I know I’m late to the concealer party with this post as I can’t believe how long I managed without these creamy little sticks of goodness in my kit. I only discovered them a few months ago after a makeup friend kept raving about them, and then I tried one and now… well I’m hooked. I’m up to 6 shades so far and not looking back.
NARS has really upgraded all its formulas for foundation, concealers and powders in recent years and I find that the more I use them, the more I like the shade range and the coverage. So the Radiant Creamy Concealers are wands filled with high-coverage liquid – a product type that has been around for ages and I stopped using years ago because I got into stick formulas that I would sheer out (Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage, I’m talking to you). But I’d never tried the NARS wand version, and now I can’t believe I’ve done without it all this time.
Since I’ve been back working in London I’ve had to change my kit a bit to accommodate different skin tones, and different skin issues. One thing that is different to working in Australia is that people generally have darker circles under their eyes, probably due to less sunlight (I guess). So darker circles became my bête noire for awhile, until the Radiant Creamy Concealers came along. Because the product is a liquid it goes on really easily without getting cakey, and a little goes a long way but covers a multitude of sins. Also it’s colours for darker skin tones are really great, perfectly covering the deeper end of the skin shade spectrum with ease (which let’s be real, not all the brands manage to do). It’s also great for super fair, almost white skins if you are of the fairer persuasion. I also love it for any discolorations around the nose and chin, or even veins and broken capillaries.
One small word of warning though – it is a radiant concealer and this has some light reflection to it. So don’t go too crazy with it or you run the risk of looking like J Lo on the red carpet c. 2001, like a deer caught in the headlights. A dab will generally do you, and you can always layer it with another matte dense concealer if you want straight up extra coverage. Perfect skin can now be yours! (Well at least look like it is).
Charlotte Tilbury Rock n’ Kohl Eyeliner in Bedroom Black is hands down the best black eyeliner I have ever tried. It has an amazing formula that glides on, that locks on and doesn’t move. It’s great for lining the waterline (lots of eyeliners don’t love the waterline, which is pretty annoying since, let’s face it, that’s often what you want to line!) I don’t want to be in the model’s face every five minutes poking around touching up her eyes.
It’s a really black eyeliner – dense and inky and dark as the #creepyclown hashtag on Instagram (be warned, that hashtag may give you nightmares). It’s sharp, it’s precise, and because it’s so black and budge proof, it just makes life so easy. This is key when you have to do a lot of looks or models in a day, or have to get someone ready for the red carpet fast. Plus it lasts. We all love things that perform exactly as advertised, and this is one of them.
I’ve been super impressed with everything I’ve tried from the Charlotte Tilbury line so far – the eyeshadows, the lipsticks, and the lip liners are heaven! So anything that makes it into my kit and then into my regular rotation at work is a winner in my book. I’ve been raving about it to clients and friends alike, so if you haven’t already done so, you should treat yo’self.
I’m trying to escape the Trump inauguration today, and as I have the day off I thought let’s dive into some NARS, shall we?
I have covered the NARS Velvet Matte Pencils on MM before, but I’m slightly obsessed with all the NARS lip products at the moment and have just got back into their lip range in a big way. The Audacious lipsticks are amazing, and I’ve added a few of the Satin Lip Pencils to my kit recently – because let’s face it, you can never have enough chubby lip crayons in your kit, can you?
I use one of these on nearly every job, whether it’s editorial or the red carpet. I used them as a base colour for one of my recent red carpet clients, and they’re so perfect because the pigment holds true and you know it’s going to last (so important for longevity on the red carpet). Plus they aren’t drying, which with the snap-frozen temperatures in London at present is really key. Strong colour on flaky dry lips is seriously the worst!
They give a great base for other lip colours or can be used on their own. I use the natural shades that look like ‘your lips but better’ on natural beauty shoots with a bit of lip balm for the perfect wisp of nothing colour. At the other end of the colour spectrum I recently used the amazing red Dragon Girl on a shoot and it was so good. I’d forgotten how easy the NARS pencils make a great red lip.
It’s just so bloody easy to draw a great lip with a fat crayon! Quick colour pay off that goes on fast. Top tip – if you want to neaten up the edges of your lip more precisely than the crayon will allow, use a lip brush and run over the tip of the pencil with it, allowing you to then go into the lip and make any small corrections needed.
My favourite colours that I think should be in everyone’s kit are:
NARS Velvet Matte Pencil in Dragon Girl (Vivid bright red)
NARS Velvet Matte Pencil in Bahama (a deeper version of your natural lip colour)
NARS Velvet Matte Pencil in Belle du Jour (best nude ever and worth buying just for its name)
NARS Velvet Matte Pencil in Bolero (Pink grapefruit – lovely for sweet girly lips)
NARS Velvet Matte Pencil in Damned (Rich wine – also lovely as a stain)
NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Yu – Bright vivid pink (because sometimes you want to go pink)
NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Hyde Park – (lovely deep red, also looks great as a stain)
NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Timanfaya – bright orange (this is a weird editorial orange colour, but I actually love weird editorial colours. So wrong it’s right!)
As an added bonus they are super lightweight for your kit, so you can carry lots of them. For every day life, just having one handy at the bottom of your handbag means you will never need to be caught bare-lipped again.
I’m slightly obsessed with the new liquid lipsticks by Topshop at the moment. My lips bag was feeling quite boring a couple of months ago – even my editorial colours just weren’t making me feel excited. All my old classic brights were in there (MAC, Illamasqua, NARS, you know who you are), but I just wasn’t feeling inspired. Let’s face it, your editorial lips bag should make your heart sing. Also I have a slew of new beauty shoots coming up and we all know you need fresh inspiration for those.
So I went shopping and I found some great new colours. Surprisingly although I love me some violet, black or even blue lipstick on occasion, my favourite was Rascal by Topshop which is a classic bright red. Liquid lipsticks are ace, there’s no other way too describe them. I’ve also loved the MAC Retro Matte ones since they came out, and I just find for that super high pigment and quick application of colour you can’t go past them. Also sometimes on a job you need to do a perfect lipstick application in no time flat, so there’s no chance to fiddle around with liners and lipstick bullets. Liquid lipsticks are your new best friend in those circumstances!
Also Topshop Beauty really get the trend colours of the season. They always have new colours that aren’t the norm and you didn’t know that you needed them in your life (or in your makeup bag) until they come out. So if you’re a lipstick fan or a makeup artist needing something new, and brightly lacquered and hell, like Jerry Hall would have pulled out if she was shooting with Guy Bourdin, get some Topshop Rascal in your life.
This is my favourite moisturizer du jour. It’s the perfect weight for trans-seasonal times like this, and it has a heavenly scent – hard to describe but it’s like a cross between citrus and sunshine, in a jar. That means it’s like a little slice of holidays in your kit, and makes both you and clients feel (briefly) like you’re on a tropical island, instead of a windowless studio in London.
It contains shea butter and feels hydrating but is oil-free, so the skin feels plump and juicy and ready for makeup application, but never greasy. I love this all over as a hydrating base or it’s also nice as a sheen on cheekbones. I’ve even been known to use it on lids for a soft non-shimmery highlight which is beautiful when photographed.
I do love the Bobbi Brown range. I find it such a simple, no-nonsense incredibly comprehensive brand that works both for makeup artists and also for real life. I’m always recommending the Bobbi Brown foundation and concealers to clients as the range is very inclusive for all skin tones (from Icelandic models to Somalian beauties), and the staff are also very well trained. So you won’t find yourself walking in for a concealer and coming out with a 12 step contouring kit that looks like a blueprint of the Hadron Collider that you’d need a degree in engineering to figure it out. Just the right makeup for you, and your skin tone. Bobbi has always stuck to her guns and produced consistently flattering makeup that just works, and she’s always in my kit.
This is how this moisturiser makes you feel – like you’re on holiday! Daria Werbowy giving some island vibes in US Vogue, 2004. Shot by Patrick Demarchelier, makeup by Gucci Westman.
I’m ALWAYS testing out new mascaras, constantly searching for that new favourite that outperforms all the rest. After a few duds (namely Make Up For Ever’s Smoky Lash – not a fan, and Lancôme’s Grandiôse, which quickly became Lancôme Crunchy Lash, although I did love it to start off with) I have finally hit the jackpot with MAC’s Haute and Naughty mascara.
This one has been around for awhile, and I’d heard around the makeup traps that it was great. I just hadn’t got around to trying it (so many mascaras, so little time!) but now that I have, I’m hooked.
Why is it so amazing? It has not one but two fabulous brushes, so you have a brush for the upper AND lower lashes. It also dispenses just the right amount of product so you get full lashes very rapidly without a complete overload of mascara. When you’re in a hurry and don’t have time for blotches or fiddling around combing out the lashes, this is the one to reach for.
The large main brush gives you fluttery, full volumised lashes in a couple of strokes, but the piece de resistance is the small brush, hidden in the cap. This allows you to coat all the lower lashes from root to tip with the utmost precision. Years ago I used to have a Maybelline one called Lash Discovery for the lower lashes but I’ve not seen that anywhere for ages, so I’m pretty happy to have MAC Haute and Naughty as a replacement. So if you like lashes that can go from basic to bombshell in two seconds, this is the mascara for you!
Take it from me, every makeup artist needs a good range of basic metallics in their kit. If you don’t have it, there’s nothing you can do to substitute or fudge it, and you never know when you’re going to get asked to bust out a quick metallic eye or need a good silver or gold accent on something. Just last week I was on a job where we needed silver eyes, so I was very grateful I had my favourite metals palette handy – Illamasqua Liquid Metals.
These are so, so good. It’s a palette of 4 dense, creamy high-payoff pigments that have a great gold, a silver, a copper and a greeny-silver. I can’t tell you how many times I have used this guy. You can use them on lips or eyes or as a highlight. You can use them as a base and set them with a matching powder metallic, or blend them into a sci-fi, space age molten smoky eye. They also can be layered under a gloss if you’re really going for the shine.
And frankly, why did we become makeup artists if you never get to paint someone gold or silver or copper?
Makeup nerd alert – they also decant beautifully. I’m at a stage now where anything that is not nailed down gets downsized, so I have scraped out the Illamasqua Liquid Metals into a Muji container with a bunch of other creams I use occasionally. Although Illamasqua packaging is mercifully light, every bit of weight in your kit adds up, and I am not built like a WWF wrestler, able to drag infinite amounts of makeup around town (although Lord knows, I did try for many years).
I think you all know by now how much I love Chanel Vitalumiere foundation – it’s been one of my kit staples for years as it just melts into the skin, covers what you want it to cover and leaves a dewy, hydrated finish. It’s perfect for shoots and shows as it has a buildable coverage so you can manipulate it as you want, but for everyday life, I personally prefer something lighter for myself.
Enter Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua which came out ages ago and I’ve been using it on myself every day for at least a year. So I know it’s good. It has all the delicious skin-enhancing properties of Chanel Vitalumiere, but dials down the coverage so it’s perfect for daytime.
It’s oil-free, and nice in the warmer summer months when one is producing enough sweat and oil on one’s own, thank you very much. It’s one of those shakeable bi-phase foundations, so you shake it to mix it. I like to apply with fingers. It leaves the same gorgeous finish of Vitalumiere but is quicker and easier to apply – since you don’t need brushes or sponges, it’s also great for holidays (something very much on my mind at present as the weather warms up!)
Vitalumiere Aqua has more coverage than a tinted moisturizer but not as much as the traditional VL formula. It comes in 10 shades, but do check at the counter before you buy as I do find that the Chanel range of foundations is not a perfect match for everyone. I so wish it was as I wouldn’t need any other foundations in my kit, but more yellow and golden toned people are not always covered in the Chanel shades.
Also it comes in a teeny little lightweight plastic bottle (which weirdly is like the Tardis of foundations as that bottle seems to last FOREVER) thus making it a front runner for the next new foundation range for my kit – makeup artists love things that don’t come in glass!
So there’s a new blush in town and it’s gorgeous, bright and perfectly pigmented. It’s the new Clinique Cheek Pop blushes, and I discovered them on a job recently with makeup artist Florrie White, who is the Clinique UK Colour Artist.
Clinique has always been dear to my heart as it was the first brand that I really fell in love with, and even had a slight obsession with (obsessive about makeup, me? Never!) I loved their mint green packaging, their hypo-allergenic ethos (in a time before every second person had an allergy to something, so they were well ahead of their time) and their iconic 3 Step skincare system.
Florrie kindly showed me all the new Clinique products that have just launched, and are just about to launch, and let me tell you, there are some crackers that I am very keen to get in my kit. But the one I loved the most is the Clinique Cheek Pop Blush. It’s a powder blush that comes in great, super flattering colours, but it has a finish almost like a cream as it’s so finely milled.
I’ve been finding I’ve been using a lot of cream blushes recently as I don’t like it when it looks like blush and sits on the skin. Clinique Cheek Pop solves this as you need hardly any on your brush to get the right, natural looking density of colour. It’s almost fool-proof. And because it’s a powder, not a cream, you get a lot more longevity from it. It also has great shades for dark skin tones. I have (and love) the pink one, Pink Pop, and I’m planning on getting more.
Since blush is coming back in a big way (once we can all be done with this ridiculous contouring trend), I feel my blush bag might be needing some love in the near future. Stay tuned for more adventures in Blush Land.*