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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?

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Sugarpill cosmetics review: Loose shadow trio + Lumi

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

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

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

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

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

Now on to the fun stuff.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

XOXO Kate

The deal with false lashes.

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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: benefit “they’re real” mascara

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Like most women, I’m constantly searching for the perfect mascara. A miracle product that will somehow make false lashes redundant. I’m not going to say that I’ve found that product, but this mascara is pretty close.

My eyelashes are a constant source of frustration because they may be long and thick, but they point downwards and even with lash curlers, they are still practically invisible. Most lengthening mascaras are so heavy that they pull them downward even more. Enter benefit’s “they’re real” mascara!

This product is a very dark black and a nice wet consistency. It’s very buildable and because of its non sticky formula, you aren’t left with annoying clumps after the second coat. It’s not waterproof but doesn’t really shift on a night out or if you’re caught ins downpour. Then there’s the brush… It’s shaped uniquely so that you can reach all the tiny baby lashes in your inner corner without getting mascara all over your face. I’m hooked.

the pros:
– it’s a very dark black
– curls lashes beautifully
– thickens and lengthens the lashes
– moderate pricing

the cons:
– non waterproof formula
– difficult to remove

This is currently my favourite mascara. Have you tried it out? Let me know what you think or share another great mascara you know about.

Want me to review a product for you? email me.

Choosing a primer

A lot of people ask me “what’s a primer?”, “do I need a primer?” Or “what’s the best primer?”

There is no such thing as “the best” for any makeup product. I am not brand specific with my own work because different products work well with different skin, what suits my skin tone and type may not suit your needs.

I can, however, give you a guide on what a primer is and how to choose one.

Primer is a product applied to the face before makeup application. It usually has no properties that improve the condition of your skin, though it will act as a barrier to make your skin hold moisture from your moisturiser, smooth out uneven skin tone and prevent makeup from being absorbed into the skin, meaning you use less product and it will last much longer. Some primers also have colour correcting properties or make your makeup waterproof. Whether you need one depends on how much makeup you wear, the purpose of applying it (everyday looks may not require the same amount of preventative measures as night looks or photographic makeup) and your budget.

So what type works better for my skin? Well there are a few kinds or consistencies of primer. For very dry skin or mature skin that needs a little tlc, a more “wet” primer such as NARS pore refining primer or napoleon perdis autopilot are great for stopping your makeup from being absorbed into the skin (which will dry it more!), giving a more dewy finish and leaving your face feeling and looking soft.

Oilier skin types or skin with an uneven texture due to scarring, blemishes or deep set lines benefits more from a thicker, oil free primer with lots of silicone. It washes straight off with makeup remover, so it’s not the dirty word it is in the world of hair care. A thicker, more matte primer will leave a velvet like finish on your skin. It stops product entering your pores, has an extremely smoothing effect and this disguises any texture on the skin as well as providing a barrier from oil to keep your makeup looking fresh, not shiny, without an overly matte finish.

Combination skin or those who need some colour correction would benefit from a consistency somewhere in the middle of these too. Your skin will feel lovely and soft, look fresh without shine and you can get some great primers which will even out skin tone.

My picks of the primer world:

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NARS pore refining primer.
It has a luxuriously soothing feel and keeps dry skin from looking dull. It can be a little pricey, but a little goes a long way. Definitely an investment for drier skin types or those desiring a dewy finish.

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Napoleon perdis auto pilot primer.
Another moisturising primer for dryer skin, this primer is award winning with good reason. A little less expensive than the NARS option but by no means lesser in quality. Many women swear by the auto pilot range.

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Too faced primed and poreless “pure” primer.
This is my current primer of choice as I have extremely sensitive skin. It shields your skin from pollution, gives a flawless finish to makeup and still gives off a glowing finish to makeup without allowing oil to ruin your hard work. It also has an intense smoothing effect on blemishes or lines and feels lovely and rich against your skin.

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Stila one step correct primer.
This is a cult product worldwide. This hardworking primer not only has a semi matte finish, but also corrects the skin tone in three different ways. Perfect for those with combination skin types, making your makeup last that little bit longer or those with a lot of redness in their cheeks or skin that seems to look a little dull after makeup application.

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Smashbox photo finish primer.
My old favourite, this is a product I go to when applying makeup on various clients. There is a formula to suit every kind of colour correction you could think of, plus the original formula for those who just seek a natural glow in every look. The redness correcting version (which looks green in the bottle but comes out clear) is my saviour in winter time or if I have blemishes because it disguises them under the foundation so well that I barely need to conceal. It’s more moderately priced than the stila formula and it lasts ages, definitely a great investment.

I hope this has been a useful guide, let me know what you think.

Do you have a favourite primer not listed here or want me to review a product for you? email me .

Product review: NARS semi-matte lipstick in heatwave.

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So I’m monogamous when it comes to lip colours. Once I find a colour I like, it will take hell or high water (or the discontinuation of that colour) to convince me to change. Enter NARS lipstick.

Several years ago, Mecca cosmetica opened a concept store in Melbourne central called “Mecca maxima”, combining them with their sister store kit cosmetics and selling their most sought after products and a few other cult products usually in available at their counters.

I worked nearby and went in to kill time. I was looking for a shade similar to the (at the time) unattainable MAC lipstick in morange. I found heatwave and fell in love. Less orange than morange, less coral than MAC’s “lady danger” and a nice matte finish. The price set me back a little bit, but I was a woman possessed and I vowed to only wear it on special occasions to save the precious lipstick as long as possible.

The next day I caved and applied it the next morning. I started work in the evening but went out all day and forgot to take it with me for touch ups. I was immediately taken aback after eating; it was still there and strong as ever in colour.

When I finished work at 11pm that day, the colour was still there and only a teensy bit less intense than it was during the day… I had done my makeup at ten o’clock that morning and obviously eaten and drank throughout the day! My foundation had started wearing off, my eyeshadow and blush were faded yet my lips were still a startling red.

This product has become my staple for days I won’t be able to touch up or nights out when I risk bleeding lipstick after a few drinks.

The pros:
– incredibly pigmented
– long lasting
– suits most skin tones and hair colours

The cons:
– costly (here in Australia it retails at around $60!)
– can be a little drying so remember to apply lip balm between wears and use a lip primer.
– I’ve fever found another red lipstick I’ve loved as much.
– now I need to find a foundation as long lasting.

Have a product you think I should review? email me with your suggestions!