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Sunday, 30 September 2012

Damn you, Viva Glam Gaga 2

I’ve been struggling with this lipstick ever since I bought it. A lot of the time, if a colour isn’t quite right on me, I’ll give up on it, and give it to my friend or my sister. I bought it in the Viva Glam Gaga set that came out last Christmas, mostly because I love Gaga and because I wanted the cute makeup bag that came with it.


viva glam gaga 2

Here it is alone. It just looks… corpsey? Not attractive.


Model – Nicole. Photography – Darkhorse Photos MUA – Me.

Here it is on the lovely Nicole, with a clear gloss over it. Now, I realise the lighting is  VERY different, and our colouring is VERY different. BUT WHAT THE HELL. I REFUSE TO BELIEVE SOMETHING DOESN’T SUIT ME.


I’ve tried layering it over various liners, and that works out okay, I guess, but changing it from a neutral seems pretty pointless, now?

viva glam gaga 2 nyx pumpkin

Viva Glam Gaga II over NYX Pumpkin

You wouldn’t even know, would you?



Eyes: Silk Naturals Magpie, Sleek Bohemian Palette brown, MUA 3-in-1 liner in Gun Metal.
Cheeks: MAC Harmony, MAC Pinch o’ Peach.
Lips: MAC Viva Glam Gaga 2, Jordana Lips Out Loud in ASAP.

I *think* I’ve just about got away with it here. I’ve layered it with ASAP by Jordana, a super sparkly holo pink gloss which I think everyone should pick up. Yay? Nay?! Aaargh! I’m really terrified of looking like this:


Sorry random internet girl, but I am not digging the jizz lip look personally.

When a  product doesn’t work for you, what do you do? Stubbornly plod along with it or give up?

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Bargain Alert: L.A Colors Jumbo Eye Pencils

Sound a little familar? If the name made you think of the NYX Jumbo Eyeshadow Pencils, you’re on the right track. These babies are cream eyeshadow pencils in the same chunky format, with very similar (albeit black) packaging to their NYX counterparts.

LA Colors Jumbo Eye Pencils

la colours pencils

L.A Colour Jumbo Eye Pencil Swatches
L.A Colours Jumbo Eye Pencil swatches

L-R Popsicle, Bikini Time, Cherry Blossom, Iridescent Light, Limeade,  Summer Love, Sand Castles.

Check that shiz out – matte, shimmer, iridescent AND glitter formulas. And this is only a small portion of the colour range, there appeared to be at least twenty shades in store. Very nice, L.A Colors, very nice! These are a very similar formula to the NYX pencils – pigmented and creamy enough that you don’t totally lose the colour when you apply these thinly as an eyeshadow base. If I’m honest, they’re pretty much exactly the same bloody thing, but different colours. They didn’t have a white or black cream, for example.

The best part though? You can go and BUY THEM IN A SHOP. IN THE UK. AND THEY’RE 99p. Ninety nine pennies! You can pick up these bad boys – and a ton of other 99p goodies including the suprisingly good L.A Colours polish range – from Beauty Base. Sadly I can’t find them on their website and apparently L.A Colours is a bugger to get hold of in the states as well, but should you see some on your travels, they’re well worth snapping up.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Ming the Merciless Inspired Look

With Halloween round the corner and everything, I’ve been wanting to do weirder looks at the moment and for some reason Ming the Merciless from Flash Gordon keeps popping in to my head. Now, not having a fabulous moustache and a bald bonce, this is obviously a loosely inspired look and I made the brows more feminine if not still, in my personal opinion, bloody magnificent. My pictures ALL came out awful, but with costume season coming up I wanted to show you guys how super-duper-easy it is to create a villainous look simply by switching up your eyebrows!


ming the merciless 2


ming the mercilesss 3

Eyes:  MAC Paintpot in Blackground, Sleek black and dark brown from Storm palette, Collection2000 Extreme 24/7 pen liner in Black, random indie highlighter Katie Price false lashes.
Lips: Urban Decay Perversion, Illamasqua Violate
Cheeks: Inglot AMC Cream Blush, Sleek Suede.

I did this very quickly and in the dark, so it’s not the best, but you get the idea. I’m lucky in that I don’t have to cover my eyebrows, so if I want to play around I can just draw over them. If I was doing this as an actual costume look, I would cover them so you can’t see any hairs. If you don’t want to cover your eyebrows (or perhaps if you’re doing this on a friend who isn’t used to wearing makeup and won’t sit still that long!) try drawing over them and playing with the arch and shape on the top of the arch to change the shape and thickness of the brow and make it look cartoony and obvious.

You can really use anything to draw the brows on as it’s okay to make them look totally fake – face paints, eyeliners, brow pencils, etc. Just make sure you set it well if it’s for a party or so on!

ming the merciless makeup

You know. Just for like, posterity.

Monday, 24 September 2012

How To: Cream Blush

how to use cream blush

I love me some cream blush, I really do! I know most of you reading this will be up to speed with them and already know how to use them, but I’ve realised that a lot of non-makeup nerds aren’t sure how to use them. I love them and think they look beautiful so I thought I’d write a guide to them for anyone who wasn’t so sure. It’s a bit long, so grab yourself a cuppa and a biscuit first!

The product:

cream blushes

L-R: Silk Naturals Cream Blush in Tickle, NYX Blushables Crème Stick in Pink Flash, Darling Girl Sweet Cheeks Blush in U*SA*HA*NA, Inglot AMC Cream Blush in 80, Max Factor Soft Touch Creamy Blush in Soft Pink, MAC Cremeblend Blush in So Sweet, So Easy

Cream blushes are made by SO many companies these days –  you can see from above everyone from indie companies to higher end brands produce them.  If you click to enlarge the picture, you can somewhat tell than the formulas all vary; some are thicker and creamier than others, some may feel greasy, some have more shimmer, etc., so they’re just like powder blushers in that they differ so much from each other. They come in all type of packaging, from tubs to sticks to typical blush pans.

They are what it says on the tin – blushes with a creamy formula as opposed to powder blushes or cheek stains. While my particular favourites are the Inglot AMC Cream Blush range, in the UK street you can pick them up from Topshop, Max Factor, MAC, Bobbi Brown and Revlon as well as the pocket friendly Collection and MUA. So they’re very easy to get hold of these days!

cream blush alternatives

L-R: Illamasqua Cream Pigment in Emerge, MAC Cream Colour Base in Move Star Red, Milani Color Perfect Lipstick in Rose Hip

Above are a few multi-purpose products that aren’t billed as blush but can easily be used as one! I had to include a lipstick because most lipsticks that aren’t matte will make a great cream blush! If you’ve never used cream blush and are not sure if they’re for you, pull out one of your lippies and give it a try.

Why use a cream blush?

Cream blushers melt into the skin as opposed to sitting on top of it, like a powder. For this reason they look can give a much more natural look and a lovely “skin-real” finish. Because they are creamy, they often give a nice dewy glow as well because they don’t dry down, so they’re perfect if you’ve got drier, older or dull-looking skin that needs some help radiance-wise. They’re best applied with (CLEAN!) fingers in my opinion as the heat of your skin really helps to work the product in to your face, so they’re great for travelling or if you know you’ll need to touch up as you won’t necessarily need to take a blush brush with you. Just as lipsticks can double up as cream blush, cream blushes can double as lip product too!

Is a cream blush right for me?

Sadly cream blushers can suck in that they often don’t wear as long as powder blushers because they often don’t set or dry down fully, so if you have particularly oily skin, they may not work for you – they’ll slip off your skin. It sounds obvious, but if you can test the product in store, do! If the blush is more of a cream-to-powder type, that may work better for oilier skins as it will set somewhat. If the blush feels very sheer or greasy, you know probably it’s not going to last well on you no matter what your skin type! Conversely, if you have very dry skin, a cream-to-powder formula may highlight any dry patches as much as a regular blush might, whereas while a more creamy one still may not last well on you, it may look better on your dry skin.

If you’ve bought cream blushers that don’t do it for you on thier own, I’d suggest setting them with different powder blushes or highlighters to get new colour combinations. They’re normally natural enough that you can do this without clownface happening.

How to use a cream blush:

First, get your foundation on. I’d recommend a foundation that wears pretty well and that will set on your face. If you’re using something like a BB cream or a tinted moisturizer that you have to set with powder because it feels tacky on the skin, I wouldn’t recommend wearing a cream blush with that foundation. It’s just going to mix up on your face, not blend in very well and make a gross mess.

Apply a small amount of your blush. I’m not an ‘apples of the cheeks’ person and prefer to apply my blush more on the backs of my cheeks, but put it directly on where you want your final flush to be!

cream blush application

NYC Blushables Crème Stick in Pink Flash.

When it’s on, start blending it in with your clean fingers until you’re happy with the colour:

cream blush application 2

The colour level is about where I want it, but the edges look a little bit harsh.  Take your foundation brush that you used to put your foundation on, and start to blend out the edges of the blush so there are no harsh lines. The foundation that’s left over on your blush is going to make blending it in super easy. If you’ve applied a bit too much colour, don’t panic! It can take a little bit of practice to determine how much you’ll need, so just pick up the excess with a clean sponge and carry on blending.

And you’re done!

wearing cream blush 2
wearing creme blush

This is why I love cream blush – it just looks so natural and slightly glowy. (It showed up a little brighter in real life – i was hard to capture on camera!) While I’m all about crazy eye and lip makeup, I want my skin to look good and I really think cream blushers make it look awesome.  Whether you powder or not is entirely up to you – it will make it last much longer, but it will take away the dewiness:

powdered blush

Inglot AMC Cream Blush in 81.

I’ve powdered over the swatch on the left – you can see none of the dewiness is coming through at all. I do often powder over cream blushers because you will still have the natural-looking flush and I don’t always mind sacrificing the dewiness – just make sure you pick a powder that is nice and light and not cakey (Which, you know, I recommend doing generally :/ Illamasqua’s Loose Powder in 010 is really awesome and smells like sweeties). If you want a little shimmer, try mixing a tiny bit of sparkly loose, pigment in with your powder when you’re setting it – something finely milled and not chunky. It won’t have the same natural glow but it won’t look flat either.

I realise not everyone will want to apply makeup with their fingers. Lots of makeup artists don’t like to use fingers on clients for hygiene reasons, some people might be germophobes or not want to get product on their hands.  Personally I keep a little bottle of hand sanitizer on my makeup desk, so I’m not bothered at all. But of course if you prefer, you can use a brush! Make sure you use a synthetic brush – they’ll soak up less product than a natural bristle brush so you’ll use less and it will be much easier to wash your brush! You can even use the brush to transfer the product to your face and then blend it in with your fingers so you’re keeping your hands from contaminating your product.

cream blush with a brush

It’s even harder to tell how much to use when you’re using a brush, so just touch it to the product like I did above. That gave me this result, so it was plenty for this particular product:

mac ccb

MAC CCB in Move Star Red

What NOT to do:

cream blush over powdered foundation

Inglot AMC Cream Blush in 81.

See that? That’s a cream blush that I’ve blended in. It looks gross, right? What’s happened here is that I’ve put it over my foundation and powder. All this is going to do is make a nasty paste that won’t rub in any further! I’ve heard lots of tales from MUAs and online of people doing this, and I’m guessing it’s because they think it will last longer. If you must use powder, do it after you’ve applied your blush.  If you prefer a powder foundation, cream blushers may not work for you, although you can apply your blush first and then your foundation if you’re so inclined. If you’re not sure, make sure you’re hygienic when you’re testing your blush at home and then if it doesn’t work with your skin or preferred foundation routine, you can at least give it to a friend or women’s shelter instead of binning it!

Any questions, please just ask! I hope someone out there found this helpful and sorry to everyone who knew all this already ;p

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Quickie Review: Medusa’s Makeup “Stick It” Eye Primer

A few weeks ago, Rachael sent me a tub of Medusa’s Makeup “Stick It” eye primer because – and once you’ve read this review I’m sure you’ll agree she won’t mind me saying this – she couldn’t make head nor tail of it. Medusa’s Makeup isn’t a brand I’d personally encountered before so I was quite keen to try it out.

medusas makeup stick it

I really, really like this packaging – very 80’s and a bit goth at the same time. Cute.

medusas makeup stick it swatch

The product itself is a very sheer, thin flesh-coloured waxy substance. Warming it with your fingers is much easier than applying it with a brush. You can see from the swatch above that it’s very sheer, and that it looks almost like Vaseline. As most makeup geeks will know, when using a sticky base or indeed any eye primer, a little goes a long way. With this product, it’s hard to tell where you’ve actually put it as it’s so sheer and thin-feeling so you can end up using too way much. By contrast, something like Pixie Epoxy by Fyrinnae which is clear is actually very sticky, so you can feel where you’ve put it, whereas with this, you can’t very easily feel it on the eye either.
stick it comparison

L-R: Loose eyeshadows over bare skin, Medusa’s Makeup Stick It, Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy, MUA Professional Eye Primer.

Now, I have a bit of a bugbear with things calling themselves primers when they don’t prevent eyeshadows from creasing. I know technically “primer” should just denote it goes on first and has nothing to do with performance, but really, if something causes creasing, it has no right to go on first and therefore in my mind has no right being called a primer. Therefore when I see a sticky base being called a primer (it is mentioned on the website and on the packaging) I get a bit ragey. I know from experience most sticky or cream bases will crease without a primer along the lines of Urban Decay Primer Potion or Too Faced Shadow Insurance. This product is clearly meant to be the second step in your eyeshadow routine, but the website says it’s “a great primer for your mineral eye dust.” Basically it doesn’t know what the fuck it wants to be. So with that in mind, I’ve compared the Medusa “primer” with a sticky base – Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy – which is meant to help loose shadows stick and a primer – the MUA – which is meant to help shadows last longer. As you can see, the shadow adhered really well to the Medusa Stick It (if making the colour look a tad darker than the other two products) and was certainly comparable to the other two products in that respect

But the wear test is the important part, right?

medusas makeup stick it primer wear test
On your left I applied shadow over the Medusa Makeup Stick It Primer. On your right, I applied shadow after using my MUA Primer and then the Medusa Makeup Stick it – much like I would use a NYX Jumbo EyeshadowPencil, Pixie Epoxy or similar.

medusa makeup and primer
Here is the Medusa over my MUA primer. AFTER FORTY MINUTES.

medusa primer wear test

And here is the Medusa alone after that time. I’m just going to reiterate that this was after FORTY MINUTES. Forty minutes in which I sat on my arse listening to Dan Savage and swatching some blushes, not forty minutes in the sauna or forty minutes boning an elite athlete.

Now, I know what I'm doing when it comes to makeup. I'm not an expert, but I'm hardly a n00b either. I did not apply too much product - I used a very small amount on both eyes - so I'm pretty sure overuse is not going to be a reason for this. Also I don't particularly find creasing a problem despite my hooded eyes - I do have to wear a primer, but my MUA one lasts me at least ten hours with no creasing. So I am going to have to slap the blame solely on the Medusa with this one.

Basically, folks, if you want something to make your eyeshadow last longer, buy something else. If you want something to help your loose eyeshadows stick, buy something else. I don’t know how anyone can get away with charging $8 for this, because you may as well use a bloody lip balm.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Sugarpill Heartbreaker

The Sugarpill Heartbreaker palette arrived in the post early last week but I didn’t get a chance to play with it until the weekend. I’ve only used it quickly to do the below looks so far, but the quality is consistent with my other Sugarpill products. So far Mochi is my favourite colour – a gorgeous seafoam shade quite unlike anything else I have in my collection!


I don’t have too much else to say at this point, so here’s what I came up with today…


Sugarpill Heartbreaker 2
Sugarpill Heartbreaker 3
Using Mochi and Velocity

Sugarpill Heartbreaker 2
Sugarpill Heartbreaker
Using Velocity and Acidberry

Sugarpill Heartbreaker 2
Sugarpill Heartbreaker
Using 2am, Velocity and Acidberry (placement shamelessly pinched from the Eyegraffiti girls!)

Nice one, Sugarpill. Can’t wait to play with this more – Velocity and Acidberry look lovely blended together, don’t they? Mochi is my firm favourite for sure and I can’t wait to pair it with Lumi.

Have you picked this palette up? What’s your favourite Sugarpill item?

Monday, 17 September 2012

Labyrinth Mini Series: Jareth

Had to get around to the Goblin King at some point, didn’t I? I toddled off to my makeup room with a copy of my DVD in hand, all ready to copy the basics and add a girly twist!

Well, who would have thunk it, drawing straight lines on one persons face might have a totally different result on someone else's face! Bowies eyes are much more hooded than mine, which means he had less of a crease to contend with when doing the outside ‘wing.’ part. I had to use a lot of liner on my top lid and fashion that part of the look as extended eyeliner because it was just looking weird and wrong and I couldn’t be bothered to cover my brows. Also, having looked at more stills to try and work out how I could have done a better adaptation for my eye shape, I’ve realised that the look is actually quite purple, and not black. So the look is a lot more different than I intended, but with all the graphic liners that have been floating around on catwalks and in editorials the last few seasons I’ll just pass this off as a modern adaptation, yes?

I still plan to do a more straight-up version of the look as a tutorial in time for Halloween, with the nose contouring and so on,  but I’ll be finding a male volunteer for that as I need more practice on dudes anyway and I want to tackle this look on someone with meatier eyebrows than mine.

Jareth 2
Jareth 3
jareth 4

Eyes: NYX JEP in Milk, MAC Gesso, Sleek Black, elf Lock N’ Seal, Urban Decay Perversion, Wet N Wild glitter
Face: Illamasqua Emerge, Sleek Suede, Boots No 7 Vital Enlightening Highlighter
Lips: MUA Juicy

You can see how I didn’t really manage to tackle this with my eye shape! I do love the brow part, however, and the last shot shows that even on me where this doesn’t work, from certain angles it looks quite cool. There’s a great look my my NARS book where the model just has the first half of her brow sketched in and I thought this would be a good time to play with that seeing as I didn’t really want to contour my entire nose! I added lashes and more obvious glitter (of COURSE he wears glitter!) to keep it feminine and went for a more pink-peach on the lips as opposed to Bowies nude-peach.

I’m also wondering if Bowie did his makeup for this movie, and who designed it. Does anyone know? The internet isn’t working for me on this one.

So yeah…. a wee bit of a fail, but experimentation FTW! And I will be revisiting this soon! I’ve really enjoyed doing the series and thanks to everyone who indulged my nerdiness on this one!

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Illamasqua Generation Q Masterclass with Adam

This week I went to an amazing Illamasqua Masterclass at PAM London. The class was run by Adam, one of Illamasquas key artists. There’s a great interview with him here.

Aside from being rather easy on the eye, Adam has worked with Illamasqua since their launch and was MUA for the Pussycat Dolls since there were 7 of them! He still works with the rather gorgeous Nicole Sherzinger and has ten years of experience to draw upon.

Despite PAM being a stones throw away from my workplace in Westfield, this was the first time I’d been to PAM and I was really, really excited to check out the store.

PAM studios

Isn’t it pretty looking? If you ignore the giveaway graffiti you’d almost think this was in a cute little village somewhere and not Shepherds Bush!

PAM foundations
PAM products
PAM products 2

One of the reasons I was keen to visit PAM was because I’d heard they had a great range of products packaged amazingly for MUA kits. Check out those uber-thin foundation palettes – and all those little jars are pre-filled and stackable! There are plenty of pro makeup artist stores in London but none that I’ve come across have products that are packaged like this. I was very impressed and will be heading back to check them out properly soon.

PAM Makeup forever

They’ve also got a lovely Makeup Forever counter which, if you live in the UK, you’ll know is a bugger to get a hold of in person. Alright, enough of the gushing over the store. If you’re close, pop down, it’s worth it! Now on to the actual class!

First, Adam introduced himself and talked a little about Illamasqua. As most of us know, Illamasqua was created from both a fashion and a theatrical background, and Adam talked for a while about how Illamasqua products have never let him down in any medium. He explained how Illamsaqua aim for 40-60% more pigment than other brands so the products and how they didn’t want any product to be limited to its one, obvious use. Originally Alex Box didn’t want to name ANY product in the range! 

Adam then talked about the Generation Q  collection and how age was the last taboo Illamasqua wanted to smash. He spoke really passionately about how they strongly believed that older women shouldn’t have to shy away from glamour and colour because the culture says s, which as both an aspiring MUA and a feminist was just wonderful to hear. If you think about, it’s absolutely mad. He told us to think of all the girls who grew up with Mary Quant and Biba and all those rich colours and think they “can’t” wear those colours now! Why well the hell not, say I?

The lovely Evelyn look fucking banging!

He then went on to explain how the textures in the range are geared toward older skin. The lipstick from the range, Magnetic, is packed with vitamin E so it’s much creamier than the usual Illamsqua lipsticks and thus better suited for older, dryer skin. The most interesting to me were the eyeshadow palettes in the collection. You know how older women are always told that they can’t wear shimmer eyeshadow? Adam told us to think about that logically – matte colours are going to recess the eye and any wrinkles even more than age may have already done, whereas glitter is going to sit in any creases and wrinkles. The solution? Satin formulas, of course! They’ll add a little bit of light reflection without looking like a glitterball. So logical and simple, yet genius!

PAM Adam

Oh haro!

Adam then demonstrated a lovely smokey eye using Generation Q products. He did use a young model, but managed to explain what he was doing with each step so we could adapt it for clients of any age. At one point he even stopped to explain in-depth how to adapt that classic 60’s liner look for an older eye, it was wonderful! I could go in-depth about the whole process and each product he used, but this is a long post as it is, so here’s a few tips he passed on that I thought were useful (and that I can remember!)
  • You know the ‘nose’ trick that you use to determine where your eyebrows should end? It’s a good rule of thumb to never take your eye makeup past this invisible line or it can drag your face down
  • To set a cream blush without losing the dewy glow they give, mix a tiny bit of corresponding shimmer pigment in with your regular powder to keep it from looking flat
  • Don’t think of a product only as for being what it says on the tin! Alex Box often uses lipstick as blusher, a trick we’re all familiar with. The gorgeous contouring in the Illamasqua promos? Alex Box uses their pencils in various colours to ‘sketch’ in the face! Genius!
  • When contouring your face or adding lift to your eyes, imagine everything as positive triangles to get a lift – blend your highlighting products up your face, not down.
  • No matter what your age or crease shape, everyone can benefit from highlighting the browbone and inner corner as these areas don’t deteriorate or sag with age – an easy boost for anyone!
  • If you do have a heavy lid, make sure you look straight ahead when you’re applying your makeup and NEVER lift your brows or all your hard work is just going to disappear

    Overall, a really valuable couple of hours! I came away brimming with ideas and a few Illamsqua products that I know are going to be great workhorses for my kit!

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Lucky Dip 3!

Third time lucky? We’ll see! As per my last Lucky Dip posts, four indie eyeshadows, one loose glitter and one pencil were chosen at random and I had to create a look using only those products (and basics like mascara, brow pencil, primer, etc.)
shinigami dg fruttio di bosci fyrinnae electric stardust

shinigami dg fruttio di bosci fyrinnae electric stardust

Fyrinnae Shinigami, Daring Girl “Plush”, Aromaleigh Frutti di Bosco, Fyrinnae Danse Macabre, Fyrinnae Electric Stardust, LA Colors Turquoise

Fyrinnae-tastic! I was pretty darn chuffed with this selection to be honest! I didn’t think this would be too much of a challenge, although I’d have preferred to have pulled out something less similar to Shinigami to make it more difficult.

post 3 3
Post 3 1
post 3 2

First I took the pencil in “Turquoise” as it’s pretty soft and used it as a base on my lid and lower lashline, blending out with my finger. I then went in with “Electric Stardust” on the inner corner of my lid and “Danse Macabre” on the outer half, going back in with “Electric Stardust” to blend the two together, and did the same under my eye. Then I mixed “Shinigami” with mixing medium and drew a shape through my crease, then a winged liner, connecting the two together. I then took “Frutti di Bosco” on a small brush and softly blended the liner in the crease so it looked less harsh. Then I patted “Plush” over the top of that area with my finger, using some Pixie Epoxy to help the glitter stick. Finally I went back in with “Turquoise” for a funky brow colour.

My favourite combination so far for sure!