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Let's talk makeup brushes: they are a necessity for an expertly applied face, but they can be a PITA to keep clean! Cleaning your brushe...

Friday, March 31, 2017

Review: Benjabelle Sunflower Brush Tree

Hi Lovelies -

Hope you are well, and that spring has sprung where you are! We are expecting a SNOWSTORM here in New England, and it's no April Fool's joke!

To get my mind off of snow and on to warmer weather, I've been thinking about flowers...Sunflowers to be exact. For Christmas my DH gave me a Benjebelle Sunflower Brush tree*, and I've been meaning to review it; so, what better time then now - with snow in the forecast, but spring on my mind?

Benjabelle is a small, Madison, WI based company owned by Ben and Jan. According to their website, one day Jan was washing her makeup brushes when she asked Ben if they could  create a device that would allow her brushes to dry vertically, thus minimizing dry time and reducing the space the brushes take up on the counter. They put their heads together, and voila!-  the Benjabelle brush tree was born!

There are 5 different styles of brush tree to choose from, all of which are available in your choice of black, white or pink:

  • Original $34.95- holds 14 large brushes or up to 42 small brushes
  • Daisy $19.95- accomodates 2 large brushes, 4 medium, and 8 small
  • Mini $24.95- dries up to 24 thin brushes
  • Tulip $24.95- holds the same number of brushes as the Daisy, but in a more compact setup
  • Sunflower $39.95- the largest of the brush trees, and the one I will review for you today
There is also an optional Spinner available for $12.00, which converts any of the above models into a rotating brush tree, and creates 4 "cubbies" in which you can store small items, like brush cleaner or makeup sponges. In addition to the brush trees, Benjabelle also offers organic brush shampoo, foaming wash, and cleansing balm


The Sunflower Brush Tree

The Sunflower is the largest of the 5 brush trees available from Benjabelle. It costs $39.95, plus shipping ($4.95 in the US).

Benjabelle Sunflower Brush Stree

Please excuse the water spots - it's a well loved brush tree :)

 The brush tree consists of a plastic "top" with various silicone holders for your brushes, as well as the base (two plastic "legs"). It is simple to set up and to disassemble, and takes up very little space on your counter. When broken down, it is about the size of a typical tablet, and can be easily stored away.  All materials used in the brush trees are made in America, and the silicone used in the gripper slots is peroxide free and FDA approved.

Close up of the silicone brush holders


This brush tree easily fits all of my makeup brushes

According to the website, the Sunflower can dry 4 large brushes, 6 medium brushes, and 16 small brushes; however, I can tell you from personal experience that, depending upon the thickness of your brush handles, you can get many more brushes comfortably into the slots. IE: For small eye brushes, I can typically get two per small slot, making a total of 32 brushes just in the small holders! I can fit up to 4 small brushes in the medium slots,  2 medium brushes in the large slots, etc. - it's exceptionally versatile! On this particular day I did not have too many brushes to clean, but on a typical day this tree is packed! I can wash practically every brush I own, and I'm able to fit them all in with a little strategic placement.

Simply push the brush handle up through the silicone slot, and you are good to go!

Water drips down from the brushes, resulting in shorter dry-time

I'm amazed at how quickly the brushes dry when hung upside down like this! I used to lay my brushes down on top of the microfiber mat, prop cans of hairspray underneath so they drained properly, and even went to far as to individually wrap each brush head in toilet paper or paper towels to facilitate dry time! Talk about time-consuming! This is so quick and easy - wash the brush, squeeze out excess water, and pop it up into the silicone slot! Within a couple of hours, the small brushes are dry, and the larger brushes are well on their way to being dry! What used to be a 24 hour process has been cut down by at least half!

The Sunflower Brush Tree can accommodate a variety of brush sizes

Drying brushes upside down gives your brushes a longer life
 Drying your brushes in this vertical position (bristles down) helps prolong their life. When brushes are dried on their side- or worse, bristles up -  water can pool at the base brush. This causes damage to both the bristles, as well as the ferrule (part that holds the bristles together and attaches the brush head to the handle), resulting in a loss of bristles, or even the total destruction of the brush. The more you know... (insert musical notes here).



When I opened my brush tree after getting it for Christmas, I was very sad to discover that one of the plastic legs was cracked in half. I tried to glue it back together, but it just didn't line up correctly. I emailed Benjabelle, and quickly received a response from Ben, who told me that he was sorry to hear that I received a broken leg and that he would mail me out replacement legs right away. Only a few days later, I received my new legs, along with a bonus brush Cleansing Balm! So thoughtful! I am very happy to say that not only is the product amazing, but the customer service is wonderful as well!


Benjabelle Organic Brush Cleansing Balm



The Cleansing Balm is available for $14.95 on the Benjabelle website. It comes in a small metal tin, making it easy to use and store. It is made with natural ingredients, free from preservatives, artificial colors and fragrances, and animal byproducts. I was impressed with how well it  deep-cleaned my brushes - removing all traces of foundation and concealer - and that it also conditions the bristles, leaving them so soft and well-maintained!

Filthy foundation brush, ready for a thorough cleaning!


So easy to use, simply dampen, swirl in the the tin, and rinse!

I give the brush a little swipe over my Sigma Express Spa Glove, and then rinse away the old makeup!

Sparkling clean, well-conditioned brush!


Final Thoughts

I am thrilled to have received this brush tree for Christmas - it has been a game-changer for sure! I still may not LOVE the task of brush washing, but having this little gem makes things so much easier; it takes up less of my time and counter space, and it drastically reduces drying time! I have had such a great experience with the products and the company that I highly recommend the Benjabelle brush tree and the cleansing balm to anyone who owns makeup brushes.  I am thinking of ordering the spinner soon to see how it works...if I do, I will be sure to let you all know my thoughts! 

Have you tried any of the Benjabelle Brush trees, or a similar product? What are your thoughts?

Thanks so much for checking out this post! Have a great weekend, and live a beautiful life!

~Jessica

*The Benjabelle Sunflower was purchased at full price. This review was not sponsored by Benjabelle in any way. All opinions are my own, and are based on my experiences. 










Friday, February 17, 2017

The Blogger Tag

Hi lovely readers!

Hope you are all well, and 2017 has been good for you thus far! I was given the chance to participate in a Blogger Tag that Cassie at Zombie Goddess Beauty created. It's all about what prompted me to create Ms. Adventures in Makeup, and what keeps me motivated. Check out my answers below, and feel free to tag other bloggers - just please make sure to loop back to me and Cassie, and go check out her awesome blog

1. When did you start your blog?
My first blog post was in August of 2014 - about 2.5 years ago!

2. Why did you start blogging? 
I had been wanting to start a blog for awhile, but wasn't sure which direction I wanted to take it (food, lifestyle, etc.). My friend Melissa had started a YouTube channel about makeup, which inspired me to start writing about beauty. 

3. Where did your blog name come from? 
I had several different ideas, but many of them were already being used. I like wordplay, and wanted to bring it into my blog name...I liked "Miss Adventures in Makeup", but since I felt like I was a little older than the average beauty blogger just starting out, I decided "Ms Adventures..." was more appropriate.

4. What do you blog about?
All things beauty and makeup related - product reviews, looks, unboxings, etc. 

5. What is the first blog you started following?
Gosh...it was so long ago that I started reading blogs on the regular. I believe the first blog I every started seriously following was Nothing But Bonfires. Holly is an incredible writer, and I just love her wit and the way she tells a story. Unfortunately, she hasn't written a post in quite some time...but I still hold out hope. As for beauty blogs, I'll have to give it to Karen at  Makeup and Beauty Blog - to me, Karen is the OG BB, and she is always in-the-know when it comes to new trends and products!

6. What is your favorite thing about blogging?
Sharing my experiences with my readers - letting them know what has worked and hasn't worked for me, showing them how I create a look, and giving them the tools to make decisions on products and/or shades. 

7. What do you find is the toughest thing about blogging?
I have a hard time posting regularly. Sometimes I am able to post often, and at other times my posts are more spread out. It all comes down to having the time to take pictures, having the money to purchase new items, and having the inspiration for new blog posts. 

8. What is your biggest blogging pet peeve?
Not being able to always buy a product when it is new and relevant. It may take me a little longer to acquire a hot new item, and by the time I get it, I feel like the moment has passed.

9. What camera and photo editing software do you use?
TBH, I usually just use my phone camera - it's always there, the pictures are easy to edit,  and they automatically upload to the cloud, making it super easy to add the photos to my blog post. I used to try to use a real camera, but it became so time consuming, so I decided to simplify. Maybe that's a little basic of me, but I'm OK with it, lol. 

10. What is you dream campaign?
I would love to do something for MAC - it would be a dream-come-true to be given a new collection to review, or products to create a look with. 

11.  How do you come up with posts ideas?
My ideas stem from buying a new product, or trying out a new look or technique. 

12. How do you stay motivated to keep writing?
It's a great artistic outlet, which satisfies a need for me. I will admit I lose motivation, but, as mentioned above, a new product or makeup look never fails to spark the excitement once again. Also, reading other blogs or watching YouTube videos is great motivation. 

13. What are your blogging goals for the next year?
Just to continue to post. Trying to keep to a schedule would be awesome, but as long as I am able to share what I can with my readers, I am happy. 

14. What advice would you give to new bloggers?
Write from the heart, write what makes you happy and interests you...people will read it. 

15. Lastly, Recommend 5 Bloggers for anyone reading this to check out. 
Below are the top five blogs currently on my reading list  - let me know if you check any of them out!

  • Makeup and Beauty Blog  - Karen is always so on top of things - definitely an inspiration for beauty bloggers!
  • The Fitnessista  - Seriously, #Fitnessgoals. Gina is amazing, and so well balanced!She offers readers a little bit of everything: posts about fitness, health, beauty, lifestyle and parenting!
  • Putting Me Together - I love Audrey's no-nonsense approach to fashion, and the way she shows readers how to create several looks with a few basic pieces.
  • Nouveau Cheap - Up-to-the-minute beauty deals and steals - I've gotten some awesome bargains thanks to this blog! 
  • Slashed Beauty - More deals on beauty items, as well as tips and tutorials.
I hope you enjoyed reading this tag and learning a little more about me and my blog. Please feel free to tag other bloggers, and to share this Tag! Thank you so much to cassie for inviting me to participate in this tag, and thanks to all of you readers for joining me!

Live a beautiful life! 

~Jessica

Friday, December 23, 2016

Holiday Must-Haves 2016

Hello you lovely readers!

Are you in disbelief? Blinking your eyes to make sure you're seeing things clearly? Well, it's true, it's me, I'm back! Sorry for the hiatus, I can't even believe it's been so long since I last posted! Where does the time go? Life has a way of just racing by if you're not paying attention!

I want to get back to posting again, and sharing all of my awesome tips and product finds with you! I don't want to say I was on a no-buy this whole time, but I definitely did limit my makeup purchasing to the necessities so that I could use up the products I had and make room for new products. When you're not buying much makeup, there isn't much to talk about lol! BUT, now that I'm looking to add to my collection again, you can expect to see me around a little more :)

To kick things off (again), I want to share some of my favorites right now. Many are holiday inspired, and make great gifts for others...or yourself, if we're being honest, hehe.


Becca x Jaclyn Hill Champagne Splits Shimmering Skin Perfector and Mineral Blush Duo ~ $38


Becca x Jaclyn Hill Champagne Splits Shimmering Skin Perfecter
 and Mineral Blush Duo in Pamplemousse / Prosecco Pop
Wow, that is a mouthful!  Looking for that perfect flush with just the right amount of shimmer to make your new year Pop? This duo is perfect! Combining a poppin' highlight shade (see what I did there?) with a beautiful mineral blush, this duo is sure to make your holiday sparkle and shine! There are four color combos, two with the highlight that started it all -the infamous Champagne Pop - and two with the newest addition to Jaclyn Hill's highlight collection - Prosecco Pop, which is a bit more gold-toned than the original. The blush shades range from Flowerchild, which is a lovely shade of pinky peach, to Hyacinth, a bright fuchsia shade. All are gorgeous, and there is at least one combo that is sure to suit your tastes.

ColourPop Ultra-Satin Liquid Lipstick in London Fog - $6.00

ColourPop UltraSatin Lippie in London Fog



Nothing screams "Happy Holidays" louder than a bright-red lip, and right now I'm all about this cool-toned pinky-red liquid lipstick from CoulourPop's Ultra-Satin Lippie Collection.  The staying power of this $6.00 lipstick is beyond impressive, and the satin formula is much more comfortable on the lips than the ultra-matte lipsticks by the same company. The one caveat - it does smudge (which the ultra-mattes do not tend to do), so just be careful if you eat / drink and wipe your mouth...you may end up with lipstick where it doesn't belong! However, I wore this a full 12 hours the other day, and only had to touch it up once! If you're not a liquid lipstick fan, then I highly recommend CoulourPop's Lippie Stix in Bossy - another festive holiday red!

MAC Eyeshadow in Humid - $6.00-$16.00

MAC Shadow Pro Palette Refill Pan  in Humid

So, we have the softly shimmering, perfectly flushed cheekbones and the vivid red lips...what are we missing to make this holiday look really come together? Why, green eyelids, of course! Now, you might be thinking: "Ok, Jessica, you had me up until this point...but GREEN SHADOW?!!? You must be drinking some pretty good wine... ", but hear me out. Humid is an amazingly beautiful, intense green shade with just the right amount of sparkle. It is gorgeous all over the lid in a one-shadow look, it pairs beautifully with golds and bronzes, and it is just what you're looking for in a pop of color either winged out on the top lashline, or smudged under the lower lashline. Seriously, so versatile, festive and unexpected!

If you're still a feeling a bit reluctant, there are some more subdued options for you to add a bit of green during the holidays: MAC Greensmoke is a stunning silvery olive shade, and MAC Sumptuous Olive is for those who like a more golden sheen - legit,the perfect khaki color. Now that MAC shadow refill pans are just $6.00 each, you can try out all three of these green shadows without breaking the bank (they also offer individual shadow compact for $16)!


Urban Decay Primer Potion - $8 - $20

Urban Decay Primer Potion, Original formula


Tired of creasing shadow that doesn't last the night? You need a quality eyeshadow primer in your life! I've tried many, and the one I've turned to time and time again is the iconic Urban Decay Primer Potion! Apply this sparingly to your lids, and your shadow will lock in place and stay there the whole night through!


Marc Jacobs Re(marc)able Full Cover Foundation Concentrate - $55

Re(marc)able Full Cover Foundation Concentrate
You want to talk about full-coverage, long lasting foundation? Marc Jacob's Re(marc)able Full Cover Foundation Concentrate is IT! This magic fluid packs a powerful punch, with the tiniest amount going a very long way! I'm not joking, this stuff covers! The first time I used it was out of one of those little sample lacons from Sephora, and I didn't listen to the advice I had been given to use this sparingly. I learned quickly that less is more, and to thickly slather this on is a big no-no - you will look like you're wearing  a mask!
For the best results, shake it very well, and apply in small dots (start with one small dot on each quadrant of your face and blend out - you can add more if needed, but you cannot take away!); if you follow those steps, you will be thrilled with the coverage, look and feel of this foundation. Just be aware that it can cling to dry patches, so make sure you moisturize well, and use a primer. Not only does it cover all imperfections, but it feels light as a feather (if you use it correctly), and it lasts a ridiculously long time; you actually need to be diligent about removing it at the end of the day, it stays on so well that you need to work a little harder to get it all off!


Urban decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray - $31


Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray


The final step in any look, especially one you want to last, should be a setting spray. This locks your makeup in place, creates a seamless, more natural look, and absorbs excess oil. My favorite right now is All Nighter, which helps prolong your makeup, preventing fading and settling, but they also have DeSlick, which controls oil and deflects shine for a matte look (another fave of mine), and Chill, which is cools and hydrates. Whichever you choose, all will set your makeup in place and help it last.
While this is currently sold out on the UD website (they are revamping their packaging, and will restock in the new year), you can still pick up a bottle at Sephora.
Another great option for those with drier skin, or who prefer a more dewy look, is MAC Prep + Prime Fix + . I use this to set my makeup when my skin is feeling parched from the cold weather and drying heat, or as a makeup refresher throughout the day. I also use this to wet my beauty blender when I'm not near a sink  too lazy to get up and go to a sink,  and also to apply eyeshadow or pigments, which gives eyes that foiled effect and really makes the eyeshadow pop (just spritz your brush after you pick up a little shadow or pigment, and gently pat it on to the lid - instant intensity!)

There's a reason Urban decay is on my list twice - their primers and setting sprays just don't quit! I have and will continue to repurchase both items time and time again. Also, their rewards program is pretty sweet...Sign up for UD Beauty Junkies (the Urban Decay Rewards Program), and earn points towards "kickbacks", or discounts on purchases!*

So, there are my top beauty products to get me through the festivities of  the holiday season! I hope you are inspired by my picks; please inspire me as well by sharing your must-have products in the comments below!

Thanks so much for visiting with me - it's so nice to be back with you!

Live a beautiful life,

~Jessica


*Referral link


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Seeing Double: MAC Vex vs MUG Rockstar

Hi Loves!

With all of the makeup options available to us on the market, we are bound to run into color dupes. Unless we have both products right there in front of us, it can be hard to tell if an eyeshadow or lipstick you're thinking about buying is the same color as one you already own. I've run into this problem most often when shopping online, and it's so frustrating! I've decided to start this new series, Seeing Double, to swatch and compare the most recent products I've had this issue with (many of them are Makeup Geek and MAC products - so many possible dupes between the two!). I hope it helps make some of your future buying decisions a little easier :)

Is MUG Rockstar a dupe for MAC Vex?

MUG Rockstar

MAC Vex

When Makeup Geek  launched their Duochrome Collection *, they re-promoted some of their existing shades, Rockstar being one of them. To me, from the online swatches and pictures, it looked like it might be a dupe for MAC Vex eye shadow, so I decided to order it to find out. I was secretly hoping that they were just different enough that I wouldn't have two of the same shadow colors in my makeup arsenal. I'm sure that there are many of you out there that are wondering the same thing - is Makup Geek's Rockstar a dupe for MAC's Vex? Let's take a look:

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Beauty Confessions Tag

Hi lovies - welcome back to the blog! Today I am going to be participating in a beauty tag!

The Beauty Confessions Tag was created by Cassie Hampson, who has a wonderful blog about "beauty, life and nerdy things". The tag consists of 7 questions that all have to do with confessing something in the field of beauty.

I'm going to tag Beauty by Alexis, Makeup Minnie, Forever You, My Pink Rambles, Teapots and Elephants, and Lipstick and Bubbles. If you want to participate, just copy and paste the questions below (I listed the questions in the comments), tag some other great beauty lovers, and then link back to me! 

Now, on to the tag!

1.) What is your biggest beauty product addiction? (Lippies, blushes, highlighter, bronzer, mascara, etc.)

Eyeshadow! I just love all the shades and formulas available, and how you can create so many unique looks using a basic color palette!

2.) How many products do you have from your addiction?

I’m not sure how to count them - singles, palettes, trios? Let’s just say I have hundreds of shadows…

3.) What is one type of beauty product you hate? (highlighters, hairspray, etc.)

I can’t think of anything I hate, per se, but I guess we can go with sunless tanner. I love the results when applied properly, but I rarely, if ever, apply it properly. IMO, nothing looks worse than poorly applied self tanner, so I just stay away from it most of the time.

 4.) What has been your biggest challenge in beauty? (ex: a technique you learned or leaving a beauty comfort zone)

Winged liner. I can never get it to look proper on my right eye…the left one usually comes out great though lol!

5.) What is one beauty comfort zone you don’t ever think you’ll leave?


I’m pretty good at experimenting with different types and colors of cosmetics, but I don’t think I can ever break away from powdering my face after applying my base. I know there are tons of people out there who don’t use setting powder all over their face, and their makeup looks all flawless and dewy, but I just need to powder.

6.) What is one beauty thing you suck at? (ex: eyeliner like cat eye or taking your makeup off at the end of the day, etc.)

False lashes. I truly love how they make my eyes look when applied properly, but I suck at applying them.

7.) What is one thing in beauty that you don’t understand its hype? (Technique, trend, etc.)

There was a spidery lash trend that was trying to gain popularity a few months back that I just couldn’t understand. People were actually applying mascara so that their eyelashes clumped together and looked jagged. Most of us spend so much time applying smooth coats of mascara and combing out the clumps so that our lashes are fluttery and soft – why undo everything we have worked so hard for? 


  And there you have the Beauty Confessions Tag! Thanks so much for tagging me Cassie! Be sure to visit Cassie's blog , as well as the amazing people I tagged above, to see how they answered – I’m sure they have some fabulous responses!

Thanks so much for stopping by - live a beautiful life!

~Jessica

  

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Adore or Ignore: Magic Makeup Remover

Hi loves - welcome back!

Today I'm going to give you my thoughts on an item I received for Christmas - the Magic Makeup Remover
makeup remover cloth

The Magic Makeup Remover is a cloth that is designed to remove all of your makeup - including mascara and eyeliner - without the use of other products that may contain harsh chemicals and fragrances. It is very simple to use: wet the cloth, and wipe off your makeup!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Battle of the Boxes: Birchbox vs Ipsy January 2016

Hi There lovelies!


Birchbox or ipsy

I received two  subscriptions in January: Birchbox and Ipsy. In my experience, subscriptions can be very hit or miss; most of the time I'm fairly content with the items I receive for $10/mo, but I do have to admit there are times I've been disappointed with the contents of the bag, and  even an occasion or two that I've felt that there wasn't a single item I could use. I often debate about cancelling one of my subs, but then they go and send me an awesome box, and I am once again sucked into subscription box bliss. If I do ever decide to whittle it down to just one sub a month, I want to know which box I am better off keeping; therefore, I like to compare month to month and get an idea of the sub I am happiest with most often, and which has the most bang for the buck. I like to compare both products received and overall value to the cost of the subscription; to make cost-comparisons a little easier, I round the estimated value to the nearest quarter dollar. Without further ado, let us begin this month's Battle of the Boxes -  read on to see which box reigns supreme for the month of January!