Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Light At The End Of The Tunnel

As I have written before I have been studying for my BTEC for a year now and January was spent in a whirlwind of make up frenzy getting assignment pieces ready. These I am hoping to share for you soon, including my fantasy piece that for the assignment that didn't go perfectly but I am determined to give it another try just under less stress.

I had to have my results finalised after I was told I didn't pass but then received all the paperwork with pass written all over it. After discussing this with them they checked with my tutor, I got the email Saturday confirming that in fact I had passed with only one tiny thing marked down on. I am now proud to say that I now am a Make Up Artist. I am over joyed to the point I cannot put into words.

Hours later we had confirmation of our moving van to move back into our previous home (with my in-laws in a seperate annex). This is a huge step as since losing my job last year and taking a new one with a pay cut, things have been a struggle. My husband and I have really strenched our 'For better, for worse' vows to the maximum.  Tomorrow we celebrate being together for 4 years, and without him I think I would be in pieces by now.

This does mean that for the next week as my computer gets discounted and moved I will be taking another break from blogging as time is short for me as I am also working extended hours with no break in sight. I'm disappearing altogether you are more than welcome to follow me on twitter (@unevenlemming) an am also going to Professional Beauty this Sunday which will make a great break from moving stuff.

Thanks to everyone to good wishes and support over the past few weeks and the weeks to come. I'm off to pack up my nail and make up kits!

Sunday, 17 February 2013

You and me need a chat Boots No.7

While I currently love the No. 7 range, I do have have two things have the niggled at me for a while.

My mum has used No.7 since the dawn of time and will not move, even when I offered her my Estee Lauder Resilience Lift Extreme day cream before it launched, she did not move. She was also the first one to complain when they changed the cleanser range a few years back and I was given the information early (one of the joys of being able to work in a Boots store). I on the other hand knowing the way the industry changes was ok when they started to make changes, I knew they wanted to start competing with the 'high' brands when Protect and Perfect started to be a force to be reckoned with.

They then updated everything on the range, new look, new packaging - Great it looked more of a professional brand rather than high street. This was OK until I came to be my favourite remover ever. I have tried many eye make up removers and only 3 have not made my eyes water and go red - Lancomes Bi-Ficial, Boots own brand sensitive eye make up remover and Boots No.7. The No.7 was the Goldilocks of it all, Lancome was too expensive but worked and the other worked OK as long as it was everyday make up at about £1.50 - No.7 was just right in use and price.

Now I mentioned that the packaging had had a makeover, the previous bottle had a pump that gave out the right amount for each eye. The new bottle has a silly pour top, I know this form Lancome's that it just comes out quicker than you need. I have spent a few nights where it has gone over basins, hands, floors etc with much cursing on my side.

I know you are a company and I know that there is a profit to be had for your share holders (I used to be one after all, after a certain amount of time they are offered to staff). Without going into too much detail, as the annual reports go on for 120 pages and make good bedtime reading if you cannot sleep at night -  let's just say they make a healthy profit year on year. I also know that what I am talking about is a small, tiny part of what you sell, but I am your consumer with the money that is spent in your stores.

I also know that you want me to spend my money in your store more often to  increase revenue, this means if this product gets used quicker because it's on my carpet than in the bottle waiting to be used. I also know this is why the vouchers you issue are also a draw, I do not know of one person who does not stock up when you do these. This is my second niggle - Why have you decreased the make up but left the skincare? I now the entry price points for make up are lower thus decreasing the profit margin you get from this (and yes they still get a profit when vouchers are done).
Boots, I'd admire how far you've come over the past few years, 10 years ago in my local store you shared a stand with Max Factor and now you dominate a huge amount of floor space with your black stand. The advisors you have are more training into make up and skincare, while before they were whoever was available on the staff rota.

Please do not get bigger than you are and forgot who you're customers are, and most of all why they love you.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Love Yourself This Valentine's

I have a love-hate relationship with Valentine's. The romantic in me likes the planning and the reaction of creating something to share love to another, the cynic in me hates the force fed feeling that I must show someone I love that I love them today or else! These two sides have battle overs the years and have left their scars behind, I have many war story's that I could share.

I now, thankfully, have a loving husband who does the little things that reminds me that he loves me everyday, as well as tells me he loves me everyday. When we came to our first Valentine's day we both came to same conclusion, we spend every day loving each other; Why is this day any different from any other? We both re-met after 7 years apart (we originally met as 13 (him) and 15 (me) at school) on a night out with friends exactly a week after Valentine's. It made sense for us to put the day to rest and create our own day.

A tradition I did continue from my teenage years is that I brought a present for myself, it usually was something that was a treat - In my younger years was chocolates, etc. As I grew up and my love of beauty came forth it turned into Lush bath products, face masks, nail varnish. This year is the eye shadow single from the latest Bourjois collection - it is a pale lilac sparkle beauty in compact.

What I am really building up to is that this Valentine's is love yourself. Love yourself for who are, what you have accomplished, and love how stunningly beautiful you are (stop arguing - you are). Throw convention out of the window and treat yourself. I'm not talking about madness here, even just taking 10 minutes of the day to take a breath and take stock is a treat in itself.

Now matter what you choose to do I wish you all a Happy Valentine's and remember: You need to learn to love yourself because how are you going to let someone else love you?

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Masterclass - Using Mascara

I wrote The History of Mascara a few months back but never followed on with how to use mascara, so before I take a break from the make-up Masterclasses I wanted to tie up a loose end.

We use mascara to enhance the lashes of the eye whether we want to lengthen, thicken or curl them. It can make the eyes seem more 'open' and whiter, thus looking more appealing. Each formula will have it's own benefits to bring to your lashes:
  • Lengthen - These are designed to make the lashes longer, and are more suitable with the lucky ones who already have thick lashes but feel they need them longer
  • Thicken - Contain a higher level of fibres that build up the lashes, can come as a primer or inside the mascara itself.
  • Curls - Without using a manual curler (like an eyelash curler) can provide a more curved appearance, but if used with a curler can look more dramatic.
And then there are the mascaras out there that do it all!
  1. Make sure that the lashes are free from any dirt or residue of previous make up using a remover during the pre make-up prep as this will make application easier.
  2. If you are using a manual eye curler this is where I would use it, I have pre-warmed the curler using a hair dryer to keep the curl for longer (Use only for a few seconds, enough where it touch warm rather than hot).
  3. Pull the wand out of tube, if it is still 'fresh' I find it has that satisfying little pop noise to it. You should replace mascaras every 3 months to reduce any chance of bacteria breeding that transfers from your lashes to the inside of the tube.
  4. Looking slightly down, use the unwanded hand to lift the brow, this lifts the lashes up so you find it easier to access the root of the lashes.
  5. Apply mascara from the roots to the tip while wiggling the brush as this coats the lashes better (do this while pulling your most impressive "mascara face")
  6. Add another coat as needed.

Don't feel like mascara is enough? Masterclass in False Lashes here
Need to take it all off? Masterclass in Cleansing here

Want to know the next Masterclass? Look it up here

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Purity Facial Moisturiser

I have an admission - I didn't like this the first time I've tried it, I tried it a few times and decided that it wasn't for me, I acutally put it into my make up kit and well, forgot about for a few months. It came round to my assignment work for my BTEC in Make Up Artistry and I used it on my first client.
I know the first time I tried to put it straight on which was a huge mistake, it needs to be warmed up by rubbing it between your hands. This is because of the Shea butter and coconut oil (which turns solid when cool); It also has sweet almond oil, vitamin E and Beeswax to leave the skin supple. 

I would say that is more suitable for skin that is senstive as it contains no fragrance, has no anti age concerns and wants something that is light (due to the mousse texture) but can provide skin soften moisture.
It is certified as 98% Natural and 85% Organic, with  the Shea Butter is sourced from West Africa, the Vitamin E sourced from the UK. £5.99 for high stores such as Holland and Barrett or direct from their website
This no longer lives in my make up kit bag but now on my dresser table alongside the stunning Anti-Aging Serum Mask.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

It Started With OPI - My Current Collection

Many years ago when I first started training to be a natural nail technician, I was introduced to OPI. OPI actually stands for Odontorium Products Inc, as it started as a small dental company. It wasn't unitl  Suzi Weiss-Fischmann was OPI's Vice Chairman and Artistic Director of the company that it expanded into the nail industry with acrylic enhancements. This soon took over the dental side and OPI was born.

I like OPI for the performance of the varnish, it lasts well and the range of colours is mixed. They also match the colours not only in the varnish but now in the gel varnish range. Their Nail Envy treatment is still on of the best for making nails more stronger.

I must admit I can't even remember my first bottle of OPI, but I know it was from a mass purchase at the trade show, Professional Beauty. It was also the brand I wore when I got married (Blush pink called Makes Men Blush), and most of the time the brand I get the most excited at new launches.

L-R: Past,Present and Fuchsia, Makes Me Blush, I Don't Give A Rotterdam Swatch Here, Gold Shatter and Wocka Wocka

Makes Men Blush

Wocka Wocka

Thanks to my brothers girlfriend, my latest addition is the brilliant The Bondettes from the recent Skyfall Collection

L-R: On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Goldeneye, Die Another Day, Live And Let Die


Friday, 1 February 2013

Masterclass - History of Lipstick Trends

We need to head back 5000 years to see evidence of the first type of lipstick wore the Egyptians. This was a mixture of crushes precious stones, clay, rust, henna and seaweed. There was also a mixture of bromine mannite mixed with iodine that was commonly used, this combination of deep purple stain would get the reputation of 'Kiss of Death' due to the toxic mixture. Queen Cleopatra (51BC and 30BC) was wiser and used a mixture of beeswax and crushed ants with fish scales to add shine.

Queen Nefertiti (1370 – 1330 BC)

It wasn't until get to the Middle Ages that this cosmetics fall out of favour with Upper Classes as it was presented that only prostitutes and lower classes should be wear. It took Elizabeth I to start the trend again with her pale face and crimson lips - stained with beeswax and either rose or geranium flowers.

As we pass through 17th century the church declares make up as, "the work of the devil" and in 1770 was outlawed alongside any make-up. Any woman found wearing it would be declared a witch and burnt at the stake. Even through we eventually lose the witch burning, wearing cosmetics of any kind was still frowned upon well into Queen Victoria's reign (1837-1901), who declared that wearing make-up was vulgar and indecent. Women smuggled in cosmetics from France to fulfil the void during this time.

By the late 1890's make-up started to be declared socially acceptable and lipstick started to slowly become popular. In 1920's saw lipstick sales increase as women embraced being more independent, alongside the ease of new lipstick products coming onto the market, including the invention of the swivel motion that we see in today's lipsticks.


The first trends saw deep garnets and blacks in small delicate shapes on the centre of the lips. This developed into deep red-browns as we head into 1930's in longer elongated shapes. It was this time that Elizabeth Arden introduced a large range of different colours to the market which provided the inspiration of other companies starting ranges. Also at this time lipstick was seen as a 'womans' product and not for young girls, while the adults still saw it as an act of rebellion.

As we head into the 1940's and the World Wars women was encourage to wear brighter reds to boost moral for the troops. Women in the forces were given tubes of red lipstick and instructions on how to wear it. This also transferred onto the Hollywood stars of the time Rita Hayworth, Bette Davis and Joan Crawford with full symmetrical pouts.

1950's saw a separation of styles, Marylin Manroe with her luscious red lips and Audrey Hepburn with her softer pink colour. This was the biggest time of creativity, production and application techniques. The style extended over the natural lip line to give a bigger appearance.

Elizabeth Taylor in 1950's

The freedom of the 60's and 70's let convention go out of the window. With the focus more on the eyes, pale pearl lipsticks sticks were the trend while the focus went onto the eyes. More division came in the 70's with the glam rockers and new romantics embracing darker purple and blacks, with disco embracing crimson and burgundy glosses.

The boom of cosmetics in 1980's was the build up to 1990's, the 80's embraced bold statements in application very much like the fashion of the time. The 90's were all about taking styles and influences from fashion and models (as well as creating make up artist into celebraties - Bobbi Brown being a key figure at this time). This also starts the seasonal colour changes that we see today with brown natural tones being popular with lips being brown or taupe shades (At this time I was 16 and wearing Heather Shimmer by Rimmel - the ultimate 90's lipstick).

Jennifer Aniston at the height of her fame in 'Friends' - The pinnacle of 90's fashion

As we enter a new millennium lipstick technology becomes more advanced and the trends change every three months to go with the latest changes in fashion and consumer need. Lipstick still is an essential to any collection that is brought out with the stand alone classics that stand the test of time (5000 years to be exact).