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?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Natural Matte Eyes with Drugstore Quad

I've said before, I love matte eyeshadows.  I think it can give such a clean and polished look.  I've been using my Physician's Formula Matte Collection Quad Eyeshadow in Canyon Classics a lot lately to get a really natural and fresh everyday look.
Side note: I'm still playing around with lighting to get my makeup to show true to color in pictures.  I've been getting frustrated because everything seems to photograph so washed out.  Even in the picture below I don't feel like the color is showing up as much as it does in person but you'll get the idea!

Shade 1:  Take a flat shader brush and pack this color all over the inner corner of the eyelid and work whatever is left on the brush all over the lid, stopping just under the crease.  Pick up a little more color and blend underneath the eyebrow for a little extra light and lift!  I also blend this shade around the inner corner (tear duct region) of my eye.
Shade 2:  With a fluffy crease brush, use windshield wiper motions to blend this medium tone color into the crease and fade out slightly above. 
Shade 3:  Using a pencil brush, smudge this color along the upper lash line, this will create the illusion of fuller lashes.  Once you get to the outer edge of your eye, start to push the remaining color up into the crease.  Keep blending until color is faded out.  You can also take the brush that you used for shade 2 and blend out this darker color.  The more you blend the more natural of a look you'll get.  I also used the same pencil brush and smudged this color on my lower lash line. 
Add a few coats of mascara and you're done!
This is super easy and quick!  You can also get a really simple smokey eye with this palette using the same three colors.  Maybe I'll post a "night" look as soon as I can figure out my lighting situation!  There are two other PF matte eyeshadow quads at Ulta and I'm itching to get my hands on them since I love this one so much.
What are your favorite matte eye shadows?
The past year I've been on a hunt for good quality, drugstore priced skin products.  I am pretty happy with my cleanser and moisturizer but have been searching for a good serum containing retinol that will help fade my sun spots, discoloration and some of the fine lines popping up on my face.  I recently bought RoC's Deep Wrinkle Serum after I read all the reviews on Makeup Alley.  People seem to love this stuff.  (Get a coupon HERE)
Company claims:
This light-weight RoC®RETINOL formula helps to improve the appearance of fine lines and deep wrinkles. After four weeks, skin appears more radiant, fine lines are smoothed and skin firmness is improved. After eight weeks, crow’s feet are visibly reduced and discoloration is diminished. After 12 weeks, deep wrinkles are visibly reduced.
I've decided to take pictures and document any changes at four, eight and twelve weeks to see if this product is worth the hype.  So stay tuned for a full review of this serum!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Dry, chapped lips? This is for you!

I've had a lot of people tell me they are always dealing with dry chapped lips and that chapstick or lip balm never seems to work.  I also struggle with super dry lips, even in the summer time and have to be careful when I wear lipsticks because my lips can start to look crackly and not good.
Here are some tried and true steps I take to avoid the dry lip situation:

Although this sounds so simple, it's probably the last thing we think of when trying to figure out why our lips are so dry.  Dry lips can be a sign of dehydration.  If that is the case, all the lip balm in the world isn't going to fix your problem!  Almost every morning I make a large pitcher of iced mint green tea.  My goal is that by the end of the day I will have drank the whole pitcher.  Just making sure I am getting enough water intake has done wonders for my dry lips!  Whenever I'm having a dry lip day it usually goes back to the fact that I've drank way too much coffee and not enough water.  So drink up!
2.  Exfoliate
I recently bought the ELF lip scrub at Target for $3.  It works great and I love that it is in a lipstick form which means no mess!  Before the ELF scrub, I was mixing a pinch of sugar with a few drops of coconut oil in the palm of my hand and exfoliating my lips this way.  It works great but is a bit messy and takes more time and some nights I'd just get lazy about it.  With this lipstick scrub, it's so effortless I am doing it every night. 

3.  Moisturize
I usually moisturize my lips right before I go to bed because I know I will not be eating or drinking anything and that way the balm can sink into my lips.  I love using my EOS lip balm first.  A great thing about EOS brand is that they are paraben and petroleum free and claim to be 95% organic.  After my EOS, I top it with my Nivea lip butter or CO Bigelow's Rose Salve from Bath and Body Works.  I do this every night and wake up with lips that are soft and moisturized!
4.  Protect for Sun Damage
 Another thing that can cause dry, peeling lips is a sunburn and sun damage!  If you are going to be outside make sure to use a lip balm or chapstick with SPF.  I really like the EOS lip balm in Lemon Drop.  I believe only the lemon flavor has SPF so make sure to check the packaging.  If your lips have already been burnt I've found coconut oil works amazing for sunburns!  Just slather this on your lips at night and they should be looking and feeling much better in the morning!
5.  Avoid Matte Lippies
This makes me sad.  I love the look of matte lipsticks, so pretty!  But if you have the slightest bit of dryness going on or have a lot of fine lines in your lips, matte lipsticks are not going to be your friend.
6.  Humidify
If you are really struggling with dry lips and even dry skin, a humidifier is said to work wonders.  I have never used one in our room for this purpose, ours is always stationed in one of the kid's rooms but if you are going insane with the dryness, a humidifier should help too!

7.  Prime Your Lips
If you've done all the above and your lips still aren't looking the greatest but you're dying to wear some color on your lips, MAC's Prep + Prime Lip works great as a base under your lipstick.  It helps to smooth your lips and adds a little bit of moisture under your lipstick.  I actually need to be picking up a new tube of this since I've used mine up!  I would love to find a good dupe for this to save a few dollars!  Anyone know of one?

Hope these simple tips and tricks will help you!  They've worked great for me!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

NOTD and Happy 4th!

I think I found my new favorite nail polish which is what inspired this quick NOTD post!
Sinful Colors -Sail La Ve, $1.99 at Walgreens
NYC In a New York Minute - Grand Central Station, $1.99 at Walmart

I was feeling a little festive for the Fourth but didn't want to go true blue on my fingers, I usually reserve the dark colors for my toes.  I picked this polish out of my stash and I am loving it!  It's a very soft blue, almost purple.  Would you call this periwinkle?  I believe this color is a limited edition but last time I was at Walgreens they still had it!  It is in their Sail La Ve collection, and the actual name of this polish is Sail La Ve, how convenient!  I think you can find Sinful Colors at Target and Walmart too.
I am loving NYC's In a New York Minute, Grand Central Station as a top coat.  This has been working better than the last two top coat polishes I've tried and it dries fast too.  Plus it's cheap!
I really like Sinful Color nail polishes, as with all brands there are hits and misses but their cream formula polishes usually work great for me and the price is hard to beat.  It's even a sweeter deal when Walgreens runs their Sinful Color sales!
Happy Fourth of July!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Follow Me on Bloglovin!

I just got added to Bloglovin!  If you've never heard of this, it's a one stop site to view all your favorite blogs and get notified every time one of them has a new post.  I love following blogs; beauty, fashion, cooking, mommy stuff, organization, ect so this is brilliant!  You can also download Bloglovin as an app!
Click on the Bloglovin button on the right hand side of my page to have my blog added to your Bloglovin feed!
Happy Blog Reading! :)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

10 Products I'd Repurchase

(Featured on BlogHer)

A while ago there was this tag going around on YouTube titled "10 Products I'd Repurchase".  The premise was, if you lost ALL your makeup what 10 products would you go to the store and repurchase immediately?
I thought it was a cute tag and loved seeing what other people feel are necessary in their makeup collection.  Here is my top 10 list!
1.  Revlon Colorstay Whipped Crème Foundation
Since I'm a foundation junky, it was hard for me to pick just one, it was between my CoverGirl Outlast and Revlon.  These both were in my best of drugstore foundations post.  Revlon Colorstay Whipped is the most versatile.  It's a great long wearing foundation.  I'm always surprised when I go to take my makeup off how well it had stayed.  It never accentuates my dry areas, controls oil well and has a very natural finish.

 2.  Maybelline DreamLumi Touch Highlighting Concealer in Radiant
This is a must for me.  I have dark circles and I normally wear full coverage concealer first and then this on top but since I can only pick ten products, I think this concealer is really all I need.  It brightens my under eyes and helps me appear to be refreshed and awake.

3.  Revlon Nearly Naked Pressed Powder in Light
This is a great setting powder.  Nearly Naked leaves a natural finish to the skin, not dewy but not matte either.  The powder is finely milled and feels silky to the touch.  It sets my foundation and concealer wonderfully without leaving a powdery, cakey finish that most powders tend to do.  I mostly use this to set my T-zone and under eye area.

4.  Physicians Formula Bronze Booster in Medium/Deep
This is a great bronzer!  It's hard to find a good bronzer that is not too orangey but doesn't make me look dirty and muddy like some taupey bronzers tend to.  This is a great in between.  Too many bronzers are overloaded with shimmer and sparkle, who really wants to bronze or contour with glitter?!  Not me!

5.  Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso
Ah, I love blush.  It was so hard to pick just one blush!  If you've ever watched beauty vlogs or read blogs you know that Luminoso is a cult favorite.  I have to agree with the masses, it's pretty awesome.  Luminoso is a peachy-pink color that leaves a gorgeous, glowing sheen on the cheeks.  I don't even mess with a powder highlight when I use this because it's totally unnecessary.

6.  NYX HD High Definition Eyeshadow Base
I currently have this primer and my Urban Decay Primer Potion.  I actually reach for my NYX more than the pricey UD primer.  Enough said!

7. Urban Decay Naked Palette
This is the only thing on my list that is not drugstore.  I did a post about this palette and yes I think it is most definitely worth the splurge.  There are lots of dupes for colors in this palette but seriously, if you can treat yourself to this wonderful palette or throw in a few hints to that special someone that you'd love this for your next birthday, holiday, ect, then do it!! I don't think you'll regret it!

8.  Jordana Fabuliner in Black
This liner is my favorite!  The pigmentation is super dark and the felt tip is the perfect size to get a winged eye without being too flimsy.  It is really worth all $2.99.  Seriously, it's only $2.99!!

9.  Physicians Formula Organic Wear Mascara
This formula still remains my favorite.  I thought Jordana's Best Lash Extreme might bump this guy out of first place but nothing can seem to beat my Physician's Formula mascara.  I reach for it daily.  It's long wearing without being incredibly difficult to wash off and never smudges on me.  If you try this, make sure to get the green tube!  They have this in a pink leafy tube too but it's totally different.

10. Revlon Lip Butter in Pink Truffle
Eeeeek!  Just pick one lippy?!  I love all my lipsticks but if I had to pick one I'd have to go with this.  Pink Truffle is that "my lips but better" lipstick.  It's super easy to apply (don't even need a mirror), not drying and gives a good rich color and shine without looking like you're trying too hard.  Revlon really hit the mark with their whole lip butter line!

There you go, my top 10 products I'd repurchase if I ever (GULP) lost all my makeup.  What would you repurchase?