23/01/2015

MEET THE ARTISTS - MARIETTA CARTER-NARCISSE

You probably haven't heard of Marietta but unless you live under a rock you have certainly seen her work. During my teenage years in the early 90's Marietta was the makeup behind tons of people and shows I, and most people at the time, obsessed over. In Living Color was huge in America, Boyz In The Hood was one of the few VHS tapes I owned and watched a zillion times and there probably isn't a person alive who hasn't seen the giant epic Malcolm X. As department head of Malcolm X, The Tina Turner Story.. What's Love Got to Do With it, Boyz In The Hood, Sparkle, White Men Cant Jump plus many more you would think such a successful career designing movies would be only movie based but Marietta is a true "all rounder" which you don't see so much at that level. Marietta has a long list of credits as personal makeup artist to stars on huge movies including Samuel L Jackson (Jacqui Brown) and Whoopie Goldberg (Ghost), alongside another list just as long as personal makeup artist to stars on press junkets, promos, campaigns and editorial shoots with some of the greatest stars of our time: Angela Bassett, Danny Devito, Diana Ross, Denzel Washington, Natalie Cole, Laurence Fishburne, Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx, Cindy Crawford, Damon Wayons, Queen Latifah, Tupac Shakur, she even went to Sesame Street with Whoopi! Marietta has another long list of music videos with even more of the greats such as Barry White, Janet Jackson, Neil Young, Crosby Stills & Nash, Julio Inglesias and Kenny Loggins to name just a few. From music, TV, film and beauty it's safe to say that Marietta was at the forefront (or behind the forefront) of a large scale of arts who had an impact on shaping our society. Her most recent film work designing "Whitney" with one icon, Angela Basset, playing another icon, Whitney Houston, has recently aired and I am thrilled she took some time to talk to me about her incredible career and, of course, share some of her pro tips.

A snapshot of Marietta's career

MANW: How did you start your career and what was the progression it took?
MCN: My first love was sewing which began at age 12 when I migrated to the United States from Barbados. This love of sewing out of necessity led me to an after school grooming club in my Junior High School; that was my first real introduction to the world of makeup. Shortly after I attended two charm schools which really heightened my interest and by 16 I had already amassed a steady paying clientele of about 25 customers without realising I was an entrepreneur. All through my undergraduate studies I kept sewing; I made clothes for fashion shows, taught my peers how to sew and even ventured into creating bridal gowns, it was second nature and a no-brainer, then I had this epiphany why not combine my love of sewing with makeup and hair. So, after graduating from University and a two-year miserable stint at a major insurance company, I enrolled in cosmetology school. 

After receiving my New York cosmetology license I was building my hair business while also freelancing for Revlon. They had just introduced Polished Ambers, a line for women of color so I was simultaneously sharpening my makeup artistry skills along with my hair skills. For personal reasons I relocated from New York to Los Angeles via Europe and through my brother I met one of the hottest recording groups at that time, The Commodores. A lifestyle that I had written about but never envisioned coming to fruition came true, so be careful what you ask for because it most certainly will come true. I hitched my wagon to him and went all through Europe, eventually landing in Los Angeles. Once in LA I continued freelancing for Revlon as well as several other lines and I met, again through my brother and The Commodores, legendary singer Natalie Cole. When the opportunity presented itself, as Natalie and I were walking out of LAX airport together, I mentioned to her that I sewed as well as did makeup and hair and if she ever needed anyone I was available. Three days later Natalie’s manager called and told me to meet Natalie after rehearsal, she needed several elaborately made gowns altered and shortly after that I was on a plane to Hawaii with her. 

Being Natalie’s personal confidant, assistant, makeup, hair and wardrobe person was an amazing opportunity. I was young, single, without chick or child and had thrown caution to the wind, but I was losing my passion and everything started to feel like a job. One evening, while at the movies watching the credits roll, it hit me hard that I wanted to see my name roll on the screen so I enrolled in a Makeup Artistry school for motion picture. After graduation everything changed while assisting my brother, Ian Carter, on a Commodores music video; he introduced me to the makeup artist Robin Siegel who, at that time, was fully entrenched in the music video world. We exchanged numbers and I hung around that set and watched her do her thing, including picking up a few meaningful work tidbits at the same time, three days later I was assisting her on a Jeffrey Osborne music video. 

Most of the individuals I met at the beginning of this phase of my career were through Robin, she helped me carve my niche in this industry. It was a very exciting time in both of our careers and a reference was everything back then. She refered me to a few people who worked nonstop; Valli O’Reilly, Anne “Medusah” Aulenta, Lynne Eagan, Lizbeth Williamson and a few others. Whenever they needed extra help or if they were unavailable I got a phone call and I will be eternally grateful to those who took a chance on me. Robin and I did several things together until our paths separated when she chose to develop her career in television and I chose to develop mine in film. We have been best friends for about 30 years and let’s just say the rest is history.

MANW: I believe you may be the first true "all rounder" I've interviewed. If I had to narrow it down you mainly work as a personal makeup artist to well known actors on movies or for tv performances, as well as department heading movies. I know you do lots of campaigns and beauty editorials with personalties but did you ever want to work in fashion or beauty? Or do special effects?

MCN: I have done my share of effects, when I first graduated from makeup school I was gung-ho about effects, but after several bouts with asthma I decided that aspect of my life would take a backseat. I did one or two small fashion shows, lots of bridal work, worked in a salon as an aesthetician and freelanced for several makeup lines however I never really had a burning desire to work in fashion. I paid my dues in video hell (27 hour days filled with mineral oil-based smoke and playback) and then I fell in love with film. Even though I did quite a bit of television, film just kept pulling me back in.

MANW: Do you have a preference for the type of jobs and make-ups you like to do? From the sketch comedy character makeups in In Living Color, designing movies or do you prefer being personal to one person on movies?

MCN: My sketch comedy wasn’t really that much, I worked on In living Color off and on because one of my besties, the very talented Stephanie Cozart Burton who was co-department head, hired me when I was in between movies. I also filled in for her the last two weeks of the show. The pace almost killed me and gave me a whole respect for what she did, as soon as you were ready to do a makeup look there would be a major script change with very little time to create and execute that change into a completely different makeup look. I never did quite figure out how she did it, much respect to my sista, I bow down to her. I love doing clean beauty makeup but I really just love developing that character in the script, there is something very challenging and quite majestic about bringing that character to life. I enjoy being a department head just as much as being a personal to one person, I feel fortunate to have done both simultaneously. 

MANW: What is your process of creating character looks and how much say do you have in the designs? 

MCN: This is my process for developing each characters looks: I read the script a minimum of three times before I even begin to break the characters down, I like to get a very strong feel of the evolution of each character that I have to work with. After I do my initial breakdown I create my list of questions. Many times there are not enough details surrounding each character, script notations maybe vague or sketchy or just not there. I like to give each character a somewhat complete life so that the makeup evolution makes sense. This usually involves conversations with the script supervisor, director, costume designer, the hairstylist and the actor. Film is a collaborative effort so everyones input counts. 

On Malcolm X I spent quite a bit of time working with Denzel Washington to create the look of Malcolm X. We met several times to discuss the various looks and the major transition from Malcolm Little to Malcolm X. After much deliberation we agreed to not use contacts to simulate Malcolm’s green eyes because it was too much using both contacts as well as wearing glasses. We also agreed to apply the moustache in two pieces and to cut the full hand tied lace beard and apply it in a few pieces, this made him feel more comfortable. 

For Ghost Whoopi and I discussed her looks, as well as with the director. I custom blended her liquid foundations as well as her lipsticks, I wanted her skin to look clean and dewy. She really wanted her black lipstick so I used dark brown instead of black and mixed it with a very orange/gold color to create a much softer lip colour. 

Tina, What’s love got to Do With it required a lot of detail. The director, the late Brian Gibson, was very hands-on, we had much discussion prior to shooting. He requested a complete breakdown of every look for Tina and Ike, including nail polish changes, so I handed over a continuity book before we even started shooting.

On my latest project Whitney, which aired on Lifetime Television in January 2015, there was very little time to do anything, we prepped as we were shooting. Changes happened quickly and mostly on the fly, the pace was insane.

MANW: You have worked on some legendary shows and movies, I still watch old episodes of In Living Colour on youtube, the epic Malcolm X and Boyz in The Hood, Jacqui Brown, Sesame Street with Whoopi Goldberg, Janet Jackson, Tupac, the incredible Angela Basset..it's a very long list of greats. Can you tell us about some of the stand out moments of your career? 

MCN: Wow, let’s see. I think one of the biggest standout moments of my career was meeting and spending about eight hours over the course of two days with the legendary and iconic Tina Turner, I felt like I was in the presence of Rock ‘n Roll royalty. Her energy, sense of purpose and sense of self were so heightened that it was majestic. We discussed many of the intrinsic nuances that were used to help bring Angela Bassett’s character to life in the movie but the highlight of our meeting was beyond anything that words can describe because, in order for me to get the full picture, Ms. Turner actually got down on her knees and did my makeup. That’s right, Tina Turner did my makeup. She pulled out her makeup bag from her purse and did half of my face in the 1960’s and the other half in the 1970’s to actually demonstrate the stage looks she used during those eras. I was in awe, and she said “I’ve always wanted to do a makeup artist’s makeup”. 

Another standout moment was doing makeup for the legendary and iconic Diana Ross for the movie Out of Darkness. This was an exciting opportunity to breakdown and create the evolution of the character with her. When I first came to the US, as a writer for our Junior High School paper aged 13, I was one of a few students chosen to attend a press junket for The Supremes at the world famous Waldorf Astoria and I got to take photos with Mary Wilson and Cindy Birdsong. Cut to years later I was booked for a photo shoot with Mary Wilson and I took that photo to show her. She loved it and told me she remembered that day. Wow! I had no idea that this was the direction my life would take.

And, the best moment, the pièce de résistance was most recently in Paris. I was invited to be a master instructor for Make Up For Ever’s new Film and Television Academy at Cite du Cinema in Saint Denis. I got a chance to meet and hang with Dany Sanz, founder and creator of Make Up For Ever, I revisited the original boutique that I visited 18 years ago and I was able to go into the back to Dany’s office and actually get my hands into products. It was amazing, electrifying and all those wonderful adjectives, I was like a kid in a candy store. We left the ultimate makeup artist’s paradise and went for a 20-minute leisure stroll through the streets of Paris to our dinner location. What an evening, dinner with Dany Sanz!

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? 
MCN: I feel some things have changed tremendously. The introduction of social media has increased the need for instant gratification and the speed at which producers expect you to deliver has tripled. Movie making time has decreased considerably yet you still have to produce the same high quality. For new artists starting out it’s important to pay more attention to detail and learn the craft properly by continuously educating themselves from the right sources. Stop being in such a hurry to conquer the next smoky eye, instead learn the history and the art of the craft as well as the business entity of the industry.

I am passionate about education and teaching as a whole, in 2009 I took a leap of faith and enrolled in Kaplan University Online and graduated with my Masters in Higher Education with a focus in Adult Teaching and Learning and Online Teaching and Learning. My goal was to learn more about online teaching so I could deliver classes online and I have since created my Lipstick Lectures (a series of free monthly, one-hour sessions that discuss a different topic in film every month and anyone who is interested in a career in Film and TV can tune in) and my Workshops by Marietta Classes which focus strictly on the business of this industry. My other baby is my MUA Planner (a simple tool to assist makeup artists in their daily appointment lives which I designed to be a makeup artist’s backup life) and my recently created eBook on Industry Terminology.

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. I  equally enjoy doing beauty and character makeups so In Living Color/SNL was/is a bit of a dream of mine, although the 3 minute bald caps they do on SNL scare me endlessly. And obviously going to Sesame Street is a major life goal! Who or what are yours?

MCN: Wow, that’s a tough one. Halle Berry, I missed out working with her because shortly after interviewing with her she cancelled the project. I would have also loved to have done Sharon Stone and Anne Hathaway’s makeup. I think working on The Devil Wears Prada or Sex in the City would have been a fun makeup experience.

MANW: On to the good stuff, what are your tricks for flawless looking skin?

MCN: I love beautiful skin so I like a good skincare regime which includes regular facials and the right serums. I don’t like product overload so I use minimal stuff, I apply foundation lightly then I blend, blend, blend. I Love using a beauty blender for my final blend. I do my corrective work in creams, especially cream blush. I like to set the foundation properly so I use a powder puff then I buff the face with a large, clean powder brush.

MANW: What are your top 5 holy grail kit products? 

MCN: These are some of the must-haves for my kit. RCMA & Graftobian foundation palettes, RCMA Clear Foundation, Make Up For Ever HD Cream Blushes, Eve Pearl Blush Trio, MAC Orange Full Coverage Foundation, MAC Red Full Coverage Foundation, Eve Pearl Invisible Powderless Powder, Embryolisse lait-crème-concentrè, Ben Nye Five O’Sharp Beard Cover, Embryolisse Rich Balm, Beauty Blenders, a white palette, a white cape, Tweezerman tweezers, Lucas’ Papaw Ointment, RCMA No Color Powder, RCMA Over-Powder in warm gold. Skindanavia Makeup Finishing Spray, Christian Dior Loose Powder in medium, Face Atelier’s loose powder in ochre, Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder, Touche éclat and Lancome Teint Miracle Instant Retouch Pen, Smashbox & Stila Primers, SmashBox O-Glow Intuitive Cheek Color, ELF Studio Eyebrow kit, Cinema Secrets powder puffs and Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch.

MANW: What's your best make-up artist tip to give women?

MCN: My best makeup artist tip to women is to blend, blend, blend, then blend some more. I love to see clean, beautiful skin accentuated with hints of color on the cheeks, a beautiful crisp mouth and clean pretty eyes. When a woman is over 40, I believe that less is best, so they should spend more time on the skincare to avoid using a lot of makeup.

MANW: Finally, false eyelashes - the longer the better or enough already they look ridiculous?

MCN: I use false lashes in moderation. If the natural lashes are beautiful I prefer to use several coats of mascara. I enjoy mixing a couple of different formulations to achieve maximum results so I might mix lengthening, thickening and full volume mascaras to get the look I desire.

For more info on Marietta, her classes and books visit her website here or follow her on Twitter here.

If you liked this interview and would like to read other leading industry makeup artists stories (including the above mentioned Robin Siegel) have a look at the rest of the series here.


22/01/2015

CLINIQUE CHUBBY STICK LIP COLOUR BALM - THE PERFECT RED LIP


I've had this photo of Keira Knightley at last weeks Golden Globes* saved on my phone and I keep looking at it as the makeup (and her) is so beautiful. And then I realised the lip colour is exactly the same as the lip product I've been favouriting for a while now, Clinique Chubby Stick Lip Colour in 06 Roomiest Rose is amazing and has been my go to product for the last few months. Sometimes I'll have products in my kit for months before I use them and then I'll kick myself for taking so long to try them because they're incredible and this is just that product. It's not harsh like a lipstick, it kind of melts into the lips so it looks like a stain, but without looking dry. It's really hard to explain until you try it, it's like wearing an effortless 'natural' red lip if a red lip can look natural, it's what I call a very modern way of wearing a red lip that is extremely wearable and practical for the modern woman living and working; it's not going to leave it's imprint anywhere or bleed across the chin, it's not heavy, it's not glossy or in your face glaring bright, it's just perfect. This photo of Kiera looks exactly what I'm trying to explain.. it looks soft, beautiful and very flattering. I must say I've used Roomiest Rose on a lot of people of varying colours and tones and it suits everyone, it's probably my favourite lip product in my kit.

For my other "red lip" posts go here:
*GET THE RED LIPS LOOK
*RED LIPS AT THE GRAMMYS
*HOW TO APPLY THE PERFECT RED LIP

* To buy in America go here
* Kiera's Golden Globes makeup by Kate Lee

Follow me on Twitter here and Instagram here (@anniemakeup).

12/01/2015

THE BEST MAKEUP FROM THE 2015 GOLDEN GLOBES, AND THE WORLD

Rosamund Pike, Emily Blunt and Amy Adams at The Golden Globes 

Can we all just agree that natural pretty makeup with soft pinks, peaches and taupes are the most flattering? Accentuating natural beauty with soft flattering colours will always be the best use of makeup and one day every makeup wearing female will know that scouse brows and thick heavy makeup looks like it's been applied with a trowel and crayons. ok thanks bye. 

11/01/2015

LA ROCHE POSAY HYDRAPHASE INTENSE SOOTHING REHYDRATING MASK


Sometimes I look at a product in my bathroom or makeup kit and think wait, have I really not blogged about this product before? and it's always a really unassuming non-showy-off product that I use regularly and completely rely on and this is one of those examples. I was so shocked I hadn't already blogged about this mask that I had to type it into the search bar to check. This Hydraphase Intense Masque by La Roche Posay is my rock, I know I often blog about other masks and they're all great and each do something wonderful, especially when my skin is in good shape. But it's when my skin is not in good shape that this is the mask I ALWAYS pick up. 

I drink a lot of water, I preach about drinking a lot of water and I'm a great advert for drinking a lot of water (good skin and no lines nearing 40) but sometimes days get away from me and even I skip a few days and when that happens I immediately see it in my face where lines and spots start to appear, that's when I reach for this mask. When I wax my upper lip and it goes red and gets spots that's when I use this mask, when I've been in the sun and got sunburnt that's when I use this mask, if I have a facial that scrubbed too hard thats when I use this mask. The pattern is whenever there is something wrong with my skin this is the mask I use and it always without fail fixes it or kickstarts the repair and healing for an imminent fix. 

I go on a LOT about La Roche Posay products and that's because they work and it's what I love about them. I'm not going to go into the science as you can read that yourselves but I will say this is without doubt the most reliable mask I've ever used, and I use a lot. After use skin is so intensively rehydrated that it plumps up the complexion so it glows with health and appears more uniform (good at reducing lines and spots) and immediately feels soothed and comforted. Very importantly Hydraphase is not just for dry skin, it's perfect for sensitive and acne-prone skin, mostly because these problems are a direct result of dehydrated skin. If you have a lot of sensitivities, don't drink enough water, get dehydrated breakouts, have dry skin, irritated skin, hungover skin, generally unhappy skin, I can't recommend this mask highly enough. And it's cheap! Comes in a 50ml bottle that lasts ages.


Follow me on Twitter here and Instagram here (@anniemakeup).

03/01/2015

SANCTUARY SPA SKIN PERFECTING BB CREAM


Happy new year! Towards the end of last year I was away filming in Morocco and then America, then it was Christmas and truthfully it's been hard getting back into blogging. But all it took was one amazing product and I couldn't wait to write it up and let you know. Before Christmas I met up with the lovely Sanctuary Spa PR people who gave me a bag of their products to try and I have been completely blown away. Which is weird as I just remembered I used to use their face moisturiser years ago in my early 20s which I loved and I completely forgot about that until just now.

There were a few stand out products that I found to be incredible, mostly this BB cream. Yes, I know I'm obsessed with BB creams and I recommend another one every month, I'm sorry. Their BB cream melts into my skin, covers all facial redness and evens out my skin tone perfectly leaving it with a lovely glow finish (if you like to powder your face so matte it cracks this isn't for you). Like all BB creams you're not getting full coverage but if like me you just want to smooth out a bit of redness and have a lovely healthy glowing skin this is huge winner. It melts into the skin, doesn't feel like you're wearing anything and it makes skin feel soooo soft, more than any BB cream I've ever used and like I already mentioned I really love the finish it gives. Comes in two colours Light-Medium and Medium-Dark.

Normally £15, I found it for £3.99 here, that's an unbelievable bargain!!

01/12/2014

CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE: SO MANY GIFT SETS..

It took me a long, long time to choose but I finally managed to select the perfect gifts for Christmas for everyone, whatever your price range, age or gender there is definitely something lovely here for everyone. These are all products I know are great or items that I want, and I have really great taste so I hope you find something you like! Or you could point your loved ones in the direction of this page to make sure you get something you really want instead of new socks. Merry Christmas shopping!

MAKE-UP

BEAUTY

6. Glamglow Gift Sexy £49.99 

 STOCKING FILLERS
2. Clarins Gift Crackers box of 6 £39 (exc. to Selfridges)

4. Joan Collins Crystal Pocket Mirror (288 crystals!) £35
5. Dermasuri £19.95
6. Weleda Soap Gift Set £11.95 

 PERFUME & CANDLES
4. Neal & Wolf Candle £17.95 



19/11/2014

THE (TRIED & TESTED) THINNING HAIR BIBLE

Excellent products for thinning hair

Thinning hair is a problem for so many of us, undoubtedly to do with lifestyle, diet and chemical treatments, including products like shampoo that are packed with chemicals which we use on our scalp. It's really no wonder it's a problem for so many women. It's been over a year since I wrote about my horrific hair nightmare how I destroyed my hair. A quick recap: after going blonde the entire front and top layer snapped off to few inches long leaving me not only with a crazy short top layer but very weak and thin hair that continued breaking and snapping off. My hair now is so much better but no-where near it's "before" state and definitely still in recovery. The top layer length has nearly caught up to the bottom but still slightly weak, prone to snapping and thin looking overall. Over the last 18 months I've used a lot of different things to help get my hair stronger and thicker so in turn it will look healthier and grow longer. I feel like I've become a bit of an expert on the subject of thinning hair, I've done a LOT of research and these are the products I've tried for long term effects, not quick fixes, good and bad. 

1. Viviscal £39.95/$39.99*

A bit of an industry secret, it probably needs a whole post on its own but I'll be brief and you can do your own research. These pills are packed with minerals and vitamins that specifically target hair strength and make your hair grow. They are a long term commitment and they say you have to take them for a minimum of 6 months but I noticed a difference after 2 or 3. I have had a lot of success with these and I know others who have also, they definitely make my hair grow very fast but I still have lots of shedding. They aren't cheap but they are worth it. I continue to take these and I can't imagine stopping.

2. Phtyo Phytolium £45.50/$65*

An intensive oil treatment you rub on your scalp 3 times a week after washing your hair. I used this for a month (one box) and noticed a huge difference with stronger hair, new hair and very little hair shedding, there was virtually none which is unheard of for me. I then went straight on to the Vichy Dercos (below) right after.

3. Vichy Dercos £36 (click link for deal at £30.60!)/$NA

Similar to the Phyto treatment but more intensive (and more expensive). You massage into the scalp on dry hair daily for 6 weeks for an intensive treatment, or as an up keep 3 times week for 6 weeks, so this works out expensive. I continued to see the huge difference that I had with the Phyto (above), much stronger hair that wasn't breaking as it was growing and I had practically no hair shedding which continued for about a month or so after I finished the treatment. As I said I used this right after the Phyto so I don't know which one, or if it was both, that worked so well but several months after stopping the shedding returned and my hair isn't as strong so I am about to start a new round and I will continue using as they do work very well.

4. Biotin

This vitamin in pill form directly helps hair grow. There are tons of internet reviews from people who have had great success taking these, I didn't. A common side effect is spots or acne, which I got, so I stopped taking them and the acne disappeared  Everyone is different so it may or may not do that to you, it is up to you to decide if you want to see.

5. Nioxin*

A specialised treatment for people with Alopecia and thinning hair. I haven't used this as it doesn't work with brazillian hair straightener treatment (which I have) but I have a friend who had a small area of her beautiful long hair fall out due to stress and alopecia and it fully grew back after using a Nioxin treatment. Certainly a treatment to research and consider.

6. Sisley Botanical Extracts For Hair & Scalp £87.50/$150*

I really liked this and it did work but I don't think it worked for me as well as the Phyto or Vichy. It works in the same way, you use the dropper to disperse onto the scalp and massage into the scalp on dry hair. I found it worked very well as a volume treatment, my hair looked and felt much thicker but I still had significant hair shedding. It is also extremely expensive. 

7. Jamaican Black Castor Oil £10/$8.99*

A recent discovery and may be one of the greatest things I've ever found. I've only used this a few weeks and already I noticed a huge difference. I've been concentrating it mostly on my hair line and centre parting and a whole new layer of hair has grown, it's quite incredible. At the moment I look like I've stuck my finger in a socket as this new layer on my parting is short and sticking up but if it continues to grow at this rate it should be long enough to lay flat in a few weeks! My hair line has filled in and looks noticeable thicker and the full length of my hair has grown has super fast. Same as any oil treatment, apply it to dry hair and leave in for a couple hours before washing out and use as often as you can or want to. I've been doing it a couple times a week. There are hundreds of 5* rave Amazon reviews so I'm certainly not alone with my success story. Depending on how much you use and length of your hair a bottle may or may not last you a long time but it's cheap enough and works so great that repurchasing doesn't matter. I will never stop using this (until it stops working that is). Ps. it's also really great for growing eyebrows.

8. L'Anza Keratin Healing Oil Hair Treatment £30.55/$49.18*

This won't grow new hair like the Castor Oil and Vichy/Phyto scalp treatments but it will make your existing hair look incredible, it's probably one of the best treatments I've ever used. When I use this I am constantly told how shiny and healthy my hair looks. I can also attest to it building strength, my hair feels much stronger after use. Use as a treatment and wash out or a tiny bit before blowdrying for an incredibly smooth and shiny blow dry. Be careful not too use to much or it will look lank and greasy. This is far superior to any other healing oil products, like Moroccan or Argan Oil for example. For dry or weak hair this is a must have.

*In America you can find the best deals here:

For Viviscal go here or here.
For Phyto Phytolium 4 go here.
For Nioxin go here
For Sisley Botanical Extracts For Hair & Scalp go here.
For Jamaican Black Castor Oil go here.
For L'Anza Healing Oil go here (free worldwide delivery) 

Please do share any success stories or other tips in the comments below.


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14/11/2014

LYONS LEAF 100% NATURAL BALM CLEANSER & MOISTURISER-IN-ONE


If you follow me on Instagram you may have noticed I have been moving to a 100% natural and more vegan diet over the last year, which I believe fully impacts your skin, hair and nails, particularly if you have any kind of skin complaint like exzcema or psoriasis. Whilst in Canada earlier this year I picked up a jar of all natural face cream at a farmers market for $10 and it turned out to be the best moisturiser I've ever used (yep, including Creme De La Mer). It confirmed my thoughts that natural products (food and topical) really are best way to look after yourself inside and out but since I threw away the accompanying card, and with it my ability to re-purchase, I've been on the hunt for natural skincare ever since. I recently came across Lyons Leaf, a wonderful couple who make homemade natural skincare from their garden which initially started as a hobby and has now grow into a full product line and winner of skincare awards.

Their ingredients policy is to grow as much as possible themselves and to choose natural ingredients in the most unprocessed state possible. All their products are made with water free recipes which don't require harsh preservatives and emulsifiers, ie. zero chemicals and they never use artificial colour or fragrance. For me, this is everything I want to hear.

I have tried most of their small product range (unfortunately it doesn't yet include a face moisturiser so the hunt is still on) and their products are really great. I have other product reviews coming but their stand out product is the Natural Beauty Balm which they describe as a complete facial care system that cleanses, exfoliates, moisturises, nourishes, repairs and protects in one. It is so great for travelling as it eliminates the need for extra products and bathroom clutter as it does everything in one, but I will say I found it to be a particularly amazing cleanser. Easily absorbent, it massages in so easily and removes EVERYTHING, even the cakiest of makeups. It's also a really great small size that packs a LOT in.You only need a tiny bit so the small pot lasts ages, It took two months to finish mine using it every night.


For anyone who uses a cleansing balm with a hot cloth like Elemis Cleansing Balm or Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish (the absolute best way to cleanse and both my favourite non-natural cleansers) this is the same; you massage it in and wipe off with a hot damp cloth, that's it. It feels extremely luxurious and nourishing and it makes my skin so soft and smooth right away. I am a moisturiser junkie so I still moisturise afterwards but my skin is plenty soft enough that I really don't have too. I imagine if you have very dry skin you would also still want to use a moisturiser after but I would also bet that after using this for a short while your very dry skin would become more comfortable. I will say the smell (something similar to wood shavings) took a bit of getting used to but I grew to like it and now I love it. This really does an amazing job and I can't say enough good things about it. Plus the price is superb considering how long it lasts.

I also highly reccomend trying one of their Natural Hand Made Soaps to wash with, especially if you suffer from dry, oily or sensitive skin, inflamed skin, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea or acne to see if natural products make a difference. I believe they will (they do for me) and I'd love to hear any of your natural product success stories.

All Lyons leaf products are suitable for vegetarians and vegans, are not tested on animals and are 100% natural.


05/11/2014

KRYOLAN GLAMOUR GLOW - MY FAVOURITE BLUSHER/HIGHLIGHTERS

Kryolan Glamour Glow Blusher/Highlighter 

It's taken me ages to write about these for no reason, but if you follow me on Instagram you will have seen me post photos of these all the time, they're my favourite blushers. I'm so obsessed they are divine, I've never seen a blusher look so beautiful on absolutely everyone. Depending on the colours you choose they make fantastic highlighters as well as blushers, they go on without streaking and they lasts ages, it just never disappears (great for filming for makeup artists). 

For makeup artists these come in an indispensable 8 tin palette. I have the indulgence palette but they have since brought out another three palettes with just as divine mix of colours and I want them all. Each palette has been so well thought out and has such a great mix of shades from highlight, colour to tan. I would say this is my most used blusher palette in my kit by miles, I can't really explain how gorgeous these look on the skin and on camera.

For everyone else they do come in individuals which I highly recommend getting. The singles don't come in every colour from the palettes; my most used colours are blush peach, sweet plum, rosy sensation, moon dust and sun kissed but it's well worth trying out different colours from the singles range as there isn't one bad colour and you won't go wrong. A big plus is that the colours are very true to the website pictures so do click on the links and visit the website for a closer look.

Please let me know if you have any of these and what colours you love. Like most Kryolan products I cannot rave about these enough!

To buy in America you can go here for individuals and here for the 8 tin palettes.

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31/10/2014

GLO & RAY CREAM EYESHADOW POTS


I really like this small UK brand, particularly their Mousse Eyeshadow pots which are nothing like mousse, they're cream to powder shadows very similar to MAC Paint Pots but quite a bit cheaper. There are just 8 colours in the range, so nothing like MACs range of 23 colours, but there are some great autumn colours; my favourites are Maroon Earth a deep maroon, Clematis a deep mauve and Ecru Land is a lovely olive colour (pictured above). Caramel Candy (the main picture) is the only brown colour and it's a really lovely universal 'suits everyone' deep brown, similar to MACs Constructivist, that I use quite a lot. 

All the Glo&Ray Mousse Shadow pots have a slight shimmer, but not overly so. Their eyeshadow quads have slightly too much shimmer and not enough pigment but the Mousse pots are very good; easy to apply, they blend great and they're long staying, I'm really impressed with them. 

I should also mention their eyeliners which at £5.50 is a bargain. Of course it's no bargain if they're rubbish but they are great; really lovely soft pencils that are easy to smudge and stay all day. Again, very impressed.

In America you can buy Glo&Ray direct from their UK website.

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