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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sephora Pro-Platinum/I.T. Brushes Move Up to the Front of the Line!

I have to admit, I've never been one to be terribly impressed with the Sephora brand. Sephora store, yes. Sephora brand, no. I can see how difficult it is for Sephora to compete with the dozens of other high-end and more popular brands it carries along side of its own line. A little birdie in the shape of a Sephora make-up artist told me that the Sephora brand is actually very good and that most of the stuff is a direct copy of some of the more popular comparable brands in the store. Having never tried anything from the Sephora brand with the exception of some of the tools and accessories like the liner sharpeners or eye make-up remover, I formed my opinions based solely upon the ever common method of judging a book by its cheap cover. However, the Sephora Professional-Platinum and the I.T. brush line shattered my ignorance forever. No longer did I breeze by the Sephora labeled products with immediate dismissal. 

My make-up snobbery was put in its place when I purchased the #48 Professional Platinum bronzer brush. A little background: Sephora has four different brush lines each differing in price according to their quality. The Pro-Platinum line is the second tier category on the Sephora brush food chain. But I didn't purchase this bronzer brush for its stated purpose because its a bit dense for that and at the time I thought that was how you were supposed to use it. After thinking about it I realized that Sephora probably meant it was a good brush to blend bronzer with. So when you put it that way, its perfect. Nevertheless, I chose this pretty silver brush to apply mineral powder foundation because specifically for its density. A dense brush gives you the ability to achieve a more full coverage look. And if you are a little dense, "dense" means tightly packed bristles in this case. On the other hand, a fluffy brush (much like the one I am reviewing next paragraph) spreads the product around in a much thinner layer of distribution and therefor is good for light coverage or the application of bronzing powder when you want a more natural glow as opposed to a "just smeared dirt across my cheekbones" look. Hows that for a quick brush lesson? Moving on, the bronzer brush works amazing for the purpose I bought it for. It works hand in hand with my Korres Mineral Powder Foundation (another amazing product, review and comparison to Bare Minerals to come later) to give me an even, full coverage, and perfectly blended foundation look. An added bonus is that it is the single best tool in my make-up drawer(s) to blend blush and bronzer with. All too often we apply too much of either/both of these products and sometimes reach for a wash cloth and start over. You don't have to with this brush. If you apply to0 much product, just simply dip the brush into your powder (whether it be mineral, loose, pressed, etc) and go over the area that the blush or bronzer threw up on and blend your little heart out. Blend it so that you take your look from porn star to pep rally or stop somewhere in the middle where I like to hover. And I love brushes with white hair. I just love white hair period. I don't know why because it drives me crazy when I can see the make-up on that hard to keep clean color choice but I just think they look pretty. Overall, great multi-tasking brush whose price rivals that of Mac or other comparable brands. Oh no, don't get it twisted, just because its the Sephora brand doesn't make it cheap. Retail price $34

In keeping with the theme of Sephora powder brushes, I bring you the large powder brush from the I.T. line. An abbreviation for "Intelligent Tools", it's the top of the four tier level of Sephora brush lines. This is said to be the make-up artist quality brush line that uses innovative technology to accomplish this goal. Its super soft goat hair bristles allow you to apply your loose or pressed powder all over the face to achieve a natural light coverage, can also be used with a setting powder over your foundation, or to apply a thin veil of bronzer all over the face. Added bonus: the very cool plastic flip top lid that protects the brush and holds the bristles together to keep them in the right direction. So cool that I forgot to include it in the photo. Trust me on this one. I love this concept. I have to admit I don't store my brushes in a very useful or creative way. I don't sit in front of a vanity that has been passed down to me from my grandmother where all of my make-up and tools can sit in any type of organized fashion with the use of a beautiful vase to house and display my brushes. There is no method to my make-up madness. Rather, my brushes are strewn around in a disorderly fashion and half of the time I can't find the one I want to use. I vowed to never mix them into my make-up bag to risk depositing color all over the place and making a mess but I broke that vow pretty much immediately after making (vowing?) it. Hence my appreciation fore the plastic flip top brush protector. It gives me peace of mind when throwing my brushes around like rag dolls. And the most simple and best part of this brush? Its so soft. This ingredient is key to the love-ability of a brush that you are going to use in continuous circular and sweeping motions on an often sensitive area of the body. The fact that I don't own just one or two specific brand of brushes makes it difficult to take each of these Sephora brushes and compare it to something else I use so that I can give you a better idea of what this brush is like. The best I can come up with is the Mac 150 large powder brush. I used to have this and I sold it. Does that tell you anything? It would have been a half-way decent brush had it been soft. Mine wasn't soft. Maybe I got a faulty brush but in any event, it sucked. I actually think I drew blood when I applied my powder in a hurry. 4200 scratches and cat excuses later, I wised up and sold it. I hope that person has one tough epidermis. Retail $40.

Lastly, and also a very big surprise for reasons other than its amazingness, is the Sephora Professional Platinum Concealer Airbrush brush. The surprise part of this is that I did a swap with a girl who actually lives just a couple of hours from me and she threw this brand new brush in my package for the sheer sake of just giving it to me. Not swapping it to me or selling it to me but giving it to me. That's right people, sometimes there are those in this world that do amazing and kind things for others without being prompted or forced to at gunpoint. And to be quite honest, in today's cold and bitter world, I don't even know if a gun pointed to the temple would be an extreme enough motivational tactic to get some people to budge on their selfish and hateful ways. Yikes, I sound like one of them. Quick, say something nice. Thank you Christin, you totally made my day and my under-eye concealer look like perfection with your generous and unexpected gesture. So the way this brush works is that its dense and tightly packed bristles form a round shape that is similar to stiff and full eyeshadow blending brush. This is not the typical flat concealer brush that you pack the product on with and then blend it either using your fingers or another tool that will do that job for you. This brush does it all. Now, this isn't a multi-purpose concealer brush that you can use to cover small imperfections like blemishes and sun spots. It may be too thick and large to cover that small area without going way outside of the lines. Instead, I use it for under eye concealer application and blending as well as blending other areas that I apply concealer that aren't a specific spot or area that needs obvious concealing. For instance, those red and blotchy areas or places that you may have a patch of freckles you want to tone down but still acknowledging that its impossible to completely cover them. Sometimes foundation just doesn't cut it and concealer is what the job calls for. This brush will blend the concealer to a point where it doesn't look cakey or obvious but rather a better coverage foundation for certain areas begging to be hidden. At first when I looked at this brush, I thought it was an eyeshadow blending brush which it would also be perfect for. After all, denseness is the most important quality in any brush whose purpose it is is to blend and dull those harsh lines created by eyeshadow or face products. In my opinion, this can be viewed a multi-purpose brush because as well as the aforementioned skills that this brush can master, I have in addition used it to apply a setting powder to the under eye area post-concealer application as well as to brush highlight powder to my upper cheek bones. And later I am going to have this brush read my daughter a story and put her to bed.      
Retail $24.

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