Sunday, April 22, 2012

CARGO The Big Bronzer

Bronzers are one of those products that can make a person look really good or really bad.  When applied properly with the right shade and the right amount of shimmer, a bronzer can give a beautiful sunkissed glow. On the other hand, using the wrong shade or too much of the product will make your face look dirty or give you that fake orange tan. You can even end up looking like you got sunburned.

As the name implies, Cargo's The Big Bronzer is huge. The mirrored round compact contains 25g (0.88 oz) of product. To be honest, it's the main reason that I bought the product in the first place. The thought of a bronzer that would last forever was very appealing to me at that time. It turns out, size is not the only thing that is good about this bronzer. 

The Big Bronzer is an oversized version of Cargo's famous medium bronzer. This version is designed to be used for face and body. The larger size is really convenient when using a  large brush like the MAC 134. The bronzer is sheer but, it can be layered to suit individual  complexions. Depending on your skin tone, you can use less or more of the powder. I think this is the reason that the bronzer works for a lot people despite the differences in skin tones. Also, the gold flecks in the bronzer are so fine and subtle it's not even visible in the pan. The result is a nice sunkissed glow without being over the top. 

heavy swatch

I don't wear bronzer as part of my daily makeup. I'm not big on bronzing and sculpting because I always have this little fear of overdoing it. Once in a while though, I like to make the extra effort and The Big Bronzer is the one I reach for the most. The powder applies and blends easily and most importantly, it does not turn orange. I like to use a big fluffy brush like the MAC 134 or a stippling brush like the MAC 187 to apply my bronzer. For sculpting, I still prefer Guerlain's Four Seasons Bronzing Powder because of its matte finish.

Summer is just around the corner and some of us will want the bronze/tan look. What are your favorite bronzers? Do you prefer liquids or powders? Do tell on the comments below :).

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Weekend Haul

I went to the mall last weekend for some much needed retail therapy. As usual, I stopped at Sephora, MAC and the cosmetic counters at Debenhams. I ended up purchasing skincare from Clinique, two makeup brushes, body butter and an eyeliner. I also went to GAP and got two striped T-shirts.

I was not planning on getting any new skincare, but when I saw that Clinique has a bunch of goodies to go with their 3 step skincare, I could not resist (sucker). I got the products for combination oily skin which included a cleanser, toner and Dramatically Different Moisturizing (DDM) gel. I have no makeup products from Clinique so I'm happy to get the lipstick, mascara and lipgloss to try. The gift with purchase also included DDM lotion, hand cream and Youth Surge moisturizer.

Clinique All Heart Lipstick

At Sephora, I got a Smashbox crease brush and my favorite eyeliner, Nano Eyes in 06 Glitter Brown. The Smashbox counter is half empty, my local Sephora might be phasing out the brand from their lineup. NARS was pulled out already :(. I saw a shop called Body and Soul, I spent some time in the shop testing their lotions and potions. I'm new to the brand, so I only bought the Honey Almond Body Butter to try. And finally, I found a MAC 226 brush (yay!). I have been looking for this brush for a long time, and I'm very happy to have found one.

That's my haul last weekend. I already started using some of them, and If you want a review of any of the products, just let me know on the comments below. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Shiseido The Makeup Eyebrow And Eyeliner Compact

I think I have the worst eyebrows. I have to regularly pluck and shape them, otherwise, I end up with a pair of unruly mess. I also have the tendency to over pluck, once I get hold of my tweezers, I just can't stop :(. As a result, filling in my brows is probably the most important part of my eye makeup routine. I can do without eyeshadow as long as my brows are groomed.

I have a personal preference to use powders over pencils to fill in my brow. One of my favorite product to use is Shiseido's The Makeup Eyebrow and Eyeliner Compact. I have this in BL3 Light Brown. I have black eyebrows, but my hair is dyed a combination of dark and light brown. I love the versatility of this compact. I can use the darker shade alone or mix it with the light brown if I want lighter brows. Both shades are a good match for me, not too dark or too light. As the name implies, the darker shade can be used as an eyeliner and I have used the light brown shade as a crease color. I never had problems with the staying power, once applied, they stay on the whole day. The compact comes with a double ended applicator. One side is a slanted brush and on other side is a sponge applicator. The brush is pretty stiff, it will pick up and apply too much product if I am not careful. If I don't have a lot of time, I will use the brush to quickly apply the brow powder and then brush my brows with a spooly to remove the excess and soften the look. On regular days, I use Inglot 17TL brush to apply and then lightly brush my brows with a brow comb or spooly to finish the look.

I really like this brow compact, it's convenient to use and the amount of 4g (.14oz) will last forever. I got mine at Sephora, but it is also available at Shiseido makeup counters. If  you are on a lookout for a brow powder, you may want to check this out.

What do you use to fill and shape your brows? Do you prefer powders, pencils or gel?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Makeup Brush Hygiene And MAC Brush Cleanser

Brushes are necessary tools in makeup application. It's important to wash and clean your makeup brushes regularly to extend their life and to remove any makeup residue, dirt, oil, and even bacteria that have accumulated in the brush. The build up of makeup products in your brush will also affect its performance. If you notice that your foundation brush is not buffing  as well and it is leaving streaks on your face, that is a sign that your brush is way past its 'wash me' date. Dirty brushes also increases your risk of breakouts as well as skin and eye infections. If you are prone to pimples or suffer from acne, it's a must to keep your brushes clean at all times.

Related Post: Personal Makeup Hygiene

I use a conditioning shampoo and MAC Brush Cleanser to clean my brushes. The instruction in the MAC bottle says, apply to damp brushes and work through. Rinse well. Reshape and lay flat to dry. I used to use MAC cleanser to spot and deep clean all my brushes. To deep clean, I pour some cleanser in a small cup, dip my wet brush into the cleanser and rub the brush bristles back and forth against my palm. The cleanser will not lather as much as a shampoo, but it cleans brushes effectively (including foundation brushes), and it's so easy to rinse out the cleanser from the brush. For spot cleaning, I transferred some of the cleanser in a small spray bottle, I spray a clean tissue with the cleanser and then rub the bristles against the tissue until all the colors are out and the bristles clean. Sometimes it takes 2 or 3 sprays to do the job.

Although it is great, I don't recommend using MAC cleanser to deep clean your face brushes. Those big brushes will use up a lot of product and you will go through your cleanser in no time. Unless you have the means, it's not economical to use MAC cleanser when a regular shampoo will do the job just as well. I now use a conditioning shampoo to deep clean my brushes and the only disadvantage I find is that, it takes more time to rinse out the soap from the brush bristles. I don't use olive oil.  I know a lot of people use olive oil to remove the makeup from their brushes before deep cleaning. I tried this technique, but I had a problem removing the olive oil from my synthetic brushes. I had to wash my brushes several times until I ended up using a strong dishwashing soap to get rid of the oil. Instead of olive oil, I use MAC Cleanse Off Oil to break the makeup from my foundation brushes before washing. I pump some Cleanse Off Oil in a tissue and rub the brush bristles back and forth against the tissue, the makeup breaks and dissolves right before my eyes.

I still think that MAC Brush Cleanser is a good investment especially if you don't have a lot of brushes or if you are a makeup artist. Even if you don't have a lot of time, spot cleaning with MAC Brush Cleanser allows you to have brushes that are clean, dry and ready to use after only a few minutes.

There are so many ways to wash and clean your brushes. YouTube alone is full of videos on this topic. There are also different opinions on how often you should wash your brushes. You just have to use your judgement and develop a routine that works for you. Brushes can be an expensive makeup investment, washing your brushes regularly keeps them in good condition and provide you with many years of service, not to mention, your skin will thank you for you efforts.

Related Post: Drying And Maintaining The Shape Of Your Brush

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