Worth it? Cinema Secrets Brush Cleaner

Cinema Secrets Brush CleanerCinema Secrets Makeup Brush Cleaner, $24 for 8oz

This was a legacy post that I gave a facelift because I seriously cannot tell enough people about this product. If you’re an artist? Lifesaver. If you aren’t, it means you can avoid buying thirty seven thousand brushes, because you can use the same one over and over in a look.

I’d seen this brush cleaner in blog posts and on YouTube. I was curious but…really, how good can it be? It’s a brush cleaner. I had come close to buying it a few times for myself but always talked myself out of it. My current system is good; why invest in another product – especially with that price tag? Fortunately, a wise friend sent this wee little spray-bottle of it to me.

I tested it that night, but was not prepared to record or demonstrate my findings. Spoiler alert: I was blown away and wondered how the ever loving hell I haven’t had this product in my life before.

Let me just show you.

Before

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Worth it? Color Switch by Vera Mona

I picked up the Color Switch by Vera Mona during the most recent BI sale. I find myself using the same few brushes again and again, even in the same look. Wiping brushes off on a tissue doesn’t do much, and although I love Cinema Secrets, I don’t want to use it in my brushes every day I wear makeup.

Okay, but what is it?

The $18 Color Switch is a tin filled with a disc-shaped, rough mesh sponge not unlike the material used in a bun ring . As bristles are drawn across the surface, product is jostled away and falls down into the cells of the sponge.

There is a slightly smaller $14 one as well.

Does it Work?

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2016 Holiday Gift Guide

With Thanksgiving coming up, I’m adjusting my posting schedule for the upcoming week. There will be this post (Saturday evening), the normal Monday post, and the normal Wednesday post, but no Friday post.
We’re officially in holiday shopping season! In the interests of self-preservation, I completed my holiday shopping a month-and-a-half ago. Here’s the Beauty Skeptic 2016 Holiday Gift Guide for those of you still in the thick of it.

Before You Shop

eBates

If you aren’t signed up for eBates, go sign up now. Their commercials are weird, but they are absolutely legit. I’ve been a member since January 2012 and am just cents shy of earning $900 cash back over the lifetime of my membership. Here’s a screenshot from my eBates dashboard:

ebates

It is free to join, and just like not contributing to a contribution-matched 401k, to not do so is to throw away free money! Don’t leave money on the table, sign up and earn cash back on nearly all of your online shopping. They pay out quarterly via PayPal, Check, or gift card. Disclosure – I do get a referral credit if you use the link above and YOU get $10 in your eBates account, too.

Honey

If there’s a promo code, I find it. That said, finding them does take time; usually several websites and then time to apply them to check for validity. Honey makes the process easier via a browser plugin that auto-applies the best-available promo codes for you. It operates via user submissions, so you can add your promo code finds to help the community if you’re so inclined.

It’s also free, and you can sign up hereDisclosure – Like eBates, I get a small referral credit if you sign up with that link. Whether or not you sign up with that link, I use and recommend it myself.

Shop!

Skincare

biore aqua rich watery essence

It isn’t often that you can give the gift of health. I love sunscreen as a skincare gift particularly for those who may be a bit lax with their skin. If you’re interested in prestige options, Coola apparently makes some good ones; that said, when it comes to facial sunscreen I can’t be talked off the Biore AQUA Rich ($9) ledge. It’s SPF 50, suitable for all skin types, and not something you can just grab off the shelf in CVS or Target…but even being imported, it is really inexpensive!

Everyone can benefit from some Vitamin C, but especially if your recipient has expressed anti-aging concerns, this is a good pick. This duo from Ole Henriksen ($25) is a cute gift that can boost collagen production and make the skin appear more radiant.

Palettes

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Real Techniques Brush Palette Giveaway

Real Techniques Brush Palette Giveaway

Real Techniques Brush Palette Giveaway

We all need to take care of our beauty tools. It’s been a while since I’ve hosted a blog giveaway, and since it’s such a big deal to me, I’m giving away a Real Techniques Brush Palette, which I wrote about in August. Enter via the Gleam.io widget, below. Entries, as always, will be validated – so be sure to follow the instructions (leave a comment, etc).

Winners will be announced Thursday, September 22.

Why?

It should go without saying that maintaining your tools is extremely important. That concept isn’t remotely unique to beauty. It’s true of the kitchen, garden, construction, woodworking, electronics, and oh – basically any other activity you can reasonably think of that is heavily dependent on tools. If your tools aren’t clean, they aren’t going to perform as well as they could have (regardless of their manufacture quality) – with beauty tools, you might not get the application you want. You will also not get the same lifespan out of that tool. Furthermore, there’s hygiene to consider.

On Hygiene

A final note for those of you who literally never wash your brushes. Makeup brushes and sponges come into contact with far fewer things than our hands, but can you imagine if you never washed your hands? Or even just the towel you use to dry your face (be it the one you dry your body with, or a dedicated one). Yeah. Enter the giveaway!

Giveaway

Real Techniques Brush Palette Giveaway

Trim Portable Manicure System

Trim Portable Manicure SystemTrim Portable Manicure System, $8

I had something similar to this cheap, battery-operated electric file years ago. The motor ultimately burned out, and I hadn’t seen a replacement until I came across the Trim Portable Manicure System while out and about.. Admittedly, I didn’t give the tool much scrutiny in the store when I picked it up. For under $8 and running on non-included AA batteries, my expectations were low.

First Impression

Upon unboxing the tool I confirmed that its construction matched its price-point. The body is made of cheap, lightweight plastic. The handle is long (read: awkward to handle), and it doesn’t seem as though the bits have a locking mechanism to hold them in place. The battery compartment was easily accessible, but there aren’t any markers to indicate which way to insert them. I determined that negative should face the bottom of the compartment, positive towards the top.

No dial, switch, or series of buttons means no variable speed control. This little guy is a one-speed.

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