Archive - Makeup Tips/How To

10 Things You May Find Yourself Doing After Trying the MAC 109 Small Contour Brush for the Very First Time

Published in: MAC Makeup, Makeup Tips/How To, Makeup Tools, Product Reviews

MAC 109 Small Contour Brush

Behold! The mighty MAC 109 Small Contour Brush! ($35; lens flare not included)

  1. Standing in the spotlight on a massive stage in front of thousands of adoring fans, with your cheekbones contoured like WHOA! — as confetti, balloons and glitter rain down upon your glorious form
  2. Wondering how you ever lived without it
  3. Marveling at how perfectly the diminutive, rounded brush head fits into pans of MAC Eye Shadow singles and the hollows of your cheeks
  4. Contemplating how strange it is for you to want different 109s for bronzer, blush, another one for powders, highlighters, two more for foundations (one for liquids and another for creams, both of which it easily applies) and another one strictly for buffing…
  5. Considering time travel, specifically going back in time 10 years to gift yourself with a 109 and a pan of MAC Refined Golden, and while you’re there, reassuring yourself that you’re doing just fine, so keep up the good work
  6. Singing Debbie Gibson’s Only in My Dreams at the top of your lungs in the shower (using a bottle of shampoo as your microphone, of course) and yelling, “That was for you, 109!!” at the end of the song
  7. Blurting out, “Whoa there, cowgirl!” to no one in particular after you get a look at how many bristles it leaves on your face, because it sheds A LOT — more than any other MAC brush you’ve ever tried
  8. Questioning your sanity after spending $35 on a makeup brush, good or not, that sheds as much as the 109…
  9. Sighing with relief after washing and drying it for the first time, which dramatically cuts down on the future shedding
  10. Gushing to all your girlfriends and makeup-lovin’ guy friends about how great the 109 is, but also warning them about the shedding and suggesting that they give it a good washing beforehand

MAC 109 Small Contour Brush with 116 129

From the left for size: 109 Small Contour Brush, 116 Blush Brush and 129 Powder/Blush Brush

MAC 109 Small Contour Brush with shadow

The brush head perfectly fits into pans of MAC Eye Shadow singles as if it were designed for ‘em

MAC 109 Small Contour Brush in hand

PRICE: $35
AVAILABILITY: A permanent collection product available now at MAC counters, stores and also online
MAKEUP AND BEAUTY BLOG RATING: B+ (an A if it didn’t shed so much at first)

Pretty stoked about…

This purple cauliflower. :)

Stopped by the farmers’ market yesterday and picked it up on a whim.

Have you ever tasted one of these before? I haven’t, but I’m going to steam it and toss it in some lemon vinaigrette and capers tonight.

It’s supposed to be sweeter than regular cauliflower… We shall see!

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


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A Two-Brush Makeup Tutorial: An Easy Look With Golden Brown Eyes, Peach Cheeks and Coral Lips to Wear to Brunch, a Hot Date or the Office

Published in: Makeup Tips/How To

Two Brush Makeup Tutorial

T-minus two brushes to dazzling!

Guess who didn’t realize that she left all of her makeup brushes at home until she was two hours into a three-hour drive to Redding from the Bay Area last weekend?

Go on, guess. Her name starts with “K.”


Here’s a hint: she was supposed to be going to a fancy schmancy Mother’s Day brunch with her hub’s family.


Yup! Yours truly. So when we got into town I had El Hub take me to the nearest MAC counter to pick up some emergency supplies, namely a Veluxe Brow Liner in Deep Dark Brunette, a 224 Tapered Brush and a 109 Small Contour Brush.

Seeing as how I usually use at least half a dozen different brushes for most of my real-deal makeup looks, it was actually kind of fun seeing what I could do with just one eye brush and a face brush.

Didn’t turn out half bad! — so I thought I’d write it down. :)

A two-brush makeup tutorial for a Mother’s Day brunch-tested look with gold, brown and coral.

If you’re blazing through your makeup without a minute to spare and have to apply multiple products with the same brush…

  • Begin by applying the lightest products first
  • Quickly clean the brush head a bit between products, swiping it back and forth across a dry paper towel
  • Try to stick to products with similar formulas — powders with powders and creams with creams

You most definitely do not have to use these same brushes or products for something like this. If you don’t have anything here, swap it out for a product from your stash.

Two Brush Makeup Tutorial products

Products used in this look, clockwise from the pan in the lower left: Bobbi Brown Corrector in Peach (under-eye concealer), Bobbi Brown Stick Foundation in Honey, MAC Face & Body Foundation in C5, MAC Powerchrome Eye Pencil in Rich Glance (gold eye shadow stick), MAC Powerchrome Eye Pencil in Copper Strip (copper eye shadow stick), MAC Veluxe Brow Liner in Deep Dark Brunette, Dolce & Gabbana Smoky Eyeshadow Quad (gold and brown powder eye shadows), Dolce & Gabbana Instense Khol Eye Crayon in Graphite (liner), COVERGIRL Clump Crusher Mascara (black mascara), Guerlain Terra Nerolia Bronzer (matte bronzer), MAC Ripe For Love Blush (peach blush), Giorgio Armani Summer Collect Face & Eye Palette (highlighter), MAC Studio Careblends Pressed Powder in Medium Dark (face powder), MAC 224 Tapered Blending Brush (tapered eye brush) and MAC 109 Small Contour Brush (face brush)

Two Brush Makeup Tutorial

  1. Apply your foundation and concealer with your fingers
  2. Apply a base all over your lids with your shimmery copper eye shadow stick
  3. Blend! — with a finger
  4. Highlight the inner corners of your eyes with your shimmery light golden eye shadow stick
  5. Fill in your brows
  6. Load a tapered blending brush with face powder to set your under-eye concealer
  7. Sweep your shimmery golden powder eye shadow all over your lids with the same brush
  8. Blend your shimmery dark brown powder eye shadow into the outer corners of your eyes with the same brush
  9. Line your upper and lower water lines
  10. Coat your upper and lower lashes with mascara
  11. Cut down on the shine by loading your face brush with face powder and applying that to your forehead, nose and chin
  12. Sweep a matte bronzer below your cheekbones and around the edge of your face and jawline with the same brush for contouring
  13. With the same brush, apply a peach blush to the apples of your cheeks
  14. Still with the same brush, dust a peachy bronze highlighter on your upper cheeks
  15. Add a coral lipstick…
  16. Now give yourself a hand because you’re done! :)

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5 Tips to Step Up Your Eye Makeup Game: New on Gloss Daily

Published in: Makeup Tips/How To

Gloss Daily Secrets of the Eye Makeup Mavens: 5 Tips to Step Up Your Eye Makeup Game

I have a new post up over at the Ladies’ Home Journal beauty blog, Gloss Daily.

5 Tips to Step Up Your Eye Makeup Game

If you have a second, pop on by, and if you like it, please Tweet, Like and/or leave a comment. :)

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



Here’s a Tip to Save Blending and Buffing Time With Your Twist-Up Cream Shadow Sticks

Published in: Eyes, Makeup, Makeup Tips/How To

A quick eye makeup tip to try with cream eye shadow sticks

A quick eye makeup tip to try with cream eye shadow sticks

Years from now when we look back and pour over the beauty history books, I think spring 2013 could be remembered as the Era of the Cream Shadow Stick.

Seems like every time I pirouette or sashay around a corner in my teal Franco Sarto platform sandals, I trip over a display gleaming with twist-up shadows…

They’re everywhere!

The idea isn’t necessarily new, but with so many lines putting their own twist on it this season, there’s a good chance you’ve already been tempted by a stick or two.

Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Colour closeup
Laura Mercier’s Caviar Stick Eye Colours in Seashell, Grey Pearl and Sand Glow

Jouer Crème Eyeshadow Crayons
Jouer’s Crème Eyeshadow Crayons

Bobbi Brown’s Long-Wear Cream Shadow Sticks

Neutrogena Crease Proof Eye Shadow
Neutrogena’s Crease Proof Eye Shadows
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Take Your Look to the Next Level With 5 Makeup Tips From Bobbi Brown Manager of North American Artistry Marc Reagan

Published in: Beauty Tips, Bobbi Brown, Eyes, Face, Makeup, Makeup Tips/How To

“As you can see, Karen’s not wearing any makeup at all…”

There I sat, feeling totally and completely naked and blinking wildly under the bright studio lights, as a layer of perspiration glistened on my forehead.

I’ve attended one-day makeup classes — sometimes called master classes — like this one before. Brand-sponsored classes usually held in large department stores. I really enjoyed the ones put on by MAC and Chanel, and yesterday’s, led by Bobbi Brown Manager of North American Artistry Marc Reagan, at the Saks Fifth Avenue in San Francisco, was just as interesting and fun.

It followed a similar set up. There’s a fee to attend, in this case $100 (my attendance fee was covered by the company), which is then redeemable toward the purchase of products at the end of the class.

Marc, a seasoned pro on Bobbi’s elite Beauty Team, has worked his magic on celebs and backstage at Fashion Weeks all over the world. At yesterday’s class, he demonstrated a bunch of different techniques and products on a model and answered questions while the attendees followed along, applying the techniques and trying the looks on themselves.

This time was a little different for me, though, um, because I was the model.

When I was asked, first thing I thought was, “FUN!” Second thing I thought was, “Oh, gawd! He’s going to have to take off all my makeup first! Holy sh*t!”

I’m the type of gal who applies concealer and gloss just to go get the mail outside, so I was a little nervous at first to be up there in front of the class without my “armor.”

But once I got used to it (as much as that’s possible), it was actually kind of liberating…akin to wearing a crazy cool shirt or something and just not giving a hoot.

The two-hour class was jam packed with tips. Marc did a two-phase makeup look on me, first walking the class through a natural, everyday look with the basics before cranking up the drama with more color, and between turning my head left and right at Marc’s direction, I typed a few notes on my phone.

1. Ramp up the wear time of your favorite Bobbi Brown foundations by layering them with one of Bobbi’s facial moisturizers

Ever notice that Bobbi’s line doesn’t include a face primer? It turns out, that’s because all of the brand’s facial moisturizers contain a primer in the formula.

So smart, right? Layering one of Bobbi’s facial moisturizers under your fave foundation not only helps to hydrate and protect your skin, but it also extends the wear time of the products you apply next.

bobbis skincare luxuries

A few of Bobbi Brown’s moisturizers from her Skin Care Luxuries travel exclusive kit

2. Keep two brushes on standby to apply under-eye concealer

When applying under-eye concealer, Marc recommends first applying with a flat brush before using your ring finger to pat and blend in the edges. The flat brush places the concealer where you want it on your skin, as opposed to just pushing it around.

Then, to set your concealer and ensure that it lasts through the day, fully load a tapered fluffy brush with plenty of powder (don’t be shy!), and gently pat that on top.

3. Bring a Bobbi Brown Foundation Stick with you in your makeup bag

Does Marc have a go-to Bobbi Brown product? As a matter of fact, he does! Bobbi Brown’s Foundation Sticks, and he says, “every woman needs one in her makeup bag.”

With the sticks, which Marc says always look natural and never heavy or cakey, you can build them up for heavier coverage, or sheer them out wherever you need less. You can also wear them alone or set them with a powder, and if you want to touch-up during the day, the Foundation Sticks even layer well atop powder.

Bobbi Brown’s Foundation Stick in Honey (for reference, I wear MAC NC42)

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