Category Archives: Secret Weapon

MAC Silver Dusk

Secret Weapon – MAC Iridescent Powder in Silver Dusk

With New York Fashion Week just gone and London Fashion Week about to kick off it seems only fitting to pay homage to one of my favourite products, MAC Silver Dusk powder. This one is an oldie but a goodie and it can come out to play on so many occasions that it’s always in my kit. On the face it gives that perfect hit of illumination to all the high points you might want to emphasise, such as the browbone, cheekbone or Cupid’s bow of the lips, and it’s lovely with a big brush along the clavicles and shoulders as well.

Principally I like to have it for editorial work as it provides eye popping highlights exactly where you want, yet the shimmer is so fine that it doesn’t look jarring or OTT. It’s like moonlight in a jar, perfect for a soft, ethereal romantic finish or you can build it when you want to do full-on disco strobe highlights (I think we all have those days sometimes).

I haven’t covered many luminisers on MM in the past, which isn’t because I don’t like them. I use a highlighter of some description on pretty much every makeup I do as it just adds such beautiful dimension to the face, but I think I MIGHT have overdosed on them a few years ago. Not literally of course – imagine that, glowing like a light bulb from too much highlighter! But I fell in love with them in the early 2000’s (well hello MAC Strobe Cream and NARS Copacabana) and just kept adding to my collection – Becca and Benefit, Illamasqua Gleam Cream and Revlon Skinlights… the list, and my collection, just went on and on. Since even as a makeup artist it takes half a century to get through even one of those sparkly little tubes and pots, I never really felt like writing about them.

But I was going through my kit again the other day, doing yet another decanting session, and I wanted to start covering some of my hero products that I use job in and job out. Not everything has to be new to be wonderful! Silver Dusk also feeds in perfectly with the metallic trend that’s coming out of NY this week – silvery glitter eyes at Donna Karan, gold highlighter at Sass and Bide (both courtesy of Charlotte Tilbury) and even pink glitter lips from James Kaliardos at Rodarte.

Black skins needn’t feel left out either (as Silver Dusk is quite a wintry, pale colour and better on paler skin tones) since MAC Mineralize Skinfinishes shimmer powders are divine as a highlight on black skin. My classic go-to highlighter for darker skins in the Mineralize Skinfinish is Shooting Star.  For olive skins I’m very partial to NARS Gold Rush powder. Judicious highlighting never goes out of style!


Secret Weapon: Batiste Dry Shampoo in Cherry

I call this wonder product “time in a can”. I’ve blogged before about how “special” my hair is (Read – needs hours of blowdrying to not look like Worzel Gummidge’s sister), so anything I can find to make the annoying and time consuming task of taming my barnet easier is a bonafide secret weapon in my books. And I’m constantly amazed by how many people don’t use dry shampoo, or even know it exists. For me it’s right up there with oxygen – a necessity for sustaining life itself.

I first came across it years ago on a shoot and seen it many hairdressers’ kits since. Dry shampoo basically soaks up any oil on your scalp and gives a denseness to the hair shafts, making lank hair look healthy again, and keeping a blowdry going for a good 4-5 days. You just spray it in your hair at the roots, shake it out and go. No torturous hairwashing and blowdrying required (and if you had my hair, you would know it is torture.)

I’ve tried lots of dry shampoos but I keep coming back to Batiste as it’s so effective and best of all it’s CHEAP. Not as cheap in Australia as the UK (which does make me feel gruff when I think about it, but it’s still a good deal cheaper than Klorane or Bumble and Bumble). And cheap is good when you use it 365 days a year. It gives the hair a heft as well which makes it perfect for styling (and why it is so beloved by hairdressers).

One warning – the standard Batiste is definitely better for blondes as the white of the powder can look ashy on some darker hair tones. However Batiste do a darker version for darker hair colours (which I always keep in my hair kit, as well as the standard one). Bumble & Bumble also make a range of dry shampoos for all hair tones including redheads, but that will set you back considerably more than the Batiste.

And best of all at the moment is that the new flavor is out, Cherry. I’ve always been a sucker for Cherry products (for eating, cooking, wearing – and did I mention eating?) and this one is no exception. The scent isn’t overpowering either which is important for me given that most scents make me feel sick (a weird thing which started happening when I was pregnant years ago, and very annoyingly has never gone away.)

It makes me feel like Spring is in the air!

mac matte

Secret Weapon: MAC Matte

I have had this incredible mattifying gel in my kit for about a decade now, and it’s what I rely on for clients with oily skin. It’s the best product I’ve ever used for eliminating shine (and believe me, I’ve tried a few). It’s a clear gel in a small tube that you pat onto the skin either over moisturiser or instead of (for very oily clients) through the T-zone. Voila! No more shine.

It’s a must have for makeup artists for male grooming as well (or for male MM readers who struggle with shine). For women it’s great to throw in your handbag for those hot summer afternoons when your forehead looks like a disco ball. Foundation then goes on like a dream as this primer seals the surface without looking fake or heavy, and it means you can use a lot less powder. No more afternoon cake face!

Mac Cosmetics UK
Mac Cosmetics Australia



Secret Weapon – Homeoplasmine Lip Treatment

Regular readers will know I’m a bit of a lip balm hoochie mama, swapping and changing what lip balms I use in my kit and on myself, as there are just so many good ones. One I do keep coming back to that not many people have heard of, is Homeoplasmine ointment. It’s one of those rare Parisian chemist finds (and you all know how much I love those! An hour in a French pharmacy going through all their gorgeous potions is my idea of heaven, I tell you).

I have to say I didn’t find it on my own though – I first discovered it when I was assisting in Paris, namely through makeup artist Alex Box. (Although since then I’ve seen it turn up time and again in makeup artists kits). It’s a homeopathic cream, which was originally created to heal the nasal passages from colds, allergies, and general freezing temperatures, which is why it’s just so fabulous on lips when the temperatures plunge, like in Europe in present – I think we need an emergency air drop of Homeoplasmine to every country in the EU, stat!

So it’s amazing for the upcoming show season where the models are all turning up windchapped, wind blown and jetlagged with their skin peeling off from the cold, and in 45 minutes you have to make them look hydrated, glowing and the picture of health, ready for the runway. I liberally slather on lips and around nostrils where constant sneezing and blowing make the area red and chapped, and let it sit for a few minutes as a healing treatment, before wiping off and doing foundation.

Homeoplasmine deals with flaky skin and provides moisture, protection and an undisclosed French homeopathic concoction (it sounds good, doesn’t it?) to heal and soften lips, ready to be made up in the colours of the season. It also has a matte finish to it which is a nice alternative to the shiny finish of Lanolips, Vaseline or Paw Paw ointment. So I like to carry both in my kit – it’s also fantastic if you’re doing men’s grooming (for all those makeup artists out there). It’s inexpensive, and a tube should last you, oooh roughly forever.

If you’re not planning to hit a Parisian pharmacy soon, I found a website that stocks it.

Face of Australia Wipes

Secret Weapon: Face of Australia Purifying Cleansing Wipes

A face wipe doesn’t sound like a secret weapon, I hear you scoff – well let me tell you, after trying pretty much every brand in four different countries, a good face wipe really is.

For work I use them a lot at the shows as they are quick and easy and great when the models are running late. For heavier removal I still stand by my Crealine remover and Lancome Bi-Facil eye makeup remover for when the going gets really tough, but my first port of call in the de-scrubbing stakes is still a makeup wipe.

What I like about the FOA ones above all the others I have tried is that it really does take makeup off in pretty much one go, but without stinging or irritating the skin and eyes (yes, it does eye makeup as well! So it’s perfect for holidays or those nights when you really, REALLY can’t be bothered taking off your makeup, not when that bed looks so appealing and the room is spinning…)

Face of Australia or FOA as it’s abbreviated in Australia (pretty much everything is abbreviated in Oz) is a fantastic range of makeup you can get at the chemist, and it’s really the only makeup in Australia that I think has properly drugstore prices. All the others – Maybelline, CoverGirl, my beloved Revlon – are priced a lot more expensively than they are in the UK/US. I couldn’t really tell you why as I don’t know, but that drugstore thrill you get from being able to hit the chemist and buy a bunch of stuff – you can do that with FOA makeup. And the wipes? $4.50. So for the price of a soy latte, you can have super soft, squeaky clean skin for 20 days. I know right? Don’t say I didn’t tell you.



Shu Uemura eyelash curler

(Not So) Secret Weapon – Shu Uemura Eyelash Curlers

I almost feel stupid for writing this as a Secret Weapon, and I’ve had it on my list to write about ever since I started blogging really. How can something so blindingly obvious be a Secret Weapon?

Then I realized about 70% of my private clients had either never used an eyelash curler, or hadn’t done so for years, and I thought what’s obvious to a makeup artist is not always so obvious to everyone else. (Although if I had 50 cents for every time a makeup artist called it their Number 1 beautifying tip, I’d have, well, more money than I do now. But sometimes the reason things are cliché is because they are true!)

Eyelash curlers make your lashes, and by extension, your eyes, look awesome. They open the eye and make them look bigger since you don’t have all that droopy eye fringe hanging in the way. They make your lashes look longer and give them a beautiful, flirty shape, ready to be mascara-ed. If you look tired they wake you up, and if you’re on the older side of the equation – well let’s face it we can use all the help we can get, and anything that lifts your features has to be a good thing, doesn’t it?

There are lots of eyelash curlers on the market, but I just can’t go past Shu Uemura’s. I have used it for my whole career, and I carry back-ups since they always seem to go “missing” (aka STOLEN by some light-fingered, stick-lashed nasty person). The Shu curlers are the best as they are designed for Asian eyes, so they can get into the smallest corners of the lashes. They are the perfect shape, never tugging or pulling, and as Asian lashes tend to be quite straight they deliver serious curling action without weird crimping or bends.

And they are workhorses! My own personal pair – which miraculously never seems to go “missing”, I have had for about 8 years now. It curls like a dream every time, and never breaks, despite being dumped unceremoniously in my makeup bag every day without fail.

Every makeup artist I know carries lash curlers, and there is a reason for this people – they make you prettier. You can’t go past the Shu original – it’s the best.

Secret Weapon: Prtty Peaushun Body Lotion

This is a GENIUS product, and my latest obsession. The woman who makes this (US Celeb makeup artist, Bethany Karlyn) must be so damn clever, because it performs on every level. I didn’t think anything body makeup wise could come along and take the place of my beloved MAC Face and Body, (and I will always carry it in my kit), but this guy – well he’s definitely earned a place right in there too.

Prtty Peaushun Body LotionIt makes your skin gleam like an expensive sports car, but it’s not shimmery or too shiny – which we all know is just soooo 2000. I have the colour Dark, and it has topped up my fading tan to make it look like I have beautiful skin – not that I’m wearing shimmery body makeup (and I defy you to find me any woman who wants to look like that). It gives you Victoria’s Secret body skin (sadly not the body as well, Jesus can you imagine if you could get one of those in a jar?) Sexy, smooth, perfect – like it’s been airbrushed, which has to be one of the most over-used terms in the beauty lexicon but in this case happens to be true.

Plus it’s natural – yes that’s right, all natural ingredients. It has 92% raw, natural ingredients, with no parabens, petrochemicals or animal products, AND it’s not tested on animals. So for those of you (and we’re growing by the day) who don’t like to put chemicals on their body, this is for you. And it feels good when you put it on – it’s a sheer weight cream that looks quite dark but it blends on smoothly, with no streaking, and no tell-tale orange palms. It glides on like a dream, doesn’t transfer onto clothes and just seems to set, so you can forget about it. As if all that wasn’t enough, it smells great, and the packaging is the coolest silver screwtop pouch that makes dispensing the right amount of product a dream. Love, love, LOVE this product, and it’s been awhile since I’ve flipped for something. But flip I have for this. Especially with summer around the corner in the Northern hemisphere, you need this in your life (and your makeup arsenal).
Follow them on Twitter: @prttypeaushun

To buy Prttypeaushun in Australia, go to

Secret Weapon: Aesop Sage and Zinc Facial Hydrating Cream SPF 15

AESOP Sage & Zinc Facial Hydrating Cream SPF1Also on the subject of Aesop, I need to tell you about sunscreen. For a lot of you guys, freezing your butts off in sub-zero Northern Hemisphere temperatures you’ll be thinking “is she crazy? I need a radioactive heated slankie, not a lesson on sunscreen!”

But for my friends in the Southern hemisphere, this is the first of many, MANY lectures on the Evils of Going Out Without High Protection Sunscreen Every Day Because You Will End Up Either Dead From Skin Cancer And/Or Very Very Wrinkled. I can’t believe I haven’t trotted out this particular little soapbox yet as it’s a personal mission to make people wear sunscreen every day of their lives (alright, maybe not you lot with 10 inches of snow outside your window, but when the weather warrants it.)

And aiding me in this personal quest? Aesop Sage and Zinc sunscreen. This is my go-to every day sunscreen as it’s non-comodegenic so it doesn’t make you break out like a lot of cheaper supermarket products, and it has plant derived vitamins, including Vitamin E, and sage leaf and sandalwood extracts. Aesop are justly proud of their first moisturiser with sun protection, and it’s been many years in the making.

But the real winner for me? It’s matte, so it can go under makeup and not make you start your hot day looking like a greasy chip, requiring a truckload of powder to absorb all the oil. It is only a factor 15 but as you need to reapply at lunchtime anyway I’m quite happy with a factor of 15.

And for the rest of you, shivering under those slankies? I have a cold weather post for Winter Radiant skin coming up (and yes, definitely no sunscreen in sight).