Tuesday, 6 May 2014

10 Good Things Right Now for £10

With the last instalment (maybe ever!) of the student loan in our bank accounts, and a summer of hopefully very fun things in store, it is certainly the time of year where many of us seem to be tightening our proverbial purse strings. Be it holidays, events, festivals or a healthy mix of everything to save up for, splurging on expensive beauty products is not always top of the priorities list, even if we want it to be!

With that in mind, I have put together a list of 10 lovely products I use at on a fairly regular basis, which price at £10 or under per item. I know a great beauty product when I see one, and these are all good value, good quality and perfect for summer.

1) Batiste Dry Shampoo in Tropical -£2.99
Dry shampoo is absolutely essential if you have a fringe or flat hair. I have both. I am also obsessed with anything coconut-y so this ticks a lot of boxes for me. Imagine my joy when I discovered they do a tiny version for your handbag too.

2) Superdrug 4 Way Nail Buffer - £1.99
I am really into buffing my nails. In between polishes, I like to have 3-5 days with no varnish where I buff my nails and use Rococo Essential Nail Oil (£12.50, sorry, but it really is very good) everyday to strengthen  and nourish. This removes lumps and bumps to make your nails look more groomed, shiny and healthy.

3) Rimmel London Rita Ora 60 Second Nail Varnishes in Lose Your Lingerie and Breakfast in Bed - £3.69 each
Excellent colour payoff and with a good top coat (see below) I got a good 5 days out of the colour. I only really like pastels for nails, hence my choices, and these are pretty, summery shades. There are however many brighter shades available if that's more your thaaang.

4) Rimmel London 5 in 1 Nail Base and Top Coat - £4.49
If you buy one thing from this list buy this. It is SO GOOD and it really preserves your colour without damaging your nails. As I said before, I do find I get a good 5 days out of my nail varnish using this above and below. I use it without fail every single time I paint my nails.

5) L'Oreal Telescopic Mascara - £10.99
I really like L'Oreal's eye makeup products; as they own YSL Beauty, I feel like a lot of the technology filters down and makes their high street/drugstore range well formulated and good value for money. This is lovely, it never clumps, it never transfers onto your upper eyelid when applying (this is my pet hate, anyone else?) and it really lengthens and defines your lashes. The brush is extremely precise so it's good for the bottom lashes as well. I have never really found it to smudge either, so top marks for this one. It's a bit cheeky to include it at £10.99 but who really cares about 99p.

6) Model's Own Shimmer Eyeliner Pencil in Peacock Green - £4.00
This is such a fun colour for summer, a multidimensional emerald shade that looks amazing in the light. I do a black liquid liner then layer this over the top for an quirky feline flick. Although it looks more intense over black, it's good on its own as well, the colour payoff is pretty impressive.

7) L'Oreal Super Liner in Blue Black - £6.49
Super Liner liquid eyeliner is one of my all time favourite beauty products so I was thrilled when it was released in blue black and violet just before Christmas! Blue is more on-trend and summery but I do own them both and can confirm that they are both fabulous. To intensify the blue I layer By Terry Kohl Terribly in Blue Vision over the top.

8) Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Deep Nourishing Intensive Mask - £4.39
This is a tricky one for me. On one hand I am usually stringent  about the fact that the best haircare has lots of high quality natural ingredients in. This does not, not really, just lots of extracts. But it does make your hair feel hydrated and shiny. And it's cheap. And it smells of coconut. So that sold it to me really. It's a good quick fix, but for longer lasting results that treat and aren't just aesthetic, invest in a better quality mask.

9) Dr Organic (stocked at Holland and Barrett) Tea Tree Blemish Stick - £3.89
I love a good blemish stick, especially since moving to London, as I have become well acquainted with London-grime induced blemishes. Gross but true. The organic tea tree oil in this kills the bacteria in spots and acts as an antiseptic on the area if you have been naughty and squeezed it.

10) L'Oreal Infallible Waterproof Stylo Eyeliner in Black - £5.19
I feel that a pattern may be emerging. I lost my beloved YSL waterproof eyeliner on a night out, and I needed a cheaper replacement which also had a great black pigment, ultimate staying power and left my contacts smudge-free. Because of my contacts I am incredibly picky with eyeliners and this one meets the standard.

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Statement Lips

I've never really done a statement lips post on here, and a clean, bold lip is a bit of a staple in any girl's makeup arsenal. I'm personally much more of a lip girl than an eye girl; I love experimenting with new colours and textures. I recently discovered my new favourite red, By Terry Rouge Terribly in Shade 203. It isn't new or seasonal, but it is new to me and it's so good! Everyone loves a good red. This is a gorgeous, more blue-y toned, highly pigmented red in a creme texture that gives full impact colour and shine. It does stray a bit because of it's slight glossiness, therefore I make sure I use it with the By Terry Lip Pencil in Red Cancan which keeps it exactly where you want it.

When doing a bold lip, make sure you have well conditioned lips. You wouldn't put paint on a cracked wall. No lipstick, whether it's Chanel or Barry M, will look good if your lips look like the Sahara Desert. I have a good scrub with Lush Cosmetics' Popcorn Lip Scrub and then moisturise with Nuxe Reve de Miel Lip Balm.

Once you're prepped, cover your lips and the surrounding area in a light reflecting concealer to give yourself a clean base to work on. I've used my favourite, Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in Vanilla. This will also help your bright lip look crisp and perfect in photos, because of the contrast between the colour and the bright clean skin around.

Next, I find it's easiest to line the middle of your bottom lip directly under your cupid's bow as this helps the overall shape become more even. Join up the middle sections with the corners of your mouth.

If you don't have a steady hand, make your other hand grab your wrist while you apply the lipliner. Don't worry if you mess up, just get a cotton bud soaked in makeup remover (Bioderma is best) and use it as an eraser on the wonky lipline.

Colour your lips in with the liner. This is great for longevity as it gives the lipstick a base to cling to.

Apply your chosen shade. Some people use a lip brush - I do when I'm working, but on myself I just whack it on straight from the tube. Blot on a tissue to press the colour into your lips, again this is good for longevity.

Apply another layer of lipstick.

You're done! Perfect bold lips that should for last hours.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014


Firstly, I would just like to say that my lovely friend and very talented photographer Laura Coughlan wrote a feature on my for Ballad Of... Magazine. Here is a link to the article. It's one of the nicest things anyone's ever written about me and I feel extremely lucky and privileged to have this opportunity, so thank you, Laura <3

So, as the title may suggest, this is actually a post about fake tan. Let's just say that I am late to the tanning party. Super late. As in 21 years late. I feel like fake tan has been given a bit of a bad rep over the years by people like this...

Which has sort of put me off. Being so pale, I feel like any tan would look a bit unnatural on me. Plus it smells like biscuits, and I'm more of an Acqua di Parma than an Eau de Digestives kinda girl.

Enter Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pads.

These bad boys are simply awesome and absolutely my fave beauty discovery of the year so far. It's a pad infused with tan which also exfoliates your skin to ensure that 1) your face is streak free and 2) it doesn't clog your pores and leave your skin spotty, dry and flaky. Lactic and glycolic acid get to perfecting the surface of your skin whilst the tanning ingredient (DHA) is pushed deeper under the surface of the skin encased in soy proteins, for a more natural glow. They sound scary but they are perfectly fine for sensitive skin too.

That's the sciencey bit. The colour takes 4 hours to develop but in my personal experience I notice it developing for up to 2 days after application. You always have a lovely even glow that looks perfectly natural and healthy. One word of warning, however, these are just for your face and neck, so make sure you blend it into your chest to avoid any tan lines!

I am so happy with these, and I have been wearing far less makeup than usual as my skin looks so much healthier. They are a great price point too, at £26 for 20, that's almost three months worth of pads (I use one a week).

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Get On My Face!

It's Sunday night, and after a weekend of fun and frolicking it's usually wise to invest in a good skincare regime to repair some of the damage that stress/drinking/pollution/the sun/chocolate has likely done to your skin.

I always start with a good detoxing mud mask, in the bath, if you have time. The heat opens up all your pores so the mud can really penetrate, to draw out toxins and bacteria. If not, I usually just put one on while I'm making dinner or doing uni work. Mud masks come in all varieties, I like to go for one with a mineral-rich volcanic or sea clay base to rejuvenate my skin as well as cleansing. For recommendations, I'd go to Lush if you're feeling thrifty and GlamGlow if you have a bit more of a budget, but both will leave your skin feeling soft soft soft and purified.

Post-mask, my favourite two products to use right now are both from Dr Sebagh, a high-performance skincare brand from the celebrated aesthetic surgeon. I start with the Serum Repair; a super-concentrated powerhouse of hyaluronic acid, marine collagen and peptides. It instantly plumps, smooths and tightens your skin and makes you look incredibly fresh and well rested. This is great for all skin types as it's extremely rehydrating (who doesn't have dehydrated skin these days?) and more mature skins will feel the tightening effect instantly. This is also great before an event; for obvious reasons it's a lovely base for makeup.

After the serum, I spend a minute massaging the beautiful Rose de Vie Serum Delicat into my face and neck in place of a moisturiser. This serum is actually more an oil, and it's packed with environmental damage-fighting antioxidants. It's moisturising but non greasy, and although it's recommended more for dry/mature/sensitive skins, I find it actually works extremely well on my oily/combination skin if I use it as a rescue treatment now and again. This is also anti-ageing and beautifully soothing if you are prone to redness, rosacea or, in my case, sunburn. You can literally see the redness leaving your skin as you massage it in.

And so concludes my little skin detox. I'm not going to lie, my face feels pretty sweet right now.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Contouring 101

One of the questions I get asked the most as a makeup artist has to be 'How do I contour?' or sometimes 'What is contouring?!' so I thought I would explain all in a lil blog post for y'all.

Contouring has always been a part of makeup artistry, and it basically consists of highlighting certain areas of the face to draw attention to them and make them appear fuller, and shading contrasting areas to make them appear slimmer or more chiseled. It is a great way to get instant cheekbones or sharper definition to a soft jawline, and can instantly slim down the face. You can do this with highlighting or contouring products, or you can use different colours of full coverage foundation (a shade lighter and a shade darker than your skin tone) and blend them together, a method which found fame again recently thanks to Kim Kardashian. I'm sure everyone ever has seen this photo...

Which basically explains how her makeup artist applies her makeup before blending it in. In this article I will be focusing more on the other method, as this is the one that I always use when shooting or doing clients. It looks great on camera and is super easy to do at home as well. If you are a grab-and-go girl then contouring may not be for you as it takes a little time, but I definitely recommend trying it for the evening or when you have a bit more time for your makeup.

So, firstly you want to choose your products carefully. I have tried to choose products here that are fairly universal and will suit any skin tone. Also, I would advise using makeup brushes as they have better precision and will blend the products far better.

The first way you can do this is with cream products, great for a dewy, more natural look and easy to blend. This is also good for a drier or more mature skin as it avoids ageing the skin with lots of powder. I am using Benefit's High Beam to highlight and By Terry's Hyaluronic Summer (a matte, mousse bronzer) in Shade 1 Fair Tan to contour (darker shades are available).

Duo fibre brushes are the best for blending

I always start with highlighter. You want this dotted all over the areas you want to emphasise, so cheekbones, browbones, forehead, the tip of the nose, cupid's bow and chin. Blend this in in circular motions.

After blending, dab the contour under your cheekbones, along your jawline and into your temples. You can also put a little product down the sides of your nose if you want it to appear slimmer. Again, blend in circular motions, but this time make sure you blend into the highlighter, creating a seamless finish that flows. No harsh lines!

Here is an image of how it should look. I have left both products unblended to make it clearer.


The other way that you can do this is by using powders, which are better for a longer lasting finish and great for a more matte effect on the skin. I am using the Kevyn Aucoin contour duo in Candelight to highlight, and Sculpting Powder to contour which are just about the best contouring products I have ever used because the colour pigments are so fine, they look just like skin, and not at all makeup-y.

The new Kevyn packaging has no brushes so I recommend one like this bad boy

Candelight is extremely easy to work with and can be swept onto all the areas I just mentioned should be highlighted. Do try and use a small fluffy brush however, you don't necessarily want shimmer everywhere. I always use this brush which I think is from YSL years ago.

When contouring, I find that it's better to stipple the product into the skin, dabbing the brush where you want the product and building it up naturally. Then, softly feather the powder into the highlighter and blend away any harsh lines. Choosing a contouring powder is extremely difficult as many of them tend to come up a bit orange on the skin, but this one looks completely natural due to its matte taupe shade.

Stand back and admire your handiwork!

Here's some I made earlier...

Using powders

Using creams. Also good for boys = looks less makeup-y

Here are some golden rules to remember:

1) Always use a brush
2) Start with a tiny amount of product and build it up. Its much easier to add than to take away
3) Highlighters should always be shimmery/light-reflecting, contours should always be matte
4) Stop and check your progress as you're going
5) If you're going somewhere dark, like a club, you can go for it as your makeup looks more toned down in the dark. If you're out in broad daylight, you probably want to keep this softer!

How to Clean Your Makeup Bushes

When it comes to brush cleaning, most people are either angels or mingers. Angels religiously clean their brushes weekly, which is obviously awesome as it prevents the brushes getting claggy and gross and a build-up of bacteria from giving you spots. About 0000000.1% of people do this. Well done you, feel smug, top marks.

For all you mingers out there, leaving your makeup brushes looking like this...

From Google Images

..is probably an all too familiar sight and it is NOT OKAY. This is especially true in regards to brushes for liquid products such as foundation and concealer. These makeup products are moist and sticky and basically hold a bacteria party on your brushes.

Everyone is invited to this party, including dust, dirt and germs. Yum.

Laziness is not an excuse, as cleaning them is super easy and takes about two minutes max, and you don't need any special equipment. Plus, if you wash and dry them correctly and your brushes are of a reasonable quality, they will last for years and years. If you have invested in nice brushes you have even more reason to look after them as brushes from a top quality brand can last a lifetime.

So. Let's get started.

All you need is a bathroom sink, some hand soap or shampoo and some loo roll. If you are cleaning some extra grimy brushes, you may also need a bit of olive oil or bath oil to loosen the stubborn dirt.

1) Squirt your soap or shampoo into the palm of your hand. Run the tap and hold the brush under the tap to moisten it.
2) Swirl the wet brush into the palm of your hand, into the soap. Keep swirling the brush  until a lather has formed and the soap has gone.
3) Rinse under the running tap. If the brush is still dirty, repeat 1 and 2 and use the oil instead of soap. This is good for foundation, concealer or lip brushes.
4) When the brush is clean, gently squeeze as much water as you can out of the brush with your fingers. Emphasis on gentle, don't pull the hairs out.
5) Wave the brush around in the air like a mad person to get rid of more water.
6) Take one square of loo roll like so.

Fold it in half to make a triangular-ish shape

Roll the brush up in the loo roll so it looks like this

Leave overnight, pointing downwards at an angle, so that the remaining water doesn't run into the brush. This will rot the wood or loosen the glue that holds the brush together

Step six is a great tip I learnt from a guest lecturer at uni, it keeps the bristles in perfect condition and stops the brush getting old and splayed.

There you have it. Easy. I recommend doing this once a week with your foundation and concealer brushes. For powder brushes, you can be a bit lazier. Do them at least once a month, if not fortnightly.

There is a Vogue article on brush cleaning here which made me giggle.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Winter, Give Me My Glow Back!

Whilst I am not blessed with a golden skin tone, I do believe that it's possible to have healthy, luminous skin whatever your colouring. When it comes to being pale, I reckon I could give Wednesday Addams a run for her money. Therefore I do know a thing or two about products that give you a little bit of life back in your skin, even in the middle of chilly February. This is also a combination of products that I often use on myself and on shoots, it looks really natural and fresh, and also photographs really well.

1) Laura Mercier Radiance  Foundation Primer £29

This is a really beautiful foundation primer that can be worn under makeup or by itself if you're having a good skin day and just need a bit of brightening up. The texture is fairly light and super blendable, I personally like applying it with a brush but by all means you could use your fingers if you prefer. The pinky undertone flatters almost all skintones and the light reflecting pigment instantly gives you a luminous glow. Plus, it's silicone-free so it won't block your pores, yay! Although this is one to avoid if you are concerned about fine lines or large pores, I would recommend it to pretty much everybody else. Gorgeous!

2) By Terry Light Expert (I use Shade 1, Rosy Light) £45

I was never very excited about this product until I actually tried it, and then I got very, very excited about it because it's lovely. It's a sheer to medium coverage base from Terry de Guntzberg (the creator of Touch Eclat for YSL, dontcha know) which also brightens and perfects the skin. It doesn't really look or feel like you are wearing makeup, which is always good in my book, as your base should be a perfect match for your skin tone and type. I was a bit worried at first as the product doesn't look anything like your skin colour, (this shade is a rosy pink) but it blends perfectly and adjusts to your skin tone. The pen applicator is extremely handy, perfect for handbags and travelling. The brush is actually antibacterial as well, so no need to worry about washing brushes.

3) Nars Radiant Concealer (I use Shade 2, Vanilla) £21

When to comes to concealers, this is hands down my new favourite.It's a fairly new product, having only been out for about 6 months but there has already been a lot of positive press on this one, and for good reason. It is INCREDIBLE on dark circles. Emphasis on incredible, it really does disguise them. It also has a lovely creamy, vitamin-rich formula making it nourishing and hydrating for the under eye area. I also dab this on my nose, chin and corners of the mouth to prevent any redness during the day. Unlike lots of concealers, they are natural enough that they can be worn with no other makeup, and there is a great range of shades for all skin tones, as you would expect from Nars.

4) Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Topaz £33

If you are going to buy one thing from this article, buy this because it really is such a great product. The Skin Perfectors are one of Becca's  signature products and come in liquid and powder form. I like liquid personally, they can be worn over or under makeup and are nice and hydrating this time of year (also, they're SPF 25). I've been using Topaz, the darkest shade, as a liquid bronzer, contouring my cheeks, jawline and temples and then brushing a little over the rest of my face. Darker skintones can actually highlight with this, the golden undertone of the product looks really beautiful. Top marks and a new staple in my makeup bag and my kit.

The overall look here is pretty natural and fresh, great for everyday makeup. I often adjust this for evening just by using a slightly heavier base. I've finished of with a teeny  bit of mineral powder on my T-Zone, liner, mascara, brows and lip balm.