Wednesday, July 24, 2013

8 Makeup Brush Essentials

Good makeup brushes are so important to getting a flawless makeup application.  The quality of your brushes can really make or break a look.  You can spend a ton of money on the actual makeup itself but without good brushes, it's pointless! 

This post was hard for me to write, I had long list of my favorite brushes and I knew I had to drastically narrow down the list.  I kept having to ask myself, if had NO makeup brushes what would I find to be essential.  So I narrowed down the list and narrowed again and.... finally, here are the 8 essential brushes that I think everyone needs.
 (MAC 239 brush $25 / Sigma E55 $10)
1. Flat Shader Brush: This is the brush you want to pack and place color on the lid.  I can also work for smudging color along the lower lash line and highlighting underneath the brow.
(Mac 217 $23 / Sigma E25 $10)
 2. Crease and Blending Brush: I love this brush!  I actually have the MAC 217 and two of the Sigma E25 brushes.  They are identical.  If you could have multiples in any style brush, this is the one!  I keep one always clean so I can use that purely for blending and fading color out.  The other two I use for defining and applying color to the crease.
(Sigma E30 $10)
3.  Pencil Brush: I LOVE my pencil brush.  This is the perfect brush to smudge and define the lower lash line.  I also use this to define the outer V and crease.  It works great to smudge darker shadow on the upper lash line as a soft liner.
(MAC 266 $20 / E65 $10) 
4.  Eye Liner Brush:  This type of angled brush works great for gel or cream liner.  My favorite way to use this brush is with dark brown eyeshadow to make my top lash line look fuller but still natural.   I also use this brush to fill in my eyebrows too!
(Hi-def Angled Blush Brush from Walmart-$5.97 / Real Techniques Blush Brush from Ulta $8.99)
5.  Blush Brush:  There are so many different types of blush brushes.  I think the type of blush brush you choose whether angled, flat, denser or fuller is up to your personal preference.  I am actually enjoying both of these brushes, even though they are so different.  I use the angled brush when I want a stronger, more pigmented blush application and when I want an everyday flushed look I use my Real Techniques. 
(Elf Complexion Brush $3.00)
6.  Powder and/or Bronzer Brush:  Once again there are so many different types of brushes for applying face powder.  I'm not really picky when it comes to a simple powder or bronzer brush.  I think my ELF one works great and it's only $3!
(Real Techniques Setting Brush from Ulta 7.99)
7.  Setting Brush:  I don't have a lot of brush options for this because I think Real Techniques has the best one out there.  This brush is so versatile.  First, it's great at setting your foundation and concealer.  This brush is smaller than most and because of it's size, it fits great under the eyes and around the nose.  Sometimes over powdering your face can look cakey and this brush really helps to keep you focused on the areas that need the powder instead of dusting your whole face in a fine layer of unnecessary powder!  This also works great for applying powder highlighter to the tops of your cheeks and for getting a really defined contour.
Real Techniques Expert Face Brush from Ulta 8.99 / Sigma F84 $18)
 8.   Foundation Brush:  I couldn't decide whether to include this type of brush on the list because if you didn't have a foundation brush, you could always use your hands but I think there is a airbrushed finish you can get from a good brush that you can't get from your hands.  Plus, I really hate getting foundation all over my hands!  These two brushes are my favorite for the job!  They also do great at blending out concealer as well.
Beauty Sponge: Another great option to a foundation and/or concealer brush is a good beauty sponge!  I know this isn't a brush but I couldn't help but mention this.  The original Beauty Blender is known as the cream of the crop in the makeup world but I have yet to try it.  Maybe one day...  Until I'm willing to spend $20 for a darn sponge, I recommend the blending sponge that you can find at TJ Maxx or Marshall's by the brand Revive.  I believe I paid $3.50 and it works great.  Beauty sponges work best when dampened, just squeeze out the excess water.  Also, if using a sponge to put on your foundation, you want to use bouncing/patting motions to blend the product.  The finish it gives is AMAZING!

My Favorite Brush Brands:

Sigma (Website): Sigma is having 20% off now thru July 29th!  Use checkout code: SBAP20
Real Techniques (Ulta)
Elf (Target or Website)
Sonia Kashuk (Target)
Sedona Lace (Website)  Very similar to Sigma brushes, maybe even a few $ cheaper!
Costco for their occasional sets, they are good quality!

Monday, July 22, 2013

A few YouTube tutorials...

Last week, my husband and I went out on a much needed date.  Oh how I look forward to date nights!  Getting glammed up (for me anything other than T-shirts and yoga pants is glam) and having one on one time with my guy is the best way to spend the night!
Isn't he the cutest?  Love this stud!

I wanted to share with you some of my favorite YouTube videos and the people behind them that have really helped me with my hair and makeup and inspired what I did for our hot date on the town. 
I love when I find good hair tutorials that actually work for my hair!  I've been on a quest to find the right technique to get loose, wavy curls that will actually STAY in my thick hair and I've finally found it! This tutorial is awesome!  It is the only way I curl my hair right now.
Also, if you've never heard of Cara's blog, MaskCara, crawl out from the rock you've been living under and go visit!  Warning, you will probably want to spend hours devouring all her posts and tutorials so wait til the kids have gone to bed!
Although you can't really see my actual eyeshadow in the above picture, I was inspired by Jaclyn Hill.  Um, you guys, she is AH-MAZING.  I'd venture to say that she does the best makeup tutorials on YouTube!  Her eyeshadow is perfection all the time.  Check out ALL of her tutorials!  But here is one of my favorites and basically what I did for our date night. 
Tips and Tricks
Also, if you are looking for a great in-depth explanation and demo of how to apply eyeliner and eyeshadow check out this:
Hope you enjoy!  Do you have any favorite YouTubers?
PS: Sigma Beauty is have 20% off now thru July 29th with code SBAP20.   I really love Sigma for their makeup brushes.  If you're wanting to get some good quality brushes, that are VERY comparable to MAC, now is the time!  Check back on Wednesday and I'll tell you about my 8 must have makeup brushes.

Monday, July 15, 2013

e.l.f. products worth trying (30% off today only)

I just got an email from elf saying they are having 30% off all orders of $25 or more if you enter the code FRIENDS at checkout.   This is a great deal!  Elf is already very affordable so with this discount you could get quite a bit of product!  Also, if you miss this deal, you can pick up most of these products at your local Target!
Here are some of my favorites that I think are worth trying!
elf Studio Contour Brush $3
 This brush works great to smudge color on the lower eye lid or pack color into the crease.
elf Studio Blush Brush $3
I don't typically use this as a blush brush because it's a little too small and pointed but it works great as a bronzer or contour brush!  I also like using this for a powder highlight!
elf Studio Lip Exfoliator $3
I use this every night!  It scrubs my lips good but is still gentle.  This also leaves my lips moisturized.
elf Studio Matte Lip Color in Natural $3
I know I've said before that matte lipsticks are not a friend to dry lip girls but this has be the one exception I've found.  First of all this color is so pretty!  (Don't waste your money on the shade Nude though!)  I just pat on a very small amount of lip balm and then put this color over it.  It's so pretty!
elf Studio Blush in Peachy Keen $3
These blushes are easy to blend, the color options are great and they wear well!
elf Professional Studio Pigment Eyeshadow $3
I have a love/hate relationship with pigments.  They looks so pretty but I hate dealing with the mess they can create.  These pigments look gorgeous packed on the lid.  Always use some type of eyeshadow base first, it will grab hold of the pigments and help them to stay in place.  I recommend using your finger when applying, I think you can get the best payoff and least amount of fallout that way.
A few things I DON'T recommend:
Elf Studio Cream Eyeliner:  If your eyelids are the littlest bit oily this will transfer.
Elf Studio High Definition Powder:  This just didn't work for me.  It looked cakey and there are small glitter flecks in the powder.  I don't know about you but I don't want glitter all over my face.
Elf Studio Matte Eyeshadow:  These just looked chalky and cheap on my eyelid.  :(
What are you elf recommendations?