FINALLY – a dupe for Nars Orgasm!: A Sleek vs NARS Blush-Off!

Nars Orgasm may be the most iconic blush of all time. Blush-obsessed bloggers and makeup addicts alike devote a lot of time and money to achieving the perfect golden-tinted raspberry glow, and Orgasm is known all over the world for making that dream a reality. Unfortunately for us kiwis, here in little old New Zealand, access to some of the beautiful cult products made by Nars is somewhat limited.

Your best bet for buying Nars is to pay a visit to Mecca Cosmetica, where you can pick up the Beauty Blogger Holy Grail of Blushes, Nars Orgasm, for NZ$59.00. If you don’t have $59 to drop on a blush then fear not – today I swatched the closest thing I’ve found to Orgasm since Milani’s Rose D’Oro baked blush. Dare I say it – I think I like this blush better than Orgasm!

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The dupe in question is by a brand you may already know a lot about – God knows I rave about their face form kits and eyeshadows. If anyone was going to make a high-quality, high pigment blush in a similar shade to a cult classic, it was naturally going to be Sleek.

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The Sleek blush in Rose Gold is a beautiful strawberry colour with gold flecks through it similar to its famous Nars counterpart. The camera wasn’t picking up the gold but I can assure you – it is AMAZING. You might also have noticed that the Sleek packaging doesn’t pick up as much crap on the outside as the Nars packaging does, which is another bonus.

20140817_120456The real magic happens inside the package – can you tell which is the cult classic and which is the Sleek version? You might be surprised at which is which. The first slighty-more-pigmented swatch closest to my watch took only a couple of rather enthusiastic swipes to achieve. The colour was smooth and buttery and the pigment was gorgeous.

The second swatch closer to my sleeve took a lot more work to achieve, and I had to really swatch it a few times to get even the most natural pale flush of pink going on. The shimmer was also slightly less and overall the product seems to have been designed with the average girl in mind. It would be easier to get a natural look with this product as it would be very hard to overdo it. With the first product, you’ll get a natural look first swipe rather than after the thirty-second.

20140817_120507Are you surprised, dear reader? I know I was. I much prefer the Sleek blush. The gold is much gold-er and the pigment is much better than the Nars equivalent. I’d also like to add that at only NZ$14, the Sleek Rose Gold blush is a whopping $45 cheaper than its Nars counterpart!

Overall, I’d definitely recommend you skip the Orgasm (!!!) and go straight to Sleek. The Sleek colour is more pigmented, has impressive staying power, and is well-packaged. It’s also a much better price than the Nars blush and for that alone I’d recommend it over the latter!

Have you guys swatched Sleek Rose Gold or Nars Orgasm? Which do you prefer? Let me know in the comments!

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What Does a Beauty Blogger Wear To The Supermarket?: My Go-To Everyday Face!

You’ve seen me as Kim Kardashian. You’ve seen me with lipsticks of all kinds of colours. You’ve even seen me as a Geordie Lass – however – there’s one look I don’t think I’ve done. It occurred to me today, as I put on my makeup for work, that you guys still haven’t seen my everyday face.

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Dear reader – here it is, my face in its everyday glory. It’s a very simple look but it’s one that I go for without thinking about it. For nights out or occasions more spectacular than the supermarket or work, I often intensify this look and add a bold lip and some false lashes.

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For the eyes, I apply an eye primer, then throw over some Foxy from my trusty Naked2 palette, and then some Tease just above the crease which I blend out with a blending brush. My brows get the Anastasia Brow Wiz treatment and my liner is usually just the Barry M felt-tip style liner.

Sometimes I go for a bit of Maybelline Colour Tattoo in black or MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack on a tiny brush. Then it’s Maybelline Colossal lashes and a bit of Elf Undereye Setting powder.

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My complexion is always the same base regardless of what else goes on top – the Etude House Pore Ever primer, the Elf Zit Zapping concealer on my chin, then the Lioele Triple the Solution BB Cream over the top.

I apply it with my fingers then spritz a duo-fibre brush with some rosewater and blend it softly to a smooth finish. Lastly I line my lips with a natural lip liner and throw on some NYX butter gloss in Creme Brulee.

More often than not I also go for a powder over the top (Borne Cosmetics), then my Sleek Face Form palette and Milani blush in Luminoso for Contour, Highlight and Blush. The final three steps are essentially what transforms it from “supermarket” to “work” but today it’s a supermarket day.

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There you have it – my natural, everyday look. I throw this on pretty much whenever I leave the house in daylight. If it’s past 5pm there’s definitely fake lashes and a bolder lip involved, and probably some more complex eye makeup too!

Do you guys use any of these products on a daily basis? What are your favourite go-to products? Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday Write-Up: YOU ARE WONDERFUL

The beautiful thing about love is that there’s not ever going to be a limit to the world’s supply. Love, unlike coal, gold or oil, is a renewable resource, and it’s a hell of a lot easier to extract too.

As a twenty-something female, I am definitely concerned with the way I look. All too often though, I equate how I am “supposed” to look (ie how Western beauty standards lay down) with my self-worth. Recently I have been reading a lot about the power and importance of self-love, and today I have a bit of a pep talk for you.

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Negativity towards ourselves and towards others keeps us stagnant. If you don’t believe you are the amazing, beautiful human being that you wake up as every day, you’re making it harder to achieve your goals. By thinking “life would be so much better if I had a better job,” or “when I lose ten kilograms I’ll treat myself to a big splurge,” you may be telling yourself that you aren’t worth those things.

As women, we are often caregivers whether or not we have children. We look after our partners, our friends and our families. Sometimes we are so busy taking care of everyone else that we forget how important we are!

You are worthy of a better job. You are worthy of a big splurge. You are perfect just the way you are because you are YOU. If you want a better job, a bubble bath or a new lipstick, have a bubble bath, buy a lipstick and start job hunting. You deserve those things now in the skin that you woke up in this morning!

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Fig. 1: In a bubble bath with a lipstick on looking for a job.

Maybe some of us are guilty of thinking horrible things about complete strangers, but these thoughts are only a projection of how we might feel about ourselves! I am learning to love myself and others by stopping those thoughts in their tracks and replacing them with positive ones.

Let go of your negative thoughts. You are beautiful inside and out. Every time you catch yourself thinking about how much you hate a part of your body or an aspect of your personality, stop. Embrace it. Write it down. Remind yourself how wonderful you are.

Check out Gala Darling and Alexis Meads – two fabulous and inspiring women who can tell you more about what it means to love yourself and why it is important.

Are you guys guilty of these offenses? Will you commit to loving yourself more? Let me know in the comments!

Article & Review: My Top Ten Online Beauty Shops

The internet can be a scary place. It becomes even scarier when you have to send your hard-earned cash to a stranger in a random country to buy something that you’re not even sure is authentic! Don’t worry guys. I’ve got your asses covered. In no particular order, I present to you my ten favourite websites for online shopping from New Zealand.

1. Cutie & Beautie

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The name of this one can be a little confusing – it’s called “Cutie & Beautie” but the site address is Hikosen-Cara. Nonetheless, I’ve purchased from the lovely people at Cutie & Beautie a couple of times and have always been really impressed with their service.

They sell heaps of my favourite brands like Lioele, Wet N Wild, Elf, China Glaze, Milani, Ardell, Lime Crime, Rimmel, and Urban Decay. They also sell Z Palettes at the cheapest price I’ve seen – I picked up a leopard print one from them not so long ago.

Every time I’ve purchased with Cutie & Beautie they’ve also thrown in a little sample or two as well which is always appreciated. Shipping is fast too – my fastest package from them was within 24 hours!

2. Makeup.co.nz

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Another awesome Kiwi website, Makeup.co.nz shares Cutie & Beautie’s reputation for super-fast shipping, and also sells a number of fantastic products that are harder to find in NZ.

I’ve purchased NYX from them before, and they also sell Sleek, Lime Crime, The Balm, Elf, BeautyBlender, Sigma, Real Techniques, and Duo. I really don’t think you can go wrong with Makeup.co.nz, and recommend them to any NZer that’s looking for high quality brands at good prices with outrageously fast shipping.

3. MAC Cosmetics

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I see a lot of Kiwis in particular asking about where on earth they can purchase MAC online. I’ll let you in on a little secret – the only place you can buy MAC online authentically is from MACcosmetics.com. You can, of course, buy it from Nordstrom, which is a big American department store and authorized MAC retailer, or physically from any of the MAC Counters across New Zealand, but online this is your best bet.

Buying online directly from MAC means that you get to see the newest collections and access them when they’re released in America instead of waiting a month or two for them to get to NZ. You also get the American prices, which means that instead of paying NZ $42 for a lipstick, you’re paying NZ $18 or so instead. Even with shipping included that’s a heck of a lot cheaper!

Because MAC only ship within the US, you have to use YouShop to access this service. I’ve bought things this way about five times now, and have never had any issues. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to stock up on authentic MAC without paying a premium.

4. YouShop

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Speaking of using Youshop, here it is! I’ve listed it in my top ten online beauty shops because it makes buying nearly every American or European cosmetic imaginable about thirty times easier and at a lower cost. It’s not anywhere near as scary as it sounds, and if you’re a Westpac customer you also get a 10% discount.

To use Youshop, you simply sign up for the service which is run by NZ post, and use your YouShop address, which they will provide you with when you sign up, in the shipping address information when you purchase online. Your billing addresses will match wherever your Visa Debit or Credit Card statements are sent to (probably your home address) but make sure that your YouShop address is put down for the shipping.

Once you’ve placed your order and your parcel has been sent from say, Urban Decay to the YouShop warehouse in Oregon, you’ll receive an email from the people at YouShop saying your parcel has arrived. After this, you simply pay the shipping to NZ (usually around $22), confirm where you want it sent to, and voila! Your parcel should arrive within a week or so. Make sure you check http://www.whatsmyduty.org.nz/ before you order to check you won’t get pinged at customs.

5. iherb

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While iHerb looks like a dodgy internet forum from the 90s, you can rest assured that as long as you pick the $8 shipping (PICK THE $8 SHIPPING!), you can safely buy supplements and beauty products and receive them within a week or so direct from the US.

I pick up all my Elf here, and they also sell bdellium brushes, Real Techniques brushes, Physician’s Formula as well as other staples like coconut oil, Lara Bars, protein powder, my Reviva Labs rosewater spray and European clay powder. If you are into health food, come here first. It’s cheaper and faster than getting it anywhere else.

6. Etsy

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Etsy is like your cool older cousin that goes to art school and buys all their clothes from the Hospice Shops with the crazy cat lady for a mother. This translates well in the beauty world. I love trawling Etsy for new indie cosmetics and recently have been really impressed with Impulse Cosmetics and Borne Cosmetics.This Buzzfeed article will sum that up for you. You can also pick up some awesome Kiwi indie nail polishes like Star Kin from Etsy.

7. Beautyjoint

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Beautyjoint, like iHerb, looks like a scam at first, but once you make several purchases, you’ll figure out that actually it’s a treasure trove of outrageously low-priced staples that you won’t be able to look back from. The shipping is based on weight so you pay more depending on what you buy, but don’t let that put you off.

I’ve purchased from here numerous times, mostly fuelled by watching Shaaanxo videos of Wet N Wild lipstick swatches. You can get nearly every brand imaginable here and at American prices too, which means $2.75 for a Wet N Wild lipstick (many of these are MAC colour dupes), $7 or $8 for a Milani blush (dupes for NARS anyone?) and $20 for an OCC lip tar (these are $36 in Auckland!).

They also do Elf, Jordana, NYX, The Balm, Rimmel and more. I cannot get over how low-cost the stuff here is. The shipping is usually only 10 days or so from America which means that by the time it arrives you’ve forgotten you’d ordered it so it’s a nice surprise.

8. Asos

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ASOS is an old friend. While they don’t ship a lot of the higher-end stuff here (Benefit/NARS), their lower-cost brands like Barry M and Bourjois are a GODSEND. Bourjois’ foundation and pressed powders are like nothing else you’ll get for the price, and most of them also smell incredible.

Barry M does the best damned liquid eyeliner I’ve ever used and nothing else can compare. They’re also one of the cheapest places to pick up Rimmel on the internet and the shipping is free and takes about as much time as BeautyJoint to arrive.

9. BeautyNetKorea

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BeautyNetKorea is one of my absolute favourites for Korean skincare and beauty. Don’t even get me started on how wonderful this place is. This is where I pick up my Benton Snail Bee products as well as my Innisfree and Tony Moly. They send you samples with your order and it only takes about a week to arrive. If you haven’t gotten into Korean skincare and cosmetics, this is where you need to start.

10. Urban Decay

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Urban Decay is one of my all-time favourite beauty brands and like with MAC, I use YouShop to retrieve it from America. Out of all the cosmetics I use, I always take pride in using Urban Decay because they make vegan, cruelty free cosmetics as well as the most brilliant eyeshadows I’ve ever used.

Their eye primer is a staple in my makeup collection along with the Naked2 palette, and their lipstick is also famed. I have the electric palette on my wishlist next and having purchased my last Naked2 and primer potion by getting my order sent from here to YouShop, I can highly recommend this site to you too.

I know this was a bit of a different post today but I thought it might be pretty helpful. As a New Zealander there’s often little access to the big brands that America and the UK sell but these are the best ways I’ve found to get there!

Have you shopped with any of these websites? What did you guys think of this post? Let me know in the comments!

Article & Review: Elf Zit Zapping Concealer in Fair

Today I’m going to do a review that has been a long time coming – I’ve had this handy little product for a month or so and it’s gotten a lot of use!

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I purchased this elf Zit Zapping concealer from iHerb for around $3 US and for the price I cannot believe how good this stuff is. I bought the “fair” colour which is very, very pale, but as a super pale person that needs paler-than-a-sheet concealer to conceal some areas of my sheet-coloured face, this suits me just fine.

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It has a slightly annoying applicator, but for the price you can’t really complain. In saying that, I’m almost always annoyed by Elf’s applicators. Nonetheless, I’ve been wiping this product onto a sanitized hand and working from the back of my hand when using this product to prevent the spread of bacteria. It’s important to be sanitary particularly when applying makeup to broken skin and acne, so I recommend you do this too!

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The solution itself has a strong Tea Tree oil smell that fades after a minute or so. It contains Salicylic Acid, Tea Tree, and Camphor which means that it’s a little drying so I wouldn’t put it around your eye area. Despite this, it’s a fantastic concealer if you’re having a breakout, and I picked a day where I had a particularly nasty breakout on my chin to display the magic of this brightening, healing concealer.

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From this close up, you might be able to see that I’ve broken out on my chin and that’s where I’ve used the elf Zit Zapping concealer. I broke out even worse than this a week or so ago and had to put on makeup for work on Saturday then an event on Saturday night. By Sunday evening my blemishes had almost healed and my face was less sensitive and grumpy.

All in all, this is a fantastic product for those days where your skin just isn’t happy with you. It’s not an all-over concealer, but it’s perfect for spot (pun?) applications in places that you don’t want to clog up with product to get a flawless overall look.

What do you think of this concealer? Have you given it a go? Let me know in the comments!

 

Look: Classic Old Hollywood Glamour!

Recently we’ve been studying the makeup and fashion of the 1940s for a film study on the film Casablanca. The film was made in 1942 and is set during the second world war, so the makeup throughout is beautiful and classic.

This is one of my favourite makeup styles and I thought I’d do an old Hollywood glamour style look today. The look is defined by flawless skin, structured brows, and a sultry but elegant eye with a little liner on the top.

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This is what I came up with! Rita Hayworth is my idol, so her look definitely influenced the outcome. Her hair is always On Form so I tried to recreate something that resembled the soft wavy style she has going on below by curling my hair with curling tongs then brushing it through with a comb. Because my hair is so long and thick it didn’t really like holding curls so the effect wasn’t quite as intense!

As you can see below, I winged my liner out a little bit and did my brows a little darker than usual. In hindsight I could have done my brows a little thinner and my wing a little thicker, but I was pleased with the result I got.

I also brought a little dark brown through the crease and kept the lid bright and clean with the colour “Foxy” from the Naked2 Palette. As usual, I bring you a shot of my makeup way closer to my face than you might actually like to see:

DSC08184Overall, I had fun doing a pin-up style look and I think I’m going to go for a red lip more often! I love how bold and classic it looks.

lolWhat do you think of this look? I’d love to see some selfies if you guys have tried out the classic pin-up look too! Let me know in the comments!

 

 

Article & Review: Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade in Blonde

Unless you have been living under a very large rock, you will have heard the beauty blogger hype about the Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade. On Friday I asked you over on the Facebook page if you guys would like to see a review of the stuff.

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I was fortunate enough to have a friend that loves me enough to pick one of these guys up in America while she was travelling. If you’re in NZ like me and you don’t have said friend travelling to America you can always purchase direct from anastasia.net – they ship to NZ!

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Truth be told I’ve had my hot little hands on this pot of magic for a couple of months, but until now I”d only tried it once and had been a little put off by the time it took to apply correctly. I made a second attempt and was very pleased with the results.

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The product itself is a thick, mousse-like consistency and the blonde version that I picked up is the perfect colour – not too warm like some of the blonde brow products can be, but at the same time not too ashy. A little also goes a long way so you don’t need too much!

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Once you’ve got your product ready, you definitely need a brush or two to apply it. I used a small angled brush, a spoolie brush and a small cats tongue brush. After this, I used the tiny cats tongue brush to outline my brows with the pomade like you see below.

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Note I didn’t outline the inner angle of each brow – I combed a spoolie through the brows after this so that there was a gradual fade going on on the lightest part of my brows. You can see this effect below!

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Overall I am really happy with the result here! The Dipbrow Pomade takes a little longer than other brow products to apply but if you’ve got a steady hand and five minutes you’ll be away in no time. I personally wouldn’t put this on to go to the supermarket but it’s definitely my new go-to for a stronger brow.

DSC08021It’s a bolder look than I usually go for but I’m very happy with it – it matches my hair which is something I can’t say about many other brow products, and when I put it on I felt pretty top notch. Overall, I recommend this stuff especially if you’re a fan of the bolder brow.

Have you tried the Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade? What do you think of the results? Let me know in the comments!

Article & Guest Post: What’s In My Bag with Laura from Lauralovesbeautyblog.com!

I was lucky enough to be able to collaborate with the wonderful Laura from Lauralovesbeautyblog.com! If you haven’t checked out Laura’s blog you definitely need to RIGHT NOW. Laura is super lovely and posts heaps of awesome reviews, favourites and hauls and I always look forward to catching up on her posts. 

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Here is my Monday to Friday Bag for all to see! I was actually quite surprised emptying it that there weren’t a few more lost lipsticks – but there was a whole lot of loose coins, I’m practically a coin millionaire now. On the weekends I travel pretty light so this is the most I ever carry around, and so far this year I haven’t had any dramas of really needing something and not having it in my bag so I guess I must be doing something right =)

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1//How long have you had your bag for and where did you get it from?
I have had this bag for just a little over a year now, I got it on sale at Forever New. I went out specially to buy it when I got my new job as I needed a cute bag which would hold all my bits and be able to handle carrying paperwork home now and then. It’s a lot different to the type of handbag I would usually buy – it’s a bit more sturdier and structured, but it does the job! However I think it will get replaced very soon after my big trip to Thailand at the end of the year.

2//What is the one product or thing that you can’t walk out of the house without?
I always no matter what have my cell phone and wallet on me – or at least my phone and my debit card. But apart from those two I never, ever leave the house without a lip balm. After a long time of being on Roaccutane (heavy acne medication) I still suffer the side effect of quite dry lips years later. At the moment it’s an EOS Lip Balm in Passionfruit, before that my must have was Maybelline Baby Lips and I also have my Linden Leaves Lip Treatment as a back up.

3//Do you prefer to travel light or have everything and anything you might need on you at all times?
Honestly, I’ve gone from one extreme to the next! I use to have to have everything and anything on me at all times, however now I’m quite different. For my usual work day I have my essentials on me plus a few extras, but on the weekends out shopping or lunching I like to travel as light as possible. I just hate having to carry heaps around! Catch me at the mall on the weekend and I’ll probably just have my wallet on me with a MAC lipstick stuffed inside it. When it comes to a vacation or packing for an overnight trip though it’s a complete different story!

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4//How often do you clean out your bag and wallet?
Not as often as I should. It’s always a missing earring or lipstick that forces me to clean out my bag, and a wallet overflowing with receipts which is screaming out for a sort out. Overall though they both stay pretty tidy as I hate not being able to find things when I really need too. Last time I cleaned my bag out was a few weeks ago when my puppy decided to have a rummage through it – luckily there was no damage and just a piece of dog biscuit.

5//List five must have products to always have in a hand bag.
Oh my, this is actually a bit of a hard one! Okay, apart from the obvious essentials (keys,cell phone,wallet) here are my top 5.
1. A non-coloured lip balm. 2. Whichever lip stick I am currently wearing at the time. 3. Small pack of tissues. 4. Hand cream. 5. Panadol – seriously the amount of times I have saved my or someone else’s day by having a few painkillers in my bag, you never know when you’ll need them.

Thank you so much Laura – loved reading your answers! You can check out Laura’s post where I show you what’s in MY bag over at lauralovesbeautyblog.com. Be sure to follow her on Twitter for updates too – just click the link!

Article & Review: Jessup Brushes – Worth the Hype?

Friends; country(wo)men, lend me your ears. For some time now, I have been hearing a lot about the Jessup brushes from eBay. All over Auckland I have been hearing; “Have you heard about the new Jessup brushes?” “JESSUP BRUSHES ARE AMAZING,” “I hear that one time they were used by John Stamos on a plane and he thought they were pretty good brushes.” You get the gist.

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As a beauty blogger and makeup artist, I felt as though it was my duty to order these and try them out. At less than the price of half a MAC brush in New Zealand, I could get an entire set of face and eye brushes from eBay – surely it was too good to be true?

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Behold – these brushes. I am here to tell you that it wasn’t too good to be true. These brushes are the Real Deal and are a hell of a lot better than other brushes I’ve paid more $$$ for. They compare to my Sedona Lace brush, and while they lack the finesse of my MAC 217 and many of my Bdellium Tools brushes, they are still Very Very Good, and indeed, better than others I’ve used.

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I’m not sure exactly what they’re made of but they feel synthetic and super soft. They are just as soft as my Real Techniques brushes and feel beautiful on the skin. One of the bigger face brushes I got compares to my Sedona Lace 480 – it’s a similar density, shape and size, and does a very good job! All of the brushes I received were similarly dense and soft, although the density isn’t quite as firm as some of my favourite face and eye brushes.

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I also am really impressed with the eye brushes – this one in particular compares to my MAC 217 and one of my favourite Bdellium blending brushes as pictured below. Sometimes I have issues cleaning my Bdellium brushes because when I use some of the lower-quality products they tend to stain the white bristles. This won’t be as much of an issue with these brushes, however, as most of the bristles are black.

DSC07989Overall, I cannot believe how many brushes you get for the price. I am also super amazed at the quality of these, and I know that I’m not the only one! I bought these off eBay here so just click the link if you want to get in on the Jessup action.

Have you heard of the Jessup brushes? Would you try them out? Let me know in the comments!