Tuesday, January 31, 2012

All you need to know about: makeup brushes

The key to having a flawless makeup look isn’t necessarily the products you use; it’s the brushes.  Using the right brush to detail an eye look, apply foundation, or highlighter makes all the difference in the world.  I always say (and truly believe). “You can do more with good brushes and cheap makeup then vise-versa.”  Once you’ve spent your money on brushes you want them to last, so that’s what this post is all about-giving your makeup brushes a little TLC!  If you haven’t been able to find makeup brushes you love then check out some of my favorite brands at the bottom (I’ve included options for all price ranges!).

Do you have to clean your brushes?
Yes, you should be cleaning your makeup brushes regularly to protect your eyes, skin, brushes, and even your makeup.  Dirty brushes can harbor germs and bacteria.  If you don’t clean them you will be constantly reintroducing them back onto your skin when you apply your makeup.  The same goes for your makeup products.  Dipping dirty brushes into your makeup can also contaminate the products you’re using (especially creams, liquids, and gels).  If your makeup has bacteria in it, then even if your brushes are clean you will still be applying germs back onto your skin.  This in return can cause more skin irritation and breakouts

How often should you clean your brushes?
The minimum you should be washing your makeup brushes is once a week.  Since germs like moisture, it is especially important to cleanse brushes that you frequently use in creams, gels, and liquid makeup products (foundation, concealer, eyeliner bushes etc.).  If you have problem skin I would recommend washing these brushes daily to ensure you aren’t applying anything to your face to promote more breakouts.  Since powder products (such as eyeshadows, blushes, and face powders) aren’t as easily contaminated, you can get by with washing them once a week instead of daily. 

If you don’t want to wash your brushes daily another option is to apply your foundation disposable makeup sponges.  They’re super cheap and easy to find so you won’t feel bad about throwing them out after a single use.  TIP: When using a makeup sponge, spritz it with a little water before applying product to it.  This will keep it from absorbing (and wasting) too much of the product.

How do you clean your brushes?
There are cleansers made specifically for cleaning makeup brushes, you can find them at places like Sally’s, MAC, Ulta etc.  I personally like to use good ole baby shampoo.  It’s strong enough to deep clean even my dirtiest brushes yet gentle enough that I don’t have to worry about it harming the bristles of my natural hair brushes.  Plus it’s cheap!

To clean your brushes you want to dispense a small amount of cleanser (or baby shampoo) into your hand, wet the bristles of the brush by running them under warm water, then swirl the bristles in the cleanser.  Make little circles in all directions for a deep clean. Then rinse the bristles under warm water until the water runs clear.  Try and avoid getting water onto the handle or metal part of the brush, we don't want to weaken the glue holding the brushes together!

How do you dry your brushes?
There are a few options when it comes to drying your brushes:
  1.  The first one is to lay your brushes out flat on a towel and let them sit overnight, or a few hours until they are completely dry-yep, it’s that easy. 
  2. The second options are these cool little things called brush guards.  They help your brushes keep their shape while they dry, plus you can place them on your brushes and dry them upside down without damaging the bristles!  Why is this important?  You want to keep as much of the moisture as possible away from the base of the bristles because overtime it can cause the glue to become less effective (aka more shedding).  That’s why you never want to dry your brushes upright in your makeup brush holder.
This video talks about brush guards and also has some great tips for cleaning your brushes.  (Exciting news, brush guards are now available at Wal-Mart!)

Does cleaning brushes stop them from shedding?
The answer to this depends on the quality of your brushes.  I would recommend washing new brushes before you use them the first time, but that’s completely up to you.  It’s pretty common for new makeup brushes to shed a little the first couple of times you use them.  If they are good quality brushes it should be minimal and eventually stop after the first couple of washes. 

What brush sets would I recommend?
Good, even great makeup brushes can come at any price range!  Here are a few brands that I would recommend if you’re looking to expand your makeup brush collection:

  1. e.l.f (Target, eyeslipsface.com)- These brushes come for as low as $1! I don’t love all the brushes from e.l.f. (I would pass on the face brushes) but the eye brushes are great!
an essential makeup brush for only $1!
  1. Eco Tools (Target, Wal-Mart)- These are natural, eco-friendly brushes.  They are known for being super soft and they are very high quality without the high price tag.  They come in a wide range of sets and individual selections so you can get the brushes you really want.
  2. Essences of beauty (CVS)- These were some of the first makeup brushes I purchased back in the day, and I still use them to this day!  I love these brushes!  I think they are great quality brushes, they come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, and they hold up over time. 
  3. Real Techniques (Ulta, realtechniques.com)- This is the brush line designed by Samantha Chapman from Pixiwoo!  The only drawback to these brushes is there are certain brushes you can only buy in sets.  You cannot buy all the brushes individually which is a little bit of bummer to me because I like to buy duplicates of the brushes I use a lot.
  4. Crown Brushes (crownbrush.com)- Crown brushes are probably one of the best kept secret by makeup artist.  They have a huge range of brushes starting around $2, or you can buy full sets.  They look sleek and professional and are truly great brushes.
  5. Sigma (sigmabeauty.com)- These are the brushes I use in my makeup kit and they are fabulous!  You can purchase them in different sets, or individually to get exactly what you want.  If you want to invest in good, high quality brushes to last you a while- these are the ones I would recommend.
The only brush I was not 100% in love with is the E40, it sheds like no ones business.  I have 3 of them (sigh) and they all do the same thing.  I like to use them for blending out concealer or cream foundations, but when the black bristles come off and get stick in the product it looses its effect.  Other then that one brush, I'm in love with my Sigma brushes!

I hope this answers any questions you may have concerning the care of your makeup brushes.  Let me know if you have any other questions by leaving a comment below or on my facebook page!

For the love of beauty and makeup brushes,
…Casey B

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Product Love: Maybelline Color Tattoos -24hr cream gel eyeshadows

What: Maybelline Color Tattoo 24hr Cream Gel Eyeshadows
Wallet: $7.00
Where to buy: Local drugstores
Why I’m lovin’ it:  These little babies are AMAZING!  Don’t be scared off by the word “cream” in the product title, they actually don’t crease!  Even without a primer!  The Color Tattoos come in 10 different shades ranging from neutrals to brights and they are a complete dupe for one of my favorite “higher end” products (see the comparison below for details).  I don’t use an eye primer on a daily bases, but I still want my makeup to last.  These cream eyeshadow are my primer and shadow in one, which means they are a time saver as well!  If you haven’t invested in an eye primer, go pick up a few of these in shades that you think you will use most often.  You can wear them alone or layer them under your shadows to keep them vibrant and in place all day (or night) long.

If you’ve read some of my other post, you know that I like to use my NYX Jumbo Eye Pencils as bases for some of my looks (like this one and this one).  The JEP are great BUT they do crease and you always have to use a primer with them.  When it comes to pastels or bright colored looks it is so important to have a good white base to apply the shadow to so that you get the color payoff you want from your shadows.  I usually use the JEP in “Milk”…but I have a feeling it will be replaced by the Color Tattoo in “Too Cool” once I can get my hands on it (it's been sold out everywhere)!  If it's as good as the other shades in the collection it will do everything the JEP does except for the creasing. Perfect-o!  Now if I could just get my hands on it.  The hunt continues...

Having a black base can be just as important, so good thing there's a black in this collection as well!  Check out this post to see some comparisons of shadows with and without a black base.  Major difference.

Another thing I love about this product is that it’s basically waterproof… I guess that’s why “tattoo” is in the name, huh?!  Once the color sets it doesn’t budge, even under running water.  Perfect for hot summer days or even trips to the pool or beach!  (The Color Tattoos did remove easily with an oil based makeup remover or my face wash.)

Comparison to MAC’s Paint Pots:
Like I mentioned earlier these are a complete drugstore dupe for one of my favorite, can’t live without products: MAC’s Paint Pots.  They have the same consistency, texture, blendability, pigmentation-everything is almost identical!   I use paint pots almost anytime I do an eye look on myself or clients.  They prevent creasing and create the perfect base for applying shadows to.  The down side to the MAC Paint Pots is the price tag, $17.50.  You can purchase 2 Color Tattoos for less than the price of one MAC Paint Pot!

Even the packaging is the same!  Both products come in little glass jars with black lid and basically the same size and shape.  As far as product amounts go with the MAC PPs you get .17 fl. oz. compared to 0.14 fl. oz. in the Color Tattoos.

Here’s a color comparison between MAC’s PP in “Indianwood” (which I recently used in my Leighton Meester look) and Maybelline’s Color Tattoo in “Bad to the Bronze.”  They aren't the same exact color but similar enough to use interchangeably.  So how good the color payoff is?!

Indianwood on the left and Bad to the Bronze on the right.

  1. There is not a shade that is similar to my skin tone.  I like to use MAC’s PP in “Soft Ochre” a lot of the times just to even out the discoloration on my eyelids.  If there was a shade in the Color Tattoos that was similar I’d be a very happy camper! 
  2. Most of the colors in the range are shimmery, which isn't bad if you want shimmer all the time.  I like to use more matte colors during the day so I wish there were a few more in the collection with a matte finish. 
Over all I’m really impressed with Maybelline’s Color Tattoos.  I’m excited about getting my hands on a few of the bright colors (especially “Edgy Emerald”) that will be perfect for summer!  With my MAC PPs I tend to get a lot of basic and neutral colors because I know they will get the most use.  Snagging a few of these Color Tattoos in bright shades is a good way to add color to my collection and on the cheap! 

Do you have any recent drug store makeup finds that you love?!  Let me know what they are!

For the love of beauty and new products,
…Casey B

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Under Lid?

What the heck is your “under lid”?!  I usually say “lower lash line,” “lower lid,” or “under the eye” but “under lid” works too…it  just sounds weird (or is that just me?).  But nonetheless that’s what this post is all about!  I was inspired by this picture from thebeautydepartment.com (If you aren’t familiar with thebeautydepartment blog, check it out!  It’s Lauren Conrad’s and it’s full of all things beauty related.  If you are on Pintrest you’ve probably seen pictures from this blog at some point.  They are everywhere! ):

Who knew dressing up your under lid could be so pretty?!  I love the “extreme” version of this look, and despite the name I think it can be very wearable.  Color blocking has been popular in all aspects of fashion (hair, nails, clothes etc.) for a while and this is a great example of how it applies to makeup.  Not only does color blocking look great, it’s also super easy to do! 

The pastel purple and blue in the picture look amazing with the model’s brown eyes, but use any colors you like to complement your eye color!  To keep the look wearable keep the rest of the face and lips neutral and let the eyes do the talking!

my version…

For this look I wanted to stick with more pastel shades instead of bright or dark colors because I like how fresh it looks.  I chose to go for a pink on top and a peach underneath.  Since the look is all about the under lid, make sure you bring the color down pretty far under the eyes to get the full effect.  I used colors from the Coastal Scents 88 palette to create my version.

For the cheeks all I used was a little bronzer through the back of the cheeks, and on my lips I used a little concealer and a nude lip liner in Toast by Maybelline.

It was that simple!

 Not sure what colors to use?  Try these coordinating colors in all different shades to complement your eye color!

This look makes me excited for spring!  I feel like I should be wearing a floral hippie skirt and v neck or something. Hurry up warmer weather!

For the love of beauty and new terminology that makes you giggle,
…Casey B

Monday, January 16, 2012

Leighton Meester 2009 Emmys

While browsing the internet I stumbled across this old (it’s from 2009…is that old?...) picture of Leighton Meester at the 2009 Emmys.

She’s wearing a nice bronzy eye with a shiny ruby red lip, and she really looks amazing!  I think this look is classically beautiful and would be a great go-to look for any special occasion (just a heads up, Valentine’s Day is right around the corner!).  This makeup look isn’t complicated and it doesn’t require many products, so everyone give it a try!  Plust check out the pictures of the end and see just how versitle this look really is!

my version…

What did I use?
  • Bronze base (optional- MAC Paint Pot in Indianwood)
  • Bronze shadow with a little shimmer (lid and lower lash line- Bronze by MAC )
  • Matte soft brown shadow (blended through the crease- Bamboo by MAC)
  • A shadow that matches your skin tone (brow highlight-I used my actual face powder instead of shadow)
  • Black eyeliner pencil (for your water line, and tight line)
  • Black mascara (top and bottom lashes)
  • Individual lashes (outside corner- I skipped this step but it looks like Leighton is wearing them)
TIP for blue eyes:  Choose a bronze shade with more of an orangy undertone to really make your blue eyes POP!

  • Leighton skin looks 100% flawless so I decided to use a full coverage foundation
  • Bronzer (to contour the cheeks a little- Soliel Tan de Chanel)
  • Peach blush (apples of the cheeks and swept back towards the hair line- Peaches by MAC )
  • Highlighter (along the tops of the cheek bones- Silverdusk by MAC )
  • Red lip liner (line and fill in lips-Wine by Love My Lips)
  • Ruby red lipstick (I used a color from the Coastal Scents 32 Lip Palette) 
  • Red gloss (applied straight over liner- Revlon Colorburst Lipgloss in 160 Firecracker)

What to dress this up even more?
·         Add corner or full strip of lashes
·         A little bronze glitter never hurt anyone! (I love MAC’s Reflects Antique Gold)
·         Use a darker lip color
·         Add a black winged out liner along the top lash line

What to tone it down a bit?
·         Use a lip stain instead of a lipstick and gloss.  You can even just use a lip liner to fill in your lip and top it with a little chapstick.
·         Loose the red lips all together and go for a natural lip.
·         Use a lighter coverage foundation so that your skin peeks through a little more.

Here are few variations of this look you might aslo like...

Toned down

Smokey-er version
darker lips
a little less smokey version with a pink lip = perfect for summer!
Change it up, play it up, and make it your own!

For the love of beauty and easy makeup,
…Casey B

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Who's That Chick?

Have you seen Rihanna’s “Who’s That Chick” music video?! Let me be honest…I’d never seen it until now.  I love Ri-Ri...not sure how I missed this one.  I just so happen to come across a picture of her with this really fun bright makeup look, turns out it’s from this music video!  Not sure how the song is really, but her makeup is FAB.  Here are a few stills from the video so you can check out the look:

How fun is that?!  I love this look.   Is it wearable?  Um…probably not, but you could possible do a toned down version and wear it for a fun night out.  I just thought it would be really fun to recreate this yellow and brown cut crease look.   So let’s kick it!

my version of the look…

What did I use?

  • Brown eyeliner (to define the crease and blended out)
  • NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in Milk (on the lid-as a white base for the yellow)
  • Yellow eyeshadow (for the lid- Inglot shadow in 103R)
  • Brown eyeshadow (above your natural crease- Espresso by MAC)
  • Teal eyeshadow (lower lash line- Inglot 104R)
  • black eyeliner (Loreal Lineur Intense liquid liner)
  • lashes
NOTE: Since this is a cut crease look, don't blend the yellow and brown together.  Make it as sharpe of a line as you can.  Also with the brown pencil and shadow you want to place it above your natural crease and bring it all the way into your inner corner.  So dramatic and fun!!


  • Hot pink blush...and lots of it! (on top of the cheek bones- Pink Swoon by MAC)


  • Magenta lipliner by MAC
  • Dolly Pink gloss by NYX

Even though I look nothing like Rihanna (but maybe the makeup does?), I hope you enjoyed this “just because” post!

For the love of beauty and playing in my makeup,
…Casey B

Monday, January 9, 2012

Winter Skin Care Tips

The winter months are definitely no fun when it comes to skin care.  Have you ever tried covering dry, flakey skin with makeup?  It’s virtually impossible, right?!  Regardless of how long I spend trying to camouflage dry, irritated skin with makeup…it only seems to emphasize the areas when it’s all said and done.  Great.

So what’s the moral of this story?  Take care of your skin and prevent dry skin at all cost!  I’ve compiled 10 products and tips I use in the winter months to keep my skin look fresh and hydrated. 

Let me also point out that I am not a licensed esthetician or a dermatologist.  This post is purely based what works for me.  If you’ve tried everything and still can’t seem to tame your skin, you can always seek professional advice.  If you live in the Columbia, SC area and are looking for an esthetician, I’d recommend Marci Delaney at m.d. Skin.  She’s amazing!  Make sure you like her facebook page so you can stay up to date on what specials she’s currently running.  Also, check out her website (themdskin.com) for full details on all the services she offers and to book your appointment.  If you make it in there tell her Casey sent you!

Now for the tips!

1.  Use a gentle cleanser

You should always use a gentle face wash regardless of the season, even more so if your skin is already irritated.  I love Cetaphil's Gentle Skin Cleanser as my everyday cleanser because it is so gentle and never dries my skin out.  It's around $12.00 at your local drug store.   

2.  Exfoliate regularly

I found these neat little disposable facial sponges at CVS for about $4.00 and they are awesome!  They have cleanser already on them, but I rinse them under warm water then apply my Cetaphil instead.  You should exfoliate on a regular basis, especially if you have dry flaky skin to help rejuvenate your skin.  How often you exfoliate depends on our skin, so start out 2 or 3 times a week and work up from there.  Check out this post to see what my favorite exfoliating product!

3.  Moisturize morning & night
I use my Kiehl's moisturizer ($16-35 at kiehls.com) in the morning under my makeup and at night if I don't have any dry patches. If I do have dry patches that's where my Cetaphil lotion comes in ($15 at your local drug store).  Cetaphil does make a facial moisturizer, but I've never tried it.  I accidently bought this lotion because I thought it was the cleanser (the packaging looks exactly the same, so be careful!) and I'm happy I did.  I use this as lotion for my body AND I spot treat dry areas on my face with it at night.  I just dab a little on the area I need and it's worked great for me!

4.  Eye cream
I love trying new eye creams, and this is my current favorite.  It's Kiehl's Creamy Eye Treatment with avocado ($27, kiehls.com).  It's super thick and creamy, but soaks in quick enough if you should need to apply it before applying makeup.  Remember never pull or tug on the skin around your eye, just pat eye creams with your ring finger.  We want to prevent wrinkles, not create them!

5.  Use toners without alcohol

LOVE this product, more about it here

6.  Exfoliate your lips

This video has a couple ways for you to take care of your lips this winter.  Just like we don't want dry flakey skin under our foundation, we need to keep our lips nice and smooth as well!  I bright lip never looks good if it's not nice and smooth!

7.  Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Swivel Stick (my favorite little secret)

For less than $5.00 this is my little miracle in stick form.  I keep it in my work bag for a hydrating touchups throughout the day. I just rub my finger on it and dab it onto dry patches if they start to become more noticeable.  It hydrates the dry skin without causing the skin to look shiny or greasy.  You'll never even know it's there!  It works great for dry lips too!   

8.  Use liquid foundations

Use any liquid foundation you like and skip the creams, powder, or mineral foundations.  I really like MAC's Face and Body foundation because it's water based and glides over dry skin perfectly.  ($32.50 at MACcosmetics.com)

9.  Skip powder

Skip powder all together if you can, as to not emphasize any dry areas.  If you need to powder, powder down the center of the face only to prevent from looking oily.

10.  Facial Mist

I love spritzing my face throughout the day for a quick pick me up.  It's so refreshing! There are tons of different ones to choose from, you can even put some water in a spray bottle and it will work just as well.  It's perfect for counteracting the drying effect the heat in your home or office can  have on your skin.

What do you do to keep your skin nice and fresh all winter long?!  Let me know, I’m always interested in new products or tips!

For the love of beauty and hydrated skin,
…Casey B

Saturday, January 7, 2012

To Hire or Not to Hire? Part 2: The Comparisons

This is Part 2 of my “To Hire or Not To Hire?” post.  If you’re a bride-to-be trying to decide what to do about your makeup on your wedding day, read Part 1 to help you with your decision!

Now for the fun part!  I asked 4 ladies to take part in this, here’s what I asked them to do: 

  1. Pretend like you’re getting married.  Think about the overall makeup look you would want, and then do it using your own makeup products.  Do everything as if you were about to walk down the aisle to say “I do.”  (this will be the first set of pictures)

  1. Next I’ll recreate their bridal makeup look for them keeping in mind the type of look they want.  I’ll also be doing everything I would normally do for my bridal clients!  (this will be the second set of pictures)
Price Comparison (included with the pictures below):
If a bride-to-be chooses to do her own makeup, she will more than likely go out and purchase new makeup products to create the look.  So I decided to include some price comparisons!  Here are the 3 prices we’ll be comparing:

  1. The total product cost for the bridal look they created using their own personal products (estimated)
  2. The total product cost for the look I created for them using my kit.  This cost is going to reflect how expensive buying makeup for your big day can actually be, especially when you are purchasing good quality products (which you want for your big day!).  (This is also estimated.  I'm using the same number for all ladies since the makeup process is virtually the same except for color choices and formula.)
  3. The starting fee for what I charge for my bridal clients.  (NOTE: this is a starting fee because not all brides’ needs are the same.  Also this is what I charge.  Other makeup artist could charge more or less, just depends.)
I’m hoping these comparisons show that it can be more cost effective then you think to hire a professional makeup artist for your big day!  It's definitely cheaper then going out and buying the products a professional will be using. Besides, it’s your wedding day!  Who doesn't want one less thing to stress about that day?

Keep in mind…
It’s important to think about the products a makeup artist will use on you that if you purchased yourself, you would probably only use on your wedding day (depending on your daily makeup habits).  Products such as primers, setting sprays, color correctors, multiple foundation shades etc.  These products are what take your makeup to the next level and make you look extra beautiful and special for your whole wedding day,  but spending the money on them for a one time use…most brides-to-be will skip. 

Ok, ok that’s a enough jibber-jabber.  Let’s look at some pictures!
**I also asked each lady some fun questions for you to get to know them a little bit!**

Meet Ashley!  Here's her before...


Name: Ashley
Married?: No
Would do your own makeup for your wedding day?: I could, but probably not. 
On a scale of 1-10, rate your comfort level with makeup: 7 (In my opinion, that number should be higher!)
How would you want to look on your big day?: "I want my eyes to reflect my main color in my wedding.  Plum and smokey eye."

and after...

Price Comparison: 
1. Ashley's product cost = $90
2. My total product cost = $400
3. Professional MUA cost = $150

Meet Kelly!  Before...

Name: Kelly 
Married?: No
Would do your own makeup for your wedding day?: Nope.
On a scale of 1-10, rate your comfort level with makeup: 3 
How would you want to look on your big day?: "Fresh and shows off my blue eyes."

and after...

Price Comparison: 
1. Kelly's product cost = $80
2. My total product cost = $400
3. Professional MUA cost = $150

Meet Ashley!  Before...

Name: Ashley (my cousin!)
Married?: Yes
Would do your own makeup for your wedding day?: Nope, Makeup by Casey B did my makeup! (That's me!)
On a scale of 1-10, rate your comfort level with makeup: 5
How would you want to look on your big day?: "Naturally classic with eyes that stand out."

and after...

Price Comparison: 
1. Ashley's product cost = $75-100
2. My total product cost = $400
3. Professional MUA cost = $150

Meet Jessica!  Before...

Name: Jessica (See any resemblance?  Yep, she's my sister!)
Married?: Yes
Would do your own makeup for your wedding day?: Yep, I did my own! 
On a scale of 1-10, rate your comfort level with makeup: 9
How would you want to look on your big day?: "Classic beauty with dramatic eyes."

and after...

Price Comparison: 
1. Jesi's product cost = $150
2. My total product cost = $400
3. Professional MUA cost = $150

Yay!!  That's it!!

If you are currently planning your dream wedding, I hope you found these two post beneficial and informative!  For all the brides to be out there, just do me one lil favor...put some thought into your makeup, regardless of who's applying it.  You'll be happy you did!

Other wedding related dates makeup will be important?  Your bridal portraits and even engagement pictures!

Here's a little rule of thumb: If you are having your hair done, you should be thinking about having your makeup done!  Or at least putting a little extra thought into it.  That goes for any event: weddings, proms, pageants, pictures, photo shoot...anything!

If you have any questions, comments, or post ideas let me know!  You can comment here or on my facebook page.  I’d love to hear from ya!

For the love of beauty and wedding planning,
...Casey B

THANK YOU Ashley, Kelly, Ashley, and Jesi for letting me borrow your faces and being such good sports! Love you guys!