Tag Archives: Kevyn Aucoin

brush up against me

10 Apr

“So, what brushes do you use?” said no one ever, to me anyway, but I need to flog about SOMETHING, don’t I?  And makeup brushes are important.  Not as important as saying “I love you” to your mum every chance you get.  More important than … that douche that cut you off in peak-hour traffic this morning?  I dunno.

I’m not actually that much of a tool-tool to be honest, I’m pretty big on sticking my fingers into all the powders and pastes and gettin’ busy that way.

Kevyn himself said something wise about the most important makeup tools being time and your own hands.  And there’s something to be said for feeling what you’re doing when you put makeup on either yourself or someone else, interacting with the planes of the face you’re decorating, manipulating the products you’re using with the pads of your fingers.  Tactile.

Anyway.  Makeup brushes are handy if you’re aiming for a specific effect, like a fine or sharp line on your upper lash-line, or a perfectly blended blush.  The brush I use probably every day is a fluffy eyeshadow brush that I’ve probably had for about 15 years, by Manicare.

this sexy son of a bitch

this sexy son of a bitch

It’s really gone the distance, I’m yet to see it shed even one hair.  It’s all I need for just puttin’ on some eyeshadow.

I think an angled brush is also a handy one to have, and I’ve had a MAC one that I’ve been using for a million years as well, although for the St Patrick’s day facepainting I bought a Barry M one for only a few bucks, not wanting to trash my good one, and I have to say I was well impressed by how it went the distance, too.  I was expecting to bin it after the event, but it’s scrubbed up just fine.  And, dare I say it, sharper than my MAC one.  Shhh.

barry m brush

I also use a MAC blush brush:

MAC blush brush

MAC blush brush

and a MAC stipple brush:

made from the hair of a zebra.  Not really.

made from the hair of a zebra. Not really.

MAC brushes are good, but they’re not cheap, and while I think there are a lot of cases in which one gets what one pays for… I think you can get some damn good brushes without forking out that much.  It’s all a matter of personal preference really.  And it can seem a bit daunting too, for example there are zillions of different brushes you can buy for eyeshadow alone.  No point spending hundreds on a full brush kit only to end up using one or two tools.  Why not get cheaper brushes to experiment with (if you’re not planning on Winehouse’ing, ever, then you might not actually NEED an eyeliner brush, for example).  See if the brush is something that makes it into your regular rotation, then upgrade if you want to.

You can also go mad buying ‘brush cleaner’ and so on, but I’m not convinced of their merits really.  I just use shampoo to clean mine, blot them on a towel to get the water out, pat them into shape and let them air-dry.  I’d use anti-bacterial hand soap to clean them before and after using them on someone else, if I was being all hygiene-conscious.

I have heard good things, very good things in fact, about makeup brand EyesLipsFace (ELF).  In particular about their brushes.  For dirt cheap!  And until today I thought you could only get their stuff in Canada/USA, but lo – here you Aussies can find it, and for us here in Blighty.  Go mad.  I’ll be shopping up a storm on payday so strap yourselves in for some ELF product reviews soon.

Happy brushing!

PS Still haven’t heard from Clydebank 😦

Titanium Dioxide strikes again!

25 Mar

mr burns

Just when you thought you had all the knowledge-power needed to win the war against makeup supervillain Flash Face


… THIS goes and happens.

The flash has picked up that Irene’s hair is loaded with Schwarzkopf got2b Volumising Style Powder; a product which has gotten quite mixed/negative reviews online.

As I have a mullet…


Me and Chloe, ruling the world

…which is quite short on top, I find this product pretty good for fluffing my hair up.  Sure, it makes your hair feel a little matted, and yes, when you try to shampoo it out, your shampoo won’t lather.  If you put conditioner on it first it comes out fine.  I think the trick is to just use it sparingly… I seem to recall it took a good few days for Irene’s lovely hair to return to normal after this!

Do you know of any volumising powders/dry shampoos that are big-hair perfection?  Especially any that are darker in colour- a good dry shampoo that doesn’t just look like you’ve dumped a whole lot of talc in your barnet?  Do tell 😀

PS Today’s product recommendation – Maybelline Master Smoky shadow-pencil, which is a fat eye crayon number with a pointy foam smudger thingy on the end.  Pointy foam smudger thingies are great for sharpening/cleaning up a winged eye; use a clean one to give a sharper edge to a flick you’ve created using eyeshadow, for example.

The Master Smoky pencil itself is soft, full o’ pigment and excellent for darkening up underneath your top lashes, if you want them to look thick and fluffy and amazing.  That there tip, courtesy of Kevyn, is a great way to really define your eyes – it’s subtle but makes a helluva difference, I think.  Give it a go.  Any big-fat eyeliner pencil is good for cutting your teeth on that one.  They’re easier to apply.

artists I admire: Kevyn Aucoin

26 Jan

I owned Kevyn’s books, Face Forward and Making Faces, years ago, when I was back in Australia and first becoming obsessed with makeup.  I’d taught myself a lot from practice, trial and error, and reading magazines.  But I was at a stage when I was acutely aware of how much I didn’t know, and I was hungry for more technical knowledge and inspiration.

I can’t remember how I first came across the name Kevyn Aucoin.  Probably at the library.  I would have read every makeup book they had, but I couldn’t tell you now about any of the others.  Kevyn’s were all I needed at the time, and there was a lot I liked about those books.  His philosophy and attitude to life, not just to makeup, came across as incredibly positive, inclusive, open-minded and altogether exciting.  He seemed to see the value and beauty in everyone and everything, and his books generously share all he knows.

These two books have so much in them; incredible transformations, technical tips and tricks that are so well illustrated and explained.  Even though I read these books years ago, so much from their pages has stayed with me.  I remember Kevyn writing something about running a mile if you’re hearing the words “always” and “never” being used in a beauty-facist kind of way.  I like the idea that absolutely anything goes, and being open to all of it will teach you how to do things you wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.  Even if something is a mistake or doesn’t work the way you want it to, in another scenario it’s just the look you’re going for.

gweneth as james dean

Hell’s bells, he’s only gone and made Gweneth Paltrow look exactly like James Dean.  Nice work, Kev.  That picture first appeared in FaceForward (published in 2000 by Little, Brown & Co.) – does it further blow your mind to know that it took him 15 minutes to create that portrait?

Like me, Kevyn was completely self-taught, and unlike me he was seriously amazing at what he did.  Now I’m at the stage where I’m looking seriously at gaining a qualification, because once again I’m feeling like there’s so much I don’t know I don’t know.  Seriously.

Oh Kevyn, not a day goes by without me putting eyeliner underneath my top lash line, thanks to you.  Try it for yourself; once you get used to it, it’ll revolutionise mascara for you.

I also highly recommend getting on Amazon where you can pick these books up for a song, second hand.  Even though I have copies of them back home in Australia I justified buying them again the other day because they were only a few bucks each.  And I’m falling in love all over again.  As Gena Rowlands says in the foreword of Making Faces (published 1997 by Little, Brown & Co.)…

“There are so many things in the world that you have to face that aren’t so pleasant, that being able to learning something and have a little fun and feel better about yourself, all in the time it takes to get from one page to the next, is a special and wonderful combination.”

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