Various film & TV show tattoos by Christien Tinsley using his custom-made transfers

This post is mostly aimed at UK (and non US-based) makeup artists who aren't familiar with Tinsley Studios and it's owner Christien Tinsley. Christien has been a makeup artist for a long time, he's a multi-Emmy nominee and in 2005 was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Makeup for his work on Passion of the Christ. He later developed a new technique, the Prosthetic Transfer, that earned him an Academy Award for Technical Achievement in 2007. He's pretty amazing.

Christien and Tinsley Studios create realistic looking tattoo transfers that are waterproof, easy to apply and potentially last for 4-7 days without the need for re-application, and are used in nearly every US film and TV show where there are fake tattoos (see his website for examples). His tattoo transfers are excellent and the studio is now available to supply UK makeup artists. I have used them and they are brilliant, so easy to use and boy do they last. They have tons of designs for you to choose from or they can use your own artwork, or they can design any look you want. (They also offer custom tattoo suits that provide an easy way to 'tattoo' background without the time and expense of transfers). 

I put this transfer on me so I could show the quality and length of time it lasted and specifically chose a large piece that covered the majority of my upper arm. I placed it on the inner side where it would rub the most and it was perfect for 4 days. In that time had 5 showers (with soap) and I went to a Bikram class twice, the really hot yoga where you sweat like a maniac for 90 mins. It only became less than perfect after 4 days.  

My transfer example on the 1st (left) and 4th (right) day

Check out the custom tattoos gallery on the Tinsley Studio website to see some examples and how great they look, all those tattoos were done by Christien using his tattoo transfers. Some of the large pieces, like the back, can be done all in one go, arms can be done in one but are sometimes broken up into forearm and upper arm pieces, it all depends on the look and the coverage areas. For a tricky curved area, such as arm sleeves, 
it's a good idea to get a pattern cast of the actor with proper measurements and contours of the body so they can create the tattoo so the images wrap according to the actor’s specific build, essentially like taking scalp measurements to build a perfectly fitting wig, or a life cast for personally fitted prosthetics. They liken this process to wrapping a piece of paper around a basketball: How do you make a basketball flat? How do you assemble the images so that they will piece together on a round surface? Where do you cut in so that the flat paper can bend around a curve but still be flush with the skin? It’s a bit more tricky but works beautifully when accurately done.

Christien strongly advices the following for all transfers; prepare the surface of the skin properly before applying, position the tattoo properly and take your time. If applied correctly you don't have to think about bad applications or edges. He also really recommends for custom orders to plan ahead.. the more time you have to order, test and make changes, the better.

Sons of Anarchy "Jax" back tattoo by Tracey Anderson done with Tinsley Transfers

Tracey Anderson is an emmy-nominated makeup artist, very well know and respected for her tattoo work. As Sons of Anarchy Makeup Department Head for seven seasons there is nothing she can't tell you about tattoos. All the tattoos on SOA were done with Tinsley Transfers so I got Tracey to tell us how she uses tattoo transfers and she kindly shared her vast experience and tips. (You can also read her great "Meet The Artists" interview with me here).

MANW: What is your preferred way to do tattoos?  
TA: I have seen many different methods of applying and removal and I guess there are 200 ways to do the dishes and in the end it doesn't matter as long as they get clean but I always use Tinsley Transfers, and when time allows I will have them customise the tones and size. I figure get the best tattoo transfers on the market but there are some great ones from other vendors. I do sometimes freehand smaller tattoos; I draw them and set with prosaide, and if I wanted to age it I would use a little Ben Nye Final Seal on a sponge..the alcohol in it bleeds the tattoo into the skin like a real aged tattoo.

MANW: Can you describe the process how you apply tattoo transfers? 
TA: Shave the area before starting the whole tattoo process and wipe with 99% alcohol. Lightly prosaide the back of the tattoo with a sponge, so thin you barely see residue, but I only do this on poreless skin, heavy drinkers or stunts actors to make sure they stay. I never prosaide the skin, that just creates a large area to catch dirt and fuzz from wardrobe. I use a makeup puff and Evian water to apply over the tattoo, I haven't researched it but I decided that kitchen sponges may have a chemical that interferes with the tattoo and tap water has chlorine which could break it down faster. I then blow dry it on cold, although I know some like to use warm water and a warm dryer and I get that activating the glue with heat may give a better adherence. I always take away tackiness with a light coating of RCMA powder and then I lightly wipe over with Ben Nye Final Seal sprayed on a wedge sponge to melt the powder. I don't spray the hell out of it because Final Seal creates a plastic coating which suffocates your actors skin which maybe breaks the tattoo down a bit, but mostly it can cause a heat rash because the skin can't breathe. 

MANW: What's the best way to age a tattoo? 
TA: The best way is to airbrush a water based foundation makeup over in their skin colour and tap it out with MAC blot powder or Colorescience sunscreen powder dusted over. 

MANW: Was Jax's big back piece just one piece, and do you have any tricks to getting such huge pieces on evenly other than just go slow and carefully? 
TA: Yes. I wet it down the middle first then fold my spraying out from there. The answer really is just take your time and never rush. 

MANW: Was it the same application to apply Juice's scalp tattoo as the body?
TA: It's always more challenging when you apply to a face, elbow or head. Just shave as close as possible and take your time. 

MANW: Can you apply tattoo transfers on a prosthetic?
TA: Yes, you can apply them on most prosthetic materials. However you can't apply on on dummies/ fake bodies. If you need to have one tattooed they must do it when they build the body. 

MANW: How do you keep continuity with tattoos and get it in the exact spot every day? 
TA: For continuity I line up the tattoo to freckles, wrinkles or scars when possible. I take lots of notes and photos.

Any other tricks you can share?
TA: When you cut the tattoo leave about 3 mm of flashing and if you need to reattach an edge tap it down with some prosaide. Touch up during the day can be done with alcohol activated pallets, tattoo pens are quick but not really your best bet for staying power. If I need to clean a tattoo during the day I wipe with a baby wipe and I always use Colorescience sunscreen powder if an actor will be in the sun, never spray sunscreen as it has alcohol which will break down the tattoo. You sunburn one swastika outline on a man and you never forget to sunscreen!

MANW: Tattoo transfers last for days, even with washing. Would you remove them at the end of every filming day and redo fresh the following day or leave on for a couple days if they still looked good? 
TA: I usually can get away with leaving a tattoo for up to 3 days and just touch up with alcohol pallet and clean with a baby wipe. Even main actors, including Jax, unless they had a scene where the tattoo was featured.

MANW: Talk us through removing tattoo transfers
TA: I only use Beta Solve from PPI to remove. You marinade the tattoo for a minute or so and it comes right off without irritating the skin from incessant rubbing. If I need to change a tattoo during the day I use alcohol and a scrub glove, you can't use any oils if you need to reapply.

Here is a playlist (27 videos) on SOA tattoos, seven of the short videos are Tracey talking about the tattoos (all Tinsley transfers) and show her applying them. One in particular where she overcomes the problem of applying Juice's scalp tattoo over his hair growth in Season 5 is pretty incredible. You should definitely watch these.

Tinsley Studio can be reached at customfx@tinsleystudio.com, www.TinsleyStudio.com.

You can follow me on Twitter here and Instagram here (@anniemakeup)



Here I go again recommending another natural balm. Chickweed has been used for centuries as a remedy for cuts and wounds and for softening and soothing skin. It's known for its moisturising properties and easing itching and irritation from eczema and psoriasis. Viridian Chickweed Organic Balm contains other skin soothing ingredients and is great to help soothe, calm & moisturise irritated and sore eczema & psoriasis skin problems, or itchy and irritated skin from any cause. I used it recently on holiday for bites and sunburns with great success. It's non-greasy and quickly absorbed which is a massive bonus for me. It does have a weird smell that I have genuinely come to love.

Like all Viridian products this one is also 100% organic and natural, no synthetics whatsoever, they're created in the United Kingdom using traditional plant knowledge. I have so much love for Viridian products, please do read my reviews on some of their other fantastic all-natural skincare products; Ultimate Beauty Calming Moisture Balm, Skin Repair Oil, and their Organic Rose Oil - the best thing for your skin.

Another wonderful 100% natural product for treating psoriasis and eczema is Lyons Leaf Calendula Cream. And other NON-natural creams I successfully treated dermatisis with are Balnuem, miracle cure for dry, cracked skin and La Roche Posay B5 Soothing Repair Cream. Click the above links for full details and my reviews.

Eczema and Dermatitis are such personal issues, what works for one person may easily not work for another, keep trying different creams until you find the one that works for you, and if one doesn't work immediately move on to the next, you will find one! 

As a side note these natural balms are great for makeup artists to have in their kits, people turn up on set with all sorts of weird rashes or irritated skin all the time, it's comforting to know that giving them something to put on won't irritate them or make them worse and can make your job a lot easier.

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



British hair & makeup artist and designer Sian Miller has been a staple among British TV drama for over 20 years. Sian has worked on so many of Britain's most popular and long running shows; The Bill, Peak Practice, Holby City, Ashes to Ashes, Agatha Christie's Poirot and Miranda. She was also Makeup Designer for two of my favourite shows; the excellent Merlin and one of Britain's greatest shows, the ridiculously popular and at the time everyone's favourite show 'This Life'. Having recently finished working with Francis Hannon on three huge hollywood blockbuster films, the new Jason Bourne, Inferno and Now You See Me 2, Sian kindly took some time to tell me about her career and share some of her pro tips.

Snapshot of Sian's career

MANW: How did you start your career and what was the progression it took?
SM: I think I was always destined to do something artistic and after my A-Levels I completed a Foundation Course in Art and Design at Kingston Polytechnic, it was there that I developed my interest in sculpture and 3D design. I had a great tutor, a sculptor named Jim Dunkley, and he said to me "you draw like a sculptor and think like a sculptor" and I guess in a round about way that was the start of me becoming a make-up artist and hairdresser. I went on to take a BA Hons in Interior Architecture and Design at Trent Polytechnic but I found building regulation and construction lectures stifling and it was then that I had my Eureka moment! I thought about all that interested me: 3D Design, Film, TV, Fashion, Art and Photography and my mother suggested "what about being one of those make-up ladies at the BBC?" I contacted the BBC who said forget it unless you've been to the London College of Fashion, who in turn said forget it unless you've got hairdressing skills. I took their words literally and despite being told at every turn that it was a very competitive industry to break into I was firmly decided and forged my path ahead. I'd always imagined I could cut and dress hair as a form of sculpture and discovered that the Vidal Sassoon Academy offered a 9 month long intensive hairdressing course for beginners which took you to full qualification. I enrolled there and whilst training I applied to the London College of Fashion to take their BTEC HND in Specialist Make-up. I was so determined to get a place I took a GCSE in Human Biology at evening classes to satisfy all the suggested entrance criteria. My art and hair background paid off and I was offered a place.

The two year LCF course was amazing and from day one I applied myself with total dedication. Having been at Sassoon's gave me the opportunity to hone these skills and marry them up with all I was to learn about make-up, wigs and character. During my studies I had a job at the English National Opera in the evenings and a Saturday job at Toni & Guy. I was selected in the penultimate term of my last year, by the head of my course Marcia Patterson (formerly of the BBC and one time head of their training school) who had been approached about providing a graduate to become the first trainee on Thames Television's The Bill. I was absolutely thrilled to know that I had a full time job to go to the day after I graduated! 
That was 1992 and since then I worked primarily in Television Drama for most of the next fifteen years, gathering contacts along the way from job to job. I had a brief foray into Feature Films doing crowd work in the early days when the disciplines were still fairly split and I got hired as a Makeup Artist on some films and a Hairdresser on others. But I knew I wanted to work with actors and Television Drama offered me the opportunity to work with all my skills from the outset and to follow the story arc of the characters I was helping to create. In the early days I helped directors I'd met along the way on their short films and on one of these, Sam Miller (who'd been an actor on The Bill) found great success. He requested me as Hair and Make-up Designer on a series he was setting up called This Life and that turned out to be a pivotal point for me in my career. Over the years I have enjoyed going to and from assisting and designing without a preference, for me it's about the project and who I'm working with and chiefly who I can learn from along the way.

Since having my children I ventured back into dailies on feature films and for the last few years I have taken on main team opportunities in film, still occasionally working in television, although the money has stood still in TV for 15 years and that has to change. I still can't quite believe that it's been 24 years since leaving LCF and I've been very fortunate to have worked almost without interruption on some fantastic projects and with some brilliant hair and makeup artists and actors. Although the business has changed dramatically with budget constraints it's still a job I love and a business I love being part of.

MANW: You mainly work in TV and movies, including some special effects makeup. Did you ever want to work in fashion or beauty?
SM: No, I always wanted to work in TV and Film and that hasn't changed. Having said that, I was trained to be an all rounder and over the years I've created many beauty and fashion looks as demanded by the particular brief. But being part of the creative process that turns a story into a film is where I want to be.

MANW: Do you have a preference for the type of jobs and makeups you like to do, and do you prefer straight or effects makeup?
SM: No I don't really have a preference. Creating the look of a character and working with the actor is for me what it's all about and ideally with a really good script! Each new job presents a new challenge and that's what's so great about my business - the constant change. SFX is fun but likewise and I teach my students this at the Delamar Academy: contriving the simply uncontrived using makeup and hair is a great challenge but it often goes unnoticed, therefore without praise but we as make-up artists shouldn't dismiss its importance. SFX always results in a bit of the WOW factor with people but the less obvious makeup and hair required to create any character in any genre can offer just as much of a challenge in terms of design and makeup application. Just because the look isn't as noticeable doesn't mean it's not there! I do get a great sense of satisfaction creating any transformation whatever the brief.

MANW: You have worked on many huge movies as a daily, how do dailies differ and do you enjoy them?
SM: Dailies for me offer a hugely different experience. With crowd it's often more about the outlines than the details, with "bums on seats" becoming more of a priority and getting the crowd through the system, but it can offer a great opportunity to try things out with make-up and hair. As a daily I still want to achieve as much as is possible using the limited time and materials often available. You have to be quick thinking and resourceful and turn quality work out in a fraction of the time you may have in main team. Having said that it can be disappointing to find all the hard work of the crowd room often remains unseen in the final cut. As much as crowd work can be a lot of fun and without so much of the responsibility as experienced in main team, I ultimately prefer working with actors. But crowd offers flexibility in our working week that you can't get on main team. It's horses for courses at the end of the day.

MANW: What is the process of creating character looks and how much say do you have in the process?
SM: When I get a script I give it a thorough read at least twice before attending meetings with directors. According to the story and brief given by the director, and more and more these days by the producers (often lots of them!), I set to work on researching the looks for my characters. Prior to the internet I sourced information in various libraries and art galleries from the V&A, Wallace Collection, National Portrait Gallery, LCF to the British Museum and so on. I've collected a lot of valuable source material over the years including fine art portraiture books, photographic source books, cultural source books, magazines and so on. I will take visual ideas, including my own drawings, to meetings and once casting of the actors is in place the process enters a new phase. I firmly believe that it is very important to work with an actor when creating their character and as appropriate I incorporate their ideas into the mix. These days creating characters can become a kind of makeup design by committee, on some projects one will experience a fear of facial hair and wigs and even ban them! It is frustrating trying to counter these ideas and patience is key. Ultimately we are hired to provide a service to the client and we have to respect that process without getting upset about what things 'should' look like ideally. Having said that I've had plenty of opportunity to bring my ideas to the table over the years and properly collaborate with the director and that's so rewarding. As an assistant I've been fortunate to work with some great makeup and hair designers who like to work in collaborative ways where I've contributed to the creative process.

MANW: You have worked on and designed some legendary shows like Agatha Christie: Poirot, Ashes to Ashes, Holby City, This Life, The Bill.. can you tell us about some of the stand out moments of your career?
SM: Designing This Life for me was a wholly co-operative affair with the crew working together in harmony and one I'll never forget. From creating all the haircuts and makeup on the cast to appearing in the closing party scene of the last episode of series one it was a career high! When we filmed the first series we knew it was special but only when we started filming series two did it really take off as they repeated series one. It was the talk of the town and named by The Observer as the stand out TV series of the 90s. The number of careers both behind and in front of the camera that it launched are incredible. The Tony Garnett and World Productions school of film and television making is the one for me and I've been lucky to design two of his productions over the years, the other being No Angels. They mounted a retrospective of Tony Garnett's work at the BFI in 2013 and I went on the night they showed the first episode of This Life- the sense of nostalgia and pride 18 years after we'd made it was incredible. Tony was there and it was lovely to talk to him after all these years, a thoroughly inspiring man.

Ashes to Ashes was great fun. Creating the look for Alex, Keeley Hawes' character, was great fun. Two sets of small bendies every morning and full 80's glam makeup in 45 minutes! Working with David Suchet as Poirot has also offered me immense satisfaction. It's a great example of a makeup that doesn't look like there's much to it but believe me it's under the microscope. David won't mind me saying that he has eyes like a hawk and everything around him on set is under such scrutinisation in order to reflect Poirot's sense of perfection! Being Personal Hair and MUA to him offered me the opportunity to make his look as Poirot everything it could possibly be. Filming the last Poirot "Curtain" afforded me the opportunity to age him and create arthritic hands using Prosthetics. Ageing him with a different haircut and hair colour was integral to this look and a thoroughly satisfying process. He is the consummate professional and so respectful of our craft that it was a pleasure to be part of his team.

Recently working with Frances Hannon has been a highlight for me and I've just finished a run of three feature films back to back with her. She is thoroughly inspiring and really gets you to pull out your very best for whatever the brief is, I've been very fortunate to have played a part in her team. I've also had the opportunity to shoot in some amazing locations and see some wonderful sights through the course of filming, from category A prisons to flying over Victoria Falls in a helicopter to Las Vegas. The variety is incredible!

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?
SM: When I started 24 years ago, in television it was generally all about whether the newbies were "TV" trained. The BBC took entry into their last school in 1990, after that TV franchises were dismantled and staff jobs had disappeared by the mid 90s. Makeup Designers soon realised that they were going to have to recruit trainees from elsewhere and accountants realised that where once before a team may have consisted of three fully fledged MUA's now they would only offer a budget for two fully fledged and a trainee. At the same time the split discipline experienced in film between makeup and hair also started to disappear on UK based projects as accountants realised they could hire one person with both skills to take on both roles. Avenues of training to get into the industry blurred and altered and I'm not sure if it's harder now or different in terms of getting started. Granted there are too many course graduates for the number of jobs now but that's the same in any profession. 

My advice to anyone who wants to get started in the Film and Television industry is to get some hairdressing skills. One question that is constantly raised is " can you cut hair?" and by that we generally mean barbering. In a crowd room, on a period film with combined disciplines, a big part of what we do is period hair and wigs and the man's period haircut. Likewise to get into a team in TV as a trainee this will put you head and shoulders above your competition. Hairdressing skills and wig dressing are an invaluable string to your bow. I have run my own barbering course for beginners and refreshers and it's not surprising how much demand there is for these skills. 

Being slightly biased, because it's the route I took, I think honing your craft in TV drama is a great avenue in to the business. Yes, the allure of features is great but it may take you longer to get to main team, if that's what you want. It's entirely to do with where you see yourself in the business. I advise new MUA's to get noticed, there is undoubtedly an element of right place right time in some cases, but also how important it is to show initiative, common sense, maturity, good manners, discretion and the right level of enthusiasm, of course these things can't really be taught. And to keep in touch with new contacts, there's a difference between being pushy and being fresh in someone's mind, it's gauging it that's hard!

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. Mine would be Mighty Boosh and The Kenny Everett Show, I loved all the mad characters, but one of my current ones is Vinyl; the 70s glam hair and makeup and all that facial hair are fantastic. Who or what are yours?
SM: For me it's not so much a case of a face I'd like to work on, although I'm always seeing people both on and off camera that I think I'd like to make up, but more a case of actors I admire for their craft that I'd like to work with. Over the years I've been really fortunate to have worked with some mighty fine actors and that's a bonus! Films I'd liked to have worked on - WOW! Too many to do them all justice but for starters- any Coen Brother's movie, Peter Greenaway's The Cook The Thief His Wife and Her Lover, Moulin Rouge, Goodfellas, Boogie Nights, Cloud Atlas, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Singing In The Rain, Tootsie, Taxi Driver, A Room With A View.........

MANW: On to the good stuff, what are your tricks for flawless looking skin?
SM: Definitely a good cleansing and exfoliation routine. Hot cloth cleansers are great from Eve Lom through to Boots No. 7 - you can't go wrong with a fine muslin to get the skin well prepped for makeup. And a good Primer and moisturise of course.

MANW: What are your top 5 holy grail kit products? 
I still love and use regularly my Kryolan Derma Camouflage palettes for all sorts of correction and coverage. Make-up Forever HD Powder (one colourless powder that fits all). PPI's Add A Lash eyelash adhesive, it's brilliant. PPI Skin Illustrator Palettes, Light and Dark Fleshtone, SFX, REEL Hair and Brow Fix Palette by Marvin Westmore. Chanel Vitalumiere bases, Armani bases, Dior Skin Flash, Laura Mercier or Nars Primers. I'm also a big fan of the Boots No. 7 range of skin care- for the money it's really good. Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Creme, it sounds like a cliche but it's so versatile, although personally I hate the smell! Bumble and Bumble hair products. Sleek eyebrow
make-up is great value. I'm also loving Charlotte Tilbury's range. I'm also old fashioned and never go on set without my Kryolan Supracolour 12 colour grease palette, it can get you out of many holes at the last minute!

MANW: What's your best make-up artist tip to give women?
SM: Aside from following a good cleansing, exfoliating and moisturising routine, keep your eyebrows well groomed and opt for as sheer a look as possible. The more natural looking the more youthful looking the skin will be. Ultimately wear sunscreen and don't smoke! Preachy but true if women want to stay young looking for as long as possible.

MANW: Finally, false eyelashes - the longer the better or enough already they look ridiculous?
SM: Apart from character dictates that necessitate a full strip, I'm a big fan of individual lashes. You can enhance and build the lash-line in a far more subtle way without creating a 'false' look. I've just been teaching period makeup at Delamar Academy from 18C through to the 1980's and my students were tying out both. I think they soon realised that the more false the lashes you then have no where else to go! And as for the high street - there are some horrors out there, some of which may be improved with a little PPI 'Add A Lash' to at least help these girls stick them on properly! No, I'm not on commission! Like any fashion it's cyclical and I'm sure we will return to a less eyelashy look on our high streets before long!

You can find out more about Sian's work on her IMDB page or follow her on Twitter.

If you liked this interview and would like to read other leading industry makeup artists stories have a look at the rest of the series here.



I would hope that regular readers of my blog know and trust that I don't recommend expensive products if I don't think they are worth it, or if a much cheaper product could do the same job just as well. This would be one of those times because I do think this is a lot of money to spend on an exfoliator, but it is also the best exfoliator I have ever used, it is absolutely brilliant. I've read hundreds of reviews on other websites of people saying the same and when so many other people swear by something I believe it's worth a look. I will say that I have been using this regularly (every few days) since last June and it has only just run out, that's 9 months usage and while I can justify anything when it comes to spending money, I do think that is very good value for money.

Goldfaden MD is a popular and highly efficacious, medical grade skincare brand created and developed by renowned US Dermatologst Dr Gary Goldfaden. The formulations are results focused and inspired by in-office treatments and procedures but without any harsh ingredients that cause irritation. They focus on antioxidants and active plant-based complexes that offer the highest level of successful results. I haven't tried any others but you can see their other products here.

Dr. Goldfaden's coveted Ruby Crystal Microderm Exfoliator is his most popular product, it contains powerful ruby crystals that 
polish away dead surface cells, providing immediate cell renewal and leaving skin brighter, clearer and younger-looking. It also contains hyaluronic acid which holds moisture to the skin increasing volume to collagen layers, in addition to seaweed and organic red tea extracts which nourish and firm the skin, as well as providing potent anti-oxidant protection. They recommend daily use, I personally think that is too often, and it seems most of the reviews think the same as me. With that said regular use certainly improves the appearance of fine lines, reduces pore size, and leaves a healthy, radiant complexion for all skin types. The ruby crystals in Doctor’s Scrub takes away all the dead skin cells, dirt and excess makeup piling on the top of your skin, and by exfoliating away all those dead skin cells your skin is able to absorb other treatments and products more effectively, which will ultimately lead to a brighter, more youthful glow.

Simple to use you massage a very small amount of the scrub onto damp skin (remembering your neck) in circular motions and rinse with warm water. I can't stress enough how small an amount you need, it is such a concentrated product you really need such a tiny amount, and bearing in mind the price you probably want to make it last. I also must stress how gently this should be used, it is not a soft scrub for the faint hearted. You will work out yourself how much your skin can take but start off very gentle or it will feel like you are sandpapering your face. I have extremely sensitive skin and while I sometimes go red after use (usually if I've scrubbed too hard) the redness abates within a few minutes. I am confident a
fter one use you will feel like you never had such soft and smooth skin before and honestly, while it may seem expensive, it really does a good a job as a course of microdermabrasion but at a fraction of the cost.

To buy in US go here.

You can follow me on Twitter here and Instagram here (@anniemakeup)



If you don't suffer from dry lips, lucky you! as you will have no idea how painful and annoying it is. And I don't mean your standard common dry lip, I mean the cracked and sore dry lips that some of us suffer from that nothing EVER fixes it, where wearing lipstick is a dream we once had until we tried it, suffered for 3 days and swore it wasn't worth it, where life is just a constant battle of being one crack away from peeling your entire lip off and applying lip balm more often than you look at your phone.
If you don't suffer from those dry lips be thankful and move on. If you do, please know I am one of you, and my whole life has been about finding the perfect lip balm to cure this misery. I wish I could tell you I found the cure but I haven't, but out of the hundreds I have tried (and I do actually mean hundred) I have found three that actually work for a bit, and I couldn't live without any of these, as in I would literally have a panic attack if I didn't have one in my purse.

1. Clinique Superbalm Lip Treatment £13/$16
This is fantastic, reallllly fantastic. It is a bit gloopy and sticky like a very gloopy gloss which I don't love but others may. It's also a small tube and expensive so it doesnt last long (at the rate I use it), but boy does it work very very well, on a miracle level I would say.

2. Blistex Relief cream £2.65 
This stuff is what dreams are made of. I don't like to use this as my sole lip balm as I have a feeling it cures and perpetuates the problem like vaseline does, i.e. makes you use more. but it does work, even on deep cracks, lips feel really comforted and cooled after use. And for the amount I use I love the price. You do need to apply with a mirror as it can leave you with white lips, not good for reapplying in the cinema or anywhere there isn't a mirror.

3. Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm £7.25 or £12 for 2 (comes in a few different flavours)
This is amazing, such a great find. It doesn't have the immediate cure that Clinique Superbalm does on deeper cracks but it still works, and it's excellent to use when lips are ok. The consistency is my favourite of the three, there is no gloopiness or excess shine, it applies the easiest and feels the nicest.

I do worry the more I use one I will develop a tolerance and it won't work so I use all three at different times of the day, in my opinion that's the best way to get the most out of them.

I also recommend applying Coconut oil, it must be raw, cold pressed virgin Coconut Oil, like this one. It doesn't last too long on the lips, so I like to put this on at night to soak in. 

If you suffer, like me please trust me when I tell you the ones listed above are a godsend and definitely work where others haven't. I couldn't possibly list all the ones I have tried, I would be here forever, but please do share any products you've had success with in the comments, I'm sure I have missed out some to try and the hunt never stops. And please do not insult me by suggesting Vaseline, Carmex, Khiels or 8 Hour Cream, of course I have tried them and they do nothing!

Ps: you may also want to look at my Serious Creams For Seriously Dry Hands post.

You can follow me on Twitter here and Instagram here (@anniemakeup)



Expensive but sooo good, I found them on sale here

'SK-II with Pitera' is a popular brand used by women around the world. Pitera, the key ingredient in SK-II skincare, is a naturally occurring extract that is scientifically proven to deliver seven beneficial effects and works to maintain the skin's natural renewal cycle. It supports your skin’s natural functions, replenishes moisture, smoothes surface texture, balances PH, enhances clarity, regulates sebum and evens skintone. 
Cate Blanchett regularly attributes SK-II for her wonderful skin. It's also very expensive! 

I've used one other product from the brand, also wonderful, but I am crazy about their Facial Treatment Mask which is a radiance and moisture-enhancing cotton facial mask. Each mask is generously soaked with Pitera that 
drenches the skin with Pitera’s fusion of vitamin, amino acids, minerals and organic acids, and revitalizes, comforts, and provides intense hydration. It immediately replenishes dehydrated skin resulting in a visibly radiant and clear complexion. 

I am a massive fan of these! I've tried a few other paper masks and I will say I'm not really keen on them but *this* one is worth it and is probably the best mask I've used for moisturising and an instant fix, you really do notice an immediate difference. I have had some severely dry and sore skin lately and one mask instantly made a huge difference to my skin. They come in a box of 6 or 10 sachets and are very easy to use, place the mask over the face, pat down and leave on for 5-15 minutes. I also found there is so much excess product at the bottom of each sachet, enough to continue using as a serum for another three or four uses which is a lovely bonus!

And the good news is Harrods have a 50% off sale at the moment, a box of 6 is £54 or a box of £10 is £86. Still expensive but if you're getting it anyway get it now as they're half price!

You can follow me on Twitter here and Instagram here (@anniemakeup)



What I love the most about these interviews is hearing how successful artists started in this industry and what's fascinating to me is that everyone's story is different. Mike Mekash started out as an artist and graphic artist who found his way on to sets doing tattoo work. Before he knew it he was working in some capacity as a fully fledged makeup or special effects artist on some of the biggest films and TV shows in recent history. From Prison Break, Valkyrie, Iron Man 2, Eat Pray Love, Glee, John Carter, The Amazing Spider-Man, Star Trek Into Darkness, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Mad Max: Fury Road, it's an impressive list. He is mostly (and widely) know for his incredible work as makeup artist, prosthetics artist and as assistant makeup department head (with his lovely wife Eryn Krueger-Mekash) on American Horror Story, one of my favourite shows and widely recognised for having the best of the best makeup and makeup effects. Having just finished American Horror Story: Hotel, Mike took some time to tell me about his career, his work and share some of his best tips.

Snapshot of Mike's career

MANW: How did you start your career and what was the progression it took?
MM: I started my art career back when I lived in the Seattle area. I worked a day job and was a freelance graphic artist in my free time, doing whatever I could for whomever was interested. Some people love what you do and others don't care for it at all, it taught me a lot about rejection. The next company loved what the last did not, which made me realise there is no bad art, you just need the right audience. I then took a job in LA drawing tattoos for film and TV, which parlayed into being on set and seeing what goes on and deciding this would be something I would love to do.

MANW: You mainly do regular and special effects makeup for film or huge TV dramas, did you ever want to work in fashion or beauty?
MM: It never crossed my mind that I would end up doing beauty makeups. I remember when I first started drawing women how hard it was to get that eye makeup just right, I don't mean to toot my own horn but my lady drawings were not pretty. With time I did get it down though, and I do enjoy making pretty faces even prettier.

MANW: Do you have a preference for the type of jobs and makeups you like to do, and do you prefer straight or effects makeup?
MM: I like jobs that make you feel like you might be way over your head. When I first started going to sets I would almost hyperventilate, it would really get my heart pumping, the excitement and the chance of failure was real. Every other art job I did you had time to change it if you didn't like the results, but not in this industry. You have to get it right and people are counting on you to have it at a certain time on set and looking flawless. It's exciting!!!

MANW: I know you work very closely with your brilliant wife Eryn (Krueger-Mekash), how much say do you have in her insanely great designs and what is your process of creating character looks?
MM: We do work well together, she has a great eye for designing. Like any couple we bounce ideas off each other all the time, I help her, she helps me, most of the time we have the same ideas. When it comes to any character you can get most of what you need from the script. For American Horror Story a meeting is held where we go over the script with all departments and questions are offered up. Ryan Murphy (AHS creator) usually has a specific look he has expressed and it is up to the makeup department to realise his vision. We work closely with AFX Studios (sfx creations) about what we are thinking and visa versa. It's all brains on deck when it comes to episodic television, time is short and turnarounds are quick so if you have an idea speak up because in an hour it may be to late.

MANW: How much do logisitcal issues come into play with character designs and how do you keep continuity on characters with heavy/intricate effects?
MM: Continuity is always a major issue when shooting any character. As the show progresses there may be changes in period looks, or punches that eventually bruise. You just have to take and catalog a lot of pictures. Organization skills are more than half of a makeup artist's job.

MANW: You have worked on some legendary shows like American Horror Story, Glee, Prison Break..can you tell us about some of the stand out moments of your career?
MM: I can tell you every day I am surprised I get to work in this industry. One moment in particular was getting to go to Namibia on "Mad Max Fury Road" through Tinsley Studios for a makeup test. Meeting the makeup department head Lucy Ryan and director George Miller was a thrill, plus having a chance to see all the costumes and cars in action that first day of shooting. I mean Mad Effin Max!!!!!! I still sometimes can't believe it.

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?
MM: I've been in the industry for a few years, let's not get carried away. Lol. I would say one of the biggest things I've seen become a major part of any artists job these days is managing the pitfalls of social media and the Internet; IMDb will say you're known for something you are not really "known" for, people tear down other people for a makeup that may have been posted out of context in a magazine or forum, everything is out there for everyone to see. Give credit where credit is due and try to be a decent human is all you can try to be, everything else is not important. And try and remember it's ONLY MAKEUP! We are not curing cancer.

MANW: All artists have a 'wish list'; a face, a show or film they would have loved to have worked on. My current one (other than AHS, which has ridiculous makeup and effects and AHS Hotel has somehow managed to knock every other series out of the park) is the show Nashville, I'm obsessed with the country glamour and Connie Britton's amazing hair, but also an old British show 'The Mighty Boosh' which has excellent makeups by Christine Cant that I think you'd really dig. Also, there's a British series 'This Is England' which has the greatest 80s hair & makeup design by Catherine Scoble (that for sure Eryn would love) which is always at the top of my wish list. Who or what are yours?
MM: I'm a big sci-fi movie fan, it can be a horrible sci-fi movie and I will love it!!!! So there is the obvious Star Wars but if it was a past movie "The Fifth Element" is amazing, and any Aliens movie past present or future would be stellar!!!

MANW: On to the good stuff, what are your tricks for flawless looking skin?
MM: Why thank you, I try and not over wash my face and moisturise on a daily basissss............. oh you meant for other people.

MANW: What are your top 5 holy grail kit products?
For Fx they are:
1. MAC Cream Brilliance is great to add a little shine to any issues of flatness due to painting, or to put in a fake cut to lessen how much fake blood will be needed.
2. PPI Skin Illustrator palettes
3. Camera to look at your makeups through, sometimes seeing how they look though a lens will help you decide what color they may need
4. Paasche H airbrush with a pressure valve connection, the workhorse of any FX makeup artist.
5. Opsite flexifix madcap tape..101 uses!

and for beauty:
1. Julie Hewitt's cream blushes
2. Stila liquid liner pens
3. A good Viseart eye shadow palette
4. I like the Tarte BB Creams
5. Color Science powder (pressed or loose) are always in the set bag.

MANW: What's your best makeup artist tip to give women?
MM: Have more than one foundation for when you get some color from the sun. And in my opinion make it look natural, I want to recognize the person when they are not in makeup.

MANW: Finally, false eyelashes - the longer the better or enough already they look ridiculous?
MM: Less is more. 

For more info on Mike you can see his IMDB page here, follow him on Twitter here and Instagram here.

If you liked this interview and would like to read other leading industry makeup artists stories have a look at the rest of the series here.

You can follow me on Twitter here and Instagram here (@anniemakeup).



As we're full swing in the party season here is another of my makeup video tutorials showing another party makeup that's perfect for New Years Eve, this time it's a 60's smokey eye!

You can see my other makeup tutorial videos on my YouTube channel and Cosmopolitan online. 

If you do this makeup please send me photos on Twitter or Instagram, I'd love to see!

*Watch my Disco party makeup video*
*Watch my perfect party makeup video*

You can follow me on Twitter here and Instagram here (@anniemakeup)



Christmas is for giving so, here you go..! 

Here are 25 fantastic products, I will pick 5 winners and those 5 winners will choose 5 of these items each.* All you have to do is share this photo on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #anniemakeupgiveaway. I will pick 5 winners on Monday 4th January.

I'll announce the winners on Twitter and Instagram so make sure you follow me there.

1. Hugo Boss Jour Pour Femme Perfumed Body Lotion
2. Clinique Smart SPF 15 Custom Repair Moisturiser  - Combination Oily to Oily Skin
3. Jurlique Essence of Rose Roll on Fragrance Oil 
4. Kevin Murphy Color Bug Gold Shimmer Hair Shadow
5. Dermalogica Cover Tint SPF20 - Light
6. Cover FX Total Cover Cream Foundation - N70
7. Burberry Light Glow Natural Bush - Earthy Blush No. 07
8. Sisley Phyto Eye Twist Eyeshadow Pencil - 5 Lagoon
9. Bobbi Brown Lipgloss - Pink Sunset
10. Urban Decay Matte Revolution Lipstick - Matte Bittersweet
11. Urban Decay Sheer Revolution Lipstick - Sheer Anarchy
12. Becca Ultimate Matte Lip Colour - Claudine
13. Sleek Lip4 Palette - Tease
14. Sleek Lip4 Palette - Showgirl
15. Mandara Spa Christmas Bauble Shimmering Lip Butter Treat
16. Delilah Eye Definer Brush 5008
17. Sleek i-Quad Eyeshadow & Eyeliner - Midnight Blues Limited Edition
18. Sleek i-Divine Eyeshadow Palette - Enchanted Forest
19. Tarte Cosmetics Coloured Clay Tinted Brow Gel - Black Brown
20. Blink Brow Bar Waterproof Eyebrow Pencil & Brush - Jasmine Mogra
21. Blink Brow Bar Waterproof Eyebrow Pencil & Brush - Cardamon Pod
22. Wunder2 WunderBrow Brow Gel - Brunette
23. Wunder2 WonderBrow Brow Gel - Blonde
24. Wunder2 Wunderbrow D-Fine - Blonde
25. Mandara Spa For Men Mens Travel Selection Gift Set

*If any winners first choices have been chosen by another winner you will be be able to choose from those items left



As we're heading full swing into the party season here is another of my makeup video tutorials showing another perfect Christmas party makeup, this time it's disco!

You can see my other makeup tutorial videos on my YouTube channel and Cosmopolitan online. 

If you do this makeup please send me photos on Twitter or Instagram, I'd love to see!

*Watch my first perfect Christmas party makeup video*
*Watch my 60's Smokey Eye makeup video*

YSL La Tient Touche Eclat Foundation
YSL Pure Chromatics Eyeshadow, Palette 1
NARS Eyeliner Stylo, Black
Estee Lauder Sumptuous Two Tone Mascara, Black
MAC Mineralise Skinfinish, Soft & Gentle
NARS Blusher, Orgasm
Jurlique Rose Silk Finishing Powder

CKone Lipstick, 200 Rush

You can follow me on Twitter here and Instagram here (@anniemakeup)
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