Friday, 29 April 2011

Sushi, Sun, Sand & Stars: Shiseido 2011 Summer Limited Edition Collection

Within the gorgeous setting of Nobu, Berkeley Street, I was treated to the finest of sushi and the latest offerings from the Japanese Cosmetic House of Shiseido. Sun, Sand & Stars, Makeup Artistic Director Dick Page's latest offering for Summer 2011. A blend of colours and textures inspired from the brilliant burning sun of noon, sunlight & shadows and the flashing stars in a blue-black summer night.
The limited edition items consists of the Automatic Fine Eyeliner in Night Sky, a gorgeous, glossy deep navy that comes in a easy to use precision pen. And The Luminizing Satin Eye Color Trio in Pink Sands, a trio of soft sweet peach, pale rosy platinum & cool shimmering pink. As you can see in the campaign shot, the products all have a slight shimmer to them. I have the other palettes in my kit and the textures are incredibly soft, blendable but yet easy to build up to a strong colour. Don't let the shimmer put you off, I was a touch apprehensive too but upon application, they disappear to the softest of sheens to add just enough interest and dimension. I wouldn't expect anything but perfection to come out of this Japanese brand.

Night Sky and Pink Sands will be available nationwide in May, Night Sky rrp £23.00 and Pink Sand rrp £34.00.
Also included as part of the event was a re-introduction to the Shiseido Bronzers. Coming in Light, Medium and Dark, these incredibly soft non-shimmery bronzers gives an air-brushed look, thanks to the technology behind it. A blend of silicones ensures that colour goes on in soft layers to prevent overload and is buildable to a desired intensity. Each compact also comes with a handy dense kabuki style brush that is beautifully soft and very very easy to use. I am not a fan of brushes that come in compacts but this was soft, densely packed with beautiful bristles and applied the bronzer like a dream!

The Bronzer is available nationwide and rrp £32.00.

I was also told by the lovely Louisa and Brona of Beauty Seen PR, who hosted the event that later on this year, Shiseido will be launching a new foundation brush. Now what's so special about another foundation brush? That was exactly what I thought and when I saw the only sample of it in the UK, I gasped. It was beautiful and lush! Basically a stippling type brush, this dense round brush promises to work the smallest amount of my new favourite Perfect Refining Foundation well into the skin to create a smooth undetectable finish. I cannot wait to get hold of one to use in my work! I'll report back to you as soon as I get one.

So there we have it, another beautiful collection to tempt us. Is this a contender for all the beautiful products launching this summer? Personally I think it's a winner. A range that is not gimmicky and with high quality finishes that would work well for the consumer and also for any makeup artist. So please go and have a play at your nearest counter and let me know what you think. I've already been using mine on my clients and I can honestly say I love it!

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

A Kiss From A Rose: Behind The Madness/Genius Of My Mind

I did this beauty shoot awhile ago and even now I still love it. Purely because I think it's beautiful and it was extremely fun to do. Fun why? Because it was totally spontaneous and the looks came about due to pressure and inspiration combined! What was the inspiration? A picture of a tattoo of a rose and black stem. So where does one go from this? Well, welcome to the strange goings-on that is my brain! 
So where better to start than a gorgeous lip? I wanted a stunning lip but something a bit unusual. Why is it unusual? Well firstly the 2 tones but also the texture. I wanted the red to look like a rose caught in frost so I pressed a shimmery pigment into the lip colour and told her not to close her mouth!
Products: MAC PRO Crimson & Black Lipmix.

When the hairstylist did this huge quiff on our model, for some weird reason I just thought visor and red glossed lips! So while respecting the rose theme, I smudged the darkest black pencil I had and kept blending it and it got bigger and further out. So after awhile I thought, go with it, drag it out as far as it will go! I loved it and popped on a red lip with gloss over and voila!
Products: MAC Feline Pencil, Russian Red Lipstick and LipGlass.
After cleansing the face, I started again. Rose, thorns, Jesus, Crucifixion, tears, blood, doll. Do you see the chain of logic? Haha. Well I decided to do tears but rather than do the cliche bloody tears, I opted to do something that was a blend of both. Dolly lashes but in black. Are you beginning to see the thought process involved here? Bear with me, it gets better!
Products: MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack.

Final shot and where could I go from all of the above? I love this one the most because it really was a 5 min job and it was getting late and we had about 15-20 mins left to shoot so I wiped look 3 off and picked up my brush and a bottle of black ink. First thought was to throw it on her but I didn't! I thought (very quickly) rose, thorns, sharp, pain, SCRATCHES!! Yes! but wait! Hmm then I remembered when I was in art class, I used to have this reference book with early historical quill and ink etchings of tribes found in the Amazon. Yes! Scratch marks but drawn in the style of early historical etchings. So while I started doing it, I found that my brush was simply following the natural bone structure of her face, almost like the contour lines found on maps! Genius!! So I whacked in a few barbed strokes where I wanted to highlight amongst all the etch marks and in 5 mins I had what I till now am really proud off!
Products: Fardel Liquid in Black.

So what do you think? Mad or pure genius? This is just one example of how my mind works during a shoot or when I am doing makeup. It's not always about planning, sometimes it's just confidence, knowing your products, luck, trusting your gut instinct and a great leap of faith!

Saturday, 16 April 2011

New Toys & A Spring Flushed Look

What can I say? I am a kid when it comes to new additions to my kit! This week I got my hands on quite a lot of new items, some of which I have been coveting for awhile and the rest has been discovered, with great surprise and pleasure, due to the kindness of friends and strangers! You all know who you are so thank you. Now let's get down to it.

More Strings to the Bow
First up is an incredible range of brushes created by veteran makeup artist, Roque Cozzette. I have never been a fan of synthetic brushes especially for powdered products as they never seem to have much "stick" when it comes to grabbing product. I could not be more wrong when it comes to The Divinity range of brushes and tools. All vegan and conscience-free, these are also handled in responsibly-sourced wood and dipped in my favourite colour, purple lacquer. So what makes these so good? Not only are they incredibly soft, they also have great control and do not splay out so you have perfect control without compromising blending ability. And the most important thing about them is their cut! Many brush ranges have generic shapes that in my line of work are just too general but these seem purpose cut and fit perfectly with my techniques of application. You can buy The Divinity Collection from Cocktail Cosmetics, an amazing site filled with treasures run by the lovely Julie Burford and you can be assured that prices are fair and delivery speedy and secure.

I have had a long long history with Shiseido as it was pretty much the brand that brought me into makeup as a career. Being in Asia, we are spoilt for choice as the Shiseido umbrella has many many ranges catered to different target markets and all of which are almost impossible to get outside of the region. The main range which is available to the whole world is great but there truly are gems that are catered only for Asian skin tones, tastes, culture and environment! I will hopefully blog more about this when I go home in June so stay tuned.

Anyway I digress, I had the chance to use my Luminizing Satin Eye Color Trio palette in Voyage BR 209 and my range of Perfect Refining Foundation. What's there to say about these products? Designed by makeup maestro Dick Page, the palettes are incredible in textures and colour and the foundations are light-weight, offers incredible smoothing coverage for uneven skin tones and pores. And the 2 most important things for a MUA, comes in an incredible 18 colour-true range and also in light plastic bottles!

So with these babies in hand, shall we get to business?

The Spring Flushed Look
For my shoot I wanted a beautiful makeup look that would fit perfectly for this time of year with it's brighter, slightly warmer days and cool nights. A look that was still made-up but also very fresh and natural. And also easily done. In fact this look could be done at all times of the year for anyone who wanted to look polished & 'done' without going for the usual smoky eye. In fact it's a perfect makeup look to actually add on for any other look. Add a strong lip, eyeliner etc. This is a great place to start.

The eye is an almond-shaped halo of the Shiseido palette, concentrating the deepest colour near the lash line and swooping outwards and back towards the temple. Here's where the Cozzette brushes came into it's own, blending was dream. With makeup, I find that your bone structure will always tell you and your brush how and where to go. Also open your eyes to check how it looks as well. Try and keep the centre of the lid free of colour to avoid looking too made up and I dotted almost like a line of shimmery stick down the lid to create a shaft & illusion of light.

It's also called flushed for a reason. I didn't want a contoured sculpted look so where did I apply the blusher? I gently pinched the fattest part of the model's cheek a few times to allow her natural blush to come through and that's where I applied it! And the same blush is also patted well into her lips to keep the colours harmonious and topped off with a dab of balm. Lashes were curled and a light coating of mascara and finally a cream pencil into her waterline. A very simple, fresh and wide-eyed look which looks incredibly polished yet natural.
Face: Shu Uemura UV Mousse Underbase, Shu Uemura Instant Glow Stage Performer, Shiseido Perfecting Refining Foundation in B40 Natural Fair Beige & YSL Touche Eclat in 1.5.
Eyes: Shiseido Luminizing Satin Eye Color Trio in Voyage BR 209, Madina Shiny Stick 001, Art Deco All In One Mascara in Black.
Brows: Shu Uemura Hard Formula in Seal Brown 02.
Cheeks: Ellis Faas Blush in S304 & Madina Shiny Stick 001.
Lips: Madina Shiny Stick 001 (on Cupid's bow), Ellis Faas Blush in S304 & Lanolips in 101.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Bourjois: Old Friends Reunited!

Back when I was a makeup crazy teen starting out in Asia on very strict pocket money from Mom & Dad, the only makeup that seemed to fit into my meagre savings were really rubbish drugstore brands and the intensity of the colours were so bad that I often resorted to crushing coloured chalk to use on my poor kid sister! Then one day I chanced upon Bourjois and it all changed! The baked domes of colour were such beautiful thing to look at and I spent whatever I could, often forfeiting food and for a tubby overweight kid, this is no easy feat!

So it is with great delight to be reunited with the range now and not only is it as good as I remember, it's gotten even better! The colour intensity is still there but better still, the prices are still amazing! For this quality, it's brilliant and I would expect to pay a lot more!

Intense Extrait Colour Shot Eyeshadow
I think I might have found the holy grail of black eyeshadows! As a makeup artist, I am often annoyed that black shadows don't come out as black as they should. With this range of 10 shades, these little paraben-free beauties  come packed with up to 87% mineral pigments with incredible blendability! Have a look, I rarely swatch but it had to be done! And as with all Bourjois shadows, applying with a damp brush or applicator will give you a more intense finish.

Intense Colour Shot costs £6.99 and goes nationwide 15th June 2011.

Delice De Soleil Summer Collection
Bronzing Powder in 2 matte shades, with a very nifty swivelling panoramic mirror.  It also has a very aromatic scent due to cocoa beans and orange blossom extract in it to hydrate and comes with SPF15.

Mineral Bronzing Foundation comes in 2 shades both SPF15 and each shade contains 2 shades of soft mineral powder to custom blend your own true shade. Very clever and with it I suspect, many will find it useful throughout the year as your skintone changes!

Bronzing Powder For Face & Body
Now I was quite excited about this as fellow MUA Cassie Lomas was next to me and started telling me about how she would use it. An ingenious bronzing spray in 2 shades that comes out as a superfine powder. Once set, is transfer-resistant! So if for example if your body is tanner than your face, this would be amazing to spray on top of a light tinted moisturiser to evenly and most importantly naturally set your face makeup and yet give you enough of a bronze glow so that it matches your body! Genius? Yes! I will trial it asap on a shoot and report back!

Effet 3D Gloss Summer Collection
2 new golden shades are added to this already popular range with it's 8-hour hydration and SPF15 and it's holiday scent of Manoi and Coconut.

Bronzing Powder is £8.99, Mineral Bronzing Foundation is £9.99, Bronzing Spray is £7.99 & Effet 3D is £6.99. The whole collection will be available to buy June 2011.

So Laque Ultra Shine
The 16 shade range has 7 new additional shades of Blue Model, Jaune Trendy, Lime Catwalk, Violet Couture, Magenta Show, Rouge Fashionista and Orange Creation. Gorgeous juicy shades of summer to follow the current fashion trend of colour blocking.

Available in stores June 2011 and costs £5.99.

10 Days Nail Enamel
This range has 12 shades and boasts an incredible 10-day lasting period. With it's angled brush, touch ups for minor chips are easy and fast. Available nationwide 15th June 2011 and priced at £5.99.

So there you have it! Bourjois, a brand that I've been using since I first started playing with makeup but have forgotten along the way. Feels good to reacquaint myself again and it's still pretty darn good after all these years!

Thursday, 14 April 2011

YSL Touche Eclat: A Cult Classic Reborn!

I was lucky enough to be 1 of 5 makeup artists invited to the relaunch of cult classic Touche Eclat. A year ago I was asked by the YSL team to help in some research of this iconic item, a product that everyone seemed to possess. Fast forward a year, Touche Eclat will soon be available to the UK in 7 (count 'em) shades! 1, 1.5, 2, 3, 5, 6 & 7! No. 7 is exclusive to the UK. My personal favourite I think will be the 1.5 as it veers towards a slight yellow tinge which in my mind will work better with more skintones!
With these 7 shades, YSL now caters from the palest of the pale to black women. Gathered at Haymarket Hotel, we were treated to a live demo of how these new shades could be used to contour and highlight features, mixed with YSL Pure Chromatics shadows to create a flatter denser coverage and also mixed with the Pur Rouge Couture lipsticks to lighten or warm up to create custom shades.
As soon as we were allowed, I zoomed right in to test textures and colours. And you know what? The colours are good! Accurate, fool-proof and true. Best of all, the textures seem more emollient and blendable. I've always had to create my own Touche Eclat for darker skinned models especially black skin and it is amazing to now be able to use one or a mix of two colours to get the highlighting that black skin truly benefits from. I can't wait to put mine to use as soon as possible! 

YSL Touche Eclat is exclusive to Selfridges and Brown Thomas from 19th May and goes nationwide 14th July.

Also launching are 3 new ethnic shades to the popular Teint Radiance foundation range.
Accompanying these foundations is the Poudre Compacte Radiance in 6 shades.
With this launch, it can only mean one thing. The luxury of YSL Cosmetics is finally available to the multi-coloured scope of skin tones everywhere! And as a makeup artist, I am truly excited and relieved!

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

The Mandara Spa: 2 Boys & A Review

Bali, an island paradise in South-East Asia, visited many a time and with each I'm astounded by the beauty of it's people and surroundings. A blend of mostly Balinese Hindus and Muslims, this has resulted in ancient ayurvedic medicines and massage techniques that are truly unique to this part of the world. Techniques include skin folding, kneading, stroking and other techniques all the time using aromatherapy oils.

Anyway why am I talking about Bali? Well I was lucky enough to be invited to experience a 2 hour session at The Mandara Spa located in the brand-spanking new Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel. You'll have to forgive me as the spa experience was so amazing that I'm having to recap most of the details via a combination of memory work from my partner and myself!
 Anyway, upon arrival, we descend to the basement of the hotel to be met by the tranquil staff and premises of the spa. As our rooms were prepared, we sit down and fill in a standard consultation sheet, outlining our health concerns and problems etc. We are then met by out therapists, lovely Mary, a Nepalese lady from Hong Kong who brings out a rack of test tubes of essential oil preparations ranging from Calm, Sensual, etc. All gorgeous concoctions of aromatherapic loveliness. I go for Sensual, being (ahem) the sensual creature that I am!
My treatment room? A lovely dimmed, warm room with gentle Balinese tranquil music, a very comfy massage table/bed with familiar Balinese fabrics. After getting changed into a fluffy thick robe, Mary proceeds to soak my feet in a foot bath filled with petals and scrubs them with an abrasive scrub combined with gentle but firm reflexology. It's from this point my memory fails me a bit.

I lie down and Mary starts with applying an oil and does a gentle massage to get the circulation going and then proceeds with a gentle scrub. I've chosen the Boreh scrub. Boreh is a paste of various natural ingredients native to Bali such as ginger, clove, gelangal, turmeric, rice, pepper, a variety of mud-grown chili and a few variable herbs & spices. It feels tingly and warming and after applying it to all parts of my body, I am wrapped up in a tin-foil like sheet and left to marinate (ahem) relax. The Boreh scrub is meant to warm, relax and sooth sore, aching muscles and joints. As a busy makeup artist this was perfect!
After what I think is about 10 mins of blissful cocooning in the heady warming spice mix, I am woken gently by Mary to have the most invigorating and hot shower to wash off the scrub. Amidst much sighing with contentment and bliss, I'm back onto the massage table again to have a traditional Balinese massage with my chosen oils. Mary gently but expertly pinches parts of my body to identify where I need attention and without hesitation goes straight to my back and shoulder blades where, due to years of hunching over models and celebs, were where my knots were hiding! She keeps asking me if it's too hard but as a connoisseur of massages with a slight liking of pain, I told Mary to go for it and she does! Yes it was painful but at the same time i felt like all the knots and tension caused by work was definitely being kneaded away. And there I was thinking it couldn't get any better!

Just as I thought it was time to get up, Mary proceeds to give me an incredible head massage to which I completely fall asleep and when I wake up very gently, I feel all refreshed and invigorated! So there you have it, by comparison to the original in Bali, it'll never be the same. You don't leave and get greeted by lapping waves of the sea and hot sun-bleached sand. I'm met by the gentle smiling staff of the Mandara Spa and Waterloo instead but you know what? It's pretty darn close and it's a warm sunny day and after my almost 2 hour of bliss, it doesn't really matter where I am. I am so going to treat myself to another session of the Mandara Harmony package!
For anyone who'd like to experience this little bit of luxury but unable to make it to the spa, you will be glad to know that the products are now available exclusively in Sainsbury's! Bath, scrubs, body creams and even scents for the room, body and linen in Tropical Blooms, Honeymilk Dream, Amber Heaven, Island Paradise and Citrus Spice. Boasting modern skincare technology and natural active ingredients, I cannot wait to go and get me some Mandara!!

Monday, 4 April 2011

Before/After: Hollywood Glamour

I thought I'd try a new section that I might or might not carry on, depending on how popular it is. I do a lot of shoots and thought it'd be the perfect opportunity to do a before/after! Just to prove to you that even models have bad days where they rely on makeup!

It just so happened that during a shoot a couple of weeks ago and unbeknownst to us, i was asked to do a modern Hollywood look. Inspired by the screen sirens of the golden age, I seeked inspiration from Marilyn, Audrey, Brigitte and of course Elizabeth Taylor. Then it all came flooding in on Twitter about her death. So suffice to say it spooked us all a bit with the coincidence but with fond memories of this Grande Dame, I carried on and might I say, maybe channel a bit of the old Hollywood magic into the look!
My model here, let's call her Shirley shall we, has very fair skin with lots of freckles and I wanted to let them show through. I love freckles! She also had very fair lashes and eyebrows so as canvases go, you couldn't really get a plainer one, I mean that in the nicest way!

Makeup in the early Hollywood films were always done to enhance features of the actresses, to sculpt and contour. Sometimes it's easy to forget that makeup was created to enhance and correct features rather than just for the sake of colour application. Anyway enough talking, the look I've decided to go for is classic red lips, defined but softly-defined brows, a winged lined eye in browns and black. Very simple, very contoured, very Hollywood!
Face: Shu Uemura Stage Performer Instant Glow, MyFace MyMix Fair 01, YSL Teint Resist No 2.
Eyes: YSL Waterproof Eye Pencil in Black Ink & Patent Leather, Madina Shiny Stick 100, MyFace BlingTone in Silver Screen, YSL Pure Chromatics Palette No 3, ArtDeco All In One Mascara in Black, Paris-Berlin Beige Eyepencil.
Brows: Shu Uemura Hard Formula Pencil in Seal Brown 02.
Cheeks: Mac Taupe, Armani Cream Blush in No 2 & 4.
Lips: MAC LipMix in Crimson & Orange, Madina Shiny Stick 100.
Powder: Shu Uemura Face Powder Sheer.

I love the look and what a transformation on Shirley! The Hollywood Starlet will always hold a special place in my heart. So what do you think? Should I keep this segment and make it a regular affair? Comments and feedback most appreciated!

Sunday, 3 April 2011

1 Makeup Artist, 2 Days & 6 Launches. Part Two

Got your interest after part one? Back for more? Hang onto your hats, there's more to come and even something special for the boys!

Shu Uemura
This brand has been a long-time friend in my kit and any new products are always met with glee and excitement by me! I know that with the products, they work and I don't have to worry about gimmicks or false promises. So what have they got up their sleeves now?

Pure:Nu Cleansing Oil-in-Gel: The cult classic cleansing oil now comes in a gorgeously scented and textured oil-gel! Perfect for travelling but note that it doesn't remove water-proof makeup. Launching April 2011, available in shops May 2011.

Face Architect Refining Mousse Foundation: 8 Shades of mousse containing the precious deep-sea water to ensure a sheer, beautiful veil of hydrated coverage. I tried it and contrary to mousse foundations of the past, this had loads of 'give' and gave beautiful coverage! Can't wait to try it properly on a shoot. It is available in June 2011.
UV Under Base Mousse SPF 30: This has been reformulated to an improved matte finish. I actually used this yesterday on a shoot and the model commented on how light it felt and the makeup stayed on all day. Another kit stalwart I think and available now.
Cleansing Beauty Oil: This cult item is now available to buy in a more travel-friendly size so it means you don't have to carry the big bottle and waste precious luggage space!
Pressed Eyeshadow: A selection of discontinued colours are now back and will be made permanent & reformulated. There will also be 40 new shades coming out in August 2011 and they will all be reformulated to be even more highly pigmented and smoother to apply! How exciting!
UV Under Base Cream SPF 25: An exciting beige-tint primer with a satiny smooth finish. Use on eyelids to enhance the depth of eyeshadows and to keep it lasting longer. Available in-store now.
New Slot System Palette: Very exciting especially to a MUA, a new palette system where you buy refill pans of the eyeshadows and blushers and slot in and click-lock the edge to secure in place. Amazing! No messing around with prising out of containers and sticking down with sticky tape. Apparently coming out in 3 sizes to configure your own custom palette! These will be launched August 2011.
New Brushes: Apparently Shu Uemura HQ is designing 3 new brushes to be added to my favoured brush collection. I can't wait for that!
Gel Concealers: Also unconfirmed timings but these should be interesting to look out for!

I went onto popular New York brand Kiehls' to have a look at their new offerings. Favoured by many MUAs for their simple no-nonsense products that just work.

Ultra Facial Oil-Free Collection: The popular Ultra Facial range now comes in a new oil-free range consisting of Toner, Lotion & Cleanser. Promising 24-hour shine control and moisturization, this is one for the oilier skin types. Out in-store June 2011.
Double Strength Deep Wrinkle Filler: An instant & long term treatment for wrinkle from the Dermatologist Solution Collection. Harnessing the potency of 2 types of Hyaluronic Acid minus any silicons, this promises to fill wrinkles out without having to resort to Botox! Out in-store now.
Ultra Facial Micro Serum: A moisture booster and serum to help spread your chosen moisturiser evenly over the face. To put it simply, this serum forms a film over clean skin to form a film so that when you apply your moisturiser, small micronized droplets of oil break upon contact to help the moisturiser spread evenly. A lot of science for a small bottle! Out in-store now.
Ultra Light Daily UV Defence Moisturiser SPF 50++: Says it all in the name doesn't it? Now available in-store in a larger 60ml bottle.

Vintage Shaving Company
And finally one for the men! Inspired by the films and men of films such as An Italian Job and Quadrophenia, the range drawing influence from traditional barbers is split into "Trad" and "Mod". All products are also non paraben, alcohol, SLS and SLES free.

TRAD Collection
Exfoliating Face Wash: 93% natural formulation, this refreshing cleanser clears the face of dead cells, opens pores and preps the face for a smoother shave.
Shave Cream: A smooth, rich cream that's 87% natural to ensure a closer shave than ever.
Daily Face Balm: With a 96% natural formulation, this non-greasy post-shave balm or moisturiser instantly soothes and moisturises.
Eau De Toilette: Crisp, sharp and clean. This invigorating scent blends a manly mix of lemon, bergamot and lime with lavender and woods. All this in the highest quality glass and a hand-crafted wooden cap.

Mod Collection
Exfoliating Face Wash: This 93% natural formulation brightens skin and prevents oil build-up.
Shave Cream: A rich, warm, creamy formulation that lathers beautifully, ensuring an ultra smooth razor glide.
Daily Face Balm: This cool, refreshing balm relieves the tight post-shaving feeling on skin.
Eau De Toilette: A unique step in men's fragrance, this intoxicating blend of spearmint, bergamot, lemon and grapefruit, with undertones of jasmine, plum, nutmeg and cumin, finishing with soul notes of vanilla and amber, really creates an unique and totally different men's fragrance! I'm tempted to say it's a new favourite of mine! Utterly modern, manly but yet sensitive. Again housed in highest quality glass and hand-crafted wooden cap.

I'm quite excited by this range and even though I don't wet shave, I love how this range is bringing back a tradition that is rich in history but yet modern in catering to the needs of today's men. You just have to try the scent, especially the Mod, it truly is incredible! VSC is exclusive to Harrods from April 2011.

So there you have it, another incredibly exciting week for skincare and makeup in London. I apologise if this comes across all facts and no character, there's just so much to cover and I didn't want to waffle on too much! Any comments or queries are most welcome so don't be shy about it, you know how to get in touch!

Saturday, 2 April 2011

1 Makeup Artist, 2 Days & 6 Launches! Part 1

So here we are again, me juggling a makeup career and blogging! It's been a hectic week, shoots, meetings and seeing all the new products that's coming out soon! So let's waste no more time and get straight to it! We've got a lot to cover!

Judith Williams Collections
Afternoon tea at the ever-lovely Sanderson Hotel in London, I got a chance to escape the crazy roadworks and meet the very eloquent and passionate Judith Williams. An opera singer, actress, presenter, Judith brings a range from her adopted home in Germany to the UK via QVC. An important principal of the range is to bring the highest quality & concentration of active ingredients to the customers but yet still keep the price down via non-fancy packaging. Sounds too good to be true? The range is made of 3 ranges for different age groups, all targeting different problems and concerns.

Lifelong Beauty
Aimed at skin over the age of 35+ that needs the little extra bit of help. A range boasting of packed-to-the-brim non-GM soya peptides & isoflavines to hydrate and almond & shea butter unsaturated fatty acids to nourish. The range consists of a cleansing milk, eye cream, night & day cream, a firming mask and few extra treatment items. My favourite that caught my eye were the Night Repair Capsules. Holding the finest cold-pressed oils and applied on to skin at night before moisturiser. Upon trying, my skin felt all smooth and silky without any greasiness.

Phytomineral Collection
This is the classic range targeted at all ages and at men. Power-packed with a blend of 7 minerals (iron, cobalt, copper, magnesium, manganese, selenium and zinc), co-enzyme Q10 and 7 plant extracts (ginseng, guarana, cocoa, lotus blossom, maca, roseroot and hops). Upon asking, Judith insisted that these ingredients were in higher concentrations that most skincare and were not just trace token for the sake of it. All these ingredients do a range of things such as sooth, nourish, revitalises, firm, even out skin tone etc. So you are getting a lot for your money. I was made aware that the all ranges were very big on serums as they deliver extra oomph to the skin through fine textures that penetrate a lot quicker and deeper. The hero product is the All-In-One Day & Night Cream with it's microencapsulation to ensure the active ingredients stay fresh and only release when applied on skin. Once again the range is made of cleansing milk, toner, facial serum, eye cream, day & night cream & facial mask.

Wrinkle Relax Collection
As the name suggests, this range was created for Judith's mom and targeted towards matured skins that require extra help. A range boasting a potent cocktail of ingredients such as hexapeptides, heptapeptides, plant collagen and even the famed live plant stem cells derived from the Swiss apple, called Botumix Complex here. A soft tinted day cream with the live plant stem cells, serum, souffle mask and eye & lip concentrate makes up the range but the item that caught my eye was the Wrinkle Charmer Cream. I suppose you'd call it a poly-filler for wrinkles! I tried it on a part of my hand with most lines and was amazed to see the cream melt and yes the lines were reduced instantly! I will be trialling this on actual faces as soon as possible!

Hugs & Kisses Fragrance
Persuading close friend Pierre Bourdon (creator of Kouros, Davidoff Cool Water and Christian Dior Dolce Vita) out of retirement, this fragrance smells luxurious and womanly, with notes of jasmine, lily of the valley, sweet rose and violet.

Conclusions? A really good, well-priced range of products packed with high-tech ingredients.

Next stop, I met up with a fellow beauty blogger and photographer BeautyWowza who kindly  invited me to go to Aveda with her. I haven't used any of these products for many many years and was surprised to be told that it was taken off the shelves and reformulated, researched and now relaunched with better than ever textures and colours! As a MUA, I sometimes find natural organic products lacking somewhat in the oomph and in tensity many other brands provide. So I was really i interested to see what the 'new' range could provide. It's a big range so I shall go through items that really caught my eye.

Brushes: Handles made of wood & flax and synthetic animal-free bristles.
New Colour Options Eyeshadow transformer: A multi-purpose liquid to transform eyeshadows to a liquid liner or intense eye shadow cream.
Mosscara: A lengthening & thickening mascara with Icelandic Moss to condition.
Inner Light Mineral Tinted Moisture: A soft tinted base moisturiser with a surprisingly good amount of coverage. I would be interested to try it professionaly to see how it works but first impression? Lush smooth texture.
Envirometal Compact: Another build-your-own palette system but I thought it was clever to include a compartment for your lipstick to slot into! 
Uruku Colour Gloss: A glossy, creamy 100% mineral and plant-derived. It's a lipstick with a glossy finish boasting the rich Annatto pigment derived from Urukum seed of Brazil.
Uruku Lip Pigment: I love that these are re-fillable and come in both sheer and full finishes.
Uruku Bronzer: 3 shades of low-shimmer finish bronzers, all infused with Annatto pigment again.

So for anyone who wants cosmetics with a conscience, head over to Aveda a credible makeup range that delivers a pretty good finish.

A favourite of makeup artists because of the small sizes of the polishes! I really do not need more weight in my makeup kit so these are amazing! Great colour and great textures. Ultimately a professional nail brand, it was lovely to reacquaint myself again with this brand at a special launch just for makeup artists!

Select Collection: 3 skin tone nude shades of Vanilla, Rose Nude & Rose Shell. 2 shades of grey in Khaki Vintage & Moon Grey. Black Oyster is a shimmery black.
Art Colour's: 6 Pop-Art shades of Blue Curacao, South Beach Pink, Waikiki Orange, Vegas Pink, Cyclades Blue & Touch of Provence.
Hero products for me as a makeup artist are Mava-Dry Spray and Correcteur Pen for speed and quick correction of smudges!

I think that's enough for now don't you? I'll carry on with 3 more launches I went to and keep you updated with the newest and the best!

The 80s: The Era That Changed Me Forever!

Once in a while, while trying to draw inspiration for work, I find myself trying to remember who or what inspired me to go into makeup and yes the usual suspects come up. Marilyn, Elizabeth, Audrey etc. Yes yes yes these glamorous women of Hollywood are indeed powerful influences when it came to makeup and hair but if prodded deeper into the recesses of my childhood memories, one character always shines through and She's Truly Outrageous! Jem & The Holograms!
A US cartoon series that ran for 3 years in the mid-80s. It involves a music company owner Jerrica Benton who uses her deceased dad's holographic computer to project her alter-ego Jem and with her sister & friends Kimber, Aja, Shana and later Carmen, they form The Holograms! Filled with cheesy 80s pop music and as a rotund kit obsessed with fashion, colour and clothes, this cartoon had it all! Bright coloured hair, block colour makeup, the bluntest, heaviest fringes this side of Toni & Guy, leggings, shiny lurex, it makes Top Shop kids look very tame and pretentious! I still remember nicking pink chalk from school (yes kids we used chalk back then!) and crushing it to apply on my little sister's face in a poor but later very influential attempt to mimic all the looks she had in every episode.

It wasn't all fun and games with Jem and crew, they had rivals and boy were the vicious and wild! Fronted by rich bad girl Pizzazz, Roxy, Stormer and later Jetta, The Misfits were everything Jem & the holograms weren't. Everything Jem stood for in pink and beautiful colours, fashion and positive music, The Misfits indulged and contrasted, in loud, clashing animal prints, acid colours, naughty chaos and a total disrespect for the law! 
I loved how the makeup was a disarray of coloured slashes, asymmetry and scratch lines. Way before a certain Lara Stone, Pizzazz was rocking the bleached brow look with fury and 80s cockiness! 

So sure, the cartoon tackled issues important to a child growing up such as reading, lying and friendship but to 9 year old rotund boy in Asia, bored and crazy about fashion, makeup and colours, it would prove the beginning of a beautiful relationship with the magic and power of makeup and clothes! So does anyone actually remember this series? What impact did it have on you? Comment please, I'd love to know that I'm not the only one who's sad enough to remember this and admit to it!

Friday, 1 April 2011

To Tame The Wild Angry Beast

You're a makeup artist! What might this wild beast be you ask? Well in my day to day work, I meet many a wild beast. No way you say but bear with me and I shall explain. Picture this, you're 16 years old, constantly told you're gorgeous but you need to stay skinny and you are constantly having your hair pulled and styled, squeezing into shoes that are too small and too high, whizzed round from premier to interview, it'd drive anyone crazy! So i present to you the angry beast!

Jokes aside, everyday I work with people who are stressed and overworked, be it model, actress or celebrity. I am by no means saying that their jobs are more stressful than yours or mine but it is definitely part of my job to ensure I calm, beautify and make my client feel the best they can. There's only so much makeup can do so i pride myself for my ability to give a good face massage!

On every job, I always try to start with a good 15 minute facial massage. There's 2 reasons why I do this. To calm and make my client feel relaxed and hence enjoy their experience more and also a good massage will bring blood to the surface of the skin and enhance circulation. This in result will aid getting rid of bloating, water retention and also tone the muscles in the face! And to achieve all this, I have a multitude of items that I carry in my kit in various combinations depending on the job. I'll introduce you to my artillery shall I? Some of these items I have been using for years and some I have recently been introduced to and have since become must-haves! One last thing before I go ahead, to all skeptics, I just say don't underestimate the power of smell!

Aromatherapy Associates Relax Candle: A gorgeous blend of West Indian Bay & Myrrh.
Diptyque Tubereuse: Favoured by a certain supermodel hence good enough for her, good enough for me!

Alpha-H Sooth & Calming Cleansing Gel: A gorgeous light oil-gel with plenty of 'slide' that allows for thorough gentle cleansing and face massage.
Alpha-H Harmony Infusion: A soothing botanical spray to hydrate and calm the senses.
Sisley Eau Floral: A beautiful floral hydrating spray that's amazing for hydration, calming and refreshing makeup throughout the day.
Aromatherapy Associates Refining Face Oil: An absolutely intoxicating blend of lavender, ylang ylang & rose to refine and balance skin before makeup.
Aromatherapy Associates Nourishing Face Oil: A beautiful blend of sandalwood, rose & evening primrose oil for dry, dehydrated skins.

For the oils, I would warm between hands and do a lymphatic drainage massage on the face after cleansing and before moisturising.

Body etc
Origins Peace of Mind: A life saver almost with it's amazingly reassuring blend of rosemary, peppermint, eucalyptus & rose. Perfect massaged onto earlobes, back of neck for nervous tensed celebs!
Aromatherapy Associates Deep Relax Bath & Shower Oil: Tranquiliser I now call it! I don't do baths but when this incredibly powerful oil is dabbed on pulse points, the magical blend of sandalwood, chamomile and vetivert strips all stress and anxiety away to leave you sighing with calmness.

So that's my special 'smelly' kit to calm the most disturbed and difficult of clients! I'm not saying it's 100% but I defy anyone to get all grumpy when I'm massaging you and cocooning you with lovely smells & fragrances. Sometimes all it takes to make someone feel and look better is a bit of TLC and a reassuring, safe, sweet smelling environment! Try it!