Let’s Talk Loose metallic eyeshadow pigments…

Growing up there are many things that i was taught. I was taught that when filing my nails I should always file in one direction so as not to weaken the nails as I filed them. I was taught that in addition to soothing irritating rashes from nettles and other stinging plants, witch hazel made a really good toner. I was taught to replace my mascaras after a maximum of six months to avoid the possibility of an eye infection from potential mod growth.

In the myriad list of things large and small that were taught to me dealing with glitter eyeshadow wasn’t one of them. I’m sure it was about somewhere when i was younger but it wasn’t in the list of things I was taught and not something anyone in my family really used. If it was referred to it was probably in the realm of stage makeup and not everyday wear.

There is just something fascinatingly attractive about loose glitter eyeshadows. They aren’t an everyday sort of thing and I think because of that, bringing out the individual glass pot of glitter shadow whether it is from Hourglass or Lottie London, makes the makeup preparation feel like something special. Or perhaps that is just me.

Perhaps you are an old hand at applying loose pigment glitter shadows, if so, feel free to skip this post. If like me you like playing around with the glitter shadows but often make a mess, perhaps what I learned can help you out.

I’ve found that a dry shadow brush when applying loose glitter pigments just makes a mess. It really doesn’t matter which brand you try, the application will be patchy and you will end up with more glitter on your cheeks and down the side of the nose than anything else.

Spraying the shadow brush with Setting spray does tend to help. It makes the shadow fly about less because of the moisture and will adhere to the lid in a much more cohesive manner. The problem can be thr bristles. First off the loose shadow wants to stick to the bristles. And if you have chosen the wrong brush then the glitter can end up in places where you don’t want it. If using a brush then choose one where the bristles are tapered in instead of flat or bushy as those bushy bristles especially will scatter the loose pigment in places where you might not want it. Spray the brush first and then dip it into the pigment before applying.

using a lid primer or a concealer on the eyelids prior can help it stick, but don’t forget a setting spray after you apply it. Be sure to use a setting spray that doesn’t irritate your eyes.

Sometimes the hands are your best tools. I generally fins that applying the loose pigments with a fingertip makes the pigment go exactly where I want it to. Then I spray it to make sure it sticks. However my finger is often bigger than I want when applying the shadow and it can look a bit messy.

Enter the cotton swab. It gives you the same rounded end as your finger tip but is much smaller. To use I spray it down with setting spray and dip it into the pigment before applying. Because the cotton tip is a solid bit of cotton, there are no bristles to spray pigment anywhere but what you put it. You can apply even pressure during application and if you spray down the clean end with setting spray, you can clean up any fallen flecks of pigment with little to no hassle. Taking out the loose flecks means there is less pigment that can fall to your cheeks or slide down the sides of your nose.

Will there still be fall out? Possibly. some loose pigments do work better than others but eventually all of them will fall. By applying a base coat, whether of concealer or lid primer, using setting spray on the cotton swab and cleaning up the loose flecks and then spraying it down with setting spray when your look is complete, you can have better control and lessen the amount that falls throughout your wear time.

I’m sure that trained makeup artists have their own way of doing things (and it is probably better) but for those of you who are like me, an amateur enthusiast who just likes playing around, I hope you find this useful. After all, professional or not, we all deserve to sparkle.

Simple Cost effective Makeup Brush Cleaning

This past weekend I had a conversation with a cousin (technically a cousin’s child so, second cousin).  She is just getting into makeup (she is thirteen and allowed to play with it at home to learn the basics, but not yet allowed to wear it to school  – I think there are rules at her school regarding makeup as well as familial ones, but I’m not sure.  I just know she practices at home) but there was some concern because she wasn’t really cleaning her makeup brushes. She would just knock off the color and continue using them.   As we get along pretty well, I was asked to bring the topic up when we next had a makeup themed conversation. 

I was surprised to find that one of the reasons that she wasn’t cleaning her brushes was that she thought brush cleaner was expensive and she wanted to use it sparingly. She also didn’t see why it was all that important since knocking off the color meant that it wouldn’t mix with the other colors when she applied it.

So that led to a different conversation and this post.

While I’m sure all of you my darlings, know this, sometimes it just needs to be said.

First of all, cleaning brushes is important because bacteria can live inside the brushes and not only transfer to the makeup you are using, but also to you.  As we were mostly talking about eyeshadow brushes we were also talking about bacteria in the eye.  It’s not pretty. And if you don’t believe me, I suggest a quick google search regarding eye infections. 

I’ll leave you to do that on your own as I can’t take it.  In horror movies I can watch any number of horrific things but I can’t watch anything to do with damage to the eyes.  It is the one thing that will make me close my eyes in a horror flick. 

Not the eyes.  Just not the eyes. Oh, the horror. 

So you can do your own search if you are curious.

Just be warned it’s bad.

So clean the brushes.

I also have to admit, I don’t often buy brush cleaner. 

I have used products that were specifically designed as brush cleaners and some of them I really liked.  Some I didn’t.  Over all, what I use as my standard is listed below.

My essentials for cleaning brushes involve a few basics. First, a textured mat.  These can be picked up in many places.  I have seen them in TjMaxx, Ulta and a myriad of places on line.  Mine came from the Dollar Store and cost me – you guessed it – a dollar to purchase.  They had many shapes and sizes, but I thought the watermelon looked cute.  And it fit in my sink, which is not the largest of sinks and I didn’t want something that would be too large.

The second thing I buy is Ivory soap.  I like it because it is an effective soap that cleans and kills bacteria, it has no colors in it and it smells nice.  On Amazon a three pack will cost you $4. At the grocery store around the corner I believe single bars were offered for about a dollar unless there is a sale and then for some reason Ivory soap went down to $.49 per bar. I don’t know why, but my grocery store has that sale twice a year and has ever since we moved into the neighborhood (and probably well before).

Thus far I am in for a maximum cost of two dollars to clean my brushes.  And those are my only really dedicated products. 

the set up in the sink

I have a bowl that I put the soap in.  I made sure it is bigger than the bar of soap so I can put water in the bowl and turn the soap bar periodically when I want a fresh side (depending on how many brushes I am cleaning at a time.  The bar of soap goes in the bowl and the bowl of soap and the cleaning mat go in the sink. 

I stretch an old towel over the top of the closed commode lid and then I take a handful of brushes to the sink.  I wet the brushes, generally in one shot so that I don’t have to keep the water running.

Then I take each brush individually, run it over the top of the soap until it is frothy. I then take the soap filled brush run it over the textured mat and when I think it has been cleaned, I rinse off the soap to make sure.  When I am happy I set it on the towel and continue with the process.

If the brushes are a little dry by the time it comes to wash them, I dip them in the bowl with the soap to rewet them and then continue.  It saves water and gets everything clean.  When I am done I rinse off the mat and set it aside to dry. 

I then wash any makeup residue off the soap, rinse out the bowl and leave them to dry.  Once dry, the bar of soap goes into a plastic soap dish that I picked up in Target’s travel containers section.  It was $.99.  It isn’t really necessary, but I do like keeping my makeup cleaning soap away from the rest of the soaps.  It isn’t that it can’t be used as soap, but I’ve noticed it tends to disappear if I don’t keep it separated. especially with so much hand washing going on these days.

Left to dry, I forgot that some of those brushes had white tips.

After that it is only a matter of leaving the brushes to dry.  I tend to wash face brushes at a different time than eyeshadow brushes just because of space constraints.  I wash the face brushes on Saturday and then leave them over night to dry.  When they are ready to be put away, I go ahead and wash the eyeshadow brushes that I used the week prior. Sometimes of course face brushes sneak into the shadow brushes like in this image from this weekend. I like to rotate brushes so that I’m not using the same brushes all the time so not all brushes get washed every week, but I really don’t like to let brushes sit. 

Plus I’ve found that if I do it once a week, I am less likely to forget as it becomes routine and it doesn’t take that long. I am all about establishing a routine. Generally it takes about ten minutes to wash my eyeshadow brushes from the previous week, and that includes setting up and my post wash clean up.

When I wash them I also inspect the brushes for missing bristles and over use and find out which ones I need to remove from my collection.  While I love the feeling of a nice clean brush, I really like avoiding the possibility of getting an eye infection from a brush I didn’t clean. 

While there are many fantastic makeup cleaning products out there, and several of them I really like using, in the end what matters is that you use a product that kills the bacteria and germs, but is gentle enough not to kill the brushes and that you find something that you will use on a regular enough basis to keep your brushes clean. For me that is usually Ivory Soap and a textured silicone mat.


Reviewing the Lavish Brush Set

I know there are times when I have been known to apply eyeshadow with my fingers. Especially if there is glitter involved. Lets face it, sometime a finger is the tool you need. Other times, perhaps it is better to use the tools designated for the task.

Enter the Lavash Brush Set. It is a five piece set that came in a Boxycharm box a few months back It retails for $29.99.

I have to say I have been using it since I got the set and I have to say, I really like it.

Are they super high quality brushes? To be honest, no.

They are a rather general brush set. They two have two things going for them though. The first is their size. These brushes are on the petite side. Personally I like that. I know a lot of you may be questioning that, but I always feel like I don’t have as much eye real estate as some of the other people I see floating around the world and on line. Sometimes when I use a bigger brush the effect can be messier than I intended. Maybe it is because I have smaller eyelids, maybe it is because I am clumsy. I am not a trained makeup professional, I am a trained architectural historian who really likes makeup.

The only person I apply it on is myself and I feel the smaller brushes give me a great deal of control.

The second thing that these brushes have going to them is the mix of brushes included in the pack. there is one fluffy Tapered blending brush, one flattened eye shading brush which is useful for patting on the shadows, one small pointed pencil brush, a very thin fine line brush and a double ended brow brush that has a spoolie on one end and an eyebrow brush on the other end. In short the set has a mix of brushes useful for doing your entire eye look. It is a simple grab and go kit.

They don’t have the quality of say Sigma, or Luxie brushes, so I don’t expect them to last forever. I’ve already lost a couple of bristles in the tapered blending brush to be honest. I think that because their size and general usefulness as a kit, I will probably be grabbing them more often than some of my other better quality bushes so they will probably wear out quicker for me.

While I think it would be worth picking up a kit and stashing it in my traveling make up bag, because they are useful and it is a decently priced kit, I think I may spend some time looking some smaller brushes that are a better quality. While I have a collection of brushes it is a rather haphazard collection at best and there are many repeats and a few noticeable gaps. Seeing this set makes me realize I need to go through my brushes and make a list of what I actually need to purchase, possibly even buying a deliberate set. I certainly need to gt rid of some brushes I don’t reach for because I don’t like them. I suspect that might be my next declutter.

Because let’s face it tools are just as important as the products you apply. They can wreck a good product or bring out the best in a not so great one. and clearly, I need to spend a little more time thinking about my tools.

For those of you wondering, the palette pictured is the BH Cosmetics Glam Reflection Smoke Palette. I’ll be posting my review of it later this week as it was the palette I played around with most of last week.


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