Makeup Brushes and Tools Everyone Needs In Their Makeup Bag

The right makeup brushes and tools can definitely boost your makeup game! But there are so many to choose from it can seem overwhelming to know which ones are right for you. I’ve tried SO MANY different types and I always keep going back to my core few. I’ve narrowed it down to my must-have brushes and I’ve created a video showing you how to use them.

Washing one of my favorite makeup brushes

Brushes can last for a long time if you take proper care of them- I’ve had some over 10 years!. Simple things like washing your brushes at least once a month and using them correctly can help them last longer. Washing your brushes is an important part of makeup application. Think of your foundation brush- you apply a thick liquid to your brush and use it over and over again, the bristles will start to stick together and not work as well. Also, they’ll harbor lots of nasty bacteria…ew. But washing them regularly can keep them in tip-top shape!

In this video, I go through all of my top brushes, explain why I like them, and show you how to use them. If you want more details I’ve explained each brush below- and linked to each one.

Stippling Brush– I love these for applying foundation- they are easy to use for all types of makeup coverage, light, medium, or heavy.

Blending Sponge– This is a must if you like seamless looking makeup. It blends all the brush strokes and makes your makeup look flawless. It’s also great to press makeup into your pores so you don’t miss any spots. You can use these for undereye concealer, setting powder, applying highlighter, and blending contour too!

Powder Brush– I tap the brush onto my face to apply powder, then once you have a base layer you can lightly brush all over to blend. The fluffier the brush the better!

Contour Brush– I prefer a flat dense brush to apply contour because it creates precise lines and you can use the same brush to blend the color out.

Bronzer Brush– I love the tapered edge of this for really getting under my cheekbones. It’s also really fluffy so it’s hard to over-apply your bronzer.

Blending Brush– The shape of this brush is so great to ensure you’re all blended out (great for extra contour blending). I also love it for under my eyes if my makeup is creasing.

Blush Brush– This brush is so soft but still dense enough to apply pigment perfectly. The shape is perfect for the apples of your cheeks.

Highlighter Brush– I love using this little round brush for applying highlighter to above my cheekbones, bridge of my nose, on my brow bone (right under brow), middle of forehead right below the hairline, and above the upper lip. It’s great to give you a glowy look without making you look oily.

Eyeshadow Primer– I love a dense eyeshadow brush to apply eyelid primer. Because eyelid primers are usually fast drying liquids, it’s helpful to get them blended before they dry.

Eyeshadow Brush– This brush is EVERYTHING. You can use it to create almost any eye look! This is my all-time favorite brush.

Color changer– If you use more than one eyeshadow color on your lids, and don’t want to invest in a few eyeshadow brushes, this is a must-have!

Eyeliner Brush– I use black or dark brown powder eyeliner on most days because it’s not as severe-looking as a pencil or pen. I also like how the powder particles fill in your lash line to make them look full. This is my oldest brush (16 years!). I love how thin it is so even if you aren’t super precise, you can still create a nice lined eye.

Lash/ brow Brush– I love these for brushing out my mascara clumps, and cleaning up my brows.

Real Hair Or Synthetic Brushes?

Another question you may have… real hair or synthetic… Which is better? I have both in my makeup kit and I can honestly say it does ‘t seem to matter. I used to think real hair is best BUT many brands are making the switch to only synthetic and have maintained the same great quality. I also find that real hair tends to shed more.

If you purchase a brush and experience a lot of shedding RETURN IT! Brushes are expensive and you shouldn’t be stuck with a dud. I notice most of the shedding happens right after I wash my brushes- that’s normal, but excessive shedding is not. Also, the price point doesn’t seem to affect this or the quality of the brush. I’ve had $50 brushes shed like crazy and $6 brushes that barely shed.

There you have it! My top makeup brushes & tools! If you have any of these please let me know in the comments!

xx,

Love Lauren

Everything You Need To Know About Types of Exfoliants

In case you haven’t heard, exfoliating is essential for a good skincare routine. It minimizes the appearance of large pores by clearing the dead skin & debris out, smooths rough patches, fades dark spots on your skin, and makes you glow! Our dead skin cells slough off every 28+ days and as we age it takes even longer. Though they’re microscopic, they are the cause of many of our biggest skin complaints. Oh, and they also block your skincare products from being able to absorb into your skin and your makeup from looking smooth. Exfoliating removes dead skin cells to make room for fresh and healthier ones. So, yeah it’s safe to say exfoliating is crucial if you want great skin. In this post, I’m going to explain how to exfoliate when you should do it, and which method is best for your skin type.

How often should you exfoliate your face?

For most skin types I say 2-3 times a week but this varies on your skin type. The goal is NOT to turn bright red, sting, or tingle—it’s to gently help along your body’s natural exfoliation process so that your face glows. Below are some common skin types and how best to exfoliate for each. I’ll go into my favorite products later on in this post.

Sensitive skin: You should be extra gentle and exfoliate with a warm, wet washcloth or a mild chemical exfoliant with lower active ingredient percentages once or twice a week, max. Scrubs will likely just irritate your sensitive skin type but if you find one that works, great!

Oily skin: Your skin has a higher tolerance for all types of exfoliants and you can treat your skin up to five times a week. You can exfoliate with a scrub, shaving, serums, masks… etc.

Normal to combination skin: You can use either of these methods with optimal results up to three times a week.

Now, onto the types of exfoliants. There are 2 “main” methods of exfoliating- Physical and Chemical. But within those two there are many ways that can fit your skin’s needs depending on your skin type.

Physical Exfoliants

Physical exfoliation is done with the use of grainy scrubs, brushes, masks, dermaplaning, shaving, microdermabrasion, or any other method to manually remove your dead skin cells.

Lately, physical scrubs have gotten a bad rep because they can be abrasive and can potentially cause more harm to your skin. I actually LOVE a good physical scrub, but I can see how people may take it too far. Use scrubs with tiny grains and don’t push hard! Gently rub in tiny circles all over your face and lips and rinse. Viola!

The easiest way to incorporate them into your routine is a face scrub when you’re already washing your face. I like to cleanse with my normal cleanser then come back with a scrub and lightly rub in circular motions.

My favorites physical exfoliants are:

There are also amazing masks that have scrubs in them. When you remove the mask your skin looks and feels incredible!

Chemical Exfoliants

Chemical exfoliation has become super popular because it is more gentle and can be done on even the most sensitive skin types. Chemical sounds scary but really it’s just the use of gentle acids that dissolve the “glue” that binds your dead skin cells to your face. 

Essentially, there are two types of chemical exfoliants: alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) and beta-hydroxy acid (BHA). Let’s break them down:

Alpha Hydroxy Acid- AHA

AHAs, such as lactic or glycolic acid, dissolve dead skin cells and debris from the skin’s surface and don’t penetrate very deep into your pores. These are beneficial if you have sensitive, dry or sun-damaged skin. They’re best for  “ungluing” dead cells to make skin brighter and smoother.

AHAs come in a few forms, like lactic, mandelic, and glycolic acid.

If you have sensitive skin or are new to chemical exfoliants, start with lactic acid, which is the most gentle of the acids. Apply it every three nights on clean, dry skin, and wait 10 full minutes before applying the rest of your skincare. If your skin is pretty normal with no real sensitivity issues, try glycolic acid since it’s a bit stronger.

My favorite AHA products:

Beta Hydroxy Acid- BHA

BHAs are oil-soluble, meaning they break down oil-clogged pores and treat blackheads, whiteheads, and zits. They’re also anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, which will help soothe any irritation from exfoliating, or from acne. The most popular BHA is salicylic acid, a longtime favorite acne spot treatment.

Here are some that I’ve tried and love:

Can you combine AHA and BHA Exfoliants?

Yes, if your skin is resilient, but they can be irritating and drying. So stick with only one chemical exfoliant at a time at first, and see how your skin reacts.

Here’s an example of a combo- The Ordinary AHA 30% BHA 2%- it’s one of the most deeply exfoliating products on the market. It’s definitely not for beginners, so start with a more mild exfoliant and move upwards—what’s mild to me, might be too intense for you.

How do I include exfoliation into my skincare routine?

Don’t be scared to incorporate it into your routine! Your dead cells re-accumulate every day, so regular exfoliation is a must. I suggest using exfoliants at night. If you’re using a scrub, wash your face with your normal cleanser first, then cleanse again with your scrub. If you have a mask, apply it after you cleansed your skin. Serum- Apply after you cleanse and tone.

No matter what, you must always moisturize after you exfoliate and wear SPF during the day. Exfoliants increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun. But since you’re already diligent about wearing sunscreen and reapplying throughout the day, you’re good!

Can you over-exfoliate?

Yes! Exfoliating too often can damage your skin’s barrier and make it dry, red, flaky, itchy, breakout, cause premature fine lines, and overproduction of oil. So just remember, when exfoliating: less is more and start slow.

Don’t worry if you’ve over-exfoliated. Just stop all exfoliation and just layer on a super-rich lotion with anti-inflammatory ingredients like aloe, cica, or calendula. My current fave is Laneige’s Cica Repair Sleeping Mask.

Now go on and get to exfoliating already. 🙂

Love Lauren


The Best Beauty Products I Reviewed in 2019

Whew, what a year! 2019 just FLEW by for me! I was looking back at all of the items I tried over the past year and there are definitely a few standouts. Here are my top 10 products of the year- these have become staples in my routine!

Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer

This is probably my #1 find of 2019! This blow dryer has literally changed my life. It dries my hair SO fast and makes it so sleek and straight! I’ve received feedback from a lot of you ladies that it works on all hair types, thin, curly, frizzy, thick… If you want to see how it works check out my first impression video on Instagram.

X-Tan Self Tan Remover

I have tried sooo many methods to remove self-tan, whether it’s botched in a certain area or you just want to remove your tan that has started to wear off. This is a GAME CHANGER. Honestly, I’ve never found anything that works remotely as well as this, and you don’t have to scrub the crap out of your skin anymore! You apply it, let it sit for 2 minutes then use the mitt to rub it off by wiping in circular motions. If you want to see how well it works watch my video review! Use the code LAURENERRO for 10% off.

Press on Nails

Would this list be complete without my newest obsession? I am so impressed with press-on nails! I used to pay $60 for a dip manicure every 3ish weeks and now I can do my own nails from the comfort of my home. I am so particular with the way my nails look and now I have 100% control! Learn more about my experience with press-ons, how to use them, and why I love them so much!

Curology

Curology has improved my skin SO MUCH. I haven’t had a real zit since I started using it in July. Curology tailor makes a custom formula for your skin type and needs. My formula has ingredients that help with acne, fine lines, and pigmentation. The price point is also unbeatable, especially for Retin A!

Too Faced Born This Way Super Coverage Multi-Use Sculpting Concealer

I LOVE this concealer. I was never a big concealer person because most of the ones I’ve tried didn’t really cover my dark circles AND they would crease and draw more attention to my under eye lines. This concealer covers so well and it isn’t drying like Tarte’s Shape Tape. I wear the color Vanilla to brighten my under eyes and it just blends out so seamlessly. I set with setting powder and it stays put all day!

Lashify

I love the look of fake lashes but I can’t handle lash extensions (I rub my eyes too much) so I would just put on lashes for events and take them off that night. Then I discovered Lashify. Lashify is an at-home, long-wearing, individual lash kit. The lashes can last for up to a week with the right care, and they look really natural because they are placed under your lashes by your water line instead of on top!

Further Food Collagen Peptides

I take a lot of supplements, mostly for their beauty benefits, and I’ve found collagen to be a game-changer for hair growth! This year, my favorite collagen company launched a chocolate flavor and it is SO good.

I drink this smoothie almost every day:

1 Scoop Further Foods Chocolate collagen

1 scoop PBFit (the best low-calorie peanut butter!)

1 handful of fresh spinach

1 banana

1 cup coffee

1 dash Caramel Sugar-Free Sweetener

Splash of milk, or milk substitute

Optional- a handful of oatmeal.

*Use code LAUREN for 20% off your order.

Peter Lamas Youth Revival 5 Oil Hair Treatment Mask

2019 was the year of hair care for me. I finally grew my hair past my boobs and I’m pretty sure this mask is one of the reasons. It has so many nourishing benefits and smells amazing! Learn more about this mask and why Peter Lamas is one of my favorite beauty brands! I also created another post with all of my favorite healthy hair secrets!

Dyson Airwrap Styler

This is another product I didn’t want to love but DAMN it gives you the best at-home blow out EVER. I’ve always struggled with blowing out my hair- usually, I let it air dry or use my Revlon to get it straight then style it. Now I can create BODY! It’s unreal!

Smashbox Studio Skin 15 Hour Foundation

This is the Foundation on me! It’s SO Glowy!

This foundation is my new daily go-to. It has great coverage but it’s also glowy and makes your skin look great. I wear this when I want to look natural or glam (it’s buildable!). I have acne-prone, combination skin- meaning it is oily, dry, shiny, and all over the place. This foundation doesn’t cause me to break out and it also lasts all day when I use primer & setting powder. I highly recommend you try this, no matter your skin type!

Have you tried any of these items? Please share your thoughts below!

xx,

Love Lauren