Saturday, 1 December 2012

Before/After: A Glowy Burnished Look for Black Women

I adore doing makeup on anyone but have a soft spot for doing makeup on black women. The texture of the skin, features and colours is so different from other skin colours and as a result, you can do things that wouldn't look as dramatic. Anyway without gushing on and on, let's meet Philomena!
Face Prep: Lancome Galatéis Douceur Soft Cleansing Fluid, Bioderma Crealine H2O, Emma Hardie Lighter Hydrating Lotion, Illamasqua Matt Primer (on shiny areas where you can see), Dior Creme De Rose.

As you can see our Philomena is a beauty and except for a minimal amount of uneven skin tone there really isn't anything to do. Now I did go for a glowy and contoured look, and by contoured it is not to give Philomena "white" features. Contouring gives anyone dimension but on black skin, it also gives warmth as well as creating a 3D effect. I'm sure you'll understand when you see the results.
Foundation: Estee Lauder Double Wear Concealer, Chanel Perfection Lumiere, MAC Studio Sculpt, Iman Luxury Radiance Liquid Makeup.
Eyes: YSL Waterproof Eye Pencil in Black Ink & Patent Leather & Luminescent Gold, Bobbi Brown Eyeshadow in Rich Brown, Madina Shiny Stick in 002, YSL Luxurious Mascara Shocking Volume in Deep Black.  
Eyebrows: Anastasia Brow Wiz in Brunette, Bobbi Brown Eyeshadow in Rich Brown, MAC Brow Fix in Clear.
Cheek: Bobbi Brown Eyeshadow in Rich Brown, Daniel Sandler WaterColour in Dare, Madina Shiny Stick in 002.
Lips: Mac Lip Pencil in Mahogony, SmashBox Nude Lip Pencil in Pinkish Nude & Soft Nude, Mac Lip Conditioner in Petting Pink.
Powder: Shu Uemura Face Powder in Peach, Iman Semi Loose Powder in various shades.

Here's a shot with daylight & flash to show how it looks in photography.
So what do you think? Any thoughts on contouring for black skin? I'd love to hear comments and feedback. I hope you like the look!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Before/After: Thinking in Black & White

Sometimes on shoots that I've worked on, the pictures shot end up printed in Black & White and it's often a case of a mix of both B&W and colour. So I think it's interesting when I'm told before hand that the magazine wanted a full B&W shoot. Why interesting? Because I can tailor the makeup to work specifically for the end result. If you research the history of film, makeup was orginally designed for B&W film and as a result came about the concept of contouring and highlighting. 

Seeing as my jewellery shoot was going to be in full B&W, I wanted to introduce some heavy contouring but done in a modern way and using modern textures. Now switching into B&W mode, everything in the photo will come out as Black and White and shades of Grey. I wanted the eyes to be natural but yet still have shadow. When I mean shadow, I don't mean the cosmetic kind. I wanted a soft shading to happen in the eye area, as if she's wearing a hat and the sun is casting a beautiful shadow under her eyes! I could have done a full black lip but I wanted a muted black-grey and definitely not a solid sharp line. I wanted the lipstick and lip line to blend and blur into a soft seamless edge. Why? No reason but aesthetically I find it more pleasing and also softer. Less S&M and more beautiful but still strong. Anyway a picture is worth a thousand words so let me show you what I mean. 

First let's meet the lovely Georgina.
Face Prep: Lancome Galatéis Douceur Soft Cleansing Fluid, Bioderma Crealine H2O, Embryolisse Cream, Dior Creme De Rose.

And here's Georgina after makeup is done but let me show you in colour first. 

Foundation: DiorSkin Nude Foundation, Givenchy Mister Light.
Eyes: MAC Paint Pot in Groundwork, MAC Prunella Eye Kohl, MAC Taupe Blush, Shu Uemura Ultimate Natural Mascara in Brown.
Eyebrows: Anastasia Brow Wiz in Ash Blonde, Shu Uemura Hard Pencil in Seal Brown.
Cheeks: MAC Prunella Eye Kohl, MAC Paint Pot in Groundwork.
Lips: MAC Lip Pencils in Burgundy and Nightmoth, Dior Addict Extreme in Black Tie, Madina Shiny Stick in 001.
Powder: Jurlique Rose Silk Finishing Powder.

Have a look at some close ups of the look on Georgina.
And now in glorious Black & White!
What do you think? See how the soft undetectable shading round the eyes all of a sudden become dramatic in B&W? 

I also wanted something dramatic for the nails and I am so not a nail artist! So I enlisted the help and talent of Sabrina Gayle. This was the first time I worked with Sabrina and a few days before the shoot I emailed her and discussed the look with her and she immediately went to work mocking up some samples of what she thought would look great for the brief. Immediately I was impressed at her enthusiasm and style. On the day itself, she worked quietly while Georgina had her hair set and done. When I came back, I literally had to control myself from swooning at her handiwork! Have a look, I think Sabrina's nails brought another dimension to the results.
You can follow and admire Sabrina's work here.

I'm so thrilled with the results and cannot wait to see it all published! As always I'd love to hear your comments and questions!

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Before/After: Spiky/Clumped-Up Lashes/Makeup Mistakes

So today whilst at a shoot, I decided to take one of my makeup pet peeves and use it as inspiration. What's the pet peeve? When girls wear too many false lashes and apply too much mascara! All too often I look around on trains or buses and see many such offenders. I suppose with the current crop of "celebs" sporting every extension you can think off, the general public is bound to follow suit. What they don't get is that these "celebs" have teams of MUAs and hairstylists working on them. Anyway I won't get into that now but I wanted to use that as an idea and then take it even further and make something beautiful out of it. 

I still remember my mom telling me tales of how she and her friends used to iron their hair between brown paper on ironing boards to get it poker straight and how she wore 2 pairs of lashes for her wedding! Somehow it just seemed cooler back then! 

Meet the very adorable Maria!
Face Prep: Crealine H2O, Embryolisse Cream, Dior Creme de Rose.

So you can Maria is pretty gorgeous and required very little in terms of prep. I did do a good face massage to get the circulation going and drain any puffiness. I wanted to keep skin light and clear, to keep the focus on the crazy clumped up lashes. Here's how she looks after makeup. I will point out that I spent more time doing the lashes than the other parts of the face!

Foundation: Alpha-H Tinted Moisturiser in Light, Givenchy Mister Light in No 1.
Eyes: YSL Volume Effet Faux Cils Shocking Mascara in Deep Black, Clinique High Impact Extreme Volume Mascara in Extreme Black, Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara in Black, Paris-Berlin Beige Eye Pencil. (I also made my own false lashes and primed it with various primers and mascaras. I think I'll keep that formula to myself if it's ok, hehe)
Lips: Madina Shiny Stick in 001, Dior Creme de Rose.
Powder: Jurlique Rose Silk Finishing Powder.

Have a look at it close up!
And here's Maria in action. Pardon the blurriness, I took these whilst she was working.
So what do you think? I love the effect of the clumpy spiked lashes! Now if only everyone did it like this. Hehe. Kidding. Ish...

Editorial Update: Look Magazine

Hi everyone! Pardon the absence of late, lots happening in my world, all good and will result in wonderful things but it has meant a slight quiet period blog front. Bear with for a while longer but I will try to post as much as I can!

Anyway I wanted to share with you my latest shoot to be published. Shot in NY by a very talented amazing team, I love it and hope you do too!

What do you think? Gorgeous huh if I do say so myself! 


Sunday, 30 September 2012

Before/After: A Liner & Red Lip Variation

Is there anything more striking and classic as a red lip and an lined eye? I highly doubt it. I call up this combination more than any other makeup look in my repertoire. I do get a little tired of this look sometimes, not often but once in awhile I do. So I try to make it as interesting as possible by changing various aspects of it. Simple little things that might be utterly unnoticeable to the general public except to a MUA obsessed with details and textures!

So once again I was asked to do said combination and I had a pretty young model to work on. So instead of a full blown glamorous red lip/liner combo, I chose to tweak the liner into a different shape and keep the skin looking ethereally sheeny. It's very hard to explain this but my main concern was how it would look on the final pictures. I hope my behind-the-scene photos will do it justice. Anyway here's Alex without makeup.
Face Prep: Alpha-H Age Delay Cleansing Oil, Decléor Aroma Cleanse Cleansing Water, Decléor Life Radiance Double Radiance Cream, Shu Uemura Brightening UV Under Base Mousse, Decléor Nourishing Lip Balm.
 
As you can see Alex is young and has beautifully clear skin with a bit of darkness under the eye. I didn't want to wing the liner out like how you'd naturally do on a glamorous look. Instead I wanted to do a dip downwards or an inverted liner focusing on the lower eye instead. Hopefully the following pictures will help explain it better.
 
Here's Alex after makeup.
Foundation: Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua, Givenchy Mr Light, YoungBlood Natural Mineral Foundation.
Eyes: YSL Dare To Glow in No 1, YSL Waterproof Eye Pencil in Black Ink, MAC Fluidline in Black Track, YSL Volume Effet Faux Cils Shocking Mascara in Deep Black, Magnifibres, Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara in Black.
Eyebrows: Shu Uemura Hard Formula Brow Pencil in Seal Brown, Gold Mascara.
Cheeks: MAC Taupe Blush, Burberry Fresh Glow, YSL Dare To Glow in No 1.
Lips: MAC Lipmix in Crimson.
Powder:  Jurlique Rose Silk Finishing Powder.
 
Here's a closeup of the look.
And one of Alex dressed in character and looking down.
What do you think? Enough of a twist on this classic look to make it look fresh and modern? 
 

Latest Kit Acquisitions: Skin!

I apologise for the recent blog silence. As always work has been crazy but add to that trying to sort out personal matters, it really doesn't leave much time for blogging. Saying that all is well and I am busier but also happier than ever. Let's not waste time talking shall we? I wanted to bring attention to some recent launches that as a MUA excite me, a lot!

Sisley Gentle Makeup Remover
Finally one of my favourite brands launches their contribution to micellar cleansers! Totally botanical and gorgeous, this huge bottle with a clever press-down pump smells and feels lovely. I've just received it so will be doing a review as soon as I use it at work.

RRP £69.00 for 300ml.

Giorgio Armani Maestro Fusion Makeup
When I first got wind of this last year, I got quite excited and when I had a chance to play with a drop of it from a sample vial, I tweeted about it without disclosing the brand. This might be the industry's first oil-based foundation. Volatile oils evaporate upon contact with skin to leave a beautiful matte finish. Once again I will report back as soon as I get to use it on a shoot but so far I am impressed.

RRP £36.00 for 30ml.

DiorSkin Nude Skin-Glowing Makeup
This favourite amongst MUAs has been relaunched promising enhanced skin-glowing properties, thanks to velvety translucent pigments, skin beneficial waters and a hydrating
binding agent. I'll report back as soon as I use them but testing on my hands, I'm loving the fluid coverage that looks and feels gorgeous on skin.


RRP £31.00 for 30ml.

As mentioned before I will report on these new additions as soon as I trial them properly on shoots, which means more than just once or twice. Has anyone tried them yet? I'd love to hear from you about how you got on. 


Sunday, 9 September 2012

Before/After: Psychedelic Screen Siren

I've been on a bit of a colour theme of late with my work. I find that I go through phases with my work and what I do. And the current look for me is full of colour and high voltage glamour! It's almost a throw back to the strong vibrant colours of the 80s but done in a modern way with the latest formulations and technology. 

One of my favourites recently was a big fashion spread for a London magazine and the location where we shot was used to film A King's Speech, full of grand decor and old school glamour. The clothes were all dark and pretty strong. A quick meeting with the team decided that we were going to make her a bit of a psychedelic Hollywood screen siren. Actually those are my words, not theirs! Anyway let me introduce Julia.
Face Prep: Decléor Aroma Cleanse Cleansing Water, Decléor Life Radiance Double Radiance Cream, Shu Uemura Brightening UV Under Base Mousse, Decléor Nourishing Lip Balm.

Julia is pretty perfect in terms of features! Her face is a joy to work with and absolutely perfect  for an intricate beauty look so I let loose and let my creativity  go wild. Our hair maestro Peter decided to use a blond wig to totally complete the look and by doing that, we had an absolute blank canvas to work with so I knew that Julia would be able to take a strong strong look.

I wanted jewelled colours, vibrancy and disregard to traditional makeup rules. So I brought out a selection of my favourite colours in my kit. To give you an idea, I took a rough photo of the palettes I worked with.
L-R: Tom Ford Palette, YSL 5 Colour Palette, Makeup Forever Aqua Cream, Shu Uemura Palette.

Here's what Julia looks like after the full works!
Face: YSL Le Teint Touché Eclat,  Givenchy Mr Light, YoungBlood Natural Mineral Foundation.
Eyes: MUFE Aqua Cream, Shu Uemura Eyeshadows, Tom Ford Burnished Amber Palette, YSL Volume Effet Faux Cils Shocking Mascara in Burgundy and Deep Black, Pixi Endlessly Silky Eye Pen in No 3 Black Tulip.
Eyebrows: MAC Brow Gel in Clear.
Cheeks: MAC Taupe Blush.
Lips: Iman Luxury Moisturising Lipstick in Citron. 
Powder: Jurlique Rose Silk Finishing Powder.
 
Here's a close up.
I changed the lip colour half way through the shoot to get a slightly different effect for Julia. Nothing major, just a deep jewel red.
Lips: MAC Ruby Woo Lipstick, MAC Pro LipMix in Crimson, MAC Pigment in Reflects Rust.
 
Thought? I'm such a fan of colour and it's been awhile since I've been able to do a full on eyes and lips look. I love it!
 
 

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Insight My Kit: New Additions

Sorry for the lack of posts recently, it's been a crazy couple of months filled with work, travel and personal affairs! Seeing as it's been a while, I've hence had time to trial a couple of new things that are now firmly in my permanent working kit and also for personal use. Without further ado, let's have a look. To make it easier, I've categorised them according to function.

Cleansing
Alpha-H Age Delay Cleansing Oil is the latest addition to the cleansers from fav brand Alpha-H. A gorgeously scented oil-gel with tangerine and rose hip that is just delicious. I love using it pre-makeup to dissolve dirt, makeup and grime off my model's face. Worked into the skin in massaging motions to really get the grime out and enhance blood circulation, add a few drops of water to emulsify into a milky cleanser, rinse or wipe off with a hot flannel or muslin to have soft, sparkling-clean skin. 

£25.95 gets you 100ml.
Pai Skin Brightening Exfoliator is the latest from the brilliant range from organic experts Pai. My skincare bag in my makeup kit is quite comprehensive as I never know what type of skin I encounter on jobs so I need to have products that do a lot for many skin types. Enter this exfoliator. Boasting nourishing Kukui oil and round Jojoba Beads, this will cause no scratching to aggravate skin. Carried in a silky gel, it is easy to exfoliate and when a few drops of water added, it turns milky and silky so you could carry on doing a massage on skin.Simply brilliant as is everything they bring out!

£20.00 for 30ml.

Complexion
I will throw my hands up in the air, admitting that I am a convert. I was always sceptical when it came to minerals and after many a dalliance with mineral makeup, I have always been left disappointed. Until now. Enter YoungBlood. I knew of a few makeup artists using it so when I got my hands on some, it took a while before I found a way that I liked using these incredible products. One of my many concerns with mineral makeup was coverage and also powderiness, both of which are non-existent with YoungBlood. 

Coming in a whole spectrum of colours, I have used it on many skin tones, white to black, all with great success. Personally I like using a very sheer liquid foundation first then a gentle brushing of YoungBlood Loose Foundation to really get a polished but sheer complexion. I'm a huge fan now. There's also colour cosmetics as well but at the moment, I am only familiar with the loose foundations.

£31.00 for 10g.
I was told about Jurlique Rose Silk Finishing Powder by one of the most talented and generously spirited makeup artists in the business and I knew if it was good enough for her, it was definitely going to be in my kit. There's not a lot to say about this really. The finest, silkiest colourless powder with the most incredible rose scent. So soft and fine that when used, it is virtually impossible to detect. I was also advised that it is perfect to mix with other coloured powders as a perfect carrier for darker skin tones. I can't wait to try that! I love roses so the scent always draw gasps of appreciation from my models or celebs. Everyone needs this in my opinion.

£24.50 for 10g.

Eyes
Here are 3 products for the eyes that really have had me impressed and stocking so that I don't run out. I will start from left to right.

Magnifibres Lash Extender was brought to my attention by another MUA who I chat with on Twitter. What it is is a tube of natural fibres that adhere to your lashes in between mascara coats to thicken and lengthen. There's been so many products like this over the years but when I tried it on my first celeb, she literally screamed when she saw the result! Very, very clever and no clumping up like many of it's predecessors. I believe this may stay in my kit from now on so that I can opt not to use false lashes sometimes without compromising on lash density.

£18.96 for the tube.

Anastasia Lash Genius comes from one of my favourite brands for anything brows. I have been using their Brow Wiz pencils ever discovering them, way before anyone in the UK got wind of them. Lash Genius is a topcoat for mascara that makes any mascara waterproof. Yeah that's clever and all but what I love about this is when you use it in conjunction with false lashes. Anyone who uses false lashes will know that many a time once they go on, they never always sit flat against the natural lashes and upon close inspection, you can always tell where the false splay from the real. Lash Genius when applied has this ability to blend the natural lashes with the false ones! I was highly sceptical but after using it many many times, it really works! So it's a keep for sure!

£14.00 for 5.5g.

Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara simply does what it says. Now when I first heard about this I was like yeah so what? Mascara for the lower lashes but when I tried it, I was hooked. I hate lashes to look all spidery and over mascara-ed, favoured by many women, I find it cheap and tacky looking. This helped define and separate bottom lashes so they looked natural but defined.

£11.00 for 2ml.

So there you go, that's a few of the things that have really impressed me the last few months. As a MUA I tend to mull things over as it takes a few uses before I include products into my permanent kit. I hope you've found this useful and maybe you're already familiar with these products. I'd love to hear your thoughts and comments.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Before/After: A Multi-Faceted Blue Jewelled Eye

Often whilst doing makeup for shoots, I find myself noticing certain trends emerging from the briefs. After so many years I still find it slightly magical that everyone seems to know what the trends for the next season are. Of course I forget that there are trends companies whose sole job is to predict and forecast the upcoming trends for future seasons. And since I work at fashion weeks which works a season ahead, I am in a very privileged position to get a peek at what is coming up in the next collections! Anyway I digress, a certain theme I have noticed is jewelled tones. There is definitely a nod towards bejewelled tones in clothes, makeup and even hair!

So it was rather opportune that at a recent shoot I was asked to do a strong blue eye but the client didn't want anything graphic, they wanted it strong but soft at the same time. So that ruled out hard edges and graphic shapes. When I suggested doing a jewelled tone eye that was strong but yet soft and wearable, everyone was happy and that was decided.

Let me introduce Ilse, a truly handsome model!
Face Prep: Alpha-H Age Delay Cleansing Oil, Decléor Aroma Cleanse Cleansing Water, Decléor Life Radiance Double Radiance Cream, Shu Uemura Brightening UV Under Base Mousse, Decléor Nourishing Lip Balm.

Isn't she handsome? I use the word handsome because Ilse to me had beautifully chiseled and full features that transcended genders. Some would call it androgyny I suppose. She would make a most beautiful boy or a stunning gorgeous woman, depending on makeup and lighting. Anyway here's how Ilse looked after I completed the eye.
Face: YSL Le Teint Touché Eclat,  Givenchy Mr Light, YoungBlood Natural Mineral Foundation.
Eyes: Pixi Endlessly Silky Eye Pen in No 3 Black Tulip, MAC Paint Stick in Marine Ultra, Laura Mercier Baked Eye Colour in Lagoon, Shu Uemura Eye Shadow in Vivid Blue 665, Makeup Forever Aqua Colour in No 20 Intense Blue, YSL Volume Effet Faux Cils Shocking Mascara in Deep Black, Magnifibres, Paris-Berlin Beige Eye Pencil, Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara in Black, Madina Shiny Stick in 100.
Eyebrows: Shu Uemura Hard Formula Brown No 3, Gold Mascara.
Cheeks: Chanel Bronze Universal, Burberry Fresh Glow, MAC Taupe Blush.
Lips: Burberry Fresh Glow, Rodial Glam Balm Lip, MAC Tinted Lip Conditioner in Petting Pink.
Powder: Jurlique Rose Silk Finishing Powder.

Here are a couple of close up photos to see the full effect.
And an even closer shot.
And more close ups with lids down.
I suppose most people wouldn't bat an eyelid at the thought of doing a jewel-toned eye but I wanted to express the point of creating dimension. I rarely use just one product, I find that in shoots, that creates a rather flat finish. Personally I like using similar shades in various finishes to create dimension and texture. So even though I wanted a blue eye, I have used about 5 different blue products to create the final look. Just like how the more facets a gemstone has, the sparklier and more brilliant it becomes, I think the same applies to makeup.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Before/After: A Modigliani Beauty

Whilst in Sicily recently, I am not sure what it was, maybe it's the explosion of colour, vibrancy of the people and landscape or the beautiful artistic architecture and interiors, I found myself seeking inspiration from the arts. Certain artists to be exact. One of my favourites is Amedeo Clemente Modigliani, an Italian artist known for his paintings of women with elongated necks and oval faces. I've loved his colours and the way his women always looked so aloof and elegant.

So without realising, as soon as I saw what hair maestro Marco did on our model, I instinctively knew what I wanted to do and let me hand and heart do the work. Here's a typical Modigliani painting so you know what I mean.
I love the shades on the face, how the blush if any sits really low so that it creates a elongated drawn look and the rose bud lips. Just simply gorgeous. Anyway before I go on, let me introduce you to our model Mona.
Face Prep: Caudalie Cleansing Water, Caudalie Beauty Elixir, Caudalie Moisturising Sorbet.

Mona is a stunning girl with brown hair so Marco coloured her hair and made it really dark and instantly I started seeing her new image in my head. Long neck, dark hair, an aquiline nose and beautiful soulful eyes. The perfect Modigliani woman! And I had the perfect YSL palettes from the Autumn/Winter 2012 collection, full of sultry dusky tones, perfect for creating contours and shadows. I didn't want to take it too literal so also included a flash of mint green and fuchsia pink to make the look modern. So the fundamentals of a Modigliani woman was there, wearing the blush super low to create a haughty flush and hollowed-out contoured eyes. Here are the results.
Face: YSL Le Teint Touché Eclat, YSL Teint Parfait in Tan Glow.
Eyes: YSL Pure Chromatics Palette No 9 & 10, YSL False Lash Effect Cream Eyeliner in Bronze Black, YSL Volume Effet Faux Cils Shocking Mascara in Deep Black,  YSL Dare To Glow in No 3, YSL Long-Lasting Waterproof Eye Pencil in No 7, Paris-Berlin Beige Pencil.
Eyebrows: YSL Eye Brow Pencil in No 4 Ash.
Cheeks: YSL Cream Blush in No 2 Powdery Rose & No 5 Fuchsia Temptation.
Lips: YSL Dare To Glow in No 1, YSL Le Teint Touché Eclat, YSL Cream Blush in No 5 Fuchsia Temptation, YSL Rouge Pur Shine in No 30 Shimmering Pink & No 31 Tuxedo Pink.
Powder: YSL Semi-Loose Powder in Sand.

Here's a couple of close-ups in direct sun light.
What do you think? I love how Mona turned out, I thought she captured the spirit of Modigliani really well and the colours all worked with the natural Sicilian sunlight. I'd love to hear your comments.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Before/After: Dusky Sizzling Sicilian Goddess

Finally time to do a post about what I have been up to in Sicily. 9 days, 6 different shoots, 3 models. Sizzling hot temperatures, early starts, inspiring locations and a most incredible and inspiring team to work with resulted in some pretty amazing transformations. 

I love working with hairstylist maestro Marco Testa who just gets me and together we created some pretty amazing transformations. Why are we so good together? He understands where I am coming from and when that happens, hairstyling and makeup goes into another level. I also had the new A/W 2012 collection from YSL to play with. Dusky khakis, bronzes and 3 new skin illuminators instantly made me think of hot, almost sweaty skin, all aglow. Have a look at the products.
I wanted our model to look like a courtesan in a hot sweaty bordello, skin aflushed and shimmery, awaiting her next victim! What can I say? It must have been the Sicilian sun, Baroque interiors and dramatic landscape! Let me introduce you to Luma.
Face Prep: Decléor Aroma Cleanse Cleansing Water, Decléor Life Radiance Double Radiance Cream, Shu Uemura Brightening UV Under Base Mousse, Decléor Nourishing Lip Balm.

Luma is Brazilian, as you can see her lineage of African, German and Japanese bloods have resulted in a rather spectacular face! When I saw her, I knew I wanted to change her pale skin to a duskier tone and use the YSL A/W collection to intensify her features and create a slightly different race. I didn't want any one feature to jump out, just a well blended, sculpted heady mix of sensuality and power! It was pretty easy, even without makeup Luma is pretty perfect and I loved how into character she got when we explained it to her. Natural she is funny, slightly geeky and so easy to be with but as soon as the look was done, she transformed into this tanned, smouldering creature of loveliness and danger! And hair magician Marco understood that perfectly and suggested a head full of long dark extensions, ironed out straight and then slightly greased up to create a bit of "dirtiness". Just perfect! 

Here is Luma straight after makeup before lips were done.
Face: YSL Le Teint Touché Eclat, YSL Teint Parfait in Tan Glow, YSL Touché Eclat, YSL Dare To Glow in No 1, 2 & 3.
Eyes: YSL Pure Chromatics Palette No 9 & 10, YSL False Lash Effect Cream Eyeliner in Bronze Black, YSL Volume Effet Faux Cils Shocking Mascara in Deep Black,  YSL Dare To Glow in No 3.
Eyebrows: YSL Dare To Glow in No 1, YSL Long-Lasting Waterproof Eye Pencil in Luminescent Gold.
Cheeks: YSL Teit Parfait in Tan Glow, YSL Cream Blush in Passion Red.
Lips: YSL Dare To Glow in No 1, YSL Le Teint Touché Eclat, YSL Rouge Pur Couture Golden Lustre in Golden Nude.

And as I hoped when I designed this look, when Luma got hotter at the location, her skin shone, glowed and sheened to create a burnished finish! I avoided powder to avoid any kind of muddiness of the complexion. Here's a shot of Luma posing on set. The picture on the left is natural lighting taken with my camera and the one on the right is when I pumped up the contrast slightly to accentuate the duskiness. I still get goosebumps when I look at the results!
What do you think? Sizzling? Goddess-like? I love this look so much and really had fun creating it. If there ever was a better example of smouldering sexiness, I think Luma pretty much takes the title, don't you?

Sunday, 15 July 2012

A Visual Diary: Sicily, Italy

It's been a few days since I've returned from my second trip this year to Italy for work. This time I spent 9 days in sun-drenched Sicily. Home to the formidable active volcano, Etna. This is my second time to the island but the first spending so much time there experiencing the people, food, culture and life of this beautiful place. Words fail to describe the colours, heat, passion, smells, tastes, textures and the beauty of Sicily.

Unlike London, the average temperature of Sicily was about 35C everyday and it was high humidity due to it being surrounded by water. So it was 4am starts with hair and makeup and starting to shoot at about 630am. By noon the temperatures would be too extreme to shoot out in the open air so we either seeked refuge in the shadows of many of Sicily's formidable buildings or waited out the heat with drinks and gelatos until temperatures got a bit more decent to work in. 

It was all worth it though. We worked in ornately-decorated Baroque mansions, sunny beaches surrounded by incredibly tanned people, charming cobbled streets with gargoyles and giant wooden doors looking down upon us. And in the background, the soundtrack of passionate Sicilians shouting, singing and discussing the pleasures of their lives.  After a hard day's work, we were rewarded at every meal with sun-ripened fruit and vegetables grown and harvested from the fertile volcanic soils of the island and delicious seafood caught fresh from the surrounding seas. Simply and proudly cooked by amazing women such as Mama Rosa. Utterly incredible and I am grateful for what a blessed life and profession I am in to be able to share this with an equally talented and passionate team. Enjoy the pictures!