Event Makeup and Custom Body Bronzing by Westi

Event Makeup and Custom Body Bronzing by Westi
Photo by Brandy Fine Focus Photography

Saturday, January 28, 2012

SkinPrep FX Primer Review

Foundation PrimerIf you have read a few of my blogs, you know I am trying everything to slow down and hide the signs of aging before I finally cave and get Botox and I found yet another amazing addition to my skincare and makeup routine. Its SkinPrep FXNourishing Foundation Primer &
Anti-Aging Serum. I originally purchased this to use only as a primer under makeup to help soften the lines around my eyes and forehead, but once I started using it I realized my skin looked clear and refreshed after a few days so now I am using it at night as part of my skincare routine.  It feels as if you have nothing on but your skin feels like silk and my foundation glides on with ease and my pores and lines are much less noticeable.  I like that it is oil free, fragrance free and paraben free so I feel confident knowing it is working to improve my skin while I wear makeup. This is a great primer for normal to dry skin so if you are oily you may want to try their Clear Prep Fx.  I purchased mine from the CoverFX Web site for $45 which can be a bit steep for a primer alone, but if used as a primer and anti-aging addition to your skincare routine it is well justified. I can't wait to use this on some of my wedding clients to help speed up the application time of foundation while improving the skin's condition.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

NYX Lipstick and Lip Pencil Haul

I recently visited a Web site called Cherry Culture and was blown away by their prices on NYX as well as other brands. I hope the sale is ongoing so others can get these amazing prices. I didn't want to spend a lot of money on these colors since I will rarely use them on brides and clients but wanted to get some very edgy colors. Here is what I got:

From Left to Right: Black Label Lipstick in Italian Chic, Round Lipsticks in Nymphus and Penelope, Black Label Lipstick in Citrine, Round Lipsticks in Bruised, Pandora and Phoebe.  The Long Lip Pencils from top to bottom are: Deep Purple, Coffee, Mahogany and Nutmeg. The Black Label Lipsticks were $5.99, Round Label Lipsticks $2.50 and the Long Lip Pencils $1.99. Awesome!!!

Here are the lipstick swatches on my arm from bottom to top: Black Label Lipstick in Italian Chic, Round Lipsticks in Nymphus and Penelope, Black Label Lipstick in Citrine, Round Lipsticks in Bruised, Pandora and Phoebe.

Funny thing is that I was only going to get a black and purple lipstick to add to my kit and I decided to splurge and stock up on some fun colors. I was like a kid in a candy store. I can never just buy one or two things. So excited about my upcoming photo shoot. Can't wait to use these in some photos.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Smashbox Artificial Light Luminizing Lotion Review

I am not getting any younger and I am still shy about botox so I am always looking for ways to hide wrinkles, shadows or anything showing my age. I think illuminators are an amazing way to diffuse lines and imperfections and this one is the best I have tried yet. I mix it with foundation, tinted moisturizers and primers to give my skin a healthy youthful glow. A little goes a long way. I am still trying to find a way to get a tiny drop so I don't waste it. This product reminds me of Low Beam from Benefit but has a more natural color and a fluid-like consistency that helps even my sometimes dehydrated skin look dewey and glowing. There are no flakes of glitter, just a gorgeous natural glow. I have even applied it with a stippling brush over my makeup as a highighter and loved it. I didn't look glittery like a disco ball either. I purchased mine on the Smashbox Web site for $26 and think its well worth it. This should last me a while and I don't go anywhere without it except the gym. I can't wait to use this on clients, especially brides and models and I hope others love it as much as I do.

Monday, January 16, 2012

January Birchbox Review

I was so excited to receive my January Birchbox in the mail. The box was beautifully presented and packed well which raised a question as to how the sample of Juicy Couture was shattered into tiny pieces and the entire package was covered with the smell. Ugh. I guess that is compliments of our local mail delivery service.
The samples inlcluded in the January Birchbox shipment I received were:

1. VMV Hypoallergenics Re-Everything Eye Serum. This is a good size sample and I am very much looking forward to using this since it is supposed to work well on dark circles which is my main issue after fine lines so I will be doing a blog about this for sure.

2. Juicy Couture fragrance. This scent is really growing on me. I think it was a bit overwhelming because it spilled everywhere and was all over everything but when I pass by the box, I really love the sweet floral but clean smell. My husband kept asking me what smelled so good too. Haa haa.

3. Zoya Nail Polish in Kristen. Beautiful bluish gray color just like the description. I am not a fan of blue nails but this has enough gray in it to make it run and neutral at the same time.

4. Jouer Moisturizing Lip Gloss in Birchbox Pink. This is a very nice fuchsia color. Very pretty. I have not gotten a chance to try it but will be using it soon!
This is the box that everything was nicely packaged inside.

This card was included to give information on each item and how much each full-size product would cost. Love this!

1. VMV Hypoallergenics Re-Everything Eye Serum
2. Juicy Couture Fragrance (Bummer this was shattered but the smell is amazing and is everywhere in my house now. Haa haa)

3. Zoya Nail Polish in Kristen (So Pretty! Have this on my nails right now)
4. Jouer Lip Gloss in Birchbox Pink. Very cute and pretty pink.
5. LARABAR. Love these things but my toddler grabbed it and ripped it open and ate it before I could take a picture. Bummer, but these are yummo!

 My overall experience with Birchbox is that they have great attention to detail with their beautiful packaging and inclusion cards that make it clear and easy to understand each product and how much the full sizes are. I think for $10 a month, I will give it a few more months and see what samples come my way if the post man can get it here in one piece. Arrgggghh..

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

How to Clean Makeup Brushes and Stop them from Shedding

Since cleaning my brushes is something I do weekly and have experimented with for years, I thought I would share how I clean my brushes and what I use to keep them looking new and not shedding like a dog on a velvet couch. Here are the steps that I take to cleaning and conditioning my brushes.
Step 1.  Get some gentle or natural shampoo and conditioner that is appropriate for cleaning brushes. I use Johnson's Baby Shampoo to cleanse both my synthetic and natural brushes. I find that the gold baby shampoo cuts the greasy foundation on my brushes that most brush cleaners can't and is gentle so it won't damage my brushes. I know some artists use natural shampoo by various brands and those work great too but I find that this works best for me and tames my daughter's "Richard Simmons" hair so it is a multi-tasker in our house. I have also discovered the key to keep brushes from shedding is to condition them. Makes sense right? What happens to our hair when we style it and style it and then only shampoo it? Well, mine can become a serious disaster without some conditioner. I use the same conditioner at the moment that I use on my hair. It is from Rejuvenation Salon and is a silk protein conditioner. Amazing. You can use just about any conditioner for your brushes but this one works well for me and makes my brushes extra shiny.

 Here are two dirty brushes with foundation and good old Johnson's Baby Shampoo and Rejuvenation Silk Protein Conditioner from my friend's salon.  If you are at all interested in purchasing it you can call Rejuvenation at
(805) 778-1602.  
 Step 2. Take your dirty brush and squeeze just a bead of shampoo into your hand then wet the brush and swirl the brush into your hand to massage the shampoo into the bristles. When you work up a lather and see the color in your hand, then rinse the brush under warm running water. Repeat this step until the water runs clear. I also test the brushes by swiping them on a dry paper towel after the water runs clear to make sure all traces of makeup have been removed.
Here is my dirty brush before cleansing.

No, this isn't my grandma's hand. Haa haa. It is the winter and I have a toddler so my hands spend a lot of time in hot water and washing brushes is no different. I have tried using rubber gloves but like to feel the brushes when I was them and think it gets them cleaner by massaging them a bit.

Keep swirling and adding shampoo and rinsing until the water runs clear.

Whallah!! No traces of makeup. Sorry for the blurry shot. I just got a new camera so future blogs will be more clear.

Step 3.  Take a bead of conditioner into the palm of your hand and gently massage the brush into it and then swirl and rinse.

Step 4. I like to gently squeeze the brush into a washcloth or towel to remove any excess water and then lay the brushes on a clean dry towel to dry. I like to roll the towel on the side where the handles of the brushes will be laying so they will be at an angle so the water will not stay in the ferrule. This will also help keep the brushes from shedding since water in the ferrule can loosen the hairs or rot them.
Here are a few brushes shiny, clean and conditioned waiting for their next trip to enhance someone's beauty. Hope you can see that the brushes are laying at an angle with the handles elevated higher than the bristles of the brushes.

I am always experimenting with different techniques and shampoos and conditioners to make sure my brushes stay like new and in good condition. Nothing is more frustrating that hairs falling all over the face of your client when you are trying to apply makeup. I even had a wedding photographer standing over my shoulder waiting for me to remove hairs on my client's face before taking a close up shot and of course I felt a bit embarassed but this method has kept my brushes healthy and shed-free.