This was the most heavenly of shoots, as the weather was one of those perfect high summer days where the light is divine and we were shooting in such a beautiful location. We spent the day in a gorgeous little seaside house, on the Isle of Sheppey. A tiny cabin full of sun-bleached wood with a view of nothing but sky and sea, it was a little bit like being marooned on the world’s most beautiful island.
The incredibly talented Chloe Mallett was shooting it, and my favourite model of the moment, Florence Kosky was our languid beauty for the day. Flo is not only insanely gorgeous, she’s absolutely lovely as well so it made it a very easy day.
I gave Flo a full body St Tropez tan as soon as we all arrived (luckily I’d worked with her a few weeks before, as it’s always a bit funny getting straight into a full body fake tan with someone you’ve just met!)
For makeup it was all about dreamy caramel tones with subtle highlights. I made sure I protected her beautiful English rose skin with plenty of sunscreen, and my favourite sunscreen du jour is La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios as it’s very light, non-greasy and has super high SPF.
I used NARS G-Spot blush for that rosy glow on her cheeks as well as Laura Mercier Bronzing Gel to amp up her tan. On her eyes I used a mix of brown shadows including NARS Bengali and the Dior Incognito palette, a touch of Bobbi Brown Gel eyeliner and Clinique High Impact mascara. Her lips needed nothing but a touch of Homeoplasmine lip balm and Stila Convertible Colour in Gerbera.
Stylist Lorna McGee had outdone herself on clothes with beautiful jumpers and elegant lingerie, as well as the perfect trans-seasonal pieces and accessories. Ben Cooke did gorgeous undone beachy waves on Flo’s hair and and by the end of the day it felt far more like we’d all been hanging out having fun than working!
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.
Over summer I had the pleasure of working with Arizona Muse who I would call a supermodel – not just due to her amazing career (which has spanned everything from Paris Vogue covers to being a face of Estee Lauder), but she’s one of the nicest models I’ve ever worked with, and that skin! Her skin alone warrants the supermodel tag.
We were shooting a story about Arizona for the Brazilian magazine, O Globo. Lorna McGee was styling, Ernesto Monteveno was on hair and lovely Brazilian photographer Ricardo Abraho was shooting. Since the weather was heaven that day it was all about shooting Arizona around the streets of West London (which on a sunny day has a charm all its own that can’t be denied).
Since she’s so gorgeous she needed hardly any enhancement, just a bit of eyeliner and mascara for definition, and a touch of cream blush for those famous cheekbones.
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.
Now that summer is drawing to a close (and I spent an indecently decadent summer holiday lounging pool-side in the South of France), it’s time to start thinking about la rentrée (which is what the French call the return to school and work in September).
I’m thinking of clothes for the cooler months and also makeup looks that can work from Fall to winter and into the Christmas season which will be on us before you know it. So this season Burberry’s makeup look went off-piste – over to the glitter side, to be exact. With glam-rock influences, Burberry Beauty Creative Consultant (and mega makeup artist) Wendy Rowe added some sparkle and shine to a traditional smoky eye.
Long time MM readers will know that I love Burberry makeup, AND I love glitter so this particular new iteration of the Burberry Beauty brand was always going to be right up my alley.
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!
We had such a lovely team to shoot main fashion for the South China Morning Post’s magazine, Destination Macau. It was all floaty, dreamy dresses and sheeny skin with a glossy eye. Our gorgeous German model Isabelle Sauer made for a very easy day at work for me as she had heavenly skin and moved like a dream. This was the shoot I fell back in love with Gucci as their collection was just so beautiful – dresses with swans, yes please!
I know beauty blogs don’t generally have extracts from kid’s TV shows (but if you wanted a regular beauty blog you wouldn’t be reading MakeupMole!)
I absolutely love this super-cute video of Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o speaking to Sesame Street’s Elmo about skin. What skin’s purpose is, and how important it is to love the skin you’re in. Such an important message and one I have been thinking about often since arriving back in London. In London the model scene has expanded exponentially in the time I was away – so many new agencies and exciting new faces, and I’ve been lucky enough to have quite a few in my chair recently.
From the palest Irish boys with milky skin and wind-chapped cheeks, to the delightfully freckled and naturally red-afro’d model Coral Kwayie at Nevs Models – she is half Ghanian and half Scottish, hence that amazing colouring – there are so many incredible faces here from all around the world.
Recently I’ve loved doing beauty shoots with girls with skin like honeyed amber, and fashion shoots with boys with the darkest, most beautiful skin. We all don’t look the same, thank God, and now fashion seems to be finally embracing this. The makeup companies are also following suit, introducing deeper and more inclusive shade ranges of their foundations and concealers for all skin tones. From Clinique and Lancôme to L’Oréal and Sleek at the drugstore, darker skin and mixed race skin tones are finally getting a lot more choices at the makeup counter. My favourite go-to brands that cover all skin tones (and have done for years), are Bobbi Brown, Illamasqua, Becca and NARS.
Lupita and Elmo – what a combo, and what a message. Beauty via Sesame Street. Who knew?
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).