Saturday, 27 April 2013

Butterfly Photoshoot

Thought I'd show you guys some of the images from a series of photo shoots that I did with Amber Marie Barker recently, based on butterflies... 
I was really happy with the images and Amber is awesome at what she does, It was great to get the chance to be a little bit creative and design my own looks as I don't often get the chance to do this! 

These are my favourite images from the two shoots...

Photographer: Amber Marie Barker
Makeup and Hair: Amy Haida
Models: Victoria Thomas & Nicole Jopek

Check out my website for more of my work...

A x

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

How to Clean Your Makeup Brushes...

Why clean your makeup brushes?

Makeup brushes, over time, will get clogged up with old makeup, dead skin cells, oil, bacteria and got knows what else, so it is important that they get a good clean every once in a while...

I probably clean my personal makeup brushes (the ones that I only use on myself) about every 2 weeks, depending on the brush, my concealer and foundation brush get washed more often because they are the most likely to get riddled with nasty bacteria. Whereas, my powder brushes probably get washed less often! 

I guess it is personal preference as to how often you wash your makeup brushes... But I would suggest that you wash them quite often in the interest of hygiene, particularly if you suffer from acne or frequent break outs, as you are effectively spreading the bacteria around your face every time you use your brushes! 

Obviously, I wash my professional brushes after every use as I use them on lots of different people and it would be extremely unhygienic to cross contaminate, but I admit that I do not show the same effort with my personal makeup brushes, I should probably wash them more frequently than I do... But saying that, if I have had a break out of spots, I will wash any brushes that have come into contact with the area, after every couple of uses.

Moving on... There are 3 ways which I clean my makeup brushes, depending on the type of brush and how fast I need to clean them... 'alcohol cleaning' (Isopropanol or Acetone), 'spot cleaning' (using a brush cleaning solution) and the good old fashion method of soap and water.

Alcohol cleaning... This is my favourite and most used method...
I use 99% Isopropanol Alcohol which I buy off Ebay, but I think most household stores will stock it, if not acetone/surgical spirit also works well. 1 litre usually costs roughly £10 and it lasts ages! 

Benefits... Disinfects - kills any bacteria that might be lurking on your brushes, Timesaver - the alcohol evaporates a lot faster than water so smaller brushes will be dry within minutes and larger brushes within 20 mins or so, Easy removal - the alcohol breaks down even the most stubborn of makeup so the brushes are clean within seconds, and it doesn't leave any residue.

Disadvantages... If used too often on natural haired brushes it can dry them out (I mostly use synthetic haired brushes so I don't have this problem), difficult for cleaning large brushes, such as a powder brush, as the hairs soak up all the alcohol (I use a different method for cleaning my powder brushes)

How to... 

You will need a pot or tub to put the IPA into, I use an empty body butter tub. Pour the  IPA into the tub so that it is roughly about 1 inch deep.

You will need to have some tissues or cotton pads handy, to wipe the brushes on after...

All you need to do is dip the brush into the alcohol and swirl it around for a couple of seconds, to loosen the makeup, then push/wipe any excess liquid out of the brush using the side of the pot (you can repeat this method if the brush still looks dirty). 

Next take a folded tissue and wipe of the excess product and alcohol with a backward then forwards movement. I then like to do a swirling circular motion as this seems to be the most effective method for removing all of the product. I then leave them to dry on a towel.

I always try to clean the cleanest looking brushes first to prevent the IPA from getting too mucky, for example, I will always do my eyeliner brush last as I do not want to get black on the rest of my makeup brushes. But, you can always pour out your IPA and start a fresh if it starts to get too dirty.

Spot cleaning... I use this method when I am in a rush and quickly need to clean a brush, for example, if I am out on a job and need to use a brush on multiple people.
I use MAC Brush Cleaner for doing this, the only problem with this process is that it only removes the surface product and doesn't remove the makeup from deep in the hairs of the brush, that is why I only use it as a quick fix.

How to... 

Take your brush cleaning solution pour it onto a tissue then swirl your brush around until you are happy that most of the makeup has been removed, then leave to dry for a short while... Obviously this does not work great for larger brushes, but as I said previously it is more of a quick fix.

You can also use the brush cleaning solution in the same way as 'alcohol cleaning' (above) or with water, in place of soap, using the 
method below... So it is quite a versatile product.

Cleaning with soap/shampoo and water... This is the oldest and probably the most widely used method to clean your brushes... You can use any type of soap/shampoo really, but preferably something gentle like baby shampoo, brush cleaning solution or an antibacterial hand wash, as harsh soaps will dry out the bristles.
I always use this method for my larger brushes as I find that it cleans them more throughly than the other ways.

Benefits... Throughly removes all traces of makeup from your brushes, If you use an antibacterial hand wash to wash them with it will also disinfect them, you can shape the bristles while wet, if they have gone too 'fluffy', or use brush guards to keep the bristles held together whilst they dry.

Disadvantages... It takes a long time for the brushes to dry, especially large brushes which may need leaving all day/ night to dry completely, time consuming to clean, each brush has to be individually dipped in water, washed with soap, then rinsed, shaped and put out somewhere to dry - this can be a very long laborious task and you end up with shrivelled/wrinkly hands in the end!! If water goes up past the bristles onto the ferrule (metal bit) and handle, this can loosen the glue causing the brush to come apart.

How to...

All you need is water, preferably at the sink or in a bowl, and a gentle soap (I like to use an antibacterial moisturising hand wash/soap).

Firstly wet the bristles, making sure that you don't get water on to the ferrule or handle! 

Next put a 10p sized amount of soap/ shampoo onto your hand (more or less depending on the brush size) and swirl your brush around in it until it forms a lather.

You can also use a sponge if you find this easier, just use the same method, put the soap/shampoo onto a wet sponge and swirl the brush around until it forms a lather.

Then throughly rinse all of the soap out of the brush. You may need to repeat the process if the brush still rinses out dirty water.

Sometimes makeup products, for example oil based, can be particularly difficult to remove... In this case I use washing up liquid as this emulsifies the oil.

Finally squeeze out the excess water and 'shape' the brush so that it doesn't dry fluffy and misshapen. And put to dry on a towel somewhere overnight.

Personally, I do not like to use conditioner or oils on my brushes as I think that this makes them too soft and 'slippy' as they leave a residue on the bristles.

Anyway... Sorry this was a bit long winded but I hope that it was useful for someone :)

A x

Friday, 19 April 2013

L'Oreal's New Skincare...

L'Oreal have recently released a new range of skincare called 'Skin Perfection'... normally this wouldn't really create a lot of excitement for me as I do love my higher end skincare... BUT when I found out that the collection included a Micellar water solution I couldn't wait to get my hands on it! 

For those of you that don't know Micellar cleansing waters are a relatively new concept in skincare, but  are massively popular with makeup artists as they do not contain any nasty ingredients, such as alcohol, they are great for sensitive skins and remove all traces of makeup without the need for rinsing with water. So this makes them very convienient for those of us that are a bit lazy with our makeup removal! 
One of the most well known brands of micellar water is Bioderma, which I have been using for the past few years and I love it! 

Anyway, back to L'Oreal... I ended up picking up the 3 in 1 Purifying Micellar Solution in ASDA as I noticed that it was on offer for £3 (normally £4.99)... But me being me couldn't just leave it at that, I spotted another product from the Skin Perfection range, the Miracle Cleansing Oil, which was on offer for £5 (normally £7.99).

I have been wanting to try a cleansing oil for a while now, but most of the ones that are available at the moment are quite expensive, such as the BOBBI BROWN and Shu Uemura cleansing oils which are both around £30, and obviously I didn't want to spend that amount of money to find out that I didn't like it! So already you can see that there is a big price difference between these and the L'Oreal version. 

Now, I have only used these a couple of times as I only bought them a few days ago, so I can't tell you what the long term results are (if any) but the first impressions are pretty good! 

The Micellar Solution seems to work exactly the same as my Bioderma, It has no scent and removes all traces of makeup easily, I don't wear waterproof makeup so I cannot tell you whether it removes this as easily, but for normal makeup it seems to work great! I just soak a few cotton pads with it, removing my eye makeup first, then I move on with a clean cotton pad to remove the rest of my makeup. The Bioderma retails at £10 for 250ml whereas this costs £4.99 (at full price) for 200ml just FYI.

I also liked using the Cleansing Oil, at first it did feel a little strange rubbing oil into my face but it melts away the makeup nicely and left my skin feeling lovely and soft and more importantly CLEAN. But I would say that it took a little bit more time to remove my mascara, I had to massage the oil into my eyelashes for about 30 seconds before I felt it loosen up. I applied two/three pumps of the oil using my finger tips, I first massaged it around my face and then did my eyes last, once I felt like the oil had properly loosened my makeup I throughly rinsed my face with warm water. The product doesn't leave any oily residue on the face so this backs up it's claim to be for all skin types, but personally I would say that it is more suited for a drier skin type as it leaves the face feeling soft and doesn't leave that dry/tight feeling that many cleansers do.

To conclude, I think that these are great products at a great price, and if you are looking for some new skincare, but you don't have a huge budget I would definitely recommend this new range, going off the two products I have tried! PLUS, the whole range is half price in Superdrug at the moment, so you should all go grab a bargain if you are skincare junkies like me!!

A x

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Spring Lips...

Once again I have been sucked in by the BOOTS 3 for 2 offer...

I don't know why but I am always drawn to lipsticks and lip products, even though I don't really wear them that often!! During the day I usually just pop on a lip balm!
So why do I own 10 million lipsticks? I'm guessing it's the pretty colours and nice packaging that attract me...

Anyway, I ended up picking up a Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Lovesick, a Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter in the new spring colour, Pink Lemonade, and one of the new Loreal Caresse Glam Shine Stains in Eve.

I have tried both Revlon products before and really liked them! 
The Revlon Balm Stains are kind of similar to the Clinique Chubby Sticks, in both looks and formula, only the Revlon ones also act as a stain on the lips, whereas the Clinique ones don't. 
The Revlon Lip Butters are just like a moisturising lipstick with a nice creamy formula, some of the brighter colours are just as pigmented as a lipstick, my favourite colour from this collection is Lollipop, a gorgeous bright pink, but there are tons of pretty colours to choose from!
HOWEVER, this was the first time that I had tried the Loreal Shine Stains...

As you can see from the swatches below, all of the products are quite sheer, particulary the Lip Butter in Pink Lemonade.  

(L-R Balm Stain in Lovesick, Lip Butter in Pink Lemonade, Glam Shine Stain in Eve)

Revlon Balm Stain in Lovesick - I really love this colour it's a nice blue toned fuchsia pink. To get a fully opaque colour you need to apply a few layers but once its on it really stays put, i.e. I woke up in the morning and my lips were still stained pink from the night before!! 

However I did find that it does cling to dry patches when it starts to wear off, so if you have dry lips and want the colour to stay even you may need to reapply throughout the day/ night. But overall a really nice product!

Revlon Lip Butter in Pink Lemonade - Again a nice colour in the packaging, I would say it's a light pinky peach. It is quite sheer but it's nice to pale out your lips slightly, or you can build up the colour a little by adding more layers, but doing this starts to highlight any dryness, so for me I will be sticking to a sheer covering.

It has a really nice creamy, moisturising formula so it feels comfortable on the lips, but this also means that it doesn't last quite as long as a lipstick, so it will need re-applying more frequently.

Overall, I love the product, but not crazy about how the colour looks on my lips.

Loreal Glam Shine Stain - I found this product to be very, ermm, peculiar... not at all what I expected! The colour looks lilac pink in the packaging, but on the lips turns into a deep pink. The product itself goes on like a smooth creme formula, then after a few moments turns kind of a shiny waxy consistency on the lips, which is a bit weird, but I'm guessing this is what makes it stay on the lips for a long time! 

I think this could take some getting used to, BUT, I definitely don't hate it, I just haven't made my mind up about it yet, It's very different to any other lip product I've tried before!

I think my favourite formula, out of the bunch, is the Revlon Lip Butters, just because these feel nicest on my lips, and to be honest I don't LOVE lip stains because they tend to cling to my dry patches when they start to wear off. Saying that though I wasn't sold on the colour of the lip butter that I chose, so I'm thinking I will probably go back to get some of the other colours from the spring collection as they all looked pretty!

And, incase you were wondering these are the colours that I already have in the Revlon Balm Stains and Lip Butters....

BTW all of these products are £7.99 each

A x

Friday, 5 April 2013

MUA Makeup Haul/ Review...

I've had a few things from MUA (Make Up Academy) in the past, mainly just lipsticks and individual eyeshadows, but for the price I think that their products are amazing, especially with a lot of their range being just £1! 
I've been hearing a lot about their new 'Undressed' range lately, so when I was in Superdrug I thought I would have a gander...

I ended up buying the Undressed eyeshadow palette, which is supposed to be a copy of the famous Urban Decay Naked Palette, and lucky for me it was on offer £3 instead of £4... Ridiculously cheap!! 
I also picked up a cream blusher from their professional range, which I think was either £1 or £2... I forget, either way still great value. Finally I chose one of the £1 lipsticks, I have had a few of these in the past, when I was just starting out in makeup, and I loved them, I couldn't believe that they could make a lipstick this good for just £1... But at some point over the past few years they must have gone walkabout as my makeup collection grew and grew!

Anyway, down to the reviews...

Lipstick - Shade 1 (See image below, the left swatch)

This particular shade is a lovely colour, I would say it is a deep-ish crimson red (hard to describe) but it is a really pretty and quite unusual shade of red. I matched it up with pretty much every red lipstick that I own, and it didn't look similar to any!

However, I will say that not all of the colours in the range are nice, too be honest I only liked about four of the colours from the whole collection. This colour and shade 3, which is a lovely blue toned vibrant pink (I didn't end up buying this one), were my two favourites!

All in all great colour payoff, a lovely smooth satin finish, lasts well, ... ugly packaging but what more can you really ask for, for £1?!

(Lipstick Shade 1, left, Cream Blush in Bittersweet, right)

Blush Perfection, Professional Cream Blusher - In Bittersweet (see image above, on the right)

Again, another great colour, I am really into bright blusher at the moment, as my skin is so pale through winter, I think it really brightens up my complexion! Don't get me wrong I wouldn't slap it on as bright as shown in the above swatch, but blended out it gives a lovely sheer wash of pink.

It is also a really easy formula to apply, as it has a silky texture, and isn't sticky or shiny at all. I've just been popping it onto the apples of my cheeks with my middle finger gently patting it on and blending the edges, this is the great thing about cream blush it can be easily blended away if you apply a bit too much!

The other colours in the range all looked to be quite natural and browny toned, which I don't particularly like, but I guess this may appeal to others!

Professional Eyeshadow Palette - Undressed

I have taken a picture of the MUA Undressed palette (left) next to the Original Urban Decay Naked palette (right) so that you can see for yourselves the similarities! Both palettes have 12 eyeshadows in them, two of which are matte, the others are shimmer.

Just so you know the Naked palette costs £36, in contrast to the Undressed palette, which I only paid £3 for... So already you can see that there is a humongous difference in price! I mean I am (and probably always will be) in love with the UD Naked palette, it truly is worth the money!!

HOWEVER, there can't be any harm in finding something similar that can be used as a backup, right?!

I have taken a picture of the colour swatches from the Undressed palette, below, in the same order as they appear in the palette...

I am very impressed with this palette, the colour payoff is VERY good for nearly all of the colours (bear in mind, the lighter colours are harder to see as they blend with my skin), and the texture is nice and soft but not too powdery. The only disappointments, I would say, are the two matte shades, particularly the lightest brown, which barely showed up at all!! But, I guess you can't have it all, and for £3 it's worth having just for the other 10 shimmer colours!

To conclude, I definitely wouldn't replace my UD Naked palette with the MUA Undressed palette, as I do still think that the Naked palette is better as the colours seem to have more depth... 
BUT I think that the Undressed palette is ridiculously good value for money and is a great product, I would recommend anyone to try it as you really can't ask for more for the price!!

So, looks like I will be visiting the MUA counter again, who would have thought that the cheapest makeup brand (probably ever) could produce such great products! It just proves that cheap makeup doesn't always mean poor quality... 

A x

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

How To... Gel Eyeliner Flick

Four easy steps to creating a perfect eyeliner flick...

Step One

Take a small amount of gel liner on a fine eyeliner brush, starting at the inner corner draw a line across the upper lash line keeping as close to the eyelashes as possible. I like to keep the line thin in the inner corner, gradually getting slightly thicker to the outer corner of the eye. Stop when you get to the edge of your lash line.

TIP - I find it easiest to apply the liner when my eyelid is pulled taught, either by gently holding the skin above the crease of your eye or by lifting your eyebrows up (surprised face) like most of us do when applying mascara.

Step Two 

Now draw a line from the outer corner of your eye angled slightly upwards towards the end of your eyebrow. You can make this line as long or as angled as you like, depending on the look you are after. I wanted to create a 1950's style flick.

Step Three

Connect the top of the first line (Step 1) to the end of the angled line (Step 2) to create a 'triangle' shape.

Step Four

Finally fill in the middle of the triangle, and your done!!
Just add mascara/ false eyelashes!

If you want to make the line thicker just keep adding and building up thin layers on top of your liner until you are happy.

TIP - Also line the tight line (the upper water line) to create the illusion of thicker lashes/ lash line.

Gel eyeliner is tricky at first and you may need to practice a few times to get your lines perfect, BUT I find that this is the easiest way to create this look... It is also fairly easy to correct mistakes as you are doing it step by step!

Hope this helps you guys :)

FYI - I used Maybelline Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner and a Real Techniques Fine Liner Brush to create this look.

A x