The Basics: Makeup Brush Cleaning 101

Disclosure: Hey folks, instead of doing sponsored posts, Makeup to Go is a member of Skimlinks and Amazon Affiliates. So if you purchase something via any of our links, we get a lil sumthin sumthin to help us keep running. Thanks much!

If you follow Makeup to Go on Instagram

– and you should @makeuptogoblog – you may have noticed that things have been quite active over there. I’m finally investing time into the Makeup to Go Blog Instagram feed and it’s starting to come into form and look nice and spiffy πŸ™‚ AND I love that Instagram offers me immediate feedback into what people want to see and learn. So one of the things I’ve come to realize unequivocally is that people want more tutorials and videos, no matter how basic the presentation may be.

With that in mind, here is an Instagram Story video where I go through step-by-step on how I wash my brushes. Now; I’m not saying this is the ONLY way to wash brushes, but this is a more typically professional method than some of the methods you may see online. And I also explain why I do some of the things that I do. This method has keep my brushes in good usable condition for years and years and years and also I have yet to ever cause anyone a skin irritation/reaction using this method (knock on wood!).


I should say, this Insta Story became seriously popular. Like WOW. I guess I’m a q-dork, but I had no idea it would be so popular. It is saved on the @Makeuptogoblog Instagram as a “Highlight” but I also thought what the heck, let’s go ahead and post it on the blog where it can live for all posterity. I am working on the capacity to be able to do more videos and I want them to look more professional, etc. but in the meantime I will be taking advantage of Insta Stories and Instagram Live as both teaching tools and ways to connect with my audience. So if there is anything in particular you want to see, lay it on me in Comments! I’m all ears πŸ™‚

You might also like my previous articles on makeup brushes and keeping your makeup clean.

ALSO! Major thanks to Illyne Michel for helping me film this tutorial. You can check out her makeup fabulosity at @mua_illynemichel

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#BizTalk – Quick Visit Makeup Show San Francisco Pop Up

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The Makeup Show SF took place August 13th and 14th…

…and I happened to be in town to stop by for a visit. I teach periodically right across the street at the Blush School of Makeup, and both years so far, the SF Pop Up has taken place during my classes. The first SF Pop Up show – which took place last year – I think I was in the middle of one of my teaching stints. This year, the show took place the Saturday before I was to make my drive back down to LA. Therefore I wasn’t really able to spend as much time as the show as I might have under normal circumstances. But, I did go, I did shop, I saw some of my students and fellow teachers and it was a GORGEOUS day that day in San Francisco. A perfect last day before hitting the road…

Right off the bat a big difference for me was I did not attend any of the education. I actually went to the show with specific shopping in mind so since time was a factor I just focused on that. But the usual Makeup Show suspects were there to share their knowledge. I saw Orlando Santiago as he was arriving but I didn’t try to say Hi (you know how when you first arrive somewhere and haven’t had time to settle yet and folks jump in your face immediately? Yeah…I didn’t want to do a bro like that…). The fab Eugenia Weston gave one of her brow lessons (if you do not have her Brow Book, I suggest you rectify that). I saw Sian Richards at her London Brush Company booth but I’m not sure if she taught this year. Her demo was one of my favorites from last year. And James Vincent led a panel on diversity in the industry. Actually speaking of James Vincent, do you know what he said to me when we spoke briefly?

James Vincent told me I am one of his favorite makeup educators.

Awesome, right? He actually came to the school last year during my class and gave a demo and introduced the students to the Pop Up, etc. I wish he could have done so again this year HOWEVER several of my students were able to see him in demo at NARS Filmore (my fave NARS boutique) at a pre-show event. But I digress…

For the most part I wanted to shop. I wanted product from NARS, the Esum Kit Bag from MUSE Beauty Pro, and I wanted empty pallettes from Make Up For Ever. Welp, 2 out of 3 ain’t bad. Trying to navigate the show was a bit of a challenge because the space is small and the crowd was large. So me trying to see booths was a whole lotta this…


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and this..

makeup to go blog tania d russell makeup los angeles makeup san francisco quick visit makeup show san francisco pop up

and this…

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and this…

makeup to go blog tania d russell makeup los angeles makeup san francisco quick visit makeup show san francisco pop up

So somewhere in all of that was Make Up For Ever but I wasn’t trying to deal with it so I had to move on without them. I actually might have left without finding NARS (they were in stealth mode and didn’t even have signage up), but I ran into these two fabulous people.


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Fabulous former students/emerging artists Hilary @loftartistry and Miss Ian
I’m not even good with my camera yet but the difference between it and my iPhone is striking. Wow. (This is clearly shot on iPhone)


and they directed me where to go. Sadly the crazy floor situation also meant that I didn’t get to explore newer brands as much as I would have liked although I did run into two that really caught my eye.


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makeup to go blog tania d russell makeup los angeles makeup san francisco quick visit makeup show san francisco pop up han cosmetics lipglosses


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HAN Skincare Cosmetics seems to be taking their cue from 100% Pure Apothecary in being not only naturally derived, but using vegetable pigments as the primary colorant in their cosmetics. The brand had a pretty decent color range and the textures were very nice. And as you can see, the cheek stain on my hand had some level of pigmentation to it. My interest is adequately piqued that I’ll probably get some to try out…


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me hand-modeling HAN Skincare Cosmetics Cheek Stains


The other brand I found intriguing was Pure Airbrush whose airbrush foundation – if not a natural/naturally derived formulation – has no Parabens (!), no silicone, no fragrance and no oil in a water-based formulation. Most airbrush formulations are a straight-up chemical stew, so I would be interested to try this and see how it performs. The “system” looks to be one of those “Luminesse”-type personal use airbrush set-ups so I would skip that but I will likely order a bottle of the foundation to play with it.


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NOW – all this said about the space situation, it was greatly improved from last year with a much better layout and a much better flow. There’s just so much that can be done since it is a popular event taking place in a basement level. I wouldn’t be surprised if they have to move it if it continues to grow in popularity (again – PLEASE make sure any new location is train friendly, thanks!). I think these smaller Pop-Up shows are great for the smaller markets that probably do not have a large enough creative community to support a full sized show, but whose creative community deserve support and access and education. It was a fun way to spend a Saturday.

(If you missed my “haul” post from yesterday, you can read it here.)

Did you make it to the show? I wanna hear from ya! Share your experience in the Comments…

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MakeupThursday – August Makeup Spree

Because it’s my blog and I can do a general makeup post whenever I want to…


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That’s right folks, it’s MakeupThursday. The plan was to do this write-up on Monday, the day after my return home to Los Angeles after 3 weeks of work in the Bay. LOL! Yeah, that was a joke.

Anyway, while up in the Bay I went on a shopping frenzy. A lot of my shopping was a well needed wardrobe revamp as I really hadn’t bought any new clothes since losing weight. However being the makeup artist that I am, I had to squeeze some makeup shopping in there as well. Here’s what I bought;


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Fiona Stiles – YAY
NYX Cosmetics colored mascaras – not so much…


1) Fiona Stiles Beauty – Cream and Powder Eyeshadows and NYX Cosmetics – Color Mascara

You may have seen this image on my personal Instagram the day I bought these. Like I mentioned in a previous Makeup Short Notes I’m loving everything I’ve tried so far from the Fiona Stiles Beauty collection (available at Ulta). I purchased a couple of more items along with a couple of the NYX Cosmetics color mascaras in preparation for some editorial work I had going. The Fiona Stiles performed beautifully, but alas the NYX did not. Colored mascara that really registers COLOR is difficult to find. Suffice to say that whenever I have found one that really works, it has tended to cost more than $6.99. Oh well. Be on the lookout for a full story on Fiona Stiles Beauty in a coming post.


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2) Dante Disposables – Dante Brush Cleaner

Not the most exciting purchase but I do love this cleaner. This is a quick cleaner so it does NOT substitute for shampooing your brushes. What I like about this cleaner versus my beloved Parian Spirit or some of the other quick cleaners is Dante has no scent. I find that makeup artists are divided pretty much right down the line between loving Parian Spirit (citrus) or Cinema Secrets (vanilla). That’s great, but let me tell ya; Not everyone likes your scent. They could, in fact, be allergic to your scent. It is important to bear this in mind when putting a brush on someone’s face.


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3) Glam Kitti Palettes

I’ve talked about Glam Kitti before, but its always a good time to bring them up again. Designed by celebrity artist Monifa Mortis, Glam Kittis are reusable, recyclable travel palettes. The Kittis contain 6 wells for cream cosmetics, one well for powder (includes a cute little powder puff), a little spatula, a little lip brush, a little funnel, a little cosmetics applicator and 6 oil blotting sheets. Oh and did I mention the compact is mirrored too?! Yeah. Glam Kitti’s are the bomb. I love giving them to my private clients as a touch up kit AND I’ve used it for myself as a quick travel kit.


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musebeauty.pro


4) MUSE Beauty Pro – Esum Makeup Kit Bag
Esum – Muse spelled backwards – is the house brand of MUSE Beauty Pro. MUSE is a small, artist-driven pro makeup supplier based in San Francisco (with a satellite outlet run by one of the co-owners in Chicago). These are exactly the types of business I LOVE to support; beauty brands that support artists. If you’ve seen some of the other “pro makeup” bags, then you’ve seen something very similar in appearance. However what tipped the scales that I actually purchased the Esum bag is the quality of the construction. This is actually the 2nd Generation of the Esum bag and it’s a little bit wider and deeper, better cushioned, stronger velcro and zippers, etc. So while other bags may look good, this bag was made to work and last. It is a perfect size for when I need more than a little bit, but not my full kit.


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5) NARS Cosmetics – NARS Pro Palette

A lot of folks have already purchased this and moved on so I won’t spend a lot of time on this one. I WILL, however, say why I hesitated; it is a cardboard based palette and I’m not a fan of cardboard palettes. NARS is an artist driven brand that is also active in and supportive of the artist community, therefore I’m going to trust that NARS quality will come through and protect my product. The body is covered with a vinyl-ized fabric all over so it should not immediately die if it accidentally gets wet, and I like that the cover is solid. I know a lot of people like the window, but I’ll be able to see the product just fine when I open the palette. When the palette is closed and more importantly when it’s travelling I need my product protected.


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click to see color names


6) NARS Cosmetics – Desire, Taj Mahal, Exhibit A, Seduction

I got the palette to house my “black girl” (or guy) blush colors. I’ve hit pan on these colors many a time over the years. Desire always surprises people, but pinks like Desire are gorgeous on fairer to medium toned brown complexions. What usually does not work about these colors is the white/pastel cast they often have which looks ashy on brown skin. “Desire” has no such issue, it doesn’t even look ashy on me (it just doesn’t particularly register on someone my complexion). Likewise, even though Taj Mahal has shimmer to it, there is no ashy. Red blush (Exhibit A) looks amaze on all humans because blood is red so it looks like a natural flush, and Seduction is the gorg burgundy color that everyone always reaches for on deeper complexions. And all of these colors have enough pigmentation to actually read on deeper skin tones. Yay.


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7) NARS Cosmetics – NARS Best Blush Palette

Every year NARS collaborates with Nordstrom on some beauty exclusives – which always includes an amazing exclusive blush palette – and every year I miss it. But not this year! This palette includes Orgasm, Deep Throat (OK, wow), Luster, Desire, Albatross (a highlighter), and Laguna (NARS legendary bronzer) which are, in fact, some of NARS best blushes. Yes I went blush crazy, and no, it is not a problem for me to double up on Desire, this palette is going into a different kit. Since I prefer NARS traditional blushes over the Dual Intensity blushes this is a great pick up for me. I’ll do a comparison between the two soon!


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Congrats Miss Ian!


8) NARS Cosmetics – NARS Survival Kit 1

I went a little NARS crazy too, but this one was also chosen on purpose. For my inaugural giveaway to the folks on my mailing list I just wanted to give away something really good that I would want. I have mentioned before that NARS is one of my favorite brands overall, and I have always loved NARS gift sets. The Survival Kits 1 & 2 are another exclusive through Nordstrom. I had to refrain from ordering the Survival Kit 2 “for my kit” (i.e., it would never have made it anywhere near my kit).


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Sorry girlie!


9) LORAC Cosmetics – The Getaway Palette

I saved this one for last because I did not actually purchase this during my extravaganza of fabulosity. The Getaway Palette contains 6 eyeshadows, 2 blushes, a bronzer and a highlighter. LORAC – as my people know – is one of my favorites of the pro-to-consumer aka “prosumer” brands. While this could certainly work in a pro kit, when I see a neat little “does it all” palette like this I immediately think of all my #Bossbabe friends who could use something chic and compact while traveling for work and/or recreation. I’ve owed one such friend some fabulousness for quite some time now, so this is going out to her right about now!

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#MakeupMonday – The Makeup Show Los Angeles 2015 Wrap Up

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It is time for my The Makeup Show Los Angeles 2015 Wrap Up post. Gosh… where to even start? I had a fabtabulous time (yes, fabtabulous is a word πŸ˜‰ ). But seriously I had an amazing time. Every time the Trade Shows roll around I am asked which one is “better”. Every time I tend to answer the same: they are both well produced, they both have good speakers and exhibitors, the vibe and the focus are just different so it depends on what you’re looking for, etc. etc. This is all true. But I’m going to go ahead and just say this: I like IMATS and I always enjoy it when I go, but I feel at home at the Makeup Show. I do not know that I can articulate what exactly the difference is. Well… real talk: It counts for a lot that at least here in Los Angeles, the Makeup Show is not open to the general public. You have to be at least somewhat qualified in the beauty biz (media makeup artist, bridal makeup artist, salon, student, something) in order to attend. Therefore while the Makeup Show is busy, it’s not crazy the way IMATS has become (other than on Pro night). Secondly… I don’t know…. the folks speak my language. I am not an FX artist, I will never be an FX artist, I do not like FX (I don’t like gore/monsters/zombies, etc.), I do not watch films or TV shows that involve a lot of FX (Tania D. Russell will never watch “Walking Dead”), that’s not my scene. IMATS was started by Union makeup artists and actually when it first started (I know cos I was there!) there was almost no focus on Beauty makeup whatsoever. So while IMATS has become more inclusive to Beauty for sure, FX/Character/Film & TV makeup are still very much its core. The Makeup Show is exactly the opposite. It was founded by beauty makeup artists and people involved with cosmetics brands on the corporate level. When it first started it had no FX, although in recent years they’ve added a little FX stage (which I did not even see this year. I remember seeing it a couple of years back…), and the type of artists **I** grew up admiring – the ones in the magazines doing gorgeous editorials or the ones creating bold and inventive designs for music videos – are center stage. I have been doing makeup full time professionally for a goodly amount of time now (I’d say around 16 years of people paying me for makeup full time), and I STILL get excited to be around that energy, which is awesome. πŸ˜€ (Note: this post is long, but it is largely pictures πŸ˜‰ )

The Keynotes and Seminars

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Celebrity makeup artist Fiona Stiles


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Finished red carpet look by Fiona Stiles


Priority #1 for all the folks in my crew was to NOT MISS celebrity makeup artist Fiona Stiles. I loved her talk and demo, not only because her work is amazing – which I already knew that – but because she was so down to earth and just very real about being an artist, working, and surviving and thriving in this industry. And it wasn’t just in my head, several of my students who attended the show said that there were a lot of similarities between things I’ve said in class and things she said on the stage. That always makes me feel good. Not only because I like to think I know somewhat what I’m talking about, but it’s also nice to know that even for artists at the highest echelons of success certain elements of working and the biz remain true. More on that later… Anyway, Fiona demoed a Runway look based on a look she’d recently created for actress Gabrielle Union. People were, of course, asking her what product she used (and she jokingly kept referring to herself as a “product slut” meaning she’s not loyal to any one brand and she’ll use anything from drugstore to the highest end as long as it works), but I really learned a lot from watching her and observing her technique. As with a lot of masters, she did not use a lot of product and it didn’t necessarily look like she did a whole lot (she did), but the finished application was flawless. You can see her work at her website, Fiona Stiles Makeup (click to go to her site). And you can follow her on all social media @fionastiles.

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Ellis Faas keynote. Nice picture, eh? I had a seat behind a pillar so I couldn’t see the stage except for on TV :\


Of course I wanted to see Ellis Faas speak. I was actually hoping she would also demo, but she did not. *** D’OH! Apparently I missed her demo. See comments below. Dagnabit!!! *** While she did discuss her path and her process as an artist, etc., much of her Keynote was actually focused on her eponymous cosmetics line. That proved to be interesting in its own way as well. Anyone interested in developing a line would have learned a lot from this Keynote. From packaging, to thinking about a brand both from a consumer viewpoint and an artistic viewpoint, to marketing, etc. It was fascinating because my earlier Ellis Faas encounter at the pre-party at Nigel’s earlier in the week was focused almost entirely on her artistry. But like most really successful folks, Ms. Faas is not on some “Oh I’m such an artist I cannot think about that other stuff…”, she really put a lot of thought behind every choice she made for her brand. To see her work and her cosmetics brand, visit Ellis Faas Cosmetics (click to visit site).

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Ellis Faas Icon Gallery

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Ellis Faas Icon Gallery


And then of course there was the “Icon Gallery” of her work. I bought her book and had it signed so I have all of these images, but basically the book – which all of the images in the Icon Gallery are from – is a compilation of the work she created to promote her cosmetics line, with the stories behind their creation. It is a very inspiring book.

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Artist / Illustrator Donald Robertson and Lori Taylor discussing their collaborations

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Art by Donald Robertson

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Art by Donald Robertson


Like I said in my preview post, this was a WildCard lecture for me, but I am glad I followed my gut and sat in on it. Donald Robertson is not a makeup artist, he is a visual artist and illustrator and the Creative Director of Special Projects for Estee Lauder. As such he collaborates with the lines within that brand, including Smashbox Cosmetics. This Keynote was co-moderated by James Vincent (Director of Education for The Makeup Show), and Lori Taylor, International Artist for Smashbox. Many folks reading this may well be visual artists (painters, sculptors, illustrators, etc.) and as such you are aware of the similarities in the creative process with that of a makeup artist. If you are not a visual artist in any other medium – which I am not – I encourage you to pay more attention to the visual arts world. It will give you a new perspective into your own artistry. In addition to his own journey and process he also gave a lot of practical business advice on being your own brand, utilizing social media, and the like. He got his “big break” bringing his art to a wider audience via Instagram, and that aspect of his business has been a major part of his success (click here to read a NYPost article about his success). I had the pleasure of briefly meeting Donald after his talk and he seems like a warm and friendly Southern Gentleman. You can join everyone else in following him on Instagram at @drawbertson

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Art by Donald Robertson


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MUFE rep Turner Floyd, Melanie Inglessis, William Lemon III and The Makeup Show Director of Education, James Vincent

Last but not least, on Sunday I caught artists Melanie Inglessis and William Lemon, III in conversation with Make Up For Ever’s Director of the Professional Business Division, Turner Floyd and the ubiquitous James Vincent. This lecture came about because not only is Make Up For Ever the Diamond Sponsor of The Makeup Show, but Melanie and William were both amongst the 30 artists with whom MUFE collaborated for their Artist 30/30 project. Melanie is a high-end celebrity/red-carpet artist (click to see her work), while William is known for his cutting edge work with largely music clients including (but not limited to) body painting and “skin printing” (click to see his work). Again, they both spoke primarily about their journey and their artistic process. While they both have backgrounds in visual art, it was very interesting to see how differently that background manifested into their careers. Another thing that is inspiring about coming to these trade shows to hear these artists speak is realizing that there is no one certain way to be an artist in this business. Except for being talented and skilled – which all of these successful artists have in common – there is no one way to get started, no one way to look, no one way to act, etc. This is not a cookie cutter industry with one pre-defined way of being a “real artist” (despite what you might see and hear online).

I mentioned earlier that certain themes of being a working artist kept coming up over and over. What were they? Well first of all on the practical level, they all talked about Social Media and good usage practices. So for those of you living on Planet X thinking that you do not need to engage with social media and that it’s for bloggers only, etc. Think again. Secondly, every single artist I saw (and some I did not, according to what my students said to me), mentioned being kind, being of service to your client, being a chill fun person to work with that people like. This is still a people business and nothing – not even talent – will move you along faster than being someone that people like to be around PARTICULARLY when you are first starting/on the come up in your career. So be nice, stay humble and work hard folks! Do not fall for the false prophecy of Internet Superstardom!

The Exhibition/Shopping Floor

My experience this year basically came down to attending lectures on Saturday, and wandering and shopping on Sunday. Walking the floor is always fun, I always run into a zillion of my friends in the biz and some of my current and former students (yay!), I get to see my vendor friends, I’ll take a look at what’s new (nothing new really grabbed me this year, honestly), and then if I actually need anything I’ll pick that up as well.

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I am interested in Smashbox’s new Photo Finish Primer Water but they were out when I got to their booth…

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the highly coveted original classic

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Makeup artist Valerie Hernandez assisted by MTG Fam, makeup artist Liza Macawilli Ramos in demonstration for Youngblood Cosmetics

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MTG fam, makeup artist Jennifer Naideth werking it out at the Ellis Faas booth…

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Melanie Mills, makeup artist and founder of Gleam Cosmetics at raffle time! (I did not win πŸ™ )

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makeup to go blog makeup show los angeles 2015 wrap up

The Haul

Many thanks to The Makeup Show for always bringing in such fabulous vendors and thank you to these vendors for these fab products. I had to really dig deep and NOT buy other fabulously that I just really do not need. I have such a grip-ton backlog of makeup as it is! Anyway, I love new product as much as the next artist, so can’t wait to dig into these purchases!

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Dose of Colors Matte Liquid Lipstick in “Kiss of Fire”. Different artist friends kept talking to me about this line so I decided to try it out. A word of warning; this is strong stuff. Just trying it on my hand stained my hands and fingers for a bit.

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Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Cream Color Concentrates. I actually purchased this at the pre-party at Nigel’s Beauty Emporium that I attended. Good thing, because the OCC booth was hella crowded both days of the show. Colors purchased are “Pleasure Model”(pink) and “Beholder” (teal).

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Youngblood Sampler. Many thanks to the Youngblood crew for always sharing samples of some of their new items with me. What I need to go back to the website and get is the new TSA compliant 3-pack of their fab Minerals in the Mist sprays.

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Dante Disposables brush cleaner: A true quick dry, disinfecting spray with NO SCENT.

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Crown Brush “Syntho” line foundation and concealer brushes. Normally, I’m not a fan of the less-expensive brushes but the Crown Syntho line is quite good and that round duo-ended Foundation/Concealer brush is a nice “homage” brush of a Stila foundation brush which this Crown brush just happens to looks exactly like πŸ˜‰

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Bioderma Sebium H2O. The Bioderma Sensibio H2O for sensitive skin has been a kit staple for most makeup artists since forever. The Sebium is a micelle cleanser and makeup remover for oilier skin. I go this one for me! πŸ™‚

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Straight Pin Studio Mini Essentials Kit. Since I also do hair for my commercial clients, this is something I’ve been meaning to get for a while. I have had the pleasure of working with Straight Pin Studios co-founder, Lucie Doughty, who is an award-winning session stylist and Editorial Director for Paul Mitchell. As you can see this is not just another little organizer doo-dad for your hair pins/ties/etc. This is a filled KIT of pins, ties, etc. Each compartment closes separately so you do not have to worry about product flying all over the place, its compact and organized and perfect for a makeup/hair kit.

makeup to go blog makeup show los angeles 2015 wrap up aj crimson beauty

makeup to go blog makeup show los angeles 2015 wrap up aj crimson beauty lipstick  no explanation open
AJ Crimson Beauty Lipcheeque and S & M (sultry and matte) Lipstick. The AJ Crimson line – which I’ve written about before – is a line catering towards products for women of color. So if you are wondering where to get products for deeper complexions, check AJ Crimson Beauty out. He is now starting to roll out his color products (he started with skin; foundation, BB cream & powder) and they are GORG! I got one each of both the Lipcheeque (lip/cheek color pan) and the S & M (sultry and matte) Lipstick. The Lipcheeque color is “Say Whet?!” a bright, but wearable purple that can go from sheer to intense, and the Lipstick color is “No Explanation”, a deep berry/brown color. Yum! (we’ll see if “No Explanation” makes it to my kit)

That was my Makeup Show Los Angeles experience. Leave a comment below and tell me yours! πŸ™‚