Makeup Monday: My Favorite Brushes!

Happy Makeup Monday!

Here’s a list of my favorite makeup brushes lately. It is not a comprehensive list nor is it my complete collection, just everything I’ve been using while being in a rush the past few weeks. Most of these brushes can do double duty to get everything done in a minimum of steps.

  • Sigma F80 Flat Kabuki – I love to use this to apply foundation. It buffs in wonderfully whether it is liquid or cream with ease without any streaks. Love it.
  • elf Blush Brush – I use this for blush, obviously. I feel like it’s small enough for me to control the application of powder blushes.
  • Sigma E55 – I use this on the lid to pack on color as well as a quick brush to apply highlight under the browbone.
  • Essence of Beauty Crease Brush – This one comes in a pack of two and is the larger one. I use this for my crease and it fits well in my eye.
  • Real Techniques Fine Liner Brush – LOVE this for cream/gel eyeliners. I really feel like it has made my wings so much easier to pull off because it’s thin but I still have control.

Sunday Funday: June Bugs

watermelon

Dear June,

This will come as no surprise, but you are not my favorite month. Summer is not my season as I do not particularly favor warm weather. Being fair skinned, I burn rather than tan and it’s always a practice in sun safety when outside. I have recently come to terms with the fact that I am simply not much of an outdoorsy person. I enjoy going for walks in the park or up in the mountain trails, but I like to come home afterward. I would much rather go shopping or watch a movie than spend the weekend away from the city. I don’t like going to the lake or camping, activities which the rest of my family lives for and looks forward to all year. I have started to accept this simply as a character trait rather than a flaw to be ashamed of, which is what I felt in the past.

However, as with all things, there is a silver lining to summer. Summer is a daily lesson in extremes, even something as simple walking into an air-conditioned building to escape the sweltering heat. I love how refreshing ice cream or fruit is on a hot day. I love laying out warm in the sun like a lizard then dipping into the pool to cool off. I am quietly amused, sitting on the porch watching my cat frolic in the grass and hunt insects. I love the summer blockbuster season. I love watching exciting movies of which this season can always boast a bounty. I love sitting outside at dusk, sipping a sweating glass of iced tea and watching the transformation around me as the heat of the day dissipates, revealing life in the cool of night. I love watching the world come alive with summer life, music and magic. Whereas spring is the beginning of new life and and an awakening from the long slumber of winter, summer is a celebration of life in its prime, a dance in the warm breeze, the feeling of cool water on a warm day. Summer is firing on all cylinders and sometimes it’s hard to keep up but if you can then it’s a wild ride.

It’s the time to look alive, sunshine,

Stephanie

Makeup Monday: Clean Those Brushes!

Happy Memorial Day, Americans! Everyone else, Happy Monday!

I’ve been completely remiss on this blog, again. Last week was my last week at my old position at work so it was a bit overrun with last minute activities and finishing up final projects and such. But today is the first day at my new position, so it’s pretty much best first day ever as it’s a holiday and I’m at home instead of at work. So we’re back on the wagon today with the blog.

ImageToday’s topic: Brush cleaning!

This is crazy important, especially if you’re a clean freak. I’m not especially OCD about it but the idea of putting a dirty brush into my clean product onto my freshly washed face does gross me out. I try to deep clean all of all of my brushes used on a weekly basis and then I do spot cleaning of my most heavily used brushes daily with a spray. I also clean any brush which was used to apply a cream/liquid product that day, as that stuff really tends to deposit, especially if you’re dealing with longwear foundations and such. The great news is that most of the products used to clean the brushes you probably already have at home or you can get pretty cheap. I’ve tried quite a few things, which I will list below so you can try for yourself!

Deep Cleaning

It’s really simple and quick to deep clean your brushes. Get the brush hairs wet, dip the brush in the product, swirl it around a bit on the palm of your hand, rinse under water and squeeze out the excess until the water runs clear, then set them up to dry. Always remember to keep your bristles pointing down as getting water down into the ferrule (the metal part of the brush which connects the handle to the brush hairs) can loosen the glue holding it all together and ruin the brushes.

Olive oil and Dawn Dishwashing Soap

I originally tried this from watching Michelle Phan’s video. I never really get the proportion between oil and soap correct I think, because especially with denser face brushes and stuff they always felt a little too oily. But the olive oil really does help condition natural hairs. Not as necessary for synthetic fibers, which I tend to use, as they clean up better, IMO.

Baby Shampoo

Before I found the newest product which I love, baby shampoo was my go-to for brush cleaning. It’s gentle on the hairs but does clean them. Again, as with the oil/soap option, it doesn’t quite deep clean the foundation brushes as much as I would like, but it works really well for all the eye brushes and powder face brushes.

Castile Soap

I picked a lavender-scented one at Target not too long ago, upon recommendation from a makeup blog. I bought the solid because I think I tend to use less product with the solid rather than the liquid (this is based on a gut feeling more than scientific proof). I probably should have tried the liquid upon reflection, but I like this product to clean the brushes. My only complaint about this is that I don’t really like the scent of lavender so I should have bought a different one, but I like peppermint even less and they didn’t have a solid version of the orange one in stock. It did clean the brushes well though and since it is an oil-based soap, it also conditioned well (the origin of castile soap is pretty interesting, as a side note). It’s also cruelty-free, which I’m making a conscious effort to seek out.

Benjabelle Organic Cleansing Balm

This is the most recent product I’ve tried and I love it. It’s also cruelty-free and is made from natural ingredients. I bought it on a whim when I ordered my Sunflower Brush Tree from them and I’m glad I did (I also love the brush tree which I may make a separate post about later). I cleaned about 30 brushes this weekend and they all cleaned up beautifully with this product, even the foundation brush. It’s as white now as the day I bought it. The only negative I’ve found is that it’s an online only company right now so you have to order it, I haven’t found it locally anywhere else.

Spot Cleaning

I just put the cleanser in a little spray bottle I got from the travel section and then spray on the brushes and wipe off onto a tissue or washcloth.

DIY Brush Cleaner

One of my favorite makeup gurus to watching on YT, emilynoel83, once pointed to a video for Enkore‘s homemade brush cleaner, which is cheap and works great for spot cleaning.

Ingredients
  • 1 Cup Distilled Water
  • 1/4 Cup 90% Alcohol (you can use 70% instead just as well)
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Dish Soap
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Shampoo
  • 1 Tablespoon Spray Leave-In Conditioner

This works great to clean the brushes, especially eye brushes. The only thing to be aware of is that the alcohol can really dry those hairs out, so remember that deep cleaning/conditioning is a must to keep the hairs in peak condition. 

MAC Brush Cleanser

Honestly, I think MAC doesn’t always live up to the hype it gets all the time but this product is worth it to me. I dilute this and put it in the spray bottle as the other one and the bottle lasts me forever, even with pretty much daily use. I also feel that it doesn’t dry out the brushes as much as the DIY one above does but I’m sure the ingredients are fairly similar.

Whew, that’s a lot of cleaning products! In a pinch I will also just use my face wash – Cerave’s Foaming Face Wash – but that’s all the kinds I’ve tried so far. Now get to cleaning those brushes!

Fitness Friday: Finding the Balance

For over a year now, I have consistently exercised 6 times a week. It was hard to establish that habit, but once established, it’s been easy to maintain it. Although I still need to focus more on my diet (I did better this week than last but there’s still room for improvement), I feel like it’s time to change up my workout routine. I really need to get more weight training in and strength exercises like lunges, crunches, etc. I’m looking to find the balance between all of these things which will also allow me to have some semblance of a life outside of the gym. I wore a pair of jeans today which used to be a lot less tight around me so the need for self-control is becoming more and more evident. As far as mental health goes, I have noticed that since I got the news that I was offered the promotion at work my stress levels have gone way down. I started to get more breakouts and even this rash on my chin, but they have started to heal already. It also could be hormonal, but I’m sure the stress didn’t help anything.

Quick Shots

  • I almost forgot to post again today. Both times this week I was catching up on Game of Thrones, so that’s what I’m blaming it on. Related to this, today I bought a new song which I’m using as a ringtone. It’s the GoT theme on harps.
  • I’m impressed with the CoverGirl outlast nail polishes. I’m nearing two weeks with this color on and I need to take it off really only because of new growth – there was hardly any chipping and no fading. Pretty neat!
  • My youngest brother is graduating from high school this weekend. Barely, but he’s graduating. Congrats to him! Time to party!

Wordy Wednesday: VF May pick review

I may have already blogged about the Vaginal Fantasy Book Club, but I’m honestly too lazy to check and it deserves a second telling anyway. It’s an online bookclub, housed mostly on Goodreads, where the four hosts, Felicia Day, Kiala Kazebee, Veronica Belmont and Bonnie Burton, read a paranormal romance style book and talk about it every month. I’ve been reading and following along since the beginning and I love this stuff. Most of it is stuff I would have chosen to read on my own, but some of it is definitely not. I’m enjoying both sides of this coin.

The pick this month is Hunter’s Claim by S.E. Smith. It’s the story of a 22-year old woman with two younger sisters who are all trying to survive in the aftermath of an alien invasion, living moment to moment in a wrecked Seattle. The world was pretty interesting and the characters were pretty strong, which I always appreciate. I thought it was a little too convenient that the aliens had the same basic physiology as a human, except looked a little feline and could purr. The plot and writing itself wasn’t very strong, I felt like everything resolved too easily and cleanly, but I enjoyed the book well enough. I think the biggest point for it is how quickly I finished it. I read it in three days, and that’s days including living the rest of my life, so I enjoyed it enough to tear through it at least. I do like that Jesse was always correcting Hunter when he tried to just take charge and make decisions when she felt it was something that should be a mutual decision. I like that in a female character. She wasn’t pushy, she just understood her own worth. I did feel like the transition from scared orphan to powerful and sexual warrior was a bit too quick for her, but it did with the whole ease of the book in general. Nothing was too difficult or insurmountable in this story.

Quick Shots:

  • I did not post a Makeup Monday this week, which kind of bums me out because I actually had something in mind, I just didn’t have the time or was already in bed by the time it had occurred to me to do it. I was going to write it up and post it yesterday, but the OCD in me wouldn’t be able to handle doing a Monday post on a Tuesday. So it’ll be next week for sure!
  • I need to cut my cat’s nails because he is starting to poke and hurt me whenever he kneads me. Boo!
  • After three times applying, I finally was offered a promotion at work which I have been waiting to do for two years now! I’m super excited because it’ll actually play to my strengths of writing and teaching, so I’m excited to have this new opportunity.

 

Sunday Funday: A Mother’s Day Special

Happy Mother’s Day, everyone! I just wanted to share a few things about today. For me, it’s a bit of a bittersweet holiday since my birth mother died when I was 13. I was lucky enough to have a family member take in my younger brother and I and she and her husband stepped in and became parents to me after that. But still, the holiday can be a little tough for me, even 17 years later. Something that does still really make me upset is that I was never able to know and connect with my mother as an adult. I still carry quite a few of her traits with me into adulthood: I love to craft, read and bake, which are hobbies few in my family now share. It’s not their fault, but I still wish I had been able to gab with my mom about the things we were interested in like I see so many of my adult friends do. Or my sister-in-law who has a workout partner in her mom, I think that’s totally cool and it’s something I missed out on. I feel the lack in my life in that aspect, but I am lucky enough to still have women in my life who have become like mothers and grandmothers to me.

On this thought, I wanted to post something as a reminder to myself as well as others who may not be aware of this book, which also has a related support group setup, to my knowledge. It’s called Motherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss and it addresses and explores the impacts losing a mother has on a daughter, regardless of when the mother died in the daughter’s stages of life. I think this is fascinating, and obviously, relevant to me. I know that it’s available at my local library so I might try to get it there first, because who knows how I’ll take this book, but it could be interesting and helpful.

I will leave you with a list of Disney movies you should NOT watch on Mother’s Day (there are more movies where there is one parent or an orphan situation, but these are the most difficult ones for me to watch because of the death scene of a parent actually in the movie)

  • Dumbo
  • Bambi
  • Finding Nemo
  • The Lion King
  • The Fox and the Hound
  • Frozen

Fitness Friday: Weight is Weird

I’ve been on a plateau for a while now in my fitness journey, which I’ve come to terms with. I know what I need to do in order to get back on track, it’s just about implementing it. I work out enough, I just need to focus more on nutrition and getting that back under control. I know I have been letting myself off easy the past few months and haven’t been as regimented as I had been when first starting out. I also need to reintroduce consistent weight training and strengthening exercises into my routine because I know that was effective the last time I was struggling and give myself a jump start. I’ve been struggling with self-control lately so that’s all mental. I also need to get more sleep. Last night I had something in my eye which kept irritating me when I tried to close my eyes and sleep so I had a rough night. And today I was stress eating all day because my supervisors at work are deciding on who gets the job I interviewed for. So it’s been a stressful crazy day and I’m ready to have a fresh start in the morning! That’s the best thing about this lifestyle change: I have the opportunity to make the right decisions and choices about my health every day. Every day is a clean slate and a new start. So for today I’m going to do some weights and core training and eat a light dinner. Eyes on the prize!