Category Archives:Equipment

O! Wow ft
Apr. 09.

Tested Thursday: Cailyn Cosmetics O! Wow Brush

tt-O! Wow-thRecently I was approached and asked if I would like to try out some products from an American company called Cailyn Cosmetics, which are exclusively imported into Ireland by LV Essentials. Always being one to try something new and interesting, I was all over it, and was given three items to try, their idifine liquid eyeliner, which is a felt tip pen affair, but is quite pleasant to work with, their BB Fluid Touch compact, which looks really innovative (it dispenses liquid from a compact – I might feature this when I have a tan and the shades match up better) and the most interesting item of the three, a brush. Their O! Wow Brush, which is the subject of today’s Tested Thursday.

O! Wow box

First things first, this is like no brush I have ever seen before, unless I count my toothbrush. It looks so strange to look at on first glance, and that in part is why I was so interested and excited to give this a go, once I got over the whole “what do I do with this” thing. I am so used to my Blank Canvas F20. It is my go to foundation brush, and I would feel wrong cheating on it. Sometimes you have to do these things though. The blurb on the box tells me:

“Through its velvet-like bristles and densely packed ultra fine fibers, this amazing brush is made to ensure an airbrushed effect, with an immaculate streak-free touch. This brush features an oval and angular surface that is beautifully crafted to blend liquid, cream or powder seamlessly into your skin. The flexible tilted handle of the brush is designed to reach every contour with precision and offers easy and stable grip. “Oh, wow” is what you’ll say. No kidding”

Just to reinforce that, it lists its four features again:

  • Compatible with any type of foundation, BB Cream, powder, blush etc.
  • Super densely packed ultra fine fibers delivers streak-free flawless coverage
  • Oval, angular surface offers effortless application and seamless blending
  • Flexible tilted handle for precision and stability

That is quite a lot of claims to make, so lets dive in and see what is what.


O! Wow head side

O! Wow head angle

The head, as you can see from the side on and angled shots is jam packed with super dense, really short, and super soft bristles. It is oval shaped and has a domed head. While the head is quite small compared to some foundation brushes, it is still very effective, and once I figured out how to use it, it was a joy to use.

Handle & Neck:

O! Wow Brush

From the full length photo, you can see two things, a flat handle and a thin tapered neck. The best thing I can say here is hold it like a toothbrush. Thumb on top, fingers wrapped around and you’re good to go. The thin neck is really a clever addition to the brush. It is super flexible. I could not for the life of me put enough pressure on the brush to make it uncomfortable or to splay the bristles. The neck took all the pressure out by flexing as it moved across my face, and undulated beautifully across every contour. Once you get used to how to hold the brush, it is amazingly comfortable to use!

How it actually performed in use:

This bit features half a completely bare face. Just FYI!

O! Wow Face

On the left is a bare face, on the right is just my Max Factor Skin Luminizer foundation, nothing else, applied using the O! Wow Brush.

I’ll admit it now. The “Oh, wow” thing. I said it. I honestly did. I followed the instructions on the box (pick up choice of product with the brush, start at the centre of face and apply with “push & pull” motions, before finishing with light circular motions over the face) and the more foundation I applied, the happier I was with the O! Wow Brush. The finish it gave was phenomonal. Sometimes with the F20 I have to go over again, or apply powder to help even things out. Whit the O! Wow there was nothing. It was flawless! At this point I must also apologise to my beloved F20, but I may be cheating on you with the funny looking new brush more often!

The Cailyn Cosmetics O! Wow Brush is €29.99 and is available online from LV Essentials.


Note: Product was provided for review

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Sep. 25.

Tested Thursday: Blank Canvas Cosmetics Travel Brush Case

blankcanvas-thI’m developing quite a collection of makeup brushes. I have them in many different sizes, different shapes and for different jobs. The great thing is, they also fit really happily into my Blank Canvas Folio case. But what happens if I am going somewhere and I need to bring some brushes along with me? Is there another option? Well, the Blank Canvas Travel Brush Case arrived on my desk recently, and it might be that option.


The Blank Canvas Travel Brush Case comes in the form of a zip up, black faux leather soft case. When zipped up it really presents as a tidy package. It’s neat and takes up no space at all. It also makes sure your precious brushes are safe from damage. I would hate having to ditch a brush from making a mess from the bristles in not transporting it properly. In that sense I can really see the benefit of this case.


Inside the case is where things get a bit more questionable though. The inside has a soft polyester lining, and on one half of the case an elastic fastening, stitched into two sections. My thought though, is that why doesn’t it run the full width of the case? Keep it in the two sections on one side, but then have smaller sections on the other, suitable for smaller brushes?


And here it is, seen with brushes inside. There are two large face brushes in here, along with one smaller eye brush. Looking at it, you can maybe get another small eye brush in there alongside the face brushes, and that’s it, unless you want to add in some loose brushes.

I think therein lies the crux of my problem with this travel case – it just isn’t big enough. I can quite easily go through 3 face brushes and a half dozen eye and lip brushes when getting ready. Unfortunately with this case I can see myself getting into the dilemma of do I bring the big case, or do I try to decide what to leave behind. In my world that is a very difficult thing to figure out.

One thing though that does hold up for it is that I can see a good use for it. It is a great size to keep brushes in my handbag for a night out. On a night out I will not need a huge amount of brushes, and this will certainly do a good job of protecting them! As for a travel case though, I’m not quite convinced.


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May. 13.

Tried Tuesday: Shavata Brow Tamer

shavata-thI’m still in love with my brows after they were done by the excellent Shavata Brow Studio in Harvey Nichols, Dundrum. Okay, there are a couple of odd hairs coming up where they shouldn’t, which I am trying to keep in check with a tweezers, but for the main brow, I’m trying something that arrived in my review box recently. The Brow Tamer from Shavata.


I’m quite a fan of the Maybelline Brow Drama. It defines the brows while adding a bit of colour. This is a slightly different prospect. It’s a little pen which you twist to get the product up into the applicator. You then brush the clear gel through your brows to keep them in place all day. It doesn’t add any extra colour to your brows, but I think you could easily use it over a powder, if you so chhoose to give your brows more oomph.


The brush (if it can be called a brush) is not a conventional brush, but more a series of little plastic prongs with a gap in the middle to allow the product to come up into them as you twist the pen. Initially it took quite a bit of twisting to get the product moving, but it then flowed easily, and despite how the brush looks, it did spread the product quite well.


And this is how it looks. Without product is on the left, while with product is on the right. No, there’s not much difference to look at them, but I do think the one on the right looks a little smoother and more groomed. Possibly with a little colour it would give better results, but for daytime it still looks quite professional.

What do you think? Is it being clear just a bit of a waste, or does it serve as being very suitable when you don’t need to look overdone?

Shavata Brow Tamer is £15.50 (Euro price TBC) and is available online or from Shavata Brow Studio, Harvey Nichols, Dundrum.


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brush collection-th
Feb. 28.

My Brush Collection

brush collection-thFollowing on from my Best of Beauty: Makeup Must-Haves post from last week, where I mentioned brushes. I thought it would be wise to share with you my whole brush collection, as I really do believe that they make all the difference. Continue on down for some brushy goodness!

Behold! I only have a few brushes, primarily by Blank Canvas Cosmetics, but also by Real Techniques, Royal and Langnickel, Sigma and Ecotools, among others!

brush collection

Just a few brushes then

Now, obviously this picture isn’t enough to do justice to the collection, so lets go into a little more detail, and we’ll start with the 4 odd brushes in the middle.

Top - Bottom: No. 7 lip brush, Royal & Langnickel Taklon Shadow brush. Urban Decay Shadow Brush (Naked 2 Palette), Sigma Eyeliner Brush

Top – Bottom: No. 7 lip brush, Royal & Langnickel Taklon Shadow brush. Urban Decay Shadow Brush (Naked 2 Palette), Sigma Eyeliner Brush

These are my odd brushes that aren’t really part of any section of my collection, but are still very important. The Sigma brush is one of my favourite eyeliner brushes, because it is small and easy to use, with a fine tip, while the Urban Decay brush can go into its palette for if I’m travelling super light. The Royal and Langnickel is also one of the softest, nicest brushes I own.

brush RT

L-R: Multi Task Brush, Setting Brush, Buffing Brush, Pointed Foundation Brush, Essential Crease Brush, Fine Liner Brush

This is the Sam’s Picks set from Real Techniques, which I was really fortunate to win from the Delightful Make Up Monster. They are excellent brushes, but not quite as nice as my Blank Canvas ones. That said, if I could only fit a couple of brushes into my bag, I could grab these, knowing they would do the job.

brush Ecotools

L-R: Shadow Brush, Liner Brush, Shadow Brush, Powder Brush, Brow & Lash Brush, Concealer Brush

These were my first brushes, and are great for those starting out, as they do the job for a great price. No particular set will cost you much money, which is always welcome. They’re also eco friendly with wooden handles.

And now for the main part of my collection, my Blank Canvas Set, starting with face brushes.

brush bc face

Top-Bottom: F02, F03, F10, F16, F20(x2), F21, F23

These brushes have been a revelation to me. I love them to bits! (almost literally) They provide such a great finish, and are so so soft. And yes, I know I have 2 F20’s, but one’s PINK and if a brush is that good you should always have a spare!

brush bc lips eyes

Top-Bottom: E23, E24, E25, E28, L29, E30, E32

Having the right brush for the right moment is very important, which is why all except for the liner brush are in use here (I use my Sigma liner instead). Once again these give the most amazing finish!

And finally, you need somewhere safe to keep them, which is why I use this:

brush case

Blank Canvas Brush Pouch

My Blank Canvas Brush pouch houses all my current collection of brushes, with a bit of creative packing, and as they’re al together it’s easy to grab when I need it!

What to you think of my collection? What brushes do you swear by? Tell all in the comments!



Note: Brushes are a collection of bought, won and supplied for review


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Feb. 21.

Blogging Equipment: Camera

equipment-thOne thing I really love about blogging is taking pictures of all the wonderful loveliness that is put in front of me. I’m quite sure that we’re all like that really, and what helps to get great photos to share is having the right equipment. That’s why I’m going to share what I have with you.

The DSLR: Canon EOS 350D:


Heading up my camera bag is my trusty, yet old (I bought it second hand in 2008) EOS 350D. It may be ageing, but it always serves me well, even if I’ve been a bit harsh on it at times. I once tripped over a paving slab with it hung in front of me. Both of us hit the ground, yet I was more scratched than it was. Most of the time it is paired with its standard 18-55 mm lens.

Note: I’m not saying you must have a big camera to take decent photos. I’ve photos n my wall that I took with a small point & shoot camera and a bit of luck)

Lenses: Canon 18-55 mm & Tamron 10-300 mm telephoto:


The telephoto is not really for beauty blogging, but as one of my other passions is aircraft, it has been known to be very useful for photographs at airshows, or at sports events, and has been nicknamed my “stalker lens”. I’ll leave you to figure out why 😉

The main lens I use is the 18-55 mm Canon lens, as supplied with the camera. It is great for general purpose work and covers most tasks perfectly. When I need a little extra from it though, I can add some of the following to it.

Lens attachments: Close Up:

close up

These screw on to the front of the lens, and allow you to get really close to what you’re shooting without losing focus – great for product shots and swatches. As an example, the following was taken without a close up lens, and with a 2x, 4x, and 10x. The difference in how close you can focus to is amazing.


Lens filters: UV, Polarising, Neutral Density & Fluorescent:


My lens always has a UV filter on it. It protects the surface of the lens (cheaper to replace the filter than the lens) and helps to reduce glare from sunlight. The others are more specialised, and I actually haven’t had a chance to play with them yet, having only received them during the week, but I should have fun with them.

Accessories: Spare batteries and battery charger:


Very important! Running out of batteries at the wrong moment is a curse. I always have a couple of spares in the bag, and a fast charger is a help. This one also has plug attachments for different countries – one less adapter needed!

Accessories: Remote shutter release and timer:


For when touching the camera when shooting is a no-no. This one can be programmed to take shots at specific intervals, for a specific length of time, or can be used as a simple remote button. Set it up with your camera on a tripod.

Small Camera: Fuji Finepix A400:


Great for when you don’t need/want the big camera with you, yet still want some kind of camera. Throw it in your handbag, and it’s always there when needed. I also love that I can transfer the card from this to my tablet to look at and tweet images from there.

Also available to me are a tripod, another EOS 300D (my dad’s, which I part own), a Sigma 70-300 mm telephoto lens with macro (close up shots without being close up) and a Canon Speedlite flash (a-ah! Saviour of the universe – bonus points for reference)

Now, what do you use for your photos? Do you really need a big camera? Let me know below!


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