Tag Archives: cheap

Spotted at Costco: Jumbo Bottle of SK-II First Treatment Essence

Found in the Costco between Barranca and Alton in the South of Irvine, California. This same sized bottle is $290 at Sephora so you save 35% on this.


I’m seriously considering finding people to split it with then going back to get it.

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Posted by on April 17, 2017 in On the Fence


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Koyudo LE Collector Level Brushes – 2016 Edition: Thoughts and Price Comparisons

FML. No wonder CDJapan extended free shipping – on brush only purchases over 12,000 yen (details here). They were planning on releasing these 5 limited brushes.

First up is a brush made of cotton candy from dreams,  err… i meant goat, fine goat. There’s an Echizen Saibikoho Powder brush being offered for 83,400 yen. Why did they have to make  it a face brush ;_; and thus so expensive. They could have done the $500 cheek brush again but noooo, $800+ face powder brush it is. As if 500 is affordable, hahaha. Everything is relative?


Stock was 5 but has since the time of writing this has dropped to 4. Maybe it’ll last until holiday time when stuff goes on 20% sale and is decreased to 66,820 yen?  Maybe I’ll win the lotto in the mean time? A girl can dream… JFK. It’s already sold out! No more fantasies.

In case you dont already know, CDJ offers a lower priced Fupa 14 and a Fupa 02, which are the products of a collaboration between CDJapan Beauty and Koyudo. The handles are matte black rather than glossy-lacquered with minuscule sparkles, and have a practical flat bottom rather than a rounded butt, which i approve really hard of since they can stand up on their own.

le p2.png

and now the newest one. They are offering another Koyudo Fupa style brush at a lower price in an LE black, matte handle: the LE Matte Black Fuwa Fuwa.

le pic

LE MB Fuwa Fuwa (left) & Permanent Fuwa Fuwa (right)

Anyways, back on track, the LE Fuwa Fuwa still has a golden ferrule which looks really classy. It’s a pretty good deal, better than the other CDJ collabs in looks, if you want a Fuwa Fuwa just for the brush head. It the most economical Fupa yet. Yes, i consider the Fuwa Fuwa to be a member of the Fupa Family because it has the same, general chubster shape.

I personally would skip this cheaper Fuwa Fuwa (even though it looks really nice already) because i looove wood. Some people would say that this LE version looks better, but I’s rather save my money until I had enough for the permanent version of the Fuwa Fuwa (12,000 yen) which features a maple, ebony and rosewood parquetry handle. The craftsmanship is THAT good, and yet, it might not be worth it for everyone. I’m a handle snob. 😛 If you’re like me and  the handle matters, cross your fingers and pray that Koyudo is 20% off across the board again come this holiday season because that’ll drop prices to 9,600 yen for the Fuwa Fuwa (a mere 6.7% more expensive than LE Black Fuwa Fuwa). Here’s a review if the looks of the handle doesn’t deter you and you want to know more about it.

Stock: 25. This stock probably wont last until holiday season, during which if they do the 20% sale, the price would drop to 7,200 yen.

My favorite of the LE brushes is a version of the famed White Mushroom (13,200 yen). This year’s LE is a White Mushroom with Red & Black Wajima Lacquer handle. That labor intensive skill work for the handle ain’t cheap. Plus that red fade to black is dead sexy. and sexy aint cheap. It rings in at 20,000 yen. The last LE mushroom – which featured an ebony handle (18,000 yen) – i hemmed and hawed over a little to long and one day, it was sold out, never to return. It took about 8 months from release to sell out from an original stock of 20, so i anticipate this one (being more expensive) might be around until sale time even though stock starts at 10. The people who are crazy about brushes already have a white mushroom, which they got long ago and would not get another one. The people who want a White Mushroom but don’t care about aesthetics would get just the regular, permanent white mushroom during a 20% sale (it’ll drop to 9,600 yen). And then there’s my type of the people: the ones who have pined for a white mushroom but have held out on getting one waiting for THE ONE.  This brush is really only for a collector who doesn’t already have a white mushroom or a really crazy collector who must catch own them all. After all, it is 52% more expensive than the regular white mushroom!


Permanent White Mushroom(Left) & Wajima Mushrooms (Right)

Some expert IG snooping by another brush crazy friend has found price discrepancies though. The same brush is available from Koyudo directly through FudeJapan for 15,000 yen. He doesn’t charge tax or service fees for Koyudo, but add dont forget to add 2,000 yen for EMS shipping, bringing it up to 17,000 yen (15% savings compared to the CDJ price w/ free shipping). The Kihitsu one is the exact same thing, but for 22,500 yen… and that’s before shipping.

Stock started at 10 but has dropped to 9 since i started writing. If i stare at it anymore, it’s gonna drop to 8. Must…. resist … @_@ but i have points… Aw, fuck it. I’ve just ordered the Wajima Mushroom.  I’VE ALREADY LOST YOU ONCE (le ebony mushroom), I’M NOT GOING TO LOSE YOU AGAIN!

**Edit August 11, 2016 – holy shit i was embarasingly wrong. They are selling. There are only 4 left in stock. And i didn’t even open my big mouth on a blog post about how much I’m enjoying mine >->

New year also means new iteration of the Echizen Red Squirrel Blush brush (Gen IV) – this time, there’s a kolinsky lip brush bundled in – for 13,500 yen. Once again it comes with a box. It looks denser and more thickly bundled than the Gen II (no echizen; 8,000 yen) and Gen III (echizen) Square Handle (8,800 yen)  Red Squirrel brushes. There was a Gen III Round Handle (8,800) from the same year that people claimed was more densely packed than the Square version.  This might be the same as the Gen III Round brush from 2015, but with a 2016 price tag.


Assuming that the lip brush costs 2,500 yen like this M015 Lip brush – this is the closest one i could find in specs – the blush brush alone would cost 11,000 yen. Holy hell. That’s a 25% markup in price from last year’s model, and that’s IF the blush brush was sold alone… which it is not. This year’s brush, sold in a set, has a total cost of 53.4% more. Unless you’re really, really frickin desperately lust for a Red Squirrel brush (and need a lip brush really badly), i would skip this. There is a Canadian Squirrel Blush Brush (with echizen handle too, no lip brush) for 12,000 yen  which i think is a better deal because Cn Sq. is generally regarded as superior though general consensus says red squirrel is the softest of the squirrel hairs, and thus, more luxurious feeling.


To supplement this blush brush and lip brush, they also released a Echizen Trio set with a Powder Brush and Medium Eye brush made of red squirrel, along side a liner brush made of weasel. This set costs 49,450 yen. This is a rather expensive supplement… A full set of these echizen red sq Face, Cheek, Eye, Lip and Liner brushes would be 62,950 yen.

Red Squirrel seems to be getting more and more exorbitantly expensive. The Yakusugi Red Squirrel set used to cost 100,000 yen but has been upped to 150,000 yen… -_-” Remember kiddos, take screen shots. They might come in handy for price comparisons.

yaku set

Screenshot taken from The Non Blonde’s blog entry  titled “Want: Koyudo Brush Set” written in 2014


Screen shot from July 2016

Anyways, speaking of yakusugi, the last LE special brush is a Gray Squirrel Face Brush with Yakusugi handle (16,000 yen). Damn, there must have been a lot of storms last season to fell trees left and right. Earlier this year, there were the Yakusugi Saibikoho blush brush (review here) and the Yakusugi Gray Squirrel Blush Brush for 9,800 yen which is essentially a BP018 on a fancy handle. Anyways, it resembles some of our favorite Chikuhodo luxury brushes, but at the same price. A pretty good deal. The only one in this batch of LE brushes, in fact (besides the Matte Black Fuwa Fuwa).


Here are it’s specs:

Hair length: 51 mm

Thickness: 18 mm

Ferrule Width: 25 mm

In comparison to the Chikuhodo MK-2 (16,000 yen) which also has a special handle.

Hair length: 52 mm

Thickness: 22 mm

Ferrule Width: 25 mm

and the Chikuhodo Z-9 (16,000 yen) is 2 mm more in thickness and literally just a hair longer. It is closer to the Yakusugi Gray Sq. Face brush, but doesn’t have a special handle.

Hair length: 52 mm

Thickness: 20 mm

Ferrule Width: 25 mm

This brush had the largest starting stock at 30 and has dropped to 27 in two days. It is unlikely that this will last until 20% sale season (Nov-ish) but you can always pray. If stock does last, it will drop to 12,800 yen.


Posted by on July 15, 2016 in Grab It Before It's Gone, On the Fence


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MakeUp Cat Brushes: Affordable, High Quality Natural Hair Makeup Tools – Overview + Mini Reviews

I spend a lot of time window shopping on the internet. Too much time. Sometimes, all that browsing can pay off in pretty sweet finds. You know, the ones that make you giddy with excitement. One of those great finds was Makeup Cat brushes. In this post, I will give a quick overview, some comparisons and my opinions on 7 brushes: two are face brushes and the rest are eye or detail brushes. This will be a VERY long post so feel free to read in sections or take breaks.

  1. Fine Goat Powder Brush
  2. Fine Goat Blusher Brush
  3. Large Goat Eyeshadow Brush
  4. Large Sable Eyeshadow Brush
  5. Small Sable Eyeshadow Brush
  6. Sable Eyeliner Brush
  7. Squirrel Nose Shader (Contour) Brush

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 in order

First of All: What Is Makeup Cat?
Makeup Cat is a affordable brush brand that is available in China but is not well known abroad, much like Lam Sam Yick brushes from Taiwan. You’ll have a hard time finding reviews in English (believe me I tried). The brand belongs to a vendor on Aliexpress. Pre/post sale services and communications were really smooth and quite speedy, though there’s a little bit of funky grammar due to the language barrier. It’s nothing unbearable and worth putting up with because the brushes (that i got) are worth it.

Makeup Cat offers all natural bristled as well as all synthetic bristled brushes. The brushes offered are quite reasonably priced around American drugstore level or lower, and those brushes are usually pony or synthetic hair. The Makeup Cat synthetics are around the price of Real Techniques or cheaper but being the snob that I am, I went for the natural hair brushes right away because trying to find a good one under $15 is like trying to find another person in Antarctica. Can be done but takes a lot of time. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on August 7, 2015 in Brush Reviews, On the Fence


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Pure Grey Squirrel Brush for $25 + Review and Thoughts

This generically named Koyudo 100% gray squirrel powder brush popped up on CDJapan some days ago and i couldn’t help but notice that it looked an awful like the BP009 in more than a few ways. **Edit July 20, 2015 All gray squirrel brushes are sold out but there is always the BP009. 🙂

Me thinks someone effed up the handles. The over all length of the brush is different but the length of the hairs are the same 50 mm or 5 cm or 2 inches. The brushes are too similar. There could be other things wrong with it but still, pure squirrel for less than a normal goat brush? I’ll take one to try.

The only thing that i can see wrong is that the “fit” of the ferrule to the handle is not seamless/smooth like the BP009 that I’m comparing it to. Also, the Koyudo logo is not printed on the handle so I think it was the finishing step that got messed up. Maybe machine scratched the ferrules? We shall see. I don’t believe CDJapan or Koyudo would dare to tarnish their name by selling a brush if something was wrong with the glue or the hairs (shedding, brittleness, blunt-cut, breakage, etc.).  More updates to come when i receive my order. If i like it a lot I’m definitely getting a back up at this price, if there are still any left. **EDIT July 14th, 2015. I have received my brushe 😀 review and pics below.

Specs and Comparisons
I’m just going to call this the Ditto brush (after the pokemon) for reasons that you will see in a sec. As always, click on the pics to enlarge them if you can’t easily see the measurements. This is all post wash so it looks nothing like that wimpy thing in the pictures on the CDJapan site.

In Neutral state, the brush head is circular. The bristles flare from the base, start tapering about 2/3’s of the way up, and end in a rounded edge. Simple enough. It’s dense at the base and takes overnight and a bit more to dry completely. Ditto actually takes longer than my Z-1 to dry. The core is still damp long after the outer guard hairs are dry. My theory for this is that the Z-1 starts tapering from halfway so there are fewer guard hairs to impede the drying of the core hairs.  Anyhow it is quite airy at the tip. So airy that it’s floppy. There is very little resistance and spring in the body. This lets the brush take on a number of … configurations. I can groom with my fingers to give it a tip (Picture 1 Top), shake it out to neutral state (Picture 2 Middle), or helicopter-twirl it into a massive beast-puff (Picture 3 Bottom).

**Edit July 15, 2015 I’M SO SORRY I DON’T KNOW WHAT I WAS DOING. I labeled the diameters all wrong. They are all 1 cm bigger than they are supposed to be and the inch measurement is wrong too because I just converted. Actual Diameters: 3.3 cm or 1.3″ — 4.1 cm or 1.6″ — 4.8 cm or 1.9″

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BH Cosmetics Pro Artist Brush Belt Review

Nothing makes my happier than organization, except food, sleep, my teddy bear, and my bunny blankie, but that’s irrelevant. Well actually, the last two are kind of relevant becuase they are fuzzy and soft like makeup brushes.

I have a … let’s say… “unhealthy” number of brushes for a non-pro makeup person (in gaming terms I’d be a “filthy casual”) and nothing drives me battier than when my brushes are scattered everywhere. (ie: purse, sink counter, desktop, cabinet, etc.).  I need a home base for everything. I don’t like storing them in cups (that’s just a personal preference because they are open to dust) or drawers (because I’m too cheap & short on space to get drawers). Thus i decided to get a brush belt and assign each brush to a home slot/pocket. Now, if there’s a hole or a space anywhere then that means something is missing and i can figure it out based on where the hole is.

I think it’s safe to assume that the material is polyurethane. The seams are well stitched. Everything feels secure and the over all brush belt is well built. It’s been half a year and I don’t see any signs of wear. However i don’t actively move around with mine like a MUA on the job would. Mine is just for storing brushes. I drag it across surfaces and counter tops but that’s about it. That being said, my brush belt – when loaded – is actually pretty heavy.  The fact that it’s back doesn’t have scuff marks earns it a few brownie points. The carrying capacity is pretty huge. Unless i counted incorrectly when i emptied it to snap the pictures, there are 51 brushes roomed in the picture below. The sad part is that’s not even my brush storage’s final form. I have a few more fistfuls worth of brushes chilling in makeshift containers… I know. I have a problem.

belt open close

There are 4 rows, two “wings” and one central area with slots. Rows 1 and 3 are open pockets where the brushes can move around freely while rows 2 and 4  consist of individual pockets. There are 5 pockets in Row 2 and 4 pockets in Row 4. Each pocket loop can fit a single larger barrel brush (face/powder/cheek) or 2-3 thinner handled brushes (eye/liner/lip/brow). With Rows 1 and 3 it’s open season, You can put anything in there as long as long as you can fish it out, including but not limited to short handled brushes, a small palette, packets of blotting papers, or an ita brush.

Top view of all 4 Rows - See how the brushes in Rows 1 and 3 can be skewed?

Top view of all 4 Rows – See how the brushes in Rows 1 and 3 can be skewed?

The central area slots are tighter than i would like them to be. It makes it harder to stick brushes in on every tier and limits what can be put there. For example, i can’t put two brushes with handles thicker than my pinkie in the central area unless i want to risk bursting the seams.. I usually put my fine paint brushes there but ocasionally switch them out for spoolies/mascara wands. If im traveling, i forgo sticking brushes there completely and just fold the brush belt in half along that area.

There’s also a flap that is, get this, ACTUALLY LONG ENOUGH TO COVER THE MIDGET BRUSHES AND NOT DESTROY THE ARRANGEMENT OF THE BRISTLES! If you’ve messed around with other brush belts before you’ll know what i mean and be just as excited. If you don’t the following pictures are for you. please ignore the swatches on the back of my hand.

Looking at the bristles being splayed just makes me cringe.

Looking at the bristles being splayed just makes me cringe.

The whole thing can be secured to your hips with a 3 prong clip. It’s plastic and pretty standard. Not much else to say aside from the fact that it works and that’s all that matters, right? If you pack it like i do, it gets pretty heavy but the strap is pretty wide. It doesn’t cut into skin and distributes the load nicely.

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Posted by on July 2, 2015 in Cosmetic Care, On the Fence


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COSTCO, LET ME LOVE YOU MORE – Beauty for Cheap(er)

My fellow savvy shoppers out there know the pain of looking for better deals or waiting for sales. Ebay, Amazon and other online retailers are kind of sketch and require tons of research and review reading. Then there’s online Costco with random little treasures.

The local drug dealer in all things food. And soon to be all things beauty? You’re probably used to thinking of Costco as your source for cheap nutella, toilet paper and kb socks but they now pack some pretty impressive (and prestigious) beauty items. Forget the 20% Sephora Sale for your staples, check out Costco first. I’ll just let the comparison screenshots speak for themselves. Retail Left, Costco Right. As always, click on the pictures to enlarge them.

But seriously, Costco. Add more stuff ples. Let me love you more and throw money your way instead of at Sephora or department stores. These were just the things that caught my eye. The beauty section also includes Chanel, Jane Iredale, more sisley stuff, more  brand name products and stuff for hair. But I don’t know anything about hair products so I dind’t bother doing price comparisons. Head and Shoulder for days. These are products that i’ve had my eye on or ones i know to be “cult” products that many people are still interested in and/or repurchase upon finishing.

One of the main drawbacks is that they have a high turnover rate. Once something goes out of stock, it may or may not be restocked.

First Up: Make Up

Picture1Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer (the box says it contains 0.63 oz. i don’t know where the 0.28 oz. came from)

  • $48 for 0.63 oz. = $76.19/oz.
  • $33 for 0.63 oz. = $52.38/oz.
    • only shades available are SX03, SX05, SX06, and SX11
  • 31% savings

Picture4Clinique Long Last Lipstick Trio

  • One tube (0.14 oz.) for $16 = $114.29/oz
  • Three tubes for (0.42 oz.) for $30 = $71.43/oz
    • only available in a multi-pack with Sugared Maple + Blushing Nude + All Heart
  • 38% savings

Picture8Clinique Chubby Stick

  • One stick (0.1 oz.) for $17 = $170/oz.
  • Three sticks (0.3 oz.) for $35 = 116.67/oz.
    • only available in a multi-pack with Two Ton Tomato + Super Strawberry + Mighty Mimosa
  • 33% savings (basically buy two get one free)

Picture9Dolce & Gabbana Smooth Eye Colour Quad

  • $61 for 0.16 oz. = $381.25/oz.
  • $40 for 0.16 oz. = $250/oz.
    • Only options available are Smokey, Femme Fatale, and Desert
  • 34% savings

Picture10 Bobbi Brown Long Wear Gel Eyeliner

  • 1 pot (0.1 oz) any color for $25 = $250/oz.
  • 2 pots (0.2 oz total) for $37 = $185/oz
    • only available in a multi-pack with Black Ink + Sepia Ink + mini liner brush
  • 26% savings

Skin Care

Picture5Eve Lom Cleanser Balm

  • $135 for 6.8 oz = $19.85/oz
  • $100 for 6.8 oz = $14.71/oz
  • 26% savings

Picture6Sisley Black Rose Cream Mask

  • $162 for 2.1 oz = $77.14/oz
  • 100 for 2.1 oz = $47.62/oz
  • 38% savings

Picture11Philosophy Hope in a Jar Moisturizer

  • $44 for 2 oz = $22/oz.
  • $25 for 2 oz = $12.50/oz.
  • 43% savings

Picture12Clinique Moisture Surge Intense Hydrator

  • $38.50 for 1.7 oz = $22.65/oz.
  • $30 for 1.7 oz = $17.65/oz
  • 22% savings

Picture13Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector

  • $76 for 1.7 oz = $44.71/oz
  • $60 for 1.7 oz = $35.29/oz
  • 21% savings


Picture2Kevyn Aucoin Concelaer Brush: $21.99 vs $32 = 31% savings

Picture3Kevyn Aucoin Soft Buff Powder Brush: $38.99 vs $60 = 35% savings

Picture7Clarisonic Mia 3 (Aria) Cleansing System: 149.99 vs 199 = 25% savings

Qualifier: Costco is by no stretch of the imagination a makeup maven’s playground because fancy asses like me  lust for bright colors and wacky hues, but it’s got the basics. Part of the trade off with whole sale places is lack of selection. You sacrifice choice for lower prices. Different people prioritize one over the other.  Think of the Costco beauty section as a luxe studio apartment: the essential are present and there are some very nice basics. *cough cough eve lom cleanser* The stuff the carry are popular ones that cater to the majority, so my apologies if you are super pale or super dark and i got you excited about the KA Skin Enhancer but they don’t carry your shade. Also, the selection of goods that different, physical Costco locations carry will vary. The one i frequent carries covergirl, loreal mascaras and bourghese beauty in store. If i want to restock on bareminerals powder foundation i have to drive alll the way to another location… which is only 20 minutes away or so.

Yes, the multipacks are a pain sometimes. You might run through several packs for the Super Strawberries and end up with a couple Tons of Tomatoes. It kind of sucks if you’re a repurchaser but you can always gift the other colors or do stuff with them. I remember hating the Wild Cherry that came in the Capri Sun juice multi-packs…. so i would trade at lunchtime with a friend for delicious inarizushi.

Do note: Costco stuff is for members only but there are ways around that :3


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