Taking Care of Your Makeup Brushes

This year has been a transitional one for me, where I have been more assertive with the things I’d like to see done. Fitness/health and education were the first to be checked off the list. Yours truly started to walk like it was going out of style and finally buckled down with completing my degree. It’s amazing what you can do when you get mad at yourself for wasting time! Then came work. Though I am always looking, I was fortunate enough to expand doing makeup beyond just events and dabble in photo shoots. This is my year for getting comfortable with making makeup translate beyond real life – and through the lens.

A lot of photo shoots involve plenty of preparation and nearly only half as much time is spent doing the shoot. Time flies in between meeting models, translating ideas into reality, and cleaning up. Here is the second part of the prepwork. The first half of the process involves making sure you have everything to create a look and then a little bit more just in case you get creative freedom.

The second part is all about cleaning and setting everything up to be used again next shoot. Brushes need special attention, because sometimes a hectic shoot and a tired Yaya equal a disorganized kit heading home. My process is usually standing at the sink squeezing some Blendercleanser onto my brushes and then making sure my brushes are clean.  Once done, I usually have a small towel ready to be the drying area for my brushes. They stick around overnight (and sometimes longer) and we’re good to again. This practice isn’t so bad when used in between shoots, but it’s really time consuming when cleaning brushes for personal use.

I was super excited to hear about Sigma Beauty‘s Dry’n Shape system, where you can set your brushes to dry and reshape in four to six hours. The material holding the brushes helps reshape and evaporate the moisture out of the brush, and makes your life just a bit easier. And if you’re anything like me, it’s a money saver as well, because now you don’t need two sets of brushes for when the other is preoccupied. The system holds twelve brushes at a time and has variety in sizing to accommodate all shapes and brands, and retails for $29.00. Consider it preventative maintenance and an insurance policy on your brushes.

(p.s. If I need to clean a brush on set, my favorite is Clinique Makeup Brush Cleanser, you spray it on the brush and then wipe the excess onto a paper towel or small towel, the brush will be clean and dry within minutes).

How do you clean your brushes?

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The Secret Ingredient

MyOwnJudgeOftentimes, when I run around the house trying to make it to places on time, the last thing I have time for is makeup. I also tend to get carried away with makeup if I have no purpose, so I just let my skin breathe. Some moisturizer and SPF, and some lip gloss. Ready. That was then.

My building has a mirrored lobby and it serves as a great checkpoint before heading out into the streets, as well as a double check of how it all ended when I’m coming back in. The biggest problem I’ve encountered is the dance that my eyebrows like to do. They’ll be brushed and behaving before I leave, and at some point (because I surely don’t know when) they start pointing in every which direction, as if they all operate to a separate compass, independent from the other.

For a while, my secret to static brows was hairspray. I would take a disposable eyebrow/mascara brush and place it centimeters away from the hairspray nozzle. Then I’d give the aerosol a whirl. Once on, I’d brush my eyebrows to the perfect position. When I had no brushes or spools, I would spray on my finger and work my magic with my digits. Then I started reminiscing about the days that I was the proud owner of clear mascaras and brow gels. Was I really happy with letting all this hair spray just sit on my face? My occasional paranoia would hit and I would start envisioning the spray leaking down and burning my eyes in the rain or during a heavy workout.

The return to sanity was having a clear gel in my life again. Ones like the Ardell Brow Sculpting Gel come in a small tube and are multifunctional. The clear gel can tame a brow set on dancing the night away, as well as coat lashes. When on lashes, the gel separates and gives a wet look, brightening the face a bit. It usually looks as though you splashed water on your face and dried everything by the lashes. The gel also sets the lashes to be curled and separated, without smudging or being weighed down. (Plus – if you happen to be a crybaby like me and let go of the waterworks while watching kid movies, it wouldn’t hurt to have something clear mix in, instead of blobs of brown and black from mascaras). When I have shoots, I also like to use clear gel on males to tame their sideburns and facial hair.

What’s your secret ingredient?

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In the Spirit of Parian

Parian SpiritI am beyond backlogged on posting and many things in life in general, but lo and behold, I am nearly out of debt! Woot for me!

The first thing I knew I needed to tackle on the beauty end was a major cleanup. My brushes and my blender were undoubtedly cussing me as much as an inanimate object can, at their angriest point in life. They were filthy!

The tops of the brushes had all shades of blush, bronzer, and bright shadows – all sorts of purples, greens, and yellows staring back at me. Quite honestly, there probably were two or four pairs of microscopic eyes staring back at me, but we won’t think about that right now…

I broke out my not so recent Makeup Show purchase of Parian Spirit brush cleaner. The completely organic, citrusy cleaner guaranteed to clean your brush.

About Parian Spirit:
[CLEANS] oil based makeup, adhesives (spirit gum, medical,etc.), oil based clays, acrylics (after drying), latex (after drying)

[CONDITIONS] rejuvenates hair after cleaning

[DISINFECTS] kills bacteria better than any brand cleaner

[FAST DRYING] Parian Spirit Brush Cleaner is the preferred brush cleaner among professional film and television makeup artists. It is an environmentally safe product that thoroughly and gently cleans sable, squirrel and other fine brushes. This unique cleaner dissolves all types of makeup products (powder, liquid, wax based and adhesive) while conditioning and disinfecting brush hair. No artificial colors or fragrances are added. Our product is made from citrus spirits and leaves a clean look and smell to the brush. Also Parian Spirit will not damage the paint or wooden handle of a brush.

Parian Spirit is perfect for cleaning makeup and adhesives off the lace of wigs and hairpieces. ” (source: site)

Parian Spirit
At the show, I bought the set that came with the jar, the cleaner liquid, a glass jar, and a plastic sifter. The sifter is magical y’all. It goes on the bottom of the jar to grab at the dirt on your brush as you glide it along the bottom.

Parian Spirit
The water starts to change colors and your brushes become magically clean. I especially like to see the brushes that came in one color (i.e. the skunk ones or the beige ones) go back to their original color, despite much bright colored powder abuse. The liquid still smells like fresh oranges throughout the process. When done, you just drain the jar and wash it with soap. I like to wash mine with dishwasher liquid.

Parian Spirit
Ta da!

How do you clean your brushes?

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Sephora Magnetic Brushes

MOJ - Sephora Magnetic BrushesA while back (and I do mean a while) I mentioned wanting to purchase magnetic brushes. The point is to have the same bottom to the brushes and have the tops interchangeable, and attach to the foundation with a magnet. When I saw a demonstration of these kits, I was hating the fact that it was only for the industry and I was required to buy it for wholesale. I have big dreams and plans, but the wallet is not as accommodating at the moment. I made a last ditch effort and asked the factory’s salesperson (I was at a trade show at the time of said discovery) if there were any retailers that were already on the magnetic wagon. She said yes, but that the retailer only sold a set with three (the other ones had like 12 brushes in the set!). Which retailer? Surprise surprise, she said Sephora!

When I got them in the mail, I felt like a caveman who just discovered fire. (cue the Geico caveman getting upset) The brushes are incredibly soft and the metal brush packaging made me alright with the $38 price for the set. If you think about it, it’s roughly $13 per brush, which is around the same, if not cheaper, than a lot of other company’s makeup brushes on sale.

The shiny croc-like case is super duper cute, and looks sturdy if you’re a klutz with your makeup like I am.

The case comes with stretchy compartments to hold your brushes with a cover to keep ’em safe and a mirror.
The magnets at the bottom of each brush. They kind of make me think of tails. Like on a piglet or a bear. Just me?
The larger part of the brush that can be used for either one of them has a section to fit the brush and an opposite charged magnet.
Lifting the brushes to check their magnetic prowess. How ya feel about floating makeup brushes? 🙂
I really like these brushes. I wasn’t crazy about the price initially but when I broke it down for myself (which I usually have to do because I don’t always have the biggest makeup budget, nor do I have as many needs as I do wants…) it made a lot of sense. Also – these brushes are great for on the go. I like to use these with my MAC blender brush and the double ended brush that comes in the Tarte palette. Now you know the secret!
Check them out on the Sephora site here and let me know how you like them!
What kind of makeup brush do you have/want?

Sephora Makeup Brushes

PhotobucketI recently posted about makeup brushes, and how to find good ones. To recap, check out the post here! That post was a long time coming thanks to my neverending search, but it was also because I needed an intro to my current Sephora obsession.

Over a week ago, I went to the HBA Global Expo in New York. Admittedly, being that the show is for product development, there was only so much a blogger can find out. What I did find was a plethora of innovation, and my favorite was my last stop.

A lot of the companies at the Expo were manufacturers and co-packers. What does that mean to the average consumer? These are the companies that make someone’s ideas come to fruition. If you want to sell cosmetics and need someone to make the cases, packaging, etc. these are the people you call.

The whole show was full of products that I can’t wait to see companies pick up. The benefits of going to an Expo like this is too have the aha! moment when you see a product on a shelf that you knew was coming.
Enough of the chit chat though, which one was my fave? Magnetic brushes. These are brushes that have one base and interchangeable brush heads. There were sets from a couple to plenty. I begged one woman to sell me a sample set but she wouldn’t budge. 🙂 Hey… I tried! She did give me some scoop though. She showed me that Sephora jumped on the bandwagon and I could get it from them.

The set includes three face brushes that has a metal look to it. I’m not sure what the casing is made of, but I’ll let y’all know soon (as I have already ordered mine – don’t judge!). The brushes are super soft and are interchangeable into the main case with magnets. It comes with a case and is size friendly & saves space, being that it is halves of brushes.

Non HBA related, are other brushes that Sephora came out with. These are the double ended makeup brushes that are for face and eyes (or whatever else use you can find for it). Disclaimer: I am not a big fan of always defining a brush by a title. I feel that a lot of brushes can serve multiple or different purposes than the original intention, and don’t like to pigeon hole them with a title. Again – this is because I am My Own Judge & I strongly urge you to be your own as well! 🙂 They kind of remind me of seesaws, with a big brush and a flip to a small brush.

The brushes come in some fab bright colors and given that they are basically two for one are not overpriced for a Sephora brush. That hopefully explains that this does not mean that they are cheap, but expected. Just like you wouldn’t expect a Prada bag to magically cost $20.

This is a picture of the brushes on display at the store. The names and prices are exactly as they are in store. Thankfully this pic came out quite clear!

These brushes are very cute and I adore the bright colors. The fact that they are double ended serves as a blessing and as a curse in my eyes. It’s nice that they are double the duty for the money and the space, but unless storage is horizontal, I imagine ruining the shape of the brush at one point in time. Also – at first try, these brushes were too brittle for me. I’m not much of a one time judge though, so I visited these brushes over a period of time and came to a conclusion that though they are not the softest, the feel is actually not so bad. My verdict for these is that if you had the extra funds, they’d be a great addition b/c the colors have plenty attitude. But if you need a good super soft brush that you can tote anywhere, I wouldn’t recommend these.

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Have you tried them? What do you think?

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Choosing a Makeup Brush (or two…)

Photobucket Sometimes it takes forever to find the perfect brush. Aside from finding one that offers accurate application and long time for usage and safe keeping, sometimes we want to indulge in the materialistic and just have our brushes look cute. Who hasn’t looked at a bright color (if that’s your thing) on a brush and thought “ooohh I think I need that” or come up to your favorite makeup counter and saw that they added brushes to their line?

Now I don’t know if y’all ever heard about that scraggly word assume yet or not. I heard it first in elementary school from a teacher (yup – classy) & was informed that when you assume, you make the first three letters of the fourth and the last two. Get it? Well, sometimes it’s easy to assume. It’s easy to get caught up in the branding of a product and assume that if the product is great, the rest of the brand will follow. The same with assuming of economics; if something is cheap, it’ll treat you right, or it will just have to do, being that the budget is apparent and not budge(t)-ing.

Now here’s the thing y’all. You can get away with doing plenty with nary a single brush. So really, the necessity is to get a good brush. And until then, there are plenty a cheap alternative to keep you pretty.

First – your fingers. Most everyone is blessed with plenty a digit to use as makeup applicators. These will never be too big for your face as they are yours, and they will be much better at carrying product b/c you can easily feel how much is picked up. The negative? Oils on your fingertips may not always aid in the longest lasting look.

Second – Q-Tips. Now these bad boys come plenty in a pack and can be used for makeup removal, touch up, application, testing, and oh yes – ear cleaning! They are sized appropriately Photobucketenough to fit in your pocket, in your wallet, cosmetics bag, anywhere! I also don’t think there are many a negative about q-tips available. The only one for me is using it with glossy or creamy products, because the cotton gets fussy & attaches itself to parts of my face that I’d rather it didn’t.

Third – don’t look at me like I’m crazy, buttesters! Plenty a store gives out testers & many will attest to the fact that I get plenty a tester to carry with me in my bag for last minute application & fixes. I especially love the mascara testers to use in lash separation post mascara application on the go, and for brown brushing if the winds get rough.

Last but not least – there are lots of “good enough” and mini brushes that come with the products you already buy. Beyond the “gift with purchase,” many companies are adding efficiency to their products by supplying you with a “one stop shop,” so that you can have a mirror and applicator in one product.

To get a good brush, I searched the net for a bunch of tips and tidbits on what would help you get a good purchase with no buyer’s remorse to follow. I found these two to be the most helpful: Makeup Tips: Brushes and Cosmetic Mall, Guide to Selection.

From what I’ve read, and mostly from what I look for on a regular basis, this is what the mental checklist ought to include:

  • Soft & comfortable feeling.
    This is something you are putting on your face.
  • Doesn’t shed when testing on your hand.
    Granted, there will always at one point or other be shedding for a brush. That admittedly, is the nature of it. It won’t last for an infinity. However, if it is already shedding on your hand, that is not a good foreshadowing for applications to come.
  • Easy to hold.
    Without touching your face (the brush needs to be washed before you let it touch your face post purchase!) try to mimic your application technique. Does this feel fine? Is the handle too big/thick/short?
  • Shape of brush.
    Just because it says eyeshadow brush doesn’t mean it will serve you well as an eyeshadow brush. Perform the same motions that you do on your face while testing on your hand (i.e. blending). Does the brush go too far? Does it not cover enough space?

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Have you found the right brush(es)? Still searching? Tips and tricks? Tell me all!

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