Brushes 101: Which makeup brushes are worth buying

This has been a very requested topic. Not officially, but I always get asked about makeup brushes and their uses, which ones are good to get, etc. For me personally, it has taken a very long time to figure out which brushes are useless, too expensive, or bad quality. My search led me to the brushes that I have now and use most often.  Good brushes don’t have to be expensive, but stores like M.A.C. happen to make some very good ones. There are plenty of “dupes” (makeup lingo for cheaper duplicates) available, you just need to know what to look for. Here is a link of M.A.C. brushes for reference http://www.maccosmetics.com/flash/brush_finder/index.tmpl

Here are the type of brushes to look for and their uses:

1. Duo fibre stippling brush: This is one of my favorite face brushes. It is what I use for stippling foundation, dusting on powder, or applying cheek highlighter. I personally prefer the stippling brushes to the traditional foundation brush. The M.A.C. 130 or 187 is a good example of this brush. I love my Borghese one that I got as part of a brush set from Costco that was really cheap.

2. Tapered blush brush: This face brush should be slightly tapered and not to thick or thin. I cringe when I see people applying bronzer or blush with huge kabuki-like brushes. M.A.C 109, 168 are tapered face brushes. The one I use is actually from coastalscents.com 22 piece brush set which I LOVE, is super cheap and has some of the most useful brushes that are surprisingly good quality. http://www.coastalscents.com/brushes/sets-and-cases/br-set-011.html

3. Small flat foundation brush: This brush is good for applying cream contouring. I use this brush to draw the lines of contour and highlight (looks like tribal war paint) and then use my stippling brush to blend it out. Flat foundation brushes should be firm and dense, not too flimsy. M.A.C 191, or 190. The ones I use are from Essence of Beauty (CVS), and Coastal Scents. Here is a video on the method I use for contouring and highlighting with creams: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ow1rdFOlxnk&feature=channel_video_title.

4. Flat concealer brush: This brush is supposed to be used for concealing, however that is not my usage for it most of the time. For concealer I usually like to pat it in with a clean finger. I use this type of brush for applying cream shadows, for packing on shadow to the lids, for applying pigments, and as a lip brush. The M.A.C equivalent is the 231 brush known as their flat shader brush but most places will call it a concealer brush.

5. Stiff domed brush: Most famously known as the M.A.C 217 or a blending brush, this brush is perfect for blending out the crease, or even for just applying shadows. The one I use is a perfect dupe by Coastal Scents called their pro blending fluff and is around $4. http://www.coastalscents.com/brushes/br-250.html

5. Pencil Brush: This brush is perfect for creating a dramatic line in the crease or outer v, or for going underneath the eye.  The M.A.C equivalent is the 219, the ones I use are from my Coastal Scents brush roll which include a few variations of the pencil brush (ie: thicker, taller, fluffier) or from E.L.F.

6. Mini Shader Brush: I use this for highlighting the inner corner and under the brow, since it is so small and dense it really packs in the highlight. It can also be used for blending under the eye. M.A.C 228 or 231. The one I use is actually from BeautyCare (a store in Malcha Mall, Jerusalem which is megacheap) or from yet again, Coastal Scents.

7. Angled Liner Brush: This is the brush I use for putting on gel liner, and also for filling in the brows. The thickness and leangh of these type of brushes is a personal preference but I personally like the smaller kind for liner and the thicker kind for brows. M.A.C. 263 or 266.

All in all, those are my favorite brushes that I actually find useful. Good Luck!

 

French Tip at Home: Quick Tip

So I have already made a post about doing your nails at home. However, when it comes to doing a french tip, it just seems impossible to do on your own. But I am here to tell you that I have done it myself and its really easy if you use this cheap and simple method. Tape! I use some masking tape (preferable because its not clear so I see the shape better) I cut strips to shape onto my nail and apply the white polish to the tips. Once the polish is dry, pull off the tape and tada! you have the perfect line. Just finish with a coat of sheer pink or peach or whatever you’d like and you look like you got your nails done! Make sure to wait till the polish is dry though, before ripping off the tape otherwise it will ruin the perfect line. Enjoy!

How to make your at home manicure look like salon nails

Most people fork over around $50 dollars a month on getting their nails done at the salon. Why not just do them at home? Here are the top 3 reasons most people give:

1. They simply do not look the same. Not as shiny or perfect.

2. That issue of lacking ambidexterity. Most people do. You do one hand perfectly and thats where it ends. Your other hand looks like a five year old tried to paint it.

3. It doesn’t last as long as a salon manicure

Now obviously, for people who are just plain lazy, or who need special procedures like acrylics or shellac, they will continue going to the salon. But for people who want to save money while getting salon- style nails here are some solutions to the top 3 issues listed above.

1. Top coats. This is the answer to a lot of problems. A good top coat should dry your nails in seconds, and leave them shiny and perfect. The top coat that most salons use is Seche Vite. I personally use this top coat and it literally makes all the difference. You can buy it online for under 10 dollars. It is well worth the money. The fact that it dries so quickly helps prevent the creasing and ruin that happens to most at home manicures. It also lasts longer and prevents chipping.

Another reason your nails look perfect from the salon is because they usually clear away your cuticles and hang nails. To clear away your cuticles with ease, soak your fingers/toes in hot water for 5-10 minutes then wipe away the cuticles or push down with a cuticle pusher.

2. Practice, practice, practice! Yes practice makes perfect, even for you! Keep a bottle of nail polish remover nearby and just practice, before you know it you’ll be brushing on perfect strokes. For little mistakes just use a cotton swab dipped in acetone and clean up around the edges once they are dry. And even if you skip this step, the extra nail polish will likely come off your skin the next time you shower.

3. Once again, to keep your polish lasting longer you need to use a good top coat. Also, use gloves when washing dishes.

All in all, with a little investment into a few products and a bit of practice, you can have salon quality nails whenever you want, without the huge expense.

Laquer up!

A little bit about wands…

So I guess it is apropos to start off my blog with a little talk about wands. Mascara wands that is. Most people don’t know this but a good mascara is basically as good as its wand. The formula of the actual mascara is still important especially if you are using waterproof versus non-waterproof (I happen to be a “waterproof-only” type of girl since I don’t know why anyone would want to run the risk of having black lines down their face in the event that they tear) but honestly when mascara’s advertise to thicken or volumize, etc. most of that action comes from the brush. When you buy a high end mascara, you are basically paying for some nice packaging and a name. So the most important thing to look for in mascara is THE WAND. Lancome happens to make some amazing mascara wands. Though I wouldn’t usually dish out the money for one, I happen to have gotten one of their mascaras as part of a gift set and I really loved it. The wand itself is long and thin with a ton of tiny little bristles which is great for catching every single lash, especially the inner corners and bottom lashes. I love this mascara so much that I was thinking of running out and buying another one because I ran out. But then I thought, why not just keep the wand and use it with another of my favorite mascaras (Loreal’s Voluminous, for the record) So basically, now, I just put on a few coats with the original wand from the Voluminous mascara and then go back over with the Lancome wand to really comb out and catch every eyelash. I love this trick! From now on I am totally saving the mascara wands I love and reusing them with cheaper mascaras! Of course you do want to clean your wands every so often (they tend to get lots of bacteria from your eyes, etc.) Enjoy saving your money and having happy lashes!

Ps. if you really want to get every single itty bitty lash, here’s a trick that I learned from Goss the Makeup Artist, on using interdental brushes. His video on that is http://www.youtube.com/user/gossmakeupartist#p/search/0/MA-fcPKuUs4. I have actually tried this and it really does work! I think that defining your lower lashes adds a ton to any makeup look so its definitely worth a try especially if you have sparse lower lashes that need extra attention.