IT Cosmetics Velvet Luxe LBD Foundation Brush – Reviewed!


If you’ve been following me for a while and seen a few of my foundation reviews, you may have noticed that I’m usually not big on applying my foundation with a brush. I often just don’t want to spend the time or create yet another dirty brush to clean. Despite that, I still find myself wanting to try out foundation brushes. I think my quest for the best foundation brush ended a while ago when I tried the IT Brushes for Ulta Velvet Luxe LBD Foundation Brush #302. Granted I still don’t use it every day, but when I grab for a foundation brush, it’s this one! Recently I was reminded just why it is so wonderful! It is hands down the best foundation brush and I thought no time like the present to tell you why! 🙂

Scrub for the Sun – EcoTools Dry Body Brush

As the weather improves and the sun shines while the temperatures soar, most of us start showing a bit more skin. That means its time to get exfoliating! To some this is a tedious chore, but I kind of enjoy it. There’s something satisfying about scraping away all that old skin and feeling baby soft when you step out of the shower. Fortunately, there’s a new tool from EcoTools that is an excellent addition to anyone’s exfoliating routine! It is their new Dry Body Brush.

EcoTools’ new Dry Body Brush is very well designed. It has a round bamboo base with gentle yet firm cruelty free synthetic fiber bristles. There is also a cloth strap attached to the back to make it even easier to hold. The size is perfect in that it’s not too big to fit in your hand, nor is it too small to cover large areas of your body in one go. The bristles, though firm enough to remove dead skin, are somehow still soft on the skin. I think part of the secret is that the bristles are not too densely packed, allowing them to spread out and move a bit while in use. I would have to say it is quite possibly the perfect dry brush! Plus, it’s aesthetically pleasing. J

If you’re unfamiliar with the technique of dry brushing, it basically just refers to sweeping a relatively firm brush in upward motions over dry skin, typically before bathing, to help remove dead skin and improve circulation. It is best to always move towards your heart. It can actually feel quite nice and kind of invigorating. I have been dry brushing on and off for a few years now and I have definitely learned that the brush you’re using can make a world of difference!

I originally had been using a Tampico brush for dry brushing that had a handle. It was very stiff with rather inflexible bristles and was very difficult to maneuver due to its long handle. I often ended up up knocking over anything and everything in my way. It left my skin red after use and, though I didn’t mind it, it is probably way too harsh for many people.

Everything that I found fault with in my Tampico brush seems remedied by this new EcoTools brush! My skin is left looking soft and healthy, not red and irritated. Though I probably wouldn’t recommend dry brushing in general for those with highly sensitive skin, the EcoTools Dry Brush is the perfect balance of gentle and effective without being highly irritating. If you have an interest in giving dry brushing a go, definitely start by trying the new EcoTools Dry Body Brush. Retailing for only $4.99, it’s a steal and your skin will thank you for it! J

5 Brushes I Use Every Day! – Real Techniques, IT Cosmetics, ELF, Anastasia & Royal & Langnickel

You know those brushes that you never give a second thought to? You know, the ones that you use all the time to the point that you just grab them out of habit? They’re the brushes that get the most love, but the least praise. Well, I literally use these five brushes everyday (that I’m wearing makeup at least!). Since they get so much love from me, I thought I should give them a little attention and share them with you!

I suppose I should go in the order that I use them, which means this Concealer Brush from ELF would be first! I don’t always use a brush for foundation, but I’ve discovered that I really like using a brush with most of my under eye concealers. This one from ELF is relatively new to me…it may be rather new period…but I absolutely adore it! It’s a nice fluffy brush so if nicely diffuses the concealer for a soft-focus finish. It also easily spreads product without absorbing it or moving it around too much. Best of all, it is nice and soft, which is a must under your eyes. I had been using another brush that I really liked the performance of before I found the ELF version, but it was really scratchy. The ELF one is the best I’ve found to date. The only thing I might change about it would be the width. It is a small brush, but it can be a little difficult to get into the inner corner of your eye with it. Not a deal breaker, but a minor tweak I would make.

Once I’m done with the concealer, I like to set it with a powder using the Real Techniques Setting Brush. This brush is actually fantastic for a number of things, but I typically find myself using it for setting under my eyes. Again, it’s soft and fluffy. It doesn’t place too much powder anywhere and it fits under the eye brilliantly. Since it tapers in to a bit of a point, it’s not too tricky to get into smaller areas like the inner corner either. I wouldn’t go trying to line my eyes with it, but it’s just perfect for under the eyes. I also just like the feel of the handle in my hand. Kind of random, but it’s a satisfying feeling! J
Next I probably tend to go for my blush. I absolutely adore the IT Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe French Boutique Blush Brush. IT Cosmetics just makes fantasticbrushes in general, but this one is suburb! It really places blush right on your cheeks and nowhere else. It’s so, sosoft that it almost doesn’t feel like it’s touching your skin. The synthetic bristles are not too dense, nor are they too loosely packed, so there is enough give to diffuse the color, but without washing things out so heavily that you need to apply your blush twelve times. It’s just absolutely divine and I love it! J
Moving on up to the eyebrows, I have another relatively new brush. I must say that I’m not sure that this specific brush is so fantastic as much as this kind of brush is  just a necessity for my brows. The brush I’m currently using is from Anastasia Beverly Hills and it is the #12 Brush. It is quite a thin angled brush that is also quite densely packed. I find it would be perfect for either creating perfectly shaped brows, or, if you’re like me, for filling in relatively thin brows. I’m really not a stickler on these brushes, partly because I often use pencils for my brows when I’m in a rush, but the absolutely necessary part of this brush is the spoolie on the other end! I love brow brushes that include a spoolie and find it ridiculous when they don’t. This spoolie is on the firm side, which I found a bit jarring at first, but it somehow manages to be firm enough to groom brows as necessary without removing too much product. I’m not gonna lie, there’s nothing particularly unusual about this spoolie, but I definitely find a spoolie to be necessary for my brows no matter what I’m doing with them.

Finally I have a brush I picked up from IMATS a few years ago, but didn’t really start using until recently. It’s from Royal & Langnickel and I believe it’s probably just considered their Synthetic Flat Top Kabuki Brush. There’s no name on it, but that describes it perfectly. I use this with a setting powder when I’m completely done with all my makeup. It’s a little firmer than a lot of powder brushes that I have, so I feel like I can really press the powder into my skin nicely. It is still loose enough that it doesn’t make the powder cake or apply too heavily either. I also kind of like that it just has a stubby little bit of a handle because I feel like I have more control over the pressure I use and where I’m placing things. Definitely glad I picked this little guy up! J
And that gets us to five brushes that are definite must haves for me on days I wear makeup! As far as I know, all of these brushes are made with synthetic fibers and I think, with the exception of Royal & Lagnickel, that all of these companies only make synthetic brushes. I’m not 100% sure about Anastasia Beverly Hills or ELF, though they are both cruelty-free brands. I try to only buy synthetic brushes, but a lot of companies don’t state whether a brush is natural or synthetic so it can be difficult to tell. I’m getting on a tangent here. I hope you enjoyed this and found it useful. If you would like to see some more of my favorite brushes, check out this collab post of my 5 Favorite Brushes here. I would love to hear what kinds of application tools youuse everyday too! Leave a comment and let me know! J Thanks for stopping by!!! J

Easy DIY Gift – A Brush Roll From A Placemat!!!

I have something a little bit different today. It’s a tutorial that shows how to make a Brush Roll from a placemat! It’s pretty easy and can be completed in an hour or two. It would make a great gift for the brush obsessed or makeup lover in your life. Add a few brushes to get someone started using brushes, or just leave as is and tuck it in a stocking! Let’s get started, shall we?!?!

First things first. This can be made using either a sewing machine, or it can be sewn by hand. If using a sewing machine, you will obviously need a sewing machine and the knowledge of how to use it! I made my brush roll with a sewing machine, so the pictures depict that option.

So, now for the heart of the project – the materials! We are going to need the following:

  • A Placemat of your choosing (I found mine at Target for about $4 – it’s not exactly even on all sides, but it gives it a bit of character. It is 14″ x 19″ in size, but any size will do.)
  • Thread (I used matching thread, but contrasting thread can add a nice touch too)
  • Ribbon (this will make your closure and should be about 30″ Long)
  • Pins
  • Tape Measure
  • Painters Tape or Tailor’s Chalk (if using the chalk, test it on part of the placemat that will not be seen first to ensure that it can be easily removed)
  • Scissors
  • Sewing Machine or a Sewing Needle

You want to start by ironing the placemat to remove any wrinkles. (Yes, I actually did this, but somehow it doesn’t look it!) Make sure you use the proper temperature on the iron for your fabric, and use a pressing cloth (you can use a towel too) if necessary. You don’t want to melt or burn anything! 🙂

Now you’re going to place the prettier side of the placemat (the wrong side) facing down. Next, take the ribbon you’ve chosen and cut a piece about 30″ long. Fold the ribbon in half and place it in the middle of the fabric. Pin the folded end of your ribbon close to the edge of the mid-point of the placemat and sew it in place.

Fold the bottom edge of the placemat so that the fancier side is facing up about 4″ and pin each edge through all layers of fabric. Sew through all layers of the fabric close to the initial edge of the placemat for the height of the fold.

At this point, you may want to lay out your brushes and decide on your end layout. You will be making “pockets” for each brush so you need to determine how much room you need for each handle and how many slots you want for various sizes of brush handles. Keep in mind that you can always fit more than one smaller brush in a larger slot. I actually decided how to arrange my “pockets” as I sewed, but I think it’s helpful to measure it out in advance. I used 1″ slots for each smaller brush, 1 1/2″ slots for larger face brushes, and added one 2″ slot for a Real Techniques brush which has an exceptionally thick handle.

Measure from the outside edge of the placemat to where you want the first pocket to end (I would place the larger slots on the opposite end from the ribbon – I did not do this, but I think it would better protect larger brush heads). My first pocket is 2″ wide (for a Real Techniques Blush Brush). At the 2″ mark, place a strip of Painters Tape or mark with the Tailor’s Chalk. I used Painter’s Tape because it gave me a nice guide line to follow while sewing. Plus, it just breaks away if you sew through it by accident and there’s nothing to clean up! Sew right next to the tape through all layers of fabric from the top of the folded fabric to the bottom of the placemat (you don’t need to sew the entire height of the placemat).

You have your first brush slot!!! You may want to check the fit so that you don’t end up making the entire project only to find that the pockets don’t fit your brushes!

Measure the appropriate width for your next brush slot. I made mine 1 1/2″ wide. Place the Painter’s Tape along the line you want to sew and sew next to the tape.

Continue this until you’ve made pockets all across the width of the folded placemat, making sure to vary the size of the pockets as desired. I used 1″ slots for smaller brushes. I was able to fit 1 extra-large slot, 6 large slots and 8 small slots.

Make sure any hanging strings have been properly secured and cut from the final project and you’re all finished! You’re ready to add some brushes, roll it up, tie a bow and go!

This project takes a little bit of time, but it’s relatively easy, fairly affordable, and would make a beautiful gift for any makeup lover! Best of all, you’ve made it yourself which makes for a gift that’s likely to be treasured for years to come!!! 🙂

Airbrushing With Powder?!?! Yes, please! – Tarte’s New Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Airbrush Powder Foundation & Airbuki Bamboo Powder Brush

Tarte recently introduced their new loose powder Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Airbrush Foundation and the companion Airbuki Bamboo Powder Foundation Brush. I hate to admit that I’ve had kind of a love hate relationship with loose powder foundations. I love the ease of powder foundations, but they all seem to settle into every nook and cranny on my face. Not a pretty sight! 🙂 Given the typical outcome when I use a powder foundation, I tend to avoid them like the plaque! But, being a fan of Tarte in general, and also really loving their original Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Full Coverage Foundation (see my review here), I decided to bite the bullet and give their loose powder version a try! Now for the real test – how does it perform? Keep reading to hear my thoughts!!! 🙂

Additional April Favorites – Hair, Skin Care, Nails & Makeup!!!

I know I just did a Favorites-like post (if you missed it, you can check it out here), but it only included recently discovered items, and I stuck only to makeup. Since there are still plenty of other favorites I’ve been using this month, I figured I would share those as well! So, without further ado, here are my April favorites!

I’m going to start with a skin care item that seems to be getting a lot of buzz lately – at least the brand has. It’s the Michael Todd True Organics Tropical Fruit Scrub. I tend to like a relatively rough scrub, even on my face. The problem is, most of the “scrubbier” scrubs use ingredients with rough edges that can cause microscopic tears in the skin. Jojoba beads are probably the safest alternative to many ingredients used in scrubs, but often I find jojoba bead scrubs are so gentle that I can barely feel the scrubbing action. The Tropical Fruit Scrub mixes the best of both worlds by using jojoba beads to exfoliate, but they’re large enough that you can feel them scrubbing. It still feels very gentle, but I can feel something is working on my face. It’s really the perfect balance. Plus, the Tropical Fruit Scrub smells really good! There’s a slightly “off” tropical fruit scent to it. By “off,” I mean it doesn’t quite smell natural, which is strange because there is no artificial fragrance added. Maybe it’s more of a tropical fruit juice kind of scent. Either way, yum! JMy skin feels soft and smooth after using this scrub, and I think it looks a bit more radiant too! If all that were not enough, it is also 96% Organic, Certified Vegan and Made in the USA! I really love the Tropical Fruit Scrub, so I guess the hype is well deserved! J

Next is a Clear Hair Gloss. I’ve seen it discounted at my local Ulta, so I’m hoping it’s not being discontinued! I’m not a big one for doing much more than wash and condition my hair in the shower, but I rediscovered the Healthy Sexy Hair Reinvent Color Care Top Coat this month. I’ve had this for a long time, but never feel like adding the step to my shower routine. Once I started using it again, I feel like my hair really is shinier! It’s really simple to use – you just apply it like any other shampoo or conditioner, and leave it in for about 3-5 minutes. Then, you simply wash it out. Couldn’t be much easier! It doesn’t make my hair overly shiny, and it doesn’t feel dry or greasy, my hair just looks healthier and shines like hair is supposed to. I’ve really been loving this and will be mightily upset if it’s been discontinued! J

On to nails. I don’t know what I would do without my Julep Freedom Polymer Top Coat! My first bottle was just about gone, so I tried a few others in hopes of finding a less expensive alternative, but no luck! I ordered another bottle of the Julep, and it is amazing stuff! My polish dries quickly and it gives the most amazing shine! You can read my full review of it here.
Moving into makeup, I absolutely love the Laura Mercier Secret Concealer in “1.” It’s very similar to the famed Bobbi Brown concealer, but I think the Laura Mercier version is even better (and still cruelty-free)! It’ very creamy and a great peachy-tone that really helps cover dark circles. It’s also not so peach that you need to add a flesh-toned product over it. It stays put and I haven’t found it to crease or settle into fine lines. What more could you ask for? J Definitely give the Laura Mercier Secret Concealers a look when you have a chance!
Next, there is one lipstick I find myself reaching for over and over again. It is both for the formula andthe shade. It is the NARS Lipstick in Niagara. The formula is really comfortable, not at all drying, and it stays put. It’s no where near as dark as the bullet looks. The shade is just a nice, subtly bright pinky-coral. It’s a really great lipstick and I love the color! Sadly, I’m not in love with a lot of the other shades of NARS lipstick, but “Niagara” is well worth a look! J
Wearing NARS Lipstick in “Niagara”

Lastly, I have another brush from Bdellium Tools! It is the 772 Small Shadow brush. I really like this because it’s quite small, which makes for precise placement of eye shadow. It’s great for shading under the lower lash line as well. I use it for brightening the inner corners of my eyes sometimes too. It’s just a great detail brush and I use it all the time! J

Sorry it’s dirty!!! :/ The tip is usually white.

And there you have my additional April favorites! If you’ve tried any of these products, I’d love to know what you think of them! I’d also love to know what products you’vebeen loving this month! Feel free to leave comments below! I read them all and try to respond, but I do admit that I’m not always super fast with responses. I love hearing your feedback though, so please, comment away!!! J

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