31 days to a prettier 2017 : choose your weapon …

January 26, 2017By stephanie

Very early on in this January 2017 guide, we told you that you needed to clean your brushes thoroughly and regularly from then on. Hopefully, you’ve been in the habit of doing so. Having clean tools is the best for avoiding irritations to the skin and reducing any opportunity for contamination between products. But having the right tools, that are in great working condition, is key to having great makeup looks.

Day 25 : January 25

Do an inventory and quality control check on all your makeup tools.

Besides brushes, this would include sponges, tweezers, mirrors and even your cotton swabs. 

Check your brushes – are they losing fibres or shedding? Are the brush hairs frayed and bent and out of shape? Are the handles broken or wiggly? And what about your tweezers? Still sharp and straight? Are your special makeup sponges split or torn anywhere?

The goal here is to either repair any tools (if you can) as needed, toss any tools that are past their prime, and make note of anything that needs to be replaced. In addition, you may want to consider doubling up on any brushes that you use constantly or need to clean constantly because you are always using it. For me, this would include shader brushes and/or crease/blending brushes (in fact, I probably own two of every eye brush I have). 

Nice you’ve weeded out the brushes and tools that need to be retired from their job, and have restocked with fresh new tools, you’ll find your makeup application easier, cleaner, and more polished.

Get to work!

TIP : If you have brushes where the hairs or fibres are out of shape or somewhat frayed, try cleansing and then CONDITIONING the natural hairs, before you consider tossing it. Sometimes that can fix the issue.  If not … recycle!

HOMEWORK : If you happen to be a one brush per facial feature kinda gal, try broadening your horizons and seek out different shaped brushes for said facial feature. Different brushes have different jobs and can make a huge difference in the execution of a particular look!

31 days to a prettier 2017 : commit to an all over balm …

January 17, 2017By stephanie

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We’ve all been in that situation when a dry patch comes through our makeup midday, or our cuticles look rough, or  our baby hairs get a little feisty. You cannot carry your vanity table with you everywhere you go, so here’s our trick for MacGyvering your pop-up beauty dilemmas.

Day 17 : January 17

Commit to an All Over Balm (or skin salve).

An all over balm or skin salve is like the duct tape of makeup … while most are advertised as a quick way to hydrate the skin in a convenient carry with you everywhere tube they do so much more than that! They come in all sort of consistencies and are cased in everything from tubes to tin pots (as mentioned, portable!). The ones I prefer comes in a firmer (but smooth), waxy texture and in tin or glass pot form, just because you don’t waste any product – you can lightly pick up some on the finger tips without overdoing it, or gather a bit more by scooping it out when needed. Tube salves are just as great, but I’ve been known to squeeze out too much more often than not!

What can you do with your balm?  Plenty!

  • Apply a light layer over dry patches of skin midday, as needed
  • Soothe minor cuts and wounds
  • Heal chapped lips in a pinch
  • Sweep up high on the cheeks for a quick highlight
  • Refresh your makeup, especially under the eyes
  • Tame brow hairs
  • Tame baby hairs and flyaways
  • Soften cuticles
  • Press and blend over your eyeshadow for a glossy eye look
  • Dab blush to the lips and smooth salve over for a DIY clip colour
  • Remove makeup mistakes

See – it’s truly the duct tape of makeup.

All over balms or skin salves can be found with in both conventional and organic brands, and a bunch of sizes. Brands I suggest : NYX, Glossier, Antipodes and RMS.

Happy Shopping!

TIP : I say commit now (which I do mean), but you can also test out a few before making a hard purchase!

HOMEWORK : Once you’ve chosen a salve, try turning to it first whenever you come across a skin issue or beauty dilemma – start testing out what works for you and what doesnt, how much you need to solve the dilemma or how much you don’t!

31 days to a prettier 2017 : brush up for the next week!

January 7, 2017By stephanie

It’s Day 7!!  Go on with your bad self.  You completed a whole week of the guide. We’re going to level up a bit next week with our tips and tricks for beauty … so consider this week a fun+pretty warm-up. You did fantastic!

Day 7 : January 7

Wash your brushes.

If you’re a makeup freak and every single brush under the moon and use all 1,999,998 brushes daily – this task is going to suck, but in the end your makeup and skin will continue to look flawless and your product will last longer. Swear to Sephora.

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Now, you should be washing your brushes regularly – at least weekly – and sterilizing and lightly cleaning in between each use. If you’re a habitual cleaner and a little bit OCD about your products and tools – then this comes as a no brainer to you. Get washing holmes! If you’re a newly minted newbie to makeup … or never really thought to wash your brushes (side eye!) … continue reading.

First, you’ll want to gather up every brush and reusable sponge today, plus your favourite brush cleanser or bottle of baby shampoo.

Next, prep your area. You’ll need access to the sink, but then also a cleared and clean area to lay down your brushes and leave to dry. Be sure to wipe down the area thoroughly and lay down a fresh clean towel or drying mat for your brushes to rest on.

The trick to washing your brushes is to use warm water and a little bit of soap or cleanser. I like to dollop the cleanser on the back of my hand, wet the brush, and then swirl lightly in the cleanser to give it a bit of lather. Do not smooth your brush into your cleanser. Holding the brush downward to rinse, I remove all traces of soap. The reason you hold the brush downward is so that water and cleanser does not travel into the ferrule of the brush head (the barrel that covers the connection of the brush fibres to the barrel) where it can loosen or breakdown any glue holding the fibres together.

Once you have cleansed and rinsed, reshape the head of the brush and lay the brush flat to dry. If possible, leave the head of the brush over an edge to prevent the hairs from lying in its own dampness while it drys.

And from here, you go on to then next brush and so on, so forth.

Again, you should be doing this regularly for your brushes and tools. It will help to prevent transfer of bacteria and keep your skin free of any irritations. if your currently experiencing a breakout or skin issue then try to be more diligent, washing every few days and keeping your beauty area as clean as possible.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat!

TIP : In between cleaning, keep your brushes stored properly away to prevent the growth or spread of bacteria and dirt.  Keeping them in a cool dry place, and contained is your best bet. You can also spray with alcohol in between each use, or try my favourite spray : 1 part tea tree oil ( a natural disinfectant ) to 2 parts water.

HOMEWORK : Make it a habit. Pull out your planner, and mark the next “bubble bath” day for your brushes!

get the look : too faced semi-sweet chocolate bar eyeshadow palette

June 29, 2015By stephanie

I’m a fan of picking up prepared eyeshadow palettes over putting my own together, or buying separate pots (save for the two pots of MAC Shroom I have in every kit), or randoms. A palette provides colours that compliment each other and for the most part, no guesswork.

There are a plethora of palettes out there (the whole new wash of nude palettes every brand has, for example) and it’s really easy to blow a pretty penny at Sephora finding the perfect one for you. I’ve had or currently have them all (from Urban Decay Naked to Lorac Pro Palettes 1 and 2 to Maybelline The Nudes!). I love them all.

But my current affair happens to be with Too Faced Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar. It might have something to do with the fact that every time I open the palette the sweet smell of chocolate releases the right endorphins, but it’s also because the colours, formulas and finishes are A++ and + again.

toofaced

Thanks to my best bud, Elaine Atkins, I became the lucky recipient of both the Chocolate Bar and Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar Palettes, and I find, that both palettes are in heavy rotation this wedding season.

Depending on the skin tone and favourite colours of any client or bride, I can more often than not get the right neutral, smokey look from either palette.

I’ve been leaning more on Semi-Sweet though. I really like Nougat, Hot Fudge and Licorice. Bon Bon and Caramel are great for the lid and for adding a hint of shimmer, while Butter Pecan is also a great highlighter on deeper skin tones (try it under the brow bone, or over the cheekbones!)

Natasha

On Natasha above, I used Urban Decay’s Eyeshadow Primer in Sin to prime the lids. I swept Bon Bon over the lids, which when paired with the primer shade lightened it a bit. I mixed Truffled and Hot Fudge from the outer corner in, blending it as I pushed it toward the centre, and up into the crease. I used Licorice on the outer corner. For a bit of dimension at the crease, I swept Nougat in the crease and blended up. I really like Nougat for deeper skintones. I lined her eyes with Bobbi Brown Gel Liner in Black Ink.

For the rest of Natasha’s look, I used MAC Foundation is NC44 and Studio Fix Concealer in NC42, but only through the centre of the face. I then blended MAC Face and Body in C5 around the perimeter and down the neck. Clinique Chubby Sticks for her contour and highlight. A hint of NARS The Multiple in Puerto Vallarta on the cheeks. Anastasia Contour Palette as well to set the contour and highlight and brighten under the eyes. MAC gloss in Ample Pink for the lips.

My favourite thing about the TooFaced Chocolate Bar series (both the regular and the Semi-Sweet) is that it is neither a nude or a smokey or a matte or a shimmer or a metals palette. It actually contains a nice mix of matte, satin, shimmer and high glitter colours. I think the only thing it’s missing is more colour range outside of the great browns and neutrals it already has. The funkiest colour Semi-sweet has is Blueberry Swirl … and from there Pink Sugar. Chocolate Bar has a nice plummy purple and a more satin/matte pink similar to Pink Sugar.

Regardless, it’s still a sweet palette to have. My vote : go buy it!

-stephanie-

best of bridal beauty : a few of my favourite things …

April 29, 2015By stephanie

Our Bridal Beauty Preview for Fall/Winter 2015-2016 was a smash success, and it had me thinking that I should really take a moment to share some of my favourite items for knocking out some bridal beauty.

Like any makeup artist worth her beauty blender, I have a huge kit, but a selection of products that are a must, must, must. I have products I love for creating a smokey eye, a classic twist, a vintage red lip. So keep reading … because I’m about to share.

The Red Lip …

Hands down, it’s NARS. Always NARS. My favourite product(s) is their Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in either Cruella, Red Square or Pop Life. The matte finish stays put but doesn’t look dry and for an all day event like a wedding you need something more matte than glossy.  If it’s not the pencils – it’s their new Audacious lipstick colours and you can take your pick : Rita, Marlene, Geraldine, Lana  – which range from true red to a more orange based (which I think is hot for a bride!)

The Rosy Lip …

Photo by Jonathan Ponce

Rose, Plum, and anything softly pink are the other bridal favourite.  To be honest, I smushed everything down into a palette, and didn’t write the names anywhere, but I do have my favourites in a tube. They include : Plumful, Syrup, and Twig by MAC; Casablanca by Tom Ford; and pretty much anything by Bobbi Brown! And while we are here, let’s talk about nude lips, again, I’m going to throw to NARS for Belle Du Jour and Bobbi Brown for a colour I have called Uber Pink (which isn’t a bright pink at all).

The Eyeshadow …

Makeup artists have their shadows they swear by. For example, it doesn’t matter what other palette I have in my kit … I’m a slave for MAC Shroom. I will always have a pot or seven of it in my kit(s). But right now, I’m favouring Lorac Pro Palette for it’s neutral but shimmery shades however this is currently not available for Canada so you have to online shop it.  My Smashbox Double Exposure Palette is hitting the mark for more glam styles (and you can get this at Murale or Shoppers Drug Mart for those Optimum points!) and I’m am currently obsessed with TooFaced Chocolate and Semi-Sweet Chocolate Eyeshadow palettes.  Both the Smashbox and the TooFaced Palettes, I find, really stick to the eye … not a lot of shadow fallout so I really enjoy using them for shading a heavier look.

The Flawless Skin … 

Photo by Jonathan Ponce

Again, I’m very much attached to my MAC Face and Body, because it allows me to adjust and layer as needed without getting to cake face. But for concealers, I’m devoted to my Amazing Cosmetics Concealer in various shades from Ivory to Light Honey, MAC Select Cover-up in those super portable triangle containers, and also, Stila Perfecting Concealer.

If I happen to have a client with acne issues, I’ve been reaching a lot for me Estee Lauder Clear Difference BB Creme, which for me, lays down a nice layer of coverage without looking dry, cakey or messy. For mature skin, I find their EE Creme to be effective as well.

Also, you can get great skin without primers. For the eyes, it’s always Urban Decay eye primers, and for the skin, I’ve been using Makeup Forevers new Step 1 Primers.

The Blush, The Highlight and The Contour …

Well, this list could go on forever, huh? Ha ha. I would have to say my friends right now are Cliniques new Highlighter and Contour Chubby Pencils. Just for the ease of use alone.  But I am also loving my new Stila Shape and Shade Custom Contour Duo and NARS The Matte Multiples in Altai.  As these are creams, after I set the cream product, I’ll go back in with a powder set for intensity, so I’m often reaching for Makeup Forever’s new Pro Sculpting Duos (which are insane – j’adore!), and my Aerin (Estee Lauder) Kaleidoscope Palette especially when the bride doesn’t want too much shimmer/shine.

For blush, well, hmmmm. I always layer cream under powder and my favourites are from rms beauty in Modest, Smile and Demure.  I also favour Makeup Forever’s HD Cream Blushes and NARS The Multiple in Puerto Vallarta or Altai.

For powder blushes, it’s always a selection of pinks and peaches from MAC that I lightly dust on.

The Lashes and Brows …

Photo by Rhommel Bernardino

I currently carry all three shades of Cargo’s Brow Kit in my bag and use both the powder and the wax for perfecting brows. But I also lean on MAC Brown Pencils as well and I love these for their easy application and also the spooly on the other end.

To define the lashes, it’s always Maybelline Great Lash in various formulas ranging from brown to dark brown to black. I rarely use pencil liners, but when I do, I’m using Cargo’s Swimmables or Urban Decay’s 24/7 pencils.

The Hair …

Let’s start with caring for the hair … which I normally don’t carry in my kit, but suggest to my brides. Especially after the long cold winter we are JUST getting rid of, brides need to start nourishing their hair back into shape.  I’m currently recommending the Nexxus Therappe and Humectress line of shampoo and conditioner for longer length hair that needs to be brought back to life from a dry season. I would also recommend OGX Vitamin E Shampoo and Conditioner for hair health. I suggest brides also pick up OGX’s Penetrating Oil and work it into the ends of the hair  – especially if they plan to leave the hair long and loose for the big day.

The Updo …

Well, I am sure bobby pins are a no brainer – right? I’m picking them up by the box at Sally Beauty in shades of black, brown and silver.  SalonCare is the brand available, but there is also Marianna.

To reduce  oil or add texture to the hair, it’s always Not Your Mother’s Dry Shampoo.  For tousled perfection, I’m really liking Tresemme’s Perfectly (un)Done Hairspray. I also like their big cans of spray and will usually carry a couple of extra hold formulas, and also climate control. To tame frizzies, or induce a sheen, I’m going back to Not Your Mothers for their Smooth Moves hair creme.

For hair prep and finishing, I’m also relying on Sally Hershberger’s Signature Line (available at Shoppers Drug Mart) mainly using the Keratin Repair Spray and also, the Galm Waves Texture Spray.

So that’s it!

My kit in one really long blog post.   Would love to know what other artists are using in their kits, but would also love to answer questions any brides or beauty bunnies out there might have about any of the above products! You know where to reach me : beautymail@blushpretty.com!

Have a great hump day all!

-stephanie-