Sunday, September 29, 2013

Eyeliner Collection & September Ipsy Bag

Hey there, big girls!  Sorry to have been MIA the last couple of weeks.  I have been drowning in essays to grade plus went out of town with my parents, but this weekend brought me back to my normal schedule and gave me a chance to continue my series of makeup collection posts.  Today, let's talk eyeliner.

First, here are my everyday brown liners:

From top to bottom:

 - Urban Decay 24/7 Eyeliner in Bourbon (FAVORITE brown liner of all time!  I wear this on my lower lashline almost every day.)
 - Clinique Creamshaper for Eyes in Chocolate Lustre (like the Bourbon but with less shimmer)
 - Urban Decay 24/7 Eyeliner in Corrupt (left side of pencil in first pic)
 - Rimmel Scandal Eyes Eyeliner in Brown (these are GREAT budget-friendly alternatives to the UD 24/7 pencils!)

Here are my black liners (plus a gorgeous deep plum), which I use to line my upper and/or lower waterline and sometimes line the lashline:

From top to bottom:

 - Urban Decay 24/7 Eyeliner in Perversion (the BEST for lining the upper waterline and the blackest black liner on the planet!)
 - Urban Decay 24/7 Eyeliner in Zero (right side of pencil in first pic) - a good black that is not as "extreme" as Perversion.  Not sure why it looks streaky in the swatch, though...
 - Rimmel Scandal Eyes Eyeliner in Black
 - Estee Lauder Doublewear Eyeliner in Black Plum

I also have been loving gel liners for my upper lashline.  These are the two that I use regularly, and both are extremely long-wearing and smooth:

From top to bottom:

 - Bobbi Brown Longwear Gel Eyeliner in Caviar Ink (a super-dark brown)
 - Cailyn Line fix Gel Eyeliner in Iron (a beautiful, shimmery gray that came in one of my previous Ipsy bags.  I LOVE to use this as a base/primer for darker eyeshadows, too.)

The Cailyn eyeliner comes with a fabulous built-in brush of its own:

Also, when I ordered the Bobbi Brown Eyeliner from Sephora back in the Spring, I ordered this Laura Mercier Smoky Eyeliner Brush, which I love.  It has a super-pointed tip that keeps its shape after every use and wash:

And, even though I usually stick with brown, gray, or black liner, every once in a while I get crazy and use a colorful pencil on my lower lashline or waterline:

As you can see, I love NYX pencils for adding a pop of color.  From top to bottom:

 - NYX Slide On, Glide On pencil in Jewel (a shimmery plum)
 - NYX Slide On, Glide On pencil in Golden Bronze
 - Sephora Flashy liner in Flashy Green (but it's more of a blue)
 - NYX Eye/Brown Pencil in Bronze Shimmer (not as long-wearing as the Slide On, Glide On ones)
 - Rimmel Scandal Eyes pencil in Nude (Yes, I bought into the hype of this pencil.  I've tried it on my lower waterline to make me look more "awake."  I don't really think it does, though...not like a couple of cups of strong coffee do. :)  

Also, here is a product that you need to RUN OUT AND BUY NOW for sharpening all of your lip and eye pencils - The Urban Decay Grindhouse Double Barrel Sharpener:

 I NO IDEA why this sharpener works better than any other sharpener that I have ever bought, but it truly is fabulous and worthy of its $10 price tag!  It is especially good for sharpening softer, creamier pencils like the UD 24/7 ones. 

Next, want a neat little trick for getting your pencils super-sharp?  Here it is...

That's right!  Just pop those pencils in the freezer and let them hang out with your frozen peas and corn for about 10 or 15 minutes.  They will sharpen SO much better than they would at room temperature. 

Lasly, liquid liners, which I have grown to love over the past couple of years (after spending many years in fear of them!).  Now, I do not do the wing/"flick" at the end normally.  It's just not a look that I think looks good on my eye shape, plus not a skill that I have mastered yet.  What I normally do with black liquid liner is smudge over it with a dark shadow, as I like a "smoky" dramatic eye versus the precise cat-eye look.  Here are my favorite liquid liners:

From top to bottom:

 - Jesse's Girl Liquid Eyeliner in black (This new drugstore favorite of mine has a Japanese calligraphy brush tip and can be used to create super-thin lines.  You can buy Jesse's Girl products at Rite-Aid and on the Jesse's Girl website.)
 - Stila All Day Liquid Eyeliner in black - with a tip almost as fine as the Jesse's Girl, this one is great for achieving a dramatic look.
 - Milani Ultra Fine liquid liner in black - Before discovering Jesse's Girl and Stila, I used this a good bit. However, now that I have gotten used to the finer, more precise tips of the other two, I rarely use it anymore.  It IS very black, though, and long-lasting.  I good drugstore alternative if you want a thicker, more dramatic line.

Oops...this pic is not in the same order as the one above.  L to R - Stila, Jesse's Girl, and Milani

Top to bottom - Jesse's Girl (look how THIN that line is!!), Stila, and Milani

And, just to give you a comparison of the Jesse's Girl and the Stila (and an example of how I never draw a precise line with either, lol), I took a couple of extra pictures.

Here is me with the Jesse's Girl liquid liner:

I LOVE the thin line that I can achieve from this Jesse's Girl liner , and makes my lashes look SO much thicker after I put on mascara.

And, here is me with the Stila liquid liner:

Not sure what is up with the shakey-looking outer corner.  Too much coffee this morning, perhaps, or maybe just my aging eyelinds?

And speaking of my love for Jesse's Girl liquid eyeliner, looky looky looky...

My September Ipsy Bag:

After receiving the lamest Ipsy Bag ever in August (no Urbay Decay lipstick and they sent another crappy hot pink plastic bag from JULY! GRRR!), this Ipsy bag has redeemed itself by providing me with a backup of the Jesse's Girl liner.  Here are some up close pics of this month's contents:

Hooray!  Another Jesse's Girl liquid eyeliner AND a gorgeous purple NYX shadow!)

A little look that I created with the NYX shadow and Jesse's Girl liner

This Cailyn "tinted lip balm" is nothing of the is a highly pigmented, almost matte lipstick.  However, it works perfectly for that "Mad Men" lip!

This J. Cat lipstick would make me look like utter death, so I am leaving it untouched and will try to find a friend who could use this pale, peachy-nude.  I have enough mascaras already, but this It's So Big mascara will make a great throw-in for a swap.

Whew!  That was a monster eyeliner/Ipsy post.  Hopefully it made up for my temporary absence from the blogging world. :)  Also, coming up this week in a continuation of my makeup collection posts - mascaras!

What are your favorite eyeliners?  Any application tips or tricks? 


Saturday, September 14, 2013

Beauty Blogazons Weekly Roundup

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Time To Clean Your Makeup Brushes With Master's Brush Cleaner

Of all of the items in my makeup collection, my brushes are most loved and valuable tools.  My "flings" with the latest eyeshadow palettes, the hottest lip glosses, and the sultriest eyeliners may be fun while they last, but my brushes and I have a solid relationship that has stood the test of time.  Good makeup brushes are the key to making any makeup product look its best when applied, and, if taken care of properly (wash them once a month!), will be your faithful makeup sidekicks for years and years. 

Until recently, I simply washed my brushes with a gentle soap or shampoo (usually my beloved Johnson and Johnson Head-to-Toe Baby Wash, which I keep in the shower to use as a face wash in the mornings).  I would dampen them under hot water, swoosh them around in my palm with just a drop of J&J, rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat....until the water ran clear.  Depending on the type of brush and what type of product I used with it, it could take several of these palm-swooshing/rinsing cycles until the water ran clear and I knew it was clean.  All the while, my poor pickling palm would be turning beet-red. 

Last weekend, though, I made a trip to my local Michael's Art Supply to pick up a couple of things for my classroom and also to search for an item that I have read about on various beauty blogs, The Master's Brush Cleaner.  This solid cake of soap comes in a plastic container and has been a longtime favorite of artists for cleaning oil-based paint, acrylic, stains, and watercolor paint from their paintbrushes. And while the company does not recommend or advertise their product for cleaning makeup brushes, many makeup artists use this $10 little tub of lemon-scented soap for their best and gunkiest makeup brushes.

To clean your brushes, simply dampen the brush under warm water and swirl it gently around on the surface of the soap:

Today I washed 3 of my dirtiest brushes with this soap.  First, my most-used eyeshadow brushes - my MAC 217 blending brush and MAC 239 shading brush, which are both made of beautiful white goat hair.  Here are pics of these two brushes, both before and after cleaning with Master's Brush Cleaner:

Before (left) and after (right) - WOW WOW WOW!!
All it took to get both of these brushes back to their original color is about 6 or 7 SECONDS (!!) of swirling them around on the surface of the soap.  I was doing backflips of brush-cleaning joy when I saw how quickly this wonderful brush cleaner dissolved any and all remants of shadow and stains on these brushes. 

I also washed my gunkiest brush, my Sigma F80 Flat Top Kabuki, which I use every single day for buffing in liquid foundation or CC cream:

Impressive, si??!!  I did have to do two rounds of swooshing and rinsing with this brush, but we are still talking about 10-15 seconds for this brush go to from that funky (left) to that clean (right).  (Brushes that I use for liquid or cream products, by the way, get a good washing every 2 weeks, as bacteria can grow faster on these than on brushes used for powder products.)  As you can see, there is still just a little bit of stain/foundation left in the center of the brush, but I may try using a trick I learned from my friend Sheila at Painted Ladies (olive oil!) and then give it one last swoosh again with this new brush cleaner. 

You can buy Master's Brush cleaner at Micael's, Hobby Lobby, or any art supply store. It comes in a convenient 1 oz size, (what I bought), a 2.5 oz "studio cake," and a 24 oz "classroom tub."  While $10 for a 1 oz bar of soap may seem pricey, you can always find Michael's and Hobby Lobby coupons in the paper and online, and from what I have read these containers last for months. 

One other important brush-cleaning tip - after cleaning, remember to lay each brush flat on a soft, absorbent surface (like a dry washcloth) so that no water or dampness runs back down into the brush's ferrule (This is the part that connects the hairs to the handle, usually with some sort of glue.  Water can loosen the glue and make your brush hairs fall out.  This is also why you should never leave your brushes to soak in water, either.).  My next beauty brush investment, though, is going to be one of these Benjabelle Brush Trees, which allow your brushes to hang hairs-down and suspended in the air.

Get thee to your nearest art supply store this weekend, big girls, and get busy cleaning those brushes!   With Master's Brush Cleaner, makeup brush cleaning is a quick and easy task that will extended the life of your best and most faithful brushes.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Eyeshadow Collection Part 2 - Cool Palettes + Favorite Shadow Bases & Primers

And now, part 2 of my eyeshadow collection - Cool (and cool-ish neutral) shades(click here to read about my Warm-Neutral palettes):

The mother of cool eyeshadow palettes and a recent favorite, Urban Decay's Naked 2 Palette:

I have used this palette almost every single day since I bought it during a back-to-school Ulta haul in July.  The colors that I find myself reaching for the most are Bootycall (absolute FAVORITE from this palette), Tease, Snakebite, and Busted (love this to smudge over eyeliner).

Next, my not-so-full (and therefore needing to be filled!) cool Z-Palette:

Here are my favorite MAC cool shadows (with a couple of UD and Prestige shadows as well):

 From left to right:
 - Top row - Seedy Pearl, Copperplate
 - Middle row - Girlie, Club
 - Bottom row - Star Violet, Prestige Long-Term Relationship Total Intensity eyeshadow in Addiction (great recent drugstore find!)

From left to right (still all MAC unless indicated):
 - Top row - Quarry, Espresso, another Shroom (have one of these in both of my Z-Palettes)
 - Middle row - Smut, Satin Taupe
 - Bottom row - Urban Decay eyeshadow single in Last Call, Steamy

And here's a little blast from the past...

These three shadows are from an oldie but a goodie - the Stila Smokey Eye Palette...the one that talked to you when you pressed a button on the lid!  Remember those?  I have had these shadows for years and I STILL love them for a traditional gray smokey eye.  (tip:  If your older shadows or other powder products seem to get a "film" on them as they get older, simply take a small, thin knife and gently scrape off the top layer.  They will be good as new!  The oils in your skin and any other products like primers or even water that may be transferred from your brushes to your shadows or blushes cause that film.  No big deal.  Scrape it off, big girl.) 

Next, a mega-holy-grail:

Eyelid shade from WnW Silent Treatment 3-pan palette - I LOVE this!!

And the mother of all cool/neutral shadows for me - the eyelid shade from Wet 'n Wild's Silent Treatment 3-pan palette.  Many say it's a dupe for MAC's ubiquitous Satin Taupe, but on me it is not.  Satin Taupe (which I also love) works as a crease and lid color for me, too, but this silver-y taupe shadow from Wet 'n Wild makes a beautiful lid color that is just a tiny bit lighter and brighter than Satin Taupe.

Next, to make these shadows as pretty as they are in their pans and to make them stay on all day without creasing or smudging, I love these products as primers:

Of these products, here are the ones I reach for most often:

 - NYX's White Eyeshadow Base (top left) has become my go-to eyeshadow primer over the last few months.  This totally matte shadow base really makes eyeshadows vivid and rich.  Even moreso, I think, than this next old favorite:
 - MAC's Paint Pot in Painterly (top right) - still love this, especially for a matte, neutral eye
 - Milani Shadow Eyez Champagne Toast eyeshadow pencil (bottom) - I use this just on the lid and on top of one of the other two above primers if I want a shimmery shadow to be even more brilliant (it's especially gorgeous under MAC's Woodwinked!)

I also love the Maybelline Color Tattoo shadows to use on top of one of my matte primers and underneath a matching eyeshadow color:

 - From left to right (top row) - Bad to the Bronze, Pomegranate Punk (great under MAC's Star Violet!, and Barely Branded
 - Bottom - Benefit's Creaseless Cream Shadow in Skinny Jeans (awesome under a dark, smokey eye)

And last but not least, my if-I-got-stranded-on-remote-island picks (Who would care about eyeshadow in that situation, you might be saying?  ME, of course...): 

Shadows, from top to bottom:

 - First column - NYX White Shadow Base, Wet 'n Wild Brule, Eyelid Color from WnW Silent Treatment 3-pan palette
 - Second column - Sable, Jest, Satin Taupe, Quarry, Espresso
 - Third column - Woodwinked, Shroom, Omega, Smut, Copperplate

Boom. You're ready for Mr. Handsome to come and rescue you off that remote island, and you can just go straight to dinner with him when you get back home BECAUSE YOU ALREADY HAD ON YOUR AWESOME-EST EYESHADOWS.

What are your eyeshadow and primer favorites?  I would love to know your stranded-on-a-remote-island eyeshadow palette choices, too!!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Eyeshadow Collection - Warm & Neutral Palettes

Happy Labor Day weekend, everyone! One of my projects this long holiday weekend has been re-painting and re-organizing my "beauty room," which is a room in the basement level of my house where I get ready every day and where I keep all of my beauty loot.  Because I have had to move everything out to paint, I thought it would be a good time to also clean and re-organize all of my makeup.  And while I'm at it, I thought I would begin to share my makeup collection with you!  Today we'll start with eyeshadows, which, for the most part, I buy either as palettes or in containers that can be de-potted (MAC, Wet 'n Wild, and NYX are my 3 favorite brands that can be de-potted, but I wouldn't try this with a nice compact like Chanel or Tom Ford). Let's begin with my warm and neutral colors -

First, here's a little somethin' somethin' that I picked up a couple of days ago with an Ulta gift card that a good friend gave me for my birthday:

bareMinerals Ready Eyeshadow quad in The Happy Place:

If you've never tried them, bareMinerals Ready Eyeshadows (they come in duos and quads) are buttery-smooth and super-pigmented.  The shades in this quad are:

 - Peace(top left) - soft, matte, pale pinkish-peach
 - Exhale(bottom left) - soft, matte, cool taupe
 - Imagine (top right) - medium pinkish-copper
 - Euphoria (bottom right) - Dark, reddish/plummy-brown

Peace and Exhale are gorgeous together when used to create a soft, matte, natural eye.  Euphoria is very intense and looks fabulous smudged over black eyeliner.  Imagine is just plain beautiful, especially with green or hazel eyes.  It's like MAC's Expensive Pink but with a bit more copper.

Next, a wonderful neutral palette from NYX called Caviar and Bubbles (yikes!  It must be discontinued, as it is selling for $35 on Amazon.  If you see this in the store, BUY IT!):

This little guy was unfortunately the victim of my failed attempts to de-pot one of the shadows, so the plastic melted just a little bit on the front and I lost one of the shadows on the top row.  However, I have remained faithful to this gem from NYX despite its injuries.  It's one of those palettes where several of the shadows appear to be almost the same, but their subtle differences are what make them versatile.  Every shade in here is a no-brainer for creating a neutral eye.  It has smooth, shimmery shadows for using on the inner corners/browbones and lids, cool and warm medium-toned shades for the crease, and a super-dark matte brown and black for the outer crease or smudging out a liner. 

Next let's look at my Z-Palettes, which hold my MAC and Wet 'n Wild shadows. (In case you don't know...Wet 'n Wild has seriously stepped up their game in the last few years with their Color Icon 3-pan and 8-pan shadows.  Most of the shades in these palettes are as pigmented and smooth as any MAC or Chanel shadows you could buy).

First, my neutral and warm palette:

As you can tell, this Z-Palette has seen better days.  This is the first one I ever bought, and it has lasted me 5 years.  I will most likely replace it soon, but in case you don't know how to use these, check out this YouTube tutorial from beauty guru Makeup Geek (Marlena) on how to de-pot MAC shadows and put them into palettes.  The only thing that I do that is different from her method is that I use aluminum foil instead of wax paper.  Also, Z-Palettes now come with their own perfectly-sized magnets to put on the backs of your MAC shadows, so no need to buy magnet stickers any more!  Yipee!  (but I do keep a few of these stickers around just in case I have a non-MAC-shaped pan to put in my palettes) These palettes are such a nice alternative to digging through tons of smaller containers (Z-Palette also makes smaller sizes of these palettes that are good for travel or those of you who are not gluttonous as I am), and you can save the empty containers and use them for the Back-to-Mac recycling program.

Shades from left to right (all MAC):
 - First Row - Omega, Shroom, Jest, Woodwinked
 - Second Row - Kid, Naked Lunch, Expensive Pink, Sable
 - Third Row - Era, All That Glitters, Mythology, Amber Lights

Here are most of my Wet 'n Wild neutral favorites:

- Far left - Eyelid color from the Walking on Eggshells 3-pan palette
 - Bottom middle - One of the eyelid colors from the Comfort Zone 8-pan palette
 - Far right - Brule, a Wet 'n Wild Single shadow that is a must-have.  Almost an exact dupe for MAC's Brule, but BETTER. You need this!
 - Top center - Random Clinique shadow (Lucky Penny, I think)...I needed enough to get the bonus at Belk, people.  Yes, I know I have 47 other shades just like it. 

Left - Crease color from the Walking on Eggshells 3-pan palette
Right - Crease color from the Knock on Wood Palette (I love this dark, shimmery brown for smudging out eyeliner)

- Right - MAC loner shadow - Bronze
- Middle - Random (but very pretty and so smooth!) Jane Iredale shadow in Peach
- Left - Random and long-neglected Stila Jezebel shadow

My next neutral palette, The Balm Nude 'Tude Palette, is on the way in the mail via a Makeup Alley swap (I have just discovered swapping on Makeup's addictive!  Post to come soon of my recent swap goodies).  Will be sure to post a review after I experiment with it. 

What are your favorite warm and neutral shadows and palettes?  Any de-potting tips? 

Hope that you are all having a great holiday weekend!