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.

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

Sigma Limited Edition Créme de Couture palette!

This is the first palette I’ve purchased from Sigma. It was $32.00 and has 16 colors that are all matte and mostly pastel, candy color shades. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like you can get the palette right now but I really wanted to show some swatches. The shadows are all fairly pigmented but I don’t think they are as good quality as the Sigma single eyeshadows. But I do feel like you get a decent quality for the price. You’re pretty much paying $2 for each shadow in the palette so that’s not as pricey as other colored palettes like Urban Decay for example.

I bought this palette because I thought it had a nice range of colors and I liked that they were all matte. I feel like it’s difficult to find palettes with colored shadows without most of the shadows being shimmery or glittery. I especially really love the purples and blues in this palette and I think they would go well with a lot of my colored eyeliners and mascaras (colored mascara collection post coming soon!). I didn’t have that many colored shadows in my collection so this was definitely a good addition.

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L to R: Redberry Rose, Apricot Flower, Passion Fruit, Cherry Blossom

Row 1, L to R: Redberry Rose, Apricot Flower, Passion Fruit, Cherry Blossom

L to R: Meyer Lemon, Ginger Pumpkin, Cafe au Lait, Blueberry Cream

Row 2, L to R: Meyer Lemon, Ginger Pumpkin, Cafe au Lait, Blueberry Cream

L to R: Violet Whip, Lavender Honey, Cassis, Elderberry

Row 3, L to R: Violet Whip, Lavender Honey, Cassis, Elderberry

L to R: Blue Chocolat, Almond Pear, Creme de Menthe, Citron Pistachio

Row 4, L to R: Blue Chocolat, Almond Pear, Creme de Menthe, Citron Pistachio

BIG HAUL! Ulta, Sephora, Sigma, M.A.C

I went a little crazy when I got paid last week 😀

Here’s a list of all the stuff I bought! Swatches shown where appropriate (:

Face:

Face products

Face products

  • Lorac CC Cream in Light…as if my pale face would be any other shade haha.
  • Benefit B.Right Radiant Skincare 6 Piece Intro Kit – Mini sizes of these products: Foamingly Clean Facial Wash, Moisture Prep Toning Lotion, It’s Potent Eye Cream, Total Moisture Facial Cream, Triple Performing Facial Emulsion, Refined Finish Facial Polish
  • Nyx Stick Blush in Pink Poppy
  • Nyx Cream Blush in Glow
  • Sigma F82 Round Kabuki
  • Sigma F40 Large Angled Contour (SOOO good for blush and super soft!)
Right: Nyx Creme Blush in Glow, Left: Nyx Stick Blush in Pink Poppy

Right: Nyx Creme Blush in Glow, Left: Nyx Stick Blush in Pink Poppy

Both the Nyx blushes are cream formula but I can tell just from swatching that the Creme Blush is more pigmented than the Stick Blush. I was able to achieve the color payoff on the right swatch in the picture above with only one press of my finger into the product and then just spreading it along my hand. The swatch from the Stick Blush required 4 strokes of the product (I swatched straight from the blush itself since it’s stick form makes it work like a large chapstick). However, the Creme blush has a pretty moist formula and seems like it would need to be set if it’s not blended out all the way. The Stick Blush doesn’t seem like it would need to be set though. Another thing I should mention is that the Creme Blush (at least for Glow) doesn’t have any sparkle but the Stick Blush does (at least for Pink Poppy). I don’t really like sparkly blush but I’ll see how it is when I actually wear it.

Face with no makeup

Face with no makeup

Face with 1 layer of Lorac CC Cream

Face with 1 layer of Lorac CC Cream

Face with 3 layers of Lorac CC Cream

Face with 3 layers of Lorac CC Cream

So far I’ve found that the Lorac CC Cream is actually pretty sheer. However it blends out perfectly and doesn’t cling to large pores or dry areas. It’s pretty buildable so I find I can really “color correct” my redness after a few layers. But it is kind of a let down because I expected it to have more coverage without having to build it up so much.

Eyes:

Eye Products

Eye Products

  • Revlon Illuminance Creme Shadow quad in #740 Seashells
  • Clinique Bottom Lash mascara in Black
  • Sephora Long Lasting Kohl Pencil in #07 Infinite Beige
  • Stila eyeshadow in Kitten (Such a popular product I felt I just needed it to complete my life haha.)
  • MAC Pro Palette (holds 15 shadows)
  • MAC eyeshadows: Copperplate, Naked Lunch, Retrospeck, Greensmoke, Shadowy Lady, Shale, Satin Taupe
  • MAC eyebrow pencil in Fling
  • Sigma E30 Pencil (GREAT for outer corner work.)
  • Sigma E35 Tapered Blending (I have never blended so well until I used this! Especially great for crease work.)
Clinique Bottom Lash mascara

Clinique Bottom Lash mascara

Been using this and it’s PERFECT for what it is – tiny wand so I can get each little lash without smudging all over my lash line.

Stila Kitten eyeshadow

Stila Kitten eyeshadow

I’m sure you’ve seen plenty swatches of Kitten before! It’s your everyday shimmery pink/nude eyeshadow that looks good on anyone. But honestly this is probably the best eyeshadow formula I’ve ever tried. SUPER soft!

Sephora Infinite Beige Kohl Pencil

Sephora Infinite Beige Kohl Pencil

I got this just because I needed a nude eyeliner to make my eyes look more bright and awake and I feel like white eyeliner looks a little too unnatural for me. This is nothing special but it does the job. Also, the pencil itself is pretty long so I’m sure it’ll last me a while. It was only $9 – not too high but not too cheap – and I’d say you get what you pay for with this.

Revlon Seashells

Revlon Seashells

The individual colors of the Revlon quad don’t have names but here are the descriptions of what’s pictured left to right:

  • shimmery nude with a hint of peach
  • slightly shimmery cream-white
  • matte warm soft pink
  • light matte taupe

Definitely colors of seashells! It’s hard to see the colors of the matte shades because they kind of blend in with my skin tone but all the shades are pretty pigmented. Revlon is one of my favorite drugstore brands and this product is consistent with their usual quality. I would say this is a great buy for only $6 and the colors are all very wearable shades.

MAC eyeshadows from left to right: Retrospeck, Naked Lunch, Shale, Copperplate, Greensmoke, Satin Taupe, Shadowy Lady

MAC eyeshadows from left to right: Retrospeck, Naked Lunch, Shale, Copperplate, Greensmoke, Satin Taupe, Shadowy Lady

I haven’t tried out all of the MAC shadows yet, but I know I really need to stop buying colors like Retrospeck – I have like 5 eyeshadows around that shade now!

Revlon creme shadows used as bases. Naked Lunch on lid, Retrospeck on mid lid, Copperplate in crease and outer corner

Revlon creme shadows used as bases. Naked Lunch on lid, Retrospeck on mid lid, Copperplate in crease and outer corner

Today I wore the soft pink Revlon shade on my lid and the taupe shade in the outer corner/crease area. Then I applied Naked lunch over the pink on the lid and Retrospeck to the mid lid (Retrospeck looks really pretty over light pink). I used a light hand and blended a little bit of Copperplate in to the crease and then used a heavy hand and a pencil brush to put copperplate in the outer corner. I REALLY love Copperplate. It can be a nice light gray or a bold dark gray depending on how you want to apply it. And it’s completely matte which is nice. I’ll let you know how I like the rest of the colors when I wear them 🙂

eyebrows before filling in

eyebrow before filling in

eyebrows after filling in with MAC Fling pencil

eyebrow after filling in with MAC Fling pencil

Clearly filling in my brows is a crucial step for me!

Lips: (I’m trying to break out of my comfort zone and wear more lipstick!)

Lip Products

Lip Products

  • Make Up Forever Aqua Rouge in #18 Coral
  • MAC lipstick in Ravishing (Cremesheen finish)
Make Up Forever Aqua Rouge in Coral

Make Up Forever Aqua Rouge in Coral

Make Up Forever Aqua Rouge in Coral

Make Up Forever Aqua Rouge in Coral

I REALLY love Aqua Rouge even though I hate wearing stuff on my lips. It dries really fast and is very pigmented. I find that if I only use about a layer on my lips then I can barely feel it and it doesn’t come off, like at all. If I kiss my hand, there is no product transfer. It takes about 2 mins to dry and once it’s dry, it’s not budging. I tried to wash off the hand swatch shortly about 2 minutes taking the picture and it basically won’t come off at all unless I use actual makeup remover. I drank from a can while wearing it and it only left a little bit of a mark. Expensive ($24) but pretty worth it. And who doesn’t love wearing coral in the spring and summer?

MAC Ravishing

MAC Ravishing

MAC Ravishing

MAC Ravishing

Ravishing is a softer, less bright of a peachy coral shade. It has a cremesheen finish so it stays pretty creamy on the lips. It doesn’t dry the way Aqua Rouge does and it definitely transfers when I kiss my hand or eat/drink anything. Personally this is what I don’t like about lipsticks is having to worry about them getting messed up and wearing off. If I know I’m not planning to eat or drink anything then I would reach for this but Aqua Rouge is much more wearable for me.