Archive | January, 2013


29 Jan

Bobbi Brown online is now finally in Canada! Be still my heart! My budget is going to take a beating…Check it out at


The Tools of the Trade

28 Jan

What is going to make the biggest difference in your makeup application? The right tools. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spend tons of money on makeup brushes, nor does it mean go out and buy a full set.  In this post I’m going to tell you what to look for in a brush, which basic brushes you might want to buy (and which other brushes you might want to add later) and what each brush is for.

Finding Quality Brushes

Before you purchase a bush you should assess the quality by testing a few things. First check how the bristles feel against your skin (soft vs prickly), run your fingers through the bristles to make sure they don’t shed. You also want to test how the brush feels in your had. It needs to be balanced and feel comfortable to hold.

Natural VS Synthetic Brushes

Both types of brushes have a purpose in your kit. Natural bristles (squirrel, goat, pony or sable) are very soft and will offer a more diffused/natural application. These types of brushes are best for working with powder products.

Synthetic bristles are best for using with liquid, cream or gel products. They are normally stiffer that natural brushes and provide a more precise application.

Basic Brushes

Blush Brush









A blush brush should we wide enough to cover the apple of the cheek with soft bristles and curved edges. Use it for applying blush, hilight and contour colors.

Eye Blender Brush















This brush should be used for blending only  – not for applying color. You want a soft and fluffy brush to blend your shadows after application to eliminate lines of demarcation. The secret of natural looking makeup is to blend, blend, blend.

Eyeshadow Brush

There are all kinds of eyeshadow brushes but to start with you want to pick a basic brush. It should be wide enough to cover about half the lid. The shape is good for quickly and precisely applying shadows to your lid.

Powder Bush

For a powder brush you want to choose a natural hair, large, fluffy brush with a full round shape. The size and shape of the brush ensures an even application and distribution of powders.

These 4 brushes give you lots to work with.

Additional Brushes

Bronzer Brush









With soft, dense bristles and a rounded brush head, a bronzer brush will provide a smooth, even application of bronzer.

Brow Brush










This brush is used to apply powder to the brows for a fuller look. Look for a brush with stiff, short bristles cut on an angle.  A blend of synthetic and natural bristles is best.

Concealer Brush

The concealer brush is designed to precisely apply concealer in hard to reach spots like the corners of your eyes, around your nose and over blemishes. Look for a brush with stiff yet soft bristles and synthetic hairs (as most concealers are cream based).

Brush with a Dome Tip

This brush is designed for applying eye shadow to the crease of the eye for contouring.  Look for a brush with soft, natural bristles and a domed shape for precise and smooth application.Angled Liner Brush

Angled Liner Brush

This brush is used to define your eyelid with a fine line of color. You want a brush with flat and dense synthetic bristles so that it can be used with liquid, cream, gel or powder liners.

Flat Liner Brush

This brush is used for wet or dry application of color along the lash-line. Look for a brush with flat, dense synthetic bristles and a slightly rounded tip.

Face Brush (or Kabuki Brush)

A face brush is a multi-purpose brush. It can be used for applying bronzer, blush or powder or for blending everything after application (of powders). Look for a soft brush with a slightly rounded shape.

Foundation Brush

Foundation brushes are used to apply…foundation! The use of a brush provides slightly more coverage than if you apply foundation with a sponge.  Look for a brush with synthetic bristles and a full, flat shape with rounded edges.

Lip Brush

A lip brush uses firm bristles with a pointed tip to allow for prescice application of lipstick or glosses. Look for a brush with synthetic bristles.

Now these last 2 are not brushes but I consider them super important tools in my kit.

Eyelash Curler

A lash curler is designed to lift and curl your lashes. Look for a basic metal version with rubber pads. Always curl your lashes BEFORE putting on your mascara.

Beauty Blender

I will never go back to using a regular sponge after trying the Beautyblender. Designed to be used wet it provides a practically flawless application of foundation. The rounded shape prevents the dreaded foundation lines and the tapered edge is good for getting in tricky spots like around the nose and near the inner eye.

Drugstore VS Department Store

22 Jan

People often ask me which products are worth splurging on and which products are not? Let me start with this little tidbit of information…did you know that L’Oreal and Estee Lauder own a good chunk of the cosmetics brands out there (drugstore AND department store)?

L’Oreal Brands:

  • L’Oreal Paris
  • Garnier
  • Maybelline
  • Lancôme
  • YSL

Estee Lauder Brands:

  • Estee Lauder
  • MAC
  • Bobbi Brown
  • Prescriptives
  • Smashbox
  • Clinique

So it’s not a stretch to say that a Lancôme lipstick might be VERY similar (or even exactly the same) as a L’Oreal Paris lipstick.

That being said, there are products that it can be worth splurging on, and others where you can save some money.


  • Brushes – This is one area where you should definitely splurge. The better the brush, the better the makeup application.  MAC, Smashbox and even Sephora’s Pro Line all have very good brushes.
  • Powder – Usually the more expensive powdered are more finely milled and will apply more evenly, so this is one area where you might want to splurge.
  • Foundation – I splurge on my foundation because the high-end brands normally have a larger variety of color choices (I have pale pale skin and I find many of the drugstore brands palest colors are still too dark or yellow for me). You also want to be able to test the foundation to see if it matches your skin tone and you can’t do that with some drugstore brands.
  •  Concealer -As with foundation, I recommend splurging on concealer .  Once again higher end concealers come in many more colors than the drugstore brands so it’s easier to find a good match, and the products themselves often provide better coverage.
  •  Blush – The powder blushes from the high-end companies are usually more refined than drugstore brands. This will provide a more even coverage. (with Gel/Crème blushes it doesn’t make as much of a difference. One of my favorite crème blushes was $5 at the grocery store)
  • Eyeshadow – High –end brands of eyeshadow are frequently more pigmented than their drugstore counterparts. This gives you a better color payoff with less product. I recommend splurging on your basic everyday neutral colors. BUT…


  • Eyeshadow  – drug store eyeshadows have come a long way. Many are starting to rival the high-end brands for pigment and staying power.  If you want to try out a new look or trendy color I would stick with the drugstore brands.
  • Eyeliner – Eyeliners are all pretty much all the same. Drugstores have expanded their lines from just pencil and liquid to gel etc.
  • Lip Stick/Lip gloss – Lip stick and lip gloss are pretty much the same no matter where you buy them.
  • Mascara – When it comes to mascara what is important is the brush – not the formula. You can find drugstore mascara in some very famous makeup artist’s kits.

So there you have it. There are always exceptions to the rule. You may find a stellar foundation or blush at the drugstore, or you may find a less than wonderful concealer at the specialty store. It doesn’t really matter as long as you like it, and you can afford it.