I stopped a man!

Yesterday, I was in the drugstore winding my way through the aisles & went to grab some hair spray for my kit.

Low & behold, a very confuzzled looking man was standing there with 3 different products in his hands. Poor thing! All of the stuff in his hands was complete crap (Dove styling product, some L’oreal studio line hair putty nonsense & some non-descript product I’d never cared to take in before).

I took one look at his sorry self & told him that he should try the styling products by Got2b. I’ve tried nearly all their products which work really well but particularly the spiking gel & freeze hold hairspray (mega yellow can) work WONDERS on men’s hair.

He dropped all the junkie stuff & grabbed 2 Got2b products. I felt like I was a temporary superhero & saved a man from wasting his hair product dollars & also from having really bad hair.

Moral of the story, when it comes to beauty: if YOU know better then help someone else to CHOOSE better!

Have you ever seen someone picking up a terrible beauty product that you just knew wasn’t going to work or had terrible wear & tear or poor pigment? What did you do? Would you be a product superhero too?

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DIY Face Mask for all skin types!

Spending your Family Day or President’s Day @ home? You may as well do a DIY facial to rejuvenate your skin while playing that game of Scrabble…

Here’s what you need:

~ half a cup of plain yogurt (preferably with the active bacteria)
~ 3 tablespoons of honey
~ ground oats (just use dry oats & grind them up yourself!)

Mix all 3, scrub and slather on a clean face & neck, wait 15-20 minutes…. and presto! wash off with warm water first, then cold water & pat your face dry. This facial can be used on ALL skin types (oily, dry, combo, acne prone, aging…) and wakes skin up while exfoliating away all the little nasties that love hanging around.

The Science:
Yogurt is chock full of vitamins that are good for your skin like calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B and zinc (which is particularly good for blemishes or acne). Honey is a natural antiseptic and is great for moisturizing & killing bacteria in the skin. Oatmeal is a great natural and cheap exfoliant that becomes softened once added to this mix so it’s never to harsh to use on the face.

Try it out & tell me what you think!

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Nail Polish Review

Today I’m trying out the Ardene nail polish. I have no clue what colour it is since it’s not on the bottle but it’s like a teal, dark aqua type colour. I wanted to see how it compares to the big brands (OPI, ESSIE, China Glaze, etc) in terms of wear & tear, especially if it wears great I might just become a huge supporter seeing as I grabbed it at 5 bottles for $10.00. So cheap! and the colours were really bright and fun too! so… let’s see what happens.

I started with my base coat as I do with every polish, (I use Nutra Nail’s Triple Power nail strengthener), then 2 coats of the polish, then my top coat (Rimmel’s 60 seconds clear coat, since I have a life & never have the patience to let my nails dry for very long). And voila! let’s see how well it wears…

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Deal alert! New Women’s Schick Razor

I love a good deal. I swear, my pulse quickens when I see a great deal and know I have a coupon lying around somewhere that will make that deal a major cheapie! Today, I found a MAJOR CHEAPIE!

At Rexall they have the new Schick Hydro Silk razor for women on sale for $9.99. There’s also a manufacturer’s coupon for it online for $4.00 off (image attached) and in store, there was a pad of coupons on the display for $2.00 off! And they let me coupon stack! I was over the moon. $3.99 is a price you can’t beat, so I thought I’d share. I love drugstore deals nearly as much as makeup deals! Happy hunting!

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Testing out a new gel eyeliner!

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So today I have on the Maybelline New York Eyestudio gel eyeliner in Blackest Black. I put it on @ 1pm… Let’s see what happens in a few hours!

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And 12 hours later… It flaked & smudged all over my top lid.
Staying power = C+
Pigmentation = B+
Price = A

But if it doesn’t stay & the pigment just isn’t that great then the low price just isn’t worth it!

Favourite Eyeliner Pencil Now in FULL SIZE!

One of my absolute top favourite eyeliner pencils is from Urban Decay, the colour is their matte blackest black called “Perversion”. This is a miracle eyeliner pencil with it’s super waterproofness and it’s gentle glide on & ultra pigmented formula. I fell in love with this stick ages ago but could only find it in their little travel size/trial size/gift pack things. Super disappointing since it just wasn’t worth it to get all the extra colours I knew I just wouldn’t use. But NOW you can get it in FULL SIZE!!! I feel like this was done especially for me because the last time (before Christmas) that I was in Sephora looking for it (more like praying it would magically be in full size this time) I was nearly on my hands and knees begging the associate to tell me why it had gone and if my favourite colour would ever return. I might have also offered to sell my soul for just one stick. It was possibly quite a scene. So I’ll take this token of good will by Urban Decay to unleash my favourite colour in a full sized stick and I’ll repay them by stocking up on half a dozen. $23 each in Sephora stores in Canada. Thank You Urban Decay and the Very Empathetic Sephora Sales Associate!

Order it online too: http://www.sephora.com/browse/product.jhtml?id=P133707

Makeup Giveaway! Win $50 in Free Makeup!

Contest Closes February 29th and is open to Canadian residents only. Enter at the link below for your chance to win a makeup swag bag filled with gorgeous goodies (a $50 value). It’s easy: just tell us one tip about makeup, hair or skin care that you use to beat the winter blues! Refer friends to ‘like’ the Facebook page for even more entries! Hurry, Contest closes February 29th!

Enter here: https://www.facebook.com/notes/flawless-jemz/beauty-beats-the-blues-our-winter-2012-contest/10150484988642944

L’OCCITANE FREE Shea Hand Cream!

I LOVE beauty freebies! And who doesn’t want a FREE hand cream? Go to the L’OCCITANE en Provence – Canada Facebook page at the link below and complete the form! They’ll email you a voucher to pick up your free award-winning 30ml Shea Hand Cream ($12 value). Hurry! Offer ends February 20th!

https://www.facebook.com/loccitaneenprovence.canada?sk=app_284652874920067

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Thank you L’Occitane Canada!

Kiehl’s Canada Gift Card Giveaway!

Kiehl’s Canada is giving away $15 gift cards all weekend long! The gift card is good on any purchase of 2 items. That means you can purchase 2 tubes of their #1 Lip Balm for $17 ($8.50×2), minus the gift card, and VOILA! 2 top rated lip balms for only $2! You can’t beat a beauty deal like that! Hurry the event ends On February 19th! Check out their Facebook page for event details.

https://www.facebook.com/KiehlsCanada?sk=wall

Best Eyeliners! Product Review

So if you know me, then you know that there are 3 makeup product areas that I am EXTREMELY particular about. First, eyeliner. Second, mascara, Third, brow fillers. I take these products very seriously because I love my eyes, they’re my favourite feature on my face. BUT, they are also quite small and require the right products to make sure they ‘pop’ the way I like them to. So here I’m going to start with my #1 favourite thing, eyeliner, and review my top rated items in pencil and liquid, black and white.

My newest favourite: Kat Von D Autograph Eyeliner in ‘Pur Amor’. This matte black colour will stay all day and is the perfect brush for liquids with an easy to grasp and control handle. Not for the unpractised, so practice first with a cheaper liquid (like NYC‘s black liquid eyeliner for less than $5 at drugstores or Wal-Mart) until your technique is perfect. Then, upgrade yourself. $21 at Sephora.

My #1 clubbing and summertime eyeliner for extreme days and nights: GOSH Extreme Art Eyeliner Gel Liquid. This is the last eyeliner you will ever buy for a night out on the town. The black is glossy, and the colour is extremely intense. The brush is not made for those faint of heart or who are trying liquid for the first time so please practice elsewhere before buying the ‘big guns’ and by big guns, I mean this liquid-gel eyeliner. If you apply it and make a mistake, you’ve got about 4 seconds to fix it or neaten it up with a damp q-tip. If you don’t make it in time, you’ll have to use remover and then clean after the remover so the re-application will stick to the skin again. Basically, it can go bad, all bad. But, I have put it on myself and clients for a ladies night out and still seen it look absolutely perfect in the morning, no flaking, no smudging, no fading. We’re talking 18 hours later. Amazing stuff. Looks like a liquid, applies like a thin gel. $15 at Shoppers Drug Mart stores. Look out for their GOSH cosmetics promotions for 10-20% off which I’ve spotted happens quite frequently and makes it a breeze to stock up. Black is #07, the silvery-white is #14, and I also use #19 and #26 silver shimmers and #20 gold shimmer to highlight the tear duct for a night out since it looks great in pictures instead of a plain white pencil.

My favourite waterproof pick: Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes Liquid Liners. I put all my eyeliners to the test by applying it to my hand and seeing how long it will last through washing of hands, cooking, etc. These have fantastic staying power. I put the black on my hand and it lasted nearly 12 hours with no flaking, smudging or fading and it lasted nearly 20 hours before completely disappearing (#13 matte black). I also LOVE the white (#16 diamond white) to use on top of black eyeliner pencil on the lower eye (below the waterline) to add a shimmer to eyes and a ‘pop’ when taking pictures. The only set back to this eyeliner: pigment. The 2 above are blacker and more highly pigmented colour, which I love because I like the deepest, darkest, most dramatic black I can possible get. And the white is shimmery, but not pigmented so you’d need to apply a white pencil underneath it if you want it to look like an opaque shimmery white instead of a translucent one. The second thing I’m not keen on: the brush. It’s like a sponge brush instead of a soft bristle brush which makes this a bit harder on the eye (especially on the waterline) and feels a bit on the ‘idiot-proof’ eyeliner to me which I find makes it harder for me to wing and be artistic with, but if you‘re in need of an idiot proof liquid, this here is your pot of gold. $26 at Sephora.

My favourite self-sharpening sticks: STILA Smudge Stick Waterproof Eyeliner in Stingray. This is the blackest blackest blackest pencil ever. Goes on ULTRA smooth with no dragging or pulling. Feels heavenly. Extremely pigmented. And waterproof. Amazing stuff. $26 at Sephora, but worth it. The second favourite here is a drugstore alternative: Covergirl Perfect Point Plus in Black Onyx. So smooth, and a very inky black. Precisions is to die for and makes for a perfect cat eye. Love it when I don’t feel like using liquid on my top lid and for using on the waterline for short stints or non-strenuous days. Lasts long, but not as long as the STILA stick. I would strongly recommend it but limit your use to day as I doubt it will go the distance if you take it out on the town. Fantastic buy at about $8 at drugstores or Wal-Mart.

My favourite pencils: The all-time favourite for me is the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil. My favourite colour is ‘Perversion’ which is the best shade of black I’ve seen in a stick. Ever. However, you can only get it in the new holiday kits at Sephora where you can get a variety of minis. Unfortunately, I don’t buy this brand for all the colours, just the black or white. So, the next best one you can get from them is the ‘Zero’ black or the ‘Yayo’ shimmery white, both are $22 each at Sephora. Well worth it, since they glide on in the most heavenly way and stay put for about 10 hours without giving you raccoon eyes. Plus, these pencils are the smoothest criminals you can lay your hands on, I promise.

The cheaper alternative:
SEPHORA COLLECTION Flashy Waterproof Eyeliner in #10 Deep Black or #02 Flashy Silver. $10 at Sephora. It’s nice, smooth, has good pigment and is waterproof for day wear, but I wouldn’t recommend it for a night out of dancing or wearing to the gym. This would be bad, very bad. But if you have dry skin or non-sweaty days, then this is a perfect alternative to the pricier favourite of mine.

My favourite drugstore alternatives: CoverGirl Liquiline Blast. It’s waterproof, blendable and highly pigmented. Goes on smooth. It’s a bit smudgier than I like in my everyday pencil but makes for a fantastic smokey eye and even has a nifty smudger on the back just to ease you into mastering the smudging technique. About $10 at drugstores or Wal-Mart.

NYX Sticks for Eyes Eyebrow and Eyeliner Pencil. They are smooth, have great wearability, don’t tug on skin, are non-irritating for sensitive eyes and the pigment is great too. I use #901 Black or #906 White, the #918 White Pearl is softer and a bit shimmery and tends to look better as a tear duct hilighter as opposed to a waterline pencil. You can purchase them from select drugstores for about $5 each.

NYC liquid eyeliner in black is the ultimate for a drugstore brand. Very inky, very black, with a smooth and ultra-fine brush. Drawback: it’s not waterproof so don’t attempt a night out on the town with this one. You can find it in Walmart of drugstores for about $5.

If there is an eyeliner you would like me to review, please drop me a line on this note or on my page a tell me which brand/type/colour you’d like a review on.

Stay Beautiful!

Do You Really Need Expensive Makeup?

Cheap makeup can be amazing to add to your kit if you’re a new makeup artist and trying to get by on the skinny. Or if you’re a makeup junkie and want to stretch your makeup dollars. Remember though, cheap doesn’t mean you have to skimp out on the quality just because you’re skimping on price. You can find some awesome cheap stuff, but beware, there are some areas of the face you should really spend your $$ on…

concealer: splurge, it’s gotta last all day and blend well with your skin tone and foundation

foundation: splurge, you need your colour match and a lasting formulation

powder: skimp, it’s only to set your base and unless you need photo-quality powder, just skimp out on a translucent loose setting powder

blush/bronzer: splurge, you need a lasting effect and most non-MUA’s use the same colour on their face everyday and only change it for each season of the year

eyeliner: splurge, I hate eyeliner that cakes, flakes, bleeds, etc, so splurge on a lasting formula (should probably be a liquid, cuz that tends to last longer than pencils, for your upper lid and a good waterproof stick for your lower inner eyelid)

eyeshadow: depends, there are some great quality palettes out there for under $60 for 100+ colours that work great and last all day. If you can get this, then great, if not, splurge on the colours you wear everyday cuz you don’t want creasing, fading, bleeding, etc and skimp on the special occasion colours you might only wear for a night or for a few hours at a time.

mascara: skimp, but within reason. Beware of clumping (mind the brush) or flaking (mind the formulation) but you can generally skimp out in a big way cuz you’ll use so darn much.

eyebrows: I prefer brow powder w/ a setting gel, always works better than pencil in my opinion. You can skimp or splurge, I find the way to judge is the staying power and consistency of the setting gel; if it’s good stuff, it’ll keep nearly any brow powder in place.

If you ever want to know about a product being splurge-worthy, ask me! Chances are, I’ve already put it to the test. 🙂

How to Clean Your Makeup Brushes

Makeup brushes are like an extension of your arm when you’re a Makeup Artist. So take good care of your makeup brushes and they will take good care of your clients in return 😀

Maintaining good brush hygiene is extremely important for several reasons:

1. Your colours stay true to form because you don’t have old colour built up on the bristles, tinting your colours one way or another or having colour stuck on the brush which causes new makeup to not stick to the brush very well or deposit unevenly to the skin.

2. As brushes deposit colour to the skin, they also pick up oils, sebum, bacteria and environmental pollutants that have ended up on the skin. These little ‘nasties’ can build up on your brush and cause makeup to look streaky or uneven on the skin. They can also, and most importantly, cause breakouts or recurring breakouts of acne & other skin irritations by depositing & re-depositing these nasties onto your skin over & over again.

3. Good hygiene can also extend the life of your makeup products. After using a, for example, lip brush in your lip palette, you need to clean it before going back for any more colour so as not to endanger your client’s health and to prolong the life of your product substantially by making sure there’s no bacteria in it or being added to it.

There are 2 methods to cleaning makeup brushes, the Quickie & the Deep Clean.

I use the Quickie method when I’m on shoots or between clients to maintain a hygienic work space & working conditions for my clients. The best brush cleaner that I find does the job well is from Sephora called Daily Brush Cleaner or Cover FX Brushes Cleanser (also requires no rinsing).

HOW-TO: To use this method, take your brush, spray it several times (3 times for an eye brush or lip brush, 5-7 times for a face/body/blush/contour brush) and, using a clean towel, make circular motions on the towel until all makeup is off the brush, ending with a squeeze to put the bristles back in place. Do this gently, keeping in mind this is a dry clean to disinfect & remove immediate product, not to get right down into the depths of the brush as you could ruin your brushes otherwise. This method is also called a “dry clean” by other makeup artists because since the brushes were never soaked with water, they can be ready to reuse right away.

The Deep Clean method should be done WEEKLY for someone who wears makeup everyday for their personal brushes and after each and EVERY work day for an MUA who may have several clients back to back in a day (meanwhile still using the Quickie between faces).

Now everyone has different advice on how to deep clean makeup brushes, and they’re not all bad, but some methods are best for some people while not being good for everyone in general; these are tips that are safe/best for everyone to use. Firstly, you have to decide if you’d like to use a brush liquid cleaner or a shampoo. For those with highly sensitive skin, please use a cleaner (I recommend the brush cleanser by Quo at Shoppers Drug Mart) or an unscented baby shampoo. For those who do not have sensitive skin, I recommend using a mild shampoo that is sulfate, phthalate, & scent free. Personally, I use an organic shampoo on my hair that is all of the above & so it suits me very well to use on my brushes as well since I know it’s not too harsh and my skin will not react poorly to it. I do not recommend using “any shampoo” because not just any shampoo will do. After all, you have to put these brushes on your face or your client’s face so please be mindful of everyone’s different sensitivities when choosing the way you clean your brushes (the same goes for reusable makeup sponges).

HOW-TO: Take a nickel sized amount of shampoo in your palm, wet the brush under lukewarm water, and turn it bristle side down in your palm while making circular motions. Rinse & repeat until the water runs clear. Make a final rinse with cold water. Make a bed for your brushes with a clean towel partially rolled up. Place the brushes handle up (bristles down) with the handle resting on the ‘pillow’ part of the towel bed (the rolled up portion). This is so that water doesn’t leak down into the handle of the brush & cause the handle glue to loosen. Do this at night so that you won’t be rushed to use your brushes before they’re dry. Some people choose to rinse their brushes with conditioner, however, it’s not something I recommend for most peoples skin since conditioners contain moisturizing ingredients (oils, proteins, etc) that some people’s skin will not agree with. Using a mild cleaning agent is a much safer bet.

P.s. by using my method, the same one used by many other professional MUAs, I still have all my brushes I bought 8 years ago 🙂

Hello world… It’s me… Jemz!

I’m Jem Lopez a.k.a. Flawless Jemz, a professional makeup artist & hair stylist living & working in Toronto. I love doing things with my hands like crafting, jewelry making and baking goodies. I spend all my money shopping for makeup & shoes. I love anything purple and making all things pretty. Beware: I’m also a makeup junkie and product hoarder. Wanna know how to solve your beauty dilemma? Need a suggestion on a cheaper makeup alternative to a luxury brand? Wanna know how a product performs? Ask me all your makeup, hair and beauty questions and give me a reason to test and review more products for you! Can’t get enough of me? Find my page on Facebook as Flawless Jemz for all kinds of product reviews, makeup tips & tricks.