Tag Archives: featured

Lashing out - Vogue China

Secret Weapon: Max Factor 2000 Calorie Mascara

This has gone from being a really great mascara to a Secret Weapon in one fell swoop. Last week I was shooting a beauty story and for the second look we went for a clumpy lash, which is always a winner. So I reached for my now trusty companion, Max Factor 2000 Calorie mascara, and started to pile it on. Coat after coat after coat – it definitely added bulk, and the lashes were looking nice and big, but it was pretty much a clump-free zone. Incredible when it was only after about five coats on each eye that it started to really get cloggy. I had to go in with my CoverGirl Lash Blast to get the lashes nice and really mascara-saturated for that spiky 70’s feel. What that means for ordinary people who DON’T want to look like Liza Minelli on a daily basis, is that it’s pretty much lash perfection in a tube.

I started to use it on the recommendation from another makeup artist friend of mine, the fabulous Nicola Burford (who has done Cate Blanchett’s makeup as well as worked on Charlotte Tilbury and Tom Pecheux’s team at London Fashion Week, so she knows her stuff.) We met many years ago assisting Aussie makeup artist Kellie Stratton on an 80’s nightclub shoot. It was a bit of a baptism by fire for me as it was the first shoot I had ever done makeup on, and it was a riot of pseudo Adam Ants, 80’s Pierrots, black geisha brows, fuchsia contour and lacquer red mouths (and sometimes all at the same time). Let’s just say we got through a lot of white pancake makeup that day.

So when I was in the market for a new mascara, I asked Nicola and she said she swears by Max Factor 2000 Calorie – an oldie but a goodie. You can always rely on it – it doesn’t clump (until you seriously lay it on with a trowel – I can attest to that now) or smear or flake and just gives you lovely lashes quickly. You can dial it down for natural or up for a sexy lash so it’s a great one to have in your kit.

A quick note though – I didn’t love the waterproof version. The formula is a bit grabby and crunchy, and it just doesn’t go on smoothly like other waterproof classics like L’Oreal Voluminous or Full n’ Soft.

Lashing out - Vogue China Lashing out - Vogue China

The gorgeous pictures above are by photographer Nicholas Moore for Chinese Vogue, on a day I was assisting Kay Montano in London a few years ago. That was such a fun day – piles of fake lashes and the fabulous Neil Moodie on hair who (as usual) had me in stitches laughing. Neil also has a fabulous blog that you should check out http://www.neilmoodie.com/category/blog/ – it’s got hair! It’s got dogs wearing wigs! It’s got French and Saunders! It’s my kind of website!

 

* NB I checked that Nicola didn’t mind me putting her beauty secrets on the internet first. Mine I’m happy to throw out there on a regular basis, but other peoples are their own to keep unless they say I can do the big reveal.

Isamaya Ffrench makeup

Video: Isamaya Ffrench for i-D, The A-Z of Beauty

I LOVE this video that came out a little while ago, featuring a galaxy of the current crop of top models and makeup by i-D’s new Creative Director, Isamaya Ffrench. It’s pretty much a makeup artist’s dream featuring a riot of glitter, face painting and everything from baby oil to metallic body paint. The things that make us salivate like a kid in a candy shop.

Isamaya is quite an amazing young English makeup artist (she called herself a “painter and decorator” on Instagram, which is pretty damn cute). Originally a dancer with the super-creative Theo Adams Dance Company in London, she became a face and body painter, and has since moved into high fashion where her creativity is put to good use with the likes of photographers like Nick Knight and Rankin, as well as Vogue and Dior.

Check out her website
Follow her on Instagram

And PS I’m just a little obsessed with her eyebrows.

picture of girl with straw and lipstick

In My Kit: Illamasqua Lip Gloss

So I’ve been prepping for not one but three big beauty stories lately which has been a good chance to give my kit a clear out to get some new season colour in there.

I have to confess that I love having a good re-organise as nothing feels better than a fresh, clean kit, and you can always find a way to tighten up and improve your general organization. A kit tune-up is my idea of a good time!

I’m rotating out of my winter products and putting in spring/summer ones – shooting spring stories for Australia means more colour and beautiful lighter textures are going in.

This season I’m getting back into gloss after quite the hiatus from it – probably a legacy of a complete overdose on the stuff a few years ago. As in, I was buried in it.  In my defence, at the time we were all channeling goopy-lipped vixens so I got a lot of use out of them – then not so much the past couple of years.  But now I’m feeling it again.

Since I’m still loving bold strong lip colours at the moment, I’m reaching for Illamasqua’s Intense Lip Glosses to add an element of shine to a statement lip. I’ll be carrying Mistress (bright coral orange) and Indulge, a ridiculously bright fuchsia, and since wine lips are no longer just for winter, I’m carrying the sinfully rich Hermetic. I love Illamasqua’s lip glosses because they are pigment rich, high-shine and really do what you want – which is take a bold lip over the top, somewhere over the rainbow.

www.illamasqua.com

Intense lipgloss by illamasqua

MAC Nail Transformations

Right Now: Marian Newman and MAC Nail Transformations

I’m loving these new nail topcoats from MAC, in collaboration with mega manicurist Marian Newman. Marian is arguably one of the world’s top nail technicians with over 50 British Vogue covers under her belt, and given that her career before becoming a top manicurist was as a forensic scientist, the precision and perfection of her work has to be seen to be believed.

Marian would quite often be booked on the same shoots as Kay Montano when I was assisting Kay, and I used to love chatting to her as she was so lovely and fun to be around. She gets booked for countless celebs (from Keira Knightley to Lady Gaga) and runway shows in the dozens from Valentino to Givenchy. I remember one Vanity Fair shoot with Miles Aldridge shooting English actress Gemma Arterton, she very kindly chatted to me for ages about the best nude nails – and I still have the polishes she gave me from her kit. How lovely is that?

When MAC asked her to create a collection, Marian wanted to make it something exciting, that could expand on your existing nail wardrobe and create a myriad of looks. Check out the video below for all the different finishes:

www.mariannewmannails.com
www.maccosmetics.com

Scarlett Johansson

Video: Scarlett Johansson BTS for Dolce and Gabbana’s Perfect Mono Eyecolour campaign

Oh ScarJo – she really must be the sexiest woman alive, no? I mean she looks like THAT, and her voice is enough to make you follow her anywhere, to the circus, to war… to the Dolce and Gabbana counter to look at their new creamy eye colours! I love all these creamy eye colours that are coming out from Chanel and Tom Ford and Armani, and now D&G – they’re such a quick, easy option for a smoky eye. I never leave home (well for work, anyway – I sometimes leave home without them) with my Chanel Ombre d’Illusions. So I’m curious to see what Dolce and Gabbana’s are like.

Anyway in the meantime feast yourself on Scarlett’s voluptuous take on Marilyn. (And Pat McGrath on makeup).

Sigma Brush

In My Kit: Sigma Foundation Brush

Sorry for the quiet time y’all – I’ve been sunning myself on holidays! Now I’m back and have spent the last few days sorting out my kit and the makeup Vault (which was an out of control mess) and ready to get back into it.

Onto the Big News: I have a new brush. There, I said it. She’s a beauty as well and is already proving a winner (and a life-saver) on shoots. It’s the Sigma Flat Kabuki –F80 brush.

Let me preface this by saying I haven’t had a new brush in a few years now. I have plenty of backups at home if I lose one on a shoot (which does sometimes happen, and the worst are the shows. I want my brushes strapped to me with individual alarms during the shows since in all the chaos it’s easy for ‘things to happen’ to them. Including light-fingered individuals, but let’s not talk about them shall we?) and I thought my brush-acquiring days were pretty much over. But I got a chance recently to try some Sigma brushes as they are now available in Australia online, through the Aussie beauty site www.redefiningbeauty.com.au

I’d heard a lot about Sigma brushes before – makeup artist friends raving, etc, but I had yet to try them. First off, they are super, super soft (which we love), and the range is very extensive. I was really happy to have the Flat Kabuki the other day on a shoot as the brief was very pale, 80’s foundation. This is not a look I bust out every day and strong foundation has to be handled carefully so it still looks real, and not like you’ve put pancake batter on the face. The Kabuki brush was absolutely perfect for buffing the foundation once it was applied, and gave a lovely, even finish.

It’s not like any other brush I own as it’s a very densely packed brush with a flat head, that allows you to swirl and buff the base into the skin without leaving streaks, even when you’re piling that foundation on like you’re doing a Kardashian wedding.  And it’s synthetic, an extra bonus for those who like their brushes cruelty-free.

PS  – Please don’t buy brushes off eBay. I know it can seem like a great way to get a bunch of brushes SO MUCH CHEAPER, but you have no idea where those brushes have come from. And I can tell you right now that the cheap fur trade around the world relies heavily on cat and dog fur. So if you don’t want to apply your blusher with Fido or Fluffy, buy your brushes through the reputable brands and sites.

Sigma brushes are now available locally in Australia through www.redefiningbeauty.com.au

 

 

Glitter eye makeup

Right Now: Glitter. Ball.

And so it transpires that I have a few beauty shoots coming up that involve the use of glitter. I hope lots of it, as I’ve always loved it – it’s the ultimate in trashy, disco, crazy makeup.  To get ready, I’ve been diving into my glitter bag which has been quite neglected for a few seasons. I have glitters I have collected over the years from all around the world – from little makeup shops in Paris and Ricky’s in New York, through to some lovely Fardels and Kryolans  and StarGazer glitter from Screenface and Charles Fox in London. MAC also do a very delicious glitter selection, including some incredible neons that I’m just itching to use in the near future.

I like to have glitter of different gauges so you can play around with the different sizes, and mixing colours in one look is beautiful as well. Also I have to say that whilst I do love the glitter from makeup brands, it’s bloody expensive for what it is. Don’t forget your local craft shop or even newsagent (I’ve found awesome glitters in the kids’ craft sections of the dodgiest local joints you can imagine. You never know where you’re going to find a great glitter!)

Gold and silver are of course essentials in your glitter kit, but don’t forget bright colours that can be a beautiful addition to a smoky eye, or punctuate a lashline to make every blink a party.

I recommend doing the glitter first before diving into the rest of the makeup as clean up with glitter is, if you’ll pardon the expression, a bitch. I keep makeup or baby wipes, cotton buds, a clean makeup brush to brush off any excess and a clean eyebrow spooly brush at the ready. The spooly brush is amazing for lifting up tiny, stubborn individual glitter specks from the skin. Once you’ve done your eyes, you can clean up with ease and then do your foundation. Also keep in mind, you need to use a cream texture on the eyelid to give the glitter a surface to adhere to. This could be a cream shadow, MAC Mixing Medium or good old Vaseline. You can even use water in a pinch.

And storage of glitter in your kit is easy – it needs to be treated (in the wise words of Kay Montano) as “toxic waste”.  Don’t EVER keep your glitter pots rattling around with the rest of your makeup, as the lid will work itself loose and you will find yourself pulling glitter chunks out of your kit for the next ten years.

True story – I was doing some glitter experiments a few years ago and fiddling with some blue glitter, and the doorbell rang. Oh, the postman. And I’m signing for a letter only to see A BLUE PIECE OF THE GLITTER I WAS USING ON HIS FACE. God knows how it got there – it’s like asbestos, radium and nuclear waste all rolled into one and should be treated accordingly.

I decant my glitters but I then double bag them in small plastic sandwich bags (these are one of the greatest secrets of the Universe for makeup transportation), and then seal them all in a separate plastic makeup bag. I don’t take them on every job either, just when I think they might come out to play. One, it saves you weight and space in your kit, and two it saves the lids working themselves off en-route and ending up on everything, only for you to be picking glitter off every model you work on for the next decade. No thanks.

Glitter is like a little piece of heaven and pixie dust and magic, and like magic it wants to be free. So use it with abandon, use it with joy, but then seal that sucker up and for the love of God don’t let it escape.

blue and pink glitter

Camilla Akrans

Video – Camilla Akrans 60’s Beauty Shoot

Sorry everyone – I’ve been meaning to write a post the last couple of days but I’ve been distracted prepping for a big beauty shoot I’ve got on next week. So to keep you occupied, I thought I’d post this video of a beauty shoot in action – the amazing photographer Camilla Akrans (one of my favourites) shooting 60’s beauty with Wendy Rowe (yes, Burberry’s Beauty Director and an MM fave) on makeup.

I promise I’ll be back next week – and a warning: There will be glitter!