Saturday, June 20th, 2009

Beauty Basics: MAC Eye Brushes

Beauty Basics is a series covering basic products and tools that help to make applying your makeup easier. To view the entire series to date, be sure to visit the beauty basics, or you can view posts within the series about MAC Eye Brushes.

Focus On: MAC 219 Pencil Brush

MAC 219 Pencil Brush ($23.00) is one of my very favorite brushes, and I definitely consider it a must-have in my brush stash. It was one of the first few full-sized eye brushes I purchased. It can be used for all sorts of things (don’t you love a multitasking tool?) from depositing color into the crease, defining shapes, tapping color on the lower lash line, or smudging color. I personally reach for this to apply eyeshadow to my lower lash line. It’s a soft, fairly firm brush (but not stiff), with densely packed bristles. I can get a good amount of color and have most of it deposit where I’m applying it (and not just sucked up by the brush). It also works well to blend colors on the lower lash line or even smudge out colors for a smokier effect. I’ve been considering picking up a second one of these, but I’m trying to resist!

How do you like to use this brush?

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Friday, June 19th, 2009

Beauty Basics: MAC Eye Brushes

Beauty Basics is a series covering basic products and tools that help to make applying your makeup easier. To view the entire series to date, be sure to visit the beauty basics, or you can view posts within the series about MAC Eye Brushes.

Focus On: MAC 213 Fluff Brush

MAC 213 Fluff Brush ($22.50) is small, fluffy dome-shaped brush. It’s kind of like a smaller version of the 239 (one of my must-haves!). First, I definitely recommend this as a great multi-purpose kind of brush. It can be used to apply eyeshadow, blend shades together, deposit color into the crease, or highlight the brow. If you’ve ever found the 239 to be too large, you’d probably adore the size of the 213! Soft when used against the skin, so it doesn’t feel scratchy or rough when swished across the lid. The denseness of the bristles allows for good application of color shadows without the brush eating up product. I do like this for highlighting the brow bone, because it gives a soft-focused kind of application with more natural colors like highlighters. I also like it for highlighting the cupid’s bow (above your lips)!

How do you like to use this brush?

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Friday, June 19th, 2009

Beauty Basics: MAC Eye Brushes

Beauty Basics is a series covering basic products and tools that help to make applying your makeup easier. To view the entire series to date, be sure to visit the beauty basics, or you can view posts within the series about MAC Eye Brushes.

Focus On: MAC 212 Flat Definer Brush

MAC 212 Flat Definer Brush ($21.00) is a stiff, flat brush made out of synthetic fibers. It works well as a precision lining tool, but it can also create sharp, defined creases and shapes. The flatness and width of the brush (about 10mm in width) helps you create a wider line in one press. It can be useful in creating the “flick” of cat-eye liner. A fairly dense brush, it picks up product well and deposits it evenly. It really is quite a firm bristled brush, so that gives you more control when you use it.

How do you like to use this brush?

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Thursday, June 18th, 2009

Beauty Basics: MAC Eye Brushes

Beauty Basics is a series covering basic products and tools that help to make applying your makeup easier. To view the entire series to date, be sure to visit the beauty basics, or you can view posts within the series about MAC Eye Brushes.

Focus On: MAC 209 Eye Liner Brush

MAC 209 Eye Liner Brush ($17.50) is a thin, pointed brush made out of synthetic fibers. You can use it to apply both liquid and cream/gel liners, though I find it works better with creamier products than traditional liquid liners. (I prefer the 210 for those!) For those looking to create liner that isn’t too thin, this is an option for you. It’s not the thinnest/smallest lining brush MAC makes, but it will still give you a decent amount of precision to apply your liquid/cream liners. I do find myself often reaching for the 210 over this particular brush, just because I prefer to start thin and work my way up in thickness. It’s a matter of preference in whether you prefer tight, precise lines or slightly thicker, more noticeable liner. I do also like to use this brush to apply shadow to the lower lash line when I am looking for a more precise line. (If precision is not a desire, then I opt for the 219.)

How do you like to use this brush?

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Thursday, June 18th, 2009

Beauty Basics: MAC Eye Brushes

Beauty Basics is a series covering basic products and tools that help to make applying your makeup easier. To view the entire series to date, be sure to visit the beauty basics, or you can view posts within the series about MAC Eye Brushes.

Focus On: MAC 205 Mascara Fan Brush

MAC 205 Mascara Fan Brush ($17.50) is a tiny (seriously, it’s like the size of your pinky fingernail!) synthetic-bristled fan brush designed to apply mascara, remove clumps, and help lashes look their best. It’s a PRO only brush, which means you can only purchase it by calling a local PRO store or visiting a PRO store location. (You do not have to be a PRO member to purchase through either of the aforementioned methods.) This is one of those brushes that gets a lot of raves, and it’s for a good reason–it is excellent at removing any clumps or unevenness in your mascara application. I find applying mascara with it a bit more tedious than using my mascara’s wand, so I think I’ll likely stick with it mostly for post-application clean-up and polishing.

How do you like to use this brush?

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Thursday, June 18th, 2009

At-Home Face Masks:  Renew Your Skin

REN Glycolactic Skin Renewal Peel Mask ($55.00 for 1.7 oz.) is a peel mask designed to “renew the complexion, reduce fine lines, and improve skin tone, firmness, and radiance.” It uses a fruit acid complex (thus, lactic, glycolic, tartaric, and citric) along with papain enzyme to revv up this exfoliating peel. REN does warn those that this product is not suitable for those with sensitive skin, however.

I love the packaging, because it is extremely functional and practical. I, also, am not swayed by cute/fancy packaging for skincare–functional is far more important. It comes in an airless pump container, so you don’t have to worry about bacteria build-up or ingredient breakdown from exposure to air/using it with your fingers. I find two to three pumps gives me enough product to cover my entire face. The product is very easy to use — just apply the product to your face, smooth all over, and let it sit for ten minutes. After ten minutes, gently pat your face and “lift” the mask with your fingertips. Finish by rinsing your face with warm water, then pat dry with a clean towel.

It looks and smells like an orange fruit roll-up! It really does. I didn’t mind, since I’m a citrus kind of girl, and sweetness was just fine with me. The consistency reminded me of honey with just a bit of grit texture (but it doesn’t really feel rough/harsh). It may tingle a bit on some skin types (again, not recommended for sensitive-skinned folks), but it’s not a painful burn or sting. After I rinsed the product off, my skin felt incredibly smooth, soft to the touch, and gave me a bit of glowy-ness. I definitely felt like it improved the texture and appearance of my skin. I’m going to incorporate this into my skincare routine and use it once a week or so. I’ve tried stronger peels, but this still gives me the same results while being much gentler (which can’t be a bad thing, right?). If you’ve had trouble with chemical peels, I suggest looking into this one!

For those interested, REN is a brand formulated without parabens, sulfates, synthetic dyes/fragrances, petro-chemicals, or phtalates. They pride themselves on using only 100% natural active ingredients. REN also does not test their products on animals nor tested on their behalf by a third party. They state that the only animal products they use are honey and beeswax in their Lip Honey.  You can purchase REN products at Sephora.com.