Halp! Oil Control

Sometimes my friends ask me for help (halp! in internetspeak), even more so now that this blog has established me as The Universe’s Leading Cosmetics expert. From my friend Leela:

Alright, make up lady here are some Q’s for ya:

-what is a mattifying balm and which one should i get?
-transluscent powder – is that the ‘mineral veil’ in bare minerals (if not, please recommend)?
-blotting sheets – oil absorbing paper?

Okay, darlin. Mattifying balm/gel/lotion/etc. is just what it sounds like — stuff you put on your face to matte your complexion. I know a lot of people who swear by Benefit’s Dr. Feelgood ($29). It lasts a long time and comes in the most adorable retro tin. They’ve been making it as long as I’ve been in the Cult of Sephora (you bet I drink the Kool-Aid), so you know it’s a classic.

My favorite, though, is Smashbox Targeted Pore & Line Primer ($34). A Smashbox artist I used to work with often said, “It gives you Barbie skin!” and while that’s a tad hyperbolic, it’s as close as most of us are gonna get. This isn’t a primer like Smashbox’s other primers; it goes on much more smoothly over makeup as opposed to being a base. It’s a spot-fixer. Squeeze a pea-sized amount, warm it between your fingers, and pat onto the texturized areas you’d like to smooth out and oil-control (most likely that’ll be the T-zone area). Bonus: packed with skincare ingredients like peptides and antioxidants. I love it when my instant gratification promises long-term benefits. It’d be like if pizza were all, “Yeah, I taste good now and I’m negative calories tomorrow.”

Sigh. Sorry, where were we?

Translucent powder is powder without pigment. It has the function of setting your makeup in place and keeping it there (it’s so awkward when your makeup tries to make a run for it. We’ve all seen it). The best ones right now actually contain a magic pore-blurring ingredient called Silica. My favorites are Make Up Forever HD Microfinish Powder ($32), Smashbox Photo Set Finishing Powder ($28), and Too Faced Primed & Poreless Powder ($28). These will all minimize pores and fine lines while setting makeup and controlling oil. Bonus: they can be used in your hair for oil control! I kid you not.

And finally, you press blotting sheets onto your skin for a touch-up when you start to feel oily. They won’t smudge your makeup, and they’re über-portable. The nice thing about these is that you’re not caking on more makeup on top of makeup (which can start looking heavy), but the downside is that they’re hardly eco-friendly. Boscia Blotting Linens ($10) are Sephora’s most popular brand, but I like MAC Blot Film ($15) because I feel like they pick up more oil (plus you can better see how much they’ve picked up — gross and satisfying!). Weird but true trick: paper toilet seat covers work in a pinch. You’re welcome.

WTF is That? Stippling Brush

Ever see a product sitting on a shelf and just said, “Seriously, WTF is that? Medieval torture device? Alien probe?” That’s where this new feature comes in. Here I will talk about beauty items that can sometimes seem daunting or confusing or just plain weird.

This post was inspired by an odd-looking brush that was included in my latest brush set purchase. Now, having worked in the beauty industry for seven years, it’s pretty embarrassing that I don’t know what one of these brush-set-staples is. Kind of like how I still don’t know how to tie my shoes without using bunny ears. Someone taught me the bunny ears and then just forgot to help me graduate into around-the-river-and-through-the-rocks or whatever the grownup version is. THANKS MOM.

Ahem.

I decided that if I didn’t know, there was a good chance some of you didn’t (let’s be real, I mean, I love you guys, but some of these questions are 13-year-old-Seventeen-Mag-reading-level) (KISSES!). I mean, I’ve always wondered, but it’s just one of those things, you know? Stuff slips through the cracks.

So I looked it up. According to Sephora, it’s “A stippling brush that perfectly applies powder, liquid, and cream foundations. Ensure a gorgeous, sheer finish and even, streak-free application with this stippling brush that complements any foundation. The white, taklon bristles apply product and the black, goat bristles blend for flawless results—an ideal duo of natural and synthetic fibers. The sleek, wood handle fits comfortably in the hand and allows for total control over your desired look.”

In other words, the white, sparser-bristled part picks up the product, and the black, denser-bristled part buffs and blends it into the skin. How have I lived without this sorcery for so long?

Says my dear friend Kim, a supertalented makeup artist and product hound like me, “I apply liquid foundation with it because it gives a flawless, airbrushed finished and you can build up the foundation where you want more coverage! Great for HD powders, blush, and cleaning up dropped shadow, too!” Damn, lady, I’m sold. She swears by MAC’s Duo Fibre Face Brush ($42, a mixture of goat and synthetic fibers). Kathryne, another makeup artist friend, added, “Also, it helps stretch foundation so you end up using less, and can make a full coverage foundation not look and feel so heavy. A big trick is after you put on your foundation with the brush, after you applied blush and/or bronzer, slightly go over the area with the used stippling brush, and it helps to make the blush and bronzer blend into the makeup to give a more natural look.”

Yeah, my friends are awesome. It’s okay, you’re in the inner circle now too, by virtue of this blog. You’re welcome.

And don’t worry! Bunny ears work just as well, and most of my shoes have zippers anyway.

Are you confused by the entire existence of a product? Weigh in in the comments, or head over to the And You Make Yourself Another Facebook page to join the discussion.