Tuesday, 30 April 2013

REVIEW - L'oreal Skin Perfection 15 Second Miracle Cleansing Oil

Oil. It's something that, over the past four years, I have become a big fan of, except, of course, when it's being purged out of my pores and ruining my make up whilst giving me spots. I used to only ever reach for 'oil free' everything, but a friend of mine had a mate at Shu Uemura and gave me a massive bottle of their famous cleansing oil, and ever since, i've been a big fan of the whole oil cleansing method.

As with all things, a few years later, the oil cleansing thing has trickled down into the high street stores, and accessible brands have started bringing out their own versions. L'Oreal Skin Perfection 15 Second Miracle Cleansing Oil is the first drugstore brand I have tried and after having used it for about three weeks I think I can give a fair review.

It's pretty good! After a night of full make up, i'll stumble in and want something simple, quick and effective to use. I squirt this into my palm, massage it over my face and wash off with a warm flannel. The oil transforms into a milky substance and washes away with little trouble.

However, it's effectiveness isn't quite so amazing as what I have been used to with Shu Uemura, who, for their price tag of £59 for what is basically, something to wash your face with, you expect amazing results. L'Oreal's much more affordable price tag of £7.00 tells you it's not going to perform in quite the same way, but it IS effective, but not quite SO effective on mascara, which I have to try twice to remove with this cleanser. All other facial make up does melt off very quickly with this though.

I would recommend this to anyone wanting to try a cleansing oil on a limited budget for sure! It is also on offer in Superdrug at the moment for the bargain price of £3.98. GO SNAP IT UP! 

REVIEW - Fixing Spray - The Good, The Irritating, and The Waste of Effing Money....pt 2 Make Up Sealers

So....following on from PART ONE, here is my follow up, this time dealing with the more 'aggressive' form of sticking your make up to your oily, sweaty, desperate to stay pretty chops. Bear in mind I am indeed, referring to my own shortcomings. I'm sure you're all much more blessed than I am in the facial behaviour department. However, if you suffer like I do, wanting to get to the end of a day, or night, without looking like a patchy hellpig, read on!

In part one, I dealt with the widely available water based fixing sprays, which are a combination of water and acrylics generally, will provide you with entire fixing power to be able to have a sweat throughout the night, and will repel moisture, depending on the formulation. However, they won't make your face bulletproof. In this post I will be dealing with the alcohol and acrylic based sealers, which create a durable film over your make up, keeping products colour true and mostly smudge proof.  In the old days, girls would use hair spray over their faces to keep their eye make up from sweating off. These sprays are basically a more refined version of this hairspray trick, and far less drying. For the record, I do NOT recommend spraying a can of Elnett on your face. It will not feel nice or do your skin any favours.

Model in a Bottle - Original Formula

Model in a Bottle is something I discovered when watching some QVC style infomercials and this lovely lady called Jill Stephens was talking about this product that she had invented in honour of her mother, to seal make up all day with zero need for touch ups for an entire day. Being an addict of all things long wearing, I decided to purchase some. So, what does the write up say?......

"Its a one-of-a-kind matte finish setting spray. Model in a Bottle® will hold foundation and eye make-up in place throughout the day and into the night. This product is resistance to smudging, tears, humidity and water.

Dries with a translucent matte finish
Absorbs excess oil
Doesn't clogs pores
Never interferes with or reduces effectiveness of SPF
Is fast drying, never sticky
Adds moisture with aloe vera extract
Is not tested on animals
Contains over 300 sprays per bottle"

So, those are some pretty good claims, and technically, it should last you nearly a year with 300 sprays. So what did I make of it?

Well, it does work, but it's not quite as bulletproof as it claims. Yes it sticks eye make up down like GLUE, and that stuff isn't coming off until you get some proper cleanser and water on them. It is water resistant, so you can splash your face with H20 and your make up also doesn't budge, even if you rub, but it doesn't control oil as well as it claims, and once the oil breaks through, the products protective film starts to break down in those areas.

The other problem is dryness. It's got a rather high alcohol content and anyone with dry skin knows that applying alcohol in products to their parched skin renders it painfully itchy and dry as a bone. This claims to contain moisturising properties but seeing as my skin is oily and this made me dry, AND oily, it's probably not a product is a friend to many. It also does make me very very MATTE. If you're doing a mod look, fine, but most modern techniques involve a desire for a lustrous dewy sheen, at least in the cheekbone area. Also if, like me, you suffer from crepey skin around your eye area, this can suffer and become intense dry and sore from this spray.

So in conclusion, it's a good product to use for the odd occasion, for example, a wedding, or a shopping trip when you don't want any transfer when you're trying on all the clothes in the world and pulling them over your head constantly. However, daily use doesn't translate into happy facial skin, as I found out. It also has a habit of squirting aggressively at your face in a single stream after using it a few times, as the nozzles gets clogged, which can be quite the nasty surprise.

If you do want to investigate this product and/or purchase it, please visit their official website HERE or purchase it at the wonderful Love Make Up for the vaguely reasonable price of £16.99.

Diego Dalla Palma Make Up Fixer

I first heard about this iconic brand a few years ago when make up blogs around the country were picking their jaws up off the floor regarding their short lived collaboration with Tesco in 2011, given the fact that no other uk store had ever stocked the brand previously. I decided to research them, and it turned out that the make up artist, Diego himself, was a bit of a cult figure amongst make up artists, and had been tagged  " The prophet of make-up made ​​in Italy " in the New York Times. 

Anyway, during my research I saw this make up sealing spray mentioned again and again by make up artists as an essential part of their kit. I recently happened upon it whilst visiting my mother in the North, so snapped it up and excitedly spritzed it over my face as soon as I could. First though, lets see what it claims to do....

"Fixing spray for make-up. The formula guarantees perfect make-up for hours on end. 

Sprayed on the face, in a second it fixes make-up for the whole day. 

It creates a fine film without drying the skin."

Well, they certainly couldn't be accused of going overboard on the write up claims. Succinct!

So, my findings on this were as follows. It doesn't mattify, but it does seal, so a big thumbs up on that. It is in a spray can that easily spritzes your face, and it does sting a little, but it's going to, it's full of alcohol, just make sure you keep your eyes closed! There are two ways for this to be used during your application. Before make up to control sweat and oil production, and as a barrier to the products you'll lay over it. Then after the make up to seal it in. If you do this, your make up is basically bulletproof, and not flat as with the other spray, which is a relief. However, after using it a few days in a row I did break out in a bumpy red spray of spots, so again, I don't think this is great for skin.

If you would like to snap this up, you can do so in selected Tesco's, Debenhams and Marks and Spencers, and online, as well as direct from the manufacturers website HERE or Look Fantastic for £15.00.

I hope this has been of some informative use to you. I am in the process of trying to get my hands on Mehron and a couple of other setting sprays used in theatrical settings to review for you. As always, i'm out there, oily and sweaty, just for the greater good of you lot....

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Give and Make Up - Get involved.

Kathy Burke in Nil By Mouth, 1997

One of my most favourite films of all time is Nil By Mouth. It's a brutal, disturbing depiction of the life endured by Gary Oldman on a south east london council estate. There is frank, clinical and chilling scenes of domestic violence endured repeatedly by Valerie (Kathy Burke) at the hands of husband Ray (Ray Winstone), which eventually results in him kicking her so badly she loses their unborn child. The degradation and humiliation this woman repeatedly experiences is accepted, and almost expected amongst their peers. 

Domestic violence, and the much needed assistance to escape from it is something I hold close to my heart. Due to my near anonymity on this blog, I feel I can share, and perhaps inspire some people into action.

My Story....

I won't go into much detail, but I will say that this isn't something that affects my life now and is very much in the past for me. I am not someone who likes to focus on the bad things that have happened and I don't consider myself a 'survivor', because to do that would be to remind myself of the events a lot, and although I don't want to detract from those who do feel happy about publicly, and helpfully, discussing their own experiences, I only will mention this if it's necessary. Fortunately no one out there knows me so it's okay for me to share here! Yay for le internet!

I, as I said, won't go into details too much, but I found myself trapped in a terrifyingly violent relationship with a man when I was a teenager. He'd moved in, and he would regularly beat me, spit in my face, and threaten to end my life for a period of a year. I would try and leave, despite it being my own home that I paid the entire rent for, but if I attempted to pack a bag or go anywhere I wasn't permitted to, I would have to endure violence that was progressively getting worse each time. I went flat hunting and arranged to escape during the night with a friend who arranged to pick me up with my cats, who I refused to leave, and let me stay for a few days until I could deal with the complications of moving in to another place. All my phonecalls, and actions were monitored, so it made things pretty difficult. I had my arrangements in place though, but unfortunately things didn't go to plan.

One night my cats had no food, and I spent five minutes to pop down the local shops and pick up some.  When I returned to the flat he insisted i'd been gone hours, as he, again, was out of his mind on drugs and drink and went into a rage that resulted in a beating so brutal I was certain that I would be killed that night. I somehow escaped, and was left with no clothes, money, food or resources. I had no phone, but I did have a car. I drove to a male friends house, who turned out to be drunk and incredbly unhelpful despite my obvious desperation. I drove for help from the police, and went to three different stations before I found anyone to report it to. When I did, the male officer treated me disgustingly due to an earlier call I had made to them regarding my boyfriend telling me he'd taken an overdose as I was escaping, telling me that when they'd arrived he was fine, thus i'd wasted police time DESPITE my face having teeth marks from being bitten, a swollen eye, scratches and strangle marks round my neck that were really obvious to the naked eye.

I made a statement, and was left to sit alone, with nowhere to go, in my car until morning came. I had no money to contact friends and my family, who aren't the most supportive, told me I brought it on myself by living with a man without being married. I had no rights over my own property, despite him not paying rent or being a tenant, so I had to risk being beaten again when I went there with my friends to pick up my cats, which fortunately I could do. I then had to drive around the country living off favours from friends, going from place to place, until eventually he cleared out of the property from choice.

I had no protection, no money, no support, no options. It took the police an entire year to arrest this man despite him being at a local address that I gave to them, and him sending friends to my house to threaten, barter with, and intimidate me into dropping the charges against him. He was found guilty in court, but was not imprisoned and was given community service and a fine, of which I saw five pounds, which I didn't cash in, as frankly, it felt insulting.

So what is the point in all this barrage of personal information doing on a mere make up blog?

Well, this happened in the mid nineties, where there were very few facilities and options for victims of domestic violence. Mobiles weren't really an option for those on limited income, there weren't many who had access to the internet. Resources were few and far between, and it's resources that woman, and men (as the recent storyline depicted between Tyrone and girlfriend Kirsty in coronation street showed, it's not just women that are victims of domestic abuse).

Scene from Coronation Street, ITV, 2013

Fortunately, today, there are many more options, one of which is the charity REFUGE who provide an incredible range of support for women and men, who, like me, and thousands of others, had to flee with no money, clothes, and even more worryingly, no support if they have children with them. These facts mean that many women stay trapped in relationships of constant control and abuse, fearing for, and sometimes losing, their lives. They provide helplines, refuges, advocacy and support for children, not only in the uk but across the world. Sadly though, in these cash strapped times, it's not always easy to make a donation

This is where the make up connection comes in. Refuge is supported by an AMAZING organisation called GIVE AND MAKE UP, which is a non profit organisation that asks for donations of essentials for women and children who desperately need them. They accept lightly used as well as new products, so anything you'd be happy to give to a friend, you can donate, although there are rules regarding products with wands, just for hygiene reasons. 

If you would like to donate, which I certainly shall be, you can drop, or send your products to any of THESE PLACES .

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

REVIEW - Fixing Spray - The Good, The Irritating, The Pointless and The Waste of Effing Money.....Pt 1

Hello there,

So as I have mentioned before in this post that I own a MYRIAD of make up fixing sprays. I probably don't need to go over the reasons I need my make up to last, as I do reiterate it constantly, but the fact is, I don't like my skin, I go bright red the second I get hot, I have photos taken all the time, I get VERY oily very easily and I am very pale. Therefore my choices in foundations are few and far between, as I need so many variable options constantly in different conditions, AND for it to actually, y'know, be the colour of my skin, that generally I have to make a non appropriate formula stick via other means. These means tend to be fixing sprays. So here's my first instalment of the run down. I'm hoping you find this helpful and comprehensive.

MUA PRO - Make Up Base Fixing Mist

I have already given this fixing spray a full review here, but to reiterate a few points. I actually use this spray every single day. Not as a fixing spray as such, but to give luminosity to my base after I have done foundation, concealer, and then powdered with a powder puff rolling application, which will leave my base looking rather flat and matte. I spritz this over my face, allow it to dry, and it give me back that glow I need. I then apply my colour, and spray with another fixing spray to finish. I high recommend this easily available spray, and if would probably suffice to fix your make up if you had dry skin. 

Available from Superdrug and direct from MUA for £5.00  

Urban Decay All Nighter Make Up Setting Spray

Out of all the setting sprays I have used, I would say this guy is the one I go back to again and again. He's not the ultimate best ever, but he's darn close. Produced for Urban Decay by the kings of effective setting sprays, Skindinavia, and now is much nicer packaging (seriously Urban Decay, what were you THINKING), this is an easily accessible to purchase, and certainly more affordable than Skindinavia, setting spray.

But what is the blurb about this chap I hear you cry! See below

"All Nighter keeps your makeup looking gorgeously just-applied for up to 16 hours - without melting, cracking, fading or settling into fine lines. Developed in an exclusive partnership with SKINDINAVIA, our groundbreaking, clinically tested formula is suitable for all skin types and features patented Temperature Control Technology. Yep, this baby actually lowers the temperature of your makeup to keep foundation, eyeshadow, blush and concealer in place even in hot and humid or cold and windy conditions. The result? Smoother-looking skin and vibrant makeup that lasts all day (or all night)."

And does it deliver? Well, pretty much yes.

I think you have to be realistic. If I applied a bog standard foundation, without oil control, and no powder, I wouldn't expect this to work miracles and keep my skin from expunging sweat and oil combined to dislodge my meticulously applied face. If you have normal skin, I think this COULD keep it all in place without an amazing amount of prep though. It DOES work. 

However, for skin such as mine, I will prime, then use a long lasting foundation such as Smashbox Studio Skin 15hr, set with powder, and then spray liberally, and it'll stick through a pretty hardcore night. I went to see John Maus play about six months ago at a sold out gig and it was insanely hot, and I danced until sweat was running in my eyes. I went to the toilet expecting a mess and amazingly, I looked exactly the same. The only time I'd expect that was if I was wearing the dreaded Estee Lauder Double Wear, thus looking not only the same, but like I had corpse paint on too, which isn't my favourite look. 

So I would HIGHLY recommend this to anyone. If you would like to buy it, it's either £9 for a travel size, or £19.50 in Debenhams for a full size.

And carrying on in the theme of Urban Decay....

Urban Decay Deslick Oil Control Make Up Setting Spray

This is another offering from Urban Decay, but this time focusing of daytime make up staying power for those of the oily persuasion. Lets see what the manufacturers say....

"This highly effective setting spray mists weightlessly onto the face to control oil, deflect surface shine and keep the skin looking beautifully matte throughout the day. De Slick Oil Control Make Up Setting Spray is formulated with high-tech ingredients that help keep foundation, eye shadow and blush from smudging, sliding or fading, minimising the need for touch ups. With no unpleasant stickiness or tightness on the skin, this unique makeup must-have leaves makeup looking vibrant all day with a chic, matte complexion."

And again, it does what it says on the bottle. Or box, or website, whatever. I personally use this in combination with other sprays depending on how dehydrated, so therefore oily, my skin is. I will spray it on a moisturised face, prime, give a tiny spritz around the t zone and then apply my make up. Finishing with All Nighter or another similar spray. 

I would recommend this of oily or combination girls. It won't help too much with a sweaty day, but it does keep you matte and stop oil breaking through, which is pretty invaluable if you favour a matte finish. 

You can purchase this, from Debenhams from the same link above, or from BeautyBay.com for £19.50

Collection (2000) Fix Me Up Long Lasting Make Up Fixer

Jumping on the make up fixing spray bandwagon are the budget line Collection, or Collection 2000 as they'll always be known to me, for I am older than the sun, and as a kid was living on the kind of money that meant that Rimmel was considered an affluent purchase. 

Anyways, this is what they say about it - 

"From the minute you’re made-up to the moment you dress down, you can remain the marvel of freshly applied foundation.
Duration is guaranteed from dusk ‘til dawn, without a worry of washing off, fading down or patching up.Any glam-girl-on-the-go knows how tedious touching-up and re-applying make-up can be, but now this non-stick, weightless make-up setter offers any budding beauty a ‘barely there’ sheen for the ultimate in luminous finishes.
No matter how stressful your day, this beauty BFF will be on-side to stay-away any un-wanted imperfections, giving a long-lasting flawless finish."

Well, it's promises a lot. Does it deliver?

Erm....well, it depends on what you're expecting for £5.99. If i'm honest, probably more than this delivers. The aforementioned MUA Pro Make Up Base Fixing Mist is cheaper, and it does a much better job. Also it's not scented by cheap bubble bath, which is fine for bubble bath but for for something you're going to spray directly on your face, which will retain its stink for a good long while. 

Aside from the smell, which isn't a concern of every girl, given the stinking lip balm so much slather on with their dirty paws constantly, does it actually prolong your slap? Well, perhaps a bit, i'd say maybe two hours at the very most, under very asinine conditions. I wouldn't go partying or out on a hot day and expect this to stop make up meltdown. It simply isn't built to do so. Saying that it's a lot more effective than a make up 'refresher' which you'll find tend to be sold as fixers a lot of the time (i'll cover this in my next post). If you're stropped and have a penchant for products that deem it okay to use the font Comic Sans with a pink and black colourway, thats your prerogative. Personally I think you'd be better off spending your money on the cheaper MUA offering....

However, if you are tempted, the product is £5.99 from Boots and Superdrug

Lastly, for todays post, but certainly not least, the opposite in fact - 

Skindinavia Make Up Finishing Spray - The Original 16hr

And now the daddy of all the make up finishing sprays. The don in fact. This product is something I cannot recommend enough. This is the company that has given Urban Decay a less refined, so a generic, if you like, version of this spray.

This is what they have to say about it - 

"Skindinävia's patented technology forms a lightweight, breathable web on top of your makeup that slowly releases over 16 hours. The timed-release evaporation retains moisture longer while also drawing heat away from the skin as it slowly evaporates throughout the day. The results are fresh, cool makeup for up to 16 hours."

And it works. My goodness it works! This is one of three variations, dealing with oil, and ultra bulletproof bridal finishing respectively. Any make up artist worth their salt that do bridal make up will have this nestling in their kit, ready to get you through the sweat, tears and joy of a wedding day. 

I have only bought this product once, and I absolutely LOVED it, but it's pricey for the amount you get, and not readily available in the uk. If you do what to invest in it, and it IS worth it, you can get it for £13.95 from the wonderful Cocktail Cosmetics

And that concludes todays fixing spray sermon. I shall be back with another instalment soon regarding the more chemically industrial type alcohol sprays. Until then! 

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Bold brows - My personal obsession, and how to achieve them. Updated.

Audrey. Queen of brow. 

Sorry for my lack of posts. I have been extremely busy beyond belief. I am back now with a bumper brow post as way of apology.

I love brows, I love them so much, they frame a face, change the whole mood of the make up you have on your chops. Done correctly that can visually recall an era. I mean, Siouxsie Sioux's squared severe brow shape added to a look and suddenly it's 1970's punk. A thick bushy brow such as Audrey Hepburns, and you're swanning around like you're in Breakfast and Tiffany's. Brows are powerful. 

Siouxsie Sioux. Severe. 

Given my obsession, I've been through a lot of brow products. Here's a few of my recommendations for you to peruse....

Mac Brow Pencil in Stud

This pencil is awesome. It's a proper dark brown, unlike many pencils you buy which give you a feint mucky brown shade, this means business. It's slim, leaves opaque coverage, and is extremely easy to use. You can either just use it to fill in those few extra hairs you need to balance your brow, or go for a full on brow assault. I would say out of all the brow pencils i've used, this is, by far, the very very best.

This can be purchased direct from the Mac website for £12.50

Mac Fluidline Brow Gelcreme

You know, Mac really get on my tits sometimes, as i've mentioned in posts before, they release something INCREDIBLE, something you've yearned for, and you get hold of it, and then suddenly, it's sold out in three days and you can never have it again despite it having become part of your daily routine and thus, essential, you're not allowed to own it again. Oh no. Why on earth would they want you to buy more of their products that you adore? 

Regardless of this, this product is AMAZING and the ultimate brow product I own, and as I said before, I own a lot. I use this when I want to create a sharp dramatic brow, using a Mac 266 Small Angle Brush which is dense and stiff enough to make it easy as lovely pie. 

If you can find this instore, snap it up, as it's sold out online, but cost £14.00 and is worth every penny

Sleek Brow Kit in Extra Dark

This kit is amazing. I promise you. Sleek is a brand I adore anyway, I have lots of high end products, but daily I keep going for their products over the more expensive ones. Why? They are bloody good thats why! Highly pigmented, long lasting and they perform, what more could you want? This brow kit consists of a wax to fill and fix your brows in place, as well as priming them for the next step, which is a very pigmented, dense powder to fully fill them in, which sticks to the wax, leaving you free to do what you're doing and not worry about fading or smudging. Pretty nifty no? 

Whats also amazing is the price. SO CHEAP! If you want to indulge you can order this direct from the website here or pop into your local Superdrug and pick it up for a stunning £8.50. It lasts forever too!

Illamasqua Brow Cake

Good old Illamasqua. I love this brand so much. They basically create anything that you couldn't imagine any other brand having the guts to put on general sale. If you want to create a Siouxsie Sioux brow like above, these are the brow products you want to get your hands on. Just mix some water with this powder above and create a paste to paint on a brilliantly extreme brow. The world is your brow shaped oyster! If you want a brow that is industrial strength, just mix the cake with their famous sealing gel £12.50, and you'll be rain, sweat and weatherproof until you remove it. Ace no?

You can pick this up direct from the website or from Debenhams for £15.


Now, how to do it. Well, I don't think anything I could ramble could ever beat the genius of my make up hero, Gossmakeupartist, giving us two amazing tips. This first video changed my make up life!!!

Gossmakeupartist - How to use brows to make your nose look slimmer.

Gossmakeupartist - How to get the perfect brow.

Dive in, enjoy, honestly I couldn't vouch for a better make up artist to explain techniques than Goss, he's incredible. 

Pixiwoo - How to fill in brows

The above video is fantastic, and for the girl that loves a signature iconic brow, so Nik from Pixiwoo, my other favourite you tube MUA, takes you through how to achieve the aforementioned Audrey Hepburn as well as Elizabeth Taylor, Linda Evangelista and more natural shaped brows. Also, because Nik is awesome, she also explains how to achieve a natural looking brow for when you're suffering from alopecia or hair loss through cancer treatments. I personally love doing the Audrey brow. Give it a go if you fancy, whats to lose?? If you think you look like a twat, take it off. Thats the great thing about make up, if you look a twat, which I frequently do, you can just whip out a washcloth! 

Happy forehead scrawling girls!