Saturday, September 19, 2009

Halloween Looks

The first of Gloss Spot's Spo0ky Series for Halloween: Amy Winehouse
My interpretation for Halloween (ignore the fact that the piercing is on the wrong side):Complete with missing tooth...Watch my video for the full tutorial:

Friday, September 18, 2009

Tube-ular!

Do any of you have a YouTube account?

I started watching YouTube videos on style, makeup and fashion (and the occasional 'cat stuck to curtains' vid) religiously about 6 months ago..I think it has become one of the most useful outlets for finding trends, how-to's and just general information on what's out there in the world of style and makeup (among other things).

I highly recommend signing up for a YouTube account. In my opinion one of the most useful ways to utilize YouTube is to subscribe to channels associated with your topic of choice, and then sit back and watch as your YouTube home page fills up with current videos from your favorite channels. You'll always be in the know on current trends and makeup techniques - if that's what interests you.

YouTube is especially helpful for tutorials. Makeup gurus film as they apply makeup, or discuss techniques, making it really easy to follow along and learn new techniques, or brush up on basic skills.

If you're stumped, check out Generator Land as inspiration for a YouTube account name...

Check out the Screen Name generator for a formulatic YouTube account name...I got "BankRuptWigWag10" which is surprisingly accurate.

Horse Name generator is a good one too (no disrespect).

Some great channels to subscribe to:

Style.com
Grazia magazine
MAC cosmetics
Sephora
Pixiwoo

Happy YouTube'ing!

MAC's Style Black Video

Amazing

Friday, September 11, 2009

Where'd your eyebrows go, MK?


What do you think about this editorial trend?

Karen Kay's theory on non-brow trend:

When times are tough, fashion frequently turns to more non-conformist looks in an attempt to plug into the edgy, unnerving tenor of the times. (There is a reason that the punk look took off in the Seventies, amid the strikes and doom and gloom of the decade.)

Some of those who have already followed this trend have suggested it is, one described it, 'an optimistic, idealistic statement' which is somehow unifying because it renders men and women more asexual.

Is that gold leaf on your cheek, or are you just happy to see me?

A friend suggested this timely blog topic to me: how and when to wear metallic makeup and bronzer. It's (almost) fall, does that mean shimmers and bronzers should be put away? No, I'd argue the opposite actually. Cooler weather is the best time to debut shimmers and warm colours because our skin tones need more oomph now, than in the summer when we're naturally getting more colour. But as the title of this post implies, too much shimmer and shine is just that, too much.
I think we've all battled the 'how much bronzer is too much bronzer' dilemna at one point or another (Catherine, that's too much).

You can eliminate that worry altogether by using a matte bronzer 365 days out of the year. Like Bobbi Brown, I truly believe that everyone can benefit from a bit of warmth on the cheekbones, bridge of the nose and temples. Bobbi Brown is an advocate of bronzer as it gives more depth to the skin and counteracts sallowness. The trick is to find a matte colour that suits your skin tone. Fair skin tones can use apricot or pink based bronzers; medium/olive skin tones can use a neutral bronze (no orange); and deep skin tones can use blue based bronzers or red based bronzers depending on the tone. Use powders for more intensity and for normal to oily skin; use liquids and gels for sheerness and for normal or dry skin. Limit sparkle to tops of cheek bones, use matte every where else - especially in photography.
Don't assume all bronzers are the same: orange, sparkly messes no more! There's a formulation for everyone.

Moving beyond the basics of bronzer, we have metallic makeup: how not to look like the tin man.
Metallic is always a big trend in the fall and winter, and unlike other trends a la mode (black lipstick, anyone?) everyone can participate. There is a metallic for every skin tone: warm bronze, gold, cool silver and peuter, metallic colours, metallic neutrals, the list goes on.

The most fool proof way to do metallic is to focus on the eyes and keep cheeks and mouth neutral. Bronzer and metallic eyeshadow can be worn together, as long as the bronzer is matte or you have a light hand with it. Metallic eye shadows lend themselves nicely to smokey eyes, and because metallics mimic neutrals it's one of the best ways to try out a dramatic eye, minus the headache of black shadow.

  • Metallics come in many forms too: another nice way to try the trend is to apply a metallic eyeliner pencil on the lower lid and lash line, then apply mascara.
  • For a smokey eye, try a cream eyeshadow, like Bobbi Brown's Metallic Long Wear Eyeshadow, to easily control how sheer or dramatic you want to go.
  • I think metallic eyeshadow looks best with soft eyeliner (smudged with your finger or a brush) or no liner at all and just a few coats of mascara - harsh liquid liner ruins the soft effect of metallic shadow.
  • Metallics are harder to wear in the summer because of the bright light outdoors which highlights any shimmer - Fall and Winter months are better suited to sparkle, especially around the holidays!
  • A really fun makeup look is to dust gold pigment on the tips of eyelashes for a flirty going-out look.
  • An alternative to the above look is to dust metallic pigment on just the tops of eyelashes: do this by lightly pressing pigment on lashes while eye is closed. (Remember to sweep away fall out from under eyes - it can get messy)
Here are some metallic and bronze looks to inspire you for this Fall and Winter (pics from beautybible.com):

(I think I'll do a YouTube tut on this look, love it!)


Thursday, September 3, 2009

What Makeup Brushes Should I Use?

If you have asked yourself this question before, then this article is for you!

In my opinion there are two schools of thought when it comes to makeup brushes and which ones to use on a daily basis: The first include collectors who want to use a different brush for every step of their makeup application; and the second are the people who are comfortable using their fingers for liquid and cream makeup, but use brushes for powder makeup. I am definitely a member of the second group; I use my hands AND brushes on a daily basis. I don't think either group is more right than the other - it all depends on the individual and what they are trying to accomplish makeup wise.

Personally, I know that I won't take the time to wash my brushes after each use. So I like using my hands for products that are more likely to harbour bacteria (such as liquid foundation, concealer, etc.) because obviously I'll be washing my hands more frequently than I would wash brushes. Also, I tend to prefer sleeping in for an extra 10 minutes, as opposed to spending that time blending makeup in with brushes. In my opinion brushes force you to be much more detail oriented - which has it's time and place! - but not at 7am when I'm running out the door. Lastly, the heat from my hands always gives me a more natural foundation application than using a brush to apply it.

Whereas, makeup artists obviously prefer using brushes for all steps of makeup application on their clients for hygenic reasons. In general, MA's also take the time for blending with brushes, and unlike hands, brushes can create more of a polished look than just using hands.

Although I like using my hands for makeup application, hands do not replace all makeup brushes. Brushes absolutely have their purpose and in general provide much more accuracy than fingers and hands can. So, I've research some new techniques using makeup brushes and compiled a list that I think every makeup aficionado should have.

If you're just starting out with makeup and you're not sure what brushes are essential, then check out my previous post on basic makeup tools. That post may also be helpful for people who are looking to simplify their makeup routines and bring their kits back to basics.

One of the strangest/newest trends I've seen in makeup brushes is the use of fluffy brushes to apply liquids and creams. The idea behind this takes it's inspiration from fine art painting, where artists use fluffy brushes to blend and soften oil paints. Now in makeup, fluffy eyeshadow brushes are used to blend concealer; blush brushes are used to apply liquid and cream blush instead of just powder; and stippling brushes (those skunk-like flat topped brushes, like the 187 at MAC) apply liquid foundation creating an airbrushed effect. The first time I saw a MAC MA apply concealer with a 224 (a tapered blender made for eyeshadow) I thought it was a mistake because it was her first day on the job and she didn't know what she was doing - apparently, I'm out of the loop.

So, keeping in mind that makeup brushes can be used for any part of the face and don't have to be limited to their 'intended' use, here is my list of recommended brush types:

**All of my brush examples will be MAC, because they have the largest selection of brushes online with pictures and pricing available. I'm not necessarily recommending them or saying to go out and buy them, they're just a reference point**

1. Foundation:
Decide whether you want to apply your liquid foundation with your hands, or if you'd be more comfortable using a brush. If you decide you're a brush kind of gal (or guy) then decide if you want to lay the product down (for heavier coverage) or if you want to buff it on (lighter coverage).

To lay down foundation - heavier coverage - use a flat paddle brush, like MAC's 190.

To buff on foundation - lighter coverage - use a stipple brush, like MAC's 188.

For powder minderal foundation - use a kabuki brush, like MAC's 182.

2. Powder:
Ideally you'll have two separate powder brushes; one for setting powder, and one for bronzer. This way you always get a clean application of either product.

For a light dusting of powder, the bigger the brush, the better. This way the product is dispersed evenly over a larger surface area - like MAC's 132.
OR
If you feel you need more coverage, OR you only want to apply powder on certain areas (like your T-zone) then opt for a smaller powder brush - like MAC's 109.

For bronzer a great brush to look for is a large angled powder brush - like MAC's 168.

3. Blush:
Whether you use cream or powder blushes, a round fluffy brush is perfect. Get two if you think you'll be using cream one day and powder the other (or just use your hands for the cream) - like MAC's 116.

4. Concealer: (or use your hands)
A firm, flat synthetic brush is ideal for covering blemishes and spots. The synthetic brushes are easy to clean which is essential for people with blemish prone skin - MAC's 195.

A fluffy eyeshadow brush can do double duty and provide an airbrushed look for covering under eye circles and other shadowy spots on your face. Just make sure you keep one devoted to concealer so you don't end up with traces of eyeshadow - MAC's 224.

5. Eyes:
I think makeup brushes in the eyeshadow section can be the most elluding for people because it's hard to say what brushes you'll need if you plan on doing different looks. So, I break them into two different types (similarly to the types of foundation brushes mentioned above) the first is for laying colour down, and the second is blending. You will need both types of brushes to create any number of looks, this combination is limitless.

x2 To lay colour down on the eyelid you'll look for a brush (preferably a few of these) that is dense and rounded, so you can get into the inner corner and crease - MAC's 242.

To blend eyeshadows after they've been roughly applied with a shader brush look for brushes that are soft and fluffy without making everything messy. You'll want to get a couple of each so you're not constantly cleaning brushes in the middle of application. Also, a great tip for beautiful blending is to blend with a clean brush that doesn't have any eyeshadow on it. This method yields the best results, even if it seems a bit obsessive.

A tapered, fluffy brush for blending out the crease - MAC's 226.

x2 A general blending brush (or 2) to soften the crease and shadow on the lid - MAC's 239

A dense, small brush for blending eyeliner pencil and on the lower lid - MAC's 219.

A brow brush to help define brows, use with eyeshadow that matches your brows - MAC's 208.

An eyeliner brush that can be used with gel liner or eyeshadow to create subtle or dramatic eyeliner looks - MAC's 266.

As far as pricing versus quality goes, I think in general the more you pay for brushes the better the quality will be - MAC's brushes are the best on the market, if you ask me. The downside? If you were to purchase all of the brushes I mentioned above, you'd have enough for first and last month's rent probably. But they will last a lifetime if you clean them regularly and store them properly.

There are many different brands that all have at least one 'star' brush in their line, whether it's $1.99 at the drugstore, or $12 from The Body Shop. Above all, just make sure you test it out before purchasing. A great way to test the quality of the brush is to lightly pull at the bristles (the display brush) and see if any bristles fall out easily; then run the brush on the back of your wrist, if it's scratchy then ditch it, if it's soft, then generally speaking it'll be good for blending.