Friday, 21 December 2012

Mini post- Making a foundation from scratch!


You just need some grease paints and a slight knowledge of colour theory. I used Make Up For Ever Flash Colours for this but Kryolan, Ben Nye and Grimas do brilliant versions.



1. Take small amounts of your primary colours. Red, yellow and blue plus small swatches of white and black.
2. Mix them all together so you get your base. It should look like mud!
3. Add more white or black depending on your skin shade.
4. Adjust with more yellow, blue or red depending on your undertones.

Voila! A custom made perfectly matched foundation or concealer for you or your client.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

The Tangled Web of Rates and Charging for Your Skills.

I have been contemplating writing a post on rates for a while now but I couldn't find an angle to approach it from. Then I came across a "casting call" on a popular portfolio hosting site. It was posted by a UK based makeup artist working in London and surrounding areas offering her freelance services for £8 per hour. This enraged me to the point that an angle was no longer needed and I just needed to get this post written down and out of my system.

Firstly, £8 an hour is only acceptable in an employed environment such as shops and offices. Secondly, I looked at her work and she is a VERY new artist which is why her rate means she will run her business at a loss and probably starve to death in a doorway using her tattered kit bag as a pillow. Being angry always makes me so dramatic.



The Basics.


All the above aside for a moment...You should not be charging for your services until you deserve to be paid. By this I mean that you need to be able to unequivocally handle anything a client throws at you (metaphorically speaking. I don't want new artists thinking people may actually throw things at them). You need to know your place in the team without questioning yourself. You need to understand how a set works and most importantly you need to know your job inside out and back to front. You need to have worked on every skin type and tone and be able to work as proficiently on every model, actress and person that sits in your chair. You need confidence to make your opinions valid as a client is paying for your knowledge as well as your time, supplies and skills.



"OK smarty pants, how do I support myself?!"


Very simple. You take a different job while you learn your craft. Any job. I worked for a makeup company on counter and LOVED it. Its great experience and the discounts mean your kit will grow to a healthy workable size. You can use your days off and holiday time to assist and build your book. College and school and all these millions of courses only teach you the basics. They don't teach you how to handle a model melt down, an unhappy client, a client who doesn't have the first clue about makeup and therefore cannot tell you what they want, the list is ENDLESS. The only way you can learn these things is by testing and assisting. Assisting experienced working artists allows you to see all these processes in action. It also allows you to see how professional artists handle these things in the context of a professional set. You get to observe and listen and watch and absorb everything without the pressure of a bad decision ruining your career before you have even started.



Life Lessons


I know at least one artist who is phenomenal  They are a far better artist than me. They live in a major market (London) yet their career is stuck in the same place it was 6 years ago because they tried to run before they could walk. A few naive decisions and judgements later, word has spread, they have a reputation as a flake and mud -as they say- sticks. That is quite literally all it takes.


Rates at the moment is such an important issue. Since I started this 10 years ago, I have seen a massive rise in the number of "artists" and a steady decline in rates and its not just because our economy is on its arse. Its because schools/courses/classes are not teaching fundamental business skills or industry standards in pay. These courses happily take your money but they don't comprehensively tell you how to make it back in the future. So what are you actually paying for? You are paying to enhance a skill you already have only to be pushed into a market that is so over saturated with people who don't have a clue that it drives down rates for every single one of us.



How to Starve to Death in London


Back to £8 an hour girl...Lets work this out logically. To start with she does 3 portfolio tests with a net photographer a week (this is me being optimistic)...8 hours per shoot give or take. That's £64 a day. Take off her travel, that cheeky coffee on the way, the lashes she needs, the baby wipes and other disposables and right there you shave off £15. So shes left with £49. Lets round it up to £50 just to throw around yet more optimism, why not? So now as a self employed woman, she wont be paying tax on that income but what about her national insurance contributions? If her income nudges slightly above what I have used as an example a further 9% of her income goes to class 4 NI and regardless of how much she earns she has to pay another £2.65 (as of 2012-2012) a week in class 2 contributions. This will leave her with less than £150 a week to live on. For everything. Rent, bills, food, kit replenishment, travel to jobs etc. All this is based on my eternal optimism that she will do 3 jobs a week with no reputation, no contacts to people who are actually working and no clue of how to run her business. Yes she may make a bit more during wedding season but what about the dry spells? What about for the few weeks over Christmas when everything winds down? The few weeks a year when it dips a little? I am sure you now see my point. 



Industry Standards vs Consumer Perceptions


As a freelancer you never know conclusively how much money you will make from one job to the next. You also never know when that client will action your invoice and actually give you your hard earned cash. In fact, I (and most freelancers I know) spend more time chasing money than they do on set. I wont even get into how they will haggle and try not to pay you at all. Yawn.


Survival and living reasons aside, there is another very important reason why £8 per hour is a completely unacceptable rate (hourly rates like that are not industry standard in print and commercial work regardless of how high you set it but I will address this later). Undercutting your fellow artist will make you very unpopular very quickly. Alienating your peers in this industry is a bad idea for a whole host of reasons that I am sure you can work out for yourself. Undercutting is a sign of desperation and clearly points to someone who isn't ready to be working. This in turn drives down rates and maybe more importantly confidence in our profession. Someone who isn't ready to be working charges this ridiculously cheap rate, does a bad job, client gets what they paid for....I mean client loses confidence. Some are often left with the opinion "We will just have the model do it next time and the photographer can fix things in post..." Wonderful, hey?


This is also about WORTH. Good makeup artists are worth their weight in gold (har har har). Our main job on a working set is to save the photographer hours of retouch. We came into fruition for this very purpose. To make people look amazing on camera before photoshop when it would take lab techs and photographers days and days to repaint negatives. "How about we get someone to just paint it out on the person?" I am sure some very clever person said one day. For the record I don't think this is how we came into being but poetic licence seems to have gotten the better of me. Still, you get my point right? If you can see it in the flesh the photographer has to retouch it. Simple as that. Undercutting other artists damages your worth then filters down to the rest of us. Not cool. For example, I had this conversation a few weeks ago:



Lady: Oh the girl doing our wedding party is only charging £10 a face! You should so do that Lucy! I mean shes getting £70 just for a mornings work...
Me: Nah, I don't really do weddings and when I do its at least £70 just for the brides trial and I am not considered expensive...
Lady: SEVENTY POUNDS?! Seventy whole pounds just to SLAP ON A BIT OF MAKEUP?! Pfft...no wonder you don't do weddings. It only took that girl 5 minutes.
Me in my head: No, YOU are exactly the reason I don't do weddings. *RAGE*

You see? A shoddy artist literally "slaps on a bit of makeup" while charging silly prices and automatically people associate this with every one of us. They don't take into account the length of time you've been working, your skill level, the service you give and the time you take they just think you are the same because that's all they have experienced. In one morning Little Miss £10 A Face devalued us to at least 7 potential clients.

How do we charge?


One major problem in this industry is that we are cagey about how much we charge. If we don't share, how will others actually learn? You can walk into shops and find the prices right there on the shelf and as freelancers we are a product. Its a shame we don't come in a box to be honest as we wouldn't have a lot of these issues if people had to pluck us from a shelf and pay for us at a till....but I digress. I learnt how to price and charge through mentors when I just started out telling me their rates and helping me understand. So I am going to be honest with you lovely readers. Generally its a flat half and full day rate. For big commercial gigs my personal day rate is fixed at £350 for a full day (8 hours) and £200 for half day (4 hours). Editorial doesn't usually pay much and many magazines just offer you the pages, credit and cover expenses. Its up to you to decide if the tear sheets will add value to your book and so increase your work flow. Look books, catalogues, shows etc. I personally don't have set rate. Its a case by case basis and I try to offer a little flexibility for the client (especially if they are a new designer) without pricing myself too low. Rates also differ by area. I am in Liverpool at the moment so my rate will be lower than London or NYC for example.

Find a senior artist in your area who needs an assistant and will mentor you. Good, confident artists wont mind sharing their skills and knowledge with you because they are secure in their own ability. They wont fear you as competition and in turn they wont mind you knowing how much they make.

So get out there, assist your fabulous butts off then go and make some money! Secure your worth and believe that you are worth paying. Every time you turn away a job that wants to pay you pennies because you're "new" and every time you refuse to work for no money (not tests) you are increasing not only the respect you have for your talent but the respect everyone has for our profession. We need to stick together to keep our beautiful, beloved industry valuable!

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

How I Started Out in the Wonderful World of Makeup

Growing up makeup had never been a career I had considered. It had never come up in those weird job match/career match software programmes in school and even though from a young age I had been competent with makeup, I just didnt think about it.

So how did I end up here? At 16 I stayed on at 6th form and did an Advanced GNVQ in Health and Social Care. From there I went to university and studied a BA in Childhood Studies. I lasted a year and a half before it became very, very apparent that this wasn't the way I wanted my life to go.


College work still inspires me now.
So I left. I took a year out and worked in a video rental store (which to this day aside from makeup is my favourite job of all time!) while I tried to figure a few things out. I went through all my interests and things I excelled in at school and started to narrow things down. I made a list and crossed things off and in the end I had two things left on there. Movies and fashion/clothing. I was (and still am) a very good sewer and I got consistently good results in textiles during school. So I set about gathering prospectus's of colleges offering a costume design course. It was during this research that I found a course at Hugh Baird College for Media and Special Effects Makeup. On the list of course objectives was a section about putting together a complete character including costume. When I mentioned it to Mum she became more excited than I had ever seen her and said she just "knew" that was the way I should go. Which was perfect because for some reason, so did I. 

I applied for the level 2 (and went on to do 3) a little later than everyone else, as I was still desperately searching for the right path but the course adviser (Sara) was utterly fabulous, interviewed me and let me start asap. It worked out about 2 weeks after everyone else. From the word go, I knew I had made the right decision. Makeup just came naturally to me and I found it was a skill that must have been running through my blood without me ever knowing. I had always been able to do my own makeup nicely, but pro artists know that's not always an indication of anything. My mum told me during this time that I was always good with makeup when I was little,  and she would often let me do her lipstick and eye makeup before she went out!

This was almost 10 years ago now. Not only did I learn the most valuble hair skills I could ever wish for but I made lifelong friends and I still miss my college years. It was quite simply, wonderful. 2 years immersed in makeup and hair and monsters and beauty. Towards the end of the two years, I suddenly realised that come kicking out time, there was going to be 30 or so other newly trained artists all looking for work. So, I hit the internet. I read everything I could get my hands on about what it meant to be a professional artist and how I could get there. Unfortunately, this side of the makeup course was sadly lacking and we really received no guidance in real working world scenarios. It was then that I came across what became my holy grail of information and that is the FAQ section of this forum EmElle's Industry Forums Forums. I read it inside out and back to front. Then over again. I searched and took notes and made a real business plan. It was here I learnt about the importance of networking and building my portfolio BEFORE my course finished. I needed something tangible to hit the ground running. 

My first ever shoot. Shot in my living room
modelled by my best friend.
I searched some more and found some semi pro photographers in my area. I contacted them and explained that I was in college and sent some of my college shots through. I asked if I could meet them and chat about testing with them. For any really new artists reading this a "test" is just that. You, the model, the stylist and photographer all give their time to test out a concept, lighting set up or just the team dynamic. Some photographers will give you images on a CD once they have chosen them others will give you prints and sometimes you will have to pay for the prints yourself either directly from the photographer or from a print lab. Make sure you agree the terms before your shoot so you know where you stand and avoid crossed wires.

I found a photographer who was willing to give me a shot and I worked with him a lot building my book and in turn getting experience and improving my skills. I also started to contact working artists and assisting them. I got the chance to shadow some amazing artists who I learned more from in one day than my whole two years at college, one of which was the off the scale talented Rachel Wood.

Early test shot with a photographer I ended up working (paid)
on multiple jobs and throughout Europe. Shot by Bruce Smith.

Things I learnt During This Time:


1. DO be proactive and contact people whose work catches your eye. If you don't ask you don't get and you have nothing to lose.
2. DON'T work with people that will not benefit your book or your contacts. Concentrate your time on real world, working creative's OR students like yourself with masses of potential.
3. DON'T take paying jobs for free/reduced rates because you are new or a student. You undercut pro artists in your area which will make you very unpopular very quickly and it saturates and dilutes the potential for decent paying work for everyone. You will be in over your head and one mistake on a job could tar your reputation for ever. I am not even being remotely dramatic.
4. DO use your tests to develop the skill of restraint. Crazy, creative makeup is always the most fun but if you're building a book with an aim to work you need clean, wearable, commercial looks. Look at top creative agencies and aim for looks that wont look out of place on their books. (A quick Google search for "makeup artist agent London" will bring up lots of examples).
5. DO "test up"...This phrase was handed to me from an artist I considered to be a "mentor from afar" when I was starting out. The crazy brilliant Tania D Russell. In fact I am probably subconsciously ripping off all of her advice in this blog. Testing up means always go for better models, better photographers, better stylists. Make each shoot better than the last. Its the only way you can progress. 
6. DON'T BE SCARED. You really have nothing to lose by contacting photographers and working artists and everything to gain. Fear of failure will only ever make you fail. Its a vicious cycle.
Another early shoot. This image got me more
work than any other at that time. Shot by
Chris Rout.
7. DO fill your time constructively. If you aren't physically working then work on working. (emails, phone calls, website, blog, youtube etc. )  Make sense? Good.
8. DO get a senior artist to critique your work. It can be hard to open up your work to criticism at first but if you take on board what is said without taking it personally or being defensive, you will grow as an artist. I still have my peers look over shots I am not sure on and always, always take their advice. Never stop learning.
9. DON'T take everything at face value or pit yourself against others. What I mean by this is; just because someone is pumping out behind the scenes tweets of all the fabulous "jobs" they are doing or adds the word "celebrity" in front of makeup artist, the proof is in their work. If their website looks like it was knocked up by a glitter obsessed teenager, they have no celebrities in any of their pictures (and I am not talking about meet and greet style pics either) or they are claiming Estée Lauder campaigns when they can barely manage an eyebrow/hold a camera steady then move on. Focus on you and your career and leave them to it.
10. DO be nice. Its a simple rule. Talent is half the battle but being nice and pleasant to have on set will get you rebooked more than your work. I see artists all the time whose work is lovely but not outstanding and they work 7 days a week, 365 days a year because people like them. They are nice people and deserve that success.

From those first initial tests I was able to approach local agencies who put me in touch with their photographers and allowed me access to their models. I did 6 months on counter with the wonderful Bobbi Brown cosmetics to build my kit and gain invaluable experience, the rest followed. The more I worked the better my book became. I got a great website and had high Google rankings so the work kept coming. The rest as they say is history!

As usual, any questions or comments I love to read them so email me (through my site) or pop them in the comments box or if you fancy it, tweet me @lucyferrr.


Friday, 30 November 2012

Behind the Scenes with Lisa E Moss Jewellery and Olympian Natasha Jonas



I don't often do behind the scenes posts but I had such an amazing time on this job, I thought I would give you all a sneaky peek of some of the looks and concepts we covered over a chilly weekend in The Home of Champions, the Rotunda boxing club in Liverpool.

Not only did Natasha Jonas look absolutely amazing in Lisa's beautiful pieces but the whole vibe of the shoot was relaxed and creative. All in all, a marvellous way to spend a weekend!

Natasha is a champion boxer and was the first British woman to ever fight in any single Olympic games, ever. How ridiculously awesome is that?! You can read more about her and her well 'ard self here.

Lisa took inspiration not only from Natasha but boxing in general for this collection and as such, many of the pieces focus on the hands. Draping wrist chains and swags on rings with one piece even emulating the tape boxers use to bind their hands before putting on their gloves. Toughness mixed with soft femininity really captures Natasha's style and has made for a truly unique and wearable medley of beautiful jewels. It has also given Lisa many, many sleepless nights as she hand makes every single piece. Dedication or what?! When you see the level of detail and artistry in each piece the fact that they are handmade blows your mind!

Hope you enjoy the behind the scenes shots and be sure to check out more of Lisa's amazing jewellery here and look out for this new collection in TWENTY8TWELVE stores in London.

 
While I was doing Natasha's makeup there was a full on circuit training class going on behind her! Probably the most surreal view I have ever had whilst doing makeup.




The above were the cheeky "can you tell who it is yet?" pics for twitter! Lisa waited until the shoot was well under way before releasing who the model was for her new collection "Laughing Assassin" (which Natasha has been called!)






 
As you can see above, the looks were a mix of boyish, street cool and flirty tough glamour. When the final shots come out you will see I tried to reflect that in her makeup. The first look I did was a silver smoky eye with some contouring and a glossy nude lip and for the latter, I did a modern, gritty take on a 60's eye. 



Half way through the second day Natasha had to fulfil a commitment to an exceptionally important cause for Liverpool (and pretty much all of football) and that was to film a section of the new video for the charity release of You'll Never Walk Alone by Gerry and The Pacemakers. All the proceeds go to helping the victims of the Hillsborough disaster. So she changed from a glam, girly dress into her boxing gear and her whole body language instantly changed to "Fighter"...very cool, very intimidating and ultimately awesome.



For an unplanned shot, Natasha's ridiculously beautiful Mum joined her on set. I don't think I have ever met a more glamorous, stunning Mum in my entire life and Esther could easily pass for Tasha's sister! 

And if awesome, strong and brilliant women weren't enough we had the most delicious food courtesy of Ragga's Cafe on Smithdown Road. I would ever get tired of eating their curried goat or their amazing, warm festivals! Plus their Ackee n Saltfish took me back to my childhood and trips to Notting hill Carnival with my late Dad. Mmmmmm!



On our first day shooting Natasha was attending the Liverpool Style Awards to present the lovely Rebecca Ferguson with an award for music and I did her makeup for the event! If you look closely you will also spot some of Lisa's new collection.


And...just for you guys here is an exclusive and very, very tiny glimpse of Lisa's new collection. See how much I love you? (and I really do. The loyal readers of this blog have not only made me very happy but also I know you are supporting the wonderful businesses I have mentioned here and that makes my heart swell! Thank you x 100000000!)

Hope you enjoyed reading about it as much as I enjoyed shooting it! Next blog post is hopefully going to be about colour theory, if I can master writing about something so technical. In the meantime if there is a particular topic or question you want me to answer just pop it in the comments box below OR email me ukmakeupartist@gmail.com

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Harvey Nichols Beauty Bazaar Opens in Liverpool...

...cue lots of fan girl like text messages and phone calls to my fellow artist and friend Sian Davies!


Beauty Heaven

To get the full picture of the excitement build up we need to go back in time a little. I first heard of Harvey Nichols plans to open the Beauty Bazaar back in the summer when I was researching beauty retail concepts for a personal project. To say I was excited would be an understatement. The reality is, I squealed and almost did a wee (keyword: almost.) I was also a tiny bit bummed because the personal project I was researching was basically this concept and I wanted to open it myself. The business plan was finished, I had confirmed brands and I was just about to start looking for funding. Finding out Harvey Nics with all its millions and millions of pounds, flawless reputation and celebrity following was coming to town soon made me shelve the business plan and decide I wanted to work there. Long story short, I applied for Personal Shopper (scream!) and I didn't get it (BOO!). For a few hours after finding out this sad fact, I was going to boycott the store. Few hours...Then I became, once again, ridiculously, fat-kid-sees-cake excited again. Such is the power of capitalism and my penchant for shiny, beautiful, exclusive makeup brands.


So, we arrange a girls day. Me, Sian and my age old friend Andrea who is not a makeup artist but has an increasingly concerning but ultimately brilliant QVC beauty addiction. Sian is late due to some hilariously unfortunate mishap...actually I don't know if that's true but this is usually why she is late for personal appointments more often than not. From choking herself in public with her headphones, ransacking a local Boots or losing her bra when she had already left the house (these have genuinely happened) it makes me love her more than most other people because she is a hoot. So we have to go in without her because we literally can't wait another minute and Andrea has abandoned her boyfriend -who just so happens to be wearing a Manchester United football shirt- in the middle of Liverpool so we need to get a shift on. 



We came, we saw, we shopped.
We walk through the big, showy glass doors and are instantly warmly welcomed by a rather large doorman who wouldn't have looked out of place outside of The Sugar Hut. He greets us with a smile and a genuine sounding "Good Morning ladies, hope you have a great experience..." which is a word that flows around the place like the champagne in the "Wow Bar" on the first floor. I will explain this more later and it is so worth the wait!

The first word out of our mouths is "WOW!" and "OMG!" not "oh my god" but literally "OMG!". Its so beautiful in there it makes you regress to a teenage girl just seeing One Direction for the first time or Rylan Clarke meeting all of the Spice Girls at once and being offered a 6th member spot. It glitters and shines and sparkles in the most inviting way possible.


Directly to your left as you walk in is a huge MAC concession. In a relatively small (albeit major) city that already has a very large free standing MAC store, it comes off as a bit weird and also a waste of beautiful Harvey Nics space. Not because MAC isn't ace just because it makes me wonder if they wont be watering down the profits of the free standing store. I understand the reason its there and that's because Estée Lauder can afford the biggest and most prime spot in the place and really, that's what matters most lets be honest. Directly to your right as you walk in is the holy grail of beauty at the moment, Tom Ford Beauty. I was more excited about this than any other counter they had but they don't have the full range and the girls on counter were disinterested and snooty.




The store leads you around quite nicely and the lower floor is kind of horse shoe shaped. After MAC we get to Nars with a Shu Uemura right opposite (girly screams!). Even though Liverpool is really fashion forward and has a lot of spending power when it comes to beauty this is the first time we have had these brands. In the past I have had to order online or go to Manchester (about an hour train journey) to buy them. This section ended up being were we spent most of our time and money. The Nars counter must have truly loved us as all three of us spent quite a bit there. Sian bought pretty much the entire counter or maybe it just felt that way. I think I could happily run a full kit of just Nars products but this wasn't the only reason we stayed there so long. The girl (I now know to be called Mia. Everyone go and book in with her, shes ace!) that served us was an absolute sweetheart. She was attentive and well groomed. Her makeup was beautiful and she clearly loved her Nars as much as we did. She had the balance between selling and genuinely caring just right. The same cannot be said for the girls on Laura Mercier. They occupy the same spot on the opposite side of the horse shoe shape. Andrea and I went over there before Sian arrived because she was looking for a good primer and I love the hydrating version they make. After I showed the tester to Andrea and we chatted about it for a minute, we stood waiting for someone to ask us what we wanted for a good 5 minutes. Eventually an unkempt looking teenager approached us without so much as a smile. She opened a draw under the counter and literally stared into it for what felt like an hour then the next draw then the next and so on. Then she disappeared entirely only to come back to us with a "Sorry we haven't got it." That was it. She just looked at us until I offered up "Oh well you have a counter in John Lewis, will they have it there?"....Guess what she said people?! Yeah she went with "Dunno!". This was their second day open to the public and this girl seemed like she had already lost the will to live. 

The rest of the lower floor is occupied by the usual brands. Clinique, Benefit, Bobbi Brown etc but for me, the real magic of Beauty Bazaar is on the 1st floor. Having forcibly carried Sian away from Nars and me resisting the urge to squirt every kind of mousse Shu Uemura make all over myself, we went up the very glittery escalators into beauty and nail heaven. Within two seconds we had lost Andrea to the Nails Inc Champagne Bar (yes, this really exists!) while myself and Sian spent a good long while browsing the amazing BeautyMART. I nabbed myself the last bottle of Bioderma Créaline and we had a brilliant chat with one of the girls there who is known only as "HW" on my receipt. She showed us the counters built in iPads that meant we could browse their blog to find out about products and post our own comments while we shopped. She took a genuine interest in our freelance work and even chucked a few compliments our way, mainly about Sian's eyebrows but they are bloody good eyebrows so I wont hate.




When we caught up with Andrea she was having her nails done (for free) by one of the Nails Inc girls. I wish I could remember her name because she is one of the loveliest girls I have ever spoken to! We were offered a glass of champagne while she demonstrated their new set "Bling It On". Seeing the beautiful blue jewel like shine coming off Andie's ring finger nails tempted me to sit down and try it out. 
Andrea kindly snapped the results!
Its two colours of polish complete with a brush and two pots of very sparkly and fine milled glitter. There is even a little tray to pour glitter into so you can just roll your still tacky polish in the tiny crystals without excess mess. The brush helps to clean it all up. They had the "Midnight" set, which Andrea purchased and the "Hologram" set which I tried. I am still not sure how I resisted it. It was on offer at £20 and is absolutely beautiful. If you spent over £35 you got two free Nails Inc polishes too! Sian treated her kit to a set of mini Nails Inc polishes and we browsed Organic Pharmacy and then spoke to a lovely lady about some miracle serum called Cellex-C. The before and after shots were astonishing but they lady wouldn't let us buy it because we were under 35 and she said we would be wasting our money as the effect wouldn't be worth the price. Refreshing or what?! 


This is when we saw the Wow Bar for the first time. Elegant and plush as you expect from Harvey Nics, the bar is lined with iPads complete with Internet connection and twitter/facebook access. Perfect place to dump partners/parents/grans with a glass of champers or a very deluxe and delicious Latte. You can even park yourself there and let the stores dedicated Personal Shopper do all the hard work for you even though they wont be nearly as good as me and that sucks for Harvey Nics. Just kidding. Honest. No really, jokes!

We didn't go up to the next floor as this is where all the treatment rooms, medispa etc are situated. Next time I go in I will pay it a visit to get price lists etc.


All in all Harvey Nics has created a wonderland for beauty addicts. It truly is The Hub of beauty not only in Liverpool but in the whole UK. Its a testament to Liverpool women and how much they pride themselves in looking good that Harvey Nichols chose my beautiful city to showcase this unique, exciting concept. I DO wish they had more "exclusive in Liverpool" brands and in particular more French pharmacy brands. I also think that individual counters could really do with training their staff more and follow the example set by all the Harvey Nics staff we met that day who were brilliant, helpful and made our "experience" a very pleasant and indulgent one.


Everyone within a 100 mile radius who loves makeup and beauty as much as me and my two Warpaint Warriors, Andrea and Sian should make the pilgrimage to our very own place of Beauty Worship or go just because you Love Thyself! 

Current advertising campaign.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Skin Transformation Care of Avon!

I have always had a soft spot for Avon. Not just because of their great products but the fact that they are all about (and always have been about) supporting women.

Last month my skin had hit an all time low. It was dehydrated, dry and full of blemishes due to eczema. I had tried pretty much everything (including Eve Lom and Creme De La Mer) to no avail.


Then I discovered some Avon gems. If you saw my last post with the before and after picture I am sure you were expecting the creams to have cost a fortune and be from some fancy "Botox in a Bottle" type company. Trust good old Avon to come up with the goods!


Here is the before and after again so you can see un-retouched,  shamefully true examples of my skin 4 weeks ago and my skin now. I might have sobbed a little at the "before"...Maybe. You also have to excuse the brows. I am growing them out completely so I can get them threaded and looking a bit fuller.



Before.............................................After 4 weeks use
And now without further a do, here are the three wonder products responsible!


The first is Avon Clearskin Professional Clarifying Toner Pads and while I was looking for a link to buy them I have discovered they are now no longer available so I am ALL KINDS OF GUTTED! You can see the customer reviews about just how great the were here. They may still be available from a representative though as I am not sure if this is just because they have sold out. I am going to substitute them for the Clearskin Blemish Clearing Deep Cleansing Cloths and hope for the best. Especially brilliant as all the Clearskin products are half price at the moment.

Even though these little pads are meant for toning, I find they are wet enough to clean and gently exfoliate my skin leaving it very clean and fresh. They dont leave a residue or any oil behind and while my skin is still slightly damp I smooth on my moisturiser.

Rose moss calms sensitive skin

During the day I use Solutions Sensitive Botanicals Gentle Day Moisturiser SPF20 as my skin does have a tendency to break out and just be generally all over the place. This contains rose moss which is really good at helping sensitive skin stabilise and you can feel the cooling effect of it right away. It smells like cucumbers, but it isnt over powering and goes away really quickly. The SPF 20 is great for extra day time protection (you should still be applying a sunscreen with UVA (ages) and UVB (burns) to get the best protection).





Skincare GOLD...
Of a night I am using (and I personally think this is the main cause of my skin turn around, its just amazing!) Anew Ultimate Gold Emulsion Night Cream. The jargon from Avon says: 
"Intense moisture to help your skin replenish its vital moisture reserves. Use nightly. Day 1: Immediately, skin’s moisture levels surge by more than 400%. Day 5: 86% of women agree, skin feels uplifted, stronger and more elastic.* Day 10: Skin looks supported and more resilient. Day 14: Skin looks up to 5 years younger. Pro-Sirtuin TX Technology formulated to stimulate sirtuin youth proteins and activate remodeling proteins to repair advanced signs of age damage. Gold Polypeptide Complex engineered to help replenish skin’s moisture and maintain its youthful structure. Gel formula. 1.7 fl. oz. "

I say: "ITS FREAKING FABULOUS! GO AND BUY IT!" Ahem. In all seriousness, it feels funny when it goes on the skin. Its gel texture almost melts and feels a tiny bit grainy. It leaves a film on the skin, but it isn't unpleasant and you can instantly see and feel a difference. It does contain some AHA so I have been taking extra precaution with sun protection. AHA gently removes the surface layer of the skin so can make you more prone to sunburn.


Its also worth noting that I do cleanse once a day in the shower by using Embryolisse Lait-Creme Fluide (not the concentrate). I use one pump, rub it all over my skin then rinse with water. However, I have been doing this for a good while and it wasn't until the above routine that I noticed any difference in my skin. So there you have it. The steps that have genuinely changed my skin for the better. 

Monday, 23 July 2012

New work!

This is my first time posting from the Blogger app! Not sure if I like it. Anyways, this series is kind of inspired by summer wild flowers! It was shot by my good friend (and awesome photographer) Keith Clouston and the model is the very beautiful Ugne @Storm.

www.keithclouston.com
www.stormmodels.com
www.lucymc-makeup.co.uk using Make Up For Ever and SleekMakeup.

Hope you like!

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Printed Portfolio Books


A lovely reader had some questions about the use of printed portfolio books so I thought it would make a great blog post!

My Book: Glossy white 11x14.
My printed book (pictured left) is 11 x 14 inches and made by Pina Zangaro) . This seems to be the most common, standard size that our industry uses. It is by no means absolute though. I have known some photographers to have huge printed books because of the high impact and detail it gives when they are showing their work and likewise I have seen beautiful smaller 8 x 10 books. Its a personal preference at the end of the day.

Inside my book the prints are all 11x14 and fill the wallets as you can see in this picture. However makeup artist Vanessa Collins (see her print book and link further down) chose 8.5x11 for her prints so that they look uniform against her tear sheets from magazines and print campaigns. Such a brilliant idea that had never occurred to me!


 


I think the most important aspect of your printed book should be the print and work quality within it. Don't scrimp on your prints! Always go with the highest quality that your budget allows. If to start with that's only a few pounds then hunt down the best, budget printers you can find. Local independent labs can often be both high quality and low cost and many will do a deal with you should you be printing off lots of pictures at once. My favourite high end printers is The Print Space. They are by no means cheap but the quality is unparalleled in my opinion. I know a lot of photographers that use them too.

Matte or glossy prints? 

Again, its personal preference I think. I prefer the way makeup looks in a matte print. I also think that once you add the glossy wallet over the top, glossy prints can give off too much glare. Go with what you prefer.

How many prints?

Here is the philosophy I work to:

It is better to have 5 stunning pictures than 15-20 average ones.


In my book at the moment I have 26 shots of my absolute best work. No fillers. No mediocre tear sheets "just for the sake of it". No outdated looks or weak models. You are only as good as your weakest shot. Remember that. As your work grows and you expand your portfolio by working with better teams, then add and replace. Constantly work on your book to make it the absolute best it can look. Furtermore, you should be tailoring your book depending on the client you are going to see. Research the client and see what their usual preference is. If its clean and pretty then a book full of creative colourful work will either scare them or make them think you arent the right fit for them. Just like a book full of clean commercial work wont float the boat of a high fashion, editorial photographer.

Where and what to buy?

There are so many options when it comes to buying your portfolio book it can seem a bit daunting. One of my favourite companies is Brewer-Cantelmo. The choice and diversity of the books they offer is amazing and there is truly something for everyone. One of my first books was from them. It was a raspberry red fabric 11x14 embossed book. It was beautiful. Beautiful and totally impractical. The realisation of this was something quite heart breaking as I spent a lot of money on it. The fabric meant that as soon as it was handled a lot, the natural oils and grubbiness of peoples hands marked and stained the fabric and made it impossible to keep looking clean and professional. The slightest mark looked like a massive stain and made it rather stressful when I went on go sees to show my book. That's when I switched to the book I have now. Because its acrylic its wipe clean and the scratches don't show due to its glossy white finish.

Fellow Makeup Artist's book
When choosing your book its so easy to go with something visually stunning that matches your style. Whether that's bright red PVC (like my current iPad case ;) ) or purple suede (swoon!) but the practicalities of carrying your book around whilst lots of people touch it means that, unfortunately plain leather or acrylic is the most practical. Take Vanessa Collins (all round kick ass makeup artist) for example. Her book in the following picture is 11 x 14, black embossed leather. It looks smart, neat and professional. I would also say that 90% of the creatives I know have a black, leather book. Leather looks nice as it ages and handling leather books actually keeps them soft and lush looking.


Digital Books and alternative presentation

Ipad Portfolio
There is also a current "Digital Revolution" happening (just in case you hadn't noticed haha!) and many people are switching from printed books, to ipad/tablet books. I currently have some of my book on my iPad and should probably get a move on and transfer all of my book over so I have the option of showing my portfolio when I'm not expecting to. I wont give up my printed book anytime soon because it looks so pretty...I mean its still the industry standard. Obviously. Ahem. Having your portfolio on your smartphone or tablet device is a really convenient way of showing your work on the fly. It means you always have it to hand, which can only be a good thing.


My friend and all time favourite photographer Keith Clouston has an innovative and rather genius way of showing his book. You can see it on the following video by Pixiwoo's Sam Chapman. This way of promoting your book not only shows the client how your work actually looks in a "magazine" style setting but you can also leave a physical copy of it with them for their reference! Cool huh?




Any questions or comments please leave them below!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Inspiration

I was looking through my photos this afternoon as I am about to do a big print run for my book. It occured to me how much I look to nature to get inspiration for the looks I do. From shells, to moths to the "heavens" I find the colour combinations and textures that nature creates to be both breath taking and extremely helpful when it comes to designing makeup.

Heres my most recent beauty story as an example and the scenes that inspired each shot!




                     


Monday, 2 July 2012

In My Kit: The Things I Cannot Live Without.

I was asked by a lovely reader to do a post about the essential products in my kit. This was hard because I am a complete makeup junkie and love everything I currently carry. There are some products -such as my beloved Face and Body foundation that I reviewed in a previous post- and tools that I will be forever faithful to though and maybe surprisingly, they aren't all makeup. I have chosen 6 products that I simply couldn't work without.


Number 1

Make Up For Ever Flash/12 Colour Case

The Makeup Artist's Dozen


Where to start with this wonder palette?! Well lets use a scary imaginary situation.

I rush out the door to a shoot, kit in tow. A few steps from my front door I realise I have left my brushes and my flash palette behind, so I run back and pop the two in my handbag rather than open my kit up. Between my home and the job my kit spontaneously combusts (typing that made me feel a little sick, I cant lie to you) and after I am done sobbing I realise I still have a job to do. I reach in my bag to grab a tissue and see this beautiful little wonder shining back at me and I realise that even though my entire kit is now in ashy pieces all over a Liverpool Street....all is ok. I have my Flash Case. The End.

Seriously dudes, its THAT good. You can do an entire face of makeup with this little baby alone. If you understand colour theory (and newbies this should be something you learn first and foremost. Teach yourself to mix foundation from primary colours plus white and black and you will thank me when you realise you can now match foundation to anyone pretty much by sight alone) you can create a foundation. It can be used for blush, eye shadow (the blue on my summer beauty shots is mixed from this palette) and lips. You can even use the black as a mascara at a push. For the latter you would have to be careful of it transferring as its a grease but you still could technically do it.  If I forgot this on a job I would actually panic and its the only product in my kit that would provoke such a reaction in all honesty. Buy it! Available at www.preciousaboutmakeup.com


Number 2

Stila All Over Blending Brush #9

Superior 217? Maybe.
I have had this brush for going on 8 years. It has never lost one hair and its fibres are still in perfect condition. Its not just the longevity of this brush that makes me love it so much though. It blends like no other brush I have tried. Whether you use soft circular motions or simply swipe across a shadow line it always delivers.

It can also be used to dust power over under eye concealer for precision setting power and to apply light coats of shadow if you want to layer.



 Number 3

Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentrate

Plumped to perfection
Put simply this is the ultimate moisturiser. From flaky to fabulous in minutes, it plumps and softens the skin to make foundation application flawless. Considering its so rich it sinks into the skin in seconds and doesn't leave an oily residue. The new lotion version comes in a very large pump dispenser and is a lighter consistency which makes it perfect for body application.  Also available at Precious About Makeup



Number 4

Parian Spirit

Lemony Goodness
Citrus based with no harsh chemicals, it smells delicious and is gentle on even your most delicate brushes. Can be spritzed over brushes in between looks to instantly sanitise alternatively you can soak brushes for 5-15 for a deep clean. It evaporates quickly so you aren't left waiting around to be able to use your brushes for an eternity. I like to keep some in a little bowl on my workstation so I can instantly rid my favourite brushes of colour, ready for the next look. Buy now at Precious About Makeup

  
Number 5

Costco/Kirkland Baby Wipes

Cheap n Chic
"Baby wipes?! What the deuce?!" I hear you say....I don't know how any artist manages without a baby wipe to hand. I use them to wipe over surfaces, clean my palette (the back of my hand), cleanse and remove makeup, wipe brushes...You name it, these bad boys get used for it. The reason I like Costco ones so much is because not only are they cheap (huge box of 6 packets for about £7/8) but they are so, so gentle. They feel like a wet cloth and have no horrible scent. They are soft and efficient. I couldnt do a job without them.


Number 6


Rimmel Extreme Definition Clear Mascara


It doesn't necessarily have to be this brand but clear mascara has become a firm staple of my kit.  I use it not only to give lashes definition when I am doing a really natural look but also to hold brows in place.  My favourite way to use it is to mix in pigments (Make Up For Ever are my faves!) to create coloured mascara. I pour some out onto a palette, tap in some pigment and use a small brush to paint the lashes. I usually paint them white first, then add the colour over the top to make the colour really pop. I have also used it to create coloured liquid liner as it dries to a liner like texture. It saves me carrying lots of different coloured mascaras and liners and as we all know, the smaller we can get our kits the better! On the following shoot- from about 4 years ago (oh how time flies!)- I used it with some neon eyeshadows (Stargazer I think) to colour the eyebrow and once on a film, the director wanted a single tear last minute, with no glycerine to hand this stepped up and saved the day!

I would love to hear what some of your kit favourites are. What can't you live without?