Sunday, 29 July 2012

My Own Before & After

After my posting of before and after make-up shots, I decided I had to be brave and post my own before and after shot as well!

I don't mind popping to the market or going to the gym without any make-up, but it's fair to say I feel a million times better with my warpaint on.

My under-eye situation alone demands some make-up, just out of consideration to any small children who might otherwise be scared!


How To: Perfect Cat's Eye Makeup

I had a realisation the other week when scanning the web for new make-up tips- I have down turned eyes. I haven't ever given it much thought before, but that and my dark, saggy under-eye area perfectly explain my obsession with winged liner and shadow, brow highlighting, and generally trying to make my eyes point a little more heavenwards.

So, I read up on creating the ultimate cats eye makeup, a la Angelina Jolie. I wore this look out to my works leaving do and really enjoyed the effect. I hope this helps you too if you have the same issues, or just enjoy the feline look ;)

Products I Used:

  • Urban Decay Primer Potion
  • Benefit High Brow
  • Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette shades in 'Booty Call', 'Pistol' and 'Blackout'
  • Revlon ColourStay Quad in 'Sultry Smoke'
  • Benefit Bad Gal Pencil Liner and Waterproof Pen
  • Urban Decay Ink for Eyes in 'Zero'
  • Collection 2000 Glam Crystals Gel Liner
  • L'Oreal Lash Architect 4D mascara 'Carbon Black'
  • Active Glamour Lashes 'Attraction'
Phew. That's a lot of product for a 'no-colour' eye! But this look is just so brilliant because it's super-sexy, but not too overdone or heavy. This means it goes just as well with a bright lip as it does a neutral gloss, so you can play the rest of your look whichever way you like.

Step i) Lightly dot on and blend in an eye primer- this is an essential step, because this look is all about creating a shape to the eyes, and that won't work if your eyeliner goes all smudgy.

Step ii) Next, scribble on and blend in some of Benefit's High Brow pencil all across the lid and under the brows. This will lighten up the eye area and make it look more radiant. The line of the pencil under your brows has a great lifting effect as well.

Step iii) Then, using a fluff shadow brush, buff a matte, skin-tone shade (I used the shade 'Booty Call' from the Naked 2 palette) across your lids and up onto the brow bone. The point of this step is to make the eyelid skin look naturally perfect, like you don't have eyeshadow on. But as most people's lids are a bit discoloured and shiny, this works as a cheat!

Step iv) The next step- and the biggest- is all the liner and getting the shape nice and tight. For this step, I find it useful to use a few different eyeliner products. Start off by tightlining your upper eyelid rims. This helps to make your lashes look more lush and draw the focus upwards to counteract your down-tilted eye shape. To do this, use a finger to gently push your upper eyelid until it raises slightly and you can see the inner rim. Then use the softest, creamiest black eye pencil you can find (I used Benefit's Bad Gal pencil) to shade in the outer corners of this inside rim. This takes time and practice to do without violently blinking every two seconds, but it's worth it!

Step v) Now for the liner on the upper lids. You want to start off at the inner corners of your eye with quite a thin, precise line, and then fatten it up dramatically on the outer corners. Then, finish the whole thing off with an upwards flick towards your temples. The easiest way I've found of doing this, is to create the complete 'thin' line first, then just go over the line a few times on the outer edges to thicken it up. Here the multiple eyeliners come in handy!

I used the Benefit Bad Gal Waterproof Pen, which is so easy to draw precise, thin lines with, to do my initial line. Then, to fatten up the outer edges, I used Urban Decay Ink for Eyes. This is a gorgeous cream liner, but the best part about it is the amazing brush they include, which is slanted and perfect for creating a winged liner look. To make the 'flick', and balance out my downwards eyes, trace a line diagonally upwards towards your temples from the outer corner of your bottom lids, as if they continued upwards. This makes sure you get a good angle and an 'eye lift' effect.

I then went over the liner with a black powder shadow ('Blackout' from the Naked 2 palette) to set the liner. With a pointed blending brush, I softened and smoked out the shadow upwards onto the lid, so it blended well into the neutral shade and gave a softer effect.

Finally, on the inner corners, and under my bottom lashes, I added a slick of Collection 2000 Glam Crystal Gel Liner (a product I love). Its a black gel with silver glitters in that adds a bit of extra impact for night time.

Step vi) AFTER all the liner is in place- and this is important, because overdoing the shadow will kill this look stone cold dead- I went back in with a pointed brush and blended some of the grey shade from Revlon's ColourStay Quad in 'Sultry Smoke' into the very outer v of my lids. This helps to subtly enhance the cat's eye shape. But don't overdo it!

Step vii) Now you want to place some colour under the eye, or it won't look finished. However, it can't be too dark or it will visually drag the eye down and lose the uplifted effect we're trying for. A brilliant colour to use is a mid-tone, silvery grey, such as 'Pistol' from the Naked 2 palette. This is dark enough to show up, but still lets the eye look lifted. With a liner brush, take a thin line of this colour along the bottom lash line, but miss out the inner corners, as 'closing' the line all the way around the eyes can have the effect of making them look smaller- definitely not what we want!

Step viii) Curl the heck out of your lashes. Seriously, you cannot over-curl with downwards tilting eyes. Curl as if your life depended on it. Then curl some more! Add two coats of a thickening black mascara onto your upper lashes ONLY. I used L'Oreal's Lash Architect 4d Carbon Black for a glossy finish. Then, I added some flared strip lashes to really get an uplifted effect. But, because you want to emphasise the outer corners of your eyes, get your nail scissors out and chop off about one-third of the strip lashes from the inner corners (never the outer edge), so you have a shorter strip. Not only does this blend better with your real lashes and look much more natural than wearing a full strip, but concentrating the drama on the outer corners gives a much more feline look to the eyes. Align the outer edges of the strip lashes with your eye and carefully glue into place.

 Step ix)And finally, dot a highlighter along the brow bone and into the inner corners of your eyes to open them up and give them a real wow factor.

And there we have it- cat's eye makeup that will give your look a real lift!

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Why I Love Make-Up...

I think I've always been quite awe-struck  by the power of cosmetics, and how, when applied with skill, they can transform a fairly plain looking person into an absolute beauty. There is something almost witchcraft-like about the level of transformation some people manage to achieve, and all with items you can pick up in any Boots.

In fact, I'd go so far as to say I'm fascinated with it, and its become a lifelong obsession of mine. A lot of it stems from watching my mother put her make-up. She used to be a professional dancer, and so she'd learned quite a lot over the years about cosmetics and how to really make the most of what God gave you! She was fairly ordinary looking, but she could turn herself into a stunner with powder and paint, and that has always amazed me.

So, I decided to post below my absolute favourite, awe-inspiring make-up transformations. Hope you enjoy!

 From 'meh' to 'wow', despite the 80's metal band groupie hair...
This lady is pretty without make-up, but eyeliner makes her look ready for a Vogue cover

This lady is a make-up artist, so she knows what she's doing and wow does she look good

This woman not only looks about 10 years younger, she's also a complete head-turner with the right foundation on...

I seriously LOVE the 'after' look here, her eye makeup is perfect!

This lady's amazing blue eyes go from normal to mesmerising with the right eye makeup.

 Lastly, a celebrity one just for fun...what witchcraft is this? Even the shape of her nose looks different!


Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Making Up Is Hard To Do #1: Eye Shapes

Hi All

In my quest to learn and understand more about all things beauty, I've been gathering some more information to help 'correct' the flaws in my face with cosmetics.

There is a whole world of shading, contouring and highlighting information that can help you do your make-up even better, so it's personalised to you. With make-up, as with dressing, you have to know what suits YOU in order to look your best.

So, I'm going to be doing an occaisional series of posts with guides on how to make cosmetics really work for you.

Because I've just figured out I have downturned eyes, I'm currently obsessed with trying to remedy that with the power of eyeshadow and a few other choice products. The chart below shows exactly what you need to do with your eyeshadow to make it work for your own eye shape. It doesn't mean you can't rock a variety of different looks, its more about how you can adapt those looks to work hardest for you and make you look your personal best.

Enjoy the below and I will continue to post more tips of facial contouring over time!


Tuesday, 24 July 2012

My First 10k Race!

The title is admittedly pretty self-explanatory, but I'm celebrating because, on Sunday, I took part in my first (and judging by the way every cell is currently aching, possibly last) 10k race.

As you may know, I took up running in winter last year when I was on a big health kick- one that's now mysteriously faded away- and I've been doing it on and off ever since.

Getting to 5k was a big milestone for me a while back but since then I haven't really pushed it on.

I don't think I will ever be one of life's natural runners. I hate every step of the way, and only feel good about it once its done. And I simply can't seem to access that 'zen' space in my head when I'm running, only a space where a whiny internal voice is constantly complaining that my knees hurt, my lungs hurt, and dammit, why am I doing this?

In spite of all that, I have completed a 10k trail race. Peer pressure has a lot to answer for, as I signed up for it a couple of months ago with some of my colleagues. The weather in England, unfortunately, for the past few weeks, has been torrential downpours of rain. I must have figured my time would be better spent doing something useful, like building an ark, rather than training, because I completely stopped my regular runs. So, I hadn't run at all in over a month when I did my 10k, which is a bit absurd.

But I'd paid my entry fee, and I figured I was going to do it anyway. So my goal was mainly to complete the damn thing, and not to do a certain time or anything, which is probably just as well- it took me 79 minutes, and I was about 10th from bottom. But hey, I did it! And it really makes me wonder what I could have done if I'd actually trained properly (or at all).

The fact remains that for me, the girl most likely to get out of gym class with a suspicious note, it's a big achievement. The actual race was quite horrible. The first 5k, I felt fine. I'm used to running that distance, and it seemed to go okay. The second 5k was a whole different story.

Firstly, there seemed to be endless hills to get up, without any downhills, like some kind of nightmarish M.C Escher drawing. Honestly, I felt like I should have been about 3000ft above sea level by the time the finishing line was looming. Secondly, after weeks of cold, grey miserable damp conditions, the sun came out in full blazing force this weekend and it was suddenly roasting hot. Thirdly, the FLIES. There were constantly flies and midges buzzing round your face, forcing you to try and run whilst making continual, ineffective swatting motions at your own face, which must have looked as if you were possessed by demons to anyone crossing the trail.

So, conditions were pretty tough- even a couple of more seasoned event runners I know told me that it was pretty hard. All the more reason to be proud I got across the finishing line.

Yet, somehow, even though in the car on the way back I was swearing that would be my last ever competitive run, I feel that its reignited my interest in running. For some sadomasochistic reason, I want to go back for more!

And once my legs have stopped aching, and I've stopped walking like a geriatric, I might even be able to achieve that.

By the way, I was a complete sweaty, ashen mess afterwards so the header picture of a woman bounding like a gazelle through picturesque scenery is most definitely an artistic interpretation!

Monday, 23 July 2012

Flash Tip: Vaseline Rosy Lips...for cheeks!

Ok. So, I'm going to state a make-up tip which may be blindingly obvious to most of you, but it's something I have never thought about doing before and now I've started doing it, I'm addicted. I honestly can't believe it's never occured to me!

Use Vaseline Rosy Lips (the balm with rose and almond oil, in the little pink and white tin) on the tops of your cheeks as a highlighter.

This is one of those simple things that has completely changed my routine.

It just leaves a really healthy looking highlight- great for when, say, you have a lot of shimmery eyeshadow and any more shimmer would just kill the look and be completely over the top- Vaseline is the perfect alternative! You can still bring light to the face and emphasise (or in my case, try to fake) bone structure, but without a load of glitter.

This little 'well....duh!' idea came to me after reading a magazine interview with someone who said she'd seen Kate Moss doing it on the Eurostar....and if it's good enough for fashion's leading lady..

I'm no stranger to using lipstick on my cheeks, but I would never have thought of anything as glossy as Vaseline. But it doesn't make you look greasy or anything! Just a nice glow.

And with that completely obvious revelation out of the way, I will now go on to discover electricity exists and I can stop using candles to power my laptop....or something.
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