Top 5 Makeup Brush FAQ’s | Meredith Ehler | Makeup Artist | Loudoun County, VA

katie and me agp 10.12.12.


Makeup brushes are the tools of my trade. I bet I have over 200! I have my faves that I use all the time and I have a few I wish I would not have bought. But whether I have spent a few dollars or splurged on a special brush, it is important that I take care of them with proper cleaning. I get asked all the time about how to take care of makeup brushes. Here are answers to the top 5 Makeup Brush Questions I get asked all the time.

brushes in brush belt










1 Why should I clean my makeup brushes?

When you use a dirty makeup brush you may notice that you are no longer getting the look you used to achieve. Each brush is constructed with a specific job in mind. some are to line an eye, some are to contour a cheek. if the brush is so loaded down with product that the shape has changed it won’t be able to do it’s job well. that means that you won’t get the result you are looking for.

Dirty brushes can’t apply product as well. If they are misshapen because they are filled with product, or if they are “wet” because they are laden with old concealer or foundation you won’t get the clean lines or soft edges that the brush is intended to create. Also, wet products like foundation and concealers can grow bacteria causing breakouts.

2 How do I know when it is time to wash my brushes?

If the makeup brush you bought is now unrecognizable, that is a good sign to wash your brush! Clients hire me to help them streamline and improve their daily beauty routine. I have them bring me the contents of their makeup bag. I often see brushes that were once slim and streamlined that are now fluffed up and fanned out like a peacock’s tail. When your blush brush is 3 times it’s original size that means it is so loaded with product that the bristles are now not able to hold their original shape. That means that washing out the product will most likely result in a slim shape again, allowing it to do it’s job well.

3 How should I clean my brushes?

I like to keep things simple and cost effective so while I love a good brush cleaner I like to keep it simple here is my latest brush cleaning routine.

Warm Water and Simple Dish Soap

I use warm water and simple dish soap to clean my brushes. I do not use soap with fragrance or anti-bacterial properties, so my soap it simple yet does the job well. I swish around the brush to remove the product. If stubborn product is still stuck to the brush I add a bit of soap to my hand and gently swish it around again. It’s important to rinse thoroughly but swiftly. brushes should not be immersed in water for long. water can get into the ferrule (the metal part of the brush that connects the bristles to the handle) and cause the bristles to become loose and shed. So i am swift with my rinsing. you can swish the brush around in a cup of warm water or hold each brush under the stream of water from your faucet, which is preferred because less water will make its way to the inside of the brush this way.

4 How often should I clean them?

It depends. If your brush looks “full of product” as I mentioned above then the brush won’t be able to do it’s job. If it’s visibly dirty with foundation or concealer then you risk bacteria growth. Dry products like eye shadow don’t grow bacteria but wet products like cream concealers or foundations will absolutely be prone to growing bacteria. That could lead to your skin breaking out. So those brushes should be cleaned more often, like once a week or twice a month.

5 What are your favorite makeup brushes?

I wrote an article for Posh Seven Magazine listing some of my favorite makeup brushes. Click the link below to read about them:

Top 5 Makeup Brushes Article in Posh Seven Magazine


Photo credit: Angela Goodhart of Goodhart Photography






Best Face Creams on a Budget | Meredith Ehler | Makeup Artist | Sterling, VA



Who doesn’t want to be fresh faced?

A fresh faced look starts with good skin care but choosing a face cream can be a daunting task. I know that my brian can freeze up when trying to choose the best product for my skin because there are so many that promise so much – and who knows if they will deliver. I was asked by Posh Seven Magazine to share a few of my favorites in the article below. The products I have listed are all products that I have tried and liked, and they are all affordable! I would love to know your faves as well. Comment below and let me know what you like and dislike about your face cream.

Click the link below!

Posh Seven Best Face Creams on a Budget


Hair and Makeup by Me

Photo credit: Christy Jenkins Photogrpahy

5 Brushes Every Women Should Own – As seen in Posh Seven Magazine | Meredith Ehler | Makeup Artist | Loudoun County, Virginia

posh brushes





In my opinion you can never have too many makeup brushes. But it’s more important to have the right brushes for the job at hand. Here is a link to an article I wrote for Posh Seven Magazine.  I go over the 5 basic types of brushes that will take care of most of your makeup routine.

Click here to go to my article in Posh Seven Magazine on makeup brushes.

If you have any questions comment here on my blog or on my Facebook page.

Photo credit: Angela Goodhart, Goodhart Photography




Fall Into Holiday Decor | Meredith Ehler | Home Decorator | Sterling, Virginia



Pumpkins on stoops, pumpkin spice latte’s, and pumpkin decor lining the aisles at Michaels.  It’s time.  It’s time to decorate for fall but it’s also time to start planning for your Christmas decor.  Michael’s, AC Moore, Kirklands and all of your supercenters are starting to shock the shelves with holiday decor.  Now is the time to plan and buy.  Here are a few tips to consider for buying holiday decor for any holiday:



Buy Now – Return Later.  It’s better to buy now and buy a few of each item you may like. you can always return it later if you bought too many.  Sales are happening now, believe it or not!  I just bought 3 gilver (gilver=a color in between gold and silver) deer head ornaments at Hobby Lobby at 40% off!  I wish I would have bought more!  UGH!  I suggest decorating in clusters of 3 or 5 of one thing like pumpkins or candles.  So think about buying more than one of each item so that you can get home and create a well-balanced vignette.


Use Household Items in your Decor.  I have table linens and plates that have fall coloring so I pull them out and incorporate them into my vignettes.  I have a large platter with a turkey in fall colors from my husband’s grandmother.  I use it as the base of my centerpiece. Look around your house and see if you have items in holiday colors. I have a black silk scarf that I use as a table runner under a Halloween centerpiece.


Start Researching Christmas Decor Ideas on Pinterest.  Get your idea juices flowing by perusing Pinterest.  Search on the holiday you are decorating for and get ideas.  This is a great thing to do before you go shopping.  Make your list from the pictures you see then go and shop for the items so you can create it yourself.  Follow me on Pinterest for holiday decor inspiration!  I would LOVE to see your boards as well!

Happy Decorating!





E.L.F. Cosmetic Must Haves – $3 and Under!| Meredith Ehler | Beauty Blogger | Sterling, Virginia

Hey Cosmetic Junkies!!!  

Hurry over to today and get yourself some great beauty bargains with free shipping!

Here are some of my faves:




Studio Volume Plumping Mascara - $3. This mascara is a great buy and creates long lashes that look natural and won’t clump.





makeup remover pen


Studio Makeup Remover Pen - $3. This is the greatest tool invented!  Just dab it on a makeup smudge and voila! It’s gone!

elf lip





Studio Matte Lip Color -  $3   Love this lip color.  Goes on easily and has the perfect amount of pigment.









Studio Pressed Powder -$3 This powder is great! comes in a few shades and will cover the shine in the hot summer months!






Brow Gel



Essential Clear Brow and Lash Mascara – $2 Bushy brows need this product! At this price – get 2!



Leave me a comment if you have any questions or want to share your fave ELF products with other readers!  Have fun shopping!!!




How-To Make A Christmas Bow | Meredith Ehler | Decorator | Sterling, Virginia

You can make your own bows!  It’s easy.  Choose a couple of yards of your favorite ribbon and follow my step-by-step instructions.  Save money by never buying another pre-made bow again!


Start with a few yards of ribbon, preferable wire-edged, some wire and wire clippers.  You don’t have to use wire, but it is pretty easy, most can even be cut with scissors.  But you can tie it with anything you choose.  String or twisties from produce bags from the grocery store work very well.


Start by making a large looped circle of the ribbon.  The larger the loop of ribbon, the larger your bow will be.  The more you loop the ribbon around, the more parts to the bow there will be.  I have looped this ribbon 3 times so each side will have 3 loops when they are opened up.

Pinch the middle of the ribbon loop and secure it with wire.


Start to separate the ribbon loops.  If the ribbon is wire-edged it will hold the shape you put it in.


You can make the loops straight or they can have a ruffled edge.


You can stop here – that is officially a bow!  But for my purpose I am adding a long tail.


I took the desired length of ribbon, folded it in half, and attached it to the center of the bow with wire.  I hid the wire within the folds of the ribbon fabric.


Now my new bows hang from the sconces in my hall way.  I love how the white ribbon brightens up the display. -Meredith



My Favorite Makeup Finds| Meredith Ehler | Makeup Artist | Washington, D.C.

Cleaning my brushes.

I love to shop sales!  Stores like TJ MAXX and Marshalls are my favorite places to shop for clothes.  For makeup, finding a sale was a bit more difficult.  I always felt like the only places to buy makeup were the counters at the department stores or at Target and Walmart.  All of those places are great but my favorite place to get a makeup bargain is ELF:  I signed up for their emails and I am always alerted to their latest sale.  I also have searched online for coupon codes to use when I checkout.  They now carry ELF products at Target as well.

I love ELF’s mascaras and glosses.  I also love their translucent powder compact.  They carry a wide variety of brushes too.  My favorites are the ones that you can see in the above picture with orange tips and white handles.  The Essential Eyeliner Brush and the Essential Foundation Brush, and the Essential Concealer Brush.    Can you believe that they are only $1!  I use the eyeliner brush to fill in my eye brows with brown shadow as well as to line my eyes with dark shadow.  I sometimes line my eyes with a pencil then I use this brush to dab into dark shadow and pat the brush down along the pencil line.  That sets my eyeliner and it lasts all day.  It also makes the line look thicker and more professional then if I just left it as plain pencil.

The concealer brush is very tiny which makes it the perfect brush to dot concealer onto a blemish.  Covering blemishes can be tough.  I suggest using the brush to put a small amount of concealer onto the blemish.  Let it air dry for about 20 seconds and then use the brush to gently blend in the edges of the concealer so that it disappears into the skin.

Be smart with your money!  Have fun.  Look for a sale or pick out a product at Target.  See if they are a good fit for your face and your wallet.  - Meredith




Makeup Makeover | Meredith Ehler | Makeup Artist | Northern Virginia

meredith FB header

My favorite thing about my job is when I have the opportunity to help someone realize how beautiful they are.  I just had a client come over for a “Makeup Makeover”.  She brought her makeup bag with her and we talked about the contents and about her makeup routine.  I like getting to know how my clients approach their face of makeup, it tells me a lot about them. Once I learn about their current routine I then can help them re-design a new, more fabulous face plan for them.

Maybe you prioritize time, maybe simplicity, maybe you are bold and adventurous and want a new, trendy look.  No matter what your style is, I can help.  Of course, working with you in person would be so much fun, but here are a few tips for you to enjoy until then.

1. When in doubt throw it out!  

Every so often we need to give our makeup drawer a makeover!  Start by giving your makeup a “sniff test”.  I recommend to all of my clients that they periodically throw out some of their makeup.  When makeup develops a smell that seems odd or there is now a smell where there was previously not a smell, just toss it!  Makeup can grow bacteria which can cause infections so it’s better to be safe and get rid of it if you notice it changing.

Dry makeup like eyeshadows tend to last longer than liquid or cream makeup.  Lip glosses and mascaras tend to go bad the quickest. It’s a good idea to wipe off dry makeup occasionally to keep the top layer fresh.

2. Cheap is chic!

Don’t be afraid to mix cheap  makeup with expensive.  I love ELF mascara, brushes, primers and powders.  But I never skimp on lipsticks or lipglosses.  There are a few things that you do not have to splurge on…look for that blog post soon!

3.  Try a new look!

Every once in a while try a new color or product.  Having a girlfriend do your makeup or visiting a makeup counter and buying a new product like a primer or a new eye or lip color is a great way to keep your look fresh!  It’s important to keep our styles current and prevent us from getting into a makeup rut.  And new technology is actually making it easier to look better!  Primers help makeup go on smoothly and can reduce the look of wrinkles.  So go and play around with something new.

4.  Invest in tools of the trade!

There are somethings that you cannot do without.  Brushes are the most important tool in my kit.  I recommend investing in brushes that are specifically designed to do a certain step in your makeup routine.  That is the key to looking amazing without having to do a lot of work.  Using the right brush in the right way is the key to a great face!

Have fun ladies!  Be daring and try something new!  Send me a picture or a comment about what you try!  -Meredith


Makeup Tips – From Eyes to Lips! | Meredith Ehler | Fairfax County | Makeup Artist

Me doing makeup and hair for beautiful Sammy. Photo courtesy of Christy Jenkins Photography.

A big “hello” to all the ladies I met tonight at the Open House for Generations Medical Aesthetics,   I had the BEST time meeting all of you and doing makeup for you!  Many of you had questions about the products and techniques I used so I decided to post it all just for you!  I hope everyone else can benefit as well.


I am a fan of using shadow as eyeliner for a daytime look because it has a softer look than liner.  I apply a dark shadow very close to the actual lash line.   The best way to apply it is to use my favorite tool is the eyeliner brush from ELF.  I used a dark purple that is almost black, Shadowy Lady.  I line it straight onto the lid or I use it on top of a pencil liner.  I love gel liner and liquid liner but those looks can be dramatic.  Using shadow allows you to control how much drama you want on your eye.


I also use this brush to extend and darken the brows of many women.    I use the MAC Espresso eye shadow.  Dip the ELF liner brush in the shadow and make light brush strokes all along your eyebrows.

Eyeliner Brush

my favorite brush!



The above eyeliner brush from ELF or  I use it constantly, on eyes and brows and it’s only $1!

Eye Primer:  I can’t live without MAC paint pot in Painterly.  It’s an eye primer.  Put it on your lid before you apply makeup.  It will prep your eyelid and ensure that the shadow will not move around on you.

LIPS:  I prefer a 3 layered lips – liner, lipstick and gloss.  Lining your lips gives you a finished look and helps make smaller lips look fuller.  Adding gloss just to the middle section of your lips makes them look poutty.


oh so pretty!

I am not sure if I covered everything.  Ladies, please leave me a comment and ask any questions you may have.  I will update the post with the new information.  Like my facebook page ( so you will see when I post new posts and updates!   -Meredith


Makeup Tip – Lash Brushes | Meredith Ehler | Makeup Artist | Loudoun County, Virginia

No matter what I do, I inevitably have a few clumpy, uncooperative lashes.  I have found that using the traditional eyelash combs don’t help much.  And I have poked my eyes numerous times with pointy objects as I try to separate them.  Well I have the solution – my foolproof,  favorite fix for lashes is dental brush picks!

They are lifesavers!  These toothpicks are made of a soft, flexible plastic.  One end has a brush and the other end is like a toothpick.    They can be found at any drugstore.  Give them a try and let me know what you think! -Meredith