IECSC and IBS Las Vegas 2015


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International Esthetics Cosmetics and Spa Convention & International Beauty Show in Las Vegas, June 2015

My haul of beauty goodies!

One of my favorite things–beauty conventions.  IECSC and IBS come to Las Vegas every summer and are usually co-located at the Las Vegas Convention Center.  Unfortunately, they are only open to industry professionals.  You get to see and buy all sorts of spa, skin, makeup, hair and nail products.  Both shows also offer classes in each category that you can attend for free.  A beauty junkie’s heaven.

With my makeup work schedule, I could only attend the convention one day, so I had to power through both shows.  I got there early so I could attend a hair class by the up-do master, Martin Parsons.  After Martin’s class, armed with my backpack of snacks and water, I embarked on my journey through IECSC.

Beginning in the spa wellness section, I sampled about 6 different vitamin energy drinks, then buzzed my way through the aisles.  A booth advertising eucalyptus oil caught my eye.  Eric, the representative of the EuroSpa Aromatics company, and I chatted about the benefits of eucalyptus oil for a few minutes.  He was very informative and was kind enough to give me a sample of their Pure Eucalyptus Oil Shower Mist.  It smelled amazing.  Eric said that I could also spray the mist into the air conditioning intake in my house to get rid of any bad smells.  That will definitely be happening after frying up some salmon cakes!

Checking items off my shopping list, I stopped by another booth that had tons of cheap spa related items.  I picked up some small spray bottles, dropper bottles and little sample size jars, which I use to give touch-up lipstick and lip gloss to my clients.

Even though I have a gazillion brushes, I couldn’t resist buying a few more.  Mostly small eyeliner and shadow brushes, along with a clear bag that I will use while working on the set for makeup and hair styling jobs.

Needing some new powder foundations after I broke a whole bunch of mine in an attempt to de-pot them (sometimes works well, sometimes a disaster), I stopped by a cosmetics company that sells palettes of powder foundation for professionals.  Since I do makeup on all colors of women and men, I purchased 3 palettes of 6 colors each.  I also picked up an assortment of waterproof eye brow pencils to test out.

Finishing up in IECSC, I had a quick snack and walked over to the other part of the convention hall where the International Beauty Show was going on.  IBS is focused more on nails and hair styling/cutting supplies, along with makeup and gift items.  IBS is a lot more lively than IECSC, with loud upbeat music and energetic instructors on stages doing demonstrations.

Not needing any supplies for nails, I went into the hair and makeup section.  I browsed through the aisles, checking out different companies.  There seemed to be a lot of booths selling glittery/shimmery loose eye shadow.  I don’t use loose eye shadows in my kit because they can be very messy.   I did receive one shimmery light pink sample that I’ll probably make into a glow lotion.

Along my journey, I bumped into my makeup artist friend, Jen, who I have known for at long time.  Always nice to see a friendly face!

Tracy on left, Jen on right.

Coming to the end of my journey, the last booth that I was looking for was nestled in the back of the convention hall.  Lashes!  I’m kind of picky with false eyelashes.  If they are stiff and hard to place naturally on the eye, I won’t use them, even if they are $1.  My favorites are Andrea and Ardelle, but I found a brand that looks suspiciously similar, Sassi.  I’ve purchased them before and really liked the quality and the fact that they come in a 6 pack.  I got a few different natural looking styles for my kit.

Tired and done with my beauty journey, it was time to go home.  IECSC and IBS Las Vegas 2015 were both amazing and I’m glad that I had the chance to go.  Now I have to figure out where to put all this stuff.  I think I am going to need a bigger makeup kit!

All photos by tracysotirakis.com



Please Wash Your Makeup Brushes!



Nasty, dirty things.

Would you sleep on the same pillow case every night for 3 months?  No way, that’s gross.  So why are you repeatedly putting something on your face without washing it regularly?  Your makeup brushes need a bath, right now.

I’m a bit of a germ freak when it comes to my makeup brushes for my business.  All clients get their own set of clean brushes, washed with anti-bacterial soap and water.  Why am I so vigilant about this?  I don’t want disgusting dirty stuff put on my face, so I don’t put it on my client’s faces.

Washing makeup brushes is easy and should be done on a regular basis.  The brushes will feel softer and work better without all the layers of gunk on them.  Washing brushes will not make the hairs fall out, but some shedding occurs with all brushes, especially less expensive ones.

Start by gathering your dirty brushes.  Get a fresh towel and spread it out to give the clean brushes a place to lay flat and dry.

The best soap to use for natural hair brushes (blush, powder, eye shadow) is a mild shampoo.  Baby shampoo works well or any regular shampoo that you have in the house.  For synthetic brushes (foundation, concealer, eye liner, lip) use a liquid dish soap that you would use to hand wash dishes, not the stuff for the dishwasher.  I usually try to find one that says something about dissolving grease.

Using warm water, wet the brush then work a little soap into it.  Swirl the brush around in the palm of your hand gently, never pushing too hard which will damage the hairs.  Let the brush lather up to get rid of all the makeup.

Hold the brush under the running water and work out the soap, gently spreading the hairs.  Try not to get any water into the ferrule, which is the part that attaches the hairs to the handle, the silver thing on this brush.  If too much water gets into the ferrule right where it is attached to the brush handle, your brush may get damaged and fall apart.  For very soiled brushes, the process may need to be repeated until all the makeup is dissolved.  Do not use any hair conditioner.  Do not leave them to soak.

Fresh and clean

Squeeze out the excess water and smooth the hairs out.  Lay flat to dry.

Do this on a weekly basis (at least) to keep your brushes clean and bacteria free.  Brushes will last for many years if treated with love.  Happy washing!

All photos:  Tracy Sotirakis



How To Apply Blush

If you don’t wear blush now, you should start immediately.  Blush livens up the whole face.  When you apply foundation and powder you take away all your natural coloring.  What you want to do is apply a blush that is going to mimic your natural flushing color and give you your radiance back.  Blush will also enhance your cheekbones, giving your face more structure.

Blush shades can come in peach, pink, mauve, apricot, bronze, salmon, brown, terracotta, fuchsia, red and orange.  For light skin, choose lighter shades.  Medium skin, medium shades.  For dark skin, clear (not muddy or muted) bright vibrant shades look great.  There are different formulas of blush:  powder, cream and a gel.  If you are very new to blush, don’t go for the gel at first.  It’s the hardest to control and you can look like a clown if it’s not done correctly.  Powders and creams are the easiest to use.

If you are going to use a cream blush or gel, apply it after foundation and before powder.  You don’t want to apply anything creamy over something that has already been powdered, it will not go on right and look blotchy.  I believe the best way to apply cream or gel blush is to use your fingers.  Put the blush on your index and middle finger and rub the fingers of both hands together, getting it even on both sides.




Photo by http://www.jsimagedesign.com


While looking in the mirror, smile to see the “apples” of your cheeks.

Photo by http://www.jsimagedesign.com

Start rubbing the blush at the outer edge of the “apple” and blend it towards your hairline.  You don’t want any lines or finger marks.  Gel blush needs to be applied very quickly before it dries.  If you applied too much cream blush, use a sponge wedge remove some. If you applied too much using a gel, you’re a little bit screwed.  Face wash or more foundation can fix it.  Apply a light dusting of translucent powder to set the blush.  Lipstick can substitute for cream blush if you don’t have any or if you are in a pinch.

Powder blush can be applied after foundation and powder with a blush brush.

Photo by http://www.jsimagedesign.com

Use the same placement as the cream blush, starting at the outside of the “apple” and blending out towards the hairline.

Photo by http://www.jsimagedesign.com

If you applied too much, remove some with a sponge wedge or apply more translucent powder over the blush.

Blush can come in matte or shimmer, it’s up to you which you like better.  Matte will look more natural and is best for photos or harsh lighting situations.  Shimmer will look best under lower light.  Shimmer blush also will be too much if you have shimmery eyeshadow and shimmery lipstick on also.  Shimmer all over will make you will look like a sparkler on the 4th of July.

A few tips: Don’t go too far in by your nose on your “apples”.  Don’t go too far up by your eyes, and don’t go too far down by your jawline.  And for goodness sakes, ditch the horrible stiff brush that comes with a lot of the blushes these days.  If you use it, you risk looking like a lady from the 80’s with her scary unblended stripe.

Photo by http://www.jsimagedesign.com

Blend, blend, blend!  If you apply your blush like this I will find you and scrub your face clean!  🙂