Saturday, 30 July 2011

Before/After: That 70s Kind Of Feeling

Sorry for the lack of posts everyone. It's been a crazy couple of weeks of shoots and celebrities! More on that in the future but in the meantime, here's a gorgeous 70s/Charlie's Angels/Summery look I did recently for a shoot. 

Actually it's quite a funny story. I was briefed to to a simple look as the shoot only really wanted the model from the lips down as it was a beauty and bag story! I refused to let it be a waste and thought that I'd use the chance to try out a few new palettes to create a modern version of a 70s summer look. Think Farrah Fawcett, Cheryl Ladd, Candice Bergen, Heather Locklear, hazy summer days and gorgeous glowy healthy Californian girls from retro TV shows! Anyway I digress, meet Julie.
Now we have to admit that Julie is pretty gorgeous to begin with and her skin is pretty much flawless! So it was pretty easy to work with. I wanted delicious shades of pink, gold, soft washes of taupes and bronzes all mixed up into a gorgeous look to reflect beautiful glamorous women in hazy Californian 70s sunlight! Note that I did the eye makeup really soft and hazy without any hard lines, applying colour according to the natural bone structure of the eye in soft washes. Have a look, I've included photos of Julie in natural and flash lighting.
Face: Shu Uemura Stage Performer Instant Glow, Shiseido Perfect Refining Foundation, YSL Touche Eclat, Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage.
Eyes: Shiseido Luminizing Satin Eye Color Trio in RD711 & BR209, Shiseido Perfect Mascara in Black, Madina Shiny Stick in 100.
Eyebrows: Anastasia Brow Wiz in Ash Blonde, MAC Clear Brow Fix.
Cheeks: NARS Multiple Bronzer in Malaysia, Max Factor Miracle Touch Creamy Blush in Soft Copper 03, Shiseido Bronzer in Light Madina Shiny Stick in 100.
Lips: Lanolips 101 Ointment, TopShop Creme Lipcolour in Tawny, Madina Shiny Stick in 100.
Powder: YSL Poudre Sur Mesure in Sand No 2.

So what do you think? I love this look, it's all about softness and the healthy glow that comes from sport and being effortlessly glamorous! As always comments are discussions are most welcome. Enjoy!


Thursday, 21 July 2011

Before/After: Blushing Black Beauty

What a perfect opportunity when I got the chance to work with Kate our gorgeous model from Ghana! In my last post with Amira the Somali-Filipino model, I stated that I wanted to do another post on a darker skin tone and along came Kate. 
So as you see with the before picture, Kate suffers from uneven skin tone and marking from spots or blemishes, something which happens a lot in black or darker skin tones. As with Amira, I wanted to even the skin out with 2 different shades of foundation to add dimension and to contour and sculpt as well. The brief was a very pretty flushed look with rosy pinks. So with the eyes, I used a combination of matte nude shades to sculpt and shape and then highlighted with a sparkly purple to catch light. Many of my black friends aren't fans of blushers but personally I feel that a striking blusher brings black skin to life! What do you think?
Face: MAC Studio Sculpt NW45 & NW55, YSL Touche Eclat No 4.
Eyes: YSL Waterproof Eyepencil in Black Ink, MAC Eyeshadow in Brun, MyFace BlingTone in Purple Haze, Art Deco All-In-One Mascara in Black, Max Factor False Lash Effect Fusion Mascara in Black.
Eyebrows: Shu Uemura Hard Formula Pencil in Seal Brown 02, MAC Eyeshadow in Print, MAC Clear Brow Fix.
Cheeks: Topshop Blush in Neon Rose, MAC Powder Blush in Azalea.
Lips: Lanolips 101 Ointment, MAC Studio Sculpt in NW45, MAC Lipstick in St. Germain.
Powder: MAC Mineralise SkinFinish in Dark, MAC Blot Powder in Deep Dark.

So what do you think? As always comments are most welcome. Personally I love how radiant and glowy Kate looks but then I'm biased!

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Brush Alert: Shiseido New Perfect Foundation Brush

For those who know me and for those who don't, yes I get very excited about brushes! As they are extensions of my hands and tools of the trade, of which I depend a lot on, when I find a brush that does it's job beautifully, I am a very very happy man. When I first saw this beauty in April 2011, I knew I wanted it and when it arrived at my office, I took it on it's first outing as soon as possible. You'll have to forgive me at this point as I do refer to my brushes as sentient beings! 
Now what makes this brush so special? After using it a few times, I would say it's the fibres and also the angle it is cut on. Let me elaborate. Made with a blend of artificial hairs, the brush is compact and yet soft and pliable enough to mold to facial features, aided by the slanted angle. 

I used a buffing circular motion to apply liquid foundation, Shiseido Perfect Refining Foundation, to be exact and it seemed to blend and cover seamlessly. And where I needed more coverage, I used a stippling action and it performed beautifully. 

Designed by Shiseido Makeup Artistic Director, Dick Page, this brush offers you the control to give as much coverage as you want. I have also been informed that the brush handles all foundation types beautifully, i.e. liquid, cream  and powder. 

My verdict? I love it! It has risen in rank to my Number 1 Holder where I keep all my must-have brushes. The ease of blending and controllable coverage is incredible from the first use. For anyone who is after a good foundation brush, I would recommend this highly. 

The Shiseido New Perfect Foundation Brush will be available in stores from 20th August 2011 with a RRP of £27.00.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

From Day To Night With Attitude

A quick post today! I had the chance to work with the gorgeous gorgeous Amira recently and thought what a perfect time to blog about black skin. Now before I get a whole lot of uproar as to how Amira is not really black and all that, she is. This beautiful girl is half Somali and half Filipino. In the future I will hopefully get the chance to cover all racial groups and skin tones but until then, we have Amira!

The first look I wanted to create was a very natural day look that wasn't too pretty. Amira had an air of defiance and coolness about her and I wanted this to look pretty but also cool, almost boyish even. So a strong brow with barely anything else on the face. 

One thing to remember with black skin is that it is rare to just use one shade of foundation for me. I like using at least two shades, one to pick out highlights and brighten (forehead, nose bridge, tops of cheekbones, brow bone and chin) and another one to contour and shade (hairline, under cheekbones, jawline, sides of nose). Doing this gives a 3D effect on the face and creates dimension and warmth. 
Face: Shu Uemura Stage Performer Instant Glow, MyFace MyMix Med/Dark 03, MAC Studio Sculpt NC55.
Brows: Shu Uemura Hard Formula Pencil in Seal Brown No 2, MAC Clear Brow Fix.
Cheeks: Max Factor Miracle Touch Creamy Blush in Soft Copper 03 & Soft Candy 07, Madina Shiny Stick 100.
Nose: Madina Stick Shiny Stick 100.
Lips: Madina Stick Shiny Stick 100 (Cupid's Bow), Max Factor Miracle Touch Creamy Blush in Soft Copper 03, Lanolips in 101.
Powder: MAC Blot Powder Loose in Med-Dark.

For the night look, we decided on a smoky but a very soft loose one that wasn't too pretty. It still had to have an edge of punkiness and coolness to it. How do we avoid doing an over glammed smoky? No mascara! Think more Kate Moss and less Jordan. Whack on the black pencil, smudge and go! Got it? Good.
Eyes: YSL Waterproof Eye Pencil in Black Ink & Patent Leather, Madina Shiny Stick 100.
Lips: Lanolips 101, Mac Cream Colour Base in Tint, Madina Shiny Stick 100 (Cupid's Bow).
So what do you guys think? A look we like? I think it embodies everything Amira is. Beautiful with personality!

Friday, 8 July 2011

YSL Noirs Couleurs 2011: The New Black is 6 Shades of Black

Gathered amongst fellow beauty folk in the lovely art-deco gorgeousness of The Beaufort Bar in The Savoy, we were treated to the new offerings of Yves St. Laurent. As a huge fan and user of this long established brand famous for both quality and luxury, I was at the edge of my seat to see what they had planned after the incredible relaunch and reworking of the cult Touche Eclat!

Via a beautiful video of new Artistic Director Lloyd Simmons, a formidable force in the world of fashion makeup artistry, we were introduced to his views of colour and how it effects both fashion and makeup. Echoing the ethos of Mr St. Laurent, Lloyd approaches the subject of how Black is and should be treated as it's own rightful entity and colour and not just a shade. What do they mean by this? To put it simply, black is not just black, with the addition textures and finishes, different shades of black can be achieved. Bit arty for you? Well I love it! It embodies everything I love about makeup not just being makeup but also a way of expressing colour and texture and emotion.
YSL Volume Effet Faux Cils Shocking
Anyway without further delay, the incredibly popular YSL Volume Effet Faux Cils now comes in 6 Shocking Shades of Black! Each shade of black all shot with incredible jewelled tones, YSL Volume Effet Faux Cils Shocking takes inspiration from a classic YSL Tuxedo, famed for it's cut and quality to introduce a new Triple Patented Brush with it's off centered twist. The right side with it's wider spaced bristles loads lashes generously with mascara fluid and the left side with its denser bristles cut to a rounder edge, defines and brushes out the lashes. 

We were advised of 3 ways to use this new brush which promises to give maximum effect with minimum time and strokes. Instead of using the traditional zig-zag motion, use the rounder side with a rolling action instead and then seal with the flatter side of the brush. And to define and pick out definition, use the specially cut tip bristles!
RRP: £22.00
False Lash Effect Cream Eyeliners
Also launching soon are these gorgeous cream liners that give intense pigment and are waterproof and promises a 24hr hold. I had to try them out and unlike any other gel/cream liner, this was incredible smooth and fine textured and the minimal amount will give you an intense line without the need to go over again to get more depth! Definitely a kit must! I can only think what a great product to use as a base for eyeshadow! These come in the exact 6 shades as the mascaras, all black with jewel tones.
RRP: £20.00
False Lash Effect Shocking Felt-tip Eyeliner
I zoomed right into this little unassuming gem and was duly rewarded! For those not a fan of cream liners, this easy-to-use sponge-tipped pen will be a god-send. The pigment is intense and the soft sponge nib gives you a lovely controlled deep, deep black line. Definitely a keeper as well!
RRP: £22.50
La Laque No 126, 127 & 128 (Limited Edition)
For those nail lacquer fanatics, the 'Noirs Couleurs' Makeup Collection also has 3 opulent jewelled colours of Black Bronze, Black Lapis and Black Indigo. 
RRP £15.00
Touche Eclat 'Tuxedo' Collector (Limited Edition)
The cult product now with a velvet strip like a tuxedo will be available nationwide 21st September
RRP: £25.00

The Pre-Launch date is 18th August in Brown Thomas (Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway), Selfridges (London, Manchester and Birmingham) and Frasers Glasgow.

The collection goes out nationwide on 21st September.

So what do you guys think? Enough to keep you excited? I for one am truly excited to see YSL embrace fashion and colour without compromising it's ethos of incredibly luxurious quality.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Bourjois Autumn/Winter 2011: Vitamin Goodness, Eastern Brights & Dazzling Smiles

Back to the swing of things and it's been busy busy today with some lovely stuff coming our way on the high street! Today I went along to view the latest offerings from Bourjois who's been bringing out some cracking items to rival more expensive brands. Let's get down to it shall we?
Healthy Mix Serum Gel Foundation
6 shades of a semi-matte gel foundation that's bursting with anti-oxidants and vitamin goodness derived from Lychees, Pomegranates and Goji Berries. The light gel enhances complexion and lasts for 16 hours! Upon trying, I was pleasantly surprised to see that coverage was good without looking too heavy and there was no need to apply powder as the semi-matte finish looked and felt gorgeous! Will try on a shoot as soon as possible.

These will be launched nationwide in Boots, Superdrug, and October 2011. RRP £10.99.
Sweet Kiss Lipstick
3 new shades join the Paris Delhi Shanghai Collections ranging from Rose Cachemire, Rose Folk and Fuschia Cosmopolite. And upon purchase during the launch date, you get a double-ended lip brush/applicator. This little tool does what us professional makeup artists have been doing to get that lovely blurred soft-edged lip. Use the bristle end to swipe colour onto lip and then purse lip and softly blur edges with the sponge tip. Modern and very very sexy.

These will be out 7th September in the above locations and the applicator will be a gift with purchase for as long as stocks last. RRP £7.99.
Smile Enhancing Gloss
Now this got a friend and I quite excited when we say it! Gorgeous colour rich gloss in flattering blue-toned shades on one end, immediate tooth-brightening gel on the other! I will report when I get the chance to try it. The teeth-brightening gel can be applied onto clean teeth all day and is gentle to the enamel. Effects promise to be immediate and with repeated use, a gentle whitening result can be expected. I shall report on that! 5 shades of colours ranging from Rose Bright, Fraise Celebrity, Framboise Hollywood, Brun Showbiz and Beige Tapis Rouge and also a clear Glossy Star.

These are launched 5th October in the above locations. RRP £8.99.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

One For Mom: Menopausal Skin

As some of you will know, there has been rather a lack of action on the blog front and this is due to the fact that I was visiting the folks back home in Asia with limited internet facilities! And I will be honest and admit to the fact that I was feeling makeup and skincare overload when I left London and sub-consciously steered away from looking or browsing any of the fab shops in Singapore and Malaysia.

Anyway I digress, whilst spending time with my beloved Mom who is going through, for want of a better term, the hormonal change! Now this unavoidable process happens to many women on a daily basis and whilst I have no personal experience with it and will never do, I can only gauge from talking to my mother and my aunts and various friends about it. Symptoms seem to vary from dryness of skin, excessive perspiration, hot flushes and skin sensitivity among others. Now while I can't comment on the biological effects of menopause, I can however and am quite happy to do so, address the skin needs. So before I left for Asia, I packed from my arsenal that is my stockroom items that I know would help address Mom's concerns. And before I go on to share what I brought, through the magic of Twitter, I got chatting to Sarah Brown, founder of Pai Skincare, a range that has recently been brought to my attention and after trying a few products, I am delighted to say is incredible for anyone wanting conscious organic skincare. Whilst chatting and addressing the topic of menopause, Sarah was finishing her latest post on the topic of menopausal skin and how to address some of the issues and you can read it here.

Pai Rosehip Bio-Regenerate  Fruit & Seed Oil Blend
If you're interested, you can see my review of this product here. I brought this back for my sister who is pregnant to use on her belly to help prevent stretch marks and suggested to Mom that she tries a few drops into her night moisturiser. She reported back that it worked a treat and she woke up to her skin feeling more calm and hydrated!

Alpha-H Age Delay Facial Oil & Liquid Gold Intensive Night Repair Serum
Thanks to me, my mom is already a fan of this range but whilst great for her, she was still complaining that her skin still felt dry on certain days. This after some research is a common effect of women going through menopause. Facial skin becomes drier and more sensitive so it is vital to use products that help protect, nurture and strengthen the skin. And with the above 2 products, the feedback after 3 weeks of use was very very positive. A few drops mixed in with your moisturiser or under it. She's already asked me to send more and some for her boss as well!

Decleor Arromessence Neroli Face Oil
Now this award-winning face oil with it's intoxicating calming scent was a hit with mom. The prescription advice from me was 3 drops under her night moisturiser before bed. The verdict? Another hit! She says her skin feels rested and less sensitive and most importantly more nourished!

Alpha-H Harmony Infusion & Sisley Floral Water
If you don't know, the weather is Malaysia is usually about 29C-35C on a daily basis all year round so for a woman suffering from hot flushes, this can be very very uncomfortable. So I suggested carrying around a bottle of face spritz to use throughout the day to cool and hydrate. Any brand would be good I suppose but the ones I know are good and have used before are the ones from Alpha-H and Sisley. I would even go as far as storing some in the fridge to keep cold!

La Roche Posay Anthelios XL SPF 50+ Extreme Fluid
This was the first time in years that I have heard my mom express concerns on sun factor and wearing a sunscreen everyday. Apparently she has experienced a recent occurance of pigmentation and skin sensitivity. So i whip out my new weapon. An ultra light fluid that melts into nothing on skin and will not interfere with the constant perspiring that menopausal women experience!

Now while I cannot claim expertise on this subject, I am basing all this purely on my personal experience and my mom's. And hopefully it will come in handy if someone's looking for advice on tackling the many skincare issues that come with ageing and menopause. As always, discussion and if you have any other products that you've found useful please comment and share. By the way, so glad to be home!