Tag Archives: illamasqua

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.

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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?

Why peach blush is freaking awesome.

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As far as blush goes, sadly not all colours were created equal. I get so many customers who tell me that they never wear blush because it makes them look too pink, especially if they usually have a lot of redness in their face that needs concealing.

Then we also have the poor dark skinned girls who not only have virtually no choice in terms of foundations here in AUS, but also are too dark for the blushes that we have to offer for predominantly Mediterranean people. A pale pink looks like a highlight on darker skin and it will take on a dull, greyish tone that is unflattering… How unfair is that?!

Then we also have pale as hell people like me. Goths, English people and albinos will know what I’m talking about. A punk blush makes me look like I’ve run a marathon despite my more olivey undertone to my skin because of my allergic to the sun appearance.

Enter the best colour in the world…. Peach! Peach is flattering to ALL skin tones and does not give you the illusion of being literally blushing a deep red from a scarring level of embarrassment.

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

MAC cosmetics blush in “peaches”

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

Napoleon Perdis mosaic in “flushing”

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I love napoleon’s mosaics and flushing is my favourite. A perfect blend between “blushing” and “bronzing”, this colour is highly pigmented and super smooth for optimal blending.

Illamasqua cream blush in “rude”

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I love this product so much I actually posted a review a few months ago. Sheer yet buildable with a good coral tone and a lovely creamy, blendable consistency perfect for summer.

NARS blush in “orgasm”

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The one that started it all for me. The original shade designed to suit all skin tones. It’s on the pricey side, but it’s so pigmented and easy to apply that it will last ages and is a beauty staple. Available also as a stick, a liquid illuminator… Seriously, too easy considering you will always get the finish you want.

The deal with false lashes.

Image(image copyright shu uemura)

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

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

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

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

Lashes like these:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are a few more good brandsImage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Product Review: Illamasqua cream blush in “rude”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

Illamasqua-Cream-Blush-Rude

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

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

So here’s what I think:

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

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

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

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