Monday, 26 October 2009

Home-made brush cleaner recipe

OK so I know a lot of people have their own recipes for making brush cleanser, but I've been testing this simple recipe out for 5-6 months now and it's serving me well so I thought I'd share. I pretty much use this every day to sanitise & clean my brushes - I can clean them all quickly and they're ready to use again in a few minutes.

It's literally just 1 part spray-on leave-in conditioner, to approximately 7 parts isopropyl alcohol. The isopropyl alcohol is the basic ingredient in most brush cleansers, as it klls germs and dries in minutes. Unfortunately it can also be somewhat drying to natural fibres, hence the addition of the leave-in conditioner - it keeps the brush bristles nice and soft. You don't want to go too overboard on the conditioner in your formula though, otherwise you get residue in the brush and they take too long to dry.

Isopropyl alcohol is dirt cheap & can be bought in pharmacies (I used to get odd looks at the chemist in New Zealand, as I'd buy 4-5 bottles at a time! I swear they thought I was making drugs...) or from Maplin in the UK.

For the leave-in conditioner I'm using a cheapie one from Boots. Choose one that has a consistency like water, since a creamy consistency won't mix well with the alcohol.

Mix and pour into a spray bottle. To use, spray the brushes with the solution & wipe clean with a tissue. This is meant to be a spot cleaner only, so you should still deep clean your brushes regularly in water.

Happy cleaning!

MAC Holiday... Are my eyes bigger than my stomach?

Further on the topic of neglected makeup, now comes the time of year when I start making my wishlist of MAC holiday items. For me, the holiday collections combine all my favourite things in makeup (that's MAC, palettes, and miniatures!). Normally, I end up buying 2 palettes and a set of mini lipglasses every year. But in making my wishlist this year, I've felt a little guilty realising how infrequently I actually use my old Xmas palettes & glosses (even though I'm sure I was really excited about buying them at the time!). I think I've used last year's Red She Said - Warm palette maybe 3-4 times?

Am I becoming too spoiled? Maybe I just love the anticipation of waiting for a new collection, more than I ever fell in love with the actual products. Maybe I just consume my cosmetics the way I consume my food - I always think I'm hungrier than I really am.

2009 MAC XMAS Wishlist
- Sorceress eyeshadow palette
- Smoke & Mirrors eyeshadow palette
- Superdupernatural Mineralize Blush
- Sexy Shenanigans Mini Lip/Lustreglass set

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

MAC Pickle.. with Relish. Ewww.

Rhamnousia over at Desi Girl Does Makeup posted recently about Vintage makeup - you know, those cosmetics one has hiding away in drawers either forgotten & ignored, sometimes lovingly rediscovered, othertimes invoking an inner cringe of "What the hell was I thinking??!!" when they eventually make their way back into daylight. Anyway it made me think about what my oldest cosmetic items are - actually there's not too many, since before my recent move to the UK there was an enormous clean-out of my traincase - however there is one most ancient item which I hate, yet can't seem to bring myself to chuck.

It's called MAC Pickle, and it's a limited-edition eyeshadow from MAC which was released in circa 2000. It came in a quad which has long since been used up (I think it may have been called "Chromezone"), but this one colour has hung around in my makeup kit. As you can see, it's literally pickly, gherkin green. It's an odd formulation, it has a kind of sheer finish with lots of microglitter (similar to the equally craptastic MAC Honesty from the current line). Not subtle at all, but rather chunky glitter. I did actually wear this at one point, this being one of my first forays into "extreme" colour, until some kind soul thankfully told me it made me look ill. Since then it's just lived in my MAC 15-pan palette of brighter colours (i.e. the ones I avoid!). Somehow it adds a nice vibrancy to the palette, so even though I never use it, it serves the decorative purpose of ensuring there is a lot of green in my palette.

So, to MAC Pickle, who has stood the test of time as my most-avoided cosmetic item... here's to you.

P.S. Sorry about the dodgy pics, I can't seem to get good shots on hubby's camera!

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Mini Urban Decay Eyeliners... soooo cute!

Anyone who knows anything about me, knows that I love anything travel-sized! So I nearly jumped for joy in Boots when I saw the Urban Decay 24/7 Eyeliner Super Stash - 9 mini sized 24/7 eyeliner pencils. This seems to be something they release every year, so this is the 2009 edition.

You get five existing shades: Zero (black), Graffiti (bright green), Ransom (cool purple), Rockstar (violet), Stash (olive), as well as four new limited-edition shades: Corrupt (chocolate brown), Binge (peacock-indigo), Eldorado (gold), Oil Slick (black with glitter.

I've swatched some of my favourites from this set - from left to right: Ransom, Rockstar, Corrupt, Binge and Eldorado. They're beautifully smooth and have a lovely soft metallic finish. They also last on my lower lashline better than any other pencil I've tried (thought not quite a well as a gel or liquid liner).

Be warned - these babies are tiny - so don't expect to get a lot of each colour. However, as a newcomer to Urban Decay I'm really pleased as I get to try out so many colours for so little.

Sneaky peek inside my handbag

I was asked to photograph what's inside my handbag as part of a work-related project so I thought I'd share :-) (Yes I have a fun job!). Luckily it just had a clean-out recently, so it actually looks respectable for a change and not like I just went on a shoplifting spree at MAC!

I've definitely become more well-organised when it comes to packing my bag now that I'm travelling a lot more. I'm really a wuss when I don't have all my essentials to hand. And of course I always have my on-the-go makeup kit - today it contains:

- MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Medium Dark
- MAC blush in Peaches
- MAC lipglass in Prrr
- MAC lipstick in A Rose Romance
- MAC Lip Conditioner
- Urban Decay 24/7 mini eyeliner in Zero (black)
- Clean & Clear Oil Blotting sheets
- ELF concealer pencil
- Chanel bronzer in Terre Ambre
- MAC mini #129 blush brush

Somehow I quite like looking at what's inside other peoples' bags... feel free to share what's in yours!