1. Bar soap is the best brush cleanser I've ever met.
I wouldn't do it to my expensive natural hair brushes, but for synthetic ones it's perfect! I'd wet the bar of soap and just rub the brush on it, swirl in my palm until all the suds and foundation - it is usually foundation - comes off. Brushes that started life white *do* turn back to white, it cleans like nothing else. \o/ I do think this would be a really bad idea to subject natural hair brushes to, though!
2. MAC Pearlglides are incredible eye primer.
I've noticed that they stay on my eyelids *always* without smudging, fallout, anything unless I rub - and even then if my eyelids are dry they don't really come off. Since I sometimes get fallout with pencil or gel liners (the coveted panda look!) I decided to try using the pearlglides as a primer, putting it on my bare lids before layering a gel liner on top. This works exactly just as I expected, I don't get any of the dreaded flecks or smudges of black under my eye or anywhere else the liner's not meant to be. The downside is that the pearlglides are high on glitter content, and while I haven't yet had it fall *into* my eyeballs I do get a little worried. The glitter does show through the coat of black gel liner too, but I don't mind that too much! The pearlglides make a good base for shadows as well, though they do modify the shadow's color. (Prettily! I love the duochrome effect I get out of layering just about anything over MAC Pearlglide in Industrial). The Pearlglides are less pricey than my beloved NARS Smudgeproof, as a bonus! (´∀`)
3. Coconut oil!
I've the driest skin this side of... erm... a desert? My lips get chapped badly in winter, even in Hong Kong's humidity (such as: right now!). I've tried several kinds of lip balm and was on the verge of getting expensive lip treatment but I tried coconut oil first. It absorbs nearly instantly and leaves my lips a lot nicer and readier for lipstick application, though I still can't really pull off matte formulas, those being much too dry for me. (If only I could! Illamasqua shades would be some of the first I'd grab). I use this to clean my brushes too, as unlike my face goat hair doesn't break out! This conditions the bristles in a lovely way and gets all the pigment cream or powder out. As an extra coconut oil removes lip products like a dream, whether it's gluey glosses like the MAC Dazzleglass or lip stains.
4. Sisley works.
This is deeply sad-making as buying Sisley products is a little like throwing your wallet into a bonfire (just less hot). (✖╭╮✖) But my dry skin problem escalated to the point that my cheeks were *burning* in the day time - I thought it was my foundation, finishing powder, blush, face brushes, anything! No amount of packing on moisturizer helped, no amount of cleaning my brushes helped, changing face products or even going bare faced didn't help.... Then a coworker gave me a sample size of Sisley Ecological Compound. I believe it has a good amount of mineral oil? I don't like to put oil on my face as I'm leery of breaking out, though this didn't cause any clogging. What it did do was to reduce the burning and stinging - it is as unpleasant as it sounds! like you sprinkled vinegar on your cheeks instead of blush - until that was totally gone in a few days. Yay! Only not very yay when I saw the price tag. I purchased a full size after the sample ran out. (✖╭╮✖) I'm lucky that I've got more disposable income this year, but it *does* hurt!
5. Some high-end lipsticks just about deserve their price tag.
I'm sensitive to scent - I can't wear strongly scented lip products without getting horrid headaches, and owing to the chapped lips I prefer lipstick formulas that hydrate. The tragedy is that at drugstore price range, hydrating balmy lipsticks get loaded up with perfume when they don't just smell like wax. A lot of them feel sticky, oily and unpleasant on my lips... so I worked up my courage and shelled out for one of these, a YSL Volupte Shine in Fuchsia in Rage. The tube's, um, you would never mistake it for a Revlon! Or a MAC or anything else. It's metal and the weight does count - designer lines tend to have heavier tubes (Guerlain is *heavy* judging from handling it at the counter; confusingly Cle de Peau, more expensive than even Guerlain, is plastic) - and the cap's completely round, so if it drops it's going to roll all the way across the room. ヽ(ﾟДﾟ)ﾉ
On the other hand, the lipstick itself is perfect! It's creamy and glides like a balm - even softer, I think! I wouldn't leave it in the heat in fear of it melting. I've worn ones more hydrating, but the Volupte Shine in this shade is gorgeously and deeply pigmented while still being moisturizing. I can just swipe it on even though my lips are a little chapped, it's slightly soothing and formulated so that it hides all the imperfections of unexfoliated lips. I've never used anything like! The color stays on and on - it stains, and flatteringly. The price tag makes me sneeze and tear up, but lipsticks do last a long time.