Friday, October 31, 2014

How to fix makeup brushes ruined by Makeup Forever Aqua Seal or waterproof mixing mediums

A common complaint I hear about Makeup Forever Aqua Seal and waterproof mixing mediums or sealants is that it ruins makeup brushes by making them hard. MUFE Aqua Seal is a clear liquid sealant that is a waterproof mixing medium. I use it to make eyeliner to tightline that lasts all day - one drop of Aqua Seal on an eyeshadow or cake eyeliner creates enough paste to do both eyes.

The downside to Aqua Seal and similar mixing mediums is that it creates a patina, both on the product you use it on and on the brush itself. You can easily isolate the problem on a product (as shown demonstrated in my Naked Basics Crave), by only using it on a little bit of the pan, but the makeup brushes pose a larger problem.

A hardened brush can be easily remedied with a little olive oil. I soak the end of a small angled brush in a 1/4 tsp of olive oil for about 5 minutes while I am washing my other brushes. After a few minutes, I massage the oil into the bristles of the brush to soften them up and dissolve the remaining Aqua Seal. Once the bristles are softened, you can wash the brush as usual. I really like diluted Dr. Bronner's lavender liquid soap because it breaks up product really well.

Once you learn how to clean makeup brushes hardened by Aqua Seal or mixing mediums, the product is pleasure to use and I highly recommend it. Let me know how you fix this issue in the comments!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Makeup for Engagement Pictures & Special Occasion Photography

Planning makeup for important pictures, like engagement photos, prom pictures, or senior portraits, can be stressful. In this post, I'm going to show you what makeup I chose for my engagement pictures. I wanted products that would look natural and effortless in real life, but pigmented enough to show up in pictures.

I highly recommend doing a trial run for your makeup to make sure it photographs well. Make sure to check it in natural light, in artificial indoor light, and with flash. If you don't feel comfortable doing your own makeup for a special event, you can always hire a professional makeup artist or get your makeup done at a department store counter.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Benefit Cheeky Sweet Spot O'Blushes comparison swatches

As promised in my review of the Benefit Cheeky Sweet Spot O'Blushes holiday blush palette (here), I now have comparison swatches to share. Before purchasing this palette, I didn't own any Benefit powders. This limited edition palette includes Dandelion, Bella Bamba, Sugarbomb, Hoola, Coralista, and Rockateur, plus a mini cream Watts Up highlighter.

Benefit Cheeky Sweet Spot palette swatches
From left to right, Benefit Dandelion, Bella Bamba, Sugarbomb, Hoola, Coralista, Rockateur

Keep reading for comparison swatches to other products in my collection. All swatches in this post were done with my finger on bare, unprimed skin.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Darling Girl Haul & Swatches: Blush and Eyeshadow

I love trying out indie cosmetics because indie companies offer interesting colors and great value! Today, I'm showing you my very first Darling Girl Cosmetics order. I chose a variety of blushes, including a contour shade and a bronzer, and a few satin finish eyeshadows. My order shipped out within the stated turn around time (TAT) and was packed in a pretty pink mailer.

Let's see what I ordered!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Disappointing First Impression: Original Beautyblender & Solid Blendercleanser Duo

I picked up the Beautyblender sponge and Blendercleanser solid duo from Sephora's Friends & Family sale recently. My trusty Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge is on its last legs from daily abuse, so I had to give the name brand sponge a spin. The duo beautyblender and cleanser set retails for $25.

I apologize for the photo quality in this post - this is the result of impulsively snapping pics in my bathroom while cleaning my beautyblender.
I gave it all up in the title - this is one of the most disappointing first impressions a makeup product has given me in a long time.  Keep reading to learn why...

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Spotlights Set review & swatches

I took a mini-break from blogging this last week to take care of some wedding planning details, but I had to do some damage at Sephora. I had a friend share a Sephora Friends & Family Sale code with me, so I picked up a few items from my loves list. I have been wishing that Becca would make a mini set with their Shimmering Skin Perfectors because I know I would never finish a full size.
Becca's new Glow To Go Shimmering Skin Perfector Spotlights is a limited edition holiday set that comes with three mini sizes of the cult favorite liquid highlighter. This kit comes with three shades - Pearl, Opal, and Champagne Gold. Pearl and Opal are from the regular line and Champagne Gold is a new holiday shade. Each Shimmering Skin Perfector Spotlight mini contains .17 oz of product, compared to 1.7 oz in the full size. This holiday trio retails for $25.

Friday, October 10, 2014

3 Bold Drugstore Blushes for Fall

I think good blush formulas are hard to come by in the drugstore - many are poorly pigmented, chalky, and don't hold up throughout the day. I wanted to share my top 3 bold drugstore blushes for fall, each of them pigmented and vibrant enough to make a statement, yet refined enough shades to be wearable. Plus, each of these 3 would work on most skintones, from fair to deep.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Real Techniques Nic's Picks brush set review & comparisons

When I saw that the holiday limited edition Nic's Picks Real Techniques brush set had 5 brushes I didn't own AND they had pretty silver handles, I had to jump on it. I picked mine up from iHerb for $30. I have also seen the set for sale at Kohl's and other retailers.

Nic's Picks set includes 5 synthetic brushes with limited edition silver handles:
  1. Duo fiber face brush (also in the Duo Fiber Collection, LE)
  2. Cheek brush (set exclusive)
  3. Angled shadow brush (set exclusive) 
  4. Base shadow brush (also in the Starter Kit, permanent)
  5. Eyeliner brush (set exclusive) 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Benefit Cheeky Sweet Spot Box O' Blushes palette review & swatches

I have been wanting to try the Benefit Box O' Powders for a long time now and I'm a total sucker for holiday sets, so I had to jump on the Cheeky Sweet Spot Box O' Blushes palette as soon as I saw it on Sephora's site. The palette contains mini sizes of Dandelion, Bella Bamba, Sugarbomb, Hoola, Coralista, Rockateur, and Watt's Up and is packaged in a tin that looks like it should have stale gingerbread in it. I bought mine at Sephora for $36 and the kit includes 1.08 oz of product.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Inglot neutral shimmer eyeshadows: 402 pearl, 31 shine, 419 pearl

Today I bring to you my review of the only 3 non-matte Inglot eyeshadows I own: 402 Pearl (taupe), 31 Shine (gold), and 419 Pearl (olive green). 402 P and 419 P contain 2.7 grams of product, and 31 S contains 3.2 grams of product. I purchased each of these eyeshadows from Beautylish for $7.

  • 402 Pearl, a golden mid tone taupe
  • 31 Shine, a sparkly light bronze gold
  • 419 Pearl, a tarnished golden olive 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Laura Mercier Custom Artist Portfolio review & pictures

I have been searching for a long time for a makeup and toiletries case for travel. I wanted a cosmetics travel bag that included flexible configuration, secure construction, and makeup brush storage. I chose the Laura Mercier Custom Artist Portfolio, which I bought at Macy's for $98. This item is limited edition, but Laura Mercier frequently comes out with new and updated versions so don't panic if you miss out on this version.

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