April 2016 ~ Polarbelle

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A Brush Lover's Investigation of The Artis Elite Smoke Collection Oval 8 and Oval 3 Makeup Brushes


If you've been anywhere on social media channels lately, you may have seen the oval Artis brushes showing up and wondered if the hype was real.  The oval brush heads with these dense fibers may even look quirky to you and as the oddest makeup applicator you've seen yet.  Today I hope to answer some questions you may have and give you my honest opinion, as a brush lover, of the quality and performance of the Artis Oval 8 and Oval 3 brushes.


The brushes are housed in substantial boxes so that they won't get smooshed in shipping.  I really appreciate that.  I'd suggest when you travel, to take your larger Artis brushes in the box.  I recently went on a trip that included 6.5 hours of flight and while I had packed my carryon full of makeup and brushes with exquisite care, they had a new jet where the bags are placed sideways in the overhead.  To say I was flipping out over how my Oval 8 would be since I packed it for horizontal storage, is an understatement.  When I pulled it out of the bag, it was a little wonky on one side, but a quick brush of my hand across it and it was perfect again!  On the back of the boxes, there are suggestions for use.


The boxes are pretty nice, but let's take a look at the brushes in them.  The Artis cosmetic brushes are made with animal-free Cosmefibre technology.  The brushes are uniformly constructed with 3-10 times as many fibers as a conventional animal hair brush.  They are made with a technology that retains it's shape, as I found out during travel.  The brushes are so densly packed with microfibers that they trap less product on the brush which also allow them to move over a face in movements so smooth that creases and lines can't be seen.


Artis brushes have ergonomic handles are are really comfortable to hold and work with.  Due to the density of the hand-formed Cosmefibres, they absorb less products than a traditional brush.  I really really like that.  I'm the worst miser ever when it comes to getting every drop out of a product.  And because they don't retain product, water, alcohol, cream or cleanser, they're easier to clean.

The Oval 8 is a big daddy!!!  It works so well for body cream, body contour and highlight, facial treatments, foundation, blush, bronzer, highlight and powder.  The box tells me it can be used for eyeshadow, and I suppose you could because sometimes I use the very tip of it for things.  For contour and bronzer, I use just one of the length edges.  Here are some pictures to show you the size of this brush relative to other things you might have around.  It's huge!!



I had a little bit of a learning curve using it with foundation.  My usual method was dabbing the foundation around the face and then using brush strokes to blend.  With the Artis Oval 8, it is best to put the foundation on the brush and then smoothly take long stroke across half the face at a time.  There's no need to pounce or make small strokes.  Drawing it smoothly all the way is the best application I've had with it.  And that makes it so fast, too!!  The Oval 8 is the length of my pinky finger.  My hands are just slightly longer than most women because I'm tall.

The Oval 3 is much smaller.  I use it for eye cream, concealer, eyeshadow, and sometimes brows when I'm in a hurry.  My nails are too long for me to safely get eye cream in the inner corner of the eye so the Oval 3 is just perfect for me.  In the next set of pictures, it shows eye primer dotted about the eye in three of them as I smooth it and the last lower right corner shows me applying shadow in my crease.  It's a perfect fit.  I can reach absolutely every angle of my eye.


Here is the relative size of the Oval 3.


 Both together:


If this is your first look at Artis Brushes, but they look vaguely familiar, you might be aware that Mac Cosmetics had put out three look-a-like oval brush sizes in 6, 3 and 1.   Artis and Mac oval brushes were designed by former Mac Cosmetics Senior Executive Matthew Waitesmith.  I had purchased all three sizes and have been using the 6 as face cream, primer and foundation before I received the Oval 8.

I have some size comparison pictures for you if you've seen or own the Mac and are wondering if you need Artis brushes, (you do, they're fantastic).  Below is Artis Oval 8, Mac Oval 6 and Artis Oval 3.  You can see just how awesome this brush will be for body care.

Mac Oval 6 brush

Here are all the Artis and Mac brushes that I own, the Artis Oval 8, Mac Oval 6, Artis Oval 3, Mac Oval 3 and Mac Oval 1.  The oval 1 is useful for brows, eye and lip liners and cutting the crease.

Mac Oval 3, Oval 6, Oval 1 brush

The Artis Elite Smoke Collection is so similar to the Mac, they are like twins.  Both have a dark smoky purple color and a charcoal grey grip with the brand name.



Overall the feeling, look, performance, grip and function of the Artis and Mac brushes are the same, with the exception being that Artis has varied colors and a vastly larger range of sizes and shapes.  I have more of the Artis brushes on my ever expanding wishlist!!

Oh!!!  I almost forgot, here is a really simple everyday look where I only used the Artis Oval 8 and the Artis Oval 3 brushes, mascara and a little gloss.  It's with no editing.   (It looks like a senior picture to me, only 100 years later, but I'm looking off into my future of makeup brushes, lol)


And then the monkey in me came out to play with my funnest brush.  You can do so many things with these brushes!!!


My bottom line is that the Artis Elite brushes are really fantastic.  I've never experienced anything like the Oval 8.  I mean, the Mac Oval 6 is similar, but people, you just can't imagine how great the Oval 8 feels and how quickly it applies everything!!!  I've always really enjoyed brush stroking foundation so at first, I couldn't decide if the Oval 8 would take over that task or not.  But let me tell you, this brush is SO smooth, the look of primer and foundation just can't be beat and you use less product because the brush doesn't absorb it!!

The Oval 8 is definitely an investment at a price of $65, but the workmanship you get in that brush is worth it.  I believe an artist is only as good as their tools, so I believe in buying good brushes to get the best use out of my makeup.  And if you have really good brushes at a smaller price, that's good, it really is.  I'm just saying this brush is unique, it makes so many things quicker and easier and hold this in your hand and you really feel like you're awesome.  It has that "I've got a great tool" satisfaction feel.  I am a brush fanatic, what can I say?  It's a different experience and it does take using a technique that you probably don't use now but it is quick to master.

I have an Artis Oval 3 in my makeup room and a Mac Oval 3 by my bed.  One for day cream, etc...one easy to reach for my night goo.  The Oval 3 is a $40 brush and worth every penny.  There are different size and shape combinations that will save you money if you want more than one brush.  There are also different colors.  If you know anyone who loves makeup or skincare and the art of applying it, you will slay with Artis brushes for gift giving!!

Read about Artis Makeup Brushes and watch some of their videos to learn more.   You can purchase them online on at Net-A-Porter.com or check out the list of retailers here for a source close to you.  Follow them on InstagramFacebook and Twitter to stay up to date.

What do you think of these funny brushes?  What are some of your most unusual yet cosmetically functional brushes?  Do you have any other questions for me about the Artis Oval 8 and Oval 3 makeup brushes?

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Matrix Total Results Hair Products Will Have You Saying So Long Damage and Hello Heathly Hair!


When the Matrix Total Results So Long Damage products arrived at my house, I really didn't expect much. I thought I'd try them for review but never in my wildest dreams did I think they would become my holy grail hair care products. You see, I was aware of the Matrix name for most of my life, but I'd never tried any. There must be over 100 different hair care choices at any store or salon at which I've shopped, so naturally I haven't tried them all. With the first use of the Matrix products, I was sure my holy grail hair system had landed in my home.  A bold claim, right?  Let's take a look.

leave in, shampoo, conditioner, haircare, hair, salon
There are a few more products in the So Long Damage line, but these are the three I was drawn to at first as they were similar products to what I've used from every brand; shampoo, conditioner and a leave-in product.  I found that my hair didn't seem to need anything else when I used these three products!  Not a gel or any other kind of goo like I usually use.  That surprised me.  Later I read that Matrix says that the use of the So Long Damage shampoo and conditioner along with the Total Results Miracle Creator leave-in spray will give stronger hair with less breakage and increased shine.  That is exactly what I've experienced!  My  hair has never felt stronger or experienced less damage.

And my hair is SO SOFT!  I have naturally curly coarse hair and I've always hated the texture.  It's not, by nature, the soft Rapunzel hair that you would want to run your hand through.  With my first usage, I was so impressed with the soft texture of my hair that I ran to my husband and yelled  "feel my hair!!"  He did and he said "wow, that's so soft".  Yeah, baby!!  This is exactly the experience I've always longed for from hair products.

The shampoo has a delightful fruity scent and lathers up well.  I feel clean after using it.  The conditioner smells like conditioner mixed with the shampoo's fruity scent.  You will recognize the fruity scent but also the typical smell of conditioner...does that make sense?  It is pleasant and when you use the 20 function leave-in Miracle Creator, you'll smell the wonderful scent of cookies.  Kind of like a snickerdoodle.  I love it SO much that I can't stop smelling my hair.  When my head heats up, it activates that cookie smell and I tell you what, that can definitely be comforting and reassuring to the soul as well as the hair.  I just love it!

The reduction in breakage has to do with the ceramides in the formula.  I know you've heard the word but let me tell you what it means as I understand it.  Ceramides are lipids, which are a fatty acid that is essential to the longevity of the cuticle of the hair.  They bind to the cuticle, help retain moisture and make it stronger which also works to protect against environmental damage...including the sun, pollution and even the products we use to style our hair.  And it works!

(While I have you here, I'd like to share a couple other Matrix products that I had been testing and fell in love with.  I'm just going to tell you briefly that they performed very well and I've been really impressed with how well they work.  You should check them out too.  They are the Matrix Smooth Setter Smoothing Cream and the Gloss Booster.  I haven't used them for the past couple of weeks just because I was testing the Total Results line by itself.  These both absolutely work and are now holy grail products as well.)

salon, haircare, hair,

Matrix Total Results products can be found wherever Matrix is sold, including Ulta for your purchasing pleasure.  The Matrix website also has a salon locater in the upper left hand corner.  You can learn more about this and other Matrix lines by visiting their website and following them on Facebook, Instagram. Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, and Snapchat.

Have you experienced Matrix hair products?  What steps do you use in your hair regimen?

Friday, April 8, 2016

Beauty Junkees Kabuki Makeup Brush Set And Mini Precision Kabuki Set Pictures And Review


Guess what I have to tell you about today?  Beauty Junkees brushes!!!  Today we're going to talk about the full size 5 brush Kabuki set with bonus brush holder as well as the 5 piece Precision Mini Kabuki set with makeup case.  I'm covering both sets in one post to compare them in order to show the sizes.  I had planned to show you the eye makeup brush set and start a giveaway for them but dang it, I discovered that when my computer died a couple weeks ago, it took those pictures with it.  I'll be re-doing the photos and launching the giveaway in a few days.  In the meantime, Beauty Junkees has issued a 25% discount on all their products using the code POLARBEL until the end of April 2016.  You'll want to be sure and check out the 5 piece Highlight and Contour set also as it included the best makeup sponge I've ever used.  Ever.  (FYI:  Mother's Day is coming SOON!)  Let's get started.

The full sized kabuki set contains 5 brushes as well as a nice sturdy 2 piece brush holder, ($39.97 per set).  I use both halves of my brush holder to keep brushes in on my counter.  It's so handy!!   The two ends snap together for security and make a great traveling case.

mini precision, brush holder

The 5 brushes have great shapes of kabukis; flat, rounded and tapered.  Each Beauty Junkees item is also sold individually.  The kabukis are all made of vegan friendly, hypoallergenic and antibacterial synthetic taklon.  And they don't shed!!

mini precision brush, brush case

mini precision brushes, brush holder,

The Precision Mini Kabuki set, ($19.97), contains smaller brushes shaped exactly like the full sized brush heads.  It comes in a faux leather, nicely weighted, zippered pouch with an attractive hot pink satin feel interior.  The pouches are really nice!!  They measure 9.5" x 4.5" x0.5 and you could easily use it for a cluch purse.



Each set has two flat topped kabukis, one which is angled.  They work very well for buffing lotions, potions and creams onto the skin.  You can apply foundations or blushes with them as well.  Pictured below is the premium foundation brush and the angled flat bronzer.


I use the mini flat tops to apply concealer and color correctors.  My favorite of the small kabuki brushes is the flat top angled blender.  I have deep set eyes and trying to put eye cream on with my finger will leave the inner third of my eye without anything on it.  I can reach all the angles of my eye perfectly with this brush.  They give a really nice application of concealer.  Especially in the tiny angled areas like eyes and nose.  These are so precisely cut, it's just a joy to admire them.  I love a pretty brush!  I use these every day.

color corrector, color correction

Each set contains two rounded cut kabukis which are also precisely cut.  The angled large size is a blush brush and the round is a mineral foundation brush.  I use both of these most often for my liquid foundation and I've also used them with cream foundations.  I don't have powder foundations, so I can't talk about that, but I LOVE these for my face creams and foundations.  I also use these for contouring.  These two are my favorites in the large brush set and I use them every day.


I find brushes to be soothing personally.  I love to admire the precision of the cut of the brushes.


The minis are just so fun to play with.  You will LOVE these!  I love all of these so hard!!


The 5th shape is tapered with a beautiful cut.



Just look at this perfection!  It's seriously cut perfectly!


I want to show you how the sizes of the regular and the minis compare.  I think it's hard to imagine the minis until you have them in hand.  They're adorable and perfect juniors to their daddys.



Both sizes are comfortable in the hands.



When I agreed to take a look at these brushes, I never imagined they'd be great quality.  And I mean great.  I really love them.  I'm so impressed with them.  I've told you before that I've painted all my life so I learned the value of a good brush early on and the same is true with makeup - you can't do good work with bad tools.  I believe these brushes have improved my application and I use them every single day.  They have replaced my other brushes which I had carefully picked out over the years.  The only other face brush I need is a large powder brush.  I'm so impressed with everything I've purchased and every brush I own from Beauty Junkees.  Please visit them in their shop to read more about the items.  I think you're going to fall on the floor when you see my Eye Brush Set review.  Yes, they're THAT GOOD.


The brush sets are such a fantastic value!  I don't want you to miss out.  So be sure to use the code POLARBEL for a discount of 25% - substantial!!!  I don't make commission off the sale.  I just want you to own these brushes which, by the way, have a 100% satisfaction guarantee.  Come back for the giveaway we'll do on the eye brush set.

You can follow Beauty Junkees on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest.  Please don't miss this sale.  These brushes are top quality, made of vegan friendly cruelty-free synthetic taklon bristles and don't shed.  What more could you ask for?  Wouldn't these make great gifts??  Have you heard of Beauty Junkees yet or experienced their products?  What do you think?

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