Xtava: The Essential Brushes Kit; Make-up/Cosmetic Brushes 7 piece set with carrying case #Review #Xtava

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I have a large assortment of cosmetic brushes and price point does not guarantee a brush will perform well or even last with proper care. I have had free ones sent by cosmetic companies, brushes I bought a la carte, to full sets I purchased at Costco and let us not forget the make-up counter at department stores. This taught me a lot about how a brush is made matters and where a synthetic one is needed for such application and where a “real hair” one will only do. Some companies blend some of the tips to give you the best of both worlds (i.e. synthetic with real), so I am not closed minded to those either. My motto is to always have two of each style I can count on and if one does not work, it gets used in an art project or if it has no hope (drops every bristle ever put on it’s pretty little head), it gets sent into the trash can. The last thing I want is looking like a cat lady with bristles all over me when I don’t even own a cat!

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Xtava is a company I have reviewed for in the past, so when they offered their make-up brushes for review, this was a new territory for me. I have reviewed hair tools but not cosmetic ones and you bet I was eager to see what they were all about!

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When the box arrived from Xtava, I loved the carrying case because each brush has a home. I have 3 carrying cases and learned this is the best way to keep the bristles from getting damaged or picking up anything that may be looming in your cosmetic bag, train case or even drawer. It also ends the hunting game in finding the one you need, like that eye-liner (slanted one) that likes to hide because sticks on brushes look all alike when you woke up late in the morning to get ready.

Xtava supplied me with seven gorgeous brushes:

  1. Large Powder Brush- for foundation powders to setting/finishing powders
  2. Medium Foundation Brush- that I use for my wet foundation and to blend out any concealer I went to heavy on
  3. Contour Brush- that can be used as a blush one too and/or with bronzers and luminizers
  4. Eye-shadow Brush- which is the perfect width to apply shadows, both wet and dry
  5. Blending Brush- that I use to define the arch above my eye to blending out creases and let us not forget the perfect smokey eye look
  6. Angle Brush- that saves me money and creates a better look when you use your eye-shadow to create your own eyeliner and/or can be used to set powder/wax on your eyebrows
  7. Lip Brush- which collapses so if need be and is perfect in size to carry in your purse

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When the brushes arrived, I quickly washed them and set them out to air dry. The following day, I began playing and applying a variety of versions of the same cosmetics I have. I used baked eye-shadows, loose powder to the type you just dab and don’t blend. The eye-shadow brush did well with all, as did the blending one. The blending one was also good at applying concealer and highlighter to the upper arch area of my eye. Both brushes I washed in between uses and after use, and I only saw one shed one bristle onto a towel when I dried it. The tips of the brushes always went back to their original shape each time after use and wash.

When it came to the foundation brush, I tend to blend best with my fingers but always touch up under my eyes with a foundation brush. The Xtava one performed just as well as my $50 one from Prescriptives. I could not tell the difference between the side I used one or the other.

The large powder brush dropped a few bristles (3 whole and one sectioned) but I attribute it to being new. I do not use face powder with tint, but more of a finishing and setting powder that goes over my foundation and only in my T-zone areas. I was happy with the application but this was the only brush out of the entire set that I was luke-warm about. I did not dislike it or love it, but it gets kept just in case my favorite one fails me one day.

The contour brush, I used to apply bronzer to my cheeks and a little on my nose, chin and forehead. I just like to slightly warm up my face but never to achieve any fake-o tan look. The brush picked up each time the proper amount of powder and distributed it evenly.

The angle brush, I used to apply a wet baked shadow to create both a “cat’s eye” and to apply half way to the bottom lashes using dry eye-shadow. The brush did what I told it to do and that is a plus in my book. I know I can always correct using q-tips but I aim when doing my own line, to never need it. I slightly arched the ends and the liner applied beautifully on top. When it came to my bottom lashes, I used a shimmery shadow and opted to not wet the product, again the brush blotted nicely to where I wanted the shadow with zero flecks jumping onto my cheeks. This is my favorite and will be replacing a frayed one of the same kind that needs to go to brush heaven!

Last but not least, the lip brush. I use lipsticks, tints and glosses and sometimes even powder to create the look I want. Half the time I only know I start with a lip balm first to hydrate my lips while I do my make-up and then I throw everything (blotting in between a few times) until I create the look I want. I used the brush and I’m sure with all the above products but I got so much into my make-up, that all I know is I washed it when I finished and then realized, “oh, I was using the new brush”. That is a good thing because it means it did not disrupt “the process” and did what I wanted it to, when I need it to.

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Verdict:
For $20 the only other set that surprised me and I still have brushes from years later, is a set I purchased at Costco that was being cleared out by a major brand. It’s one of those things I had to grab then because that chance and price point would never come to fruition ever again. It’s nice to know that Xtava does not believe in bleeding the pocket book like so many other companies do. It’s economical and 4 of the brushes performed as well as my expensive branded ones and even my favorite ones. There was no difference other than the price point and I only mind that when it’s a lot and thankfully with Xtava, it’s not. ūüôā

Connect with Xtava and all their products at:

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Xtava.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

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Essence Cosmetics: Essence Lip Stick in Miss Peachy (67) #Beauty #Review #ExpressyourEssence

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Product Retails for about: $2.99

Lip #1 Lip #2

I did not wear any foundation around my lips or lip liner in these pictures but thankfully the subtle shimmer takes attention away from all that. They say a good mascara and a good colored lipstick can be used when you are in a hurry and out the door!  You know those mornings you hit the off button versus the snooze button, and this peach with a touch of coral hues would do the trick. Easy to apply and not long wearing, but once you gather your thoughts and make it to work, you can touch-up and smile like nothing happened. The nice part is when it wears down, you are left with super soft lips that look beautiful.

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Connect with Essence and their entire beauty collections at:

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I received the above product free of charge from Essence.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Lip #3

Essence Cosmetics: Essence Kajal Eye Pencil in Beach Bum #Beauty #Review #ExpressyourEssence

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Product Retails for about: $0.99

IMAG0830Being new to the Essence eye pencil line, I trusted the formula because of my past experience with the Long Lasting Eye Pencil and I was so right! I could use the eyeliner and without a hiccup you get a nice smooth line that did not break or bump when applied. It just flows with the shape of your eye and no tugging on the skin. I usually do best on my first strokes, so this gave me a flawless liner that looked beautiful. The blue color is gorgeous and perfect for a day at the beach or for me, a day by the pool. This is a pencil you will be happy with and I purposely broke the tip to see how well it sharpens and it sharpened as smoothly as it applies. I again use it and no breakage or pieces dusting off that turn into smears (ooooh, can that ruin a perfect look). At a dollar a piece…….again, I want to kick myself for spending more on eyeliners that did not work half as good as this one does!

 

Connect with Essence and their entire beauty collections at:

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I received the above product free of charge from Essence.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Essence Cosmetics: Essence Lash Mania Reloaded Mascara #Beauty #Review

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Product Retails for about: $4.99

 

Wand's brush

Wand’s brush

I used this mascara in all the pictures! I love the brush and formula. I know they say non-department store mascaras perform the same or even better but that has not always been the case for me. I will find a great formula but it would come with a lousy brush and I have resorted to using a brush from another brand to make it work. I sort of did not really like having to wash it each time after use. Essence got both right and it all comes packed in one tube! Yes!!!! Finally, because black icky hands in the morning made me cringe at thinking of washing that wand again. The formula on the Lash Mania lengthens and also plumps your lashes, but without a fake-o look. I look like I was born with naturally long lashes. I only applied one (heavy) coat first, then the second coat used mostly for directing and setting the lashes. I did not want to obscure the eye shadows I was testing but when I was done taking pictures, I did apply a good 2-coat application and you can get some long looking lashes that are minus the clumps. Me-likey ūüôā

Mascara

Lash Mania Reloaded Mascara with Metal Glam Frosted Apple (03) from the Essence Spring 2014 collection

 

Connect with Essence and their entire beauty collections at:

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I received the above product free of charge from Essence.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Essence Colour & Go Nail Polish in Give me Nude, Baby (152) #Review #Nails

Essence Polish

 

Product Retails for approximately; $1.99

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This color of nail polish ¬†is not your typical nude/sheer and actually gives your nails a touch of shimmer. It’s very soft and think of a white colored pearl effect, minus the rainbow hues. I was able to test out and this polish in an easy one-coat application. You get nice settling and an even finish due to that unique brush Essence uses. You can also build up and intensify the white color by adding a second coat. The picture reflects how many coats I used and the #2 nail looks whiter because I used a thin first coat and a thicker second coat. Nail #3 is three coats, all thin and waiting in between for the polish to dry. I experienced a quick dry and by the time I completed polishing on my tenth nail, I could start again. 10 minutes under a fan and this testing was done with zero clear top coats, base or ridge filler polishes. Essence’s nail polish also lasts and you can’t beat the price point of $1.99 a bottle! The 2 buck price point makes the Essence Colour & Go Nail Polish line great when it comes to those trendy colors you want to try and are unsure about, to even using them as part of your Nail Art formulas.

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Connect with Essence and their entire beauty collections at:

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I received the above product free of charge from Essence.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

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Essence Cosmetics: French Manicure & Pedicure Pen for #Nails #Review

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Product Retails for approximately: $2.49
Finally, an art pen that works as it should! The pen dispenses a beautiful white colored nail polish, which dries quickly. The flow of the polish is steady so you can easily control how much you want. Coverage evens out nicely and you can even do designs, so this pen for your nails is not limited to a French Manicure. I enjoyed using it and was able to get a white perfect tip with ease on my first try.

French Pen

I found using Essence’s “Give me Nude, Baby (152)” gives you a nice perfect finish and also fills in any voids, for a flawless look. The shimmer is soft so you get a nice day to night look that is classy and different from the typical pinks with¬†white French Manicures. I never thought of buying a pen and usually would “free-style it” but I always goofed on one or two nails and needed a redo. No errors means I can finish quicker and no awkward moments while trying to take off the polish of the nails you error on, while keeping the ones you are happy with untouched.

Heart French

Connect with Essence and their entire beauty collections at:

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I received the above product free of charge from Essence.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Essence Cosmetics: #Essence Metal Glam in Jewel Up Ocean (01) #Review #Beauty

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With Spring in full swing and experiencing close to 100 degree weather in California, the heat has definitely arrived. A new season means a new look and time to play with colors. Essence Cosmetics offers you to play with beauty products at a very economical price point. Affordable does not mean you should overlook this brand because it does deliver performance and I’m always for less “ouch” on the pocketbook and more glam added to my beauty box.

Pictures are untouched and I did not even put foundation on or any eye primers. I wanted to test the colors and products on their own, so I could attribute quality and performance 100% to the product I was trying. No fake lashes and just some brow gel and pencil because a girl must have tamed eyebrows ūüôā

Essence Metal Glam in Jewel Up Ocean (01):

Product Retails for approximately: $2.99

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Jewel Up Ocean

Don’t be fooled by the blue and sparkle. Yes, you get a shimmer glow but not crazy like a disco ball. Pigmentation in this line varies by color and this one was medium but can easily be built up or down to suit your needs. Easy to apply and not like other shimmer/glitter pods, this color does not scratch. The shimmer is kind to your eyelid and stays nicely in place. I went with an ocean waters look by swiping the blue eye shadow and then using a black colored liner to get a nice “cat eye” look. I did the same on the lower lashes.

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Swiped first with Jewel Up Ocean and then with black pencil and touched up with more eye shadow

Blue Shadow

Before applying mascara, blend colors to create a “wave” look.

Connect with Essence and their entire beauty collections at:

  • On-line–¬†http://¬†essence-cosmetics.com
  • Twitter–¬†https://twitter.com/essence_US
  • Facebook–¬†https://www.facebook.com/essence.north.america
  • Pinterest-http://www.pinterest.com/essencecosmetic/
  • Instagram–¬†http://instagram.com/essence_cosmetics
  • #ExpressyourEssence¬†

 

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I received the above product free of charge from Essence.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Essence: Long Lasting Eye Pencil in Hot Scorch (19) #Beauty #Review

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With Spring in full swing and experiencing close to 100 degree weather in California, the heat has definitely arrived. A new season means a new look and time to play with colors. Essence Cosmetics offers you to play with beauty products at a very economical price point. Affordable does not mean you should overlook this brand because it does deliver performance and I’m always for less “ouch” on the pocketbook and more glam added to my beauty box.

Pictures are untouched and I did not even put foundation on or any eye primers. I wanted to test the colors and products on their own, so I could attribute quality and performance 100% to the product I was trying. No fake lashes and just some brow gel and pencil because a girl must have tamed eyebrows ūüôā

Essence Long Lasting Eye Pencil in Hot Scorch (19):

Product Retails for approximately: $2.49

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Love this pencil and I’m not always a user of the non-sharpening kind but the glide and pigmentation of copper and golden tones is just too beautiful to pass up. You can use it as an eye liner or even blend it in for a smoky eye look. The formula lasts no matter the weather and I have used this paired with eye shadows or just alone. The color is gorgeous and the metallic flecks add life to your liner but not like you went to glitter town. I will definitely be picking up more in this collection and I feel foolish for paying so much and not nearly getting the staying power this liner has. I used it with the 3D Duo Eyeshadow to give my daytime “natural look” a little touch from the copper goddess. Looks so beautiful outside when the sun hits your eyes……almost seems a shame to wear sun glasses!

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Connect with Essence and their entire beauty collections at:

  • On-line–¬†http://essence-cosmetics.tumblr.com/
  • Twitter–¬†https://twitter.com/essence_US
  • Facebook–¬†https://www.facebook.com/essence.north.america
  • Pinterest-http://www.pinterest.com/essencecosmetic/
  • Instagram–¬†http://instagram.com/essence_cosmetics

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I received the above product free of charge from Essence.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Essence Cosmetics: 3D Duo Eyeshadow #Review in Irresistible Vanilla latte

 

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With Spring in full swing and experiencing close to 100 degree weather in California, the heat has definitely arrived. A new season means a new look and time to play with colors. Essence Cosmetics offers you to play with beauty products at a very economical price point. Affordable does not mean you should overlook this brand because it does deliver performance and I’m always for less “ouch” on the pocketbook and more glam added to my beauty box.

Pictures are untouched and I did not even put foundation on or any eye primers. I wanted to test the colors and products on their own, so I could attribute quality and performance 100% to the product I was trying. No fake lashes and just some brow gel and pencil because a girl must have tamed eyebrows ūüôā

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Essence 3D Duo Eyeshadow in Irresistible Vanilla Latte (08):

Product Retails for approximately for: $3.49

Each compact provides you with two options when applying, wet or dry and the colors do look different with either application. Easy to pick-up onto the brush and I used both a natural and synthetic brush head. I noticed the eyeshadow has a beautiful shimmer effect and you can play with the intensity of color by building it up, so great for day looks that can pop with a little touch-up for a night out. The formula feels soft on the lid and settles smoothly. I used the dry method on my lid with the wet application on the crease towards the outer corner of the eye. It took me 5 minutes to get a nice natural look and I paired it with Essence’s Hot Scorch color from the Long Lasting Eye Pencil line.

Connect with Essence and their entire beauty collections at:

  • On-line–¬†http://essence-cosmetics.tumblr.com/
  • Twitter–¬†https://twitter.com/essence_US
  • Facebook–¬†https://www.facebook.com/essence.north.america
  • Pinterest-http://www.pinterest.com/essencecosmetic/
  • Instagram–¬†http://instagram.com/essence_cosmetics

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I received the above product free of charge from Essence.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Essence: The Spring 2014 Collection from Eyeshadows, Nail polishes, Nail Tattoo Pen to Lipstick #Reviews coming soon!

Get ready to see what Essence Cosmetics has brought for you –IMG_20140503_143849¬†Spring 2014. ¬†Sneak Peak Below and I will be launching reviews soon!

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