Favorite Brushes!! Sigma, Real Techniques, and ELF

Face:

  • beautyblender – This technically isn’t a brush but I almost exclusively wear liquid foundations/bb creams and concealers and I’ve never found a brush that blends out better than good sponges like the beautyblender. I should mention that Casey Holmes did a video where she tried out and found a more affordable dupe! I also like the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge that is similar material but you don’t use it damp. Only complaint about the beautyblender is that it gets a little stained.
beautyblender

beautyblender

RT Complexion Sponge

RT Complexion Sponge

  • Sigma F40 Large Angled Contour – Best brush I’ve ever used for powder blushes. The angle is perfect to get my cheekbones and blend a little onto the apples of my cheeks.
Sigma F40 Large Angled Contour

Sigma F40 Large Angled Contour

  • RT Multitask (comes in Travel Essentials set) – I have two of these and use them for different things (it’s truly a multitask brush!). I use one for bronzer because I love the blended out appearance it gives to the cheekbones while still adding contour. I have to sheer out my bronzer since I’m so pale and I am able to achieve a good application with this brush and the NYC Sunny Bronzer. I also use it for applying powder to set my under-eye concealer. It is dense enough that I can really press the powder into the skin without getting too cakey of an application.
RT Multitask

RT Multitask

  • RT Setting – I love this for a more concentrated application while setting under-eye concealer as well as setting small areas of spot-concealed blemishes.
RT Setting

RT Setting

  • RT Duo-fiber Contour (comes in Duo-fiber Collection set)  – This is a quite fluffy brush and is more flat than round so I love using it to achieve a nice lightweight application of powder highlighters.
RT Duo-fiber Contour

RT Duo-fiber Contour

  • RT Contour (comes in Core Collection set) – This is a smaller, more dense, and rounder brush than the duo-fiber one I just mentioned. I use it to get the hollows of my cheek and the bronzer triangle shape on my cheek as well as the sides of my nose.
RT Contour

RT Contour

  • ELF Kabuki – I use this to apply a lighter application of powder all over (usually with a pressed powder).
ELF Kabuki

ELF Kabuki

Eyes:

  • RT Base Shadow (comes in Starter Set)  – I have applied my lid color with this for over a year now! Not only is this a great brush, but it has lasted over a year with very frequent use. It’s super soft but still packs color on the lid well.
RT Base Shadow

RT Base Shadow

  • RT Essential Crease (comes in Sam’s Picks Set) – Just got this and it’s the best crease brush I’ve found! I used to apply crease color with the Sigma E35 (which I will get to next) but I now that use that without any shadow on the brush to blend out crease and transition colors I’ve already put on.
RT Essential Crease

RT Essential Crease

  • RT Accent (comes in Starter Set)  – I love this tiny little brush for precise lining with eyeshadow, particularly on the inner corner and lower lash line. It’s also great for blending out pencil on the upper lash line.
RT Accent

RT Accent

  • Sigma E35 Tapered Blending – Like I said, this is great for blending out crease and transition colors while clean. Also works to apply crease colors.
Sigma E35 Tapered Blending

Sigma E35 Tapered Blending

  • Sigma E30 Pencil – Love love love this for applying darker shadow in the outer corner/outer V to add depth and dimension.
Sigma E30 Pencil

Sigma E30 Pencil

  • Sigma E25 Blending – This is like the E35 but shorter and flatter. I like it for using a powder highlight under the brows and in the inner corners.
Sigma E25 Blending

Sigma E25 Blending

  • ELF Angled Eyeliner – I use this with gel eyeliner and the bent shape makes it easier to draw lines and wings.
ELF Angled Eyeliner

ELF Angled Eyeliner

Brows:

  • RT Brow (comes in Starter Set) – This is a small angled brush but thicker and a little larger than the small angled brushes from other brands like Sigma. I like it to fill in the front of my brows up to the arch to get the thicker portion of the brow.
RT Brow

RT Brow

  • Up & Up (Target generic brand) Eyeliner brush – This is smaller than the RT Brow but still thicker and bigger than the ELF Small Angled which is better for using shadow as eyeliner. I don’t use it for that, though – I use this to apply shadow on the tail end of my brows.
Up & Up Eyeliner brush

Up & Up Eyeliner brush

You can probably tell I’m a big fan of Real Techniques. Many beauty gurus on YouTube rave about Sigma brushes and Sigma brushes are really awesome, but I personally think Real Techniques brushes are the same quality and more affordable. Sigma does have a larger selection and variety of brushes, but I own all but one RT brushes (the only one I don’t have is their kabuki) and find that I have everything I need to complete a full face and eye look. I highly recommend RT brushes because they are super soft and durable (they barely shed)! They are also cruelty free and synthetic. You can buy them from Ulta and the RT website.

A side note on brush care: I clean my beautyblender and RT Complexion Sponge with the beautyblender Blender Cleanser solution. I deep clean my brushes about once a month with antibacterial dish soap and extra virgin olive oil using this technique. I spot clean them almost every day with Japonesque Professional Parian Spirit Brush Cleaner. A lot of brush cleaners I have looked at in stores have a bad or very rubbing-alcoholic scent, so I really like this one because it has a citrus scent that isn’t too overpowering. It also does a great job! I just spray it on the bristles and wipe the brush off on a towel or wash cloth and repeat until there is no more makeup wiping off onto the towel. I recommend using a towel you don’t care about for spot cleaning as some makeup stains will probably remain even after you wash it.

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Fall Favorites!

I got really busy over the past couple months with schoolwork so I’m really sorry about not having an October favorites! I had all the products drafted out but never made time to take the photos. So I’m combining my favorite products since September for this post!

Eyes

  • Sigma E25 Blending Brush – I got a mini version of this brush (just the shorter handle – the brush tip itself is the same) as the little extra when I bought my Creme de Couture palette. I use it for blending a little bit, but I still prefer my E35 for that. I mostly use this for applying lid colors and highlighting under my brows because it’s more flat and less round. It’s great quality like all Sigma brushes and it was nice to get it as a free extra since it’s a $15 brush and the shorter handle doesn’t make it any less capable of doing its job.
  • Real Techniques Essential Crease Brush – RT recently came out with a set of 6 brushes (2 eye, 2 foundation, 2 finishing) called “Sam’s picks” and this was a set exclusive so of course, me being me, I had to buy the set just for this brush. But the set also had 4 brushes I love and would like to have duplicates of anyway. The essential crease brush is awesome because it’s light and fluffy so it’s great for applying a transition color really softly. It’s also got a nice shape where it’s round at the base but slightly pointed at the end so it can be used for blending as well as getting a more concentrated application of color. Love it!
Left: Sigma E25; Right: Real Techniques Essential Crease brush

Left: Sigma E25; Right: Real Techniques Essential Crease brush

  • Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Rockstar – I’ve had this for a while and always use it in the fall and winter. It’s a dark eggplant color and I think it helps bring out my hazel eyes. The formula of these pencils is super smooth and creamy so it’s really easy to apply.
UD 24/7 Glide-On Eyeliner in Rockstar

UD 24/7 Glide-On Eyeliner in Rockstar

  • Revlon ColorStay Eyeliner in black – This is a twist up eyeliner so I love that I don’t have to sharpen it. It’s very pigmented and creamy – great quality for a drugstore liner. I can get a nice thin line very close to my upper lash line so this is easy to apply when I don’t want to spend a long time on my eyeliner.
Revlon ColorStay Eyeliner in black

Revlon ColorStay Eyeliner in black

  • CoverGirl Lash Perfection mascara – This is a great lengthening mascara that also adds a good amount of volume. It doesn’t clump and the brush is a good size (I hate huge mascara brushes like the Flamed Out mascara for example). I just wish it came in a waterproof formula too!
  • Maybelline Big Eyes mascara – I don’t really use the regular sized brush upper lashes brush but I love this for the small brush for lower lashes.
  • Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara – I got a little set that came with a mini size of this and the Perfect Eyes eyeliner and this mascara is great! The wand looks kind of scary like it’s going to clump everywhere but it’s no clumpier than the average volumizing mascara. This stuff really adds awesome length and volume.
  • Ulta eyeshadow in Silk – This is a rediscovered favorite. I was reorganizing my makeup storage and remembered that I had this. The shade is similar to MAC’s Phloof! – it’s a frosty light beige. I love it for a lid color as well as a brow highlight. It also really adds a pop to the inner corners.
Ulta Silk Eyeshadow

Ulta Silk Eyeshadow

  • MAC Pigment in Pink Opal – I bought some sample sized MAC pigments for around $3-4 each from here and I highly recommend it! Perfect if you just want to try out some pigment shades without committing to the full size and paying $21 for it from MAC. I thought this color is really cool because it’s white but has pink reflects so it has an awesome pink sheen when you tilt it in the light.
  • NYX Pigment in Pearl – This is an iridescent frosty pink shade and I think it looks really pretty for a nice pop to the lid and inner corner.
Left: MAC Pigment in Pink Opal; Right: NYX Pigment in Pearl

Left: MAC Pigment in Pink Opal; Right: NYX Pigment in Pearl

  • NYX eyeshadows in Aloha, Charcoal Brown, and Hunter Green – These are all very pigmented and soft. Hunter Green and Chocolate Brown are great colors for fall! Aloha is a nice shimmery everyday lid color.
Top to Bottom: NYX eyeshadows in Charcoal Brown, Hunter Green, and Aloha

Top to Bottom: NYX eyeshadows in Charcoal Brown, Hunter Green, and Aloha

  • Benefit Creaseless Cream shadow in R.S.V.P. – I didn’t think about buying this before because the color is a rose gold sort of tone and slightly darker than what I usually choose for an eyeshadow base but I have been using this non-stop! The color is great for fall and winter and looks really pretty when worn alone too. And the formula of the Benefit cream shadows is amazing as always so it has a really nice, smooth texture.
  • NYX White Eyeshadow Base – This is just like the Milk Jumbo Pencil except in pot form so you don’t have to sharpen it. Just as great as the Milk pencil and the formula feels pretty much the same. Great for brightening up colored shadows.
Left: NYX White Eyeshadow Base; Right: Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow in R.S.V.P.

Left: NYX White Eyeshadow Base; Right: Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow in R.S.V.P.

Face

  • NYX HD Concealer – This is a great formula and I love liquid concealer for under my eyes because I can use my beauty blender and get a great finish. However, I have to say that the shade range for this concealer could use some improvement. I bought CW01 (Porcelain) because I’m usually the lightest color in face makeup since I’m so pale. It’s actually pretty light on me so I use it for brightening as well as concealing under my eyes. I wanted to get another one in my actual skin tone so got CW02 but I really can’t see a difference between that and CW01. I swatched CW03 in the store but it was more salmon toned. I swatched my color in Maybelline Fit Me concealer next to all these swatches and none of them were close enough that I felt I could really find my shade. But I love the lighter shades for brightening and again, the formula is great.
  • CoverGirl Professional Loose Powder – I’ve used HD translucent powder for a long time but I noticed the white cast that would show up in photos, so I wanted to buy a flesh colored powder to try out. This one was only $6 and it’s AMAZING. It photographs nicely and a little goes a long way. I use it with my ELF kabuki and I feel like I don’t have to use that much powder to completely set my foundation and concealer. I always had to use a lot with the HD translucent powders. It has a super tiny amount of shimmer but you can’t see it when applied and it kind of adds a little bit of a glow/brightening effect. It also feels really nice and smooth on the skin. The only negative is it’s a little thick compared to the translucent powders I’m used to, so sometimes I mix the translucent powder with it (about half and half) and I love the way that comes out and feels on my skin.
  • CoverGirl Outlast Stay Fabulous 3-in-1 Foundation – GREAT coverage! Not too thick and you don’t need that much to get the good coverage. It’s around the same consistency as Benefit Hello Flawless, but the shade range is much better. It’s pretty long lasting and lightweight feeling.
  • NYX Rouge Cream Blush in Boho Chic – I like a nice cream blush during the colder months and this is a nice basic light pink color that gives me a natural looking flush.
NYX Rouge Cream Blush in Boho Chic

NYX Rouge Cream Blush in Boho Chic

Lips

  • NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Tokyo – This is my new favorite lip color product! I love lip products that dry completely and don’t come off when I take a drink or eat something. My MUFE Aqua Rouge did this, but it also feels kind of stiff on my lips. This is soft (just like the name says!) and I barely feel it when it’s on. It dries completely after about 5 minutes to the point where I can kiss my hand without any product transferring. I wish they had more shades because I would buy a lot of them! Tokyo is a light pink, almost nude shade. I also just bought Antwerp, which is more of a coral.
NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream left: Tokyo, right: Antwerp

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream
left: Tokyo, right: Antwerp

Nails

  • Sally Hansen Dry & Go Drops – OH MY GOD these are insane. Why did it take me so long to try these?? They literally work wonders. You wait a minute after applying a top coat and then do a couple drops on each nail with this. After 2 minutes your nails are GOOD TO GO. No smudges or dents. It’s like a miracle. I wish I had tried this many years ago. Anyone who paints their nails seriously needs this in their life!!!
Sally Hansen Dry & Go Drops

Sally Hansen Dry & Go Drops

  • Red Carpet Manicure Portable LED Light & Must Haves Kit – I’ve been wanting a gel polish kit so I could give myself gel manicures at home instead of paying $30+ at the salon. Ulta was having a buy 1 get 1 half off on Red Carpet Manicure products and this was cheaper than most kits I’ve seen. The portable light is smaller than the regular one but this just means you have to cure 4 nails on one hand, 4 nails on the other, and then both thumbs instead of each hand at once, and you have to cure it for about twice as long (but 2 minutes really isn’t that long anyway). Their regular light is $50 and the portable is $25 (got it for $12.50 with the sale) so I would say the price makes up for the slight disadvantages. The Must Haves Kit includes their Purity Cleanser (you use this before the manicure), Erase Gel Polish Remover, Prep polish, base coat, top coat, and cuticle oil. My manicures using these products have lasted just as long as the salon gel manicures do so I don’t think I will ever pay for a salon gel manicure again!
  • Sally Hansen Pro Gel Polish in Greige – This is a nice neutral taupe (great for fall!) and was the first gel polish I bought to try out. I haven’t used a Red Carpet Manicure polish yet but I figured all gel polishes are probably the same, and my manicures lasted a while so I doubt mixing brands matters.
  • Formula X for Sephora Xplosives Top Coat in Chaotic – First of all I just wanna say I am so impressed with how many different effects are available in the Formula X line! So glad they came out with it. I bought this top coat which is basically black and white confetti so it has a bunch of different shapes in it – hexagon chunks, tiny dots, sticks – and looks almost like paint splatter on the nails. I just bought the another one in Wham! which is just white confetti. I think the effect is super cool looking and really easy to do. The confetti is dispersed pretty well so you don’t have to paint a bunch of coats or push the confetti around to get the desired effect.
Formula X for Sephora Xplosives Top Coat in Chaotic over China Glaze For Audrey

Formula X for Sephora Xplosives Top Coat in Chaotic over China Glaze For Audrey