Bling it On!

sparkle eyeIt is almost that most special of days, Valentine’s Day!  Yes, there is a Valentine’s Day, whether we want it or not.  Now, if you and your special Honey Bunny are headed out for a night on the town, this is your chance to just bling it on.  I recently wrote about glitter in my December post, you can read that post here.

This is a wonderful time of year to shine and to enjoy some sparkle. How much sparkle you wear is up to you. Your age is not a factor, it all depends on your comfort level. If sparkle makes you happy, weaglitter eyer it.  If it makes you uncomfortable, leave it in the shop.

The key to wearing sparkle is to keeping it where you want it, not allowing it to migrate to places unknown. I really dislike finding bits and pieces of sparkling matter on my face when I explicitly put it on my eyelids. So, what to do? Apply the sticky stuff, wherever you want the sparkle to stick, and stay. Powder the other areas.

urban decay moondustStart with a sticky eyelid primer, something such as Tarte Clean Slate or MAC Paint Pot in Painterly. Add a sparkle cream shadow such as Bobbi Brown’s Long -wear gel sparkle and then, if you’re very into the glitter, go with Urban Decay’s Moondust shadow. When putting a powder sparkle/glitter shadow onto the lid, be sure to pat it on. Use a brush that will pick up the shadow and lay it where you want. I use MAC’s #239 brush. If there is a lot of sparkle, pack it on, don’t brush it on. For a shimmer cream shadow, try using your finger. Fingers shiseidowarm the shadow up and it will lay easier. I love Shiseido’s Shimmering Cream Eye Color.  This is a beautiful shimmer cream shadow that is very subtle, but when the light catches it, the sparkle is stunning.

If you want to glow and light up a room, use a matte shadow on your lids and then use a glowing highlighter on the tops of the cheeks and over the brow. Use a matte contour and blush, then top it off with a glowing highlighter. Check out Becca’s Shimmering beccaSkin Perfector. This product comes in three different formulas, pressed, poured and liquid. If your skin leans towards the dry, try the liquid, for oily complexions, go for the pressed. All of them are fabulous and will give you a beautiful luminosity. I recommend limiting your sparkle to just this highlighter if it is during the day. For night time adventures, you can amp up the bwadingling and use this on your checks, brows and then go with a little shimmer on the lids.

Finally, for those that are just now wading lightly into the sparkling waters, go with a shimmer lip gloss. You can use your favorite lippie, then top it off with a shimmer lip gloss. Bobbi Brown makes several wonderful chomac studio fixices. You can find them listed on the website under “High Shimmer Lip Gloss” Who knew? Or, you can click HERE. All of these are fabulous for any age and any skin tone.

An easy rule to follow for sparkling makeup is to follow the sun.  If this sun is high (such as noon or early afternoon), go light, as the sun goes down, the makeup can get darker.

When you are finished with your face, use a finish spray such as MAC’s Studio Fix, or Urban Decay’s All Nighter Long Lasting Makeup Setting Spray. Use this before you finish dressing because you need to spray it on your face and it isn’t good to get it on your clothing.stephen stills

No matter where you are headed this Valentine’s Day, who you’re with, or what you’re doing, be comfortable with who you are, and love the one you’re with.




Plump Up in January!

new england winter
January is the time to plump up.  Please put down the Fries, I’m not talking about your thighs, I’m talking about your skin.  With the colder, darker days upon us (for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere), January is when we need to focus on taking care of our skin.

Winter air is drier because cold air cannot hold as much moistureWater splashing into glass.  Added to this, when you heat your house, regardless of how you heat your house, you’re losing moisture, causing a double whammy.

You may have noticed your skin is itchy, flaky and dry looking.  There are several easy remedies to fix this.  Start with drinking more water, less alcohol and less caffeine.  Next, add a warm air humidifier vicksto your house.  I like to keep one going at night in the bedroom.  El Hub doesn’t like the “swampyness” the humidifer causes so I defuse this with a slow moving fan.  Third, eat more healthy fats.  I’m not talking about eating more french fries, step away from the fries.  The key is healthy fats.  Add foods such as seeds (pumpkin, sunflower), avocados, nuts, eggs and olive oil. french fries

To work on plumping your skin from the outside, you may think all
you need to do is grab a jar of moisturizer and slather it all over your face, arms and legs.  Um…no…not exactly.  In fact, you may not need moisturizer at all.

Skin care is a step-by-step process.  Cleanser, toner, moisturizer, it is all necessary and individual to you and your skin.  If your skin is acne prone or is oily, you may not neemoisturizerd a moisturizer, but you do need to make sure your skincare products have the right ingredients for you.

The ingredients of your products are the key to keeping your skin plump and happy.  You do not ever want to strip your skin, even if you’re acne prone or oily.  Stripped skin is unhappy skin and it will work twice as hard to get back to its normal happy self, causing more oil and more problems.  If you have dry skin and it gets stripped of its natural oils, it may never regain happiness.  Check the ingredients on your cleanser, if you see anything with:  alcohol, peroxide, sulfates, or acids, you should shy away from it.  These ingredients will certainly strip away the natural (good) oil in your skin.  Lonars tonerok for:  glycerol or glycerine, PEG-7 glyceryl cocoate, and chamomile.  You may not see all of these ingredients in your cleanser, but try for one, especially glycerine if you have dry skin.

Toners are used to completely remove the cleanser from your skin,
they help to put a balance in your personal pH levels and can be beneficial to restoring the moisture to your skin.  Nars makes a lovely toner; Multi-Action Hydrating Toner.  This Toner is free of synthetic fragrance, parabens, oil, and alcohol.  Just what you want.

Finally, the moisturizing part.  If you have acne prone skin, or oily skin, you want to stay away from products with petroleum, mineral oil kiehlsor silicones.  You may not need any moisturizer in the summer, but in winter, you should look for something to give your skin an added layer of protection from the elements.  Something oil-free or water based and lightweight.  Kiehl’s Oil-Free Lotion is a nice choice, or look for Burt’s Bees Natural Acne Solutions Daily Moisturizing Lotion (Amazon).  If you have normal or dry skin, checkout Neutrogena Healthy Defense Daily Moisturizer SPF 50.  Yes, you still need SPF in the winter.  This moisturizer is lightweight and doesn’t leave a light cast on your skin, despite the high SPF.  For a basic daytime moisturizer, CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion AM is a nice option.  This product has ceramides and niacinamide which are ingredients you want in your daytime moisturizer.

If your skin is extremely dry, and you live in a northern climate, you can also add a little facial oil to your non-spf moisturizer.  Don’t add abobbi brown facial oil facial oil to your moisturizer if it has spf in it, it will break down the spf.  I like Bobbi Brown’s Facial Oil.  I use it after toning, before moisturizing during the winter months.

Now you should be all set.  You’ve upped your water intake, you have added more healthy fats to your diet, and your skincare regime is set to maintain happy skin.  The only addition to this would be a dose of exercise, something to move the blood along, and perhaps a big smile to complete the look.


Holiday Sparkle and Shine

sephora holiday

The holiday season is here and the next two weeks are the biggest celebration weeks of the year.  Now is the time to escalate your sparkle and shine (my favorite time of the year).  If you’re like me, you may think you just want to throw some glitter on your face  and that is all you need.  Hmm…well…not quite.  On the other hand, if you’re not careful and youglitter fallout don’t use the right products, you may end up with glitter all over your face, and, more than likely, that’s not the look you’re going for.

The eyelids are the most popholiday glitterular spot for maximum glitter and if you’re not careful, you may end up with a lot of fall-out.  Fall-out is when the pigment of the product you’re applying does not stay where you want it.  Instead, it goes all over your face where you don’t want it.  Glitter is exceptionally prone to fall-out, ending up under your eyes and on your cheeks, not on your eyelids.

The best way I have found to keep the glitter or sparkle where you want it mac painterlyis to make it stick.  You can use a sticky eyelid primer such as MAC’s Pro-Longwear Paint Pot.  I use the color “Painterly” most often, it blends with the color of my lids.  I use a lighter color (“Soft Ochre”) when I want to lighten things up, and a darker color (“Blackground”) when I’m going for a more smoky eye look.  Another cream shadow option is bobbi brown cream shadowBobbi Brown’s Long-Wear Cream Shadow, which comes in large selection of nudes and a rainbow of colors.  You can also use a gel liner for the base but a gel liner is more difficult to blend out and it dries faster.  I find it easier to work with a cream shadow or a eye primer.

If you want to use a primer, try Shadow Insurance by Too Faced (which comes in several shade options) or Nars eyelid primer.  I like both of these because they lay evenly, no clumping, and they do not crease.

One word of caution, when doing any type of smoky eye or a party look, I like to do all of my eye makeup first, this way if I need to clean up anything that may have landed in an area that I did not intend for it to land, I can easily clean it up without disrupting my face makeup. Or, you can dust a translucent powder under your eyes for easy cleanup. e552 brush

After you apply your sticky base, take a flat eye brush (one such as a
MAC’s 247 brush or the E55 brush by Sigma).  Lay your brush down onto the glitter and then lightly pat it onto your eyelid.  Do not brush it on.   You can also use a mixing medium to adhere the glitter.  MAC’s Fix + works well for this, just spray MAC Fix itonto your brush and then lay into the glitter. It is important you do not get glitter in your eye, please be careful and do not get glitter in your eyes!

If you want to have some sparkle on your eyes but not the full on effect of glitter, you can use a shimmery eye shadow or you can use a sparkly eye liner.  TSmashbox-Double-Exposure-Palettehe Smashbox Double Exposure is a lovely sparkly palette. Make Up For Ever (MUFE) makes a nice selection of individual glitter and sparkly eye shadows.

stila glitter eyelinerNYX, Stila and Urban Decay make excellent glitter eye liners.  Of these, I prefer Stila.   By using a shimmer eye shadow and a glitter eye liner, you can get a nice amount of sparkle and shine without feeling like a neon light in a room of darkness. glitter liner

But what if you want a matte eye look, but still want a bit of sparkle?  Go for a shimmery highlighter or a sparkly lip gloss.  Dior came out with a beautiful palette
this holiday, the ‘Couture Creations’ Palette.  Along with the four stunning shadows there is a Diorific Face Powder in #001 Rose d’Or.  This is a very sparkly highlighter.  If you’re applying this, use a fan brush – yes, there is a use fordior palette a fan brush!  I recommend this palette for people with light to medium skin tones.  For a less expensive sparkle on the tops of the cheekbones, over the brows and on the cupid bow, I suggest checking out Burberry’s single eye shadows, several work well as a highlighter.  If you’re in the Walnut Creek, California, Nordstrom, ask for Susie Dragoni, she is an expert when it comes to anything Burberry Cosmetics.

becca goldenIf you’re looking for a highlighter that shimmers and glows, instead of the sparkle, check out Becca.  This company makes several gorgeous highlighters which have shimmer, not sparkle.  The Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in “Golden Opal Pearl” has a cult following. It is that good.

Finally, for just a touch of sparkle, something for a daytime holiday party, look for a sparkly lip gloss.  Bobbi Brown makes my favorite shimmer lip gloss, “Pink Sequin”, bobbi brown shimmer lip gloss“Bellini” and “Pink Tulle” are gorgeous  You can keep the sparkle and shine off the eyes and cheeks, but still have a festive look with a shimmer lip gloss.

Please keep in mind that it is usually best to limit the sparkle to one area on your face.  If you add too much glitter or sparkle, it may clash and cause confusion to your look.

Happy Celebration Time!

Multi Colored Star Confetti

Foundation is the Bane of my Existence

makeup collection 2I don’t know about you, but I am always on the hunt for a better foundation.  Even when I am “happy” with my current foundation, I am still reading and reviewing and testing the new foundations that come out on the market.  I’ve tried them all; stick, cream, powder, serum and cushion.  I’ve tried BB creams, CC creams, tinted moisturizers and sprays.  What is the best?  What works and what doesn’t work?  Such a difficult question.  One day a BB Cream is best (need the SPF protection), another day a light coverage (going to be outside), for evening, I’ll use a heavier coverage for night time lighting.  Ack!  Stop the madness.

There are three primary issues with vit

Skin Type

Your first question should be what type of skin do you have.  Mine runs from very dry in the Winter to almost normal in the Summer.  If you have skin like mine, you want to stay away from most powder foundations, unless it’s July and it’s hot and humid.   My current favorite daytime foundation is Laura Mercier’s Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide.  I use the shade “Linen”.  I prefer this foundation because it looks natural in daylight, provides enough coverage for me to even out my skin LauraMercier_SmoothFinishFlawlessFluide_AllShadesand is not heavy.   I also like Chanel’s Vitalumière Aqua.  I use the shade “30 – Beige”.  The reason I prefer the Laura Mercier over the Chanel is because of the shade range.  I feel I have a better shade match with the Laura Mercier.   There are 24 shades with the Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide vs 10 with the Chanel Vitalumière Aqua.

For more coverage I prefer Burberry Sheer Foundation in the shade No. 03 or Tom Ford in the shade 04 Bisque.  Tom Ford is the heaviest of my foundations.

The second question would be – where are you going?  If you’re headed to an office job, going to be under florescent lights all day, your foundation choice would be different from those days that you’re headed to spend the day outside.  Likewise, if you’re going out on a dinner date, intending to spend several hours in a dimly lit room (my favorite chanel with texttype of lighting), then you would choose a different foundation.  Do you need your foundation to last 8-10 hours?  Do you need more spf because you’re going to spend the day outside?  These are the issues that determine what type of foundation you’re going to need.

If I know I’m going to be lucky and get to spend most of the day outside, I always reach for my Shiseido Hydrating BB Cream.  This BB Cream has an spf factor of 35 and will last at least 6-8 hours.  I don’t need a primer with this product and it has enough hydration to last me all day, even in the winter.   My biggest problem is the lack of shade option with this product.  I am laura mercier with textfortunate to be able to use the medium shade.  This BB Cream does blend seamlessly into the skin and will slightly adapt to my skin tone.  It is not too pink and not too yellow.  I prefer this BB Cream over the Smashbox BB Cream because I feel this BB Cream is more hydrating.  I have not tried the new Smashbox BB Water, it may be more hydrating.

So your second question would include how long you need your foundation to last and what type of lighting you’ll be in, as well as whether or not you need to beef-up your spf and hydration.

The final question would be what type of coverage do you want/need.  If it is ‘one-of-those-days’ and we all know what I’m talking about, then opt for medium to full coverage.  This is when I use my Burberry or Tom Ford Foundation.  If you’re skin is looking better, then go for a more sheer coverage such as the Chanel Vitalumière Aqua or the Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide will provide.  If you’re feeling extra fortunate, then opt out for a serum foundation such as the Bobbi Brown Intensive Skin Serum Foundation.  Serums are quite sheer but really lovely if you do not need a lot of coverage, just enough to even out the skin tone.

All of these questions and all of these decisions to make everyday.  This must be why I have at burberryleast six types of foundation in my rotation.  Of course I’m always on a quest for something new, something better than what I already have.  I try to use up what is in my rotation before I go on another foundation hunt but that can be difficult.

My biggest hurdle for finding the perfect foundation is the lack of cosmetic counters near my home.  As shown in the next photos, some foundations will oxidize.  This makes it nearly impossible for a person to go into a shop and try a foundation and have trust it will not change color in 30-60 minutes.  The photos of the Tom Ford and Burberry Foundations were taken within 30 minutes.  I put one swatch on my arm and then another 30 minutes later and took the picture.  You can see how much the shade changes.  How are you to know what shade you need by simply swatching the sample at your favorite cosmetic counter?  I recommend getting a sample and take it home, try it for at least two or three days (more if possible) before Tom Ford with Textdeciding if you want to invest in this product.  Most cosmetic counters are happy to give a sample of foundation because they would rather you buy the correct shade and not return it.

So…how many foundation products do you currently have in your rotation?  What is your favorite foundation product?

Happy Hunting!

Traveling with Makeup – What a Conundrum

makeup-kitMakeup and skincare is heavy and traveling with it is always a challenge for me.  I am thinking I may not need as much as pictured on the left. I certainly hope not.  But it is not just the makeup;  it is also the skin care, hair care and nail care that adds to the difficulties of packing for traveling on a plane.   One of my favorite things to do when traveling via air  is to ship a large flat rate box to my destination with the smaller, heavier items.  This works well if you’re going to a single destination forMolton-Brown-Travel-Size-Shower-Gel-Set_MBG217_XL at least four days (in case the box does not arrive on time).  By mailing the smaller heavier items ahead of time, you don’t have to schlepp these things around and you don’t have to deal with the 4 oz or less TSA restrictions in case you’re carrying everything onto the plane.  Empty travel containers come in all shapes and sizes and can be found at Amazon, and most local shops such as CVS or Walgreens.  I love to use the empty Molten Brown bottles that are in the travel size.  Bobbi Brown Empties are a lovely set (a little pricey but it comes with a funnel and labels).

bobbi-brown-empties-l-My first plan of attack is to gather up small plastic bottles 4 0unces or less and small jars.  I keep my empties washed and stashed in a small shopping bag with handles hanging on a hook in my bedroom.  When I am planning my travels, I put the shampoo, conditioner, cleanser, eye cream, moisturizer, etc. into these empties.  Then I use First Aid Adhesive Tape and a fine line sharpie and write down on the adhesive tape what is in the container.  I used to think I would not need to label everything – wrong.   You really don’t want to put facial cleanser on as a moisturizer.  This I know from first hand experience.  In order to not waste my products, when I return from a trip, I use these small containers until they are empty, then wash and store for the next trip.  You may need to replace the tape after washing, but more than likely they will have a different product so that point is moot.

Another thing I do is make lists.  When I find a good combination of eye makeup and face makeup listmakeup (FOTD – Face of The Day) I keep a list of it.   You can keep your list on Excel, or a word processing program (Word – in columns) or just write it down on a piece of paper in columns, face, eyes, lips.  It may sound like a bit of work but once you have this list, you can keep it, add to it or change it if you find a better combination.  When you have your list of a good face day,  just toss the products you wrote down into your cosmetic case and you will have all you need.  Now comes the tricky part.  Finding the right size case to carry you precious items around.

medium bagFor a two or three night trip, a small case will work, one that holds at least five brushes and two days of “looks”.   You will need a liquid foundation brush (if you use liquid foundation), a powder brush for bronzer and blush and at least three eye brushes, fluffy, angle and dense.  More nights away will need a bigger case and, unless you’re going to wash your brushes every day, more brushes.  I like cases that keep the eye products and face products in separate compartments, it’s easier to find what I need that way.

Now you’re set with your case, your small containers and your brushes – what makeup do you take?  Of course this depends on where you’re going, and what you’re going to be wearing.  I find it is easier to figure out what makeup to take if I plan my clothing first.   Once my clothing items are decided upon, it is easier to plan what shades of shadows, blushes and lippies I will be needing.  I try to keep the colors either warm or cool which makes it easier to narrow down the choices.   Obviously where you’re going will be a huge factor in what you bring.  If you’re going to be out on the town, you will want more shimmer and sparkle than if you’re headed to a spa lv_clubsretreat.  Activities are important – hiking the Andes, won’t need as much as if you’re clubbing in Las Vegas.  Climate will also be a factor.  Warm, humid  climate means more powder products.  Cold, dry climate means more moisturizing products.  Geography will also play a part in deciding shades.  Sunny California, beachy Florida will want brighter shades on the eyes,  Headed to Boston?  Might want to go with the more reserved neutrals.

That said, for a trip of more than a week, going to a city, planning on several nights out, I would recommend taking three foundations.  One foundation should be a BB or CC Creme with sunscreen and moisturizing properties.  You may not need a face primer with the BB or CC Creme.  Use this for the days you’re in a recreational mode.  If you can find a primer with sunscreen, that is always helpful.  For the foundations,  one should be a serum or sheer style such as Laura Mercier Smooth Finish, Chanel Vitalumière Aqua or Bobbi Brown Serum.  If you’re using a mineralized powder foundation then of course you won’t need these, but I would recommend that you have both sheer and more coverage options.  One foundation should be at least a medium coverage for the evenings to give a more polished look.  Something such as Tom Ford or Bobbi Brown Skin foundations.  If you don’t like liquid foundation, a solid cream foundation such as MAC Full Coverage Foundation, Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation in stick form or Guerlain Lingerie de Peau.  The new cushion foundations such as Lancome Miracle Cushion or AmorePacific are easy to travel with and provide a medium coverage.  Two concealers, one liquid, one solid, one bronzer and two blushes should get you through a week or so.  I like to take a shimmer highlighter that I can also use on my brow bone.  Add a translucent powder and you should be set for the face.

The eyes require a primer.  Some creme eye shadows such as MAC Patravel-makeup-1interly and Bobbi Brown creme shadows can also be used as a shadow.  A black or dark brown liner and perhaps a color, depending on your style, are necessary.  The right color of brown shadow can be used for your brows and can be used in the crease of the eye.  I also like to take a shimmer shadow for the evenings and a dark shadow for added depth.  If you’re short on space, you can wet most dark shadows and use them as a liner. Gel liners can be used as mascara if you have the MAC 205 Mascara Fan Brush.   There is a video on Youtube by Cora (VintageorTacky) showing how to use gel liners as colored mascara.  Here’s the link if you’re interested in watching this.   Vintageortacky Retro Winged Liner & Blue Lashes Makeup Tutorial. Gel liners can also be sheered out and used as a primer for a smokey eye look or a colorful playful eye look.

For the lips, a neutral and pink or coral lip liner, nude and pinky or coral lipstick and medium hued gloss should cover all activities, day and night.  If you love the red lip then by all means bring a red lipstick and liner.  Just make sure it’s matching the clothing you’ve packed.

For brushes, I prefer a brush roll or the plastic brush canister that MAC sells at their pro shops.  The MAC Brush Canister is brilliant.  It can be made as tall or short as you need it.  If you travel brush canwith this you can also keep the clean brushes separate from the used brushes.

One last word of advice on traveling with cosmetics – they can break.  If you’re concerned about that expensive Chanel Highlighter or Tom Ford Foundation, you may want to leave it at home.  If you really want to travel with it, pack the breakable bottles in bubble wrap and put as much foam or bubble wrap as possible into your cosmetic case to keep the products from shifting.  Keeping your lovely cosmetic items from shifting will help to keep breakage down.   You may want to put a piece of scotch tape around the top of any bottles to keep them from opening.  I also put bottles with liquid into their own baggie in case they do open, they won’t damage anything else in my bag.

I’m just about packed and headed out for a flight – where will you be traveling to?

Cleaning and Caring for Your Brushes – Protect Your Investment!

cover brushCosmetic brushes are an investment.  If properly cared for, your brushes should last and serve you for at least several years.  I have been using and enjoying some of my brushes for over 16 years.   The key factors are the quality, maintenance and use of the brush.

If you start with a quality brush, a brush with the hairs correctly tied and glued into the ferrule, and you are diligent with it cosmetic brushyour maintenance,  your brushes should last at least a decade.  Perhaps longer.  Some of my favorite brushes are made by Chanel, Sephora, IT Cosmetics and Bobbi Brown.

The choice of  natural hair or synthetic bristle, is yours.  I personally prefer synthetic for both the cruelty free aspect and ease of use.  Dyed bristles are a pet peeve of mine.  I see no brush ferrulereason to dye a bristle, all it does is create a mess when they are washed.   Dying a bristle does not enhance the productivity of it.  Natural hair or synthetic bristles, the care will be the same – wash your brushes at least once a week.  If you use natural hair brushes, you may want to condition the bristles with some argon oil before applying the cleanser.  Conditioning natural bristles prior to cleaning will help to keep the bristles soft.

After using a foundation brush, I set it aside to be washed before it gets used again.  I apply this same principle to my concealer brushes and primer brushes.  Basically any brush that is used on a liquid or cream product gets used once.  I do this because I am worried about bacteria and I do not feel the liquid or cream products apply well when used with a dirty brush.  My powder brushes will get reused during the week with the same product but only with the same product, otherwise the color and texture of what I’m applying will be skewed.  I usually go through 35-40 brushes in 7 days.   I keep the used powder and liquid brushes in a separate container (one half of a brush tube) and then only wash those brushes which were used at the end of the week.

Before you start the washing process, prepare a spot to lay your brushes after they are washed.  I  use a jellyroll pan that is lined with several paper towels.  Using the pan allows me to easily move the washed brushes outside if the sun comes out.

To wash your brushes, start with liquid cleaner and water that is as hot as you can safely tolerate.  I start with Bobbi Brown’s Brush Cleaner.  I like the Bobbi Brown Brush Cleaner for its antibacterial qualities and the way it makes my brushes smell and feel. Any type of liquid cleaner will work.  Shampoo, facial cleaner or brush cleaner.  Put the liquid cleanser in the bottom of a bowl, add the very hot water and swish around to completely dissolve the cleanser.  Fill a separate bowl with clear clean water at a tepid temperature.  Start with your powder brushes.  Swirl the powder brushes quickly through the clean water and then put them into the hot sudsy water.  By wetting the powder brush first, you are helping to keep the brclean brushistles from soaking up too much cleanser.  You want the cleanser to stay on the outside of the bristle, to clean off the pigment and powder, not soak into the bristle.  Using your hands and fingers, work the sudsy water through the brushes.  Squeeze the excess soapy water out of the brushes and quickly plunge them into the clear tepid water in the second bowl.  Swirl through the clear tepid water, working the bristles through your hands and fingers to completely rinse the soap out of the bristles.  It is extremely important to rinse all of the soap out of the brush.  Run the water as needed and as your environment allows.  I’m fortunate to live in an area with abundant well water and can run the water through the brush.  If you don’t have an area with abundant water, fill another bowl with clear water and use that.  You really need to rinse out all of the soap.

I use additional facial cleanser on my foundation, concealer and powder brushes that have been stained with pigment.  I do not like stained brushes.  When a brush gets stained with pigment, usually a powder brush, I add additional facial cleanser to the head of the brush and work that beauty_blenderthrough to get rid of the stain.  I also use additional facial cleanser to my foundation and concealer brushes to get them completely clean.  I do occasionally use a beauty blender for foundation and/or concealer.  I use the solid Beauty Blender Cleanser for cleaning it.  I have tried the solid Beauty Blender Cleanser on my brushes but it does not seem to work as well on the brushes as it does on the Beauty Blender.

After the brush has been thoroughly rinsed, run the brush through your hand, shaping and squeezing out the excess water as you go.  Lay the brush onto the area you have prepared and quickly move to the next brush.  Do not leave the brushes in the water.  Leaving the brush in water will cause the glue in the ferrule to disintegrate.   When drying, it can be helpful to lay the brushesbrush over the side of the counter if you have the space.  This will assist in the shaping of the brush.  If you do not have the space for this, be sure to visit your brushes several times during the drying time and run them through  your hands to help with the shaping.   Do not stand a wet brush up.  It will break-up the glue in the ferrule and will warp the wood handles.  Do not put the brushes into a hot oven.  I do not recommend using a hair dryer because this may misshapen the brush.

When all of the brushes are clean, the waiting period begins.  If you live in a warm, arid climate, your brushes should be dry in several hours.  If you’re in a damp, cold climate, you may have to wait 24 hours or more.  To facilitate the drying of your brushes, you can turn them or replace the paper towels.  I keep several layers of paper towels under my brushes while they are drying and change the layers repeatedly if the weather is cold and damp.   When you are finished with the process and the paper towels have dried – store the paper towels in a large plastic bag for the next use, no need to continually use new paper towels, save them for next week!

You can store your clean dry brushes in any container, jars, vases, tins, it all depends on your style. I use a brush caddy from Sephora.  This makes it easy for me to pack up what I need when   brush caddytraveling for two or three days.  For longer trips I use a brush roll.  If you use two ended brushes, you’re going to need a brush roll for storing your brushes.  I recommend covering the brushes you do not use every week.  Dust and bacteria can get into your brushes which will deteriorate the bristles over time.

I did not intend for this week’s blog to be so long, but I feel brushes are a tool and tools are an investment.  An investment worth having is worth maintaining.