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Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Wedding Makeup Series Part 3: Tips, Tricks and Thangs to Thunk About

I do have lots more specific posts lined up for the wedding makeup series (shopping, skincare, inspiration and tutorials/looks!), but I thought I would just do a big old post with general tips and things to think about if you're doing your makeup for the big day. It's a fairly long post and I could go on forever, but please feel free to ask me anything you think I've missed! Bear in mind that I'm going to do a separate post on bases and foundation so I've omitted most things to do with that in this post.

 Check out my previous posts on how to decide if you need a professional and what to look for when hiring one.

Don't make any big changes!

This is a huge one, probably the most important one in this post! If you're getting tanned, waxed, plucked, tattooed, having a skincare treatment or any beauty treatment, you need to make sure you're getting whatever it is done in enough time so that if something goes wrong, gets infected/causes a reaction you've got time to fix it.

For example, if you dye your hair at home, don't do it two days before the wedding in case you manage to dye your fingers/forehead/eyebrows (I've actually managed to do this!). Don't get your eyebrows waxed a few days before in case you have a reaction to the wax or it goes wrong (also, freshly waxed brows are a bugger to apply makeup over!).Don't get tanned the day before in case you end up Ooompa-Loompaed. You get the picture. Work out what you're having done, have a think about what might go wrong, and put your beauty treatments in your diary accordingly. Probably nothing will go wrong at all, and if you're used to the treatments, it's even less likely, but it's really worth having a think about, just in case.

Think about SPF

SPF in photography can be a bit of a bugger. If you've ever seen a photo where someone looks like they have 'ghost face,' this is because of the zinc oxide or the titanium dioxide that's in their foundation or skincare/sunscreen causing what's referred to as 'flashback' - literally the light bouncing back off your face. The best away to avoid this is to use a low-level SPF (maximum SPF 15) or just to avoid it completely. Now, most photographers probably aren't going to use a strong, direct flash on a bride, but that doesn't mean everyone else on the day won't use it - your family and friends will be taking snaps of you all day, and it's not just your professional pictures that get looked at for years to come! If you're very concerned about the sun, you've got two options, either wear sunscreen anyway and risk the flashback, or, just for that day, don't stress about it. It's only one day, so try and stick to the shade if you can, and if you're really concerned, I've seen some adorable brides with parasols!

White markings in photos from makeup (you've all seen the photos I'm talking about!) can also be cause from silica powders like the MUFE HD powder, which is a silica powder so I would just plain avoid those!

You don't need to pile it on

While bridal makeup is by nature different to regular makeup - it's an important day for us all so it's a lot more polished than most of us would usually go for, and has to compliment a white dress - you absolutely do not need to pile it on! As mentioned, most professional wedding photography isn't flash photography, so you don't need layers and layers of slap to look great. If your t-zone isn't shiny and everything is well blended and defined, you'll look great in photos with or without flash and you don't need to pile it on to achieve a gorgeous look. Going a little brighter with cheeks and lips than you usually might can look fresh and pretty in real life while showing up well in photos. This is more of a concern if you usually don't wear a lot of makeup - of course, if you normally pile it on, go for it! It's all about looking like 'you' on the day.

Lash it up!

False lashes are bloody awesome. Throughout this series, I've encouraged people to not try new things just for the sake of the wedding, but this is the one thing I will encourage you to try if you haven't! It opens up the eyes, looks beautiful in photos and adds a fluttery sexiness. Obviously, how full on you go with your lashes depends on your preferences, but I would usually recommend something a little more fluttery, either with a thin or invisible lash band if you want strip lashes, or individual lashes which look beautiful on brides, especially as a lot of brides prefer a softer look which individual lashes work wonderfully with. Practice makes perfect, obviously - this video from the masterful Lisa Eldridge is a great starting point for newbies.

If you're wearing lashes, make sure you pack your lash glue to take with you, and if you're wearing eyeliner, pack that as well as if you *do* need to reapply strip lashes, taking them off can pull of your liner.  You can buy waterproof lash glue, and I'd really recommend that.

If false lashes aren't yout thing, a lash curler will really help to open up your eyes.

Keep Hydrated

There'll be more tips on skincare later on in the series, but keeping hydrated can help prevent dry skin, cracked lips and puffy eyes. I see so many models with cracked lips and surprise surprise, you won't see them drink water all day!

Learn your lips 

You'll be kissing, eating and drinking for a large part of the day, so your lips either need to be easy to touch up, or last all day. I'd personally plump for the 'last all day' option, as you don't want your lipstick to end up on your significant other - bear in mind while a glossy or balmy product is easy to reapply, you'll have to reapply often. Your usual lipstick can be made longer lasting with a classic old school trick - line your lips and apply a thin layer of your lipstick. Blot your lipstick by kissing a tissue (don't rub or 'clamp' the tissue as you can pull lint away from it), add a fine dusting of translucent powder, apply and blot again. A clear lipliner or a dusting of powder around the lipline can help prevent feathering.

Maybelline 'Red Passion,' my wedding day lipstick

I've found the longest lasting lipsticks are the ones you can get in the drugstore - the double ended ones that also come with a balm. I wore a Maybelline one on my wedding day and I didn't have to touch up one - and I ate a LOT. 'Velvet' style liquid lipsticks are also fabulous at lasting.  The downside is that they're drying and can sometimes breakdown on the lip over a long time, especially if you pick one with a shimmer in, leaving a less than pretty effect. The upside is that they're easy to touch up should they move. You can also go for a stain option, which I think is a gorgeously romantic look which won't transfer onto someone else. It's super easy to do, either with a dedicated product like Benefit's Benetint, or simply taking a little of your favourite matte lipstick and really working a small amount into the lips with a brush, blotting and repeating until you have a stain. Take a small jar with a decant of the lipstick and a q-tip to touch up.

Whatever you choose, make sure you've given your lips a good scrub and let some balm sink in while you're getting ready to make sure they're looking their best!

Blend, blend, blend

Seriously, blend. Make sure you blend your foundation down the neck and don't stop at your jawline - you don't want a tideline! Unless you're deliberately going for a crisp look, which most brides probably aren't, blend your eyeshadow carefully at the edges and if you're contouring at all, blend for your life!
Remember to add and blend gradually in stages - this will both look more seamless and prevent over application. You can always add more, but it's a right bugger  to take it away again.

Waterproof that shiz

Waterproof mascara and waterproof liner are a must. It just goes without saying! Minimal makeup on your lower lashline will also stop the Alice Cooper look should you start blubbing. If you do wear makeup on the lower lashline, layering will help prolong it's wear, i.e., eyeliner set with eyeshadow. Cream eyeshadows are also great for brides as they really set. Products like e.l.f Lock and Seal can help turn eyeshadows into liners than aren't going anywhere.

If you cry and your makeup does run - just dab wet areas with a tissue as this will lift the makeup and moisture straight up - don't rub or smudge as this will make things harder to clean up and fix.

 Pick a feature

Still not sure what to do? It's a simple old trick - pick your favourite feature and focus on that - exaggerate your eyes with fluttery lashes, add a soft contour to show off those cheek bones, a beautifully defined brow, a daring red to make the most of your lips. It's a good starting point for planning your makeup and focusing on something you love about yourself is always a good shout! Exaggerating more than one feature isn't a total no-no in my opinion, especially if you do it regularly, but it is quite a strong look, so I'd probably steer away from it if you don't do it all the time. Again, you want to look like you.

Probably not what you're after.

Oh Shit! Kit

Pack yourself an Oh Shit! Kit! There's lot of advice out there for little kits to take with you for emergencies on the day - aspirin, sewing kits, stain remover pens, tampon, etc. But this is a makeup blog after all! My makeup Oh Shit! Kit would include:

-Blotting paper to control oil and shine - much easier and less messy and bulky than taking powder
-Your lip product, decanted if possible/needed
-Dry q-tips, and q-tips soaked in Bioderma or similar and double-sealed in a small ziplock bag
-Tissues/small packet of wipes
-False lash glue if using, and eyeliner if using
-Your concealer. If you don't want to lug your whole base around with you, a tube/pot of concealer should be plenty sufficient enough to touch anything up. If someone else is willing to carry your base, great.

Practice makes perfect

I can't stress this one enough! Please practice your wedding day makeup! It'll mean less stress on the day, less time on the day, and you'll know your happy with it. Practice it in daylight, but take photos in different lighting and with and without flash, and if you can, wear it on a night out or on a busy day to see how it wears. Wear a white tshirt or dress (or whatever the colour is that you're wearing on the day) as this can affect how the light hits your face and of course you'll be able to see how your makeup will work with your dress without actually having to wear it.

You Do You, BB

Any tips online are just that - tips. Take the tips as practical advice, not as a comment on your personal style. Any tips out there will work whether you want to paint rainbows on your face, whether you want a romantic boho look, or whether you want a touch of mascara and gloss or full on RuPaul glam.

Don't Stress

This is *the* most important one. If you've practiced your makeup and given it a test run, you've left enough time to do it on the day - at least 45 minutes! - and you've got your touch-up kit with you, you will be absolutely fine!  Oh, and don't drink too much champagne that you can't draw your eyeliner on straight ;)

I could go on and on - if I've missed something you're interested in, let me know and bear in mind a skin and foundation post will be coming up shortly.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Makeup Revolution Scandalous Lipsticks in Felony, Immoral and Depraved

Makeup Revolution are the newest budget beauty brand on the UK scene and they have tons and tons of makeup with a tiny price tag. I jumped at the Scandalous lip collection, which featured a sky blue, yellow, purple, bright pink and orange shades. A blue lipstick for £1?! How could any self-respecting product junkie not try that?

I’m up to my neck in orange and purple shades from all price points, so wanted to see how these more unusual shades fared.

Makeup Revolution Lipsticks

The packaging here is very similar to MUA, except the colour part on the end is in the lid, not the body of the lipstick. I like this style of packaging as it’s easy to see find what you’re looking for in a sea of black cases. The product has a fairly light but pretty synthetic smell typical of cheap lippies. A TL;DR summary: The packaging is light and you’re getting what you pay for in that respect. The formula for all of these has a *lot* of slip, and the wear time on them all is pretty short as well– I would check up on the state of your lips at least once an hour, especially as more unusual shades have a tendency to look worse as they wear down compared to more natural shades like red or pink. As you’ll see, these colours aren’t perfect, but there are virtually no other comparable shades at this price point.


Makeup Revolution Felony

Makeup Revolution Felony 3

Okay, let’s start with the worst of the bunch. There’s no two way about it – this lipstick is a travesty and should not have been made, regardless of the fact it’s only a quid. The formula isn’t very pigmented and it’s super emollient and slippery, making it a bugger to apply alongside evenly, alongside it not being overly flattering. Your lip colour will always show and seems to emphasis imperfection on the lip. Boo. I may use this to adjust other colours but I can’t see myself ever reaching for it to be honest.

Makeup Revolution Felony 2

It works a little better over a white base, creating a cute pastel shade, but be careful to choose as dry a white base as your lips can stand as the consistency for the lipstick itself, has a lot of slip which will cause it to mix with your base if it’s creamy. I don’t have a yellow liner to try this over which is a shame, but once you’ve put a dry liner on your lips, you may as well use eyeshadow to create your crazy colours to be honest! The only other yellow lipsticks I can think of are Lime Crime New Yolk City
which has mixed reviews, from other brands I know are the same private label like Ka’Oir/Secret Kisses, and from the Inglot Freedom line. If anyone else can think of any, please let me know.


Makeup Revolution Immoral

Makeup Revolution Immoral

Next up is Immoral. This one is far from perfect, but much better than Felony! Again, there is way too much slip for my liking – it’s hard to get an even coat of this and to have no lip colour showing through, but it’s much more pigmented. I would wear this over a sky blue eyeliner, which luckily is more easy to find than yellow! So… not my favourite, but to find a half decent blue lip colour for a pound? I’ll work with it.

Blues like this can again be picked up from Lime Crime and other companies who use the same private label, Inglot Freedom system and, if you can still find them online, regular Inglot lipsticks as well, although these were limited edition. Pretty Zombie Cosmetics also has a matte blue lip cream, and there are plenty of eyeliners in a similar shade which you could also use – in the UK, the Sleek Eau La La liners are nice for the lips and they have a similar blue shade.


Makeup Revolution Depraved
Makeup Revolution Depraved 2

This is my favourite of the bunch. Again, the slippy formula, but it works much, much better with this shade and the colour is lovely. If you were tempted by any of them, I’d go for this one. No complaints.

Purple shades are easier to find – MAC, Ilamasqua, Inglot and many, many indie companies make purple lipsticks.

I have to pause here and say that regardless of what I think of these products (I have some more reviews coming, they have some lovely stuff!) I think is brand is a bit bloody cheeky. My friend Rachael bought one of their palettes and it is exactly the same, down to layout, as a Sleek palette. I can see this repeated in a couple of their palettes, and several of their items look exactly the same and are at exactly the same price point as everyone’s favourite cheap-and-cheerful high street brand, MUA. I wondered if they’re the same company, but a little Googling says they’re not. Very odd that a brand would copy another budget brand in my opinion!

Will you be trying these lipsticks? What’s your favourite brand for odd colours?

Friday, 11 April 2014

Spring Green LOTD

I am sick as a dog right now, but also sick of looking like it, so some makeup was much needed! A little pop of colour from the old Sleek Circus palette – which I haven’t touched in ages! – and some fluttery lashes did the trick and perked me up a bit, even if it was only for a duvet day!
Spring Green LOTD

Spring Green LOTD 4

Spring Green LOTD 3

Spring Green LOTD 2

Spring Green LOTD 5

Eyes: Barry M Kohl liner in brown. Neutrals from MUA Undress Me Too Palette. Green from Sleek Circus Palette (discontinued)
Lips: L’Oreal Extraordinaire lipgloss in Nude Vibrato. Brows, Kiko. Lashes, Vintage Lash Company Gracie.
FACE: MAC Face and Body, Rimmel Stay Matte powder, Collection2000 Lasting Perfection Concealer
Cheeks: MAC Buff, Boots No 7 Vital Enlightening Highlighter

I do miss wearing colour! I need to do a proper, all-out bright look soon!

Are you looking forward to the warmer weather? What are your favourite colours to wear in Spring?

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Lip Tar Love: Nylon and Black Metal Dahlia

Let’s face it , OCC Lip Tars can be a bit of a bugger. I’ve always said if you’re not in love with the shade, they’re sometimes not worth the learning curve. Recently my friend Rachael sent me a decant of two shades which I think really are worth the fuss!

OCC Nylon 2

OCC Nylon

If you like pink, this is pretty fucking pink. I have nothing bad to say about it – the opacity, the blue-based but notmilky colour…. it’s just darling! For a comparison, here’s Candy Yum Yum by MAC:

MAC Candy Yum Yum Swatch

Yeah. I’ve seen comparison shots where the two look very similar, but in my opinion CYY is a little bluer, a little cooler than Nylon. In the same family, but at the moment, the shade of Nylon is edging it for me.

Black Metal Dahlia

OCC Black Metal Dahlia

OCC Black Metal Dahlia 2

Hnnnngggg! Unfffffff! Raaaaawr! Other noises! Praise the baby J, this is a gorgeous, gorgeous, sexy vampy colour! This was a bit of a bugger to get on – unlike Nylon it’s got lots of glitter in it which I didn’t want to all pool in one place, and if you’re used to Lip Tars you know you want to avoid over-applying, yet this one didn’t seem to go as far as other shades I have, meaning I used a little more and it took a long time to apply. However… it’s just totally lust-worthy and well worth the faff.

Do you use OCC Lip Tars? What are your favourite shades?

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Simple Girl-to-Boy Makeup

I’m practising girl-to-boy makeup at the moment for an upcoming shoot, and thought I’d share the simplest way you can do this. When doing boy-to-girl makeup, you can rely on wigs, colour cosmetics and styling a little more than you can when you’re doing girl-to-boy makeup. No, not all girls wear lots of makeup and have fancy hair, but plenty do and you do rely on stereotypes when trying to express gender with makeup almost as much as you do on physical clues.

For inspiration and instruction, I turned to Making Faces by the amazing Kevyn Aucoin. If you don’t have this book, get it. If you don't have any of his books, get them all. I referred to this page of the book where he explains how he turned Gwyneth Paltrow into James Dean. Yes bitches, that's Gwyneth Paltrow.


This was a very quick look for Kevyn – he used a pre-made brow piece, so it only took him 15 minutes. However, he does into depth about how to do the brows yourself.

Man Eyebrows

Male eyebrows are often lower than female eyebrows, especially as more women than men shape their brows to open up the eye area.. I didn’t want to cover my brows and draw new ones on just to lower them for practicing, but it’s an option1 I individually drew in hairs using thin brow pencils in two colours, extending past my own brow on both ends, and used a clear brow gel to brush the hairs up and add texture. If you don't have a thin pencil, use the tiniest brush you can and a brow cake or matte shadow with mixing medium. Try and mix a couple of colours If you have thicker brows this will be a little easier than if you have non-existent blonde hairs like me!


My male modelling just reads as confused. I look like Karl Pilkington here.
I added a very light layer of Illamasqua Skinbase - it's got quite a realistic texture - and did a little spot concealing, but nothing too polished. Moisturiser is fine, but don't do anything to change the texture of your skin in terms of smoothing or pore-filling products like primer - keep it as natural as possible. Don't bother concealing under the eyes either, as after I did my brows, I blended Wolf eyeshadow from Illamasqua, a cool brown, under my eye and across the lid, taking care to really, really blend it out to create natural looking shadows and the illusion of a deeper eye socket. I decided not to use any mascara, but I think next time I will add a bit of clear mascara to the lashes as it didn't look quite right next to the Charlie from Busted eyebrows. Then I swept the same matte eyeshadow across my jawbone to give the illusion of five o’clock shadow.


The five o’clock shadow wasn't reading very well on my camera – in real life it looked pretty good, but then, I know what I look like without it so I thought it needed to be more exaggerated. I stippled Illamasqua brow cake in Thunder into a rough goatee shape and took it along the jaw and up into my hairline. This is where I need to experiment a little more – the shadow was the right tone and I used it both wet and dry to create more depth, but I'm going to order a special stippling sponge to nail the texture - it's not quite shoot worthy yet! If you're doing this and wearing it out, make sure you use a good setting spray or, if you're really invested, alcohol activated face and body paints will last and last.

Lastly, I pursed my lips really tightly and rubbed in a tiny amount of foundation that was slightly lighter than my lips to make them look a bit more chapped and rugged. Any old foundation or concealer will do. I didn't want to do my uber-long hair, so I went with a hat. MANLY HAT.

manman3 barry m neutral palette 2

And a cheeky colour shot/comparison. I look like my dad but with a better beard – Sorry Dad!
This is a really simple way of looking more like a boy - concentrate on your eyebrows, add a little depth around your jaw and ignore what you'd normally do to your skin, and you'll be pretty much halfway there. I’ll be back again with a heavier, more theatrical version of female-to-male makeup soon – think reverse contouring, heavier brow bones, exaggerated skin texture/wrinkles!

Have you ever gone drag king/queen?

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Quickie Review: Nip + Fab Viper Venom Eye Fix


Nip and Fab

I really have no explanation as to why I bought this product. The words 'SYN-AKE' and 'LIFTONIN' really should have had me running a mile, but Boots had a 3-for-2 offer on skincare, I didn’t know what to pick and I'd read a lot of positive press about this product. Let's see what Nip + Fab have to say:

'A refreshing eye gel in a cooling roll-on applicator with wrinkle minimising LIFTONIN® + SYN®-AKE to smooth the appearance of fine lines + wrinkles around the eye area.

Red Algae Extract reduces the look of dark circles for a radiance boosting effect. With Syn-ake, a revolutionary ingredient that works to smooth skin and liftonin for instant tightening.'

This product has a LOT of claims on it's website – that it rids you of undereye circles, smooths, tightens, grants eternal salvation, blah blah blah. I do know that there are certain peptides (proteins - that’s the SYN-AKE, apparently) that tighten on the skin when you apply which can give a temporary smoothing effect, and that this has glycerine fairly high up the ingredients list and I get on pretty well with glycerine-based products. So while sceptical, I wasn't hideously sceptical.

Viper Venom comes in a rollerball pen-style bottle. If you've used these before, you'll know that they're very cooling and refreshing to use on the skin. Granted, this is usually more down to the metal rollerball rather than the product itself, or at least, it's very hard to discern if it actually is the the product itself because of the rollerball! Nonetheless, this packaging feels nice to use.

The product is a thin, clear serum and I find the rollerball dispenses a little more than you need, so I tap it in with a finger. It absorbs quickly meaning it's great for the morning as you can apply your makeup without waiting, and as mention, the cooling nature of the applicator means it's nice to apply at night too. I have to say, I'm actually enjoying this product. I don't find it's done anything to my dark circles (unsurprising seeing as I've only been using it for a couple of weeks) but I do feel that my eye area feels a little smoother. Could well be placebo, but I'm liking it so far! I will note that I certainly haven’t stopped using my thicker, more traditional eye cream – I use this under my eye cream, or in a rush in the morning and I will still apply a cream at night. As far as I’m concerned I would be quite happy to constantly slather product under my eye area, but that’s just me!

At £14.95, I do think this is expensive for what it is as I'm sure much of the effect is down to the rollerball and the glycerine as opposed to the red sea algae, ‘Liftonin’ and whatever other mumbo jumbo ingredients this has, but as of this moment it's certainly something I would consider repurchasing.

Do you like rollerball products? What are your favourite eye products?