Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Gem of an Education: Garnet

Ever wanted to know a little more about your favorite gemstones?  Well, you're in luck!  Every week you can check in here and learn some fun facts about gemstones.  Today, I'll be talking about January's birthstone, Garnet.

The most commonly known form of Garnet is a deep burgundy red color.  It's color resembles the juicy seeds of a pomegranate, which is perhaps why its name is derived from the Latin word for pomegranate seeds, "granatum". 
Deposits are found in Africa, India, Russia, South America, Madagascar, Pakistan and the United States.  Manufacturers often used a dyed red polish to help intensify it's beautiful color.  On the "Mohs Scale of mineral hardness" (I'll explain more about this in a later post), Garnet ranges from 7-7 1/2.  Since a diamond is considered a "10", Garnet is a pretty durable stone.  Now if I stopped there, most of you would say that you didn't learn too much more than you already knew about Garnet.  However, did you know that there are also several other varieties of Garnet? 

A few of my favorite varieties of Garnet are:
*Black Garnet - also known as melanite, it contains titanium which makes it a deep, glossy black.
*Grossularite Garnet - colors range from light to dark green and from champagne to brown.

*Hessonite Garnet - also called "cinnamon stone", this garnet has shading from rootbeer to orange & citrus colored tones.  It's mined in Sri Lanka, Brazil, Madagascar & Canada.

*Spessartite Garnet - red-brown to bright orange, this garnet is named for it's occurence in Spessart, Germany.  Currently mined from Sri Lanka & Brazil.
*Kashgar Garnet - a relatively new gemstone discovered in Northern China, this form of garnet has more of an opaque appearance and features a marbled look of red and green earth tones.
So there you have it!  I hope you learned something new today about Garnet and that you'll check back for the next featured stone.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Cheap & Effective Brush Cleaning

Whether you have invested a lot or a little, it is important to keep your makeup brushes clean to prevent bacterial from growing in them and to extend the life of your brushes.  For the longest time I didn't have a regular cleaning routine.  I was perplexed as to the right way to clean my brushes and afraid that if I used normal soap, I might damage the bristles.  So I started doing a little research... 

There are some great "brush shampoos" & other brush cleaning products on the market but unless they come free with purchase (i.e., occasionally Bare Escentuals offers it in their foundation starter kit), save your money and use one of these effective cleansers you probably already have.

  • Makeup Remover/Cleanser - This is my absolute favorite product to use!  I just put a drop of Neutrogena's "One Step Gentle Cleanser" in the palm of my hand, swirl the brush around in the soap to remove the makeup; rinse the brush and repeat if necessary.  Then I squeeze out the excess water & lay the brush(es) on the counter to dry.  Viola!  I have a nice clean brush to apply my makeup the next morning.
Other options include:

  • Regular adult hair shampoo - I used some of my Redken Color Shampoo and it worked great!  However I wouldn't use a "clarifying" shampoo as these tend to be a little harsh on the bristles.  And remember, just a little dab will do ya!  A dime size of shampoo is enough to clean 2-3 small brushes.
  • Baby Shampoo - I've personally never tried this but several makeup artists have recommended it for this purpose.
  • Makeup remover wipes - These are especially effective for quick daily cleaning of brushes and great to use when you are traveling.  Just swirl the brush on the cloth to remove the makeup and rinse your brush really well.  Allow to air dry.
Now I don't clean all of my brushes everyday...probably should but I don't.  However, if I use a brush for a gel liner, liquid concealer, makeup, etc., I do try to clean these after use because the liquid will dry and harden the brush and it won't work so well for me the next day!  My other brushes that I use for powder, blush and other powder products, I try to clean about once/week.

So whether you have 1 spare minute or 5, clean at least one brush today....your face will thank you for it :-)