sigma

How to: Gel Eyeliner Cat-Eye

how to gel eyeliner 1If you know me in person or have previously read my blog, you may know I’m a sucker for a great cat-eye. Not only are simple black flicks remarkably good at reminding people that yes asians do have eyes, but are also a simple way to sex up a plain, barely-there makeup face. Paired with either a neutral shadow and lip or a bold smoky eye and red hot lip, cat-eyes are versatile and timeless – a style every girl should be able to whip out of their back pocket.

For you beauty newbies who are intimidated by the infamous cat-eye, I’ve broken down the process into 4 steps using gel eyeliner.  Although I prefer liquid eyeliner, specifically Stila’s Stay-All-Day Waterproof Liquid Liner, it can be a bit tricky to use for first-timers, and definitely requires practice. Gel eyeliner, however, is super easy to use as a fine tipped brush allows for both control and precision when applying. My brush of choice is a small angled synthetic brush, such as the Sigma Small Angle E65 shown above. Classic pointed eyeliner brushes work too, however I find angled ones apply the line thicker and more quickly in addition to simplifying the creation of the flick! My staple gel liner is MAC’s trusty Fluidline in Blacktrack – it’s richly pigmented, doesn’t dry out (I’ve had mine for years) and has a smooth creamy texture that glides onto the lid.

*note that these steps are designated for after eyeshadow completion!

how to gel eyeliner 2Step 1: Start by creating a base line. Drag your brush from the inner corner of your eye towards the outer corner in a straight line. It’s okay if the line doesn’t hug your lashline near the outer corner – the overall finished line should be thinner near the inner corner and thicker near the outer corner. The bottom of the line can be jagged (we’ll fill this in later) but be sure to make the top of the line as smooth as possible.

how to gel eyeliner 3Step 2: Draw the flick! Extend a line from your lower lashline towards the end of your brow. The line should be angled as if it is a continuation of the lower lash line. Making sure the two “flicks” are at the same angle on both eyes can be tricky, so be sure to keep cotton swabs close by in case you have to adjust the flick or redo it completely.

how to gel eyeliner 4Step 3: Connect the line you drew across the lid to the flick! This can be accomplished easily with the angled brush by positioning the sharp angled tip of the bristles at the edge of the flick and sliding it towards line #1. Make sure the transition is smooth and smudge-free and try to keep the overall curve of the eyeliner as close to the natural curve of your eye as possible.

Step 4: Fill in the small gap between your horizontal line and your lashline. One of the most important parts of wearing eyeliner is to keep it close to the lashes! Finish with mascara and your eye is complete!

Now you are ready to rock your cat-eye look! This type of eyeliner is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, but it is a classic Olivia look. I love wearing it with neutral eyeshadow so the crispness of the black is accentuated. How do you like to wear gel eyeliner?

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Fave Face Brushes

fave face brushes 1Expensive and high quality products may be important to a flawless base, but tools are far more important. Would a realistic painting be the same if the painter did not use a paint brush? I think not. The same applies to your face. The product becomes irrelevant if applied with an incorrect tool, and can result in a disaster. The following four brushes are my absolute favorite for laying down a gorgeous base.

fave face brushes 2Foundation brushes insure an even application of foundation and are usually either a flat pointed brush that lays the product on top of the skin, or a kabuki brush that allows the product to be worked into the skin. Although many prefer the former, I prefer the latter, especially my Sigma F80 Angled Top Kabuki Brush (the lower of the two pictured above). It’s dense but super soft bristles really buffs the foundation into the skin and does an amazing job of blending both foundation and concealer. I love this particular kabuki brush because of it’s angle – it fits perfectly into the nook of my nose and under my eyes, and can also be used for cream blush or bronzer along the cheekbone. When using this brush, I simply swirl it all over my face in small circular motions, to ensure the foundation is blended in quite thoroughly. Sigma actually has a whole line of kabuki brushes that are great; the larger ones can be used for foundation or cream products, and the smaller ones are perfect for concealer or cream eyeshadow!

The next step after foundation (and concealer) is setting your makeup! This normally requires a big fluffy brush that has a large surface area, as the powder is applied all over the face. My favorite is the Sigma F30 Powder Brush because it always applies the perfect amount of powder – not too much but not too little either. It’s also ridiculously soft and super fun to play with. The black bristles make it easy to tell how much powder is on the brush as well, so you know if you need to tap off excess product before setting the face.

fave fash brushes 3These next two brushes gained access to my favorites because of their versatility. Both can be used for bronzer as well as blush, as well as for both cream and powder products. The top one, the Blush Brush from Samantha Chapman’s line Real Techniques is quite high quality for it’s cheap price! All of the Real Techniques brushes are amazing, but this one was the very first one I bought so it holds a special place in my makeup heart. It has a rounded shape that is slightly tapered, so it’s quite useful for really contouring the cheeks with either blush or bronzer. But because it is not too tapered, it still works great for applying blush to the apples of the cheeks or applying any powder really. The other brush, the Sigma F50 Duo Fiber Brush is more of a bronzer brush to me, since it has a larger surface area that is great for bronzing up the face or creating a more blended out contour look. I do, however, love using this brush when applying Nars Luster Blush, since that blush in particular doesn’t need a very precise application and looks better kind of blended out like a bronzer. Because it is duo fiber, it fares well with cream products, and I sometimes use this brush to apply very pigmented cream blush such as Illamasqua’s Rude, since Duo Fiber brushes often have sparse bristles and will apply less product. 

All of these brushes are incredibly easy to use and have actually sped up my morning makeup routine quite a bit, as they do their job in the most thorough yet efficient way. I’d definitely recommend both the Sigma and Real Techniques lines to anyone, especially since they are much cheaper than MAC brushes yet still do a great job! I acquired these Sigma brushes through the Make Me Classy brush set, but you can purchase them individually as well, and Real Techniques brushes can be bought at Ulta!

If you haven’t invested in any face brushes, now’s the time ladies….