Archive | July 2012

How to Clean your Makeup Brushes!

Deep cleaning your foundation brushes

Hands up if you’re guilty of leaving your foundation brushes a few weeks before cleaning them??!  Tut tut…. 😉 we’ve all done it but it’s just not worth it in the long run and using a dirty brush can cause continuous spot breakouts as well as the fact that your foundation will not apply the same way if the brush is not clean.

Because a lot of foundations are oil based, the product can really stay in your synthetic foundation brush, making it hard to remove no matter how much you wash it. A top Makeup Artist’s tip is to get some olive oil and pour a couple of drops on a some folded sheets of kitchen towel and work the bristles of your brush gently into it to loosen the product, you should see a lot of foundation on the paper towel!

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You should then wash with lukewarm water and Fairy Liquid to really clean off all residue.  Fairy liquid is great to use on foundation brushes.  It cuts right through the grease and removes all oil and other residue, and if you can use an anti-bacterial one, even better.  When I’m washing my brushes, what I do is, squirt a small amount into the palm of my hand and gently swirl the brush into my palm working up a lather. Then I rinse thoroughly in the water taking care to only wet the brisles and not the wooden part of the handle as this will loosen the glue holding your brush together and make it fall apart, not a good idea if you’ve forked out for a good MAC brush!  When you’re done, dry the brush off on a tea towel before reshaping and laying your brushes flat off the edge of a window sill to dry overnight.

I am meticulous when it comes to washing my brushes after every makeup job I do, just to ensure they are always clean.  The skin can harbour some nasty bacteria and it’s not something you want to be contaminating other people with!  I also spray with a gentle disinfectant especially for brushes which makes them smell gorgeous 🙂  As for my personal brushes I wash my foundation and other brushes once a week and spot clean with anti-bac spray if they just need a light going over or to remove light eyeshadow residue.  MAC do a great brush cleaner that dries instantly or some of the spray ones you get at beauty supply shops are good too.

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Non synthetic brushes (for eyeshadows etc.) should be washed gently with baby shampoo – they are real animal hair after all! 🙂 Look after your brushes and you’ll notice a big difference in your makeup applications – you simply can’t apply good makeup if your brushes are dirty!  If you follow the steps above, your makeup brushes will last you a lifetime!

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How to apply Blush

Have you ever tried to apply blush and ended up looking more like Aunt Sally than JLo?  We’ve all been there! 😀
The main things to consider when applying blush are to get the shade right (see my previous post on that ) and then use
the right brush and blend well. Once you’ve got that down, you’re laughing (as well as glowing with a
pop of healthy colour!).

Applying blush
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Many women don’t know exactly where they should apply blush so here’s a tip if you’re one of them:

To find out where the colour should go, look straight ahead into a mirror and hold your index finger right
in front of your eye over your pupil.

Now, smile and drop your finger straight down to land on the high pointed, fleshy part of your cheek
that pops out when you smile, still keeping it directly under your pupil. This is where you place the
brush to start applying, no further in towards your nose, or it will look unnatural.

Next, lightly dust your brush into the colour, tap of the excess and pop it on, working it into that part and
blending what’s left up your cheek bone towards your temple. You only need to use a light touch with
the brush for this.

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Remember, it’s always better to start with too little product, that way you can build up the intensity of
the colour by adding slightly more but if you’re too heavy handed and load your brush with too much
blush, it can be impossible to take it off, ruining the makeup you’ve already done and giving you the
dreaded Aunt Sally effect! Applying it in a thick stripe and not blending the edges is what makes it look wrong.
See below for what NOT to do! And I DON’T just mean with the blush!!!

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If you are using a cream blush, it’s the same principal, only, you dot it on the fleshy part of your cheek with your finger
or the small tip of a synthetic brush and blend it well in and up towards the temple. I can’t emphasise
enough that you REALLY need a light touch for this because with cream blush, a little goes a very long
way.

Tools to apply

As a Makeup Artist, I’ve used lots of blush brushes on myself and on my clients in the past and I’ve found
a lot of them awkward to use since they are usually too big for the area you’re working on. The best
blush brush I’ve found by a long shot, is the Inglot 4ss brush, below, I really love this brush, it’s one of
Inglots best and actually one of the best in my kit, I was delighted when I found it as it fits my cheek area
exactly and makes easy work of applying blush:

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That’s closely followed by the MAC 187,  the smaller version of the 188 which is used to apply foundation. You can use the MAC 187 to apply cream products as well as powder so it’s a great all rounder and again it’s the perfect size for the cheek area.

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An angled brush can work great for applying blush or contouring underneath the cheekbone and jawline
with bronzer or a natural shade of blush to make your face look more defined and even slimmer! (Top
makeup artists tip there!)

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The only problem I’ve found with using an angled brush, is that I always need another fluffier brush to go over and blend out the edges, just to diffuse the colour.

So there you go!  For your next night out, find yourself a nice blush colour and try it out yourself. And be
sure to give me some feedback either here or on my Facebook page to let me know if this helped you!

Michelle x

Blush: How to choose the right shade for your skin tone

Choosing the right shade of blush:

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A lot of women don’t actually know the best way to use blush so they avoid it all together which is a shame because using the right shade and type of blush can really make your complexion appear healthy and bright and give you a beautiful dewy glow.  Generally, it’s good to have a play around with different colours to see what suits you and what doesn’t but here are some guidelines to help you choose;

Fair skin:  If you have pale, cool toned skin (most Irish skins are cool toned) you can go with light to medium pinks/peaches/rose colours such as:

Nars, Orgasm (and yes that’s really the name, try looking the sales assistant in the eye when asking for that one!) This is actually the one blush that suits almost all skin tones and colouring and one of my absolute favourites.  Or you can go with Sleek Makeup blush, in Rose Gold, which is very similar (but much kinder on the pocket!).

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MAC’s Dainty, or Peachykeen

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Benefit, Thrrrob

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Fair skin with Red hair:  Red haired girls look great with corals and dusky terracotta colours. Think Adele & Christina Hendricks (from Mad Men)

Benefit, Coralista

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MAC, Tenderling & Pinch ‘O Peach

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Sallow Skin: Warm toned sallow skin, tans easily and looks great with either vibrant pinks to brighten a sometimes dull complexion or earthy shades in darker peach tones.  A contouring shade of bronzer worn underneath the cheekbones looks fantastic too, think Cheryl Cole or Jessica Alba and you’ve got the right idea.

MAC, Peaches or Dollymix

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Benefit, Hoola Bronzer

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Dark Skin:  Beautiful dark skinned ladies will look amazing with plum, burgandy and hot pink shades.  It can be difficult to get blush to show up on dark skin, cream blush is a good option and can produce a truer colour than powder.

Boots No7 Blushtint Cream Blush in Rosebud

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MAC, Breath of Plum

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If you have problem skin or mature skin, avoid wearing anything too shimmery that will draw attention to skin imperfections, matte textured blushes are best in this case.  Also if you have very oily skin, avoid cream blushes, they will just slide off your skin.  Cream blushers are great for dry skin though and can give your complexion a hydrated, dewy look that you wouldn’t normally get with dull skin.

So there you have it, these colours will look fab on different skin tones but don’t be afraid to experiment.  I only recently discovered coral cream blush looked good on me and I’ve got a ton of different blushers in my kit!  So when you find the right shade that works for you let me know what it is!  I’ll be following this post with another one on how to apply blush so make sure you have a look at that also 🙂

How to Define your Brows

Defining Brows

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One of the best makeup tips I could give to anyone is to fill in and define your brows!  So many women go to the bother of getting their eyebrows waxed or threaded and then when they apply their makeup they make the mistake of not defining their brows.  All eyebrows can benefit from using either a pencil or shadow to fill them in, just make sure that they are well tidied to begin with and give them a brush through with an eyebrow brush or clean mascara wand before you start.

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Choosing the Right Colour

The general rule for choosing colours is, if you have dark hair, brow colour should be one or two shades lighter than your hair colour, and if you have light hair, brow colour should be one shade darker than the hair colour for definition.  Here are the different ways to fill in brows:

Pencil:

If you have a good shape to your brow and only need to fill in small gaps or define the shape a little more, then it’s best to use a pencil.  You don’t need expensive brands for this, brands like Rimmel have good brow pencils and are affordable.  Use light strokes to feather the pencil over the hairs for a natural look, rather than drawing them on in hard lines which will look too harsh and unnatural.

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Powder:

You can use either eyeshadow or a brow kit like the one from Gosh Cosmetics below.  Take an angle brush and use that to apply again using soft strokes to fill in any gaps and don’t overload the brush.  Don’t be tempted to use the darker colour just because your eyebrows are dark. I have dark brown  eyebrows and I always use MAC’s “Cork” eyeshadow which is about two shades lighter and suits me perfectly.  If you find that your eyebrows need to be tamed, or if you want a less powdery look to them you can always go over the shadow with clear mascara which will also help keep them in place.

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HD Brows

There is a new trend for “HD brows” which has been made popular by reality TV stars on shows like TOWIE and Desperate Scousewives.  All I can say is this is not a good look and it seems like a bit of a gimmick and a passing fad to me.  I really think going that dark on your eyebrows makes your face look very harsh and besides, your brows are meant to blend in with the rest of your makeup and look neatly defined – not take over your whole face!  When I see pretty girls walking around with these monstrous brows, it just makes me want to pin them down and attack them with a babywipe 😀

If you want to define your brows you could easily do this yourself using the products and steps I outlined above so seriously, don’t even go there!!  And ESPECIALLY if you are blonde!  Trust me on this one.  Please. 🙂

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Try filling in your brows next time you do your makeup and you’ll see the difference it makes, it just brings the whole look together and makes you look very polished and groomed.  Let me know how you get on!

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My Favourite Pencil and Gel eyeliners

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If you’re anything like me you will always be on the lookout for the perfect eyeliner that stays put and doesn’t budge all day and night.  Sometimes it seems impossible to find that so I will share my favourite eyeliners with you, some more expensive than others and then some that do just as good a job and won’t break the bank!

Pencils

My favourite pencil liner (after trying out tons over the years!) has to be Urban Decay’s 24/7 liner in Zero (black) it’s quite expensive at €17 but it does last and glides on without smudging and stays put all day.  As with all pencil liners there can be a bit of fade by the end of the day so if you are using it for a night out, I’d suggest you go over the line with an angle brush dipped in black eyeshadow which will “set” it and give even better staying power.

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I also have to mention MAC’s smoulder which is also a black kohl pencil but I’m not a huge fan of this one I have to say.  It tends to smudge and get everywhere but for a smokey eye where smudging is kind of the purpose of the look, it’s great!

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One of the MAC kohls that I do love though is one in the colour Teddy which is a beautiful brown/bronze colour and looks really beautiful on blue eyed girls.  The Saturdays Una Healy is a big fan of this colour

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Gel liners

These can be tricky to get right but once you nail it using the right brush, you’ll have a line that is smudgeproof, waterproof, bombproof, well not really but you get the idea!! J  These are going nowhere once you apply them!  The trick is to use a tapered or bent eyeliner brush or angle brush and sweep it close to the lashes, you can also go over it with a pencil brush if you want to soften and smudge the line.

My favourites are the Bobbi Brown ones that come in a range of colours from brown, to navy to burgandy.  The only problem is that they are an eye watering €22!!!  Just as well they’re waterproof so!

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A great, and more purse friendly alternative is the Maybelline Eye Studio gel liners which at €11.99 won’t break the bank and come in black and brown and they really give the Bobbi Brown ones a run for their money, they also come with a cool little brush that’s actually really good!

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Even cheaper again and just as good are the Catrice gel eyeliners which don’t come with a brush, but for €4.50, they’re still a bargain and cheap enough to pick up a few different colours.

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Summer Makeup – MAC Casual Colour Lip & Cheek Colour

Looking out the window you would never know it but we’re smack bang in the middle of summer!  This means that we should be looking all summery and colourful but seeing as that is not always possible the least you can do is add a little pop of colour in your makeup.  If you find yourself sticking to the same brown eyeshadows and pink lipstick/blush you could really change your whole look by trying a nice colourful eyeshadow to make your eye colour pop, a beautiful blush to make your complexion glow or a vibrant shade of lipstick that you’ve never used before.  You will be surprised at the difference it makes!

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I was in MAC at the weekend having a little makeup splurge and I picked up one of their new Casual Colour Lip & Cheek Colour pots in “Out for Fun” which is a lovely creamy textured coral orange colour that, as the name suggests, can be used as a crème blush and a lipstick which is always a bonus.  I wanted to steer away from my usual pinks and nudes and try something new and I’m glad I did because since I’ve worn it I’ve received lots of compliments.  Even my middle aged fuddy duddy boss who never normally notices anything different about me (he didn’t bat an eyelid when I changed my hair colour from blonde to brown!?) told me I was looking well this morning when I went into work so it must be good stuff!

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You can get Casual Colour pots from MAC at €21.50 which seems a bit pricey but you are getting two products for the price of one.  The quality is great and the product is long lasting so I really think it’s worth splashing out.  But you’ll need to be quick as these are limited edition and they had sold out of a lot of the more popular colours when I was in there at the weekend.  However I have a feeling that MAC may add these to their permanent line or bring them out again since they were so popular.

They come in a range of 8 colours and used as a blush they are easily blendable and radiant looking and on the lips, the colour is highly pigmented and takes the guesswork out of matching your lip and cheek colour.

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Smashbox Eyecolour Enhancing Palettes

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Smashbox have recently brought out a new range of eyeshadow palettes called “Photo Op Eye Enhancing palettes” which are designed to take the guesswork out of picking the perfect eyeshadow colours to make your eye colour pop.

While it is true that wearing contrasting colours (i.e. browns or golds on blue eyes) can really make your eye colour stand out, it doesn’t mean to say that you have to wear only these colours.  I recently bought the “Hazel” eye colour palette for my kit and I have to say, the colours look beautiful on blue eyes also, so there are no hard and fast rules on what colours you should or shouldn’t wear.  As long as the eyeshadow is applied well you can’t really go wrong with any of these palettes for all eye colours.

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I really love these palettes and they are good value at €39 for 6 colours.  The eyeshadow itself lasts and there is a mix of matte and shimmery colours.  Nothing is too shimmery which is great cos it means the colours are very wearable for day or night time.  I’d highly recommend these and will definitely have to add all of them to my kit!