Monday, 31 May 2010

MUA of the week - Katy Messer

This week I'm focusing on one of our very own - Katy Messer has been in the industry for a long time - we first came across each other back in the SpaceNK days.. (no mention of years here people) - even then she had to manage being fully booked whilst also tending to the entire staff wanting their brows done.... I thought it would be better to get her on here now - as wedding season is approaching and you pretty much can forget about her resurfacing until the Autumn!

How long have you been a MUA?
For 14 years, since the age of 17, which blows my fib about being 25 out the water!

How long have you been working in the industry?
I've been in make-up ever since. I toyed with nannying for about 6 months at the same time as freelancing but it exhausted me and then my freelancing took off and I didn't have the energy for it. Make-up has always been my passion.

When did you get your ‘big break’?
After working in make-up for 7 years I left freelancing to work for Laura Mercier and quickly worked my way up to the position of International Make-up Artist. That put me in the position to travel the world and I got to work directly alongside Laura herself on some fabulous projects. This opened up so many amazing opportunities and I got to see parts of the world I'd not have got the chance to otherwise.

What advice do you have for aspiring MUA’s trying to get into the industry?
Nothing beats experience. You can train as much as the next person but assisting, practise, passion for the art of make-up will hold you in better stead than any certificate. It's a dog eat dog world and people will climb over you in a heartbeat to get to the top but if you're truly passionate about the work you do, that will hold you in good stead. For experience, don't overlook working at least part time for a cosmetics brand. In the right company they will nurture your artistry and it's also a great way to build your kit.

Who has been your best client so far?
In terms of 'celebrity', being requested by Jade Jagger for some of her high profile campaigns has been fun. We worked together on her 'Jagger Dagger meets Belvedere vodka' campaign with photographer Terry Richardson.

And your favourite job so far?
I've had so much fun in so many places! One of the highlights was working Paris Fashion Week with the whole Laura Mercier International team. My flight was delayed and I had to ride a motorbike taxi to the show with my kit strapped on to the back. I made it with minutes to spare and the rest of the week continued at that pace. That and my spot on Wedding TV.

What are you currently working on/who with?
I have made the decision to go it completely alone and start my own company, Make-up by Katy, mainly focusing on high end bridal work with a little bit of fashion photography inbetween. I got married recently and couldn't be trotting all over the globe anymore. Plus, I have a huge passion for Bridal Make-up, it pulls so many skills together that I am constantly challenged. When else do you need to ensure your model looks flawless for 12+ hours as well as being photographed almost constantly? I get a huge buzz out of every bride I make-up and I meet some amazing people through it.

How many brushes do you own?
Probably about 50 and I'm still adding to it.

What do you consider your speciality?
I'd like to say brows. I always ensure that my client has a great groomed set of brows, that goes hand in hand with my desire for balance and proportion.

 See what she means - seriously - look at that brow!
What is your favourite brand, and why?
I still love Laura Mercier for her base products but I'm really enjoying my Yaby Eyeshadows and Blushers and am finding I'm using my OCC liptars in almost every job.
Giving my favourite overall would be liking picking a favourite child, I can't choose!

Your kit is on fire – and you can only save 5 things. What are they?
I'm going to cheat here because I de-pot everything so I can grab palettes and have a whole bunch of things in one go, so...
My Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage palette, my Laura Mercier Blonde Brow Pencil, my Kryolan Cake Liner, my Yaby Blush Palette and my brush set, because they'd all be neatly packed together and easy to grab...

You can find out more about Katy's professional services through her website.
Follow her blog here.
And stalk her on twitter here!

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Vitamin D & SPF


Gone are the days of my youth basting on a foil suntanning sheet with baby oil.
These days the sun hits and the spf gets dragged out of the cupboard quicker than you can say 'Lobster'. Well that could be your first mistake. Check for an expiration date - if it doesn't have one - assume it will only last a year - you may need to buy a fresh batch. Painful if it's still half full I know!

And then how much do you apply?? And how high a factor? And WHICH one to use?

Some very brief and general rules of thumb for sun-bunnies and the not-so-keen!
  • Use broad spectrum sunscreen - UVA and UVB (A for aging, B for burning)
UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin, gradually destroying elasticity and causing premature ageing. UVB rays cause skin damage and can alter the structure of skin cells, and ultimately lead to possible skin cancer.
  • Consider not going higher than a factor 30
New research and medical advice says that using higher than a 30 gives you a false sense of security - all sunscreen needs to be applied every 2 hours - regardless of the factor. Studies show that you are much less likely to reapply if you are using a high factor. So much so, that in Australia, on the advice of the Cancer Council - the rules are now that if you have anything over a 30 in your product you can only call it SPF 30+.
  •  Use enough
Most people apply too little sunscreen. This results in sunscreen users achieving an SPF of between 50-80% less than that specified on the product label. You need at least a teaspoon full for each body part - arm, leg (tablespoon for me thanks!), front, back and face - don't forget your ears and neck.
  • Avoid oxybenzone
Common in a lot of suncreams AND skincare products with SPF - known as a hormone-disruptor - so much so that the EU makes companies put 'contains oxybenzone' on all packaging where it is present

Vitamin D

I love a bit of vitamin D.  I rant to anyone who will listen about all number of supplements - but vit D has been my obsession for a while.  So below is a rant, I'm not your GP - this is food for thought - not a prescription folks.
As much as too much sun can be bad for you - really bad for you - so too, can too little sun.  In the northern hemisphere where most people living modern life spend a larger proportion of their time indoors and with most of their skin surface covered by clothing or sunscreen when outdoors, there is a growing deficiency in vitamin D.  Vit D needs to be present for the intestines to absorb dietary calcium - so much so in cases where children have been sheltered and covered up since birth, this has lead to an increase in non-nutrition related rickets in Australia. 

Vitamin D is actually in its truest form, a hormone - and is essential for our well-being, yet the use of sunscreens prevents the development of Vit D in the body.  Vitamin D also degrades as quickly as it generates - giving another stumbling block to retaining it in our system.

No lecturing - just some facts - a nice little list of what vit D actually does for you...

Vitamin D can reduce your risk of the flu and complications of flu.
Vitamin D contributes to lowering the incidence of infections and inflammation during the fall-winter flu season. The Canadian government has recommended increased Vitamin D intake as part of their flu prevention strategy, including prevention of Swine Flu.

Vitamin D can reduce your risk of depression. 
Better than prozac surely?!  

Vitamin D can reduce chronic muscle aching and pain.
Vitamin D helps to normalize blood calcium which is required for tight shortened muscles to soften, lengthen and relax out of spasm. When calcium is available to the muscles, menstrual cramps lessen!

Vitamin D can reduce your risk of cancer.
Low levels of Vitamin D are associated with increased incidence of many cancers.

Vitamin D can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, heart attack and atherosclerosis (build up of fat in the arteries - high cholesterol!).

Vitamin D can reduce your risk of developing Type 1 Diabetes by 80 percent.

Vitamin D can reduce your risk of getting autoimmune diseases like Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, IBS and Lupus.
Low levels of Vitamin D are associated with increased auto- immune attack, breakdown of your own tissues and loss of normal functions. Vitamin D supplementation has been shown to reduce the risk of multiple sclerosis by 40 percent.

Vitamin D can reduce your risk of bone fractures, bone loss and osteoporosis.

Dark skinned people make less Vitamin D than those with light skin.

Aging skin makes 75 percent less Vitamin D than young skin.

Vitamin D rich foods include cold water fish such as wild salmon, wild cod and sardines and cod liver oil. However, you would need to eat mammoth amounts of these foods to build up your Vitamin D stores.
If you decide to supplement - Lambert's is my personal fave - high quality and uber-affordable - make sure you use the correct biologically active form of Vitamin D which is Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), not Vitamin D2!

So cover up - just don't cover up TOO much ALL of the time!

P.S. - Lambert's know nothing about my recommendation - I'm a long time customer.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Make-Up Artist Monday - Dorita Nissen

This week's MUA is Dorita Nissen.  Dorita has been in the industry for 13 years and working as a full time MUA for 6 of them.

Dorita during a hard day at the office.

Dorita was born in Denmark and from an early age developed a love for art - so much so that in her teens - becoming an artist was her career objective.  When she finished high school she moved to Florence, Italy  where she completed a course in art restoration. 

After moving to Miami and a short stint at Estee Lauder as a MUA - she was offered a role at a new company by a MUA called Laura Mercier. Dorita worked directly for Laura and assisted her for several years before moving to London.

When did you get your ‘big break’?
The day I could start living off my work - during a shoot for Sunday Times Style I met music photographer Dean Chalkley - soon after he gave me the opportunity to work with him on what would become my first cover for NME - Carl Barat of the Libertines.

What advice do you have for aspiring MUA’s trying to get into the industry?
Originality, a strong back bone and the ability to get on with people!

Who has been your best client so far?
I would never say!

What about your favourite job so far?
All my jobs are favorites, as I love working... I would say though, that working with rock legends such as Roger Daltrey, Peter Gabriel and Depeche Mode rate high!

What are you working on at the moment?
I'm currently working with Faithless, New Young Pony Club and Harpers Bazaar.

How many brushes do you own?
I've never counted them, but over 50 !

What is your favourite brand, and why?
I don't really have a favorite brand, as depending on the job I use different products.
Make up I mainly use includes  Makeup Forever, Laura Mercier, Chantecaille, MAC, Dior and Krayolan...
My first choice for skincare is Sisley, Bioderma and Ina Crystals.

Your top tip?
Be yourself and believe in your work!

Your kit is on fire – and you can only save 5 things. What are they?
Laura Mercier's Secret Camouflage, Sisley Confort Extreme Day Care, Dior Show Black Mascara, Laura Mercier Black Extreme Eyeliner Pencil, Rosebud Perfume Co's Smiths Rosebud Salve.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Bats for Lashes

I have sprung forth from my loins 4 children with eyelashes like butterfly wings.  They started flashing them at me shortly after they were born and haven't stopped since.  Especially in the case of my daughter who could be charged with GBH with a deadly weapon when it comes to her father and how she bats him into submission with those things at the end of her eyelids.
Even my son's girlfriend looks at me with THESE beauties - HOW. RUDE.

Yes they're real - I tried pulling them out. (WHAT?)

It's not that my own lashes are non-existent or short - it's just that they sit on the edge of my eyelids like shop awnings... this is me as per my normal day with mascara - yes - WITH mascara. A couple of coats. And curled...

 Me as a serial killer.

Pretty average - at best.

And close up....

Nothing exciting there. And how TEDIOUS is the curling and the coating... the coating and the curling...

So - with a skip in my step (ok - I never skip - but you get the picture) I went off to Marylebone High Street to see the lovely Daxita Vaghela at Atherton & Cox.
Daxita is to lashes and brows what I am to LFC, Duran Duran and 60's James Bond movies - an expert.  This is the woman who was going to give me the lashes that would compete with my children's - and their girlfriend's!  I used to say the only thing fake about me was my hair colour - now it's the hair colour and the lashes.  (Who counts make-up??)

Firstly, Daxita is lovely and puts you immediately at ease - there is no attitude here - just a warm, friendly openness.  I love attention to detail - and I got that here. She even  has the bed laid out so your legs are completely elevated - and I mean elevated - to prevent backache while you have the treatment.  (This is a big deal when you have MY back - did you not SEE the 4 children part..?)

When you first meet Daxita - she talks to your lashes - like your hairdresser talks to your hair or your colourist talks to your roots... she is sizing you up while you are taking your coat off. It's oddly reassuring - she clearly treats everyone as an individual instead of taking the 'one-size-fits-all' attitude.  I was offered 4 stages of lash enhancement. Stage 1 being 'natural' going up to stage 4 for 'obviously fake'.  I went for natural. Thank GOD.  This is serious lash enhancement.

Application is her specialty - Daxita takes 45 mins - 1 hour to do what other lash people take 3 hours to do. Yes really.  3 hours - save me - that's two football games or 2 James Bond films people!  Or approximately 1/10 of the time I would like to spend alone with Simon Le Bon... anyway - I digress.

Daxita asks what you would like to achieve - I hadn't really thought about it in-depth before but did say 'I'd like to be able to see them and not have them look like shop awnings please'.  Next thing you know I'm on my back with my legs in the air (stay with me) while she works her magic.
We discuss how she got started (25 years ago).. and her children (3).. but much of what we discussed I can't remember because within no time she is standing over me with a mirror saying 'what do you think?' - yes - I fell asleep - and snored - don't judge me (did you not SEE the 4 children part..?).

And they are... well.... spectacular.  Don't take MY word for it... check ME out:

Me as a serial killer - with fabulous eyelashes.

The biggest differences for me are how bright the whites of my eyes look and how much more open my eyes look in general.

And the same eye as 'before' - close-up...:

It feels really odd at first when you catch yourself in the mirror - and when you look up and you can feel your lashes touching your eyelids. Is this what it feels like for all those smug people who have this going on naturally?? Coooolll....!!

The true test comes when I get home and my husband looks at me suspiciously and says 'What's wrong with you?' 'What have you been up to?' 'You look like you've been up to something.' As with most gentlemen - he can see I look different - but he has ABSOLUTELY NO CLUE what it is...
It takes our daughter coming into the room and saying 'Wow Mummy NICE EYELASHES!' for him to peer at my eyes and say 'Oh. I thought you were having an affair.'

Steady love - I may have had the lashes done - but I'm botox free - which means I can still give you the eyebrow and do THIS:

I thought aftercare would be a challenge for me - I love nothing more than tearing into my face with an oily cleanser and afterward applying other treatment oils all over my face.  Oils are a no-no with these lashes as it dissolves the glue. However, as I haven't and won't be applying any mascara while these babies are in place - it's proving easier than I first imagined.  I'm just applying everything as normal - avoiding the eye area.
With proper care these lashes will last 4-6 weeks. Once applied you can just have maintenance appointments every 3rd or 4th week.

Highly recommended.

The very fabulous and lovely Daxita Vaghela is at Atherton & Cox, 18 New Cavendish Street, London W1G 8UR. Tel: 020 7487 4048.

Daxita Lashes – Full Set (60mins) £150, Half Set (45mins) £95, Maintenance (30mins) £45, Lashes Removal (15mins) £15 Brow Threading - £30

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Parabens and Animal Testing - a quick word...

After a few comments this week on Twitter about parabens and a post from the lovely Sarah on London Beauty Review about animal testing - (more of that here)  I just wanted to highlight a couple of things very briefly from my own experience...

Regardless of where you lie in the paraben debate - do you/don't you - if you are in the 'don't want them in my products at all' group - you need to look further back than the original inci list on your product.

A product listed as paraben-free means that there are no parabens in that particular product.  It does not mean that the source ingredients in that product were not preserved in parabens. In other words, companies can say that their product is paraben-free - but the source ingredients that make up that product may have been swimming in them for months, even years.  If you are unsure, ask questions - and don't ask the counter staff/shop staff - ask Head Office.
If you want something that is absolutely paraben-free you may need to do more than look on the box - and if you want to be absolutely sure - you need to go certified organic . Not 'natural' - ORGANIC.  There are a lot of brands out there calling themselves natural - (a product only has to have 6% of something (anything) natural in it to call itself natural) - very few walk the walk and talk the talk.
One of the few that do is The Organic Pharmacy.  Margo and Francesco Marrone are two of the most passionate people I have met in the industry.  They also get rid of any cliched ideas you may have about organic = dowdy, dull, frumpy and boring. There are no grey areas in The Organic Pharmacy.  It's either in - or it's out.  If you are concerned about what is in the products that we routinely put on our skin - check out TOP -  for more info on their philosophy and background  - visit their website - here.  And if you haven't yet tried any of their products - start with the Carrot Butter Cleanser - phenomenal.

Animal Testing
At the other end of the paraben scale is Liz Earle.  Liz Earle Cosmetics actively and openly use parabens - and defend them in their literature (although they are noticeably missing from all of their newest products released - make of that what you will).

Where there are no grey areas with Liz Earle is in animal testing.  So much so that a few years ago the EU revised the law on all self tanning products because they were concerned about the effects of inhalation in tanning booths.  The new EU testing regime for self tans involved testing on animals. Liz Earle refused to let their (very good) Self Tan be tested on animals and so discontinued it rather than go against one of their fundamental principles.
The customers were not happy - but LEC were unrelenting. They still do not carry a self tan in their range.  More on LEC and their philosophies here.

If you use any form of self tan - odds are it has been tested on animals - maybe not by the company - but by their source manufacturer.

Forewarned is forearmed.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Make-Up Artist on Monday - Adam 'Medusa' Sidwell

This weeks MUA is Adam Sidwell aka Medusa - the International MUA for Illamasqua.

How long have you been a MUA?  
I have been involved in makeup for 10 years .

How long have you been working in the industry?
Make-up is the only work I have ever done, since I left school in 1998.

When did you get your ‘big break’?
I think my big break which changed everything for me was being asked to be the European MUA for the PussyCat Dolls in 2005.
I have been doing all of their press/magazine/TV/ and concert performances for 5 years now.

What advice do you have for aspiring MUA’s trying to get into the industry?
Don't listen to rules, rules are there to be broken! Of course its good to have basic structure of makeup (a course is good, but not always needed, I've never studied makeup!)
It's about believing in your skill and not being shy to express it in any way you want.
I hate it when I see people doing stuff only to please other people, you should never work to the constraints of others.

Who has been your best client so far?
My best client so far has to be Nicole Scherzinger.... I've worked with her for a long time, she is gracious, kind, sweet, honest and focussed.  We have a very close professional bond - she trusts me and she knows she is getting an honest opinion from me.
I refuse to be a “yes” person around people that are successful. So we have a great understanding of each other.

And your favourite job so far?
I think a defining moment for me was backstage at the Munich MTV video awards, with Nicole Scherzinger....
After her performance with Will-i-am, we partied in the “glamour pit” it was one of the best parties EVER, we were all drinking Jagerbombs and dancing the night away.
I met some amazing people that night.... One of the best feel good moments of my career... Im sure I will have many more to come!
What are you currently working on/who with?
PussyCat Dolls, Firetrapp, British Hairdresser of the Year Awards, Courtney Love, Redken, Vogue, Italian Vanity Fair, cassett player, Jenny Packham, Justin Oh, Zoot, And Men, Fashion Now, Jessica Stam, Wetten Darz, Schlarg Den Raab,
Golden Camera Awards. MTV  Europe, European Music Awards, NRJ Awards, Fashion Rocks.

How many brushes do you own?
I really couldn’t tell you? Mmmm about 50 I guess...
My favourite brush is the number 15 from stila, and the brow brush from Illamasqua.

What do you consider your speciality?
My speciality for make-up – for myself – is to try and make me look quite dead but with a soft damaged, tainted look.
I like to look quite hurt and vulnerable. I like to look broken and pretty.  People think gothic makeup is always scary, but my look involves a lot of skill and prettiness, yeah, I might always wear black lips, but I always maintain a soft gamime, waif-like look.
I like to make sure my looks always involve a element of couture high fashion, but with a silence to the look.

What is your favourite brand, and why?
It has to be ILLAMASQUA, I use loads of other stuff, but Illamasqua unites my deep creativeness. Its the only brand which has no rules.
It truly is a stand alone brand... No one has the deepness, the mystery, the night time, the glamorous edge that I have to be surrounded by. Illamasqua is ME.
Your kit is on fire – and you can only save 5 things. What are they?
Black Liquid Liner from Sleek, Black Smudge Pot by Stila, Estee Lauder Doublewear Foundation in Shell, Powder Foundation 145 from Illamasqua and Static Pigment from Illamasqua.

You can read more about the lovely Adam and his work for Illamasqua here.
And contact him directly here.
And read more about Illamasqua and in particular their work for the S.O.P.H.I.E. Foundation here.

Friday, 14 May 2010

How to get the best out of your facial...

Unlike our French counterparts - most women in the UK have facials twice a year - birthdays and Christmas/New Year - and that's being generous.

The majority of women in the UK see facials as a treat - a lot of French women - and New Yorkers - see them as maintenance - and go at least twice a month if not weekly.

So if you're not in the latter group - let me give you some tips to make sure you get the most out of the facial that you DO have...!

Chantecaille Flower Facial
  •  If you can,  try and have a facial by a person - not a high street brand.
The best facials come from people who can mix it up a little.  Avoid high street facials if you can.
It's better to save up and go to someone/somewhere whose reputation precedes them.
They will be more inclined to be interested in helping your skin than selling you products.
There are, of course, exceptions to this rule - unfortunately they are usually the high-end brands and are not always easy on your bank account! If this is not an option - always take recommendations of friends above advertising.

  • If your therapist doesn't take a health/skincare history or talk to you beforehand - leave.
Anyone worth their salt will take a full skincare history before they lay a finger on you - if they are using machines on you they should also ask questions about your health concerns. If they don't, do not get on the bed. I'm serious. Get back to reception/speak to a manager/or just LEAVE.
Think about it - would a doctor give you a prescription without examining you? A dentist drill a root canal without an x-ray? And most importantly - would you LET them?  You cannot give a decent SAFE facial without information on your client.

  • Check the room.
Take in your surroundings straight away. The room should smell clean. Not overpowered by candle scent - although light/unscented ones are fine. The bed should be clean, immaculate, freshly made and ironed. Lights should be dimmed/able to be dimmed.  The temperature should be comfortable - too cold and your muscles will tense up and too warm and you'll be sweating - we're after a facial here not a sauna.

  •  Look at the therapists trolley/working area.
Is it clean, free of spillages and oils droplets, with products lined up nicely or does it look like your kitchen after the teenagers party the night before?

  • Speak up
Any therapist who asks 'is that music OK for you?' is asking so that you have the option of saying yes or no..
If you're cold, tell them.
If you're too hot, tell them.
If the music is too loud, ask them to turn it down.
If the pressure is too firm/soft, tell them.
You can also gently hint if you would rather not be spoken to - critical in a 'mass market' facial where they are trained to 'talk you through the products'. Spare me. Between the kids, work and the husband - I do not want ANYONE to talk to me thank you. If the place is on fire - please feel free to wake me up. Otherwise, button it.

Any decent therapist wants your experience to be as near-perfect as possible.

  • The procedure itself
Should include two cleanses, steaming, extraction (if wanted), masks, massage and machines (if applicable).
The key part of this is the massage - this should be firm - you should feel it working - and should last at least 20 minutes. You need to be pink when you come out of this room -not just look like you've had your make-up removed.  For further info on massage click here.

  • Avoid add-ons
If you want you eyebrows plucked/waxed or dyed - ask beforehand.  If you are going somewhere like Bliss, a big part of their treatments is the up-sell. If they ask 'would you like a quick blah blah mask?' it is going to cost you, if they say 'would you like a blast of oxygen' it is going to cost you. Forewarned is forearmed. (In Bliss's defence they do let you know this - not everyone does)

  • Tissue
Ah tissues. The very word fills me with fury. Tissues have no place in a facial. Even the softest, quadruple-ply whatever - muslin cloth does the job - and without scratching the skin and completely soaking up all your natural oils to boot. And what is more irritating than the constant 'whooshing' of people pulling the tissues out of the box next to your ear?
Stop it. Immediately.
And stop using tissues on your face if you do it at home - Immediately.

  • Overtoning
There is no need to tone in between every stage - utterly pointless. Takes off all the good stuff you're trying to leave in. Spritzing with a floral water is fine - get thee away from my face with all the cotton wool soaked in toner. Stop. It.

  • And finally.... the facialist herself (not being sexist here - they are USUALLY a woman)
Namely - breath and fingers. Someone tried to give me a facial once after they'd clearly just come back from their break. Their cigarette break. It did not end well. For her. This also relates to garlic, bad breath, onions, curry.. you get the drift.
I know it SEEMS like commom sense but don't be shy - if she smells - she smells... complain - you'll be doing the next person a BIG favour.

My favourite therapist ever has a slight tendency towards OCD. (LM this is for you!)
Spotless room, spotless person, borderline bleach aroma (not as bad as it sounds), obsessive cleaning, obsessive about the client experience...damn near perfect....

Monday, 10 May 2010

Make-Up Artist on Monday - Michelle George

I'm starting a new regular posting this week (saints preserve us -I KNOW I know - it's a miracle) - but nonetheless - I am.

I've been fortunate enough to work with some of the best MUA's in the industry - and the majority of them are relatively unknown.  These are the people that are out there everyday - earning a living doing what they love - and they are fonts of wisdom in all things regarding make-up. If you have any questions you would like added for next week please do let me know!

First up is Michelle George - a jobbing MUA  who has worked across all aspects of the industry.

Michelle and her favourite little man

How long have you been working in the industry?
12 years periodically. I've worked as a journalist and teacher in between.

When did you get your ‘big break’?
I studied art at college and did a painting for my friend's wedding. His wife was a top make up artist in New York called Alexandra Byrne (more here), she liked my painting so asked me to assist her as a make-up artist. From there I have made numerous contacts within the TV and fashion industry.

What advice do you have for aspiring MUA’s trying to get into the industry?
Get a job working on a make-up counter to help build your kit through allocation. As building your kit can be very expensive and you will not get much paid work as a freelancer to start with.
Always have a business card to hand. Making contacts happens in the strangest places. I have been minding my own business in the ladies, and had the owner of a modeling agency start talking to me....

Who has been your best client so far?
Ray Liotta - it's safest just to call him 'entertaining'!

And your favourite job so far?
Hermes Spring/Summer show: Paris

How many brushes do you own?
Maybe 50?

What is your favourite brand and why?
I have sooo many... M.A.C are good for brushes, as they are reasonably priced. But I don't like their foundation.
I do love Chantecaille foundation though it is very expensive.
I like Cover FX foundation too and it is more reasonably priced and L'Oreal's Colour Match is pretty impressive for a low end brand.
Nars is fantastic for pigment!!!

Your top tip?
Go easy on the foundation and cover necessary parts with a concealer.
NEVER go darker with your foundation; always add colour with blush or bronzer!

What is your speciality?
I'm told it's eyes - and blending. (I can confirm Michelle does a KILLER smokey eye)
I also have a good intuition of what looks good on the individual - I do a lot of 'real women' who say that previous MUA's have always gone OTT on them for wedding trials etc..

Your kit is on fire – and you can only save 5 things. What are they?
Plumful M.A.C lipstick - doubles up great as a blush and lip colour and suits most skin tones
Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage SC5 - the two shades can be blended to match most skin tones
YSL Mascara
Cover FX Translucent Powder - a must for all T.V/film/editorial work
Elizabeth Arden 8 hour cream -multi-purpose...

What are you working on at the moment?
I am now running exclusive make-up parties across London in which I educate women on how to look a million dollars without spending as much!

If you are interested in attending or hosting a party, or have any other questions, you can contact Michelle at the link to her group below:!/group.php?gid=60826938257&v=info&ref=ts

Monday, 3 May 2010

Advertising v Allocation Part 2

After the enthusiastic response to this post last week I thought I had better finish what I started!!!

The first installment of this post can be found here.

Let's get straight to it!

Bobbi Brown
Best Sellers:
Bronze Shimmer Brick
Black Gel Eye Liner
Staff swear by:
Under Eye Concealer  -'the secret to the Universe'

Diorskin Nude Loose Powder Foundation
Staff allocation taken up with:
HydrAction Deep Hydrating Intensive Mask - 'can't live without it'

Creme de la Mer
Worldwide bestseller:
60ml pot - original CDLM
Should be:
The Cleansing Fluid - 'takes everything off'
SPF30 Protecting Fluid - 'a must have'

Youthtopia Serum
Staff fave:
Calm to Your Senses - 'my favourite smell in the World'
Never a Dull Moment Scrub - 'keeps me looking alive'

Hero products:
Creme de Corps
Lip Balm No.1
You should try:
Creme de Corps Milk and Honey Body Polish - 'silky smooth skin saving scrub!'
Gardenia Shower Gel and Body Lotion - 'has to be smelt to be believed' (it DOES smell divine)

Giorgio Armani
Known for:
Luminous Silk Foundation
Try instead:
Face Fabric Foundation 'needs no primer and can  be applied with a hair brush'
Rouge d'Armani - Rouge 400 'packs a punch of colour'

Touche Eclat - best selling beauty product in the world
False Lash Effect Mascara
Staff suggest you try:
Lip liner - Dessin Des Levres - 'smooth, soft great colour'

Best sellers include;
Genefique - the new bestseller
Deficils - oldy but goody
Juicy Tubes -turned lip gloss on its head
Staff recommend you try:
Flash Retouch - new highlighter in No.4 'a charged-up Touche Eclat'
HydraZen Eye Cream - 'a must-have' 'you have to try it'

And finally....

Bestsellers on counter include:
Nail Varnishes and Lipsticks
Staff recommend you try: (if you make-up addicts haven't already)
Sealing Gel - '100% Waterproof - will not budge'
Liquid Metals - 'once you start hard to stop'
And coming soon - Light Liquid Foundation - 'benchmarking our entire range' 'setting us up from bases onwards' 'have to be tried'

Hope it gives you something to try!

Pictures stolen (as usual - with permission) from Michelle George