Monday, March 2, 2015

SURRATT Face and Cheek Brushes

If you hadn't seen it already, I posted a few months back when Surratt launched the Artistique brushes back in October, 2014 (here) at Barney's.  It's a good initial post with a bunch of pictures and comparisons to some similar SUQQU brushes.  I was pretty happy when I first got these brushes and after several months, a few washes and many uses, I am over the moon with them.

Reiterating a few points from that last post, these are brushes hand crafted in Kumano, Japan.  They are made of exquisite materials and have the prices to reflect the origin and the labor.  These are not cheap brushes.

In terms of really helpful comparisons to other brushes like some Chikuhodo Z's, well, I don't have them.  I can really only relate comparisons to the SUQQU and some other grey squirrel brushes I own.  I thought it would still be helpful or interesting to hear about my thoughts on the merits of the Surratt Face & Cheek brushes on their own.

Both these brushes are described as having blue squirrel hair and I have since learned that the term blue and grey squirrel are used interchangeably.  Hakuhodo site, as an example lists brushes as having blue squirrel hair and I've not seen the term grey squirrel on the site.  灰リス.  I don't think Hakuhodo makes the Surratt Artistique brushes, but wanted to add some color to the terminology used on the materials.

SURRATT Face Brush
The face brush is the squirrel brush I've been yearning for all along apparently!  It has a rounded tip which makes it less directional than the more tapered tip of the SUQQU one.  But the density of the Surratt one makes it more useful for me and my preferences. 

For example, I like these big brushes for a few uses, which is an even distribution of loose powder, a light distribution of bronzer, and/ or an application of Guerlain Meteorite Pearls. 
For what I'm looking for, a bit of density is important. The density of the Surratt allows it to pick up and distributes a fair bit of product (for setting powders) and can also easily swipe away any extra left on the skin.  It ensures even and uncakey application.
The softness of this brush is unreal.  While I appreciate the firmness and ability of my Tom Ford Bronzer brush which pick up pigment and press in powder better due to its sheer size and density, the incredible softness of the Surratt makes it much more gentler option on my skin.

Winter has been brutal on my skin.  While I've been mostly able to keep the flakiness in check, I am constantly fighting redness and sensitivity which is exacerbated often by physical irritation.  The Surratt Face brush has been a great balance of effectiveness and softness.

One thing I do note is that I've had a few loose hair fall out of the brush on use and washes.  I think all of them have fallen out now and have not experienced any recently and the uniformity of the hair density in the brush has not been affected.

SURRATT Cheek Brush

My favorite part of the Cheek brush is its fabulous little pom pom shape.  After washing, it has poofed a bit and the shape is still adorably bulbous.  The shape is what allows me to place color in a nice rounded shape on my cheeks.  And as the brush is luxuriously dense, it works well even with less pigmented blushes.  Of course, with a light hand, it does equally well with more pigmented formulas.
Because it is rounded and slightly flattened on the top of the brush head, it does nice work of very gently buffing in product into the skin.  For more precise placement of color or even working into small section of the skin (like setting powder under the eyes), this is not an ideal shape.  However, for my blush placement or gentle all over powder or bronzer placement in small sections, this is a fabulous shape, density and size.

You can see how dark and full of hair the edges of the splayed brush is.  This shows how generally dense this brush is.  Also it is amazingly soft, as you would expect for the high price of this brush.
There are a few more face brushes in the Artistique brush range from Surratt.  For me, I like brushes to be a bit multi-purpose, so these particular size and shape are very well suited for my needs.  At the moment, I am not rushing out to buy the other face ones.  (The eye brushes, aye, I have a few from the brand and boy!  Those need their own post!)
Surratt Beauty and these Artistique brushes are exclusively available at Barney's here in the US.  The brand is available at Liberty in London and Takashimaya in Singapore.  Not sure if the brushes are in Sg.  Joey, the counter manager (212-833-2824), is a brand guru and very helpful.  You can also order on line on the Barney's website (which is like the worst, least user-friendly site in the world.) here.
Have you picked up any of the face brushes from the Surratt Artistique Brush range?  Any one displacing previous favorites or really impressing you? 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

SUQQU Blend Color Eye Shadow in Sakuraori 18

>>Product featured in this post was provided free of charge by the brand / PR for consideration<<

I find that eye shadow palettes, even with their beautiful selection of colors don't always easily lend themselves to an intuitive application.  This was the case with SUQQU's new permanent quad, Sakuraori.

It is absolutely beautiful in the case.  The genius of the brand is often how colors are composed and selected to be in one palette in a way I would never put together.  It let's me run on auto pilot and not have to wrack my pitiful little brain about what colors would play nicely.

As seen in the more recent permanent releases from the brand, each of the shades have some level of shimmer.
Here are swatches clockwise from the top left:
  • very pale, near-white pink with scattered bright white, pink and green shimmer.  On my skin, this shade has a lot of translucency and applies on my lids as just bright shimmer.
  • warm satin pink with very fine pale golden shimmer.
  • strongly pigmented dark peach with intense, fine coppery shimmer
  • deeper neutral to cool brown that is fancied up with lots of shimmer - gold, green, pink and yellow
All the shades, even the higher intensity shimmer ones have exquisitely smooth textures that apply and blend easily.  Much more so than the limited edition Haruhinata EX-25 (here), this one has a much more vibrant look and pigmentation.
I found that with the textures being more or less uniform (either very shimmery like the pale color, or slightly satiny sheen like the pink), these colors don't layer in a manner that is particularly useful to me.  Complex shimmer it has, yes, but the resulting colors don't make me giggle like a school girl.
Do click on any one of the pictures to get a closer look.  You'll see all sorts of hidden glints of shimmer, texture of how they sit on the skin and when you click on a face picture all sorts of random hairs.  Goody.
A quick look at the two palettes, Haruhinata and Sakuraori.  The intensity of Sakuraori is clearly a few notches higher than the more subtle Haruhinata.
L to R: Haruhinata, Sakuraori
Regarding certain palettes not having intuitive placements that jump out at me as soon as I crack open a palette...  Sakuraori got me scratching my noggin because the pink and deep coppery peach (let's say "orange" as shorthand) are not normally colors I would put together.  I've only just recently gotten over my fear of pink eye shadows.
The old 2nd generation SUQQU palettes (01-06) are easy for me because I have a default layering placement which has a foundation of the dark matte that is always in those palettes.  Sakuraori has no mattes and the dark brown isn't all that dark.  *scratches head some more*
Take #1:
Here's a placement I tried, which I didn't really like.  I had used the dark brown around the upper and lower lashlines to define.  I used the pink as the main lid shade up to the crease and in the inner part of my lower lash line.  And then I used the orange as a crease shade.  The pale white-pink was patted into the center of the mobile lid.
other stuff: Tom Ford Foundation Stick, SUQQU Nuancing Blush 03*, SUQQU Bright Up in Akaanzu 07, Tom Ford Espresso pencil
Not that it looked bad, but there was something a little deflating and tiring about this placement of shades.
Here's another view of my face with more direct natural light.  I think the dark brown and orange were making a bit draining looking.

"I'm so tired!"  *yawn*  "or my makeup makes me look tired!"
Take #2:

I thought taking a more aggressive placement stance with the orange would either make or break this other placement.  In this case, I used the orange much much judiciously, as the main lid shade as well as on the lower lashline.  I used the pink this time as the crease color and the darker brown in just to define the outer section of my upper lid and the outer portion of the lower lashline.
Some other tweaks that made this look fresher: a more defined lashline via a dark gel liner (also waterline) with SUQQU liner in Jet Bordeaux, a more contrasting echo to the orange eyes by using a cooler pink on the lips which further echos the orange/pink of the palette.  Lipstick is a SUQQU Bright Up in Barairo (here).

I actually thought this would be more of a slam dunk easy palette, but it ended up being a bit more thoughtful placement of the colors on the eyes as well as on the lips.
I am really happy to have discovered a way to wear this palette that looks very fresh!  This palette is absolutely unique among the others I own and it is very welcome in my collection.   I have already started to think about depotting and rearranging my Z-Palettes, of course.

What do you think of this one?  I think many of you passed on the limited edition and purchased this one.  Have you had a go at different placements?  I would love to know what worked well for you!

I have a few more bits of the SS collection including the blush* shown in this post to share with you, so please stay tuned. :D

SUQQU is available at Fenwick of Bond Street, Harrods, Selfridges and Selfridges on line. This quad is available now on Selfridges (here). My friend Sara recently posted a detailed review here.  Many thanks to SUQQU from sending me this palette to try out.

Disclosure: this post features a products(*) that was sent free of charge by the brand/PR for consideration. However, all my opinions are my own! Yes indeed! Please check out my full disclosure policy statement here.

Monday, February 16, 2015

SUQQU Blend Color Eye Shadow in Haruhinata EX-25

>>the product featured in this post was provided free of charge by the brand/pr for my consideration<<

SUQQU's Spring / Summer 2015 Collection is inspired by the airy texture and feel of chiffon.  The items in the collection feature alluring bright shades and mimic the way sheer panels of soft chiffon float about and combine in soft layers.  I was fortunate to receive a few pieces from the brand to try them out.

Here's the limited edition eye shadow quad EX-25 Haruhinata, the Balancing Cheeks in 03 Yawakohaku and 18 Sukuraori, one of the two permanent quads from this collection.
Today I am featuring the limited edition quad from this collection, EX-25 Haruhinata.
Haruhinata has a very appealing candy-like look to the yellow, peach and pink shades.  They remind me of the Necco Sweethearts candy you'd (okay, I) eat and overdose on Valentine's Day.
source: here
I think based on knowing this collection's inspiration of chiffon, I was expecting some sheer translucent colors and that was the case.  What looks like bright candy in the pan apply on the skin as light draping of glowing color for the three light colors in the quad.

Here are swatches, clockwise from the top left of the quad:
  • Pale lemony yellow with scattered light yellow shimmer.  This one, though pretty sheer, shows up quite well due to the strength of the shimmer.
  • Pale peach shade with satiny pale golden shimmer.  This one is quite close in depth to my own skin and apart from the swatches, doesn't show up on its own on my skin.  For reference, I'm ~NC15-20.  
  • An orchid pink, with a lovely pale golden sheen that shows up more as I angle my arm.
  • A shimmery, medium pigmentation cool brown.  This one is really beautiful.  Of course I'm keen on the one neutral in the palette.  *smacks forehead*  It actually has a beautiful set of cool toned shimmers (greens, silver, etc) that gives a beautiful complexity to this shade.

One of the aspects that makes this palette of candy shades so wearable is that even though they look so pastel, the yellow, peach and orchid pink are not white based.  Its translucency allows the skin to show through with a glow that can be very beautiful on the skin.  And that lovely brown does add to the definition of the eyes.

The unfortunate thing for me is that since the peach is so close in tone and depth to my skin tone as I mentioned earlier, it only works to add a smoothly illuminated glow to my skin and not really any color.  The yellow has to be used very sparingly because the intense shimmer can quickly overtake a look.  So for me, the working shades of this quad are that pretty orchid pink and the brown.

In any case, I thought you would also be interested in seeing the shades layered together.  My skin masterfully desaturates everything into TAUPE. >:(  What the hell?  
As I was playing with Haruhinata EX-25, I kept on thinking that I've seen these colors from SUQQU before.  As yes, the infamous octet from the recent EX-21 Murasakusuishou (here).  Well with eight shades it is probably close to a bunch of other palettes, wouldn't you think?
While not dupes, exactly, kind of close enough, right?  I also think that the two quads have similar sheen when applied on the skin as well as a similar level of less intense pigmentation.
Let me show you how Haruhinata EX-25 looks on me.
Very subtle, indeed.
Rest of products on my face:
  • Tom Ford Traceless Foundation Stick in 02 Pale Dune, Rouge Bunny Rouge Impalpable Loose Finishing Powder, Surratt concealer 04*
  • SUQQU brow powder and pen in Moss Green, SUQQU Haruhinata EX-25*, Tom Ford pencil in Espresso, Lancome Hypnose Drama WP mascara
  • SUQQU Balancing Cheeks in Yawakohaku 03*
  • SUQQU Bright Up Lipstick in 03 Barairo

While Haruhinata is a beautifully composed palette of pretty soft shades, I don't think it is a complete must for me based on the fact that I already own Murasakisuishou.  I am however, very glad to own that brown. <--- it's not like I'm low on brown eye shadows.
What do you think?  Have you checked out the new SS 15 releases from SUQQU?  Any of the products catching your eye?  I hope to feature 18 Sakuraori and the blush Yawakohaku soon, too.

SUQQU is available at Fenwick of Bond Street, Harrods, Selfridges and Selfridges on line.  This quad is available now on Selfridges (here).  My friend Sara recently posted a detailed review here.

Disclosure: this post features a products(*) that was sent free of charge by the brand/PR for consideration.  However, all my opinions are my own!  Yes indeed!  Please check out my full disclosure policy statement here.
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