Category Archives: product review

The Molotov pigtails guide to skincare for sensitised skin. Part II- moisturisers

This is the second part to my list of reviews of various skincare products I’ve used on my dry, sensitive and breakout prone skin. Enjoy!

Moisturisers

  

Clarins daily energiser cream-gel

As mentioned in my previous post, I used to work under the clarins group, but I actually bought this when I was repurchasing the cleansing milk to qualify for a gift with purchase (I’m not the only one who has done this). It was recommended to me on counter as it was within my price range, targeted for my skin type and age group and I quite liked the consistency.

This product is available as both a cream and a gel cream, and I opted for the gel as it was more lightweight for summer. 

I had no issues with sensitivity or breakouts, but it wasn’t as hydrating as I would have hoped and I found that it made my skin feel a little sticky after application, but that would fade away after half an hour or so. It looks beautiful under makeup, but it wasn’t fantastic for my skin. It’s probably better for a normal skin type than my dehydrated skin and it’s nice and lightweight. The price is also right as it was around $40AUD.

  
Kiehl’s ultra facial cream

I was given a deluxe sample of this by a friend who works at kiehl’s who was concerned about my sensitivity. 

This product was really hydrating and very gentle. It feels beautiful on the skin and looks great under makeup. I had a mild breakout, but this was also during my first few weeks of trying my clarisonic and when I tried it again later, I didn’t have that issue so I think it was more of an issue with the initial breakouts you get with a clarisonic and less to do with the formulation. This is a product I would use again as it’s economical to buy and a good all rounder.

  
Clinique dramatically different moisturising lotion +

This is another old faithful of mine. The consistency is very lightweight and it smoothes out and soothes the skin almost instantly. I prefer it in the summer as I need a more heavy duty moisturiser in the cooler months, but I can’t really fault this product except for the slight sheen that it leaves on the skin for a couple of hours afterwards.

It’s beautiful under makeup but I honestly would only use this with the rest of the Clinique 3 step products, where I feel it works best.

  
Creme de la mer moisturising cream

I was given a couple of samples of this by the beautiful girl from la met after we got talking about my quest for the perfect moisturiser.

This moisturiser was amazing on my skin, but it’s very rich and I realised quickly that a little goes a long way. The consistency is quite firm initially and it sort of melts onto the skin once it’s warmed by your body heat, so it’s better to leave on the back of your hand for a couple of moments before applying unless you’re having a mid winter dry skin crisis and really need the extra product.

The price made my eyes water though, so I never repurchased it and, while it was lovely, it isn’t lovely enough for me to justify the price tag when there are a lot of other wonderful moisturisers on the market.

  
Laura Mercier infusion de rose nourishing creme

I fell in love with this moisturiser when it came out. It’s very rich and heavy, but feels feather soft on the skin and is incredibly hydrating. It also smells divine, just like rose water. 

I had no issues with my skin whatsoever using this product as it’s designed for all skin types and marketed towards “stressed” skin. It’s not cheap, but a wonderful moisturiser to have in your arsenal.

  

Laura Mercier infusion de rose nourishing oil

This, on the other hand, hated me. The fragrance made my skin irritated and sad. I broke out, I got a rash on my cheekbones and it added an unwanted sheen to my skin. I was devastated, I really wanted to love this product but it simply wasn’t meant to be.

I would recommend this oil for more mature skin, or dry skin which isn’t sensitive or even a combination to oily skin type instead of a night cream. A cool feature of this product is that you’re able to add a few drops of it to any other moisturiser to turn it into a night cream or treatment, just make sure you’ve checked your skin for irritation first.

  

Natio badescu hyaluronic day cream 

I trialled this recently as I needed a new moisturiser, but didn’t have a huge budget for it.

This cream is hydrating, but not overly rich. It’s lightweight and absorbs in quickly, which is great under makeup, and it also smoothes out the skin slightly. Your skin will be natural, not dewy, after it settles into the skin, which is great for those who have more combination skin and don’t want to look shiny.

I like this product, but I don’t love it. It does it’s job, but doesn’t improve the skin by any means. It doesn’t irritate or break me out, which is fantastic, but it’s an ok moisturiser, not a great one.

  
Mario badescu seaweed night cream

I bought this with the hyaluronic day cream. It’s nice and affordable, which is a plus when buying a night cream as they can be very expensive.

Again, this cream is probably better for normal or combination skin, even oily skin. It mattifies slightly and while it’s moisturising, it starts off sticky and takes an effort to really work it into the skin. It stops being sticky after a few minutes, then settles to a natural matte and smoothes the skin.

Again, no irritation or breakouts but, like the hyaluronic day cream, it was ok. It’s something I would buy when I have a lower budget, but not something I would buy if I was more cashed up and had better options available.

  
Laura Mercier repair eye serum

This is a game changer for eye serums. It’s super hydrating, non irritating and has an optical brightener so it actually slightly counters the appearance of dark eye circles and brightens. 

It’s made with argan oil as a key ingredient, but it’s not too rich or oily. It’s actually surprisingly light weight and I love using this.

  
Lancôme hydra zen neurocalm soothing anti-stress moisturising cream

I’ll give you a minute to recover from the ridiculously long name.

Ok, still there? Good. Stick around for this review.

This was the holy grail of moisturisers for me. It’s a beautiful consistency, not too heavy but not too light. It isn’t shiny, but gives a naturally dewy finish which glows under your makeup like you’ve been eating well and have an adequate amount of sleep. As I see the statistics of who views my posts, I know you’re not sleeping well because you guys are on my blog at 2am. You probably need this. 

A little goes a long way. The moment I applied it, I could almost hear a chorus of angels  because it starts soothing the skin straight away. It’s so comfortable and does everything it’s meant to do and more. I won’t start raving, but I would like to. 

What’s your favourite moisturiser? Leave me a comment!

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The Molotov pigtails guide to skincare for sensitised skin. Part I- cleansers.

I’ve always had difficulty finding skincare which works for my skin as I have very dry, sensitive skin but I’m also prone to hormonal breakouts (fun!). As a result, I’ve tried a lot of different cleansers, moisturisers and serums, oils and toners to see which works for me. Here is a list of products which I’ve used and some short reviews to accompany them, as you may find them helpful. I’m not sponsored by any skincare brands, so these are either products that I’ve bought myself or have been sampled by various counters. I’ll be breaking this segment into a few parts, so this is part I.

Cleansers

  

Clarins cleansing milk

I was working for a brand who was owned by the clarins group, so I was able to buy clarins skincare at a discounted price for a short while. In this time, I bought myself a small bottle of the cleansing milk and repurchased it again at a department store a few months later at the full size as I really liked it.

This cleanser is very gentle, quite moisturising and really smoothes out the skin, however I found better results using it with my clarisonic as I found that it didn’t really cleanse away leftover makeup or dead skin without the buffing motion of the clarisonic brush. 

In my opinion, this cleanser would be fantastic for extremely dehydrated skin, especially more mature skin, but if you wear a lot of makeup (like I did when I was working on makeup counters), you’ll need to invest in a heavy duty makeup remover or use a cleansing oil beforehand.

  
Shu uemura cleansing oil

I had some friends working at the shu uemura counter who were kind enough to give me a sample bottle of the cleansing oil (the green one, as they said it would work well with my skin type).

I have always loved shu uemura cleansing oil, but this was definitely more gentle than the original formula which I used a few years ago. It works beautifully to remove all traces of makeup and hydrates as it cleanses without making drying out the skin or adding a sheen of oily residue. I found I still need to moisturise quite a bit afterwards, as I have quite dry skin, but I encountered no sensitivity or breakouts as a result. 

  
Josie Maran argan cleansing oil

I bought a bottle of this product from MECCA around a year ago as I was searching for the perfect skincare. It was more hydrating than other cleansing oils I’ve used, but it was so sticky. The texture really put me off, especially as it’s really hard to rinse off because it’s the consistency of honey. It tastes foul and, unfortunately, tends to run onto your lips because it’s really sticky. 

However, it did a beautiful job of cleansing off all makeup and debris and also left my skin very hydrated, so I didn’t need to use heaps of moisturiser afterwards. I also didn’t have any issues with breakouts or sensitivity.

  
Sukin sensitive cleansing gel

I bought this from Priceline a couple of months ago as I really needed a new cleanser and was on a bit of a budget. It’s very cheap (under $10), so I didn’t have an issue with buying it without any knowledge of how it would work because I  wouldn’t have felt bad if I had an irritation and had to give it to someone else.

I use this with my clarisonic and find it works really beautifully with it. It’s by no means improved my skin texture, but it also hasn’t made my skin worse and I’ve had no reactions for it. Definitely a good budget buy.

  
Clinique mild liquid facial soap

I was a devotee of Clinique skincare for years, as a result of buying the three step for ages, there’s always a bottle of this laying around in my house which I’ll use when I run out of cleanser or in between brands.

This is a product that I always go back to. It’s very gentle, it cleanses well and I never have any bad reactions to using it. It’s also not a ground breaking formula, so while it does the job, it’s nothing special by itself. it works better with the entire three step and is probably one of the products you can substitute easily when using Clinique skincare without messing up your results. Nonetheless, it’s not too expensive, it works well and I will always have some handy in my bathroom.
Which cleansers would you recommend for dry/sensitive/angry skin? Leave me a comment below.
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The greatest compilation of highlighters you can poke a stick at

Whether you’re into contouring, strobing or just really like having high looking cheekbones without the label, you probably love highlighters.

If you don’t love them, why not!? Highlighters are a great way to take the edge off a very matte foundation, draw attention to your best features and give a nice glow without the Edward Cullen look. Unless you’re into that.

I’ve compiled a list of highlighters from every brand I’ve used to give you a comprehensive guide on buying the right one for you.
MAC cosmetics.

  

MAC mineralize skinfinish in soft and gentle.

Good old soft and gentle is good for most fair skinned girls and most darker skin girls too. It has a beautiful golden peach tone and adds a lot of shine for cheekbones that can cut through steel without building up for half an hour. If you’re especially fair, I would use the lightscapade highlighter instead, but most people will be fine with this product.

  
MAC Cream colour base in shell.

I love cream products, but often find myself disappointed with their staying power, their blendability or the amount of pigment in them. I have had no issues with the MAC cream bases at all, which is kind of rare (and kind of amazing) for a range of cream products. Great amount of pigment, easy to blend, easy to build- just pat it on with your fingertips- and with a gorgeous liquid metal colour with tones of pink and gold. It’s the stylist little sister of NARS Laguna who got a bit of a tan. It also suits almost anyone because it’s not too light or dark and it gives off a beautiful wet look if you build it. My only warning is not to use on the T-zone if you’re oily or combination.
Urban Decay

  

Urban Decay NAKED flushed palette.

Ok. So technically this isn’t just a highlighter, but it has a highlight in it so bear with me.

I was gifted this palette by a friend before the Naked palettes were available in Australia and I was so, so excited. I find the entire palette has a good colour payoff and you don’t need to build any of the shades up to notice them. The powders blend easily and suit most tones, but I’m quite fair and olive and I found the pink tone a little overwhelming as it was a half a shade darker than my skin when I tried it. Unfortunately, it met an unfortunate demise when it met my tiled bathroom floor, so I can’t try it again to see what it looks like. It was amazing to use on shoots, though. Bonus points for convenience, but like all of the urban decay NAKED palettes, it’s very dusty and brittle and it chips (or breaks) easily so take care.
Laura Mercier

  

 Matte radiance baked highlight 01.

I’m working with this product a lot at the moment and it is the most user friendly highlight on the market at the moment. Shiny and pearlescent without being metallic looking, naturally radiant for fair to medium skin (don’t worry, darker skinned beauties, the next item on the list will be your best friend). This baked powder will last until only the cockroaches and whatever Donald trump is using to hide his lack of hair remain, you only need a small amount. Being a baked powder, it’s very soft and blend able but definitely not dusty or messy to use. It has a white gold tone to it that looks like you’re being illuminated by angelic light. There is good reason this is a cult product but, unfortunately, it can often be hard to track down in Australia so you may need to be patient.

  
Indiscretion highlight.

Part of the Summer in Ibiza collection for the 2015 summer (or Australian winter). This is a champagne or rose gold coloured powder that has more of a gleam than its Highlight 01 counterpart. It adds a slight bronze glow without looking dirty or dark on fairer skin and it looks absolutely gorgeous on dark skin. This is the highlight that suits everyone, plus it has beautiful packaging and it stays in that gorgeous rippled shape even after you’ve been using it for a couple of weeks. Sadly, this is a limited edition product so you’ll need to catch the next shipments to reach Australia before they’re gone for good. Thankfully, this product will last you years and years because you need so little to get a good result.
Illamasqua

  

Illasmaqua gleam in Aurora.

This is probably one of the easiest cream products to blend. The downside is that, unfortunately, you need to really build it up in order to get a good highlight. It works beautifully with a dewy foundation, but looks strange with any mattes because it is so luminous. I would liken the consistency to lip balm or body butter, it feels hydrating but it needs a lot of coaxing to work well on full coverage foundations without accidentally removing part of your base. That being said, it looks gorgeous on the skin when it is applied correctly and Illamasqua always endeavour to be cruelty free with their products, which makes them a worthy brand to support.
Bobbi Brown

  

Bobbi Brown shimmer brick in beige.

Technically, Bobbi brown don’t do highlighters as they don’t encourage contouring the face until you resemble a Kardashian. However, this product is what all the Bobbi artists are using to add definition to cheekbones, the bridge of the nose, etc. 

This colour is my favourite of the range as it suits most skin tones as a highlighter, but the Rose or Nectar variations may work better for you, so be sure to check it out. The colour payoff is very subtle like your skin has been airbrushed or like you’ve just got very, very good selfie lighting happening on your face at all times. It’s a good natural glow for someone who doesn’t want to committ to a more obvious glow and it’s a godsend for people who are a little more oil prone and don’t want to resemble a disco ball.
Napoleon Perdis

  

The ultimate contour palette.

The thing with Napoleon Perdis products is that they’re extremely hit and miss. They have some absolutely beautiful products, then a few that just leave me scratching my head and wondering why they decided to make something so sub par and price it at the higher end of the spectrum. This is not one of those products. Yes, it’s a contouring palette, but it is an absolute delight to use. Nicely pigmented, blend able, build able and with colours that suit the average Australian makeup consumer. Definitely worth a try if you want a lovely all in one.
NARS

  

NARS multiple in Laguna.

NARS have their cult colours in various formats, but I find their multiple sticks the most versatile and user friendly. NARS highlighters are kind of like Joan Crawford’s character in Mommie Dearest; they look appealing on the outside, but they’re actually cold, harsh and don’t love you in the way you only hoped, yet they’re still highly coveted.

The orgasm multiple is too pink and dark for a variety of people, yet Laguna is such an icy shade of silvery white that you’d be hard pressed to wear it without resembling an android. I love using them because, as I mentioned, they’re easy to use and clients love the brand, but I keep using them and instantly wishing I hadn’t because that bitter disappointment I feel when I realise I need to apply something over the top to get the perfect colour just isn’t worth it.

What’s in my bathroom

So today for something a little different, I’m going to tell you all the products I use on a regular basis. I don’t like shameless plugs for particular brands, but I also use a variety of products for my skin, hair and makeup that vary depending on season, the condition of my hair/skin and depending on where I’m working at the time.

I think there’s a real problem that people have with product loyalty. There are so many fantastic brands out there, but each usually has one or two strong points. It’s always better to experiment and find a variety of things that work for you. Ask any makeup artist (when they’re not behind a counter and forced to promote the brand they work for), and they’ll rattle off a list of several brands and products that work for them.

Hair care

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At the moment, I’m big on using Redken products. My hair has taken a beating this year due to a lot of bleaching and colouring, so I’m alternating between the diamond oil range and the extreme shampoo and conditioner (for added protein). I find that Joico’s KPAK range can be quite drying, but a lot of people swear by it.

Post bleach, I always follow with a hayashi “emergency 911” protein treatment, which I mix with a few drops of Argan oil. It’s a godsend for damaged hair.
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My favourite toning shampoo is by NAK, it contains Argan oil and it’s quite nourishing and I buy it in a big pack with a toning leave in conditioner.

When my hair is a vibrant colour, I like to use Shiseido “Tsubaki Shining” products as coloured hair can be quite dull and lustreless.

I love Argan oil to add shine and softness post styling and I also do DIY coconut oil treatments once every month when my hair is especially dry, frizzy or damaged. It works wonders and it’s cheaper than any store bought treatment.

Skin
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I keep alternating between the Clinique 3 step and the Kiehl’s non detergent foaming cleanser followed by a Mario badescu oil free moisturiser in the summer or if it’s especially humid.

Although my skin is quite dry, I’m probe to breakout due to sensitivity so I avoid fragranced skincare or any moisturisers with an SPF.

Occasionally, I’ll use a few drops of Estée Lauder advanced night repair serum before bed in the cooler months or if I’ve dried out my skin by going to the beach. I rarely have any at home, so it’s really up to when Estée Lauder are giving out samples (ha!)

Makeup

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I always use a primer before my foundation. My favourites are the Smashbox photo finish primer (the colour correcting one), primed and poreless or a cheap face of Australia primer that I pick up at Priceline… It’s surprisingly moisturising to the skin and gives a great finish to the fuller coverage foundations.

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My current favourite foundation is Illamasqua Skinbase. Perfect medium coverage, a nice flawless finish and perfect for autumn and spring when you need a balance in products.

In the winter months, I gravitate towards MAC studiofix, which I blend with the Napoleon Perdis “beauty boosting balm” to get a nice dewy finish. They work so well together that it’s actually ridiculous.

On nights out, I wear studiofix alone for the fuller coverage.

In the summer, I wear Clinique super balanced foundation or their anti blemish solutions foundation as they’re nice and light and don’t make my face feel disgusting when I get sweaty.

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My good friend Holly gave me the “by terry hyaluronic blush” for my birthday last year (in blushberry, a nice cool pink) and I adore this product. It’s really blendable, highly pigmented (a little goes a LONG way) and has an amazing finish.

I also love the Illamasqua cream blush in “rude” and MAC blush in “peaches” and “pink moon”.

I use a Kryolan concealer wheel, illamasqua gleam in “aurora” or MAC “soft and gentle” as a highlighter (depending on how dark my skin is at the time).

I set my base with Kryolan translucent powder, as I do with all my clients.

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My favourite lipsticks are the NARS semi mattes and Napoleon Perdis matte-tastic lipsticks (above). I only use Napoleon, MAC, Kryolan or rimmel lip pencils.

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For eyeshadows, I stick mainly to Kryolan and Inglot because of the great colour payoff, affordable price tag and the convenience of the large palettes. I also but individual shadows from MAC and a few other brands if it’s an especially interesting colour.

I almost exclusively use gel liner and usually go between Napoleon Perdis or Kryolan because they’re quite soft and easy to apply and blend and also quite affordable. I like Napoleon, MAC and Stila kohl pencils as they’re the perfect consistency and don’t end up all over your face if it’s hot outside.

As far as brows go, I alternate between Bobbi Brown pencils and the smashbox brow crayons (they come with a clear gel and it’s AWESOME). For a more graphic brow or when my hair is dark, I’ll use a dark brown shadow with an angle brush.

Fragrance

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I only wear four fragrances: Estée Lauder “beyond paradise” (above) and Marc Jacobs “Lola” in the summer; Thierry Mugler “angel” and Jean Paul Gaultier “classique” in the winter.

So thats it. A boring list of what a pro makeup artist uses on a daily basis to look, feel and smell nice.

What are your favourite makeup/skincare/hair products? What do you think I should add to my routine?

Product review: redken diamond oil

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I’m a firm believer that hair colour is a journey, not a destination. The plus side is having has pretty much every shade of the rainbow in my hair. It looks cheerful, it’s fun.

The downside is that there are time like now where I need to give my hair some downtime or it really will fall out.

(Quick recap, in the last three month my hair has been dark blonde, light blonde, a mixture of pink and turquoise, pure turquoise, mint green, white blonde, hot pink and now it’s black again….. Whew)

I’ve got a great protein treatment that I work with to keep my hair happy and as healthy as possible during my madness, but they’re not nourishing enough to give your hair the dose of hydration it needs to keep it soft and shiny.

Enter diamond oil.

I originally bought the treatment

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Which looks like this. I was hooked. My super thick, frizzy and frazzled hair would feel super soft and nourished after a mere five minutes with this baby in. The trick is to scoop out slightly less than you think you’ll need. It feels sort of firm in the jar, but it literally melts into your hair like butter. Amazing. Plus it smells great.

I’ve heard feedback from people with rather fine hair that this product is simply too heavy, which I feel is a fair response. I would avoid it if your hair is also naturally quite oily unless you’re targeting damaged ends as it will weigh your hair down and make the oiliness worse. This product is designed for dry, damaged, thicker hair… Otherwise I would recommend the conditioner instead. This isn’t a cheap treatment, but it goes a long way and it does wonders.

After being addicted to the treatment, I ended up buying the actual oil as well to care for the ends of my hair extensions. The oil is fairly lightweight but, again, a little goes a long way and a few drops is more than enough.

This oil is a jack of all trades, you can use it instead of your Argan oil to make your hair glossy and soft after styling. You can dowse your hair in if before washing to keep your shampoo from stripping it dry if it’s especially damaged. You can sleep with a double or triple dose as a nourishing overnight treatment, you can even add a few drops to your conditioner to turn it into a hair treatment.

It’s fantastic value and comes in a beautiful glass bottle shaped like a diamond with a glass dropper. The main negative feedback I’ve heard is that the button on the dropper eventually stops working and pouring it out is wasteful as you’ll always have too much. The other problem is, obviously, the fact the bottle is glass…. Being so breakable is not a great way to make this portable for overnight trips or for us stylists.

Overall I would give the products a 4/5. They’re fairly good value, work the way they’re meant to but the price is unattainable for some people plus the packaging could use a few tweaks. I would recommend only for people who need the moisture and have hair thick enough to absorb the oils, otherwise redken have some other great products like the “all soft” range which is less heavy going.

The 5 Most Annoying Makeup Myths Perpetuated By Instagram and YouTube

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.

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(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.

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(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 and matches 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

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Makeup by the incredible Alex Box for Illamasqua

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.

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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.

wait…

Products to watch Jan-April 2014

There are so many exciting products on offer at the moment! whether they’re holiday limited edition collections that are still floating around or products that I’m anxiously awaiting the release of, here’s my list of must have products for this season.

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Riri heart MAC holiday collection– Veluxe Pearlfusion Shadow in 2x Dare
My dear friend Holly gave me this palette as a birthday present (which means I received it 5 days early!!) due to her amazing job at MAC Cosmetics. I am usually more of a matte shadow person because I find the colour payoff usually isn’t as good with pearlescent or glittery shadows or that they tend to crease up after a little wear. I wore this to a rock show lately and was pleasantly surprised with not only the colour payoff, but how absolutely exquisite the colours are. They shine with a multitude of iridescent undertones that change with the light. I am in love with this palette. The only downside? it’s a limited edition only release….

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Clinique A Different Nail Enamel For Sensitive Skins

I don’t know about you guys, but as an infrequent sufferer of eczema, this has on occasion made it difficult to paint my nails. Normally, I would just resign myself to the knowledge that it would be gone in a few days and just leave it alone, but it’s nice to know that for long time sufferers of sensitive skin, there is a nail polish that you can use that won’t flare up any skin conditions or cause an onset of contact dermatitis. Like all Clinique products, you know this has been tested  by a team of dermatologists and this peace of mind alone makes it worth trying. As for the cons, there’s a limited colour choice and I’ve heard mixed reviews about the colour payoff. I’d pick a colour you’re likely to wear often and keep it as a backup if you’re one who suffers from sensitivity.

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Limecrime Velvetines- the Clueless Witch Collection

When I heard this collection was being launched a few days ago, I kind of made this weird strangled noise in the back of my throat. It’s no secret that I LOVE the velvetines range. This new collection, also affectionately referred to as the “gothatines” offers a dark berry red not unlike MAC lipstick in Diva called “wicked”, a deep brown shade called “Salem” and, my favourite, a matte black lip colour, a game changer for the industry. Glossy blacks are available from time to time within various cosmetics companies depending on fashion, otherwise using a gel liner or eye pencil has always been the only real path to a clean black lip. Now we finally have a matte black lip stain for all our sartorial needs. I’m buying ten.

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Limecrime velvetine in Black Velvet.

The new Velvetines range launches in March.

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Clarins 3 dot liner
I saw an advert for this in the Australian Elle magazine about 3 days ago and instantly walked to a Clarins counter to give this product a try. The tip looks odd, like a highlighter with wedges cut out of it, so you expect it to be quite firm and difficult to move… it’s actually very flexible and easily creates a wafer thin line just as it can create a bold, 60s style “come hither” liner. The real feature that makes this product special though, is that it’s three points enable you to wiggle them in between the top lashes to create a tightlined effect without the risk of blinding yourself (it’s fast drying, unlike many liquid liners) or the discomfort of trying to reach a liner brush or eye pencil onto your top waterline in the hopes of making your lashes look thicker and eliminating that annoying little gap of nude looking skin you often find when doing your liner too quickly.

Summer Makeup bag essentials

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

Why peach blush is freaking awesome.

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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.

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My top picks for peach toned blushes to make your skin look amazing are:

MAC cosmetics blush in “peaches”

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A customer favourite from MAC addicts. A sheer tone blush guaranteed to give you some colour without overpowering you.

Napoleon Perdis mosaic in “flushing”

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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”

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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”

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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.

Sugarpill cosmetics review: Loose shadow trio + Lumi

If you’ve never heard of Sugarpill cosmetics, I genuinely feel for you.

Not only are their products amazingly pigmented, long lasting and cheerful (both in packaging and in the rainbow spectrum of colours available)… they’re also an independent brand and almost all their products are 100% vegan!

Sugarpill is owned by the rainbow haired cutie Amy Doan (aka Shrinkle). Launched in 2005, this brand is hugely popular with those looking for great quality, cruelty free products at an affordable price.

Sugarpill was chosen as the official makeup brand for Sanrio’s Hello Kitty 35th Anniversary. They’ve toured with Japanese Harajuku fashion brands 6%DOKIDOKI and Spank! Clothing and have been featured in Italian Vogue, Nylon Singapore, InStyle, xoJane, Huffington Post, OK! Magazine, OnSugar, Gothic Beauty, Gala Darling, and Apparel News.

Whew! that’s a huge achievement for an independent brand. Based in Berkley California, they post internationally with reasonably priced postage and even their boxes feature their adorable “pill-kitty” mascot/logo and makes your heart sing when it arrives in the mail.

Now on to the fun stuff.

Some time late last year, I purchased the “Zillionaire” loose shadow trio and a single loose shadow in “lumi”.

ImageAbove is the Zillionaire trio, picture from the official sugarpill website.

May I first start off by saying how amazed I was with the colour payoff from these shadows. Goldilux is the first “true gold” colour I’ve seen in any cosmetics. It literally looks like tiny flakes of real gold. The loose pigments are fantastic because they can be used wet or dry, meaning mixing it with a little mixing medium, water or cream pigments will achieve a colour burst without a gross flaky texture. It’s also great to turn their products into liquid liner, mascara or lipstick. If you were to buy only one product from sugarpill, buy Goldilux. It is a STAR product and, being gold, is highly complimentary to every skintone and hair colour combination imagineable. It’s also safe for those who are not quite ready to step into the world of bold colours but loud and sparkly enough for any hyper-colour fanatic.

Next onto Hysteric. Hysteric is an interesting medium, cool (blueish toned) purple. A tiny amount blended out makes an almost pinky shade, a regular amount creates a metallic purple and a large amount makes a deep yet incredibly vibrant purple. Perfect for creasework.

Finally, Junebug is a deep purple which instantly reminds me of peacocks and Christmas beatles. It’s got a slight turquoise tone to it which changes depending on where the light hits it. Over a mint green cream pigment, it has an almost radioactive glow and still keeps its alluring tone. Definitely not a boring or gross shade of green, it compliments every skintone I apply it to.

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As mentioned, I also bought Lumi. This was separate from the pack, but a product I’ve been lusting after for ages. At first glance, it is a pure snow white. On application, however, you notice it has a slight blue tone to it. Applied over a nude, white, mint, or silver shadow it turns a startling shade of ice blue. It’s incredibly glitzy, but without the ouch-factor of actual glitter. I use this product so much that I’m about to buy five more. Not only great for eyeshadows, this it the world’s greatest highlighter. The cool tone is not too dramatic for highlighting on any skintone, in fact I use this on every face for photo shoots or film. It makes the inner corners pop, the brow bones gleam and your cheekbones look like you’re the long lost sister of Kate Moss. It’s also fantastic to accentuate your cupid’s bow (simply put a tiny amount around your cupid’s bow to make your lipstick look dramatic and immaculate).

The best thing is that all of these products are a beautiful consistency. They feel like velvet and blend so beautifully you can almost hear choirs of angels sing the second the brush hits your face. All the sugarpill shadows are smooth and pigmented, so a little goes a long way… but don’t let the word “eyeshadow” limit your usage. Great for contours, blush, as a pat on colour to create interesting matte lipsticks… the combinations are as endless are your creativity allows.

As you can guess, this is one of my favourite brands of cosmetics. I highly recommend you take the time to check out the sugarpill website.

You can also follow sugarpill cosmetics on: Facebook, twitter and instagram.
Shrinkle is also on instagram and her posts are definitely worth checking out.

Want me to review a product? Email me and we can make arrangements!

Also contact me if you’d like a cruelty-free makeover with vegan brushes and cosmetics. I also offer makeup lessons via skype if you’d like to know more about many fabulous vegan and cruelty free products, where to buy them and how to find out if your products are vegan.

XOXO Kate