Posts Tagged ‘use’

Crown Brush Flawless Face Blender Review

July 2nd, 2014

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Thanks to The Makeup Show Chicago 2014, I discovered Crown Brush Flawless Face Blender, which is now one of my HGs.

Crown Flawless Face Blender review

Crown Flawless Face Blender

The Crown Brush Flawless Face Blender is a non-allergenic, odor-free, double-sided and latex-free sponge applicator for applying and blending makeup. It comes in various colors, including black, pink (featured here) and peach.

Compared to the BeautyBlender I loved for years, the Flawless Face Blender is longer and just a tad narrower. Instead of a flat round bottom, it is pointy on both ends, which means you can use one end to get to those hard-to-reach areas like around the nose and under the eyes and the other to blend out eye makeup. You can also roll the Flawless Face Blender in a side-to-side manner to achieve the same blending effect you would get with the bottom part of the BeautyBlender.

To use the Flawless Face Blender, I wet it with water, squeeze out the excess then stipple over foundation applied by fingers or a brush to blend and even out streaks. When damp, the sponge became super soft and felt so good on the skin.

Another thing I loved about the Flawless Face Blender is it never seemed to bleed or get dirty. My BeautyBlender bled pretty much every single time I washed it and no matter how soon I washed it after each use, I could never get the makeup stains out completely. With the Crown Flawless Face Blender, there was minimal bleeding and makeup seemed to just come right out, even with baby shampoo.

Bottom line, I love the Crown Brush Flawless Face Blender and it has completely replaced the BeautyBlender as my must-have blending tool. And at $9.99 a piece – half the price of the BeautyBlender – I can definitely stock up on it without breaking the bank!

Closeup of Crown Flawless Face Blender
Holding Crown Flawless Face Blender in palm

Beautyblender vs. Crown Flawless Face Blender

Disclosure: The product in this review was purchased by us. It may also contain an affiliate link, which gives us a small commission if you purchase the item. Please see our Disclosure for more information on our posting policy.

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The Makeup Show Chicago 2014 Recap

June 10th, 2014

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After 2 days of immense fun, learning and shopping, The Makeup Show Chicago 2014 has finally come to a wrap! Read on for a brief recap of some of my favorite moments from this year!

Deconstructing Artistry: Techniques for Unconventional Beauty by OCC

Deconstructing Artistry: Techniques for Unconventional Beauty by OCC

At Deconstructing Artistry: Techniques for Unconventional Beauty, Founder of Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics David Klasfeld teamed up with Brand Manager & Director of Makeup Artistry Courtney Tichman to create 2 powerful, organic looks. The duo also show us a few non-traditional ways to use OCC’s iconic Lip Tars, including using the Clear one as a primer on the eyes and the Metallic formula as a blush.

OCC's David Klasfeld working his magic on the model

OCC’s David Klasfeld working his magic on the model

Next, I sat in at the How To Create A Multi-Dimensional Smoky Eye seminar by NARS Cosmetics artist Justin Heslop. Using the latest Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow, a wet/dry shadow that made its debut at the show, Justin created a gorgeous smoky eye look and shared with us a few ways to nail Francois Nars’ signature makeup style: 1) Always do the complexion – primer, foundation, concealer and set with powder – before the eyes. 2) Lay out the basic shape of the smoky eye with shadows then use Light Reflecting Loose Setting Powder to diffuse the edges and sweep away any shadow fallout. 3) Add in a bit of blush on the crease then blend towards the temple to make the smoky eye less disconnected from the rest of the face.

How To Create A Multi-Dimensional Smoky Eye by Justin Heslop for NARS

How To Create A Multi-Dimensional Smoky Eye by Justin Heslop for NARS

At Creating Celebrity Style, top notch celebrity makeup artist Pati Dubroff, who has a long line of A-list clients including Naomi Watts, Natalie Portman, Kate Bosworth, Eva Mendes and more, shared with us a few of her must-haves and tricks. Pati pointed out that the key to nailing red carpet makeup is to work with the stylist and create makeup that complements, not distract. Instead of using powder, Pati is big on priming and loves a mattifying primer in the center of the face and an luminizing one on the sides. Some of her faves? L’oreal RevitaLift Miracle Blur, Kiehl’s Micro-Blur Skin Perfector and NARS Light Optimizing Primer Broad Spectrum SPF 15 (also one of my HGs!) She is also a HUGE fan of SUQQU Foundation (a Japanese line only available in the UK and Asia) and uses 2 shades on her clients – a lighter one in the center and a darker one on the sides, which helps to contour.

Creating Celebrity Style by Pati Dubroff

Creating Celebrity Style by Pati Dubroff

Then at the Runway Trends seminar, MAC Senior Artist Victor Cembellin, whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting at the MAC PRO Sculpting The Face Master Class, gave us the low down on the hottest trends from the Spring/Summer 2014 runways. 1) Day Glow is all about “raw” or as the everyday customer calls it, “real” skin 2) CC-Through Colour involves the use of color (lilac and peaches) but in washes for a “real” effect 3) Light FX, is the use of light and white, as seen at various shows I attended including Altuzarra and 4) The New Eye-Deal, which involves making classic beauty statements like block eyeliner but in a modern, never-before-seen way. The end result? An insanely beautiful yet modern runway look.

S/S 2014 Runway Trends by MAC Senior Artist Victor Cembellin

S/S 2014 Runway Trends MAC Senior Artist Victor Cembellin

Let’s not forget Make Up For Ever. During Color Explosion: From Beauty to High Fashion, Make Up For Ever educator Jessie Powers demonstrated how to create a vibrant eye look using Make Up For Ever Flash Color Palette. Jessie stressed the importance of building a classic base before working with color and to always start out sheer when working with creams and setting with a powder – be it eyeshadow, blush or even loose powder – to prevent creasing.

Color Explosion: From Beauty to High Fashion by Jessie Powers

And lastly, a few more highlights from the show.

Makeup demo by Kanesha Perry for Stila Cosmetics

Model getting blinged up at Oliv Ares Haus of Glam

Makeup Demo by Smashbox’s Lori Taylor

Temptu showcasing its best – airbrush!

Body painting by Nigel Beauty

Makeup demo by Make Up First

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Is more expensive eye shadow really different?

June 6th, 2014

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Mamasim asks…Can the processes (methods) as opposed to ingredients, of producing a beauty product be different enough to justify the price differences in the same product type? A makeup artist I like commented in a tutorial that the reason she liked Dior eyeshadows is they have a wonderful texture. She said that when she asked a cosmetic chemist why they said it was because during its production the product was held at the ‘fat combining’ stage for slightly longer than is the norm… (???) I’m interested in knowing if high end companies use more involved methods and this is a reason why their products can be more expensive?

The Beauty Brains respond:

The only unusual “fat combining” process that I’m aware of is the way Perry eats a hamburger and french fries. He eats ALL the fries first THEN he eats the burger.  Isn’t it normal to intersperse bites of the burger with the fries so you can enjoy the flavor of both?  I mean you wouldn’t eat your entire bag of potato chips and THEN eat your ham sandwich, would you? Sheesh! But I digress…

Processing can impact product cost

While we stress the importance of looking at ingredients to understand the quality of a product, there are situations where the ingredients don’t tell the full story. Sometimes HOW the ingredients are put together can be tremendously important to the quality of the finished product. You don’t see this in simple mixtures, like shampoos, but you do see it on more complex products like pressed powders. Case in point: a recent article in Cosmetics & Toiletries revealed that the quality of a powder cosmetic products depends in part on how the powders are pulverized.

The powders used in cosmetics can form agglomerates, or clumps. These clumps prevent the powder from having a smooth application. To avoid these clumps powders are processed to break them into tiny particles. This is commonly done using a piece of equipment called a “Hammer Mill” which basically slams metal hammers against the powder’s surface to break the pieces apart. Most manufacturers used to this type of equipment.

However a more advanced process, known as “Jet Milling,” can break the particles into even smaller sizes and make them more spherical.

Not surprisingly Jet Mills cost more, and not as readily available, as Hammer Mills. That means if a company wants to make a higher quality powder they either have to invest in more expensive equipment or they have to use a contract manufacturer which owns this specialized grinder. In either case the use of jet milling to create a softer feeling product results in an increased price. Therefore it’s unlikely you’ll see this used in bargain products.

So the answer is yes, process can impact cost.


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Hi Def Bridal Makeup Tips By Damian Castellanos At The Makeup Show Chicago

June 22nd, 2012

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Besides the body painting session, I also attended the Hi Def Bridal: Makeup for Today’s Bridal Artist seminar by makeup artist Damian Castellanos from Make Up For Ever. The pro showed us how to create a sultry smoky eye and shared with us some really great pointers on high def makeup. Keep reading to see Damian’s tips!

High Def Bridal Makeup Demo by Damian Castellanos from Make Up For Ever
* Facial hair will show up on HD cameras. The best solution is to have the bride get her face threaded before the big day or you can use a Japanese razor for emergencies.

* Minimize the use of glitter and sparkles as they do not show up well on HD camera. Stick to cream formulas when possible.

* The pictures are what stay after the wedding. Always check for texture and symmetry on a HD camera before sending your bride out.

* If you are going to use your fingers, make sure to sanitize your hands. Besides the obvious reason, it will also help get rid of body oils which can interfere with the makeup.

* HD cameras tend to flatten the complexion so remember to create dimension by using multiple colors.

* A pink makeup primer like Make Up For Ever HD Microperfecting Primer in 7 Pink is great for warming up the complexion or to lighten up a sallow or olive complexion.

* While bronzers are great for every day contouring, their red undertones can be intensified in HD. Stick to neutral colors like Make Up For Ever HD Invisible Cover Foundation 177 Cognac.

* Noses (like eyebrows) can be a personal thing and contouring them seldom looks good. Always check with your client before you contour. A great alternative to contouring a wide nose is to highlight it.

* For a flushed-within look, do a heavier application of cream blush under foundation. Make Up For Ever Flash Color in #5 Coral is a great color that will suit most skin tones.

* Waterproof products are designed to adhere to skin. Leave skin bare prior to using them.

* Always sharpen pencils for the creamiest texture.

* Too much black on the eyes can be harsh. Mix in a brown to help the black “melt” into the skin.

* When applying eyeliner, make sure you get super close to the lash line so no white is peeping through.

* To blend eyeshadow, Damian favors a precise brush over a fluffy one. This allows more controlled and specific blending.

* To achieve the most volume on the lips, line starting from the corner to the center. To reduce volume, line from the center to the corner.

* The less mascara the better on HD camera. Unless the client has really thin lashes, just curl them before you apply fake lashes.

* Running Make Up For Ever Brow Seal over the hair is a great way to tame flyaways.

And the finished look!

Make Up For Ever Damian Castellanos Bridal Makeup Demonstration
High Def Bridal Makeup Demo by Damian Castellanos from Make Up For Ever
Makeup Show Chicago Bridal Makeup Seminar

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NARS Makeup Removing Water Review

April 23rd, 2012

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NARS Makeup Removing Water
NARS Makeup Removing Water

NARS Makeup Removing Water

NARS Makeup Removing Water ($28.00 for 6.7 fl. oz.) is touted as a “soap-free, oil-free, and alcohol-free water that removes face makeup and tones the skin.” It’s designed as a gentle formula that will remove makeup without requiring rubbing while hydrating skin.

This is a makeup remover that is best described as gentle, because that’s exactly what it is, but it’s gentle in every way–it’s not at all stinging, burning, or irritating against the skin, even around the eyes, but it doesn’t effectively remove all your makeup, though it specifically says “face makeup” and not “eye makeup.” Just so we’re clear: if you wear eye makeup, don’t expect this to do much in the way of removal. All it ever seems to accomplish is smudging everything around so I end up looking like a mutant. I absolutely would not use this for anything that says “long-wearing” on the label, including face products.

If you want it to remove light eye makeup, I recommend gently pressing the soaked cotton pad against the eye for 15-20 seconds before gently swiping the product away. You’ll get some, perhaps not all, of it removed this way. Since NARS only mentions face makeup, it seems like you would use something else for your eye makeup.  It’s packaged in a clear plastic bottle with a flip-top that has a small hole so only a little comes out as you need it.

I’d like to think of this as a remover for gentle makeup; lightweight, natural, soft makeup. However you want to term it, it’s good for lighter makeup days. For me, it seems to remove face makeup as well as most facial cleansers are able to. It is very lightweight, doesn’t feel greasy or oily against the skin, and it leaves no trace of residue once it’s wiped away with a cotton pad.  It really does have the consistency and feel of water.  There’s no stickiness, dried, or tightened skin after use either. I need at least two cotton rounds in order to remove about 90% of face makeup.

It doesn’t remove makeup completely, so I feel like I need to use a cleanser afterward or yet another cotton pad. Instead, the way I found this product to be most useful was after using a facial cleanser, so it was only responsible for removing the last bits of makeup the cleanser missed.  You can definitely use it before your cleanser of choice as well–I just like the visual of seeing the cotton pad just picking up stray makeup and knowing that my face is clean.  It also means that I can better control how much product or how many cotton pads I use since this doesn’t eliminate a cleanser.

It’s a superfluous product in my night time regimen; it seems to be an extra step rather than a time-saver. It’s more like a toner in my routine–I don’t trust it to remove all my makeup, but I do trust it to remove the last vestiges of makeup my cleanser may have left behind (especially around my hairline and the edges, which I don’t push the cleanser around as much so it doesn’t get into my hair!). And if I’m going to use NARS as my toner, I’d rather use their Hydrating Freshening Toner, which is one of my favorites, and for me, hydrates a little better than the remover does.  You can use this like you would a toner, however, so if you do include one in your regular routine, this could take its place.

If you’re a fan of micellar water removers, then you may enjoy this recently launched remover by NARS, which has all the earmarks of one (though I didn’t see NARS officially billing it as such).  There are quite a few on the market internationally and a couple in the U.S., but this year has shown major progress with more U.S. brands launching their own versions.  Bottom line:  this will remove some but not every type of makeup, particularly longer-wearing products and heavier textured products, but it’s not designed to do much more than it does do, so it’s pretty good from that standpoint.


Water, Butylene Glycol, Peg/Ppg-35/40 Dimethyl Ether, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Trisodium Edta, Cucumis Sativus [Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract], Chamomilla Recutita [Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract], Sodium Hyaluronate.

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