Brushes that beautify

I love makeup brushes.

I remember, being a little girl and wondering just how on earth celebrities got their makeup looking so amazing, and attempting to replicate their flawless eye makeup with my moms disposable, sponge, applicators. You know the ones I mean? The ones that still come with certain branded makeup. They are about as big as your thumb, and have a pathetic little sponge tip. I sometimes wish they would just completely re-think them, scrap 'em, and stick a mini mascara in there instead.

Brushes do make a massive difference to your makeup. Some particular looks can only be obtained with certain brushes, and some can be obtained with using just a few.

I have picked a few out of my kit, these are my personal favourites. As always, I am a creature of ( I wouldn't say habit, but..... ) ... well, if it ain't broke don't fix it mentality. In other words, these brushes work, so, I'm sticking with them.

So which ones do I love, and why?

Lets start with face brushes. Some of these I have had ever since I started my career, many have been added to the brush belt family in time.

I have found MAC and Bobbi Brown the best. Also, Nars.

I wouldn't say all the brushes from each of these companies are, in my personal opinion, fantastic. Some of them I have, and I wouldn't replace if they went missing. But the following, if I ever misplace, or if they somehow re-house themselves in a makeup draw without consulting me first, leaving me in a panic, I would have to go out and re-purchase. Immediately.

MAC #130
One of my all time fave's. What can't you do with this brush? I love it. Its great at 'buffing' products into the skin. So instead of leaving a full, obvious look of makeup. You are left with flawless, airbrushed makeup without the residue. It's fab. Its a popular brush amongst brides to be, who want the flawless skin, but don't want to see the makeup that is hiding any flaws.This brush is great if you find you powder has gone cakey. Just buff it away. Also great for applying cream blush to the cheeks. It is called a stipple brush. This brush is particularly handy if you have uneven skin texture, larger pores or acne, as stippling into the skin first creates the coverage, and helps balance texture and create a fuller, flawless coverage.
An absolute must for any of you out there who are on a mission for attainable, perfect skin.

Bobbi Brown Powder Brush.
Love this brush. Bobbi's brushes are so soft, they are gorgeous. This brush distributes just enough product on the skin without overloading. The shape also has benefits. It has a slightly 'domed' shape, which is perfect for a very soft, subtle contour. Great at giving a slight depth to cheekbones. I wouldn't recommend this brush if you were looking for a specific contour one, but it could double up as one in an emergency, but only for very soft contouring.

Nars buffing brush.
I have had this brush for, I would say, at least 10 years. I use it constantly and look how brand new it still looks. Perfect brush - my absolute favourite brush. Why? It makes my layers of, foundation, concealer, powder and bronzer, look natural, Now, any brush that can do that is pretty amazing. Wouldn't you agree?
Its great to buff bronzer on top of foundation. I hate a powdery look on my skin, unless that's the particular look I am going for. So, this brush is always on hand to buff down any naughty powder particles.

Bobbi Brown blusher brush.
Again, I love this brush as the hairs are so silky soft! This means little product is left on the face, so no clown looking blusher..........

MAC - #168 Brush.
My all time favourite blush/contouring brush.
I remember the first time I used this brush. It was like I had unearthed some kind of treasure, I was that excited. If you were not blessed with Kate Moss style cheekbones ( I certainly wasn't ) and you don't fancy cheek implants ( yes, these really do exist. Ouch ) then invest in one of these. I love, love, love this brush!
If you have amazing cheekbone-age, using this brush will accentuate them even more. If you don't, using this brush will give you the amazing cheekbone-age.
The sharp angle of the brush means more product is placed in a certain area, so gradual build up of colour is obtained.

MAC - #226 Brush.
Now I bought this from a limited collection line, so I am unsure if its still in circulation. It was this year, so it may be, and it may be available in the MAC Pro Store.....

I love this brush for deep crease definition, Its cone shaped, but still very soft. So it's great at building crease colour definition. I love this brush for bridal makeup. The shape of the brush creates great, even shape on the eyelids. Perfect if your bride feel's tired, or want's a soft defintion to her crease. The colour build's, without the intensity. So you don't need to buff after to soften.

MAC - #224 Brush.
I have lots of these. Its a staple in my kit. Great at diffusing colour. Buffing colour down if you have gone in too heavy handed. So great at rectifying mistakes. Also great if you are a fan of the very 'blown' out makeup.
I also love this brush to apply concealer to the face and under eye area. Buffs it in, for a barely there finish.

MAC - #217 Brush.
Another staple. Lots in my kit. I little bit firmer and shorter than the #224. Great for soft crease definition.
Great for smokey eye also.

MAC - #219 Brush.
Love this. A great brush for strong, crease cut eye makeup. Perfect for Asian bridal makeup where they like strong lines, and strong crease definition. Also great at smudging down eyeliner, for a more 'slept in'  look.

MAC - #266 Brush.
Great for applying eyeliner, the angle really helps create a nice 'cat flick' if you desire. Also fab for applying product to the brows. I've also been known ( when I cannot find my lip brush, or if it is covered in red lippy) to use it for lips. The angle is great for the cupids bow.

What are your favourite brushes? Which brands do you rate?
Let me know! I'm always on the look out for new little ones for the brush family.....


Cosmopolitan Beauty Blog Award - Best Newcomer

Hello lovely readers/viewers.

I saw this competition advertised a few weeks back and was too chicken, yes chicken, to go for it.
Which is just, well silly.

I put up a blog post the other day about women, their insecurities and how we should just believe in ourselves and go for our dreams, and I thought, hang on, that was my new years resolution this year. So here I am practicing what I preach, facing my fears head on, and doing it!

I would truly love if you would vote for me. I know it's late in the competition, but I would still appreciate it.
Please only vote if you really want to!

Thank you so much.

The 'invisible' generation

A while ago, my mom said to me, if I could design a makeup lesson for the 'more mature' women, or cater my skill, for the 'more mature' women, I could make a lot of money.

My mom is in her mid 50s. She hate's being hounded my beauty girls when she walks through department store's and she's very select with what product's she buys. She like's samples, good manner's and someone who will listen to what it is she actually want's, as a pose to just sticking a brown eyeshadow on her 'cus she has blue eyes.

Working in the beauty world, I completely understand where she is coming from.

Certain makeup brands do, possibly, without realising it, unintentionally cater towards the 'younger' generation. Yes, I would say, ALL makeup brands could cater for the more mature woman, but many don't advertise the fact they do.

For example, when you think of 'mature' women, make up shopping. Which brands come to mind? Channel? Estee Lauder?
When you think of the 'younger generation', which brands spring to mind? MAC? Urban Decay? Benefit?

All these brands have makeup for all age's, yet many women 50 plus would not feel comfortable going to a counter such as MAC or Benefit.

Ive asked a few, why?
The most common answers:

They talk to me like I'm a teenager, or an old lady. ie: Talk down to me
I believe they think because I am older I do not fit in, and couldn't possibly have any reason to be there.
In the past when I have approached these counters I have been made up so strongly, it has put me off.

I served a lovely lady the other day called Margaret. I would say she was late 50s, early sixties.
She was booked in for a make up application.

Now, because I have worked in the make up industry such a long time, I am confident in doing makeup on all ages.
She was very nervous to start, as she explained she had never, ever, had a make over done before. Her family had booked it for her birthday.
I instantly knew I would enjoy doing her makeup. Why? Because she appreciated the time I took asking questions. She was happy that I took an interest in what she already used and she 'felt comfortable in knowing that no question she asked was silly'.
She asked so many questions that I though I would do a 'mini-makeup' post for the more mature women.

Now, the most popular makeup for mature women, is very classic, polished and pulled together. They rarely like to look 'over done'.

I have found the following questions and queries are the most requested.

I want my skin to look plumped, youthful, fresh, natural and even, but not caked in make up.
I want my eyes to stand out, but not look overly done. I do not want to have to spend hours getting ready in the morning.
My eyes seem to be more 'sunk' than they used to be, and the skin of my lids hangs more, making my eyes look smaller.
My eyebrows are sparse.

Susan Sarandon. Looks absolutely incredible for 65. Natural Make up and colours that complement her skin and hair colouring.

The above, most requested concerns are easily addressed.
So here you are!

If you want your skin to appear more plumped than get the skincare in order. Many mature women have an idea of what suits their skin and what doesn't. This is another reason I love working with them, they know what works for them already. They know their mind, and are not afraid to speak it!
Layering your moisturisers is a great way to plump the skin. You can also add a little facial oil to your moisturiser or just to very dry, dehydrated ares. Just watch how much you apply, too much and you will look more greasy, than plumped up!

Sheer foundation look great on you skin. Even a concealer just buffed in where it is needed is also a great alternative. Fuller coverage,oil free and overly powdered makeup will accentuate fine lines, on any age skin and instantly make the skin look tired and lack- lustre.

Helen Mirren. 66 years old. I think her acting is just as fantastic as her good looks. She is stunning. Always look elegant.

Eyes - Ahh, I love this feature. Eyes tell a story. The lady I did earlier in the week, Margaret. Had stunning blue eyes. She never wore eyeshadow and she 'hated' eyeliner. In her words, it made her eyes look tired and small.....
Now, she explained that the skin on her eyelid was starting to hang and she felt it was making her look tired.
Again, less is more.
I used only one eye colour on Margaret. An orange under-toned, matte brown, which brought out the blue perfectly.
Margaret also commeted her eyelashes were sparse.
So wanting to make her eyes bigger and lashes looking fuller, I suggested an eyeliner.
She looked horrified. I adapted the eyeliner to her individuality and eye shape.
So, I pressed a chocolate brown colour into her top lashes only. I did one eye, The difference was amazing.
Her eyes looked more shaped, larger and her lashes thicker. All with one product. Don't underestimate the power of eyeliner. I used a gel one, as a pose to a pencil.

Matte eyeshadows are always more flattering as they do not reflect light, therefore do not enhance fine lines.

If you are worried about 'sunken eyes' the good old dark verses light trick is paramount. Dark recedes, light brings forward.
So use lighter colours as a base to 'pull' your eyes forward. Yoghurt/Ivory/Biscuit colors would be perfect.

Meryl Streep. Was always so pretty, still is. She has the best cheekbones in the business. I would love to work on this face.

As lashes thin, so do brows. I have found a soft eyeshadow, a little lighter than the hair colour, helps frame the face but also 'lift' the eye. See it as a mini eye lift. It works.

Lastly, lips. Usually, lips tend to get smaller with age. A very soft lipliner before lipstick is a great idea as it helps re-define the lip and give the illusion of fullness.
Lip glosses on top of lipsticks are a great way to really enhance the lip.

After I had completed Margarets makeup, she was so happy and she looked incredible.
In her words, she looked and felt like 'a new woman'

I love doing makeup for, as my mom would say, 'the invisible generation'. Less is so much more on you, and it takes the fewest product's to make the biggest difference.

Why not book yourself in for a make up lesson?


Confessions of a Makeup artist

Well I have a lovely day off from working today. Although saying I have a day off, doesn't really seem honest.
I'm always busy working towards something 'business' like. Today I gave myself a good talking to and had a lie in. After this I will make myself a nice, tasty lunch, before starting the work!

Today I'm feeling quite reflective, on many different levels.
I'm naturally an over thinker. I tend to over think or over analyze situation's.
The events of work the past week have left me 'analyzing' and 'reflecting' over quiet a few thing's, but the following have really stood out to me.

So many women are insecure, not only in how they look, but how they are perceived by others. Not only that, they are conscious of their future and how they will get there.

I have heard this past week, these following statements. All directed at me, or during a conversation with me.
'You always look amazing'
'I wish I had skin like you'
'I bet you love your job'
'I can't wait until I am old enough to have a life'

What I will say to this my lovelies is, never judge a book by it's cover. Truly. And in my experience, the people who seem the most 'pulled' together, usually have a lot going on!
Don't get me wrong, it's highly valued and greatly received when people see me like this. It's always nice to be greeted with a compliment.

But let me share my insecurities.
I do not always look amazing, at least I do not think it, nor do I feel it! I wake up many a morning and despair at what stares back at me in the bathroom mirror. Luckily I have a hoard of makeup and the know how to fix most complaints! Makeup is what looks amazing, if you saw me at 7am in the morning you would not think I looked amazing.
My skin is a mess. I thank God for makeup. I have had acne from the age of 12, and it seems to love me. We have a love hate relationship. In fact, I have become quite attached to it. When I have a ' clear face ' phase I start to panic. And without fail, a week later a few will pop up, just to say hello.
I had teenage acne and also awful adult acne in my early twenties. Now, late twenties ( well thirty actually ) it has calmed down, but clearly, it wants my love forever.

My job. Well, I could talk on this level forever, but really, I won't. It would just bore the socks off you.
I do love my job, as a Makeup artist. I love transforming faces, I love how a little makeup can lift a crushed spirit. There is nothing more satisfying to me, in my job, than a person who has tears in their eyes after I have done their makeup. Yes, this really happens. And, the all consuming, tear jerking hug I get afterwards.
' Thank you so much, you have made me so happy '
What competes with that? Those are the days I go home, encouraged and feeling worthwhile in the job I do.
I DO NOT however, enjoy working in retail. Yes I work for a big Makeup company.
I do not enjoy the abuse off customers, the awful, unsociable work hours, the fact I cannot pick and choose my holiday days as I have to work AROUND the store I work in, and for.
The fact I have to, as a Christian, work awful Christmas shifts which include Christmas eve till 8pm and Boxing day from 7am in the morning till 9 in the evening. Again, on the whole, to serve rude customers.

I am a freelance makeup artist, but as uncontrollable situations call, I have to work in a 'secure, regular' paying job also, for now, to bring regular money in. This is full-time and leaves little time for an actual life.
So on one hand, I love my job. I have without doubt, chosen the profession for me. On the other I hate where I am right now and I terribly wish I had a magic Harry Potter wand I could just wave and it would all be the way I would prefer.
On the days I get particularly down after work, I come home and dream of where I would like to be. These dreams usually consist of me, traveling the world, based somewhere in London.( my all time favourite place )
In these dreams, I make a lot of very important connections, and meet a lot of celebrities, who, naturally want me to be their personal makeup artist ( this is a dream, so it is on a large scale )

I sometimes wish I had really knuckled down to my career when I was a lot younger, and I had the money and time, so I could be where I would like to be now.
I sometimes wish I had believed in myself enough to go for the opportunities when I had the chance
I sometimes wish of a different life to what I have now.

But you know what? Everything I have had to do, to get me here is making me who I am today and preparing me for what lies ahead.
There is no guarantee that 'knuckling' down when I was younger would have made a difference. When certain situations arise, for which you are called to be selfless, when certain situations arise over which you have no control. These 'situations' change things.
I enjoyed my youth, there are always things you wish you could change. But the famous saying springs to mind:
' Life is not a rehearsal '
I can't go back and change it now.

I'm stronger than I was ten years ago, and I never give up. I'm a fighter!
Over the past ten years my makeup skills have exceeded what I ever thought possible.
I have learnt so much, not just about my job, but about life and people.

Don't wish your life away, don't hope to be ten years older than you are now, in the hope things will be easier, enjoy where you are now.
What are you going to get out of this day?
Never people watch and assume you know their life from how they look. Don't look at their 'physical shell' and wish for their life. You never know what their life is like.

Dream of your life, dream big!

We all have a story. And we are all aiming to write our own book.

Whats your story?


Competition time......

Well lovely followers/viewers, I have been promising a giveaway for a while, and seeing as I have had a flux of people following recently I thought now would be the perfect time.

Before we get to the goodies, I wanted to thank you all for the support, follows, views, and comments here. And to those who also follow me on twitter, thankyou for the follows and re-tweets.
It mean's a lot.

Since the Sanctuary BB Cream post was such a hit, I've decided to feature one of these beauties in the giveaway, along with:

Yes, a MAC product. Always a hit. I have one of these in my kit. It was a limited edition. I bought too many, so one lucky viewer will get a chance to have it and use it instead!
Its a great highlighter or frosted blusher. Beaut.

So want to hear to rules? Boring I know! But necessary!

To enter:
2) You need to follow me here, and on twitter. RT to your followers this competition link. ( 1 POINT FOR EACH )
3) You need to RT the following link. 
This is really important to me. Please read the link to see why. ( 2 POINTS FOR EACH RT. PER DAY. MAX 5 A DAY )
4) Tell me, here, why you think you should win these goodies ( 5 BONUS POINTS FOR BEST ANSWER )

Please, if you do RT, let me know with the link. Thank you.

That's it folk's!
This competition is open until the 25th of June 2012.
I will announce the winner here and on twitter.
The goodie's will be sent out to you within the week!

Good Luck.

RuthE cannot accept any responsibility for the products once they have been sent out.
Ie. Lost/damaged/late delivery/.
If any of the above ( unlikely, but possible ! ) occurs, no replacements will be sent out.