Mascara: Drug store vs High End

When it comes to beauty products, I tend to think you get what you pay for and go for high end. However there is one area where I make an exception to that rule. Mascaras.

Like most girls I try all the new ‘miracle’ mascaras when they come out. But the one product I keep coming back to, and the only mascara I’ve re purchased is Max Factor’s False Lash Effect (£10.99)

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It’s the blackest black I have ever found in a mascara and creates volume. I am realistic and don’t expect miracles from mascaras because they can only work with what you’ve already got, but this is the best mascara I’ve used and makes my lashes look the best they can look.

Products that come close, well obviously Benefit’s They’re Real (£19.50)

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But with an almost £10 difference in price, there isn’t much difference in the effect:

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Max Factor is on the top, Benefit is on the bottom (yes my eyes are different colours)

The Max Factor is a lot blacker and more high impact for a lot less money.

In the middle range, I do like Mac’s Opulash (£14)

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This is a great everyday mascara and gives a more separated look to your lashes.

Yet to arrive in the UK market is Urban Decay’s new Perversion mascara. Their Perversion eye liners are the blackest money can buy and I am a big Perversion junkie so I am excited about this product.

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It is going to be released at $22 so that will be about £17 (ish) in the UK. That’s quite pricey for a middle range brand like Urban Decay but I have heard amazing things so will be first in line to get one and see if it can beat my trusty False Lash Effect.

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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. 

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. 

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

Punk eyes and Ombre lips

My favourite makeup artists are all LA based. They have a look out there that is so unique and it really inspires me. I came across this picture today on my instagram and decided to replicate the look

Imageif you don’t already follow ladydanger1 check her out. She does the exact kind of thing I’m talking about. Also if you don’t already follow me, barbzhj, what’s taking you so long?

Anyway so I saw this look and thought I’d try it out. Pink’s and purples are great for brown eyes and I thought I could pair the eyes with an ombre lip and get to use some of my new purples. So here you go!

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This is a very punky look that goes so well with that street LA style. Unfortunately it would not look so cute in my area, I’d just get yummy mummy’s staring at me. However for a night out in G.A.Y or a trip to Dalston, this wouldn’t look too out of place.

For the eyes I used three main colours. First of all on the lid I used Buzz from the Naked 3 palette

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Secondly I applied the bright pink shadow above the crease on the brow bone and under my lower lashes. I used noise from the Urban Decay Vice palette.

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Then finally for the crease I used a combination of Vice (above) and Black Dog and Jet from the Urban Decay darks palette. (I have a lot of Urban Decay eyeshadows. I just love the colours and I find they last all day and night). I then brought the look together by lining the eyes (Mac fluidline in Blacktrack) and applying mascara. I never use lashes when I am just experimenting with a look, because frankly I can’t spare the glue.

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The second part of the look, the ombre lips, is much easier than it looks. First of all I lined my lips with Mac Currant lip liner. Then I applied my Chanel no.45 just inside of the lip, and finally I applied OCC Lip Tar in Digitalis just inside of that darker purple. I then blended it all with a lip brush (Mac) and voila.

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I am really happy with this look, I just wish I lived in LA to show it off in the ‘cool’ part of town with my beanie hat and my pink dip dyed hair. One of my favourite LA based makeup artists (instagram: kilprity) liked one of my pictures of this look though so that’s something. A pretty big something.

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Urban Decay has us Naked for a 3rd time!

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First it was just rumours. Then the rumours were confirmed by Urban Decay. Then it was only a matter of waiting. The pictures were released, tantalising us. This palette promised to be the best yet, all in hues of pinks and purples. It was released in America at first. Urban Decay showed us pictures of Naked girls queueing to get their hands on this long awaited palette. And yet we still had to wait. Finally it was released in England. In stores first then, at last, online where I purchased mine (beautybay.com £37).

It arrived with the standard complimentary eyeshadow brush and with an extra four eyeshadow primer samples.

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When doing my own makeup I go for universal wear. Looks that can be worn in the day but will also not look out of place at night. The first look I tried with this palette was intended for a day look, however with a pair of false eyelashes, and a less subtle lip it could easily be turned into a night time look.

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I used the following shades:

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I applied Dust all over the lid with the fluffy end of the Urban Decay brush and then used the defined shader end to apply a cheeky bit of Nooner to the outer corner, blending it with the fluffy end. I lined my lower lashes again with Nooner and then applied my eyeliner and mascara.

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I love this palette because I find that pinks and purples are great for making my eyes look even browner. Often when I wear purple shades I am asked if I am wearing coloured contacts. HOWEVER, despite the fact that all these shades are apparently brand new and exclusive to this palette alone, I find similarities between some of these and Urban Decays other shades. For example Strange looks almost indistinguishable from Anonymous (Vice palette) and Virgin (Naked original palette). But I suppose to the more trained eye its the same as the difference between white paint and eggshell..

This bankrupting palette is beautiful, however I think the reason it is priced so high at £37 and not nearer £30 is because it is more of a collectors item. That is what the Naked legacy has become. You can’t have one and not the others.