Beauty Basics Part 1: the underwear of beauty

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while, I’ve had the Easter weekend off. But I’m back and today I’m going to write about something that I’ve been meaning to write about since I started this blog. The basics of beauty. 

First of all, primers. If makeup were clothes, primer is the underwear. Bad underwear can make your whole outfit look ill fitting and unflattering, but good underwear can make a difference you never thought possible. It is the same with primer. You don’t know how good a difference it can make until you use one. No primer, or bad primer, and your makeup will look bad from the start and only get worse. You wouldn’t paint your house without a base coat of primer on first, so don’t paint your face without it either. 

There are three different types I use on my face. Foundation primer, eye shadow primer, and lip primer. Regular readers will know which foundation primer I currently use, and it is NARS Radiance Enhancing Pro-Prime Light Optimizing Primer (£24) a bit of a mouthful but it works. You can wear it on it’s own on a no makeup day for a natural glow, or as a primer to make your makeup last 8+ hours without setting spray and 24 hours with setting spray. Some more affordable primers are Smashbox which are designed to make your makeup last under the hot lights of a studio, and Benefit’s Stay Flawless 15 hour Primer. Or if you really want to splash out Laura Mercier has a range of different primers that are fantastic but expensive (£28-35).

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I use many different eye shadow primers, as I have a lot, but my most reliable one is again NARS. Eye shadow primer is the most important of all, because sometimes a good enough foundation can look ok without a primer, but a good eye shadow primer can make even cheap eyeshadow last all night and day without creasing or melting off no matter how hard you dance. It also gives your eyes an even base to apply shadow onto, so you don’t have to work too hard to get rid of redness. I also use various Urban Decay primers because I get a lot of these free. They are also very good and they have different types for matte or sparkly eyeshadow or even anti-ageing. 

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Lip primer is not essential, as you can just use a combination of lip balm and concealer, however it does make a difference. My favourite is Mac’s Prep and Prime Lip (£12.50). This is colour free so you can still add concealer over it, it just moisturises the lips and helps lipstick stay put and not to dry the lips or flake. If you want a neutralising base, Mac also do Lip Erase (£14.50) which “neutralizes and erases natural colour from the lip” 

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But again, not essential as concealer will do a similar job. 

Some people might think “primer, what’s that? is it worth spending extra money on for something you can’t even see?” because that is what I used to think when I was a youth, but it IS worth it. I never take makeup out with me because I simply don’t have to re apply and that saves a lot of grief on a night out. So trust me and invest. You will not regret it. 

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Gel Liner Pictorial

Gel liner, as many of you will know, is pretty tricky to accomplish. You may have finally grasped kohl and liquid, but gel is some next level stress. So here is a simple pictorial which should help:

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Start with a primed eye. If you are planning on wearing eyeshadow do this before you apply your eyeliner.

Take an eyeliner brush, I use a Mac 210, load it up with a good gel liner. I use Mac’s Fluidline in Blacktrack. Hold the brush as low down as possible, this will help you control the brush better. Start by drawing the straight line across your lid, with the brush held sideways against the lid (as shown in the picture).

Step 2: Next draw a line starting in line with your lower lashes and pull the brush up towards the end of your eyebrow. You may use the point of the brush for this bit, as the point is good for precision.

Step 3: Draw another line starting where your last line finished, pull the brush back down towards the lid. You should now have a little triangle.

Step 4: Fill in this triangle

Step 5: Go over any errors and fill them in. This may make your line thicker than intended, therefore always start with a thin line so there is room to expand.

Step 6: Line your lower waterline with a white kohl pencil.

Step 7: Apply mascara, finish the rest of your face, and go!

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I love this look. It’s very Lil Debbie

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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.

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.

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

Dark Horse Makeup Look

I am totally head over heels with the video for Dark Horse by Katy Perry. The wigs, the dancers, the song and especially that makeup!

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So after two days of gel liner migraines, I managed to pay homage to this look. I would say recreate but that level of genius cannot be replicated.

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The shadows are very simple. It is just gold and purple and you don’t need to worry about blending because the liner will cover it up. The liner on the other hand it a different story…I attempted this look yesterday and absolutely failed, but this time I just took my time and tried not to smash anything in rage and it went ok. I use Mac Fluidline in Blacktrack with a Mac small liner brush.

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I love the hieroglyphics eyeliner so much that I am tempted to steal if for my everyday makeup look and just rock the ultimate in vintage eyeliner. Eff the 1940s flick, it’s all about the 3000AD hieroglyph.

Katy looks so bomb in this video and I just can’t get over that grill. I had to improvise with mine.

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All in all, majuh snaps to Katy Perry’s makeup artist for the video, Jake Bailey. Girls all around the world are gonna be punching their mirrors in gel eyeliner rage because of you, b.

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I would love to see how other people got on with this! Hit me up in the comments if you’ve attempted it too.

Pictorial: Mac Vampire

This is my first pictorial of a look I call the Mac Vampire. Because it’s how I think a vampire mac girl/guy would do his/her lips..

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You will need: concealer, Mac RuPaul Viva Glam I lipstick, Mac Diva lipstick, Mac Currant lip liner, concealer brush (Mac if you have one)

Start of with prepped lips (foundation and concealer, and Mac’s prep and prime lip primer if you have it)

Apply RuPaul’s Viva Glam lipstick.

Apply Diva in the corners of the of the lips, blend with lip brush (mine is, you guessed it, Mac)

Apply Currant lip liner to the corners and blend towards the middle. Lightly line the lips and blend this also. I apply a bit of lip liner to the inside of my top lip to give it that freshly fed on blood look. 

At this point the will be some mess and bleeding (no pun, this is what it’s called when your lipstick moves onto the skin). Tidy it up with some concealer and a concealer brush lining the outside of the mouth. Then, as always, BLEND!

The end look is a very tidy vampire.

Image Darlaaaaaa (tiny vampire, not tidy vampire)