Tag Archives: beauty

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 beauty industry is for “dumb” people.

So a lot of people seem to think that the beauty industry is for “dumb” people who “couldn’t do anything else with their lives”.
I ask those people if they’ve actually thought about what these jobs entail for a moment.
You need an understanding of biology to understand the structure of the skin, hair, nails etc and the proteins that they’re made out of and what substances will or won’t harm them. You need to understand what will or won’t blind or burn or irritate somebody before you put it on their body. You also need to know what that rash, lump or redness means and if it’s a contaminant that will effect your other clients… Much like a nurse.
You need an understanding of chemistry to understand which chemicals are irritants, how their properties effect the absorption of other compounds and which products will cause reactions amongst each other than can be harmful or helpful. You need to mix dangerous chemicals (especially in hairdressing and beauty) and know how to apply them to someone else’s body without seriously injuring them AND make it have a cosmetic effect.
You need an understanding of colour, both to enhance and to hide different physical afflictions on someone’s body. What will add something more beautiful and what will hide tiredness, a rash, a bruise, acne. What will make someone’s skin look less stressed and more youthful. What will suit different skin tones. What will hide age or illness.
You need an understanding of shapes and symmetry that will rival an architect or an engineer. How to make an optical illusion with things that are part of a physical body and hide perceived flaws to accentuate perceived goodness. You need to be precise with angles to make sure you do this properly… A millimetre is the difference between success and failure.
You need an understanding of psychology. Why someone wants to look a certain way, why someone is hesitant to change their appearance (and often identity or race) or embrace it. You need to understand how to read body language from a stranger and make sure they’re comfortable and listen to stories that you normally wouldn’t hear from someone you’ve just met.
You need to understand business. People will do anything to convince you that your work is worthless when you work eight to ten hour days on your feet. How to price yourself based on both time and materials and travel.
You need to be strong. You’re on your feet while people sit in an office, your arms will ache from having them up at someone else’s face or hair for hours of the day. Your back will be screaming after contorting yourself uncomfortably and your feet will be in agony most of your waking hours.
It’s not an easy job. It’s not a glamorous job either as you spend most of your day touching other people’s bodies and bodily fluids, oils and hair. It’s actually quite gross sometimes, but it is rewarding.
My question for you if, after all this, you still seem to think it’s a job for people of lesser intelligence: why do you allow people who you think are stupid to put things on your skin or eyes or trust them with scissors and volatile chemicals.

“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.

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.

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.

wait…

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?