Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Beauty Feature: A Guide to The Body Shop's Expert Brush Collection

I usually find that make-up brushes get overlooked but when used properly they can make a serious difference to your make-up application. So I thought I'd do a quick guide on my favourite cruelty-free collection from The Body Shop

Before I focus on the individual brushes, here's the basic info on all of them:

  • All the brushes are made using super soft synthetic hair
  • All the brushes (of course) are 100% cruelty-free

  • The Body Shop are currently doing three collections of brushes:

The Essential collection

The Expert Collection 
The Ultimate Collection 

   This guide uses The Expert Collection. Click here to see the others.

 1. Foundation brush

  • A foundation brush is the staple of any brush kit and you can pick up a basic one at most drug stores for under a fiver. However, it really pays to invest in a good quality one like this one from TBS.
  • This is a flat, tapered brush that creates a flawless, airbrushed application. 
  • This brush, like all TBS brushes is super super soft which I love as it means no scratchy application or stray hairs left on the face! 
  • TIP: Start applying your foundation in the centre of your face and then blend outwards to avoid lines or streaks. Use the flat side of the brush in broad downward strokes to create an even base and then use the tapered edges to blend under the eyes and into the hairline, nose and mouth.
  • It can be used with all foundations but is more geared towards liquid and cream foundations than mousse.

2.  Face and body brush

  • TBS face and body brush is one of the biggest, softest 'large powder' brushes I have owned.
  • This brush is used for applying loose or pressed powders over a large surface area, the bigger the brush the less concentrated the powder appears on your face. Therefore this brush is perfect for bronzing as the colour can be built up as required. A big brush like this one is also ideal for blending your make-up to achieve a more flawless and natural look. TIP: Buff a clean large brush all over face in quick circles to blend your make-up and don't forget the hairline. (Alternatively use a stippling brush like this one.)
  • The brush is quite large and therefore not ideal to carry around, however for at home use it works wonderfully.
  • As this brush is slightly more tapered than other body brushes it could potentially be turned sideways on and used as a blusher or contouring brush - however I would recommend investing in one of these, as shown below.
  • TIP: When bronzing, don't forget to buff your brush along your jaw line, collar bone, and d├ęcolletage (chest): a bronzed face and white neck is never a good combination! Blend, blend, blend!

3. Blusher brush

  • Definitely my new favourite brush, TBS blusher brush is an extremely versatile little tool. As with all TBS brushes, it's extremely soft but because it is not as fluffy as the face and body brush it allows for precision application.
  • A blusher brush is pretty self explanatory: you apply blusher with it. However the name doesn't do this brush credit, which I now call my 'contouring' brush...
  • Being a small and round-tipped brush it fits perfectly in the hollow of your cheek (see photo below) meaning that it's perfect for sculpting your cheek bones.
  • TIP: Hold a piece of card or a ruler against your face just below the line of your cheekbone and use this brush to sweep bronzer in a straight line across it  Remove the card and blend in small circles to create well defined cheek bones. (Perhaps I'll post a contouring tutorial soon using only cruelty free products ofc!)
  • As well as applying blush and bronzer, if you use a highlighting powder this brush is the perfect size for sweeping along the tops of the cheek bones and brow bones without getting powder in any unwanted areas!

Emily models how The Body Shop blusher brush fits perfectly in the hollow of your cheek:

I took this photo to help demonstrate how the blusher brush differs in size and dome shape to the face and body brush (why I think it's worth investing in the blusher brush):

4. Lip/Concealer brush

  • This is probably my next favourite brush although I definitely use it more as a concealer brush than a lip one.
  • This brush is very small, flat and tapered, which means it's perfect for applying concealer in hard to reach places such as under the eyes whilst it's flat shape means it can create slightly broader strokes which is useful for highlighting along the ridge of the nose and the brow area.
  • It's small size means it's perfect for precision application.
  • The bristles are tightly packed to give a smooth result.
  • TIP: Use the brush to apply the concealer where you would like it, leave for a few seconds and then to blend pat the area with your finger: the warmth from your skin creates a much more natural blend than more brush strokes.

5. Eyeshadow brush

  • A standard eyeshadow brush, this brush is a small flat brush with a tapered head.
  • The flat head means colour can be applied evenly across the lid whilst the tapered head allows for precise colour application along the lash line or corners.
  • It is slightly larger than the lip/concealer brush, making it the perfect size for use around the eye area.
  • The bristles on this brush are stiffer and more compact than on the other brushes which is perfect for creating an even result however it cannot be used for blending. I find it easier to apply the shadow using this brush and then blend using a small sponge brush (These come in miniature with most eyeshadow palettes) 

Don't forget to clean your brushes regularly. TIP: Swirl each of them gently in a solution of a gentle (cruelty free) shampoo and warm water, leave for a couple of minutes and then rinse in cold water. ALWAYS hold your brushes with the bristles pointing down when holding under the tap and when drying store them on a slope - otherwise water can collect at the base of the bristles, this will affect the glue holding them together causing your brushes to fall apart!

So that's it! My guide to TBS Expert Brush collection! These brushes are excellent quality and if bought as part of the collections mentioned at the start are amazing value for money...saving you approx. £30 compared to buying the brushes individually! 

Did you enjoy this guide? What's your favourite make-up brush? How often do you clean your brushes? Comment below and share your thoughts: we love to hear from you!

Monday, 27 January 2014

Beauty Feature: REVIEW: Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick

Revolution Lipstick by Urban Decay in #BANG £15

Surprise! I know the poll results voted for a mascara to be reviewed next HOWEVER I received this for Christmas and whilst I save up to afford three lovely mascaras to review for you I thought I would give you the low down on a good cruelty-free lipstick.

  • Okay, by far the best thing about this lipstick is that it is SO pigmented. One coat will cover your lips completely with a super thick and intensely vibrant colour. 
  • The consistency is creamy which makes it good for dry lips as it fills in lines and creates a smooth surface.
  • This is a long lasting lipstick and I'm really impressed with it's staying power. 
  • The shape of the lipstick has a sharp edge and a flat slanted surface (see photo). I much prefer this to more pointed or rounded lipsticks as it allows for a very precise application that can follow the shape of the lip.
  • The Revolution Lipstick comes in 22 shades ranging from bright and colourful to more neutral and natural, see photos below. 
  • Another plus is that each lipstick has it's own shade matched lip-liner in the 'Revolution' collection, so you don't have to worry about finding a matching lip-liner!
  • And of course it's cruelty-free! Urban Decay do not test on animals.


  • In my experience of this lipstick I have found it to smudge quite easily, however I have not yet experimented with the lip-liner and in the past I have found this is the best solution for straying colour so I'll report back when I get my hands on one!
  • Whilst the pigmentation of the lipstick is brilliant on your lips, when it does smudge it's a nightmare to remove or cover up - precision application is key (No top ups without a mirror!)
  • Priced at £15 this lipstick is definitely at the higher end of a high-street budget when compared to others on the market.
  • I would definitely recommend buying in-store rather than on-line. In my experience I have found the colours shown on-line to be untrue to the actual lipstick colours,not dramatically different but still enough to make me wary to shop on-line. 
  • TIP: Visit an Urban Decay concession at either Debenhams or House of Fraser and test out the make-up there. Then, write down the products you like and buy on-line as you can usually get some money off.

Overall, the intensely pigmented colour and the genius shape of this lipstick make it a winner for me. Urban Decay is renowned for it's edgy and vibrant colour palettes and so whilst these lipsticks might not be for  everyday wear I'd definitely recommend one if you're looking to achieve a statement lip.


The shade shown is BANG, for other shades available click here.