17/04/2014

GIVEAWAY- NAIL DESIGNS BY ELEGANT TOUCH



I'm obsessed with nail art, LOVE it as you can see here. Nail art and wraps are the best things ever invented for people like me who can't paint their nails very well and passionately hates waiting for polish to dry. Elegant Touch have the nail art and wrap thing covered (cool pun!), there are so many there is no way you cannot find a pattern or design to like. They now have 2 new types.. Elegant Touch Express, a whole heap of colours and designs of press on nails (see full range here) and these very long styles from Henry Holland which are awesome, if slightly impractical if you're not used to long nails. The designs are so cute, I love the ice cream ones I'm wearing in the photo above. The advance in nail products is brilliant, anything this easy to use is just the best, love them all! 


I have these 5 awesome designs to giveaway. Leave a comment telling me which number is your favourite with a contact email and I'll pick 5 people on May 1st. Make sure you're following me on Twitter and Instagram as I'll announce the winners on there. 
(open worldwide)


15/04/2014

KRYOLAN CREAM HIGHLIGHTER WHEEL - GENIUS PRODUCT

(no flash/ flash - I forgot middle colour!)

My pet peeve is large products, and I swear it's not just a makeup artist thing. 9 times out of 10 there is no need for it other than justify charging more money. Highlighters are the biggest culprits for this, there is never any need for a highlighter to be a regular powder compact size or larger, no lady is ever going to get through that amount of product before she goes off it or it goes off. For a product like a cream or powder highlighter, where you use a very small amount, in my opinion should be a small blusher or eyeshadow size. No-one wants to carry around a makeup bag of big compact size products. Sometimes you want to wear a gold highlighter, sometimes you want a bronz-ier one and sometimes you want a lighter whiter colour, but to have 3 full sizes of these in your makeup bag is crazy, it's too much! Plus, it's such a waste of money as you will never ever get through them all. This is me talking about my own makeup bag, not my pro kit but I also feel the same about my kit.

Before Christmas I had a wonderful day in my makeup mecca 'Charles Fox' in Covent Garden. Normally I specifically go in to pick up the one or two things that I urgently need (usually blood), I am in and out to collect what I need in 2 minutes and I never look round the store. But this time the incredibly lovely staff spent an amazing couple hours showing me round the store and going through the complete Kryolan range with me. Over the years I've used the usual Kryolan special effects makeup staples and seen their large makeup palettes that most makeup artists use, it's always very much been a 'makeup artists' brand as far as I was aware. I had never used any of the regular makeup, I didn't even know it did a full range and I was really surprised. Over time I will write about other fab products I have and will discover as I go through them at work but this Cream Colour Circle in Interferenz (odd name) is the first stand out product for me. It's an iridescent cream makeup perfect for shimmering accents on face and body, and a wonderful face highlighter. I spotted it as soon as I walked in and I was in instant love just because of the practicality of it. The amazing quality is standard as with all Kryolan products but the genius of having 6 cream highlighters in a small wheel is why I love makeup artist brands, or any brand that puts practicality before profit. It's so great to have so different shades in one pot that isn't itself that large. There is no wastage here and definitely more than enough product to last you a life time. It's a dream tool for a makeup artist, and if you like wearing highlighters as part of your makeup you will love this in your makeup bag, such a cool and clever idea.

06/04/2014

CLINIQUE NEW 'SHADES OF BEIGE' NAIL VARNISH COLLECTION


I'm obsessed with neutrals, most makeup PRs who know me laugh at my instant gravitational pull to any neutral/natural coloured makeup. Which is why, for me, Clinique's new Shades of Beige nail varnish collection is the nuts. They are literally every neutral shade I could dream of and I love every single one of them. It's very much Sophie's choice picking my favourite, but I will say I'm not that keen on Room Service. I'm currently wearing Peek A boo and Birthday Suit on rotation, they just go with everything and the 2 darker colours are for my dressier nights out. That's the great thing about nudes, they look good and classy with everything.

Obviously being Clinique they are great quality; they are quick drying, long lasting and don't smear.. which I find is the most common problem with light or nude colours. I'm all about Clinique products lately, people don't shout enough about how great their products are.

*Why the same price in pounds and dollars, it's not fair!

31/03/2014

KIEHL'S - POLAR VORTEX DRY SKIN SAVIOURS


Having just gone through 2 months of polar vortex weather in  New York (FREEZING) I feel fully qualified to comment on what works for freezing cold, dry, harsh conditions on your skin. I used this cleanser every morning (with Shu Uemura Gentle Cleansing Oil every evening) and this Ultra Facial Moisturiser every day and never had one bad, tight, sore or dry skin day.

The Ultra Facial Cleanser works great, it clears all oil, makeup and dirt without drying or stripping the skin of any natural oils. It's ph balanced to maintain skins natural balance which makes it uber uber gentle,  I can imagine this suiting even the most sensitive skins. It is so cheap at £15 for 150ml, the tiniest (I can't stress this enough) amount of product builds up into a massive amount of lather so for £15 this bottle will last you months. I've used mine every morning for 3 months and it still seems at least half full, this is a really great buy.

The Ultra Facial  Moisturiser is also incredible. It makes skin smooth, so soft and I found it made me really healthy looking. I've also used this on models with really chapped, irritated skin and it's given them a really wonderful smooth base, they also told me their skin felt much softer and less sore. From my experience I am convinced this stuff is amazing and will suit anyone with the driest of skins or trips to the most arctic conditions. I used this all through February in New York where it was -10 most days and I had some of the smoothest softest skin I've ever had, so it gets a big thumbs up from me. It's also super light, it doesn't take ages to soak in and you do not feel like you have a huge slick of cream on your face, it's amazing! If you really don't like an oil moisturiser they also do an oil-free one, I haven't tried it but going by how great Kiehl's other products are I imagine it's pretty great. I also really love the size of the pot and the basic packing (that's a makeup artist thing- small enough to travel and no glass to smash). At £24 for a 50ml pot it's not the cheapest but that's no different from a lot of other cult brands. It definitely doesn't last as long as the cleanser (which lasts insanely long) but if it sounds like this would be something you might need then it's certainly worth every penny.

24/03/2014

PHILIP KINGSLEY ELASTICIZER - MUST HAVE FOR BLEACHED, DAMAGED, LIMP HAIR


Taken from Philip Kingsley website:
"Healthy hair stretches when wet before returning to its original length when dry. However hair in poor condition snaps and breaks when stretched. Intensely moisturising Elasticizer delivers a rush of moisture to the hair’s cuticle; suppleness, elasticity and bounce appear instantly without weighing down or coating the hair. Visible results from one application that improve with continued use."

I don't know to stress this enough.. this product is amaaaazzing. Unless you have the greatest hair in the world you will 100% benefit from it. I don't think there has ever been a bad review of this product, or anyone who said it didn't do something for their hair. The only bad comments are the price, but it is what it is. If you have any kind of over processed, coloured, bleached, especially bleached! highlighted, dry, damaged, fine, frizzy, weak, breaking, limp hair you really need this product and you will be amazed at the difference it makes. Elasticizer gives bounce, elasticity, hydration, shine, smoothing, strengthening, volume.. the works. Whatever your hair specifically needs, Elasticizer gives it and makes your hair better. I know I sound like an advert but I always tell the truth about products and it really is that good.

The best thing about it is you don't need to get in the shower, shampoo your hair first, leave the product on and then get back in the shower. You just dampen your hair as is over the sink and apply the product working into the mid lengths and ends, paying attention to any dry broken areas. Leave for 20 minutes, although with these things the longer you leave it the better (you can leave it on overnight for very dry or damaged hair). It's really easy to get up a little earlier and stick it on in the morning before your breakfast and then get in shower and wash your hair as normal. Best results are gained from using 1-2 times a week, but I always forget for weeks and then I'm amazed how great my hair feels and looks when I do remember. There is also a cost factor using it so often, if your hair is very damaged I recommend alternating weekly treatments with coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil one week and then using Philip Kingsley Elasticiser the next week to stretch it out. I'm usually the biggest advocate of natural products working the best however, while coconut oil or olive oil treatments are absolutely wonderful (and cheap) hair treatments, there is nothing like Elasticiser. It is without doubt a genius product and the best I've ever used.


23/03/2014

CLARINS INSTANT LIGHT RADIANCE COMPLEXION BASE



I cant believe how long I've been using this and I forgot to write about it, I LOVE this lightly tinted base cream. This is a really lightweight base, so if you just need the smallest of coverage to give you an even skin tone, get rid of redness or just want something to make you look radiant this is the product for you. It gives a perfect complexion that naturally illuminates and corrects skin tone for a flawless finish. It's also really hydrating and soothing so it feels lovely on. However, if you want more coverage and prefer a BB cream or foundation adding a small amount to your other base will make your skin look amazing. I use this on me and I mix it with presenters base ALL the time, switching between this and my other favourite Suquu Makeup Creamy Base. It makes skin look so good, especially if you have a bit of redness. It comes in 3 shades, I've only used the Champagne so I'm only commenting on that one, but I imagine the Peach and Rose shades work the same for darker and lighter skins respectively. I can't stress how fresh and flawless skin looks with this stuff, definitely a kit favourite of mine and a good buy.

19/03/2014

MEET THE ARTISTS - ERYN KRUEGER

This latest 'Meet The Artists' is with Eryn Krueger, a phenonemanl makeup artist whose story I am so excited to hear as she is the Makeup Department Head for one of my current TV obsessions, American Horror Story. If you watch AHS you will completely understand my obsession and if you don't, you're missing out! Everything about AHS is magnificent, including the makeup and the makeup effects which are so wonderfully imaginative and absolutely contribute to the massive success of the show. Eryn has been a makeup artist for 28 years working as Department Head on some of the hugest shows and movies on TV like Sabrina The Teenage Witch, Nip/Tuck, Glee, Everyone Loves Raymond, Liz & Dick, Eat Pray Love. I am thrilled Eryn took the time to share her career path and stories, as well as sharing some of her pro tips.

Snapshot of a 28 year career

MANW: How did you start your career and what was the progression it took?
EK: I started out in a makeup effects lab in the height of horror in 1986. John Buechler gave me a chance, I worked for him for a while then moved onto other shops where I worked for Stan Winston, Rick Baker and many others. I started doing small makeup projects on the weekends and moved away from the shops to start department heading low budget films. My career kept building and, although I've been doing this for almost 28 years, I consider myself a late bloomer. 


MANW: You mainly design the make-up for TV dramas, including special effects makeup. Did you ever want to work in fashion or beauty?
EK: I've always been most driven towards film. I rolled into television because of Ryan Murphy and he's kept me very busy for the past 11 years. I've done some fashion and beauty but it's not my passion, I really still dig the monster squads I work with.


MANW: Do you have a preference for the type of jobs  and make-ups you like to do, and do you prefer straight or effects makeup?
EK: I love the development and research of characters best, which can be makeup effects or beauty. I like them both equally but for different reasons.


MANW: What is the process of creating character looks and how much say do you have in the designs? 
EK: On AHS Ryan Murphy tells me about the characters he's writing, we talk about what he wants and I will add to his ideas. We do a lot of testing, I mostly get it on the first shot but occasionally we do many looks to fine-tune until we nail it. Ryan says "it needs to be something totally original and never-seen before" to me a lot.. no pressure! If I have a general idea of what direction I want a makeup to go in I will start googling pictures or look in my references. Sometimes it pops in my head while I'm sleeping.

MANW: How much do logisitcal issues come into play with character designs and how do you keep continuity on characters with heavy/intricate effects?
EK: Continuity for prosthetics is the same as beauty makeup, it's all about taking great notes and very detailed pictures. Running both departments can be very stressful-it's all about your team and how efficient and creative they are. We help each other on every makeup.


MANW: You have worked on some legendary shows like American Horror Story, Glee, Everybody Loves Raymond.. can you tell us about some of the stand out moments of your career?
EK: They are endless! Shooting in Iceland on "Flags of Our Fathers" was very memorable, we had to drive quads to get to set on the beach. We were filming the Americans landing in Iwo Jima and it was quite bloody with lots of bombs going off, I was in charge of the practical effects gags and it was amazing. Glee memories are unfortunately tainted by the passing of Cory Monteith. I was the department head for the pilot and first two seasons when it all started and those were my kids, the Lady Gaga/KISS episode and the Thriller episode are my two favourites. Another wonderful memory was filming Everybody Loves Raymond in Italy for a week which was so beautiful and so much fun! American Horror Story has been unbelievable challenging, this last year we spent Halloween and Thanksgiving in New Orleans (we were there 7 months) and we still managed to have a great time even working 100 work weeks. I've been lucky enough to get to travel all over the world with this job and I wouldn't change a moment.


MANW: You've been in the industry a long time, how do you think it has differed and what advice would you give to new artists starting out?
EK: New artists need to know every aspect of makeup, producers do not want to hire a bunch of different people to do simple effects. Know your craft; beard work, bald caps, injuries, beauty, tattoo coverage, airbrushing.. you need to make yourself indispensable to your department head to keep your job and move up. I only hire people that can do everything.

MANW: All artists have 'the wish list'; a face they would love to work on or a show or film they would have loved to have worked on. My current one (other than AHS which has amazing makeup and effects makeup) is the show Nashville, I'm obsessed with the country glamour and Connie Britton's amazing hair. Who or what are yours?
EK: I love Connie Britton! She's awesome. I also love Downton Abbey and of course all things Harry Potter.. that would have been my dream job.

MANW: On to the good stuff, what are your tricks for flawless looking skin?
EK: Anti-aging products like RoC night cream is terrific and I use Laura Mercier Primer or Makeup Forever primer to smooth out any rough spots. Highly pigmented makeup applied and buffed into the skin with a foundation brush and a damp egg sponge works well for me.


MANW: What are your top 5 holy grail kit products? 
EK: I love Senna Uplift right on top of the cheekbone, Julie Hewett white eyeliner, Estée Lauder highlighter in Soft Pink, Peter Thomas Roth matte lip balm for men, and a tie for Makeup Forever HD and Stila Stay All Day.

MANW: What's your best make-up artist tip to give women?
EK: Blend! Brush through those eyelashes..the spidery look is ageing. And don't forget blush and bronzer all year round, it's important for a healthy look.


MANW: Finally, false eyelashes - the longer the better or enough already they look ridiculous?
EK: I don't mind eyelashes at all, but leave the giant heavy ones for Halloween. False lashes are dramatic no matter what size..a little goes a long way.

You can find out more about Erin on her website or follow her on twitter.


17/03/2014

SHU UEMURA - BRIGHTENING GENTLE CLEANSING OIL


I have never, EVER, used a product that removes every trace of makeup so easily, efficiently and gently as this does. Occasionally I try and test it with tons and tons of makeup but there is no match for this stuff it's fantastic, it is the most efficient makeup remover I have ever used. 

I like to use oil cleansers at night because it makes me massage it in to my skin to remove the makeup and, as every facialist will tell you, massaging products in is the best thing you can do for your skin. I try to do this with moisturiser but I never manage more than 3 seconds, but with an oil cleanser you kind of have to. After a few seconds massaging I add water to emulsify the product and massage it in again all over. I use a muslin cloth or flannel soaked in hot water to wipe off the product and amazingly there is never any makeup on the cloth, ever! It doesn't matter how much makeup I was wearing nothing ever comes off on the cloth, which is seriously impressive. And it is so gentle, I have pretty sensitive skin and I never get red or sore skin with this, my skin always feels very soft and smooth after. I would recommend this cleanser  for everyone but if you particularly wear a lot of makeup I can't imagine a better remover for you to try.  

It's wonderful for sensitive skins, I can't imagine this aggravating anyone, the 'brightening' element is really great for for dull complexions..skin does look clearer and certainly feels softer after use but my real rave review comes from how easily it removes the strongest of makeup and how gently it does it. I had a look at reviews on Shu Uemura website to see what other people had said and there were hundreds of reviews all saying the same as me so you don't have to believe just me! It's not drugstore cheap but it's not outrageously expensive either. I will say that you really don't use very much product and a bottle will last you a really long time. I use mine every night and 3 months later I'm finally reaching the end which is brilliant value for money.

14/03/2014

BOBBI BROWN BB CREAM


I realised I've had this a while and not written about it, which is weird because I've been using it for months and I love it. I consider myself a BB cream expert, I have tried so many as I don't really like wearing foundation. I want even a smooth even skin tone but I don't want to feel or look like I'm wearing foundation, which is the exact point of a BB cream and Bobbi Brown does it so well. I'm a fan of skin that looks like skin, I don't want my face to look super matte and flat, I want it to look like skin with a natural glow which is why I particularly love this. 

It's so moisturising, it specifically boosts hydration without looking shiny and contains light reflective pigments that brighten the skin. It also contains pore-reducing peptides to minimise fine lines and botanical extracts that reduces discolouration and redness, evening out the skin tone. It says it helps create a clear more even skin tone over time, I'm not sure about that but it does give a really lovely finish. The best part is it contains a whacking SPF 35 which is so impressive, it's so important to wear a high SPF every day.

It's a lightweight, easily buildable formula, great to build up where you need it and blends flawlessly so you don't get terrible tide marks on the neck and sides of the face. it comes in a really good colour range of 9 shades, probably the best I've seen in a BB cream which doesn't surprise me as Bobbi Brown has always been a brand leader of full colour ranges. The extra light is pretty great for very pale and 3 new dark colours have recently been added to the range.

I'm sorry I keep writing reviews of wonderful BB creams, there are just so many good ones on the market and I am a total sucker for a tinted moisturiser, I have to try them all. I have to say Bobbi Browns' is pretty special, there aren't that many that are particularly great on 30+ skin, and it's the only one (other than Liz Earle Skin Tint, which only comes in 4 shades and has a completely different and much dewier finish) that I use on both myself and in my kit.

12/03/2014

CLINIQUE EYESHADOW PALETTES - 10/10 THE BEST NEUTRAL PALETTES

I haven't been blogging lately as I've been busy filming but I wanted to talk about Clinique makeup. Other than their chubby sticks, which started the whole chubby stick revolution, I haven't really talked much about Clinique makeup. I don't know why because it's great and certainly some items are staples in mine and lots of makeup artists kits (for example High Impact Mascara is AMAZING). I think of Clinique as a quiet, unassuming brand of great quality that quietly gets on with it without shouting about it. It doesn't follow trends, it doesn't bring out a new version of a product every 5 minutes, and when it does bring out new products they're consistently really well thought out, practical and excellent quality. There are other great product examples I could give but I mainly want to talk about their eyeshadow palettes.



I don't know why I never thought of reviewing this palette before since I've had it (and regularly use it - big statement) at work and in my own makeup bag for years. The quads have been around forever but specifically the Teddy Bear Quad is probably one of the best neutral palettes you can own for several reasons:
* As a makeup artist obviously packaging and size is extremely important to me, the least I have to carry the better and, whilst I love palettes, I hate palettes with only a couple good colours and some pointless colours. I have much larger palettes I use for work but I also need small palettes that fit into small bags, touch up bags etc and this is the perfect size for that. Which also means it's the perfect size for regular size makeup bags. I hate opening up little one colour pots at work and in my own makeup bag and this quad palette is slim and small enough to take up no room and it's the perfect 4 neutral colours. 
* It is also practically impossible to get a small matte (key word here) neutral palette without some kind of awful shimmer in it and this just nails it on all levels: quality, colours, size, packing..the works. 
* It's so unassuming, but if you like a neutral, natural or smokey eye you will not go wrong with this palette as a makeup wearer or a professional.

I also need to mention Cliniques new Limited Edition eyeshadow palette which is so wonderful and compliments the Teddy Bear quad perfectly so I thought I'd write about them together.  



It comes in 8 shades, but it's still the perfect size and packaging as the quad. There's obviously a much larger neutral colour choice, which as most blog followers know I'm all about neutrals so I automatically love this, but it's completely different to Teddy Bear as these all have a shimmer to them (not an over the top cheap looking shimmer). If you like to have a bit of shimmer or glam up your smokey eye these palettes compliment each other perfectly. 

Neither palettes are crazy expensive and both will last you ages, you're not going to run through them in a few months that's for sure. They are great for a personal and professional makeup bags, personally I can't think what else anyone would need.. they cover every base for wearable day and night time looks.

*why same price in Pounds and Dollars it is so UNFAIR!