Thursday, 29 January 2015

The Classic Red Lip

Classic red lip using MAC Cherry lip liner and Ruby Roo lipstick

Classic red lip using MAC Cherry lip liner and Ruby Roo lipstick

You'll probably have noticed that I refer to my 'journey of make-up discovery' a lot on this blog. In fact that is the basis behind all my beauty posts. What it basically means is that I'm a bit of a late bloomer with the whole beauty thing, so I've been using this blog to not only motivate me to try new things, but document my discoveries. 

This post is exactly that. I've been longing for a good ol' classic red lipstick for yonks now, but being olive skinned, my search for 'the one' is a lot trickier than walking into my local Boots and picking a colour I like the look of. And what with my forever changing hair, up until recently I saw it as more effort than it was worth. 

But I convinced myself that it would be a worthy investment, and that it would add a new dimension to some of my looks. I tried Estee Lauder, YSL and Dior, but they were all too blue in tone and shiny. I wanted a deep matte. So I popped into a MAC store (where I kind of knew I'd end up anyway) and had some help from the staff who were lovely. In fact, I played no part in the choosing of these colours. I left it to the professionals, who highly recommended Ruby Roo lipstick for ANY skin tone, and Cherry lip liner to give it the depth and warmth I wanted. Wham bam thank you ma'am. Sorted. 

The next hurdle to get over was using lip liner. Never used it before, or really understood its purpose, however after playing around a little and doing a bit of research, I get it!!

So, in the hope that there are others out there like me who are a bit befuzzled by the idea of colouring in your lips, I've put together a brief but helpful guide to getting an even cupid's bow and making your lipstick last longer. 

Classic red lip using MAC Cherry lip liner and Ruby Roo lipstick
 1. Start with the cupid's bow first. It's the hardest part to do, so get that done first and everything else will fall into place. If your lips are a bit chapped or dry, thinly coat in concealer or powdered foundation to create an even base. Starting in the middle of your lip, use the angles of your cupids bow to create an X shape. This should help you get both sides even. Don't rush this. Once you've sorted out the center, follow the lines down to the corners of your mouth. 
Classic red lip using MAC Cherry lip liner and Ruby Roo lipstick
 2. Start from the corners of your mouth and line one side of your lower lip until you come to the middle. Then move over to the other side, and connect. 
Classic red lip using MAC Cherry lip liner and Ruby Roo lipstick
 3. Colour in your lips. I start from the corners and work my way in. Some people just use liner to line their lips, but the girls in the MAC store recommended filling in my lips to help the colour last longer. You don't want a crazy clown mouth. And it really works. Yesterday I ate lunch and went through two cups of tea and it was fine and dandy. 
Classic red lip using MAC Cherry lip liner and Ruby Roo lipstick
 4. Now select your chosen lipstick. As I've said for my chosen classic lip look, Ruby Red suits me best, but the brilliant thing with lipsticks and liners is that you can mix and match to create a shade that works for you. 
Classic red lip using MAC Cherry lip liner and Ruby Roo lipstick
 5. Ta daa! To sharpen up the edges or neaten things up a bit, you can use a concealer pen around the edge of your lips and blend outwards. 

So there you have it. Pretty simple I know, but for someone like me who has never used lip liner before, it's a daunting 'where the hell do i start' situation. Now that I've got over that hurdle, let the MAC lipstick addiction commence. 


Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Vintage Waves - Tutorial

Vintage waves tutorial with purple hair.

Vintage waves tutorial with purple hair.

Vintage waves tutorial with purple hair.

Ever since The Great Gatsby came out I've been obsessed with vintage hairstyles. However, up until recently I couldn't even curl my own hair, so I purchased my Remington Pearl Pro Curl and got practicing. A lot of burnt fingers and dodgy hair-dos later and I've finally mastered it. The brilliant thing with perfecting the skill of curling your hair is that once you've got the knack of it, there's so many styles you can create. So now that I have curling down to a fine art, I can achieve those Gatsby-esque vintage waves, and show you guys the technique. Not only will this tutorial help you accomplish the skill of curling, but take you a step further to achieving another easy yet glamorous style. 

Vintage waves tutorial with purple hair.
What You'll Need:
A curling wand / iron
A hair bush (preferably a paddle brush, but others will do) 
A large hair clip
A hair band
Heat Protection Spray

Vintage waves tutorial with purple hair.
1. Part your hair where you'd like it to sit.  

Vintage waves tutorial with purple hair.
 2. Tie one side of your hair up in a hairband so it doesn't get in the way. Take a strand from the other side, and pin up the rest. 

Vintage waves tutorial with purple hair.
3. With your curling wand in hand, reach behind you and point the wand downwards. Pull the strand of hair you want to curl out to the side, so that it's in front of the wand, and starting wrapping the hair around. It doesn't matter if the hair twists in your fingers as you wrap. Just hold on tightly. *TIP* Always use heat protection spray, and if your hair struggles to maintain a curl, spray dry shampoo onto each strand before curling. This gives it a bit of texture and rigidity. Then spray with hairspray afterwards as an extra measure. 

Vintage waves tutorial with purple hair.
4. How long you hold your hair on the wand for depends on how thick your strands are. With a strand of this size, I count 25 seconds before releasing. This is why it's good to start with the hair underneath, so you can perfect your technique as you work your way up. 

Vintage waves tutorial with purple hair.
5. Slowly release, and you should be left with a gentle curl. Spray with hairspray if needed. 

Vintage waves tutorial with purple hair.
6. Repeat, working your way up that one side, making sure the strands are equal in size. 

Vintage waves tutorial with purple hair.
7. Remember to wrap the ends as tight and close as you can to the wand without burning your fingers, otherwise you'll have flicks at the ends of your curls. 

Vintage waves tutorial with purple hair.
8. When you've completed one side, move on to the next. Remember to swap the wand into the other hand. Using both hands for this may be tricky at first, but after a bit of practice, you'll soon master it. It's much easier than having the wand in front or to the side of you. 

Vintage waves tutorial with purple hair.
9. When you've completed both sides, give one last spritz with hairspray and let it set. 

Vintage waves tutorial with purple hair.
10. With a paddle brush, slowly brush out the curls, softening them into waves. So that you don't brush them out completely, wrap the curl around the brush and slowly glide it through. Brushing in the same direction as the curl means that the shape stays, but drops into a wave. 

Vintage waves tutorial with purple hair.
11. TA DA! I like to give it one last coating of hairspray (since you have brushed out most of the last lot), and if you like your hair a bit on the scruffy side, a gentle backcombing of the waves not only gives it an edgier style, but also helps the waves keep their shape for longer. 
Vintage waves tutorial with purple hair.


Thursday, 15 January 2015

Glitter In The Air - Urban Outfitters 'Emperor' Nail Varnish

Urban Outfitters 'Emperor' Nail Varnish

Urban Outfitters 'Emperor' Nail Varnish

Urban Outfitters 'Emperor' Nail Varnish

Urban Outfitters 'Emperor' Nail Varnish

Just because the Christmas and New Year's parties are over and done with doesn't mean we have to pack the sequins away for another year. Oh no no. In fact I intend to involve sparkles a lot more in my day-to-day looks. I'm kind of failing at introducing colour to my wardrobe, so I'm hoping some glitter here and there will add a bit of pazazz to the Grim Reaper look I've been adopting as of late.  

One way in which I'm slowly introducing the shine to my very matte sense of style is through nail varnish. I did a really easy and sparkly Christmas Party Nail Tutorial as part of blogmas, and received this nail varnish for Christmas. I now have quite a big glitter polish collection, and although they're a bugger to get off, they seem to be my go-to if I want my nails to stand out.  

I'd never tried Urban Outfitters nail varnish before. In fact, I didn't even know they did it. 

This is basically me in a bottle. It's called Emperor and it's grungey yet feminine at the same time. Emperor is such an appropriate name. The pink is a royal, jewel tone, which contrasts magnificently with the dense black. 

I've has so many compliments on it, and it works with both evening and day-time looks. 

So if like me your struggling to find your colourful self this season, turn to nail varnish as a way of sneaking it in without feeling out of your comfort zone. 


Thursday, 8 January 2015

The Colour Purple: A New Shade and a New Routine

So you're probably all aware that my hair is now purple, and it has been for the last two and a bit months now. However, I'm sure if you've dyed your hair a crazy colour, you know that a lot of experimenting is needed before you're at the colour you had in your head. 

The purple I've had up until now was lovely and vibrant. I used Directions Plum. But it had blue undertones, which meant in just two washes the purple was taken over by a teal/aqua shade, with hints of pink and purple. It actually looked quite iridescent for a while which was cool. I rocked the My Little Pony look for as long as I could, but the more it faded (and it did, rapidly) the less appealing it looked. 

I was at a bit of a loss for a while, until I seeked the help of  Hair Crazy. The girls on the forum here are experts at dying hair every colour under the sun, and told me I needed to tone down the blue with something warmer. Something pinky-red. It kinda makes sense really. 

I knew exactly what shade to use, as I'd used it before on top of a red a few years ago, and pinky-red it most certainly is. Or Cerise, if you're going by it's proper name. 

When I decided I wanted to go purple, the shade I had in mind was exactly the same as 'The Purple One' in a box of Quality Street, and after this little experiment I'm so pleased to say...I'M THE PURPLE ONE!

I've put this little how-to together to show you just how easy it is to mix Direction dyes to achieve the shade you want. 
(Excuse the not so great process pics - it's very hard to dye your hair and take pictures at the same time).

Equipment Needed for Dyeing Hair
 What you need: 
- The Directions dyes you plan on mixing together. It's a good idea to do a strand test first to make sure it's the colour you want.
- A good quality conditioner / hair mask 
 - A tint bowl
- A tint brush
- A spoon
-Hair bands
-Hair clips
-Rubber gloves.  
- Hairdressing cloak / bin bag / old t-shirt 

Directions Plum mixed with Directions Cerise

Directions Plum mixed with Directions Cerise
 Using a spoon, put half of each tub into the tint bowl. 

Directions Plum mixed with Directions Cerise
 Add a similar quantity of conditioner. Directions dye grabs onto anything, so I wouldnt recommend using it in it's undiluted form. It's very hard to get off skin and surfaces. Conditioner not only dilutes it, but nourishes your hair through the dyeing process. This is a must especially if your hair has been bleached beforehand. 

Directions Plum mixed with Directions Cerise
 Mix thoroughly, making sure there are no lumps of conditioner. 

How to section hair for colouring
Make sure your hair is parted how you would usually where it. 
 How to section hair for colouring
Section your hair by following up behind your ear. Clip up the front piece, and the hair on the other side, so you have just one back half remaining. 

How to section hair for colouring
From that back half, take a strand and pin up the rest. Wearing the rubber gloves, paint on the tint until the strand is coated. Work your way up the back section, remembering to get your roots in between strands. When you get to the top, make sure you get your parting and your hairline. Then move on to the front section. Repeat on the other side. 

Use plastic bag on tinted hair to speed up the dyeing process
 When you'v coated all the hair, give the ends a good massage to make sure they're fully coated. Tie your hair into a bun and tie a plastic bag over the top (not my best look I know). This helps keep the heat in and speeds up the process. I left it on for about an hour. If like me you get in a bit of a mess with the dye, a bathroom cleaning spray will get it off bathroom surfaces, and for your skin, surgical spirit or an alcohol based hand gel works wonders. 

Related Posts: The Best Dry Shampoo, Hair Dyes and Make-Up for Your Skin Tone, Dyeing Over Ombre Dip-Dye


Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Belated Blogmas Day 15: Christmas Party Nails

When it comes to getting ready for the Christmas and New Years parties, the dress, hair and make-up top the list of getting-ready priorities. Nails are usually rushed or given the quickest coat of something that'll kind of go with your outfit, whilst hoping they don't smudge as you pull up your tights. 

But your nails can actually be one of the best and yet cheapest accessories to your outfit, and if you do something a little creative with them, you'll be getting compliments left, right and center.  

A lot of nail art out there looks pretty tricky and time consuming, so I've come up with a really quick and easy take on a french mani that requiring you have a sequin varnish, can be adapted to whatever you have in your collection. 

What you'll need: 

A nail file
A base and top coat 
A varnish colour of your choice
A sequin varnish of your choice
Nail varnish remover
Q Tips (for cleaning up around your nail) 

 1. File your nails into your desired shape. I've gone for an exaggerated talon, but this look works well on any nail shape (as long as you have a free edge). 

 2. Paint your nails with a base coat. I use Models Own 5 in 1 Top & Base Coat. 

 3. Paint your nails in your chosen colour, doing two coats to for an opaque coat. 

4. Go along the skin around your nails with a Q Tip and nail varnish remover, making sure you've cleaned up any varnish that went out the lines. 

 5. With your chosen sequin nail varnish (I'm using Topshop's Magpie), scrape the brush down the edge of your nail. Sequins will sit nicely on the edge of your nail. If they come of in big lumps, gently use your brush to slide them along your nail. Don't worry if the distribution of the sequins is inconsistent. You don't want it to look too contrived. 

6. When the sequin varnish is dry, go over your entire nail with a top coat. 

 You can really have fun with this, and the colour / sequin combos are endless. 


Saturday, 6 December 2014

Blogmas Day 6: Winter Skin Care

With the harsh, bitter weather kicking in, unless we walk around wearing balaclavas, the skin on our faces is in for a bit of a battering. 
This season, moisturising is more important than ever, and Nourish have it all under control. They recently sent me their Argan Beauty Collection in the form of this cute Christmas gift set to review, and it's been my lifesaver. 
We should have all heard of Argan Oil by now; it's good for practically everything. Nourish have gone and got me in the Christmas mood with three Argan Oil miniatures featuring  gold , frankincense and myrrh (how apt). 

Argan Skin Rescue
This little bottle of dewyness is the first thing you should put on your face after a good cleanse. With collagen enhancing qualities , it gives a fresh, moist appearance to your skin and creates a perfect base for make-up application. 

Argan Skin Renew 
Who knew you could pack so much goodness into such a little tub? The hydration levels of your skin can be instantly boosted with just a pea-size application of this glorious stuff. Team it with the Argan Skin Rescue and you've got a match made in heaven. As weird as it may sound, I couldn't stop poking my face after using these. My cheeks have never been so soft. 

Golden Glow Illuminating Face Shimmer
I like to see this as the icing on the cake. After all that moisturising, I didn't really feel like smothering my new found dewyness with foundation and what not. This face shimmer, with gold mineral particles adds just a hint of colour and luminosity to your skin. I'm pretty sure I've discovered the secret to the flawless red carpet I'm-not-wearing-any-makeup look. 


Thursday, 4 December 2014

Blogmas Day 4: Relaxing Christmas Beauty Buys

Who's stuck for present ideas then? I know I am. 

Cosmetics are always a good go-to Christmas present, but sometimes they can get a bit predictable. I also can't help but take it personally when people buy me soap and shower gel. Are they trying to tell me something? 

Now I was recently sent some Aromatherapy Associates products to review, and they would make perfect presents or stocking fillers for the simple fact that they're something a bit different, and something that honestly, we all need. 

I've reviewed Aromatherapy Associates products before, and back then I wasn't into aromatherapy or essential oils at all, but their products turned me. All of their products have therapeutic benefits which work to enhance your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. To an ignorant little me, this sounded like witchcraft, But low and behold, they do actually work. 

The little bottles of bath and shower oil have the quickest effect because the oils are so concentrated. Breathing them in as you wash really does have an effect on your mood, and there are actually different oils for different moods. I'll say now that the scents are particularly strong with these, but it dilutes as you shower/bathe and leaves you with a subtle aroma of cardamom, frankincense (how Christmassy) and clary sage, as well as a fresh outlook on the rest of the day. I honestly can't explain the effect in words, but they're a pick-me-up much healthier than coffee. 

So with that in mind, how cute are these little packages of relaxation? Everyone knows that January is the most depressing month of the year, so these will be an absolute lifesaver for whoever you give them to. With them both under £20, they make perfect stocking fillers.  The Instant Inner-Strength roll-on is my favourite, because it's such a quick fix (how much of an addict do I sound). 

I also love presents that you can hide on the tree, so the design of the Star and Roll-On are so apt for a Christmas morning hunt around the tree for a relaxing gift with your name on. 
10% of proceeds go to the Defence Against Cancer charity. Charitable giving and a perfect Christmas present rolled into one.