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Category: beauty

best sunscreen ever!!!

hi girls!  so i know i’ve promised my next post would be on what really non-comedogenic means but i haven’t gotten the chance to sit down and just WRITE.  man, lab has been so busy!  but i just wanted share my newest love regarding sunscreen which i have been using for about 3 weeks now.

so i wrote previously about badger sunscreen and how awesome they are.  i have now switched to their spf 30 aloe sunscreen which looks like this:

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it rubs in so well and the formulation is just lovely!  it isn’t greasy at all, dries pretty matte (i like the natural look, just fyi), and is *really* non-comedogenic.  i’ve used it with no problems at all (and i have really finicky skin) and haven’t gotten burned as i had prior with the spf 16.  i am in LOVE, IN LOVE i tell you!

it’s around $15 on (which was the cheapest i found) but if you want to go to whole foods, they have it there too!

also, i’m in love with the faceshop liquid eyeliner in brown.  i’m sending w. w. a sample in black, hopefully soon, since she has tanner skin than i do (lucky girl!).


will post the next one SOOOOOOON, i promise!




chloe edp

mannnnn it’s been too long!  i’ve been really busy in lab, a happy busy mind you, which i am just LOVING.  on more exciting news, i found a new fragrance!  i settled on chloe EDP which smells just heavenly.  i typically don’t like any rose smells but on my skin it fades quite fast to a clean yet sexy smelling freshness (hard to describe).  i bought the rollerball which looks like this:

Chloe - Chloé Eau de Parfum

which allows for controlled, precise application of this quite strong and long-lasting fragrance.  i feel soooo beautiful when wearing this fragrance and find myself sniffing my pulse points during the day.  i love that so little goes such a long way!  the rollerball was $25 at sephora and it seems like it will last quite a while at the rate i’m going.  on another note, i WILL be posting on comedogenicity and non-comedogenicity very soon, as i have been reading up on literature about it.  i just need to find the time…when i’m not working 12+ hour days, i PROMISE it will get done =D  hope everyone is enjoying their summers….lots of love from lab!

signature scents: the best accessories a girl can have

i’m baaaaaack!  man, i totally underestimated the time it would take for me to get in the swing of chemistry and settled in, but i’m loving every minute of it!  i’m super excited about my new project and hope that i’m able to figure out early on if it will be fruitful…chemistry gave me a big “welcome back” with a 16 hour first day back in lab hahahaha

i’ve been thinking about fragrances a lot lately partly because working in a chemistry lab, you can’t really 1) wear nice clothes/shoes lest the HCl/NaOH/organic solvents eat holes in your favorite shirt/cardigan/pair of flats, 2) wear anything that doesn’t cover all of your legs/arms lest you want carcinogenic chemicals accidentally dripping on your skin (buh-bye for now dresses, sigh, esp. with strict berkeley lab safety rules) 2) wear nail polish (sniff) cause the minute you use acetone to wash your glassware, it all comes off in a sticky mess.  so, all i can really wear that’s *nice* is perfume.  and also, i’ve always admired those girls who use a great fragrance to “accessorize” instead of wearing tons of jewelry, makeup, etc. etc….it’s both chic and chouette!


mmmm smells wonderful!

i’ve always been a big fan of jo malone fragrances especially the grapefruit assam limited edition perfume, which is no longer in production.  i really liked the scent because it really captured the scents i adore and smelled heavenly, clean, fresh, and modern.  since then i’ve jumped from fragrance to fragrance and haven’t found *the one* to replace my old signature.  as of late, i’ve been using philosopy’s pure grace (eau de parfum) and origins’ ginger essence.  i found out about ginger essence through one of my friends who is the very well put-together, glamorous, made-up type and on her it smelled sexy, sensual, and expensive.  i mean when you look expensive, i guess you could be wearing deodorant and it would smell expensive.  i’ve been less enamored with it on me–it smells really normal and actually my brother hates the smell…one time he was like “whaaaaat is that smell?  licorice?”  hahaha  pure grace on me smells really nice though and doesn’t elicit the same type of reaction as ginger essence…the only thing is it’s a cult classic and tons of people wear pure grace and the lasting power is a bit weak.  so i’ve been in the market for another signature scent…any thoughts?  i tend to love clean, crisp, unique scents with a bit of citrus notes, cool greens, tea notes, etc.

for now, i’ll be on my fragrance search and let y’all know if i have any success!

my favorite lip balm: smith’s rosebud salve

i’ve gone through a lot of lip balms in my time.  i’ve tried ones from more expensive brands like origins and kiehl’s (was even tempted to try la mer but decided against it) to the good ole cheapie brands like chapstick and vaseline.  i’ve found that many chapsticks underperform and have very little emollient quality to them…my lips end up more chapped!  after much searching, i have finally decided on my favorite: smith’s rosebud salve in the tube, cause the tin packaging gets reallllly dirty!

from the sephora website

from the sephora website

the tube costs $6 (0.5 oz.) while the tin, which carries 0.8 oz. of rosebud salve goodness, is also $6 at sephora.  but because i don’t like to stick my finger into a things, since in my mind i’m contaminating the salve with whatever in on my finger, i would rather buy the tube for ease of mind and take the 0.3 oz. hit.  the complete list of ingredients are proprietary, i guess, but what they do list is “cotton seed oil, aromol, essential oils, petrolatum base”.  i like that they use a petroleum jelly base because it actually coats my skin/lips really well and prevents moisture loss.  i’ve found through experience that the most effective salves are usually made from some sort of petroleum jelly base and this one smell wonderful, like roses!  additionally, i like that there is a hint of pink to the salve to tint your lips so it looks a little bit better than rubbing some vaseline all over your smoocher, haha.

i am also a big fan of the minted rose bud salve, but i have yet to find it a tube instead of a tin.  until then, i will continue to be a loyal fan of the original rosebud salve!

from the sephora website

from the sephora website

are parabens really dangerous to your health?

today’s topic is one that has sparked craaaaazy hysteria in the general public and is basically the idea that cosmetics containing parabens are going to give you cancer.  let’s take a look at this “claim” and see if it’s actually a genuine concern or a result of irresponsible science reporting/scientific journalism gone wrong!

what are parabens?  structurally, they look like this:

chemical structures of different parabens

chemical structures of commonly used parabens

their current use is mainly as a preservative in cosmetics, certain foods, and pharmaceutical drugs.  why do we need to use preservatives?  because many of the product we use day-to-day are made up of tons of organic (carbon-based, not the other meaning) molecules and these molecules decompose of time, faster if exposed to heat and/or light.  preservative like parabens help inhibit microbial and fungal growth in these products, making for longer shelf-lives.  parabens are types of molecules called esters, known to be hydrolyzed by esterases (enzymes) in human bodies to para-hydroxybenzoic acid which is excreted out of the body, and also metabolized via different pathways and then excreted out of the body like through urine.  let’s first take a look at the supposed paper that started to whole paraben-free craze: Darbre, P. D. et al. J. Appl. Toxicol. 2004, 24, 5-13.

in this paper, the data collected shows that in 20 human breast tumor samples, a mean of 20.6 ± 4.2 ng of parabens per gram of tissue sample was obtained.  no comparison was made for non-cancerous breast tissue, which would be the scientifically responsible thing to do if you’re going to publish something like this, instead of pushing it off to “future outlooks”.  they make claims like:

“It is therefore not inconceivable that the levels of parabens measured in this study could exert oestrogenic effects on epithelial cells in the human breast.”

let’s look at this statement.  according to routledge and coworkers (Toxicol. Appl. Pharmacol. 1998, 153, 12-19), their finding showed that parabens were approximately 2,500,000 to 10,000 times (from methylparaben to butylparaben) less potent in producing an in vitro estrogenic response compared to 17-β-estradiol (subcutaneous administration of the paraben).  this means that the amount of paraben per volume needs to be 2,500,000 time more in the case of methylparaben, 150,000 times more in the case of ethylparaben, 30,000 times more in the case of propylparaben, and 10,000 times more in the case of butylparaben to have the same estrogenic response as one equivalent amount of 17-β-estradiol per volume.  so assuming that most of the parabens collected was methyparaben (they report over 60% to be), that mean you take 20.6 ng and (roughly) divide by 2,500,000 to get the amount of 17-β-estradiol that would was an estrogenic response.  that’s a crazy small number yo!  can you even measure an estrogenic response with a dose of 8.24 x 10^-15 g; if not, how can you claim that it’s “not inconceivable that the levels of parabens measure in this study could exert oestrogenic effects…”?

moreover, the journal that the Dabre data was published in is a journal with an impact factor (i.f.) of 2.478 compared to science (i.f. of 31.201 for 2011) or nature (i.f. of 36.280 for 2011)…if this research was so cutting edge and important (which it would be if the experiments were thoroughly done and data interpreted correctly), wouldn’t it have received critical acclaim from the scientific community and gone through the peer-review process in a high impact journal?  instead the Dabre paper received at least 3 different scathing responses from the scientific community raising questions about the thoroughness of the experiments and interpretation.  then some journalist who hadn’t really thought out the scientific interpretations decided to write an article disseminating the “dangers” of parabens and now we’re here…living in fear of parabens.

now the fda and the european medicines agency have both spoken on parabens.  the fda states that through the cosmetics ingredients review, the acceptable safe concentration of parabens in cosmetics is set as 25%.  currently, most cosmetics contain levels of parabens ranging from 0.01 to 0.3%.  what does that really mean though?  in a scientific review paper by golden and coworkers (Crit. Rev. Toxicol. 2005, 35, 435-458 [impact factor of 5.160]), they write that the estimated amount of parabens that an average woman (60 kg) comes into contact with/uses is 0.307–1.02 mg/kg/day through “bath products, colognes and toilet waters, powders, hairsprays, shampoos, tonics and other hair grooming aids, blushers, foundations, lipstick, makeup bases, bath soaps and detergents, deodorants, skin cleansers, depilatories, face preparations, body moisturizers, skin fresheners, and sun products”.  assuming that 40% (number taken from another paper) of the “worst paraben (butylparaben)” is absorbed through the skin, that her enzymes are faulty and cannot process parabens to the excretable para-hydroxybenzoic acid before absorption, and that the woman uses all her products every day, the dose of paraben per day would be 0.12–0.41 mg/kg/day.  compare this value to ones reported in another scientific study of parabens on rodents and adjusted for humans: the value would be 440 times less, according to cook et. al., than the value needed produce effects in humans similar to estrogen in rodents or 240-830 times less for adverse effects in offspring in utero (Toxicol. Sci. 1998, 44, 155-168).  the review (Crit. Rev. Toxicol. 2005, 35, 435-458) concludes that:

“Based on highly conservative assumptions (i.e., worst case) pertaining to total daily exposures to parabens and dose/potency comparisons with both human and animal NOELs and LOELs for estrogen, it is biologically implausible that parabens could increase the risk of any estrogen-mediated endpoints, including effects on the male reproductive tract or breast cancer. While not explicitly considered in these comparisons, an additional margin of safety is provided by the fact that potency differences between parabens and estrogen are even greater due to the inability of parabens to produce estrogen like effects comparable to estrogen, no matter what dose is employed[…]Based on the estrogenic potency differences between parabens and estrogens, there is no scientific basis for concluding that in utero exposure to parabens might cause adverse effects on a developing fetus. Similarly, given the large differences in potency between estrogen and the three parabens that have weakly estrogenic activity in vivo, there is no basis for hypothesizing that parabens play any role in the etiology of breast cancer. The implication of the Darbre et al. (2004) study that parabens might be causally associated with breast tumors is biologically implausible. It has now been established that studies with other weakly estrogen-active chemicals that may bioaccumulate in breast tissue do not provide credible evidence that they are etiologically associated with increased risk of breast cancer. Consequently, there is no scientific basis for hypothesizing or inferring that parabens are etiologically linked to the development of breast cancer[…]While there is no question that in utero or adult exposure to sufficient doses of estrogen can cause a number of adverse effects in humans, the presumption that exposure to chemicals that are many orders of magnitude less potent than estrogen will cause similar effects has never been demonstrated.”

so there you have it!  you can now use your beauty products (even ones with parabens) at ease…enjoy~

secret hair styling product: trader joe’s aloe vera gel

hope everyone had a great memorial day weekend!  both saturday and sunday were nice sunny days in cali and i got to spend them outside but today has been a bit rainy and dreary.  i’ve spent part of the day napping, watching my guilty pleasure tv shows, and did some more packing for berkeley.  not a bad way to spend a monday indoors!

today’s post is about a secret hair styling product that works surprisingly well to moisturize parched hair (read: crispy, crunchy hair ends).  i’ve been conditioner-free now for over 9 month since realizing that my hair was getting more unmanageable, frizzy, and crunchy WITH conditioner use instead of less.  weird no?  after i stopped using conditioner, for some unknown reason my hair quality turned better and became overall softer and more manageable.

i still obviously use shampoo and now have shortened my shower routine to face wash, shampoo, and body wash, but was still using leave-in products like phytodefrisant (which is quite expensive, $28 a tube!!! its my holy grail defrizz hair product though, with hair softening properties) and giovanni styling elixir on the ends (to stave off split ends and for the heavenly smell of the leave-in treatment).  i wanted to cut down on the overall cost of my hair care because 1) living off a post-doc salary in berkeley will be hard and 2) it would be nice in general to spend less on hair care so i can spend my money elsewhere (indulging in good books! and food of course haha).  i’ve been looking around for a replacement for phytodefrisant since it was the most expensive item in my haircare routine but couldn’t find a good replacement with similar ingredients.  sadness.  then i had an idea: instead of trying to look for a product with similar ingredients, why don’t i instead look for a product that has the same consistency as phytodefrisant and would provide similar moisturizing/softening properties as phyto.  and thus i came up with aloe vera gel from trader joes and have been loving it since i’ve started using it as a hair product!

trader joes aloe vera gel comes in a dark green bottle (12 oz. for $2.99) and is labelled as 99% pure aloe vera gel.  the gel itself is clear and i like that the bottle is dark and semi-opaque.  the ingredients listed as as follows (comments in parentheses mine, also some names shortened for simplicity’s sake): water, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, butylene glycol, calendula flower extract, arnica flower extract, tocophersolan, TEA-carbomer (thickener), methylparaben (preservative, more about parabens in a later post!  stay tuned), diazolidinyl urea (antimicrobial), DMDM hydantoin (antimicrobial), trisodium EDTA (metal chelator).


take a dollop and work it into the ends of your well towel-dried hair up to the roots.  detangle with widetooth comb.  add another leave-in product if necessary to the ends of your hair to prevent split ends (i plan on using the giovanni hair product listed above).  let your hair air dry or blow dry your hair–tada!

this will be my last full week of posting…i’m moving up to berkeley on saturday!  i’m SO excited to be starting labwork again and working on a methodology project which hopefully will turn into a synthesis project!  in the future, i’ll probably be writing once or twice a week since my schedule will be much more busy (hello 12 hour lab days!) and would love to get suggested topics to post on (i’ll be doing “parabens” and “non-comedogenic” very soon!).  let me know either through the blog or email me and i’ll try my best to work it into the lineup!

how to choose the best vitamin C “anti-aging” skincare product

hi guys!  hope everyone had a great weekend.  today’s topic is of interest to the older folk (including late twenties and up i guess, lol)…anti-aging skincare!  i know that there’s A LOT of hype out there with “our product will revolutionize wrinkle prevention” etc. etc. and it’s hard to really figure out what is really true and what is just aggressive advertising.  many companies that sell over-the-counter (OTC) potions make all sorts of claims for anti-wrinkle, anti-aging but are not backed up by the fda.  only fda backed products (prescription-based products) are forced to provide scientific proof of their claims that that the products are efficacious.  therefore, we should always approach OTC product claims with caution and really think about whether buying the item is analogous to flushing money down the toilet.

we will learn today about how to look at vitamin C anti-aging products; once again, i will be giving a chemistry (not medical) perspective of how to choose a vitamin c product that won’t lose efficacy/degrade before you get to use it.

so we all know that vitamin c, also know as ascorbic acid, has great health benefits (see here for a general audience tutorial) when ingested.  vitamin c has also been used as a topical agent in cream, lotions, gels, serums, etc. because of its reputed ability to lessen/prevent sun spots and skin discolorations and also stimulate collagen production (for what collagen is, click here).  additionally, vitamin C can act as an antioxidant, as shown in the browning of apples experiment where the sprinkling of vit. c on apples slows down browning,  so logically, all vitamin c skincare products must be good…bring it on, right?

of course, things are not always so simple.  as it turns out, vitamin c degrades, like any other organic molecule, over time and exposure to light (UV usually) or heat.  the time frame in which this degradation happens is accelerated when vitamin c is put into a solution (liquid) versus when vitamin c is stored in its solid form.  many companies, in efforts to market and sell their vitamin c creams/lotions/potions, use chemical “stabilizers” to slow down vitamin c decomposition.  however, usually once you open your cream/lotion jar/bottle and expose the product to air, the decomposition pathway has started and your cream/lotion is losing its vitamin c efficacy.  other companies like nv perricone have used other approaches like chemically joining vitamin c with a fatty acid via an ester bond (it’s okay if you don’t understand the nomeclature) thereby changing the behavioral properties of the new vitamin c-derived compound, but this may not actually make the vitamin c derivative better (see bioavailability of different vitamin c compounds if you’re interested).  i personally never by creams/lotions/gels/etc. with vitamin c mixed in already with the product in mainly because you don’t really know how much you end up really using on your face (is it all decomposed?  partially decomposed?  degraded material that i’m slathering on?  who know?)

if you do want to jump on the anti-aging moisturizers bandwagon and want to use a vitamin c-based product, here is what i would recommend:  a solid form of vitamin c that you can mix into your lotion/cream/gel right before you use it.  that way you know exactly how much your putting on, what you’re putting on, and that you’ve avoided, as much as you can, the decomposition of your vitamin c before use.  philosophy make something called “turbo booster c powder” which is solid vitamin c that you scoop out with the scooper they’ve provided and mix into your moisturizer.  the ingredients are: (comments in parentheses mine) “ascorbic acid (vitamin c), panthenol (provitamin B5), zinc pca (humectant), copper pca (humectant), camellia oleifera leaf juice, dipotassium glycyrrhizinate (licorice extract), arginine (amino acid), cysteine (amino acid), aloe barbadensis leaf juice” in solid form.  the bottle looks like this:

from the sephora website

from the sephora website

i would store this bottle away from heat and light and cap tightly to avoid moisture from getting in.  hopefully this tutorial has been helpful and has taught you a little more about this tricky molecule.  may you be successful in your search for vitamin c skincare products!

my most recommended gel eyeliner

so as promised, today i will be writing about my favorite gel eyeliner that is a bit of a splurge but totally worth it.  if you are looking for a gel eyeliner, which i think is much more controllable and easier to work with than liquid, i would recommend bobbi brown’s long-wear gel eyeliner. it is $23 at sephora (you can also find it at macy’s, nordstrom, neiman, bloomies, etc.) and comes in a variety of colors from black, brown, and grey to purple, blue, and green.

(from sephora)

(from sephora)

i personally use the color “violet ink” which looks really purple in the container but wears beautifully as a dark blackish purple and feels less harsh against fairer skin tones than jet black.  i would apply it with an eyeliner brush (see here and here for recs) so that you can draw a thin fluid line close to your lash line.  it builds easily in color intensity and once you let the gel dry, it’s pretty much smudge-proof.  the pot-o-gel eyeliner lasts at least 6 months if you wear it everyday and take care to tighten the lid such that the gel doesn’t dry out prematurely.    once you add some mascara, voila! you have pretty, well-defined eyes.  i’ll be back tomorrow to post (even though i usually don’t write on fridays) since i didn’t get to post on monday (my NIH proposal revisions are done though yay!).

EDIT: just found out today that there apparently is a problem with the formulation of the gel eyeliner right now and the BB headquarters are aware and remedying it…please hold off purchasing until the problem is resolved! i just bought one from nordstrom and it’s the real deal!  i think the sephora stock is much older and thus the quality is questionable.  if you want to buy it, go to nordstrom!

so…what’s really in my acne cream/lotion?

soooo i was going to write about favorite, highly recommended gel eyeliner today (put off until tomorrow) but i thought i’d do a little chemistry demystifying of acne cream and lotions. i think most people don’t really know what active ingredients are in their pimple stuff and it would benefit the average consumer to be aware of what s/he is really slathering onto her/himself. note that i will only be giving chemical analysis NOT medical analysis, so gather ’round kids and let’s begin!

the two most commonly used active ingredients in over-the-counter (OTC) acne medication (meaning non-prescription) are salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. each of these act as acne medication in different ways, meaning each lessens acne lesions via different chemical mechanisms. let’s first look at the chemical structures (pictures, figure 1 and later 2) of each to see and understand more of how these chemicals work:

figure 1

figure 1

so in figure 1, i’ve shown salicylic acid with three other well known compounds wintergreen oil (mmm minty), aspirin, and sodium benzoate.  it’s quite cool to take a look at how the ingredients look like structurally to see why they might behave similarly.  as you can see salicylic acid looks very similar to wintergreen oil and they differ only by the blue parts of the molecule (OH vs OMe).  you don’t need to know what these letter combinations mean but it makes sense that both of these molecules when rubbed on skin give a burning sensation (a little different between the ouch burning of salicylic acid versus the tingly burning of wintergreen oil).  similarly if you take a look at salicylic acid and aspirin, you see that the blue parts are the same (both OH) but the bottom right parts in green are different.  this similarity gives them properties/modes of actions that react with the human body as an anti-inflammatory.  although the biological pathways of these two molecules as an anti-inflammatory is complex, one of the modes is via acting as a proton (via the carboxylic acid group) shuttle in the mitochondria (remember high school bio?).  pretty nifty, no?  lastly, sodium benzoate differs the most from salicylic acid.  it is the sodium salt of the acid (see blue part) with no OH group (see green part).  it is often used as a food preservative or cosmetics preservative.  while we’re on the topic of sodium benzoate, i want to clarify the “scare” that sodium benzoate turns into benzene (a known carcinogen) when mixed with vitamin c (ascorbic acid).  while the fda article is talking about the scare of sodium benzoate in soft drinks turning to benzene in the presence of vit. C, which in my book i have much beef with if you look at the data but more another day,  i want to say that sodium benzoate in your cosmetics will not turn into benzene to kill you/cause you harm even if your moisturizer/makeup product contains vitamin c.  i’ve seen on too many “health/natural living” beauty blogs give ABSOLUTELY wrong information about this (about how sodium benzoate will decompose to benzene in the presence of vitamin c) and this claim is chemically craaaaazy.  if you can really prove that, let me know and we’ll write a jacs/nature/science paper together!

figure 2

figure 2

in figure 2, we see that benzoyl peroxide looks completely different than salicylic acid.  it has in the middle two oxygen atoms that are connected by a line (a bond) and these types of molecules are known as peroxides.  now certain peroxides can explode because that line in between the oxygens (the bond) can break apart too quickly/too much at once.  with benzoyl peroxide and hydrogen peroxide they are relatively stable than other peroxides, especially because they are often formulated in some sort of liquid (as a solution or a lotion/cream/gel).  these two peroxides are used often as disinfectants for the human body and react primarily through breaking of that bond to generate what are called free radicals.  thus these radicals kill off bacteria by reacting with the bacteria’s survival machinery (cell wall, organelles, etc.).  unfortunately, because the radicals generated aren’t specified to only attack the molecules in bacteria, it may also react with other things like cloth (causing bleaching) or yikes, the person’s cells leading in some cases to an adverse reaction (swelling, burning, allergy).  although people can also be sensitive/allergic to salicylic acid, it makes sense that the reactive nature of benzoyl peroxide would cause more of a reaction than the acid acne ingredient.

most sensibly, start off using salicylic acid in your acne medication (careful not to use too much as it can cause a chemical burn) and if your doctor tells you to use benzoyl peroxide products, use carefully (don’t over medicate!) and with caution.  benzoyl peroxide, while is okay to use in controlled amounts as directed by a physician, is not a compound/chemical to be trifled with and carelessly slathered on.

hope this helps clarify what’s in your jar of acne cream and may you have clear skin in the days to come!

high quality makeup brushes that won’t break the bank

sorry for the late post (missed monday, boohoo)!  i was revising a NIH grant proposal yesterday and of course, it took longer than expected, as per usual.  sigh, o chemistry.

onto makeup brushes!  so i’ve recently discovered two makeup brushes that make one’s makeup significantly better for those special occassions.  i usually don’t wear makeup on a day to day level, just good ole sunscreen after washing my face (and the occasional concealer ’cause no one wants to see that big fat zit on my face, let’s face it).  when i do wear makeup, it’s tinted moisturizer, concealer, gel eyeliner (thank you m. c. for introducing me to this! another post on which one i use and would recommend), blush and maybe mascara (depending on the occasion).  i’m not into eyeshadows and such because well, i don’t care for it and also the consensus from the boys/guys/men in my life (n = >20) is that they do NOT like eyeshadown especially if it’s COLORED (i guess only nude eyeshadow in their book is fine but then why wear it?).  if you’re looking for a high quality foundation brush, blush brush, or eyeliner brush at a reasonable price, look no farther!  i have three suggestions (one for each) for you, all from the same line: sonia kashuk (from here on out SK)!

but you may protest, “t, that line is from target, are you crazy?  i need some high quality brushes, yo!  are you sure about this crap from target?” to which i say, “they are reallllly good quality brushes, and stop being an elitist/snob and go out and get some ha!”

the three in particular that i am talking about are, after much, MUCH research and reading of beauty blogs and then testing them out for myself:

(1) foundation brush: SK core tools synthetic buffing brush for $12.99

(from the target website)

(from the target website)

(2) blush brush: SK kashuk tools synthetic domed multipurpose brush for $18.39

(from the target website)

(from the target website)

(3) eyeliner brush: SK core tools bent eyeliner brush for $5.99 (!!!!)

(from the target website)

(from the target website)

why these three?  besides being obviously high quality (very soft, doesn’t shed) and cheap(er) i like that (1) and (2) are synthetic and wash cleanly and easily without the crazy wet dog smell of animal hair brushes (when you wash them).  (1) is used after dotting/striping (not a typo) on your tinted moisture or foundation and then buffing in gentle, circular motions all across your face.  it makes you look airbrushed and what girl doesn’t want airbrushed-looking skin!  as for (2) the bristles pick up just enough blush pigments to put on your blush and can work for powder or cream blushes.  it applies your blush smoothly and evenly without blotchiness/streaking and feels like a chinchilla going across your face.

lastly (3), in addition to being a steal (look up prices for MAC, trish mcevoy, or even sephora eyeliner brushes, *shudders at price*) is perfectly angled to reach and apply eyeliner (gel or liquid or powder if you moisten your brush) in a thin line (you can build the thickness if so desired) at the roots of your eyelashes, making for the most natural and prettiest eyeliner look.  it doesn’t lose its bristles and washes well and is the best eyeliner brush i’ve used by far for achieving a close-to-lashline eyeliner look.

okay, that’s it for today!  i will most likely be writing about my favorite and highly recommended gel eyeliner tomorrow!  enjoy!

EDIT:  target often has coupons and/or sales on SK products so keep a lookout for them!