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Saturday, May 30, 2015

Monthly Favorites: May

It's that time again!

1.) Kiss Gel Fantasy Ready-To Wear gel nails - I was tempted to snag these the moment I saw them at Walgreens, but I kept resisting & passing them by. As usual, they haunted me for a week before I went back to the drug store & finally picked them up. I've purchased them twice now (same set) and wore them for photos & for an event. They stayed put & looked great. They're medium length & have that ever-so-popular "claw" shape. They're also black with 2 tones of fine glitter at the tips. I used to get my nails done pretty consistently when I was younger but now, that just ain't happening. Between being a MUA & contact wearer, I prefer keeping my nails pretty short. Still, these are awesome when you're in a bind or if you don't want to commit to having long nails for more than a few days. At about $7 a box, they're pretty cost effective too.

2.) NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in Milk - I know this product has been mentioned for years now by everyone & their mama, but I'm gonna have to bring it up again, guys! Lol. I've been using & repurchasing this product for years, but recently rediscovered my love for it & have been using it like crazy. I actually "depotted" mine & put it in a mini makeup jar instead, which makes it even easier to use & allows me to get to all the product without the hassle of sharpening. I use this as an eyeshadow base (especially for bright colors that I want to stand out even more). I've also used this a ton for Halloween looks, highlighting, brightening, ombre lips...you name it! It's still a makeup must-have for me.

3.) Pop-arazzi polish in The Hue Is Blue - I found this line of polish at CVS. They have a nice selection of colors & super cute polka dotted packaging. As usual, I gravitated towards the blues + greens in this line, and this particular shade became a fast favorite of mine (I'm actually wearing it on my toes now). The formula of this polish is quite nice & it stays put under my favorite topcoat. It's also pretty opaque (2 coater) & applies smoothly. I love this cool light blue.

4.) MAC Hi-Def Cyan eye pencil - This is another product that I rediscovered recently & want to get straight to the point about - it's awesome. I've been trying to incorporate it into my eye looks as much as possible. The color is so vivid and the formula is amazing. It applies like a dream to the top lids & even the waterline. Great for adding a pop of color to a neutral look.

5.) Royal & Langnickel Love Is...Hopeful brush set - I did a more detailed blog post about this particular set pretty recently, so I'm going to keep this short. I've been using them since they arrived at my door and they're fantastic. They're also super pretty to look at and look great on my vanity. The fluffy crease brush is one of my all time favorites.

& last but not least...

6.) Sleek i Divine palette in Ultra Mattes V1 - My love for this palette is reeeeeaaaal & I've been playing with it for about a month straight. I remember YT beauty gurus using & talking about Sleek but, back then, it was more difficult to purchase their products in the US (I believe they're a UK brand). Now, their entire line is available to everyone through their website. The colors are awesome & surprisingly easy to apply/blend. As with most bright mattes, these look a lot better over a shadow base (this is where our handy NYX pencil in Milk comes in) & require a bit of packing on to be opaque. I haven't experienced a ton of chalky fallout underneath my eyes when using them, though, (which was a nice surprise) & the colors are so vivid and pretty. Even if you aren't brave enough to wear a lid of bright blue, these make great liners too, & can add a pop of color to a basic/neutral makeup look. I have several photos posted to IG using this palette so if you follow me there, you've probably already seen some of them. Best of all, Sleek is really affordable. I ordered mine on Amazon & I don't think I even paid for shipping.

Joanna xo

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Girls Girls Girls

I wasn't sure where to post this & then I had a eureka moment & remembered I had a blog! This isn't going to be a typical makeup picture post, but I felt the need to share my thoughts. Don't worry - I'll try to keep it concise! :)

I've come across & even met some absolutely amazing makeup artists, especially in the past couple of years. I've admired their work & have never hesitated to tell them so. As a matter of fact, I think that there is something to learn from each artist I come across...whether it's a new technique, a fresh approach, product recommendation - you name it! That's why I find it absolutely staggering when women in this industry turn their backs on one another and make things more difficult for each other, rather than lending a helping hand (even solely in the form of a suggestion or constructive critique).

As a freelance artist, I know how hard it is to find jobs, network, upkeep my kit...so it always puts a bad taste in my mouth to see the negativity of a person succumbing to their over inflated ego. That being said, if I'm going to be honest, being a total bitch to other artists is downright unprofessional.

There, I said it. 

In case you're wondering, I'm not even referencing my own experiences in this post (though I've had my fair share). I happened to see a back and forth conversation between 2 artists (one of whom was asking legitimate questions and another who wrongly believes she has had all the answers bestowed upon her by the makeup gods). If a fellow artist is asking for input, take it as a compliment, answer thoroughly and be kind. Short vague answers, bad attitudes & general huffing and puffing read as insecurity. Take pride in yourself & your work, & always be confident enough in yourself & your craft to be able to appreciate/uplift others. That's my advice, anyway.

In addition to seeing it in person, I've also seen stuff like this in makeup groups I'm a member of online...I don't believe in ridiculing other artists or making someone feel like they asked a stupid question. If they're asking, it means they genuinely want to find an answer. If they're asking you, try to respond with some understanding. I guess I can't stomach situations like these, because they usually stem from people who form these groups in the name of creating "unity" in the industry...

In the end, it's best to stay humble & learn to appreciate others' work. That way, you can keep learning. That's the beauty of this industry, there's always room to expand, learn, grow, study, observe, experiment  & improve.

Don't let your ego lead you by the nose.

& that's my two cents on that topic.
 & a few thoughts on the Instagram phenomenon...

 If you're a makeup artist or company seeking followers on Instagram by essentially tricking people into following you (i.e. following users, waiting for a follow back & subsequently unfollowing) your service/product probably needs a whole lot of work. Seeking a following for no other reason than to see your #'s go up is how I distinguish a hobbyist (trying to mimic the success of popular YouTube gurus) from a professional/serious artist. People notice when you do stuff like that & they usually unfollow anyhow...Let your talent guide you!

I've found that Instagram is generally an amazing resource for MUAs & I'm constantly inspired by all the eclectic styles I see on there (from sfx to beauty & everything else in between). I've actually had the pleasure of meeting (some in person) phenomenal and inspiring artists through IG & I wouldn't have, had I used this hide-&-seek method of attracting followers...lol.

In short, I think that resorting to any particular blatantly dishonest tactics to gain a following pretty much strips a person/profile of credibility. But I suppose it's helpful in spotting profiles you don't need to be following anyway. :P Ahh, there's always a silver lining. Haha.

Joanna xo

Monday, May 25, 2015


Hey folks!
I just wanted to share a recent project of mine! Actually, I've been meaning to upload more of my makeup work to my blog lately, but between frequently updating my Instagram + Facebook accounts, I didn't really see the need to post it here. I've been keeping busy lately working, designing my website (which will have a blog feed) & expanding my portfolio, so I'm really excited to have a place for it all, haha! I will continue to post FOTDs, tutorials, reviews, monthly favorites, hauls & DIYs here, so please keep checking back for those, because I try to update as often as I can. I love having a place to ramble all about products and looks! :)

Again, if you're interested in seeing more makeup looks by me, please go follow my Instagram & Facebook pages! Both links located in the side bar to the right! ----->


I recently asked one of my very good friends to be my model for a series of photographs. The outcome was quite striking & beautiful, so I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I enjoyed doing the makeup for/shooting them! Big thanks to Joe, for being my muse/model & such a great canvas!

Photography & Makeup by Joanna Brzezina 
Model: Joe Ramirez 

© Joanna Brzezina Makeup

© Joanna Brzezina Makeup

© Joanna Brzezina Makeup

Joanna xo

Saturday, May 23, 2015


I realized that I haven't  been posting many makeup looks/pictorials here anymore. So, I'm starting with what's on my face today! I haven't gotten around to taking any gratuitous selfies (lol) so a product photo will have to suffice for now!

I post a ton of photos and looks on my Facebook + Instagram pages (links to the right!!), so please follow me there if you want to see more of that.

For now, here's what I chose to slap on my face for an early dinner today.

Milani Tea Rose blush
Wet n Wild On Edge Longwearing Eye Pencil in Midnight Girl
MAC lipstick in Syrup
Maybelline Lashblast 24 Hour mascara in Blackest Black
Lulu Beam Me Up Light Up Lip Gloss (has no name on it! but it's a nude/pink)
L'Oreal Brow Stylist Designer Eyebrow Pencil in Blonde
NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in Milk (depotted)
Brushes are Royal & Langnickel

I also used my Covergirl Outlast Stay Fabulous 3-in-1 foundation in 810 Classic Ivory + Almay Smart Shade Balance pressed powder in Light.

Joanna xo

Friday, May 22, 2015

An Epic Journey: Light shopping (read: hoarding) at Target... + reviews for your trouble.

Last night I decided to distract my blues away with a little trip to Target. As usual, the plan was to pop in for some cat food (I don't deny my cat lady ways, hunty) & maybe some ice cream (aka the stereotypical girl pick-me-up for a rough day) but I ended up spending forever looking at their clothes & then made my way to the make up aisles (read: the vortex). I noticed that their e.l.f selection had expanded a great deal so, naturally, I had to pick up & inspect each product. Somehow, I managed to grab only 3 things (2 of which I already own - d'oh!) & scuttle out of there. Since my mom is a L'Oreal fan, I picked up a mascara to try & stumbled across a brow pencil that I simply had to have in that moment. It was the key to my most perfect brows, I decided (even though I just bought Anastasia's dipbrow - but I digress!). I scooped up some cat food, forgot all about my ice cream & sped away, unnecessary purchases in my bag & a look of total satisfaction on my face...*booming villainous laughter*

I was all...

Product Reviews:

The two e.l.f brushes I got (Eyeshadow brush 1815 + Smudge brush 1825) are actually pretty great. They're cheap ($1 each) and super useful. Since I have now purchased them twice, I have them for myself & as back ups in my kit drawer.

I also tested the e.l.f lip exfoliator & really like it. I used to get suckered into buying the Lush Bubblegum lip scrub (it smells good, okay?!) but then I started making my own out of sugar + honey. Still, I like the idea of having a lip scrub in a tube, so I don't have to directly touch it to apply. It also helps focus the product where I need it (on my lips, as opposed to my chin and under my nose). It does what it's supposed to & made my lips feel soft. I have to add that the packaging is great. It isn't flimsy or cheap...it comes in a sturdy black tube with some weight to it. I'm impressed & will most likely repurchase this often.

The L'Oreal Brow Stylist Designer Eyebrow Pencil in Blond is another good purchase. It's not crazy pigmented & has to be built up, but I like that about it. It doesn't smudge or look shiny when it's applied. Also, it has a pencil on one side and a little spoolie (think mini mascara wand) on the other side, so you can brush your brow hairs in place or comb through for a more natural look. I have a bunch of little wands laying around, but I love that this product makes it simple & combines the two. I have been using Anastasia's Dipbrow pomade on my eyebrows lately and, while I do like it, it's definitely a product that requires some time, patience & precision to apply. When I'm in a hurry, brow pencils really do the trick. The thing I like most about this pencil is the color, though. I've noticed that a lot of the brow pencils I've had are slightly off in color...usually a bit too red...etc. This one seems to compliment my hair best and I really appreciate that.

Lastly, The L'Oreal Voluminous False Fiber Lashes mascara in Blackest Black is an absolute nightmare. I'm starting to think I got a bad one or something, so I'll try not to bash it into the ground completely...but holy shit...this stuff gave me spider lashes to the max. The brush looks nothing like the photos online, for one thing. The little bristles are super short, scraggly...weird. The formula is kinda dry and strange & I had a ton of fallout and lashes that went every which way. It gave me no volume & was a clumped together mess. There are certain mascaras I like more when I've had 'em a while & they dry out some, but...this is not one of them. It sucks and I'm taking it back...which is something I rarely feel compelled to do.

Hope you've enjoyed reading about my super exciting Target quest (lololol)! Hope the reviews were at least semi informative.

Leaving you with the song I've been replaying all day - Stressed Out by Twenty One Pilots! Blurryface is a great album, just sayin'.

Wish we could turn back time, to the good ol’ days,
When our momma sang us to sleep but now we’re stressed out

TGIF & happy weekend, all!

Joanna xo

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Review: Joanna Naturia Leave In Detangling Hair Spray Conditioner

If you checked out my post about some of my newly acquired European beauty products, you may remember that I picked up this Joanna brand detangling spray. Well, by now I've used it & wanted to give my two cents!

Right before I stumbled upon this product at my local Polish supermarket, I actually made a mental note about purchasing a detangler so I couldn't have found it at a better time...Hmm, guess I just felt the need to tell you that.

Anyhow, getting right to the point...I really like this product. I also really like the name but...that probably goes without saying. *sneer*

The packaging lured me right off the bat (that and the fact that the spray is pink) and I really enjoy the smell. Despite the image on the bottle, it doesn't smell like raspberries to me. Still, it has this really pleasant & yummy scent. It's hard to describe what it smells like exactly but...just take my word for it.

Yeah yeah...But, does it work? 

When I first sprayed this into my hair and ran my fingers through it, I noticed some slight stickiness going on. I started to fear that this spray might weigh my hair down or make it difficult to work with but it didn't. After spraying this from the roots to the tips of my hair, I combed it through and noticed that it did help tame my tangles. Next, I applied my It's A 10 Miracle Leave In Spray (the only other product I ever really use on my wet hair) and styled as usual. This product didn't weigh down my hair whatsoever or make it difficult to work with. It's a great first step for taming the hair before blow drying or heat styling.

The bottle does indicate that this spray can be used on dry hair, but I probably wont be doing that unless I choose to rock my natural curls (which is rare these days)..I mean, I guess you could spritz it on to make your hair smell good but, since I straighten mine, I generally avoid using sprays once I'm done styling. This product also claims to hydrate the hair and since mine is pretty dry, I can use all the help I can get. My hair tends to be pretty soft when it's styled, but I like the idea of having an extra conditioner in it, I suppose.

If you can get your hands on this, I do recommend it and I feel like you definitely can't beat the price ($3.19). This was actually cheaper (despite being a European product) than detangling sprays you can find on drugstore shelves.

If you're interested in this product, you can find it online...If you're from Chicago (like me) check out my European beauty product post here for info on where to buy it.

Joanna xo

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Beauty Spotlight: Celebrity Looks To Love

I came across a photo of Jennifer Lopez last night and, as always, had to stop to admire her beautiful skin & makeup! I decided to compile a little list of celebrity looks that I love & look to when I need a little makeup inspiration.

Let's go!

1.) First off, here's that gorgeous J.Lo look I was talking about (featuring her signature glow). I love her sun kissed skin, sultry eyes & nude lips. Her cheeks are accentuated beautifully with soft contour/highlight. So feminine & sexy!

2.) Next up is one of my favorite actresses...Sandra Bullock! Her skin is flawless, her eyes make a beautiful focal point & her cheeks/lips are petal pink & pretty!

3.) Next up is Scarlett Johansson, of course. I had a hard time choosing my favorite ScarJo look, but decided to go with another from the red carpet. Whether she's wearing a bold lipstick or dark smokey eyes, Scarlett always looks fresh & beautiful. This simple smokey eye + glossy pink lip look is one of my faves for sure! Once again, the contour is warm, flattering & understated.

4.) Gabrielle Union is next with another gorgeous smokey eye/nude lip combo. She always looks fresh faced & beautiful. I love her long lashes & soft blush here.

5.) Ahh, how pretty is Jessica Alba?! I love the muted cranberry eye, contoured cheeks & simple lip. This is further proof that sometimes, less is more.

6.) I couldn't make a list like this without mentioning the absolutely flawless Aishwarya Rai. From the moment I saw this gorgeous Bollywood actress, I was obsessed with her and her makeup. Over the years, I've seen her play with different lip colors and looks, so it was hard to nail down just one favorite! As much as I love how deep smokey looks emphasize her beautiful eyes, I'm absolutely loving this soft and shimmery look.

7.) This next actress is a new favorite of mine, but she came to mind right away when thinking about beautiful makeup! Dianna Agron looks amazing on the red carpet. I love the nude pout, wispy lashes & softly bronzed skin.

Ok, so you get the idea! 

These are just a few of my favorite celebrity looks, but I think one thing that these ladies all have in common is that their makeup is tailored specifically to them (which helps to emphasize their best features).

Now, as wonderful as YouTube & Instagram are, I've seen some trends on there that I've grown a bit tired of lately! Super cakey contour, exaggerated brows & stark highlight are among them... It's important to consider how your makeup will look in person as well as on camera. The example I use below is very pretty (so please don't think I'd EVER rip someone's work apart), but doesn't necessarily translate well in person. While this look may work for the wearer, it may not for someone attempting to recreate it.

I mean, I still believe that a woman should wear the kind of makeup she feels the most beautiful in (don't think I'm judging, I love me some blue eyeshadow & glitter), but I think it's important to remember that we're not all Kim K, haha. I think every face could benefit from highlight & contour done the right way...& taking your OWN features (skin tone, texture, eye/lip/brow shape, etc.)  into account is extremely important in achieving a gorgeous makeup look...that's all I'm sayin'!

I think these looks are super versatile, so I hope this list has been helpful in some way! Bottom line: Let your own beautiful features shine through!

Joanna xo

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Haul: European Beauty Products

If you read my post all about micellar water, you're probably already aware that I love European beauty products. I'm always on the lookout for new things to try and amazing new cosmetics to add to my makeup kit (& introduce to my clients). I was out running some errands today and decided to pop into one of my favorite Polish supermarkets, which happens to have a pretty amazing selection of body care, hair care & even makeup.

I hadn't been there in a few months and I discovered that they had expanded their selection quite a bit. Also, their prices are pretty amazing & they have a super long aisle's worth of things to choose from.

Here's what I picked up:

Originally, I had about ten bottles in my basket...After some contemplation I decided to narrow my purchases to these 3:

- Joanna Marine Collagen body lotion ($4)- Ahh, I love the name of this brand. ;) Haha, but in all seriousness, their hair products have always been an old favorite so I decided to try their body care as well. This one smells light/fresh & claims to firm the skin as it moisturizes. I'll take it! I think this will be perfect for everyday post-shower use. I've tried it already & it absorbs nicely without leaving behind any greasy residue. The scent lingers. Win win!

- Adidas Hydrating Shower Gel for Women ($4.79) - I've repurchased this particular shower gel many times. I love the scent year round. So refreshing!

- Joanna Detangling Leave-In Spray ($3.19) - Again, this brand makes awesome shampoos, conditioners, hair masks & treatments, so I wanted to give this a go. I've noticed that my hair is particularly tangled after I get it highlighted, so this might be nice to spritz through it after a shower. It smells amazing!

I plan on making a totally separate post this weekend about European makeup/face products that I've purchased for my kit so please check back for that.

In the meantime, if you have a European/Polish market near you, make sure to check out their beauty aisle. Chances are you'll find something amazing & unique to try!

Here are a few of my favorite (hair care/body care) companies to look out for while you shop:
Joanna - awesome shampoos, conditioners, treatments, leave in conditioner sprays & even body wash/lotion
Bialy Jelen - great body washes/lotions/intimate cleansers
Ziaja - great body washes, body milks, toners, intimate cleansers, moisturizers
Timotei - yummy smelling shampoos
Eveline - great skincare line, tons of options for different skin types

Don't forget to grab some pierogi, while you're at it. Happy shopping. 

Miłego dnia, kochani!

Joanna xo