Saturday, March 27, 2010

My Favorite Crease Brushes

Crease brushes are something I absolutely cannot live without. I use them for just about everything! I could probably use only crease brushes for an entire makeup application, except that foundation and powder would take for-eee-ver.

Here are a few of my favorites:

1 - Stila #9 brush - This is very similar to the MAC 224, but the bristles are just a tad longer. It is also very fluffy so it is great for blending out colors on the eyelid or browbone. The handle is a bit longer than the MAC 224 but doesn't make much of a difference to me.

2 - MAC 224 - This is the classic crease and blending brush that so many people recommend. It can be a bit too big and dense for a precise crease application, but is still great for blending colors, especially for a neutral eye. I also like keeping a couple clean (w/ no color) ones for clean up or blending out edges. Overall, this is a brush that everyone needs and I highly recommend.

3 - MAC 222 - This is a great brush for applying color to the crease. The brush head is narrower than the MAC 224 so you can get a precise application of color. The bristles are longer than the MAC 224 but I don't find that as an inconvenience. (Have you noticed I compare everything to the 224....tells you how much I love that brush!!) The one thing I don't like about this brush is that the bristles are white. I do clean my brushes well, but I don't like how dirty white brushes look and how easily they can get stained.

4 - This is a Sephora crease brush from the Platinum Brush Collection. I really really really like this one. It is the perfect amount of denseness and fullness for both a precise color application and also for blending. The height of the bristles is perfect, the bristles are colored and not white, and I do like the shape of the handle because it is easy on the hands.

5 - MAC 226 - Another great one from MAC that I think everyone needs to have. Unfortunately this is a limited edition brush, but has been released a couple times and I hope they make it permanent. The pointy brush head makes it great for really defining the crease and highlighting the inner corner of the eye, but the bristles at the base of the brush are full so you can get a pretty good blend. This is a must-have in my book.

In addition to applying eye color, I love using crease brushes for applying concealer to the under eye area. I find that concealer brushes are sometimes too rigid and can tug at the skin a bit. Crease brushes, especially like the MAC 226, fit perfectly in the inner eye area and are great for blending, without tugging at the delicate skin under the eye. I also love crease brushes for cleaning up or softening up edges of color.

What are your favorite crease brushes?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Choosing a Makeup and Hair Artist for Your Big Day

As a makeup artist, I often get asked if I will be doing my own makeup for my wedding day. Since my wedding day is one of the few days in my life where I can be a total princess, I wanted to get the princess treatment and have my hair and makeup done by another professional. I think it is so relaxing to sit back and have some one play with my hair and makeover my face.
(This is me at work doing a makeup application)

Since I have some experience doing bridal makeup, I would like to share with you 10 tips about hair and makeup artistry for your wedding day:

1. First off, decide what type of look you are going for.

Do you want something classic that is timeless? Do you want something bold? Perhaps you want to go classic for your wedding ceremony and more modern and dramatic for the reception? Look at pictures online or of friends or magazines and see what type of look you want. It's helpful to your artist if you bring in these photos so they get an idea of the looks you like. 

To keep reading more of my article, check out the complete post on Maharani Weddings.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Foundation Shopping Blues

Have you ever purchased or received a sample of foundation that is supposedly your perfect match, but when you get home, you realize it looks nothing close to natural? I used Laura Mercier Oil-Free Foundation for a photo shoot once, and the model's skin looked so amazing, I have since been wanting to try it out for myself. I have visited the Laura Mercier counter at various department stores to get samples, and no one seems to get it right. I can't even test the colors myself because the department stores are always so loaded with pushy sales assistants grabbing bottles from me and attacking my face with foundation sponges, that even though I prefer to find my match on my own, they won't allow me.

I swatched several of the samples on my hand, and compared them to my Korres Ginger and Vitamins Foundation and MAC Select SPF that actually match me. The odd colors are the Laura Mercier samples:

What a large variance!!! I have been so irritated that I can't get a decent sample. I even had one makeup artist apply the foundation to my entire face, I went into natural light to check it, it was a perfect match, and went home to realize she gave me the wrong color sample. Sigh. I am so turned off I just might give up on trying Laura Mercier.

In any case, when you do go shopping, make sure you or the sales assistant matches the foundation color to both your jawline and your neck. My jawline and face are a bit darker and a bit more pink then my neck and body. Therefore, most people tend to match my jawline and face, and though the foundation matches my face, it makes me look darker and pinker than the rest of my body. You want your body and face to be even.

Also, make sure that before you purchase a foundation, if you can't get a sample, at least try it all over your face, step out of the store or mall, and go into natural daylight with a mirror. Most department stores will let you borrow a mirror and step outside the doors for a minute, so I prefer shopping at those types of stores if possible. If you have a mirror you can also check your self. Stores like Sephora have terrible lighting that is nothing like natural daylight, so your color will usually be a little off.

Have you ever tried Laura Mercier? What do you think?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Easy Neutral Eye using Stila's Most Famous Shadow

I am always intrigued with products that have best-seller or Holy Grail status, like the Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler. One product that I have been curious about for a long time is the Stila eyeshadow in Kitten. It is one of the company's best sellers and has sparked a whole slew of other products in the same shade. Kitten is a champagney-light pink color that is suitable for all skin tones. 

I used Kitten in an easy neutral eye look below:

I swept Kitten all over the lid and brushed it on the outer 2/3 of the lower lid as well. I lined my top lid with MAC Blitz and Glitz Fluidline, used MAC Feline on my waterline, and used some mascara I had nearby (not sure what formula but I'm not very impressed with it). Here is a closer view with my lid half closed:

Kitten really is a universal shade that would look good on anyone. It would even make a great highlighter for medium-dark skin tones. The formula is very smooth and lasts all day, even without primer! I definitely will check out more Stila shadows from now on. Overall it is a great shade to have and I love that I could use only one shadow and end up with a great, easy neutral eye that is appropriate for any occasion.

Oh and yes, I am wearing blue color contacts in these photos. My mom really wanted me to try blue, so I have had them sitting around for awhile and finally decided to wear them. They are fun but they don't look natural. What do you think? 

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Estee Lauder More Than Mascara Review

If I had to choose one makeup product that I absolutely could not live without, it would be mascara. I love what it does for the eyes, which are my favorite feature, and I feel that a good mascara makes the biggest impact of all the makeup items I like to wear.

Recently I have been wearing the Estee Lauder More Than Mascara:
This formula is supposed to condition your lashes and make them more defined. This is not waterproof, so if that is one of your requirements, then stay away. This one does last ALL day though, without flaking. I always use an eyelash curler, so I can't comment on whether it curls or not, but it does hold the curl all day. I tried it in color Rich Black, which is not the blackest of the formulas offered, but it was still very black and provided the definition I require, which says a lot because I like really dark, defined lashes.

The brush has a lot of bristles and is thick, which is what I really like. Because of this, the brush is able to coat each eyelash from root to tip, and so it creates more volume and does make your lashes look thicker. Because of the illusion of thickness, it will look like your lashes are a bit longer, though this doesn't actually lengthen lashes like the mascaras that create tubes and extend the lash hairs.

Kajal Couture Rating: A

Kajal Couture Overall Opinion: As a product, I really like this mascara formula. It lasts all day without flaking and holds the curl very well. The dense-ness of the brush bristles coats each lash to make your lashes look super thick, and you can easily use even 1-2 swipes to get a full lash look. The only thing I don't like is the high price of $21, but it is consistent with most other mascaras from similar quality department store brands. As a product though, this one is great!

Have you tried this mascara? What do you think? Any other great ones from Estee Lauder?

Engagement Portraits

Hey my lovelies! This past week has been insanely busy for me and very stressful, so I haven't been able to post as often as I like to. I also drafted a post on my engagement portrait session over at the Rani's page at Maharani Weddings and although it has been a couple days, I still wanted to tell you all about it. If you get a chance, check it out!

And I promise more great beauty posts coming soon!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Highlighting Part 3 - Best Brushes for Highlighting the Face

In the last couple weeks I told you about some of my favorite highlighters, then highlighting techniques, and now in the last part of my highlighting series, I am going to tell you about some of my favorite brushes for highlighting:

Before I get started, this is not an end-all be-all of what you can use to highlight, these are just the brushes I tend to reach for. And yes, I use mostly MAC, but feel free to use whatever you have or want.

This first one is the MAC 138. I really love this brush for powder because the pointed tip really gets into small areas like under the eyes and around the nose. However, this brush is also great for highlighting. It doesn't pick up too much color so it is easy to control the amount of product you apply and you won't end up looking glittery. Because of the tapered shape, I like to roll half the bristles once in a powder highlighter and then roll it against the skin. This technique is best for highlighting above the cheekbones and the temples. This is a larger brush and can be used for highlighting smaller areas like the nose, but it takes a little more control and practice so you don't get the highlight product all over the place.

This next brush is the MAC 165 and is like a smaller version of the MAC 138. I belive this was a limited edition brush, but it seems like MAC releases it about once a year with a limtied collection. You can use this brush in a similar manner as described for the 138 or you can use to to just sweep the product on the skin. It has shorter bristles and the diameter is smaller, so you don't have to worry about getting the product all over the place. This brush works great for both powder and emollient based products.

This next brush has so many great uses and I think everyone should have one. It is the MAC 188, or a skunk brush. This is a smaller version of the MAC 187. Because of the duo-fibers, this brush always picks up the perfect amount of product and allows you to blend flawlessly into the skin. I either brush this against powder highlighters and apply to the skin, or apply cream/liquid highlighters with my fingers, and use this brush to blend the product into the skin. This is great especially for beginners because it does not pick up too much product, and is great for everywhere, because it has so many uses. In addition to highlighting, I use this for cream or powder blushes and sometimes for foundation.

This next one is a brush I constantly rave about and is the MAC 109. I used this for EVERYTHING. I especially love it for liquid foundation, powders, and for contouring. However, I do use it for highlighting the cheekbones too. It has densely packed bristles so you have to be cautious with powder highlighters, because you can pick up too much product. In a hurry, I will swipe this on a powder product, them apply to the cheekbones, and take whatever is remaining on the bristles and swipe against the bridge of the nose. Again, less is more with highlighters, and you don't want to be the white version of Rudolph.

Lastly, I use crease brushes for detailed highlighting, like under the browbone, the chin, and the cupids bow, but I really like using them for the temples. The one pictured here is one of my new favorites, the Stila #9 brush. I typically use this with a loose powder highlighter, but you have to be careful not to pick up too much product. Since it is smaller than all the other brushes, you have more precise control of where to apply the product. Crease brushes are also great for blending, and give a nice soft look.

Overall, highlighting takes a bit of practice and is easily a step that can be skipped for daily makeup application, but really adds a nice touch for special occasions, especially if you are going out in the evening or will be in dimly-lit spaces. Based on the curvatures of your face, figure out what looks best on you and have fun with it!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Makeup Breakdown - Asin Thottumkal on the Cover of Jade Magazine

Asin Thottumkal, otherwise simply knows as Asin, from the hit Bollywood movie Ghajini, is on the cover of this month's Jade magazine: 
I don't know too much about her, but I just love her fresh look and the playfulness in her eyes. This is a great look to wear just about anywhere and so I wanted to do a makeup breakdown:

  1. Apply a light-coverage foundation that will even out the skin tone, like Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation SPF 15. 
  2. Apply concealer only to areas that have any discoloration, and hide under eye circles. 
  3. Lightly apply a neutral colored blush like MAC Cantaloupe (PRO color) to the apples of the cheeks.
  4. Set makeup with a dusting of translucent powder like the Makeup Forever HD Microfinish Powder.
  1. Cover the lid in a neutral satin finish shadow that matches your skin tone. I like MAC Kid or Arena eyeshadows if you are medium toned. 
  2. Apply a slightly darker color in the same color family in the crease and blend so it looks like you have natural depth to your eye. I recommend MAC Texture or Saddle eyeshadows. 
  3. Use a brown eyeliner pencil to draw a thin line on the outer 2/3 of your upper lash line. Get super close to the base of your lashes so it gives the appearance of thick lashes, not eyeliner. Do the same on the lower lash line but draw the line all the way in. I recommend Urban Decay 24/7 liner in Bourbon.
  4. Curl lashes and apply your favorite mascara.
  1. With a light hand, line and fill in your lips with a orange-red lip pencil like MAC Lip Pencil in Redd. You want to create a base for the lip color, not create a mask of color. 
  2. Use a lip brush to apply an orange-red lipstick. Be sure to choose a color that is not too dark but still has pigmentation, like the new MAC Viva Glam Cyndi lipstick. 
  3. In the photo she is not wearing any gloss, but if you prefer a glossy lip feel free to top off with some clear gloss.
Such looks are great for so many occasions and you can easily glam them up by adding a darker lip color, or a darker shadow in the outer corner of the eye. What do you think?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wedding Adventures Post #2: Looking Your Best On Your Big Day!

Every bride wants to look her best on her wedding day. Our wedding day photos are going to be enlarged and forever fastened to the walls of our parent's homes. Those albums will be viewed by relatives, friends, coworkers...every person who will stand around long enough for your mom/dad/grandparent to show off to. Not to mention, you want to look great for your hubby-to-be!

To read about my bridal beauty regimen and product recommendations, check out my second post at Maharani Weddings

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Benefit Velvet Eyeshadow Swatches and Creaseless Cream Shadow/Liner Swatches - New Colors for Spring

I was feeling very springy and wanted to check out the new spring colors of the Benefit Velvet Eyeshadows.


Mermaid                      Shamrocker

Bo Peep                       Buns

Fancy Pansy                Nice Melons
These shadows are true to the name "velvet." They are so incredibly smooth and buttery! The new spring colors epitomize spring time and remind me of pink bunnies and hunting for Easter eggs. My fave is Fancy Pansy, because it is such a unique shade of lavender, and has a bit of duochrome in it, though the duochrome doesn't show up in pics. The greens are also very gorgeous and very wearable. The neutrals Buns and Nice Melons are also great shades for work or a everyday neutral eye.

My all-time favorite Benefit products are the Creaseless Cream Shadows/Liners. These little pots of color are the creamiest, silkiest cream shadow I have every used, and I have tried a lot of them. Since they are so creamy, they spread easily on the eye, with a brush or a using fingers, which means you don't have to tug on your eye lid to blend the product. I love MAC Paint Pots, but the product doesn't even compare to these Benefit cream shadows in terms of creaminess and blendability (yes that is totally a word...hehe). The Benefit ones are a dream to apply, and the best part is they have the same durability as their competitors, lasting the whole day without fading or creasing. 

Here are a few of my favorite shades:

RSVP, Skinny Jeans, Get Figgy, Strut, Stiletto, Busy Signal

The only negative with this product line is that if you keep if for a long time (a year plus), the color tends to dry out and shrink. The product itself is still creamy and usable, but the moisture starts to evaporate so the product becomes less. Therefore, you have to use them up and not save them forever. My only other issue is that they don't have a large selection of dark colors, so I never use these as liners, only as shadows or bases. I hope the expand the color range soon as these are a definite keeper in my stash. 

What are your favorite Benefit products?


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