Beauty · Eyes · foundation · lipstick · Makeup · Makeup academy · Makeup artist · MUA · Personal diary · Uncategorized

Rediscovering my makeup and blogging mojo

It’s been 2 months since my last blog post and it feels scary to even attempt writing again.

Initially tired from the move back home and then absorbed by my new job and trying to regain a social life in my homeland meant that I had much less time available for my previous favourite past times: playing with make up and blogging about it.  I even went into a comfort zone of make up routine where I, a person obsessed with colours, felt absolutely content wearing the same nude makeup day in, day out to go to work! Unthinkable for me who used to find nude makeup looks as boring as watching paint dry.

I knew I had lost my mojo and the longer I thought about it the scarier the thought of getting back on the saddle of makeup experimentation and blogging became.  So I decided on taking baby steps and combat my rustiness.

I started by finally putting my MUA certificate to some good use and got a discount card  from the newly opened INGLOT store in The Mall of Nicosia.  I then proceed to buy with my discount a plum matte eye shadow I had ordered from them and had to wait 2.5 months to finally receive, along with an eye shadow primer cream product called Eyeshadow Keeper that works wonders, a loose powder and the AMC pure eyeshadow pigment.  I first heard of INGLOT from my instructor in the make up academy.  She raved about their glitters and pigmented eyeshadows so I wanted to buy at least one.  The AMC colour is a glittery purple that on application looks like what I imagine to be the colour of magical unicorns!

 

The next step was to invite my friend and Maid-of-Honour Maria round for a make over last Saturday. In preparation, I thoroughly cleansed my makeup brushes the night before and spread out all my make up products on my dining table on the day.

 

I was feeling rusty and apprehensive to begin with but Maria was patient with me, open to all my suggestions and helped me regain my confidence.  Both sufferers of sun damage to our skin, we discussed full coverage foundations, the oxidisation that happens with some foundations that can lead to buying a foundation tone that on initial application looks a perfect match but after a few minutes takes a different colour tone.( I am now convinced that this is what happened with my purchase of my Kat Von D Lock It foundation which I’m finding too warm for my skin tone).

I love purple as a colour. Not only do I find it aesthetically pleasing but I find that it compliments all eye colours. A lot of girls I know seem to not like purple for their eyes but I am a proponent of it. Maria has beautiful blue eyes but she never wore purple eye shadow before.  She didn’t mind letting me show her how it would make her eyes pop and I’m glad that she liked the result as much as I did!

Not only did she like the colours I used on her but she even told me today that the whole make up look lasted her all day! So I was super pleased 🙂 🙂

The next step to regaining my make up mojo was that this morning, as I was getting ready for work I dared wear light green eyeshadow and pink lipstick after months and  last but not least I just wrote this short blog post.

 

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#vanity · concealer · Diary · foundation · lip gloss · lipstick · Makeup · Personal diary · Sanity · stress · Uncategorized

Stress, sanity and vanity

I know I have gone missing from the blogosphere for 3 weeks (that feel like a century to me), but moving countries, home and jobs has had its toll on both my sanity AND my vanity! They say that moving home is as stressful as bereavement and divorce. Couple that with moving countries and changing jobs at the same time (all within a month) and you have a disproportionate amount of stress for one to handle. Hence, I have been too preoccupied with my amazing new job and spending any free time on the house move to keep same for blogging purposes.

First, my husband and I  had to pack up 3 years’ worth of accumulated belongings from our 2 bedroom rented house in the UK, get rid of unnecessary stuff and donate a number of large items. We managed not to strangle each other in the meantime which, believe me, was quite an achievement. Needless to say that during the last 2 days of non-stop packing in Manchester I could not be bothered with my hair or makeup. Let me tell you, I was not a pretty sight. I looked like a madwoman but I was beyond caring. I was physically exhausted and mentally drained; so looking pretty was the least of my worries.

Having survived phase one of the move and having moved to Cyprus we’re currently in the midst of phase 2 and the massive challenge of downsize and compromise. I struggled with accepting that my girly flat, which I already owned and personally decorated 10 years ago, has to accommodate the male space-invader who does not necessarily share my aesthetics or love for any shades of pink.  I also realised that I have to get rid of loads of my old things to make space for his, taking practicality over taste into account. 

So we’re in a different home, in another country but I still can’t get away from all the clearing out and packing (for storage purposes this time). Every day I have to reconsider what items, hidden away in a drawer or cupboard, are not really necessary to keep. Needless to say that IKEA and a drill have become our most trusted allies in preparation for the awaited phase 3: the arrival of our 62 (!) shipped boxes/furniture items. How they will fit into our 80 squared metres is beyond me and fills me with dread. So,the stress ensues.

As part of all of this, a few weeks back, while still planning the move, I had to decide how much of my makeup products I could live without for several weeks. I had to travel relatively light and I knew that as much as I was scared of keeping the majority of my makeup products in a shipping box I would have to make do with the bare minimum for a while. My birthday gift from my dear friend Asha, a makeup products MAC belt for brushes served me well in storing my brushes inside my professional makeup toolbox along with 90% of the makeup products I own.

The makeup box filled a whole, small carton box provided by the company movers and I made sure to insure it’s precious contents in case of loss or damage.

My suitcase contained mostly summer and work clothes and only 2 makeup bags containing 2 darker shades foundations, my face powder, 2 concealers, my currently favourite mascara, MAC’s mineralise powder/blusher, a lipstick and a lipgloss and a small eyeshadow palette of earthy tones. They have served me well for the last 3 weeks but I can’t wait to be re-united with my “toys” and play with them again. Getting my makeup box back will allow me to experiment with colours again and try different looks on my girlfriends in Cyprus!

For now, I go for a natural, bronzed, everyday look, trying to keep my vanity and my sanity in check.

Diary · Father's day · inspiration · Makeup · Personal diary · Uncategorized

My make-up classes – Dedicated to my father

The inspiration for starting this blog came from my spur-of-the-moment decision last April to enrol in a makeup academy which is within walking distance from my place of work. As I have mentioned before, I’ve always been fascinated by make up and colours and spent a lot of money in products so I thought that taking up professional classes was a good idea.  I still don’t know where the makeup artist certificate will take me (if I’m good enough to pass the exam at the end of the month) but it’s always good to learn a new craft.

I had first seen adverts and short articles about this particular makeup academy (KLMA) by Kiera Louise in local publications in the Greater Manchester area.  I had even enquired about Kiera’s classes shortly after I moved to the UK with my then-boyfriend/now-husband 3 years ago.  For some reason I didn’t take the plunge then but recently decided to go for it.

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I work in HR. I’ve been in the profession for 20 years now and I think my father was proud of my career choices and progression; even though in recent years I struggled to find work in Cyprus, due to the economic crisis and moved to the UK in search of new career opportunities.   My dad was the person who convinced me to study Human Resources Management without giving up my idea of becoming a Psychologist as a teenage student. While I was dead set on becoming a Psychologist, without really understanding what it would be like, he didn’t push me to give up the idea although I knew he wasn’t thrilled by it. Instead he came up with an alternative which he thought I would like. He was right! He told me that some universities allowed for dual courses​ so that I could give both subjects a go at the same time. And that’s how I ended up in the HR profession.

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My late father, unlike me, was an intellectual. He read a lot, liked poetry, history, current affairs and studied encyclopaedias and languages. I always admired him for his thirst for knowledge that does not come so naturally to me. Apart from having inherited his love for traveling and a condition that makes me easily perspire profusely (and suffer from it like he did) I don’t think we had very much in common.  But just a few days before he passed away suddenly last year, I was in Cyprus preparing for my wedding. I was talking to my mum and mother in law about my bridal makeup and hair trials, things I thought were trivial and superficial to him but my dad showed real interest and wanted to see the photos. His face actually lit up and I am happy we shared those moments as he didn’t make it to my wedding but he was part of the preparations.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that although the makeup classes are my indulgence I would like to believe that he approves and doesn’t think it’s silly. That he can see the potential in my “vain” decision and agrees with me for giving it a go.

I enjoy the makeup masterclass. I’ve learned the basics of skin types and skin undertones, the use of different brushes, hand and brushes sanitation, identifying different face, mouth and eye shapes​.  All these are paramount to know when putting makeup on other people. I quickly realised that working on other people’s faces is quite challenging. I am working on my techniques and have experimented with different looks.

Here are some examples of my learning so far:

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Next Tuesday we will have the last lesson before the final exam and I have asked Kiera, the owner of the academy, to do an interview with me for my next blog post. Though she’s only a young entrepreneur, she’s a success in her field and an inspiration to a lot of women. So I wanted to get the chance and learn more about her and share with you too.  Thankfully, she happily accepted.

So, do you have any questions you would like me to ask a professional makeup artist and teacher? Now’s your chance!

Love · Personal diary · Uncategorized

We love Manchester

I’ve been meaning to write on my blog for a couple of weeks now about the colour wheel and the different styles of eye makeup I’ve been shown in class but I had my lovely day out in London last week which I was excited to write about and then there was last Monday evening… Where out of the blue tragedy struck Manchester. The wonderful city I’ve been living in for the last 3 years.  A city with history, beautiful architecture, industrial significance, great music scene.  An inspiring city which re-emerged from the IRA bombings and rebuilt itself beautifully to combine the old with the modern. A city of wonderful, compassionate people.

The sensesless act of bombing innocent people, mostly children and teenagers, has  left everyone in shock​. I could not even think about writing about make up and colours when so many families are suffering.

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But Mancunians are strong and caring people. They don’t live in fear. They took to the streets to show solidarity and opposition to terrorism by flooding central Manchester and showing their love for the great city of Manchester and its people. Buildings, shop windows, walls covered with signs of love for Manchester.

We ❤ MCR

It is inspiring to see that although people are hurting they are not defeated. I too will resume my usual blogging about makeup soon.

 

Love and peace,

 

Kiki

Beauty · Eye pencils · Eyeliner · Eyes · Felt tip pens · Kohl pencils · lipstick · Makeup · Personal diary

Cat eyes

My latest makeup lesson was less exciting than the previous ones. We covered the technique of lipstick application using lip liner pencil to draw the outer lips and then fill inside them using lip brush to apply the lipstick. We were also shown a technique for giving the eyes the feline look, that look a lot of people, myself included, find alluring, using black gel and experimenting with an angled brush and a very fine brush.

The cat eye look is a classic eye make-up look that never seems to go out of fashion because it is so beautiful when done well. It can extend the eyes, defining their shape and by framing the eyes it accentuates  their colour.  A classic example is Sophia Loren’s mesmerising look.

I have wanted to learn of a way how to do the perfect cat eye symmetrically​ on both eyes. Usually, being right handed maybe(?) I get the right eye looking ok but the left somewhat different. Sometimes I get it right on both sides of my face but time and time again I end up with one eye having either a thicker line or one eye having a more distinct flick at the end than the other. Even worse, sometimes I end up just horribly smudged in my attempts to fix one eye and then the other. (Andy Panayiotou, this reminds me of your Adam Ant story!). This is particularly the case when using gel liners, I’ve found. Which is personally why I have resorted to using pen liners. They give me a better grip for a more stable hand. It’s less time consuming and less messy.

There are loads of eyeliner pens out there in the market but I have used NYX’s The Curve Liner felt tip liner in Jet Black, Rimnel’s SCANDALEYES 24 HR WEAR Jumbo liquid liner wp-image-2134889911(which is also waterproof) and most recently MUA’s EYE DEFINE soft tip felt liner to help me get even looking cat eyes. All three are in black colour and I do find it easier and quicker to use on myself than using gel and brushes.

But in class we’re shown how to use the more classical or universal makeup methods that the makeup artists use and I guess if I don’t want to be considered a cheat I will have to learn, practice and master those. Get out of my comfort zone, so to speak. I already, instinctively, knew of and have used the method of first applying the gel liner on the back of my hand with the brush, to smooth out the product. Gels can easily dry and harden and the warmth of the body helps them get back to their true form for ease of application. We were told this in class and were also told that different artists​ prefer different brushes for eye gel application.  Prior to getting used to felt tip pens, I always thought that the angled brush was more convenient for me for the purpose of eyeliner but as it turns out the finer brush made it a little bit easier for me to do the cat eye on the people I practiced it on.

There is one trick I learnt​ last Tuesday, which I didn’t know of previously and want to share with you though. It was explained to us how to create a nice smokey effect under the lower lid without creating a mess or tears. You line the lower waterline with a good black pencil, preferably kohl, then using a small, tipped fluffy brush smudge it out in sections​, to avoid irritation and finish off with a second waterline pencil application!

 

Beauty · Eyebrow technique · Makeup · Personal diary

On the subject​ of eyebrows…

Ever since my 3rd make-up lesson (where I was right to assume that the teacher would cover eyebrows and blusher) I’ve been meaning to get back to my blog and catch up on my experience-writing.  But social commitments, early starts to my days (to fit in my “homework” make up trials) and work got in the way of my energy levels affecting my blog productivity and writing motivation. So I thought I’d fit it in during the long May-Day bank holiday weekend, amongst my other chores in my long To-Do list.So far, I managed to selectively complete half the things. But it’s the long weekend and I am chilled and taking it easy.  Some white wine might help my motivation by getting the creative thinking coming, me thinks. Oh, and some Wotsits! Those cheesy corn puffs that remind me of my childhood and for the Cypriot audience: γαριδάκια Χαραλάμπους! It’s my latest favourite junk food.

Sorry about letting my thoughts drift; it could be the Sauvignon Blanc.  Anyway, I wanted to recount  here on the blog on my make-up experiences from the past week, starting from the actual class on Tuesday evening.  As I predicted, we covered eyebrows and the correct application of blusher.

To begin with though, we were told about using a specific MAC foundation throughout that session, the Face and Body one.  (I don’t know if our instructor is trying to promote the products or genuinely loves MAC but although she has introduced various make-up brands in her classes, when it comes to foundation she always uses MAC). I’ve known about this specific product by MAC. My friend and Maid of Honour, Maria told me about this a few years ago shortly after introducing me to Estee Lauder’s Double Wear foundation and I am forever indebted to her for showing me the light with the latter but boy I cannot stand the former! Not only Face and Body foundation by MAC does not suit my skin type (I am normal to oily combination skin and this water-based product is most suited to dry skin) it’s coverage is so sheer, even working on porcelain looking skin the make-up artist needs more than 1 layer to see any difference! Needless to say that for someone with  a few pimples, blemishes and dark spots it is worse than wearing no make-up as it cannot build up to full coverage.

Moving back to the more important subject of eyebrows. We were shown the technique of how to best create the perfect eyebrow arch using a straight makeup brush against the nose for guidance.  Here are the instructions:

  1. To find out where your brow should begin (point A in the diagram below), align the flat edge of the makeup brush to the outside of your nose/inner corner of your eye.
  2. Your true arch (point B) is found by taking your brush and placing it diagonally from your nostril to the outside edge of your iris. You have to look straight to get this right.
  3. Determine where your brow should end (point C) by using your brush to create a line from the outside corner of your nose diagonally to the outer corner of your eye.

Eyebrow mapping diagram

Some women have naturally balanced and full eyebrows. Some have nicely arched eyebrows but lacking in thickness and need some filling and there are others with really thin eyebrows that could do with a lot more definition.  I think I fall in the second category where, in my humble opinion, my eyebrows have a symmetrical look and do not need a lot of maintenance.  Perhaps some slight definition but without overdoing it.

But during the last class I fell victim to the current trend of bushy, thick eyebrows for alI. Eyebrows can be defined but if you thicken them or darken them too much they look fake and scary. I’m afraid that’s what I ended up looking when my fellow student drew my eyebrows on Tuesday.  I’d much rather not touch my eyebrows than have them too thick and unnatural-looking. If you’re not too scared to look here’s what l ended up looking on Tuesday night:

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Scary brows

Don’t tell me that’s not too much. Unfortunately everyone in class, including the teacher athought it was nice😒. Personally, I think that’s worrying.  Thankfully, apart from practicing on my own on my face I’ve had some practice on a few ladies with short and/or thin eyebrows.  I will not share the photos of the people I practiced on, to keep their anonymity, but I think I made a good job of working with their face shape, avoiding to thicken the brow too much and match the product colour (whether it was an eyebrow pencil, gel or shadow) to their natural brow and their hair colour (blondes and brunettes).

The most important tip is to use a spoolie to brush the hairs of the brow in between strokes and to use a small angled brush (same as for doing a cat-eye line) to make short and repeated strokes to fill in and define the brow.  To finish off, further define the eyebrow shape by using concealer above brow and below, on the brow bone, to accentuate the shape more.

Here’s an after photo of me after realising that in my case less IS more!

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Beauty · Brooke Shields · Cara Delevingne · Makeup · Personal diary

Eyebrows, etc

On this cold afternoon in Greater Manchester, whilst sipping my coffee, I am wondering what the 3rd lesson of my makeup class will cover this evening. So far it’s been fascinating and I’ve learnt so many new things! We covered skin types and skin tones, best ways of applying foundation and concealer; we learnt about the various different face shapes (there are loads more than I thought) and how to contour and highlight them to fade out or accentuate features accordingly.

Perhaps today we’ll cover blusher application and eyebrow definition. Learning how to best apply eyeshadows on different eye shapes and complimenting different eye colours must be at least the subject of 1 or even 2 full classes, I presume.

Eyebrows… Growing up, my teenage beauty icon in the 80s was the fresh faced Brooke Shields, with her natural beauty and those amazingly thick, dark brows that accentuated her eyes.  (This makes me wonder how many of my fellow make up addict bloggers even know who I’m talking about but I hope it doesn’t put them off reading past this)!

Brooke Shields
Brooke Shields – 80s icon

Between the 80s and this decade the beauty trends on eyebrows, like with most things, have changed many times, with the 90s seeing most women plucking​ their brows very thinly for example. But the full circle has been reached in recent years, mostly due to the influence caused by Cara  Delevingne’s magnificent brows on the catwalk, bringing bushy brows back in fashion. Now every young woman aspires to full, thick brows it seems. The comeback is bigger than ever.

Cara Delevingne
Cara Delevingne

Nail salons are now thriving in the brow waxing and tinting lines of service with the emphasis on making brows bolder and distinct. If it’s not at the salon, more and more women are using shadows, brow pencils and stencils to enhance their eyebrows. But not everyone is suited to the same shape or thickness of brows. No same size fits all here! In fact the Cara Delevingne look, although stunning on her, can be extremely unnatural on a lot of  other people’s faces. What does everyone else think? Let me have your thoughts please.

With half an hour left before my class starts I hope the weather will be merciful. I wouldn’t want rain pouring down on me when it’s time to leave Costa Coffee for the Make-up Academy. Let’s see if it is eyebrows and blushers that this session will cover.