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.

Know what you're paying for: Researching before booking

In this day in age, finding a makeup artist is quite a challenge. There are so many different kinds of artists out there with different styles, ideas, and backgrounds. So how do you know which one is the right one for you?

Ashley Watts - Winston-Salem, NC based Makeup Artist

Ashley Watts - Winston-Salem, NC based Makeup Artist

1. Knowing what makes an artist a professional. The term "professional" or "qualified" gets thrown around a lot in the industry. To some, picking up a brush belt is simply enough to use the title, like being professional is guaranteed. But it isn't always the case. Always ask for a list of credentials and references. I always recommend doing a quick Google search on your potential artist, I usually look at the first two pages and look for links from previous clients the artist might not post.
2. What training does the artist have? Always ask for an artist's educational background. Knowing whether they've completed training programs and hold certifications is a plus. There are many ways to get trained/certified/licensed. This is important if you're looking for someone who is certified for lash applications or airbrushing. Ask for proof of the education (degree, license, certification), don't be afraid to press for these items.
3. Do they have Insurance Coverage? It's important that your artist cares for your well being. Having an insurance policy that protects you, and them is very important. What would happen if you had a sensitivity to a certain product and needed medical attention? The artist should have insurance that will covers situations like that.
4. What's their business set-up? Do they have a website, business cards, portfolio?  These items imply that they are serious about their business. Be iffy of an artist that has only low quality photos and a lot of makeup applications on themselves.
5. What's in their kit? Ask about OHS standards and whether or not they keep up with them and cycle their products out. Ask about brands, brush life, etc. We love talking about what's in our kits!
6. Dress/Attire: In the cosmetic industry, most artist will wear all black, professional type clothing that isn't too flashy. I could very well be too picky when it comes to this standard, but I believe all artist should have their armpits covered, and wear close-toed shoes at all points in time, as well as have groomed nails.

With that being said, I think each artist has their own style and personality so finding someone who's a great fit for your event is so important. Talk to your artist, ask for a meet up/consultation so you can see how well you guys get along. The perfect artist is out there for you!