Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Nars & Illamasqua Purchase Perfection

Nars Sheer Glow Foundation in Deauville Light4 £30.50

I committed after months of dancing between different foundation samples, Nars Sheer Glow is the one! I would have expected to prefer the Sheer Matte, but in sampling, it just did not look as good.

For the sake of testing, I have used the Nars Pro-Prime (but personally it's too watery and does nothing as my primer).

The Nars assistant (an old colleague from Benefit as it goes) showed me the benefit of using the Optimal Brightening serum. I attempted to photograph the difference swatched on my arm but it was not working out. So I will just inform you that it does look even better with the serum as a pre-base but I am unwilling to splash out fifty quid on a serum (particularly when my counter backs onto Nars at work so I can sneak a sample pot of it).

And whaddya think? No concealer just prepped and primed skin courtesy of Nars skincare (for testing purposes, I don't own any of their full size skin care products). I keep getting compliments on it when I've worn it to work and all in all I am very pleased with this foundation. 

Nars Blush in Sex Appeal £21.50

I've had my beady eyes on Nars blushes for some time now but avoided purchase as I really do not need any. Regardless, I like to swatch and tempt myself (look where that gets me, posting my blush haul) and whenever I have sneaked over to the Nars counter at work, I have been drawn to the shade 'Deep Throat'. One of my favourite Beauty Bloggers and Make Up Artist's Laura Lou posted about the 'At First Sight' palette which features Deep Throat as well as 4 shadows and the Laguna bronzer, all for £45 and somewhat tricky to get your hands on. I wanted it, I followed the links to HQ Hair and popped it in my basket but just could not justify the fifty quid treat. 

Back to the drawing board and to my discount card! I begun using the 'Sex Appeal' shade at work and fell in love and could justify it to myself with my discount benefits (I work in a department store, thus my store card gives me discounts across all brands). It was so lighter shade, I doubted it somewhat, but it just lifts my cheeks without taking on any pink. It's je ne sais quais, incredible!

And as promised, swatches of my Illamasqua personal treats!

Are you with me here, a mere eighteen pounds for a blusher so soft and pigmented is an absolute steal! As indicated in my post about picking these up here, I did not need this blush, but it beckoned me. It cooed my name softly, till I trembled with desire (see what I did there?!). Do compare colour with the Nars blush above, thats what this versus post is all about!

The pencil I picked up in 'Power' worn as an all over lip colour. How good does my Nars SG foundation look too?! I do not know what happened in the next image, because seconds later with my shocking photography skills it manages to look absolutely vile. But like I say, big fan of the Sheer Glow! And my skin is going through a rough patch right now and I'm still happy with this fairly light coverage foundation daily. 

So yes, apologies on the picture quality, my skin is unmentionable. But here is the lipstick in Fable, worn alone; I have tired and been wearing it quite often with the power pencil to create a custom-blend between the two. The swatch above is very true to the lipstick colour, but the swatch on the Illamasqua website is totally not, far too nude! I have to be honest, as much as I keep repurchasing Illamasqua lipsticks, their formula is very drying and doesn't always look good, particularly after a little wear-time. On the other hand, the colours are so pigmented and last well that I seem to be perfectly happy wearing and touching up. I just find that I lipstick-check ridiculously often anyway and if a lipstick demands that and some touch ups and good lip prep, so be it for a beautiful colour! This doesn't just go for Illamasqua lippes, this goes for most of my matte MAC lipsticks also! And when I have gone for sheer colours I am just not satisfied with the colour pay off.

This is something that doesn't cause me such issue with the Nars Lip Pencils; even a satin finish one in 'Yu', the brightest fuchsia pink going and the most long-lasting and pigmented satin finish lip product I have ever tried! My dark matte lip pencil from them in 'Train Bleu' is impeccable quality also, a wonderful finish for a matte lip colour that is super pigmented and non-drying. So, for £17.50 will I convert to Nars lip pencils only? No. If you know my feelings on brow pencils, that is, that because they are sharpened and used often they whittle down to nothing for your dollar. Knowing how good these are, I will buy any shades I can't resist, but they are an expensive way of getting lip colour as much is wasted! I have so many lip colours, I don't use them enough for them to get small too fast. On the other hand, could help me learnt to 'hit the pan' on lip colours… but that, beauty addicts will never convince me to be a once colour/brand only kinda gal!

Next step? Nars lipsticks! Priiiicey but if their pencils are anything to go by, it'll be an extra few quid worth spending. 

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Illamasqua Dragstar Masterclass

I attended a Drag Masterclass the other week, that Illamasqua advertised on Facebook a few days beforehand, at their Flagship store off Carnaby Street. I've attended their 'Building Creativity' short course at their School of Make Up Art before which was a wonderful experience for me and just what I needed to boost my skills and creative play with make up. You may have heard of their Beauty School Drop Ins before, usually on a Sunday and so as a weekend counter-girl myself, I've never had the pleasure of attending; they are the perfect introduction into the brand and perfecting personal make up skills, so if you want to learn things from the best and nicest teachers, definitely head to Illamasqua Beak St on a Sunday they're running the drop ins!

In the short course I attended earlier this year, I would say we covered this technique of make up application when working on performance make up; we blocked out brows, we stuck on fake paper eyebrows & we contoured the living hell out of our models. But Drag, it's a little bit more special in my eyes, it takes all those elements and glamourises the hell out of it. You wanna do big and bold, do drag darling!

So, this model who was being demonstrated on by the lovely creative MUA's at Illamasqua Nilofar and Mika; we entered to the model having half her face made up dragstar style and Nilofar completed the rest with lots of pointers and photo ops. (Apologies my camera wasn't set up for the lighting appropriately, I am useless with perfecting it to picture perfect)

Above just shows the unblended highlighting Nilofar was talking us through and the wonderful thing is with drag, the contour is never too much! People seem to struggle with the concept of contouring, I get clients who want the Kim K look but they don't have a grasp on what it is. Imagine shadows and light framing your features beautifully, well instead of chasing that perfect shadowed/hollowed out cheek and highlighted bone, let's paint it on your face! And if you haven't already seen all the tutorials and images out there of 'everyday' (as opposed to drag) contour & highlight, google it now! It will look a lot like the above image, t's all in the blending darling!

Love a good stuck on brow, why struggle to match up your brows when you can cut out 2 identical brows in any fancy paper/material of your choice! I'm currently holding onto some metallic leather-ette to play brow-games with (not for my everyday look I might add).
The thing to remember is with this, is that it is your going out make up trebled, ain't nothin' subtle about drag my dears. And that, is the fun part! And let's put misconceptions aside, as you can definitely tell, the model used above is a gorgeous female. Drag make up is for the art of transforming man to woman, but all it really is is a dramatic smoky eye and HD brows amped up! Hell, Kimmy K probably went on some drag tutorials to master her contouring and smoky eye techniques.

Aaaand of course, with a visit to Illamasqua comes a haul. Some Skin Base for my kit in 02 as they were sold out when I ordered all the others in their cray-Z 50% off Twitter follower sale some months back (you Illamafia will remember it fondly). Skin Base lift concealers, they launched with their  collection The Sacred Hour in September and which I first purchased in this haul here. I've hit the pan on that, it's that good and I wanted the white equivalent in White Light for my kit. Despite the face I haven't even hit the pan on their white under eye concealer which is in my kit, but the Skin Base Lift is streaks ahead.

I also picked up the 'Lush' lashes I lusted over upon release but couldn't prioritise or justify it to myself on my last haul given that I hardly wear lashes despite owning billions of gorgeous pairs. A new light pinky lipstick colour for myself, as I'm overloaded with dark lipsticks but I don't usually make space for the lighter shades so it was time to take a walk on the light side. SO pleased with it, next post = swatches.

Ditto the blusher essentially, I just wanted it's prettiness to come home with me. It's called Tremble and it's light and pretty and fabulous. Except when I got home and realised it's quite like my Bobbi Brown blush in Pink Coral, except it's not, and I needed and wanted it. I swear I need it. 

A couple of their new pencils, re-packaged and apparently an improved formula; Mika told us that essentially law/trading standards or whoever these boring people are, dictate that they must allocate lips/eyes etc to each pencil. But don't be hemmed in by this, use your make up wherever and however you like. Lipstick as an eye base? Go for it.

I picked up the first (purple on left) and last (coral) pencils. The coral shade in Power is exactly the kind of punchy shade you just wouldn't find at any other brand, in lipstick maybe, in pencil, no; ditto the purple as it goes. I love you Illamasqua.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Drugstore Haul

I've been so sucked in my high end brands that I'd even stopped picking up the odd Superdrug/Boots grab-buy. I've seen so many cute cheap things optioned on other blogs&instagram&ads (Rimmel Ads, stop whoring your new lipstick it makes me want every shade). And, having been chatting to other girls at work, I just felt like I had to get myself down to to take all these eye palettes and £1 blushers seriously.

Just a very cheap pick-up of nail glue which I needed, nail scissors for cutting down eyelashes and cheap-o eyelash curlers because I don't use them myself but should probably have a pair in my kit.

Cleansing Oil I saw recommended in a magazine (Instyle I think). Pretty bummed I forked out on Lancome cleansers before seeing things like this and the L'Oreal Micellar Water which I picked up the other week for my kit. This is the reason I need to turn my attention back to drugstore brands before splurging in future. I used this quickly last night, admittedly after I'd earlier used a wipe to remove some of my mascara. But I have faith this cleansing oil alone could have done it; it felt beautifully silky rather than slippery. It didn't irritate my eyes at all when I gave my lashes a little rub to remove any eye make up. Thumbs up so far! And it seems to be discounted in both Boots and Superdrug for the last week or so. Ditch those face wipes and upgrade I say ladies!

The make up haul I picked up for £28ish, so if you compare that to one palette from most high end brands at around £30+ a very good session! I picked up the Rimmel Moisture Renew lipstick which a re-packaged, new and improved product that has been all over the TV ads. And you got a free mascara when you spend a tenner, so I grabbed the invisible colour-for-all lipliner, why the frick not hey. 
I wanted a matte pallette to compare to investing in more Mac shades and for £4 MUA allowed me to do that for a pittance. Sleek I-Divine palette in True Romance, the purples drew me in as I already had 2 single MUA shadows in my basket, but this palette gave me more options and I'm more likely to hold onto a palette and remember to use the shaded than more singles. And for another £1 each, a blush that seemed like it could potentially be a Nars Deep Throat dupe and a bronzey liquid liner.

Sleek Palette i-Divine True Romance £7.99 & MUA Matte Palette £4

I swatched the matte MUA palette (right) first and was disappointed with the chalky uneven texture it trailed, but hey only £4 down to find that out. I still played with them in my daily make up since, and they are ok but nothing more. The pigment and texture is too poor to be raved about, but again, price relative. For someone starting out with shadows, you go glen coco and buy your £4 palette!
The Sleek palette (left), air kisses honey! Sososo good in payoff and even texture, no unevenness like I've found with MUA shimmer shadows previously.

Rimmel London Moisture Renew Lipstick in 360 £6.99

As mentioned, those pesky Rimmel TV ads had me lusting after many shades, they were super pigmented and shiny (my two favourite qualities!). They've not disappointed in person either, see swatch above! Beaut colour in 'As you want Victoria' 360 though I'd had my eye on the plummier and fuchsia-pink tones on the ad, but the selection in my local Superdrug was limited to 6 or 7 shades. Having seen swatches online, I'd definitely like to get my hands on some more shades and particularly a nudey-pink as thats the kind of colour I don't possess in a full colour finish.

MUA liquid liner £1

I swatched and wasn't convinced I needed it, even for a quid... but halfway around the store I saw how well it had dried, no running/feathering & so bright and metallic. That's amazing to me, one single pound for an eyeliner that would sit well with my high end metallic goods and liquid liners.

And just check out LLYMLRS swatch for the GOSH holographic polish, because I literally bought it having seen her post and haven't swatched it myself yet. Looks as if they only promise and only deliver one day wear, but what a fab sparkle especially for Christmas nights approaching! Would have been fun for ravin' summer night also. Lots of topcoat to prolong perhaps? Only time&wear will tell!

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Olympia Beauty Snaps

Illamasqua Brow Cake in Peek
Laura Mercier Silk Creme Foundation in Rose ivory
Benefit Porefessional&That Gal primers mixed
Illamasqua Skin Base Lift in Light1
Benefit They're Real
Benefit Whatts Up highlighter
Benefit Birthday Suit Cream Shadow
Mac Shadows in a few neutral&matte with Retrospeck as accent
Laura Mercier Copper Brown Eyeliner
Laura Mercier Baked Bronze&Highlight 
Benefit Rockateur
Barry M lipliner
Benefit Eye Bright (to outline/highlight lip line)
Illamasqua Lipstick in Shard

As I got to the venue, teeth whitening offers were due to expire within half an hour, so I plonked down my £50 for a "£200+" whitening treatment. Yes I could see the immediate difference although I felt it patchy where the gel hadn't possibly reached. And by the end of the day, I would venture to say it didn't look like I'd had any kind of treatment. Dissapointed, but not really all that surprising. 
Still pleased I bit the bullett and got such a treatment as it's the kind of treatment I've been toying with getting to help my not-so-gleaming nashers. Anyway, I got a fun selfie! And it ruined my lipstick, boo.


Creative Make up Award Presentation

(You can tell I've left this post too late to remember accurate details and make a good post out of it.)

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Look Book Shoot for Luca Michele

I worked with a graduate recently on a new label he has set up with his brother, Luca Michele. They briefed me on the look they wanted for their new S/S'14 collection, as with most look books I've done, the focus is the clothes and the style needs to be modern and simple. Some images I was briefed with and my visual responses.

I suggested that given the colour schemes, we take the lip in either a more plummy option or fuchsia direction and here were a few fashion&beauty images I pulled.

Given the S/S season, we decided on the pinker scheme and on the day I swatched a few glosses, stains and lipstick combinations to show the designer duo. The chose combination was a Mac Nicki Minaj Viva Glam shade and a Barry M bright bubblegum pink gloss over the top, this was more appropriate given the tone of the teal fabric in their collection versus a brighter more fuchsia tone. 

And voila, some of the images I received, pretty pleased with them. Her face looks clean and simple and the pink has worked out well with the fabrics and colour ways. The model, Michaela is lovely and gorgeous and I definitely want to work with her again. For my own graduate look book if not before on a beauty shoot. Also the photographer Danny Baldwin was great to work with, lovely and on point. Great rates to hire out his studio and his services!

Some on set photo snaps!

Products used.. 

Illamasqua Skin Bases
Illamasqua Skin Base Lift
Benefit That Gal
Benefit Porefessional
Illamasqua Hollow
Illamasqua Heroine
Mac Shadows (see new palette)
Kiko Clear Mascara
Laura mercier Baked Bronze 02 & Highlight
Benefit Browzings
Laura Mercier Secret Brightening powder
Barry M gloss
Barry M lipliner
Mac Viva Glam Nicki 2
Urban Decay Setting Spray
Urban Decay Eye primer