Brows maketh the face

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When I look back on my high school years, I think of all those hairs I tweezed out of my eyebrows that I’ll never see again. In my adolescent years (and very likely in your adolescent years, unless you are around 20) THIN & SHARP are the words that come to mind when we imagine the perfect brow. How far we have come in the past decade – over tweezing is out, patches be gone and the perfect brow is thick and neat. If I walk around my local shopping centre, I don’t think I see anybody under the age of 25 with thin brows. Of course, this isn’t always a good thing – like any trend, some people just take it TOO FAR.

Anastasia Beverly Hills can be credited with some of the biggest improvements in the brow game with her pencils and powders. If you want to improve your brow look, read on…

(Disclaimer: I haven’t talked about concealer or eyebrow brushes – consider this a beginners guide to eyebrows)

Pencil

perfect-brow-pencil

If you are new to getting your eyebrows on fleek, or want something low-fuss, this stuff is THE SH*T. Easy and quick to use, huge range of colours and completely natural finish. You can buy it direct from the Anastasia Beverly Hills site, or from Sephora Aus.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Perfect Brow Pencil
RRP: $26.00 (USD) / $42.00
Stockists: Anastasia Beverly Hills / Sephora 

Powder

smashbox-powder

Anybody who watches Cammy on Snapchat [she’s an eyebrow queen from LA / find her @blossombeautylo] knows that the secret to a completely natural brow is the ombre finish at the start of the brow. For a long time I only used powder, but I find the ABH pencil is quicker and more precise than this powder. If you have unruly brows, the wax in this set is useful. Unfortunately, I think this powder is either on it’s way out or just isn’t worthy of being in Australia. Keep your eyes peeled if you’re overseas.

Smashbox Brow Tech
RRP: $26.00 (USD)
Stockists: www.sephora.com

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It is completely annoying to read recommendations of products not available in Australia, so I’ll include a product that you most definitely can find locally. Benefit has really upped their brow range this year and although I’m satisfied with my current tools, I think they are worth checking out if you are keen to find a decent product at your local department store. Powder and wax combo that has 6 shades.

Benefit Brow Zings
RRP: $55.00
Stockist: Myer 

Gel

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If you were not naturally blessed with a lot of hair in your brow, but have a decent shape and want to thicken up your look, use a gel to add some fake hair. This will help even up any patches or thinness and will blend in effortlessly. If you fear any of these other products or think drawing it on is too much, this is the stuff for you.

Benefit 3D Browtones
RRP: $42.00
Stockist: Myer 

Cream

pomade

I admit this stuff is the scariest of the lot – the almighty pomade. It’s not a product I personally want to use, but the severe nature of the pomade just doesn’t suit me and nor do I have the patience for it. Keep in mind, I am olive skinned and have naturally dark brows (no $$$ spent on eyebrow tints for me), so I’ve found the pomade finish is just a bit too much for me. If you have some serious bald patches or are seriously faking it when it comes to your brows (i.e. you don’t have much hair there), this stuff is for you. You will need a stiff angled brush for this as well as a spare 10 or so minutes.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade
RRP: $18.00 (USD) / $32.00
Stockists: Anastasia Beverly Hills / Sephora 

Waxing, Tweezing and in between

My final warning to you is about what to do to care for your brows. You can have all the pomades and powders that Anastasia can think of, but they are useless to you if the base is hopeless. Only tweeze stray hairs, don’t even think about touching those long hairs your face has been growing for God knows how long! Find a decent brow technician, and find what suits you – tweezing, waxing or threading. Whatever you do, DO NOT go to a walk-in salon that does not specialise in brows – you will be butchered, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll never see those hairs return. You may be slaying in all other aspects, but rubbish brows will be your downfall. Go to someone who will see you as an ongoing client – save your walk-in waxing for arms and legs.

Remember, BROWS MAKETH YOUR FACE.

And if irritation occurs, discontinue use… 

Lock It In: Primers

Hello to you all on the interweb! Hoping you had a wonderful Easter long weekend – did your weekend feel like it was only 2 days, like mine? I hope you had plenty of chocolate and enjoyed some makeup adventures like I did!

So, the wedding season is fast approaching for me, which means long days and blending until my arms are numb. This also means I need to seriously consider all my options to really set my makeup and lock it in. Just a heads up that this will be part of a series of blog posts (primers, powders and sprays) – get excited!

STAGE 1: PRIMER
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Take this advice seriously – if you want a polished finish, and want your makeup to have maximum staying power – use a good primer. There are a lot on the market that target specific skin concerns, so choose wisely.

Smashbox

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My go-to primer for regular use – Smashbox Photo Finish (RRP $58/Mecca Maxima). They have a great range – hydrating, pore minimising, blemish control, colour correcting and SPF. Get a sample and see which, if any, suits you. If it doesn’t work for you, fear not – there are plenty of other brands.

Hourglass

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This is a much raved-about primer, and is a much simpler choice than the Smashbox range. Hourglass have two primers – oil-free ($83/$115) and an oil-filled serum ($104) – it’s not actually called oil-filled, obviously! They both come in a travel size ($29/$35). I have a little sample bottle that has been useful on many occasions – it is my go-to primer when I have a serious party/event.

Urban Decay

Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 10.31.01 am.pngI’m not a regular use of this primer, but that is related to allergies rather than the actual design of the product. This is an eyeshadow specific one – for a serious event, I will prime my face and then prime my eyes separately. I do think this is a really decent primer and for a while, I didn’t react to it, but sadly, now it’s out of my rotation. Easily sourced in Australia, available at Mecca ($33).

Soap & Glory

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I know it’s highly irritating to read about products that aren’t available in Aus – but for those curious as to what I’m using regularly on my eyes, this is the one. I love most things Soap & Glory, and this primer makes me happy. Being the hoarder I am, I buy this in bulk when in the UK (£8/Boots UK).

Face of Australia

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Although I don’t recommend this for party makeup, if you are new to the primer market and want to try something that isn’t going to cost you a lot, I think this stuff fits the bill. I recommend trying it out on a workday to just get a feel for it ($12.95/Priceline).

Laura Mercier

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I have to finish with my favourite. This stuff is THE SHIZ. The staff at the DJ’s Laura Mercier counter will ignore you and act all bothered that you wanted help – so just go it alone. Try all the different types – trust in me and all the YouTube bloggers that bang on about this stuff. There are a wide variety of formulas – radiance, oil-free, hydrating, bronzer, SPF and mineral. I’m not entirely sure what the difference is between say, the hydrating and mineral – let me know if you have the answer. My choice in this range is the Radiance – I bloody love to glow ($50/David Jones).

Make Up For Ever released a range of primers for different skin concerns about 12 months ago and obviously I rushed out and bought it immediately. I had huge hopes but I didn’t feel they lived up to the hype. They don’t make my list of recommended products, but check them out if you are in Sephora sometime.

My final comment on the use of primers is that I don’t think it can truly replace a good moisturiser – so moisturise first, let that set and then slap on your primer. They claim to be a moisturiser replacement but that’s a no from me.

And as always, if irritation occurs, discontinue use… 

The US Wishlist: Palettes

So, for those who know my history of beauty loves will know that I am a long-time lover of palettes. One of the first makeup products I ever got as a teenager was an eyeshadow palette from an older, and therefore glamorous cousin. It provided me with hours of fun, and I have never moved on from my palette love. Fast forward over a decade, and Urban Decay introduced their Naked palette, which I think totally transformed the palette market. For so long, palettes were too cheap and nasty to consider as real makeup, and instead were gifts given from older to younger cousins. The Naked Palette began the incredibly competitive market of nude-themed palettes which are still dominating the beauty market.

I’ve picked up the Naked and Naked 2 palettes in previous travels, and am keen to add to my palette collection on my upcoming US trip next month. Unfortunately for my budget, there are many palettes that I want to purchase, and have resisted buying in the 6 months leading up to my trip.

Image The NARSissist Eye Palette
Incredibly expensive here in Aus (around $AUD139 when I last spotted it advertised – which I can’t confirm at the time of writing), and is quite obviously a luxe product. I’m keen to swatch this in store – if there is any on my list I can live without, it’s probably this one. It’s also the most expensive ($US79) on this list, so needs more thought.

Image Urban Decay Naked 3
I am pretty sure I could live without this – I have the first and second one, and was never particularly fussed on the second one. I absolutely adore the first one, think it suits my skin tone, allows for plenty of eye looks and I still have plenty of product. However, I’m a sucker for marketing and frankly, I suffer from FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). I know I probably don’t need it… but I don’t wanna miss out ($US54).

ImageToo Faced Chocolate Bar
I’ve only tried one other Too Faced product, which was the eye primer “Shadow Insurance”. I had a significant allergic reaction to it, my eyes puffed up like crazy, and I ended up having to give it away. This made it really hard to trust the brand, even though I know it was an ingredient in the primer solution, rather than the brand itself. The Chocolate Bar palette looks right up my alley with its gorgeous golden shades and chocolate-y brown shadows. I had a “Treat Yoself” day recently, and was committed to purchasing it locally at Mecca Maxima – it’s completely sold out until May. I can wait one more month and pay US prices ($US49), thanks.

LORAC-PRO-Palette

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lorac Pro 


This is the one I’m most intrigued in – I have no idea where or even if one can source this in Australia at all, so it’s definitely worthy of US investigation. It’s $US42 (for 16 shadows) which brings it in as the cheapest out of these 5 palettes.

Smashbox Full Exposure

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Smashbox Full Exposure

 

This is the one that is a definite on my list. I love Smashbox, I love the matte and shimmer mix, and the pricetag of $US49 isn’t horrifying. I loved the Masterclass 2 Palette, but there are a whole lot of colours in that, that I never ever use. I think this is a more practical upgrade, and one I’ve been interested in for quite a while.

So, that’s it from me for today. It’s a bit of a different post, as I’m really trying hard to avoid buying any new products, and instead trying to research and plan what I need to investigate and pick up in the US.

So you want to start a brush collection? (Just for fun)

As the title suggests, these are all your bonus brushes. This is by no means an exhaustive list – there are plenty of fun brushes you can add. These are more the brushes I recommend if you’ve got some extra coin, want to build your technique, or even better, someone wants to gift you some brushes (?!).

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Lipstick/Concealer Brush
The one pictured above is from The Body Shop range, and is marketed as a concealer and lip brush (and I do use it interchangeably). Perfect to really pack a lip product into your lips, and great to tidy up lip edges with a bit of foundation/concealer. I personally use my flat foundation brush to apply concealer (a tip I got from a MUA a few years ago), so now this brush is primarily used for any deep lip colours I may apply.
RRP: $14.95

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Lash Brush
Pictured above is the MAC 204 Lash Brush, which is really for illustration purposes; I don’t personally own the MAC version. Now this is used to tidy up brow hairs, and comb all the hairs into place. I have occasionally used it to tidy up any clumpy mascara, but this is extremely rare (I’m more inclined to use a tissue to clean up any clumps). Instead, I use this daily to get my brows into order. I don’t have unruly brows, but I have a few hairs that don’t like to stick with the pack – I can’t really notice them, but I can really notice the difference when I use this to brush through the hairs. Plenty of eyebrow pencils come with this included (Chanel does one with it included), but none of the eyebrow kits I use have ever included it. I have the Manicare Artiste Lash Brush (I’m not entirely sure, but I think it was <$15), which is a great dupe. As long as the brush is firm and strong, it will last. Plenty of companies have brushes they market as “Lash & Eyebrow Combs”, but they lie – this is a much better option; I personally find the combs useless.
RRP: $18.00 (for the MAC 204 Lash Brush)

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Angled Brush
This brush came in my original MAC Face Brush set (that I’ve mentioned before), and was pretty unloved for a long time. I used it very occasionally to apply some darker outer corner eyeshadow, but really, it didn’t get much attention. I still use it if I’m ever tempted to do a shadow liner, but again, this is quite rare. My daily use for this however is to apply some light colour through my brows. I use a powder brow kit from Smashbox, and this brush does almost all the work. Before I used the Smashbox pot, I used a $2 Innoxa dark brown eye shadow that I dug out of a bargain bin – and the brush still worked its magic. I love it so much for my eyebrows that it doesn’t get used for shadows anymore, but it can definitely be utilised as a fun additional brush in a kit.
RRP: $37.00 (for the MAC 263 Small Angle Brush)

So, that is it for my brush collection posts – for the time being! Thanks for reading along, and for the feedback provided (whether it be privately or publicly on this blog). I hope it has been useful for anybody considering brushes, and if anybody has any recommendations, please comment below!