Monday, 31 October 2011

Product Breakdown: Alexandra Burke on XFactor

So as many of you will know, Alexandra Burke was called in as a guest judge on the very popular talent show over the weekend. The response has been quite interesting, many liking her and many not but I will say that she is a dream to work with and her face is perfect for working on. The response for her look I did on her over the weekend though has, thankfully, been overwhelming and positive! So let's have a breakdown of products used seeing as that was the most asked question to me on Twitter.
Face Prep: Vichy NormaDerm Micellar Solution, Sisley Floral Spray Mist, Pai Skincare Geranium & Thistle Moisturiser, Shiseido Pore Smoothing Corrector, SUQQU Lip Essence Cream R.

Face: Iman Luxury Radiance Liquid Makeup, Kevyn Aucoin The Sensual Skin Enhancer, Armani Sheer Cream Blush in No. 6 ( to shade, warm and contour but sadly discontinued).
Eyes: Givenchy Magic Kajal, Eyeshadows (I used various shades of mustard, ochres, rusts, browns in my warm brown palette, pic below), MAC Carbon Shadow, Paris-Berlin Beige Pencil, YSL Volume Effet Faux Cils Shocking Mascara in Deep Black, Liz Martins "Enhance" Lashes.
Eyebrows: SUQQU Balancing Eyebrow Palette No 2, Rust coloured eyeshadow, MAC Clear Browfix.
Cheeks: Armani Sheer Cream Blush in No. 6, Daniel Sandler Watercolour Blush in Dare & Pop.
Lips: SUQQU Lip Essence Cream R, Iman Luxury Radiance Liquid Makeup, YSL Lip Liner in Brown, Ellis Faas Creamy Lips in L108 & L109.
Powder: Maybelline Fit Me Pressed Powder, Iman Perfect Response Oil Blotting Pressed Powder.

Candle: Aromatherapy Associates Relax Candle, to tackle the nerves and stress of the dressing room! Trust me it works!

So? What does everyone think? I love the look obviously and think that it's very flattering and designed to enhance Alex's features. Thoughts and comments always welcome and I will be happy to discuss! I do apologise about not being able to give specifics for shadows. I've stuck all my pans down and cannot remember but here's a picture of the palette to show you the colours.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Estee Lauder: Brand Catch Up & Before/After: Cyber Beauty

As you can see this is starting to become a habit, me doing mash-ups due to work being too busy! Bear with me, I couldn't really wait! I had a little catch up session yesterday with the ladies at Estee Lauder and was presented a little collection of what's to come in December!  As it stands, I was told that I am 1 of 3 people who has this collection so I was dying to show it off to you and to also work a look with it! Let me present:

Pure Colour Cyber Eyes: Gelee Powder Eyeshadows
Feast your eyes on these babies! 6 richly pigmented eyeshadows utilising Estee Lauder's Tribrid Prisma Shine technology, last seen in the limited edition Gelee Highlighter. To put it simply, products with Prima Shine technology are all-in-one liquid, powder and gel products, that produces a malleable, flexible finish of high shine. The finish is long-lasting, non-fading, non-flaking and non-creasing. Big promises and it delivers as I will show you later! So when used dry, these shadows give a subtle sheen but it's when applied with a wet brush that the magic shines through, literally! What you get is a super shiny finish that seems to get shinier as you layer!

The colours are: Cyber Pink, Cyber Copper, Cyber Green, Cyber Silver, Cyber Teal and Cyber Lilac. RRP £19.00 for 0.9g.

They will be in counters nationwide and online at from 26th December 2011 but will be previewing at Harrods from 31st October.

In this collection are also 6 Pure Colour Intense Kajal Eyeliners and 3 Sumptuous Extreme Mascaras, which I will talk about in another post!

Anyway let me introduce you to Nevena:
Face Prep: Bioderma Crealine H20 Micellar Water, La Roche-Posay Thermal Spa Water Spray, Emma Hardie Hydrating Lighter Lotion, SUQQU Repair Essence, Guerlain Meteorites Perles Light-Diffusing Perfecting Primer, SUQQU Lip Essence Cream R.

The look I wanted to create was a combination of Lauren Hutton in the 70s, all glowy and gorgeous but yes because of the cyber factor in these shadows, I wanted a gleam in the eyes that was futuristic and hyper-metallic! And at the same time young, fresh and modern. So how does one achieve that? Have a look at the results, I am quite pleased! I have included an "eyes down" shot to show you the full effect. bear in mind that none of these are retouched and shot using my Blackberry! Voila!
Face: Estee Lauder Double Wear Light Foundation, Estee Lauder Double Wear Concealer.
Eyes: Estee Lauder Cyber Copper, Cyber Teal, Cyber Green, Cyber Lilac, Cyber Pink, Cyber Silver, Estee Lauder Sumptuous Extreme Mascara in Extreme Black, Paris-Berlin Beige Pencil.
Eyebrows: SUQQU Balancing Eyebrow Palette No 2, MAC Clear Brow Fix.
Cheeks: Estee Lauder Bronzing Liquid (discontinued), Madina Shiny Stick in 100, Illamasqua Gleam Cream.
Lips: SUQQU Lip Essence Cream R, Estee Lauder Pure Colour in Vanilla Truffle patted in with finger.
Powder: SUQQU Nuancing Loose Powder in Natural.

What do you think? I'm absolutely besotted with this look. It's got a nice combination of sci-fi futurism and yet old school glamour. Below is a close up of the eyes after shooting for 7 hours non-stop, just to show you how good the Prisma Shine technology is! I didn't touch up once!
As always please feel free to comment and if you have any questions, I would be most delighted to answer and discuss!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Insight My Kit: Black Eyeliners

Without a doubt, black liners will always be in my kit in usually more than one single formula, texture or medium. I can safely say that if I have at least one of the below liners, I can work and do a myriad of looks using it with conjunction with other products.

I approach black liners in a few ways. Obviously to use it as what it was designed for i.e. lining the eye but also as a way of deepening shadows/pigments and as a base for other products to sit on. To put it simply, if I wanted a smoky eye, I would usually apply black liner to the lid and then smudge using a brush or finger and then repeat till I get a desired depth of colour then I layer on a shadow or pigment to add dimension and if needed, colour. Doing a smoky eye or in fact any eye this way means that I can build incredible depth with minimal layers and it also allows the eyeshadow to cling on to something. Try it the next time you're doing a smoky eye!

Well let's look at the various stars of my black liner kit shall we?

The easiest and most convenient form of a black liner. I carry about 7-8 different brands of various textures and depth of colour and I can safely say these are the ones I go back to all the time. Great for lining inside the waterline and to also create a guide for the ultimate flicked liner. By  this I mean to start lining the eye with pencil, go over with liquid once you're happy with the shape to get a precise inky black flick!
L-R: Givenchy Magic Kajal, YSL Long-Lasting Waterproof Eye Pencil in Black Ink, MAC Eye Kohl in Smolder, MAC Eye Kohl in Feline.

These 4 pencils are the darkest, blackest pencil liners in my kit. 
Givenchy Magic Kajal: By far the blackest pencil I have ever used and I use it a lot when I am doing a dark eye on black skin when it is often hard to find a pencil black enough to show up. 
YSL Waterproof Pencil: Great for when I am doing red carpet looks for celebs I look after as once they set, there's no budging or flaking or smudging so always looks great.
MAC Smolder: A great all-rounder with a soft, easily to blend texture. This tends to be on the slightly greasier side so I love it for creating smudgy smoky eyes.
MAC Feline: A limited edition product that comes out once in a while and one to definitely get if you chance upon it. Intensely black and not as greasy as Smolder so for people with greasy lids, this is the one for you!

Gel/Pot Liners
Every brand does one now and I have tried quite a few but these 3 have so far remained in my kit. Requiring a bit more of a deft hand, gel/potted liners used with a fine brush gives you that flicked liner that's oh so popular. I also love it mixed with pigments to create my own deep cream shadows that have the benefit of drying to a budge-proof finish!
L-R: YSL False Lash Effect Cream Liner in Deep Black, MAC Fluidline in BlackTrack, Maybelline Eye Studio Gel Liner.

Over the years I have tried many brands and to be honest I like them all. I think they all have a place in my kit but at the moment these 3 are ones I have all the time with me. This is not to say that I won't use other brands. I simply ran out and decided to try others. Ones that I love that I have yet to replace and worthy of naming are Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner and Lancome Ink Artliner Pot which I adored for it's budge-proof finish once it dried.

YSL FLE Cream Liner: Incredibly dense cream liner that is intense and black. Once it dries it doesn't flake or smudge.
MAC BlackTrack: One I have keep going back to over the years. Inky-black and great texture but do not layer too many layers as it will crack and crumble due to it's gel texture.
Maybelline Gel Liner: Great affordable gel liner on the high street that performs like the more expensive brands. Great "blackness" and it comes with a fabulous brush that I have now included in my brush kit to do liners with!

Pen/Felt-tip Liners
For those not nifty with a brush and pot liner, these come as the next best thing. Easy to use like a pencil but the finish of a liquid or gel liner! I'm really fussy when it comes to these because I demand seriously ink-black depth and good firm nibs!
L-R: YSL Shocking False Lash Effect Eyeliner, Shiseido Automatic Fine Eyeliner in Black, Iman Luxury Liquid Eyeliner in Onyx.

One thing I find handy with these liners are the ease of use. Sometimes I just do not have the time to fiddle with a brush and pot liner so these are incredibly handy to creating a strong black liner speedily. I also love these for "touching up" liners that might have a spot missing in them, or for covering up where false lashes stick to the lid.

YSL Shocking Eyeliner: Great deep black ink liner with a great sponge nib that's easy to use and handle. 
Shiseido Fine Liner: A beautiful felt tip marker like pen with intense black ink that dries very quickly.
Iman Luxury Liner:

So there you go, my black eye liner kit that I carry around with me all the time. As brand come up with newer formulas and textures, my kit may grow or change but so far these babies have done the job brilliantly for me. If you've tried any of them, please feel free to share or comment.

Monday, 17 October 2011

YSL: Brand Catch Up

Going from strength to strength ever since the appointment of Lloyd Simmons as Artistic Director, this luxury brand now promises more beautiful products! My lipstick kit for work comprises mainly of the gorgeously pigmented Rouge Pur Couture. Well hold on to your boots, coming soon are these babies!

Rouge Pur Couture Golden Lustre
13 permanent shades, all silky textured and infused with pink, white and yellow gold pearls. These beautiful lipsticks are perfect for all the parties happening in the next few months and to add a subtle shimmer and sparkle.

RRP £22.50 and available nationwide 19th October 2011.

Integral Cleansing Oil-In-Gel
Fans of oil cleansers will be glad to see this new addition. Smelling deliciously of the classic YSL scent, this oil-in-gel melts onto skin upon application and dissolves makeup efficiently and rinses off, leaving skin soft and without feeling tight. 

A cocktail of Passion Flower, Apricot Kernel, Wheat and Rice Bran oils combined with Sucrose Esters give a very thorough, efficient but gentle cleanse. I suggest cleansing twice but using the second time to massage to boost circulation to the skin.

RRP £23.00 for 125ml.

Toning and Cleansing Micellar Water

About time! YSL does a micellar water! This is great for a quick refreshing cleanse for light makeup or after a cream cleanse to really get the residue off and leave skin refreshed and soft. 

RRP £23.00 for 200ml.

Definitely one of my favourite brands to work with professionally and we have these beauties to look forward to. I know there's quite a few fans out there so let's have some feedback and comments ok? I'd love to hear how you get on with the products.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Before/After/Kit Essentials Mash-Up: Sultry Eyes & Strong Lips

Today I'm going to do a Before/After combined with New Kit Essentials! Why? Because I've been so short of time due to the day job (makeup artist) being so busy and also I am so excited about these babies!! 

Shiseido Shimmering Cream Eye Colour
Currently available in 12 gorgeous shades according the the Shiseido site here. I only have four for now but am working to get a complete set soon. What's so good about them? They're gorgeously creamy but yet light and when set, does not budge, smudge or crease! And although it contains a shimmer, it's such a beautifully soft, multi-faceted shimmer it really isn't offensive. Just in case all you matte fans get too agitated. I'm a big fan of matte colours for the eyes but there's something special when a colour product is so richly hued and subtly shimmery. 

I found them easy to blend out for a sheer wash of colour or if you wait between layers to allow it to set a little first, you get incredible intensity without difficulty in blending. 

RRP £20.00 for 6g.

Now comes the Before/After bit. Meet Elena. As you can see, already beautiful.
Face Prep: La Roche-Posay Physiological Micellar 3 in 1 Solution, Sisley Botanical Floral Spray, SUQQU Repair Essence, Guerlain Meteorites Perles Light-Diffusing Perfecting Primer, SUQQU Lip Essence Cream R.

The look I wanted was one that was grown up, cool but yet very beautiful and sultry. Think sensuous French Vogue and vixeny exotic beauties! I was determined to use only the Shiseido Eye Creams to do the eye to really utilise the intensity and depth of the creams.  I do have bad news as try as I might, I couldn't get a decent shot of Elena after makeup was done due to a misbehaving camera and the lighting in the makeup room was hideous!  So I did the next best thing, I took pictures of the Polaroids of the shots! Bare in mind that there has been no retouching done at all so this is how it all looks naturally.
Face: Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua, Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage.
Eyes: Shiseido Shimmering Cream Eye Colour in BR306, BK912, BE204 & SV810, YSL Volume Effet Faux Cils Shocking Mascara in Deep Black, Paris-Berlin Beige Eye Pencil.
Eyebrows: M.A.C. Clear Browfix.
Cheeks: NARS Bronzing Stick in Malaysia, Shiseido Bronzer in Light.
Lips: SUQQU Lip Essence Cream R, M.A.C. Lip Pencil in Burgundy, YSL Rouge Pur Couture in No 8 Belle De Rose (patted in with finger).
Powder: SUQQU Nuancing Loose Powder in Natural.

So what do you think? Not bad right considering the eyes were done with only 4 cream colours, layered up slowly to get intensity. I absolutely adore them and they're staying in my kit! With X'mas parties coming up soon, I suggest doing this sultry daring look! Get practicing ladies! As always I welcome any comments and am happy to discuss and help with any queries!


Monday, 3 October 2011

Behind-The-Scenes Video: Their Mag Alexandra Burke Edition

I was recently asked to work on Popstar Alexandra Burke for a brand new magazine called Their Mag launching soon. The first edition is edited by Alexandra and for the shoot I wanted to create looks that showcased her vibrant personality. Here's some pictures and a video of what went on during the day of the shoot and a few sneaky peeks of the looks I created. 
I hope you guys like it! Stay tuned for more indepth pictures when the magazine launches.

Editorial Update: Twenty6 Magazine

My latest beauty shoot's just been published on Twenty6 Magazine. The theme was Concrete so naturally I looked to shades of grey but rather than just focus on the colour of concrete, I wanted to exploit and experiment with the various textures of concrete but yet still keep it wearable and beautiful. Wet, Oily, Dusty and Powdery. I hope I've managed to capture that in the makeup. 
Photographer: Kate Martin.

Insight My Kit: Foundations And Bases

A much-debated subject in the world of blogging and Twitter is the topic of best foundation. As a professional makeup artist, I have concluded that there is no "perfect" foundation that does everything! However there's close-to-perfect foundations that does certain things really well. 

You know what? I don't want to just have one type/brand of foundation. I like variety and the ability to be able to custom-blend a foundation that suits my model/client. Things I look out for in terms of choosing which foundation to use are coverage, finish, skin type/condition, environment, climate and colour.

Let me share with you the foundations I currently carry in my kit when I work. I always have at least 3 brands just in case any of my models/client has any sensitivity to any brands. And I always carry different finishes as well. You just never know!

Sheer Finish
These have the sheerest form of coverage, perfect for when all you want is a bit of colour. I would use these on good skin that need little or no coverage. I'd call them complexion enhancers rather than foundations. They're also perfect for layering and mixing. I would use these instead of moisturiser than layer a slightly heavier foundation to even out any redness before concealing.
L-R: Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint, Shu Uemura Stage Performer Instant Glow, Garnier Miracle Skin Perfector, Liz Earle Sheer Skin Tint.

Dewy Finish
These have a stronger coverage with a dewy or moist finish. Perfect for drier skins that require moisture and also great for when I want skin to appear plump and dewy. I would say these are my go to foundations on a day-to-day work basis. They're great for most skin types and layer well if you need more coverage. Apply with hands like a moisturiser if you want sheer or use a brush for stronger coverage. 
L-R: Lancome Teint Miracle, Jouer Age-Repairing Perfector, Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation, Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua, MyFace MyMix Foundation.

Semi/Matte Finish
Not necessarily the strongest in coverage but the semi-matte or matte finish gives it a slightly heavier coverage. Without a doubt my favourites for when I am shooting outdoors in the heat or humidity on location shoots. The matte finish prevents skin from shining and greasiness. I like these for close up beauty work as they give skin that matte flawlessness that contrasts well with shimmery sparkly eyes or wet glossy lips. Also great for problem skin, the matte finish gives minimal reflection so spots and bumps are less obvious.
L-R: YSL Teint Resist, Guerlain Lingerie De Peau, Shiseido Perfect Refining Foundation, Kesalan Patharan Base Makeup.

Full Coverage
Don't let these put you off, although strongest in coverage, you can sheer it down by mixing with mixers, moisturiser etc. I tend to use these on black or very dark skin tones. Why? These have really strong pigments and are perfect for black/darker skins. Many foundation brands found on the high street I find lack the strength in pigments and when used on black skin, results in a greyness that I dislike a lot. With these, all I get is intense pure rich colour that makes dark skin tones glow! I also like using these to contour and shade for all skin shades.
L-R: MAC Studio Sculpt, MAC Studio Tech, Shu Uemura Nobara Cream Cover Stick, MAC Full Coverage Foundation.

So there you have it, my foundation kit as it currently stands. Some have been recent requisitions, some have been in there for a while, so who's to say I won't have another new favourite in a few months time? Has anyone tried any of these yet? Please share your views and comments.