Sunday, November 6, 2016

Smokey Eye Tutorial

So I was recently asked by my family if I could do a smoky eye tutorial on Youtube for them and I thought it may be useful to write a blog post on the products I used so that I could give a better understanding of what they do and why I chose them.  Keep in mind my goal was to make it as simple and as affordable as possible. I’m going to list the products first and then explain the steps for you. I want to emphasize that this smokey eye is one TYPE of technique and there is NO wrong way to do this.  This is my way of doing it, and I think it comes out deep and sultry and is really sexy!

When I did the video, I had already done my eyebrows and primed my eyes.  I use MAC cosmetics Spiked to fill in my eyebrows and their Painterly Paint Pot to prime my lids.  If you don’t want to fill in your brows, that’s fine, they’re not really the star of the show, your beautiful eyes will be.  But a more affordable eyelid primer is by NYX Cosmetics called Eyeshadow Base and it retails for $6.99 at Ulta. The Painterly Paint Pot retails for $22. I like them both but the Paint Pot is a cooler toned shade (blue-undertone) while the NYX primer is a warm-toned shade (golden undertones). The reason why it shouldn’t matter is because the shadows should be covering this product.  Let’s move on.

In the video it’s pretty obvious that I don’t have makeup on the rest of my face, just my eyes. The reason for this is because I didn’t want the dark eyeshadow to fall on my under-eye area (this is called fall-out) and then I’d have raccoon eyes which is what you are all fearful of looking like, if you have never done a smokey eye.  I got you. We’ll do our best to stay away from that look. So one technique is applying the eyeshadow first, then using a cotton round with eyemakeup remover to remove any excess eyeshadow.  The other technique is to use a piece of tape to give a more precise cat-eye look and also have a crisp clean look afterward. This was no special tape, just from my office supply drawer but be sure to put the tape on your hand first, if you’re doing this.  That will ensure that it’s not SO tacky that it pulls on your eyes once you remove it.  The skin around your eye area is sensitive and does not like being pulled on very much.  So be kind to your eyes and they won’t screw you when you’re 45 and droop as badly.

Products you can use:

·         NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in the Shade Black Bean ($4.49 at Ulta)

·         Wet n’ Wild Studio Palette Coming In Latte ($6.99 at Walmart)

·         ELF Cosmetics Eye Crease Brush ($1 Target)

·         ELF Cosmetics Eye Shadow brush ($1 Target)

·         ELF Cosmetics Smudge Brush ($1 Target)

·         Loreal Voluminous Original Mascara in Blackest Black ($5.89 Target)

I sell a kit that includes all of these products as well as a couple of samples for a little cheaper and you don’t have to search all over.  I’m a Top Rated Ebay seller as well as a seller on Poshmark so check out my Smokey Eye Kit here XXXXXXX. You can save $5 on your first purchase on Poshmark using my code JIOKM

So either you’ve decided that you’re going to try out the tape technique or not,  you’ll need to lay it on your eye if you do, at this point.  If you are placing the tape on your eye, start out one end near the end of your eye and aim the other end towards the area near the end of your eyebrow tail. This is where it thins out (for most). Start off by applying some of the NYX Jumbo pencil in Black Bean to your eyelid.  None of this needs to be done with precision which is important to keep in mind. Smoky eyes are associated with a grungy look and that’s what makes this so easy and fun. Try not to place the Black Bean pencil higher than your crease (where your eye lid folds to go into the socket). You can apply it as you would any other pencil and then use your finger to smudge it around so that the entire eye is covered.  Again, JUST your eyelid, not above the crease.  So leave some space between the crease and your eyebrow.  This is a common mistake that people make and can lead you right to raccoonville. Once the black is on your lid, it’s time to apply a brown shade.  This shade is called the transition shade. It’s going to make the black eyeshadow seem less harsh. So place the brown shade in the crease and start blending on a windshield wiper motion (Left to right to left to right …etc.). This could very well take you 5-10 minutes to get nice and blended.  Don’t get discouraged if it looks muddy.  It’s okay.  You’re going to layer shades over each other so it’s not critical for each shade to be perfectly blended. It is important that you learn how to blend because this will be done in each step.  Proper blending will appear as if the shadow is airbrushed on and there is no apparent line of demarcation. I did this tutorial using budget friendly products but I’d like to point out that higher end products and tools make the blending process a breeze. So for example, with these products it can take up to 10 minutes to get the blending done while with a product of a higher quality and price point, it may take 2-3 swipes. So depending on how much you want to spend, that’s going to determine how hard your products and tools will work for you. Please don’t translate this to, spend a lot of money and your makeup will come out glamorous each time. Because no.  That won’t happen without some practice. But girl let me tell you, spending a little on some good quality eyeshadows will make you want to wear it every day and make you feel like a pro.

Once you’ve blended that brown out it’s time to apply the black eyeshadow.  You’re going to want to pack this eyeshadow on.  This means you’re going to pat the eyeshadow on instead of swipe back and forth. The black eyeshadow will stay below your crease line.  DO NOT GO ABOVE THE CREASE LINE.

One of the last steps is to put the black eyeliner on your water line which is on the inside of your lower lash line. Use the short haired Smudge brush to add some more shadow to the lower lash line. You can use the brown and black shadows or either or, according to your preference. This is mainly for you to complete the circular smudged look. After this, all you need is some mascara (which ever brand you use is fine).

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Sonia Kashuk 15th Anniversary Collection Review

I don't think I've done a review about a particular set of brushes yet on my blog so to start out with this limited edition, Sonia Kashuk, 15th Anniversary, fifteen-piece brush set is more than perfect.  There's lots to discuss about this collection as it's an affordable product and to save you some reading, I'd recommend it to both newbies and makeup aficionados alike.

I went on the hunt recently to find the 15th Anniversary edition collection of Sonia Kashuk's brushes.  I came across it enough times on Instagram which has been the determining factor of whether I want a product or not.  Sad but true.  I do wish I had a better system but It's just as important to rely on other people's opinions versus my own, otherwise I wouldn't be writing a blog about makeup and makeup tools.  Insert self promotional message here.

I had purchased several brushes from her product line before and I hadn't been disappointed yet, so when I saw the collection of fifteen purple brushes (my favorite color; how apropos), I knew what my next mission in life was going to be.  Acquire brush set, test said set, then review for my inquisitive readers, following procedure, in that exact order.

Those seemed like three easy steps that I should be able to do because the sentence is so short.  No such luck, for me at least.  I tried three stores locally and I guess there are lots of really big Sonia Kashuk fans living within a 30 mile radius of me because Target was all sold out at each store I tried.  Target is the only store that sells Sonia Kashuk products other than online ( and that seemed par for the course when it comes to my makeup purchasing luck. 

I'm kind of against paying more than ten dollars for makeup products at a drugstore however if the same product was sold at Sephora, I'd buy 12 in case that was some sort of pricing mistake that I'd have to take advantage of.  So $10 at drugstore, of course not.  Ten dollars at a makeup/department store, give me 50.  Is this  Is it what I'm gong to write about...yes.  So stop reading here if you're not interested in severely biased opinions.

Truly and honestly, my opinions are based on several factors; the packaging, the quality, and the price.  Some of those factors hold more weight than others.  And I'm a true believer in finding products sold at a lower price, that do the same job or better, than high-end, designer-label products.  That's not to say that I don't appreciate and enjoy those high-end products too, I just think everyone should have access to the tools and makeup products that can create a beautiful look, that can give you the confidence, for which I rely on through drugstore purchases. 

Let's get to the meat and potatoes of this blog; fifteen brushes for $39.95 before tax.  If my calculator is accurate, that's $2.66 for each brush.  For that price, I had no choice, my hands were tied.  I had to make the purchase and review, as my mission in life suggests.  But as I mentioned earlier, it wasn't that easy.  The makeup Gods placed these brushes about 100 miles from my home, so that I could get out and enjoy some scenery, while on the hunt for these gems.  I appreciate that, I really do.  However I would appreciate it more when gasoline goes down a little so that could have the money to have the a/c turned on, as well as drive to Target on the other side of Florida.

I got my set at a Target in Naples, FL while I was away for a long weekend with a loved one.  Fortunately he was more than cooperative while I was on my hunt for the highly desired set of brushes.  I am more than appreciative of my boyfriend's understanding of my brush/makeup obsession.  So kudos to him...he's a keeper.

So what did I think of the brushes once they were in my possession?  Let's refer back to the variables that I judge my drugstore purchases on. 

Packaging: For me this was a big fat yes.  I love purple and I love that the bristles themselves are purple however I did question whether the dye would affect the quality of the bristles.


Quality: Not as impressive as the singular brushes that I have purchased from her line.  I have purchased a four-piece set from her in the past which I liked just fine as these compared to that set.  They were soft but not quite as soft as the individual brushes.  I do feel like the quality was compromised in order to offer 15 brushes for the lower price.  Also the collection is a mixed collection of synthetic brushes as well as natural fibers. For my taste, I like synthetic brushes over natural brushes. The package doesn't state which are which, but from my experience, I can tell.  Synthetic brushes absorb less product as they aren't porous while natural brushes are.  I don't like my makeup sucked up into the bristles which I will have to later figure out how to remove.  But I digress.  Keep in mind that the natural brushes can be made from goat hair, raccoon hair, and other rodent-like animals.  I try to block out the image of me brushing the hair off of a rodent, closely related to a rat (in the name of beauty) while applying blush or eye shadow.

Price:  I can't complain for $2.66 per brush but I'll definitely give my honest opinion. It's a steal, in short.  Truthfully, I will probably use half of these which still puts them at about $5 per brush. I REALLY like the short bristled brush that compares to the NARS Ito brush.  That's a gem that'll do great contouring if you even know what contouring is.  That's this one below:


And there are several blending brushes that would be dynamite if you're into eye shadow looks and truthfully, every makeup novice should have, in order to step your game up to the next level.  All of the brushes are useful but I'll discuss the handful that I love.

As I mentioned above, the wide, short bristled brush is a favorite as it also came in the last 4-piece collection that I purchased.  It's great for contouring and since the bristles are short and dense, it picks up more product, so beware, a little bronzer will go a long way if you're using this brush.

Next up is the short pencil brush perfect for blending under the eye.  It's a great size to smoke out underneath your eye and still keep you from looking like a raccoon.  They're nice soft bristles which are a requisite when applying makeup to the area that has the thinnest skin on your face.  You definitely want to use extra soft bristles in this sensitive area.  And here she is:


Up next is a brush I would use as a foundation blending brush.  It's got nice edges that can get into smaller areas like your temples or around the eyes.  And the bristles on this one are also short and dense which makes for seamless blending.  When trying to achieve the airbrushed finish with foundation, you're going to want to use a brush with dense bristles which prevents visible brush strokes on your face.  This brush didn't absorb too much product in my opinion so I'd guess this one is synthetic.  Two thumbs up on this one.



The next two are both eye shadow brushes.  The one shown below is perfect for blending.  Its bristles are a nice length and texture perfect for the crease area, right where your eye lid tucks in when it's open.  Of all the brushes in the collection, this one is a necessity for flawless eye shadow looks.  So if you can't pick up this collection and you can't figure out why your eye shadow isn't coming out like a pro's does, get your hands on this type of brush.  You'll thank me later.  Keep in mind that the key is to blend...a lot.  So if you use this brush, and don't use it appropriately, you won't be happy with the results.  Both tools and technique are critical to extraordinary makeup looks.





And lastly, the other eye shadow brush can be used to pack on eye shadow on  the lid.  It's wider shape allows you to cover a greater area with less reapplication.  So you shouldn't have to dip into the product as much.  I wouldn't say these are the softest bristles but I'd venture to say that you won't really notice as much since you shouldn't be stroking this brush on your eye too much, it's more of a patting motion.  A short tip for getting more vibrant color is wetting the brush with a little water or MAC's Fix Plus spray (if you have it) which will also assist in the longevity of your eye shadow. I do this with shimmery shadows or even bright colors when I'm going for a more dramatic look.  For either of these looks you'll need a good base too.  Look for that in one of my future blogs where I'll discuss eye shadow bases.


I hope this blog post was descriptive enough to aid in your purchase if you were on the fence about this one.  It's certainly a nice collection to have as a makeup enthusiast if you're like me.  Makeup artistry is much like any other type of art in that you'll need good tools even if you are well skilled.  Overall I'd give this set a 7.5 out of 10 which may seem like an average rating except that it's hard to offer the perfect brush set at this price point.  However I will continue to be on the hunt for it, in my quest for affordable, high quality products that I can review and share with the public.  In the meantime...


Stay beautiful,


Makeup Maverick