Askanesthetician's Blog

An esthetician explores skincare issues and concerns

How to Clean Your Make-up Brushes September 17, 2012

Filed under: make-up — askanesthetician @ 7:15 am
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I own both expensive and inexpensive make-up brushes.  I would be lost without my Urban Decay Good Karma Powder Brush, but I equally love my Eco Tools brushes which cost me much less.  With proper care your make-up brushes should last you a long, long time. Luckily, caring for your make-up brushes doesn’t have to be a burden.

Why Should You Clean Your Make-up Brushes?

Simply put your make-up brushes are a breeding ground for bacteria that will spread all over your face if you don’t keep your brushes clean.  Furthermore, as Makeup Geek explains in the post How to Clean Your Makeup Brushes Like a Pro:

Makeup brushes can be a breeding ground for bacteria. Think of how much bacteria is on your face daily.  Bacteria and natural oils transmit onto your brushes every time they come in contact with your skin. And if you are using them on clients, you may be picking up germs and transferring them onto other people including you.

Regular Cleaning Will Help Remove:

  • Old Makeup
  • Dirt and Debris
  • Dead Skin Cells
  • Bacteria
  • Oils

Another benefit of keeping your makeup brushes clean is softness. Makeup buildup on your brushes can make them feel scratchy. Cleaning your brushes on a regular basis will help keep them soft and supple. This is especially great for people with sensitive skin.

How Often Should You Clean Your Brushes?

Opinions vary on how often you should clean your brushes.  According to Bobbi Brown, make-up artist and mogul, the frequency you clean your brushes varies according to their function.  Brown explained to Allure:

How often should you clean makeup brushes? 
For concealer and foundation brushes, at least once a week to prevent a buildup of product. And because these brushes are used on your face, the cleaner, the better. Brushes that are used around the eyes should be cleaned at least twice a month, while all others can be washed once a month.

(From Bobbi Brown Explains How To Clean Your Makeup Brushes)

Though I love Bobbi Brown I have to say that I disagree with her here.  I think that ALL your make-up brushes should be cleaned once a week.  Cleaning your brushes will prolong their life, not reduce it.  Plus anything that comes in contact with your eye area should be very clean so why only clean those brushes twice a month?  Make cleaning your brushes part of your weekend ritual or whenever it would be most convenient for you to remember to do it.

Just How Do You Clean Your Make-up Brushes?

Now here comes the tricky part – there are a lot of different methods out there for cleaning make-up brushes.  I’ll give you a few different ideas to choose from (look for the list below).  No matter which method you choose keep a few things in mind:

  • Makeup Geek suggests washing your brushes at night so that they are dry and ready for use in the morning
  • Bobbi Brown cautions letting your brushes dry on a towel; this could lead to mildew.  Instead, after reshaping the bristles, let them hang over the edge of your counter

Personally I think that when it comes to cleaning your brushes simplicity is best.  I like the method I found in Good Housekeeping (it pretty much was what I was already doing):

I have several makeup brushes that I would like to clean. What method do you recommend?
— Rebecca Stewart, Brandon, MS

Answer

Makeup brushes can hold bacteria, so it’s a good idea to clean them regularly with shampoo or a commercial brush cleanser. First, run water over the bristles, then apply just a drop of shampoo and lather up. Rinse extremely well to get rid of the soap residue, then squeeze out all the water with a towel. Allow brushes to air-dry.

Read more: Cleaning Makeup Brushes — Heloise Hints – Good Housekeeping

One word of caution –  though both Good Housekeeping and Real Simple advocate using a commercial make-up brush cleaner I don’t recommend it.  Those products are mostly alcohol which is drying.  Having said that – these cleaners are good when you need to clean brushes quickly such as in-between use on a few different people in a short period of time.  When you have time and are washing your own brushes simply use shampoo or soap.  I use whatever hand soap I have in my bathroom at that moment.

More ideas on how to clean your make-up brushes:

If you have a favorite way to clean your make-up brushes please share below!

Image from zazzle.com

 

Achieving the ‘No Make-up’ Make-up Look June 4, 2012

Filed under: make-up — askanesthetician @ 5:00 am
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A while back someone came into our office and wanted to know what few make-up products she could add to her routine so that she looked a bit more refreshed and put together on a daily basis.  After I launched into my lecture about how everyone should use a bit of blush, lip gloss, and mascara daily she asked me what make-up I had on since I looked naturally made-up.  So I had to stop and think about what make-up I wear on a daily basis; make-up that I hope makes me look like a better version of myself without looking overdone.

So here’s the list of make-up I use daily:

  • brow powder
  • clear brow gel
  • eyeliner
  • shadow primer
  • eye shadow
  • under eye concealer
  • mascara
  • pressed powder foundation (applied with a fluffy brush)
  • bronzer
  • blush
  • lip stain or lip gloss
Yes, I use all those products daily in order to achieve my natural looking make-up.  And of course this brings me to the point of this post – how do you achieve a ‘no make-up’ make-up look?
A ‘no-make-up’ make-up look is meant to enhance your best features and conceal your flaws while making you look like a better version of yourself, naturally, in the process.  Creating this make-up look doesn’t have to take a long time, but it does take a few steps.
In her post The ‘No Makeup’ Look  The UnTrendy Girl outlines nine steps to achieving this make-up look.  (The photo that illustrates this post comes from this blog)  I’ll outline the steps:
  • The first step to achieving a ‘no-make-up’ make-up look is to create flawless looking skin.  And let me be clear, I’ve said this in the past and I’ll say it again – NO ONE has perfect skin.  That is why they invented make-up – use it!  Prep your skin with moisturizer and/or primer and use your foundation of choice – liquid, mineral, powder, etc.
  • If you need concealer use that as well.  Some people need concealer on different spots on their face and other people just need it under their eyes.
  • Almost everyone needs blush but bronzer is an optional step.  Bronzer helps to warm up a pale face and give you a healthy glow.
  • For your eyes at the very least curl your lashes and use the mascara of your choice.
  • If you have more time and inclination use eyeliner and shadow as well.  You can use one color of shadow or two or three.  One color from lash line to just above the crease looks the most natural.
  • Now don’t forget your brows – our brows really do frame our face, and it is very important to keep them well-groomed.  My brows are sparse so that is why I fill them in with powder daily.  My brow hair is curly so that is why I set it everyday with clear brow gel.
  • Lastly, use a stain, gloss, or lipstick on your lips.  You can even use a tinted lip balm or chapstick.  Whatever floats your boat.
The queen of natural looking make-up is Bobbi Brown.  Her website has an excellent tutorial in order to teach you all the steps in order to achieve a natural looking make-up look.
So the next time you think that someone you saw or someone you know looks naturally flawless – think again.  Perhaps they have just mastered the ‘no make-up’ make-up look.
For more on Bobbi Brown you can read about her in Voguepedia.
Another article about achieving a natural make-up look from The New York Times T MagazineThe Naked Face.
Also have a look at Lisa Eldridge’s tutorial for a no make-up look.
My Related Posts:

Image from theuntrendygirl.com

 

My Beauty Business Icons April 2, 2012

Filed under: beauty — askanesthetician @ 5:00 am
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Allure published a list of their beauty innovators a while ago and that got me thinking: just who are my beauty industry icons? Allure named Estee Lauder, Elizabeth Arden, Max Factor, Bobbi Brown, and Charles Revson (founder of Revlon) as their beauty innovators since combined these five transformed the face of American beauty (or should we say faces?). While of these entrepreneurs have made lasting and important contributions to the American beauty industry I decided that my beauty icons were a little different (except I do agree about one of the people mentioned above). I’ve been thinking about this post for some time and finally decided that it was time to publish it even if, at the moment, only four people came to mind whom I wanted to highlight at this point. I have a feeling there will be a part two to this post in the future.

The four people I want to talk about in this post are: Bobbi Brown – make-up artist and mogul, Jane Wurwand – founder of Dermalogica and advocate for women everywhere, Linda Wells – editor-in-chief of Allure magazine, and RuPaul – drag superstar and role model. I know it is a diverse crowd, but why leave anyone out?

Bobbi Brown

Bobbi Brown began her make-up empire because she saw a hole in the beauty industry for make-up that real women wanted and needed. Allure explained it best in their piece about Brown:

As a makeup artist in the high-artifice times of the late ’80s and early ’90s, Bobbi Brown sensed that something was missing from the marketplace. She wanted to wear makeup that enhanced rather than transformed, that celebrated uniqueness and was easy to apply. So she made it herself, starting with a pinkish brown lipstick that instantly took off. But as much as women loved Brown’s colors, it was her underlying philosophy of self-acceptance that really struck a chord. “Beauty isn’t about looking perfect,” she said. “It’s about celebrating your individuality.”

Reading The New York Times‘ recent article about Brown, The Mogul Next Door, made me admire her even more. Brown seems down to earth and approachable and is really committed to helping others . She very actively supports Dress for Success which helps women from disadvantaged backgrounds find, prepare for, and keep professional jobs. Not only does Brown really does want all women to feel great about how they look she gives them the tools to do so. I have Brown’s book Makeup Manual which I really love. This book really helps someone learn to apply make-up beautifully – for daytime or nighttime looks and for all ethnicities. I learned how to do a smoky eye from this book. I feel that Bobbi Brown sets a great example for anyone looking to succeed in the beauty industry. She also shows that nice girls can finish first.

Jane Wurwand

I am sure that unlike Bobbi Brown few people outside of the spa industry have heard of Jane Wurwand, founder and owner of Dermalogica and The International Dermal Institute (which offers post-graduate education for estheticians). In my opinion, the fact that Wurwand isn’t as well-known as Brown is a shame. As an esthetician I find Wurwand to be a great role model. Wurwand’s online bio from Dermalogica explains her key beliefs and causes:

Two core concepts guide the growth of the brand, as embodied by Jane herself: the transcendent power of human touch, and the far-reaching effects of education. These dual qualities have not only shaped the success of Dermalogica, but also provided a social blueprint for women’s financial success in every country and economy.

As a passionate advocate for mentoring and entrepreneurship, Jane writes and speaks frequently about the specific financial needs of women, especially in the developing world. Within the context of the skin care profession itself, comparatively modest licensing requirements and initial capital investments costs offer many women unusual access to financial independence. This experience is further enriched, socially, culturally and politically, by the fact that 98% of all professional skin therapists are women, and that these professionals attract a clientele which is 92% female—literally creating more woman entrepreneurs than any other industry in the world.

Through her work in many areas of philanthropy, education and women’s business development, Jane now champions her brand, via The Dermalogica Foundation, to create and support similar opportunities for women in other professions through a hand up, not a hand out. Jane shares the view that the future for world-economy depends upon the ability for women, especially marginalized women, to financially support themselves and their children. In January 2011, through her foundation and in partnership with Kiva.org, Jane launched a global initiative to empower women worldwide called FITE – Financial Independence Through Entrepreneurship. The first microlending Web site that solely focuses on women entrepreneurs, FITE will help a minimum of 25,000 women to start or grow a business in over 57 countries around the world.

I think that it is great that estheticians have such a strong advocate for estheticians’ continuing education and success. I really admire Wurwand’s committment to helping women everywhere achieve financial independence. If you want to know more of what Wurwand thinks of a whole range of subjects be sure to read her blog. She’s feisty and opinionated, and I love it.

Linda Wells

Anyone who has read my blog with any consistency knows that I love Allure magazine (of course I even began this post by mentioning the magazine).   I love Allure for the make-up tips and tricks and for the up-to-date, excellent skincare information.  Yet another reason why I am a devoted reader of Allure is because of its editor-in-chief Linda Wells.  I wish Wells could be my friend since I feel like I know her just from reading her monthly letter from the editor in the magazine.  There is a realness to Wells’ attitude about beauty and celebrities that is refreshing and a pleasure to read.  Ok while I may be a die-hard Allure fan I feel like most people can really find something of value in this magazine in order to enhance their beauty routine.  Wells always seems to find the right balance between trying to look good and youthful without going overboard and being fake.  Lastly, unlike some beauty magazine editor-in-chiefs she really seems far from aloof which makes me like her even more.  And Allure almost never has articles about how to land a guy and what the newest sex position is.  It’s a magazine for intelligent women who just want to look good.

Coming in as a close second for my favorite editor-in-chief of a beauty magazine is Joanna Coles of Marie Claire magazine.  I “discovered” Coles while watching Project Runway All Stars where she was the mentor for the contestants.  I love the fact that Coles is straight-forward without being mean, that she’s intelligent, and a great advocate for women, especially working women.  I just wish I liked the magazine she edits more.  And by the way, am I the only one out there that develops “crushes” on magazine editors?  It must be a side effect on my life long fascination/addiction to glossy beauty and fashion magazines.

RuPaul

I know that my inclusion of RuPaul in this list of my beauty business icons may seem odd to many and quite a stretch given the category, but here’s a fact about me – I love drag queens. And I really love RuPaul. Yes, sometimes RuPaul can be over-the-top and outrageous, but I also think that she is very beautiful and glamorous. I also believe that RuPaul is a great role model and not just for gays or aspiring drag queens. I think everyone can learn more than a few self-esteem lessons from this drag superstar. Though RuPaul is really an entertainer above all and not a beauty maven, in the past RuPaul has been a cosmetic spokesperson (as the first face for MAC’s Viva Glam make-up whose sales support HIV/AIDS awareness), as well as a music star, and now a mentor to other drag queens on his show RuPaul’s Drag Race (and yes, I have watched the show, well I watched one season all the way through). If you read any of RuPaul’s books or bio you’ll see that RuPaul has struggled with finding his place in the world, low self-esteem, and substance abuse issues. Having overcome all of these I really believe that RuPaul serves as a gorgeous role model for anyone looking to express themselves without shame or embarrassment. Lastly, RuPaul proves that true beauty knows no boundaries.

I would love to hear who you admire in the beauty industry. Please share below.

image from papermag.com

 

Book Reviews: Make-Up Tutorial Books September 22, 2010

 

I am pretty much all thumbs when it comes to make-up application.  Truth be told I didn’t really start wearing make-up on a daily basis until I was in my 30s.  I have to admit that I was always intrigued by make-up but completely intimidated by make-up application to the point of near paralysis.  A few years ago I started playing around with make-up.  Now I feel that I look much better with at least a little make-up than without any at all.  In my opinion a little eyeliner, mascara, and lip gloss go a long way. 

Now you might ask – as an esthetician don’t you want to help me get skin that looks great so I don’t need make-up?  Of course that is one of my goals as an esthetician.  But we all must remember that perfect skin is almost completely unobtainable.  In the words of the great make-up artist Pat McGrath: “How can anyone really look like she has perfect skin without any makeup on?”  McGrath is, sadly, right on target with that comment.  But here is my outlook on make-up – for a day-to-day look I think make-up should be subtle and enhance what you have and hide what you don’t like especially.  While make-up is a fantastic medium in order to experiment, create, and be artistic with (there is a very important reason why make-up artists are called just that) it doesn’t need to be unnatural or a mask.  I love the idea of using make-up to enhance your best features and to boost your self-confidence.  A make-up routine doesn’t need to be complicated or overwhelming.

So why make-up books you might ask?  Certainly there is no end of make-up tutorials available online (particularly on YouTube).  But this is the thing, as I wrote at the beginning of this post, I’m all thumbs when it comes to make-up application so I need photos, step by step instructions, diagrams if possible, and more photos on how to apply my make-up, and I need those things in front of me, in the bathroom, as I attempt to apply my make-up.  Though I now have a netbook that I could bring into the bathroom with me I don’t want to have to rely on the whims of technology (or the speed of my home internet connection) in order to view a make-up tutorial.  But on top of that – I like books.  I want to be able to open up a book anytime, anywhere in order to learn how to create a make-up look.

Now while I was given a few basic make-up lessons in esthetics school and tried to experiment on my own I realized that I needed help.  So I started searching for a make-up book that would teach me the basics and beyond (I was particularly interested in eye make-up and still am for that matter).  While my job rarely calls on me to do someone’s make-up or give a lesson I realized that I would have to prepared for that eventuality since make-up application is considered part of an esthetician’s job.

The first make-up tutorial book I purchased was the late, great Kevyn Aucoin’s Making Faces.  As a make-up artist Aucoin was in a class by himself.  His looks are extraordinary and gorgeous.  The book is inspiring.  The book has makeovers of ordinary women and instructions on how to create classic make-up looks like “the vamp”, “the flapper”, and “the starlet”.  While there is no denying Aucoin’s genius (yes genius – look at the book and you’ll agree) in applying make-up I realized that even with step by step instructions and diagrams I still needed more basic instructions.  For me this book serves as an aspiration.  I hope one day I can apply make-up well enough to get close to recreating one of the looks in the book.

So my next make-up book purchase was Bobbi Brown’s Makeup Manual.  I like this book for its clear and concise instructions on make-up application and make-up tools.  My favorite part?  Photos!  Lots and lots of photos!  I learned how to do a smoky eye from Brown’s book.  The step by step photos really helped me understand each part of the process.  Smoky eyes, a make-up look that had always scared me (yes, scared me), became very doable with the instructions in Brown’s book.  I also really like Brown’s basic make-up look which though it is ten steps doesn’t take too long to achieve.  Bobbi Brown is known for her signature natural, not over done make-up look and these clear instructions help anyone achieve those same results.  And if you are at all interested in pursuing a career as a make-up artist this book is a must read for you since the final chapter is all about the business of make-up artistry.

My most recent make-up book purchase was Robert Jones’ Makeup Makeovers.  What a great book!  Basic but not dumbdowned, helpful, and thorough.  One of the reasons I wanted to buy this book was for the instructions on contouring (something I am still working my nerves up to trying contouring on myself), the precise instructions on how to do make-up on different face shapes and different eye shapes, and the summaries of how Jones did each makeover featured in the book.  Though Jones has a definite style of make-up application you can still take his tips and do your own thing.  Most of the transformations in the book are on real women, not models, and it is amazing to see how great he made each of them look.  The women are also all ages, shapes, and ethnicities which is wonderful to see (the same can be said of the models in both of the other make-up books I already mentioned).  While reading this book I found myself going to the mirror or to my make-up supply in order to immediately try out some of Jones’ tips and instructions.  There is a wealth of knowledge to be gained from this book.  (It turns out that you can get online lessons from Jones, for a fee of course, through his web make-up academy)

And last but not least I would be quite remiss if I did once again mention Allure magazine in this blog.  The monthly print edition of Allure will keep you up-to-date about the latest make-up trends.  The looks in the magazine will certainly give you inspiration for your own make-up looks.  The website has daily updates on things beauty related and offers many make-up tutorials as well.

Now I just need to work out the courage to try out false eyelashes – wish me luck!

 

 
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