Do You Need To Spend A Fortune On Makeup Brushes?

Over the last decade or so, I’ve learned a lot of things that have changed my beauty regime for the better. I now know the importance of double cleansing, why a night cream is a must, that cat flicks are all in the hand movement and that a great brush is the secret to 99% of makeup dilemmas. It’s amazing the difference a small change can make to our routines, but the biggest for me has been the application techniques I’ve now perfected with the help of a few expert tools. Makeup brushes really are an essential, even if you rarely wear foundation and have only marginally more skill than your cat; they help to provide an even and professional application, a polished finish and a perfected look that’s incomparable to one created with only the use of your digits. Over the last few months I’ve been taking a closer look at makeup brushes with QVS Beauty (including how to create the perfect smokey eye, what all those makeup brushes actually do and secrets that will change the way you use them,) but one question always remains: do I need to spend a fortune to get a good quality brush? The quick answer is ‘no’.

As with many things in beauty, the branding and price point doesn’t always reflect the quality you’re getting – so it’s important to arm yourself with the tools (excuse the pun) you need to make informed and effective decisions. Here’s what you need to know in order to shop for your tools efficiently and without spending your monthly Starbucks allowance on one blending brush.

It may look pretty, but that rose gold instagrammable brush you’re coveting may not be any good. Look beyond the aesthetics of your tools and opt for those with good quality components that are comfortable in the hand. According to the experts, you need to find a brush with symmetrical bristles (so no odd ones sticking out of the top) and a handle that’s not too heavy and not too light; always look at the ferrule too (the metal bit that joins the brush to the handle) and ensure it’s firmly in place. (A great example is this QVS Flat Top Powder Brush, £6.99, which is constructed perfectly for purpose.)
The type of hair used is important to note if you’re working with creamy textures and liquid foundations. Natural hairs tend to absorb the liquid and waste product unnecessarily, while simultaneously harvesting bacteria that like to live in these warm and cosy environments. Foundation brushes should be synthetic (often described as nylon bristles) to ensure they keep their shape, while powder brushes (used with eyeshadow or blusher) tend to perform better when made with natural hair. Wise up on what you should be buying, rather than spending on impulse. (This QVS Foundation Brush, £7.50, is made with synthetic nylon bristles to minimise wastage and maximise hygiene.)


Although those fancy fan-looking brushes may make you look the part, if you don’t know how to use them or they’re just taking up valuable room on your dressing table because they look pretty, what’s the point? Always start your collection with the basics (such as a foundation, brow, eyeshadow and blending brush) and add to it as you get to grips with each in turn; you don’t want to be intimidated and avoid using them altogether. If you don’t need 18 types of eyeshadow brush, then don’t buy them; realistically it’s always better to have a capsule collection than investing in a pro kit that doesn’t get used. (I can pretty much guarantee everyone needs a QVS Angled Blusher Brush, £3.75, though.)
It’s really easy to buy a whole set of brushes and think you’re done, but more often than not these sets are designed to look pretty rather than provide a really functional benefit. Like with an eyeshadow palette, you’ll never use every single one equally (if at all,) so save your money and shop wisely instead. Although some smaller sets can provide value and help boost your collection quickly, you want to avoid anything that’s offering more than five brushes in one go. (This QVS Professional Brush Set, £16.00, is a great place to start.)
As another year draws to a close, maybe the onset of a new one provides the perfect opportunity for us all to spring clean our makeup bags and routine – as well as investing in some tools that will really help us hone our skills. You’ve got the knowledge now, all you need are the tools to go with it!

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Spoiler: Inside The Charlotte Tilbury Book of Make-Up Magic

charlotte tilbury The Book of Magic Make-Up

Sorry to be a total enabler here, but this Book of Make-Up Magic from Charlotte Tilbury is just gorgeous. Expensive (hence starting the post with an apology) but gorgeous. Twelve glamorous products individually wrapped and packaged up in little boxes, it’s a great way to discover the Tilbury range if you’ve never tried it and don’t know where to start.

charlotte tilbury The Book of Magic Make-Up

If you’re already a fan, it presents all of the hero products in handy discovery sizes with a full-sized lipstick and shadow hidden away for good measure. (I say “”discovery” sizes because “miniatures” sounds a bit mean in this case. The 15ml of Magic Cream, for example, is worth over twenty pounds, the eye kohl is nearly as large as a proper one. The mini lipstick is teeny, but oh so cute and beautifully presented.)

charlotte tilbury The Book of Magic Make-Up

I was fully intending on working through the contents list and finding out the total value, but I’ve run out of steam! There’s a full-size Matte Revolution lipstick (£23) and Lip Magic balm (£25), a new Nocturnal Eyes shadow and kohl pencil (I can’t tell whether or not they are the same size as the ones online, but if they are then that’s another £29), the very cute mini lipstick and a whole bunch of trial-sized skin and body care. Gems such as the “Supermodel Body” (great for pepping up bare legs on a night out) and the amazing “Goddess Skin” Clay Mask (full review here) as well as a little pot of the famous “Magic Cream”.

charlotte tilbury The Book of Magic Make-Up

The Book of Make-Up Magic would make a really great present for someone who wants luxurious beauty but lots of it; loads of beauty “tasters” rather than just having one expensive face cream to open. This is much more fun. And for those wanting a “treat to self” it’s a nice alternative to an advent calendar – though there are only twelve boxes, so you’ll either have to open a box every other day or leave them all until the 12th and then start opening. Either way, a brilliant surprise every time. Unless you’ve read this post, and of course you have because you’re reading right now, in which case…soz.

Charlotte Tilbury’s Book of Make-Up Magic is £150 at Charlotte Tilbury online or at Selfridges here. Here’s the more detailed contents list:

  • MAGIC CREAM 15ml
  • TAKE IT ALL OFF 15ml
  • Mini K.I.S.S.I.N.G Lipstick
  • Mini ROCK ‘N’ KOHL Eye Liner

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How to Love Your Hair a Little More…

Alex Turnbull Love Hair Supplements

The older I become, the more precious I am about my hair; I have learnt along the way that as great as hair masks and other deep conditioning treatments may be, nutrition aka what you put inside your body is as important – if not more – for your overall hair health. You can line your shower with every lotion and potion but dry, brittle and generally unmanageable hair could be down to your diet.

It goes without saying that I am no expert on hair nor nutrition but having had my fair share of hair disasters in the past and as someone not exactly renowned for their healthy attitude to food, I was and am the perfect candidate to trial the Love Hair Supplements by award winning Hair Dresser Alexander Turnbull – who better to trust with your hair than someone with years of experience and accolades? You can read more about Alexander’s career here should you wish – link.

As the name Love Hair Supplements suggests, this is a daily dietary supplement that will of course work best in conjunction with a healthy diet and plenty of water, this is not a cure all nor is it intended to be; rather the Love Hair Supplements help supply the nutrients needed to help promote and aid strong, healthy hair that may grow a little quicker than usual (thanks to Biotin B7). This might be an odd thing to state but it may be helpful none the less – the capsules are fairly small and in my experience easy to swallow, they don’t have any after taste and although for best results you do need to take three a day, so far I can’t say I have found this to be a problem.

Alex Turnbull Love Hair Supplements

For any vitamin based supplement to garner best results you do have to take a product like Love Hair Supplements as directed for at least three months, however you will more than likely notice a change in your hair with as little as four weeks. As someone with exceptionally dry hair that is coarse and frizzy, not to mention prone to excessive fall out, I was surprised to notice that after no less than 2 weeks my hair (especially the sections that have never been bleached) are softer to the touch and not as static which is more than promising. I will of course continue with the Love Hair Supplements over the next few months and report back but if you want to read more about other users experiences over on Amazon, some have even reported a boost in volume, especially in regards to hair loss.

I’ll post an update with my progress in a few weeks but you can read more views and purchase the Love Hair Supplements here – link.

This is a sponsored feature, all opinions are my own and in the case of supplements not to be confused with professional health care advice and of course consult your doctor before consuming any food supplement or vitamin.

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I Won a Prize. And it’s Drinkable.

ruth crilly model beauty blogger

I am thrilled to report that last night I won the Social Star award from Proctor & Gamble at their annual beauty and grooming awards ceremony. It’s always a joy to have your hard work recognised; it’s even more of a joy when the prize is an extremely large bottle of top quality champers. If this is the only post you see today, it’s because I got stuck into the magnum on the way home. (Not really – I’m saving it for a special occasion called “Saturday”.)

ruth crilly social star

Seriously though; thank you P&G and anyone who nominated or voted for me. Very much appreciated. I had a little nervous/emotional moment when Jo Whiley asked me to say a few words – I was totally unprepared! You can read about the P&G awards here – I’m off to find a very long straw.

**UPDATE: oh, the irony. I managed to schedule this post for the wrong day. The awards were on Wednesday night…

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