Category Archives: Favourites

cram blush

An Ode to Cream Blush

When the weather in the Northern hemisphere starts warming up, and the beach (or at least a patch of green grass in the park) starts beckoning, I know it’s time to start switching up my makeup routine. It’s almost instinctive – powders start feeling goopy and heavy, your skin wants lighter products (with sunscreen!) and you don’t feel like spending lots of time getting ready. In summer let’s face it, everyone generally looks better with a flush of healthy colour.

With that in mind, I love cream products as they are fast, portable, can be dabbed on with a finger and let your natural glow come through. For me in summer, it’s all about cream blushes and bronzers. Here are my picks of the season:

Stila Convertible Colour – these are the prettiest flush you will find in a compact. I carry about 8 in my kit on every makeup job, and pat them on to the apple of the cheek either with my fingers, or with a sponge. You can also blend in with a brush, and my favourite for this is the MAC 187 large duofibre blending brush.

Paul & Joe Creamy Cheek in 03 – this is it, this is the one that I’m personally wearing all summer long. Deceptively pale in its sweet Art-deco inspired pink packaging, it can be built to a gorgeous flush of colour with a subtle shimmer that makes you look uber-healthy.

Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge – These come in a gorgeous chunky pot and really can be used on lips and cheeks. I love Calypso Coral for a punchy flush of colour and Summer Tan for a monochromatic bronze effect.

NARS Multiples – yes, every one raves about these because they are amazing. The shimmery bronze-y shades are my favourite, and I mix and match St Barts, South Beach and Palm Beach depending on the models’ skin tone. You can also add Malibu or Riviera on the apples of the cheek (if you felt like taking a walk on the wild side.)

Chanel Bronze Universel – a big, chunky beautiful pot of caramel bronze goodness with a hint of shimmer – just enough to look like skin, that you buff in with a big brush. Such a perfect start to the day as well – dipping into a big pot with the double C’s on top.

Becca – juicy, sweet little pans of blush in punchy, unusual colours like Hyacinth, Turkish Rose and Amaryllis. I keep a good selection on hand at all times, and it is equally sweet on lips. This is a lovely range for the summer months as no-one does flattering, natural, juicy summer colours like an Aussie brand, and this one definitely fits the bill.

These are just a few of my favourite cream blushes – The other lovely thing about cream blushes is you can layer them under your powder blush or bronzer to create a new, more longer lasting blush colour. Because cream blush, like summer, will fade. But the memory of it lingers on.

She Uemura Unmasked

A Tale of Two Cleansers – Shu Uemura Unmasked and Sisley’s Eau Efficace Gentle Makeup Remover

Although it’s been hectic of late as I’m now beauty writing for two magazines and juggling blogging and makeup (and moving house, UGH UGH UGH) I have also found time to test out not one but two new cleansers. Even better I use one in the morning and one in the evening, although both of them could easily do double duty. It takes awhile for me to test things as I like to make sure they work – some products are great the first couple of times you use them and then for some reason aren’t good with repeated usage, and I like products that are consistently good, time after time.

First off the Shu Unmasked, which I like to use in the morning. I’ve been a long-time sporadic user of the classic (and now iconic) Shu cleansing oil, first released in 1967. Its basic principle (which can sound counter-intuitive) is that it takes oil to dissolve makeup and oil effectively. The new Unmasked oil not only comes in an industrial size (450 ml), it has a gorgeous hand drawn mask on the bottle which never fails to cheer me up on my bathroom window sill.

But it’s what’s inside that I like – the oil is super light weight and silky, and I find lighter than the regular Shu Skin Purifier facial oil or the Aesop Fabulous Face Oil that I also use and like. I wasn’t expecting to find anything radically different when I started testing the Unmasked, but it really leaves my skin feeling hydrated for hours afterwards – considering my face is pretty much permanently dry, not matter how much Astalift and Liz Earle Superskin I pile onto it, that is no mean feat. So I was very pleasantly surprised as I find many cleansers are just too drying. And since my skin is more hydrated, I then feel my skin looks less shiny later in the day (which is always a good thing. I’m sick of looking like you could hang me from the ceiling of Studio 54 and dance to disco).

And now to my second cleansing discovery! Sisley – oooh Sisley. This is a new brand on my radar of late and I have loved everything I have tried. The products feel luxurious – which they should, as they are expensive. They are also based on plant essences which I find very non-irritating. The Sisley Eau Efficace has, quite frankly, done the unthinkable – it has bumped my Crealine water out of my daily beauty routine. (Although I still use it for work). The Sisley does the job just as effectively, but I feel a little less harshly.

Also I love Sisley’s pump packaging – it’s the ultimate in no hassle for the evenings when you just CAN’T BE BOTHERED to tip a bottle of Crealine onto a cotton pad (that’s really lazy isn’t it? It’s hardly taxing). But you just press your cotton pad down onto the pump and hey presto, two swipes around the old visage and you’re done, fresh as a daisy and ready for bed.

One caveat – as I can no longer wear eye makeup (let’s all pause for a requiem there as it really is so sad, but my eyes are just still too sensitive. That’s a topic for a later post) I haven’t tried to take off hardcore mascara, or eyeliner, or big beauty looks with the Sisley. But for day to day cleansing I can totally vouch for it. Plus the big bottle lasts for ages.

So there you have it. I now have enough beautiful cleansers that make my skin look and feel amazing to last me for… well until it’s time to start testing out more new goodies.

Illamasqua Behind The Scenes – Toxic Nature Campaign

By now you’d have to have been living in a yurt in Outer Mongolia to have missed seeing the incredible campaign images from Illamasqua’s newest collection, Toxic Nature (Creative Director Alex Box in Uber box Mode on this one!)

Check out what went on behind the scenes..



The Mole Patrol: Spring Picks

As the weather starts warming up, it’s time to re-think your makeup bag – here’s a few of my new favourite things:

Paul & Joe Blotting Papers1 – Paul & Joe blotting papers

    How cute are these? Sweet little oil-blotting sheets when the heat just gets too much. The package is so cute, you won’t want to hide them away.

    2 – Benefit Creaseless Cream eyeshadows

      I love these shimmery, elegant eyeshadows that are gorgeous as a base for serious eye makeup, or as a wash on their own. Currently in constant rotation are Busy Signal, a rich copper which is amazing on darker skin tones, Stiletto in aubergine, for blue eyes, and Skinny Jeans, a rich pewter, for green eyes. And it’s true, they are the most creaseless of all the cream eyeshadows.

      Benefit Cream Eyeshadow3 – Liz Earle Daily Eye Repair

        I’m going to preface this by saying I’m not a big eye cream girl. My eyes are quite sensitive, so a lot of eye creams make them even puffier than normal in the morning (NOT the effect I was going for) and itchy and red. This is not the best way to start your morning beauty routine! So generally I avoid them, but this one I love. It has echinacea, Vitamin E and Vitamin B5, and it’s keeping my incipient eye wrinkles at bay.

        4 – Tom Ford Lipstick

          Um, Tom Ford? Anything Tom Ford? The man could be designing plumbing equipment and I’d be there with bells on at his counter in Selfridges, signing up for some plungers. Happily it’s not plumbing equipment but gorgeous lipsticks he’s turned his clever hands to (designing clothes and the grooviest sunglasses AND incredible movies is not enough apparently), and the twelve shades hand picked by the master are lovely enough to turn anyone’s head.

          5 – Laura Mercier Brow pencils

            Let’s just say my eyebrows now (in their infinite wisdom), need a little work, so I’m always on the lookout for brow products that define naturally without heaviness or giving nasty 1990’s brow, which for me is super drawn on, unnatural and overly sculpted. Yeuch. Sooo nasty and dated. Laura Mercier has four brow pencils in her range which are not too soft, not too hard and the right colour for brow hair – not orange, not tan, not too grey, but just right on all counts. So my brows can get the help they now definitely need, every day.

            MakeupMole Christmas Gift Guide

            It’s that time of year again, when it’s time to start thinking about loved ones and what they would like for Christmas. And given that the holiday seasonMakeupMole Christmas Gift Guide can be stressful, and tiring, and there are lots of parties, isn’t it time to start thinking of a gift guide for yourself? After all, ‘tis the season of tiny little lip glosses, bundled together into one gorgeous package, of miniature elf sized nail polish in a whole rainbow of colors, fabulous brush sets in tiny clutches, in short, makeup that is good enough to eat. So follow my lead – one for you, and one for me, one for you…

            Here are my picks for cute as a button present giving (and keeping!)


            The Gold Goddess box contains Liquid metal in ‘Solstice’, Pure Pigment in ‘Furore’, False Lashes 019 and the Medium Pencil in ‘Sophie’ – £3 of the sale of this box will go to the Sophie Lancaster Foundation. The Silver Seductress box contains Liquid metal in ‘Phenomena’ and is complemented with Pure Pigment in ‘Android’, False Lashes in 19 and the Medium Pencil in ‘Sophie’. Again, £3 of the sale of this box will go directly to the Sophie Lancaster Foundation.

            NARS 15th Anniversary Palette ‘Everlasting Love’

            NARS is justly famed for his palettes and this little Christmas cracker to commemorate his 15th year of makeup goodness is no exception. It has eyeshadows in Edie, Nightbreed and Underworld Duo, plus one of my all time favourite nude lipstick colors, Belle de Jour, and lip lacquer in Chelsea Girls. Nice!


            Nude’s adorable little box set of travel sized potions is just what the doctor ordered for party-weary skin – a Cleansing Oil, Miracle Mask and Age Defense Moisturiser to come soothe your over-partied spirit. And your conscience can feel as good as your skin does since it’s not tested on animals and has no sulfates or parabens.


            As always MAC comes into it’s own at Christmas and this year is no exception. The eyeshadow sets are gorgeous – particularly noteworthy is Smoke and Mirrors which has six beautiful smoky eye colors, for those times you need sultry eyes in seconds.

            And their mini pigments and gloss sets are back! For budding makeup artists they are a great way to build your collection, and quite frankly for anyone who loves something small and squirrelly (and let’s face it, who doesn’t?) you really can’t go past them.

            Bobbi Brown

            Loving the Earth Metal Lip and Eye palette from the Chrome Collection, which features six yummy eye shadows and four natural but better lip colors.

            Black Plum Mini Travel Brush set – I LOVE Bobbi’s brushes as they are exceptionally good quality, just the right size to do the jobs you want and they last forever. And what have we here… Look at this bad boy! Six travel size brushes in a little bag. Perfect for all of those of you out there (ahem!) who have grimy,

            mismatched brushes lying in dust at the bottom of your makeup bag (not mentioning any names… That goes double if you’re blending things with cotton buds.) No more excuses!

            Laura Mercier

            Mini Lip Glace set contains five little glossy bonbons, all in a row.


            Tiny vials of nail varnish in 8 different shades – and at £3 each, you could definitely bundle these into one sweet gift!


            The Showgirl palette is what’s in their stocking this year, with a deep brown shadow, orchid and a stone color that work surprisingly well together, and a rosebud stain with a pink gloss. What you need to look gorgeous this party season.

            The Mole Patrol – Five Top Faves

            MakeupMole - FavesThis time of year one’s mind starts turning to all things cosy and wintry, so it’s time for a snuggle-fest on the Mole Patrol. Crack out that duvet, whip up some hot chocolate and slather yourself in serious moisturizer for that dry and winter parched skin – it’s a cold weather delight!

            Embryolisse moisturizer

            This is a must for winter skin. It’s heavy and glues back all those lovely dry

            crack-y bits you get when your nose turns red. I always put it back in my kit at this time of year as more and more models start turning up with their faces falling off due to too much heating inside, the cold outside, and seeing as they’re so gorgeous and can get away with it, often a diet of caffeine and cigarettes. Embryolisse to the rescue. Word on the makeup streets is that what you buy in Parisian pharmacies is better than their export stuff (which you can get in London at the makeup shop PAM in Shepherd’s Bush).

            Illamasqua Cake Liner in Mislead with Sealing Gel

            Because this sucker don’t move. I’d read all the raves on the internet but only recently have I tried it, and it is amazing. So when the wind is blowing and you’re swaddled in scarves and beanies, at least your eyes will still look like Audrey Hepburn’s (even if the rest of you looks like Freddie Krueger).

            Bobbi Brown Eye Palette in Velvet Plum

            Fab neutrals that would suit any eye color, and an amazing dense black brown eyeshadow which is a surprisingly difficult color to find in other ranges. Combined with the Illamasqua Cake liner it is a wintry winner.

            Chanel Particuliere Nail Polish

            Straight from the Paris shows (where she created 50 shades of nude nails for Louis Vuitton) Sophy Robson’s top nail color for the coming season is Chanel Particuliere. Sure to be as coveted as last season’s Jade and the original got-to-have-it nail color, Rouge Noir, I fell in love from the second I saw it. It’s a weird taupe-y mauve color that’s like dead people’s hands, but better. The fashion pack are going to love it! I think the new Chanel shade is chic, effortless and original – just like Chanel really.

            Benetint by Benefit

            Aaah, a hardy perennial – just rescued from the makeup Vault where it has been languishing for quite a while, this is the perfect outdoor flush for when it gets cold. I do love a wind burned cheek (well a fake one, not a real one!) this time of year, and this bestselling 30 year old tinted liquid made from rose petals is still the original, and still the best.

            The Mole Patrol – Five Top Faves

            Chanel - Le VernisMAC lipstickChanel Vendetta nail polish
            Superstar manicurist Sophy Robson put me on to this one, and it is indeed a winner. Deep, shimmering sparkles in a purple black base are making me dream of cold winter nights. Chanel does it again!

            Bobbi Brown cream eyeshadow in Galaxy
            Just this side of gunmetal, it’s lovely on it’s own tucked at the lash line with a black pencil, or as a base for winter’s opulent shades of grey – the new take on the smoky eye.

            Revlon brushes
            What a revelation these are! Perfect sizes, great for blending and super soft bristles. Usually I’m not a drugstore makeup girl, but these brushes leave some of their much pricier counterparts in the shade. The foundation brush is excellent, as are the blush and powder brushes.

            MAC lipstick in Underworld
            Proper old skool 90’s red brown, the color of the season. Just this side of brick red – so wrong, it’s right!

            Chantecaille Flower Infused Cleansing Milk
            Gentle, aromatic, flower infused and a perfect transition for your skin into the cooler months.

            Best. Waterproof. Mascara. Ever. (at least for this week)

            Cover Girl Waterproof MascaraCover Girl Volume Exact in Black

            The fact that I’ve been kicking back and tanning, swimming in the pool and sipping frozen margaritas, you could be forgiven for thinking I’m on holidays. But I assure you that it’s a cover (a deep cover) for my real purpose, which is bringing you the best of American beauty – including finding the world’s best waterproof mascara.

            I’ve been relentlessly testing, through sunscreen applications, evening cook-outs and trips to Austin’s Barton Springs in 45 degree heat, and this is the one that’s held up – Cover Girl’s Maximum Volume Waterproof Mascara.

            It’s got a pliable rubber brush that gets to the base of every lash, and so far even with multiple coats it doesn’t create the dreaded Stick Lash.

            And let’s be clear – this is no lightweight testing process. We’re talking underwater breastroke, twice-daily dips and margarita fuelled poolside frolics, and always, always I have smudge proof, splash-proof, sweet and fluffy lashes. Meaning I don’t have to look like an egg (my natural state without mascara), even though I’m poolside.

            I’ll be continuing my stringent testing methods all this week and next, and there are a quite a few more things on my list, so I’ll keep you posted on what other little makeup gems I find. Sadly for my UK readers they will probably be mainly US products, since I plan to take full advantage of what’s on offer in the nirvana of the American drugstore. But if you do find something you really like, you can always buy it on as they now ship overseas. Which is dangerous. Not as dangerous as my mascara testing, but someone’s gotta do it!

            Summer Lovin’: Laura Mercier Translucent Powder

            Or “Tranny powder”, as I like to call it, but unless you’re Jodie Harsh you probably shouldn’t follow in my footsteps.

            When it’s as hot as London has been this summer, something everybody needs is a good translucent powder, and I’ve been using Laura Mercier’s for oh, about 9 years now. I’ve used it on beach shoots in Sydney , CEOs in the States, and sweaty models in the banlieues of Paris, and even in the hottest conditions it’s stood the sticky potato-face test without looking cakey, floury or as if you’re auditioning for Whatever Happened to Baby Jane.Laura Mercier Translucent Powder

            Its finely milled French cashmere talc absorbs oil and stops shine without looking over-done, which is understandable when you know its creator – Laura Mercier is one of the greatest session makeup artists ever and a personal fave of mine. Her extensive and lovely line of makeup was created with both makeup artists and consumers in mind, which is why it turns up in both handbags and professional kits alike. And why, dear readers, I use it for work, (and for my sometimes sweaty self), and you can confidently use it on yourselves in these hot summer months!

            The secret (like most things) is in the application. Puffs and sponges will deposit too much powder, and I’m not a fan of the big brush either – too 90’s. You aren’t seeking to eradicate your face with powder, just to set your makeup and to dust off shine. So using a small brush (I like Ruby and Millie’s 10mm, available at Boots), just take it over your t-zone – forehead, nose and chin, and what Gisele accurately but un-charmingly calls the “bulldog creases” for those lines that run from nose to chin. (Then again, only Gisele could call them that as there is nothing bulldog about that girl!)

            The cheeks are left au naturel as a little bit of shine here is what pulls the look together and makes it modern (if you want to make yourself look 1000 years old, powder all over, I dare you!)

            A note for our darker skinned ladies – translucent powder always bills itself as powder that looks good on every skin tone, but on darker skins it can look ashy. Better picks for you are Bobbi Brown Sheer Finish Loose Powder in Basic Brown or Golden Orange, which Kay Montano has used on Salma Hayek in the desert and swears it doesn’t over-build or get cakey, no matter how much you use it.

            Because even when it’s hot it’s about the glow (not the sweaty potato face).