BISC Vol.10: ​What are essential makeup brushes everyone should own?

Sunday, June 28, 2015

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What are essential makeup brushes everyone should own?

RAE | Canada | the Notice: a beauty blog

I think everyone needs to own a dense foundation brush, a pinpoint concealer brush (I favour fine-tipped art brushes, or a lip brush like the Make Up For Ever 304), and at least three good eye brushes: an all-over shadow brush, a domed blending brush, and a soft angled eyeliner brush for getting right into your lashline without irritating your eyes!

My favourite brushes of the moment are the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush, the Cozzette S125 and 135 (which are a dream), and, weirdly, the Essence Gel Eyeliner Brush.

DEE | Canada | How Does Dee Do It

The only brushes that I would say I ABSOLUTELY need are my eyeshadow brushes. I love my fingers/beauty blender as makeup implements for my face so don’t have any MUST-HAVE face brushes. If I must, Id say a fluffy blush brush. For eyes however, I would go with 1. a flat eyeshadow brush for all over the lids 2. a crease brush 3. a fluffy dome brush to blend 4. a pointy outer-v brush.  I’m not a slave to any brand of makeup brushes and have good luck with budget as well as high-end brands alike. I say – experiment, have fun – you’ll know when you find the RIGHT brushes for –>YOU<–!

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ANGELA | Canada | Do Want Makeup

I love a good dense, domed concealer brush. I bought the Sephora Advanced Airbrush Set years ago and the round concealer brush is still my go-to. It is amazing at blending and concealing my dark circles without looking too heavy or cakey.

It’s not exactly a brush, but my beautyblender dupe is also a must! It is great for sheering out foundations for daytime makeup, and is a lifesaver when I am dealing with an eczema flareup/dry patches because it doesn’t disturb dry, irritated skin the way a brush can.

SHARI | Philippines| The Misty Mom

I think every woman should have the MAC 217 blending brush especially if they’ve had trouble with eye makeup application. It’s my do-all eye brush. If you’ve slightly smaller eyes, maybe go a smaller/more tapered blending brush to avoid messy blending issues.

For the face, I didn’t think a tapered highlighter brush is one I would consider essential.. until now. I can apply foundation with my fingers and blush with any kind of powder brush (sometimes even my fingers, too!) but I can’t ever apply highlighter properly without a brush. My favorite is the Zoeva 105 Luxe Highlight Brush.

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LILY | Malaysia | Chloe Ash

When it comes to makeup application, tools do matter. They do all the hard work for you. You can always apply foundation and concealer with your hands, and even pat on eye shadows using fingers. Blending however, is the key to makeup looking seamless and flawless. I’d say a good eye blending brush is a must. A medium sized soft blush brush is also the key to natural looking flushed cheeks. A bigger face brush for powder and bronzer is also very handy. Last but not least, if smokey eyes are your thing, always invest in a good pencil brush.

JAA | Thailand | Hello Jaa

For eye makeup, my staples include MAC 239 Eye Shader Brush(lid color), Chanel Eyeshadow Blender #19 (outer corner), MAC 217 Blending Brush (crease and blending), Smashbox Crease Brush #10 (all-over blending), MAC 219 Pencil Brush(smudging), and MAC 211 Pointed Liner Brush (lining). See more.

For face makeup, my staples include Hourglass No 2 Blush/Foundation Brush (foundation), Tom Ford Bronzer Brush (setting), Charlotte Tilbury Powder & Sculpt Brush (highlighting), NARS Ita Kabuki Brush (contouring), Tom Ford Cheek Brush and MAC 168 Large Angled Contour Brush (cheek color), and Real Techniques Setting Brush (concealing). See more.

[Interested in joining BISC Network? Send your request to jaa*at*hellojaa.com]

What are the 3 most frequently asked questions by your readers? | BISC Vol. 9

Sunday, June 14, 2015

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What are 3 most frequently asked questions by your readers?

ERIN | USA | Clever Girl Reviews

All of my questions usually revolve around the wine I review on Wednesday! Where can they get it, when will it be in stock, and can I ship it to them. The only beauty questions I get asked are where to find pale foundations! 

SUNNY | Belgium | Mostly Sunny Blog

I wouldn’t say there are FAQs, but I get these questions sometimes:

1) Does it really work that well?
Occasionally I make a product sound amazing, but in 100% of the cases that’s because it works for me/speaks to me personally. I’ll never sing anything praises if I am not convinced.

2) I have X type of skin. Is Y or Z better for me?
Assuming I have tried both Y and Z, I can make an educated guess. However, in the perfect world, especially when it comes to base products, it’s better to get a sample and test it out!

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MELISSA | Switzerland | Kiss & Make-up

1. Can you do a tutorial on that look?
2. What are you wearing on your lips here?
3. How do you think product X compares to product Y?

RAE | Canada | the Notice: a beauty blog

Honestly, my most frequently asked questions are all variants on the same thing: how do I make my photos look like yours/what kind of camera do you use/etc. My answer is always this: I shoot with a Sony a6000 or Canon T3i, but the most helpful thing any beginner can do is put in the time! (And, okay, maybe reference my Tips for Bloggers: Photoshop and Photos series if you still need a hand.) Familiarize yourself with your camera’s manual settings, shoot somewhere with lots of sunlight, and edit your images in Photoshop, Lightroom, or even just Preview to get the brightness and colours just right.

And then maybe one day we’ll get as good as Jaa. Maybe. One day. :p

JAA | Thailand | Hello Jaa

I do get asked a lot about my photos. Most FAQs include: what camera/lens/image optimization plugin I use and how to use a macro lens to get sharp focus. For makeup-related questions I’m often asked: what foundation/foundation primer controls oil the best while still giving a natural finish, what I’m wearing in the post, and sometimes product comparison.

I find Rae’s Photoshop series really fun and useful for enhancing image quality! Do check it out!

Get ready for summer with a Leonisa swimsuit | US/Canada giveaway!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Leonisa swimsuit giveaway

I like to do something a little different every summer if I can, whether that’s a Summery Summary or a big ‘ol bunch of giveaways.

This year, that “something different” is, well, even more different. Leonisa (a brand you might recognize from their features in Marie Claire or Jezebel) has generously offered to give one of theNotice’s readers the swimsuit of their choice, which I thought would be a great way to start the season!

Leonisa shapewear swimsuit giveaway

Leonisa combines shapewear with swimsuits, which is awesome if you need a little help getting super body-confident for the beach. (Not that anyone “needs” shapewear, but heck, going out onto the beach mostly-naked is hard. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want at least a little more nipple coverage out of my regular flimsy swimsuit every now and again.)

The brand hails from South America, where they’re doing some pretty cool work in terms of social responsibility. Supply chain employees get free meals on-shift, forgivable student loans for themselves and for their families, on top of things like housing loans (almost all Leonisa employees own their own homes) and the basics, like health and life insurance.

Leonisa giveaway

To enter, use the giveaway widget below! (You can pick which swimsuit you want to win here.) This contest is open from May 26th to June 8th at 11:59 PM MST to all residents of the US and Canada. (For more details, check out the fine print in the widget).

Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*sponsored giveaway

BISC Vol.8: What’s your current morning and evening skincare routine?

Sunday, May 24, 2015

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What’s your current morning and evening skincare routine?

RAE | Canada | the Notice: a beauty blog

I try to keep my skincare routine as simple (and affordable) as possible, so it stays mostly the same. In the mornings, I rinse my face and apply a little German Nivea with the Odacité Camelina Chamomile serum/oil, or something with SPF if I’m leaving the house.

In the evenings, I remove my eye makeup with Marcelle 3 in 1 Micellar Solution, wash my face with Marcelle Essentials Cleansing Milk, and moisturize with German Nivea blended with Odacité Pomegranate Rose Geranium (review), which I LOVE for dry skin. I don’t use a lot of masks or scrubs, but if I’m breaking out, I’ll also spot treat with Mario Badescu Buffering Lotion — that stuff is magic!!

AGATA | USA | Her and Makeup

My morning routine is pretty simple. I just wash my face and apply a moisturizer with an SPF. The evening routine is where it gets more complicated. First, I remove my makeup with Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towlettes. Next, I use Garnier Cleansing Oil to remove the rest of makeup and my waterproof mascara. Then I cleanse my face using my Clarisonic Mia 2 brush with Nude Skincare Omega Cleansing Jelly or Vichy Normaderm Gel Cleanser. Next, I apply a toner- either Pixi Glow Tonic or Murad Hydrating Toner. Lastly, I apply a moisturizer- currently I am using Aveno Ultra-calming moisturizer and an undereye cream- Vichy Idealia Eyes.

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MELISSA | Switzerland | Kiss & Make-up

AM: First I cleanse with the The Body Shop Aloe Gentle Facial Wash and exfoliate and tone with the Paula’s Choice Anti-Redness Exfoliating Solution and the 5100 Skincare Glacier Moist Refresh spay. Then I apply my Caudalie Polyphenol C15 Serum followed by my Olaz Regenerist moisturizer, including around the eyes. And for sun protection I use the Glo-Therapeutics Oil-Free SPF 40+ sunscreen.

PM: Usually I double cleanse with a milk cleanser first – at the moment the Eucerin Gentle Cleansing Milk – and then a cleansing oil – at the moment the L’Occitane Shea Cleansing Oil, followed by exfoliating and toning with the same two products that I use in the morning. Then I apply Differen gel for my acne, followed by my Caudalie serum and my Clinique Super Rescue Antioxidant Night Moisturizer, eye area included again.

LENA | USA | Lenallure

I have just started with new routines and I’m pretty happy with them.

[Morning] Cleanse with Tatcha Polished Classic Rice Enzyme Powder / Tone with Avéne Thermal Water Spray / Moisturize with Vichy Aqualia Thermal Serum / Protect with Sofina Perfect UV SPF50 PA+++ Sunscreen

[Evening] Remove makeup with L’Oreal Clean Artiste Eye Makeup Remover and Tatcha Pure One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil / Cleanse & Exfoliate with Tatcha Polished Classic Rice Enzyme Powder / Tone with Boots Botanics Rosewater / Treat with Vichy Liftactiv Serum 10 and Serum 10 Yeux & Cils / Moisturize with Vichy Aqualia Thermal Riche

[Exfoliate] Radical Age-Defying Exfoliating Pads (twice a week)

JAA | Thailand | Hello Jaa

Morning: cleanse with either Tatcha Rice Enzyme Powder or Verso Foaming Cleanser; tone with homemade Apple Cider Vinegar; moisturize with Bobbi Brown Extra Bright Advanced Serum followed by Verso Day Cream and Dior Diorsnow White Reveal Ultra Purifying Liquid; protect with either Dior Diorsnow Brightening Illuminating UV Protection with Sunscreen Broad Spectrum Translucent SPF 50 or Benefit Specialist Dream Screen Invisible Silky-Matte Broad Spectrum SPF 45 Sunscreen for Face.

Evening: remove eye makeup with Chanel Démaquillant Yeux Intense Gentle Bi-Phase Eye Makeup Remover; remove face makeup with Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm; cleanse with Glamglow Powercleanse Daily Dual Cleanser; tone with homemade Apple Cider Vinegar; moisturize with Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II followed by Verso Night Cream and Eve Lom Brightening Cream.

For eyes, I’m not loyal to any particular eye cream but I’m currently using La Prairie Cellular Swiss Ice Crystal Eye Cream.

Smashbox Photo Session at West Edmonton Mall | A morning makeover with Smashbox Cosmetics

Monday, May 11, 2015

Smashbox Photo Event West Edmonton

Not a lot happens in the beauty world in Edmonton, but this past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending a Smashbox Photo Event at West Edmonton Mall. I’ve never actually taken the time to go for a makeover before, so it was a really eye-opening experience for me!

Here’s a little recap of the event.

Smashbox Photo Session Edmonton

I had my makeup done by Toronto-based Smashbox makeup artist Kristi Dukovic, who was a pleasure to work with — she really took the time to try to customize my makeup to my own preferences, and she had a lot of behind-the-scenes knowledge about the brand that she was eager to share.

We started out with the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water ($37 CAD), which is silicone-, oil-, and alcohol-free, and can be used to both prep and set makeup.

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water

Kristi then primed my lids with some Smashbox 24Hrs Eyeshadow Primer ($23 CAD), which the brand tested in-studio for a full 24 hours, and did my eye makeup using the wet/dry Smashbox Double Exposure Eyeshadow Palette ($60 CAD).

The palette itself was great, but I wasn’t crazy about the way that the pull-out recommends you do makeup for monolids — I couldn’t figure out why at the time, but the idea that Asian women need to fake an eyelid crease in order to look their best really bugs me. It really perpetuates the idea that there is only one kind of beautiful (and that that’s to be Caucasian), and I think that as an industry, we can do better than that.

Smashbox Makeup Artist Kristi Dukovic

Smashbox Makeup Artist Kristi Dukovic

But, I digress. Kristi then followed up with a little bit of the Smashbox + Donald Robertson: Photo Angle Pure Pigment Gel Liners ($29 CAD) in Plum and Lilac, which wore crazy well — Lilac in particular is a total must-have. Then, she brightened up my undereye area with Camera Ready BB Cream Eyes Broad Spectrum SPF 15 ($29 CAD), which broke me out (‘cones) but was fantastic while it lasted.

(I’m also wearing some Smashbox mascara on my lashes & a little bit of Brow Tech to Go ($30 CAD) through my brows.)

Smashbox xo contouring technique

The Xs and Os Smashbox contouring technique

Finally, Kristi finished off the look with some “xs and os” contouring (a Smashbox technique that helps keep you from applying too much product) and the Smashbox Step-By-Step Contour Stick Trio ($52 CAD), which, I’ll be honest, I didn’t love. The contouring shade in the pencils is for some reason a lot more orange than the contouring shade in the powder Step-By-Step Contour Kit ($52 CAD), but I did really like the highlighter in the pencil trio.

I also got a chance to try out two of the L.A. Lights Blendable Lip & Cheek Colors ($36 CAD) for this look, which have a really pretty, very Hollywood sheen to them — I’m wearing Silver Lake Sunset on my cheeks and Hollywood & Highlight on the tops of my cheekbones, chin, forehead, and brow bone. (I’m not 100% sure what’s on my lips, but I think it’s Be Legendary Lip Lacquer in Lilac overtop their Always Sharp Lip Liner in Nude Medium.)

Smashbox Photo Op pictures

The Smashbox Photo Event ended with a few snaps by fashion and portrait photographer Kyriakos, who was super friendly and efficient.

All in all, my makeover and photo session were a really interesting experience, and I’m really glad that I got the chance to cover it for you guys — but while I loved the way that the makeup captured on film, it was a little too Instagram for my everyday life. My boyfriend kept cracking up at how much makeup I came home wearing, and I literally had so much gel liner on my left eye that I couldn’t quite open my lid all the way.

Would I go for another Smashbox makeover anytime soon? Probably not for a party or event, but if I wanted portrait-ready makeup, then absolutely.

Smashbox makeover event recap

What are your best and worst makeover stories? Have you ever had professional headshots taken?

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