New blow dryer: X:Q onyx by Velecta Paramount Paris (envy+ onyx)

A few years ago I reviewed the Velecta Paramount Paris 4000i blow dryer.  I have to say, I was not easy on that dryer.  It had travelled extensively with me and had been dropped on a couple occasions.  It lasted over two years, which was past the warranty, but I had a great experience with GroomIt Industries, who repaired it for $50 (which included shipping back to me, but not the shipping that it took to get it there).  So now I am happy to have two Velecta Paramount Paris blow dryers and a quick and inexpensive contact for fixing them.

Before my 4000i went out, I had started eyeing the X:Q onyx.  The specs are similar to the 4000i, but only 80mph windspeed instead of 81mph.  So… not a big deal.  The main difference is the silencer on the back of the blow dryer.  My main love on the 4000i was the small body, but due to the extremely ergonomic placement of the handle, all of the extra bulk doesn’t really impact my grip.  Weight-wise, it is an extremely balanced blow dryer.

Below is the European version.  Mine looks the same, just with a different name.  Check out the specs on the official website.

This blow dryer is relatively expensive, but due to the ease and cheapness of fixing it, I think it is worth it.  And two years seems to be on the long end of average for professional blow dryers that are used all day, every day.  With my pro discount, it was $200 plus tax, about $50 more than the last one, but I would say it is worth it for how quiet this dryer is.  I also think the cold shot is less stiff on this one, but perhaps that was just because the other one was old.

Another tip I’ve gotten through this process was not to put the blow dryer nozzle directly on the hair.  When I spoke on the phone with GroomIt Industries, I asked the (very nice) man for advice on helping my blow dryer last as long as possible.  He mentioned how platform artists always put the nozzle directly onto the hair and brush and how that is very bad for the blow dryer, and allowing a small amount of space can help the blow dryer a lot.  And obviously, he said blow dryers don’t like being dropped 😉

Sephora Advanced Airbrush Set

Hello All! I wanted to write today about my favorite Christmas present this past year, Sephora’s Advanced Airbrush Set. Truly, I love absolutely everything about these brushes except their name. I think it is a shame that they feel the need to throw airbrush into the name for marketing purposes, because these brushes are stellar even though they don’t really have anything to do with airbrushing.

These brushes are extremely reasonable for high-caliber brushes, at only $65. It is an impressively concise set. I use each brush on almost every makeup application and not many other brushes. They are synthetic so they work well with cream and powder and they are very durable. They are still like new after countless washing the last four months. These are amazing for a professional kit but reasonable enough that they would be suitable for at home use.

Brushes included in the set:
Airbrush Powder – Extremely soft and durable. Clients compliment this brush all the time. Dense and fluffy, depending on the motion you use you can either sweep light amount of powder or really pack it in with a dabbing motion.

Airbrush Precision Foundation – My favorite brush in the set! Very soft and dense. I save so much product by using this brush because foundation really stays on the outer ends of the bristles and applies as a thin, even layer. No microexfoliation, which is huge! No streaking! With other foundation brushes I either get flaking/microexfoliation or staking and need to dab with a sponge but this brush is amazing at comfortably applying a thin, even layer of liquid or cream foundation.

Airbrush Concealer – The perfect brush for blending out concealer lines! It is a little big for applying the concealer but I have small, cheap brushes for that. I use this one more for blending lines or bigger blemishes. Sometimes I use it for delicately contouring or highlighting with creams.

Airbrush Crease – This brush is a little big for some eye shapes but it is great for softly distributing powder on lids. I always shake excess powder off, though, or there would be a bit of fallout.

Airbrush Shadow – This is a very versatile brush and I actually use it with cream concealer more than anything. It is so dense and tiny so it is great for undereyes and buffing in a thicker cream primer on the eyelid. With other brushes I have felt like they just can’t get cream products smooth enough on the eyelids, like it would just be easier to use my finger to press it in, but fingers are too large and I try to minimize using my fingers on clients. This brush is the answer! It is a great size but the right balance between soft and firm so I can get the result I want without causing discomfort. It is great at packing in and blending out powder shadows also!

OCC Lip Tars

20130304-095644.jpg
Timothy C Photography with model KJaeger

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics has a great reputation amongst pro artists and definitely stands out as one of the most earth- and animal-friendly lines. Their products are super natural and super pigmented despite feeling very light on the skin. OCC is probably best known for their Lip Tars, which, frankly, I could not live without in my pro kit. These are the qualities that make Lip Tars irreplaceable:

Mixable.
You need very few colors to be able to create nearly any shade. Keep in mind that a tiny drop goes a long way. This is the biggest perk for me because I try to travel as lightly as possible. Not to mention, each tube will last you a loooong time.

Matte.
Lip Tars can go on matte with a very thin layer. They can also be mixed with the clear for more of a gloss. They work best when the clear is applied first (during skin prep) and has awhile to really sink in as a primer and then the color is applied overtop. It dries completely depending on how much clear is used, more clear gives it more of a gloss feel.

Versatile.
The product is so paint like it is easy to use with brushes. I use it as lip liner for shoots with an angle brush then a fluffier brush for the center. I have even used it on other parts of the face (be sure you are aware of your ingredients if you try this! Some things are safe for lips but not other parts of the face).

Where to buy?
Sephora is now a retailer for Lip Tars, which is exciting for the up and coming makeup line. There is a more complete selection on OCC’s website and sometimes some deals on discontinued colors. They also have a pro discount. Also, for anyone near New York City I would recommend just stopping into their store. It is an adorable little shop and the people there are very passionate and helpful.