Beauty · elections · Eye pencils · Eyeliner · lipstick · Love · Makeup · Makeup artist · MUA · Sanity · Shopping · Uncategorized

Impulsive makeup buys

Hands up who else is also guilty of trying a new brand of lipstick, eye pencil or shadow, liking it, buying it, only to discover when they get home that it’s almost an exact replica of a product shade they already own. This has happened to me multiple times. I must have accidentally bought at least 3 identical shades of red and 2 dark purple lipsticks around the same time; two similar blue/grey eyeshadow palettes​, 3 exactly the same shade of green eyeshadow in wet and dry form and 4 different types of purple shadow which on application ended up looking pretty much the same.

That’s because I am what you might call an “impulsive buyer” sometimes.  Does that happen to you too? Always going for the same thing just in slightly different packaging or with only a minor (unnoticeable to others) difference?

I am also guilty of absolutely detesting the idea of throwing useful things away. Even if they are not useful to me! It’s a conservative streak I have always had.  For one, growing up I was taught that throwing away leftover food is a sin. And it makes sense to not waste food in a world where there are people starving.  Similarly, I hate getting rid of belongings​. My mum actually told me off once for wearing an expensive jacket (which I thought still looked amazing years after I bought it) that was worn out.

So if I end up with lots of similar makeup products which I impulsively bought they usually just stay in my possession, collecting dust. Unless they are that bad that even I have to chuck them out eventually.

Needless to say that I own way too much makeup for my own good.

Testament to this is when four years ago I decided to have a 1-2-1 makeup lesson with a well known Cypriot makeup artist to perfect doing my own makeup. The poor guy didn’t know what he was in for when he suggested I bring along the products I have to our session. He probably thought I only had one makeup bag. Instead, I showed up on his doorstep with 4 big plastic carrier bags full of palettes and vanity bags filled with all kinds of makeup products. Even he thought I had far too many products for a non professional.

And that’s one of the reasons I decided earlier this year to do something about this and take the MUA course which in turn inspired this blog.  So at least something good (I think at least) came out of my impulsiveness 😏

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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.

 

#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.

Eyeliner · Eyes · Makeup · Personal challenge · Uncategorized

Make up your mind – The end of my personal challenge

For those of you who follow my blog, I hope that you have read my post Make up your mind! (Part 1 of my personal challenge) and know what this post is about. If you haven’t, basically, what started as a thought about seasons and makeup colours ended up with giving myself a challenge to only use the same eyeshadows (4 different shades of blue) for 2 whole months! The 4 blue shades were these:

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Blue eyeshadows

I started this on the 9th of May so on my birthday (9th July) I could finally be free! Because having to use the same colour eye shadows day in, day out is not fun! I know it’s a challenge I set myself and it’s no-one else’s fault I came to this decision but there was a reason I decided to go for this ridiculousness.  I wanted to use up certain products which take me ages to go through. Makeup junkies like me would know that with the exception of your staples (such as  foundation, concealer, face powder and maybe a couple of eye pencils), all other products, especially when you have a variety of them, can last for years.  I own eye-shadows, lipsticks, eye gels and blushers that I’ve had for over a decade.  I even have an original 70s Mary Quant golden shimmery eye shadow that my mum passed down to me when I was a teenager and I still use it occasionally (maybe once every 5 years)!

I’m sure manufacturers will say that it’s unhygienic but trust me I haven’t been poisoned or infected by any of my products yet.  I think the makeup industry is trying to make more money by trying to convince us that their products have an expiry date. Mascaras I do try to use up and throw away quickly as they can cause eye infections but everything else is fine, in my humble opinion.

My point is, when someone who loves make up like me accumulates loads of lipsticks, blushers and eyeshadows it’s very difficult to use them up and a strategy needs to be followed.

Exactly a month after setting myself this challenge, I posted my 2nd part of this “mini-series” (which unfortunately I somehow managed to delete without keeping a copy somewhere else) where I mentioned how using the same eyeshadows day in, day out was a bit boring but also convenient. In a way, it took out the having to think what to “wear” for makeup at work question in the mornings. And also, it made me become more creative with how I used the eyeshadows and how I combined them with different blushers, lipsticks and eyeliners.

On some days I used only 1 of the 4 colours, on others I would mix them up, on some other days I would use them all and sometimes I would use just the darkest colour as eyeliner.  Using different brushes made a difference to the final look as well. For example, I would use a blending brush when mixing the colours or use an angled brush to apply the eyeshadow as if I was using a gel eyeliner.

Here are some examples of the different looks I created in the 2 months of my challenge:

So what was the outcome of my challenge when my birthday arrived?

Firstly, it was an exercise of patience which paid off by finally seeing a difference in the Cien eyeshadow pot. After 2 solid months of usage it finally started to look used up with a a lot of product gone. So mission accomplished in that respect.

Secondly, it was an exercise in living more minimalistically – a useful lesson now that I’m shipping my belongings back to Cyprus and I have to live off one suitcase for 6 weeks while I wait for my stuff to arrive.

Thirdly, it was an exercise in creativity where I learnt to “play” with different brushes, lipsticks and blushers to combat my boredom of using the same eyeshadows.

Funnily enough, when my birthday finally arrived, although I was relieved that my challenge was over my first attempt at makeup that day made me look like a clown! I was so looking forward to using more vivid colours that I just went overboard. So I had to remove my makeup, remind myself that less is more and took it easy the second time around 🙂

#concealer · brunch · Coffee · exam · Food · foundation · Friends · Makeup · Makeup academy · Shopping · Uncategorized

Ladies who brunch and go makeup shopping (Part 2 / Manchester)

Even before meeting my friend Asha in London for a girls’ day out in May (the topic of my Ladies who brunch and go make-up shopping (Part 1 / London) blog post, we had planned that she would come and stay with us in Manchester for a weekend at the end of June.  It so happened that the joyful event coincided with some very positive news for me and my husband as well.  I had arranged to take that Friday off and shortly before my friend’s train was due to arrive I received a phone call from Cyprus. I was very nervous and anxious about it because I had done 2 interviews via WebEx with an international company based in Cyprus in the days leading up to it and I really wanted to hear if I had gotten the job.

Thankfully I was offered the job and was thrilled and very excited.  I told my husband and that’s when it both hit us! What we both had been wanting for some time now, to return to Cyprus, was finally happening!! So when I met my friend at the train station an hour later I told her the good news and of course we had to celebrate.  We went to my all-time favourite brunch place in Manchester for a late but massive brunch and from there I Vibered the good news to my family back home and my best friends.

My favourite brunch place is Moose Coffee . I love it so much that I have to take everyone who visits me there and give them a taste of the good life! Here is some evidence of what I’m talking about!

Asha’s visit was the weekend before my exam at the makeup academy so we were discussing about practicing a few makeup looks on her face in preparation for it. I also told my friend that my makeup instructors had mentioned that the Kat Von D makeup line had finally arrived in the UK and was only available in one place in Manchester, at the Market Street Debenhams branch so we just HAD to pay a visit before heading home.  During our previous day out in London I was saying to my friend that I thought her MAC foundation colour was a bit too dark for her skin tone (putting my newfound learning from the academy into practice) and so she wanted to see what else was out there.  For years I’ve mostly used Estee Lauder’s Double Wear Foundation as it was the one product I could find that supposedly does a good job of full coverage so I was intrigued by the Lock It products from Kat Von D that promise full coverage (to the extent of even covering whole tattoos).

We both had a makeover to try on the foundation and ended up buying a couple of products. Asha got a foundation and I think a highlighter (it’s been 3 weeks so I may be wrong on that one).  I bought a foundation, concealer and under eye powder from the Lock It line.

I have tried all 3 of the products but currently only using the concealer on a daily basis and I have to say that I am very pleased with it! (Once I get a chance at a later stage, after I’m settled back in Cyprus I will do a proper review of all 3 products).

Once home, we opened a bottle of Prosecco to celebrate the new job/country move while all 3 us helped prepare dinner (a Greek dish, of course) and talked about what it would take to organise the move.

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Brunch the next day was at home followed by the makeup trial. We kept it to a pretty much nude look although I did manage to convince Asha in the end to let me try a bit of burgundy and purple colours on her eyes. I think she eventually grew to like the outcome but sadly I forgot to take a photo of the look.

At 3 pm we had cake and coffee planned at my local Italian coffee place where we met another friend from our university years, Caroline.  Asha and Caroline are in regular contact but apart from the occasional Facebook chat I hadn’t seen Caroline in more than a decade and it was lovely to catch up with her and also finally meet her daughter, her partner and his youngest daughter. The meeting was topped off with some FaceTime with another university friend, Ange from USA.  It was very sweet even though brief.

Our evening plan for Saturday was dinner and drinks at the nearest Solita restaurant, another favourite of ours, that specialises in massively portioned delicious burgers.

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Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore. We’re at Solita’s Prestwich enjoying massive quantities of delicious burgers

The realisation soon came to us that moving back to Cyprus meant that seeing my friend would be less frequent. We have, over the years  though, always managed to stay in touch and visit each other in our respective countries.  Asha even visited me in Athens when I was working there for 2 years.  So we know we won’ lose touch. We may even arrange a holiday somewhere else together the next time.

And who knows? Perhaps we may even throw in a makeup shopping spree somewhere in there…

inspiration · interview · Makeup · Makeup artist · MUA · Uncategorized

Interview with my MUA teacher (Part 3)

With all the recent changes and excitement in my life I had somewhat neglected my blog recently even though I had a lot of material to write about.  One of them was the completion of my interview with Kiera Louise Harrison, my inspirational makeup teacher. You can read Interview with my MUA teacher (Part 1) and Interview with my MUA teacher (Part 2) here.

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It took me a while to transcribe the interview from my recorder but the worst part was that halfway through typing it up on WordPress initially I accidentally found out that this platform will not allow posts to be over a certain word length! Which is why I had to cut up the interview in 3 parts. But here it is finally ladies and gents: Part 3 of the interview. I hope you enjoy it. I know I had fun doing it!

Q: What makeup look do you like the most?                                                                            A: That’s a great question and what a difficult that one is! I think if it’s a signature look that I’m gonna wear myself as well, I am so obsessed with skin. I think that getting the skin right is the most important thing.  I love a glowing, dewy skin, showing health and radiance. I like makeup to be flawless, buffed lovely and well-blended. Personally, I love warm tones, like your rich chestnut browns, bronzy colours; really wearable and beautiful looks.

Q: What makeup trends do you dislike?
A: There isn’t a makeup trend I don’t like. The only thing I don’t like in makeup is when the fine details aren’t articulated. For example, if the blending is sloppy or not choosing the right colour for the client’s skin tone. Especially if you are working with darker skins, you can make them look great or you can take that radiance away from them. Makeup should be used to enhance your features and make you feel amazing not leave you washed out or looking a little bit dead!

Q: Which are your favourite products?
A: I love MAC Fix+ Spray, BECCA skin perfecting illuminators and I love MAC Face + Body Foundation.

Q: What are the new trends to look out for in makeup?
A: That’s a great question. I suppose at the minute in the catwalks it’s all about using one product on different areas of the face. For example, using lipstick as eyeshadow. It was all about texture. So, making sure that brows have texture and seeing the hairs on the brow for example. They also had quite colourful lashes, like blue mascaras, a pop of colour on quite minimalistic skin.

Q: Who is your makeup idol?
A: I’ve got a few. One of them is an Australian lady who now lives in London. She’s called Val Garlant. When I was working on Fashion Week she was my key artist and wow! did she inspired me! She’s really cool.

Another one is Pat McGrath – her work is absolutely insane if you’re really interested in photographic stuff. She again is such a massive name at all fashion weeks globally, not just London. She’s also got her own makeup products that have launched now.

I suppose looking at Instagram makeup artists you’ve got Mario who is Kim Kardashian’s makeup artist. I’m also quite a fan of Adam Burrell’s work who is artist to a number of celebs such as Little Mix and James Molloy as well.

Q: And finally, my last question – What would you advise people who are thinking of becoming professionals in makeup artistry?
A: First and foremost, I think the biggest advice I can give to anybody who wants to become a makeup artist is to invest in yourself. Invest in your training. Although initially It can be quite daunting thinking about the outlay you’re paying but obviously from working in a government funded college and then having quite a lot of experience and seeing that contrast there’s just no comparison with it. It is worth finding people whose work you are inspired by and perhaps seeing if they have an academy, if they offer one-to-one training and train with them if possible. There’s no better investment than in yourself.

The second piece of advice is, you need to work on your portfolio. Whether that’s digital but I always think it’s good to have an actual handmade book as well to take with you and showcase your work if you’re introducing yourself, knocking on those doors. It shows that you’ve taken that time to prepare, it will make you move higher up in their estimations.

I think a big thing as well, and I can definitely speak from experience, is that you have to be resilient. There will be times when you’ll get knock-backs, you’ll be told “no”, you’ll be told “you’re not good enough” and it can upset you. Don’t let that knock you. You just have to think “Ok, every no is closer to a yes. I may not be good for you but I might be perfect for somebody else”. Keep on going with it. Practice, practice, practice!

You can view Kiera’s work from her makeup academy’s Instagram account here

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Beauty · certification · exams · inspiration · interview · Makeup · Makeup artist · MUA · Uncategorized

Interview with my MUA teacher (Part 2)

I am really excited about my personal challenge (Make up your mind! (Part 1 of my personal challenge) coming to an end in 24 hours but in the meantime I have a lot of unfinished blog business to catch up with. It’s been more than 2 weeks since I last posted and I have a lot to share before I launch into Part 2 of my interview with Kiera.

  1.  I passed my exam!!! I am officially a certified makeup artist myself now. But I know I have to practice, practice, practice before I feel confident to put my certification into use.
  2. As a qualified and certified MUA I get to get professional discounts on certain makeup brands! Now that’s definitely something worth celebrating for!
  3. To add to all the stress of the exam, I was also preparing for job interviews for a job I really wanted back in Cyprus. A few days before my exam I found out I was successful! So in less than a month I am returning home to work for a great company and I am very excited but also consumed and overwhelmed by all that comes with arranging a move to another country in a matter of weeks.

With all my news out of the way let me dive back into the interview with Kiera. In Part 1 (Interview with my MUA teacher (Part 1) I covered how Kiera started taking an interest in makeup and how she became a professional artist. Following on you’ll find out more about her professional journey in her continuation of her answer to my last question. I was asking Kiera what prompted her to qualify as a makeup instructor and what steps did she take to meet that goal.

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Kiera started telling me about being offered a teaching job at a local, government funded college and here’s the rest of her answer:

A: That for me really was such a big eye-opener in the sense of the things that the students were being taught was so dated. It wasn’t really industry relevant, the girls didn’t feel confident in applying makeup; they didn’t have the basic makeup knowledge. Teachers would come in and literally just play a YouTube clip and that was the lesson.  It wasn’t hands on, they weren’t getting constructive feedback. The turning point for me was when I had a job opportunity to offer to one of my students.  I was going to work on a photoshoot for one of JD Sports’ campaigns and I needed an assistant.  So, I decided that I was going to set a competition for my students at the college and whoever’s luck won could then come and be an assistant for me which was an amazing opportunity and everyone was really excited for being able to produce some great stuff.  Then, just 2 days before the shoot was due to commence, the Head of Year pulled me to one side and she told me that there was a Safeguarding issue with the college not allowing me to take the students on work experience.  I was baffled because the students were adults, they were older than 16, with parental consent, this would be a great opportunity for them. So I just thought, you can try and make it better but no-one wants to do it. I felt upset for the students because I remembered just how much I wanted to just get out there and start making progress.  That’s the only way you learn.  After that I thought “You need to do this now”. That was my motivation really.

Q: How many students have you taught so far?

A: I don’t know actually. It’s been quite a lot. The academy will be 2 years in February but before that I taught for a year at my friend’s salon. So I would say a couple of hundred.

Q: What would it take for someone to fail your classes? 

A:  For somebody to fail it would literally be them not articulating the look correctly. So if they’re not following the technique and the steps that they’ve been shown.  For them not meeting  good standards of hygiene (i.e. turning up with dirty brushes, not sanitazing their hands, using products that would cause adverse reactions for clients’ skin).  Also, not following what the client asks.  Because essentially in makeup artistry although as an artist we have a free reign to be creative to produce this look it’s also paramount that you actually listen to your client. It’s all well and good if that’s what we want but it’s all about them.  I think that’s something that a lot of people really need to be conscious of.

Q: Apart from teaching others to do makeup what else do you do as a makeup artist?

A: As well as teaching, I have a large client base.  There are a lot of party and occasion makeups, I do a lot of weddings, I do quite a lot of Asian Bridal, I did used to be represented by Nemesis Agency in Manchester so I used to do quite a lot of editorial and photo shoots. I don’t really do as many now with the academy being my main focus now.

I’ve also worked in Ibiza doing body painting. I worked with Zoo Project and Kiss my Fairy and that was quite cool. I used to do all the makeup for the acrobats and the dancers.  It was very out there and creative. I’ve done a bit of everything really.

Q9: What does your average work day/week look like?

A: Gosh! I won’t lie to you. This year, since January I have a Sunday off. I work 6 days a week and I work from 9 am until 9 pm pretty much most days. It is long hours but I love it and I wouldn’t change it for the world! Every day is different. There’s such good variety with it and I always feel that I’m so  blessed that I can do something I enjoy.

Q: I’m jealous! What makeup look do you like the most?

To find the answer to that and the rest of my questions you’ll have to tune in to Part 3 of the interview!

I hope you are enjoying this interview series.