Friday, 27 February 2015

How I Store My Make-up - Friday Video

Everyone seems to use Muji. I don't. Not because I don't like their stuff but because I'm so happy with what I've used for the past eight years...

I use the Small Shoe Box from The Holding Company but you can check out all their storage boxes here.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

The Body Shop's Nutriganics Softening Cleansing Gel Oil

I recently decided to go back and re-try some brands that I feel I've overlooked in the past couple of years - one of them was Lush (see my review of their Big Shampoo here) and one of them was The Body Shop. I used to love their products then rather fell out of love with them 7ish years ago for no particular reason (possibly because my skin became too dry for their Vitamin E cream) and I haven't been back since (except for their face roller). I decided to try three of their skincare products and the first choice was the Nutriganics Softening Cleansing Gel Oil. As regular readers (slash anyone I know) knows I am obsessed with the Emma Hardie Amazing Face Cleansing Balm and thought it worth seeing if there was a more affordable alternative. I think this is the closest you'll get. Just throwing that out there.

Easy to use packaging makes this incredibly quick and easy to use - squirt the cleanser into your hand and put it straight onto your face. I will be cutting this open to get the last bits out though - the downside to this kind of bottle, but a small one. I apply it straight to my dry make-uped face and neck, including rubbing it into the eye area to get my mascara off, then I remove it with a warm microfiber flannel. If you take the time to work it into the skin this really does get all your make-up off, impressive for something in the £10 and under price bracket. 

My skin can be sensitive in patches and there has been no sensitivity when using this (I've been using it most days for over a month). My skin feels clean, soft and smooth. Which is what I want from a cleanser. I've recently been thinking of products that I automatically re-buy without thinking about it and this falls into that category. If you have normal to dry skin and want a cleanser that is fine for daily use then please give this ago. I am so happy I tried it. It's not going to replace my more high-end cleansers but it's definitely going to be in regular use from now on.

What You Need to Know - The Body Shop's Nutriganics Softening Cleansing Gel Oil
  • £10
  • 100ml
  • Suitable for 'the first signs of aging' and normal and dry skin
  • No silicones or parabans
  • Removes make-up
  • 98% natural ingredients
  • Available in the UK from The Body Shop

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Charlotte Tilbury Colour Chameleon Eyeshadow Pencil

This product combines two of my make-up fascinations - eye-colour enhancing and eyeshadow pencils. The first stems from having sludgy colour green eyes that need all the help they can get to not look a bit meh. The second is because, well, no drop down, minimal blending, lovely finish, incredibly quick to apply. What's not to love about a good eye shadow pencil?

Charlotte Tilbury's Colour Chameleon is a good one and it appeared in Bronzed Garnet under the Christmas tree in a rather lovely package that also included the Lip Cheat in Pillow Talk and Lipstick in Bitch Perfect. The latter two I had requested, the eyeshadow stick was a complete surprise but one I had wanted to try out since their release earlier in 2014. And he got the colour right, for the first five years we were together Joe would insist that my eyes were brown, such a romantic.

The idea: These pencils come in eight colours, two for each of the four eye colours (blue, green, hazel and brown). The colours chosen are to enhance your natural eye colour and, well make them 'pop' (shoot me... god I hate that expression). No of course you don't have to get a colour you don't like just because it's supposed to emphasise your eye colour - get the one you like best but it's incredibly helpful to know what is going to work for you - and they really do work. The colours chosen are those that directly contrast with the eye colour to create a more dramatic look.

The product: The concept of an eyeshadow pencil is a great one - easier to deal with than a cream in a pot but still with a creamy formula, portable, fast - but they can dry out if the lid is left off or is not designed properly, can be difficult to sharpen and some are just a bit of a pain to apply, you end up scrubbing your lid for ages. These really do glide on (and they should as they are the higher-end of the price range for something like this) and you can blend the edges out beautifully. They are also buildable from an effective wash of colour to something much more dramatic. The claim is that they last 10 hours. I haven't timed them but I have worn it all day and it's looked good when I've come to take it off before bed - but then I love a bit of grungy look so if they soften and smudge a bit that's fine with me.

You can run this along the lash line and using your finger or a brush blend up towards the socket and out - it's best to build and blend the colour until you get the look you want. These are highly pigmented so you get a lot of colour pay-off. You need to work quickly, this is really quick drying so do one eye at a time, you have about 30 seconds to blend before it sets.

It's not cheap for an eyeshadow pencil but it's definitely worth it if you are a wearer of eyeshadow. The speed of application means you can really transform yourself in minutes meaning you can look well put together for work or more dramatic for going out at night. It fits in your make-up bag, handbag, desk drawer. Quick review to come soon.

What You Need to Know - Charlotte Tilbury Colour Chameleon Eyeshadow Pencil

Monday, 16 February 2015

Time to get your tickets

There are some really exciting make-up events happening in 2015 and not only are tickets already available but often if you get them early enough you get a lovely discount! In date order...

United Make-up Artists Expo -
When - 11th (9am-6pm) and 12th (9.45am-4.45pm) April 2015
Where - Business Design Centre, Angel, London
Why go?This has by far the nicest atmosphere of any of the make-up events I have been to. This is a place where people who are passionate about make-up go to top up their kits, see fantastic exhibitions and learn. If I could only attend one it would be this one.
Ticket Price1 Day Pro Ticket - £40, 2 Day Pro Ticket - £50. 1 Day Standard Ticket - £50, 2 Day Standard Ticket - £60 get them here
What I thought in 2014 - check out my video review here

International Make-up Artist Trade Show, London (IMATS) -
When - 10th-12th July 2015 (10th is a Pro Make-up Artists day)
Where - Olympia, London
Why go? - Since moving to Olympia IMATS has vastly improved it is still, however, rather a place to be seen to be at nowadays which can leave to some rather silly behaviour from some (exhibitors and attendees alike). Still it's a great place to top up your kit, buy new products and see some incredible demonstrations from some of the most talented people in the business. If you are not a pro make-up artist then Sunday is often the nicest day to go on.
Ticket Price - £45 get them here
What I thought in 2013 - check out my video here

Olympia Beauty -
When - 4th and 5th October 2015
Where - Olympia, London
Why go? - I actually found this event rather flat make-up wise last year  except for the absolutely incredibly body painting which goes on over both days. I'm hoping for better make-up stands this year. If you are a beauty therapist this is the event for you with everything from products, to demos to clothing.
Ticket Price - free

Friday, 13 February 2015

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Japonesque Solid Brush Cleaner

Since I trained as a make-up artist I have used Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA) to clean my brushes. It's fast, dries quickly and I know that my brushes are really clean and safe for use on the next client. For my personal brushes I use MAC brush cleanser which is the only shop-bought one I've tried that actually does anything. I've never had success with the olive oil/fairy liquid combination and I'm too lazy to try any of the solid cleaners. With this pregnancy however, I wanted to find an alternative to IPA which is actually quite toxic smelling. Nothing is going to dry as quickly as IPA (which makes this so good for pro make-up artists) but I felt sure something would get my brushes as clean and frankly, MAC brush cleanser is quite hard work even if you don't have to wet the brush beforehand and I felt sure I could find something that got brushes cleaner. 

I've found it, Japonesque Solid Brush Cleaner is good for your brushes, gets them really clean and smells amazing. It's so good I bought some for my sister and my mother - both of whom are particularly naughty about cleaning their brushes. If you use make-up brushes, you must clean them, they will last longer, your make-up will go on better and most importantly it is really not good for your skin to use dirty brushes. I know it seems like a total ball-ache but this brush cleaner is actually not too time consuming - I use it while I wait for the bath to run. They take a while to dry, again that's why I do it at bath time then lay them flat near a radiator.

So why is it so good? Its reasonably quick, yes it took me a while to clean my mum's poor sad foundation brush that hadn't been cleaned since I was last home with my trusty IPA but used regularly this really takes less than a minute per brush. It's also so easy to take with you when you travel - lid screws on and it's reasonably small and flat. My brushes are clean, smell fantastic and feel like they are in great condition.

To use just wet your brushes, swirl in the soap, rinse thoroughly and then lay flat to dry. It's really important not to tip your brushes bristles up - this would dissolve the glue that holds them in and your brushes will be ruined.

I've used mine every week for the past couple of months and it still looks pretty unused making the £16 very reasonable in my view.

What You Need to Know - Japonesque Solid Brush Cleaner
  • £16 or US$20
  • 56g/2oz
  • Contains Goat Milk, Lauric Acid, Coconut Milk and glycerin amongst other things. 
  • Available in the UK from Space NK, John Lewis,
  • Available in the US from Ulta Beauty,

Monday, 9 February 2015

Makeup Revolution Cover and Conceal Palette

Now before I start this review I would like to say two things. Firstly, I do not like posting negative reviews, however I keep seeing good reviews of this and I actually think writing positive blog reviews of a not very good product goes against the point of writing a blog. I am writing from the perspective of a working make-up artist and a blogger of nearly a decade so I would like to think I have some knowledge behind my opinion. Secondly, I have heard some fantastic things about their eyeshadows and pigments which I am definitely going to go out and buy and review here.

So, here we go. Getting a good high-street available and reasonably priced concealer is tricky. Getting one the right colour is even harder so I can see why a palette is appealing. And when you first look at this the range of colours is great. The packaging is lovely, doesn't seem to have any bits that are going to snap off and my son has dropped this a couple of times and it's still in one piece - I love a chunky palette and the whole thing doesn't look very high-street at all.
Makeup Revolution Cover and Conceal palette in Light swatch

The quality of the concealer however is not very good. I would think the only reason you would need a palette with eight concealers is if you were a working make-up artist and this concealer is just not up to professional quality, frankly for me it is not up to personal use quality. The texture is almost grainy and the coverage is barely there. Barely there. It would be fine for good, young skin with the odd single spot to cover but that's about it. It's not buildable, and no, applying it with a Real Techniques brush does not make it go on better.

For personal use you need one or two concealers, not eight, to allow for change of skin colour and tone during the seasons and for different areas of the face and if you want high street then I really don't think you can beat Collection's Lasting Perfection or Maybelline's Better skin. As a pro make-up artist you need pro-products (though I do use Lasting Perfection sometimes) and no make-up artist I have spoken to (I was worried I was alone in not loving this product having seen so many good reviews) would use this, even on themselves. I've done a quick review of this here so you can see it in action.

Friday, 6 February 2015

Estee Lauder EE Cream - Quick Review Friday Video

When I first tried this I was a bit miffed I'd spent £34 on it. Now I love it. Filming this video it was the first time I'd worn it for a week and I loved it a little bit more. Really worth trying if you want something for an ultra-light everyday coverage (you can use concealer over the top where you need it). Just wish it was a little bit cheaper.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Lush Big Shampoo

This is the first Lush product I've tried in ages and in fact the first ever from their haircare range. Recommended to me, I was initially slightly dubious about Big, my hair does lack volume but is quite damaged and the thought of rubbing salt into it didn't seem like that much of a good idea. But I bought some H'Suan Wen Hua hair moisturiser at the same time (review to follow) so thought it would be worth taking the advice and giving it a go - I had a moisture boost back-up if needed.

I'm so glad I didn't get put off - it's not volumising in the way I expected and it's not gritty either. Yes there are big lumps of sea salt in there and when you initially apply it you think 'this was a mistake' but it suddenly loosens up and feels really moisturising. Because it's a bit more expensive than I usually use and it's quite full on I tend to use a normal shampoo (Elvive at the moment) first and then this one after. You really don't need that much, and for shampoo the pot isn't that big so I'd start off with a small scoopful and see how you get on.

I was sort of expecting Dolly Parton hair after using it and assumed that the 'big' bit would override any condition but that's not what happened. Yes the roots of my hair stood up from the scalp a bit more (not as much as if I use a post-conditioning pre-drying root boosting mousse or spray) but it seemed more healthy and volumised all over. Whereas root-boosting sprays (the only way some of us can get volume) do just that, boost the roots whilst leaving the rest of the hair looking fine, I felt like my hair looked thicker and healthier and although the puffed-up (not frizzy) look did diminish slightly the next day it hadn't disappeared completely as it does with the majority of other big-hair products I have tried.

So what's in it? Well sea salt as you can probably tell, which is full of natural minerals so it not only adds volume to the hair but it also cleans, softens and hydrates the skin removing dead skin cells without stripping too much of the natural oils. There's also fresh organic lemon infusion which works to flatten hair cuticles, adds shine to hair, cleans and degreases. Coconut oil to soften the hair, and lime juice which is an antioxidant.

I'm so pleased I tried this and I also decided to return to Lush after so many years. Great product from a great company.

What You Need to Know - Lush Big shampoo
  • £12.25g
  • 330g
  • Contains course sea salt, fresh sea water, toothed wracked seaweed infusion, extra virgin coconut oil...
  • Available in the UK from Lush
  • Available in the US from Lush
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