beauty

Do you know what you should never do?

You should never ever, ever put makeup on one side of your face, leave the other side bare then take photographs. That is what you should never do.

I decided -as I had had an exponentially long break from blogging - I would return with a bang and do a "half face makeup"...I sat happily working on one side of my face all warm and cosy on the sofa. Surrounded by makeup and cats and good lighting. I was happy. Then came time to take the pictures. 

Ladies and gents: If you ever want to feel both older than your years and extremely shallow all the same time then this is the exercise for you.

I've always been one of "those" people who proudly declare that they don't wear much makeup. After all I have good skin for a 32 year old, my freckles look nice when they aren't covered and I'm generally cool with being bare faced. 

NOT ANY MORE.

I've learnt two valuable lessons from torturing myself this way though. 1. If you don't look like one of the beautiful Chapman sisters then ALWAYS makeup both sides of your face and 2. The time has come for me to make the extra effort and wear makeup. For the good of mankind. 

I am now more thankful than ever for the gift of makeup application. From the bottom of my soul I am grateful as it means I can change my funny looking face.

And on that note I shall leave you with the results. Sorry about me.





And what I usually look like with lip balm and concealer




Festival Beauty!

British festival season kicks off soon and with this in mind I thought I would give tips, tricks and product recommendations that have always seen me through 3-5 days of living in a field, drinking too much cider, with no showers yet still managing to look ok on the obligatory "look! we are having more fun than you!" photos that follow.

A couple of years ago my lovely fellow artist and all around gorgeous human, Aly Hazlewood asked me to do a review of some festival beauty products over on her wonderful blog The Truth About Beauty so take a look at this too. Her blog is wonderful so give her a follow and join in the conversations on her comment sections.

The Prep Work


There are so many things you can do in the build up to festival time to minimise what you have to do while you are partying away. Low maintenance everything will help you stay feeling fresh and look your best leaving plenty of time for hedonistic wonderment. I only get about 15/20 hours sleep the entire 5 days of Glasto and the last thing I want to do upon waking is worry about how I look.

Wax your hairy bits. 


This includes getting your eyebrows threaded or shaped a few days before you go. Shaving will do nothing because within a day or two you will need to do it again and for anyone who has tried shaving their legs with moisturiser in a tent, they will tell you it is not a good idea. Especially as (if you are like me) your blood alcohol level will never be at a safe enough level to brandish a razor. NEVER. My favourites are Nad's Hair Removal Gel and good old Nair. Both available at Boots or Superdrug!

Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise!


By getting your skin in tip top condition before you go and party, it will not only hold a tan better but it will also hold up better without being exfoliated every day. Normally you slough off all your dead skin cells in the shower of a morning but you won't have this luxury at a festival so the better condition its in before you go, the better you will look throughout the weekend/week.

Tanning


If you don't like being the pale and interesting type like me, then about a week before you go get your tan done PROFESSIONALLY. I cannot stress the importance of going to a good, well recommended salon enough. Its the difference between looking like Giselle vs Snooki. Good salons don't charge the earth for spray tans anymore and its worth spending a few extra pounds to not have orange palms and streaky legs.

Hair Care


As with your skin, the better the condition your hair the better it will stand up (not literally we hope!) against the elements. A good hair mask or treatment at your salon will keep the ends frizz free and make long hair less likely to tangle.

Nails


Paint your nails a dark or very opaque colour before you go. There is nothing more upsetting that seeing the amount of grime that gets trapped under there from mud and dust and general festival mucky shenanigans. Shellac colours done by a salon are great for festivals as they wont chip and your nails will look fabulous the entire time!

Tinting


Get your eyelashes and eyebrows tinted before you go so you dont need to carry any eyebrow pencils or mascara. This step is a time saving must! If you prefer you can do it yourself at home with Eylure's Dylash Kit available at Superdrug. Super easy to use with no mess or fuss. Get a friend to help if you feel a bit shaky!

The Festival


Ok, so now you are bronzed, smooth and utterly Venus like. You have your cute dresses, designer wellies and a special flower garland for your hair. What needs to go in the teeny tiny makeup bag you can fit in your rucksack?

1. Sunscreen


This is SO important. Even when its cloudy the high summer sun can burn you to a crisp without you even realising. I always take a spray lotion as you can apply it to your hard to reach bits when you are off exploring by yourself. Take a look at the Superdrug Solait range. Affordable non-sticky sun protection.



2. Dry Shampoo


This stuff is always my saviour. Spray some in the first morning you notice your roots looking a little greasy and it will sort your hair right out. I had always used Batiste until I discovered Klorane's version and now I am a convert. Its available for £3.10 from John Lewis amongst others!

3. Baby Wipes


Any kind, any price. I take two packs with me and use them for EVERYTHING. Cleansing my face, all over wash of a morning, cleaning my hands, cleaning the loo before you sit down etc etc. 

3. Tinted Moisturiser


Multi use products will save the day (and space) at festival time. After cleansing your face you can pop a tinted moisturiser on with no hassle and get a nice even complexion and soft skin all at once. My personal favourite is Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser. Its beautiful. You can build it up for more coverage if you need it and it lasts and lasts and lasts. Plus it has a decent SPF so no festival red noses! Available at Harvey Nichols Beauty Bazaar in Liverpool and online at John Lewis. Another favourite is the recently revived (I cannot even put into words how happy I am at this) Revlon PhotoReady Skinlights. Beautiful shimmery shades that give a nice even cover plus light reflecting particles to make skin shine with radiance. For anyone needing heavy duty cover but still wants a multi-use product go for Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer. Its pricey but my dears, you will thank me for introducing this into your life. A tiny grain of rice size blob will do your entire face. It will conceal and smooth and plump out your skin making it look totally flawless from morning until you pass out on your air bed/in a field/up at the stone circle.

4. NARS Multiple


These little wonder sticks have been a staple in my pro kit for years and years. Highly pigmented, easy to use chunky sticks of colour that you can use on your eyes, lips and cheeks. Gives a beautiful monochromatic look to your makeup and is foolproof to apply. They come in 16 shades so you are guaranteed to find your perfect colour. Nars describes them as "* Mistake-proof color; quick and easy to apply * Sheer, natural finish for eyes, cheeks and lips * Enriched with Vitamin E and açai oil for antioxidant benefits" Check out my personal favourite shades in Orgasm, Laguna and South Beach. Available at Harvey Nichols Beauty Bazaar and SpaceNK.

5. Lip Balm


Whatever your personal favourite is. Vaseline adds a nice glossy shine over the above mentioned multiple or my own favourite is Embryolisse Essential Dry Skin Balm. You can use it anywhere from dry patches on the cheeks, lips, elbows and cuticles. Its in a teeny handy little tin and comes everywhere with me. I always take a bright lipstick in the season's hottest colour for a bit of night time glamour too.
Available at Love Makeup for £12.50


6. Gas powered travel straighteners


I have short hair that is very, very wavy if it gets wet or exposed to any kind of humidity. If you have long hair these probably won't make much of an impact. They might help tidy it up a little but thats all. On short/fine hair however these are a must have. After the dry shampoo has gone in, running these over the front and back means I can go hat free the entire festival if I want to! For longer hair I recommend hair bands, cute hair accessories and clips for keeping hair looking groomed and gorgeous in all weather.
I use Babyliss straighteners available for a bargainous £20 at Argos!


7. Deodorant/Body Spray


I am loving the new eco cans that Sure have just released. Tiny cans that contain just as much sweat proof protection as the larger cans (or your money back apparently). I love the cotton scent as it keeps you dry and doubles as a body spray ensuring that you smell fresh throughout all of your debauched antics and gig bouncing fun times without the need for carrying your beloved glass encased perfume. Sure Cotton Fresh available at all major supermarkets for around £1.50.

8. Hand Sanitiser 


Pretty sure this is self explanatory...but if not you need this for every single trip to the loos. EVERY SINGLE TRIP. That is all.

9. Tissues


Travel packs of tissues are great for spills, nose blowing (you know who you are and I am not talking about the hayfever afflicted...) and also much needed loo roll because there is NONE. You have to have your own or suffer the very disgusting consequences.

10. Toothbrush/Toothpaste/Mouthwash.


Essential. Buy travel sizes of all your favourites in Asda, Superdrug or Boots.

Please share your tips and favourite festival products in the comments below!

More on Rates and Charging for your Skills...

Carrying on from my post on rates and knowing our worth my friend and wonderful fellow artist based in New York City, Victor Amos wrote the following post on his facebook page the other day and I had to share it. It illustrates exactly the kind of community spirit that needs to exist between artists and why it is so vitally important that we are all on the same page, connected and ready to challenge people that do not want to pay us what we are worth. You can see Victors beautiful work at www.VictorAmos.com and read his very lovely blog by clicking here.

"Session Artists: I'm going to let you all in on a secret, of how to get your money... You ready? Here goes: MAKE FRIENDS WITH YOUR COMPETITORS. Yep. I know it sounds crazy, but the only way you will earn the money you deserve is to stop trying to COMPETE with the people you should be COOPERATING with. Believe it or not, other hair stylists, makeup artists, nail techs, etc... are your friend. You have no reason to hold any ill feelings against them. In fact, OTHER ARTISTS DECIDE YOUR SALARY! Let me explain to you how this works... you need to befriend as many people, that do what trade you do, as possible, and work together. If producer A calls makeup artist A and asks them for their rate, and makeup artist A says, "$1000", and the producer says, "I can only pay you $600," then you need to tell them, "Can you give me time to check my calendar, and call you right back?" This is your time to think of a list of other makeup artists who are also qualified for the job, and let them know that you have quoted producer A a figure of $1000, and that you will be referring the job to them. Call back producer A and tell him that you are available, but cannot accept the rate, but will be kind enough to give him a few referrals to other artists who may be able to work with him. Do not negotiate. As producer A calls other artists, and he finds the solidarity, eventually, he will have to pay SOMEONE the rate. This is how you keep money in the industry. As long as there is someone out there willing to accept less, you will never be able to ask for what you deserve. This is what agencies do for their artists, and there is no reason that we, as freelancers, cannot stick together and do the same thing. I encourage you to repost this, no matter what your freelance trade, and make an effort to stop working AGAINST your fellow artists, and yet, work together to ensure the prosperity and longevity of our trade as a career, and not a hobby ♥ -Victor"


For more words of wisdom and an insight into the makeup world in NYC go to his facebook page and click "like"...Victor Amos Facebook

These things are not OK. OK?

With the dawn of a digital age and the fact that the world and her wife have access to the internet, free website makers, url's being at an all time low price etc etc it can often seem like the universe has been flooded with "creatives" who woke up one day and thought "Oh I have loads of makeup already and I can do a mean smoky eye on myself...I must be a makeup artist!". Actually it doesn't seem like that, that is exactly how it is.

Like anything this has pros and cons for our industry. Pros being raised awareness of what we do, more market choice and my favourite, the freedom and availability of information to do with our trade. The cons are so numerous I almost feel sick thinking about it.


What happens when lots and lots of unqualified, inexperienced people suddenly decide that what we do isnt really that difficult? Well the biggest thing I see is that ethics go out the window. Morals disappear. The hunger for a tiny slab of success or the ability to say "oh I became a makeup artist once, it was easy" literally make people go insane.


With all this in mind I thought I would write about the top "no no's" that I see on a daily basis. They started when the internet became the most viable and instantaneous way of marketing ourselves and our work. It is not exclusively reserved for makeup artists either. I think most of these faux pas apply to freelance creatives as a whole. Its a community issue!


Number 1: Image theft.


Here's the scenario. Someone leaves college. They don't want to have to graft to the top like the rest of us because you know, that would mean working. So they get themselves a web designer, hand over a load of photos that they have plucked from different artists and photographers sites and get them to make a pretty little portfolio for them. A portfolio which contains absolutely none of their handy work. When caught out, said web designer provides them with a cover story. "It wasnt me, my web designer did it and it went live before I could stop them!" Yeah...thats not how things work.


The sad thing is that the first part of that last paragraph is inaccurate. Its not just newbies that do this. Over the course of 10 years I have come across top level, serious award winning artists that have thought a good way of filling a gap in their portfolio was to simply take it from another artist. The most recent was a woman who has half the internet (including professional organisations) convinced she is some Lisa Eldridge level celebrity makeup artist who has worked on everyone from the Spice Girls to U2. Done every event, award ceremony, festival. You name it. She even has a show reel full of clips from films she never set foot on. Before myself and another artist uncovered her lies, her whole online portfolio and professional branding was chock full of stolen work. Estee Lauder campaigns, magazine covers and celebrities she has never so much as glanced at from across a room. The scariest thing is that people believe her because "the internet" says so. You put up a website, throw the word celebrity around and gather some pictures up from wherever you like and people will buy it. Terrifying huh? This particular person now has no online portfolio. Once the relevant artists were informed that she had stolen from them and she was flat out told to remove the work she literally had nothing left.


This is NOT ok. There is such a thing called copyright and intellectual property rights when it comes to the legal aspect but what about the moral aspect? Ripping people off for what? Once these people get found out their reputation never recovers and their career is over. Simple as that.


Number 2: Lying on your resume/CV


I can keep this short and sweet. If you claim to have been published in "Vogue" or say you have worked on a number of celebrities and you haven't  people can tell. They can tell by the quality of your work. So you look ridiculous and you can bet your life that people will be talking about you behind your back for all the wrong reasons.


Number 3: Constant tweeting and retweeting of praise...(includes facebook and blog posts)


Now don't get me wrong, blogging in any form always has a certain level of self involvement. The very act of starting a blog usually means you think someone is going to read it. The difference lies in the content. I will skip over the sheer horror of the grammar I see on some popular blogs and just concentrate on what I like to call "Ego Bloggers" or "Daily Mail Bloggers".


I love seeing people succeed. Especially when they are lovely, and talented and generous and humble. What I don't like is people who do nothing but gloat and brag and retweet sycophantic tweets ALL day and night. Why do these people think we need to read it 20 times in the space of an hour? We get it, you've done something mediocre that the world MUST know about or human kind will die out.


What these people don't realise is that real working, jobbing artists don't have time. People who are successful and working simply cannot spend that much time on social media. These little things called actual jobs get in the way you see. Real, working pros also think that the above type of people are hilarious pillars of amusement. They might not come out and say it. They may even follow these people because its funny but behind the scenes we pass them off as amateurs who are in it for an ego boost. Don't believe me? Go and look at the twitter pages of the top top artists. Alex Box, Val "The Queen" Garland, Alex Babsky, Jane Bradley etc. then compare that with post for praisers and you will get my point.


Can I also just add that if you ever see me doing any of the above, please stage an intervention. Thanks!


Number 4: Sticking the word "celebrity" in front of makeup artist when you have done one Z lister/reality star.


NO. Just stop it. Its embarassing. If you actually look at the artists who work on celebrities for 99% of their career, even they dont call themselves that! STOP IT.


This post has turned out far more ranty than I orginally intended but its better out than in. I would LOVE you to share some of your industry pet hates in the comments! Let it out guys and dolls...let it out.

Harvey Nichols Beauty Bazaar Opens in Liverpool...

...cue lots of fan girl like text messages and phone calls to my fellow artist and friend Sian Davies!


Beauty Heaven

To get the full picture of the excitement build up we need to go back in time a little. I first heard of Harvey Nichols plans to open the Beauty Bazaar back in the summer when I was researching beauty retail concepts for a personal project. To say I was excited would be an understatement. The reality is, I squealed and almost did a wee (keyword: almost.) I was also a tiny bit bummed because the personal project I was researching was basically this concept and I wanted to open it myself. The business plan was finished, I had confirmed brands and I was just about to start looking for funding. Finding out Harvey Nics with all its millions and millions of pounds, flawless reputation and celebrity following was coming to town soon made me shelve the business plan and decide I wanted to work there. Long story short, I applied for Personal Shopper (scream!) and I didn't get it (BOO!). For a few hours after finding out this sad fact, I was going to boycott the store. Few hours...Then I became, once again, ridiculously, fat-kid-sees-cake excited again. Such is the power of capitalism and my penchant for shiny, beautiful, exclusive makeup brands.


So, we arrange a girls day. Me, Sian and my age old friend Andrea who is not a makeup artist but has an increasingly concerning but ultimately brilliant QVC beauty addiction. Sian is late due to some hilariously unfortunate mishap...actually I don't know if that's true but this is usually why she is late for personal appointments more often than not. From choking herself in public with her headphones, ransacking a local Boots or losing her bra when she had already left the house (these have genuinely happened) it makes me love her more than most other people because she is a hoot. So we have to go in without her because we literally can't wait another minute and Andrea has abandoned her boyfriend -who just so happens to be wearing a Manchester United football shirt- in the middle of Liverpool so we need to get a shift on. 



We came, we saw, we shopped.
We walk through the big, showy glass doors and are instantly warmly welcomed by a rather large doorman who wouldn't have looked out of place outside of The Sugar Hut. He greets us with a smile and a genuine sounding "Good Morning ladies, hope you have a great experience..." which is a word that flows around the place like the champagne in the "Wow Bar" on the first floor. I will explain this more later and it is so worth the wait!

The first word out of our mouths is "WOW!" and "OMG!" not "oh my god" but literally "OMG!". Its so beautiful in there it makes you regress to a teenage girl just seeing One Direction for the first time or Rylan Clarke meeting all of the Spice Girls at once and being offered a 6th member spot. It glitters and shines and sparkles in the most inviting way possible.


Directly to your left as you walk in is a huge MAC concession. In a relatively small (albeit major) city that already has a very large free standing MAC store, it comes off as a bit weird and also a waste of beautiful Harvey Nics space. Not because MAC isn't ace just because it makes me wonder if they wont be watering down the profits of the free standing store. I understand the reason its there and that's because Estée Lauder can afford the biggest and most prime spot in the place and really, that's what matters most lets be honest. Directly to your right as you walk in is the holy grail of beauty at the moment, Tom Ford Beauty. I was more excited about this than any other counter they had but they don't have the full range and the girls on counter were disinterested and snooty.




The store leads you around quite nicely and the lower floor is kind of horse shoe shaped. After MAC we get to Nars with a Shu Uemura right opposite (girly screams!). Even though Liverpool is really fashion forward and has a lot of spending power when it comes to beauty this is the first time we have had these brands. In the past I have had to order online or go to Manchester (about an hour train journey) to buy them. This section ended up being were we spent most of our time and money. The Nars counter must have truly loved us as all three of us spent quite a bit there. Sian bought pretty much the entire counter or maybe it just felt that way. I think I could happily run a full kit of just Nars products but this wasn't the only reason we stayed there so long. The girl (I now know to be called Mia. Everyone go and book in with her, shes ace!) that served us was an absolute sweetheart. She was attentive and well groomed. Her makeup was beautiful and she clearly loved her Nars as much as we did. She had the balance between selling and genuinely caring just right. The same cannot be said for the girls on Laura Mercier. They occupy the same spot on the opposite side of the horse shoe shape. Andrea and I went over there before Sian arrived because she was looking for a good primer and I love the hydrating version they make. After I showed the tester to Andrea and we chatted about it for a minute, we stood waiting for someone to ask us what we wanted for a good 5 minutes. Eventually an unkempt looking teenager approached us without so much as a smile. She opened a draw under the counter and literally stared into it for what felt like an hour then the next draw then the next and so on. Then she disappeared entirely only to come back to us with a "Sorry we haven't got it." That was it. She just looked at us until I offered up "Oh well you have a counter in John Lewis, will they have it there?"....Guess what she said people?! Yeah she went with "Dunno!". This was their second day open to the public and this girl seemed like she had already lost the will to live. 

The rest of the lower floor is occupied by the usual brands. Clinique, Benefit, Bobbi Brown etc but for me, the real magic of Beauty Bazaar is on the 1st floor. Having forcibly carried Sian away from Nars and me resisting the urge to squirt every kind of mousse Shu Uemura make all over myself, we went up the very glittery escalators into beauty and nail heaven. Within two seconds we had lost Andrea to the Nails Inc Champagne Bar (yes, this really exists!) while myself and Sian spent a good long while browsing the amazing BeautyMART. I nabbed myself the last bottle of Bioderma Créaline and we had a brilliant chat with one of the girls there who is known only as "HW" on my receipt. She showed us the counters built in iPads that meant we could browse their blog to find out about products and post our own comments while we shopped. She took a genuine interest in our freelance work and even chucked a few compliments our way, mainly about Sian's eyebrows but they are bloody good eyebrows so I wont hate.




When we caught up with Andrea she was having her nails done (for free) by one of the Nails Inc girls. I wish I could remember her name because she is one of the loveliest girls I have ever spoken to! We were offered a glass of champagne while she demonstrated their new set "Bling It On". Seeing the beautiful blue jewel like shine coming off Andie's ring finger nails tempted me to sit down and try it out. 
Andrea kindly snapped the results!
Its two colours of polish complete with a brush and two pots of very sparkly and fine milled glitter. There is even a little tray to pour glitter into so you can just roll your still tacky polish in the tiny crystals without excess mess. The brush helps to clean it all up. They had the "Midnight" set, which Andrea purchased and the "Hologram" set which I tried. I am still not sure how I resisted it. It was on offer at £20 and is absolutely beautiful. If you spent over £35 you got two free Nails Inc polishes too! Sian treated her kit to a set of mini Nails Inc polishes and we browsed Organic Pharmacy and then spoke to a lovely lady about some miracle serum called Cellex-C. The before and after shots were astonishing but they lady wouldn't let us buy it because we were under 35 and she said we would be wasting our money as the effect wouldn't be worth the price. Refreshing or what?! 


This is when we saw the Wow Bar for the first time. Elegant and plush as you expect from Harvey Nics, the bar is lined with iPads complete with Internet connection and twitter/facebook access. Perfect place to dump partners/parents/grans with a glass of champers or a very deluxe and delicious Latte. You can even park yourself there and let the stores dedicated Personal Shopper do all the hard work for you even though they wont be nearly as good as me and that sucks for Harvey Nics. Just kidding. Honest. No really, jokes!

We didn't go up to the next floor as this is where all the treatment rooms, medispa etc are situated. Next time I go in I will pay it a visit to get price lists etc.


All in all Harvey Nics has created a wonderland for beauty addicts. It truly is The Hub of beauty not only in Liverpool but in the whole UK. Its a testament to Liverpool women and how much they pride themselves in looking good that Harvey Nichols chose my beautiful city to showcase this unique, exciting concept. I DO wish they had more "exclusive in Liverpool" brands and in particular more French pharmacy brands. I also think that individual counters could really do with training their staff more and follow the example set by all the Harvey Nics staff we met that day who were brilliant, helpful and made our "experience" a very pleasant and indulgent one.


Everyone within a 100 mile radius who loves makeup and beauty as much as me and my two Warpaint Warriors, Andrea and Sian should make the pilgrimage to our very own place of Beauty Worship or go just because you Love Thyself! 

Current advertising campaign.

Skin Transformation Care of Avon!

I have always had a soft spot for Avon. Not just because of their great products but the fact that they are all about (and always have been about) supporting women.

Last month my skin had hit an all time low. It was dehydrated, dry and full of blemishes due to eczema. I had tried pretty much everything (including Eve Lom and Creme De La Mer) to no avail.


Then I discovered some Avon gems. If you saw my last post with the before and after picture I am sure you were expecting the creams to have cost a fortune and be from some fancy "Botox in a Bottle" type company. Trust good old Avon to come up with the goods!


Here is the before and after again so you can see un-retouched,  shamefully true examples of my skin 4 weeks ago and my skin now. I might have sobbed a little at the "before"...Maybe. You also have to excuse the brows. I am growing them out completely so I can get them threaded and looking a bit fuller.



Before.............................................After 4 weeks use
And now without further a do, here are the three wonder products responsible!


The first is Avon Clearskin Professional Clarifying Toner Pads and while I was looking for a link to buy them I have discovered they are now no longer available so I am ALL KINDS OF GUTTED! You can see the customer reviews about just how great the were here. They may still be available from a representative though as I am not sure if this is just because they have sold out. I am going to substitute them for the Clearskin Blemish Clearing Deep Cleansing Cloths and hope for the best. Especially brilliant as all the Clearskin products are half price at the moment.

Even though these little pads are meant for toning, I find they are wet enough to clean and gently exfoliate my skin leaving it very clean and fresh. They dont leave a residue or any oil behind and while my skin is still slightly damp I smooth on my moisturiser.

Rose moss calms sensitive skin

During the day I use Solutions Sensitive Botanicals Gentle Day Moisturiser SPF20 as my skin does have a tendency to break out and just be generally all over the place. This contains rose moss which is really good at helping sensitive skin stabilise and you can feel the cooling effect of it right away. It smells like cucumbers, but it isnt over powering and goes away really quickly. The SPF 20 is great for extra day time protection (you should still be applying a sunscreen with UVA (ages) and UVB (burns) to get the best protection).





Skincare GOLD...
Of a night I am using (and I personally think this is the main cause of my skin turn around, its just amazing!) Anew Ultimate Gold Emulsion Night Cream. The jargon from Avon says: 
"Intense moisture to help your skin replenish its vital moisture reserves. Use nightly. Day 1: Immediately, skin’s moisture levels surge by more than 400%. Day 5: 86% of women agree, skin feels uplifted, stronger and more elastic.* Day 10: Skin looks supported and more resilient. Day 14: Skin looks up to 5 years younger. Pro-Sirtuin TX Technology formulated to stimulate sirtuin youth proteins and activate remodeling proteins to repair advanced signs of age damage. Gold Polypeptide Complex engineered to help replenish skin’s moisture and maintain its youthful structure. Gel formula. 1.7 fl. oz. "

I say: "ITS FREAKING FABULOUS! GO AND BUY IT!" Ahem. In all seriousness, it feels funny when it goes on the skin. Its gel texture almost melts and feels a tiny bit grainy. It leaves a film on the skin, but it isn't unpleasant and you can instantly see and feel a difference. It does contain some AHA so I have been taking extra precaution with sun protection. AHA gently removes the surface layer of the skin so can make you more prone to sunburn.


Its also worth noting that I do cleanse once a day in the shower by using Embryolisse Lait-Creme Fluide (not the concentrate). I use one pump, rub it all over my skin then rinse with water. However, I have been doing this for a good while and it wasn't until the above routine that I noticed any difference in my skin. So there you have it. The steps that have genuinely changed my skin for the better. 

Inspiration

I was looking through my photos this afternoon as I am about to do a big print run for my book. It occured to me how much I look to nature to get inspiration for the looks I do. From shells, to moths to the "heavens" I find the colour combinations and textures that nature creates to be both breath taking and extremely helpful when it comes to designing makeup.

Heres my most recent beauty story as an example and the scenes that inspired each shot!




                     


Creating No Makeup...Makeup.

 The first skill every new artist should master

When I was starting out as a makeup artist, all I wanted to do was use colour and stick things to models faces. Feathers, rhinestones, petals...you name it. From watching new makeup artists emerge over the years, this seems to be a right of passage we all go through and looking back at the shots when you have been working for a few years is pretty funny. Take this old shot of mine as an example. This was from my first proper test shoot. 


At the time, I was so unbelievably excited about this shoot. My friends and family raved over it as they are obliged to do and I thought I was great. It was a fun shoot and at the time it really showcased my skills but it put me in a certain category of artist. An Internet Artist. A hobbyist. An amateur. Not because of the photography or style but purely because I created a look that would date before I left the shoot!

I didn't realise that then, obviously. Had I used that shoot to develop my skills in doing a beautiful, flawless natural look I no doubt would have been booking clients much earlier. In the real working world, clients (the guys with the big bucks) would have been terrified of this look. They want -and need- to see an artist who can make a model look flawless, save them money on retouching and ultimately make it look like there wasnt a makeup artist involved at all. This is how new artists should be spending their testing time at the begining. Sure its boring. Its not creative etc etc but it is the biggest skill you can show as an artist. The skill of restraint.

With all this in mind here is how I create a "no makeup" looking makeup.

Photo by Keith Clouston. Model is Vanessa @ Premier


Products you will need:
  • Simple Cleansing Wipes
  • Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentrate
  • Make Up For Ever HD Primer in Blue
  • Benefit POREfessional
  • Make Up For Ever Lift Concealer in #1
  • Make Up For Ever Face and Body Foundation in #20
  • Yaby Pink Corrective Concealer (Cherry Blossom) as a blush
  • Benefit HighBeam
  • Make Up For Ever Waterproof Brow Corrector in #0
  • Bobbi Brown eyeshadow in Bone
  • Vaseline Lip Balm in Rosy Lips
  • Make Up For Ever Mist and Fix

Step 1: Prep


I started by wiping over the face with cleansing wipes and smoothed on a tiny, pea sized amount of Embryolisse. (Note: I always allow the moisturiser to settle a little before going right in with a primer or a foundation and usually do some hair prep (if I am doing hair) or hand the model over to the hairstylist.) Once the moisturiser had worked its magic, I then used a small, flat foundation brush to apply the primer to the middle of the face and blended outwards. I used the blue toned primer in this case because it brightens the complexion and Vanessa had been travelling so much with work she was calling herself a "Fashion Gypsy" so her skin needed a little pick me up.

Step 2: Skin Work


Stila Brush in #2
I added a little POREfessional to any areas that looked like they had larger pores. In this instance, Vanessa's skin was beautiful on its own so it was just a little around the nose and chin. Using a precision concealer brush -the one pictured by Stila is my favourite- I used Lift concealer on any blemishes, redness and under the eye. I let it set a little then pat over it to blend any edges. 

I then used Yaby concealer in Cherry Blossom as a blush. I applied this quite heavily BEFORE I applied her foundation. This gives the appearence of the blush coming from "within" rather than being an obviously applied product. 

The Face and Body shade I chose for Vanessa, matched her skin perfectly so I didnt have to mix. When doing a "no makeup" look, it is extremely important to match the foundation exactly to the colour of the face*. This means you only have to apply it where it's needed rather than all over the face. I started at the centre of her face using a flat foundation brush (Benefit's in this case) and blended out over the cheeks, a little on the chin and between her eyebrows. Then I buffed over it with the Real Technique's stippling brush to really sheer it out.

To enhance the natural highlights on Vanessas skin, I tapped a little HighBeam onto her cheekbones and used a small brush to apply it to her cupids bow. I love doing this, its so flattering!

*Most of the time I match to the chest so both face and body look a uniform colour but not when doing a makeup as natural as this.

 

Step 3: Finishing Touches


Perfect neutral...Bone.
I swept some Bone eyeshadow over her lids to absorb any oil and even the skin tone then filled in any gaps in her eyebrows using a stiff angled brush and MUFE's brow corrector. The #0 is so perfect for redheads, as you can see. To bring out Vanessa's eyes a little I felt the look needed her lashes to be slightly darker but I didn't want them to look like they were loaded with mascara, so I used a small fan brush and more of the brow corrector and painted her lashes from root to tip then combed through them with a clean spoolie. Lips were just a sheer flush of Vaseline. Finally, I spritzed over the whole face with some Mist and Fix and also sprayed some on a brow comb and set her brows in place.

I would love to hear your tips and tricks for creating a flawless natural face, so feel free to share them (and any questions) in the comments below!