One of the more frequent questions I get as a beauty blogger is: what do I do when I receive a product I don't like from a friend of mine? Oh, the answer is boring. There isn't any drama involved, lol. I just tell the other person why I don't like what she sent and then give some suggestions on how it can be better. If the person is a real friend then she'd know why I can't in my good conscience promote her product on my blog. If the person isn't a real friend but is nevertheless a shrewd businesswoman, then she'd know why it's best if I just don't write about it.
I write tons of positive and so-so reviews, but rarely an all-out negative review. If you don't see it here, then I simply don't like it enough to spend two hours post-processing photos and writing about it. I don't want to waste my time, your time, and a perfectly good relationship.
Anyway! Today I just feel like raving about one of the best brushes I came across last year. Even better, it's created by a good friend of mine! Sophie Uy is the woman behind Charm Brushes. Late last year she finally released her luxe line called SOFFIA - more expensive than Charm, certainly, but with a higher level of quality. I have three brushes from this line and they are all exceptional.
This is a true story: after I got the SOFFIA Opulence All Over Face Brush (P2,500), I didn't use it immediately. I placed it in my bag for two weeks and showed it off to everyone I happened to be meeting. I'll say, "Guys, this is the softest brush ever! Touch it! Be blown away!" and they'd all coo. I just felt so proud that a fellow Filipina can come up with something this awesome.
But why is it awesome? Imagine shampoo commercial hair...on a stick.
This is a common question: "I'm new to makeup, what are the basic brushes I need to buy?" I always recommend just three brushes - a powder, kabuki-type brush that can double as a brush brush, an angled brow brush, and a mid-sized fluffy eyeshadow brush. You can use your fingers for liquid and cream makeup. These three brushes, IMHO, are indispensable.
When you start to feel the need for more precision, that's when you should start purchasing individual brushes or brush sets - not before! Some girls would flat out get a set and then later on think that they got a crappy deal. Thing is, they should have considered first if the brushes in the set are something they would need in their routine. When buying brushes, think of your normal makeup routine first - what kind of makeup do you prefer to wear? What kind of look and products do you want to incorporate in the near future? Then, buy brushes accordingly.
Anyhoo! Today I have here the Charm Travel PRO Sonia Makeup Brush Set (P2,750). This is a special edition set from Charm to celebrate their fifth (going on sixth) anniversary! The case is extra pretty and the matte gold ferrule whispers "luxe".
The brushes inside are the same ones as the current, slightly cheaper iteration of the Charm Travel Pro. I have already reviewed that one with tips on how to use it so I won't go into detail on Sonia. Just enjoy the pictures! ;)
Perhaps the best thing about Charm is that Sophie is always working on improving her brushes. She's super OC about making them better than the last batch, which means that you can really see the improvement whenever she comes out with something new! For instance, the Retractable Powder and Blush Brushes are considerably softer than her original synthetic collection; the bristles are somehow thinner and finer.
These new brushes are super dense but still pliable enough not to eat all of the makeup you would rather have on your face. I also like the case mechanism - the retracting cover ensures that the bristles won't get mangled whenever you open or close the cap. It closes tightly so you don't have to worry about it floating in your bag and leaving the precious brush head unprotected. ;) Overall, these brushes have really good case to go with the quality of the bristles.
So wait, how do these brushes work to begin with? Here's a quick guide!
The Charm Essentials Pretty in Pink Vegan Brush Set (P2,500) is not your normal brush set. What sets it apart from the multitudes of other sets out there is the carefully designed brushes that are also multi-purpose. A slanted mini-flat top brush, a fluffy highlighter brush, and a fine smudge brush are just some of its more distinctive charms. Pun intended!
What makes it more interesting is the fact that the brushes perform really well even with what should be a handicap - they're made of synthetic fiber, not animal hair. The former is amazing at picking up cream and liquid makeup but normally not so good at working with powder. In these Charm brushes though, the vegan hair does the job of picking up and applying makeup wonderfully, no matter if it's a powder or liquid.
While I LOVE the Charm Travel Pro V3 brush Set, I don't take all of the brushes with me to use out of the house. If I need to apply makeup outside, I probably won't have the time and space in my bag to do something elaborate; a few key brushes and my fingers should be enough to do a full face. Same thing when I need to retouch.
What's in my travel kikay kit
As you can see, I just bring along a blush, eyebrow, eyeshadow, and powder brush when I'm out. These are my essentials when it comes to brushes! That's why it seems that Sophie read my mind when she made the Charm Pocket Brush Set (P500): it has everything I need and a little bit more.
What I love about the product
- Has multi-purpose brushes to save space and cost. There's a powder/blush brush, eyebrow/eyeliner brush, eyeshadow/concealer brush, lip/liner brush, and a lash/brow comb.
I'm sure you've seen this kind of brush before - a brush with two ends, a flat, angled one, and one with a spoolie. I never appreciated them because they didn't do much for my eyebrows. Sure the spoolie end is good for blending, but the angled end doesn't pick up enough brow powder nor apply it evenly because the brush is made of synthetic hair (which is best for cream/liquid makeup).
I like this dense eyebrow brush from Nichido for applying eyebrow color but I find it too stiff and hard to wield properly. The tiny brush that comes with the In2It Waterproof Eyebrow Color works well except that it's too small to be comfortable. Yes, I'm Liz McWhiny! I don't know of any brand that makes the perfect eyebrow brush for me!
That is, until Charm made THIS.
Why is this different from brushes you can find in the mall? The thing that sets the Charm Double-Ended Eyebrow Brush apart from all the other brushes is its thick, natural hair that is the right density and stiffness for applying eyebrow powder.
It's out! The latest version of the popular Charm Travel Pro brush set (P2,200) is now in stock at Beauty and Minerals! I'm not going to do a review of this set just yet since I got it only a few days ago, so for now I'll just show you some pictures and do a quick comparison between this and the Version 2 from last year.
The new Charm Travel Pro V3 has 14 brushes for the eyes, face, and cheeks. It's a powerhouse of high-quality brushes that can do a variety of advanced makeup looks while still being convenient to travel with.
Sophie, our friendly neighborhood beauty blogger and consummate businesswoman, has just opened the pre-order for the latest version of her best-selling Charm Travel Pro brush set. The new set has got a lot of things going for it aside from the cute hot pink packaging!
I am smitten with the face brushes, for instance. The brushes look very lush, soft, and dense. Can't wait to touch them when I see Sophie next.
This, my friends, is perhaps the cutest thing that you'll see today.
The Charm Luxe Baby Buki brush is a small kabuki made of super soft synthetic hair. You might be wondering, what am I going to use a tiny kabuki brush for? Won't that take me extra time and work to cover my face? Well that's the thing. Baby bukis are not meant to use for full-face makeup. It's for hard to reach areas by your bulky normal-sized kabuki brush like the sides of the nose and under the eyes.
I was so surprised when the super chic Sophie handed me this brush as I was about to leave Makati Shangri-La that night. It was very touching, to say the least. For years now, I've followed both her blog, Beautynomics, and her business, Beauty & Minerals. She's one of the bloggers and online entrepreneurs that I really admire!
Enough gushing. Now, meet the newest addition to the Charm Luxe Collection - the Flat Top Brush!
The first thing you'll notice about this brush is its softness. I've never touched a brush as soft, smooth, and dense as this one! I'll stake my name on that. The synthetic bristles are closely packed to ensure that your makeup is spread evenly, with a natural, non-cakey effect.
Why I love this
- Extremely soft. It feels like a dream on my face! The hair is silky and never scratchy.
- Dense. The closely-packed synthetic hairs pick up powder and liquid/cream makeup well and buffs them evenly. I don't get streaks or patchy application.
- No shedding when I washed it.
- Just the right size for my hand and face.
- Pink n' cute!