Archive for category Brushes

Big Pores and Flaky Skin and Foundation Woes, Oh My!

Maya wrote to me complaining of enlarged pores on her otherwise relatively healthy skin, and was wondering what I could suggest to combat them.  She also suffers from mildly dry patches that seem resistant to manual exfoliation, and look awful when hidden under a heavy foundation (her pale skin also prevents her from finding a suitable, not-so-expensive option).

Well Maya, let’s tackle these issues one-by-one.

  1. Pores: Assuming that you can’t shell out for my beloved Clarisonic, I’ve got bad news for ya: pores really can’t be shrunk once they’ve been enlarged.  Pore size is partially genetic, and may partially be due to stretching (potentially from ripping them with harsh abrasives or tugging on them when attempting manual extractions).  Of course, clogged pores will look larger than clear ones, so keeping what you have clean is important.  The only way to possibly “shrink” pores is through professional microdermabrasion or laser skin resurfacing, which forces multiple layers of skin to regrow and gives you the hope that they’ll be back with smaller pores.  If that’s not an option, check out my discussion of my favorite cheap manual exfoliator, and I’d recommend investing in a product with a low percentage of salicylic acid to provide some chemical backup and keep those skin cells rejuvenating. Read the rest of this entry »


Testing Out a New Brush

So, a few days ago, I swung by Sephora with two of my friends (just intending to introduce them to a few brands and powder their noses before we went out to dinner) and ended up walking out with the Sephora Professionnel Platinum Airbrush 55.  I’d previously owned this brush, but could never get the hang of it, and gave it to a friend when he became interested in makeup for himself.

The first day using this, my foundation was thin, blotchy, and disappeared in a few hours.  I was mortified (fortunately, it was a short day for me!)  Determined not give up however (I’d seen what it could do on others; it also has a nearly perfect rating on Sephora’s website, which almost never happens), I kept at it, and now, four days later, I think I’ve finally figured out the nuances of successfully employing this fantastic tool.  It’s replaced my Sigma F80 as my favorite brush for foundation (though I never would have though it from the first few days’ results!)

I’ve typically found that it takes me anywhere from three days to a week to figure a new brush out (especially one that’s nonstandard), and if I haven’t by that point, then it’s just not for me.

What about you guys?  How long will you give a brush (or any tool) before returning it?


Essential MAC Brushes

Anonymous asked me what my favorite MAC brushes are.

Face Brushes:

  1. 138: I love this brush for applying liquid foundation, powder bronzer, and powder contour shades.
  2. 188: This brush is fantastic for applying cream blush with precision.
  3. 189: Great for applying cream contour/highlight shades.


  1. 212: Great for applying precise eyeliner, and for creating a fantastic, easy cat-eye.
  2. 214: I love to use this brush when doing a smokey eye.  Really places and packs on the color.
  3. 219: Great for lining under the eye, and getting a slightly smudgey effect if you tilt it during application.
  4. 224: Love this one for diffusing color into the crease, as well as blending two colors together.
  5. 227: Your all-purpose, lid-color brush.

However, I must say, all of my favorite brushes do not come from MAC.  Most of them are from Sigma, Studio Tools, Crown Brushes, and a few non-basic brushes from various companies (like the NARS Ita Kabuki).

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