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.

Beauty · Makeup · Personal diary

Cooking and baking

With the Easter long weekend coming to its end, my batteries recharged, enough batches of koupepia (stuffed vine leaves), pastitsio (Greek lasagna) and spanakopitta (spinach pie) cooked to last our household until the end of the week, I got round to finding out more about baking.

I got curious about this make up technique mentioned to me by a colleague particularly as it is meant to help erase dark under-eye circles.

I have always been self conscious of my eyes constantly looking tired due to bags and natural dark shadow covering the circular area around my eyes. So much that, after following a tip from my sister, I started wearing concealer every day since I was in my highschool second year. Even at school. I remember it was a Body Shop one. I have since discovered much better fit-for-purpose concealers. But I’m regressing, so back to baking.

I went on YouTube to watch various make up vloggers explain what it is and how it’s done by the pros.  I soon realised that baking is what my bridal make up artist performed  on my wedding day.  At the time I thought that she was merely applying lots of powder under my eyes so that she couod dust off any traces of fallen eye shadow particles dropping from my lids to my cheeks.  I now know that the powder’s use was two-fold.  Yes, it helped dust off stray bits of dark eyeshade that could have otherwise given me racoon eyes.  At the same time, though, she was also baking my face.

When I first heard of the term “baking” I thought it referred to people who don’t know how to properly apply make up and end up with layers and layers of foundation that looks like a cake. In reality, baking is a very effective technique whereby copious amounts of translucent face powder are placed under the eyes after foundation and concealer are applied as normal.  The excess powder is left for a while to set in and absorb the excess oils of the creamy products underneath it. According to the vloggers I watched, one is meant to let the powder sink for 5 to 15 minutes to see results. In my case,during my bridal prep, the make up artist left the powder under my eyes for at least half an hour while she completed my eye make up. Before putting on my blusher and lipstick she lightly dusted off all the excess powder using a fluffy brush. The end result was amazing. My make up didn’t budge even after 12 hours and most of all there was no sign of my dark circles throughout the day. Now I have to master this technique as well.

Beauty · Makeup · Personal diary

The start of my journey

I guess for a long time I’ve been wanting to do something creative with my free time. Something less mind numbing than binge-watching my flavour of the month TV series. In the past few years I tried muffin baking and card making. Both were tiring but stress-relieving activities. But constant making of muffins did nothing for my figures (that’s one of my husband’s jokes) and card making was time consuming and more costly than buying ready made. So I still have my supplies for those past times but haven’t touched them in a long time. I needed a new project to keep me sane from the daily routine.

Ever since I was a little girl I was fascinated by make up. Watching my beautiful mum putting on lipstick and eyeshadow, I was in awe of her and wanted to grow up so that I would be allowed to do the same. When I turned 16, on a summer school trip to France, I bought myself the most precious gift: my first lipstick by Yves Saint Laurent. Girls my age would shyly wear some colourless lipgloss. I was daring for wearing bold red.

I love colours and I love the power of transformation make up can have. I have already spent thousands of pounds on accumulating different make up products, colour lipsticks and eyeshadows over the years, I thought I’d better put that investment into good use. Which is why after toying with the idea of taking professional makeup lessons I decided to finally go for it. Had my first after-work, evening lesson on Tuesday and although I did struggle to get my head around cool and warm skin tones I was secretly chuffed for getting all the answers right, like a nerd. (Btw, did I mention I am 42 and on average 20 years older than the rest of the students there)?  At the end of lesson 1 we were given homework which entails finding two other people and practice the fundamentals of skin types, undertones and foundation application in them. Tricky. See, I live far from friends and family and I don’t know my neighbours well enough to involve them to something like this. So I managed to practice on a colleague. We couldn’t stop giggling in the ladies’ which made another colleague curious and joined in the conversation. It was fun and I ended up learning about “baking”, the make up method drag queens use! I must Google it next!