Gifts for Makeup Enthusiasts
What to get that budding makeup artist for a gift...
Most of us have probably encountered the strange phenomina of the makeup fanatic. Some of us might even have been that fanatic!
Having recently entered the realm of makeup related enthusiasm myself (quite literally twelve months ago!), it can be hard to know what's a good investment to start out with when there's such a flood of options on the market.
The object of this lens is to assist you in becoming familiar with numerous options, and to make a sound purchase decision when it comes to giving a gift your apprentice MUA (that's Make Up Artist, don't y'know) will adore and find useful, whatever the occasion.
Don't let all the brushes intimidate you! I've had some time to research and collect and experiment, and I can guarantee you that you don't need many to get started with.
Shall we? :-)
A good brush set for beginners
A great ready-made brush set to start your aspiring makeup artiste out with is a travel set like this one from Sigma.
It comes in it's own neat travel cylinder which turns into two brush holder cups when you're using them.
The brushes are about 2/3 the length of a full sized brush (see the photos below this post for a zie comparison), but are completely up to the same level of makeup application.
The Mrs Bunny set featured here happens to be an all vegan set - that is, the bristles are all synthetic and not made from real animal hair. I purchased this set for myself when purchasing the full sized Mrs Bunny set for my makeup kit, as I wanted to have a set of brushes for myself and not have to use my kit brushes. As I've gotten older, things like hayfever and allergies have started to kick in, and natural bristled brushes have been known to make my poor little nose itch abominably! So I decided to go for an all-synthetic bursh set, and I truly haven't looked back since.
From left to right we have:
* small angled brush, good for filling in browns and lining under the eye
* small flat brush, generally used for applying shadow to the eyelid
* large angled brush, for contouring, bronzer and blush application
* powder brush, for applying setting powder to the face
* paddle brush, for applying liquid foundation
* small fluffy blending brush for use around the eyes
* pencil brush, good for use to highlight the inner corner of the eye, and apply colour close to the lash lines
The way you use your brushes isn't limited to the above list, only by your personal preference.
Brush kit size comparison - The travel and full sized Mrs Bunny collection of brushesClick thumbnail to view full-size
I kinda fell into this makeup thing...
No, I really did! During November 2011 I was surfing around YouTube trying to find some good nail art tutorials, when I came across one that was done in collaboration with a makeup look. Since the two were obviously meant to go together, I clicked the link, and sat with mouth open, truly amazed, watching a rainbow eyeshadow look come to life. I distinctly recall thinking "I didn't know you could do that with eyeshadow..!"
My new found obsession has brought me much joy, and a qualification!
Makeup Hygiene Essentials for Everyone
It's the biggest safety issue of the whole industry
My teachers couldn't stress it enough, and so I pass it on to you: HYGIENE IS HIGHLY IMPORTANT WHEN IT COMES TO MAKEUP APPLICATION!
There's a variety of different reasons why our skins do all sorts of things to us that aren't beautiful. What you do not want to do is have to hide some of that with your makeup one day, and then recontaminate your happy skin at a later date because you didn't keep your brushes healthy!
First off: deep clean your brushes regularly. At the very least once a week for dry product brushes, but after every use with wet product brushes, or brushes used around the eyes and lips. I have included a video by celeb makeup artist Robert Jones below on how to clean your brushes.
Sometimes it isn't always convenient to deep clean your brushes - especially if you're going to be doing multiple faces, or having a play at home with several different looks in an afternoon. This is when having some spray disinfectant brush cleaner (such as the one pictured) comes in handy. Even when you've deep cleaned your brushes, giving them a spritz with the disinfectant as they dry is a good habit to form.
Two other tools that are key to keeping your makeup itself free from germs is a spatula and a palette to depot product onto. The spatula is good for scraping a bit off of your lipstick, or a blob of eyeshadow base/primer out of the pot, and then decanting it onto the palette. If you haven't decanted enough product to get the job done, use your spatula to pop a bit more onto the palette before proceeding.
You can also put any of your liquid based products out onto the palette and pick it up with a brush (or your CLEAN HANDS!) to put onto your face from there.
Do make sure to disinfect your palette and spatula before and after each session, also.
How to clean your makeup brushes
Rainbow fashion look, by Keema
The Brush of Brushes
A duo fibre helps to create a flawless, airbrushed look
When I first started investigating the requirements for doing my makeup course, one of the first things that everyone thinks of (other than makeup products) is a brush kit.
Now the academy that I attended had a chain of pro makeup shops that was their sister company, who provided a lot of support in terms of both products and expertise to the students. If you're ever down at The Hub Makeup store in Brisbane, go in and say hi, they're a great team.
Looking at the brush kits they had at the time, the smaller and cheaper kit didn't have very many brushes at all, and they were most of them natural fibre bristles. Having already come to find that natural hair bristles didn't really agree with my own face too much, and that there are many people today with similar issues, I made the decision to hunt down and acquire a good quality pro set of vegan or synthetic brushes.
Enter Cora of VintageorTacky on YouTube's very helpful review, Sigma Beauty, and the Mrs Bunny Vegan Collection.
When it came time to head into class, majority of my classmates had bought the (rather expensive!) brush kit offered by The Hub, although one other girl had the Mr Bunny kit (which is identical to the Mrs Bunny kit except in black and silver). The one little edge we found was the inclusion of a duo fibre brush in our kits, which wasn't offered in the range of brushes from The Hub.
While most kits include a large-ish paddle brush for applying liquid foundations, I find use of the paddle brush alone can leave an excess of product on your face. The best trick I found, was to apply small amounts of foundation to my face sections at a time, and buff it into the skin using the duo fibre. The duo fibre truly does help create a smooth, flawless and airbrushed look, which is what you're going to want to look like most of the time you're applying makeup.
The travel kits offered by Sigma don't include a duo fibre brush in them, but I do recommend finding one to add to your kit. If nothing else, it will help you save money by not using as much product on your face.
A good quality and cost effective duo fibre on the market - created by Sam from PixieWoo on YouTube
Makeup is for everyone! Don't let preconceived gender bias get in the way if it makes someone happy!
YouTube Beauty Guru Jean-FranÃ§ois Casselman-Dupont - Some of the most famous makeup artists are blokes
Meet JF; one of the most talented Beauty Gurus on YouTube, who makes his home in Canada.
JF is funny, flirty, and very creative, and I just love watching his videos.
To me, he shows that there really isn't an industry that's gender specific, even something that's traditionally considered a "female" profession like makeup artistry.
All it takes is a simple Google search to see that some of the most famous makeup artists in the world are actually men.
So if your baby MUA is a lad, don't stand in his way! It's all about equal opportunity.
Some of my kit
As you grow, so can your kit
adding to your brush set
Even though I've only been at this for 12 months or so, I've managed to acquire quite the collection of brushes in that time!
While a predesigned brush kit can be a fantastic way to start, there are always going to be other individual brushes that you come across over time that you find useful and deem good enough to add to your collection.
The photo shows you the set of Mrs Bunny brushes I first bought, and the additional brushes I've purchased since to supplement and add to my collection.
The top brush is a combination brow and eyelash brush. The comb is to help remove clumps of mascara from your lashes (which sometimes happens, even to the best of makeup artists), and the brush is to keep your brows shaped and neat.
The next is just another fluffy type brush I picked up somewhere along the way. When you're doing an eyeshadow look with dark and lighter colours, not using the same blending brush can be a good move.
Third brush from the top is a concealor brush by Ben Nye, which came in the concealer palette I purchased.
This next brush is a very thin brush for lining the eyes with. None of the brushes in the Mrs Bunny kit were quite fine enough, which is qhy I purchased this one.
As you can see, the fifth item isn't a brush, but a spatula. Necessary in a pro kit to prevent contamination of your wet products.
Second to last is another type of eyeliner brush, which I find most useful when used with a dark eyeshadow colour and applied at the root of the eyelashes to make them look more lush.
And last but certainly not least, a designated lip brush.
A great accessory for later down the track - help those big brushes dry quickly and keep their shape better!
I own one of these - they're called a Dry'n Shape by Sigma.
The idea of them is to wick the water away from the brush bristles while keeping them close together, thereby helping to keep the optimum shape for longer.
When I first started my makeup course it was in the middle of winter here, which meant that the water - especially in the thicker, more dense brushes - just wasn't drying over night intime for class. So I jumped online, did a bit of research using Google and YouTube, and found this nifty little roll.
It's leathereen in texture and looks just like a normal brush roll. Inside there is the elasticised wicking material in loops of various sizes along the top, and some sleeves along the bottom to hold the brush handles aligned.
Now, it isn't an absolutely must have this in my kit type item. However, if your particular makeup junkie already has just about everything else, then this might be something they will adore you for adding to their kit.
I use my Dry'n Shape all the time, for both my kit brushes and my personal brushes, making it great bang for your buck.
Buying makeup products for someone else
thinks to keep in mind
Walking past that makeup counter, it's hard for some not to be tempted to pick up some of the amazingly coloured products to take home and gift wrap for that special someone. However, many different people have many different skin types, tones, colours, and sensitivities, and not all products are universally wearable. The last thing you want to do is bring home something they can't wear or use!
Ultimately, unless they have specifically asked for a particular brand and/or item, giving someone actual makeup products is not your safest choice when it comes to shopping for a present. Instead, I would recommend purchase of a voucher, so that the individual can buy what he/she desires, without it falling back onto you if it doesn't suit them or reacts badly with their skin.
Use Amazon Search to find more goodies for your favourite MUA
Learn some amazing tips and tricks for free on YouTube - Free resources are your best friend in beating budget blues!
I've put together a collection of some of my favourite looks from several of the YouTube Beauty Gurus I follow - including the one that started this whole, crazy, colourful joy-ride!
These guys and gals spend a huge amount of time planning, filming, and editing these videos, it's like another job for them. Please remember to show them some love by liking their videos too!
Finding a new hobby can lead you just about anywhere!
From little things, big things can grow - into a new career!
After having learned a large amount from the gifted YouTube beauty community, I decided that the best way for me to learn even more (other than practice, practice, PRACTICE!) was to get some professional training.
I am now a fully qualified Makeup Artist, and enjoy helping people feel good about themselves.
Check me out at:
I really hope this has helped you get a better idea of what you should get the aspiring makeup god/dess, and what's really not necessary when you're only just starting out.
Please leave me a comment letting me know how helpful this was for you.
© 2012 Fiona Findlay