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pro tips

Best Face Forward

Wendy in Wonderland

posted by Wendy February 1, 2018 0 comments

I loved creating this look for Sophie Lowe playing Alice in Once Upon A Time: Wonderland. Sophie has porcelain skin with a beautiful splattering of freckles and her character called for a natural easy makeup. In a few scenes we got to bump it up with lavender tones but this was a beautiful makeup for her as she wound her way through all kinds of adventures. The look may have been designed for her  TV character but it translates perfectly into real life if you want a simple, pretty, fresh-looking best face forward.

What I used:

Skincare: to boost hydration (important for long days in front of the camera under hot lights) and induce a sense of calm for early morning starts, I always spritz with rosewater. It’s lovely to use throughout the day to refresh your skin. If you love roses, this is your mist:

Makeup: For a healthy beautiful glow (I’m not a fan of heavy foundation, especially on camera, yuk) I used one of my all-time favourite bases, NARS’ Sheer Glow formula, mixed with a few drops of Armani Fluid Sheer 7 for amazingly-looking skin, on camera or off:

Under her eyes, a little Amazing Concealer  from Amazing Cosmetics in Ivory. Best concealer ever, I rant about it in a previous post. Available at M&S Beauty if you live in the UK, otherwise it’s a special order or a trip to Sephora.

To complete, the tiniest trace of this powder which doesn’t look at all “powdery” so I love it.  It dulls shine where you want it to but adds a touch of radiance as well, how brilliant is that? LOVE this one. Loads of powder in film (and in real life) is a no-no which looks terrible and is always ageing.
A simple sweep of colour over her lids, using a big blending brush so it’s soft and pretty:
And to add some definition and bring out the colour of her blue/green eyes, this cult pencil from M.A.C which had excellent staying power and blends easily for a smudgey bottom liner. This colour, Powersurge, is a must-have in my kit.For delicious lashes, or rather audacious ones, this one from NARS gave Sophie that doe-eyed look.

On cheeks and lips for a natural, very pretty stain: iT Cosmetics Vitality Flush Colour Stain Stick. It’s tricking you into thinking it’s clear, but will adjust it’s pinkness to your skintone once applied. I love that you can use on cheeks and lips too, always handy for quick touch-ups. Now available in the UK at Selfridges only. So far. This company has cult status in the U.S so I expect it to start growing in popularity in the UK soon (see below for further reading). Get to

That’s it, seven products not including skincare but don’t forget how important that is: with a great canvas, you’ll achieve great makeup xo

Jurlique Holistic Skin Care

Further reading: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/beauty/make-up/everything-need-know-cosmetics-cult-us-brand-has-finally-launched/.

PRODUCT REVIEWS Mylifeinmakeup.com does not receive any monetary compensation to review products. Most reviews are based on products purchased personally, and preferred, or not. Occasionally I will receive products from makeup companies and will choose whether or not to review them here. Receiving products has no bearing on the opinion of the review, nor whether I choose to review it or not. All opinions are just that, and are honest and unbiased. Recommendations are based on the knowledge I have gained during 18 years as a professional makeup artist. Mylifeinmakeup.com is not to be held responsible if you decide to purchase an item and are dissatisfied with it.

MakeUp 101

Make Up Brushes 101

posted by Wendy December 23, 2016 0 comments

You may not be a Picasso but good make-up brushes make for good make-up artistry, and one of the questions I am frequently asked is which are the best and which the most essential. So here it is, Brush 101, for the make-up addict and the newbie alike.

If you’ve attempted make-up brush buying recently, in shops or online, you might be overwhelmed at all the choices. At various price points and styles, it can be confusing, unless you’ve used a lot of them or are already loyal to a particular brand. I’m going to give you some good advice which I hope will help if you’re doing your Father Christmas (aka Santa) list or if you want to get gifts for a make-up addict.

I have, over the course of my career, amassed many brushes! My first make-up job was at M.A.C, and we were lucky enough to get a generous amount of free stuff, twice a year. I mostly chose brushes because they were most costly, and I had an endless supply of makeup, so even though I was there just over a year before my freelance career really took off, I had a good collection of basic brushes to use for work. I’ve took great care of them and even have some of those original MAC brushes (when they were still fabriqué en France). Today I lug around a vast number of brushes, each one with a specific job to do, made with real hair and acrylic (both have their purpose); I have to have multiples because there are days when I can use upwards of a hundred to get a job done. I have my favourites, use them constantly and get anxious if I can’t find them! Which happens occasionally (intro sad music).

My working makeup brushes ; they need their own chauffeur

For my personal use, it’s a different story, so here’s what I think you need to be able to create beautiful makeups on yourself. With these basic but splendid brushes you can achieve most looks without blowing the budget, and of course you can build on them as budget and desire allow. As with most things it’s worth spending the money on good quality brushes but it’s not always necessary. The ones I’ll recommend here are not specialty brushes and are the ones I have in my makeup bag. You may be surprised at how few I think you need!

Concealer brush – This is one of the occasions when acrylic rules. A good brush for concealing under and around the eyes should be flat but flexible. The brush needs to have acrylic “bristles” because they are better for use with creamy products. My fave concealer brush looks like a miniature oar, and it can bend around all the curves of the eye. I got mine in Canada from a line called Quo and it was cheap! Look for a brush like this…Have since found an amazing one from Chantecaille which you’ll think looks big but isn’t at all, it’s great from getting in all the nooks and crannies where concealer has to go.

Looks like an oar and can paddle around the curves of your face

Spot brush – for deleting life’s imperfections. This brush should be very small and have a good point to it, because you’ll literally use it to ‘dot’ concealer on to whatever it is that needs vanishing. If you use a big brush and lots of product you’ll draw attention to a spot or blemish. My very favourite dot brush was one from Japonesque which went “missing”, grrrr, and was then discontinued. The trials and tribulations of a MakeUp Artist! I was introduced last year to the handmade brushes of London Brush Co and now love them for dotting.

Dot dot dot

Medium eyeshadow brush – it’s better if this one is a bit fluffy, to pick up lots of product and deposit it onto your eyelid! Soft bristle brushes are gentle on the eye area and a medium size is the most useful to start with. Because I am clever I have a double-ended one, two brushes in one, from iT Cosmetics.

Crease brush – so called because the shape of the brush fits comfortable into the crease of your eyelid. It should be nicely tapered to deposit shadow into that crease and then blend it beautifully. I’m currently using an acrylic one from the Sephora/Pantone collaboration and really love it. The Pantone Colour of the Year that year was emerald and it’s gorge.Pencil brush – You may not have even heard of a pencil brush, but believe me, you can rewrite your makeup with a pencil! It looks just like a stubby pencil and is magnificent for smudging and smoking up your eye makeup. Use it to smudge pencil eyeliners close to the lash line or to apply eyeshadow all around the eye for a true smokey eye. I love pencil brushes! Honestly, invest in one, it’ll change things. This one, the MAC – 219S Pencil is very adequate but I have since discovered Charlotte Tilbury Eye Smudger Brush which is softer and had a bigger surface area for perfect smokey effects. Truly love it.

I always carry a pencil or five

 

Powder brush – I intend to change your opinion about powder brushes. They are not essential. If you think you have to “set” your makeup with powder then we should talk. Gone are those days, products are made to last and you’ll lose all your glow. Too much powder makes your skin look flat, it looks like makeup, and it’s ageing. Nobody likes a Mrs Danvers. If you must have one (say you need need to wear powder in the t-zone) make it a small and fluffy one. Made from real hair, it should gently deposit powder onto the areas you need it and not your whole face. If you really, really think you need to powder your whole face you’re probably not in the right foundation for your skin type. There are so many beautiful foundations for oilier skins. If you need recommendations, please message me, I’m so happy to help. My favourite powder brush is a small square-shaped natural hair brush from Japonesque which is incredibly soft.

Dome brush – a dark horse of the brush world but an amazing and useful tool. Dome brushes are fantastic for contour and blush because they blend and blend and blend. I really love my dome brush. It’s from Royal & Langnickel in LA, is 100% vegan with supersoft synthetic bristles and was about U.S$15 US. A great investment, I’ve had it for ages. Check them out online, they have amazing brushes.

These last three aren’t essential but you might want to add them sooner rather than later..


Bronzer brush
– instead of the powder brush, the bronzer brush should be the biggest, softest brush in your arsenal. I love a real hair brush for bronzer and use MAC – 138S Tapered Face to pick up the bronzer and sweep it where it needs to go – over the cheekbones, down the nose, across the forehead. I do a sweep on the neck as well. The tapered brush is a perfect shape for sweeping around, doesn’t deposit too much product because it’s fluffy and soft, and blends beautifully. There are loads of lovely acrylics that will do the same job, try to find a tapered one. Remeber, the larger the brush the less product it will pick up, which is what you want when you do bronzer so it looks real and not baked. If you never wear bronzer then a) you are very lucky  b) you needn’t have read this part!

M.A.C brush #138 – tapered to give beautiful bronzes on the countours of the face

 

Lip brush – If you’re a glossaholic then just use the wand it comes with, same for so many lip products. Lipstick bullets are shaped to be applied straight to the lip, but if you are more comfortable with a brush, get a proper one and not one of those weeny retractable things which I swear are made for dolls. I use a lip brush (when doing someone else’s makeup) that wasn’t designed to be one but it works for me; it’s paddle shaped and not too tiny and it’s flat edge means I can do all the lip shaping with the brush itself. I picked up loads of these at a trade show, the company name has worn off but it looks like this and has flexible bristles for applying to curves.

Flat Eyeshadow Brush -these come in handy for doing more intense eye makeups. The flat shape is good for picking up and depositing eyeshadow if you do more dramatic eyes. Then use your crease brush or medium brush to blend it. This one is #195 from M.A.C. but if you can’t find it the
Nars Eye Shadow Brush #40 is also really good, for picking up a decent amount of shadow and putting it precisely in the right place before the blender brush gets to it 🙂

Great shape for shaping!

And the most essential Brush of all! Just can’t help myself. Boom Boom.

So I think that’s it! Shocked? Only seven brushes in the essential category and three more for fun, think how much money Father Christmas will save.

Seven Sisters and three cousins. With these, your art will flourish!

By the way, I’m not sure about the necessity of an angled liner brush (though I know that many people love them). So many eyelining products have pen applicators which are brilliant; this brush has been made almost redundant, but if you’re a liner fanatic it’s nigh impossible to do a great liner on yourself without one of these. If you’re an aspiring makeup artist they are a staple of your kit, and the best one I’ve found is Nars Kudoki Kabuki Brush because it won’t splay out over time. I’m hoping very few of you are using them to put powder in your brows because there are much better choices out there.  I was never a fan of powder in brows because it looks like….powder in brows! So many product on the market now will imitate what real eyebrows look like so please put the powder down.

Yes, I do have one. This one is sharp and lovely and from NARS

 

If you add a Beauty Blender original beautyblender + mini blendercleanser solid to your toolbelt you’ll be laughing. It does away with an expensive foundation brush, takes your makeup to the next level AND you can use it for powder (see previous post).When buying brushes hold them in your hand to feel the weight and to see if the length of the handle is right for you. I prefer long handled brushes, which are pretty standard. Short handled ones are best left to travelling brush sets I think but if they feel better to you then do it. By the way I don’t have a travelling brush set – I take my trusty brushes wrapped in paper towel in a ziploc. Ziplocs are the best travelling companions.

My very first makeup brushes werefrom M&S. They had ceramic handles and I knew nothing about the world of makeup then, oh happy days! I kept them in a Snoopy container, which I still have and is as precious to me as my KitKat 25th Anniversary mug.

Brushes have come a long way since then baby, but you don’t have to go a long way to find good ones. Department stores, chemists (drug stores in N. America but not where you go for drugs), makeup stores and online, take your pick and have loads of fun with them! Doing makeup, your own or someone else’s, is not called artistry for nothing. The canvas may be human but the techniques are similar, and like any artist, the tools of your trade can help you or hinder you. Best of luck! By the way, yes that’s me in the picture with the Picasso Face. This is what makeup artists do when they’re bored.

P.S Don’t forget to take care of your beloved brushes!! They will serve you long and well if you do…(see “Spring Cleaning” post from last year on how to take care of them). For a variety of price points check out these options:

Space NK UKM·A·C

Charlotte Tilbury

Not forgetting beautiful vegan sets available:For those of you in Quo territory (Canada):
Beauty Boutique

In kangaroo territory (lucky you!):
PRODUCT REVIEWS Mylifeinmakeup.com does not receive any monetary compensation to review products. Most reviews are based on products purchased personally, and preferred, or not. Occasionally I will receive products from makeup companies and will choose whether or not to review them here. Receiving products has no bearing on the opinion of the review, nor whether I choose to review it or not. All opinions are just that, and are honest and unbiased. Recommendations are based on the knowledge I have gained during 18 years as a professional makeup artist. Mylifeinmakeup.com is not to be held responsible if you decide to purchase an item and are dissatisfied with it.

MakeUp 101These Are A Few of my Fave Things

The Original beautyblender: Beware Impostors

posted by Wendy August 9, 2016 0 comments

There are few things I would say are absolutely essential for great makeup application. The Beautyblender sponge is one of them. It makes putting on your makeup easy, fast and gives gorgeous results, so if you want something that will change your makeup game forever, get yourself one.

The Beautyblender beautyblender pro sponge looks like a big pink egg but is an edgeless, latex-free, non-disposable cosmetic sponge applicator. It was created by makeup artist Ree Ann Silva in 2002 for use for high-definition HD television, which was then a new format. The anti-bacterial sponge holds water, not product, evenly distributing and blending the perfect amount of product into the skin without leaving tell-tale lines. It is a beauty of a blender! And as I am all about blending, and natural-looking foundation, this sponge has become one of my essential kit items. The results you can achieve by adding one of these to your routine is like having your very own soft-focus lens!

Soft focus

The Beautyblender softens all the edges; your very own soft focus lens

I started using them professionally in 2005 and still swear by them; in fact I am so obsessed with them I get a bit cross when makeup artists say they “can’t” use one.  I think it’s more a question of them not wanting to try something new, yes there are still these kinds of makeup artists around, can you believe it, shock, horror??!  In their stubbornness what they won’t discover is that these sponges are really versatile and can be used for skincare application and makeup application (foundation, contour, highlight, blush, concealer) and speed up application time considerably. I also use them for powder touch-ups. You, dear reader, are more open-minded than they, so read on.

The most important thing to remember is to use the sponge wet! Run it under water, squeeze out the excess and blot it with a paper towel. You’ll be left with a soft sponge that is double the size of it’s dry state and will feel lovely on your face, won’t drag the skin at all and will amaze you and your makeup.

And so to begin. You can use it to apply your moisturiser and/or primer. Simply dip the sponge into the jar and gently glide it over you face and neck.

Use the tip to apply your skin creams and primer

Use the pointed end to apply your skin creams and primer

Do the same with foundations or tinted moisturiser – whatever your base of choice. Apply a little of the product to the tip of the sponge, then onto your face.

You will get the best blend if you apply foundation with the Beauty Blender

You will get the best blend if you apply foundation with the Beauty Blender

Continue to use the sponge for more of your makeup application. I apply contour stick to my cheekbones and blend it with…you guessed it…

Now that's a look.

Now that’s a look.

The pointed tip of the egg is brilliant for getting into the corners of the eyes so use it for perfecting under eye concealer.

The Universal "Doing my Make-Up" Face

The Universal “Doing my Make-Up” Face

I also use that end to clean up eye shadow mistakes IF they should ever happen. Which of course they never do for professional makeup artists!

Use the pointed end to shape the shadow at the corners of your eyes and/or to clean up mistakes

Use the pointed end to shape the shadow at the corners of your eyes and/or to clean up mistakes

Same goes for your cream blush…apply to the apples of your cheeks then use the big end of the sponge to blend it. Unless you’d prefer to look like a OompaLoompa. Which could be fun once in a while.

Blend. blend. blend!

blend. blend. blend!

And there you have it. Some of you will know I don’t use powder on myself, but if you do, the Beautyblender applies it beautifully, of course. Here’s a faster version of how to use it:

Beautyblenders are easy to wash and dry and taken care of, will last ages. Wash it with warm water and a mild detergent; there is a beautyblender solid soap that is sold separately or comes with it sometimes as a bundle purchase but my personal recommendation is London Brush Company‘s lavender or non-scented solid bar. I’ve mentioned it a few times because I love it and use it for cleaning my brushes (see the post about cleaning your makeup brushes for more details). A mild shampoo would work too and you will only need a tiny amount. Whichever soap you use, work a tiny amount into the parts of the sponge that are stained. Be gentle. Rinse your sponge, squeeze out the excess water and leave to dry. Or use it immediately if you need to! The sponge will need washing once a week or so, but takes no time at all so it won’t take up valuable time of your busy lives. The original sponge comes with a handy container that I use a drying stand..

&case

The original and it’s case

dryit

I use the case as a stand to dry it in

As the product line has grown (they always do) many sizes and colours of the sponge have been born. There are mini ones for the getting into tiny placed and that can be used as eyeshadow blenders, and black ones to use for self-tanner and/or body makeup. My favourite is still the original.

There are other sponges out there in the marketplace but beware bad eggs. The beautyblender changed makeup for makeup artists to such a great extent and was such a success that lottos companies decided to make their own versions.  I have tried many of them but can honestly say the original is the one to beat. The texture of it is finer compared to others on the market which are dense and heavy, making them harder to use as they don’t soften with water,  and drag on delicate facial skin. Skin dragging is what we DO NO WANT.  So despite the delicate qualities of the original bb, it’s a hardy little thing which makes it a great beauty investment.  The original has won Allure’s Best of Beauty Award five times, as has the the micro-mini beautyblender, in 2014.

the micro mini beautyblender

the micro mini beautyblender

newly introduced, the oil blotting blotterazzi sponge

newly introduced, the oil blotting blotterazzi sponge

Carry On Blending, glossaholics!

Space NK UK

Read more:  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3710314/The-Beautyblender-millionaire-Make-artist-invented-simple-makeup-sponge-garage-raise-college-funds-children-turns-100million.html#ixzz4G5yarbgi
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PRODUCT REVIEWS Mylifeinmakeup.com does not receive any monetary compensation to review products. Most reviews are based on products purchased personally, and preferred, or not. Occasionally I will receive products from makeup companies and will choose whether or not to review them here. Receiving products has no bearing on the opinion of the review, nor whether I choose to review it or not. All opinions are just that, and are honest and unbiased. Recommendations are based on the knowledge I have gained during 18 years as a professional makeup artist. Mylifeinmakeup.com is not to be held responsible if you decide to purchase an item and are dissatisfied with it.