Random thoughts from a makeup artist, mother and wife.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Angelo Falconi III Brush Cleanser Review

Okay, so I have slight OCD. But that should be a good thing in this industry, right? I've always been a stickler for hygiene, and my makeup artists at MAC can attest to that. So let's talk about cleaning our brushes - the shortcut way. And must I emphasize, deep cleansing is STILL the best way. 

When I was born into the makeup world, I learned that the conventional way to use brush cleansers is as follows:  
  • Pour a minimal amount into a shallow dish – like a petri dish or large saucer (glass coasters will work)
  • Dip your brush to soak it with product
  • Then dry using a paper towel or a regular towel.

However, I find this quite wasteful especially for the more pricey brush cleansers. When I was at MAC, my mentor taught me to:
  • Decant cleanser into an atomizer
  • Spritz onto paper towel
  • Stipple the brush lightly onto the paper towel to clean

 This was how I would do it for the longest time, since I deep cleanse my brushes every time anyway. It was just to avoid bacteria growth and such for me. It was effective – but since turning freelance, I thought, maybe it’s not the method, but the actual cleanser! This led me to Parian Spirit, and now, Angelo Falconi III’s formulas.

I wouldn’t be discussing the Regular Strength in too much detail, as the latter explanation above would suffice. I will teach you though, on how to use the Extra Strength formula.


  • Angelo Falconi III Extra Strength Brush Cleanser
  • Plastic or glass container
  • Soiled brushes
  • Paper Towel
  • Towel for your brushes
  • Drying Rack

  1.  Shake the bottle well. Careful when you pop the lip open, some of the product might go to your eyes. 
  2. Find a plastic takeout container, or and old jar to place the cleanser in – preferably around 6 inches in diameter and nothing larger. Remember to recyle!
  3. Pour a small amount of the cleanser into the container, around less than a centimeter deep.
  4. Dip the brush into the liquid and gently stir, then press the brush’s sides against the container.
  5. You will see the gunk getting into the liquid and out of your brush. Press the sides of the brush once again against the container to take out the excess cleanser.
  6. Stipple the brush lightly onto the paper towel, then onto the towel.
  7. Place on drying rack. 
I documented the first time I used the cleanser to see for myself if it worked or not. Guess what? It did! Oh, don't be afraid of the gunk transferring to the next brush - it won't! Sharing with you photos of my brushes and their before and after photos! 


I focused mainly on my blending brushes and the concealer brush I use as a lip brush as these are synthetic. Can you see the difference?! It's as good as washing my brushes! 

TADA! All the foundation, concealer, cream shadow and lipstick are in this broth! 

What else is there to say? If you are not that satisfied with the brush cleanser you currently have, this is definitely worth it. You have nothing to lose. 

Available at Purbeauty Serendra and at all Angelo Falconi III Salons. 

Brushes Are A Makeup Artist's Bestfriend

Not too long ago, my Canon D500 was stolen at a bridal fair. It was my husband's Mother's Day gift to me, and my heart bled with the loss. Looking for something to comfort me, I though to myself, "I would rather have the camera stolen than my brushes." Of course, that sentiment wouldn't be shared by my photographer friends. My point is, at least, I could wait and save up for another camera. Losing my brushes would mean that; A) Business will stop for a while, B) I would go bankrupt recovering the cost of my brushes and C) I would never be able to forgive myself. As much as I am makeup obsessed, I am also brush obsessed. I go through phases and in the process, have collected almost a hundred pieces. A DSLR would cost me around Php 40k - but that will only bring me to around twenty pieces of brushes, on the average. 

This post is about taking care of your brushes - synthetic, natural hair, cheap or expensive. I'll discuss my brush collection in another post :) 

So, how do I take care of my brushes? I've placed a rundown of brush cleansing rituals I observe below. 

What I mean about deep cleansing is washing your brushes with either a fragrant shampoo or body wash. I think as long as you love the scent your shampoo leaves on your hair, it would be the best thing to use on your brushes. But, should you really want to be anal about it, use clarifying shampoo.

What you need:
  • Shampoo/liquid soap
  • Running water
  • Towel
  • Rack
  • Soiled brushes

1. Squirt a tiny amount of your cleanser of choice, dampen your brush and use it to lather on the palm of your hand. I like to use my hands and not into containers because, like your hair, you know when you've thoroughly cleaned and rinsed your brush. It also makes sure you avoid capillary action to happen to damage the ferrule. 

2. Rinse thoroughly. Like the hair on your head, you wouldn't want any residue to build up on the brush once it dries. 

3. Have a towel dedicated to your brushes. I recommend white because you can see the stains if you weren't able to clean them well and you can bleach the towel afterwards for any stains. 

4. Have a tray or a drying rack handy to lay your brushes on. I got mine at Daiso and it's meant to be used on plates. You can get it at Japan Home also at only P88!

5. Once all washed brushes are done, squeeze all the excess water out of each one. Wrap the towel around the brush and gently squeeze. 

6.  Leave on the drying rack in a way that the bristles/hair are suspended. Place the brushes in an airy area.  

If done correctly, your brushes will smell great and will look great! Once dry, gently stroke the brushes so they retain the shape. Sometimes a strong stream of air will make some strands stray, but this will do the trick! I clean my brushes this way all the time and hardly rely on Brush Cleanser. Why use wipes when you can wash your face, right? Oh, just in case you still can’t get the color out of those brushes? Try good old dishwashing detergent before shampooing! 

I use brush cleansers to disinfect and quickly clean brushes in between jobs (or even with a number of entourage heads). I've used MAC, Parian Spirit (Japonesque carries this) and as of late, my good friend Angelo's own - named after him and his string of salons here in the South. I've fallen in love with Angelo's brush cleansers and I don't think I'd use any other anymore. Here's a lowdown of the three. 

1. MAC
Price: Approximately P700 for 233ml

Pros: Available at all MAC stores, no scent, disinfects and cleans brushes generally well. The empty bottle is eligible to be returned for the Back to MAC program as well (outside the Philippines).

Cons: Need to decant into a spritzer to economize, quite pricey. 

2. Japonesque by Parian Spirit
Price: Approximately P850 for 128ml

Pros: Smells so good! The scent is like citrus cologne. It also cleans oil based makeup better and faster. 

Cons: Expensive! 

3. Angelo Falconi III
Price: Php 480 for 250ml

Pros: The cheapest and most effective in my book. It has two variants, Extra Strength and Regular Strength. Extra Strength is for synthetic brushes and oil based makeup and is excellent for those lip brushes we detest! I use the Regular Strength to sanitize my already washed brushes and for those I just use powder with.  

Cons: It is available only at Purbeauty Serendra and Angelo Falconi III salons.

The quick fix verdict? Angelo’s cleansers deliver and are worth every penny. Brushes dry quicker, and are thoroughly cleansed even without water and shampoo. Another tip, use the Regular Strength to spritz onto pressed powders, eyeshadows and blush to disinfect them quickly. I kid you not, I have used these cleansers on clothes and tables stained with makeup and they have come off! And, no other brush cleanser in the market can take out the lipstick on the lip brushed quite as well as the Extra Strength.

I am a skeptic, and at the same time, stingy. Believe you me, Angelo’s brush cleansers are not only the most affordable in the market, it is also the most effective. Read my tutorial on how to use his brush cleansers here.

At the end of the day, you have to consider if you use your makeup brushes for a living or just for yourself. We makeup artists deal with different faces each time, and it is a must to observe hygiene at all times. Don’t worry about the hair falling off your brushes. If you follow the steps for deep cleaning, you’re actually helping their longevity – thus adding value for your well-spent money.

So how do you clean your brushes? Let me know how you do it, or if you’ve tried what I’ve shared!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


My ultimate dream is to be able to set up my own makeup school. Through the years of my beauty industry experience, I discovered that I am most passionate about teaching! So, while I am still building my empire to set up my school, I am conducting workshops! I've done several for NARS, Laura Mercier and Chanel - and it's awesome that I am trusted by these brands to do them!

The Style Quarter, a multiply seller that features professional and consumer makeup brands, partnered with me to produce a series of workshops - the very first one will happen on March 3, 2012! I've posted the details below and I do hope that all of you would take part and reserve slots for this. I promise that it would be a very relevant and "newbie-friendly" class!

So here's the information, as can also be seen at http://thestylequarter.multiply.com/journal/item/35/The_Style_Quarter_Basic_Makeup_Workshop_:

Let's go back to basics! Know what makeup you need, what you should look for when purchasing a product and how to prettify, DIY! Don't forget to bring your own stuff to find out which ones to keep, and which ones to ditch!

Date: March 3, 2012
Time: 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Place: Studio SnR, Unit 301 Millenium Place, 17 Meralco Avenue, Ortigas Center, Pasig City, Philippines 1605

The Syllabus:
  • Getting started: tools of the trade, proper skin care, sanitation and hygiene techniques 
  • Must-have makeup and taking proper care of makeup to extend its shelf life 
  • All about skin: different skin tones and types and the secret to achieve a perfect canvas 
  • The importance of color wheel: color coordination demo 
  • Corrective makeup:how to highlight and shade different facial structures and special features of the face 
  • How to conceal skin blemishes and other skin imperfections, skin features, textures and colors 
  • How to apply makeup for mature skin 
  • How to transform daytime makeup to glamorous night makeup 
  • How to do smokey eyes and how to apply different eye liner 
  • All about eyebrows:different eyebrows that frames different shape of the face 
  • Brow shaping techniques and proper measurements 
  • Application of Nude makeup, Daytime makeup, Evening makeup and Classic makeup 

About the Instructor:
Samantha Unson-Gallardo has more than seven years of cumulative experience in the beauty industry. She worked with MAC cosmetics for five years initially as Brand Manager and eventually focused on Training. She conducted workshops for NARS and Laura Mercier and freelanced for two years.

Currently, Sam is the makeup artist for Chanel to conduct workshops, product launches and magazine editorials. She also blogs about beauty.


Option 1: PHP 3,500 - workshop only

Option 2: PHP 4,500 - workshop + Ben Nye Neutral Set Colorless Face Powder + Ben Nye Concealer Wheel (Save PHP 150)

Option 3: PHP 5,500 - workshop + Ben Nye Neutral Set Colorless Face Powder + Ben Nye Concealer Wheel + NYX Box of Smokey Look Collection (Save PHP 625)

Promotions and discounts:
  • Early bird promo: Get a free gift when you register on or before February 4, 2012
  • Group discount: 10% discount if you register in groups of 4
  • Early bird group: 10% discount and each participant in your group gets a free gift.

To register, e-mail thestylequarter@gmail.com or text 0918-2699181 with your name and selected package option. Just bring your makeup stash. No need to bring brushes, we will provide you with a set for use during the workshop.

We will also be selling selected items from NYX Cosmetics, Ben Nye Makeup and Urban Decay onsite at a discount during the event. :)

Refreshments / snacks will be served.

Limited slots only.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Real Bride Ae Geli-Pastrana: The Hyphenate Architecht-Blogger

 I met Ae (pronounced as simply, "A")at a Clinique counter event for bloggers. I wanted to do her makeup at the event because I found her so beautiful. Mild mannered and unassuming, I knew she had the potential to look stunning. A few months down the road, I am pleasantly surprised to find an email from her, asking me to be her makeup artist for her wedding. This my friends, was a vision of mine, of Ae, that eventually came true.

Her demeanor reminds me of Katie Holmes. Do you see why? Awesome dress by Patty Eustaquio. Photos by Raena Abella. :)

P.S. She's also a beauty blogger, find the link to her blog here. See her posts on how we met here, her makeup trial here and her wedding here.

Women's Health August 2011

Because I'm too lazy to scan and too eager to post - I've resorted to taking photos of the spreads I did. I will definitely scan for better quality, but in the meantime, I hope you like this! 

This spread is a great example of the wonders of tight lining. It's placing liner (either gel, pencil or an eyeshadow) very close to your lashline, almost filling in the gaps between the hair. For you girls who have no folds (single lid/monolid/chinitas), this is one way to enhance your eyes without the over the top lining. It's quick, and idiot proof. If you haven't been tight lining, I hope you try it out and see the difference! :D

Photos by the amazing Danish Connection.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Real Bride Leah Realubit-Hansford: Bride from Down Unda!

Leah has been based in Sydney for the past few years. She and her husband Trevor had an intimate wedding down under but they still wanted to push through with the tradition here in the Philippines. It was Leah's mom who would constantly call me every week to set an appointment for Leah's visit. Mrs. Realubit is a sweet and funny lady. When I finally met her, she was so sexy! 

Leah and Trev are an awesome twosome. Trev was taking his own photos of Leah at the trial then. Even though this was technically their second wedding, I knew that to them, it seemed like the first time all over again. 

Leah and Trev, thank you for keeping in touch! xoxo :) 

Photos by Jayson and Joanne Arquiza

Some photos I grabbed from their Sydney (civil) Wedding below :)

Real Bride Tin Prima-Velasco: She Likes Them French! Bulldogs that is ;p

I met Tin through a referral by Dylan of Vatel Manila. She's a wonderful writer and enjoyed our conversations via email. She has a sweet disposition! The photo of my chair with my hands here in my blog are courtesy of her now husband Mike. Tin and Mike are so sweet and genuine. As you would know, I always talk about my son and Tin and Mike have been a gracious audience. Tin and Mike are proud parents of Timi. She is the most adorable thing! I've posted a photo of her below. Someday I'm gonna get me a French Bulldog too! 

P.S. Flowers are by Vatel Manila. And her dress is awesome too!  

Timi is so cute, isn't she?

Middle photo taken by yours truly, top and bottom by Jeff and Lisa Photography :)