Saturday, 31 August 2013

Philosophy Purity Made Simple Cleanser

Wearing make-up on a daily basis, especially when working at QVC, leaves me desperate for make up free skin as soon as I get home.

So, I'm always looking for new cleansers to try for an indulgent at home facial, and the department store beauty halls are always full of things to try!

This week I've been using Philosophy Purity Made Simple Cleanser, which they claim is a one stop formula which removes eye and face make up, whilst deeply cleansing and toning skin too. It's also won a heap of awards, which always intrigues me!

Philosophy say-
purity is natural. we come into this world with all the right instincts. we are innocent and perceive things as they should be, rather than how they are. our conscience is clear, our hands are clean and the world at large is truly beautiful. it is at this time we feel most blessed. to begin feeling young again, we must begin with the most basic step of all, the daily ritual of cleansing.

The rich, creamy cleanser smells absolutely divine, surprising since this is a fragrance free product! It massages easily into damp skin, foaming slightly after 30-60 seconds. I then remove with my staple, Liz Earle muslin cloth soaked in warm water, working in circular movements around my face to gently exfoliate my skin too. 

Afterwards my skin feels soft, supple and even moisturised. The perfect place to start my night, regime!

With a 90ml travel size available in Boots for only £9, or the bathroom cabinet sized, 471ml for £28.50, this is definitely one cleanser I will be purchasing again in future.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Charlotte Tilbury Beauty Collection

After a morning working at QVC, and a lunchtime spent picking up kit essentials at BeautyMart I headed over to Selfridges, Oxford Street, for the soft launch of Charlotte Tilbury's new beauty collection.

With 20 years of experience in the make-up business, Charlotte's aim with her first collection is to guide the customer with their purchases and make application super simple, with step-by-step instructions. She's also made it fun to choose your look, by picking from one of her 5 daytime and 5 evening looks, ranging from Rebel to Glamour Muse . 

I even adore the packaging, which is inspired by the Art Deco era, with gorgeous gold embellishing. A real treat for your dresser.

This week Charlotte is launching her eye products at a smaller stand in London's Selfridges store, before moving to their larger counter and releasing her full collection, including brushes, Skincare and a full make up range.

After having a good browse of the range, creating a colourful mosaic on the back of my hand (you can always tell a make up artists on the tube by their hands!) and meeting the legendary make up artist herself,  I was lucky enough to sit down and enjoy having my make up done for a change!

     I decided on the 'Bombshell' look, which features warm sultry smokey eyes, which I could easily wear with my signature red lip. My make up artist was excellent and talked me through each product she used.

She started with Dolce Vita Quad eyeshadow (£38), and followed the directions Charlotte has insisted on having printed on the back of the palettes. The palest shade, a lightly shimmered nude, was applied from lid pub. Next a warm mid brown was buffed into my socket line to create subtle smokiness which enhance the blue of my eyes. For extra definition, the darkest brown was applied to the outer corners of my eyes and into the socket line. Finally, the golden shimmer shade was applied to the lid area only, giving a great pop of colour.

For added sultriness, she lined my eyes with Charlotte's famed Rock N Kohl in Bedroom Black, which was smudged into my lash line, helping my lashes look fuller. This liner is between a liquid and a kohl- it has the smooth application of a liquid but with the blendibilty of a kohl. Its also claimed to have 14 hours of transfer proof wear. A definite purchase for me!
 She finished my eyed with two coats of Charlotte's mascara, which is infused with collagen, to condition lashes during wear.

The products used to create The Bombshell look
Sorry about picture quality! But heres my finished look!

I was lucky enough to try Miracle Cream too, which feels divine, velvety like a primer and shot through with a natural glow.  My artist used this to clean up any eyeshadow drop-age, before concealing any under eye darkness with Charlotte's concealer. I can't wait to purchase this concealer- it's so lightweight in texture but heavily pigmented to hide even a sleepless night. Plus teamed with Miracle Cream, they leave skin looking plump and well rested.
 A must with my current schedule! 

Charlottes full collection is available from Monday September 2nd, and I fully recommend you take a look! Well, if Charlotte is good enough for Kate and Cara, her products are definitely good enough for my kit!

Swatches of all the products!

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Colour Blocking Shoot

This week not only did I receive the Swimwear shoot images, I received these stunning colour blocking images too!

Once again shooting with photographer Michelle Wilson of MSW Photography, stylist Louise Dwyer and model Ksenija of Nemisis agency, this shoot was focusing on strong colour and lightly inspired by the cult series 'Mad Men'. 


With a flawless complexion created by using Kryolan Dermacolour and Make-up Forever HD Foundation (Which you can find over at make-up mecca Guru Make-up Emporium!) and simple contouring using Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate, I kept the strong colour on lips and nails.

In the pink styling images, I used Art Deco Lip Lacquer in Creamy Cerise and OPI nail lacquer 'Charged Up Cherry

For the yellow and blue styling, I used Kryolan Lip Stain in Rock, which complimented my favourite red OPI nail lacquer perfectly (typically a limited edition!) 'Off With Her Red' from the Alice In Wonderland collection. 
You could also try OPI Nail Lacquer in Cookie or Big Apple Red for a similar look.

For the ultimate Mad Men hair, I prepped Ksenija's hair using Babyliss Heated Rollers before backcombing the roots and inserting a hair pad from So Coco Rouge to create instant lift.
I then pinned the length of Ksenijas hair in flat rolls to the nape of the neck. Finishing with TIGI Bed Head products Head Rush, After Party and Hard Head.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Swimwear Shoot Images

There's nothing more exciting than receiving the images from your latest shoot- but I have been itching to see the images swimwear and colour blocking shoot I worked on last month more than any other!
And, I was certainly not disappointed when they landed in my inbox!
First up, the swimwear collection!


Here are the main products I used to create this colourful, summer look!

  1. On eyes, Illamasqua Cream Pigments, 'Androgen' and 'Bedaub' 
  2. Followed with various bright MAC eyeshadows 
  3. Concealing any skin imperfections with Kryolan Dermacolour and MAC Face and Body Foundation. 
  4. Soft contouring using Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate and a subtle hint of colour to the apples with Kryolan Lip N Cheek in Hibiscus.
  5.  I added a strong pop of lip colour using Sleek Pout Paint in Rosette and Art Deco Clear Gloss.
  6. Nails painted in OPI nail lacquer 'Charged Up Cherry

I can't wait to get these images in my portfolio, and work with this talented team once more!
Stylist- Louise Dwyer 
Model- Ksenija of Nemisis agency

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Happy Birthday BeautyMart!

I absolutely hate supermarkets with a passion. There is nothing to put me in a worse mood than thinking of doing a great big food shop, especially when it involves browsing at the ridiculous amount of product offer. Online grocery shopping and M&S Simply food really are my best of friends.

But there is one 'Mart' I enjoy a weekly visit to- BeautyMart

The brainchild of Millie Kendell (As in Ruby and Millie and the reason we can purchase Shu Uemura eyelash curlers in the UK) and former beauty editor at Vogue, Anna-Marie Solowij, BeautyMart is the one stop shop for all things hair, make up and beauty.
If BeautyMart won't sell it, then you can guarantee its probably not good enough for you to own. 

With products used by beauty experts worldwide, every single item sold here is tried and tested and if it doesn't make the grade, then it doesn't go on the shelves. Simple. Basically these girls are taking out the expensive legwork and leaving us with products that will give us the results we so crave.

Price wise, what can you expect? The widest range possible. From budget buys Bourjois and Batiste, to payday treats from GlamGlow and James Read and bonus blowout items such the BabyBelle body buffer.

My local BeautyMart is located within the Liverpool Harvey Nichols Beauty Bazaar, but for the real experience I'd suggest popping to one within Knightsbridge's Harvey Nichols.  In a rush? Don't worry, you'll find the BeautyMart vending machine, full of your favourite items!

So this month join me in wishing BeautyMart a very happy first birthday- we cannot wait to see what you offer us in the many years to come!

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Illamasqua- Sacred Hour Collection

I know I shouldn't be wishing the Summer away, but I am really loving all the new collections available on the high street right now. And if there is one beauty collection I always look forward to, it's got to be Illamasqua.

Sacred Hour, which is now available nationwide after a period of exclusivity at Selfridges, is one of the most wearable collections they have launched. Each and every product could be worn by any age group and even by the most colour shy. A tad different from the Paranormal collection then.

Illamasqua describe Sacred Hour in this poem-
'I lay down my body in surrender to the elements. My spirit soars, wiser than before. A raw force of nature. Yet I conquer. Stronger. I arise victorious. I am the dawn spirit. A am the dusk warrior. This is the universe. I am magic. Welcome to the sacred hour.'

First up its the Reflection Palette, which following the Paranormal palette, is a water resistant, silicone formula, which feels a bit like a soft putty to apply. I personally like to apply these with my finger tips to the lid area, then for a stronger, evening look, layer a complimentary powder on top.
The four shades are all gorgeous metallics- a soft gold, taupe, grey and bronze, shot through with a beautiful shimmer.

Next is the stunning cream-to-powder Velvet Blusher, available in two dusky tones, Sleek being a coral and Peaked a rose. Simple to apply with either fingers or a brush, these leave a pretty flush of colour to cheeks, without looking overly made up.

My favourite item from the collection is Shard lipstick, the perfect Autumn lip colour and one that will be my handbag staple. The red-violet tone suits most skin tones, and is a softer way to embrace a red lip. Definitely a worth while buy!!
L-R. Sleek, Peaked and Shard Lipstick

Suffering from an end of summer sleep meltdown (I know I certainly am!) then you need the brightening, concealment of Skin Base Lift. Designed to disguise uneven under eye pigmentation and appear to visibly lift the area, it's also really easy to blend with fingers. Not only is this available in a wide range of shades, you can also mix in a touch of White Light, which adds an extra brightening effect when we need it! (Monday morning essential for me!)

Finally the collection also includes a gorgeous set of fluttering lashes and two new nails colours-Facet and Hemlock, which can be worn alone or together. 

I truly adore this collection, and can't wait to start using them not only on myself but on my clients too!

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Latest tan- LDN: Skins

If I'm not embracing my natural porcelain tones, I usually jump in the So Coco Rouge tanning room for a Fake Bake spray tan, or if I'm running mega late, a quick coat of Fake Bake 60, but I'm always interested in trying new products. Last year I tried a brand new lotion tan, LDN Skins, and absolutely loved it. But then being the lazy girl I can be, I resorted back to the ease of the tanning room and getting someone else to apply it for me!

Then last week, on a casual trip to the wholesalers to pick up salon supplies, there it was, in all its beautiful gold and red glory.  I chose to purchase the Self Tan Lotion in Tone 2- a more natural finsih for us fairer skinned ladies! LDN Skins is much cheaper than other brands, especially for the quality of tan you get, at the moment you can even pick up the lotion, moisturing lotion and a OPI nail lacquer for under £28!! Bargain!

The team at LDN Skins say - "
Influenced by the latest British lifestyle trends, LDN:SKINS is exploding onto the British fashion scene with celebrities and designers acquiring this ‘must have tan’.
LDN : SKINS combines elite professional salon treatments with easy home-use products, to achieve long lasting bespoke  tan tones to suit all skin types.  The  flexible tanning tones have been developed  to naturally tan all complexions. The light lavender fragrance revolutionises the ‘tell-tale smell of tanning’, whilst the light, smooth textures are easy to apply and absorbs rapidly for effortless and flawless results. The innovative, velvet touch, water proof tanning mitt (included with every retail purchase) ensures a streak free, professional application every time. 

Sounds good to me, so lets get tanning!

I prepared my skin by using LDN Skins Foaming Exfoliator, which is packed full of Vitamin E, Orange Flower Oil and Lavender, to gently remove dead skin and deeply condition the skin. Next, I moisturised any dry areas, such as knees, elbows and ankles, with LDN Skins Moisturising Lotion. This again contains nourishing ingredients such as Pseudo Collagen for intense hydration. 

Then, its tanning time! Donning my tanning mitt I applied the tan in long strokes, ensuring I blend well at notoriously streaky areas! After the usual 5 minute awkward position drying time, I got into my 'tanning onesie' (oh the class....) and headed to bed (in that outfit, I was OBVIOUSLY alone). Waking up the next morning I was a delicious shade of latte, and after a quick shower, emerged with a sun-kissed glow even Giselle would be envious of. 

One week on, my tan has faded beautifully, without any false tan, tell-tale marks or digestive biscuit smell!
If you are looking for a natural, holiday-esqe reasonably priced false tan, then I would definitely suggest putting LDN Skins on your shopping list!  

Friday, 16 August 2013

Autumn Winter Make-up Ideas

This week I have really been embracing Autumn. From introducing the latest OPI nail lacquer shades to the audience of QVC,  to rocking the 90's inspired tartan trend, Summer seems well and truly behind me.

So whilst I have been busy wearing rich burgandys, deep plums and ruby reds on my nails, I have been incorporating similar tones in my make-up, especially for my work in front of the camera.

My absolute favourites in my make-up bag this season have to be from Illamasqua. Funnily enough, my faved three Illamasqua items, aren't from the latest collection (more on this soon!) or even the previous one. No, these beauties have been available for a good while! 
For sultry burgundy eyes, to enhance my OPI San Francisco Polishes, I have been using the Complement and Empower palettes. 

  1. Starting with the taupe liquid metal from the Complement palette, I sweep over my eyelid and blend upwards using my fingertips, keeping the area immediately below my brow clean. 
  2. Next, on a tapered brush (I LOVE my Charles Fox ones- I have three!!) I apply the rich burgundy shade from Complement to the centre and outer third of my socket line. Blending back and forth.
  3. On a fluffy brush, such a as Crown Brushes C433, take the light warm taupe shade from Empower palette and blend the top of the burgundy working upwards towards the brow. 
  4. Apply the champagne shade from Complement to the area beneath the arch of the brow and blend into the warm taupe.
  5. On a small pencil brush, dot the deep purple from Complement into the outer corners of the eye and blend inwards and up into socket line.
  6. Mix the light pink from Empower and champagne from Complement together and apply to the lid and inner corners of the eye.
  7. I finished the look with Estee Lauder DoubleWear Eyeliner in Black and two coats of Art Deco Dita Von Teese Golden Vintage Lash Designer mascara.
For the flawless complexion needed on HD TV, I like to use Kryolan Concealer Wheel to any blemishes and under eye darkness and blend with Make-up Forever HD Foundation. Next, for a complimentary warm pink cheek, I am OBSESSED with Illamasqua Cream Pigment in Androgen blended from my apples upwards onto my cheekbones with Crown Brushes C404 Dual Fibre brush. For longevity, I lightly blend Art Deco Dita Von Teese Golden Vintage Blusher on top. Finishing with a warm, deep rose pink lip from MAC and a slick of gloss from MUA (bargain price of £1 and non-sticky!) and I'm ready to go on set!

Wearing my AW look backstage at QVC

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Working With Strictly's Flavia at QVC

It's only Wednesday and already this week has been a manically busy one!
I started Monday with a visit down to London, for 3 QVC shows with professional nail brand OPI. This month I will mainly be introducing the Autumn Winter collection, which is inspired by the chic, cosmopolitan city of San Francisco! I fell in love with the collection at the press launch back in April, which you can read all about here, and this collection features all 5 of my favourite shades this season!

Featuring 5 of OPI's best selling, award winning treatments and 5 professional nail lacquers, for only £23.88, this collection is definitely worth snapping up while you can!

One of the shows also featured professional dancer and star of BBC show 'Strictly Come Dancing', Flavia Cacace and astrologer Russell Grant, who have together created a dance workout DVD, Zalza. I was lucky enough to be sharing the set and a dressing room with the pair, who were an absolute joy to work with.

Prior to going to air, I prepped Flavia's nails with OPI Non Acetone Polish Remover on OPI Lint Free Nail Wipes, which are much more easier to use than cotton wool pads! Next, I buffed Flavia's nails to remove any ridges and dead skin cells. I then applied Matte Nail Envy as a base coat, which not only provides a fantastic base to 'grab' colour, it also treats the nails to wheat protein and calcium which help to strengthen nails! Flavia likes to wear warm red tones on her nails, so the San Fran ruby red First Date At Golden Gate was an obvious choice. Two coats later, I finished her manicure with Rapi-Dry Top Coat and a Rapi-Dry drops, meaning Flavia was free to finish her preparation for the show! 

I will be back on air Thursday 22nd at 11am and Thursday 29th at 1pm if you want to try these gorgeous new colours for yourself!
Having fun on air at QVC!

Friday, 9 August 2013

New Beginnings

September is one of my favouirte months- the sun is usually still shining brightly, the leaves start to turn a shade not dis-similar from my hair colour and we can look towards Spring/Summer at Fashion Week. 

September is also known for changes and new beginnings- and this September I will be starting on yet another journey on my winding career path.
As if I wasn't busy enough, this year I will be beginning to teach- back at my old college, in the class that fed my appetite for make-up exactly ten years ago.

Wirral Metropolitan College will always be held close to my heart- as an eager, make-up obsessed 16 year old they encouraged me to follow my dreams and pointed me in the right direction. Since then I have always wanted to do the same for the next generation of artists.

I will be teaching the VTCT Fashion and Photographic classes, which luckily both take place on my day off from the salon- a Monday!

This qualification focus's on practical work, and the students will study current trends and look into the history of make-up and how it effects our make-up design today.
Ideal as a starting block to those thinking of a career in make-up artistry.

Luckily for me, the college have been very supportive, in allowing me to alter the college kits. This year my students will be using my favourite professional products from Art Deco, brushes from Crown and hygiene essentials from Pro Make-up Shop.

If you are studying with me this year, I look forward to meeting you very soon!

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

No7 Ta Dah Campaign

As many of you will know, I have been working closely with No7 for almost a year now, as a online beauty expert and as part of the social media team from Oscar Mike.
This week the latest No7 ad campaign is released, and it's a little different from their previous ones!
Prior to the release of the new campaign, over at the No7 Facebook page, we have been celebrating No7's heritage by looking back into the archives and celebrating original products and famed adverts. It's been amazing to see how many women have used No7 since it launched back in 1935, with some who have solely relied on No7 for their make-up and skincare needs their whole lives!
I started my own make-up career at the Liverpool Boots store, ten years ago next month (its scary how time flies isn't it!) and originally worked mainly on the fragrance counter, which was situated opposite the No7 counter. Like a bee round a honey pot, I was constantly over there, swatching lipsticks, watching the advisors giving make-overs and generally in wide-eyed awe of the atmosphere. When I was first building my make-up kit, it consisted of many No7 gems- such as the eyeshadow trio's, lipsticks and blushers.
So, it seems pretty apt that I work with the brand on a daily basis now, and my passion for No7 will never falter.

Well, lets get back to present day, and the exciting campaign No7 have for us this week- which features REAL WOMEN. No models, no celebrities, just real women. All of which have NOT been airbrushed, re-touched or altered in any way. Just simple lighting, gorgeous make-up and beautiful women. Bravo No7!
No7 believe every women should have a Ta Dah! moment- that moment when you look in the mirror and think 'Wow- I look great' and step out into the wide world brimming with confidence- and why shouldn't we?! With a skincare and make-up range that provides quick and impressive results from a simple, stress free application, No7 have got my Ta Dah moment nailed.
The TV advert will be gracing your screens tomorrow, but for a sneak peek, head over to the Boots website, where you will also find a mood board app, get the look instructions and the real women's stories!  Plus, remember to pop into your local store and see these gorgeous images for yourself. I promise, you won't be disappointed.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Evo Fabuloso Colour Intensifying Conditioner

As much as I love my red locks, the speed at which the vibrancy fades can sometimes leave me considering a much more subdued tone. From using a specialist colour shampoo to the various colour masks I have collected over the years, nothing seems to brighten and deepen my barnett as much as I want.

My latest purchase, Evo Fabuloso Colour Intensifying Conditioner in Copper promises to "achieve a rich copper tone on colour treated hair." Not only does this conditioner enhance colour, it is also helps to reduce frizz, add shine and deeply nourish damaged hair.

Not heard of Evo before? To be honest, the brand only came to my attention last year when we looked for a brand to use at So Coco Rouge, and now it's one we often use on shoots. With uniquely named products, including Love Touch (Shine spray), Liquid Rollers (Curl cream) and Root Canal (Volume spray) and simple, modern packaging alongside products that actually work,  Evo is now a favourite amongst UK hair salons. Founded in Australia in 2004, Evo's "mission is to create innovative, salon only products that are simple, luxurious, effective to use and that make people smile" and I'm pretty sure they have met this mission already.

Available in 7 shades, Fabuloso is seriously simple to apply. Wash hair as normal, towel dry and comb through. Depending on hair length take 4-8 pumps of conditioner (I have shoulder length hair and used 6) and comb through from roots to ends. I focused the majority on the ends, as this is where my colour fades most. Then its time to wait! 3 minutes of shower scrubbing later and its time to rinse!

One blow dry later and my hair is looking much healthier and definitely revived. A great way to quickly enhance your colour for a special occasion, or a valuable bargain to ease the far too regular salon appointments!

Available in 7 shades- Copper, Mahogany, Purple Red, Chestnut, Caramel, Light Beige and Platinum Blonde.

Friday, 2 August 2013

MUA Fixing Spray

As a make-up artist, working with around 30 brides a year, when I tell them there make-up will be still be in place 12, 16, 24 hours later, I know it will be. I would happily put money on it.

But, when I do my own make-up, all professional technique goes out the window. Whether its my impatience, my boredom of making up 'that face' yet again, or not enough care and attention, for some reason I do not apply it like I would a client, or even a friend/ family member for that matter. I am a great believer in using a  'layering' technique when applying make-up (you can read more about this in my Festival Favourites series) but when it's me, I seem to adopt a much more slap-dash approach.

So when my best friend got hitched a few weeks ago (I promise this will be the last time I mention this- but forgive me, it was my favourite day in my 26 years, so I'm going to talk about it from time to time!! Sorry!) and I knew I had 3 bridesmaids, a blushing bride and a gorgeous mum and nan to make up, I was going to have to be done at the crack of dawn. Either that or I'd be walking down the aisle looking rather bedraggled.

Plus it was one of the hottest weekends we'd had in donkeys years, and I was wearing a pretty impressive mane of extensions. If my make-up needed to avoid meltdown on any day, it was today.

Usually at So Coco Rouge we rely on Make Up Forever Mist and Fix, but knowing we were running low and the salon being busy as ever on a summer Saturday, there was no way of sneaking one into my handbag. So where to turn?!

On a last minute dash to Superdrug, on a hunt of a nude lipgloss (wearing a newly sprayed tan and pin curled hair- there is a lot of prep to being a bridesmaid you know!) I came across MUA Pro Base Make-up Fixing Mist, costing a bargain £5.00. Maybe this could be my savior?!

MUA claim Pro Base Make-up Fixing Mist 'Fixes your makeup in place all day long. Protects against heat, humidity, cold and windy conditions; whatever your day throws at you - your makeup will hold in place!'

Well, heat, humidity and tears were a definite, so I really did put this to the test- and the result?!
I was seriously impressed.

I applied my make-up at 5am, starting the bridal party at 7am. 
2pm ceremony = still looking perfect
5pm dinner = after a photo session in the sweltering heat, still looking damn good!
8pm party time = Slight touch up needed- nothing major.
2am A night spent dancing and posing in a photo booth = Pretty impressive- still looking good!
6am bedtime and after a few hours of sleep my make-up is still in place when I wake!

MUA state this product should give 8 hours of touch-free wear, but in my experience it offers much more. This also helps to re-hydrate and moisturise the skin, making this also ideal for those with drier skin types or those who like a luminous finish.

A total bargain buy, and one I will definitely be stocking up on!