Sunday, 20 February 2011

My Makeup Brushes & Homemade Brush Roll

please excuse the few marks - it's in need of a wash

I have chopped and changed several brushes through the years, but thought I'd show you my most used brushes that I keep in my homemade brush roll. I made this a few years back after not finding anything nice to keep my brushes in. I like being able to see them all and I am pleased that my homemade efforts have held up quite well (the tie I initially had around is no more and a few sequins have come off). I wish I had made it slightly taller as some of my brushes don't fit as neatly under the flap but I don't mind too much. It has helped to prevent me from buying anymore brushes as I like to put them in the roll but now there is no space! I still have about 5 or so brushes that I cannot fit into this roll (like my Ecotools kabuki).

L-R: Sonia Kashuk Highlighting Brush, Everyday Minerals Eyebuki, Revlon Eye Contour brush, Ruby & Millie foundation brush, Lancome foundation brush (old style), MAC 130, Shu Uemura 14, No7 Precision Eyeliner Brush, E.L.F. Studio Complexion brush.

Illamasqua (I think this is Blusher brush 1, but it's not labelled so don't know for sure), E.L.F Studio Powder brush, No7 Smoky Eyeliner brush, Illamasqua Blending brush 2, Shu Uemura 20H, MAC 109, Shu Uemura 10, No7 Concealer brush.

Shu Uemura 10, No7 Concealer brush, Sonia Kashuk eye blending brush, MAC 214, Shu Uemura 6M, Shu Uemura 2R, old YSL eye brush, MAC 228, MAC 219, MAC 217, MAC 239, MAC 226, from art shop Pro Arte Ser.60 Prolon Round brush, Sonia Kashuk bent eyeliner brush.

If I only had to pick one brush as a favourite it would be the Illamasqua blusher brush as it is similar in size to MAC 109 but it is soo soft (it makes the MAC feel scratchy, even though that is still quite soft). This applies blush so beautifully and evenly and is fantastic with highlighting powders as well as it seems to apply them more finer. Even though I have had this a while I haven't actually tried it with foundation (I really should remember to try this).

A quick runthrough of my other favourite brushes and use:

Ruby & Millie foundation brush - cream blush as well as obviously foundation, the ends are slightly soft and rounder to blend cream blush out nicer.
Lancome foundation brush (old style)  - only foundation, slightly flatter shape and ends taper a bit more then R&M, but great for quick foundation application. This is one of my older brushes and it's still in good condition.
MAC 130 - great for cream foundation and blush as it blends out product nicely so it looks natural.
E.L.F. Studio Complexion brush - to lightly dust powder. I love their studio line brushes, excellent quality for the price and very soft.
Illamasqua Blending brush 2 - undereye concealer- very soft and blends this really well so I don't get concealer settling into fine lines as much.
Shu Uemura 2R - perfect gel eyeliner brush 
MAC 219, MAC 239, MAC 21- my favourite eye brushes have to be MAC - they are soft and make applying eye shadow much easier - especially the 217 which is the best eye blending brush

Friday, 18 February 2011

Cleansers: Quickish Reviews

Cleansers are one of my favourite items of skincare - I just love the whole ritual and the feeling of fresh, clean skin. I wish I could keep that feeling the whole day! I liken them to a bit like breakfast (which is my favourite meal of the day) as they're both important starts to my daily routine.

I am getting nearer to finishing several cleansers (but haven't been using these all at once! This is more over the space of about 6 months or so) so thought I'd do a quickish review of each. (Just for reference I have combo/acne skin, and this is just how the products worked for me) :

Caudalie Cleansing Water
I bought this in the hopes of it being like Bioderma's Sensibio/Crealine cleansing water. This doesn't quite match the makeup removal powers of Bioderma but it does a reasonable job although some of my more stubborn mascaras definitely need a balm/oil cleanser. I mostly use this for eye makeup removal rather then the whole face as I need a lot to get rid of all my makeup and would get through it very quickly. It feels very gentle and has a lovely soft and subtle cucumber and mild mint scent. Overall I think it's better for more lighter makeup removal.

Evolve Daily Detox Facial Wash
This was a bit of a surprise as it is a runny gel texture that has a mild lather and overall just feels gentle and nothing particularly special. But after using it for a while I noticed that this unassuming cleanser really does make the face feel very clean and soft without stripping it. I do think it helps a bit in keeping the skin clearer as well. The only slight negative I have noticed is that it doesn't work as well for my skin if I use this when I am using my topical acne gel (Duac) as it makes my skin feel a little drier. It has a mild aloe vera type scent that feels quite refreshing. I usually go for gel cleansers in the summer months, but this has been pleasant to use at the moment as well.

Avene Gentle Gel Cleanser
I started using this before Ren's ClearCalm 3 range but I didn't return to it as even though it does an ok job of cleansing it doesn't do really anything beyond this for me. It's not a product that makes me look forward to the whole cleansing ritual as it feels a bit average. This may be good for someone who doesn't have as problematic a skin as mine but is not for me I'm afraid.

Les Fleurs des Bach Cleansing Milk (Anti-Stress)
Wipe-off cleansing milks are not a formula I generally tend to go for, I feel like I am wasting the product as I have to use a lot to remove anything. The reasons I got this were that it was on sale and also I quite liked how calming and soothing it sounded. This is another surprise like as it has a beautiful scent that doesn't smell strongly of lavender as I initially thought it might (I had used the shower gel which did have more of a lavender scent to it). It feels quite nourishing but not in a way that is overpowering for my skin. It is quite effective for makeup removal but as I wear quite a bit around my eyes, it doesn't get every last scrap off as thoroughly as an oil/balm would. The packaging is a lovely classical style dark glass bottle with a convenient pump. It think it is a little bit pricey for a cream cleanser as at full price this is about £20 - I don't use this often but it didn't take me very long to get through half the bottle.

Emma Hardie Amazing Face Cleanser
I had read about this cleanser on the lovely blogs London Makeup Girl and Make-Up By Katy and was intrigued so tested this out in SpaceNK and quite liked the texture and general feel. It is a wonderful soft balm that is easy to scoop a little of and massage onto the skin. A few balms I have tried in the past have felt a bit waxy/greasy and do not remove very easily even with a muslin cloth but this removes well as it emulsifies into a creamy milk when mixed with a little water. I have been using this only in the evenings to remove makeup and while I necessarily don't think I need to double-cleanse (as it does thoroughly remove everything), I do on most days anyway out of habit just to make sure I have really got everything off. This lasts a good while as it spreads well over the skin so I only use a little at a time. I have been using this for almost 4 months and I still have about 1/3 left. It is very gentle around the eyes and doesn't irritate and overall makes my skin feel clean, soft and nourished. This is comforting in the colder months and good for drier/flaky patches as the cleanser used with a cloth really helps to smooth the skin and get rid of any dryness. 

All purchased by me 

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

NARS Desperado Nail Polish

With Flash. 3 coats

Natural Light (I nicked the finish a bit before it properly dried)
NARS Desperado is a rather unusual shade from the spring collection that to me is more a summer type shade. It is a bit deceptive - in the bottle it looks as though it may lean a bit green and the gold is slightly paler but on the nails it looks slightly different and takes on a more browny/bronzy-toned deep golden colour.

The pic is with 3 coats and it applies well without any streaks. In the pic the polish seems to contrast more with my skin when in reality I don't think it pops out that much.

I really like this teamed with deep blue accessories - I have a ring with has some lapis lazuli in it which seems to go quite nicely with this shade.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Sue Devitt Eye Intensifier Pencils Zaire & Ava

These Eye Intensifier pencils are definitely the stand-out product for me from Sue Devitt, and ever since I bought my first of these pencils in the shade Laos, I have wanted to try some (more like all) of the colours and when I was passing the counter at Harvey Nichols on Saturday they had some sets left which contained 2 of the Eye Intensifier pencils which worked out less then buying separately. In the set I got Ava which is a rich violet shade and Zaire which is a deep plum.

L - Ava , R - Zaire

I love how these are quick and easy to use and can be applied and blended with a brush. The texture is smooth, non-drying and the colours are rich and have a certain depth that really compliment the eyes. As I have previously mentioned in my post about Laos, these really stay put all day with minimal creasing - this really is the winning formula for me and my oily eyelids.

Purchased by me

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Blush of the Week - Illamasqua Rude Cream Blusher

It has to be said that in the past I've often stayed away from cream blushes, I was not too fond of some of the firmer cream textures and was afraid of them looking too shiny and not agreeing with my acne-prone skin but I have finally put this aside and feel I am more confident with this variety, especially since now there are many great formulas to choose from.

All this week I have been using Illamasqua's Cream Blusher in Rude. It was this blush that made me think twice about my old views on cream blushes as this is simply a gorgeous formula and colour.

The texture is unlike any I've tested - it's a soft (but not too soft), light feeling cream that applies smoothly and is easy to blend into the skin. Once blended the texture is more of a soft, luminous natural finish (not a powdery finish). The colour looks rather scary and bright in the pan but once blended into the skin it gives such a pretty natural peachy colour and it doesn't have any shimmer.

heavy swatch
blended out - this is one layer, but colour can be builded
I have been applying with my Ruby & Millie foundation brush, then blending a little with my fingers - I only need to touch the pan lightly to get a good level of colour as this is very well pigmented. It can be layered to get more of a colour too.

Rude is definitely one of the stand-outs from Illamasqua and has got me ready to explore more wonderful cream blushes. Hum, what to try next?

Purchased by me

Friday, 4 February 2011

Soft Smoky Greyish Blue Look

I really enjoy watching Youtube tutorials and getting useful tips on creating looks but when it comes to more smoky looks, I sometimes hold back on how much I bring out my shadow on the outer corner, feeling that it may be too much and in the end it not looking very smoky. I have attempted to bring the colour out more but in the pic is doesn't look overly dramatic (also the colours look a bit washed out in the pic).

Diorskin Forever Compact powder -040 (around sides/forehead)
Everyday Minerals Peach Color Corrector (centre of face)
Ellis Faas Concealer - S205 (undereye)
Shu Uemura Blush - M Pink 31
MUFE - HD Powder

Lips - Chanel Rouge Allure - 82 Incognito

Base of  E.L.F. Mineral Eyeshadow primer and then Bloom Eye Paint in Chocolate on top (that is giving a little of the effect of an inner corner highlight)
Urban Decay Sabbath from the Black Palette (halfway up lid and lining lower lash line)
MAC Sorcery eyeshadow (outer corner/little bit in crease) I think this shade was limited edition (sorry)
MAC Feline Kohl Power Pencil
Rouge Bunny Rouge Anthracite Essence Quartz Eyeliner (thin line close to lashes)
Korres Eyebrow pencil 01 
17 Wild Curls Mascara - black (on top & bottom lashes)

I think I should get out the old Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy to make the blue look a bit more lively but generally I quite like the softer take.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

NOTD - Models Own Top Turquiose

please excuse the blurry pic, the lighting at the moment is rather dim

Models Own Top Turquoise is a lovely creamy mid turquoise shade that leans ever so slightly more green (I think it's more aquamarine then turquoise). Pic is with 2 coats and after a days wear. Application was no fuss. Feels rather tropical but it just stops a little short of being really bright so even though it seems like more of a summer shade, I am happy wearing this for spring.

Purchased by me