Saturday, 29 October 2011

Cheap brush cleaning

I haven't been particularly well off late so I just wanted to apologise for my lack of in depth post - this is due to the lack of in depth make-up I have been wearing. Been sporting a pasty faced/disheveled look. I could of done a tutorial on this.. but it would of consisted of:

Step 1 - Get ill
Step 2 - Get ill
Step 3 - Get ill.

I started back at uni full time so I have been knee deep in reading and work since day one. Lots of 9am starts.

Anyway, as I'm starting to feel a bit better now, I thought I would give my brushes a clean (don't want any yuck ill residue sporing on my brushes) SO I can tell you how I do so.

You can buy cosmetic brush cleaner from many places. Most high end cosmetic brands such as Clinique and Mac do them. In no way am I saying these brush cleaners are not great - The only problem is they are expensive! Until I become a big boss lady.. I have to make my own.

I use Real Technique's brushes which have fully synthetic bristles so I don't have to worry about shedding. You still have to make sure with any brush that you do not get beyond the bristles wet as it can damage the glue which holds the bristles in place.

To make my spot cleaner I mix:

  1. 1 part Witch Hazel
  2. 1 part Baby shampoo
  3. 3 part Mineral Water
Admittedly I don't go much by measurement. Its just a guess until I get the consistency I want. You obviously do not want a really bubbly, soapy brush cleaner that's going to leave a residue on your brush and prevent them from drying in their natural shape. If you are finding the mixture 'soapy' when you dip your finger in it, add more water.

As you have read from my skincare post, I use witch hazel to cleanse my skin. Much brush cleaner recipe's will tell you to use alcohol. Witch Hazel, I feel does the same job without the harshness.

I then transfer the mix in to an old spray bottle. To spot clean, I usually spray the brush with the cleaner and then swirl the brush until the excess make-up comes off on an old towel. If you spot clean, your brushes should dry within around ten minutes. If I do this after EVERY use then I normally deep clean my brushes about once a month. BUT.. 9am starts means brush cleaning isn't my top priority. 

To really clean them I use warm water and baby shampoo. I use my fingers to gently rub the brushes (you will see all the old make-up surfacing!) Keep doing this until the water starts to run clear. Squeeze out the excess water, reshape and leave them to dry naturally. If your like me and only own one set of brushes, you obviously have to plan when your going to give them a deep clean as they do take their time to dry. If you have applied your make-up for the day and know you have no plans for the evening which would need reapplication, do it in an afternoon and your brushes should be dry for the next morning. :)

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Retouching in real time.

I suppose this post is duel purpose. 1. I want to show you some make-up I did on my big sister Claire at the weekend for a Burlesque night and 2. I thought this would be a particularly good opportunity to talk about retouching.

As you can see from the picture above, my sister is naturally beautiful. My two sisters are probably my favourite people to perform make-up on because they both look so different, but they can carry off so many looks. My sister Gael has her own style, including her make-up which I completely respect and although she lets me 'soften' her look out of interest time to time, It literally makes me cry with laughter when she looks in the mirror after its finished and shouts "EUGHHHH!! ITS DISGUSTING!!" (probably with much more swearing involved than I have indicated, haha) She definitely isn't a girly girl.

Firstly, the burlesque look I did on Claire product and technique wise, is very much identical to the 'Dita Von Teese inspired look' I posted a few weeks ago. Main differentiating factors are: Much less brow, a lot more highlighter and a higher end base for longevity. I have stated before I prefer using a higher end base for nights out SOLELY for performance. It has nothing to do with the actual FINISH or aesthetic of the product. 

On Claire, I used both Estee Lauder Double Wear foundation and Estee Lauder Mineral Rich loose powder. My sister did point out that although she liked the finish of these products, last time I did her make-up she felt they sat quite heavily around the hairline - something I had not noticed before but thought I better mention. E.L Double Wear is a full coverage foundation, which is why many may find it too heavy and ultimately it can appear heavy round the hairline on certain skin types. My advice for getting rid of that effect is to use a buffing brush instead of a flat foundation brush to apply your base. I used a buffing brush this time round with Claire and she had no complaints. :)
I actually had the idea to do this post before I even took the pictures of my Sister with her completed look. The issue of retouching is such a current topic in the advertising of beauty products and appears to be receiving increased scrutinization now more than ever. Many super brands have had their make-up advertisements pulled because the models or celebrities endorsing these products looked like actual plastic.

There are three reasons why these adverts no longer affect me:

1. Even an amateur knowledge of photo manipulation software such as Adobe Photoshop has taught me how simple it is to make people look unrealistically flawless.

2. Both my age and an in depth study of consumer behaviour, fashion branding, marketing/advertising and fashion communication has taught me to be slightly more assertive to unrealistic product claims. (I guarantee the next mascara advert you watch will have the tiniest text in the corner of the ad stating 'Filmed with lash inserts')

3. It would be simply ridiculous for me to think that buying a foundation or make-up product whether high end or high street is going to make me look like Julia Roberts.

That being said, this wasn't the case when I was 15 or 16, and that is the danger in retouching, providing an unrealistic and completely fake image for young men and women to strive for, which could ultimately develop in to an inferiority complex. Of course its not just in the beauty industry but across all industries. I'm sure all of you know that you are allowed to apply anything to food before taking a picture of it for an advertisement - you could cover it in poo if it made it look better. People think 'Mmmmmm', you get it out the packet and it looks and smells like it's been sat on for the past month. Well - it seems its much the same in the beauty industry.. Super brands know they have that power, so be one step ahead. You are after all, the customer, their business would not exist if it were not for you.

Lets get down to it: here is my sister, un-edited un-touched, after I had completed her make-up.

Here is my sister after I spent 2 hours retouching the photograph:

Now, I do not claim to have a vast knowledge of Adobe Photoshop: This is simply for post purpose.. So I will short list what I did to the photo so you can gain a small idea of how unrealistic retouching is:

  • I made her eyes 5% Bigger
  • I made her lips 5% Bigger
  • I changed her eye colour to a brighter blue
  • I filled in patched in her eyelashes
  • I softened her skin
  • I sharpened her eyes
  • I removed all stray hairs
  • I removed imperfections
  • I made her hair more voluminous
  • I extended her eyebrows and filled in patches
  • I applied highlight to the most attractive parts of her face
  • I added extra sparkle to her eyes
  • I darkened her pupils
  • I intensified her lip colour and tidied it up
  • I removed shadows to the face
  • Finally I darkened the background to make her stand out.
Did she need retouching? No. Is she beautiful already? Yes. Does it look like Claire? No. Is it Unrealistic? Yes. In fact - although I enjoy working with Photoshop, I don't like this photo of my sister because there is no emotion - The more beautiful photo is her in her natural state. Its too pristine, too perfect - she does not look human. This is all primarily because she does not need retouching and neither does anyone else.

Friday, 7 October 2011

A different take on 'skincare'

I was really reluctant to do a post on 'skincare' because I have to admit to you - I am really not the best with my skin. People say I have been blessed with 'good skin'. I don't necessarily think that's true, I just think people mean I do not/have not suffered from spots at any stage YET, and I really should have because I have had some horrific all nighters and I am admittedly nonchalant about skin care 'ROUTINEZ'. What I do suffer from time to time is a great amount of sensitivity, redness and dryness

I've tried the Clinique 3 step system out of interest and although it was lovely and I felt expensive, I believe it was more of a placebo than a huge difference. BUT saying that many swear by this range and other high end regimes and I definitely would not disagree. If it ain't broke, don't fix it - that's probably my motto and may be a justification as to why I don't really feel I need to use higher end stuff (and I really really cannot afford it anyway)

I think when it comes to skin care you just have to find something that works, continually works and stick with it. Every single person has different skin. A prime example is the difference between me and my two older sisters skin even though we share the same DNA. I've never had a 'big' spot. My eldest sister suffered from spots during the expected teenage years, they disappeared and now she only occasionally gets a breakout. My middle sister did not really suffer from spots at all until she hit her mid twenties and she now gets breakouts quite frequently. She has to be quite careful as to what she uses on them. Many of you may cringe but she has found the best thing to swiftly and consistently perform is washing morning and night with baby shampoo and applying Sudacrem afterward.

The reason I am stating this is because I would never want one of my posts to encourage someone to go out and buy similar products and to be disappointed if it just does not work with their skin and that could be quite probable. By all means, if your on the look to try new products then go ahead but if you have a skin care routine and products  that work, then its simple, stick with it. :)

Products I use and why

1. Eye makeup Remover

My skin care routine starts with removing my eye make-up. I used to not really see the point in eye make up removers and would just try and remove ALL my make-up with baby wipes but I realised it's so much EASIER to remove your eye make-up with a separate product when you wear as much as I do. I think this Asda Young Skin eye make-up remover cost me 99p from asda. I have to say, it does the job with a slight sting. I will not complain about it for the price it cost, but my favourite will always be Simple's eye make-up remover, which does not sting whatsoever.

I apply to cotton pads and remove eye make-up.

2. Baby Wipes

I am not really fussy about what baby wipes I use. At current I am using Asda Little Angels Pure & Mild Baby Wipes. I will generally go for anything that states pure, mild, sensitive, on the packaging due to the fact my skin is in fact very sensitive. I think these were no more than £2. Asda almost always has at least one offer on branded baby wipes:

I am currently waiting for the Johnson's Extra Care ones to come on offer as I stole some of my Mums and they made my skin feel so soft and clean!

I normally use two of these at a time to remove my 'face' make-up.

3. Distilled Witch Hazel

This bottle by Care + is the exact bottle I use. I purchased it from my hometown chemist for around £3.99 but I know many different brands sell distilled witch hazel, and I am not a believer it would make a great difference. In fact, I know it is sold much cheaper than what I paid for mine (Small store price banding tends to be much higher)

The main reason I got in to witch hazel was due to the fact I also use it as part of a make-up brush cleaner. (its has the same cleansing properties but is less harsh than alcohol which most homemade brush mixtures tell you to add)

A recent article published in the Independent entitled "Remedies for Summer" stated:

"It is a strong anti-oxidant and astringent, which makes it great for fighting acne. You can use daily as a skin cleanser, but depends on skin-type as for some it dries out the skin. Witch Hazel can also help with bruising, sores, cuts and swelling."

As previously stated, I suffer from dry skin and do not find this to be drying. I'm going to put it out there.. It smells HORRIBLE, but most of you know that things that taste nasty are the best for you, therefore my opinion is likewise in the case of the scent of skincare products.

I use this on cotton pads (after removing my face make-up with baby wipes)

4. Oilatum Junior Cream

I have been using this for quite a while now. It is around £5 and can be bought from Boots or Superdrug or any Chemist.

Oilatum provides products to suffers of dry itchy skin conditions or eczema, I am prone to both in the winter and find this to be the only product which alleviates it. I use the Junior version due to the fact I believe its very slightly less greasy than the adult version - but that could just again be a placebo. This is not a specific 'face cream' but I use it as a moisturizer even when my skin does not feel particularly dry as I don't feel it to be over whelming.

This may not be the case for individuals prone to breakout's. In fact, I do not think this product would be recommended whatsoever for that skin type. It does however, work perfeclty for me.

I apply an amount based on how dry my skin is feeling (big dollop if my skin is dry, small if it's feeling fine) after I have cleansed my skin with the aforementioned products.

So, that's about it guys. Very simple and cheap routine, but one that works. I think that's all any one is out there to find skinwise really.

Happy Friday everyone! :)

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Back to Uni - My ten minute face.

First of all, I want to apologise for my disgraceful lack of post recently. I’ve had the roughest couple of weeks EVER. I got pretty ill right before I started my fourth/honours year at uni which as I’m sure many of you know is HARD. So I have been readjusting my whole LIFE. Haha. I would also like to mention the fact I have been 'trying' to regrow my eyebrows after being a serial waxer for several years. I am 21 and there is now NO EXCUSE. Every girl that has been through this hideous phase of mid regrowth will understand why I have not wanted to show my face. Caterpillars.

So my purchases since I last blogged are all mentioned in this post, as most of them have become my ‘wee faves’. Been stocking up on MORE Collection 2000 (Still 3 for 2 at Boots ) 

Was also dying to see the hype with the Garnier Beauty Balm (A.K.A Miracle Skin Perfector) and managed to grab it while it was on intro offer in Superdrug. Think I got it for £8.99 instead of £9.99. The stuff is great. You could honestly wear it alone, but the longevity of make-up is so important to me so I always wear it with foundation also. My only criticism is the colour range. I purchased in the lightest option available which I have to admit is still slightly too dark for me. Extremely blendable though due to the fact is more similar to a tinted moisturizer, so don’t worry. No oompa loompas. Oh, and it smells ace. My boyfriend keeps asking what perfume I’m wearing and I’m like “Dude, its MA FACE!! SNIFF IT!!” :)

So I thought I would show ya’s how I’ve been wearing my new stuff by showing you the make-up I have been wearing to uni for the past two weeks. A lot of 9am starts and a lot of stress so I have been going for the LEAST stressful make-up ever. I will start by saying YET AGAIN, not everybody will see this as ‘daily make-up’ but I am a punky monkey. There. Justified. :)

If I make reference to a brush you are unaware of then check out my brush review and you should find it here.

Base - I started by using my Real Techniques buffing brush to buff my Garnier Beauty Balm in to my skin. I then used a very small amount of my much loved Collection 2000 Lasting Perfection in Vanilla just for a bit of back-up.

I'm not using any shadow with a huge amount of 'fall down' so I then powder using Collection 2000 Pressed Powder. Using a Real techniques contour brush I use my MUA bronzer (shade 2) to apply quite a heavy contour under my cheekbones. 

Using my previously used contour brush I use the smallest amount of Sleek Blush in Flushed to add a slight colour.

I fill in my brows using an Eco Tools angled brush, mixing Rimmel SpecialEyes eyeshadow in Dusk and a matte black shadow. (you usually get a matte black in most Sleek Palettes) Moving on to the eyes, I line both my top and bottom waterline with Bourjois Kohl and Contour eyeliner in Ultra Black.

I use a Real Techniques eyeliner brush and my Maybelline Lasting Drama Gel Liner to draw on a thick flick worrying little about precision. (I am normally doing this make-up at 6.45am) BUT I am going to blend it through so it is pointless making it perfect.

Using my Real Techniques angled brush I draw right along the top seem of the flick and below the eye with my MUA bronzer I used previously (multi use products are the BEST at the time of the morning this make-up is done)

Using a Real Techniques shadow brush I blend blend blend everything through. Grungy.

I curl my lashes and apply as much Collection 2000 Big Fake Lash Mascara as humanly possible to both top and bottom lashes. If you think its enough - do one more coat, then maybe one more after that. :)

On my lipperz I do a quick coat of Collection 2000 Lasting Colour lipstick in Birthday Suit (I LOVEEEEE this lipstick!!) and blend through with my finger (don't want anything to pristine)

Then obviously the last step is to find your best Dennis the Mennis jumper, throw your hair on top of your head like marge simpson and pull a stupid face - then you too can expect some epic funny looks like me! Yay! :)