Sunday, 18 March 2012

Latest Kit Acquisitions: Brushes!

I am known amongt my friends for my love of brushes and my constant obsession of finding obscure brands and types to use in my work. I have lost count of how many I have and to be honest I have also stopped counting. As I get older and more experienced in my work as a makeup artist, what I look for in a brush evolves according to what and how I do makeup and what products I am using. When I work abroad, I almost always make it a point to pop into a pharmacy or beauty store if i see one to just browse. Many of my favourite brushes have been found in the weirdest of places!

Recently I attended IMATS (International Makeup Artist Trade Show) in London for the first time ever on their PRO day as I had a rare day off before a trip abroad for a shoot. I knew that Japanese brush company Hakuhodo was showing there and since hearing so much about these brushes, I decided to go but alas the stand wasn't set up and the Hakuhodo guys were flying in that day to set up, ready for business the next day when I was away! Shame but since I was there, I walked about and met many of the makeup artists I have admired so it wasn't really a waste. 

I also got to meet Louise Young, an experienced makeup artist with over 20 years under her belt. I knew of her brushes from Twitter and also through the many blog posts about her highly thought-of brushes. Well I finally got to have a try myself and I was not disappointed. Have a look at the set, I am missing a few but this is pretty close to the whole complete set.
After 19 years doing makeup professionally I am quite particular with brushes so I can safely say I know what I want and dislike almost instantly. Louise Young brushes are incredibly well thought through in terms of shapes and sizes. It is very obvious that the brushes were designed by and with a makeup artist in mind. A combination of Taklon and natural hairs, there is a brush for literally every part of your makeup routine. I love them and after trialling them during a shoot, they are now a firm part of my brush kit.

You can purchase the brushes directly from Louise's online shop here.
L-R: SUQQU, Stilazzi, Shu Uemura, Japonesque
During IMATS I also got to meet Paul Esper and Matt Morelli, the guys behind the wholesale makeup store Frends based in Hollywood, where they stock lots of the best products for film and television makeup. Working there was also makeup artist Mariam Jensen who I have chatted to many a time on twitter. The boys and Mariam talked me through a sample of what Frends brought over to showcase at the show and immediately I was drawn to the brushes! Paul explained that this was their own brand that they developed and they're good! I chose 2 to try at work and I'm impressed. Firm, soft and well shaped with no hair fall outs. Straight into my kit!

You can buy Stilazzi brushes directly from Frends or from good friend of mine Julie Burford of Cocktail Cosmetics.

Well as you know by now I did not get to buy or even feel any Hakuhodo brushes so when I heard that another Japanese company Chikuhodo made brushes for SUQQU, I thought there was my chance. Favoured by many an experienced makeup artist, Lisa Eldridge who I admire being one of them, I got me some as soon as possible! And they're lush! Ultra soft, luxurious and well shaped and cut, these brushes are on a different level. Hand cut and shaped, you can feel and see that a lot of work had gone into making them. 

You can buy SUQQU from any of their stands in beauty halls or from the Selfridges online store here.

I recently received news from a friend who worked in one of my favourite brands Shu Uemura that a brush was going to be discontinued. Well I legged it there as soon as I could and discovered that it was one of their Kolinsky brushes, of which I have quite a few and am a huge fan of. The No 15 Kolinsky will no longer be reproduced when stocks run out so I had to have one! Just as well as it was the last one left in the shop. Designed for the eye, this slightly large brush is well padded and full but yet possess incredible control when applying product. 

You can purchase the brush from any of their stores or stands.

Last of my recent finds is the Japonesque range of brushes. I've known of this brand for many years, especially their palettes which I love for my kit. Brushes however I will admit to not knowing much of. So when I had the chance to play with some, I was suitably impressed. I have chosen 2 of my favourites for their shape and cut. The first is a mineral angled concealer brush with anti-bacterial bristles. I love the angle cut into this brush for really getting into the nooks of a face such as the sides of the nose. The second one is a smudger/crease brush. Soft but yet firm, it's great for smudging and blended round the eye or even along the lip line to blur lipstick and pencil. 

Purchase Japonesque from Cocktail Cosmetics.

So there you go, a look into what I can only call an obsession of mine. I love my brushes and look after it well, in fact so well that I still have brushes I bought when I first started out 19 years ago! Just remember that brushes need not always be expensive, for me it's always about the shape and how they suit me as a makeup artist. What do you think?

Editorial Update: Stylist Magazine

I had the opportunity to work with Stylist magazine's Beauty Director Joanna McGarry and photographer Jonny Storey on a beauty shoot. The brief was a little bit Stepford Wives and Valley of The Dolls but done with an edge and a little bit wrong but yet keeping it beautiful still. Love it! 

So I aimed to do very classic beauty but with every shot to take an element and twist it by pushing it as much as I could. It was great as this is quite an organic process i.e. making it up as we go along! I loved it! Have a look and let me know what you think? I'm really happy with how it all came out.
So what do you guys think? Every element in the makeup look are all applicable to modern wearing, from the broken eyeliner, Bette Davis brows, extreme orange lips, and contouring. I think it would be fun to choose an element of your day to day makeup and for special occasions, to take it to another level, just for fun!

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Before/After: Sex Kitten Look using YSL Glossy Stain

I recently acquired the full set of YSL's latest offering, the Rouge Pur Couture Vernis À Lèvres or Glossy Stain to the rest of us! Is it a gloss, stain or lipstick? Well according to YSL none of the above. Using technology I won't get into, it allows the first layer to stain the lip and the consequent layers to build up colour whilst maintaining shine and long-wearing glossiness! Well I tried it as soon as I could on a model and it disappointed tremendously. Then it dawned on me on another shoot to use it straight from the applicator and not with a lip brush and I got an intense vinyl lip colour with high shine! Success! 

There are 19 colours and every single one is beautiful! I have met friends who have been in a coffee meeting and eaten a muffin and still have a full red lip in tact after so it works! Anyway I got a chance to use it again whilst doing a shoot with the unusually stunning Samara from Brazil. The look I wanted was a play in using "wrong" colours but still sexy, almost Bardot-esque. What made this look so "wrong"? One Samara has bleached brows which instantly gives her a slightly weird, alien edge. And two, the colour of the lip, I chose a sickeningly pale pink in No 18 Rose Pastelle. It's a gorgeously pale pink and I wanted to coat the lips with as many layers as possible to build up full voluptuous lip in the palest pink. First of all, let me introduce Samara without makeup.
Face Prep: YSL Top Secrets Toning & Cleansing Water, Emma Hardie Hydrating Lighter Lotion, Clarins Beauty Flash Balm, SUQQU Lip Essence Cream R.

Samara is a stunning girl don't you think? Her skin was however slightly dry on the surface with a little bit of congestion around the T-zone. So I chose very light products that hydrated but didn't make her skin oily.

I wanted to keep the look really simple, gorgeous glowy skin, highlights and a little contouring. For the eye I wanted to create a winged liner effect but not with a liner. I wanted to it soft and blended to create the winged effect. Here's the after shot.
Face: YSL Teint Resist Foundation, Chanel Vitalumier Aqua, Le Maquillage Makeup Mixer, Touche Eclat.
Eyes: YSL Long Lasting Waterproof Eye Pencil in Patent Leather and Black Ink, Paris-Berlin Beige Eye Pencil, YSL False Lash Effect Mascara in Noir Radical.
Eyebrows: White eye shadow brushed through.
Cheeks: Chanel Bronzing Makeup Base, MAC Taupe Blush, Burberry Fresh Glow.
Lips: YSL Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stain in No 18 Rose Pastelle.
Powder: YSL Semi Loose Powder in Sand.

Have a look at the eye close up, it's a simple look using only 2 products and blending it a little. Keep the eye opened and blend to desired shape. Whack on loads of mascara to get the full lash effect and you're ready to be a sex kitten!
And if you're interested how this look came out in the shoot, I took a quick (bad) shot off the computer screen!
So what do you think? If you've tried the new YSL Glossy Stain, I'd love to know how you get on. As always comments are very welcomed!