The Top 10 Products to Set Your Face for Oily Skin

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You just spend time on applying your makeup. Hours, even (doesn’t it seem that way sometimes?!). It’s not crazy to want that work of art to stay in place all day… or at least for as long as possible. For those of us with oily skin the struggle is real. A loose powder is going to keep you more matte. A pressed setting powder is okay, particularly if you need to keep it in your purse, but it’s not going to work as well as loose.

Below you’ll find my list of the Top 10 Products to Set Your Face with for oily skin. These are the ones I’ve found that help the best at keeping me matte and set.

  1. Laura Mercier Invisible Loose Setting Powder($38.00 // Nordstrom). ALL the YouTubers that have any sort of experience with oily skin have been going on about this being the powder to suck up all that oil and mattify your face as well as set it all the live long day. I fought buying it because I didn’t think it would work better than the rest… but you know what? It does. I’ve been using this non-stop since I bought it to set and bake. It’s kept my makeup from creasing all day and while it doesn’t keep me matte for the day it does help me stay matte longer.
  2. IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Silk HD Anti-Aging Micro-Powder($24.00 // ULTA Beauty). This is the only one I’ve found to be on the same level as the Laura Mercier, and it’ll be the one I repurchase because it’s $14.00 cheaper. Major bonus it feels amazing when you apply it to your face.
  3. Maybelline FaceStudio Master Fix Setting + Perfecting Loose Powder($9.99 // ULTA Beauty). A good, budget friendly loose powder option. It works just as well as it’s high-end counterparts at setting makeup and keeping oil at bay.
  4. NARS Light Reflecting Loose Setting Powder($37.00 // Sephora). This was the first setting powder I found to actually work well for my oily skin. Before I picked up the Laura Mercier I used to alternate with this and the Make Up For Ever (below).
  5. Make Up For Ever HD Microfinish Powder($35.00 // Sephora). This is one that I alternated with the NARS before I picked up the LM. It really does a fabulous job at setting, hiding, perfecting… all the things!
  6. Tarte Smooth Operator™ Amazonian Clay Finishing Powder($33.00 // Sephora). I got a sample of this in one of their kits and use it when I travel! It does a great job at mattifying and setting no matter what the weather.
  7. PIXI Quick Fix Powder($20.00 // Target). I love this one because it’s perfect to keep in your makeup bag! It’s got a little sponge on the top to keep you matte and oil free all day.
  8. ELF Translucent High Definition Powder($6.00 // Target). On a super budget? There’s a matte setting powder for that. At $6.00 there’s no excuse for not setting your makeup or keeping your oil down!
  9. Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray($30.00 // Sephora). This is a spray I’ve used on myself as well as on brides or others that I’ve done makeup for. It seems to work the best for all skin types across the board at holding makeup in place. After you spray be sure not to scrunch up your face or move it around at all until it dries… you don’t want lines to form! There is also one called the De-Slick Oil-Control Makeup Setting Spray that I’m itching to try!
  10. NYX Matte Finish Makeup Setting Spray($7.99 // ULTA Beauty). The most budget-friendly of all of the makeup setting sprays that actually work! This works as well as the Urban Decay and sometimes at ULTA you can snag them at buy one get one half off!

If you’re oily I recommend always using a loose powder. There are mini sizes available for travel if you’re in a pinch so make sure you check the “impulse” areas of your local Sephora and ULTA Beauty.

What products do you use to set your makeup? Share your recommendations in the comments and check out what the other bloggers are loving by clicking the icons below!

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Stocking Stuffer Ideas for a Beauty Lover

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Beauty lovers are the easiest to shop for. It’s almost as though the options are limitless! This week, for Makeup Wars, we’re giving some recommendations on stocking stuffers. Below you’ll find Stocking Stuffer Ideas for a Beauty Lover – and there’s sure to be something that you know they’ll love 😉

Holiday Lips:

COVERGIRL Outlast Longwear Lipstick* (find it at ULTA Beauty). The shade shown below is called Sofia in Love and was made for Sofia Vergara to wear on her wedding day to Joe Manganiello! That basically means it’s the perfect red – there are many other reds to choose from so be sure to check out Red Siren, Red Revenge or Red Rogue!

Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipstick (find it at Macy’s). You’ve heard the hype and it’s real. It’s the lip color that won’t quit so it’s the perfect gift! I’m wearing Heathers in this photo and I was SO impressed with how well it lasted through a Christmas party full of eats and drinks.

NYX Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick (find it at ULTA Beauty). If you’re looking to save money these are the next best thing to the Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipsticks. The color selection is decent and you have a lot more neutral options than with ABH. I’d recommend buying them online, though… my stores are always sold out of the best colors!!

LUSH Santa Baby (find it at LUSH). My fave lip tint is now in a tube! Seasonally appropriate and it smells, tastes and looks amazing. Buy buy buy!

Hooked on Hair:

Redken* (find it at ULTA Beauty). Three products I’ve been using and loving from Redken are the Pillow Proof Blow Dry Two Day Extender, Express Primer and Diamond Oil. It’s been a whole other level of hair care for me. The oil is the only one I’ve tried that doesn’t seem to travel up my strands and into the crown of my head making it even more oily. It stays where you put it and to me that’s a miracle. If the giftee enjoys hair care, they need this trio.

For the Brow Obsessed:

Salon Perfect* (find it at Walmart). Have they whined about how they want to try awesome brow gels and powders but they’re so expensive? Hook them up with the Salon Perfect ones at Walmart. Same thing, a third of the cost!

Always Doe-Eyed:

Salon Perfect Lashes* (find it at Walmart). If lashes are worn then you can never ever own enough. I know for my cousin if I handed her a stocking full of false lashes she’d love me forever. The Salon Perfect lashes are available at Walmart and look really good on.

Nudestix* (find it at Sephora). The Nudestix line is full of perfect multi-taskers. Travel-friendly and easy to use you’ll find items that work well on lips, eyes, cheeks and brows! So, if you’re not sure what they’d like this line will cover every single base with minimal product purchasing.

Gaga for Gadgets:

Real Techniques* (find it at ULTA Beauty). If they’re into brushes you need to get them some of the Bold Metals line from Real Techniques. They’re so pretty and the metal handles make them seasonally perfect.

Salon Perfect* (find it at Walmart). Affordable beauty gadgets abound! Who else not only has lashes and brow products but also a handy tool for helping you apply those lashes?! Get on it.

Because They Love Skin Care:

AVEENO* (find it at Target). There is some skin sensitivity up in this house and we are good with Aveeno. If the person you’re stuffing a stocking for is picky about what they can put on their body this line is an excellent choice. There are wonderful items available for the body and also the face.

Murad* (find it at ULTA Beauty). I put a lot of Murad on my face and have recently become very obsessed with the benefits of Vitamin C. They have a lot of products to suit any skin issues (or non-issues) but if your recipient hasn’t checked out the “C” line you must introduce them!

Lather* (find it at lather.com). If you follow me on Instagram you’ve seen this one already – but it smells so good it’s landing here too so no one misses out! Lather has 4 options of stocking stuffers that smell amazing. It’s a candle/soap duo that you can get in Lavender, Lemongrass, Vanilla and Cranberry Orange.

Manicure Addicted:

OPI* (find it at ULTA Beauty). OPI has released some gorgeous nail polish sets lately full of fun ways to jazz up core colors. You can also currently find their new Starlight collection in stores now!

Sally Hansen Nail Art Pens (find it at Target). I’m not the greatest at nail art but I love to use these pens when I want to doodle a bit on my nails. If your person loves nail art these will be an excellent way for them to customize their looks.

Sinful Colors Nail Polish* (find it at Walgreens). For budget friendly nail polish options Sinful Polish gives you a ton of colors, both neutral and loud. Because they’re so reasonably priced it’s an easy add on to a gift or even easier to fill up an entire stocking with!

Pretty Perfect Nail Polish* (find it at prettyperfect.com). I talked about this brand last year – you can pick a polish and put ANY name you want on it. Everyone likes to see their name on things 😉 Ask someone to marry you with one… there are endless options!

If You’re On a Budget:

ELF* (find it at Target). I originally posted these items on my Instagram but they’re perfect for this post as well because they’re the best at being budget friendly! Basically anything you choose will work so pick what works best for the recipient. There are also some amazing holiday kits out!

Hard Candy* (find it at Walmart). If your recipient loves to bring the fun and flash then Hard Candy is the budget friendly beauty pick for them! Beautiful picks are available for holiday including palettes, kits, lip gloss and even a Disco Lip Gloss ball!

PIXI Beauty* (find it at Target). PIXI has a fabulous collection of core items as well as holiday picks. You’ll find everything you need in this section from holiday sets to lip balms to liners to shadows… anything you can think of!

Pick from the list and mix it up or stock them up on their must-haves (if they love lashes they can never have enough)!

What does the beauty lover in your life want in their stocking this year? Check out what the other Makeup Wars bloggers are recommending by clicking the icons below!

*A * denotes that the item was received as a press sample. This post also contains affiliate links.

Top 10 Makeup Brushes Under $10

Do you want makeup brushes but don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on updating your set? Or maybe this is your very first set of makeup brushes and you want to stay on budget but aren’t sure where to start. This is your time. The list of the Top 10 Makeup Brushes Under $10!

In no particular order:

  1. wet n wild®($0.99 and $2.99 // wet n wild)*. Starting in January 2016 wet n wild® will have a line of 17 new makeup brushes! All are Cruelty Free and Vegan! These brushes feel super soft and are obviously adorable. They’ll make it easy for you to enhance your beauty and also look pretty sitting on the vanity 😉
    Brushes shown – Large Eyeshadow Brush, Large Concealer Brush, Large Stipple Brush, Contour Brush, Bent Liner Brush and Blush Brush.
    If you’re sad about having to wait until January this might cheer you up – Use promo code GETWILD25 at wetnwildbeauty.com for 25% off your entire purchase now until Sunday 11/8!
  2. ELF Smudge Brush($1.00 // Target). Yes. You read that right… it’s $1.00. Most of their brushes are priced at that and for $1.00 you’re getting seriously good brushes. The Smudge Brush is one of my favorites but I also have the Eye Shadow Brush and Blending Brush.
  3. Real Techniques Shading Brush($6.99 // ULTA Beauty). Most of the Real Techniques brushes are under $10. I mean… you can get a whole KIT for $17.99! If you want to go fancier they have a gorgeous bold metals collection but if you’re trying to stay on budget don’t be distracted, the quality is the same and you’re really just paying for pretty!
  4. Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge($6.99 // ULTA Beauty). Okay. Not a brush. BUT it’s one of the best beautyblender dupes you’ll find and it’s perfect for your face makeup. Check out the review over on Slashed Beauty to see 4 ways to use this product!
  5. EcoTools Buffing Brush($5.08 // Target). I love this for buffing out powder products and even applying bronzer.
  6. EcoTools Eye Enhancing Duo Set($4.19 // Target). This duo is actually a quad! Each brush is double ending giving you four must-have makeup brushes for your eyes.
  7. SOHO Smudge Brush ($7.48 // Walgreens). This brush is good for smudging out your shadows and liners, but my love of these brushes lands on the lips! If you have a hate of actual lip brushes making line marks or just not being nice try an eye shader brush. This has been the best tip I’ve ever gotten from a makeup artist!
  8. Crown Brush(website). I pick a ton of these up every time I go to The Makeup Show. The quality is the same as MAC if not better and the regular price is definitely easier to swallow. Some brushes run as low as $3.95! My favorites are from the Syntho Series, Infinity Series and the Studio Pro.
  9. Sonia Kashuk Core Tools Duo Fibre Crease Brush – 205 ($6.99 // Target). I singled out one of my favorites but really the entire Core Tools line is one to check out. All are highly rated in terms of quality and priced extremely well.
  10. COVERGIRL Makeup Masters Eye Shadow and Liner Brush($6.99 // Target). This is awesome for applying cream eye products and you can even use it to apply concealer if you’re so inclined.

What are your favorite budget friendly makeup brushes? Check out what the other bloggers are loving for under $10 by clicking the icons below!

*Items marked with a * has been received as a press sample at some point in time. This post also contains affiliate links. All other items were purchased by me.

ELF Get the Look: 5 Piece Brown Eye Set Swatches, Review + EOTD

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Every time I go into Target I find myself wandering through the makeup section. Recently, at the very bottom of the ELF display was an eye set that initially grabbed my attention because I glimpsed the shadow shades. When I saw the price I couldn’t grab up the 5 Piece Brown Eye Set($5.00 // Target) fast enough.

The ELF Get the Look: 5 Piece Brown Eye Set comes with the 5 essential products to achieve a neutral, smoky eye – an Eyeshadow Trio, an Eyelash Curler, Lengthening & Defining Mascara, Liquid Eyeliner in Black and an Eyeshadow Brush.

The Eyeshadow Trio has three shades that are incredibly smooth and pigmented – a chocolate brown with sparkle, a toasted tan pearl and a champange pearl. When worn over primer this trio lasted all day long without creasing or fading.

The Lengthening & Defining Mascara was almost my favorite thing in this entire set (nothing can top those shadows for me right now) and that is major high praise. Once I find a fave mascara I’m pretty loyal to it, but ELF Lengthening & Defining has quickly slid into my top 3, right up there with Milani Total Lash Cover and Benefit Roller Lash. In the EOTD shown below I didn’t use the eye lash curler at all. This mascara gave nice volume, curl and didn’t turn my lashes into clump city.

The Liquid Eyeliner in Black impressed me the most because this is not the type of applicator I usually like for liquid liner. Normally I find the thin brush too flimsy for precise liquid liner application but I had no problems what-so-ever with this one from ELF. The formula was pigmented, smooth and dried down quickly so that it set all day.

The Eyeshadow Brush applies the shades so well, especially for the price. There is minor shedding but not when I’m applying makeup, it only seems to happen when I clean the brush.

The makeup products in this kit are swatched below dry without any primers:

The Eyelash Curler is the only item I don’t have any sort of interest in. They rarely do anything for me since my lashes have a natural curl. However, I’ve heard that this is a good one to own and obviously extremely budget friendly.

In the look below I applied an eyeshadow base of Urban Decay Primer Potion. The tan shade is all over the lid and through the crease with the chocolate shade placed lightly in the outer V and blended in toward the crease. The champagne shade is used as a highlight and at the inner corners of the eye. I also smudged a bit under the outer third of the lower lash line. The top liner is the ELF Liquid Eyeliner in Black and the bottom liner is Urban Decay Hustle 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil. The mascara is the ELF Lengthening & Defining Mascara.

The value of this kit is incredible, especially since the products perform so well. While this set does appear to be sold out online I’ve still seen it in my Target and it’s definitely still available. Use the “Find In Store” button here to see if it’s available local to you.

Will you be picking up the ELF Get the Look: 5 Piece Brown Eye Set?

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ELF Disney Elsa Collection Swatches, Review + FOTD

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Did you guys see the Disney April Fool’s Joke yesterday? It totally got me! I was MAD LMAO. I felt like it would be a totally plausible thing to happen, at least for a year. Ugh. Anyway, what it did do that was positive was remind me to post about the ELF Disney Elsa Collection at Walgreens! Now, I found all of this in store on a HUGE display, so check locally. As of this blog post some is also still available on the Walgreens website.

I bought quite a bit of this collection and this was still me holding back. It’s all so beautiful and so perfectly Arendelle! Do note – this post is extremely pic heavy.

The first product I want to talk about is actually from SOHO Beauty and it’s the Disney Elsa Train Case ($11.99 // Walgreens). How could you not want an Elsa train case to hold all of your things?! This one has a handle at the top, blue zipper and an icy Elsa theme for the design. The interior is a deep blue with light blue snowflakes. Very roomy and wonderful for travel!

Snow and Ice Beauty Book($12.99 // Walgreens). This was the very first thing I grabbed! The book includes 8 Eyeshadows, 1 Shimmer Pencil, 1 Eyeliner Pencil, 1 Face Shimmer, 1 Lip Color and also a step-by-step guide to get the fairytale makeup look.

I thought the eyeshadow shades wore a lot more neutral than I anticipated based on first glance. The only one I thought didn’t perform very well and was also on the dry side was Marshmallow.

The Face Shimmer is an icy peach with a white E and snowflake. Very pigmented and very easy to over-do. I actually used this on my eyes because I felt like it was just way too much on my cheeks.

The Shimmer Pencil was my favorite of the two pencils because it had the little bit of dimension. I was worried the small amount of shimmer would irritate my eyes (I wear contacts) but there were no issues. The Eyeliner Pencil was gorgeous as well. Neither lasted long on my waterline – but what pencil does (it’s rare). These were both smooth and easy to apply – no dragging or skipping.

The Lip Color is such a hot pink with fantastic pigment, but in that wearable way. It’s glossy, smooth and not sticky.

In the swatches below the products are swatched dry, without primers.

(L-R: Shimmer Pencil, Eyeliner Pencil, Face Shimmer – white, Face Shimmer – icy peach, Lip Color)

The next items are ones that you can purchase separately… in case the beauty book just isn’t your cup of tea.

Snow and Ice Glow Eyeshadow ($6.99 // Walgreens). For those not into picking up the entire beauty book this palette has all the eye shadow shades you need to be Elsa, Anna… Sven (whatever, no judgement). I thought this palette of shadows performed a bit better than the ones in the beauty book and it of course has those beautiful blue shades. The color selection is definitely less neutral, so obv I recommend buying both 😉

In the swatches below the products are swatched dry, without primers.

Icing Eye Shadow & Eyeliner Let it Go($4.99 // Walgreens). If you’re not sitting, you should be. Let it Go offers a base of sheer, milky iridescence that is beautiful. But, the best part? It holds your shadows and eye look in place all day long. This one is seriously HG-appropriate. Swatched below with the Snow and Ice Icicle Face Palette.

Snow and Ice Icicle Face Palette ($6.99 // Walgreens). Like the Face Shimmer in the Beauty Book the shades in this face palette are, IMO, over-kill on the cheeks. Any are nice for a quick highlight but, even on my pale skin, offer very little color. Again, I like these more as eyeshadows.

In the swatches below the products are swatched dry, without primers.

(L-R: Snow and Ice Icicle Face Palette, Icing Eye Shadow & Eyeliner Let it Go)

Orly Color Blast in Ice-solated($6.99). A whole fun launch of Elsa inspired nail polishes from Orly Color Blast came out and while I can’t seem to find them on the Walgreens website some are still available in store. The only one I purchased was Ice-solated which is a a light blue shimmer. It’s on the sheer side so I used three coats for the swatch photo below. See more swatches of shades at Cosmetic Sanctuary.

In the look below:(Eyes)Icing Eye Shadow & Eyeliner Let it Go applied as a base with Arendelle applied all over the lid. Hans is in the crease with Kristoff used above to blend it out. Sven is at the inner corners of the eye and the Face Shimmer from the Beauty Book is the highlight. I also smudged a bit of Arendelle under the lower lash line. The Shimmer Eye Pencil is used as a liner with Benefit Roller Lash as the mascara. (Brows)IT Cosmetics Your Brows But Better Brow Power Skinny Pencil and Anastasia Clear Brow Gel. (Face)PUR Minerals Liquid Veil, 4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Makeup & Disappearing Act Concealer. For cheeks I used the Snow and Ice Icicle Face Palette peach shade, heavily, with a bit of the white shade as a highlight. (Lips) the Lip Color from the Snow and Ice Beauty Book.

Did you pick up anything from the ELF Disney Elsa Collection at Walgreens? Let me know what you bought or what you’re wishing for in the comments below!!

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Top 10 Brow Products for Gals Without Brows

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On just about every single eyebrow post I’ve done you’ve seen me whine about how scarce my eyebrow hairs are. Not only was I a teenager in the 90’s (when plucking brow hair into pencil thin lines was all the rage) but I’ve also had two children (brow hair disappeared more and more with each one!). For this weeks Top 10 Tuesday we’re talking brows and I thought it would be the perfect time to share the products I love to use on my brows and that work for me. At the end I’ll feature a little section of fails as well.

  1. IT Cosmetics Your Brows But Better Brow Power Skinny Pencil. YBBB ($24.00 // Ulta) is my number one end-all-be-all brow product. Easy to use and quick this automatic pencil features an ultra-fine pencil on one side and a spoolie brush on the other side.
  2. IT Cosmetics Build-a-Brow Cream Gel. The IT Cosmetics Build-a-Brow ($24.00 // Ulta // reviewed here) is a gel that stains into your brows making it waterproof, budgeproof, LIFE proof. Similar products are available from multiple brands but this is the first one I had a hard time taking off even with makeup remover. This is important to me because I’m completely paranoid about my brows fading or disappearing because it’ll look like a huge hole in my brow. Not a trend I’m okay with.
  3. Dior Diorshow Brow Styler. The Diorshow Browstyler($29.00 // Sephora) is similar to the IT Cosmetics but is a little more expensive. If you’re a loyal Dior fan it’s definitely a good pick.
  4. Milani Brow Shaping Kit 02. Of all the powders I’ve tried in life the Milani Brow Shaping Kit($7.99 // CVS) is my fave because it includes a highlight shade as well as two brow shades to mix the perfect match. It also has a few little tools for easy travel touch ups.
  5. Anastasia Clear Brow Gel. I picked the Anastasia Clear Brow Gel ($22.00 // Sephora) as a fave because it has one major feature. The gel doesn’t clump up in the brush. The tube the wand comes out of has a small opening and it removes any excess gel that you don’t want deposited on your brow. For those of us with very little brow to work with, we don’t need a lot of product. This wand/tube combo is perfect.
  6. Benefit Gimme Brow. I am obsessed with the adorable-ness of Benefit Gimme Brow($22.00 // Sephora). Mini sized (which is what makes it so adorable) and precise I love to use the light/medium shade to get my brows held in place through the day.
  7. Spoolie Brush. I spent the beginning years of my bloggie life thinking wtf at the spoolie brush. It is so necessary for a clean looking brow. Thick brows, thin brows you need this to comb through the hairs and blend/evenly disperse the product. I also like to use this if I apply brow gel a little to heavily. This helps spread it out and remove a bit of the overflow of product. The one I reach for the most is the Pixi Lash & Brow Brush ($8.00 // Target).
  8. Tweezerman Tweezers. Tried & true, the best of the best, Tweezerman Tweezers($22.00 // Sephora) have been my go-to since before I can remember. Regardless of your brow size you still need to clean up stragglers. I’ve tried other tweezer brands and none live up.
  9. ELF Stencils. It always helps to have a bit of a guide, especially when you have little-to-no hairs and are trying for that perfect arch. Expensive stencils are available from Anastasia but I found these ELF ones at Target for a buck and they’re just as fab.

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Brow Fails.

No matter how easy these products below may make life for you, they don’t shine bright in my eyes. Brow products that haven’t worked for me– Benefit Brow Zings and Maybelline Brow Drama. Benefit Brow Zings($22.00 // Sephora // reviewed here) just made my little hairs look slicked down and sparse. A Benefit Brow Gal did them with it at Ulta and it looked okay, so I bought it. No matter what I did I could not manipulate that wax to work in my favor and even thought that it was just weird looking because the wax had a tint. I did like the powder side, but why am I paying for both when I’m only using one? I ended up taking that back and purchasing a clear wax and a new powder but that also did not work. Maybelline Brow Drama($6.99 // Target). This is a new product with a lot of hype. This product is not for us gals without brows. It does nothing because it has nothing to work with. It didn’t work for me, but if you’ve got thick, beautifully shaped brows it will work for you. Check out YouTuber Bailey B’s in depth (yet quick) review and demo video here.

There are so many brow products out there that kick butt! What are your faves? What are your fails? Find out what the other Top 10 Tuesday Bloggers are loving by clicking the icons below!

Top 10 Makeup Brushes & Where to Buy Them

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Brushes are a staple for anyone who uses makeup (pro or novice) unless you’re my friend Lauren who back in high school did every bit of her makeup using her fingers (eyes and all). This week for Top 10 Tuesday we’ve gotten ourselves together to list our Top 10 Makeup Brushes. Seeing as how that was too hard for me I made it a broader topic and chose my Top 10 Makeup Brush Brands and Where to Buy Them! Be warned, I say excellent quality a lot because, let’s face it, they wouldn’t be included in this post if I didn’t think they were excellent.

Tweezerman.* New to brush block, Tweezerman now offers Brush iQ which are a collection of brushes that are amazing. Well, three of them for sure. I’ve tested out the Powder Brush, the Finishing Contour Brush and the Line Glider Brush (shown) and I must say, I absolutely need the rest! Purchase them at Ulta.

IT Cosmetics.* It’s no secret I’m in love with this brand (I’m also their August Blogger of the Month!) but it’s all for good reason! The line of brushes are basically impeccable and give flawless application. Every. Time. You can purchase them at Ulta, QVC and itcosmetics.com.

Sonia Kashuk. I’ve tried her brushes before but the 15th Anniversary Collection of brushes is on a whole other level! The bristles actually feel like silk, no exaggeration. I’m actually considering buying a second set. I don’t need them, but they’re just that good. Grab this limited edition set while you can at Target.

UBU.* Urban Beauty United (or UBU) offer affordable brushes in vivid colors. All of the brushes that I’ve tried (below) worked beautifully and I hope to order some more in the future! Purchase these brushes separately or in sets on Amazon.

MAC. I mean, of course I’m going to include MAC brushes! I have love for them all but my top 3 are definitely the 239, 226 and 168. I have these in multiples upon multiples. Purchase them at department stores like Macy’s or Nordstrom as well as online at maccosmetics.com.

Ofra. I fell in love with Ofra everything this year at The Makeup Show. The brushes are amazing and I feel that much more precise and professional when I use them (weird, but true). My absolute fave is the 7pc Brush Set (shown). Purchase these at ofracosmetics.com.

Crown Brushes. This is another haul from The Makeup Show! Crown Brushes are super soft and are comparable to MAC in quality for a fraction of the price. You can purchase them online at crownbrush.us.

Make Up For Ever.* Last Fall marked the release of the Make Up For Ever brush line. All are exquisite (yes, all 76) and luxurious. They feel silky and apply makeup seamlessly. It’s fun to be flawless. Reviewed here and here. Purchase these at Sephora.

Pixi.* I gave a more comprehensive review here, but know that these brushes are wonderful and worth the price ($8-$22). Purchase them at pixibeauty.com.

Real Techniques. Affordable and good quality! Some brushes are priced as low as $5.99 (Ulta)!

I feel like I also need to mention what an awesome brush the Urban Decay Perversion Angled Brush (shown above with Pixi and Real Techniques) is and also point out that if you really want to watch your budget and don’t want or need to invest in brushes right now then you should look into the ELF makeup brushes. Some are as inexpensive as $1 and they’ll last you a good bit (though not as long as the ones that you would be investing in, fyi) – pick them up at Target or eyeslipsface.com.

What are some of your favorite brushes?

 ***Disclosure: Items marked with a * were received as press samples. All opinions are my own. This post also contains affiliate links.

Makeup Wars $30 Face Challenge

More than TWO YEARS AGO (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) the bloggers of Makeup Wars brought you their beauty picks for a $20 face. Now, just in time for back-to-school, we’re bringing you the $30 Face Challenge! Let’s be honest, $20 is really hard to work for a complete/full face of makeup. You wouldn’t believe how much easier it is to just up the ante by 10 and get the items you need for a fresh and flawless look for Fall. Or so I thought.

For my look I stuck mostly with Milani, but I did incorporate some other brands that have products I’ve been wanting to try like that Maybelline blush and the ELF Long-Lasting Lustrous Eyeshadow (which I didn’t end up liking. It swatches beautifully but once sheered out it’s just a gold glitter parade. It handled well as a base, though.).

I think my saving grace was the Wet N Wild 8-pan Eyeshadow Palette in Going in the Wild that I found at Big Lots. I found this palette a long time ago but haven’t gotten the chance to even use it yet. It was $1.50. I’m serious. I figured no one would believe me so I left the price tag on it for the main photo.

The break down. I managed to score the Milani at Buy One Get One Half off with a $5.00 off CVS Beauty Club Rewards Coupon. Life, you make me happy:

  • Wet N Wild 8-pan Eyeshadow Palette in Going in the Wild. $1.50.
  • ELF Long-Lasting Lustrous Eyeshadow in Toast. $3.00.
  • Maybelline Master Hi-Lighting Blush in 40 Mauve. $9.99.
  • Milani Shadow Eyez Eyeshadow in Brown Deluxe. $5.99.
  • Milani Total Lash Cover Mascara. $4.99 $2.50.
  • Milani Brow Fix Brow Kit in 02. $6.99.
  • Milani Cream to Powder in Buff 09. $7.99.
  • Milani Power Lip Gloss Stain in 08 Creamy Cafe. $6.49 $3.25.

Totals:

$46.94 <— First total
$41.21 <— After Milani deal
$36.21 <— After CVS Beauty Club coupon

I went a tad over… okay, more than a tad. In hindsight I should’ve bought a Milani blush because I’d have gotten it half off and it would’ve been cheaper than the Maybelline, putting me right at the total I’d have needed for this challenge. IDK how I did better on a $20 Challenge than a $30 one. At this rate I’d really fail a $40. It’s so easy for us to get distracted by pretty makeups and packages that budgets are easily forgotten. But, seriously, how fun is that weave pattern on the Maybelline?! At least the Wet N Wild palette was a MAJOR steal!

What budget beauty products do you have in your daily makeup routine?

ELF Disney Villains Maleficent Look Book Swatches, Review & FOTD

My first ELF purchase ever was the Disney Villains Maleficent Look Book, which was sold at Walgreen’s in the Fall of 2013. I haven’t shown it before now because I photographed it, swatched it, planned on a look… and never did it. BUT, that’s actually a good thing because I have it to show now. Silver lining, y’all!

These sold out rather quickly, but some how I found this one locally, sitting alone and also 50% off. It’s not like they were expensive to begin with (the entire thing was $10.00) but you definitely can’t beat an entire set of products for $5.00 created after one of your favorite Disney Villains!

The look book is designed similar to a book but the front opens like a set of french doors. Inside there is a Day Look breakdown and also a Night Look breakdown.

The center is loaded up with 7 ELF products: 1 Eyelid Primer, 1 Eyeshadow Palette w/ six Eyeshadows, 1 Brightening Eyeliner, 1 Liquid Eyeliner, 1 Mascara, 1 Lip Color and 1 Eyeshadow Brush.

I found the eyeshadows, liquid eyeliner, eyeshadow brush and lip color to be the best performing. The liquid eyeliner was my #1 fave. Normally with a longer, thin brush I have issues applying, but this one from ELF was really fantastic. Excellent pigment and smooth. The shadows all had good pigment and were easy to blend and work with when I used a firm brush, like the one included (which is similar to the MAC 239). The lip color isn’t as saturated as I’d have liked for Maleficent, but in general it’s a nice color and isn’t sticky. I actually like to wear just one, thin coat of it for a light raspberry red stain.

The mascara and eyelid primer were mediocre and the brightening eyeliner in black was the worst as it was dry and extremely hard to work with. The mascara didn’t clump and made for a nice look, but it wasn’t very dramatic and didn’t keep up with my look throughout the day. The eyelid primer didn’t hold through the day as the shadows were creased by dinner time.

Did you pick up any of the Disney Villains Look Books? They also had the Evil Queen, Ursula and Cruella de Vil. I’d have bought them all if I had the chance (though, I refuse to pay eBay prices).