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The importance of removing makeup at the end of the day is SO important, but how clean in your face? Sharing the three areas to focus on for clean skin.
How clean is your face really?

If you aren’t completely removing your makeup (EVERY nook and cranky) before cleaninsing, WHAT ARE YOU DOING? You may not realize that your #MOTD is still hanging around and waiting to plant pimples.

The Brunette Blend-How Clean Is Your Face Three Commonly Missed Areas When Removing Makeup

I thought my skin was makeup free after washing with my cream cleanser in the evenings, but sadly, I was mistaken. While using makeup wipes after a shower to remove mascara, I found my foundation and bronzer were being picked up. Instead of my skin being cleansed, I was removing only a layer of makeup.

You know what that equals? Clogged pores and surprise guests (PIMPLES).

After this horrific realization and making myself a semi-guinea pig, I found that adding an extra step to a nighttime skin routine AND focusing on three frequently missed areas can make all the difference.

Three Commonly Missed Areas When Removing Makeup

1. Hairline. We’re all about having our makeup look natural, so we pull and dab it into our hairline to get a seamless look. While this a good makeup trick, you NEED to make sure you’re removing the makeup at the end of the day. Its easy to wash your face and stay clear of your hair if you don’t want to wash it that day. Over time, this leftover makeup can build up and cause breakouts.

2. Nose. The sides and bridge of your nose need a little extra love when it comes to washing your makeup off. Foundations and creams can get caked around the nose and cause dryness and blemishes if not removed. I was washing my face so quickly that I wasn’t giving this area enough attention. This resulted in dead skin, flakes and uneven makeup. Plus, IT WAS SO ITCHY.

3. Neck. This is definitely an area that is overlooked when washing. If you’re pulling your makeup down to your neck (if not, you should) to create a more natural, seamless look, that leftover makeup can cause some damage, too. Think wrinkles and you guessed it, pimples.

For your cleanest skin, use a makeup wipe (I’m using THIS) or use a cotton round with oil to remove makeup from all areas of your skin. Then, your regular cleanser can take a deeper dive into pores and work on your skin on how its intended.

Chat soon,
The Brunette Blend-Samantha-Signature

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD foundation is providing color matches for unique coloring. No makeup-makeup has never looked so good.

The Brunette Blend-No Makeup-Makeup Look Has Never Looked Better feat. Make Up For Ever Ultra HD-R210 Foundation

Foundation is relatively new for me. I never saw my mom use foundation, I used it incorrectly all throughout college (probably because my mom never wore it) and then I’d pick an incorrect shade for my fair skin (in my mind I had an olive/tan tone- ha!)

Our skin colors are so unique. There isn’t just light, medium and dark anymore. I can’t tell you how many times my “light” foundation was just a little too warm. Colors have undertones that give us all our beautiful + individualized shade. I didn’t actually put the two together until I was introduced to Make Up For Ever’s Ultra HD foundation.

The Brunette Blend-No Makeup-Makeup Look Has Never Looked Better feat. Make Up For Ever Ultra HD-MUFE Line Up


When a stubborn blemish was hidden without concealer, I knew the Make Up For Ever Ultra HD worked its magic.

With 40 shades to choose from, you can choose your perfect shade. I have some pink undertones in my coloring, so I went with R210 and let me tell you, it is quite the match. So much of a match, it looked like I wasn’t wearing makeup- a stubborn blemish was hidden without concealer, so I knew it worked it’s witchcraft.

When it comes to makeup, I like to make it as naturally looking as possible with a bold lip (reaaaallly red) usually. This requires minimal product + some trial and error techniques. The techniques make ALLLLL the difference.

The Brunette Blend-No Makeup-Makeup Look Has Never Looked Better feat. Make Up For Ever Ultra HD-R210 Foundation Look

The Make Up For Ever Ultra HD foundation is $43 dollars, which is pricy in my book, but I truly think the quality + size your getting is worth it. PLUS, 1-2 pumps goes a long way paired with one little trick I’ve picked up.

Put the foundation directly on your face: obviously it’s going on your face, but instead of picking it up on your makeup sponge, take your finger + dot the foundation your face. Then you can take your damp (water or facial oil) makeup sponge + dab and blend. You’re no longer soaking up so much product on your sponge, you’re instead dabbing it directly onto the surface you want it to be on.

I’ve been pairing this foundation + technique for a few weeks and could not be happier with how my makeup has been looking. As of right now, Make Up For Ever Ultra HD is my first choice for foundations for naturally looking and build-able coverage. The chances of me getting another bottle when this one is out is HIGH x36636382.

Chat soon,
The Brunette Blend-Samantha-Signature

This complimentary product was provided by Influenster + Make Up For Ever. All opinions + thoughts are those of The Brunette Blend.

If you haven’t noticed yet, the blog has taken the slightest of creative turns.

Instead of hosting a lifestyle blog, The Brunette Blend has become officially a hub for beauty + personal style (from clothing to your mantel)! For the most part, this is what I regularly blog about. Its also the two topics I receive questions on the most, so this feels like a natural spot for The Brunette Blend to be in. This blog and the people that are kind of enough to read it (thank you!) drove us here. I’m excited for this and hope you are, too! If you want to learn a little bit more about what to expect, check out the updated About Me page HERE. Bear with me while I do some redecorating with the tabs on the site 🙂

Now on to the post!

The Brunette Blend-New Direction + the Latest in My Makeup Bag

There are a few new members in the makeup bag that I’m loving already! Two face based + two LASH MASTERS.

Hoola Matte Bronzer
I’ve tried this in the past when I was 5 shades too orange from a spray tan, but just recently found out how much punch it packs! In my opinion, a matte bronzer allows for a more natural, sun kissed look opposed to one with shimmer. This bronzer provides a great, natural looking color. Since this bronzer is highly pigmented, you want to apply with a light-hand and build onto the color to get the shade you’re going for.

Hoola Quickie Contour Stick
I AM LOVING THIS LITTLE THING! Its a cream to powder formula that adds color and sculpts. I usually do a light contour to add color to my face and it forces to me to not fall back into old habits and go over board on bronzer. This contour stick makes it easy to sculpt and bronze, its also super mess-free. Just apply and blend with a brush. I’ve been using this solo for a few days and its really warmed my face and lasted throughout the day. I think I’ll get a full size when I’m finished with the mini.

I LOVE getting travel sizes of product to try before spending money on a full-size. Snag a mini Hoola Bronzer + Quickie Contour Stick in the Bronze n’ Sculpted kit. It also comes with my favorite highlighter.

Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara
This mascara is really impressive at only $9. I saw dramatically longer + fuller lashes when using this. If you saw my Instagram story, you saw the difference after a few coats. No primer, just the mascara. This mascara is definitely a repeat purchase and can be found everywhere from makeup stores to Target.

Superhero Mascara
You’ve seen in other posts that I REALLY like it Cosmetics. Their mascara did not disappoint. Once again, if you saw Insta stories, you saw the difference! It did a great job of lengthening and making my lashes appear fuller, which I loved! Bonus is that it comes in a travel size so you can try before you commit, however, you won’t be disappointed if you get the full tube.

P.S. The Mascara Master List has been updated! Check it out HERE for the scoop on more mascaras.

What is the latest in your makeup bag?

Chat soon,

The Brunette Blend-Samantha-Signature

Makeup can be EXPENSIVE and it adds up quick. I’m not one to blow money on makeup, so if you open up my caboodle (100% this over the makeup bag game) you’ll find 1-2 products that may be a little more expensive. Other than that, drugstore finds are much more my speed.

The Brunette Blend-top 5 drugstore makeup finds-makeup tips

Without further ado…

Top 5 Drugstore Makeup Finds

Maybelline BB cream. I usually opt for lighter coverage because I feel like my skin breathes better. This stuff minimizes the look of pores and redness. It also can help with acne.

Conceal + Bake
Neutrogena ® 3 in 1 Concealer. This is by FAR the best concealer. Super affordable and provides great coverage. You can also use it to listen up parts of your face. Don’t forget to BAKE with powder so it lasts throughout the day. Mineral “Set It & Don’t Fret It” Matte Finishing Powder will change your life at $9 bucks.

L’Oreal® Paris Voluminous Superstar Mascara. This is the mascara you need in your life. SCOUTS HONOR. We’ve talked about the power of priming before and let me tell you, still working wonders. If you want to step up your lash game without painfully swiping your credit card, try this one.

No7 Match Made Blusher. Blush just makes me feel alive. A slight pinkness to your cheeks seals the deal for me. I really No.7 beauty products and this blush doesn’t disappoint.

Ok. So what am I missing? What does my caboodle NEED?

Chat soon,

The Brunette Blend-Samantha-Signature

I went makeup free for a week and it wasn’t as scary as I thought. For the most part I opt for a CC cream for the week at work, while on the weekends I go from foundation to nothing.

The Brunette Blend-I Went Makeup Free for a Week and Here's What Happened

Recently, I noticed subtle bumps near my templates and filled pores. So not feeling it. As I was running low on my favorite CC+ cream, I decided to do an experiment. No makeup for a week. Mascara and eyebrows were allowed. The only thing that was allowed on my face was moisturizer (with SPF, of course).

Without makeup, my skin was able to breathe and clear any imperfections on its own.

â–şAfter a few days I noticed that the bumps I saw were slowly diminishing. Without makeup, my skin was able to breathe and clear any imperfections on its own. My clogged pores were even beginning to clear up after a mask.

â–şThose after workout pimples were no more. Its normal for me to occasionally find a small pimple (that goes away after a day or two) after an intense workout. Since my skin was makeup free, my pores weren’t be clogged with makeup and picking up dirt and sweat. Note to self: ALWAYS remove your makeup before a workout.

â–şMy husband thought I was wearing foundation. After a few days of only filling in my brows and using mascara, Grant would compliment my makeup saying, ‘you should do your makeup like that more often, it looks great!’ Mwhahaha. If only he knew it took me literally 2 minute to do.

â–şI was saving A LOT of time. I didn’t realize how long it actually took to do my makeup. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t spent a ton of time painting my face. When it comes to doing your makeup AND hair, that’s like a half hour total. Now my makeup was approx. two minutes and I was done. Easy.

The big takeaway is that my skin improved in under seven days by going makeup free.”

Obviously the big take away is that my skin improved in under seven days. It just needed a breather. I enjoy makeup, so saying I’m never wearing it again is out of the question, BUT I think 2-3 days a week going makeup free would be fantastic for skin. With a great cleanser and moisturizer with SPF, your skin can be glowing with or without makeup.

SO. Would you consider going makeup free for a few days a week to treat your skin?

Chat soon,

The Brunette Blend-Samantha-Signature

Last Friday I did my first Instagram live showing you all my favorite products for an easy + quick look! It was a little nerve-racking and I broke out in red splotches haha (REAL), but practice makes perfect! I shared links to the products used on my Twitter, but wanted to share on the blog for those who wanted a little more information + a how-to.


Rosehip Oil
Step one. Rub all over your face to prep.

I love prepping my skin with oil. Rosehip oil has a TON of benefits + creates a perfect base for makeup.

it Cosmetics CC+ Cream Illumination

Step 2. Apply CC cream with damp makeup sponge. You can dampen with water or add a few drops of oil. This will help create a dewey and smooth finish. If you leave your sponge dry, the makeup will stay on the sponge and not your skin, creating a patchy look.

I’ve been using this CC cream for about two months now and I’m in LOVE. While its a little pricier than a drugstore CC cream, I feel like I’m getting my money’s worth out of this cream. It provides great coverage and I don’t feel the need to add concealer when wearing this. Its light, has SPF 50 (woot, woot!) and has anti-aging ingredients. Honestly, what could be better? I’m with you when I’m not ready to spend $$$ on something I’m not sure that worth it. it Cosmetics has their CC cream in a TRAVEL SIZE! This has to be my favorite thing ever when trying something new. Try the travel size and let me know what you think. I have a feeling you’ll be crushing.

NYX ‘Set It, Don’t Fret It’ Matte Finishing Powder
Step 3. Apply powder to t-zone + under eyes.

I snagged this powder up at Target (my happy place) and its been treating me well. I’m not too makeup guru-y when it comes to powder, but I dig this one.

Smashbox Bronzer (Warm Matte)
Step 4. Apply bronzer around perimeter of forehead, below cheeks (this creates a little low maintenance contour), along chin area and by the nose. This simply warms the face and creates a natural glow.

I’ve mentioned a few times that in high school, I was severely orange. I was hitting up level 3 in the spray tan booths and adding the orangest, most concentrated bronzer with shimmer on my face as if it were a translucent powder. Proud to say, I’ve come a long way and this bronzer helped me get there! Again, this bronzer is pricier than something you’d find on a run to the drugstore, but not kidding you, it lasted me TWO YEARS. Last Thursday is when I picked up a new compact. The color is what impressed me the most. Its a matte with little shimmer, which makes it a FANTASTIC bronzer to build to create you own look. Sine rehabbing from my orange stage, I love the bronzer to warm and give a natural and healthy glow. 100% recommend this to anyone in need of a bronzer.

No.7 Match Made Blusher
Step 5. Apply to apples of cheeks.

One of my FAVORITE this to add in makeup is blush. I feel like it instantly brightens my face and adds a touch of healthy color. I’m still exploring blushes and this is the current one I’m using. No.7 is a great brand and super accessible. The color Damson Mist is bright + vibrant, but looks natural on skin.

Benefit’s Roller Lash
Step 6. Apply mascara to lashes.

Another mascara from our Mascara Master List! (My thoughts have been added!) It did a great job of lifting and separating lashes. I snagged a travel size of this mascara and would definitely go for a full tube next time!

Benefit Goof Proof Brow Pencil
Step 7. Fill in brows with small strokes to create a natural and defined brow.

You guys saw my LOSE MY MIND over this brow pencil. Seriously. I’M SO IMPRESSED with how natural it fill in my brows and how easy it was. Previously I was filling in my brows with a weird brush I found and eyeshadow. You guys, EYE SHADOW. Some days I could make it look great, other days they looks like a mess. Benefits Goof Proof is just as it says, GOOF PROOF. I’m hooked on it that I’m most likely going to do a full blog post on it, so STAY TUNED.

Sonia Kashuk Lip Definer in Dusty Rose
Step 8. Line + fill lips.

This color is amazing. Its a neutral with a tint which makes it great for those who can’t pull off a nude lip. I like using this pencil solo because of the color and it gives a matte vibe. Plus, i think it lasts a little longer.

I promise you 8 MINI steps won’t take you long. Its super simple, takes minutes and just enhances your natural beauty opposed to reconstructing it. Let me know if you have any questions or if you have suggestions on new products for a quick, natural look!

Chat soon,

The Brunette Blend-Samantha-Signature

I sinned last weekend and broke the cardinal skincare rule.

I fell asleep with my makeup on.


Horrible. Dry heaving at the thought. No matter the time of night or how tired I am, I ALWAYS remove my makeup before bed. Sometimes life happens and you fall asleep in your MOTD.

We’ve been told over and over again to remove our makeup before bed. Why is it such a big deal? We just know it’s not good and we shouldn’t do it. I did some research (Sources one + two) to really understand how it harms our skin. Let’s break it down, because the more you do it, the worse it is for your skin.

1. Clogs pores: makeup clogs pores while you sleep and can cause breakouts + acne. One night with it on won’t wreck your face, but over time it creates microcomedone which attracts acne causing bacteria. No thanks. Skin renews itself at night and if it’s being clogged by foundations + primers, it results in blackheads and dullness.

2. Wrinkles + premature aging: your skin needs to breathe. By not allowing your skin to recover from the day, it can lead to signs of premature aging and collagen breakdown aka WRINKLES + fine lines.

3. Dries + chaps lips: sleeping with lipsticks on dries out lips out + leaves them cracked. For those tough lipsticks that stain, you can use a lip scrub or toothpaste is great for removing stains.

4. Brittle + easily breakable lashes: not only can sleeping in mascara cause weak + fragile lashes, it can also clogs hair follicles and can cause skin irritation as well as swelling. NOOOOOO.

There they are. The facts on why its SO important to remove your makeup and proof your mom wasn’t just making things up. If there is one skincare rule we follow, its the classic ‘don’t sleep with your makeup on.’ Wear it loud and wear it proud, but put it to rest in the PM.

Chat soon.

The Brunette Blend-Samantha-Signature


I’ve been hinting on Instagram and Snapchat (BrunetteSnapz) of a little makeup trick I’ve been playing around with and I’m finally ready to share. The secret lies in the all-oily goodness of facial oil.

Prior to this tip, I was using a makeup sponge and foundation that created a great look for the AM only. By the afternoon I could see the makeup flaking in between my brows and looking patchy. The horror.

Back to the drawing board I went to figure out how I could get a seamless, lasting look. My first mistake was using a DRY makeup sponge. Did you know that a dry makeup sponge will actually pull away the makeup from your face? The sponge should be damp for a smooth and lasting application. If you’re like me and had literally no idea, now you do.

The Brunette Blend-Makeup Game Changer Alert-Products

I was still in need of a little moisture, so instead of using facial oil as my primer, I placed a few drops on my sponge prior to blending my foundation. YOU.GUYS. This made a HUGE difference and I’m sincerely not being dramatic. No more flakes, a complexion with more glow and a seamless finish. Plus, COMPLIMENTS. It made that much of a difference that people noticed.

If you’ve ever seen Instagram beauty gurus dropping a concoction on their sponges, its OIL and it seriously WORKS. I was so hesitant, but after consistent results and healthy skin, I was sold. So sold, I’m mixing a few drops of oil in my hands with BB cream if I’m not feeling foundation.

The Brunette Blend-Makeup Game Changer-The Brunette

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, if you aren’t already on it, hop on the facial oil train STAT! Total game changer.
Have you tried this before? Have you tried something EVEN BETTER? Let me know.

Talk soon, pretties-

The Brunette Blend-Samantha-Signature

The Brunette Blend - Effortlessly Natural Travel Makeup (1)

Greetings from AZ! If you’ve been following along on Instagram ( @thebrunetteblend ) or on Snapchat (BrunetteSnapz) you’ve seen we left Chicago for a mini getaway. Much needed and I cannot wait to report back with a recap– this has been my first time to Arizona and so far I’m soaking it all up and LOVING it! Its incredibly gorgeous and its almost as if its photoshopped. Unreal. 

If you remember six months back, we went to Florida for our honeymoon and I aired out my flying/packing dirty laundry. I cannot and will not check a bag. Carry on only please. If that means rolling and squishing everything I need into my bag, so be it as long as that bag doesn’t leave my sight on the plane. 

This obviously throws a wrench into my skincare and makeup regime, because not everything I own is under 3.4 ounces. Plus, when I’m on vacation, I want an effortless look that is TRULY effortless (none of this, “I spent an hour and half to look natural.”) This is a getaway and I want to take in every moment instead of spending a ton of time in the mirror. Five items and I’m off…. 

The Brunette Blend - Effortlessly Natural Travel Makeup

1. Maybelline BB Cream
Stop. This stuff is INCREDIBLE. Great coverage and takes GREAT care of your skin. It doesn’t clog pores and gives you an effortless, almost dewy finish. I apply this AFTER I put my SPF on. 

2. Smashbox Deep Matte Bronzer 
I recently just got this, because I was so tired of all the sparkles in my bronzer. This wouldn’t be such a sensitive subject if I hadn’t dosed myself in sparkly bronzer in high school and the beginning years of college. #TBT #Nightmares This Smashbox bronzer is great for building color and gives any intensity you’re looking for. Being extremely fair skinned, its great for getting a sun kissed glow. 

3. Stila Custom Color Blush
This self adjusting blush gives you the perfect color for your cheeks. Blush is one of my favorite makeup products because it brightens up your face. If you’re looking for a blush that last (as in you don’t need to replace it constantly) and looks great, I HIGHLY recommend this babe. 

4. Maybelline The Falsies Pushup Drama Mascara
Lashes, lashes, lashes. Mascara is always a great way to brighten your eyes and pull your effortless look together. I’m OBSESSED with the mascara and you’ll frequently get asked is your lashes are real…psssstt and they are! (Side note: when you’re wearing falsies and someone asks, do you tell them? Just curious.) 

5. Lipstick/Gloss
I’m loving a light pink on the lips. Natural, but still color. I’ve been coming up with a combo to great my fav color (I’ll share soon) Anything with a tint, especially Vaseline’s Rosy Lip Tins, are great for a hydrating tint of color. 

There you have it. The latest in the traveling makeup bag. The best part of this, is that all of these products can chill out on your carry on! 

Do you have any low maintenance makeup tricks when you travel or do you just take your whole box of make up and check it? 

P.S. The Brunette Blend is in for some updates so posting may be off, but will be back to a schedule ASAP with a BUNCH of fresh stuff– I’m excited and cannot wait for you to see it!

I tried a new mascara and every time I wash my face, I look like a raccoon with the black under my eyes and cheeks. It’s not even waterproof. Just the strongest mascara ever.

Anyway, I don’t have eye makeup remover, because I love my face cleanser. It getseverything off. Unfortunately, it can’t compete against this mascara, so I tried a baby wipe. That usually picks up the excess makeup, if needed. No luck. What kind of mascara is this?

I recently purchased a jar of coconut oil. I know, I’m late to the coconut oil game, but at least I made it. I doubt you’ll see me oil pulling anytime soon, but time will tell… Anyway, I remembered on the back it lists all the uses and one being eye makeup remover. I’m out of options, so why not?

You guys, it’s the best eye makeup remover EVER. It doesn’t sting your eyes or blur your vision like previous eye makeup removers I’ve used. It effortlessly took away the mess on my face. So incase you have been hesititate about rubbing a product you tend to cook with all over your face, give it a try! Yeah, its weird at first, but I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you wake up free of black smudge under your eyes.

Simply take a dime size amount and warm it up in your hands, this will make it liquid and allow you to gently rub over your makeup. Rinse or wipe up with a baby wipe and it’s gone! Plus it’s a fantastic all natural moisturizer.

I love a product with a million uses + benefits. This is one of them.

The Brunette Blend - Pantry Makeup Remover Coconut Oil