Every day, at least one Facebook friend will share or be tagged in a meme like this and make some derogatory comment. Every day, I respect that person less as a result of that behaviour.
I’m a makeup artist, I run a beauty blog and I actually run lessons to teach people from all walks of life how to apply makeup. I could teach you fifty different ways to contour, to fill in your brows or overdraw your lips whilst covering any areas that you may perceive as flaws… But there’s a difference between educating somebody and bullying strangers on the Internet.
The Internet is unforgiving of perceived mistakes and flaws in others, this will be made apparent the moment you read YouTube comments. However, there seems to be an alarming rise in the amount of women and men who become ridiculed at a viral level because of a “basic contour” or “sharpie brows” or whatever people feel like picking apart from that person’s appearance at any given time.
This is not a vapid industry, this is an artistic industry. There is a science to each formula and how it works and a science behind how each colour and placement and texture can create an optical illusion or hide our battle scars, our tiredness or our need to embrace positive change on an outer level whilst we work towards the same on an inner one. It does take a scientist to figure out how to make something safe for your eyes or that will make your hair shiny.
I believe educating others on how to achieve a technique they find challenging and to provide constructive criticism when it is wanted and asked for, but I’m disgusted with the public tarring and feathering that has been happening since contouring became a “thing” in the mainstream media and to consumers. Here’s a few reasons why you shouldn’t grab the torches and pitchforks when you see makeup you perceive as being “bad” in some way: 1. Everyone starts somewhere.
We are all learning ways to better ourselves and our daily routines as we go through our lives. Some people find it easier than others to learn with different mediums. Where your strengths may lie in making yourself over, other people have their own strengths that you may struggle with. Some people have different face shapes and skin tones to what is perceived as normal and some people have finally found the courage to try something new. Look at your pictures from high school and tell me you’re not cringing. If you’re in high school now, look at your parents wedding photos or candid pictures from holidays. See my point? Good. Sit down.
2. There is more than one way to look or feel attractive or have a sense of self worth.
We are not all cut from the same cloth, nor should we be. Enough said. We develop new techniques and formulas and trends based on the fact that we are diverse as a species and all strive for different things. We cannot progress if we are complacent with the status quo or if we never rock the boat… And how boring would that be?
3. Makeup has never been made to fulfil a singular purpose.
Makeup is a medium like any other. It can be used to turn people into monsters, to porcelain dolls, to caricatures or to a version of ourselves that we feel projects our inner selves. We have prosthetics and special effects makeup that we use for costumes and film, we have makeup designed specifically to hide roseacea, acne or scars. We have makeup to imitate or to hide tattoos, injuries or different shapes and textures on our bodies. It is a field that should be played with and embraced if you want to and left alone if you choose to. There is no law stating that we need to use it in a particular way except any instructions made by manufacturers for safety reasons (ie. Not tested for use with eyes). Don’t rob people of their artistic freedom.
4. How other people choose to present themselves is none of your business unless they make it your business.
Keep repeating this.
If someone wishes to learn, give them the gift of your knowledge or skills. If they don’t want your advice, it’s not yours to give. 5. A makeup artist will always find flaw with your own makeup, no matter how great you think it looks.
If it would hurt you to have a professional cut down the precious time and money you’ve spent on your own face (which we can do in an objective way), don’t do it to others. Don’t be a jerk, it hurts people’s feelings. You don’t get a gold star for getting the kylie Jenner look down quicker than the people around you. For every judgement you make about how someone looks “bad”, someone somewhere is judging you for being mean spirited and vapid.
6. Fashion changes.
Like most things in life, fashion is in a constant state of flux. The things that people covet now will not be relevant in fie years, let alone later in your life. Work towards feeling good about yourself now and being a decent human being, this is something that will stay with you for the rest of your life when the current look you’re aiming for has been irrelevant for a long time, possibly forgotten entirely.
So please, can we try to do no more of this:
And more praise for each other in general. It’s makeup. It washes off. We will all look back at this current trend with a sense of nostalgia and embarrassment, just like every other era.
As I continue to reiterate in my posts, I have a real distaste for misinformation being provided to people about beauty, makeup and skincare. Most magazines and blogs seem to spurt the same few tips, ideas and how-to guides every few months… the problem with this is that some of the advice that is given to the public is not necessarily true (or at least not to everyone) and the makeup wearing public become afraid of using techniques that might actually be helpful for the look they’re trying to achieve or may be more flattering to them than the path most trodden.
I think it’s important to break down these tips that people follow that are actually doing them a disservice, so here are a few of the “pearldrops of wisdom” that my clients swear by, and are surprised by how great they look by breaking these rules.
1. You can only focus on eye makeup or lips, not both.
This is the number one most common “rule” that I keep hearing from customers and clients.
“Oh no, I can’t wear bright lipstick and have a smokey eye- I’ll look like a drag queen” is pretty much word for word what I hear. Here’s a quick newsflash for you: yes, you can.
You can wear a shade of lipstick that isn’t a “nude” shade with smudgey eyeliner and glamorous dark eye makeup. You can wear red lipstick with a black smokey eye. You can add more liner and some false lashes with a deep plum lip. This concept that it’s somehow “balancing” to only have one focal point is nonsense. If you really like dark mysterious eyes and nude lips, that’s awesome. If you really like bold pop lips and nothing but mascara on the eyes, that’s fine too. If you wish you could wear both, stop wishing and do it. Who doesn’t want their whole face to look great, not just one feature??
See in the above photo how the girl pictured doesn’t look like a drag queen? Notice how she still looks glamorous and not like she’s been shot in the face with Homer Simpson’s infamous makeup gun? It’s about balance. Not the balance that the beauty editor in some teen magazine told you about to sell magazines and perpetuate myths, actual balance.
If you want to have intense eyes and intense lips, you need to match the intensity between both. Choose colours that work well together instead of clashing- blue eyeshadow and coral lipstick looks garish and definitely over the top, but a brown/black smokey and a deep shade of plum or red does not. The reason being that you’ve picked a colour scheme for the whole face, nothing clashes, nothing tries to compete.
Here’s how you can pull this off:
– Pick eye and lip colours together and see that they complement eachother
– When applying your makeup, take breaks and look at your face as a whole and not just the feature you’re applying makeup to
– You only look as stupid as you feel. If you want to clash colours and don’t give a damn, you’ll look great. People will compliment you on being able to pull off such a daring look. If you look embarrassed, people will point out ways you could have done better- rude and embarrassing.
2. Brows need to be pencilled in darker or completely re-shaped to look good
Look at this picture of Miranda Kerr and hang your head in shame.
In fact, look at any runway beauty shots. Unless you stumble upon the Chanel statement brows from the last few seasons or an especially colourful collection by Galliano, most models, actresses, etc keep their brows looking pretty natural. They’re not pencilled in darker than they usually are, they’re not shaped to be perfect Marilyn Monroe shaped brows, they keep them the way they are.
Celebrities are meant to look like themselves, having an interesting mole on your face or straight brows instead of curved ones adds to their appeal. If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for you. Filling in lightly with a shadow the same colour as your actual eyebrows will show off your natural shape and keep brows from looking sparse or unruly.
Here’s how to live without a brow pencil: –Fill them in with an angle brush and eyeshadow
– If you absolutely must use a pencil, pick one shade lighter than you think you’ll need
– Small, light-handed strokes will prevent you from looking like Malibu Barbie
– They’re seriously just eyebrows. They are literally pieces of hair that grow on your head, considering how much hair women actually remove from their bodies, it seems ridiculous to rave about 2 small patches of hair that sit above our eyes.
3. People with smaller lips should wear nude lipgloss (and not dark lipstick)
Notice how Dita Von Teese doesn’t have lips like a cod fish? She wears red lipstick every day without over drawing them to oblivion. Again, part of this comes under the “you only look as stupid as you feel” speech I made earlier, but realistically, if you’re filling in your lips correctly and lining them correctly, your lips will look no larger or smaller than they normally do.
I personally have tiny little lips like a cat’s bum. However, I over draw my lips just slightly. With a nude lip, it’s hard to actually see the genius correcting I do on my lip shape to give them a more Marilyn like appeal, but the second I’ve got a nice red, a deep plum or even black and the liner contrasts obviously against my face, my lips look huuuuuge in comparison to how they normally look. A lot of clients literally assume that I just have perfect lips (which I don’t)
Here’s how to wear whatever damn shade of lipstick you want:
– Find the colour that you want
– Fill in lips with liner to keep a cleaner colour and a longer lasting result
– Apply lipstick with your preferred method.
– Check your teeth a thousand times with a touch of paranoia
– With the same lip pencil you used earlier, draw in the shape of your lip line. Do this with your mouth closed once you’ve finished that precarious spot on the sides of your mouth where one wrong move means a clown face. The reason you should do this with your mouth closed is that you’ll get a more natural result and it’s easier to see if your lip shape is even on both sides. Symmetrical lips look fuller.
4. False eyelashes are for strippers and drag queens and look totally fake.
Katy Perry is pretty rad looking, so I can understand your confusion here, but bear with me. She wears out there outfits, not out there makeup. Her makeup is surprisingly demure for someone who shoots whipped cream from her boobs on stage. False eyelashes, when chosen and applied properly, will not instantly make you look like an extra from a B-grade porno. They won’t transform you into RuPaul if you weren’t already wearing drag makeup. They will, however, open up the eye a lot and make you look awake and alluring and super feminine.
Here’s how to overcome your fear of glueing foreign objects dangerously close to your eyes: – Pick the right kind of lashes for the occasion. If you find strip lashes easier (most people do) then find some which have the hairs spaced out instead of compacted very tightly.
– Pick lashes which are not all completely the same length. These always look fake.
– Lashes which are soft and moveable will always look more fluttery and siren-like than rock hard, too-shiney ones cut into bizarre geometric shapes. These are the cheap party wigs of the false eyelash world- great for costume parties but not for convincing anyone that you’re just actually a complete fox.
– Go with your bad self and wear whatever the hell you want on your face.
I’m one of those people who never stops playing with their hair. I grow it out, get extensions or cut it super short without much thought as to why I feel a need to change it constantly.
Short hair is great and definitely not boyish when it’s cut well. It defines your jawline and lifts the cheekbones, plus it’s easy to still have a fringe to hide wonky hairlines or larger foreheads.
A lot of people are under the impression that short hair is low maintenance and easy to style, this is simply not the case. Anyone who copied Victoria beckham’s bob before will know what I’m talking about. It grows out quickly, meaning it’s easy to look messy, plus unlike longer hair which can be tied up off the face, it’s always hard to think of ways to style it. I’ve complied a guide of easy styles for my fellow short-haired women who are stuck for ideas.
1. Straight and textured
This is a fairly simple one. After washing hair, blow dry straight with a comb (pixie cuts), or a paddle brush (heading nearer bob territory). Straighten out any kinks or fluffy parts with your favourite hot iron and smooth through some serum or Argan oil to add shine.
Next, apply a pea sized amount of hard wax or styling putty to your fingertips. Rub your fingertips together to spread product to both hands and warm it up. Then run fingers through the ends and mid lengths of your hair to make the ends nice and piecey. If you want a messier edge, mess up your hair, literally scrunching and rubbing it in any direction you see fit. You’ve used too much product if you can see the product in your hair (it will look dirty, oily or hard) or your hair feels sticky.
Like the above style, your hair will need to be relatively straight to work. Depending on your hair’s natural texture, you will need to either blow dry or straighten the hair.
These styles work better on slightly dirty hair, so leave this for day old hair.
Using pomade or styling putty, palm through hair and then flip hair forward, back comb the section of hair from the middle of the front of your hairline using a teasing comb or tail comb if you’re desperate. Then, brush hair backward again, being sure to smooth the front of any visible teasing unless you’re after a more punk rock look. Set with a tiny amount of pomade/wax/putty/hairspray and smooth over.
3. bouncy vintage hair
This style is easy to achieve for growing our bobs or shoulder length hair. The less layering you have in your hair, the easier it will be to achieve.
First, blow wave your hair with a round brush. After blow drying each section, roll it into a Velcro roller (smallest at mid and bottom layers nearest face, small-medium at bottom layers, medium in middle layer, large at the top layers and crown). With your fringe/bangs, roll the hair backwards in the roller, towards your crown, for the vintage look.
Lightly spray the lot with hairspray. Once it’s cooled completely, gently roll (don’t pull or drag through the hair!!!) out the rollers. Run your hands through the curls to gently smooth and separate and mist with more hairspray. For a super 50s-60s style look, back comb the fringe and crown for extra height.
Alternatively, curl hair with tongs and brush out or use hot rollers. Too easy.
4. rockstar style
For a totally cool rock and roll look loved by Kate moss, debbie Harry (pictured) and pretty much every English “it-girl”, rough dry hair using your fingers to comb it relatively straight. Push the hair forwards slightly as you blow dry it to achieve semi straightness. Next (and this depends on length), add a texturising powder to the roots and scrunch hairspray through the mid lengths or simply scrunch in soft to medium wax through the hair. It will stop looking so crazy after about ten minutes and sit in a more straight style with a defined, messy edge to it. If you have ridiculously thick hair like I do, it’s better to blow dry with a paddle brush instead of your fingers before following the other steps.
Those who know me personally would be aware of the fact that I’m seemingly constantly going into job interviews. It seems like a never ending job hunt, even if I’m currently employed in a regular job outside of my freelancing. The reason? I take life advice from rockstar and business mogul Gene Simmons who states that you should always be looking for work so that you’re never out of work.
The thing that baffles me is that many people in their teens, 20s and 30s seem to have only a vague concept on etiquette for job interviews. This is one of those times when first impressions mean everything, yet I’ve seen people look surprised and hurt after interviewers have commented on their wearing leggings to interviews or with way too much makeup on for a professional environment (the sort of stuff you’d wear out clubbing on a saturday night). Even if you’re applying for roles in the fashion or beauty industry. Hell, even if you’re applying for jobs in fast food, it is general courtesy to look neat, professional and put your best self forward. Turning up looking like you’ve wandered in from a music festival is rude as you’re literally telling the interviewer they weren’t worth the effort it would take to put on something a little more chic when they are most likely wearing corporate wear.
Makeup is one of those factors that can make or break a professional image. Women are generally expected to wear cosmetics in the workplace (the sexism apparent in this is another topic for another day), yet most employers have no clear guidelines as to what that actually entails until you turn up one day and are told you look unprofessional. Prospective employers (again, fashion industry or not) still expect a corporate edge to your presentation as this is a more formal setting than being in your normal work environment. They’re designed to be intimidating to see how you perform under pressure. Here’s a list of a few makeuplooks that will suit almost any job interview.
1. 60s revamp
The 60s style nod we’ve been seeing on runways and in the streets alike is a great way to look polished very quickly whilst still looking fresh, young and stylish.
– A clean, dewy base is essential for this look, so pay extra attention to colour matching your foundation correctly and buffing it in with a duo fibre brush, beauty blender or your favourite foundation brush.
– Conceal carefully under the eyes and over any blemishes, then powder lightly to eliminate any shine. A very light touch of dusty pink or peach coloured blush will give a nice glow, try to avoid over contouring unless you simply can’t leave the house without contouring. If so, keep it light and well blended so it looks natural. Minimalism is the key here.
– Eye shadows should be left to light, neutral colours and a shadow 1-3 shades darker than your base colour can be swept through the socket with a fluffy blending brush to accentuate the eye more.
– Next, a flick of black liner (note: for those with an unsteady hand, an eyeliner pen will be your best friend here) for a cat like look. Try to keep it close to the lashline and the wing should end fairly close the the outer corner of the eye to avoid the Amy Winehouse look, which is great, but doesn’t scream “hire me” to prospective employers.
– Leave the lower lashline clear of any colour to keep the liner from being overpowering and apply lashings of mascara to both upper and lower lashes.
– Keep your brows neat and avoid over filling them: once you’ve balanced out the shape, you’re done. No gradient shaded looks or waxy cartoon brows here. Better still, play it safe and use a shadow and angle brush to fill them in to avoid going overboard.
– Finish the look with a nude or natural lip colour, like a dusty pink, peach or a light coral colour to keep it fresh and youthful.
2. Completely neutral
This is the ultimate safe option for a job where you’re unable to figure out how conservative your prospective employer will be. Natural makeup suits everyone so it’s the best bet if you’re not confident enough (or you have a more androgynous style) for a 60s look or a red lip. A clean, fresh base is essential and special attention needs to be paid to the smaller details so it looks classy and neat instead of like your makeup has rubbed off on the way there.
– A sheer to medium coverage foundation (or BB cream if you’re blessed with clear skin) is going to make this look a lot more eye catching; full coverage foundations can come across as mask-like unless they’re balanced with the same amount of makeup everywhere else. Pick your favourite foundation, ensuring a correct colour match, and buff into the skin like a crazy person.
– Conceal very carefully under the eyes to eliminate darkness without creasing up underneath and adding ten years to your life. Blend thoroughly before concealing any blemishes, pigmentation, etc.
– Apply a light dusting of powder to the entire face to set your foundation without looking cakey or too matte- it will make you look dull and pasty.
– Next, lightly sculpt the face with a matte contouring powder or bronzer (or powder foundation) 1-3 shades darker than your foundation under the cheekbones (the hollow of your cheek, suck them in to find them), sweeping from the temples to the side of the forehead and against the jawline. Use a small fluffy brush for more control if you’re new to this, otherwise a chisel-shaped blush brush (or contour brush, fan brush, etc) will do just fine. You must blend the contouring out correctly- watch your hairline for any pooling bits of colour that haven’t blended in properly. Always contour slightly less than you think you need to so you avoid looking freakish. Matte powders are important for neutral looks as any pearlescent colours will bring light back to these areas, rendering your hard work pointless…. plus it looks completely obvious, which will clash with this look.
– With a medium sized powder brush, apply a natural shade of blush that suits your skintone working from the apples of your cheeks and sweeping up toward the temple. Blend well to avoid the 80s stripes. Even if you can rock them, this isn’t the time to get your Pat Benatar fix.
– Highlight the tops of your cheekbones, under the brow bone and up the centre of your face using a highlighting powder, powder foundation 1-3 shades lighter than your base or even an eyeshadow a few shades lighter than your foundation. Like the contouring, use a small fluffy brush if you need the extra control, otherwise a soft medium powder brush will work just great. Unlike the contouring, you can be a little bit more heavy handed so long as your chosen highlighting product doesn’t shine like a beacon (this will make you look oily instead of glowy and fresh) as it will continue to lift your best features and give a healthy glow to your skin. Can you tell I love highlighting?
– Using the same product you used as a highlighter (or an eyeshadow 1-3 shades lighter than your skin), fill in the centre of your eye using a flat eyeshadow brush, blending lightly at the corners of your eye and socketline.
– Using the same product you used to contour (or an eyeshadow 1-3 shades darker than your skin), create a darker socket/crease line, being sure to stick close to your actual eye socket and blend in well. Use a fluffy brush for this if, like me, you have a tendency towards heavy handed application.
– Invest in a brown eyeliner. Seriously. It will be your best friend on days when you’re hung over, tired, have cried all night or when black liner will look too over done. A gel liner has the added benefit of being near permanent until you decide to remove it yourself.
– Carefully trace this genius shade of eyeliner around your lashline. Be careful not to make the lines too thick, but rest assured that it will still look amazing if you make a slightly bolder line than what you intended to. If it looks too dark, blend with a cotton tip or a bullet brush by lightly buffing over the line in tiny circles until it becomes a soft line. Notice how big your eyes look right now. Much bigger than when you use black eyeliner. Gloat a little and praise your good sense to buy a brown liner. Repeat this process of admiration until you need to move on to the next step.
– Curl your lashes to add more lift to your eyes before finishing with a generous amount of mascara. Comb through any clumps.
– Do not finish with a nude lip. You will probably look washed out like that ridiculously good looking zombie in “Warm Bodies’. Instead, use a soft natural pink or peach which is close to your natural lip colour. Using a lip pencil, fill in your lips before applying lipstick and then trace and perfect the outline after applying lipstick for a perfect shape that won’t bleed.
3. Classic red lipstick
This look can be made in conjunction with either of the two above looks so long as:
a) The eye makeup is played down so it doesn’t compete with the lips for attention
b) You can line lips easily and will remember to bring a lip pencil, emergency concealer and the lipstick with you for a touch up pre interview
c) You don’t eat or drink anything between applying it and the interview if you’re not 100% certain it won’t end up all over your chin, teeth, cheeks, nose etc.
Red lipstick is only job interview appropriate if the rest of your face is soft and understated. If you want to mix it up with the 60s style makeup, make sure your liner is thinner than normal to keep it balanced.
If you have a warm skintone, stick to orange based reds such as NARS heatwave (my old faithful) or Limecrime’s Suedeberry Velvetine. If you have a cool skintone, stick to blue based reds such as MAC Ruby Woo or Limecrime’s Red Velvet Velvetine. If you have dark skin, stick to coral or pink toned reds.
– Your base needs to be flawless regardless of the style you’re going for
– Cartoon eyebrows are bad news and do not belong in the workplace.
– Soft neutral colours are your best friends
– Keep black liner to a minimum
– Keep one key focal point
– Minimalism is key
– You really need brown eyeliner.
Any other soft, smoky looks in neutral colours like soft greys, browns and copper will work out great. Dark lipsticks are not recommended for 99.99% of all job interviews, trust me.
This post is part of a series, so please look forward to more beauty tips for job seekers.
As a professional makeup artist, I’ve had clients ask me for bizarre bits of advice which have left me scratching my head. They have usually admitted that they saw a video on YouTube or a picture on instagram instructing them to use certain products in an unconventional way or convincing them that this is how the pros really do things. Having worked in cosmetics retail for a while, I found this maddening as people would request products that don’t actually exist or for purposes that at best would break them out and at worst could be downright dangerous. If a product isn’t tested for or designed to be on certain parts of your face, you are risking your health because of something a random stranger on youtube told you. I ask you, is it really worth it? Most internet beauty “gurus” have no training in this field… part of our training is a health and safety aspect to ensure we don’t blind, burn or otherwise injure our clients. Keep it in mind.
Now without further ado, the most annoying beauty myths perpetuated by instagram and youtube:
1. Concealer contouring.
(pictured above is the masterful work of Kevyn Aucoin, image from “Making Faces”)
When I was working at a certain cosmetics counter, contouring became a popular beauty trend in a really big way. I had sixteen year old girls, business women, housewives and every kind of ordinary or not so ordinary customer come in to ask me about contouring. Well… sort of.
I had people come in and ask me for “concealer palettes for contouring”. Wait, what? they don’t exist. I would sit them down and explain that every makeup brand has products designed for contouring which would blend with more ease and match their skintone better. I’d let them try them for themselves. Then they’d say “well, on youtube she used concealer….”
Let me explain why this is annoying to someone who makes their living out of makeup. Concealer is just one of many mediums you can use for this technique. Many artists prefer not to use concealer as it is not designed to be blended into the base. Concealers are typically thicker and many are also comedogenic (meaning they block pores) as they’re only designed to sit on top of problem areas, not to blend in flawlessly with your foundation. You are literally breaking yourselves out or looking cake faced because you’re copying a random stranger’s beauty routine. What works for one person may not work for you. For this reason, many brands have cream or liquid highlighting and contouring products or kits. If not, do it the old fashioned way and use a foundation 1-3 shades lighter for highlighting and 1-3 shades darker for contouring. Your skin will thank you and you won’t look cakey. My favourite products for contouring and highlighting are powders as I find them easier to build up naturally and being the last thing going on your base, it will be most prominent.
2. Only bright, colourful eye makeup is “good” eye makeup.
(image above is work by the amazingly talented Queen of Blending)
Amazing eye makeup like this is extremely eye-catching and definitely shows a mastery in this particular kind of eye makeup, but it’s not a measure on how talented you are within your own skill set. In my opinion, you’re “good” at doing your own makeup if you’re able to disguise areas you are unhappy with and accentuate areas you like; if you’re able to make yourself over in a style that suits your face shape, colouring and personal style. In my opinion, you’re “good” at doing other people’s makeup if you’re able to make somebody over in a way that suits their face shape, colouring, personal style andmatches the occasion or criteria you have been given for their makeup. In short, if you’re a whiz with bright, colourful, bold eye makeup with bold, winged liner and dramatic false lashes, you’re good at doing eye makeup. If you can create a clean pin-up look, neutral smokey or minimalist eye makeup without any hassles, you’re good at doing eye makeup. No one style is worth more than another.
3. Brows need to be completely drawn in at all times
A big trend right now is incredibly filled in brows. With bold liner and a more bombastic look, this looks amazing and finishes the look beautifully. However, if you’re a “chuck on some BB cream and a touch of mascara and gloss” type person, it looks unbalanced and focuses unnaturally on the brows, giving more of an “Oscar the Grouch” appearance than a smouldering neat look. A lot of girls also have a habit of using a pencil or shadow that is too dark for their brows which, again, looks fine with a full face of bold makeup, but very OTT for every day looks. Your pencils and powders should ALWAYS be suited for your hair colour (most brands have a blonde, light brown and dark brown) and when it doubt, go for the lighter between two shades.
4. You’re only “good” at makeup if you’re good at artistic looks
This image is a fantastic way to demonstrate the ability of one artist. Many people have an ingrained belief that only through creating more artistically driven or high fashion makeup are you “truly” a talented makeup artist or talented as a makeup user or consumer. These styles are used usually in advertising or for high fashion, editorial or runway looks. If you actually look at the runways or editorial shoots in magazines like Vogue, they’re intended to derive a feel for the collection or season rather than to be wearable to the everyday person in an every day situation. If you’re not brave enough to wear an outfit straight off the runway in all its crazy glory, you don’t need to wear makeup that is as over the top either. Nor does it indicate a level of skill. The look below was created by the same artist for the same company and, while it’s still more ornate than a true natural look, it still has the criteria of being “good” makeup, which is that it fills the criteria needed for the occasion, suits the wearer and is applied evenly and blended properly.
The bottom line? if you’re good at intense fantasy looks, prosthetics or just drama filled looks that consist of your every day style, my hat goes off to you. If you’re good at soft romantic, neutral looks, you’re good at makeup too. If you’re good at pin-up style, dolly style makeup or any other style that makes you feel amazing and look like a million bucks, you’re good at makeup. No more type casting or excluding.
5. EVERYONE needs a super-dooper full coverage foundation to look flawless
This is arguably the most annoying trend of all. No two people have the same type of skin. If you feel more comfortable with a very full coverage because you have a lot of noticeable pigmentation, an oilier skin type, scarring, acne, etc then by all means. However, if you’re relatively young with clear skin and no real problems with oiliness, you have no real reason to actually wear full coverage foundation. If you have mature skin, it is ageing and if you have problem skin, it will accentuate the texture of any blemishes. Most people need a medium coverage or sheer to medium coverage with correct concealing. If you seal it with a light dusting of powder, it will last you all day and there’s no reason to wear more unless you want to. If this is how you feel most comfortable within your own skin, don’t let me correct you. That’s awesome. It’s more important to be happy and personal style is just that. However, if you are simply following the instructions of a friend or a youtuber or buying the products used by a babe on instagram or tumblr, keep in mind that they’re not you. Their skin isn’t the same. Go to a counter, get colour matched and try a finish, texture and coverage that make you look and feel amazing and like you could take on the world or seduce a rockstar with the wink of an eye.
Remember with all of these myths, the main issue is that the makeup buying public are copying single people on mass and defining it as the only way to look or feel good. We are all different and need different things in our lives, whether it’s what we put on our mouths, in our minds or on our faces. Fulfilment is a personal journey that cannot be achieved by jumping on a band wagon.
Now go out and be the best, happiest and most secure person you can be… because you’re an independent woman who don’t need no man.
This past week, I’ve been stuck between a rock and a hard place trying to pack for my upcoming short holiday. As we all know, packing basic essentials like shoes, clothing, etc. can be an absolute nightmare and I almost always over or under estimate the amount of things I need, resulting in utter chaos when I’m meant to be relaxing.
That being said, my hardest part to pack is, of course, toiletries. Being a makeup artist, I feel a need to pack every cosmetic item I own… plus the proverbial kitchen sink. However, realism sets in at around 3am the night before I need to leave and I frantically unpack, trying to determine which items I need the most. What I have realised is that everything should fit into a small makeup bag. You should be able to survive with only three brushes max.
Holiday time is down time, give your skin a break and have a more effortless look. Spending half an hour getting ready when you could be going out exploring seems a little redundant to me. Here are a few essential items to look your best without spending more than ten minutes of mirror time on your much needed break.
Clinique 3-step (travel size)
I live for the Clinique 3-step skincare range. My skin is always clear, radiant and the dramatically different moisturiser is so lightweight that I don’t feel greasy or sweaty in the sun or humidity. The travel size kit is a perfect introduction if you haven’t already tried their range and it’s quite generously sized, so you may even have leftovers when you get home. Win.
Clinique Anti-blemish Solutions foundation Another clinique must have for summer. Not just for those who experience breakouts. This formula is anti bacterial, super lightweight and oil free making it perfect for warm weather. Personally, I find that my usual foundation may irritate my skin slightly when I’m hot and sweat underneath it (I have extremely sensititive skin), but this formula works amazingly well even on ridiculously hot days or in areas where the humidity is so high that you want to die. The sheer to medium coverage is perfect for a natural look whilst still covering imperfections.
Napoleon Perdis “The One” Concealer. This under eye concealer is a godsend. It may look like a frightening shade of orange in the jar, but it actually neutralises the purpleish/blueish tone of under eye darkness and corrects it to match your skintone. It’s lightweight, very blendable and relatively inexpensive in comparison to a lot of Napoleon’s range.
Benefit’s Benetint This cult product is perfect for a light rosy glow. It’s buildable, fast drying and can also be used as a lip stain. 20 second blush application is also a plus.
Bobbi Brown Brow Pencil
Bobbi Brown’s brow pencils are an absolute dream to work with. They’re soft and blendable but have a powder-like finish making for a natural looking brow. Their colour range is fantastic as it also suits the hair colour it’s aimed at, unlike a lot of brands who make a “blonde” brow pencil that is either a) too dark and better suited to someone with dark brown hair b) too waxy and cartoonish c) too red toned and again, cartoonish and rather obvious looking. Great investment buy. The high pigment formula means this pencil will last you ages.
Stila Kajal Eyeliner Pencil
Stila’s eye pencils are lovely to work with. Soft, easy to smoke up but very long lasting for a smudge-free look (unless you smudge it yourself!). Holiday tip- apply to upper and lower lashline as close to the lashes as possible. Using a cotton tip, bullet brush or your finger, gently blend into a soft smoky line for definition that is soft and sultry without being too OTT.
Limecrime Velvetine in Suedeberry I am in love with Velvetines and as they are usually sold out within days of a new shipment, I am obviously not alone with this sentiment. This luscious lip stain is highly pigmented, lasts hour upon hour and has a lovely on-trend matte finish. The orange undertone to this bright red stain suits every skintone and because it’s fast drying, it’s a fuss-free, mess-free way to look glamorous without needing to constantly touch up or check your teeth for offending marks.
MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in “Soft and Gentle” This is officially my favourite highlighter. Highly pigmented (this will last you through your good times, bad times and every in between and you’ll still be able to scrape some out of the container) and long wearing, an absolute saviour for those needing a radiant glow without looking sweaty. This product blends like a dream and creates a really lovely shade of highlight to suit almost any skintone.
So that’s it! A few products that will create a simple, flawless look so you look great in holiday snaps without packing the entire contents of your bathroom. What are your go-to holiday products?
As far as blush goes, sadly not all colours were created equal. I get so many customers who tell me that they never wear blush because it makes them look too pink, especially if they usually have a lot of redness in their face that needs concealing.
Then we also have the poor dark skinned girls who not only have virtually no choice in terms of foundations here in AUS, but also are too dark for the blushes that we have to offer for predominantly Mediterranean people. A pale pink looks like a highlight on darker skin and it will take on a dull, greyish tone that is unflattering… How unfair is that?!
Then we also have pale as hell people like me. Goths, English people and albinos will know what I’m talking about. A punk blush makes me look like I’ve run a marathon despite my more olivey undertone to my skin because of my allergic to the sun appearance.
Enter the best colour in the world…. Peach! Peach is flattering to ALL skin tones and does not give you the illusion of being literally blushing a deep red from a scarring level of embarrassment.
My top picks for peach toned blushes to make your skin look amazing are:
MAC cosmetics blush in “peaches”
A customer favourite from MAC addicts. A sheer tone blush guaranteed to give you some colour without overpowering you.
Napoleon Perdis mosaic in “flushing”
I love napoleon’s mosaics and flushing is my favourite. A perfect blend between “blushing” and “bronzing”, this colour is highly pigmented and super smooth for optimal blending.
Illamasqua cream blush in “rude”
I love this product so much I actually posted a review a few months ago. Sheer yet buildable with a good coral tone and a lovely creamy, blendable consistency perfect for summer.
NARS blush in “orgasm”
The one that started it all for me. The original shade designed to suit all skin tones. It’s on the pricey side, but it’s so pigmented and easy to apply that it will last ages and is a beauty staple. Available also as a stick, a liquid illuminator… Seriously, too easy considering you will always get the finish you want.
– MAC lip pencil in “Vino”
– Mac lipstick in “Diva”
– Lip brush
– Yellow based concealer
Using a lip brush, apply lipstick all over lip. Pay attention to any dryness and ensure there are no cracks in the colour by patting colour on gently to any dry or chapped areas.
Ensuring the lip pencil is sharp, slowly outline the lips. Correct any uneven shape as you see fit, but try to stay as close to the lip line as possible to avoid looking clownish.
Sketch into the outer thirds to create an ombre effect with the centre of the lip being the lightest (no pencil, just lipstick) and the outer corners being the darkest (mix of pencil and lipstick). Blend the pencil inwards gently with the lip brush.
Touch up the lipline with the pencil and dot a little extra lipstick to the centre of the lip as needed. Graduating the colour so the inner third is lightest creates a subtle pout.
Apply a yellow based concealer with a small concealer brush to any areas where the lines are wonky as well as to the cupid’s bow to accentuate the shape.
Blot as necessary or finish with a speck of translucent powder. All done!
I hope you found this guide useful! I will be posting reviews of these products shortly, so keep your eyes peeled.
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.
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:
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:
(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 brands
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!