Archive - Makeup Tools

How To Use the MAC Masterclass Brushes: Tips From MAC Senior Artist Victor Cembellin

Published in: MAC Makeup, Makeup Tips/How To, Makeup Tools, Video

There’s been a lot of mystery surrounding the new MAC Masterclass Brushes. Heck, even Tabs didn’t know what to make of them the first time he laid eyes on the funky black handles (which kind of look like toothbrushes).

MAC Masterclass Brushes

MAC Masterclass Brushes from the left: Oval 6 Brush (two on the far left), Oval 3 Brush (two in the center) and Linear 1 (two on the far right)

I was curious, too, so yesterday I went to the source — the MAC Pro Store in San Francisco — and got some great tips from MAC Senior Artist Victor Cembellin.

Karen with Senior MAC Artist Victor Cembellin

With Senior MAC Artist Victor Cembellin (I’m wearing three-inch heels here, and I still look short, LOL!)

If you like makeup and you’re not already following Victor online, get on that! He’s really nice, and he posts lots of fun and interesting behind-the-scenes MAC tweets and pics on his Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Anywho, Victor walked me through the different ways you can use the new Oval No. 6, Oval No. 3 and Linear 1 MAC Masterclass Brushes.

So far there are just three brushes in the new line, but as you can probably tell by the numbered names…it’s a safe bet we’ll see more. Hopefully, because I think they’re great.

MAC Masterclass Brushes

Another shot of the MAC Masterclass Brushes

The video has a lot more detail, but in a nutshell…

  • One big difference — I mean, other than their unusual appearance — between these new brushes and traditional makeup brushes is how they’re used. They’re designed for less tapping and stippling, and more gliding, skimming, pushing and pulling across the skin. Think of your brush as a figure skater gliding along your skin.
  • Each of the brushes can be used in different ways, and you can even use them to go from cream products to powders.
  • The largest brush in the three-piece collection, Oval 6 ($42), can be used to apply foundation, tinted moisturizer, face powder, blush, highlighter and contour colors (probably among other things).
  • Oval 3 ($32), the medium-sized one, works great for applying concealer to the under-eye area, eye cream all over the eyes and eyeshadows in the contour.
  • The smallest brush, Liner 1 ($25), can be used for blending out eyeliner pencils (for a smudgy look) and applying eyeshadow, especially along the lash lines. In a pinch, you could even use it to fill in your brows.
  • But what if you’re new to makeup? Can beginners use these brushes? Absolutely! Victor thinks so, too, and he talks about that in the video.

There’s way more tips and product recommendations from Victor in the vid, and here all links to all of the products mentioned.

MAC Masterclass Brush video products

The MAC products used in the video

Here are prices and links…

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Unsung Makeup Heroes: The Too Faced Shadow Brushes Essential 3-Piece Set

Published in: Makeup Tools, Too Faced, Unsung Heroes

Too Faced Shadow Brushes Essential 3-Piece Set

The terrific teddy bear-haired $39 Shadow Brushes Essential 3-Piece Set from Too Faced Cosmetics

“Made with luxurious teddy bear hair!”

Every time I see that phrase on my Too Faced Shadow Brush Set tube, I see a sad teddy bear with long, luscious ’80s rocker hair, like Bret Michaels had back in his hair heyday before he stormed the reality TV show circuit with a weave.

(No judgement, Bret! It’s all good!)

Too Faced Shadow Brushes Essential 3-Piece Set

100% pure teddy bear hair (not)

When I mentioned these brushes last week, I got some requests to review the set, so here goes… :)

First, it’s darling, isn’t it? $39, comes with three eye brushes, a cute carrying tube, and it’s in the permanent line.

I like this set, a lot, mostly because of the epic Crease/Blender brush. I mean, none of the brushes are slouches, but that one takes the cake.

The bristles are made from synthetic fibers, otherwise known as “luxurious teddy bear hair,” and yup — there’s Bret Michaels again in my mind’s eye…

Too Faced Shadow Brushes Essential 3-Piece Set

The set’s three eye brushes

It includes:

  • One Crease/Blender Brush — This one’s like a thinner MAC 224 Tapered Blending Brush, and it’s fab for applying shadow in the crease (more on this in a sec).
  • One Lid/Smoker Brush — This dense, flat eyeshadow brush is all about quickness and precisely packing tons of color on lids.
  • One Liner/Smudger Brush — Like a hobbit-sized version of the Lid/Smoker Brush. I use it to line my lash lines with eyeshadow or soften the edges of pencil eyeliner. In a pinch, I’ll also use it to fill in my brows.

For me, the Crease/Blender Brush headlines this show. That brush — I kid you not — I use practically every day.

It’s shaped like the MAC 224, only thinner, and that makes it perfect for placing eyeshadow right where I want it.

Very handy, particularly in smokey eye looks, or any looks with precise placement in the upper and/or lower crease.

Of course, it’s also OK for blending, but I think its forte is placing product, and not buffing. For blending, I like fluffier brushes, like the MAC 224, with bristles that fan out to spread product over a wider area.

Too Faced Shadow Brushes Essential 3-Piece Set

The Crease/Blender Brush on the left beside a MAC 224

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Three Cheers for the Three Tiered Sonia Kashuk Floral Print Triple Train Case!

Published in: Drugstore Beauty Finds, Makeup Tools, Product Reviews, Sonia Kashuk

Sonia Kashuk Foral Triple Train Case

Sonia Kashuk’s ferociously fabulous Floral Print Triple Train Case (and my new snow leopard sweater from Target)

The new Sonia Kashuk Roll Up Valet bag might be better at keeping makeup and brushes separated and organized…but sometimes you don’t care about organization and just want to bring along a sh*tload of stuff!

Well at least I do. :)

I have a confession — packing light does not come naturally to me (unlike my knack for tracking down new Kevin Federline-esque fedoras).

It’s actually really hard. Whenever I fly somewhere, I pare down because I have to, but dangnabbit! — those carry-on luggage restrictions sure cramp my style.

Now, when traveling by car, since I can bring however much I want and don’t have to haul my cookies around an airport, I tend to go a little cray-cray in the makeup packing department.

Let me put it this way: I’m the girl with five different face powders and six bronzers at any given time, and oh — what’s that? You want to borrow a glittery nail polish? Can do. I’m sure I have at least two or three of them with me…

It’s time like those, when I can bring however much I want and indulge in my makeup hoarding tendencies, that Sonia Kashuk’s Floral Print Triple Train Case ($19.99) is mah jam.

New for fall, the three-tiered zippered travel case has become my go-to bag whenever I want to bring along hella blushes, powders and/or eyeshadows.

Sonia Kashuk Foral Triple Train Case

The bottom tier

Bulkier products like face powders fit nicely into the bottom tier, which is the deepest level of the bag, and when I stand them up in two rows, the bag fits about 20…

Sonia Kashuk Foral Triple Train Case

The middle tier

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I’m Rolling Deep With Sonia Kashuk’s $19.99 Roll Up Valet Makeup Bag

Published in: Drugstore Beauty Finds, Makeup Tools, Sonia Kashuk

Sonia Kashuk Roll Up Valet

Sonia Kashuk’s fantabulous Roll Up Valet ($19.99)

I love trying out new makeup bags in the hope of finding THE ONE BAG that will rule them all, Highlander-style, and the bag I brought with me to Vegas this week, the $19.99 Roll Up Valet by Sonia Kashuk, just may be that one!

Truth be told, I never thought I’d ever want a spare/backup makeup bag. Backup lipsticks and eyeshadows, sure — but a backup makeup bag?

Well, yes. Sonia’s Roll Up Valet is without a doubt one of the best makeup bags I’ve ever owned. It’s like your own personal makeup admin assistant, keeping everything organized, and it’s compact and lightweight, too.

From the outside, it’s a cute bag with a handle and a snap closure, but unroll it, and it turns into a magic carpet!

Okay, not really… :)

It opens to reveal four separate, see-through zippered compartments, which make it easy to find the products within.

A side view of the Sonia Kashuk Roll Up Valet

I keep brushes in one of the compartments, my face makeup (foundation, blush, bronzer, etc.) in another, eye makeup in the third and lip products in the fourth. With this beautiful bag, I don’t have to rut around in the dark, or dump everything out on a counter, to find what I’m looking for.

Sonia Kashuk Roll Up Valet

I also like how it lies flat when it’s open. Perfect for tabletops.

Better still, it couldn’t be a whole lot easier to clean, and it only costs $20!

The new Sonia Kashuk Roll Up Valet: what fits inside

It fits all of this, with room to spare!

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Unsung Makeup Heroes: Dr. Bronner’s All-One Hemp Lavender Magic Soap

Published in: Drugstore Beauty Finds, Makeup Tools, Unsung Heroes

Dr. Bronner's All-One Magic Soap

Uh oh, it’s magic…

That Dr. Bronner’s All-One Magic Soap. It’s magic. It has the power of mind control. It magically makes every single checker at Target stop mid scan to read the label, inquisitively raise an eyebrow, and sniff the bar no matter how long the line is.

This always happens. I’m not sure why, but it does.

The last time the checker was a 20-something-year-old dude who seemed totally at home talking shop about beauty, and it went a little something like this…

ME: It’s lavender. Doesn’t it smell good?

CHECKER DUDE: Yeah, but I can’t use soap because it dries out my skin. I use shower gels instead. Kiehl’s, usually.

ME: Well aren’t you in-the-know! I’m still trying to break my husband of his habit of using shampoo for body wash, and it’s been 10 years. I bet you use lotion and sunscreen, too. How about conditioner?

CHECKER DUDE: Yup, I do. So is this soap any good?

ME: I like it. It gets all the gunk off.

CHECKER DUDE: Um…what exactly are you doing to get all gunked up?

ME: Well, I mainly use it for washing makeup brushes, but it’s also good for, you know, when you’re all gross and sweaty and covered in dirt, like after a workout or cleaning the house, and you just want to feel really, really clean. It’s good for that.

CHECKER DUDE: And it doesn’t dry out your skin?

ME: Nope, not at all.

Ah, yes. Talking beauty with random people at Target. These are the days of my life… :)

Dr. Bronner's All-One Magic Soap

I was using Burt’s Bees bar soaps to clean my brushes for a while, and I was happy with them, but the bars had been getting harder to find out here for some reason.

Then up in Redding a few weeks ago I wanted to clean the couple brushes I had with me. I didn’t have the Burt’s Bees bar or anything else, so I used a bar of Dr. Bronner’s All-One that my mom-in-law had, and it worked great.

The lather breaks up all manner of makeup and rinses clean. It’s quick and takes care of all the gunk from even hard-to-clean, dried up concealer, foundation, cream shadow and gel liners.

Oh, and if you have a skunk brush stained by a bright pink or red blush, Dr. Bronner’s will have the white parts sparkling again in no time.

The bars are also easy to find out here. I always see them on the shelves at Target, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, which is another reason I like it. The availability, and the fact that the bars are only $5 each.

Dr. Bronner's All-One Magic Soap

I like it as a regular body soap, too — smells great and it’s not drying — but I think it’s an epic overachiever as a makeup brush cleanser.

The list of ingredients is short and sweet. It’s a vegan product, too.

I’m curious about one of the ingredients on the label… Please help me out if you know what unscented baby-mild is? :)
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