How to Wash Your Brushes

If you’re reading this, you need to wash your brushes. It’s something we all forget to do, even me. I remembered to wash my own personal brushes yesterday because I was already washing the ones from my kit (which I do after every use). What really works for me is washing one or two at a time, just the really dirty ones right after I use them in the morning. You’ll get the worst ones taken care of first, then you’ll develop the pattern of washing brushes more often. I took a few photos of my brush washing session to show you how to really work the makeup out from your brushes.

Jane Iredale’s Brush Shampoo is what I use, but you can also use Baby Shampoo. Squirt a bit into a glass and fill it halfway with warm water.

Swish the brushes around in the soapy water for a few minutes but don’t soak them, you can get too much water into the brushes which ruins them.
An eyeliner brush, one of my worst offenders. Once they have too much product on them they don’t line evenly. Keep them really clean and you’ll have a perfectly straight line every time.

If I’m using a long-wearing or waterproof formula with my brush, it’s harder to work out with the soap alone. I’ll roll the brush tip into a dab of olive oil to work the formula totally out, then use soap after to wash the oily reside away.

All back to normal!

I rub each brush into my palm until it foams, then I put it under running water while rubbing the brush until it comes clean of makeup and soap. Don’t stand your brushes straight up (or else the water will go into them and they’ll crack), just lay them flat overnight and let them air dry.

…And the water afterward.

Dirty brushes aren’t just filled with makeup, they collect the oils from your skin (and dust from the air) which you put back into your makeup. It’s a really gross cycle. Take a few extra seconds and get your brushes as clean as you’d like your skin to be.

Brow Grooming in Seconds; Ardell Trim and Shape Grooming Tool

I worked with a girl on a shoot recently who had some pretty unruly brows. They were so crazy that our introduction went something like this:

Me: Hi, I’m Carissa. Holy brows.

Her: Yeah, I know. I didn’t pluck them today.

Me:  Today? Those brows haven’t seen a tweezer since 2009.

Harsh, yes, but true and she forgave me. It’s all about the delivery I think.

Lucky for her I always carry my trusty Ardell Trim and Shape Grooming Tool, a brilliantly designed straight edge razor that delivers a precise mini-shave to small areas of hair like brows or your lip when tweezing would take too long. It isn’t too sharp either (in fact I thought it was dull at first) so it doesn’t give you razor burn by shaving too roughly.

They come in a pack of 3.

I told you she forgave me, she let me take this pic. Check out her right brow which I cleaned up in seconds versus the left side.

I like having these around not to replace tweezing, but for a quick fix when you’re heading out the door and you see a mysterious hair patch has sprouted up overnight.

Tweezerman Paw Print Tweezers

If you’re due for a new set of tweezers, its’ a good time to switch to Tweezerman (if you aren’t a devout customer already) so you can pluck away unruly brows and help animals in need at the same time. Tweezerman will donate $1 for each limited edition Paw Print tweezer and 50 cents from each file set sold to the Humane Society.

What I love about the Tweezerman tweezers I own is how you can mail them to the company anytime and they’ll sharpen them for free. It’s basically a lifetime warranty since dull tweezers are what send you out to buy more.

It’s the 2 1/2 inch mini size, perfect for precision.
Small sized files too, great to stash in the car or your purse.

You can find them HERE at Sephora, or on their site at while supplies last.

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So Happy Together; Pairing Up Products for Creative, New Looks

You may not buy things with the intention of using them together, but a little creativity could help you to really see the value in what you have and be able to use it differently.  Here are a few examples of the power of pairing.

Primer + Bronzer = Beautiful, Bronzy Skin

When the temperature starts to heat up for summer, the weight of your makeup should change.  Heavy looking foundations look harsh in the sunlight, so try mixing a shot of bronzing fluid with a primer. Putting the bronzer into something colorless will lighten it a bit so you can use it all over the face for a natural looking bronzed glow. Using the primer evens out the skin’s texture so your skin looks great without foundation.

Napoleon Perdis Auto Pilot Skin Primer used with Noah’s Naturals Glowing Bronzer Fluid
Primer alone, bronzer alone, then both mixed together on the bottom.

Using a lightweight primer like Napoleon’s that isn’t just a silicone gel is more ideal for mixing. Noah’s Naturals bronzer is made without parabens, glycol, and petroleum so it’s gentle enough to use on the face daily.

Liquid Eye Liner + Angled Lining Brush = Lasting Liner That’s Easy to Apply

When it comes to an eyeliner that lasts, liquid is at the top of the food chain, the formula stays on all day and doesn’t smudge. Unfortunately, if you don’t have a steady hand, applying the liner with the wand that’s included can be impossible. Instead, apply the liner with an angled brush so you have better control and a more precision point.

Flirt! Opening Line Liquid Eyeliner in Grapevine shown with Angular Shader 1/4″ brush (just a few dollars from an art store).
Get some liner on the tip of the angled brush

Now you can use a liner that lasts with an easier-to-use brush.

Nude Gloss + Different Lip Liner Shades = Custom Gloss Colors

Finding a gloss that’s perfectly nude (doesn’t lean toward pink or beige) isn’t easy, but once you find one, grab it up. You can wear it solo when you want muted lips (for when you’re wearing more color on your lids), or you can mix it with different lip liner shades to make custom gloss colors.

See, perfectly neutral and nude. Estée Lauder High Gloss in Golden Goddess.
Use the neutral gloss with any color liner, Estee Lauder Double Wear Liner in Pink and Spice are shown.
Now you have a look that has more color than a gloss alone, but is lighter in weight than a lipstick. 

Dense Concealer + A Touch Up Brush = Quick Coverage

Very few women need to wear foundation. Just covering up redness with some concealer usually evens out the skin using fewer steps and a lot less blending. Just be sure to use a thick concealer like BECCA’s Compact Concealer, it will give you coverage that mimics a foundation’s. When you use Bobbi’s Touch Up Brush to apply it, you’ll get a look that’s almost airbrushed. I haven’t found another brush I like as well for applying concealer because it can work it into the skin so perfectly without wiping it all away.

BECCA’s Compact Concealer and Bobbi Brown’s Touch Up Brush
Applying the concealer this way gives as good of coverage as foundation, but with better control.
Blend the concealer in to get as little or as much coverage as you need.

What look are you trying to achieve? Chances are, you have a few things laying around that when paired together, can make all the difference.

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If I told you that Zeno’s HOT SPOT can reduce blemishes in hours, would you believe me? Believe it because it worked that quickly on me. It was literally within hours that I saw a reduction in inflation and a complete disappearance of my pesky little visitor in less than a day.

HOT SPOT works by using heat to kill the bacteria that causes breakouts in a way that’s safe and natural. Instead of assaulting your skin with harsh chemicals, whenever you feel a breakout coming on just a 2 minute Zeno zap of heat may be all you need to chase the blemish away while maintaining the integrity of the skin around it.

It’s pretty amazing how well it works and it’s great that Zeno has come down so much in price. They’re still selling an expensive version which only gives 60 treatments, but the HOT SPOT lasts for 80 uses and sells for only $40 at drugstores nationwide.

Blemish be gone.


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Style Me Pretty Shoot in Denver

A few weeks ago I was part of something really exciting. You see, I’m a Makeup Artist who does a ton of weddings and I was chosen by the mega wedding site, Style Me Pretty to be one of their select vendors which is a pretty big deal since they hand pick all of their wedding vendors and recommend us to the throngs of brides who read their site religiously. Even if you aren’t planning a wedding, the site is a serious time trap where you can click around and just look at photos all day. It’s huge.

So on Style Me Pretty (SMP) they have what they call ‘inspiration boards,’ which are basically an array of photos using all aspects of a wedding from the dress to flowers and beyond that highlight a color palette, pattern, and theme. I teamed up with a group of fellow SMP wedding vendors in Denver to loosely re-create one of their inspiration boards- adding our own details and twists.

The shoot was captured beautifully by Colorado photographer James Christianson. You can see the full team responsible for every detail, along with the rest of the photos from the shoot here.

For our purposes though, let’s talk makeup. Our bride was gorgeous first of all which made my job easier. Her skin was beautiful, and it was fair. Really fair actually, which is the most difficult skin to work on because the makeup looks amplified against such a light palette and can easily go from subtle to waaay overboard in a snap. What I’ve learned over the years is to layer the color little by little and use smaller brushes to keep the color contained to the precise area you want. You can always add more, but muting color that’s too dark presents more of a challenge.

Since it’s against the laws of fashion to create a natural look on a stunning girl wearing a Vera Wang gown, I opted for eyes that said ‘sophisticated glamour’ which is the big sister to ‘smokey’ I suppose. It packs the same punch but looks more dressy and polished. I used hints of silver, with charcoal and neutral browns for her shadows and lined using black liner.

For her lashes, I used one of my favorite ones by Ardell, their 120 set that works on girls with larger eyes who already have a good amount of lashes so they aren’t overpowering and it doesn’t look like she’s auditioning for a drag show. They’re surprisingly subtle, especially after I curled her lashes into them and applied a few coats of mascara.

We were at the Daniel’s & Fisher building in Denver, which we call the Clocktower. The backside of the clock’s faces served as interior walls for one spacious floor in the building and throughout the day the sun’s light that passed through it changed the clock’s face into shades of white and buttery yellow. It served as a unique and romantic backdrop that played perfectly into our black and white palette.

Think pink. Using beige and neutrals wouldn’t give the pop that pink did for her lips and cheeks. Contrasting her coloring allowed for her features to really stand out. I’m using my go-to cheek brush here, NARS Yachiyo which I love for laying down the right amount of color and blending it in to perfection.

Thank you again to everyone who perfectly executed every detail of this shoot. It was a day that reminded me why I love my job.

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