Saturday, January 28, 2012


In my many years as a technician, one of the most valuable lessons I've learned is that the proper tools make the job go a lot easier.  This is just as true when applying makeup. You may think that makeup brushes are confusing, expensive, and only for professionals but there are many good brushes out there that won't break the bank. If you try to use those little foam wands that come with some eye shadows, you won't be able to blend or precisely apply. Invest in a set of brushes to make your life easier.

The bare bones of any brush collection should be a blending or crease brush, a flat brush, and a small brush for more precise application. If you wear a lot of gel liner, you should also add a bent liner brush to your arsenal.  Last but not least don't forget your brows and lashes! Add a double sided brow and lash comb and you'll be all set to really start experimenting with eye shadow.

I highly recommend the brushes from Makeup Geek. I use the Outer V ($5.99) everyday for applying shadow to the crease.  I recently picked up the Crease Brush ($4.89) and it's quickly becoming a go to brush. It works well for blending the crease. It is very similar to the MAC 217 but is a little smaller (which I like) and is about a quarter of the price. These are natural fiber brushes and have held up well for me.

Bottom to Top: MUG Outer V, MUG Crease Brush

I do have a collection of MAC brushes. I only use about three of them regularly. The aforementioned MAC 217 ($22.50) is a great brush for applying color or blending. It's soft and feathery. Next is the MAC 219 ($24.50). I have a smaller holiday special edition set from a few years ago. This brush is used for a more precise application of color or blending. I use it under the brow and in the inside corner of the eye. The brush I use the most after the Outer V is the MAC 239.  This is used for applying color to larger areas of the lid. It has flat rounded bristles. I've had my 219SE & 239SE for at least three years now and they are still in excellent condition.  These are also natural fiber brushes.

Bottom to Top: MAC 217, MAC 219SE, MAC 239SE

Perhaps the most bang for your buck can be found in the e.l.f. Studio 11 Piece Brush Collection ($30). I just recently purchased this set and I'm in love. It's a nice mix of eye and face brushes and it comes in in a soft case for storage or travel. I'm really impressed with the Eye shadow "C" Brush. It blends like a dream. The Contour Brush is similar to the Outer V  and the MAC 217 but is probably the most stiff of the three. I use the Small Precision Brush and the Small Smudge Brush frequently. They are a great size for applying or smudging eyeliner. The face brushes are super soft. I've really started to use the Fan brush quite a bit. I need to explore using the other face brushes a bit more. If you forget what a brush is for or how to use it, there's also a cheat sheet.  e.l.f. products can also be found at Target.  These brushes are fully synthethic so that means they are vegan friendly.  If you shop soon, you can use the code: SAVE50 to get $7.50 off. That's like $2 a brush. Go do it now. Open a new tab.  ;)

e.l.f. 11 Piece Studio Brush Set

Finally, if you use a lot of gel liner or are thinking about buying some gel liners, pick up the Sonia Kashuk Bent Eyeliner Brush ($5.79 at Target). The angle makes it a lot easier to apply eyeliner comfortably and precisely.

Don't forget to pick up a brush cleaner to clean and condition your brushes. I will post a review of different brush cleaners soon.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Ulta Haul

Here's my Ulta haul from Sunday. I finally gave in...

Urban Decays' Naked 1 Palette, Urban Decay Lip Junkie in Wallflower, NYX Lipsticks in Peach and Doll, and Ulta Nail Polish in Goddess.  I've been thinking about the Naked palette for a long time. I'll do a look with this soon. I need to play around with it a little first. I had a sample size of Wallflower and I loved it. It's smooth and long lasting and I love the color.  I'm trying to explore more lipstick colors and at $3.99 a pop how can you resist the NYX lipsticks?  Some of them have gotten really good reviews. I didn't find the two shades I was looking for but we'll see how Peach and Doll test out.  Finally, Ulta Nail Polish in Goddess to replace my China Glaze Temptation Carnation which seems to chip on me a lot and has a weird texture.  I don't really wear nail polish all that often though. We shall see how that goes.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Neutral Daytime Look

This is a nice neutral look for wearing during the day. 

You want to choose shades similar to skin tone so there will be a lot of variance from one person to the next. If you're ultra fair, feel free to use my suggestions. You need three shades one two shades darker than your skin tone, the next one shade darker, and the final one close to your skin tone.

Use the darkest shade in the corner and crease of the eye sweeping inwards.  Go back over that with your medium shade and blend the two. Sweep the medium shade along the rest of the lower lid. Use your lightest shade just beneath the brow and in the inside corner of the eye. Blending this into the medium shade.

Use a brown eyeliner for a softer look. Only line three quarters of the way in on both lids. Finish off with mascara.

Use a light peach or pink on the cheeks. For your lips use any shade ranging from soft pink to nude.

Foundation: Revlon ColorStay Foundation Ivory #110
Concealer: Sally Hansen All Over Brightener & Sonia Kashuk Concealer Palette
Powder: Mac Minearalize Skin Finish Light MAC

Primer: Urban Decay Primer Potion Original Urban Decay
Medium Brown:  Inglot #337 Inglot
Lighter Rose Brown: Inglot # 341
Highlight:  Inglot # 353
Eyeliner: Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On  Whiskey Urban Decay
Mascara: Maybelline Define-a-Lash

Blush: Maybelline Dream Mousse Blush Peach Satin #20
Highlight: Cover Girl Powder Natural Ivory

Lips: Inglot Cream Lipstick# 121 Inglot

Tools: MakeUpGeek Outer V Brush MUG
           MAC 217 MAC
           MAC 219 MAC

Alternatives:  Palladio Eyeshadow Primer Palladio
                        MakeUpGeek Crease Brush MUG

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


My career as an Entertainment Lighting Technician is not the most feminine.  On a typical work day, I wear black cargo pants, a black t-shirt, and black steel toed boots. I don't wear makeup and my hair is straight back in a ponytail. Over the years, I've started to become more girly in my off time. I suppose I've been trying to find a natural balance. In the last year especially, I've developed a strong interest in makeup and more specifically eyeshadow.

In my younger days, I was very much goth. So I'm no stranger to dramatic eye makeup. Now bellydance is my passion in life and once again dramatic eye makeup is a much needed skill. I needed to learn how to apply makeup like..well.. like a normal person. I've learned so much about different products and techniques over the last year that I'd like to share.

It is my goal to use this blog to review different products and produce technique videos. I hope it will be informative and educational.  I know that I still have much to learn. I hope through this blog, I will push myself further. My weakness is blush. In my formative teenage makeup years, I was goth. If I had known about contouring back then, I might have worn gray blush. Blush still sort of baffles me.

Makeup has come a long way since I first started wearing it way back in when.  There are so many great products out now no matter what your price range. My makeup drawer is a mixture of drugstore and designer products.  There are some really great finds at your local drugstore and some really great designer products that are worth the investment.

I'd  love to hear what you are interested or what you may have questions about.


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