The deal with false lashes.

Image(image copyright shu uemura)

So basically, I get asked all the time about “what the deal is with false eyelashes?”

Does one wear them everyday? special occasions? never? Will I look tacky with them on? etc. I’m going to take the pain out of considering them as an option.

  1. Most people are not the loveable make-up fanatics I seem to surround myself with. Not everybody wants to be flamboyant and attention grabbing in their appearance during the day (or their work/school won’t permit it). YET the false lashes most people gravitate toward look something like this:

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This is not going to look natural and ‘come hither’ during the daytime. They will look like you are wearing false lashes. This will look doll like and they will tickle your eyebrows as you blink and talk and make your lids feel heavy and tired if you’re not used to wearing lases.

Lashes like these:

Image(again, image copyright shu uemura)

Will look waaay more natural… but still add drama and mystery to your eyes. The reason these lashes will look more natural is because of the spacing of the fibres. The base should ideally be a little more dense to add depth to your eyes, but the ends should be wispier, there should be a good distance between each hair (just like your real eyelashes). This is the stuff that romantic looks are made of. Make this your mantra. These are your bridal lashes, first date lashes and night time lashes for those who don’t really want or need heavier, longer, dolly-like effects.

Of course, there are many girls (and guys) who I mentioned before who are comfortable wearing lots of makeup during the daytime hours. Ignore this part and keep doing what you’re doing, I love you.

2. Cheap lashes often look cheap. This is a tragedy as many of the most coveted brands of false lashes cost upward of $25. Ouch. Don’t dismay! They can be worn several times, provided you don’t lose them and store them in the case they came in, and will not feel heavy or look suspiciously shiny. Oh, and many wig shops, costume shops, ballet/theatre shops and the good old guys at Kryolan stock more affordable falsies. The secret is in buying lashes made from human hair (not as icky as it sounds, plus that’s what you’re spending an odd $50 on at Shu Uemura) as it’s lightweight and, being hair, isn’t too glossy or stiff. I highly recommend that Melbournites like myself check out Creative hair and wigs or Kryolan on little collins st for affordable (around $7-20) lashes, whether you’re after flamboyantly long drag lashes or natural looking individual sets.

That being said, if you’re going to a nightclub or somewhere not bright enough to give away your choice of falsies, I would probably still get the bulk packs for $1 on eBay. I always have some on hand as emergency lashes for photoshoots or if I’m going to a bar where it will be too dark to be obvious. They’re made of nylon and the thicker sets look quite hard and shiny, but for a night out, who really cares?

3. When in doubt, go for individuals. What I mean by this is that when you have an occasion which requires looking “done” but you’re not quite sure what the boundaries are. Maybe a work party, a partner’s birthday in which you’ll meet their friends/family for the first time or a wedding. Or maybe just for those who are super aware of when they have cosmetics on their skin and don’t like to feel like they have it shovelled on.

Whatever the reason, individual lashes are fantastic because even though they’re not re-usable, they’re versatile. You can wear them just on the outer corners of your upper and lower lashlines and look instantly more awake, alluring and doe eyed. Just from maybe two little clusters on the bottom and three on the top. That’s about 5mm of lashes and a world of difference. If your lashes are sparse in some areas, you can fill in the area. If you want to look fluttery, put many clusters on the outer corner and space them further apart as you reach the centre of your lashline. Too easy.

4. Fortune favours the brave. This should be your second mantra. Your catchphrase. To hell with what people think, if you want pink feather lashes that go up to your forehead then wear them. You only live once (unless you’re James Bond) and there’s not much point in worrying about something as trivial as other people’s opinions. Give them a reason to stare and act like a superstar in disguise or pretend to be a Russian socialite. The great thing about drag queens is that the only criticism they care about (in regards to their own appearance) is their own. Life’s more fun that way anyway.

Here are a few more good brandsImage

Sugarpill Cosmetics. “Jealousy” lashes pictured.
I love sugarpill. Their brand is amazing, affordable, cheerful and the customer service is to die for. These lashes are only $6. They’re vegan and tried and tested by yours truly and many amazing drag queens. They sell individuals (in both black AND bright colours) and nineteen sets of strip lashes, plus DUO eyelash adhesive. Too perfect. The only downside is that you’ll want to buy everything in their entire range.

Shu Uemura.
I’ve used enough of their pictures on this post to make a fair point, I’d say. They are the rolls royce of false lashes, strictly for make-up connoisseurs. However, they are quite pricey (especially the more playful sets) and the use of real feathers and hairs does not make them suitable for vegans.

Kryolan.
Kryolan is a brand with an amazing history. It’s the official brand of the Miss Universe pageants, yet they also sell fake blood by the litre. Their lash selections are just as eclectic with countless designs ranging from natural to oh-my-god-what-the-hell-is-that-on-your-face?? on the bravery scale. Their prices vary and you can find solutions to suit any occasion in both synthetic and human hair options (fantastic news for vegans or those weirded out by human hair use).

Illamasqua.
Again, I love this brand. They sell a decent range of lashes which are halfway on the affordability scale (obviously dependent on which set you buy) and stock both individuals and strip lashes. Vegan options are available and many bizarre collections hit from season to season.

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Swagger Cosmetics. Primadonna girl lashes pictured.
Again, another independent, vegan brand! They’re affordable at $12 a pair and although their range is smaller than sugarpill’s, they are unique, adorable and each pair is striking in its own way. This is a brand to watch, I can see big things coming from them.

Dollywink.
The cult Japanese brand. This is where you will find the adorable, deer in headlights lashes that are so popular in South-East Asia. They can be difficult to get outside of Japan, but many Asian cosmetics stores sell their range (as well as Shisedio Tsubaki shampoo, which you should also check out!) and a quick online search will always help you find a set a little more cheaply.

Of course, there are countless amounts of brands to buy from. You can buy heaps of great pairs in local chemists and beauty suppliers. MAC obviously make great lashes too, but you guys already know that.

What’s your favourite brand of false lashes? Hate them or love them? Leave a comment below or send me an email.

Do you have a product you want me to review? send me an email and we can make arrangements.

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Product Review: Illamasqua cream blush in “rude”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now I don’t know about you, but I’m mad about peach toned blushes... and, in fact, cream make-up. I never used to be, but lately I can’t get enough of them because of how good they make your skin look.

I love Illamasqua and their range, I think it’s fantastic that they have cruelty-free products, they have decided to price their products fairly in Australia (when we usually pay up to 40% more for cosmetics than other countries) and their collections are well thought out and fun. Combining my fanaticism about their brand and my desire to find a good new go-to blusher after my old faithful (literally) bit the dust after falling from a great height. I checked out Illamasqua, keen to experiment with their cream pigments and have a play when I came across the colour “rude”.

Illamasqua-Cream-Blush-Rude

It’s a sort of peachy, pinky, orange colour. I find it quite similar to NARS “Orgasm”. Applied lightly, it’s a warm pink colour. Build on it a little and it’s a peachy coral sort of tone. Build on it again and it’s straight on orange. Genius. Orange based pinks are flattering on almost every skin tone and for almost every hair colour. I change hair colour more than I change clothes, so this is a big factor in the products I buy for my own personal use (not clients) for the purpose of daily wear.

Plus, like all Illamasqua cream products I’ve had the pleasure of using, it’s highly pigmented, buildable (meaning you can produce extremely intense colours!), doesn’t irritate my skin, easy to blend and can be used on any part of the face (sometimes I use it as lipgloss!)

So here’s what I think:

The pros:
– 
high likelihood of this product suiting your skin tone
– can be used as cream eyeshadow, lip gloss etc. Saving money in the best way.
– easy to blend
– doesn’t feel greasy or sticky
– doesn’t crease up when used on the eyes
– a little goes a long way!

The cons:
– 
even after the price drop, Illamasqua products are not going to be affordable for everybody.
– cream products can be tricky to apply if you’re not used to them (though this is a great product to start with)
– packaging can be tricky to open sometimes (or maybe I’m just clumsy?)

What’s your favourite blush or cream pigment colour? Let me know how you found this review.

Do you have a product you’d like me to review? Send me an email and we’ll see what we can arrange.

Product review: benefit “they’re real” mascara

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Like most women, I’m constantly searching for the perfect mascara. A miracle product that will somehow make false lashes redundant. I’m not going to say that I’ve found that product, but this mascara is pretty close.

My eyelashes are a constant source of frustration because they may be long and thick, but they point downwards and even with lash curlers, they are still practically invisible. Most lengthening mascaras are so heavy that they pull them downward even more. Enter benefit’s “they’re real” mascara!

This product is a very dark black and a nice wet consistency. It’s very buildable and because of its non sticky formula, you aren’t left with annoying clumps after the second coat. It’s not waterproof but doesn’t really shift on a night out or if you’re caught ins downpour. Then there’s the brush… It’s shaped uniquely so that you can reach all the tiny baby lashes in your inner corner without getting mascara all over your face. I’m hooked.

the pros:
– it’s a very dark black
– curls lashes beautifully
– thickens and lengthens the lashes
– moderate pricing

the cons:
– non waterproof formula
– difficult to remove

This is currently my favourite mascara. Have you tried it out? Let me know what you think or share another great mascara you know about.

Want me to review a product for you? email me.

Choosing the right makeup brushes for you

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When it comes to applying makeup, the most important tools are your brushes. A good foundation brush will stop even the thickest formula from looking cakey or streaky, a well shaped blush brush will blend your blush in seamlessly to make you look like you’re glowing (and have great cheekbones to boot) and a well designed angle brush will make filling in your brows a breeze.

There are a few factors to consider when buying brushes. Many people will go for quantity rather than quality and buy an enormous set of brushes at a price they can afford, yet most people don’t need 72 brushes for the applications they do at home.

Here’s a quick guide to set you on the right track to having the best brushes for your budget.

1. Only buy the brushes you need.
We’ve all looked at the pro brush rolls and salivated over the sheer beauty of them all, but realistically most people need less than ten brushes unless they work in the industry. For self application, you need a foundation brush, large powder brush, blush brush, a large eyeshadow brush, a small eyeshadow brush, a blending brush, angle brush and a lip brush. That’s it. Keep them clean between uses and they’ll last a long time. Angle brushes are versatile because they can be used for liner and brows and lip brushes are also great for concealing, just clean with brush cleaner when changing the kind of product or colour you’re using. Too easy.

2. Repeat after me: it’s not all about the brand.
A lot of high end makeup brands have a cult following. A popular opinion is that certain brands are the only brand worth buying. This isn’t true at all! Don’t go out and spend $1000+ on a MAC brush roll just because they are a coveted brand, there are many brands that create quality products and MAC is just one of them. Do your research and buy the best quality you can afford.

3. Check the quality before you buy.
Go to a department store or beauty supplier and take a look at the brushes. Feel the bristles. Natural fibres should be soft and glossy. All the hair follicles should face the same direction. They shouldn’t scratch against your skin. Synthetic fibres should be soft, yet firm enough to apply the product you’re using. All brushes should be tightly packed with bristles and shouldn’t shed hairs if you gently rub then between your fingers or in a circular motion against your hand. If it sheds, put it down. Check the prices and move on to another counter. Repeat this until you’ve found your favourites, then buy them.

5. Consider what you’re using them for.
Synthetic fibre brushes are often cheaper, but unless you’re after vegan brushes for ethical reasons, you’ll be making powder product applications pointlessly difficult. Natural hair brushes are fantastic for powders, but not the best choice for liquid or cream products as they’ll absorb too much of the product (with the exception of eyeliner brushes, which are designed for this purpose).

6. Try as many as you can before committing to a purchase.
Brushes aren’t cheap. If you’re going to commit to this kind of investment, always make sure you’re 100% happy with what you’re looking for before going in for the buy. If a particular brush you like isn’t in stock, wait for it to come in, don’t settle for a product you don’t really want.

My picks:

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hourglass
Their number 2 brush (pictured above) is the only brush I swear by. It seamlessly blends foundation for an airbrushed look. It’s quite pricey, but worth every cent. Laser cut for precision application and blending, this is a true investment.

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sigma
Sigma brushes have a cult following with beauty bloggers due to their quality and affordable price tag. Many people compare their products to MAC in terms of design and quality. They’re long lasting and have every kind of brush imaginable. I personally like their blending brushes and dual fibre brushes. They even have a range for HD makeup!

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crown
Crown brushes were actually the brand of the first brush roll I received at one of the makeup colleges I attended. I still have and use all of them, years later, with no problems. They’re affordable, maintain their softness and keep their shape beautifully.

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illamasqua
All those vegans out there, don’t think I’ve forgotten you! I love illamasqua’s products and their brush range is exceptional because they are all 100% vegan and possibly the best quality synthetic brushes I have ever had the pleasures of using. Worth every cent.

What are your favourite kinds of brushes? Let me know how you found this guide!

Do you have a product you’d like me to review? send me an email.

Choosing a primer

A lot of people ask me “what’s a primer?”, “do I need a primer?” Or “what’s the best primer?”

There is no such thing as “the best” for any makeup product. I am not brand specific with my own work because different products work well with different skin, what suits my skin tone and type may not suit your needs.

I can, however, give you a guide on what a primer is and how to choose one.

Primer is a product applied to the face before makeup application. It usually has no properties that improve the condition of your skin, though it will act as a barrier to make your skin hold moisture from your moisturiser, smooth out uneven skin tone and prevent makeup from being absorbed into the skin, meaning you use less product and it will last much longer. Some primers also have colour correcting properties or make your makeup waterproof. Whether you need one depends on how much makeup you wear, the purpose of applying it (everyday looks may not require the same amount of preventative measures as night looks or photographic makeup) and your budget.

So what type works better for my skin? Well there are a few kinds or consistencies of primer. For very dry skin or mature skin that needs a little tlc, a more “wet” primer such as NARS pore refining primer or napoleon perdis autopilot are great for stopping your makeup from being absorbed into the skin (which will dry it more!), giving a more dewy finish and leaving your face feeling and looking soft.

Oilier skin types or skin with an uneven texture due to scarring, blemishes or deep set lines benefits more from a thicker, oil free primer with lots of silicone. It washes straight off with makeup remover, so it’s not the dirty word it is in the world of hair care. A thicker, more matte primer will leave a velvet like finish on your skin. It stops product entering your pores, has an extremely smoothing effect and this disguises any texture on the skin as well as providing a barrier from oil to keep your makeup looking fresh, not shiny, without an overly matte finish.

Combination skin or those who need some colour correction would benefit from a consistency somewhere in the middle of these too. Your skin will feel lovely and soft, look fresh without shine and you can get some great primers which will even out skin tone.

My picks of the primer world:

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NARS pore refining primer.
It has a luxuriously soothing feel and keeps dry skin from looking dull. It can be a little pricey, but a little goes a long way. Definitely an investment for drier skin types or those desiring a dewy finish.

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Napoleon perdis auto pilot primer.
Another moisturising primer for dryer skin, this primer is award winning with good reason. A little less expensive than the NARS option but by no means lesser in quality. Many women swear by the auto pilot range.

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Too faced primed and poreless “pure” primer.
This is my current primer of choice as I have extremely sensitive skin. It shields your skin from pollution, gives a flawless finish to makeup and still gives off a glowing finish to makeup without allowing oil to ruin your hard work. It also has an intense smoothing effect on blemishes or lines and feels lovely and rich against your skin.

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Stila one step correct primer.
This is a cult product worldwide. This hardworking primer not only has a semi matte finish, but also corrects the skin tone in three different ways. Perfect for those with combination skin types, making your makeup last that little bit longer or those with a lot of redness in their cheeks or skin that seems to look a little dull after makeup application.

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Smashbox photo finish primer.
My old favourite, this is a product I go to when applying makeup on various clients. There is a formula to suit every kind of colour correction you could think of, plus the original formula for those who just seek a natural glow in every look. The redness correcting version (which looks green in the bottle but comes out clear) is my saviour in winter time or if I have blemishes because it disguises them under the foundation so well that I barely need to conceal. It’s more moderately priced than the stila formula and it lasts ages, definitely a great investment.

I hope this has been a useful guide, let me know what you think.

Do you have a favourite primer not listed here or want me to review a product for you? email me .

Product review: NARS semi-matte lipstick in heatwave.

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So I’m monogamous when it comes to lip colours. Once I find a colour I like, it will take hell or high water (or the discontinuation of that colour) to convince me to change. Enter NARS lipstick.

Several years ago, Mecca cosmetica opened a concept store in Melbourne central called “Mecca maxima”, combining them with their sister store kit cosmetics and selling their most sought after products and a few other cult products usually in available at their counters.

I worked nearby and went in to kill time. I was looking for a shade similar to the (at the time) unattainable MAC lipstick in morange. I found heatwave and fell in love. Less orange than morange, less coral than MAC’s “lady danger” and a nice matte finish. The price set me back a little bit, but I was a woman possessed and I vowed to only wear it on special occasions to save the precious lipstick as long as possible.

The next day I caved and applied it the next morning. I started work in the evening but went out all day and forgot to take it with me for touch ups. I was immediately taken aback after eating; it was still there and strong as ever in colour.

When I finished work at 11pm that day, the colour was still there and only a teensy bit less intense than it was during the day… I had done my makeup at ten o’clock that morning and obviously eaten and drank throughout the day! My foundation had started wearing off, my eyeshadow and blush were faded yet my lips were still a startling red.

This product has become my staple for days I won’t be able to touch up or nights out when I risk bleeding lipstick after a few drinks.

The pros:
– incredibly pigmented
– long lasting
– suits most skin tones and hair colours

The cons:
– costly (here in Australia it retails at around $60!)
– can be a little drying so remember to apply lip balm between wears and use a lip primer.
– I’ve fever found another red lipstick I’ve loved as much.
– now I need to find a foundation as long lasting.

Have a product you think I should review? email me with your suggestions!