Monday, 30 March 2009

Make up icons without make up?

I have been left reeling by this recent photo of Dita Von Teese without her makeup:

Yes, she looks pretty, but way older and tired, if you ask me. But more than anything, it's just seriously disconcerting, I mean, this is the woman who wore full makeup to her pilates gym class - and frankly, I took great comfort from that. I'm a person who wears makeup to go to the newsagent, the gym, hell even when swimming I wear some resistant eye makeup! And I never arrive actually in my gym clothes either, I always have my normal clothes and shoes. I thought me and Dita were kindred spirits in that respect...

Dita, arriving / leaving her gym

Dita in full swing of her Pilates class

I feel betrayed! The only other celebrity that would shock me as much would be the equally unimaginable spectacle of Victoria Beckham with a bare face and no shades...

Oh my god - nearly!! Look at that sheer terror and horror on Victoria's face; look at the fear and worry on her stylists' faces! Wow that can't be faked, I recognise that look all too well. Stuff of nightmares!

Some people just look better with makeup, it was the Roman comedy dramatist Plautus who wrote, "A woman without makeup is like food without salt". However, now now girls, he also said, "I would rather be adorned by beauty of character than jewels. Jewels are the gift of fortune, while character comes from within." He also eloquently observed, "No guest is so welcome in a friend's house that he will not become a nuisance after three days." Or, "This is the great fault of wine; it first trips up the feet: it is a cunning wrestler." -An all round funny and witty playwright, no wonder he inspired Shakespeare... Ahem, I digress... coming back to his original analogy, I would agree.

As I've established, he probably did not mean it quite as emphatically as I do.

Madonna is another makeup idol of mine, and makeup certainly is essential for her. Her serious gym visits would not allow for a made up face, so she instead adopts the head down, shades on, stance. Gwyneth Paltrow, her gym buddy, looks annoyingly pretty without makeup: let's not dwell on that.

Madonna and Gwyneth go natural for their intensive workout

Below: Madonna, 2002

And below, ahem, 'refreshed' ... 7 years later


P.S. Ever noticed how every soap has the character with 'the makeup'? In Eastenders it's Roxy (I learnt blending techniques by seeing it crudely mapped out on her face), In Corrie it's Fiz (I swear she wears Urban Decay deluxe eyeshadow all the time), In Emmerdale it's Jennie (similar fondness for bright eyeshadow). I know the older characters wear it too: Pat Butcher has saved me dozens of pounds when I hastily return the blue shimmery eyeshadows back to their counter tops. I just mean it's interesting to see the sort of character who gets picked out to wear the wacky looks. i.e it's always the zany and childish ones. Anyway please don't judge me that I watch these soaps, I mean for chrissakes I was quoting Plautus earlier! But Corrie is a guilty pleasure, it's more a comedy than a drama really, and Eastenders is a bad habit I can't break, Emmerdale is just quite fun. Anyway, I found this interesting website connected to Hollyoaks (which I don't watch, afterall I miss Grange Hill haha) but check it out for some useful breakdowns of their character looks:

They've had a few but I'm not sure if ther's an archive, check out their current Made Up Like: Mercedes McQueen.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Professional make up artistry for the masses

If I may say so, I have always been very precocious when it comes to makeup and skincare (I'm sure most of us here can say that!) and I'm obviously convinced I could equally be a world-renowned makeup artist or a dermatologist (haha yes, again, don't we all) but, I was recently wondering whether us beauty junkies are all that elite after all...?

Whilst at university, all those aeons ago, before ebay, I remember scouring the net for a microdermabrasion tool. I found one on an American website, very expensive - plus I was stung by a horrific customs duty on top, plus it was an absolutely useless device, with a rubbishy foam sponge - but the point is - now that same exact device is available at my local drugstores, and microdermabrasion and skin resurfacing are words everyone is familiar with due to the adverts we are now subjected to.

Granted, combining science with cosmetics is nothing new. But nowadays, as a consumer we don't want to be patronised, we want to have the active ingredients that dermatologists and dentists have, and the finesse that profesional makeup artists have. Current adverts will attest to that.

Although it is only a matter of time before an actual makeup makeover programme hits (UK at least), we have a plethora of makeover shows which always feature a segment on makeup and hair improvement. TRESemmé has become a massive success to its tagline "Professional, Affordable"; MaxFactor has capitalised on its longevity by proclaiming "The Makeup of Makeup artists!" and hiring the celebrity mkeup artist du jour, Pat McGrath to devise face charts for their campaigns:
So, I wonder... how long before traincases, palettes and proper brushes become the norm? Isn't it about time a TRESemmé type initiative hits the makeup world? I suppose E.L.F comes closest to this idea, perhaps Coastal Scents too - but really, there still seems a void. The metal palettes should no way cost as much as they do, ditto the brushes (just compare the price of paintbrushes to realise the mark-up!)

Cosmetics traditionally weather financial storms, however WWD reported that even beauty sales dropped by 3% in 2008 compared to 2007. Perhaps the feeling that 'plus ca change...' is all too true when it comes to the cosmetics available at your local shopping centre. I think the time is ripe for a makeup artist canon for the masses!

Traincases, palettes, refillable tubs, spatulas, petri dish... too much for the masses, or is it time for the makeup revolution?

What would you like to see change in the makeup world? What do you want in your shopping experiences ... Do you feel satisfied with current collections or would you want more 'innovation' too??

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Hauling frenzy delights...

My poor neglected blog! Well, the culprit is - predictably enough - no, no, not that old chestnut: 'life', but in fact, my intense hauling and ensuing preoccupation with my new treats. Blame aestheticcoo first of all, for an amazing swap which certainly made me feel like it was my birthday come early! It included my now absolutely essential step: a Physician's formula green concealer stick (which if you haven't tried, YOU MUST!),

a Korres absolutely heavenly Quince body butter (how did you guess Quince is my fave? Is it everyone's fave? Has anybody TRIED their Quince lip butter?? If not, you haven't lived.)

Also included was the famous nail polish I had heard hundreds of raves about, but sadly is not available in the U.K: 'Ruby Pumps' by China Glaze.

This, along with their new 'For Audrey' following suit, is surely their most ubiquitous polish. Strictly for festive occasions (though not just for Christmas) this glittery fuschia red deserves its accolades. One coat and it's pinky red, 2-3 coats and it's pure deep vampy red with a twist... whichever way, the condensed glitters always elevate it to a talking point!

Then there was a gorgeous ELF lace design transparent plastic makeup case, which has me even more tempted to order from them! Thanks also for the additional nail polish by 'Finger Paints' which was like Ruby Pumps but without the extravagance. Love it! And, of course, Queen Helene Mint Julip mask- this was ostensibly the item we were swapping for!! I had heard so many raves and miraculous stories about this, and after my recent swaplift (on MUA) which had been supposed to deliver this sacred tonic unto me, it was a wonderful relief to finally get it for real. And, I am very glad to report, it does work!!! Wonderful haul.

... But then there was my own hauling. I got a Blemish Kit from Murad, which is seriously making my skin look its best. (£26, available in Harrods or online.) I highly recommend the kit to anyone having breakouts or wanting to even out their skintone. It's packed with natural exfoliants and pure ingredients, and has noticeably revived my skin.

I also got the legendary Coastal Scents 88 Original Palette : WOW!!
(from Crown brushes, £25)

which is very addictive and certainly a must if you adore bright colours!! I honestly mistrusted people when they said it's MAC quality, but I swear it is! Anyway, MAC eyeshadows vary so widely that many in this palette are better! - There, I said it. You should so look into this palette, you can even pick it up on ebay for a steal if you have the patience to wait for delivery. The only criticism that can be levelled at it, is that it's almost like face paints, in terms of how outrageously vibrant the colours go on.

I got some Crown brushes whilst I was there, and for £2 a piece, you can't go wrong. I got a 227 dupe (which is totally on a par with its £25 counterpart)

and a nice doe foot blender brush which is ideal for hooded eyes and very similar to my Stila no.20 brush. Highly recommended!

A selection of brushes from Crown brush website

Then I got Benefit Powderflage WHICH DOES WORK!! People have got used to MAC, NARS and Coastal Scents type of extreme pigmentation, but this is more subtle and trust me it works to gently haze out your undereye circles, wrinkles (it's especially good for those progressively edging towards those nasty fine lines) and any minor flaws. I love its soft consistency and reflective ability. Almost as perfect as Touche Eclat... and way more fun and hygienic to use!

There were other things (I posted YouTube videos at the time for anyone wondering) but let's now cut straight to MAC Hello Kitty. Because, much to my chagrin, the collection was very pretty in person. The packaging was quite sweet, it just doesn't photograph well. The lipsticks and lip products were a brilliant surprise. Although Cute-ster is too sheer by far, and unoriginal to boot, Big Bow is the most delightful shade of flurescent pink with blue duochrome almost, it's very flattering, lasts an impressive time, especially considering it's a glaze and not ultra-drying like their matte lipsticks!

And it's a very noteworthy departure from MAC, who generally churn out the same dull shades ad nauseam. Popster and Pink Fish deserved their raves- these are not only moisturising, they really do hold pigment. An adorable little tub to carry around with you, and a decent amount of product too. Personally, Popster was my fave as I adore bright corals, and I even bought a backup!

I checked out the Grand Duo blushers, imagining I would find them as off-puttingly sparkle-ridden as their Mineral Skinfinishes, but in fact they are very wearable and very like the soft powdery finish of Chanel blushers.

I must say though, that I would probably not buy again: MAC only gives us 3.2g of product, despite charging the same as for their 10g MSFs! That is just unacceptably underhand! And the shade I got, Love Rock, although it looks unique due to its lilac threading on the 'MSF' highlighter side, actually applies like any other pink blusher if I'm honest.

Also, it is very very pink, so never one to get you a natural look- it's very 'doll like'. But some days I love the pink lips pink cheeks look. Still, it's not a versatile everyday blusher in my opinion.

I must end by raving about Trish McEvoy brushes. Although they are expensive and make MAC look like bargain basement, they are made of blue squirel (like some Stila I believe) and feel so luxuriously soft it's uncanny. My MAC 217 has been scratching my eyes recently (it's the full size one so no excuses!) but my no.29 T.M blender is perfect, though smaller and thinner. The T.M no.21 Large Lay down brush picks up pigments like no other, it really makes a charlatan of the 239!

And the no.37 bronze/ highlight brush has become my contouring brush, ever since I scored the amazing amazing (why oh why discontinued!!!!) shade 'Emote' from a sometime MAC collection. That stuff is magic for us pale girls who want a contour that neither looks pinky nor orangey!! I use it everyday now, and feel unfinished without it.

Oh and I've been going wild in Topshop too, I do adore that place! I got 2 coats, as British weather is so changeable. I got a purple 80s style coat. and a soft leather jacket with drummer boy detailing. (excuse the rubbishy pics, much nicer in reality)

... What have you all been hauling?? Tell Auntie Gail!