Thursday, November 29, 2012

Spotlight: Royal & Langnickel Revolution Brushes

Pro artists get ready for a game changer.  For anyone who ever used a synthetic brush and found it didn't pick up, mix or blend powder products the way they wanted it to, I introduce you to Royal & Langnickel Revolution Brushes.

These brushes are the most technologically advanced brushes in my collection. They were recommended to me by a fellow artist on

What makes these brushes so special?  

 One of the reason synthetic brushes of the past weren't as good at picking up powder products is because the hair was smooth. These brushes have a textured bristle that mimics real animal hair, minus the cruelty.  The handle has a matte texture, so the brush won't slip out of your hand if it's wet.

My favorite brush in the collection is the BX-66 which is very similar in style to the M.A.C. 217 brush, only made with synthetic, cruelty-free bristles.

Here is a closer look at some of the brushes in this collection:

 Above is the BX-66 brush, a stiff domed brush ideal for eyeshadow blending. This brush is a must for makeup artists and I suggest purchasing multiples to have in your kit.

The next brush (pictured above) is the BX-10, which is ideal for blush, powder or bronzer. The textured bristles pick up powder with ease, but because they are synthetics they can also be used with cream and liquid products. This brush, like all the brushes in this line fit very comfortably in the hand and are a professional grade of brush.

 Pictured above is the BX-105, I love this fine liner brush for applying gel liner.
 Note that each brush is clearly labeled with the number of the brush, on it's no-slip handle.
 BX-55 (above) is a pointed foundation brush, ideal for foundation touch ups. The handle is a medium length in comparison to my other brushes.
 BX-95 is a pencil brush, ideal for smudging shadow along the lower lash line.

 BX-90 (above) is a slimmer smaller version of the BX-55. I like this for blending eyeshadow, or applying under eye concealer. I've pictured them side by side above for comparison.

BX-110 & BX-125 (above) are push liner brushes ideal for pushing shadow or gel liner onto the upper lash line.

Above is a final look at the brushes including large and small traditional flat shader brushes. The Revolution line offers brushes available for purchase individually or in sets.There is a pro artist discount for qualified individuals.

Here is a video explanation by the designer of the brushes: 

All of the brushes seen in this review were purchased by me. You can purchase them at

I truly found these brushes revolutionary, and think Revolution is a very appropriate name for the line. I hope you enjoyed this look at some of my pro brushes.

Giveaway - For Members Only

Hello everyone. I will be hosting a very special giveaway for one of my members. All you have to do to become a member is click the little box that says "join this site" in the upper left hand corner of my blog's home page.  Once you are a member, you will automatically be entered into the drawing.


  1. Contest only open to members in the United States.
  2. You must be 18 years, or have a parent's permission to collect prize.
  3. Prize will be mailed out within 2-3 weeks of winner being announced.

Winner will be chosen on 12/1/2012.  Best of luck!

If you are a member, you can get an additional entry by following me on Twitter @MakeupMatters1

Retweets about this contest will also earn you an additonal entry and extra chance to win!


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

How to Fake Awake - Beyond White Liner

I don't always get a good night's sleep, but I always like to look like I did. There are a handful of products in my kit that I've been using recently that really help me to fake a more awake look, regardless of how many hours of sleep I actually got.

Many women like to put a swipe of white eyeliner on the lower water line to hide the redness that's naturally there. While this can be a great look to help open up the eye, I prefer using a nude liner for everyday.

Tarte EmphasEYES Inner Rim Brightener is a pinky nude liner that wears all day on the waterline, helping to create a more wide-eyed look. Unlike white eyeliner, it's less harsh, and works well for all skin tones.

Another tip, to help fake a more bright-eyed look is to highlight the inner corners of the eyes. Try applying a bit of Champagne cream shadow or shimmery liner around the inner tear duct area, and blend under the lower lash line.  I like Tarte's SmolderEYES Amazonian Clay Waterproof Liner in Champagne which comes with a built in smudging tool to help blend the product.

Here are swatches of both products:

Pictured Above: The top swatch is Tarte EmphasEYES Inner Rim Brightener, and below it is Tarte SmolderEYES Amazonian Clay Waterproof Liner in Champagne

Never underestimate the power of a good full coverage concealer, especially if you naturally have dark under eye circles. I like Tarte Maracuja Creaseless Concealer applied with a fluffy brush, or patted on with my ring finger.It's dewy finish helps lighten the under eye area.

For eyeshadow, go with a shade that mimics your own skin tone, but has a slight satin finish. The satin finish will catch the light when you move your face, creating a brightening effect on the eye. I took Makeup Geek's Vanilla Bean eyeshadow from lash line to just under my brow, applying it with a flat shader brush.

Another tried and true trick for opening the eye, is applying a lengthening mascara.  I used Tarte Gifted Mascara from their Amazonian Clay line.

Here is a final look at a more wide awake looking eye:

What are your fake awake secrets? Share in the comment box below.

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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Spotlight: Makeup Geek

One of the struggles many makeup lovers face is that good quality makeup can often be quite costly. Sometimes we are torn between saving up and buying a few good quality items we like, or buying a lot of makeup that's not so great, and hoping our technique alone will compensate for what the product itself is lacking.

A woman by the name of Marlena (aka Makeup Geek) saw a need in the market for high quality affordable cosmetics and decided to create her own line. Enter Makeup Geek (MUG for short). She has educational YouTube videos, and a website for makeup lovers like her to share and explore.  For more about Makeup Geek you can visit this link: 

As an avid viewer of Marlena's tutorials, I've been curious about her makeup line for quite some time. After learning they are cruelty free (not tested on animals), and a friend on Twitter recommending I try the gel liner (Thanks Sara!), I finally decided to give Makeup Geek a try. I started with the Makeup Geek 9-eyeshadow starter kit, a single compact eyeshadow (Vanilla Bean) and a gel liner (Immortal) as my intro to the brand. As someone who has used cosmetics from various brands across all price points, I can tell you that Marlena is being completely truthful when she claims her products are the same quality as many high end brands. The good news, is that she's made her line completely affordable so that makeup lovers everywhere can have smooth, pigmented eyeshadow without breaking the bank. For example her pan eyeshadow sells for $5.99, and gel liners sell for $7.99, about half the price of brands that are of similar quality.

Here is a look at some of the products I purchased from 

 Pictured Above: Top Row - Corrupt (many call this the blackest eyeshadow on the market-matte with a tiny bit of sparkle), Prom Night (pale purple with hints of gray, shimmer finish), Drama Queen (very dark purple with shimmer finish)
Second Row- Mocha (matte warm medium brown), Cocoa Bear (matte golden brown, almost terracotta), Shimma Shimma (shimmery highlight great for inner corner of the eye)
Third Row- Unexpected (light matte pinky purple), Glamorous (bronzey gold-shimmer finish), Creme Brulee (medium sand-matte)

 The starter kit is made up of refill pans that pop nicely into a magnetic Z-palette, which is also available for purchase on her site.
 Pictured Above: Individual shadow in compact in Vanilla Bean, for me this is the perfect down-blending color. I love it as an under brow highlight, or allover base color. It's pretty close to my skin color, with a matte to satin finish.
 Pictured Above & Below: Makeup Geek Gel Liner in Immortal (intense black, matte finish)
 The shadows were very pigmented, smooth and easy to blend. I didn't experience any fallout with the glitter shades at all. The liner is one that will last all day. In fact, I couldn't remove the gel liner swatch from my arm with a makeup wipe, I had to use eye makeup remover to get it off!

Here are some swatches of the shadows I purchased*, and the gel liner (below):

 Pictured Above bottom right photo (from left to right): Corrupt, Mocha, Cocoa Bear, Glamorous, Shimma Shimma, Creme Brulee, Drama Queen, Prom Night, Unexpected, Immortal gel liner

A swatch wouldn't do Vanilla Bean any justice because it's basically an exact match to my skin tone, but I used it in the look below as a brow highlight. It's not a completely matte shade, but the shimmer is ever so slight, which is why I called it a matte to satin finish.

 In this look: Vanilla Bean, Drama Queen, Prom Night, Unexpected and Immortal Gel Liner.

 I hope you enjoyed this look at Makeup Geek eyeshadow and gel liner. You can purchase the products seen here at

Makeup Geek is having some great sales now for Black Friday, so it's a great time to try these products.

Thank you for reading, and don't forget to subscribe!

*All products were purchased by me. I do not get paid to do reviews. All opinions are my own, and I only share my views in hopes of helping you make informed purchasing decisions.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Holiday Makeup Look

Happy Holidays!  This week is Thanksgiving in the United States, and pretty much the second Thanksgiving ends, Christmas music begins playing on the radio. If you are like most busy Americans I know, you'll likely be attending at least one holiday party this year.  One of the things I love most about the holidays is holiday makeup. This is the time of year, where you can be a little extra festive, put on an extra swipe of blush, take that shimmery eyeshadow out from it's hiding place, and of course rock a red lip. 

Below are details on how to create a fun, festive makeup look appropriate for just about any holiday party. Like all of my posts, all of the products used in this look are cruelty-free, meaning I only use brands that do not test on animals.

Here's how to get the look:

Products Used
  • Urban Decay Guardian Angel Spray Moisturizer
  • Nuance Anti-Aging Super Eye Treatment
  • Hourglass Mineral Veil
  • Urban Decay Primer Potion Eye Primer
  • Urban Decay Naked Skin Foundation in 2.0
  • Christopher Drummond Duo Phase Concealer in Fair
  • Too Faced Chocolate Soleil
  • Stila Mesmer-Eyes Set: Eyeshadows in Karat and Bronze
  • Tarte Amazonian Clay Blushes in Dollface & Adventurous
  • Elf Complexion Perfection
  • Too Faced Brow Envy Brunette Brow Powder
  • Nuance Mascara in Black
  • Urban Decay 24/7 Eye Pencil in Zero
  • Stila Smudge Stick in Lionfish 
  • Urbanbrow Brow Gel
  • Stila Allover Shimmer in Kitten
  • Urban Decay Sin Cream Highlight
  • OCC NSFW Lip Tar
  • Stila Passionate Lip Liner 
  • Urban Decay Dew Me Setting Spray
The key to rocking a red lip, is to make sure your skin looks fresh and dewy. To begin, I prepped the skin with a spray moisturizer, and applied eye cream, giving everything a few minutes to set before starting my makeup application. I started with the eyes, so that I could easily clean up any fallout without ruining my foundation. To start, I prepped the eyes with Urban Decay Primer Potion eye primer.

Here are some products that help with a flawless face:

 For the eye look, I began with an eyeshadow duo from Stila called Mesmer-Eyes Set, which contains eyeshadow in the colors Karat and Bronze.  I swept Karat (a light shimmery gold color) from lash line to brow, paying extra attention to highlighting the brow bone and inner corner of the eye.

 I then swept the Bronze shadow over my lid, blending it up into the crease using a fluffy eyeshadow brush.

I used a pencil brush to take some of the Bronze shadow along the outer corner of the lower lash line and smudged it all across the lower lashes.  I lined my upper lash line with Urban Decay 24/7 pencil in the color Zero (black).  I lined the lower lash line with Stila Smudge Stick in the color Lionfish (a bronze eyeliner). I applied 2 coats of Nuance mascara in Black to top lashes only.

Once the eyes were done, I cleaned up any fallout with my Hourglass Mineral Veil face primer, and primed the rest of my face. When you attend a holiday party, it's likely that someone will be taking pictures. Keeping your skin dewy, but not shiny will prevent any embarrassing photos of you from surfacing on your friend's Facebook page. The primer helps keep your foundation on, but it also helps control shine where you don't want it. Highlighter can be placed strategically in the areas where you do want a little gleam.  Next, I applied my foundation with a pointed foundation brush.  Urban Decay Naked Skin foundation photographs beautifully, and has a demi-matte finish, so that your skin doesn't look flat or overly shiny.

I then applied a cream highlighter from Urban Decay in the color Sin (champagne) to the high points of my face, paying special attention to the tops of my cheekbones. I applied the product using a flat foundation brush.

I also filled in brows using a Brunette brow powder from the Too Faced Brow Envy kit. I used a very small angled brush from Bdellium Tools Green Bambu line so that I could get the most natural looking hair like strokes before blending with a spoolie.

I set my makeup with E.L.F. Complexion Perfection powder.  To make sure the makeup doesn't look too washed out against the flash of a camera, I applied a generous helping of Too Faced Chocolate Soleil bronzer, and layered Tarte's Amazonian Clay blushes in Adventurous and Dollface along my cheekbones. For added highlight, I applied Stila's Allover Shimmer Powder in Kitten using a fan brush for a light application. To complete the look, I lined lips with Stila's lip liner in the color Passionate (red), and applied just a bead of OCC's lip tar in the color NSFW to the lips using the included lip brush. If desired, you can top the lip tar with just a touch of lip balm or gloss for added shine. To set the makeup, I sprayed Urban Decay Dew Me Setting Spray over my face.

Here is the completed look:

 Wishing everyone a happy and safe Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

1 Brand Look : Tarte Cosmetics

If you are anything like me, you probably tend to gravitate toward a few specific makeup brands that you like. I've tried a ton of different brands over the years, and there are a handful that are tried and true for me.  One of these brands is Tarte Cosmetics. They have a great variety of products to chose from.  All of their products are cruelty-free and they have a large vegan selection as well. Their products are high quality and have only gotten better over time. In my opinion their Amazonian Clay Blush is the best blush on the market.  I thought it would be fun to create a look using only products from Tarte Cosmetics so you can see how the different products from the brand come together to create a full look.  This is a daytime look, but you can certainly use these products and intensify or build it up for night time. To see some of my favorites from the line, take a look at my September post where I did a spotlight segment on the brand: 
Here is a listing of products I used to create this look: 
  • Lifted Natural Eye Primer 
  • Femme Naturale Refillable Natural Eye Palette 
  • NeutralEYES Natural Eye Palette 
  • ModernEYES Waterproof Creaseless Shadow/Liner Duo in Plumberry/Plum Brown  
  • EmphasEYES Inner Rim Brightener
  • Clean Slate Flawless 12-hr Brightening Primer 
  • Maracuja Miracle Foundation in Fair
  • Smooth Operator Amazonian Clay Illuminating Serum
  • Maracuja Creaseless Concealer
  • Smooth Operator Amazonian Clay Finishing Powder in Bronze
  • Achiote Blush & Maracuja Divine Lip Gloss (set)
  • LipSurgence Natural Lip Tint in Moody 
  • LipSurgence Lip Shine in Smitten 
  • Lash Primer
  • Gifted Mascara 
  • Lights, Camera, Lashes!
 The focus of this look is a wearable daytime cat-eye.  One of the most important parts of creating the cat-eye look is choosing an eyeliner that is creamy to ensure a smooth line. I recommend you keep cotton swabs and eye makeup remover on hand, so that you can easily correct any mistakes.  We will do the eyes first here, so that it's easier to clean up without ruining our foundation. 

How To Create A Cat-Eye:
  1. Apply eye primer to eye lid from lash line up to just under your brow. Take a bit of the primer along the lower lash line as well.  You want primer anywhere that the liner will be so that your look will last all day.  Smooth out with your finger or a flat synthetic brush. 
  2. Apply a shimmery ivory shade from the  Femme Naturale Refillable Natural Eye Palette (first shade upper left hand corner) to eyelid.
  3. Apply Matte Bone from the NeutralEYES Natural Eye Palette using a flat eyeshadow brush from lash line up to your brow. 
  4. Apply Matte Taupe from the NeutralEYES Natural Eye Palette to crease with a fluffy brush, and blend out any harsh edges with a clean blending brush.
  5. Take the eyeliner side of the ModernEYES Waterproof Creaseless Shadow/Liner Duo in Plumberry/Plum Brown  and draw a line along the lower lash line, starting about 1/3 of the way in.  Follow the natural shape of your eye, to extend the line up slightly just to the top corner of the eyelid.
  6. Taking that same eyeliner, draw about 1/3 of the way in along your upper lash line, following the natural shape of your lid.  Connect the top & bottom line, and fill in any bare spots.  
  7. Use a pencil brush to blend and correct the line so it doesn't look too harsh for day time. 
  8. Use a pointed cotton swab dipped in eye makeup remover to make any necessary corrections.

If desired, use the Plum Brown liner to tightline and apply some EmphasEYES Inner Rim Brightener to your waterline. To really make your liner last all day, you can mix some Matte Brown and Matte Plum from the NeutralEYES Natural Eye Palette and trace over the liner you drew using a fine liner or angled brush if desired. Now that you've created the perfect cat eye, we can move on to the rest of the face.  I like to take a bit of eye or face primer on a sponge and clean up under the eye before moving on.  Next, I primed the entire face using a flat paddle foundation brush and Tarte's Clean Slate Flawless 12-hr Brightening Primer.  Using the same brush, I applied the Maracuja Miracle Foundation in Fair to my face, starting at the center of my face and working my way out.  Next, using the same brush, I applied Tarte Smooth Operator Amazonian Clay Illuminating Serum to the high points of my face, including the tops of my cheekbones, the bridge of my nose and my cupid's bow. 

This is one of my favorite highlighters because it's not at all glittery. It just imparts a natural looking dewy glow, perfect for daytime.  It's important to really blend out the edges of your highlighter with the foundation brush, so that it becomes part of your skin.  Highlighter should not be obvious, and should only be something you see when your face catches the light, making your skin look healthy and dewy, not like you put on a ton of makeup.  I get asked a lot of questions about how I keep my skin looking so flawless.  While I'd like to say that it's due to an uberhealthy lifestyle, the reality is that I'm just very good at concealing and highlighting, so it looks like I have perfect skin. With the right products, and a little bit of practice and technique, you too can make all of your friends jealous with perfect dewy glowing skin!

I then concealed, under my eyes and any blemishes or redness including around the nose and mouth.  With the Maracuja Creaseless Concealer a little goes a long way. I applied a tiny bit to the back of my hand, then dipped in a soft dome shaped brush to apply under my eyes.

To set my makeup, I used the Smooth Operator Amazonian Clay Finishing Powder in Bronze.  Normally I use this as a bronzer, but for this look, I used it lightly all over the face to achieve a uniform glow, taking it down the neck as well. To make sure I got a light application, I used a finishing brush, rather than a bronzer brush.  I used the same brush to apply Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Achiote to the apples of the cheeks.

For lips, I layered three lip products to create a three dimensional look to the lips.  I started with LipSurgence Natural Lip Tint in Moody. I think this is the perfect fall lip shade.  If desired, you can just wear this one shade and you'll be good to go. However, I applied a tiny bit of LipSurgence Lip Shine in Smitten to just the center of my bottom lip and blended out with my finger.  For added shine, I applied some Maracuja Divine Lip Gloss in Achiote with a lip brush to the center of the lips.

 I then filled in my brows using the Matte Brown shade from the NeutralEYES Natural Eye Palette.  If you like matte eyeshadow, this is a great palette to have as only 2 shades are shimmer in the whole palette. My brush of choice for this brow look is the Kelley Quan Wave Brush, which gives brows a very natural look. If you are interested in purchasing the brush, you can visit Kelley's website at:

Finally, I applied Tarte's Lash Primer, followed by 1 coat of Lights, Camera, Lashes! and 1 coat of Gifted Mascara on top lashes only.  Below is the completed look. I hope you enjoyed this post. If you would like to see more 1 brand tutorials, leave a comment below, or tweet me @MakeupMatters1. 

 I hope you are having a great weekend! Please don't forget to subscribe so you never miss a post!