Ditch the tights: Get your skin ready for Spring!

Spring time is upon us, and even though the weather is still fluctuating, there are some days (like today) where you feel like it’s just about acceptable to start baring your legs. But after a long British winter, our skin is left feeling dry, pale and dull. Hopefully this post will help prepare you, and your skin, for long sunny days to come and help you to look and feel your best.

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I am a self confessed goo hoarder. So I have tried to narrow this list down to just one of each different type of goo…there may be a couple of overlaps..

The first thing you will want to do to get your skin ready for show is moisturise it. If you are anything like me, you haven’t moisturised much over the whole winter period because who is going to see your skin in winter? This is where the overlap occurs because there are three different moisturises pictured above if you exclude the coconut oil and aloe vera. Which can also be used. But they all have their different times and places. First of all, the Bathina Body Oil by Benefit (£26.50). This came out at the end of last summer so I haven’t had many opportunities to use it, but when I am having a pamper evening, I’ll apply this all over after a nice long bath just to feel soft and smell nice, winter be damned. You spray it directly onto the skin so you don’t have to get your hands oily if you just want to spray it on your legs and chest before you leave the house.

The Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Body Oil is, yes, another oil but it is much cheaper (£4-ish). I love cocoa butter so much, it is a classic and it smells like chocolate so why would anyone not love it? I use this oil in tanning. Moisture is essential in maintaining a tan – natural or fake. So in the summer I apply this every morning and evening to make my tan last longer.

Then there’s the Agent Provocateur L’Agent Silk Body Elixir (£30). This exact product is now discontinued which is a huge shame because it is an exact smell-a-like to Chanel No.5. And it leaves the skin unbelievably soft and silky. You can still get the Body Elixirs but with different perfumes. I use it very sparingly so I don’t run out. Basically only on special occasions, like those parties where even your skin needs to dress up.

So that’s moisturisers. Now for those of you who need a bit of help with your tan or who don’t like to damage your skin, Xen-Tan is my all time favourite fake tan. And believe me, when it comes to tanning I know my stuff. I was bleach blonde and caramel tanned from the ages of 18-20 and over that time I tried all the different fake tans, but this one is the best for your money. These days I sun bed (it is my only vice) so I don’t really use fake tan but I still keep a bottle for emergencies. I have a tanning mitt but because Xen-Tan goes on with a guide colour it is easy to wash it off your hands after application, just use a bar of soap and hot water. Once you wash the guide colour off it is streak free and because the undertones are green, it is olive toned, not orange.

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See how tanned! I miss those days 😦

For those of you who are sun worshipers like me, I love to use Aloe Vera gel as an after sun because it has an instant cooling effect and works really well on burns. Aloe Vera can also be used as a moisturiser AND as a hair treatment, but read my post about hair porosity because if you have low porosity hair, this will dry it out. Another sun essential is SPF for the face. I have to admit I don’t really use sun cream (which I don’t condone, unless you are a naturally dark skin type like I am and don’t burn) but I do apply factor 15 to my face on holidays and because recently I have been doing lots of acid peels on my skin, I have to use factor 30 even in England to protect the lower layers of skin that are now exposed. In general using an SPF on your face daily is a great way to protect your skin from ageing.

Finally, Coconut Oil. This has so many uses, it would need to do another post just to list them, but the one I recommend it for in this article is shaving. I know it sounds weird but it has to be tried to be believed. You can use coconut oil for shaving and because it leaves a residue on your legs, you don’t even have to moisturise afterwards. I would just advise rinsing the bath out thoroughly afterwards so it’s not slippy. Or keep it au naturel and don’t shave at all. Whatever you prefer, both are good.

And the most important rule to look amazing for spring…smile! The sun’s out! 🙂

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Natural Hair Care: Hair Porosity

Aloe Vera is amazing for your hair. I helps stimulate growth, it treats the scalp, it conditions the hair making it soft and silky and controls frizz by smoothing the hair cuticle. So why then, when I used it, did it make my hair dry and brittle as straw? Apparently, it is because I have low porosity hair and I didn’t even know about it. 

Hair porosity is basically like how many gaps there are in your hair. This picture explains it better: 

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It effects how well moisture can penetrate the hair shaft. Very porous hair absorbs all the moisture not leaving anything behind whereas on low porosity hair it will just sit on the strand unable to get in. Essentially high porosity hair is not healthy hair. And low porosity hair already has all the health and goodness it needs. This is why I was so surprised to find out I had lo-po hair because I always thought my hair was incredibly porous. Probably because when I used to get it bleached every 6 weeks my hair dresser never used toner because of how porous my hair was. But my hair must have repaired itself and all the care I’ve been taking must have payed off because it seems now my hair is healthy and no longer porous. 

An easy was to tell how porous your hair is is by placing a single hair strand in a glass of water. If it sinks quickly it is porous. It has absorbed all that water quickly which weighs it down causing it to sink. Therefore if it takes a long time to sink or just floats at the top it is low porosity. Or you could run your fingers up a strand of your hair towards the scalp and if you feel a lot of bumps it is highly porous. If it feels smooth, it is not porous. 

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So with that all being said, what does this mean for my hair? And why does it not like Aloe Vera? Basically because aloe vera smooths cuticles and mine are already smooth, it’s redundant. Why this leaves my hair dry and brittle, I don’t know. There is also a school of thought about protein sensitivity in hair which is that some hair is already full of protein so rejects any more protein you apply to the hair which leaves it dull and dry. Some people vouch this is true for them, others claim protein sensitivity is a myth.

So how do you look after lo-po hair? 

Basically, if you have lo-po hair you are kind of blessed and don’t need to do much to it. However if it is really dry and you want your hair cuticles to open up to take in the moisture from a treatment you are using, you can always use SAFE heat. For example, heating the product (oil, conditioning treatment) before applying it. You can also sit under a hair dryer while your hair is safely protected under a shower cap which will help the moisture penetrate the hair shaft. However because I avoid ANY heat on my hair (I even wrap it up when I’m sunbathing) I will not be doing this. I am too chicken. Another way to get your hair to accept the moisture from the product is only to use a tiny amount of it. I have been doing Coconut Oil pre-poo treatments (pre-poo meaning before you wash your hair) and leaving the coconut oil in my hair overnight. It worked beautifully the first time, however the last time I did it my hair felt really dry when I was washing it out. This could be because I used too much and next time I should use only the smallest amount. I am going to keep trying to see if I can get the amount right, because coconut oil has SO many benefits for hair. 

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Please let me know any experiences you have had, good or bad, with hair porosity, aloe vera, coconut oil, anything! I would love to know about other hair experiences. 

ARTPOP: G.U.Y Makeup look <3

ICYMI: Lady Gaga’s video for G.U.Y dropped this week and it is FAAAAABulous. At 11 minutes long (4 minutes just for credits) it is a classic Haus of Gaga masterpiece, including 4 songs off the album: Artpop, Venus, G.U.Y and Manicure (played over the credits). Gaga’s looks in the video are amazing. It’s possibly the hottest she’s ever looked. So of course I tried to copy them in an homage to the Lady.

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This would have worked better in the days when I had bleach blonde hair..but anyway the makeup was actually fairly simple. It is just a simple dewy skin, some graphic eye-liner, just clear lipgloss and eyebrows edited out in post production. I couldn’t get them to disappear in real life.

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This look was a lot of fun to recreate. The eyebrows are still minimal but I didn’t have to edit them out. I just used my brow setting wax (benefit) and didn’t fill them in. The lips are a kind of light corally-orange so I used RiRi <3s Mac lipstick in Who’s That Chick and then went over them in a pinky coral lipgloss.

Here’s a closer look of the eyes:

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For this I used mainly the NARS And God Created Woman palette. It’s is hard to tell exactly how to copy this look seeing as there are only two close ups of this makeup in the video, each about 1 second long but I did my best and I am quite happy with the result.

So if you haven’t seen it go and watch the video now!

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“Love me, love me, please retweet” – Gaga

 

My 5 minute Pictorial for perfect cheekbones

This is just a really quick and easy look for nice glowy cheekbones and a bit of definition. 

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Step 1 – First of all apply a good face primer. I use NARS Pro-prime Radiance Enhancing Primer. A bit of a mouthful but it’s amazing. 

Step 2 – Apply your foundation. I use Le Tient Touche Éclat by YSL applied with a Beauty Blending sponge.

Step 3 – Concealer. I use NARS Creamy Concealer in Vanilla. Always use at least one shade lighter than your foundation with concealer. It is better at reflecting light away from any flaws instead of drawing attention to them. Also you can use it to highlight. 

Step 4 – Hightlighter. I use a couple of highlighters but this one is NARS Illuminator in Copacabana. Apply a few dots along the top of the cheekbone. A little goes a long way. Blend with the tapered end of a Beauty Blending sponge. 

Step 5 – To contour under my cheekbones I use the Naked eyeshadow from the Naked original palette by Urban Decay and a large eyeshadow shader brush. I use this colour because it isn’t orange like most bronzers, it is just a light brown matte shade and with a small brush it adds perfect definition. Apply under the cheekbone. 

Step 6 – Blush is great for adding some colour for a day look. For a more glam evening look however I would probably avoid it. Apply it to the apples of your cheeks. I use Mac Sheertone blush in Pink Swoon.

Step 7 – This is when I use another highlighter to go over the top of the other one and blend in with the blusher. I use Mac Extra Dimension Skinfinish in Superb with a contour brush (Mac 168) and just sweep the powder up towards the temples.

And there you have it. Sculpted cheekbones without expensive cheek implants. 

Brush Maintenance – Look after your tools!

I often think that the tool makes the artist. If you are working with poor quality brushes your work will be poor quality too. And if you don’t look after your brushes they can become harder to use and less effective. There is nothing worse than spending a fortune building up your brush set and ruining them through negligence.

Some people think over washing brushes causes them to moult. This is not true. It is the bacteria build up when you don’t wash your brushes that actually causes the hair to fall out. This can also cause infections and spots and it’s just nasty. So just give them a good clean every week or so, or as needed.

A good brush cleaner doesn’t need to cost much but it goes a long way in making your brushes last longer.

My first recommendation is Mac’s brush cleanser (£10)

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This is the simple kind of cleanser that you just use with hot water. I pour some onto my hand and just swirl the brush around in it and then rinse, repeating if necessary. However with this cleanser you hardly need to repeat (unless you are cleaning your sponges which take FOREVARR)

My second recommendation is the Strictly Professional Cosmetic Brush Cleaner 150ml

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You soak your brushes in this (it recommends for 15 minutes) then rinse in warm water and leave to dry. The only downside about this technique is you tend to get through more product because you need to use a lot to soak all your brushes. However this technique is quicker in theory.

TIP: If you want don’t like washing brushes on your hand you can use this little guy

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This is a Precision Pore Cleansing Pad from Sephora ($6) and even though it is marketed as a face cleaning tool, it is great for washing brushes with too. You wet it, pour a little bit of your chosen cleanser on and then rub the brush all over it. But because we don’t have Sephora in England, I just use my hand.

Another TIP if you don’t have a brush cleaner but you’ve just read this and though “OMG I didn’t realise how much bacteria was in my brushes, I don’t have time to go to Mac, I need to clean them NOW!” then I have a solution for you.

Lots of people actually use baby shampoo as a brush cleanser. One I would recommend is Johnson’s Baby Shampoo

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You can use this guy as you would the Mac cleanser but just wash more thoroughly and have patience cause your brushes may take longer to dry. NEVER blow dry your brushes. You may be in a hurry but it is not worth the damage it will cause them. Just find a safe place where they can air dry.

If you buy the right brushes and look after them well they may last you a lifetime. So please, dolls, remember not to neglect them. Makeup brushes are a girl’s best friend.

Miracle Product of the Month: March

Good Morning my Dolls ❤

I am starting a new feature called Miracle Product of the Month where, as the name implies, I review my favourite product of the month.

This month the snaps go to Ole Henriksen’s Lemon Strip Flash Peel 50ml (£35)

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This is a face mask which is advertised as being good for fine lines and wrinkles. What is doesn’t mention is how amazing this product is for scarring and pigmentation. It contains all kinds of acids (lactic, glycolic and fruit acids) that help ‘resurface’ the face. Basically in lay terms, it burns off all your horrible flawed skin to reveal new baby skin after JUST ONE USE! The science side is to do with increasing cell turnover etc but all you really need to know is it works. For basically anything.

You apply it with a brush (included) over the offending areas and leave for 10 minutes (not a second more) and then wash off thoroughly. The reason you should not leave it on for longer is because due to it’s acidic contents it tends to burn slightly. I have very thick, un-sensitive skin and I left it on for 11 minutes once and I completely regretted it. It burned the lower part of my face so it looked like I had a red beard. It then started to peel..it was not very attractive. So use with caution and if you have sensitive skin maybe only leave it on for 5 minutes.

I wash it off using my clarisonic brush and an exfoliating cleanser just to really get all those dead skin cells off. Afterwards it recommends using a moisturiser, but I recommend some Aloe Gel as this is great on burns and it has a lovely cooling effect.

I know £35 seems a lot for only 50ml but you don’t need to use a lot. The packaging recommends only using a teaspoon amount. And it really is worth it seeing as the effects are immediate and if you have facial scars like I do, seeing them instantly diminished is priceless. And it’s cheaper than a chemical peel and it’s basically the same thing.

So there you have it, my Miracle Product for March. Stay tuned for next months Miracle.

Spring Trend: Coloured Liners

As seen in my last post, this season is all about colours. The brighter the better. One trend that was all over the faces at the various fashion weeks was coloured eye liners. Yes, really. Apparently the early naughties are back. But there are ways to do it that can actually look quite chic (cringe at the word chic).

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The top picture is actually an eyeshadow – Tangerine Dream by Mac – used as a liner with a liner brush. The bottom is from Spanish Fashion Week but the liner isn’t named.

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A couple more from Fashion Week. The top is from Paris Fashion week and the bottom is from the Kenzo show. Again both Mac, both unnamed liners. However I suspect that the bottom one is the mac Fluidline gel liner in Waveline.

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Fluidline is a great gel liner, Blacktrack being one of my every day staples. These are some of the more adventurous colours they do. As you can see some are already sold out due to the popularity of this trend. But Mac aren’t the only people who do great liners in fantastical colours.

For my american readers, check out Lime Crime Makeup. They are a 100% vegan and cruelty free makeup company that specialise in the big and bold. Here are some of their looks that I just love.

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The orange liner used here is called 6th Element. I absolutely adore this orange. And you don’t need to just be limited to using it as a liner. You can use it as eyeshadow or a secondary liner as shown in this look.

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This Blue Milk liner is to die. The top pictorial is from @jennhunny83 and the bottom picture is of @priscillaono who is the absolute don of makeup artistry. Her Ono beauty classes in LA are the best in the game and her regular clients include Amber Rose and Iggy Azalea. She loves a bright colourful eye and this liner looks great with blue hair.

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This white liner look by @ashleyswagnerxo is using Lime Crime’s Lunar Sea liner. This look also fits in with the white eye shadow trend I wrote about earlier this year. It’s fresh and cute and simple. Exactly what we need for spring.

For my UK readers, you can buy Lime Crime cosmetics from UK stockist cocktailcosmetics.co.uk or you can visit the Lime Crime website (limecrime.com) and pay the shipping costs and tax.

But if you want something you can get hold of here, Urban Decay have always had a great stock of coloured liners. My favourite Kohl liner I’ve ever used is Urban Decay’s jet black liner in Perversion. It is the blackest black and it never runs or bleeds. You can get a pack of 6 Urban Decay Kohl liners on beautybay.com right now for £18.20. Click here.

All in all I think this is a really fun trend and I can’t wait to try it.

Spring 2014 Beauty Highlights: What to look forward to

As the 1st of March brought us sun and daffodils, it also brought the best of the new beauty spring collections. I love this time of year because everyone is so happy to see daylight and us beauty nerds can look forward to wearing colour again and getting our skin ready for summer. One of my favourite releases with this spring is the new YSL Gloss Volupte (£21). Their Rouge Volupte has always been a staple of theirs and this new collection of lip glosses brings us some beautiful new colours for spring, and the recognition that gloss is BACK. 

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I particularly love the orange shades because as we saw at the various fashion weeks, orange is the lip colour to wear this spring. 

The next big product on everyone’s lips (and eyes) is the new NARSissist eye palette from, obviously, NARS. This palette of 15 classic NARS shadows is not yet available in the UK but you can buy it from Sephora at $79 and they will ship to the UK for a flat rate of $10 for all orders over $75. You can convert to GBP at the checkout. 

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Nordstrom also carry this product for £49.97 in GBP and they will also ship to the UK. However there is always an international shipping tax. 

For a colour blast Urban Decay’s new Electric palette looks In. Sane. (in a good way)

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The US release date is the 18th of March, no UK release date as of yet. This palette features Chaos, one of my favourite all time shadows. This is definitely going to be on my list. I am excited to see colour in makeup back in fashion again. Because makeup should be fun! 

So those are my ‘to watch’ products for spring. Watch this space for more spring trends. And enjoy the sun!

Mermaid Eye Makeup Pictorial.

For my second pictorial I thought I would do an eye look, and I really wanted something using ‘chaos’ from the Urban Decay Vice palette so I came up with this mermaid look. Enjoy:

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I used five main colours to achieve this look:

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Chaos, Occupy, Unhinged, Junkie and Penny Lane.

Step 1 – Apply Chaos all over lid

Step 2 – Apply Unhinged just above the crease

Step 3 – BLEND

Step 4 – Highlight with a lighter eyeshadow on the brow bone (I used Anonymous from the same palette)

Step 5 – Apply Junkie under the lower lashes and go over with Occupy

Step 6 – Apply Penny Lane in the inner corner of the eye

Step 7 – Line the eyes with Mac’s Fluidline eyeliner in Blacktrack

Step 8 – Apply mascara and/or eyelashes. I don’t use lashes when I am just experimenting with a look, only for a night out.

Step 9 – Voila! Tidy up any fall out and do any extra blending and there you have it. A look fit for my mermaid friends (yes some of my friends are mermaids, you know who you are ❤ )

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To complete the mermaid look I applied a NARS soft touch shadow pencil in Dark Rite to my lips. This takes it from Ariel to Ursula. Who is way more of a badass.

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Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and scare my neighbours. Ursula OUT x

Oscars 2014 Beauty round up

The Oscars are the current topic on everybody’s lips and twitter accounts, from Lupita Nyong’o’s speech to that selfie. As a film geek I could spend many hours talking about the films and the winners (poor Leo), but this is a beauty blog and I want to focus on THE MAKEUP!

Now the Oscars is a classy event. And people seem to think that makeup isn’t classy. They will wear more makeup to make it look like they aren’t wearing any. The amount of makeup that goes into a natural look…seriously you would not believe. I’ll do a video tutorial one day maybe of my natural look. But I digress, my point is that most of the big stars didn’t do anything special with their faces. The main theme seemed to be pale skin with badly matched bronzer, red lips and tide marks. However there were some stand outs for me, albeit mostly not actors and mostly at the after parties. So without further ado here is my top 8 makeup looks of the Oscars 2014:

At number 8: Irina Shayk

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I had to google who she was, but apparently she is a Russian model who’s face was perfection at the Vanity Fair Oscars party. Her foundation matches the rest of her skin and looks even, her lips are understated and they’ve even tried a bronze smokey eye. The only criticism I have is that I don’t think bronze works with blue eyes, but she looks gorgeous.

No.7 – Gaga

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The Goddess of Love looks like perfection at both the main event and the Vanity Fair party. The makeup works perfectly with both of her costume changes. This ‘natural seductress’ look is very versatile. It looks elegant with an updo and smouldering with her hair (read: wig) down. The matching peach lips and blusher looks exotic without trying too hard and her eye makeup accentuates the natural cat eye shape of her eyes, bringing out the Venus within. I have been told a couple of times I look like Gaga (I wish) so this is a look I often aim to recreate.

No.6 – Selena Gomez:

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Selena looks gorgeous here, and again has gone for the peach tones in her skin and lips. This works really well with her complexion, dark eyes and hair. If you look closely you can see her makeup artist has achieved an almost perfect smokey eye with a cat eye purple shadow with a hint of glitter and perfectly highlighted for contrast. Majuh snaps to the makeup artist here.

No.5 – Gabrielle Union:

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The future Mrs. D. Wade always looks flawless and this is no exception. Her foundation is even all over with a gorgeous glow, her eyelashes and eyebrows are on point, and her lip colour is so on trend. And she even went with natural hair for the night. She looks truly beautiful here.

No.4 – Chanel Iman:

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Number 4 is the incomparable Chanel Iman, who looked just peng in the video for Yoncé. At the Vanity Fair party we see her with possibly one of the best smokey eyes I’ve ever seen with to die for skin and lips. The smudged out Kohl trick is an oldie but a goodie. It is just vital to remember to line the water line with a sharp darker line to contrast with the smudge. Which her makeup artist has achieved here. If you look at her eyes you can see where the water line is lined and where the smudged eyeliner and eyeshadow has been applied to achieve the smokey look. The fact that the eye is defined before it is blended out is what makes this look so attractive.

TOP THREE!

No.3 – Crystal Renn:

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Wow. Seriously. It is SEVERE up in HERE. Ms Renn looks fierce. Everything about this look is just so on point. The eyebrows, the eyeliner, the lips. It’s all to die. It is so unusual for this kind of event. It is definitely the stand out look. The cat eye flick with the inside corners of the eye lined to balance it out is a tricky but worth while look. Combined with her dark eyebrows and lips, she looks like a Bond femme fatale. 10 out of 10.

No.2 – Vanessa Hudgens (Yes, really):

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I honestly never thought Vanessa Hudgens would look so hot. She has been trying really hard to break away from her Disney image (*cough* Spring Breakers) but as we know, the harder they try, the more cringe it is to watch (Miley Cyrus, Amanda Bynes). But here she looks badass without having to try so hard. First of all, the eyes: the brown shadows work perfectly with her chocolate eyes, and those lashes are severe! Instead of smoking out eyeshadow underneath her lower lash line, her makeup artist has gone for the intense lower lashes look (alla Kim K) and it works. Plus the dark red lips which are so hot right now, this equals one intense look. And that’s not even mentioning THE NAILS! The shape, the length, the colour, the accessories, the rings. It’s just all working for me. Instead of looking like a Disney star trying to look like a rebel, she looks like a rebel who’s cleaned up for the night. It just works.

And finally Number ONE is OF COURSE:

Lupita Nyong’o!!!

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Everyone is just gushing about this beautiful, talented actress and I have to join in. I’ll try to just stick to the makeup though. First of all, that skin. Absolutely stunning, and I hate using the word stunning but there is no other word for it. It is flawless and the glow, even though I’m sure most of that was coming from within, made her look radiant. The peachy blusher with the coral pink lips is a master stroke and works perfectly with her skin tone and the eyes are simple yet effective.

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And thanks to you, Lupita, the whole world is going to be fishing out their school head bands to wear again.