Let’s face it. There are a million and one things you would prefer to do with your weekend than wash your make-up brushes. Fact. It’s time consuming, messy and a little bit boring. However, it is also incredibly important for one very good reason. Every time you use a brush, you’re picking up bacteria and oils present on your skin which, over time, build up on the brush. The idea of spreading and re-spreading bacteria on your face isn’t too appealing.
For this reason, I use an anti-bacterial spray on all my brushes between clients and have a wide range of make-up brushes available to ensure excellent hygiene standards are maintained. Then, after every wedding or occasion, my brushes will be thoroughly cleaned.
Whilst it is unrealistic to suggest you clean your brushes after every make-up application, I’ve put together some advice for keeping your brushes in tip top condition whilst making it as painless as possible.
For this post, I will be digressing from blogging all things make-up, brands and beauty to talk about something which forms a vital part of any wedding day – the plan! As a Make-Up Artist, one of my jobs is to consider how I can ensure the morning - or, more rarely, afternoon – runs smoothly, calmly and with time for touch-ups whilst making up the bride and any members of the bridal party.
I’m a planner by nature, so I always come armed with a schedule and usually discuss this at the trial, or just following, to make sure everyone is happy. I like to leave at least 45 minutes for bridesmaids and mums, and at least an hour for the bride. It seems like a long time to apply some make-up?! However, during this time, I’ll run a mini consultation, I’ll be prepping the skin, applying the make-up, maybe applying lashes, allowing time for small changes and sanitising my make-up brushes ahead of the next client. So, every second counts!
Many of my clients like to have an idea of how to approach the morning of their wedding, so it runs as smoothly as possible for them. I’ve put together some of my top tips based on my experience:
- It’s a good idea to work backwards from your ceremony time. For make-up, I recommend that everyone is ready at least an hour before it’s time to leave the house or hotel.
- I usually leave the bride until last, or second to last. During the morning, there are often guests arriving, bridesmaids to co-ordinate and breakfast to be eaten! I like to leave the bride to have time to answer last minute texts, open presents and enjoy the morning of her wedding day!
- The morning is whatever you would like it to be. Whether that’s a few bottles of Prosecco and some classic wedding tunes, a chilled affair with Classic FM or surrounded by family. Think about how you can make it a calm atmosphere for you.
- It’s best to be fresh-faced, with no make-up on, particularly on the eyes since this takes a little longer to remove and can irritate the delicate eye area more. A thorough cleanse is recommended, and exfoliating the face a day or two before is highly recommended. This takes off any dead skin cells leaving a smooth canvas for make-up application.
- I’m always asked whether it’s best to have the hair or make-up done first. There is no right or wrong answer, and I work with both. However, if you have a tendency to get warm or flushed sometimes the heat from a hairdryer or curler can cause perspiration which may affect the make-up.
- If the bridal party is large, it’s even more important to have a schedule so that both the hairdresser and make-up artist can work together effectively.
- Think about a ‘getting ready’ area or room in your house or hotel. Somewhere with a couple of tables, plug sockets and access to mirrors tends to work best for everyone. A room with good, natural light is ideal.
- Sadly, with larger bridal parties, it may be an early start! It’s not uncommon for me to arrive before 6am for a wedding. If the ceremony is very early and the bridal party is very large, I may need to bring an assistant with me to ensure everyone is ready. If you’d prefer just one artist, you may wish to consider the ceremony time when you’re wedding planning so everyone is ready.
- Leading on from the above … there may be some debate as to who takes the early slot! I’ve witnessed straws being drawn to decide. For whoever volunteers to go first, reassure them that their make-up will last just as long. They also have longer to enjoy your wedding day with you!
Image courtesy of Neil Parry Photography.
You may have read my last blog post where I introduced the Pierre Rene brand. To recap, little known in the UK, it is the number one cosmetics brand in most Eastern European countries. Pierre Rene was the ‘go-to’ brand for Miss England 2015, and more recently Miss World and was exclusively used in the ‘BLOSSOM’ catwalk show at London Fashion Week. And, all the products are kind to animals and kind to your skin.
Recently, I’ve added their Skin Balance Cover Foundation to my make-up kit and thought I would share my thoughts with you. Available in ten shades, covering both warm and cool skin tones, this is a waterproof, fluid foundation.
Three things attracted me to try this foundation:
Applying the foundation after primer, I find that it buffs or stipples on to the skin beautifully. The formula doesn’t ‘set’ quickly like some full coverage foundations do, allowing you to layer the product on to create custom coverage.
Those with drier skin may find that no setting powder is needed with the demi-matte finish this foundation has. Those with oily or combination skin, or who prefer a totally matte finish, will be very happy with how this foundation sets after a loose or pressed powder is applied.
As an MUA specialising in bridal, it’s really important that a foundation lasts the whole day. This foundation is long-wearing, doesn’t crease into fine lines and doesn’t dry out.
Down to practicalities! The foundation comes in a 30ml glass bottle with a high quality pump. I usually find two pumps will cover the face, and more can be applied if needed.
I’m loving it! I now have a range of shades in my kit, ready to work their magic.
It’s also amazingly affordable for a professional product, and the RRP is £18.25. I am a stockist for the product and I am offering all my blog readers 10% off if you contact me and quote: PRBLOG!
The photograph features Skin Balance Cover in shade 27 'Cream'. Image courtesy of Flashy Photography.
I’m guilty of buying a lot of make-up. The thing is, I get really excited when I hear about new brands, new collections and make-up launches. So, being a make-up addict, I need to buy and try.
I have recently discovered an amazing brand – Pierre Rene. Little known in the UK, it is the number one cosmetics brand in most Eastern European countries. Pierre Rene was the ‘go-to’ brand for Miss England 2015, and more recently Miss World and was exclusively used in the ‘BLOSSOM’ catwalk show at London Fashion Week.
Why do I love it? Here are just a few reasons…
It’s hard to pick a favourite. That’s why, over the next few weeks I will be doing a series of reviews of the products introducing just a couple. Coming up…their Skin Base Cover Foundation.
This blog post is not sponsored by Pierre Rene. I do sell their products.
All of my brides will tell you that I don’t pack light. When I arrive for a bridal trial, on the day of a wedding or photoshoot I will usually appear with at least three different boxes, bags or cases; utilising both elbows and hands to carry it all. I simply cannot leave any of my kit at home - it’s full of amazing, wonderful, face transforming cosmetics which I might need at any moment.
So, how can a make-up addict continue to buy beautiful products and still get from A to B without being weighed down by a mountain of make-up? Palettes!
I have so many palettes in my kit from Morphe Cosmetics, Crown, theBalm, Estee Lauder, NARS and many more. Yet, I needed to address my lipstick collection. It was getting beyond ridiculous. I don’t like having to stick to one particular brand and I have my firm favourites which brides love. So, I made my own palette and it was when I was designing my own palette that I made an amazing discovery.
With the help of the MAC Pro Large Duo Palette available here, and some lovely inserts, I was able to collate all my lipstick collection into one portable palette which can home up to 48 lipsticks.
The amazing discovery? Whilst doing this (it involved a spatula, chopping board, sunshine and space in the fridge afterwards!) I discovered that all is not what it seems with your lipstick bullet. You see, I’m guilty of getting to the end of a lipstick and throwing it away. Now, I realise, I’ve wasted A LOT of lipstick. The end is not the end. Dig deeper. There’s at least ¼ of the lipstick left!
I’ll demonstrate with my favourite lipstick – Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G in ‘Bitch Perfect’, a gorgeous pinky nude.
Usually, I would now throw this away…
Now, wait, watch and discover that…there’s loads more in there!
I’m happy. I hope this discovery will help you hold on to your favourite lipsticks a little bit longer. And, if you’re struggling for space in your cupboard or make-up bag, you can always decant them into a pretty palette :)
As a Make-up Artist, I encounter many different eye colours, shapes & sizes, all of which require truly bespoke make-up application to highlight and accentuate the eyes effectively. Often, I apply eye make-up first – not just to stop the ‘smudgy under eye look’ from dropped pigment – but, because eye make-up often defines & gives the overall direction for the look. It all starts with the eyes…
Many of the lovely ladies I meet ask me about lashes – the main question being ‘To false lash, or not to false lash?’ So, I thought I would make a note of exactly what to expect with the application of false lashes. Of course, this is just my practice, and if not using a qualified lash technician, please do read the instructions that accompany your lashes, since all lashes differ. In my kit, I have two types of lash; strip or individual flare, both of which require different application techniques.
A strip lash is a continuous strip of synthetic or natural lashes. Strip lashes are available in many different lengths & thicknesses to create effects ranging from very natural to super dramatic! I stock both Red Cherry and Peaches & Cream lashes; the former are made of 100% human hair, whilst the latter are synthetic. These are applied *after* eye make-up using a temporary glue – I use DUO waterproof dark tone; a hard wearing, long lasting glue which will hold the lashes in place even with a few happy tears! I often measure the lashes against the eye before application, and trim if necessary. Glue is applied along the strip of the lashes, and left to go ‘tacky’ for 30 seconds, before they are applied. Once set, the line is blended into the existing eye make-up using eyeliner. Strip lashes sit on top of your own lashes, and can be comfortably removed at the end of the day by lightly pulling on the outer lashes, and carefully peeling towards the nose. Keeping your lashes looking lovely is key, since strip lashes can be used more than once! You can use eye make-up remover to remove any glue residue, and place back in the mould for next time.
Individual flare lashes are more common amongst brides, since they can be tailored more effectively, and create a very natural effect. I stock a range of lengths from 10mm to 14mm, and use Salon System Lashes & adhesive. The adhesive is ‘semi-permanent’ and ultimately means that, with appropriate aftercare, the lashes can last up to 5 days. I always discuss the required effect with brides & measure the lashes against their own. Flare lashes are applied *before* eye make-up, after mascara, by taking lashes individually using tweezers, and starting at the outside of the eye. The top of the flare is gently placed against your natural lash and bonds quickly. This process is repeated until the inner corner is reached. Blending lengths can be used along the lash line to create a truly natural effect. As mentioned before, they allow for more bespoke application, since half the lash line can be filled, for example. Lashes can be removed gently using either eye make-up remover or baby oil if they are fairly stubborn. Once removed, they are often discarded.The pictures alongside this blog show individual false lashes & the lower picture shows these alongside the same eye with natural lashes and no mascara.
Not everyone wants, or likes false lashes. For those who are not sure, a trial is a perfect time to explore the fit, feel & look, seeing how you find them at the end of the day. False lash converts won’t take anything less, but for those who aren’t convinced, beautiful eye make-up can be enhanced using good old-fashioned mascara too. Benefit’s ‘They’re Real’ and Estee Lauder Double Wear Lengthening and Sumptuous Volume are in my make-up box ready to work their magic.
Two weeks ago, I was privileged enough to be invited to be the make-up artist for the Spring/Summer 2015 Look Book of upcoming luxury, sustainable swimwear label ‘HALF AN EGG’, founded by Hannah & Beki McGee. Made in England, the designs integrate chunky knitted jewellery and beautiful prints with unique swimwear patterns.
Consultations with the designers enabled me to discuss the feel, mood and desired make-up for the shoot & inspired by catwalk trends, I created a bespoke look around a ‘Strong Nude’ theme for our model, Jess.
A dark brown lip, and brushed up, unfilled brows offered the ‘edge’ to our take on the ‘bronzed goddess’ look so sought after when we think of sun, sea & sand. Striking contouring complimented the look, accentuating Jess’ cheekbones, whilst a softer, shimmery, dreamy eye mimicked the sparkle & fun of the designs.
I called upon some essentials in my kit to create the look – Graftobian HD Base, HD Pro Powder, Charlotte Tilbury ‘Golden Goddess’ Eye Palette & NARS Night Breed Eye Cake. The photographs below show the look building up to the finished face – skin was primed then eyes were applied first, followed by base, powder & lips.
The Look Book pictures will remain secret until press, buyers & retailers have had chance to peruse the amazing snaps, courtesy of Louise Hope Photography. Watch this space :)
Number 3: The Eyes
Now you’re perfectly primed & have your base, you can be creative with your eyes. I love the summer. As our skin picks up some more colour, and our base becomes darker, colour can really make your eyes ‘pop’. Staying true to the purpose of this mini-series, I will explore the use of colour whilst abroad, under extreme heat of the sun.
Sipping cocktails by the pool, protecting the eye area is of upmost importance! The skin around the eye area is the most sensitive, and is also the most delicate & the thinnest. An easy way to protect this, and add a touch of glamour is to quickly apply some cream shadow with your finger (saves on bringing all those brushes!) I have the MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot in ‘Rubenesque’ in my kit. It is a highly pigmented eye colour which glides smoothly over the lids, drying to an intense, shimmery finish. It doesn’t crease or cake, making it perfect for hotter climates. It also acts as a brilliant eyelid primer & eyeshadow can be applied over the top, making it a multi-tasking marvel!
A swipe of waterproof mascara should be all you need to finish your daytime look, and I recommend Le Volume de Chanel mascara. I have no more words to say other than AMAZING! Recently launching the waterproof version, this will become your best friend on holiday.
If you venture into eyeshadow territory, there are some incredible colours on the market at the moment. Try NARS ‘Adult Swim’ collection. I’ve pictured the ‘Tropical Princess’ shades, which sparkle on my (slightly) tanned skin. These shades of light lime, and shimmery lilac are perfect for amplifying your eyes, and making an impact – you can even apply with a wet flat angled brush to increase intensity and turn into a liner.
Or, you could hold off the eyeshadow & swipe along the lashline with a highly pigmented pencil, defining the eyes (and you can match these to your outfit!) I’ve just invested in the NARS ‘Khao San Road’ Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner – it stays put for 12 hours, and doesn’t smear or cake. It’s an intense kingfisher blue, a gorgeous shade for the summer. I love it.
Now you’ve got your eyes done, the next stop is your cheeks…
Number 2: The Foundation
Now you have a lovely base to work with, the next step is your foundation. A BB or CC cream is a fantastic compromise for every day wear, but if, like my friend Claire, you are looking to apply a little more one day; whether you are a wedding guest or perhaps part of the bridal party, it’s important to pick a foundation which will a) stay on, and b) look great in photographs.
I would always advise using a carefully selected primer – one which is oil-free & not too shimmery. I use Laura Mercier Radiance Primer on my clients, or, ELF have a fantastic range of primers suitable for different skin types.
When abroad, a light foundation, with buildable coverage is your best friend. Tried & tested, with the ‘no budging’ seal of approval include Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation, Dior Forever, and Kat Von D Tattoo Foundation.
What I will note is that many foundations are now fantastic, multi-purpose, all singing, all dancing formulas, which contain skincare ingredients. Great for everyday wear, yet, these can actually cause ‘Foundation Flashback’ particularly if they have a high dose of SPF in them. SPF contains titanium dioxide which, in front of a flash camera, can make you appear a little more washed out, or cause your skin to appear much whiter than it actually is. Not great for wedding photographs…
I use Kat Von D Tattoo Foundation & Graftobian HD foundation on my clients, as they contain no SPF or skincare ingredients, just highly pigmented colour. They are both buildable, lightweight, and can be thinned out using elixirs (the Kat Von D Elixir is superb). They also stay put! I buff them in using the Real Technique Face Expert brush.
Graftobian sell their HD Cream Foundation in palettes of 5 colours (pictured), which is a great way to ensure a fantastic colour match as you start catching the sun. You can literally go 4 shades darker & they are all in a plastic, lightweight palette, so you don’t have to worry about your luggage allowance taking a hit.
Now you’ve got your foundation sorted, you can start thinking about your eyes. Number 3 to follow…
As my own wedding draws closer, one of my bridesmaids – who will be travelling to Sorrento, Italy to witness the occasion – asked me whether I could write a ‘holiday make up’ blog. Many of us choose to go fresh(-er) faced on holiday, either to catch some rays, or to avoid make-up meltdown. BB & CC creams have come to the rescue, and after a swipe of gloss & a coating of (always waterproof!) mascara, you’re done for the day.
But, what happens when you need a little extra, in the heat? What will stay put? What will look gorgeous on the photographs, or where do you even start? There are so many questions to answer, so I’ve put a few of my tips & tricks into a mini-series, dedicated to Claire.
Number 1: Your skin
Your skin requires a lot more attention when you’re on holiday – a sunburnt face is never a good base. I would always endorse wearing an SPF when you’re abroad– you can even combine this with a foundation to thin it out - or Maxfactor CC cream will provide coverage when sunbathing, stay in place, and has SPF10. I’ve tried & tested this in 47 degree Turkish heat & it works!
My top tip would be to fake it on your face & keep it out of the sun entirely. Your skin will thank you for it in 20 years’ time. It requires a little more effort in terms of parasol positioning & sunbed manoeuvring *but* UVA & UBA rays accelerate the skins’ ageing process.
To fake it, get a spray tan before you travel, which will give you instant results. Then, take Garnier Ambre Solaire No Streaks Bronzer Self-tanning Dry Face Mist Spray in your suitcase (1/3 off at Boots at the moment at £5.66). It’s small, light & compact. You can spray this mist on every night before you go to bed – no rubbing in, it moisturises, it never streaks & I even use it when spots develop & it seems to help (that may just be me). This way, your face will match your body without the damage. The YouTube video shows how easy it is to apply.
Leave this to set, then apply your normal moisturiser over the top – you can go a bit lighter in the summer. My recommendation is La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo, an innovation in skincare. It’s a light gel formula, suitable for sensitive skin, is non-comedogenic (doesn’t clog up pores) and contains blemish fighting ingredients. It’s also a perfect base for make-up, so perfect for both day & night.
Following a routine like the above will keep your skin moisturised when the sun wants to dry it out, which will provide a great base for any make up.
Come back tomorrow for Number 2: Foundation.