Makeup with your Makeup

Coming Clean: Beauty Tools you didn't know needed cleaning.

Hi there! Today we're going to take a journey into the world of cosmetic cleanliness. I know you're probably thinking, well I wash my face -- how much cleaner can I get?

The answer, MUCH cleaner.

Did you know that bacteria lives on every surface? Currently, as you're reading this article, sipping your coffee on your couch, there's millions of different types of bacteria swirling all around you. Let's try not to focus on how disturbing this development is, but rather on how to make sure those swirls of yuck don't end up affecting your daily routine with things like "Pink Eye", also known as Conjunctivitis aka Con-yuck-tivitis.

So let's get started on the, "Oh crap, I was supposed to clean that list".

First and foremost, there's a huge debate in the industry on whether 70% or 99% alcohol is the proper sanitizing agent. But according to the CDC, 70% is the most effective cleaning agent out of the two. So be sure to keep a jug close by for proper germ disposal, because 70%.
Elegance and Beauty,  ©  2014

Elegance and Beauty, © 2014

Makeup Brushes

You've heard the horror stories of infections being spread through makeup, but the moist, porous surface of your makeup brushes are normally the culprit behind every horror story. So it's imperative we clean them. The best way to clean them is with a brush shampoo, like this one from Eco Tools. They're built for a multitude of hair types (crazy, right? even brushes have different hair!), you won't have to worry about damaging your brushes.

If you're traveling, or even just sharing brushes with your teenager child/weirdly invasive room mate, there are instant brush cleaners like Cinema Secrets -- which is my favorite one to use due to it's fast drying. You never want to use the same brush on different people without it being cleaned, your funk isn't the same as the funk of someone else. So if you share your funk, it can cause major issues for the person without it.

Tweezers, Nail Clippers, and Sharpeners

Yep, often laying dormant in your beauty bags, these surfaces need to be soaked/cleaned with 70% alcohol immediately. I know I personally use my tweezers for a ton of different things like putting on lashes, plucking stray hairs from my different areas of my face, and maybe even to help with hang nails. Talk about cross contamination! There are soaking jars available here, they're really nice for cleaning tools. You set them in to soak, and remove after 10 minutes. I'd also suggest upgrading to a sharpener that has a cleaning pick, like this one. They seem to work the best in my opinion.

Hot Tools/ Skin Tools

Do you use a straightener? A Clairsonic to exfoliate? Chances are those surfaces need a good wipe down themselves!

Hot Tools often have the most build up of any product, hair products and germs seem to latch onto the surfaces. A good cleanse will up the performance of these tools, and leave your hair clean. Clairsonic brushes by default have antibacterial bristles but the machine itself could use a wipe down. You want to use 70% alcohol on both these products as well.

©  Reader's Digest

© Reader's Digest

Hair Brushes/Combs

Also a beacon of bacteria, your hair follicles are a major port for germs to harbor through. The best way to clean your brushes is by using a hair removing tool, like this. Then soak combs and spray brushes with 70% alcohol or medical grade Barbicide.

 Again, if you're sharing these tools with multiple people or using them in a professional setting and do not have time to deeply clean them -- there is an instant Oster Spray that is great to clean utensils in a crunch.

Your Makeup Bag

I'd use a wet cloth with 70% alcohol to clean the interior and exterior of your beauty case. This is often overlooked, but it's super important that every surface/tool be wiped down!


So there you have it guys, now stop saying, "Oh crap!" and go clean your beauty utensils so your skin is the healthiest version it can be!

  • How do you currently clean your beauty tools?
  • Any suggestions on products, cleaning regimens, or things I missed?




Making Up With Your Makeup: Best Concealers for Oily Skin

I know, I know. You're sitting there shaking your head in disappointment because it's been months since I've found time to another Making Up With Your Makeup post. Frankly, I've just been too busy with bookings. But I haven't forgotten Kelsey's burning questions about concealers, foundations, and powders. I decided in the last post to break it down by skin type, and even further, into types of coverage. Yes, I do think I am fancy enough to do that. I also think it's the easiest way to not write a blog post the size of a bible. Pst, it's probably also the best way for you guys to retain knowledge as well!

In this edition, we're going to focus on the concealers that I think are best for oily skin. The most important step is knowing what exactly an oily eye area , and whether or not these concealers are for you. Does your eyeliner/mascara slip under your eyes during the day leaving you to look like you've been crying? If you gently press underneath your eye does it feel hydrated? Moist? (Ew, that word is awful.) If you answered yes to these questions, you're in the right place!


Ashley Watts Makeup - Winston-Salem, NC Makeup Artist

Ashley Watts Makeup - Winston-Salem, NC Makeup Artist

1. Benefit Stay, Don't Stray - Priming your skin is a step I cannot recommend enough. You get the best performance from your makeup when you use a primer, and seeing as your eye area is much different than the rest of your face it's important to choose a primer that targets your concerns! This product is a game changer for anyone with an oily eye area!

2. Benefit Boing! - Self Proclaimed "Industrial" strength concealer is full coverage and in a "putty" texture. The application is easy, and the color range is pretty great as well. With the consistency I'd recommend rubbing the concealer between your fingers or around the container before applying it to warm it up -- it will glide right on! (Medium/Full Coverage)

3. Mac Prolong Wear - This waterproof concealer is one of my favorite ones to use on any skin type but I think the performance on oily skin is absolutely incredible. I personally don't see much wear using this product during the day. I wish their shades went a little lighter because my ghostly complexion barely makes the cut. It claims to provide matte coverage for up to 15 hours, and I personally think it lives up to the claim. (Medium/Full Coverage)

4. Stila Perfecting Concealer - This semi-matte concealer offers great coverage but if you're looking for the "dewy in all the right ways" look, I highly recommend this product. It's very controllable, and easy to use. The color range is remarkable as well, and it lasts all day. You could really get light, medium, or full coverage out of this concealer. It's formula is the most buildable out of all the concealers I've suggested. (Buildable Coverage)

 So there you have my top three concealers for an oily eye area. Now, there are some runner ups for me, so if these don't work for you, but you'd like some other options, I can certainly recommend more products for you. Also don't forget the priming step, it's the most important one out of all of them!

 In the next edition, we'll be covering the perfect powders for oily skin. Thanks again to Kelsey Smith, who suggested this question! I hope this answers some of your questions.

Making up with your Makeup: Best Foundations for Oily Skin

Today starts the very first edition of "Making up with your Makeup"! I often get asked what advice I have for foundations, skin care, or basically anything relating to the beauty industry. I pride myself on my in-depth knowledge into every aspect in this field, so if you ask me for an opinion, you're sure to get a professional and personal one alike.

In this edition, we're going to focus on our very first question: "What are the best foundations, concealers, and powders for oily skin?" - Kelsey

First off, knowing what skin type you have is the best knowledge you can equip yourself with. So since we've already established that you're dealing with oily skin, now we can focus on how to truly combat it! Contrary to poplar belief, oily skin appears mostly when your skin is actually dehydrated. Weird, right? Every person I tell this tidbit to thinks I am making it up, but thankfully, I have science on my side on this one. When your skin lacks moisture, it tries to balance out the hydration by overproduction of oil. Thus creating the ever-so shiny look you're experiencing! I'll touch more on how to deal with the obstacles in balancing your moisture/oil in a skin care blog post, so keep an eye open for that.


1. Stila One Step Correct - Even though Kelsey didn't ask for a primer recommendation, I consider it a must-have with any type of skin for the best results. One Step Correct is my ultimate favorite primer on the market. It's so versatile, it can really work with everyone, with every skin struggle. But, I recommend it for oily skin because it's a balancing act for your dehydrated skin. It's not there for intense hydration, or for mattifying, its sole purpose is to balance the skin. Price: $36

In regards to foundation, things can get kind of tricky when recommending products. You really need to know which kind of finish you're looking for before selecting the right foundation. Do you want a dewy/fresh finish? Full matte coverage? Maybe a good mix of both? I personally like the dewy/fresh finish, but we all have a different preference, and one is no better than the other. Below, I am going to recommend a foundation for each finish:

2. Benefit Cosmetics Big Easy (Dewy/Fresh): My "go-to" foundation for people struggling with moisture balancing accompanied by oily skin. This formula gives you a light weight natural coverage with a velvet/power type finish. I recommend this product for summer use to every single oily skin client because of 35 SPF and self adjusting tone so it can easily fluctuates with your skin kissed cheeks. I will always recommend applying this BB cream type formula with your fingertips and then blending with a beauty blender. Price: $38

3. Stila Stay All Day Foundation & Concealer (Full Coverage): This formula was developed to hydrate and balance the moisture in your skin. It also helps prevent pre-mature aging, which no matter how you embrace your "lines" getting carded at 37 is an amazing feeling. I also love that this foundation comes with the concealer and mirror in the lid and a "paint brush" -- which I am not a big fan of. I prefer to apply this foundation with your fingertips, and working the concealer in with the brush itself. Price: $44

4. Urban Decay Naked Skin (Demi-Matte): Ever wonder where dreams are made? It's at the Urban Decay headquarters, in their product development department to be exact. This foundation gives you all the bang for your buck, including a healthy dose of peptides! It  can be medium, or full coverage depending on the application, both feel lightweight and nourishing. Lychee Fruit extract help make sure your skin's hydration stays balanced all day. Also, my hippie heart (and psoriasis) is very happy about the fact that it's paraben free and fragrance free. Price: $39

Kelsey, I hope this helped answer some of the questions you had about finding the right foundation for oily skin. I feel as though to give you informational answers to each product, I am going to have to separate foundation, concealers, and powders into individual posts. I'll be sure to have the rest up within the week. Thank you again for reaching out to me for advice on products. If you'd like me to answer a question of yours, feel free to contact me.