Monday, 25 May 2015

Automatic Re-Buys

I've been thinking about this post for a while and I think it's just going to have to be one that is ever expanding. But there are some things that I have spares of in reserve or re-buy as soon as they run out, automatically, without thinking about the things you usually think about when buying products - cost, reviews, necessity. As soon as they look a bit low I re-buy. Writing me has also made me realise there are certain products for which I have nothing on the re-buy list - for example mascaras. I really like a couple of mascaras but I'm still on the hunt for the perfect one so whatever I buy when I need to is usually a new one that I want to try out.

Emma Hardie Amazing Face Moringa Cleansing Balm - if you have read this blog at all you'll know how much I love this product (see my full review here and my quick review video here)  This is the cleanser I use every evening unless I am trying other cleansers out and if they make my skin react then I go back to this and it sorts it out. If I've worn a ton of make-up this gets it all off. If I'm not wearing any this feels like a moisturising treat.

Pixi Glow Tonic - the toner that got me really back into toning (see my full review here). Slews away dead cells, brightens, moisturises and firms. If you are thinking about adding a toner to your skincare routine this is a great place to start.

Origins Make A Difference + -this is a moisturiser I come back to again and again (see my full review here). It just seems to suit my skin so well. And, bizarre as it sounds, it is totally buildable in that, if I'm feeling well-moisturised and its the morning and I'm going to be adding an SPF and some make-up then a really thin layer of this is great. If I need to slap it on to dry, or a bit irritated skin in the evening I can and it feels deeply moisturising and luxurious.

Neutrogena Norwegian Formula for Dry Skin - I have incredibly dry skin which can get itchy so I have tried a lot  of moisturisers. This is the one product I've found that keeps me feeling moisturised for the 24 or so hours between applications. And it's incredibly reasonably priced (see my quick review video here). Why try to find something high end when there is a fantastic product available on the high street?

Lavera Soft Eye Pencil - why they stopped putting a smudger on the end of this I'll never know but it's my second favourite soft liner pencil and, for me at the moment, easier for me to get hold of than my No 1,  Smoulder by MAC (they sell it in the shop next door). A truly soft eye pencil, vegan, non-irritating, truly black, goes on the waterline (see my full review here). What's not to like?

MAC Eye Kohl in Smoulder - always in my pro-kit and, ideally, always in my personal one too. For a '90s teen a smudgey black liner will never go out of fashion and this is the ultimate. Goes on the waterliner, properly black, long lasting and, for me, the perfect consistency.

Sleek Makeup Luminous Pressed Powder - another high street hero. Love that it will fix my make-up in place without taking away all the dewiness and radiance I spend time (and money) putting in. A must for those of us naturally prone to dullness.

Benefit Sugabomb - a blusher I have been using for years and years (see my full review here). Its personal preference but the colours for me are perfect and, though it's expensive, it lasts for a long time. 

Avon Supershock Gel Liner - the best black waterproof liner you can get, as far as I know (see my full review here). Incredibly reasonably priced, goes onto and stays on, the waterline.

Real Techniques Shading Brush - a great eyeshadow brush. Good length bristles, easy to use and keep clean, synthetic and very well priced. I always have a couple of these in my personal brush collection. I wish they did the base shadow brush separately too, it's fantastic for blending.

Butter London Flawless Base Coat - loved it from first use and still love it now. (see my full review here). No yellowness, nice strong nails, nothing nasty in it, lovely base for your colour to go onto.

Japonesque Solid Brush Cleanser - smells great, easy to use, cleans brushes perfectly, no nasty chemicals (see my full review here and my quick review here).

Friday, 22 May 2015

Friday Video - What to Pack in your Hospital Bag

Last week it was 'what's in my hospital washbag' this week it's the main bag itself. Back to make-up next week...


Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Cowshed Grumpy Cow Shampoo and Conditioner

Shampoo
There are very few products that I am completely evangelical about after just one use but the Cowshed Grumpy Cow Shampoo and Conditioner gave me such a eureka moment I've had trouble not reviewing them before my designated 1 month trial time.

It's been a month - I'm still obsessed. In a slightly weird way where I look forward to washing my hair (surely the second most boring thing next to drying your hair). The great results haven't lessened with use and even when I mess up the styling (too much/not enough root booster etc) the hair itself looks and feels so much better. I had almost given up hope of finding a volumising shampoo and conditioner that would make the slightest bit of difference to my fine hair. But this is it.
Conditioner

I was initially surprised as to why I hadn't heard great things about this shampoo/conditioner before - Sam Chapman recommended them to me - and then I checked out the Cowshed website and boy do they not do themselves any favours. If I made this shampoo I would be singing it from the rooftops. But a very basic description awaits and only three ingredients mentioned. No where does it say that it is sulphate and silicone free which I'm sure is what makes this so fantastic. In terms of volume this isn't going to make your hair like something from Working Girl it would be good if it did but I'm in love with it anyway. Because it is free from silicone and sulphate it doesn't weigh your hair down meaning it has a chance to be naturally sleek and voluminous.

There is no frizz. None. Not even a hint of it. The price of this isn't ideal but it's worth it and though you do need quite a lot of the conditioner if you have mid-to-long-hair, a little of the shampoo goes a long way. It does contain essential oils so if you are not into that then this is not
something for you to try.

What You Need to Know - Cowshed Grumpy Cow Shampoo and Conditioner

Monday, 18 May 2015

Where to Shop - Precious about Makeup (PAM)

About PAM - If you are not a pro make-up artist you may not have heard about PAM (Precious about Makeup) and why should you? In fact it may seem as a pretty odd choice to start this 'Where to Shop' series off with a West London based shop aimed towards working make-up artists, but what I love about PAM is though it is a make-up shop, owned by professional make-up artists, run by working make-up artists for those working in the business they not only stock some fantastic brands but are the nicest people to buy from so even if you are just a fan of make-up and shopping for personal use you will be given the same lovely service and advice - not always the case in other shops!

Established in 1996 by Jan Sewell (Les Miserables, The Theory of Everything) and Kate Benton (The Royals, Love Actually, Absolutely Fabulous) as somewhere for professional make-up artists to go to purchase the products they most need in their kits and it is the go-to place for those working in film, TV and special effects. One of the aims of the shop was to create a friendly atmosphere where you are always welcomed and helped no matter what your budget, or ability and since I've been going there that is exactly what I love so much about PAM and keeps me going back.

All team members are qualified, working make-up artists which means PAM is also the go-to place if you urgently need to place an order while on set, they have a fast, reliable delivery service and you can talk to someone who knows what you need. With a studio upstairs for brand and make-up artist demos their company line has become 'never stop learning' which adds to the creative, friendly atmosphere.

They are also the leading stockists for some really great, hard-to-find brands - Make Up For Ever, Ben Nye, MUD, MaqPro and Kryolan to name but a few. 

In-store - One of the reasons I love shopping in PAM is it is the perfect mix of relaxed, busy and organised. This may sound a bit strange but the make-up artists working there are always planning the next event, organising orders or helping customers in-store or on the phone. Which means although they are happy to help there's no one hovering around making you feel like you can't have a good browse or you have to purchase something, nor do you feel like you can't ask for advice. There are a few brand stands to see - Make Up For Ever and Louise Young - but also a lot of shelves filled with lots of different, often unusual products, pots of brushes and bits for your kit that has a sort of Aladdin's cave feel about it.

Online - the current website it absolutely fine, if sometimes a little fiddly but I know a new one is under design and should be coming soon. The products are usually up-to-date but as I mentioned above this is really a shop for pro make-up artists so occasionally things are listed as not in stock when they've just come in. If you're desperate for something then it's worth calling to check and if they don't have it, they'll order it for you. International shipping available and a choice of postage options within the UK.

Discount - for working make-up artists there is a discount available between 20%-35% depending on the brand available in-store and over the phone. They are hoping to make this available online with the launch of the new website. 

What to buy - although a limited range will be going into Debenhams later in the year, PAM is the stockist for Make Up For Ever so if you are a fan of them then this is the shop to go to. Also great for weird little kit necessities, sponges, bruise wheels, cotton wool buds, latex gloves and hand palettes. Zucca bags, beauty blenders, brush cleaners, disposables, and palettes are also always in stock. Skincare, suncare, magazines, books, special fx, airbrushing, lighting and things for the studio - if they haven't got it they'll try their hardest to track it down for you.

Best Sellers - top 3's listed below by brand and product
Contact info - Precious About Makeup (PAM) 6-7 Goldhawk Mews, London W12 8PA (nearest tube Goldhawk Road). 020 8740 0808. www.preciousaboutmakeup.com. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube

Opening Hours - Monday - Friday 9am-5.30pm. Saturday 9am-5pm

Friday, 15 May 2015

Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua - Quick Review - Friday Video

Teetered on the brink of doing a negative review so veered off and thought I should do a product I have loved since I started using it three years ago...


Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Clarins Instant Concealer

I've been doing a bit of tidying up on the blog recently and I've noticed one of the ongoing themes seems to be the quest for the perfect concealer. Have I found it yet? Well no but this comes pretty close.

Clarins Instant Concealer is one of those products that does have it's downsides but is good enough that I love it despite them. As always I like to get the bad news out of the way first so what don't I like about this product? Well, there are only three colours available. It doesn't take a genius to work out that this is pretty limiting so you really do need to track it down and try before you buy and as usual I think it's the darker skin tones that are going to miss out on this. Sort it out Clarins.

My only other problem with this (which I mention in my Quick Review video) is the tube - if you squirt out too much which I have done every single time I've used this (a little goes a long way) then there is no way of getting it back into the tube. Very annoying as this is not a cheap purchase. 

What I do love about this is they have got the colour mix and consistency absolutely spot on for a concealer. One of the reasons it's so hard to find the perfect concealer for me is I have very dark circles which ideally need a pinkish/red corrector to cancel them out but I also want something yellow for breakouts and redness around my nose. The majority of concealers are more yellow-based but the Clarins Instant Concealer, which does say it's 'customised correction' for dark circles, manages to do both. It is pinkish, but not too pink, and sort of yellowish to. I'm not explaining this very well but I'm hoping you are keeping up. 

I usually say if you want skincare go to a brand that originally started out doing skincare, Clarins is one of these. If you want make-up go to a brand that started out doing make-up, I don't bother with any of MAC's skincare products for example. Clarins have gone against this and produced a really cult make-up product that I think will take some beating even from companies that have specialised in make-up for decades longer. The price tag may seem a little steep but actually for the amount of product you get, and the amount you need to use, this works out incredibly reasonably priced.

What You Need to Know - Clarins Instant Concealer

Monday, 11 May 2015

Spend or Save - Eyelash Curlers

Eyelash curlers. You either use them or you don't. If you are a pro make-up artist then you should use them, should have them in your kit and it really is worth having a good pair. You can stop reading here.

If you are not a pro make-up artist then is it really worth spending money on something you can get for a couple of quid in your local chemist? Well as with everything there's no straight forward answer.

The problem with recommending eyelash curlers is that they are all slightly different shapes and eyes are all slightly different shapes. It may be that your eye shape exactly fits and suits the cheapest curler on the market. If so, and you have them, then there's no point rushing out and buying a more expensive pair just because I, or someone else, says so. The problem with a lot of curlers is they are too rounded which makes them uncomfortable to use - if you look at the more expensive (and popular) brands they are often less curved which makes them more likely to fit any eye shape and more comfortable to use.


If you use an eyelash curler every day or a couple of times a week then yes I would say that getting a good quality pair is worth the spend - if you look after them then they will last a loooong time and most of them come with replaceable rubber pads so if you are nice to them you should have them for years and years.

I use any old ones on my lashes and they are never comfortable to use and often one set of lashes (the left hand side) gets curled better than the right - if I didn't mind a fairly slap-dash dig-myself-in-the-eye approach then I would definitely get a better pair, but I don't and I'd rather spend £17-20 on a new foundation. In my make-up kit I have the famed ones from Shu Uemura which are £20 and they are really fantastic for fitting every eye shape and giving good curl. When I am feeling naughty I pinch them from my kit and use them on myself. Kevin Aucoin also do lovely ones. I would really only consider having these two in my kit though I do have some MAC ones I got when I started out - very nice but sometimes to curved for comfort.

However, as you will see if you read reviews on websites such as Space NK, not everyone loves them and that is mostly down to the eye shape/size reasons I've explained above. The best thing to do is to try before you buy. If you go to a big department store (Selfridges, John Lewis etc) they should have them there on the counter and ask to use them yourself. If the make-up artist at the counter does it then of course they are going to work - you need to make sure that you are happy with them before you buy. 

What to Spend On

Friday, 8 May 2015

What's in my hospital make-up and washbag - Friday Video

Here's a little peak inside my make-up and washbag that I've packed to go to the hospital to have the baby. I'm really sorry if I seem a little lack luster - I was feeling exhausted and not very well when I filmed this but bare with me - it may be useful! I've listed below all the products I mention that I have used and would recommend. There are some here that I wouldn't necessarily buy again or that I haven't tried so I'm not linking to them...

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Make Up For Ever Ink Liner

As soon as I saw this demoed at the Make Up For Ever event at PAM last month I wanted to get my hands on this liner (which I duly did at the UMA Expo) and I've absolutely loved using it. Finding the perfect matte black liner is the Holy Grail for some of us and this one is as matte as they come (once it's dried). With a precision tip and a great length handle (believe me it matters) this is easy to apply and great to create with. I've spoken to other make-up artists who have tried it and they love this product too.


The price tag is a bit steep but if you are an eyeliner addict and are looking for something matte and black then it's worth the price. Fast drying and precise I really love the applicator tip for this (I like to make sure I have as little product on there as possible) or you can use it with a really fine liner brush. And this isn't going to dry out like a gel liner in a pot. Whether you just want something for the perfect flick or you want to be a bit more creative and avant garde I really like this liner - it's gone straight to the top of my liner loves list. 

What You Need to Know - Make Up For Ever Ink Liner
  • £17.50 or US$23
  • 3.5 ml
  • Long lasting (they claim 12 hours - I haven't timed it)
  • Available in the UK from PAM,Guru Makeup Emporium,
  • Available in the US from Sephora,
Very hard to swatch but... it's matte

Monday, 4 May 2015

Monday's Make-up Muse - Pink

Still from the 'True Love' video
As with Gwen Stefani, Pink's make-up I have loved since she first appeared on my radar in 2000. She has one of those faces that takes make-up well and a smokey eye looks fantastic on her. Her make-up style is similar to mine - more dramatic eyes with a nude lip so she's one person who a lot of the time I'll see her make-up for something and try and recreate it on myself. If you are on Instagram then follow Kathy Jeung (@kathyjeung) who often does Pink's make-up - her work is beautiful.


Whether she is wearing a smudgy, grungy liner with a slight smoke at the outer corner or being completely out there and creative as in the video for 'Try', Pink is not afraid to try out new things with make-up and can carry anything off - partly down to having awesome hair. It's really hard to find good make-up photos of her because quite often it's too far away (red carpet pics are often useless for seeing actual make-up) or she's pulling a face. The best place to see her make-up in action is in her videos which I suggest you go and do and get inspired.

Pink Make-up Must Haves

Eyes - always cat shaped and usually smoked at the edges. For high street then the Sleek Make-up I-Divine Palette in Storm is good though you may need to use a primer underneath I really like Nudestix Magnetic Eye Pencil in Angel with Liz Earle Signature Eye Colour in Bronze. I particularly like it lighter on the inner corners with bronzes and golds on the outer edge. My liner of choice at the moment is the Make Up For Ever Ink Liner or Inglot Gel Liner in 77. If you'd rather use a pencil then Smoulder from MAC is always a winner. For the mascara you will want something as black as possible Bobbi Brown's Smokey Eye Mascara would be great here or Benefit's Roller Lash.

Skin - Dewy and sculpted with minimal blush. MAC Face and Body would be a great foundation to go for or Dior Star Fluid and my favourite cream for sculpting is Chanel Soleil Tan de Chanel or the House of Glam Dolls Glam Base Wheel. For concealer I really like Collection Lasting Perfection and Sleek Make-up Luminous Powder is good for keeping a bit of glow.

Lips - Usually nude though occasionally red. Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Pillow Talk or Pink Venus or MAC Lip Pencil in Whirl for the nudes and Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Crazy in Love is my go-to favourite for red tones. For nude lipsticks, well it's very personal, I like Chanel Rouge Coco in Teheran and Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G Lipstick in Bitch Perfect.
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