Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sports Proof Makeup!

I feel like the Little Mermaid when she had to learn how to exist on land. Being a competitive swimmer and water rat all my life (my summer jobs were always either "swim coach" or "lifeguard"), makeup was never an issue. Looking like a wet, pruney, haggardly tomato with puffy "goggle eyes" was par for the course. But now that I've ventured into "land sports" territory - soccer for now - I was left wondering how to stay cute while still playing like an angry mama bear.

Here is the winning combination! Everything I'm wearing in this tutorial has been tried and tested time and time again, through all my sweaty glory. Post-games, my acne-prone skin hasn't broken out, so this won't clog your pores. Just be sure to clean your face well afterwards. The DermaBlend foundation provides easy, amazing coverage but that does mean it requires a quick swipe of makeup remover, olive oil, or cold cream to really cleanse it from your face.


*DermaBlend foundation (purchased at Shopper's Drug Mart in Canada - costs only about $25 each!) in #25 and #45 - Mixing two foundations is key to getting the perfect colour match for your skin.

*Coastal Scents 88 Warm Palette - Two light matte browns to fill in brows using a stiff angled brush. Make sure the e/s you use to fill in your brows is matte and not shimmery.

*Chamayu Brows Up brow gel - Set and lighten brows a little more with tinted brow gel. I've bent the applicator so it's easier to apply; this way the product won't get all over my face. I bought this at Pacific Mall.

*Urban Decay Primer Potion - A key ingredient for making e/s last rather than melt off your face while you're sweating through the game.

*Too Faced Natural Eye Palette - Mix the shimmery and matte highlight colours and pat them onto the inner 1/3 of your lids.
Dupes: shimmery pink = Stila "Kitten", matte beige = MAC "Brule".

*CS 88 Warm Palette - A shimmery rose colour adds a pretty, feminine, yet neutral touch to the look. Don't use anything too dark. Lighter colours are more forgiving in case something goes awry with your e/s during the game.

*CS 88 Warm Palette - Mix two dark matte warm browns to lightly add dimension to the look. Use the same colours to line 2/3 of bottom lashes.

*Lola Highlight Pencil - Highlighting inner corners and waterline subtly opens up your eyes.

*MAC Fluidline in "Black Track" - This AMAZING gel liner literally does not budge. Even after massive amounts of sweating!

*e.l.f. Blush in "Coral" - Adding a touch of colour to your cheeks adds polish to your look.

*MAC Mineralized Skin Finish in "Medium Plus" - Set everything with loose powder. I like the MSF powder because it doesn't look cakey or make your face overly matte. It looks more natural when you sweat.

*Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler & CoverGirl Lashblast WATERPROOF Mascara in "Black" - Finish off with waterproof mascara. It will hold the curl of your lashes and you won't have to worry about the product running all over your face. Lashblast is great - it adds a lot of fullness even though it's a waterproof product.


Monday, May 9, 2011

Basic Shoe Collection Part I

My good friend Sarah requested a shoe collection video (thanks Sar!). I called it a tutorial because it illustrates basic shoes that I feel can easily match with almost any outfit. I decided to break it into parts mainly because my camera died lol. But to my credit, I had already pre-categorized the shoes into flats, heels, and boots. So look out for the boots collection in Part II.

TIP: I keep my shoes basic, comfortable, and classic. I prefer to follow shoe trends only if I feel the trend will last. I usually wait one season to see if they will return. Gladiators and Uggs fall into this category so I've since purchased both. Otherwise I tend to throw in a trendy piece in my clothes instead, as that is usually a cheaper investment, and if the trend becomes totally obsolete then I'm not stuck wasting a pair of perfectly functional footwear. Comfort is of utmost importance to me when it comes to footwear because it can really add or detract from your overall well-being. Everything I'm showing you except the really high turquoise pumps are extremely comfortable.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Holy Grail UNISEX Tinted Moisturizer: ORIGINS VITAZING (w SPF15)

Dare I say it? THIS PRODUCT IS UNISEX! Boys, we ladies empathize with how much it sucks to not be able to rectify red, blotchy, acne-ridden skin. Even we have trouble hiding it and we're able to resort to an army of products without the fear of being judged. Well your solution is here! Origins VitaZing to the rescue!!


Origins VitaZing is marketed as a tinted moisturizer with SPF so it's not only easy to apply but gives you some protection against harmful UVA/UVB rays. The bonus is that it is lightweight and evens out skin tone - without being too greasy or too mattifying like other tinted moisturizers. It somehow provides a combination of moisture, coverage, and a slight dewy glow that lasts all day. And if you need to add concealer, go right ahead. You'll look like you have a natural perfectly-complected face. I wear this to work daily and it's quick and flawless! Saves me so much time in the morning and I feel healthy wearing it since it has SPF and won't clog pores.

VitaZing works with ALL skin colours. Despite it coming out white, the tiny beads in it (Ions? Let's not get scientific, haha) colour-match to each individual's skin tone. Yes, this means darker-skinned people won't come out looking ashy. And you don't have to shop around to colour-match and worry about the product looking weird on your face. See? Super easy for everyone, especially lazy girls like me and boys who refuse to go shopping for cosmetics. It also smells amazing - a florally citrus? Regardless, the scent is SO faint that it's barely detectable and won't make your face smell.

The only downside is that the product's non-glossy packaging can get a little discoloured if you keep it among your other makeup. Yes, this is seriously the only "con" I could come up with. ;)


Simple! You only need a tiny amount, about two pea-sized dollops (about what's shown here) in order to get great results. Just put tiny dots of product all over your face and rub it in. Bring it slightly down your neck. Because I have dry skin, I choose to first moisturize my face with my regular moisturizer, Shiseido Night Moisture Recharge, then apply VitaZing. You definitely don't have to do this. Yet even with the extra step, my acne-prone face never breaks out or gets overly greasy when using this product.

There is flash here and I didn't work in the product very much, but you can already see how it blends right into my skin without altering its colour. It's hard to tell on my hand but it immediately evens out skin tone. Definitely not to the same level as a heavier concealer or foundation, but it works incredibly well for a tinted moisturizer. Especially great for those hot summer days when you want coverage but dread wearing anything too heavy on your face. Just add a bit of concealer to problem areas and you'll be set!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Cool UNISEX Scarf Trick: How to Tie Your Scarf in an X!

This is something you can try with both thick and thin scarves.

Tip: It's extra flattering when done with a slightly shorter scarf because the X formation really shows.

*Unfortunately I had to re-upload this video with no music as there were copyright issues.


Outfit of the Day: Feminine Neutrals

Light and feminine neutrals are a fantastic way to usher in the warm weather. If you gravitate towards simpler, sportier styles like I do, and/or are uncomfortable with overly girlie outfits, then punctuate your look with little feminine touches through ruching or lace detailing (lace is really popular this season). Another method is through feminine accessories - the ruffly Forever21 scarf I'm wearing adds the perfect touch when you can't pull off ruffles on your shirts. Some girls look fabulous with ruffled or ruched shirts but I personally look awful in them. Total disaster. The bonus of accessorizing is that you can always remove a scarf, hat, or cardigan to immediately tone down the look but you can't really remove your shirt. ;)

I usually balance out feminine looks with a bolder shoe and bag. To create an even edgier contrast, I would probably switch out the brown booties, belt, and bag for strong colours like black, turquoise, or red.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Outfit of the Day: Bright & Bold Cardigan

To quickly transition your wardrobe into Spring, top off your tanks or tees with a bright coloured cardigan. I love this pinky coral one from H&M's latest collection. Yellow is another wonderful vibrant yet wearable choice.

Because the cardigan is so bright and I wanted it to pop, I kept the rest of the outfit relatively soft and neutral. However if you want to go for a more daring look, feel free to mix and match this cardigan with bolder colours and accessories.


Outfit of the Day: Clean & Casual Look

A quick casual outfit of the day! :)
(Still sick and stuffed up, hence the shininess and Rudolph nose.)


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Quick & Easy: Failproof Liquid Liner Trick

Even though I'm a visual artist, I do not have steady hands. My fine motor skills can be terrible at times so I can't do crafts or handy work for the life of me. Case in point, after I eat, the only clean area is basically where the plate used to be. Once, in eight grade metal shop, I dropped the acetylene torch and burned off the back of my shoe. I'm just generally clumsy. So my point is, if I can use liquid liner...then anyone can.

Watch the vid below for some tricks and tips that make lining your eyes far less intimidating. Before getting it perfect, you will need to take some time familiarizing yourself with the shape of your eye. One way to practice that is to take an angled brush and use wet or dry eyeshadow to line your lids until you get the hang of your eye contours. Then move onto liquid liner. At that point, my suggestion is to first start with a felt tip liner like the one I'm using from Revlon. It feels more like a pen, so it's a good transitional tool before venturing into brush tip territory.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Now that summer is fast approaching, it's time for some makeup and style tips that will hold up against the heat. Owning a waterproof eyeliner that won't smudge under the sun or at the beach is a great start.

::MAC Fluidline Gel Liner in "Blacktrack"::


You may already be familiar with MAC's popular Fluidline gel liner. But I had no idea how smudgeproof it is. Waterproof liners (pencil, gel, liquid) I'd been using till now would hold up all right...in varying degrees. But after an entire day out or a night of sweating at a club, each one would inevitably fade unattractively, crease into my eyeshadow, or melt into a set of dreaded raccoon eyes.

In contrast, MAC's Fluidline gel liners do not budge. You can even line your waterline with it and after it dries, it will remain intact. Not only do I have oily lids but I tend to sweat a lot in general, so if it works for me, it will definitely work for you.

Check this out. I brushed a little Fluidline onto the back of my hand.

I let it set for a second and then ran it under a constant stream of warm water for about 10 seconds.

The results? Absolutely NO change. Despite being saturated with water, the liner required a lot of rubbing for it to fade. Even so, I had to use makeup remover to wipe it off completely. (Note that this liner comes off very easily with makeup remover, so fear not its removal).


Super easy! Use any angled or pointed liner brush, dip it lightly into the product, and scrape off any excess. The liner is extremely smooth and glides very easily onto your lid so the steady hands of a surgeon is absolutely not a requirement. I also like its smooth texture because it won't tug on your lids and create premature sagging or wrinkles.

Use any of these liner brushes (bent pointed, stiff angled, stiff flat) depending on what works for you.

TIP: Just remember to cap the liner immediately after you're done to avoid drying it out.


If you're like me and wear contacts, at some point in time you've gotten liner on your contacts halfway through your makeup application and had to rinse and replace them in your eye mid-application. (I'm blind without my contacts so I have no choice but to put my lenses back in before finishing my eye makeup). If this is you, then you'll also know that because you've rinsed out your contact, your eye becomes really wet. At this point, even a waterproof liner can end up smudging once you replace your lens, ruining all your hard work. With Fluidline, I've literally replaced a soggy lens THREE TIMES IN A ROW, and each time the liner stayed put as if it were freshly applied! This is really what makes it a holy grail product for me.

Revamping YouTube Site

Hi all! Just a quick note to let you know that I'm in process of deleting my old YouTube videos to avoid copyright-infringing audio or visuals. YouTube has gotten strict about copyright and "I don't want no trouble" (Jackie Chan voice). It sucks because some of the vids have gotten thousands of hits, but at least this way I can apply for YouTube partnership if I want.

I'm definitely planning to re-upload the more popular vids but for the most part I think I'll just film new footage now that I have an HD camera. :)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Outfit of the Day: Dolman Top

Hope everyone had a good weekend! If you celebrate Easter or had the long weekend off, hope it was a good one!

This outfit has nothing to do with Easter. It just happened to fall on Easter weekend when I finally began to feel better after a two-week sickness.  You know how little kids play "house"? Yeah, I never did that. Instead I played "animals" and "doctor" and sometimes "animal doctor" (surprise surprise). Anyway, so this time when I fell ill with the nastiest bug, I decided to play "American Health Care System". That's when you pretend you don't have universal health care so you can't really afford to see the doctor and you don't have insurance so you can't get prescription medication. So I didn't take any Western meds this time - only the vile Oil of Oregano and Chinese cough syrup.

Pei Pa Koa: Ancient Chinese medicine lol. "The formula originally created by Doctor Ip Tin-See, a physician for the Qing Dynasty." And this stuff WORKS.

Took forever but I still got better without the usual Big Pharm antibiotics, pure Medieval (or American? lol) style.

My point is that I finally felt better enough to do a bunch of social activities this weekend and film another OOTD video. Here are the pics!

My typical layered style with drapey Dolman/batwing top from Jean Machine, ruffled scarf from Forever 21, boots from Aldo, jacket from Bench. I love the Dolman style - it's so flattering! It hides any chunky spots (belly, chicken wing arms) and accentuates a sexy silhouette (shoulders, collarbone, waistline). Try it out if you haven't already! Jean Machine has been carrying a bunch of these styles lately. I have a zilion tops like this in various cuts and colours. They look perfect with skinny jeans or leggings. Or jeggings.


Friday, April 22, 2011

How to Travel in Style!

Rihanna, Rachel Bilson, Nicole Richie, Charlize Theron.

I read a post from The Fashion Spot today on how to emulate celeb style when travelling. I thought there were some great tips on how to prep your wardrobe so I'm sharing them with you.

*Content borrowed from The Fashion Spot

Layers are always a great idea if your bod gets easily overheated or chilled like mine. It also adds a lot of interest to your look when you have different lengths peeking out. Travel-wise, layer up because there will be changes in temperatures whether it's on the plane or the car, or between Destinations A and B.

If you're like me, you already do this going to public places, sitting on the bus, doctor's waiting rooms, etc. But cover up for sanitary reasons to reduce "skin-to-seat contact". Those seats have been sat on by god knows how many zillions of grody passengers.

A cute but large bag (could be an over-the-shoulder messenger bag) for snacks, books, cozy slippers while you're on the plane, and minimal touch-up makeup.

If you don't like to wear constricting jeans or dress pants on a long trip, I don't blame you. Try leggings (expandable elastic waistband!) and layers on top. Just be sure that what you're wearing is comfortable and won't wrinkle. Avoid jogging pants - too sloppy, and never wear linen - it will wrinkle.

There are several reasons for wearing a darker palette - it's slimming and looks chic, you can easily take your travel wear into street style territory with a funky scarf, accessories, and cute boots/shoes, and above all, if you or your seat-neighbour have any kind of accident en route (especially food-related), the stains or fallout won't show up as readily.

Monday, April 18, 2011

How to Find Your Personal Style

As you already know, Korean street styles is my ultimate inspiration. I definitely embody this particular look naturally, which may be why I'm attracted to it in the first place. But, chicken or egg is unimportant. I do know what I like and that's key when it comes to possessing a signature style. That being said, there was a time I wasn't sure about my personal style. So if that's your struggle, then I have some tips for you!

If you're unsure about your own personal style, or want to find out what it is, try my trick: Save all the styles you see that you find attractive and that immediately draw your eye. Once you have a collection of about 10 - 20 pieces, look through them and you will start noticing some common features or key styles that the pics share. The rationale behind this is that it's near impossible to make the same comparison when you're glancing at random pics here and there, over time. But once you have a photo montage in front of you that you can sit down and carefully review, you will be able to visualize your preferred style almost instantaneously.

Conversely, when you don't know where to begin, it's equally important to examine what styles you absolutely abhor. Collect samples of pieces you find repulsive. Then take a closer look at exactly what you dislike about the style. This will help you filter out what doesn't work for you.

If there is already a style that inspires you but you're struggling to achieve it, I recommend doing visual research specifically on that style. YouTube and Google images of that particular style. Once your brain becomes saturated with the style in question, you will start to "think in that style". Not only will you start to understand what pieces are put together in which way to create the overall look, but you will train your brain to start doing the same when you pull outfits or go shopping.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Outfit of the Day: Relaxed Sunday Street Style

I'm a huge fan of street styles, particularly Korean. I think K-looks are always the perfect combo of edgy, cute, and cool so it's my inspiration for most of my outfits. Here's what I came up with for a casual Sunday dinner with friends.

Playing with different bags/clutches.


Outfit of the Day: Day/Night Transition + Waterproof

Of all African animal prints, I love leopard/cheetah print the best. I find that in small amounts, it is the most flattering and least Jersey Shore/Housewives of New Jersey. As fun as those shows are to watch, we definitely don't want to channel that (haha) in reality. Speaking of reality tv, the fact that these declasse goons constitute anyone's idea of real life should be more than enough evidence that it's all fake and scripted.

I'm about to head out downtown for a full day and night of social events and won't have the luxury of returning home to freshen up in between. Plus it's pouring like a mama skunk out there. So not only do I have to dress for a day/night transition, but my makeup has to last against passing time and pouring rain, and my clothes have to be cute yet crappy weather proof.

Here is what I decided on.

To guard my makeup against the elements, I spritzed my face with Make Up Forever's "Mist & Fix". This is a really good product if you need your makeup to last longer.


I'll just switch out this daytime H&M messenger bag with my turquoise Forever 21 clutch when I go out for drinks with the girls later (holla ladies!).


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Spring 2011 Outfit of the Day: Layered Cropped Tank (Day to Night)

One of the latest Spring trends to hit the streets is cropped tops. I'm personally not a huge fan of them because they immediately give me flashbacks of every traumatic fashion experience growing up in the 80s. For some reason when I see a cropped top, my mind immediately conjures up a disturbing image reel starring George Michael in a pink headband and exercise gear and Tom Selleck as Magnum P.I. running in slow mo in short shorts. Gross. Does it make me old that I remember a time when we joked about how the 80s would never return and thanked our lucky stars that it was just a terrible mistake? Well, for a few years now, 80s fashion has been creeping its way back onto the scene. Right now I'd say it's hitting us hard, what with all the cropped tops, bright neons, and clashing florals dominating the runway. I must say though, designers have updated these once-disastrous fashions into something more modern and wearable. Only in small doses of course. Meaning, if you walk into Forever 21 right now it looks like a garden threw up.

But I digress. Here are some examples of how I incorporated this Spring's trends of cropped top, neutral palette, and nautical theme. The cut of this Forever 21 tank is cute but I didn't feel ready to sport it alone. I feel like you have to be stick skinny to really pull off this look without risking potential "pregnancy chic". So I brought it into my comfort zone by creating a slimmer silhouette through layering. I'm not going to lie, I bought this tank mainly because I loved the little blue bicycles on it. My actual train of thought (much like my dog's when he sees food): "Wait, are those bicycles? Bicycles? Yes! Yes they're bicycles! SO cute!! I definitely don't have anything in my closet that has BICYCLES on it. How interesting! Bicycles?? SOLD!" LOL. But besides the super kawaii factor, I like the paradox of how it channels Spring's trendy nautical theme through a land-based mechanism. Mindblasting!


Flats like Toms are both practical and stylish. Great for walking around all day running errands. I like to wear a purse from my array of slouchy bags like this one from Coach.


Trade the Toms and purse for heels and a clutch.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Spring 2011 Outfit of the Day: Belted Denim Shirt (Day to Night)

Oversized shirts and leggings is one of my favourite street styles. Here's how I accessorized a simple belted denim shirt look. I added a bluish grey scarf to maintain a relatively monochromatic foundation for the outfit. I like to add punches of colour with chunky statement jewellery so for my accent piece I chose gold studded turquoise earrings from Forever 21. Because of my yellowish skin tone, I tend to gravitate towards warm golds and bronzes - gold-framed aviators, watch, ring, earrings, and belt tie the look together and warm up the blue greys. To complete this outfit, I would wear my small brown H&M over-the-shoulder saddle bag or my wardrobe staple bronze Coach purse (not shown).


To quickly and easily take this look into evening, simply change a few accessories. I recommend transitioning the look with heels and perhaps a more glamorous scarf (not shown, but any scarf in a finer material would immediately add texture and elegance to the look). A sleek clutch (not shown) would complete the outfit.



Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Food Tips for Healthy Skin!

The Fashion Spot recently did a piece on "Eating Your Way to Healthy Skin". Because this list of foods and their positive effects are so handy, I went ahead and summarized it for you.

The healthy fat found in fatty fish like salmon, tuna, olive oil, flax seeds, walnuts, tofu.
Helps skin retain moisture and prevent dry skin, wrinkles, fine lines.
♥ Contains protective monounsaturated fats, which has been shown to reduce risk of skin cancer when consumed in place of saturated fats.


Zinc-rich foods like oysters and lean meats can help tame oily skin.
Such foods have been shown to reduce oil production, help heal minor cuts and scrapes.


Vitamin C found in citrus fruits (e.g. oranges, grapefruits) prevents immune deficiencies like colds.
Vitamin C has been shown to help fight wrinkles.
Vitamin C combined with Vitamin E (found in avocados, almonds) creates an antioxidant effect to help protect skin from sun damage.
Vitamin C + E work together to aid in preventing and repairing cell damage.


Greatest effect on skin when eaten in form of leafy dark greens (e.g. spinach, kale).
Popular in beauty products for its anti-aging benefits


♥ Foods like dark chocolate, berries, bananas, citrus fruits, dill, broccoli, pistachios.
Studies have shown flavonoids can decrease sensitivity to sun and increase blood flow to skin to help improve texture


♥ Foods like carrots, kale, spinach, cayenne pepper, tomatoes, apricots.  
♥ Decreases skin’s sensitivity to sun and reduces skin redness.


Teas used for centuries, known for their healing properties.
Green tea claims to possess anti-inflammatory properties. 
♥ Studies have shown alkaloids in coffee (also found in green tea) help rid body of damaged cells.


Choose whole grains over refined carbohydrates.
♥ Compared to carbohydrates, whole grains are lower on glycemic index, higher in fiber, can help reduce blemishes.
Whole grains keep you fuller, longer because they don't cause the insulin level spike that refined carbohydrates do.

♥ Foods like eggs, garlic.
Key in repairing tissues and elasticity in skin, making it essential for smooth skin.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

15 Funky Ways to Tie Your Laces!

How cool is this?? So many amazing ways to lace up your sneakers! Check them out to add a super unique twist to your look. Children of the 80s, who remembers doing the Checkerboard with their Kangaroos! Hahaha! :P

*I do not own these photos. They were sent to me via email so full credit goes to Puma and whoever else owns these photos.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Brushes 101: Essentials vs. "Good to Have" (Ideal Info for Beginners)

If you consider yourself a newbie or totally lost when it comes to makeup, then one of the most intimidating areas can be makeup brushes. I should add here that many makeup artists prefer using their fingers for certain applications, whether it be for a particular look or just personal preference. It's totally okay to use your fingers, but there are some aspects of makeup application that are far easier with the right brush. Let me share what I have discovered to save you the legwork.

This post will outline what I consider the "must have" essential brushes and the "nice to have" extra brushes. That should help reduce any beginner's anxiety!


1) Fluffy All-Over Eyeshadow

These brushes are from the Shopper's Drug Mart "Quo" line.

I'm including these as essentials because they're multipurpose. First, although you may absolutely use Q Tips or your fingers to apply your eyeshadow (make sure your hands are clean!), brushes like these make life a lot easier especially if you're just beginning. They pick up just the right amount of product and you can deposit the shadow onto your lids with better control.

You should initially pat the eyeshadow onto your lids (instead of "rubbing" it) to ensure its lasting power, but you can also use these brushes to do a little blending. Furthermore, these brushes can double as facial contouring or cheekbone highlighting brushes (more on that below) so you don't have to drop mad cash on brushes.

2) Blending

The white tip brush is one of my FAVES. Holy grail brush! It's the MAC 217 blending brush. 
The brown tip one is the Smashbox #10 Crease Brush. The bristles are stiffer and fan out more than the MAC 217, which makes me feel less in control. I adore the 217 and have several of them.

I consider blending brushes absolutely essential. Whereas applicator brushes can be substituted with fingers or Q Tips, you definitely need a brush or three to blend out your eyeshadows so there are no harsh lines. Blending takes a bit of practice but once you get the hang of it, it is the key to flawless, professional-looking eyes. I'll do an updated blending tutorial soon. If you want a good blending brush, definitely pick up the MAC 217. This brush is also multipurpose; you can use it to blend out concealer, highlight cheekbones, etc. Just an all-around lovely brush!

3) Liners

The two brushes on the left are from Shoppers' Quo line and the one on the right is from Sephora.

Your makeup brush collection should include one or several of these types of brushes. Again, the theme is multipurpose. You can apply gel liners with these brushes or wet your eyeshadow and line your eyes with that rather than using pencil liners. If you're a beginner and aren't good with eyeliners, my tip is to wet one of these brushes and dip it into a brown or black eyeshadow. Line your eyes with this method instead - it looks great and it's amazing practice for you to figure out the shape and contour of your eye.

You can also use these brushes to fill in your brows (no special brow gear necessary - any matte brown shadow that suits your colouring will work. I'll do an updated brow tutorial). As well, you can use these brushes to highlight the inner corners of your eyes with light shimmery shadows, an important step in brightening your overall appearance. Do get one of these brushes for your set - totally indispensable! If you're just going to get one, I recommend the middle angled liner for its versatility.

4) Angled Powder

This brush is from Quo. Use it for blush and cheek contouring (brown colour shown above).

For the face, an angled brush is very important. To slim your face and create all sorts of contouring, you will need this brush. It can also be used to apply blush. Updated contouring tutorial to come.

5) Kabuki

This retractable kabuki is from Posh.

I've included a kabuki brush in the essentials section because after you apply blush and/or contour, it is extremely important that you buff out any harsh edges. The kabuki has dense, stiffer bristles for the job, unlike any other brush (i.e. blush or large powder). I like to take this brush and make wide circular motions along the top and bottom of wherever I've applied blush/contouring, and also a little on top of the colour - but not so hard that it removes what I've applied. Blending with a kabuki is the trick that will give you that pulled-together airbrushed look you see on people.

6) All-Over Large Powder

This brush is from Benefit. It's real pony fur instead of synthetic bristles so it tends to shed a lot.

This brush is the final essential piece for your basic collection. It's a large all-over brush for loose powder application. It is hard to replicate the function of this brush with anything else, which is why I've included it under essentials.


1) Concealer or Flat Foundation

This brush is from e.l.f. It's medium sized, not too big.

This brush is good to have but not totally essential. The reason being, you can always apply foundation and concealer with your fingers. To apply foundation with your fingers, dab a few spots of it all around your face, then blend with your fingers. The heat of your fingers will help smooth everything out. To apply concealer with your fingers, tap on the concealer without rubbing it off. A tiny concealer brush is good to have for problem areas, but again, it's not completely necessary. Some makeup artists swear by tiny concealer brushes because it can reach the smallest surface areas, so that would be the next brush I'd recommend you get for your collection, outside of the essentials.

2) Stippling

This is the MAC 287, a large synthetic stippling brush.

This brush is really neat to have because its synthetic bristles and soft "stippling" build make for an airbrushed smoothness when you apply foundation or blush. It's a great no-brainer brush for beginners and might be something to consider purchasing after a small concealer brush.

3) Flat Shader Eyeshadow

This is the MAC 242.

Once you master the use of all-over eyeshadow brushes, this flat shader brush is good to have for patting on pigments or loose eyeshadow. Not totally necessary though, especially for beginners.

4) Pencil

This is the MAC 219.

I love this brush for blending out shadows along my lower lashline, particularly for smoky eye looks, and for accurately placing highlight shadows along my inner corners. However, I lived without this brush for many years and used a combo of my angled liner and MAC 217 blending brush (white tip). That worked just fine. But if you have the money, pick up this brush at some point. You can also use this to define your "outer v" area of your eyeshadow or blend out concealer. Get creative with it!

5) Angled Contour

This brush is from Quo.

This brush is a small, stiff, fluffy angled brush meant for contouring areas like the sides of your nose with better accuracy than a larger contouring brush. However, as mentioned in the essentials section, you can easily dupe this brush with a fluffy all-over eyeshadow brush. I just included it as an interesting addition. Definitely the least necessary of all the brushes you should purchase! :)