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.

Top three best setting sprays for a flawless face of makeup all day

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For about ten years I’ve been spraying my face with hairspray in the vain attempt to set my makeup so it doesn’t slide or melt off after an hour. It was only when I was planning my wedding makeup when I decided to try a real setting spray because I wasn’t too keen on being near candles with a face full of Elnett – a highly flammable bride is not the one.

Since then I’ve tried a number of different setting sprays, and in my humble opinion, these are the top three.

NOTE: all three of the companies listed do NOT test on animals – something I believe is very important for a cruelty-free beauty industry. I’ve decided to stop using any products that test on animals, contain parabens or other potentially damaging ingredients for the environment, and buy from companies that actively support sustainability. 

I’m still learning but plan to write more about sustainability in the beauty industry and will endeavour to only recommend cruelty-free products.

1. NYX Professional Makeup Matte Finish Setting Spray (£7 from Boots)

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This one first came to my attention after a review by US teen went viral, because even after a car accident, an ambulance ride, hours in the hospital and the journey home, this girl’s makeup was still FLAWLESS thanks to the NYX setting spray. You can’t really get better hold than that.

There are two options, Matte finish and Dewy finish; both long lasting. The Matte is better if you have oily skin, but I chose Dewy because I have pretty dry skin especially in the winter.

Pros: This product is definitely long-lasting. My makeup will stay on all day at work, in wind and bad weather and at the gym.

Cons: It smudges makeup if you don’t let it dry first – especially eyeliner and mascara. It feels a bit sticky when you first put it on, a little gluey perhaps. But once you’ve used it once or twice you get used to it.

Overall rating: 4/5 – great for a night out or if you want to go to the gym with a full face of makeup! At £7 it’s a bit of a steal because it lasts a long time even when you use it every day.

2. Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray (£23.50 from Urban Decay)

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At a slightly higher price than the NYX setting spray, Urban Decay All Nighter is a refreshing and light setting spray that helps makeup last all day. It also gives you a healthy glow that stays set for up to 16 hours according to the website. I used this setting spray on my wedding day and my makeup still looked good at the reception, over 12 hours after using it.

Pros: Light, refreshing, doesn’t smell weird or sit heavily on the skin.

Cons: Quite expensive but worth the investment. Probably wouldn’t leave you flawless even after a road traffic accident. Not quite as hardy as the NYX setting spray.

Overall rating: 5/5 – I can’t see a real problem with this one; it’s light and ideal for all skin types.

3. PIXI Makeup Fixing Mist (£16 from Look Fantastic)

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I’m a sucker for packaging and so I love PIXI makeup – the light greens, coppers and pinks make your beauty haul look super pretty. This fixing spray is lightly scented with rose water and green tea, which smells great and makes your skin feel light and refreshed.

Pros: Smells great, looks great and keeps makeup fresh throughout the day.

Cons: The spray nozzle itself is a little bit harsh so you have to brace yourself a little bit before you spritz. If you’ve got sensitive skin then try this in the shop first to make sure the perfume doesn’t irritate it.

Overall rating: 4/5 – a middling price for a fixing spray and it feels luxurious.