Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Trading Faces - 2 Makeup Artists Swap Favorites

I am incredibly lucky to have a cousin who is not only family,  but also a friend. She is also an extremely talented makeup artist. Although we live states apart, we frequently text one another and share new makeup products that we are loving. My cousin, Sandra, came up with a fun idea. Instead of just telling one another about our current favorites,  she proposed that we actually send each other some. 

We set a budget, and a time frame. We texted back and forth to make sure we didn't send products the other had already tried, and confirmed appropriate shades to buy. It didn't take long for us to compile a list of items we love.  

I chose items to send her that I have repurchased and use religiously.  While makeup can be incredibly personal, and one person's love may be hated by another, I really hope that she enjoys what I sent her as much as I am enjoying the items she sent me.  

Full reviews of each product will be posted after I have had more time to fully test everything out. 

Here is a look at what Sandra sent me:

Makeup Revolution's Conceal & Define (C2)- If you love makeup, I am sure you are familiar with Tarte's Shape Tape Concealer.  Sandra loves it just as much as every other makeup lover. When she found this dupe at a fraction of the price, it was too good not to share. This full-coverage concealer feels light and creamy. It comes with a wand style applicator making it easy to apply to the under eye area. 

Next up is this Total Face Sponge from E.L.F. which is perfect to apply the IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Color Correcting Full Coverage Cream & Becca Hyra-Mist Set & Refresh Powder she sent with. 

While Sandra loves the Beauty Blender, she finds this more affordable version works just as well. Plus, she likes the flatter end of the sponge for applying powder to the face. 

I have been hearing nothing but rave reviews about this color correcting cream from IT Cosmetics. Sandra is a big fan of the high SPF (50) and full coverage it provides. The shade Fair is a perfect match for my complexion. 

While Sandra hasn't tried the Match Stix from Fenty Beauty herself, she knew it was something I have been dying to try and has heard a lot of good reviews from her clients. This trio includes a concealer, contour and highlight color. The contour color is very natural looking and the product seems very creamy and easy to blend. The set she sent me includes Linen, Amber and Starstruck

For something fun and colorful, she included Kat Von D's 10 Year Anniversary Palette.

If you think the artwork on the cover of this eyeshadow palette is stunning, look inside! 

Smooth mattes and shimmery metallics fill the inside inspiring me to go bolder and add pops of color to my looks. 

No makeup look is complete without painting your pout. This Plumpline Lip Liner from Buxom in the color Confidential glides on with precision, and even has a brush with cap on the other end for easy blending.

Sadly, the pharmacy near my apartment doesn't carry Physician's Formula, so I end up missing out on a lot of their offerings. Their Butter Bronzers have gained a lot of attention,  and their Butter Highlighter in Iridescence feels equally as soft and smooth to the touch. You really can't beat the pigmentation for the price, making it another one of Sandra's favorites.

I have been wearing and using these products pretty much every day since I opened the box Sandra sent. I have been testing everything in a variety of ways, trying different application techniques so that I can provide you with a thorough review.

Here are a couple of fun looks I did while playing with my new goodies:

Kat Von D 10 Year Anniversary Eyeshadow Palette - Leafar (sparkling emerald green) was used on the eyelids with a little Egypt (metallic gold) along the lower lash line.  Buxom's Confidential Lip Pencil is on the lips, and all of the face products mentioned in this post were used in this look.

Above: The same look, but with flash

Above: Look #2

As the title mentions, we did "trade faces." I sent Sandra the following favorites of mine: Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer, Charlotte Tilbury Film star bronze and glow face sculpt & highlight, Charlotte Tilbury Wonder Glow, Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Skin Perfecting Micro-powder in #2 Medium, one of my favorite eyeshadow blending brushes from Hourglass, and some Embryolisse.

Make sure you are subscribed so you don't miss out on my full in-depth review on all of these new goodies!

We are also considering sending some of our favorite brushes to each other in the future, so comment below if you would like to see that! 

Sandra- Thank you so much for trading faces with me. You came up with such a fun idea, and you always inspire me! ❤ & ๐Ÿ’„


Friday, June 22, 2018

Best Cruelty-free Dupes for a M.A.C. 217 Brush

One of the reasons I started this blog so many years ago, is that I wanted a resource for people to easily find cruelty-free makeup brushes. The brush that I became obsessed with was the M.A.C. 217. The size, shape and density of the bristles make this the perfect blending brush. It is a must-have in most makeup artist's kit. Yet, at the time I had a hard time finding a cruelty-free dupe. I asked other makeup artists I know to show me their 217 dupes. Most produced an animal hair version including one from Kat Von D, Wayne Goss and Crown Brushes.
If you have been reading my blog for a while, you may know that M.A.C. now makes their 217 with synthetic bristles, and calls it the 217S.  While this version was gifted to me, M.A.C. sadly is not a cruelty-free brand, so I cannot support it or endorse them without compromising my morals. 
Luckily, I have found numerous cruelty-free dupes (duplicates) all at a better price point than M.A.C.'s version. 

Here they are: 
I was able to find short-handle and long-handle dupes from a variety of brands. 
First up is the shorter handled brushes.  These are ideal for personal use, and I specifically recommend these for those who like to sit close to a mirror while applying eyeshadow. 
From left to right (above): M.A.C. 217 (not cruelty-free) compared to Real Techniques Base Shadow Brush, Bdellium Tools 776, Crown Brush SS021 Deluxe Blending Fluff Brush (Crown Syntho Brush Series-$4.98)
Here is a closer look (in a different order) - below from left to right: Bdellium Tools 776, Crown SS021, Real Techniques Base Shadow Brush  
If you are a professional makeup artist, you may prefer a longer handle. Don't worry, I've got you covered!:
From left to right: Wet n Wild P15, Real Techniques 305 & 203, and M.A.C. 217 for comparison
In the second box: Furless PRO2E, Coastal Scents BR-C-S06, Sigma E25, Royal and Langnickel Revolution BX-66 (nearly identical bristle size, shape and softness) compared to M.A.C. 217
A closer look: 
I also have a group of brushes I call my "not quite 217 brushes." They don't have the same tapered tip, or shape of the 217, but work in a similar way. Some are wider, bigger, smaller or just different enough to not quite pass as a dupe. However functionally,  these are seriously good blending brushes.
Here are my top picks in this category:
From left to right: Furless takes the top 2 spots, followed by IT Cosmetics, Zoeva 227 Soft Definer (vegan), Walgreens brand, Urban Decay,  and the M.A.C. 217 is at the end for comparison. 
A closer look:
In the same category, I must give honorable mention to the dual sided brush from Urban Decay that comes with some of their Naked Palettes:
While the tip is not tapered like the 217, it is very similar in nearly every other way.
It is important to note that I like this style of brush so much, that I own multiples across several of the brands. Also, some of the brands mentioned here offer both short & long handle brushes.
For example, Bdellium Tools 776, comes in short & long handle:
Real Techniques does also. Note, their Base Shadow Brush has a more tapered tip than the version from their Bold Metals collection.
Coastal Scents offers white & black bristled options in their S06: 
Sigma has a variety of sizes and colors of their E25:
Out of all of these options, I do have some favorites. My 3 favorites are: Furless Cosmetics PRO2E (softest), Bdellium Tools 776, and Crown Brush SS021:
I do have to give an honorable mention to the Royal & Langnickel Revolution BX-66. This brush nearly identical to the M.A.C. 217S, the primary difference being in bristle color. I think the only reason that I don't use it as much in my kit is because I don't have multiples of it, the way I do with brushes from the other brands. With so many great options in my kit, it is hard to justify buying more, but I HIGHLY recommend this brush. 
Furless Cosmetics has a good variety of professional quality 217 dupes, and "not quite 217s" that blend beautifully. 
I hope you found this post helpful. This is post #1 in what I hope to make my "Brush Library." My ultimate goal is to create a database of cruelty-free brushes, making it easy for people who wish to replace their animal hair versions when the time comes.  
What style/brand of brush would you like me to post dupes for next? 

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Pink Makeup Looks I Love!

Pink Makeup Looks I Love!

This post may contain products sent for consideration.  I do not get paid to write reviews.  All opinions are my own.

I love color.  With Spring here and Summer right around the corner, I decided to set aside the neutrals, and sift through my makeup collection in search of some fun.  I have been feeling inspired by a lot of different colors lately, and decided to commit to adding more of them into my personal makeup routine. 

This past week, I let the color pink be my guide.  I pulled out as many pink products as I could find in my collection, and got to work. Organizing the different varieties of textures and finishes of pink into color stories, and creating cohesive makeup looks was so much fun.  All of these looks are completely wearable, and I did in fact wear them out each day. 

Here is a look at some of the Pink Makeup Looks I Love!:

For day number one, I used my Wet n Wild Rose in the Air eyeshadow palette.  Sticking with the same brand, I dug out an old favorite, my hot pink blush that was part of the brand's collaboration with Fergie, A Brush With Danger. The blush collab came out years ago, but I liked this one so much, that I bought backups. This blush appears intimidating in the pan, as it is a bright pink reminiscent of the old packaging on my Barbie dolls when I was little. However, it's matte formula makes it very wearable, and as you can see from the photos, when using the correct brush, and a light hand, it simply pulls the whole look together. If you ever over apply a bold blush, simply go back in with the brush that you used to apply your setting powder, and swirl a very thin veil over top.  This should help take down the color enough to prevent you from having to start over. On the lips, I opted for a softer, more muted creamy, sheer-pink/nude from Urban Decay called Sheer Liar
Above: Day 1, day look, and evening look (unchanged except for hair)

For day number two, I opted to make the lips the focus for day, while ramping up the color on the eyes for an evening look. The lip liner pictured below is Hourglass Cosmetics in Ballet (vivid pink), with Jordana Cosmic Glow Gloss in Crystallized Pink. To bring some pink onto the face, I used IT Cosmetics Je Ne Sais Quoi Vitality Flush Color Stain Stick on the cheeks, topped with Lime Crime's Pink color from their Hi-Lite Opals palette over top. 

Above: Day look, with lip liner and gloss 

Above: That evening, I added September and Spill the Tea from Shayla X ColourPop's Perception Palette to the eyes.  For the lips, I opted for Wet n Wild's Megaslicks Balm Stain in A Stiff Pink

For day number three, I paired Trish McEvoy's liquid face color (blush) in shade 1 with elf luscious liquid lipstick in baby lips.  On the eyes, I opted for Cupcake eyeshadow by Makeup Geek, which I blended with some matte neutrals from the Tarte Cosmetics Tartelette palette.  For eyeliner, I sprayed a thin angled brush with Milani's setting spray, and dipped into NYX Cosmetics Sky Pink Pearl Pigment, drawing on a line as one would normally do for liquid or gel eyeliner. This was a very subtle and unexpected touch, that added a bit of shimmer to an otherwise matte eye. 

For day number four, I popped on a Too Faced Melted Matte Lipstick in the color Its Happening!  I used Hourglass Cosmetics lip liner in Ballet to shape the lips.  Wearing a bright pink lip like this allows for the rest of the face to be kept pretty close to bare, while still providing a brightening effect. 

Above: Pink worn on the lips with liner and a liquid lipstick for day

Above: For evening, I added Armour Beauty gloss on top of the lips in the color Diana (dusty rose).  On the eyes, I blended on OCC's loose colour in Glisten (a golden coral shimmer, that leans pink in the light), and swiped on Elf's baked blush in Pinktastic over Pixi's All-Over Magic No.2 Rose Radiance.

For day number five, today, I went FULL pink!  I wanted to use an eyeshadow palette that I haven't used in a while.  That turned out to be Anastasia's Subculture palette, oddly enough. I know pink is not the color one thinks of when this palette is mentioned.  However, the pink shimmer in Cube (duo chrome pink pearl) is too beautiful to be missed. From the palette, I used Fudge (ultra-matte warm bronze) in the crease, with All Star (ultra-matte vintage wine) in the upper crease, and outer corner of the eye, as well as along the lower lash line.  Cube was used on the inner corner, and inner part of the lid, both dry, and on a damp brush.  To add more pink to the look, I pulled out SugarPill's Dollipop (matte hot pink), and swept just a touch through the crease with a fluffy blending brush.  On the cheeks, I pulled out an old favorite, Dollface (cool-toned medium pink) from Tarte.  This blush is a super pigmented matte formula that is very easy to blend when applied over a translucent setting powder.  While the eyes looked beautiful without it, I did tap on a layer of Alexis Vogel Glow Dust in Constellation (pink diamond sparkle) on top of the eye lid.  On my lips, I guessed it....Hourglass lip liner in Ballet, this time topping it with Stila liquid lipstick in Petal (matte pale pink) and dotting on Dollipop eyeshadow. 

The above photographs of today's look truly do not do the eyeshadow look justice.  I am a makeup artist, but not a photographer, so I found it difficult to capture the iridescent glimmer of the eyes created by the glow dust. I wore this makeup look out to a local fair, and someone actually stopped me on the street to compliment me on my eye look. I did end up popping just a touch of the elf blush in Pinktastic along the cheekbones for a summer highlight. 

For even MORE Pink Makeup Looks I Love, make sure you are following me on Pinterest at Makeup Matters.  I have an entire board dedicated to Pink Makeup there. 

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Three Reasons To Fall In Love With The 1990's Again

Three Reasons To Fall In Love With The 1990's Again

*This post contains both products purchased by me, and products sent for consideration. I do not get paid to write reviews. All opinions are my own.

  1. Matte Skin
  2. Earth Tones
  3. Dark Lips
Even though it doesn't feel like the 90's was that long ago, sadly it was. I am a true 90's kid.  I don't know if it is because this is the decade of my youth, but 90's music, makeup, and fashion are still things I love.  As a teenager I did some modeling.  At the age of 13, I attended Barbizon Modeling Academy where I was first educated on proper makeup application. Despite the years that have gone by, and the numerous makeup lessons I have had and taught since then, I still remember all of the advice given to me in that very first class. I absorbed the makeup knowledge like a dry beauty blender, soaking up as much as I could. 

Here is a daytime makeup look that I put together, using the techniques that I was taught so many years ago:

Skincare is important. This was the primary point that was driven into us repeatedly. Ever since that day, I introduced a serious skincare program into my daily routine. To start this makeup look, I cleansed my skin, and then use my Aveda Botanical Kinetic Toning Mist.  This product removes surface oil buildup, which is perfect since I am looking to create a matte base.

Prime & correct.  In the 1990's we didn't wear highlighter, dewy skin wasn't a thing, and matte was where it was at. To help achieve a matte base I applied Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer.  Then, I applied a yellow color corrector under my eyes to cancel out the purple tones.  Green color corrector was applied to cancel out any redness in my skin.  Some of the first color correcting products that I used were from Physicians Formula.  For this look, I used a palette from Tarte Cosmetics. Physicians Formula and E.L.F. Cosmetics make great affordable options if you are looking for something a bit more budget friendly. 

Even out the skin. Again, sticking with the matte theme, I chose a matte foundation for my base. This one from Hourglass is quite full coverage.  While I didn't really need a separate concealer, I applied some in areas that I wanted to add a little more light.  I used these products quite sparingly, as the skin in the 90's was very fresh looking.  If you need to spot conceal, the below one from Hourglass pairs quite nicely with their foundation.  I blended all of these products together with my Aveda Inner Light Foundation Brush. I have been in love with this brush for applying my base because it truly helps create a flawless airbrushed look on the skin. 

Earth tones help add color to the face. In the 1990's I was taught that any makeup added to the face for color should only be colors found in nature.  This is a sharp contrast from the bold hues of the 1980's. First, I set my base with a translucent setting powder by Nuance Cosmetics.  My first makeup brush set that I received at modeling school contained a powder brush, a blush brush, a contour brush, an eyeshadow brush, and a lip brush. However, I was taught to use the smaller blush brush to apply setting powder, and the larger powder brush to apply blush.  For my makeup look, I applied powder using a puff, because that has become my preferred method over the years.  I knocked off any excess with a brush.  Then, using a matte earth-toned brown, I applied color with a tapered brush to contour my cheekbones.  While I don't recall doing so in the 1990's, I did fill in my brows for this look. Brows were quite thin back then, so I used a very fine brow pencil, and tried not to thicken my natural brow shape at all. 

For eyeshadow, I chose an all matte palette from Charlotte Tilbury called The Sophisticate.  This palette has exactly the shades of brown that I recall supermodels wearing in the 90's.  To begin, I chose the cream color from the palette, and applied it allover the lid as a base.  Then I added the lighter brown in the palette allover the eyelid with a flat brush, blending the edges with a fluffier brush. I used a brown eye pencil from Hourglass, keeping it very close to the lash line. I tightlined with it, applied it to the waterline, and dotted some along the lower lash line. To set the lower lash line, I smudged the same matte brown shadow over top. Unlike today, winged liner, and obvious bold liquid liner was not so popular.  Eye liner was brown or black, but always worn very close to the lash line.  I curled the lashes and applied some mascara, steps that seem popular regardless of the decade. 

Raisin, brown, and dark colors were common lip colors worn in the 1990's.  I loved the various raisin and brown lip colors so many women wore.  Due to my very fair complexion, I couldn't pull off some of the darker shades of brown that I loved so much.  To see how dark of a color you can get away with, I recommend applying your blush first.  In the below Tarte Cosmetics blush palette, I used a mix of the first shade and the last shade, using a light hand and a large kabuki brush.  To blend my face makeup, I picked up my Aveda Inner Light Foundation Brush and went over the edges of where I applied my blush for a more natural appearance. 

For lips, I chose the aptly  named lip liner and lipstick from Urban Decay called 1993 (a matte medium brown).  Most of the lipstick choices then were a matte, demi-matte or cream formula. 

This completes my "day" version of the look. A look like this might be something I would have worn to work in the 90's.  

For the evening look:

To amp it up a little bit for post work cocktails, a little bit of golden shimmer on the lid, darker liner and a vampy lip should do the trick. 

I used Charlotte Tilbury Golden Goddess eyeshadow palette.  On a damp flat brush, I picked up some of the gold metallic shade from the palette and applied it to my eyelid right over the matte brown I applied earlier. This created a very subtle shimmer on the eyes, but kept the look neutral. 

Using a black pencil from Physicians Formula, I darkened my eyeliner, applying it over the brown liner applied previously. Adding extra mascara is always a nice touch for evening. 

To darken the lips, I used the same Urban Decay Blackmail Vice Lipstick Palette.  This time, I chose Amulet (metallic brick rose) and Blackmail (matte burgundy), applying them with the lip brush included with the palette. While metallic lipsticks were not popular in the 1990's, mixing the two matte shades (1993 & Blackmail) with just a touch of the metallic (Amulet) helped create more of a cream finish, still giving me the color that I desired.  

 Pictured Above: My evening 1990's makeup look
Pictured Above: Day look is on the left, Evening look on the right

I hope you enjoyed this 1990's inspired makeup look.  Please let me know if you would like to see makeup looks created from other decades as well.  Don't forget to follow me on Twitter @MakeupMatters1.