Posts Tagged ‘review’

August 3, 2013 9:00 am

Does the Clarisonic Really Work?


Clarisonic – you’ve almost definitely heard the name at least once over the past year. It’s been touted as the latest and greatest in skincare innovations and has appeared on just about every beauty guru’s YouTube channel imaginable. With a price point of $139-$225+ we can bet you’re wondering – does the Clarisonic really work? In this post, I’ll share my thoughts on the Clarisonic cleansing system and give you my advice on the matter. After all, facial cleansers can be expensive enough just on their own!

Clarisonic cleansing systems are designed to pulsate the top of your skin to encourage increased blood flow, exfoliation, and greater cleaning. You focus on four main zones: forehead, cheek, chin, and other cheek. In 60 seconds, you’ve washed your face and removed up to 60x more makeup and build-up than washing with your hands. Pretty amazing, right? You do need to be careful, though, as the pulsation may be too intense for those with very delicate, thin, or damaged skin. If you’re prone to bruising or getting broken capillaries, the increased vibration may worsen your condition. If you have normal, healthy skin – or are prone to acne breakouts and are looking for a solution aside from laser resurfacing and other drastic measures – the Clarisonic might be a good idea for you. As with all things, you should check with your dermatologist if you’re unsure.

I have combination skin and picked up the Clarisonic Mia 2 from Sephora last week. It has two pulsation levels – gentle and one that’s a bit stronger, comes with a travel case, gentle cleansing brush, and charger. It also came with a small sample of Clarisonic’s cleansing gel, though I prefer my cleansers from Clarins. I’ve been using the system for 60 seconds in the morning and 60 seconds at night and have loved it thus far. My skin has never felt so clean and has never before absorbed my moisturizer as efficiently. Some reviews say the system dried out the writer’s skin, so I’ve made sure to use ample moisturizer and take extra time massaging in it to avoid any possible dry patches while my skin adjusts to my new routine.

In summary, I’d say the Clarisonic can really work. You need to have the right skin for the system, the right amount of patience, and you need to know the cost, benefits and possible complications – just like anything else. I’ve been told there can be a possible “purging period” during the first two weeks of use, during which your skin is adjusting to the new routine and the increased exfoliation encourages any blemishes that were hiding to come out to the surface. This has not happened to me yet, but you should know it’s a possibility. It’s kind of like when you go for a facial, there’s the risk that you’ll break out a little more than usual over the next few days following.

Have you used a Clarisonic? Share your experience in a comment. Not into it? Let me know why. Thanks for reading my review!


June 15, 2013 9:00 am

Best Sunscreens For Faces

Best Sunscreen for Faces

We’re all supposed to wear sunscreen each and everyday, but most people forget to do it. It can be especially hard to remember to apply it to your face, particularly when you’re not sure which product is right for you. No one wants to breakout or end up with a chalky-looking face! In this post, I’ll be sharing my opinion on some of the best sunscreens for faces.

First up, we have my personal favorite – the Ultra Fluid SPF60 for Face/Visage from Ombrelle. It’s incredibly lightweight, but you need to remember to shake well before using. A little goes a long way, and the tiny package is perfect for popping into your bag or keeping at your office desk for when you need to apply. If you wear makeup, apply this underneath your makeup. If you plan on hitting the beach or spending a lot of time in the sun, you’ll need to take off your makeup to re-apply OR you’re probably better off with an SPF mist instead.

Secondly, we have a sunscreen I have not personally tried but have heard rave reviews about – the Clinique Broad Spectrum SPF50 Face Cream. Clinique is specially formulated for sensitive skin and does not clog your pores, making this sunscreen a perfect choice for acne-prone skin. Yet again, a little will go a long way so start with a small dab and use a bit more if you need it. Rub it all the way into your skin 20 minutes prior to sun exposure for full protection, and don’t forget to re-apply!

Hampton Sun’s SPF15 Continuous Mist Sunscreen is oil-free and perfect for the no-fuss sun bather. The mist makes it easy to apply under and over makeup, and to touch up all day long. Hampton Sun also offers a continuous spray mist with a bit of bronzer, but the SPF is only 8 – too little for my liking! I’d never recommend applying anything less than an SPF15. Your skin in 20 years will thank you for it, trust me.

Lastly, we have a natural alternative for our eco-makeup lovers. bareMinerals offers a powdered UVA/UVB protective natural sunscreen with SPF30. It comes with a built-in brush so you can apply it evenly all over your face. We don’t think this would be an ideal option for someone heading to the beach for the sake of swimming, but if you’re just on-the-go or heading to the park, this may be an easy and green option for you.

What’s your favorite face sunscreen? Let me know in a comment!


We gets lot of questions about product recommendations here at QC Makeup Academy. Although we don’t like to recommend one product or another as a school, I’d love to share a personal favorite with you all, which is why I’ve written this Urban Decay Setting Spray review. It’s full name is All Nighter Long Lasting Makeup Setting Spray by Urban Decay. Spoiler alert: it’s fantastic.

Sometimes, a setting powder just won’t do. If you’re hoping to keep a dewy finish, a powder can make it look a little too matte. If you’re hoping for extra long wear, a powder can slowly break down throughout the day. These reasons are why I love Urban Decay’s All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray.

Available in two different sizes, the All Nighter spray comes in a pump bottle and allows you to apply a thin layer of setting mist over a makeup application. The mist locks in the makeup’s true finish, color, and helps to keep it that day all day – or “all night” in this case.

We recommend this product for anyone who needs their makeup to last morning to night, weddings, outdoor photoshoots, and anyone who just wants their makeup to last as long as possible. Its lightweight finish, easy application, and reasonable price point makes it a clear pick for me. If you Google it, you’ll see it’s many others’ favorite too!

What do you think of setting sprays? Have you used an Urban Decay setting spray before? Let me know in a comment. I’d love to know!



April 18, 2013 9:00 am

Is high-end, luxury makeup better?

It seems a lot of beauty bloggers, vloggers, and industry pros rely more heavily on “luxury” brand makeup than anything else. You rarely see a celebrity makeup artist using Covergirl, or an editorial makeup artist using anything aside from Cover FX, Make Up For Ever, and other big name brands. I’m regularly asked if pro makeup artists should ditch their drugstore makeup and use only high end products, and I’m here to answer the question: is high-end, luxury makeup really better?

Do you prefer luxury brands for your makeup?

There seems to be many negative connotations surrounding the use of drugstore makeup products. I understand how it can be easy to associate low price with low quality, as this is usually the case in life. Therefore, it makes sense that makeup artists would think the same when it comes to building their kits. I’d like to point out that just because something is usually true doesn’t mean it’s always true – and it’s definitely not the case with all drugstore makeup products.

Some of my favorite products can be picked up at Wal Mart, Shoppers Drug Mart, Walgreens, or Primark. Take Rimmel’s Stay Matte pressed powder, for example. This is the only powder I will use to set my makeup. I’ve tried Make Up For Ever powders, MAC Cosmetics powders, and just about any other powder imaginable but Rimmel is my favorite – and at a mere $4 at that.

Another product I swear by is the L’Oreal Colour Riche Balm. I rotate between using Pink Satin and Caring Coral in my everyday makeup routine and love these products. Sure, I love my MAC Russian Red and NARS Heat Wave too, but nothing beats the silky texture of my Color Riche balms.

So, is it possible to work as a professional makeup artist with only drugstore brand makeup? I’m sure it’s possible, but there are certain products I leave to the luxury brands – like foundation and concealer. In my opinion at least, luxury brands tend to do a better foundation (and this goes for concealer, too) than drugstore brands. This is simply because you’re paying more for the product, so the luxury brand can afford to put more higher quality ingredients into the product.

My all-time favorite is the Laura Mercier Silk Creme foundation. I’ve never encountered any other foundation quite like it, and love how little I need to use to get a great, medium coverage that lasts all day long.  Check it out on the  finish is truly unmatched. You can read more about it on the Laura Mercier website.

As a pro makeup artist, your focus should always be on creating a gorgeous base on top of which you can work your magic. Without a good base, the rest of the look falls apart. If I were to give you advice on where to spend the extra money and where to save a bit, I’d say to invest in anything that’s going to give you that great base – a beautiful complexion – and save on other products like lipgloss, lipstick, blushes, etc.

To answer the question in short, luxury brand makeup can be better. There are also plenty of instances in which I’m sure it can be worse, or simply unnecessary. Anyone wearing makeup, or using makeup in their job, is best off going with what they’re most comfortable using and what they know works best for their needs.

When you’re able to invest a little more heavily in professional products, do so in base-builders like concealer, foundation, eyeshadow primer, and setting sprays. If you’re looking to save, save on lipsticks, lipglosses, eyeshadows, mascaras, and blushes. At the end of the day, the choice is really yours, and these are just my personal suggestions!

Let me know what you think! Leave me a comment below and tell me if you prefer drugstore or luxury brand. Me? I’m a mix!


April 5, 2013 10:00 am

The Shadow of the Wind Book Review

The Shadow of the Wind, written by Spanish author Carlos Ruiz Zafon, is an addictive modern gothic novel you must read. Read on for a brief review of The Shadow of the Wind. The moment I started reading it, I knew I would not be able to put it down until I finished. The author introduces you to so many different characters, and each character introduces a whole new sub plot to the story. It’s an intricately-woven, gripping read that anyone in search of a great evening read will positively love.

Carlos Ruiz Zafon also wrote two accompanying books called The Angel’s Game and The Prisoner of Heaven. Technically, the three books form a trilogy, but you don’t actually have to read them in order to stay on board with the story. I first learned of the books from British beauty and lifestyle blogger Katie Snooks and have since recommended the trilogy to a dozen of coworkers, friends, and family members.

The trilogy is available at Chapters Indigo, Barnes & Noble, and nearly anywhere books are sold. You can also download at least the first book on your eBook reader. Personally, I read through the first two books in paperback and the third book in hardcover.

Have you read any books by Carlos Ruiz Zafon? Do you have any suggestions as to what book I should read next? Help me out, wonderful readers!




March 14, 2013 4:06 pm

New Pinterest Layout 2013

We’re one of the first to admit our addiction to Pinterest (check out our boards here), and loved how clean and fluid the layout has been since it first launched. The ability to comment on pins without having to click them first was great, because it allowed users to scroll through pages of pins and like, pin, and repin away without having to lose their spot and go back. We also loved the look of a user’s account and how all the boards seemed to flow seamlessly side-by-side. The new Pinterest layout has changed some of the things we loved most, but we’re getting used to it – and here’s why you should too.

pinterest page

1. Larger Images

The new Pinterest layout allows for larger images with less border, so you get more out of each and every image. We like this especially for horizontal images, because they were simply too small in past versions to really make out the subject. Yes, they’re still a little small for our liking, but it’s a step in the right direction.

2. Hover Effect Pin It Button

When you hover over an image, the “Pin It” and “Like” buttons pop up. They go away the second you leave the image. We love this because it lets us see more of what we’re there for in the first place – images! Plus, we like that the use of the hover pin is more consistent with the pin-it gadget a lot of people are using on their own web pages. Consistent branding makes us happy!

3. Larger Single Image View

When you click an image, you get a whole new layout. The image is larger, there’s a clear “Website” link that allows you to go directly to wherever the pin came from, you can preview other pins by the same pinner, scroll through a large preview of similar pins by the same pinner, and have four sharing options – Facebook, Twitter, Email, and Embed.

New Pinterest Layout 2013


As far as main page commenting goes, the option is gone. However, you can always click on an image and leave a comment at the bottom. For us, this is just fine because the majority of people don’t actually leave comments on Pinterest – the main actions are generally repin (obviously) and/or like. If you do want to leave a comment, you can, so we’ll get over the minor layout change where that’s concerned.

What do you think of the new Pinterest layout? Do you prefer the old layout or the new? Let us know in a comment below!