“Brows on fleek”- why today’s negative criticism of makeup is blocking our creative process in the makeup world.

  
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.

Repeat it. 

And again.

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.

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Behind the scenes photo diary of today’s shoot

Today I was doing hair and makeup for a student of the Melbourne institute of fashion. For something a little different, I’m going to show you a behind the scenes look at my day.
  
I travelled very light today as it was a single hair and makeup look and I only ever pack the tools I need. 

    
 The makeup look was meant to be very clean and glamorous with a bold lip and the hair was a loose wave with a nod to old Hollywood.  

  
I curled all the hair with a wide barrelled tong and pinned up the curls while they were warm to keep the curls in place and then started on the makeup.

  
While we were shooting in a bar on Brunswick st, the preparation was done at the Melbourne fashion institute. The view was amazing and i was very grateful to have good natural light to use for once.

  
Then we travelled to the shoot location. My client had booked out the lovely polly cocktail bar on Brunswick st. After setting up the equipment, it was Showtime.

  
Throughout the course of a shoot, there’s lots of fiddling involved to touch up the clothing and makeup for each look and to make sure it looks fresh.
Today was a lot of fun and I’ll be looking forward to seeing the finished product soon. Hope you guys enjoyed my little photo diary of today’s hard work.

  

The last year in a single shot

Photographer in all five shots is Kynan O’meara

Samantha Morrison is the model in the featured image, with hairstyling, wardrobe styling and makeup by MOLOTOV PIGTAILS hairstyling and makeup.

Models appearing on the bottom (left to right):

Annika lammers (styled by hair self, hair and makeup by MOLOTOV PIGTAILS)

Dylan peck

Laura Kinross and Laura Rose, with wardrobe styling and accessories by Michelle Chorny from Pokkerdot Lane.

Yana martens. Hairpiece by lady petrova.
Please follow me on Instagram for more regular updates: @molotovpigtails

Also, find me on Facebook

I’ll endeavour to update this blog more regularly now that I have a little more time on my hands.

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.

4 Popular Makeup Hangups You Need to Get Rid Of

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??

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From my own portfolio. Model: Erica Rose.

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

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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)

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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.

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Katy Perry in her recent Eyelure ads

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.

Styling short hair

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.

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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.

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2. Quiff

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.

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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.

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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.

Beauty advice for job seekers.

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 makeup looks that will suit almost any job interview.

1. 60s revamp

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pictured: Lana Del Rey

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

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From the Louis Vuitton SS14 campaign.

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.

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Moschino AW14

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.

To recap:

– 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.

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.

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