Sunday, 29 December 2013

Blend blend blend!

I am addicted to blending brushes! Granted I am addicted to any makeup brushes but blending brushes are truly a makeup artist essential. Blending brushes can come in different shapes and sizes but generally are fluffy and fit perfectly into the natural crease of the eye. I have many blending brushes but I have a select few which I constantly reach for because they do the job so well.

I thought I would share my favourites with you and tell you why they are so fantastic!

Left to Right Bottom to top - MAC 217, Crown Brush C433 Pro blending brush, Tom Ford blending brush, Cozette brush S165 Large Contour brush, Hakuhodo blending brush (from a set)

First up is the legendary MAC 217 brush. This fluffy brush is a makeup artist must have and the perfect size and shape for both applying crease colours and blending them! It fits perfectly into the socket and using circular buffing motions can blend out any harsh lines. I also find the tip of the brush the perfect size for placing deeper colours into the very outer corner and then using a different clean 217 to blend. I always have at least 4 with me on jobs and if you have never tried a blending brush it is a great brush to add to your collection. At £18 it's not too pricey and they really do last for years.

Next is the Crown brush C455 Pro blending brush and at about £6 this is an absolute bargain. Crown also do a pro scheme for makeup artists so you can really stock up on these. Again I carry a lot of these in my kit. Obviously the hair isn't as soft as the more expensive options but mine have lasted a good couple of years without losing their shape and they do the job well. The brush is almost identical to the MAC 217 so if you are on a tight budget this is a great option.

The Tom Ford blending brush is an absolute beauty of a brush. The hair is incredibly soft and the design of the brush is as you would expect sophisticated and luxurious. The brush is slightly slimmer than the previous two brushes and because of this the end is fantastic for placing darker colours into the crease or blending out a dark smokey eye. At £42 this brush is definitely an investment but its one worth making if you are a makeup addict or you regularly like to wear smokey eyes. 

The next brush you may notice is larger than the others and this Cozette S165 large contour brush is definitely more for useful for blending than for applying. This large fluffy tapered brush really does the job and any harsh lines are buffed away. This is a great brush to do a super quick job of blending because of the size and a great brush to have at hand if you get a little heavy handed with colours on the eye lid! Cozette brushes are vegan, lovely and soft and at only £13.50 it is a must have in my opinion.

Last but not least this Hakuhodo blending brush is the newest in my collection. I bought it at IMATS this year as part of a travel set so the handle is shorter but the brush size is not compromised. This brand is a cult favourite amongst makeup artists because the quality is second to none. This brush doesn't have a name or number on it but it looks very similar to their S142 model when I looked online. It is similar to the long tapered blending brush the mac 224 but a million times softer and easier to work with! Because the shape is longer and thinner it is less firm than the MAC 217 and creates a softer blend where the outer edges of the eyeshadow can be buffed to disappear to nothing. The prices are quite high with a blending brush retailing for about $38 but they are worth every penny. This tapered brush is soft, moveable and blends like a dream! 

What are your favourite blending brushes?


Saturday, 21 December 2013

Makeup for Photography Tips from John Cassidy

As a makeup artist I am constantly working with a variety of photographers and find that getting both makeup and photography right are the key to getting the best out of an image or a client. I recently had the pleasure of chatting with John Cassidy online about the relationship between the two creatives and he asked me to write a blog post for him on his website which can be found at 

In return, I received a fab article on makeup for photography through the eyes of the photographer and what he looks for in a makeup look and thought I would share this interesting piece with you below:

When it comes to headshots for Ladies I have to take into consideration the make-up that has been applied and use all the tools that are available to me to capture the best photo possible. I’ve always preferred the natural look when it comes to headshots but it depends entirely on the individual, their business and what they are hoping to communicate with this photograph. 

To achieve a natural and complimentary look I use a soft wrap around lighting set-up, this helps to give all skin types a smooth look for their over-all complexion. When make-up is used in the right way it helps to accentuate facial features and draw focus to certain areas. The feature that I prefer to be the most predominant is the eyes. We’ve all heard the saying that the eyes are the window to the soul and it is something that I see time and time again in my profession. The best headshots that I see are when the clients eyes are warm and inviting – giving them an approachable look. Using a good foundation is also essential as it prevents the skin from reflecting the lights that I use. 

By using a professional make-up artist, female clients tend to feel more confident and make the most of their shoot. The added confidence tends to make clients feel as though the shoot is more of an experience rather than a daunting task. 

It all comes down to personal preference. I find that make-up, like hair, is a personal choice for female clients to make. Some women prefer more make-up whilst others prefer to keep it simple and natural. 

To find out more please visit my website 

If you have any questions at all please feel free to get in touch via Twitter 

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Christmas TAG

I saw the Christmas tag post on one of my favourite blogs by Vicky and had to do it for myself! I don't really get into the Christmas spirit until mid December, perhaps because my birthday is early December but when I do get into it I really go for it! I love the atmosphere at this time of year and don't feel as guilty about being in my pjs or eating chocolate :) I hope you enjoy my answers! 

1. What's your favourite Christmas movie?

Miracle on 34th Street! The version starring Richard Attenborough. I adore this movie because I used to watch it religiously as a child so even watching it now makes me feel young again. 

2. Do you stay in your PJs or get dressed on Christmas Day?

I try to wear my Pj's till as late as possible then usually go out for lunch with the family so I like to make an effort and wear a nice dress and sparkly makeup. I like to make the most of having a special day by wearing as much sparkle and colour as possible! 

3. Do you open your presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?

I have never opened them Christmas eve! Always Christmas day and occasionally we keep some for Boxing day too to make the whole Christmas experience last a little longer.

4. Favourite Christmas smell?

This has to be a toss up between my ChristmasYankee candles and the scent of a real xmas tree. We used to get a real tree every year but the up keep is a lot harder. The smell is beautiful though and always makes me feel festive. But if we get a fake tree, my candles always cheer me up! 

5. What is your favourite Christmas song?

Anything by Michael Buble of course! 

6. What's your favourite Christmas drink?

Hazelnut Hot chocolate! It is the best time of year for hot chocolate because its warming and tasty! On Christmas Day I do quite like a glass of something alcoholic and bubbly too ;)

7. Favourite Christmas meal?

As a vegetarian I usually have the traditional roast with lots of veggies and no meat! I especially love Brussel Sprouts!

8. Wrapping presents - love or loathe?

Loathe.I am terrible at wrapping! I have no patience for it so I am always impressed when people create such beautiful wrapping! 

9. What's your favourite thing about Christmas?

Too many favourite things but I think spending time with loved ones and snuggling in pjs are top of my list! 

10. Christmas tree - real or fake?

I prefer real but due to maintenance I don't mind a fake! There are some lovely fake trees about this year that it can be hard to tell apart from the smell! 

11. Homemade cards or shop bought ones?

I wish I had the time or patience for homemade but always charity shop cards! My family like to buy cards that support charities of illness that have affected us personally so we always feel good about purchasing them.

12. What do you do on Christmas Eve?

I usually go out for drinks with friends but never come home too late as I like to be asleep before Santa comes ;)

13. Favourite Christmas memory?

One Christmas morning my sisters and I woke to find a wooden rocking horse in our living room. We asked mum and dad how Santa had got it down the chimney and mum explained that she had given him the keys to the porch and we never even questioned it. I still smile when I think about that story :)

14. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?

I can't remember exactly when or how but I do remember feeling upset!

15. Snow - love it or hate it?

LOVE if its Xmas day and I have nowhere to be. HATE if I'm working or having to travel! 

I tag all of you to do this quiz too so please leave links below if you have done it too as I would love to see your answers! 


Thursday, 5 December 2013

Pamper Evening Essentials

Every week I like to treat myself to a DIY pamper evening to relax and give my face and body some extra special treatment and I thought I would share my favourite pampering essentials with you.

I always start by turning the lights down and putting a candle on to help my relax. My White tea and Linen candle has been going for months and the "Our own candle company" products are a bargain but I have some Yankee Candles on my christmas list too. This scent is clean and homely and always makes me feel much more chilled out.

I am a skincare addict and always cleanse, tone and moisturise at night so for pamper evenings I like to add something special into my routine. I won this face mask from Sisley in an online competition and it has become one of my all time favourite products. It is a pricey product but feels so luxurious and being an express mask it works in only 3-5 minutes! The Radiant Glow express mask instantly improves the texture and tone of the skin and anything that works that quickly is a winner in my book. A real treat for the skin!

I usually wear the mask whilst in the bath which I pour this gorgeous oil into. Neals Yard Remedies makes some beautiful smelling products and this Seaweed and Arnica foaming bath oil is no exception. It creates a soft bubbly bath and the smell is perfect to ease tension and help me sleep better at night. 

Tanning is definitely part of my weekly routine especially at this time of year when my skin looks sallow and pasty! I like to use a medium to dark tan this time of year so it looks more natural so Laurens Way Glam Tan is the perfect tone. This spray action tan its easy to use and dries quickly. I spritz the product onto my tanning mitt and glides it over the skin in circular motions. The colour is perfectly golden and I can choose to do a second layer the next day if I want it deeper.

The last step in my pamper evening routine is always a spritz of Goodness sleep enhance spray which contains lavender and chamomile bay to help promote a better nights sleep. I love this scent because it lingers after I have blown my candle out for bed time and I like to spritz it onto my pillow so I can breathe the scent in. It definitely helps me switch off after a busy day.

What are your pamper essentials and what should I add to my routine?