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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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“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.

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.