Review: StylPro Makeup Brush Cleaner

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I recently attended a makeup course at the Academy of Freelance Makeup in London and as part of the course, we were given an entire collection of makeup brushes – 28 brushes in all shapes and sizes. It’s an absolute dream, and I love having them all laid out, but they take SO LONG to clean. I probably spent a good hour and a half bent over a sink shampooing each one individually, letting it air dry, before laying out on a towel on a flat surface overnight. And that was every night after the course for three weekends in a row. It’s important to keep your brushes clean for hygiene reasons, particularly if you’re using them on different skins, eyes, lips etc. because of the risk of spreading infection.

It’s lots of admin, particularly considering that I hope to, one day, become a freelance makeup artist, which means I’d be cleaning them every time I did someone’s makeup – I’m sure it’s a big annoyance for makeup artists everywhere.

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There are IPAs (stands for Isopropyl alcohol, not to be confused with Indian Pale Ale) that allow you to clean the brushes without water; kind of like the hand sanitisers you can buy but for brushes, but I don’t like the smell and fear they’re too harsh, especially for natural hair brushes.

What should I do?! I CRIED. But LO! My mum came to the rescue with a special January treat to banish the blues – the StylPro makeup brush cleaner by Tom Off Of the Apprentice (season seven if I Google it rightly). It’s pretty pricey at £49.99, but if it saves me an hour and a half a night then I’m laughing.

So, on a cold, rainy Saturday afternoon, I’ve decided to review it. It is AMAZING! Essentially you fit each brush into the ‘spinner’ and dip it in water, but the spinning not only cleans them incredibly efficiently, it also dries them in seconds.

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PROS

So fast at cleaning the brushes and dries them in a matter of seconds! I reduced my cleaning process from 1.5 hours and an overnight dry on a towel to 20 mins and done.

Doesn’t damage the brush, when you remove them they are a little bit dishevelled but you just smooth them back down and they’re good as new.

Comes with animal-friendly brush cleanser that is paraben, alcohol and sulphate free so good for the environment and skin. According to the packet it’s also infused with Wheatgerm, Grapeseed and Argan oils to ‘gently condition bristles’.

CONS

Quite wobbly with the bigger brushes, and it occasionally splashes but I probably need to practice.

Less effective on smaller brushes that have oily makeup on them – like eyeliners – but you just leave them in for longer.

Overall…

Really can’t fault it enough to give it less that 5 stars out of FIIIIVE. High five, Tom.

You can buy the same StylPro as me, here for £49.99 – look out for some good sales.

I plan to start posting more makeup blogs and making some videos too so I can practice my technique. Now I’m saving so much time cleaning my brushes, I have no excuse.

Watch this space.

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Review: THAT Dyson Hairdryer

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I was very lucky to have been bought the Dyson Supersonic Hairdryer for Christmas this year – what a TREAT! I decided, in my new year quest to write more (because it makes me happy) that I’d make this my first review of 2018.

My hair is really frizzy and thick – something I’ve just accepted now that I’ve spent the last five years growing it out, absorbing advice from trichologists like Phillip Kingsley, and spending fortunes on treatments, only to realise that’s just how my hair was made rather than a result of too much bleach and lack of care.

I struggle to dry it quickly without damaging it, and washing and drying my hair is a real drag because it takes so long it hurts my arm. As a result I often live on dry shampoo. Fortunately/unfortunately I can get away with it because my body appears to absorb moisture like a dry, dry sponge.

Anyway, as a result I was excited to get started and try out my new hairdryer that claims to:

  • Speeds up your hair drying process
  • Prevent ongoing damage to the hair shaft by overheating
  • Look snazzy and doesn’t make a lot of noise (it is very quiet)

PROS

It’s great if you want to de-frizz your hair. Don’t get me wrong, I still need to straighten my hair after drying with this, but it’s certainly a lot less frizzy and I could realistically leave the house without looking like I have a mane.

It’s incredibly fast – I dried my hair in ten minutes. Usually it takes up to 20 minutes.

It has three different fixings, one for styling, one for fast drying and one for curls

It’s quiet and ‘ergonomic’ (great word)

CONS

Very expensive for a hairdryer, unless you have someone in your family who works out the ‘business case’ for it in terms of time saved.

It’s not the lightest thing, but it ain’t heavy.

Overall…

Overall, the Dyson hairdryer is expensive and although I love it, I wouldn’t recommend that people rush out and buy it immediately. It has some brilliant benefits, so it’s a case of weighing up how much you realistically want to invest in a hairdryer.

I’ve also made a video which you can see here... just to prove that it really took JUST 10 MINUTES to dry my hair. I’m also endeavouring to make more videos, watch this space.

RATING 8/10

Buy it here with a snazzy bag for £299.

Visiting Detroit – the best places to eat and drink

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I’ve been to Detroit a LOT of times now, we have lots of friends there and try to go every couple of years to visit. Normally when I tell people I’m going to Detroit they look at me like I’ve gone mad, and to be fair even the people who live there look at me in a puzzling way and ask why I’ve chosen to visit. But it’s an exciting, interesting and artsy place to visit if you’re in the mid-west (we went to Chicago first this time, around 5 hours drive which is…like nothing in the US) and I’d 100% recommend it.

We went to a beautiful wedding in the centre of Detroit, and stayed in the Trumbull and Porter hotel; basically a hipster Holiday Inn with muted greys, leather furnishings and lots of whisky. There are some amazing places to hang out near the hotel, and with it’s own version of Boris Bikes – the MoGo bikes launched in 2017 – it’s really easy to get around. Here are some of the best restaurants, cafes and bars that you should try while you’re there.

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Where to… eat 

Detroit Institute of Bagels: Maybe better bagels than NYC. They were HUGE and they sell decent coffee too. Good for breakfast and lunch.

Ottava Via: tasty American-Italian food with an outdoor area

Wright and Company: lovely cocktail bar with a view. Nice for brunch too.

Selden Standard: Tasty brunch if that’s what you’re after.

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Where to… drink 

Jolly Pumpkin: Excellent selection of beers, would definitely recommend. Really tasty salads and pizza and – apparently – Obama approved!

Batch Brewing Company: Hipster brewery making some delightful pale ales. Also does great food and has outdoor seating for a relaxed evening.

Two James Spirits: Late night cocktails a-plenty!

The Sugar House: craft cocktails in a speakeasy setting

Bronx Bar: Americans love a dive bar, and this is one.

Astro Coffee: Delicious coffee and breakfast. Very hipster.

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Shout if you have any questions, I can make more suggestions!