Wednesday, November 20, 2013

To Buy Or Not To Buy: M.A.C Pigment Sets

The holidays are here which can only mean one thing, M.A.C Pigment sets are here! In Oprah's voice, "You get a pigment set, and you get a pigment set, and you get a pigment set, EVERYBODY GETS PIGMENT SETS! AHHHHH!" Can you tell how I feel about these?   I absolutely love them.  No exception, this is my pic for best deal of the holidays in makeup. Here's why:for $32.50 you get five colors.  One pigment normally contains 4.5g and costs $21 you are getting five pigments that have 2.5g of product each all for $32.50.  The other thing is, I have never been able to go through an entire pigment or glitter.  There is so much product I end up sampling it out and giving it to my friends and never noticing any product missing.  They last forever! For this reason 2.5g is plenty.  They are honestly the best deal at M.A.C every holiday season.  My only beef is that I don't get my pro discount on them.  Even still, I'm paying less than I would with my discount for that amount of product.  In addition, the sets are filled with colors that everyone can use.  There is no dud set this year. You can also split them up and use them as stocking stuffers.  Plus the holiday packaging is my favorite. So go get em fast, because they sell out quickly!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Mascary Is More Like It!

To those of us in the beauty world, it comes as no surprise that makeup goes bad.  As do face creams, lotions, etc.  The rule is simple, when water is introduced it becomes a breading ground for bacteria.  This means that any wet product you have is harboring bacteria. Ewwww. Most of it is harmless as long as you resist the urge to become a bag lady collector of your old makeup.  There is one massive exception. Mascara.  Mascara has no more than a three month life span from the date is is opened.  Even if it has only been used once, it doesn't matter.  The second you introduce air to that baby, you have introduced bacteria especially if you've used it.  Think about it: you're taking whatever bacteria lives on your eyelashes (and there are a ton even if they're clean) and putting into a damp, dark environment at room temperature. In Chandler's voice, "Could there be a more hospitable breading ground for bacteria?" I think not.  This is why after three months it should be thrown away. When mascara goes bad it can also smell different.  This can be a good way to find old mascara, however it only smells once it's really old.  The three month rule is a much better indicator, but if your mascara smells OH-MY-GOD-WHAT-ARE-YOU-DOING-THROW-IT-AWAY! The health effects can lead to eye infections, but most commonly styes and swollen lids that then contaminate your other makeup.  For this reason I'm not a huge fan of expensive mascara: it gives an incentive for people to hang onto rancid makeup that can harm them.  I'm not joking, I've seen women need skin grafts and have scars from infections due to bad makeup.  It's serious, so don't be crusty!  Change that sucker out!

Below is a link to an article on WedMD about makeup going rancid.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Contouring Making Dark Circles Worse?

It's no secret that I live on Instagram, but one thing I've been seeing all over the place has been driving me crazy.  Thank you Kim Kardashian. Contouring is everywhere, and I absolutely love that beauty makeup has once again embraced drag makeup.  I'm not kidding or trying to be facetious, it really is drag makeup, and I couldn't be happier.  There is only one problem with drag makeup, it's a LOT of makeup.  Drag tricks don't always translate to everyday makeup for this reason.  Am I saying you shouldn't contour on a daily basis? Certainly not!  That would be blasphemy in my world!  I do want people to color correct/contour so they don't have to wear gallons of makeup to cover dark circles.

Color correction 101: If you put a yellow concealer over dark circles it can make them worse.  Think about what happens when you combine yellow and blue paint.  You get green.  The same thing happens under your eyes.  Try using a warm concealer or peach color corrector as a concealer just on the dark circles.  You'll notice that you have to use half as much product, and you get a better result.

Concealer 101: If you put a lighter concealer under the eye it can make dark circles more visible than a shade slightly darker.  Think of it this way, dark circles are already darker than the rest of your face, hence, dark circle.  Even if you put the same shade as your face on the dark part, the blue can show through in this ghostly, chalky more noticeable version, right? So why, why would you grab a yellow concealer five shades lighter and hope for the best?

If you are going to contour you should use a peach color corrector under the eyes and place the light color, sparingly, on top of that.  Also, when it comes to the under eye area, more is more.  Makeup shows up like crazy there.  The dryer the formula, the more cakey it will look.  The more moist the formula, the more your mascara will want to join in the fun and smear all over the dark circles you just concealed.  It's a balancing act.  Don't be fooled by all the IG photos: remember, I've seen those ladies up close and am one of those ladies, and trust me, it's a LOT of makeup.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

To Buy Or Not To Buy: Holiday Brush Sets

During the Holidays it seems like everyone has some special deal that they are pushing.  That's because they do and they are.  When is it truly a value?  I'm here to help you sift through the holiday madness, and brush sets are a great place to start.  5 Brushes for $50?! I can stock up my kit (or makeup bag) for super cheap right? Well, not exactly.  The brushes sold as part of a kit look like the brushes in the full makeup line, however they are not the same for the following reasons:

  • The brushes in the sets often lack the same fibers that the full size brushes contain.  This means if you are excited about getting a goat hair brush as part of a brush set, you may as well be equally excited about Santa coming because it's not real.  The sets often contain synthetic fibers, which to be fair, in many cases I prefer.  What this means for you is that the brush will not act the same or work the same as the brush you have grown to know and love.  There are some brushes that are synthetic in both the full size and set size, for these you won't notice much of a difference. 
  • Machine made verses man made.  Some lines pride themselves on carrying handmade brushes, and often the holiday sets are not included in this.  In order to save costs, the brushes are machine made instead of hand made.
  • Quality. "Sarah, what's wrong with machine made, synthetic brushes? Lots of lines do it." Yes, you are absolutely right.  However, I have noticed a huge drop in quality for the holiday brush sets.  To give you examples, the tops of the brushes often loosen and come of (the brush comes off the handle), the dye in the bristles bleeds and gets in your makeup, the handles crack, and the fibers are much more course and firm making them difficult to use in blending etc. 
Am I here to bash a good deal? Absolutely not.  Holiday brush sets are a great gift for someone just getting into makeup that needs brushes.  They are also a great companion for someone that travels a ton for work and doesn't want to lug around full size brushes or risk losing expensive brushes.  I like to keep mine in my purse or use them for body painting jobs where I know they may get stained.  In short,   holiday brush sets can be a great find and are certainly superior to using your fingers or sponges, but they are not a substitute for higher quality brushes that will last much longer.  You'll probably get two years out of them verses the ten years you can get out of others. When you're thinking about buying these ask three questions: 1) Machine made or man made 2) Synthetic or natural fibers 3) Do you like these or think they are the same quality (to the salesperson).  Odds are you'll get an honest-ish answer.  Remember, they do have sales goals and often a certain amount of sets to sell a day.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

How I Clean My Brushes After The Craziest Makeup (Honestly, this will get almost anything out of your brushes)

I love me some theatrical makeup, and it is my makeup brushes that suffer the most.  To make matters worse, I cannot stand when my makeup comes off, transfers, runs etc.  This means I use the most hardcore have-to-jackhammer-it-off makeup out there.  Team that up with brushes that have been with me for ten years and you have quite the problem right? No! I have done the legwork for you and figured out the best method for getting almost anything out of your brushes.  Ready? It's Dawn and Baby Oil. I alternate dawn and baby oil during my wash to get out product.  The worst by far are the acrylic paints from MAC; they're not coming out of anything.  Plus once it dries, it's hard a rock.  I start off by loosening it up with dawn and rinse that out.  Then I use a small amount of baby oil and work it back and forth.  I use dawn to rinse it out and alternate until the brush is clean.  This can get out even the toughest of makeup.  A word of caution: do not use too much baby oil.  This can cause the glue that holds the bristles in to loosen and harm the brush.  Also, when finished it is best to place the brushes bristle down at an angle so the water and any excess doesn't go back into the brush handle area.  This will keep the glue from loosening as well.  I like to use a towel to prop the brushes up.  Once they dry they are ready for use again and should be much cleaner than soap alone or makeup brush cleansers that don't end up getting all the makeup out.  Happy cleaning!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Fake Lashes Should Not Cost You More Than $5. Period

Makeup artists rarely pay full price for our products.  Some of that is attributed to our professional discount, the other part is knowing where to spend your money.  Stop buying your lashes from makeup lines and stores like Sephora.  Head to your local Wallgreens or Ulta Beauty and check out any number of lashes such as Ardell lashes.  I'm going to tell you a secret, almost all makeup artists buy bulk quantities of lashes similar to, if not, Ardells.  Why pay $15 at MAC when you could buy them for $1.25?!  That's crazy talk right?  I will give it to some companies like MAC and House of Lashes, they do offer a great, high quality product.  However, I have not noticed a huge difference in quality form the lashes I get at the Clement St. Variety store.  In fact, I prefer some of the variety store lashes.  I know it sounds sketch, but hear me out (or read me out?).  A lot of lashes seem to be private labeled. What that means is that they are manufactured in the same place and are the exact same product but can cost 5x more when a luxury brand places their label on the box.  If you are willing to hunt for them and get rid of the packaging, you can get amazing lashes for less than $2.  "But I don't live in SF or anywhere near Clement St.!" Not a problem!  There are tons of stores in LA and elsewhere, like Frends, Namies, and Nigels, that I order product from that will happily ship them to you.  My favorite spot to order lashes from is Frends.  Not only is the staff super knowledgable and helpful, but they have a massive variety.  When you calculate the savings on one pair of lashes alone, the shipping pays for itself.  Check out the D Whispies. At $4.99 per set they are my absolute favorite.  Look em up on amazon or wherever because $15 for lashes is crazy talk.

Below is the link for Frends Beauty Supply in LA.  Not all of the products can be viewed online, so I suggest calling them at 818-769-3834 they're fantastic.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Coconut Oil Madness!

It's no secret that coconut oil is useful for a variety of reason, but did you know it can be used as a makeup remover and moisturizer?  Well, it can!  In fact, for all of my theatrical looks such as Venom and beyond, it is the ONLY thing that gets it all off.  There is absolutely no reason to spend large sums of money on makeup removers, because it is quite possible to achieve the same results with coconut oil.    Just scoop a little out and work it around the face.  Use a dry towel to take the coconut oil off and repeat.  I don't know about you, but I need to double cleanse my face.  The first cleanse gets the majority of makeup off then the second round gets whatever was left from the first round.  Since I have started double cleansing, the incidence of breakouts has decreased tremendously.  Afterwords do your usual skincare routine.  Some people prefer to use a traditional cleanser afterword to get that "clean" feeling.  I am a big fan of cleansing balms and have very sensitive skin, so I find the oil to be plenty.  Next time you have makeup on, especially waterproof product, hit up the kitchen cabinet instead of your wallet and see how your skin feels.  Not only that, but it can be used as a moisturizer in place of body lotion. Check it out!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

HD powder, just stop it already. Seriously, throw it away.

Have you dreamed of smuggling cocaine across the border all by wearing it on your face?  Then have we got the product for you!  HD powder, or hidden drug powder, can give you that Tony Montana look thats so hot in fashion right now! All you have to do is wear HD Powder and ask a friend to take a flash photograph, and POOF you're a drug lord!

Ok, seriously, can we all agree that HD Powder and finishing powders are only a clever marketing ploy and serve no real place in makeup?!  It does not matter how you use this product, the potential that it could totally backfire in photos is off the charts.  If you want a bride that looks like a drug lord or the cryptkeeper, then go right ahead and use them.  However, if you are tired of your face flashing back powdery white in photographs look no further than your powder.  If one of the first ingredients is silica, not only will it not set your makeup, it will also cause it to flash back white and give you a very fallen Disney star look.  Most people don't even know that these powders will not set your makeup or absorb oil.  If you are looking for a setting powder, try anything that has talc or any kind of starch listed as on of the first ingredients.  Yes, talc is a building agent, but it is also present in a ton of setting powders and is just fine.  So please, for the love of God, throw that HD stuff away already.

This is a video link to how these powders can backfire. He describes the first part of the problem which can be sunscreen, but the new trend (which in my opinion is way more obvious than sunscreen flashback) is HD Powder flashback.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

How to get M.A.C lipsticks for free!

It has come to my attention that not everyone knows about M.A.C Cosmetic's Back to M.A.C program.  This is crazy talk because it means that you are missing out on FREE MAKEUP!!!  Here's how it works: simply collect six of your empty containers from M.A.C (the plastic or glass NOT the outer cardboard part) and turn them into M.A.C.  In return they will let you choose one free lipstick.  Pretty amazing right?!  Why would they do this, you ask?  It's simple, M.A.C has made it their mission to be environmentally conscious.  Because of this, they wanted to give costumers an incentive to recycle and Back to M.A.C was born.  Since lipstick was the first product developed by M.A.C, it only seemed fitting.  There is only one exception: Viva Glam.  Viva Glam is the charity line of lipsticks and glosses developed to raise money for the M.A.C AIDS Fund or MAF.  The MAF gives money to organizations that deliver meals to terminally ill patients, stop transmission from mother to newborn child, do testing and so much more.  M.A.C really puts their money where your mouth is one this one: every penny, and I mean every penny you spend on Viva Glam goes towards the MAF.  Not 100% of profits, 100% period. End of story.  This is why they are not able to be obtained for free through Back to M.A.C, however you can turn them in for a free lipstick.  I have been hard-pressed to find a makeup line that gives back the way M.A.C does.  So go! Get your free lipsticks!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Glitter/ Metallic Eyeshadow Tips and Tricks

Glitter and metallic eyeshadows are really trending!

There are a few simples tricks and products that help the look along.  Above, I have a metallic eye look using two of M.A.C's products on the lid that gives this overall effect.  The products I like for the metallic look are all of the M.A.C "reflects ..." colors.  In this photo, I am wearing reflects bronze and the pigment gold under it.  Trust me on the "reflects" glitters; they are amazing.  The glitter itself is a very small particle, so it gives the look of and overall wet sheen more than chunks of glitter.  I'm obsessed with these.  Just think of every eyeshadow you've ever bought that had sparkles in it but didn't look that way on.  Well, this does! I put it on my makeups like Jim Gaffigan decorates his food with bacon. 

 Prrriiiinnnggg! Baconnnnnn.... I mean, Glitterrrrrrr!!!!

I digress...

Since the reflects glitters are so tiny, they should not be based.  The base coats the glitter and makes it lose its sparkle.  On the other hand, a glitter eyeshadow look should be based to keep the glitter from getting all over your face.

Glitter is the sand of the makeup world: "Once you get it in there, you can't get it out" according to Stewie Griffin.


When applying a glitter eye, the trick is to make your lid the color of the glitter before applying it.  This will fill in any holes and keep you from having to keep applying glitter until your eye looks like a paper mache project and your face like you've been to a dark place and now smell like cotton candy.  For example, your glitter is purple. Step one, base eyeshadow. Two, apply purple eyeshadow. Three, use glitter liner or glitter gel to base eyelid.  Four, glitter!!!!

"How do you base the glitter," you ask.  Anything gel-ish that will hold glitter onto your lid works.  It could be a glitter liner, that cheap glitter body gel we used to get from Claire's for mixers in the 90's... you get the idea.  Its will be similar to hair gel in texture and be wet when first applied.  This is when you apply the glitter.  It gives it something to stick to and adheres it to the lid when it dries.  Its probably best to do your eyeliner before and touch it up after.  Glitter should be close to the last step before mascara.  

A really helpful hint when dealing with glitter is to put a ton of setting powder or blot powder on the face, especially under the eyes, before applying glitter.  This keeps the glitter from sticking to your face and making it look like you've been comforting a crying drag queen or making out with Tinkerbell.  

"What glitter is best?" you ask.  There is no need to break the bank.  Unless going for the subtle, metallic look, it doesn't matter too much.  Cosmetic glitter is easier to work with, but I have actually used glitter from Michael's before.  (I'm not recommending that btw, seriously, it kind of hurts.)  If the wall of glitter eyelid is the look you're going for, have a blast! and remember... powder your face first.