Monday, 27 April 2015

In the Kit - MAC Face and Body Foundation

Every make-up artist is different, yes there are few things that the majority carry but everyone finds things that they use and use over and over again and never like to run out of. So one of the new things I'll be doing on Monday's is looking at something from my kit that I wouldn't be without be it make-up, skincare, the tools themselves or the weird little things that I carry around just in case (clear nail varnish, medical tape, Gaviscon to name but a few).

Foundations may come and go but MAC Face and Body is a kit staple for a lot of make-up artists. But why? Well, so many reasons. Foundation is expensive, it doesn't last forever and obviously you need more than one shade and Face and Body is still the most versatile foundation out there. And, as the name implies this works well not only on the face but all over the body should you need it to. If you need to tan up legs and arms on a shoot, then this is the foundation to go for.


There are a wide range of colours and they mix together well so you can match any skin-tone. You can make this either sheer or build it to be a fuller coverage and it will still look beautiful in photographs and real life. With this foundation the more you work it into the skin the better coverage it gives. And it now comes in two sizes 50ml and 120ml.

In my kit I have C1, C5 and C6, N2, and N5, N9. The C stands for cool so suits yellow, olive and golden skin tones. If you have redness a C tone will help to cancel this out. N stands for neutral so for more beige and pinkish toned skins. But you can mix any of these together to get the perfect colour you are looking for - which is what I do. 

What You Need to Know - MAC Face and Body foundation
  • 50ml for £21.50
  • 120ml for £28.50
  • C shades - C1, C2, C3, C4, C5 C6. 
  • N shades - N1, N2, N3, N5, N7, N9
  • Also available in white - useful to lighten any shade you have
  • Available in the UK from MAC, House of Fraser, Debenhams, John Lewis
  • Available in the US from MAC,

Friday, 24 April 2015

April 2015 Favourites - Friday Video

Only four this month but a classy four...




Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser 
Colour Wow Root Cover
Clarins Instant Concealer 
Louise Young Blusher in Room 43

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Colour Wow Root Cover Up

I was bleached blonde for so long that my hair started to snap off. This will happen no matter how nice you are to your hair - unless you are Gwen Stefani who must have a permanent hair attendant on duty. I am not Gwen Stefani so thought I would bow out of blonde gracefully, get balayage and see what my natural colour was.

It turns out my natural colour is redish brown with big thick spiders legs of gray throughout that seem to multiply rapidly. Great. Fine whatever I'll dye it again I thought. But I've very pregnant and sort of reluctant to get damaging my hair again one year after I vowed to give it a break. But the greys are depressing. Not chic and sophisticated like I assumed they would be. But thick and giving me an air of one who has given up on appearance altogether. I bought root touch-up dye but then surely I should just go to a hairdresser and get something drastic done. I should probably mention that I have a phobia or having boring hair. By boring I mean just all one colour. No, if you have all one colour hair or have never dyed it I don't think you have boring hair. But I think I look boring with nothing done to mine (I have the remnants of blonde at the ends of mine at the moment).

What I think I'll do is, give birth, lie around for a couple of weeks and then heave myself to the hairdressers and get something a bit more exciting, and grey covering done. But what have I been doing since then? Using Colour Wow Root Cover Up and it's been great.

Available in 7 colours this specially formulated powder compound sticks to the hair without being greasy, let it set for a minute and then you are ready to go and it stays there til you wash it out. Now this product is probably best suited to grey hair dyed dark but works very well on my odd bits of grey though it's a bit more time consuming to get on. And works on dark roots for blondes as well though I haven't tried this.

What's so nice about this is that most days when I'm out and about with Ned or hanging round the house working I don't bother using it. Then if I need to go out to dinner or to a wedding I can cancel out the greys in my bathroom in under 10 minutes (I'm slavishly doing individual strands - if you are doing roots it will be really fast). No mess. No panic that I haven't got any dye and no unnecessary dying of non-grey hairs. Just apply, leave to set for a minute (you won't notice the need to set it feels like powder) and then you are ready to go. This won't drip if it rains the only things that can break it down are the cleansers found in shampoos and it doesn't look dull and fake as it's made up of mineral pigments which give a natural looking finish.

For those with allergies to hair dye or who want something to see them through between colour appointments I really recommend giving this a try. It's not cheap but a little goes a long way so this should last you a while.

What You Need to Know - Colour Wow Root Cover Up
  •  £28.50
  • 7 colours - platinum light blonde, blonde, light brown, medium brown, red, dark brown, black
  • Suits all hair types 
  • Available in the UK from Colour Wow, Space NK, Feel Unique,
    Colour Wow in Dark Brown

Friday, 17 April 2015

Friday Video - UMA Expo 2015 Vlog

It's a bit wobbly and I'm panting the whole time but I thought it would be nice to get a feel for this for those who were thinking of attending and didn't for whatever reason. I really love it and highly recommend it...


Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser

I've been trying a lot of products recently that I've been really excited about and then have been a bit 'meh' (I'm looking at you disappointing Malin + Goetz Detox Face Mask). So, having requested the Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser as childcare payment from my husband on his recent trip to New York I was so in love with the beautiful packaging I was terrified this would be another yet another disappointment.

It was not. From first use I have loved this cleanser and can see why it has been raved about by so many 'in the know'. I can see the difference it has made to my skin and it combines beautifully into my routine as an alternative to the Body Shop Nutriganics Gel Oil Cleanser in the mornings. If I need soothing and calming I use the Nutriganics if I need something with a little exfoliating and glowing oomph then I use the Tata Harper. Perfect.

This cleanser seems to have it all - Apricot Seed kernels gently exfoliate the skin, Willow bark, a natural source of Salicylic acid reduces redness, and helps refine overall texture, Aloe Vera soothes irritation and French pink clay detoxifies. Use to gently resurface, refresh and clarify the skin - remove dead skin cells, reduce redness and do it without stripping the skin of it's moisture and natural oils. Very good for helping with blackheads too apparently.

I use in the morning so I haven't tried removing my make-up with it - I'm sure it would work but I think this would be much better used after you've removed your make-up to get the full effect of it. No point using a pricer product to remove your make-up - use a miceller water to do that first then go in with this.


I can't not comment on the packaging. I am a sucker for green and think this for me is the ultimate in skincare packaging. Grown-up, not in anyway plasticy but bright and modern

What You Need to Know - Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser
  • ? / US$38 for 50ml
  • £60 / US$75 for 125ml
  • 100% natural ingredients
  • Alcohol free
  • Suitable for all skin types except overly sensitive
  • Available in the UK from Cult Beauty or Net-a-Porter
  • Available in the US from Tata Harper or Sephora

Monday, 13 April 2015

United Makeup Artist Expo 2015

This weekend I spent as much time as possible at the 2015 United Makeup Artist Expo in the Business Design Centre, Angel, London. I've always raved about this event and this year will be no exception. It wasn't all good news - though I felt the event itself had been really stepped up a notch in terms of exhibitors, classes, talks and demonstrations I felt it was incredibly under publicised. As a previous attendee, a blogger who is a big fan of the event, and a make-up artist I have never been sent a scrap of info about the UMA Expo. No email, no annoying mail in the post, nothing. I am constantly sent details of an event in Birmingham I have never been to and can't see myself being able to go to and yet they somehow manage to get all the bumf to me every year. I can't understand why the PR for the UMA Expo isn't better - the event itself is fantastic and a favourite amongst a lot of pro artists so why not make more of it?



That is my only gripe though - the event itself was absolutely wonderful this year. Even as I type my (lovely) husband is rubbing my pregnant feet that look more like sandwich loaves as I spent the whole time on my feet chatting, shopping, staring opened mouthed at demos and not enough time at the fantastic talks on offer this year. One of the thing everyone says about he UMA Expo is the friendly supportive atmosphere and this year that was really evident. Being 8 months pregnant meant that I ended up talking to some of my major idols and top artists - Phyllis Cohen, Louise Young, Spob O'Brien, Julia Townend, Sam Chapman - about how hard it is being a mother and a make-up artist. Having felt the pressure of this for some time it was so refreshing to hear how all these amazing women have had to juggle their lives and found the balance difficult (and unfair) at times too.

Events are incredibly hard to review as it's a lot about the atmosphere. So much so that I spent some time filming a vlog which I'm hoping to put up on Friday though I haven't checked the footage - if it's rubbish there will a different video! So in this post I thought I'd talk through some of the exhibitors, some of the amazing deals they offered and the talks and demos that were on.

First lets talk the price. The earlier you buy the tickets the better the deal you get and there is a discount for professionals and students. The full price regular tickets are £55 for one day and £65 for two. For students and pros it's £45 for one and £55 for both days. Now this may seem like a lot of money to some - believe me all the people there have been in a position where that's a lot to shell out for a ticket - but if you take into account the classes on offer, the demonstrations you can see and the discounts offered at a lot of the stands I really think it is money well spent if you are serious about make-up. You could easily spend 5 hours each day learning and get up to 35% off products for you kit as well as getting to speak to people who have worked in the industry for years.

So first, the stands. Well there were some great names this year, some regulars, PAM, Illamasqua and Em-J, and some new, Inglot, Ben Nye and Le Maq Pro. PAM and Illamasqua really stood out for me this year - the discounts they were offering and the range of products available were matched by the fantastic, friendly customer service and amount of available staff on hand to help.

The new Gel Sculpt from Illamasqua
At Illmasqua the feel was of being in someones house with chairs, carpet and a fireplace. You could see, but not buy, the amazing new Gel Sculpt products, though if you had a UMA Expo wrist-band you could go to the store and purchase the Gel Sculpt at a 20% discount. I bought the Hydra Veil for £18 instead of the usual £30 - a product I've been wanting to try for a loooong time. I also had a demo of the new Summer collection from the Head of Professional Development - out on the 1st May these products are Illamasqua at their unusual best - more on them nearer the time. 

PAM had a fantastic selection of brands as usual with the awe-inspiring Louise Young there in person to talk through her products. Make Up For Ever, Glamcor, Ben Nye, Sigma were just some of the brands on offer here and the discounts on this stand ranged from 15% to a whopping 35%. I got the new Make Up For Ever Ink Liner for £11 instead of £17.50. Why oh why didn't I get the Z palette I've been wanting for ages?

Em-J doing her thing - note the gorgeous Lexi brush belt
The Em-J stand was absolutely beautiful - what fantastic products, all handmade, designed by a pro make-up artist and it was lovely to see her doing her thing and body painting at her stand on the Sunday. Regular readers will know that I love the Jiminy range but the new Lexi brush belt is an pretty fantastic in action and you can now get brush pots and mesh zip bags so it's basically now your one stop shop for all you make-up storage needs.

It was also great to see Inglot and Le Maq Pro there - love both these brands and feel like they really fitted in with the whole event.

On the majority of stands there is some form of demo going on most of the time be it special effects or a full-on body paint so there's always something to watch. And the classes and speakers this year were amazing. From live demos of products (David Horne using the House of Glam Dolls Glam Base Wheel) to seeing how artists create a particular look or hearing from some of the most influential people in the business you could have spent both days fully occupied learning from people at the top of their game. Greg Cannom (Mrs Doubtfire, Dracula, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Titanic) gave a two part talk over both days about his extensive career in television and film. Iain Smith, film producer, talked with Charles Porlier, Greg Cannom and Corey Castellano about a film producers view of the make-up department. MAC offered education seminars for Designing Makeup for Film, Career Opportunities at MAC and a pro workshop (for the first time this year there was a MAC stand where you could sign up for the Pro Card). Mandy Gold did seminar as did Alex Chalk for Inglot and Brian Kinney.

Please leave me a comment if you have any questions about this event. I've posted more photos below - they are all taken by me but often I don't know who is pictured or who's work it is so if you know please let me know so I can credit them.

David Horne using the Glam Base Wheel on the Love Makeup Stand

The almost-complete Em-J stand body paint

The Louise Young stand at PAM


Make Up For Ever at PAM

The PAM stand - always a queue, always great friendly customer service

The Screenface stand complete with JT Makeup Studio products and Andrew Gallimore's book

Emily Dowd talks about the challenges of working on Jesus Christ Superstar as Head of Hair and Make-up

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Phytaoil and Phytalotion

I find it very difficult to review stretch mark creams even though I am now 7.5 months into my second pregnancy and have used a lot of them in my time. Why? because how do you know that the product you are using is preventing stretchmarks at all, maybe you just aren't going to get them in that area anyway, maybe you're not prone to them at all and if I have got a stretch mark then is it because I wasn't using the cream/oil often enough or was actually nothing going to prevent it from appearing. I've always thought the latter. Keep your skin moisturised and that will help but I'm not sure you can actually prevent stretchmarks if they are going to happen.

When I was 2 months pregnant this time round I was sent samples of Phytaoil and Phytalotion to try out - perfect timing. I couldn't decide which I preferred the look of so thought, in the name of science, I'd baste half the bump in one and half in the other and see if there was any difference. There was but before I go into that I'd like to point out that although one half of my bump now has a few extra stretchmarks and one doesn't this could all be because that side was just more likely to get them...

On my left side I have been using Phytaoil, initially I was less keen on this as I find oils a bit of a faff. Turns out that when you are a crusty old pregnant person your body just absorbs oil as soon as it's put on so the grease-factor isn't really a problem. And actually for an oil in general this is really easily absorbed by the skin and contains no mineral oils, synthetic fragrances or colours so it is great for preggers skin. The oil, and the lotion, is designed to help the appearance of scars, blemishes and reduce the formation of stretch marks when the body changes size and shape.

On my right side I used Phytalotion which is the same formulation as the oil, containing all the same active ingredients, but is literally just for those who prefer a lotion to an oil so to my mind they may not be as concentrated as in the oil and this may be why I have a few tiny stretch marks on my right hand side (and why it is £1 cheaper). But they are very small and I'm hoping that by continuing to use the oil they will reduce in size as I reduce in size.


Speaking of size I do wish the Phytaoil was available in a larger size. I've just been using it on one side of my bump and I'm eeking it out. A larger bottle would comfortably do more of you for longer. Of course you could just buy two smaller bottles but packaging wastage etc...  Rosehip oil is a popular skincare choice among celebrities including Kate Middleton (the pregnancy bandwagon jumper as she's known in this house) and David Gandy. So you don't need to be pregnant to use it!

My favourite is the Phytaoil - it's more concentrated and easily absorbed for my dry skin but the lotion is very nice too - it's completely up to personal preference and skin type.

What You Need to Know - Phytaoil
  • £10.99 
  • 60ml
  • Contains Rosehip oil and extract, lavender, lime and geranium oils. Vitamins A and E
  • Use to help sun damage, stretch marks, dry skin, skin damaged from swimming and exposure.
  • Available from Phytacol

Monday, 6 April 2015

Monday's Make-up Muse - Jane Russell

from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
God I love Jane Russell. Everything about her. I'm even willing to overlook some of her beliefs that I don't necessarily agree with (she was a pro-life born-again Christian) because in a way they kind of emphasise her awesomeness. A great actress who spent her career living in the shadow of her more famous assets she was always the right side of tasteful and classy whilst having enough nous and sass to do what she needed to do to forge a successful career in the 1950s. The best example of this is the secret binning of the famous bra Howard Hughes had made for her to wear during the filming of The Outlaw and instead yanking her bra straps up for a little elevation. She knew what needed to be done, but she was going to do it her way.

with Marilyn Monroe
She was also not a classic 1950s movie star. At 5'7" she was taller than most of her contemporaries and never compromising on being a beautiful brunette (with occasional forays into red). As Dorthory Shaw she is the reason that Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is one of my favourite films - the outfits, the sass, the make-up. I love Marilyn too of course, but I feel I'm more Dorothy than Lorelei - and she's an unusually feisty lady to see in films of that time.

The fabulous thing about Jane Russell's beautiful brunette colouring is she could carry off a strong red lip, minimal eye make-up and her defined brows held the whole look together and was a style she carried through to old age. Her whole look is the classic pin-up, which is what she was for many US soldiers during the Second World War

Jane Russell Make-up Must Haves

Brows - Always defined, I suspect her of having pretty good, strong brows naturally but for those of you who need to cheat it then Anastasia Beverly Hills Dip Brow is fantastic as are the Brow Whizz pencils.

©Luke Ford
Eyes - usually a nude shadow with a black liner flick. She actually had quite hooded lids so a classic feline liner is perfect for her eye shape - if you like to use a gel then I love Inglot AMC Eyeliner Gel.  To create a cats eye effect then corner lashes will elongate any eye - I love the Betty False Strip Lashes from The Vintage Cosmetics Company. The Tanya Burr Everyday Flutter lashes and the Ardell Accent Lashes (301) would also work.

Skin - not too heavy, with a natural finish but pretty perfect. I think Dior Star Fluid Foundation would be great for this. She has some light, cream contouring so either use a foundation in a slightly darker shade than your usual or try out the House of Glam Dolls Glam Base Wheel. Slight blush on the cheeks - I'd go for MAC powder blush in Harmony or Gingerly, but again, you need to suit your skin tone.

Lips - Jane Russell was able to carry off blue and orange reds but you'll know best what suits you. For more orange shades then NARS Satin Lip pencil in Timanfaya or Topshop's Lipstick in Headrush. For bluer reds, her more usual shade, then Estee Lauder Pure Colour Envy in Envious or Chanel Rouge Allure in Pirate is a classic. My favourite liners that work with most reds are MAC lip liner in Redd and Half-Red.
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