Shiseido Perfect Foundation Brush – Best Brush Ever?

Nothing makes me happier than finding that ‘perfect’ product and my brush addiction is a testament to that statement.. where other women might collect shoes, I collect brushes – if it is a different texture, color, use, hair type, cut, weight, etc. I will find an excuse to buy it! Of all the brushes I have, the last thing I need is another foundation brush but after reading lots of rave reviews on the Shiseido Perfect Foundation Brush, I could not resist falling for this stunningly angular marvel.

The brush is marketed as a mix between Japanese brush expertise and Shiseido’s own technology, as such the 100% synthetic brush (which is extremely soft) can be used with creams and powders. The brush is a blunt edge that is slanted which helps the bristles not only pick up the foundation but also buff in the product evenly and precisely for a flawless finish. The maximize control, the brush handle is shorter than regular brushes at around 4.5 inches long – which makes it perfect for taking on the go. The size may not be to everyone’s liking, but I found it easy to maneuver across my face and control.

For people who like REALLY light applications, one thing to note is that you will need smaller amounts of foundation as this really gets product onto your skin. The first few times I used this with the Koh Gen Do foundation, I got ‘medium’ coverage when I really want that ‘natural-light’ coverage. This might not be the best brush to use if you like to ‘build up’ product from a subtle light layer. I learned to adjust the amount I pumped out and all was right again, as a bonus I now get more mileage out of my foundation!

Over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed myself picking up this brush over my Tom Ford and Chanel foundation brush because it applies so fast and easily once you get used to it. Due to its shape, cleaning it is a slightly more difficult as you can’t just ‘swirl’ the gunk off. The brush is very dense and picks up foundation so well that it is a little hard to move when you clean it so be sure to be on top of cleaning it before product accumulates.

I’ve been saving the BEST part of this product for last… it retails for $30! I know this is hardly ‘economical’ but compared to it’s counterparts and the league it is in performance wise, this is such a great price point! The brush is high quality and will last long enough to make it a legitimate investment. I would say, if you can afford $30 foundation, you should definitely take the plunge on this brush!

$30, at Bergdorf Goodman

Concealer Overview

clockwise top to bottom: Hourglass Hidden Corrective Concealer($32), Edward Bess Platinum Concealer ($38), Ellis Faas Concealer ($40), By Terry Touche Veloutee ($58), Tarte Smooth Operator ($22), Clea de Peau Beaute Concealer ($70), Vapour Organic Beauty Illusionist Concealer ($22)

I recently had this conversation with a few guy friends who work in the beauty dept of Vogue which is “how much makeup is too much makeup?” I think somewhere along the line, there was a paradigm shift and it was no longer in vogue (pun intended) to be too obvious. You see gorgeous girls on Intothegloss espousing skincare parsed lightly with minimal makeup, and beauty magazines now tell you how to do the ‘natural’ look. Food, makeup, boobs – everything has to feel organic and natural now. A few of my guy friends said they draw the line at eye makeup and mainly do foundation and concealer. A few also said foundation is not necessary if you have good skin and that concealer to illuminate and hide spots might be all you need. It seemed clear to me that concealer was the ‘gateway’ product for most people. 

Working in the beauty department has its perks, mostly I get to take things home! Without that perk, I would not be able to compile this list of my observations on the top concealers in the market today. I know that concealers can last a long time, so it is really important especially for high-end beauty products that the products do what they say. 

Clea de Peau Beauty Concealer: This concealer has won more awards than any other concealer on this list. Beauty editors and interns swear by this stuff, and this has become one of the most ordered stock products at Neiman Marcus/Bergdorf. At $70, it is the most expensive stick concealer on my list, however if you want a concealer that will be reliably high quality- look no further. This stuff has great coverage, looks natural, retains wear after 10 hours, doesn’t shift/melt, and doesn’t crease. It applies like silk, and is easily blendable. The only minor con to this product is it doesn’t offer a great range of tone so unless you tend to be fair to light-olive toned, you might have a harder time finding the right match.

Hourglass Hidden Corrective Concealer: Hourglass kind of came onto the scene with their Veil line of foundation and primer. I think they’re best known for their primer, although it breaks me out so badly. The Hidden Corrective Concealer retails for $32, half the price of Clea de Peau— which is still a lot, but the results are very similar. I would say of the stick concealers, this replicates Clea de Peau the most – which is a high compliment. It is very creamy and light, easily blendable and extremely undetectable. The hue is slightly darker than Clea de Peau and the coconut oil and Vitamin E make it a little more buttery which is great if you’re in a dry place or for winter – but for people with oily skin, try to sample this first.

Tarte Smooth Operator Concealer: I really don’t think Tarte gets the respect it deserves amongst luxury beauty products. It is more Sephora/QVC than Barneys, however they make really good products and try to steer clear of not-so-good ingredients. The Smooth Operator Concealer is waterproof and loaded with Vitamins A/C and soothing Amazonian clay to balance skin. It completely hid the dark circles under my eye. It goes on matte, is buttery, and doesn’t flake or slip after a full day. At $22, this is the best value on the list. The only minor issue is that for me, I’ve noticed after a day of wear, my smile lines are somewhat accentuated but when I reapplied, this problem went away quickly. Although Tarte isn’t a ‘clean’ company, it does make efforts to put only good things in its product, as such they do not use mineral oils, parabens, or synthetic fragrance which a lot of products do use- so I want to commend them for being able to make a comparable product at a reasonable price point while filtering out a lot of the bad ingredients.

Vapour Organic Beauty Illusionist Concealer: The cleanest product on this list bar none. I am a huge fan of Vapour and really want to support clean companies in general. This is also why I don’t want to grade them on a slope, because I truly believe these companies need to put out products that are just as good as traditional products in order to remain competitive. To that end, the Illusionist Concealer is a wonderful product that provides great coverage. It falls short of earning full praise because it is a little on the thick side and there is some creasing after a few hours, especially if you apply under your eyes. The longevity of this product also leaves me wanting more and the colors are a bit too pigmented/dark for my skin tone. With that said, if they reformulate this product, I will be the first in line to try it!

Edward Bess Platinum Concealer: I love a niche product, but this fell short. It made my normal-oily skin look dry, made the dry spots very obvious, and was very heavy. It is the opposite of lightweight and creamy – it felt drying and heavy. I really feel you need to apply a lot of moisturizer before this product will look decent. Also, it only comes in 4 shades! Skip.

By Terry Touche Veloutee Concealer: This is a cream pen that dispenses the product through the brush head. The product is said to hide fine lines and wrinkles with its silky finish. I’ve found this to be true when first applied, however this product dries to almost a powder texture and accentuates tiny flaws. If you want a concealer for a quick event, like a dinner – this is a great product to use as it will illuminate your face, but for anything longer than 2-3 hours, I’d skip it.

Ellis Faas Concealer: Another cream pen option, unlike By Terry, this product doesn’t crease or wrinkle. It stays on very well and needs minimal after-application maintenance. It covers everything a concealer is supposed to with full coverage but with the feel of a light layer. The only negative is the beautiful pen will quickly become your worst nightmare! It doesn’t dispense by click, instead you have to dial the clicker over and over until this weird oil comes out and then it spews out the product. I think some more work needs to be done on the engineering of the packaging because the product is terrific.

My July Must Have Products

(Starting Top-Clockwise: Aesop Tuberose Lip Heal, Byredo Parfums Le Tulipe, Weleda Skin Food, YULI Liquid Courage, Vapour Organics Lipstick, Sunday Riley Cashmere SPF 30, Kahina Cleanser, Guerlain Terracota Bronzer, Sunday Riley Effortless Tinted Primer, Tom Ford Foundation Brush, YULI Panacea Elixir)

Instead of a one-product review, I thought I’d also do a post on what my favorite products have been for the past month. During the summer, my primary focus is taking care of my skin in the hot, sunny weather. These are the products I’ve been using:

1. Aesop Tuberose Lip Heal ($31, Aesop.com) – a gorgeous lip roller that uses a blend of plant and nut oils to deliver gentle hydration. It doubles as a scent which really smells good and kept me from licking it off! 

2. Byredo Le Tulipe ($145, Byredo.com) – The spring/summer scent from Byredo, a very pure, simple fragrance that has a beautiful tulip scent between vetiver and rhubarb notes. This is that perfect scent that once worn a little is the perfect subtle blend whether you’re at the beach or walking to lunch in Manhattan. The price might be a little high, but I love myself a lux-niche product, if you couldn’t tell.

3. Weleda Skin Food ($18.50, Weleda) – A staple for any season, Skin Food is always in my bag for those ‘touch ups’. This is my clean version of the 8-hour cream. It moisturizes rough spots on the hands and arms and leaves skin soft and healthy. Although it is for dry skin, I feel like using a the right amount on any type of skin will provide lots of benefits.

4. YULI Liquid Courage ($125, YULI) – Sun damage and summer go hand in hand. I really wanted a clean, antioxidant serum to protect my skin from the sun and found it with Liquid Courage. It is such a light serum that really sinks into skin and absorbs fast under any SPF and smells fantastic. It uses a blend of antioxidant rich plant seeds and biofermented actives to deliver a potent natural antioxidant kick. My skin is absolutely glowing and radiant from this, while it protects my skin, I have to say, it also gives me the appearance of ‘rest in a bottle’. The price might scare some, but it lasts a long time, and I know that they just launched the option to buy deluxe samples of the products on their website.

5. Vapour Organics Siren Lipstick ($22, Vapour Organics) – Created by some of the brains behind the late, great Kevyn Aucion, Vapour Organics uses clean formulations that provide comparable results to leading cosmetics brands. The Siren Lipstick is the first product I bought from them, after reading about the dangers of lead, carcinogens, and other chemical junk found in most lipsticks on the market. The pigments are very rich and I noticed that unlike a lot of pigmented lipsticks, this also moisturized my lips. I think the blend of castor seed oil and beeswax gives it a lip balm effect, but the high pigmentation makes it a very successful lip stick. A wonderfully made product that will be a staple in my beauty closet.

6. Sunday Riley Cashmere SPF 30 ($125, Sunday Riley) – This isn’t the cleanest SPF on the market, but it might be the most expensive. To be honest, I’m disappointed with the options for sun protection on the market, the luxury brands think for some reason everyone wants a bronzer and spf in one or they stock it with chemicals, while the natural brands tend to go for clunky physical blocks. Sunday Riley Cashmere SPF 30 is kind of that right balance between clean enough and high end. The white fluid sinks into skin very fast and leaves no scent. It didn’t make my skin shiny or oily, nor did it make my skin dry. I think the consistency is perfect, not watery but not clunky.

7. Kahina Cleanser ($56, Kahina) – I’ve mentioned this cleanser on my blog a few times already but I really like it. It’s fortified with nourishing oils for skin but at the same time balances your complexion so skin is not dry or oily. I think the Vitamin E is especially needed to cancel out any sun damage sustained during the day. 

8. Guerlain Terracota Bronzer ($50, Sephora) – The epitome of a natural bronzer. Does not go on orange, or muddy. Just the right shade and density for most skin types, stays on all day. Gives that perfect healthy glow. 

9. Sunday Riley Effortless Tinted Primer ($48, Barneys) – A lot has been said about this primer. I don’t know if the ‘oxygen hole’ technology is marketing hype or if there is a real benefit to it, but I just enjoy this primer for the simple fact that it is like a primer + tinted moisturizer in one. It smooths the skin while adding a little color. I find on my low key days, this is all I need.

10. Tom Ford Foundation Brush ($70, Neiman Marcus) – My favorite brush by a wide margin. Very soft, densely packed brushes with little shed over time. I also love the high-quality ‘heavy’ feel of the brushes. I know that these brushes are made in Japan, which has a reputation for their brush quality. I know it is a white colored brush, but it really does retain this color after many applications and washes. The brushes themselves pick up just the right amount of foundation and are not streaky at all. Makeup goes on seemless and flawless.

11. YULI Panacea Elixir ($36, YULI) – There was my skincare before this product and there is my skincare after this product. Panacea means ‘cure-all’ and this product is exactly that. Some people don’t believe in toning their skin, but after you’ve tried this and see the results, you will be converted! This made my pores so tiny and really firmed up my skin. It’s like a bootcamp in a mist for the face. There is also no alcohol in here, everything is natural and clean. Also, this sets make up really well, and the skincare benefits are delivered throughout the day with this under the makeup so your skin is actually improving as you set your makeup using this product.