Monday, 29 July 2013

Swimwear and Colour Blocking Shoot

With being so busy working at So Coco Rouge during Wedding season, I haven't had a chance to get back on set for a few months. So when Michelle Wilson of MSW Photography contacted the SCR Pro team looking for an artist, I was delighted to see I was free to join the fun!

The shoot was focusing on both swimwear and colour blocking, so a great chance to try lots of new products I'd been itching to play with!

With the weather set to change to miserable rain we headed to Crosby beach first to shoot three swimwear looks. Stylist and co-founder of PickWick MagazineLouise Dwyer created the looks for model Ksenija of Nemisis agency, featuring an exotic swimsuit and 2 piece plus a gorgeous peach toned vintage inspired number, all complemented with chunky jewellery. 

Swimwear Looks

Make-up Kit ready to go!
I designed the make-up to bring out the bright tones in all three outfits, making minor changes for each individual look. 
I layered cream pigments Illamasqua Cream Pigments, 'Androgen' and 'Bedaub' and MAC eyeshadows for a colourful eye look, whilst keeping skin fresh and clean with Kryolan Dermacolour and MAC Face and Body Foundation. Soft definition on cheeks was achieved by using Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate and a subtle hint of colour to the apples with Kryolan Lip N Cheek in Hibiscus. I added a strong pop of colour on Ksenija's beautifully full lips, using Sleek Pout Paint in Rosette and Art Deco Clear Gloss.

 Hair was kept simple, in a sleek tight ponytail and nails painted in gorgeous hot pink OPI nail lacquer 'Charged Up Cherry

Next up we headed to Michelle's studio to shoot three colour blocking looks- all with a slight Mad Men feel. With this is mind I created a bouffant hair style, and kept eye make-up simple, focusing on stronger lips. For a strong red lip, I knew exactly which product to turn to- Kryolan Lip Stain in Rock, which complimented my favouirte red OPI nail lacquer perfectly (typically a limited edition!) 'Off With Her Red' from the Alice In Wonderland collection. 

I cannot wait to see the finished images, because if these behind the scenes pics are anything to go by, they are going to be amazing!

Colour Blocking and Kryolan Lip Stain in action!

New Bourjois Collection

Looks like I'll be clocking up a lot of Boots advantage card points in the next few months, as there is so many new products from Bourjois that I can't wait to get my mitts on!!
As I mentioned in a previous post, Bourjois celebrates their 150th birthday this year, and their next collection is a real testament to the brands success

So, what can we expect?! Well, how is an illuminating complexion, fuller lashes and a fool-proof liner for starters?

Back in 1879, Bourjois released Java Rice Powder and by 1897 it had sold 2 million worldwide. To continue the birthday celebrations, the silky soft powder has been re-released, and its even packaged in a similar way to the original! 
A definite collectors item!
The powder isn't matte and chalky, but instead has an soft iridescence  which will leave skin with a healthy glow. Perfect for brightening a dull, winter skin tone!
Available now at Selfridges.

Next up, is two fantastic cheats for a fabulous complexion- Happy Light Concealer and Blush Exclusif Smart Blush. 
Happy Light Concealer is available in 5 shades, offers a professional, good coverage but is still lightweight enough to look undetectable.  
Just like Bourjois Rose Exclusif Lipgloss launched back in 2010, the pigments in Blush Exclusif Smart Blush adjusts the shade depending on the pH of your skin, creating a shade unique to you!

We have a great complexion, now lets turn to eyes! These two products are really innovative, but I wouldn't expect any less from the inventors of Coup de Theatre! First we have Eraseable Eyeliner- a glossy liquid liner perfect for creating a sexy feline flick, with a hidden beauty tool for those of us who can never get matching flicks...a rubbery eraser! Simply run over the mistake and start again! Ideal for creating a sharp edge to your flicks too, a job I always needed a bottle of cleanser and a Q-tip for- until now!
Secondly, we have Twist Up The Volume- a 2 in 1 mascara, enabling you to choose the amount of lash volume you require! (If only we could do this with bra size- can someone invent this too please?!) Simply twist the white cap at the top to change between fine bristles for a longer, defined lashes or fuller bristles for a voluminous look.

Finally, we have a selection of 6 shades in Shine Edition Lipstick. Providing moisturisation for 10 hours thanks to mango butter extract, the finish is ultra glossy and shiny. My favourite is Famous Fushia, a gorgeous summery pink, perfect for a rich holiday tan!

Friday, 26 July 2013

Fake Bake Salon Spray Tan

If like me you can't but help read the hoards of celebrity gossip we are exposed to on a daily basis, then yesterday you probably heard about ex-Corrie actress Helen Flanagans plight for a sun-kissed glow. At 1.30am. Yes, that's right, she wanted a spray tan at 1.30am. And luckily for Helen a local Fake Bake therapist was happy to accommodate her tanning needs.

Which brought me to thinking about our tanning habits. I am a great celebrator of 'Pale and Beautiful' and thanks to vintage icon Dita Von Teese and natural red-head Nicola Roberts, porcelain skin has never been more en vogue, but, I must admit, I do feel much more attractive with a subtle hint of colour. As many of you will know, my best friends got married last weekend, and even as 4 very natural (well, for our hometowns reputation...) girls, even we felt that with a soft sage green bridesmaid dress, a sun kissed glow was an absolute must.  

So, a tanning party at So Coco Rouge was top of the agenda! Using professional tan Fake Bake, our beauty therapist Katy, quickly and simply 'airbrushed' our tans, leaving us looking instantly like we'd spend the week in Ibiza (Oh how I wish.)

Personally, what I love about Fake Bake, is the fact it smells divine, is super fast drying and totally transfer resistant, ideal for a lunch time treat. Containing ingredients such as DHA boosted by DMI & Erythulose, the formula creates a deep, intense and long lasting tan, so it's no wonder Fake Bake has been a favourite amongst beauty guru's and is now a multi award winning brand!

For a flawlessly natural tan, whether it be a salon or home application, its important to exfoliate properly a few hours before. Focus mainly on drier areas such as knees, ankles, elbows and feet, using a loofah or massaging in a circular movement.
Finish with a light layer of moisturiser, and re-moisturise hands, feet and drier areas immediately before your tan application to ensure no patchiness! 

Now even if our Summer heatwave has disappeared for good- we can cheat our way to a delicious holiday tan, with no need for a passport!

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Balance Me Stellar Face Balm

Well it seems our delightful summer sunshine may be slipping away from us, if the thunder storms in Manchester and torrential rain in London are anything to go by!
So luckily, this weeks see's the majority of children in England breaking up for school holidays, meaning lots of us will be hopping onto a plane and jetting off to a sunnier horizon.

After 3 weeks of sweltering heat, freezing cold air con and no doubt a few too many gin based cocktails, many of us will be suffering from dehydrated skin and dull, dry, flaky complexions. Yuck. 
But, what can we do to combat this in such a short space of time, especially when you want to arrive looking like a Greek Goddess when you touch down in Corfu?! 
Easy- Invest in Balance Me Stellar Face Balm, then sit back and enjoy your flight. 
Available in a handy cabin sized 7ml pot and costing a bargainius £5, you really can't go wrong.

This nourishing balm counts organic Shea and Mango Seed Butter plus Virgin Coconut and Rosehip Oil, amongst its main ingredients, aswell as neroli and may chang, which help to soothe irritations. For a nightime and flight-time treat, apply generously all over your skin, avoiding the eye area, and leave your skin to soak up the moisture. On awakening/landing, simply tissue off or massage in any excess.

Just like the famed Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream, this balm can also be used as a lip balm, cuticle cream or hair smoother and is the perfect tonic for dry, rough heels and elbows. 
But, I know LOTS of you will be happy to know- this has a much more delicate aroma!!

Balance Me, was founded back in 2005 by sisters Rebecca and Claire Hopkins, after deciding to search for a better work/life balance by moving into the cosmetic business. After a year of working from their home kitchens,  business partner, aromatherapist Sian Jones joined the team and the rest is history. Endless awards, products sold nationwide, all whilst bringing up 5 children between them! These women are a force to be reckoned with!

So, your next stop is sumptuous, supple smooth holiday skin.
Simply strap yourself in, listen to the safety announcements and enjoy your flight!

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Vintage Beauty Shoot

Earlier this year photographer Michelle Wilson of MSW Photography asked Robyn and I to work with her on a vintage inspired series of images, set within So Coco Rouge. The beautiful Olivia Hunter of Boss Model Management was my model for the day, and was an absolute pleasure to work with. So lovely to see beauty inside and out!

We wanted the images to be inspired by screen icons of the 1940's, with the setting of a backstage dressing room. For a modern twist, we decided to keep Olivia's look simple with luminous skin and swept back hair.

To define Olivia's eyes, I used soft neutral tones, in a variety of shimmer and matte finishes. This technique would be perfect for a naturally beautiful bridal look or special occasion too.
The majority of products I used for this look are from MAC, but you can use any brand you wish. 

1. Sparingly apply MAC Paint Pot in Painterly all over the eye lid and up to the brow bone using your ring finger. This acts as a great base for eyeshadows and creates a gorgeous warm pink tone to the lid. 

2. To highlight the brow shape, apply MAC matte eye shadow Vanilla, to the area imediatly under the arch of the brow and blend well. This creamy tone creates the brow definition we need for a vintage look.

3. Using a tapered or pencil brush (my ultimate favourite is by Charles Fox- no name or number I'm afraid, but its a must have!) apply a warm toned, light taupe like MAC Malt to the centre area of the socket line. Make sure you don't follow the socket shape at the inner and outer corners as this can make the eye appear smaller. 

4. Blend using a small amount of MAC Naked Pigment, a nude shimmer, on a fluffy brush, working upwards towards the blow area.

5. Next, apply MAC Vanilla Pigment to the lower lid in pressing movements on a flat brush, before blending up to the contoured socket line. Apply to the inner corner of the eye too, for the ultimate doe-eyed look.

6. Finish with a fine line of Estee Lauder Stay In Place Gel Liner, 2 coats of black mascara and indivudal lashes in short and medium to the outer corners of the eye.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

The importance of suncream

Finally, it seems summer has arrived! With a week of glorious sunshine and rather balmy temperatures, which look set to continue for a good few weeks, I think we can guarantee a year we can all manage a good tan. 

But, with most of us catching a few rays on our lunch hour and with a sun kissed bronzed complexion the goal in mind, are we all looking after our skin as we should?

I was shocked to hear that as a ivory skinned, (fake) red head, I should be wearing an Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 in the UK and 50 abroad. This news put a pretty big dampener on my pride of wearing an SPF of 15 at the local park in the midday sun. No wonder I was suffering with a touch of the lobster look- according to Boots Soltan, SPF 15 is recommended for olive, naturally tanned skin only. Not me then!

What I find most worrying though, is that I am a BIG cancer research campaigner. As a committee member of North West Cancer Research I presumed I was pretty clued up on my skin cancer prevention. How wrong I was.

So, what should we be looking for in our SPF? 
Well, we need UVB protection to stop us from burning and protection from UVA will prevent us from ageing prematurely, so a suncream that provides BOTH UVA and UVB protection is a MUST.

Which level of SPF should I choose? 
The easiest way to work your what you need is to think of this equation- (get your maths head on!) For example, if it  20 minutes for your unprotected skin to start turning pink, using an SPF 15 sunscreen should prevent reddening for 15 times longer, which is about about five hours. However, experts recon light/fair/pale skin tones should use SPF 30 in UK climate and 30-50+ in a hot-very hot climate, where as olive and naturally/easily tanned complexions can wear SPF 15 in the UK and 30-50 in hot-very hot climates. Not too sure? Speak to a sun care consultant at stores such as Boots. 

When should I apply?
Apply a full shot glass amount to your entire body 30 minutes before exposing your skin to the sun. Re-apply after two hours or if your skin feels hot or is reddening. Always re-apply after swimming.

My favourite suncream is one introduced to me at QVC- and is used by most guest experts and all presenters that I have met during my time there.
UltraSun, a Swiss company founded in 1992, are specialists in sun care. With all their products being perfume, oil and emulsifier free they are perfect for the most sensitive of skins and ensure you don't experience the dreaded 'prickly heat'. 
Price wise, Ultrasun isn't majorly expensive, esepcially if you buy through QVC who have some fantastic kits available.

So as this lovely sunshine continues, make sure you take a moment to make sure your skin is protected. I fear it's something we may live to regret otherwise.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Kryolan Lip Stick Sheer

After wearing my vibrant lip stain for a few days, I was really excited to try a softer, sheer finish, with my next new Kryolan find- Lipstick Sheer! Being a huge fan of Kryolan, my favourite sheer lip tint is currently their Lip N Cheek, so I've been really excited to try the latest product in the range!

Lipstick Sheer not only provides a gorgeous wash of feminine, elegant colour, the formula is packed with Vitamin E, meaning your lips are cared for and nourished all day long. 
A great win, win make-up and lip care find!

Just like the Kryolan Lip Stain I featured earlier this week, these lip colours have some wonderful names- such as Audrey, Scarlett and Keira. Yes, that's right, they are names after iconic  Hollywood actresses- past and present! The 18 strong shade range include both rich reds, warm pinks and pretty neutrals.

So, being a red lip lover, my first choice was obviously Audrey- because you can't ignore Ms Hepburn now can you! This beautiful orange toned red is perfect for a summery coral twist on a classic red lip. Second choice goes to the pretty pink-red, Iris, which is my favourite red hue and one that will no doubt worn very regularly!

Application of Lipstick Sheer is quick and easy. The natural wax formula ensuring a smooth application, even straight from the bullet. Unlike Lip Stain, where I felt a lip liner was necessary- with Lipstick Sheer it is not. A pretty, sheer finish can be ruined with a harsh liner, but if you simply can't leave the liner in your make-up bag, make sure you blend the liner with your fingers or a lip brush, for a softer look. 

If you are looking for a softer way to wear your favourite lip colours during the summer months, I would highly recommend Lipstick Sheer- you'll definitely be finding a few of these in my make-up bag, that's for sure!
PS- for us space saving pro's- these are even made in a palette!

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Kryolan Lip Stain

The sun is shining, the birds are singing and the postman has been with a parcel from my favourite make-up grotto, Charles Fox. Today, I am one happy girl! So, what was inside this parcel that made a girl grin from ear to ear like it was Christmas day? The latest lip products from Kryolan- Lip Stain and Lipstick Sheer! 

First up, its the Lip Stain. (You can read all about the Lipstick Sheer in a few days, I won't keep you in suspense for that long!)

Kryolan Lip Stain in Jazz
Packaged like a lip gloss, these tubes of loveliness contain 4ml of intense, rich colour. It's pretty obvious, before you have even unscrewed the applicator  that the formula is thicker and creamer than most lip stains and are jam packed with pigment. But from a professional brand like Kryolan, that has been creating industry standard make-up for over 65 years, I wouldn't expect any less. 

Now, which shades to choose? Lip Stain is available in 8 shades, including vibrant pink, sultry plum and a variety of nude hues to suit all skin tones, but it's the names in particular that drew me in. These are all named after a type of music- well it is festival season after all! Being a very indecisive girl, I listen to most types of music, but Jazz (especially the gypsy jazz, electro swing, feels like your in Paris in the 20's, drinking illegally type) is one of my favourites to listen too. 
So, the pretty apricot tone 'Jazz' was choice number 1.
Choice number 2? Well, I couldn't not choose a red could I?! 
So, the vibrant cherry red made its way into my make-up kit too.

Kryolan Lip Stain in Rock
The applicator is a great quality lip brush, which I find are much better than the typical sponge/wand type. A brush won't absorb product and won't drag on the delicate lip area.
Before we apply however, I would seriously recommend lining our lips first. Even as a daily red lip wearer, and someone that can do 30 lip applications on a mega busy make-up day, I struggled to get a precise, crisp application, especially at the cupids bow. Having a guideline edge, just makes applying a liquid colour much easier- and who doesn't want an easier, quicker application on a stressful morning!

Although this is a liquid stain, the colour dries quickly onto lips, leaving a strong block of colour. Leaving a matte finish, it doesn't however feel drying or tight like some stains I have tried previously, in fact, I think the finish is  pretty similar to Lime Crimes famous Velvetines.
Matte, but with a soft sultry finish. 

After a 9am application, I was delighted to find that after 3 glasses of wine, a hefty BBQ and a very hot and humid gig  my lip colour was still in place, and as vibrant as ever. This is most certainly smudge proof, water proof and long lasting!
Plus, being the hottest day of the year, I was delighted to find Lip Stain even contains UV-B filters- stunning, bold colour and sun protection, this is practically unheard of. 

So, how do we get this off?! Simple! Take your eye make-up remover on a cotton pad and sweep over your lips. and voila, normal lip service resumed.

All in all, I adore this lip stain, as to be honest, I knew I would.
Not only will this be a new make-up bag staple, it will be my go to lip product when working on a long days shoot in this lovely hot summer we are currently having. 
Because you know, even us pro's hate having to re-apply lip colour!

Monday, 8 July 2013


I first came across Eyeko, during my first ever QVC show. Whilst enjoying a pre-show cuppa in the green room, I stumbled across a group of stunning models sporting 'Mascara Wardrobe' t-shirts gossiping about which type of mascara they would be wearing during the show . A wardrobe of mascaras? This sounds good to me!

As a make-up addict, counting mascara as one of my desert island must haves (small eyes like mine NEED some lifting mascara!) I'm not only fussy about formula but even fussier about the brush applicator.
Luckily for me, over at Eyeko, not only is their formulas paraben free, conditioning and water resistant, they also have a variety of brushes I can choose from!

  • Black Magic  for lift and curl, with a curved brush
  • Skinny Brush for catching even the shortest of lashes, with a straight, slim brush
  • Fat Brush for extra volume and thickness, with a large, dense brush
  • Curvy Brush for a lifter, curled lash, with a unique brush with tiered bristles  

The packaging is also a big plus- these flexiable tubes mean you get to use all the product inside- something that can't be said of all mascaras! There is nothing more frsutating than trying to get those last 2mls from the bottom of a solid tube with your brush can't reach!

As an added bonus, this month Marie Claire, are giving away a Skinny Liquid Liner. The slender nib (similar to a felt pen) enables you to create delicate or dramatic feline flicks, with an rich intense colour and 4 shades to choose from!
Plus it's perfect for this mini heat-wave we are experiencing- this liner will not budge!

So, my tip for the day?! Pop to your local newsagents, pick up a copy, sport a cute 50's flick then go online and treat yourself to an Eyeko mascara using the extra cheeky discount code inside the mag! Then get out and enjoy the sun! (with SPF applied too of course!)

Friday, 5 July 2013

Bridal Beauty

Now for the final instalment of my bridal series- and the all important finishing touches! As you are now aware, it's only 2 weeks until my best friend, Sian, gets married and we thought we'd share her bridal beauty tips here for all you brides-to-be!

First up, it's our hands, which we know will be one of the main focus's of our guests attention- after all they will be dying to see that sparkler!

Well, you've always use rubber gloves when washing up, and treated your hands to a weekly exfoliating treatment right!? Well, if your like me, and the majority of women I know- No we haven't! So what can we do to ensure your hands are in tip-top condition with skin as soft as a babies in a matter of weeks?!

Fear not, Soap and Glory to the rescue! Their Endless Glove is. 2-in-1 hand treatment, consisting of both a hand cream and moisture mask. Packed full of Shea butter, Grape-seed and Macadamia oils this leaves your hands thoroughly hydrated for up to 12 hours. Simply apply- concentrating on the back of the hands- these are most exposed to the elements remember- and let this cream do the rest!

To lock in extra moisture, try applying before bed and popping on a pair of Cotton Gloves, Marks and Spencer do a great pair for a bargain price of £3.  It may not be the most attractive of looks, but hey, he's agreed to marry you hasn't he!

Next up, it's our feet! A brand I have recently been introduced to is Margaret Dabbs. Margaret is an award winning foot care specialist and even has a 'sole spa' in one of my favourite stores, Liberty in London. 
Luckily for us, Margaret's range is available to use in the comfort of our own home!
For silky soft feet- essential for dancing the night away- treat your feet to the exfoliating foot mousse hydrating treatment oil and Intensive hydrating foot lotion.

Wearing a strapless and sleeveless dress? Then remember, during a bleak winter these areas are usually kept under wraps! Slough away dead skin and reveal a glowing complexion with Orgins Ginger Body Scrub. Used on wet skin in the shower, this scrub is a true luxury and one I have used for years. (NB- ginger is also an aphrodisiac, so remember to use this one on your wedding morning!)

And finally- scared you'll be overcome with emotion and give in to a good blubber? If you have a make- up artist, they will insist you wear waterproof mascara. So, if you are doing your own, make sure you invest in a good mascara! The latest offering from No7, Stay Perfect Mascara, is practically life proof and won't budge. Expect to wake up with perfect lashes the next day!

If a more natural look is more you, then try RapidLash Enhancing Serum. I've yet to have the pleasure of trying this product, but looking at the customer reviews it seems like a sure winner! Apply every night before bed and within 30 days you should notice your lashes look longer and fuller . If you have tried this I'd look to hear your thoughts!

And that's it! Your all set! 
Most importantly, enjoy every second of your big day. The one thing all my brides tell me after, is that it all flew by in a whirlwind. So try and take a moment and let all the emotion and happiness sink in. 
To all of you getting hitched this summer, I wish you all, a lifetime of love and happiness! 

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Bridal Hair

With our skin now glowing and our lips perfectly kissable, its time to move onto hair!

Bride-to-be and one of my best friends, Sian, has EXTREMELY thick hair- and like myself relies on So Coco Rouge hair stylist Kelly to look after her locks on a 6 weekly basis! But in-between appointments she treats her hair to weekly treatments and regular doses of extra hydration! Essential when your Wedding day is looming!

As Sian's hair has a tendency to wave under humidity (think Monica from Friends in Barbados...) she swears by Lanza and their Healing Smooth range in particular. This range contains Coix Seed which eases frizz, waves and curls, leaving hair sleek and super straight with a glossy shine! Sian uses the Glossifying Shampoo and Conditioner twice a week, to keep her locks looking luscious.

Whilst her hair is still wet, Sian likes to use Moroccan Oil, treatment which not only helps reduce drying time, but also protects against styling and environmental damage whilst adding shine Containing fatty acids, omega-3 oils, vitamins and anti-oxidants, this is a product no professional hair stylist should be without. 
As a weekly treat, a nourishing mask is a great addition to your hair care regime! Loreal Ever Sleek Smooth mask is Sian's current favourite. This  non-sulphate mask. is perfected for frizz prone locks and those which have exposed to excess heat and colour. 

Simply apply to wet hair and leave for 5 minutes before rinsing away, leaving softer locks!

Even when using intensive treatments and protectors, its still ultra important to have a trim every 6-8 weeks, simply to remove any split ends. This is even more important on the run up to your big day!  Make sure you have your appointments booked in advance to alleviate any pre-wedding stress.

Next up, we'll be looking at making our hands in tip-top condition for the all important 'ring' shot!