Makeup gift sets for Christmas – MAC, Real Techniques, & Benefit

Tuesday, November 29th 2016 Makeup


The Christmas season is fast approaching, and whilst some people have been shopping for months, others (me) leave it a bit later. The same goes for my gift guides – better late than never! I don’t typically write gift guides, because I find it hard enough to buy for my friends and family, let alone make suggestions for other people. However, I’ve been sent a number of press releases about some cool Christmas gift sets that I wanted to draw people’s attention to. Either you can buy them as gifts, or you can use this as a guide to shopping for yourself. The brands included in this post are MAC Cosmetics, Real Techniques, and Benefit Cosmetics – keep reading for more information.

Eleanor Dorn Makeup and Brushes Review

Thursday, August 4th 2016 Makeup

Eleanor Dorn makeup brushes review - Lena Talks Beauty

Eleanor Dorn is an Auckland-based makeup artist who has recently launched her own line of cosmetics. About 18 months ago I heard her speak at an event, and at the time she had a range of brushes. Since then, she has gone on to release a range of makeup also. Eleanor kindly sent me these products for review, and I’ve been using them for the last wee while. They are the Highlighting Shimmer Powder, Brow Kit which includes Brow Duo Pencil, Brow Highlighter, Brow Set, Duo Sharpener, Pointed Face Brush, and the Kabuki Brush.

Real Techniques Deep Cleansing Gel – review & giveaway!

Friday, January 15th 2016 Makeup

Real Techniques Deep Cleansing Gel and Miracle Complexion Sponge

Washing makeup brushes is a chore that I typically put off until it can’t wait any longer. What that means is by the time I do wash them, the generally need a pretty deep clean. This is where the Real Techniques Deep Cleansing Gel comes to the rescue! I have been using it to clean my brushes and sponges for the last little while and today I have a review of how well the gel works, as well as a giveaway!

Real Techniques Deep Cleansing Gel - Lena Talks Beauty.42

MAC Faerie Whispers Collection

Tuesday, January 5th 2016 Makeup


MAC Cosmetics have kicked off 2016 with their new Faerie Whispers limited edition collection, and I have been sent some of their products to review for you all!

“Let your innocence roam free. Transcend seasons with charmed hues inspired by the secret wondrous world of fairies. Eyes flutter impishly in new Foiled Shadows, in luminous wet or dry shades that flicker like morning mist. Feathery pinks for cheeks brighten the day, imbuing you with a spritely glow. Case a spell with rosy metallics for nails and pearl-lit nudes for lips, spinning glamour ‘til the moon turns to sun.”

MAC Faerie Whispers - Lena Talks Beauty

Among the fireflies lipstick, Fairy land foiled shadow, 133 brush

Keep reading for a closer look at the products that I’ve been sent, and my thoughts on each of them.

Bdellium Tools Brushes

Monday, October 19th 2015 Makeup

Bdellium 778, 763, 766 - Lena Talks Beauty

Eyeshadow application is something that I’m always trying to improve on, and good brushes seem to be a key component for that. I have heard that Bdellium Tools make great brushes so I ordered some from They are the 778 Large Shadow brush, 763 Angled Brow Brush, and 766 Angled Shadow brush and in this post I’ll be showing how they look, and reviewing how well they perform.

Bdellium Tools eye brushes review - Lena Talks Beauty

Makeup brushes for the face

Sunday, July 12th 2015 Makeup

It recently occurred to me that whilst I have waxed lyrical about every makeup item I own, I haven’t written very much about the brushes that I use to apply it with! Well, that changes today, I’m going to share what some of my favourite makeup brushes are. I use brushes from a wide variety of brands, and the majority are from fairly affordable brands such as Eco Tools and Real Techniques. I’ve decided to split this into two different posts because otherwise it would be an excessively long, so today is all about the FACE.

xo beauty flat top face brush, real techniques setting brush, ecotools kabuki brush, real techniques miracle complexion sponge, sephora blush brush

XO Beauty Flat Top Face Brush

Tuesday, May 12th 2015 Makeup

Like millions of other people around the world, I’m a fan of watching beauty videos by New Zealand’s own Shaaanxo or Shannon Harris. She has expanded her empire beyond YouTube, and now has her own make up brush and false eyelash company, XOBeauty. After seeing how great her foundation application is, I knew I had to get my hands on the same brush that she uses! I purchased the Flat Top Synthetic Face Brush, and I am so pleased that I did.

xo-beauty flat top foundation brush

Bossy Brush Cleansing Kit

Monday, November 10th 2014 Uncategorised

I’ll be honest with you readers, and say that I wash my makeup brushes less frequently than I should. It’s such a hassle, and I’m inherently a bit lazy. I was overdue for a brush cleaning session, and then Bossy Cosmetics sent me their Brush Cleansing Kit*, and the novelty of a new product outweighed my laziness. The Bossy Makeup Brush Cleansing Kit contains a silicone brush cleansing pad and a brush shampoo, and it promises to be a quick easy way to clean makeup brushes, which was very appealing to me.

Bossy Brush cleansing pad and brush shampoo

How to clean your makeup brushes

Saturday, June 14th 2014 Makeup

Good morning everyone – my brushes were due for a clean, so I took some photos while doing so, and have written a guide to how I like to clean my brushes. It’s important to do it regularly, to prevent too much product build up and to keep them free of bacteria. I have a a couple of different methods and products that I use to clean my brushes, depending on what they’re used for, and how dirty they are.Before we get started though, a disclaimer  – I have used both these methods many times on my own brushes and it has been great, but I only have synthetic brushes so I have no idea if it’s suitable to do this with animal hair brushes.

To clean eyeshadow brushes between use I use Artiste Brush Cleaner, but don’t bother buying it – all it is is isopropyl alcohol and some fragrance. You could just buy some isopropyl alcohol at the chemist and put it in a spray bottle. Isopropyl alcohol is great for spot cleaning, because it kills most bacteria, and it evaporates quickly. To use it, I spray a bit onto a paper towel, and then rub my brush back and forth over the patch. This usually gets all the eyeshadow off, and means that I can use them again quickly. I don’t like to do this too many times between giving them a proper wash.

spot cleaning

For the rest of my brushes, and when it’s time to give my eyeshadow brushes a proper clean, I wash them with either Dr Bronner’s liquid castille soap or dishwashing liquid, or occasionally shampoo. I prefer to use Dr Bronner’s as it’s gentler, but it doesn’t quite do a good enough job at getting my foundation out of the brush. Regardless of the product that I use, my technique is the same. I wet the brush with warm water, and pour some of the soap/shampoo into the palm of my hand, and rub the brush into my palm – like you can see in this photo below.

20140601_221335 I swish my brush around in the soap, until it foams up and then I rinse it – never turning the brush upside down, trying to avoid getting water under the ferrule (metal bit), because that can soften the glue and cause bristles to fall out. Sometimes I might need to do this more than once, if the brush is particularly filthy. In this round of brush cleaning I ended up resorting to the dishwashing liquid as the foundation just was not getting out. Once the brush is beautiful and clean, it’s time to let it dry! People do all sorts of complicated set ups to get their brushes to dry while pointing down, but I like to keep it simple – I roll up a towel and prop the brush up against it, like in the picture below.

My foundation brush after its bath

My foundation brush after its bath

Once the brush has been washed I spray it with some of my brush cleaner spray – alcohol helps water to evaporate (somehow…I’m not fully sure on the science of it), and it also hopefully will kill any bacteria that has survived. It’s really not a necessary step but I just do it mainly because I got the spray from Beauty Review and I want to make use of it.

I usually do this every week or two, or sometimes if I’m feeling terribly lazy I’ll leave it longer but I do like to have nice and clean brushes. Some people say to do it after every use but my brushes would literally never be dry and I just do not care quite that much.

Hopefully this post is an informative resource for you readers – how about cleaning your brushes today? Let me know how you get on if you decide to use these instructions.Lena x





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