Saturday, 30 June 2012

Playful Summertime Beauty

I had intended my next post to be about my absolute cannot live without products but then I got these back from the photographer and had to share them. I promise that post will be up tomorrow!

I took my inspiration for these looks from the summer sky. From early morning bright blue heavens right through to late sunset in all its soft, dark & golden loveliness. Who says bronzed beauties need to conform?! Not me!

Sunny Days

Warm Nights

Sailors Delight

Blue Skies...(model: Vanessa @ Premier)

 Head over to my website to see more of my recent work and also pay a visit to the photographer behind these shots, Keith Clouston...

Creating No Makeup...Makeup.

 The first skill every new artist should master

When I was starting out as a makeup artist, all I wanted to do was use colour and stick things to models faces. Feathers, rhinestones, name it. From watching new makeup artists emerge over the years, this seems to be a right of passage we all go through and looking back at the shots when you have been working for a few years is pretty funny. Take this old shot of mine as an example. This was from my first proper test shoot. 

At the time, I was so unbelievably excited about this shoot. My friends and family raved over it as they are obliged to do and I thought I was great. It was a fun shoot and at the time it really showcased my skills but it put me in a certain category of artist. An Internet Artist. A hobbyist. An amateur. Not because of the photography or style but purely because I created a look that would date before I left the shoot!

I didn't realise that then, obviously. Had I used that shoot to develop my skills in doing a beautiful, flawless natural look I no doubt would have been booking clients much earlier. In the real working world, clients (the guys with the big bucks) would have been terrified of this look. They want -and need- to see an artist who can make a model look flawless, save them money on retouching and ultimately make it look like there wasnt a makeup artist involved at all. This is how new artists should be spending their testing time at the begining. Sure its boring. Its not creative etc etc but it is the biggest skill you can show as an artist. The skill of restraint.

With all this in mind here is how I create a "no makeup" looking makeup.

Photo by Keith Clouston. Model is Vanessa @ Premier

Products you will need:
  • Simple Cleansing Wipes
  • Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentrate
  • Make Up For Ever HD Primer in Blue
  • Benefit POREfessional
  • Make Up For Ever Lift Concealer in #1
  • Make Up For Ever Face and Body Foundation in #20
  • Yaby Pink Corrective Concealer (Cherry Blossom) as a blush
  • Benefit HighBeam
  • Make Up For Ever Waterproof Brow Corrector in #0
  • Bobbi Brown eyeshadow in Bone
  • Vaseline Lip Balm in Rosy Lips
  • Make Up For Ever Mist and Fix

Step 1: Prep

I started by wiping over the face with cleansing wipes and smoothed on a tiny, pea sized amount of Embryolisse. (Note: I always allow the moisturiser to settle a little before going right in with a primer or a foundation and usually do some hair prep (if I am doing hair) or hand the model over to the hairstylist.) Once the moisturiser had worked its magic, I then used a small, flat foundation brush to apply the primer to the middle of the face and blended outwards. I used the blue toned primer in this case because it brightens the complexion and Vanessa had been travelling so much with work she was calling herself a "Fashion Gypsy" so her skin needed a little pick me up.

Step 2: Skin Work

Stila Brush in #2
I added a little POREfessional to any areas that looked like they had larger pores. In this instance, Vanessa's skin was beautiful on its own so it was just a little around the nose and chin. Using a precision concealer brush -the one pictured by Stila is my favourite- I used Lift concealer on any blemishes, redness and under the eye. I let it set a little then pat over it to blend any edges. 

I then used Yaby concealer in Cherry Blossom as a blush. I applied this quite heavily BEFORE I applied her foundation. This gives the appearence of the blush coming from "within" rather than being an obviously applied product. 

The Face and Body shade I chose for Vanessa, matched her skin perfectly so I didnt have to mix. When doing a "no makeup" look, it is extremely important to match the foundation exactly to the colour of the face*. This means you only have to apply it where it's needed rather than all over the face. I started at the centre of her face using a flat foundation brush (Benefit's in this case) and blended out over the cheeks, a little on the chin and between her eyebrows. Then I buffed over it with the Real Technique's stippling brush to really sheer it out.

To enhance the natural highlights on Vanessas skin, I tapped a little HighBeam onto her cheekbones and used a small brush to apply it to her cupids bow. I love doing this, its so flattering!

*Most of the time I match to the chest so both face and body look a uniform colour but not when doing a makeup as natural as this.


Step 3: Finishing Touches

Perfect neutral...Bone.
I swept some Bone eyeshadow over her lids to absorb any oil and even the skin tone then filled in any gaps in her eyebrows using a stiff angled brush and MUFE's brow corrector. The #0 is so perfect for redheads, as you can see. To bring out Vanessa's eyes a little I felt the look needed her lashes to be slightly darker but I didn't want them to look like they were loaded with mascara, so I used a small fan brush and more of the brow corrector and painted her lashes from root to tip then combed through them with a clean spoolie. Lips were just a sheer flush of Vaseline. Finally, I spritzed over the whole face with some Mist and Fix and also sprayed some on a brow comb and set her brows in place.

I would love to hear your tips and tricks for creating a flawless natural face, so feel free to share them (and any questions) in the comments below!

Friday, 29 June 2012

My Kit Favourites: Make Up For Ever's Face and Body Foundation.

I have been loving and using this foundation for so long, I can no longer remember how I heard about it. I am guessing it must have been many moons ago when I was just starting out and researching my kit.

With the dawn of HD makeup this super easy to use wonder often gets forgotten and I struggle to understand why. It is my "go to" foundation on almost every job because I know how well it performs on pretty much every skin type.

The "blurb" from Make Up For Ever says:
The gel texture of the Face and Body Liquid Make Up is light, fresh and meltingly smooth. It evens out the complexion and leaves a thin layer of powder on the skin, for a very natural finish.
This is all true. The thing I love most about this foundation is its amazing layering capabilities. You can build up layer after layer on the areas that need it and it never looks heavy or chalky. You can apply it in a multitude of different ways too. Applying a small amount with your fingers gives a very natural, even and slightly dewy finish. Layering with a flat foundation brush gives flawless, poreless complextions and then there is my new favourite way which is dotting it all over the skin and buffing it in with the Real Techiniques stippling brush (another love of mine). Instant, natural perfect skin.

It feels great when its being applied. Almost like water because of its slightly gel like texture. I also find that it has an instant cooling effect to the skin too. Which is a god send when working on flustered Brides and Bridesmaids. Mothers of the Bride always love this age friendly formulation. It doesnt settle into fine lines and wrinkles and when applied in upward motions, the gel gives the feeling of slight tightening. Nothing extreme, but it does make the skin feel plumper.

Without F & B:With F & B
 Let us not forget about the "Body" part of this little gem. On shoots I use it on arms, hands etc so that if the model brings her hands to her face both the texture and colour are the same between the two. Tan lines, uneven skin tone and a quick fix if (like me) the models legs are slightly mottled. This happens a lot to very fair skinned models and in the interest of "science" I have taken a picture of my totally supermodel like pins (I mean the bowling kind) for you to see the difference. This is just one layer, applied very quickly when I was watching the TV.  I have come to realise and understand that this kind of behaviour is perfectly acceptable so I will comment on it no further and just let you see the results.

I use this foundation so often and in so many different ways that I had to stop myself from rambling. Or at least I hope I did! I have also come to realise that it is perfectly acceptable to get this excited about a foundation (or any makeup for that matter) so its all good. Right?! Right.

The full range of Make Up For Ever is available at 

Thursday, 28 June 2012

First Post Jitters


A little bit about me and what I want this blog to be

I have been thinking long and hard about blogging for a while now. Its daunting to say the least. I mean just a few of the questions that floated through my mind before finally taking the plunge were:
  • What should I write about?
  • Who will even bother to read it?
  • Why would anyone want to read my inane ramblings?!
And so on and so forth. Regardless, I decided to stop being a wuss and just do it. 
I intend to write about makeup because thats what I know (and do) best but I also want it to be a kind of "mini guide" to becoming -and sustaining yourself as- a makeup artist because it really isnt easy.

When I started out (almost 10 years ago now) things were fast changing. The dawn of internet forums, youtube and portfolio websites was making it far easier to showcase work, connect with photographers and learn about makeup. Even with all of this information at our fingertips, some topics still dont reach the masses. Things like rates and how to charge, etiquette on set, how to transition from portfolio building (testing) to self employment. Just a few things that I am going to try and talk about. 

Alongside this I will share my new work (you can see my current work here) and give breakdowns on what I used and how I achieved the look. Reviews on my favourite products and products that went in the bin.

I would also really love to answer questions about makeup and becoming an artist. I think this is what I hope to do the most while I am blogging actually.

This is my face...
A bit about me now...As mentioned earlier, I am an experienced makeup artist. I am based in Liverpool but spend my time all over the UK working. London is often a second home to me. I had to give up makeup for over a year due to ill health and I realised during that time that nothing makes me happier than being an artist. Its definitely a "calling" rather than a career choice for me. Other than makeup, I love reading, hanging out with my friends, shopping you know, just regular girl things and I have recently developed a rather big love for The Big Bang Theory. I want to be Amy Farrah Fowler in my next life. 

So now we have the formalities out of the way, I will start writing about my beloved makeup. I just did a sharp intake of breath, my palms got a little sweaty I cant lie and I really hope that the things I write end up helping one budding makeup artist. So here goes nothin'....