Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Kelley Quan Vegan Beauty Brush Eye Series 1

*This post contains a sample sent for consideration

Kelley Quan Vegan Beauty Brush Eye Series 1

As you may know by now, I am a big fan of Kelley Quan brushes.  I recently decided to order the full set as well as a travel set from the brand. To my surprise, Kelley included a mini eye brush set for me to review. The good news is these brushes are now available for sale in all Northeast Whole Foods stores. This set, designed just for the eyes includes four mini brushes in Kelley's signature pink packaging. At $22.99 this set is amazing quality. 

I compared them against other brushes in my collection of similar size and shape, and was very pleased to find that all four brushes are softer, and work much better than others I've tried.  While not the exact same brushes from Kelley's premier line, these are a great affordable alternative without sacrificing quality. You won't find brushes constructed like this, as soft as this at a price like this.  Like all of Kelley Quan's brushes, these are 100% vegan. When it comes to brushes you can purchase in the grocery store, or at a drugstore, the quality is pretty lacking.  It's so refreshing to know that people now have a choice like this right at Whole Foods!  Plus each box includes a Qr Barcode that when scanned, pulls up a tutorial by Kelley herself with how to use each brush. 

The first brush #E1 is a Large Fluff Brush, which is recommended for all-over eye color.  It can be used for both cream and powder cosmetic formulas. I use this for blending eyeshadow into my crease. Because of the duo fiber bristles, you get the most amazing blend.  This brush also works well for blending out concealer under the eyes.

Brush #E2 is a Flat Angle Brush, which can be used for eyeliner or to fill in your brows. I've used this brush with gel liner and powder products and it works well for both. It's neither too thin nor to thick, and the bristles are the perfect amount of firmness.

#E3 is a Bullet Blender Brush or thicker version of a pencil brush.  I love this for blending shadow along the lower lash line, or highlighting the inner corner of the eye.

#E4 is a Shading Brush which I use to apply and blend concealer under my eyes. I also like it for applying setting powder under the eyes. However, it is also ideal for shading and blending cream or powder eyeshadow over the eye lid. Like the first brush it has duo fiber bristles, which allow you to pick up a decent amount of product, but lightly blend with the white bristles seamlessly.

Above is a closer look at the bristles. As you can see, each brush head is full with soft bristles. 

The back of the box has a Qr barcode in the lower left hand corner which scans to a 
tutorial using all of the brushes in the set!

I love these brushes so much!  I have recently been testing some other brushes from another brand that are a similar size, and of a much higher price point than these. I must say the Kelley Quan New York brand is a true quality brand. You will not be disappointed if you pick up this set.  I honestly didn't know what good quality brushes were before I started using Kelley Quan brushes. I think you will find such a difference between these and the current ones in  your stash. The right brush really makes a difference in your makeup application and for only $22.99 they are certainly worth picking up! Their size makes them great brushes to keep in your makeup bag and carry with you. Those who like to sit close to a mirror when they apply makeup will also appreciate the shorter handle length.

A huge THANK YOU! to Kelley Quan for sending these to me. I really love them, and am excited that they are so easily available to everyone! 

Have you tried Kelley Quan New York brushes?  If you have please let me know in the comments below!

*This post contains a sample sent for consideration. I do not get paid to write reviews. All opinions are my own.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Work/Professional Look - Tutorial

*This post contains both products purchased by me and products sent for consideration

Work/Professional Look

This is part 2 in my series of tutorials. My previous post focused on my casual weekend look. This post will show you my work/professional look. This is an ideal makeup look for work or school, as it is a very toned down look, but still looks polished and put together. You can use whatever products you have in your stash, the focus is more on the application, and types of products that help to achieve this look. 

When you are in a rush in the morning, you really want to try and keep the number of products to a minimum. I am a big fan of products that do double or even triple duty. Any products that can work well in multiple ways are ideal for this type of makeup look.

Prime/Moisturize/Sunscreen/Base: One of my favorite multitasking products is BB cream. I have grown particularly fond of the version by Embryolisse. This works as a primer, moisturizer, and sunscreen all in one while providing light coverage. If you have really good skin, this could work solo in place of foundation or concealer. I usually apply this in the morning using clean fingers directly to the face. A very small amount will cover the entire face.

Conceal: For under the eyes, and on any blemishes, I bring in some of my RMS Beauty "Un" Cover-Up. I love this product because it is very light and creamy.  It is also very moisturizing, which is why I really love using it under the eyes. 

Powder: I prefer to use a powder foundation for this step because in addition to controlling shine and setting my concealer, it provides added coverage.  This one by IT Cosmetics is so pigmented, that I will often apply some with a fluffy brush over any blemishes and it masks any imperfection perfectly. At the very least, you will want to powder your T-zone as this area is the most prone to shine. Be sure to pack your compact with you for touch ups during the day.

Highlight: This is a must have step for me when I am wearing minimal makeup. With a fan brush, I apply a powder highlighter to the tops of my cheekbones, lightly down the bridge of my nose, cupid's bow, and then switch to a pencil brush to apply to the inner corners of my eyes. I also sweep just a touch under my brow using a fluffy brush or fan brush and light hand. I don't like a ton of shimmer under the brow, as that can look dated, but just a light sweep of luminizer will catch the light perfectly as you turn your head.  For a budget friendly pick try e.l.f. Studio Baked Blush in Pinktastic.  A great high-end choice is Mary-Lou Manizer from The Balm. 

Prime Eyes (optional): If your eyeliner is prone to transferring to your lid, I recommend using an eye primer such as Too Faced Shadow Insurance to your eye lid and lash lines. If you don't have this problem, you can skip this step. 

Liner: For work or school, I recommend using a brown eyeliner rather than a black one. It looks less harsh for day time.  Apply it to your top lash line, and then smudge it out using a pencil brush. I like to smudge it along the lash line, and blend it up a little bit into the outer corner and crease to create a natural looking shadow. You can reapply and blend as much or as little as you like. I am also a big fan of tightlining the eye (applying eyeliner underneath your top lash line) because it makes your lashes look thicker. If desired, take whatever liner is left on your pencil brush and smudge along the lower lash line (optional). 

For the lower waterline, I like to bring in a lighter color. Good choices are white, nude, rose gold, or champagne depending on your skin tone.  Whatever color you choose, make sure the formula you use is waterproof. NYX has a large selection of colors and they are a budget friendly brand. I have found their waterproof liners really stay in my waterline quite well. 

Curl Lashes: This step is not optional. For some reason, so many people skip it. It truly makes a difference in your makeup look. Invest in a good lash curler and hold the curler in place for at least 30 seconds per eye.  The only time I would recommend skipping this step, is if you have found a really good lash curling mascara, that truly curls your lashes, or you are lucky enough to have naturally curled lashes. Other than that, please take the time to curl your lashes. It makes a huge difference!

Apply Mascara: Apply mascara to top lashes only. This way you don't have to worry about the bottom lash transfer thing happening.  Plus I like the effect of applying to only the top lashes sometimes. For a more natural look, try a brown mascara if it works with your coloring, otherwise, black is fine.  I'm currently loving the mascaras from Flower Beauty which are available at Wal-Mart. 

Blush: Another must for me is blush. Depending on your coloring, you may opt for a bronzer instead, but this time of year, I really love to break out the blush. My current favorite is Frat Boy from The Balm. Apply using a blush brush to the cheekbones and blend the edges with a clean sponge.

Brows: This is another step that is super important. If you are in a rush, just brush a tinted brow gel through your brows to hold them neatly in place all day. I love the brow gels from Anastasia and use either the one in Brunette or Clear if I am using a pencil or powder too. 

Lips: Finally, for lips I recommend a sheer gloss, or tinted lip balm. I like a little bit of shine and color, but nothing too overpowering or that will require a lot of maintenance. Sheer glosses and tinted lip balms are easy to reapply throughout the day, and I can often do so without even looking into a mirror. Try e.l.f. liquid lipstick in Ruby Slippers or Tarte Energy LipSurgence which is a pink shade that adjusts based on  your pH level to a pink shade unique to you!  Again, I prefer a sheer, moisturizing formula for this type of no-fuss look. 

Below is the finished look on 2 different days. The only thing I swapped out was the lip color. On one day I wore the e.l.f. liquid lipstick, the other Tarte Energy. 

 Above: wearing e.l.f. liquid lipstick in Ruby Slippers
 Below: wearing Tarte Energy LipSurgence
I hope you enjoyed this simple makeup look.  I think it's a perfect "everyday" look without being too much or too little.  The main focus for me is getting the skin looking even, defining the eyes, and adding just a little something on lips for moisture and shine.  

What is your go-to makeup look?

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Sunday, January 5, 2014

Casual Weekend Look - Tutorial

Casual Weekend Look

Happy New Year!  I am starting 2014 with a series of tutorials.  I think everyone who wears makeup should have four go-to looks for specific occasions.
  1. Casual Weekend/Daytime Look
  2. Work/Professional Look
  3. Evening Look: Date Night (etc)
  4. Party/Holiday/Special Event Look

I realize this look especially will be a bit more makeup than many of you wear, but it's a typical look that I might sport on a casual weekend when I'm out running errands. Feel free to skip any steps that you feel are too much. I like to even out my skin, highlight the eyes, and pair it with a nude lip.

Prime: First prime the skin with a primer that is appropriate for your skin type.  The one I used here is Becca Resurfacing Primer which is appropriate for all skin types. I applied it with a pointed foundation brush.

Apply Base: Using the same pointed foundation brush, apply foundation where needed. Here I used Illamasqua Skin Base, which I've been using a lot lately. It's a great foundation, and a bit more moisturizing which I need in the winter.

Conceal: Apply concealer under eyes, around nose, and to any blemishes. Here I used one by RMS Beauty.

Powder: Apply powder under the eyes and anywhere you applied concealer to set. I used Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Diffused (soft pale yellow). Next, I applied Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Luminous Light (champagne pearl) just to the cheekbones for a highlight.

Bronzer: Using the same brush, pick up a little bit of bronzer and apply where the sun would naturally hit the face. I love Physicians Formula Talc Free Light Bronzer because it looks very natural on my fair skin.

Eyes: To highlight the eye lid, I used Too Faced Shimmer Veil from the Too Faced Naked Look palette. This was a small palette I got as a V.I.B. gift from Sephora. It can also be used as a face highlight. Any light colored shimmery eyeshadow will work well for this.

Contour the eye: Define the crease of your eye using matte brown color. You can use an eyeshadow, or just pick up some of your bronzer as I did here.

E48 brush from Sigma

Highlight: Using a matte eyeshadow close to your skin color, highlight the brow bone. I used Arbonne Vanilla here.

Tightline: Using a black eyeliner, trace your upper waterline (just under your upper lashes) to create the look of fuller lashes. I used one from Nuance by Salma Hayek here. If you have blonde hair, you may want to use brown or gray instead. 

Line lower lash line: I'm a big fan of using black liner on the top lash line, and brown on the bottom. I used a brown eye pencil by Nuance and traced along the lower lash line. To set it, I applied a shimmery brown eyeshadow by Wet n Wild (Comfort Zone Palette) over top using a pencil brush.

Curl lashes: Very important step. Curl your lashes. Be sure to hold the curler in place for at least 30 seconds. If desired, apply brown liner to your waterline as well. Apply mascara to top lashes only. I used Flower Beauty Extreme Measures Lengthening Mascara.

Brows: Groomed brows are a very important step in any makeup look. I groomed mine through with a spooly, and then using a thin flat brush, applied Illamasqua Brow Cake to any sparse areas.

Lips: Line lips, apply a nude lipstick and clean up edges with concealer. I used Too Faced Perfect Lips Lip Liner in Perfect Spice, and Lip Injection Color Bomb! in Never Enough Nude.

Cheeks: On cheeks, I used NYX Stick Blush in Tea Rose. I find this product works best when applied with a finger, then blended out with a small stippling brush for a more natural look.  If you have any blemishes or spots on your cheek bone area, you can mix a little bit of your blush with your concealer on the back of your hand and apply with a small brush.

Here is the final look:


Again, I realize this might be a lot of makeup for some of you, but it's a great daytime look when you still want to look pretty, but don't want to be too glam. This is a go-to look for me on the weekend (including the pug sweatshirt).  Let me know if you try it out! 

Thanks for reading.