Thursday, 9 August 2012

The Bitter Brush Debacle of 2012

This is not a brush review- I will be addressing these makeup brushes in their own right in a separate post.  This is instead, a little story about brushes, claims and what I learnt...

UPDATE: Please read on, but find what happened next here.
It starts out with me reading reviews of Rae Morris brushes everywhere, and every one of them raving. 
I own every one of Rae Morris's books; I follow her on Twitter and Facebook.  I am a fan.  So I decided that a product which seemed SO well loved by SO many bloggers I follow, admire AND trust.  These brushes would be an investment.  A gift to myself to finishing my MUA training.  A celebration that I had arrived in this crazy world of cosmetics as more than just a consumer.  I was a professional, and I deserve professional quality tools!

Having read all the reviews, I slowly put together a list of the 'must haves'.  I already have 27 brow brushes, I don't need one of those, I'll get the Deluxe Kabuki, because then I can use it for the same jobs as the mini kabuki, and other such reasoning a girl makes when purchasing, well, anything. 

I did my maths, did I want that whole set? YES! I did, but I did the maths and from my perspective it made most sense to get the personal kit and subsidise it with my other must haves.  All in all it came to just over $500 (GULP, I know, but I'll only buy them once, and they ARE worth it...)

$500 for 18 of the finest quality, PETA approved, dye free, ethical (Rae herself has travelled to China to ensure these were manufactured to her strict instructions- no child labour here) professional makeup brushes with fantastic features, like magnets in the handles! SO clever! 
Plus, that's not actually that much, I'd easily spend the same or more on fewer brushes from MAC or another equivalent.  So I bit the bullet...

Under a week of waiting by the mail box, my brushes arrived, I was so excited.
I opened the packaging, whilst explaining to my sister about how brilliant these brushes were, how everyone loved them, how they were definitely worth the money...

Once I had them out of the packaging to do my first wash (yes, I always wash my brushes before use) I noticed a few things.  Two of my brushes had glue through the bristles...yuck, oh well, it will wash off. 
Then I noticed that my deluxe eyeliner brush was bent at the tip, not so great for the 'accurate application' of eyeliner....miserable.

Before I washed my brushes I sent a twitter message to another blogger, to ask for advice on cleaning the brushes with no ferrule, was it the same as usual? Yes, but be careful because of the wood.  So off I went to wash my brushes to get the glue off and reshape that eyeliner brush taking the utmost care in doing so. 

Meanwhile, I had had another response to ask how I found the brushes- I mentioned the glue- I was told it wasn't good enough.  I don't like to make a fuss, so I had washed them, but I thought, as a courtesy I would let the company know.

I did this while I waited for my brushes to dry, they agreed it wasn't good enough but that they would replace ANY brushes wasn't happy with, even though I had washed them. (+1 for customer service)

When I went back to my brushes, I found this: that dye? I believe so. When I dry my brushes I place them on paper towel so that the water is drawn down and they dry faster. 
What I believed this to be was a very basic form of Paper Chromatography, where dye separates as it travels through paper- you can see the initial black- to brown then pink.

I also e-mailed the company about this, they maintain they are meant to be dye free but would check with the manufacturer.

Now, not many beauty bloggers have access to the same resources as me, so I consulted a qualified chemist.  He confirmed this is what I thought.  Its dye.

I work within a manufacturing environment, I know accidents can happen, perhaps this brush was contaminated through the air with dye, and maybe something odd happened during manufacturing.  As suggested by my (at this point, 2) chemists, I recreated the experiment.

I washed my brush again.  The second time, I didn't think I'd find much, you know, like when you buy jeans and the first wash brings out the dye, but from then on, they're pretty good to go in a mixed wash?

This is what happened the second time...

You can clearly see it’s the same outcome, there is a perfect line around where the bristles end.  I'm going to go ahead and say; this is not a dye free brush.

Another of the calims I was always a little uneasy about the claim these brushes were PETA Approved. I was always under the impression, that PETA believe an animal needs its fur and there is no way to remove said fur without cruelty or potential cruelty.  This is what I thought, but hell, all those bloggers can't be wrong can they? 
In my annoyance at the dye issue, I went searching the Rae Morris website for confirmation of this.  NOTHING.

I didn't stop there, I contacted PETA, and their statement on these brushes is:

"We have not and would never approve these brushes"

Oh. OUCH! So who's lying here?  I'm not going to link the blogs who made these claims as I don't think that’s fair, I suspect that at the brush launch a room full of bloggers were told these brushes were 'PETA Approved' in a verbal declaration, and they ran with it.  They can now make the coice to amend past articles.

I have contacted one of the bloggers, and she agreed this is pretty much what happened, she has since amended her post.

So did Rae Morris lie to the bloggers, or had she been misled herself? Are all the brushes full of dye, or did I get a dodgy one (what a set of hands for a dodgy brush to fall into) I'll probably never know, I asked the company to keep me informed about the dye in the brushes, but I suspect I will never hear back.

What I have heard is that my new replacement brushes are in the mail, I only decided to have the 2 gluey brushes and the liner brush exchanged.  Perhaps I should have also chosen to replace the (dyed) Flawless Shader Brush, now I know its quality will degrade with the washing out of the dye, like Rae says happens- that’s why she wanted her brushes dye free; to maintain softness...

What do you think? do you think bloggers were deliberately used in a ploy to spread the false word?  Do you think the PETA comments came out of nowhere, that one blogger said it and the others copied?  Either way, I think it’s safe to say that most of the reasons I stated for buying these brushes in the first place are now defunct!
I'm disapointed.  I was utterly thrilled to have saved to buy these, I had wanted them for ages, even with the new brushes, I can't help but feel a little let down by the whole thing.  All that is left for me to do now, is use the brushes and review them in their own right and hope they at least, live up to that hype.

OOOoooOOO An award...

I got an award....from

Depends what games

4) Do your friends and family know about your blog? Yes, but they don't read it. Well, some of my friends do... My mum has never reads it, but she tells everyone about it, especially my contributions to Makeup Utopia, some of my best work, but mostly because I have a kick ass Editor, and bloggy big sister in Sara May.

5) How did you decide how to name your blog?
I love a good pun, and its about how makeup can make you feel if you can get past the stereotypes surrounding loving it.

6) What's your favourite city?
I love Edinburgh. I will always call Scotland home.

7) Favourite makeup/nail polish/skincare brand?
Makeup is Illamasqua (I would forsake all others) Nail Polish is probably O.P.I- because of the names, but I don't really wear it and Skincare is Clinique because every time I stray, I remember why I use it...

8) How often do you check your own blog?
Only when I have something to say, i.e. when I write a post.

9) Diet coke or regular coke? (or no coke?)
Diet coke-yummo

10) Is Seche Vita really the best top coat?
I have no idea....

11) What is your most recommended product? (makeup or otherwise?)
A good E/S primer, I wrote this quite unflattering article that proves my point brilliantly here

And my questions to all of your lovely bloggers:
1.What is your best beauty buy?
2. Do you believe that price = quality in makeup?
3. Chocolate of Vanilla?
4. What do you spend your most time doing (apart from work, if you work <full time mum counts as work, trust me>)
5. What is your worst beauty blunder?
6. What made you start a blog?
7. Why are you still reading this?
8. What was in the case in Pulp Fiction?
9. What was it, that Meatloaf wouldn't do for love?
10. Who did let the dogs out?
11. Where do you want to be (in terms of your blog) in 5 years.

Yeah, I'm not good at asking questions, well, when it's permitted, ask my boss, when they don't want them, I ask a million questions! So it got a little strange, please still answer them, I really want to know who let those dogs out?!? and then to throw you a little interview style conundrum at the end.

Thanks for seeing this out to the end!

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Illamasqua- The Good Fight

I know I'm late to the party with a post on this, but I have been retweeting/sharing/liking everything to do with it this week.

Illamasqua- purveyors of fine cosmetics, supporters of great causes, upholders of moral code and executors of fine customer service, (as documented by my Illamasqua- Not Just a Pretty Face post) have now raised the bar even higher, by promising to make their prices in Australia lower.

The Illamasqua Australia Fight for a Fair beauty Price- is just what it says, they're bringing their prices down in a bid to force other companies to do the same.  I don't care about other companies, because if I could only use one brand, it would be Illamasqua, so the fact they are rewarding loyal customers with a price drop, is fan-freakin-tastic in my book. 

I must admit, I usually try to buy my products from the UK, but I still buy products in store, call me Gan Y is you like, but I love the instant gratification I get from doing so, makeup shopping is fun and Illamasqua ensure it is.

Anyway, if you love makeup, this is one petition you should sign: You can do so here.  While you're at it, share it on your Facebook, Pintrest and Twitter.

Having lived in both the UK and America, the price we pay for cosmetics makes me sad, so lets support a company who is willing to change that.  Also, they're brilliant.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Lubbly bit of Strumpet- FOTD

During the recent Illamasqua sale, I picked up a medium pencil in 'Strumpet' (among other things). It's a beautiful bright red but with just a hint of pink, I love it and I think the name suits it perfectly.
Anyway, this morning I decided to break it out.  I did everything else around the fact I was planning of rocking bold lips.

Better view of the eyes:

And the double eyeliner.

What I used:

MAC: Prep + Prime- Skin Base Visage
Illamasqua Skinbase- 7
Illamasqua Powder Foundation -150 (not pictured)
Model Co. Blush- Peach Bellini 02

Too Faced Shadow Insurance
Bourjois shadows- 90, 08 and 74
Makeup Academy Liquid eyeliner - Shade 2
No7 Exceptional Definition- 01 Black

Illamasqua Medium Pencil- Strumpet
Nivea Glamorous Gloss- Pink Sugar

I love this pencil. Its so pretty and I think in this look, I managed to rock it!