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. 🙂

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.

Paula Dorf New York: Perfect Color collection, Ecstasy color #Review #PaulaDorf

 

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Paula Dorf is a cosmetic company that carries lines from lip products, make-up brushes, eye-shadows, and even nails……you name it and Paula Dorf carries it, along with products that are of their own creation. This is where the Perfect Color collection lands because one tube of color is perfect for eyes, lips, and cheeks. Pretty simple and for me it’s a take on the mascara + lipstick and go= for those days I want to blame my alarm did not go off but in reality I’m moving at a snail’s pace.

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I have tried like products in the past from Nars and other companies so the concept is not new to me. I saw the tag at the bottom, which features the name of the color and due to the intensity of the color, I assumed it was a basic pink tag and not representing the color inside. Oh, so I wish I was wrong and the tag was even down played! I then think maybe the pigment looks intense but once I swipe, the color will apply and come off smoother and just be more likable. Um, I tried my lips and the product reminded me of make-up I wore in Junior High. You know when fluorescent pinks and hues were the “it” colors, I admit I wore some of them and I would have waited in line at Wet Seal and Contempo to score this back then BUT even then I cared about how a product felt and applied. I assume again maybe I need to exfoliate my lips and let’s blame the way the color floats and feels smothering and dry, on my own lips. I continue onward and realize my Husband is in the kitchen finishing up dinner while I’m doing this. I apply on my cheeks and even just dabbing lightly onto my finger’s tip and patting on softly, to then blending in……I don’t even look like I’m stuck blushing or had a bad sun burn, I look sort of clown-ish and I actually laugh at my own reflection. Being always positive, I still go forward because the package says eyes, lips, and cheeks and my eyes are just left to attack. I blame the box at this point and I use the left-over product from my cheek onto my eyes and I finally realize that I’m looking younger but not in a good way. I’m no longer in Junior High but now I’ve entered Elementary and when my parents bought me “Barbie” make-up and they were shocked that it was real make-up (after they saw my creation the next morning).

The box states, “light and creamy in flattering shades”. The product was:

  • Almost too powdery and felt like talc, sort of like corn starch feels in between your fingers. This makes blending a bear and also results in making your pores look larger than they are. So if you want to play opposites and show off all your pores can be, this is the stick for you.

 

  • Creamy it is not and because of that talc feeling I mentioned, it feels tacky and little sticky. Then when it sets, it dries on and is hard to take off. It also feels heavy on the skin and almost smothering. So, you show off your pores and then punish them by not letting them get any air!

 

  • Flattering shades…..this I can’t comment for the entire collection in this line because the website did not show this product and/or any of it’s kind. This shade goes beyond flattering or going with any skin tone. Think about that statement chair that people buy for a room that has no rules but is that wow piece…..this is this item but the statement piece is what drowned everything else out and when you think of that room, you can only picture that chair! I can’t even call it a color you can wear at night because sooner or later you will walk under a light and please forgive anyone that asks you if you are okay, you will look sickly pink if you really blended or bug bitten if you did light pats when applying.

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Back to my Husband making dinner and his reaction to the child that found a marker……..the man said, “what the …. “and even tried helping me. Maybe you put too much on and tried saving the one eye I made up by removing the pink off with a tissue. Pinky is winning. It won’t come off. It loves me. I tried oil and found that the color can be blended better with 1 drop of oil but then I was slicky pink. After washing my face, my wonderful Husband asks me to please not put that on and what the heck was it. I explain to him and all he hears is it’s and all-in-one product and he reminds me to repeat what we say about all-in-one products in this house, “they are not even good at doing one thing”. I thank Captain Obvious even though he did try to rescue me and even after dinner said there was nothing flattering or pretty about that stuff. I again promise to play “no touchies” with it.

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This was a difficult review to write. I looked at Paula Dorf’s site and spent a good 30 minutes getting lost and seeing so many pretty and interesting products. It was hard to believe this item came from the same company I was seeing on the screen. It did not match the style, quality or image the company has. It’s a goof and it has to be. It did not help not finding the product on the website until I clicked all products and saw that it was retailing for $32 and now for $16. Maybe this is an oops stick I got because the paragraph on the site talks about shimmering accents and this has none. I can say that the pigments are ultra powerful and come with Hulk strength that I wish my eye-shadows held!

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  • Promotions:

With each blog readers purchase, they will receive the gift of Paula Dorf’s mini No Color Glimmer, a gorgeously soft, lightweight powder to complete your look! The perfect accent to Ecstasy.
USE CODE: ECSTASY

Paula Dorf is giving away a makeup kit full of some of their favorite products! You can enter for a chance to win this Paula Dorf makeup kit ($125 value) here:https://promosimple.com/ps/66b5

 

Connect with Paula Dorf Cosmetics at:

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Paula Dorf.  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 🙂

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: 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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