everyone has been talking about them (myself included) and for good reason.

I’ve been lucky to receive this brand in past monthly subscriptions and have become familiar with their superior quality. I love Luxie Brushes in a way that I don’t for other brush lines. Don’t get me wrong, I have my definitely favorites from other brands, but this brand is one that I actually get excited over. Whenever I find out I’m getting another brush in a subscription, it sells me on that month’s shipment, even if the other products are less than stellar.

In what is possibly the best Boxycharm ever, the Luxie 512 Small Contouring Brush (USD $16.00, full size as pictured) was included in March’s box. And dammit if this isn’t another gem of a brush!

Like the other Luxie brushes I own, this is from the rose gold line. It has a pink handle with a rose gold metal finish. The bristles are brown with white tips, so you can clearly see if the brush as product on it. It’s incredibly well constructed and absolutely worth the $16.00 price point. The bristles are soft and synthetic, which is my preferred material. I haven’t gotten any shedding after many uses and washes and the bristles are just as soft as day 1.

Contour brushes can be a little tricky to pick out, because you need them to be very precise or else you won’t get the shadow effect in the right place. This one, I find, is really great for getting precise application in the hollows of the cheek and around the jaw line. Whether I’m doing a full contour or just doing a more natural look with some bronzer, the brush definitely gets the job done.

The bristles are compact enough that they don’t spread product all over the place, so you can get a concentrated application. At the same time, they do allow you to blend out powder really well, so you don’t end up with random dark smudges on your face. I think the size of the brush will work well for many face shapes. If the brush happens to be too big for your cheeks it can still be used to contour the perimeter of the face. For larger faces, you make even get this to work around the nose.

Rating: 5/5. I mean, I can’t stop raving about this brush. It has become a staple whenever I’m contouring. I don’t do so without this brush. For $16, you’re getting good, expensive feeling construction, quality bristles, and a good shape that makes it a great tool for application and blending. I think I may need to start picking up some more of these brushes on my own. I wouldn’t mind having doubles from subscriptions because these brushes are that good. Kudos, Luxie. Please keep making great makeup tools!

If you’d like to subscribe to Boxycharm, follow the link!

March 2016 Ipsy Review #1: Me me me Loose Powder Brush

IMG_3424
Getting brushes in subscriptions is my favorite!

I love getting a good brush in a box subscription. We all know just how lazy I am about purchasing my own brushes. While the difference between a good and bad tool can make or break your look, I’m still meh about purchasing my own brushes. Plus, there are so many on the market that it’s pretty overwhelming to pick the right one.

Ipsy started off March right by including this Loose Powder Brush from MeMeMe Cosmetics (GBP £14, full size). This company is from the UK and I could only get the pricing in British Pounds, but it’s the equivalent to USD $20. On their website, MeMeMe claims to deliver quality brushes at an affordable price. I’m not sure if the concept of “affordable” is a bit different in the UK, but in my mind a $20 brush is not affordable. It’s definitely mid range. Affordable to me is e.l.f. prices, from $1 to $15. Anything more expensive, and we’ve hit midrange. At $20, I expect the construction and quality I would find in Real Techniques (on the more affordable side of midrange) or Sephora brushes.

The brush itself is nicely made. The bristles are quite even and well packed in a dome shape. I couldn’t find any information on the materials used, but they appear to be synthetic. I prefer synthetic brushes, so this is a plus. This can definitely be used for loose powder, but it’s a little smaller than the brush size I prefer for applying full face powder. However, it is the perfect size for applying powder in the under eye area — super ideal for setting concealer.

The handle is a thick plastic. If I’m being candid, I expected nicer materials for the price point. The construction of the brush is wonderful, but the materials remind me very much of e.l.f.’s brushes. This isn’t a bad thing, but it makes me think that this brush definitely isn’t worth $20. To compare, over at e.l.f.’s website you can buy an 11 piece brush set, with a case, that includes a similar looking powder brush for just $10 more.

It does perform really well at applying powder, so it definitely gets the job done and done right. The synthetic bristles are easy to clean and don’t shed. But then again, neither do e.l.f.’s. I’m just having such a hard time justifying the price point. If they come over to the US, I think they’ll have to lower them to be more competitive.

Rating: 3/5. This is a good loose powder brush that everyone should have in their collection. It applies product evenly and is well constructed. However, I’m perplexed by the price. You are getting a nice brush, but definitely not one worth $20. I’d love to try more, but why would I when I get the same thing from other brands at a truly affordable price?

If you’d like to subscribe to Ipsy, follow the link!

February 2016 Boxycharm Review #1: Spongelle You Have My Heart on a String

image
Gotta love it when Boxycharm sends something I would never buy myself.

In terms of what’s on my priority list for bath time, a sponge isn’t exactly up there. When Boxycharm included this You Have My Heart of a String Sponge from Spongelle (USD $15.00, full size) I didn’t know how to feel. I love getting body wash in subscription boxes, but a sponge? And a $15.00 sponge at that? Hmm.

I wasn’t going to stop from trying it though. The sponge texture and construction, I really love. It has a softer size to lather and wash and a buffer side that’s incredibly exfoliating to scrub the skin. The softer size builds up a great lather and can actually be a gentle exfoliant for people with more sensitive skin.

As for the buffer, get ready to come out without a layer of skin. I mean this as a compliment. I love how exfoliating this is! Now that spring is here, I use bronzer on my legs, arms, and décolletage to hide my winter paleness. (Yes, I’m aware I have a naturally tan complexion, but my legs and arms see almost no sunlight in the winter and trust me…it shows.) I need to exfoliate my skin really well to get my bronzer to soak into the skin properly, and this sponge gets the job done. After bronzing and adding lotion, my skin feels baby soft.

This is one of those sponges that’s already soaked in the body wash. I always feel weird about this, because I don’t like leaving bath product behind on my sponges. The body wash is suppose to have essential oils that supposedly nourish and hydrate the skin. However, I found that even just using the sponge side this body wash is too drying for my skin. I spent a lot of time wringing out the infused body wash so I could just use the sponge with my Aveeno Body Wash (I swear by this stuff. Best body wash and it’s good for sensitive skin.).

They claim there’s 14 uses worth of bath gel infused in the sponge, but I can’t say if this is true. I got rid of the body wash soon after trying. But from what I can tell, it does have a ton of product — probably enough to last you through several uses.

Questionable body wash aside, the sponge stores well in the shower. I do stick my sponges (makeup, body, even dish) in the microwave once a week to nuke the bacteria. It didn’t do damage to this sponge, which is a huge plus. I’d hate to have to throw it out early because I can’t disinfect it.

Rating: 4/5. I love the sponge itself. It’s made of great material that cleanses and exfoliates the body. Hands down, it’s the best exfoliator I’ve used. I just with they sold it without the infused body wash, because I just didn’t like it. I’d rather have a great sponge and just use my preferred body wash.

If you’d like to subscribe to Boxycharm, follow the link!

February 2016 Ipsy Review #5: Luxie Beauty Small Taper Blending Eye Brush 231

image
Luxie, you have stolen my heart.

Like I’ve mentioned before, makeup brushes are my favorite items to get in beauty subscriptions because to me they’re the least sexy makeup item. And my subscriptions have delivered some truly wonderful brushes in the past. Luxie Beauty is one of them.

I was introduced to this brand when Boxycharm sent me their concealer brush. It was love at first application. That little brush has given me amazing precision when using concealer to clean up my eyebrows. Plus, the quality is so good. Every month, I secretly hope another Luxie brush will make its way into my collection.

February’s Ipsy bag, to my delight, contained another one of these brushes! This time, it was the Small Tapered Blending Brush from their Rose Gold Collection (USD $12.00). I only had one blending brush in my eye brush collection (really, I’m that resistant to buying brushes), so another one was a welcomed addition. My e.l.f. blending brush definitely needed a break.

These brushes from the Rose Gold collection are vegan, cruelty free, and paraben free. Just like its concealer sister, this brush is very well constructed. The handle and metal plate don’t feel cheap (though they’re not quite as luxurious as higher end brushes). The bristles are amazingly soft, and the tapered finish is well done. I haven’t gotten any shedding what so ever after using or cleaning this brush. It’s well worth its $12 price point.

This brush does a phenomenal job of applying and blending eyeshadow. The small size and tapered bristles make it ideal for crease shades. Whenever I use this brush, even with my most difficult shadows, I can always get precisely the color intensity that I want. You’re not left with muddy and patchy looking shadows in the crease. If I apply too much color, I find that this brush will correct that with some additional blending.

Rating: 5/5. Luxie does it again. Man, are these brushes amazing! This tapered blending brush hits all the marks: well constructed, quality materials, and phenomenal shadow application and precision. Luxie Beauty is quickly becoming one of my favorite brush brands.

If you’d like to subscribe to Ipsy, follow the link!

January 2016 Boxycharm Review #3: Royal & Langnickel [R]evolution Brush Set

IMG_3210
From L to R: Crease, Large Smudger, and Detailed Shadow Brush.

Getting one brush in a monthly subscription is awesome (especially when it’s a good one), but getting three takes the cake! Granted, I’d never heard of Royal and Langnickel, but I checked out their website and it looks like they supply both art and makeup brushes. That makes sense, since painting and makeup do overlap in techniques. They teamed up with Boxycharm to get their name out there and sent a box of three brushes from their [R]evolution Brush line. Since the theme for the January box was around eye makeup, we got three eye brushes: the BX-90 Crease, BX-95 Large Smudger, and BX-80 Detail Shadow brushes (USD $7.99, individually).

The price point puts these brushes at the high end of drugstore, just below the cheaper brushes you would find in the mid-range. For the price point, the construction and feel of the brushes are really nice. The handles are made from that soft matte rubber that you’d find on some more luxe brushes with a gunmetal toned metal end. For $8, that’s some nice brush construction.

The bristles are synthetic, which I prefer over natural. A lot of my makeup works best with synthetic brushes. The bristles are all incredibly soft and silky, well trimmed, and have yet to shed on me. They are phenomenal at picking up and applying shadow. I’m particularly in love with the detail shadow brush. It does a beautiful job of applying my all-over lid shadows, no matter what the finish (matte, shimmer, foil, duo chrome, etc.). My favorite shadows to use this with are duo chrome. I notice a difference in the intensity of the duo chrome effect I get on the lid with this brush.

The large smudger is also a great brush. It is great for getting that blown out smoky eye look, especially on the lower lash line. However, I prefer to use it to apply my inner corner highlight. I find that the construction of the brush makes it ideal to apply and blend out a highlight.

The one brush that’s been a puzzler is the crease brush. This is just such a huge size for a crease brush! It really gave me problems controlling the placement of my crease shades. Also, I prefer my crease brushes to be fluffy, which lets me blend out the color. This brush has tightly packed bristles, which made blending very difficult. I’m still not sure how to use this brush, but I’ll find a use.

Still, getting three brushes and have two of them be hits is exciting.

Rating: 4/5. Besides the odd crease brush, this brush brand has delivered some great eye brushes. The standout is definitely the detail shadow brush. I think everyone could benefit from having this in their collection (if the price point is wallet friendly for you). The construction and quality is also absolutely beautiful for the price point. It’s exactly what I look for in my makeup brushes.

If you’d like to subscribe to Boxycharm, follow the link!