New Year’s glitter makeup tutorial

Finally recorded a vid with my DSLR, so much better quality ^_^

Products used:

Nyx – HD eyeshadow base
Maybelline 24Hour Colour Tattoo – Black
Sleek iDivine – Storm palette
Essence – Fix&Matte loose powder
Lit Cosmetics – Clearly liquid glitter base
Lit Cosmetics Glitter- Night Life #3
Essence Shimmer powder – Bella’s secret
Essence Long-lasting eye pencil – Black
Clinique – High impact mascara
Catrice Defining Blush – Love&Peach
MAC Viva Glam – Gaga2

Steampunk Iron Mask video tutorial

I was feeling ambitious so I decided to finally make use of my Kryolan Nose Putty and also try my hand at spirit gum (%*#@% -_-). Since I did my Steampunk Phantom of the Opera mask, I’ve always wanted to try it again but with a bit of 3D sculpting so that’s where the putty comes in.  Let me say first off Nose Putty is not for the faint of heart and definitely not a product I’ll specifically work with again unless I have a choice. You have to knead it to get it soft, but since my hands are extremely weak, this isn’t much of an option, my hands would frankly be too tired to do anything afterwards. So applying a bit of innovation, I filled a bowl with steaming hot water, placed a plate on top of that and then put small pieces of the nose putty on that. This worked great to soften it up….it also ended up melting it. In the end that actually helped a lot, as the moment I picked it up off the plate it almost sets completely hard again. So I ended up just scooping melted bits up and then pressing that on along the mask’s outline.

There was no editing to the makeup in this image, just colour and contrast adjustments with some blemish removal

My first time using spirit gum: OMW! Can I just say this stuff hurts like a bitch when you take it off. It manages to cling onto every little bit of peach fuzz hair on my face. Unfortunately I don’t have the remover, so I just used surgical spirits to dissolve it with…..Note to self, never use spirit gum again over the sensitive cheek area just below the eyes, first the gum pulled at every single hair and then alcohol burnt like hell trying to remove it from my skin. ouch! I would suggest something like Sculptgel instead of the putty and spirit gum.

Overall the discomfort and the learning curve was worth the final outcome ^_^.

If you have any questions about the video please leave them in the comments.

Have fun Xxx

There was no editing to the makeup in this image, just colour and contrast adjustments with some blemish removal

Pirate queen tutorial

So here is my third attempt at a makeup tutorial. This is for anyone who wants to be a pirate this Halloween. Basically  you just want a nice fierce looking smokey eye with a dark tan for that outdoorsy look (unfortunately the tan is lost on me due to direct flash and being super pale).

If you guys have any questions, leave them in the comment section and I’ll try to get back to you asap ^_^

My first video tutorial!

So here it is finally! My first video tutorial…. 😛

This is in response to Nicole who asked for more tutorials and behind the scene photos. I’ll say this, it’s very weird seeing myself in video over and over and…over and…over…and over, while trying to cut this together. I’ll still get used to taking more process photos as I go along.

A few things I’ve learnt from this video:
I need to find a space with better lighting
I really do pull some weird faces while doing my makeup O_o
I say “um” a lot..
And it’s harder than it looks to keep focussing on the camera instead of the screen, but I already did a lot better during my second try ^_^

I almost forgot to take a picture of the final makeup look. At least I can now prove again that my Nyx HD eyeshadow base does its job. This was applied at about 11am and it is now about 11pm (that’s why the inner corners are a bit rubbed off from me feeling sleepy :P). So despite me vigorously rubbing my eyes, which despite even that most of the makeup is still in place.

Products used:
Essence – Pigments: 08 Cop & copper
Sugarpill – Poison plum and Flamepoint
Essence – Fix & Matte translucent powder
Blink + go – Palette 02 blush
Revlon – Photo ready 3D Volume mascara

I’ll start getting used to this whole documenting process a bit more as my blog continues ^_^

Thanks for taking a look. Please leave a comment below if you liked what you saw

Much love
xx

Easy DIY mixing medium for makeup pigments

A while ago I read up on MAC’s Fix+ spray and all the great uses for it, one of which is as a mixing medium for foiling pigments  (you mix it with the pigments to get an almost cream consistency which gives you more vibrant colours and better staying power). Since the Fix+ was out of stock at the local MAC store, i found a few handy tutorials for make a home made version which is a lot cheaper and worked like a bomb:

What you’ll need:

Glycerin
Water
A container to mix it in

Method:

Mix 1 part glycerin with 3 parts water. Once done, dip you eyeshadow brush into the mixture and pat it off on a towel – you want it wet, not dripping. Now you can pick up a little amount of your pigment and apply it to your eyelid (or wherever you’d like actually; I can imagine this working wonderfully for small scale body painting)

I’ve included a few pictures of me playing around with some the pigments i’ve been having trouble getting some colour out of. Using the glycerin/water mixture really helped to get the best out of them!

The pigments I used to test the DIY mixing medium with, from the left: Avon, Sleek and Kryolan.

i think i might’ve added a bit of the kryolan pigment on top of the Sleek blue; can’t remember it being the shimmery – this was done quite a while ago

UPDATE: Since drafting this I’ve bought the Fix+ but haven’t tried it for this purpose yet. Once I do i’ll post another swatch

How to apply false eyelashes

One of the questions/comments I get regularly is:

“you should really show me how to apply false eyelashes one day, i really suck at doing it”

I’m hardly an expert and until recently I echoed this statement myself  until I learnt a few handy tips:

Ok first and most important reason you and I “sucked” at it:

STOP buying cheap falsies to practice with!!

Yeah you know the types I’m talking about: those flimsy pink plastic packs you can buy for as little as R10 per set with the thick black base lines. Just stop it. This is one of those cases where you can’t buy cheaper materials to practice with first, it will bite you in the ass, or rather: pop right off your lids. This is not to say you can’t eventually use the cheapo lashes once you know the tricks, but they’re terrible to practice with. I believe this is why most people get discouraged and just never try again, which is a shame since it really is very easy, and such a fun girly accessory to finish off your outfit with.

I realised my mistake when I decided I’m going to give up on ever trying to apply “proper” false eyelashes because clearly I just didn’t have the magic touch required for it, but I saw a pare of black foil lashes at the local costume shop and thought “surely i should be to apply those”. So I decided to put my ego aside and try it one last time and this was the result:

The black foil lashes

The black foil lashes

The foil lashes immediately made it clear that having a soft base (the section you apply the glue to) made it so much easier to apply the lashes, something which the cheap lashes seldom have. They tend to be very stiff and quite thick at the base. Also if you have small eyes like me, the smaller your eyes are the more difficult it is to apply stiff falsies as the curve over the lid gets more and more pronounced.

(Another point to keep in mind is that it is much easier to apply false eyelashes on someone else than yourself, so don’t compare yourself to a make-up artist. They have the luxury of having a perfect vantage point while applying them and they can ask their client to keep their eyes closed until they can see the lashes are firmly in place.)

Ok so after this wonderful lesson I started looking for lashes that mimicked the foil lashes for softness and flexibility and finally settled on the Eyelure range. There are many wonderful brands, this just happens to be the one most readily available and most affordable to me. They go for about R70 a pack; a bit pricey but they’re reusable if you treat them gently and clean them properly after each wear. I’m sure there’s many other great brands of eyelashes, these are just the specific brand I’ve had the best luck with. (I’ve found the biggest selection of Eyelure lashes at Dischem, but recently I’ve also seen them at Foschini and Clicks) I did once get to use a set of MAC lashes which were just divine, but they’re too pricey at this stage, still saving up for a pair, have these in my sights: The Flight Lash.  The Naturalites range of Eyelure is just wonderful if you want to try false eyelashes for the first time.

Ok now to recap and a few extra tips

  1. Don’t buy cheap lashes with thick, stiff bases – they will only frustrate and discourage you.
  2. Look for well made lashes from reliable brands made for daily and natural wear.
  3. Remember to trim the lashes to fit your lash line – if the lash is too long it has a bigger chance of pushing itself off.
  4. Use a good eyelash glue – the glue in the Eyelure packs work wonderfully, or Clicks has larger tubes of glue you can buy seperate.
UPDATE:
And two really good tips from a Alex with the magic-touch – she’s had great luck with cheapies from the get-go:
  • Bend the lashes over your finger for about a minute (with the actual lashes sticking away from your finger)
  • Put the glue on and then wait maybe 30seconds for the glue to get stick so it sticks on your lid nice & securely. 🙂
Go check out her photography work at Alexandra Graham Photography.
 

Ok I hope this give someone new hope for trying out false eyelashes. And like I said, once you have the hang of it there’s no reason you can’t try the cheap lashes again, because to be honest some of them are really pretty.

Below I will list some of the images I’ve used false eyelashes in and the type I used. Please leave any questions in the comments section.

Much love xxx
^_^

 

Eyelure Naturalites – Evening

Eyelure Naturalites – Evening

Eyelure Naturalites – Lengthening

Eyelure Naturalites – Lengthening

And some applause for the cheap seats:

Cheapies

Cheapies

And some more cheapies – These were applied by the model herself, a very accomplished make up artist. This was before i learnt the tricks of the trade and duly felt like i will never be able to do it as well as her.

And some more cheapies – These were applied by the model herself, a very accomplished make up artist. This was before i learnt the tricks of the trade and duly felt like i will never be able to do it as well as her.

And lashes from other brands

Essence – The Black and White range

Essence – The Black and White range

MAC lashes belonging to the model

MAC lashes belonging to the model

And once you really get the hang of it you can even make your own using natural materials such as feathers or even flower petals. These didn’t take half as long as it might look.

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Barberton daisy lashes

How to look good on a drivers licence photo

I do the declare that is not such a horrible driver’s license photo, as such things has a way of going decidedly in the horrible direction:

 

And I would say the photo’s main success is due to learning how to do contouring properly. The morning of the photo in question I specifically for this event, and in hindsight i’m really glad i did (just wish I used a slightly stronger concealer on the small spots and blemishes, but meh!)

Ok a few tips to keep in mind when going for a driver’s license photo:

  1. Most photo shops (pharmacy, Kodak, etc.) will mostly likely be using a point and shoot for this rather basic task which means: the dreaded DIRECT FLASH. (most of the following tips will now flow from this one point)
  2. Direct flash is flattering to no-one (except the ridiculously good-looking variety)
  3. Direct flash flattens the contours of your face, and
  4. …it will also in all likelihood make your complexion look washed out.’

Ok so how to get around this pesky problem using make-up as your secret weapon:

  1. Firstly start with a smooth canvas. You dont want to look plastic but you do want your complexion evened out (redness, spots, blemishes and so forth). My morning routine consists of MAC’s Oil control lotion applied to the areas of my face most likely to get shiney (mostly the T-panel), followed by MAC’s Prep&Prime Visage Primer – this really makes a huge difference to my skin texture and helps the bronzer to blend in smoother, after that I’ll apply a bit of Woolworth’s Tinted concealer in green to any areas that showing redness (the affliction of most pale complexions) and lastly but not least I finished it off with MAC’s tinted Moisturiser with the added SPF. I also dabbed a bit of concealer around the eye area to hide any redness and make me seem generally awake.
  2. Keeping in mind this will be a black and white photo, you really want to play up the contrast between the different areas of your face so it shows up well on the photo. Don’t worry you will not look out of sorts or over the top if done properly.
  3. Now to get that contrast you want to contour your face to show of it’s best features. To do this I use Essence’s Matt Bronzer (Love this!!), to contour beneath my cheekbones, my temples, along my hairline (to make my forehead look a little bit smaller) and along my jawline to just define it and help camouflage any potential double chin. (there are a lot of good tutorials on the web for how to do contouring or you can check out  Make-up: The Ultimate Guide by Rae Morris ).
  4. For highlighting I used the highlighter that was part of the Smashbox Burlesque kit, but any basic highlighter should work. I applied this high on my cheekbones and blended it very well. I even smoothed it out using a normal make-up sponge the idea is it shouldn’t be as dramatic as evening make-up, you want just enough so the camera’s flash will pick it up and reflect it back, which trust me you don’t need as much as you might think.
  5. If you want a very natural look for you eyes forget the eyeliner and rather just stick to a neutral shade you can brush into the crease line to give your eyes for depth and maybe a little on the outer third of your bottom lash line to round it off. Finish with a mascara with a bristle brush (I’ve found as long as it’s a good quality mascara it gives me the best coverage without creating the false lash effect)
  6. Lastly you can line your lips with pencil matching your own lipcolour. Remember you just want to define the shape of your lips you don’t want them to over power or dissapear in comparison with the rest of your make-up. The trick I like using is applying some of the Body Shop’s Lip Tint and to really concentrate on getting a smooth line, letting it sink it so it defines my lips well and then coating it with a slick of Smashbox’s Lip Enhancing lipgloss in the colour Pop. Gives a pretty bit of colour without being too much and the gloss is just wonderful!
  7. Oh and don’t forget to groom your eyebrows. Comb them neatly and if possible apply a bit of wax or fixing gel so you know they’ll keep their shape. Well groomed brows can do amazing things for your face!

Ok and there you have my tips on how to do your make for a driver’s license photo in such a way that your best features are highlighted. If you have any questions, please comment below and I’ll try to help where I can.

Update: A friend kept the makeup tips I provided in mind when she went to get her photo taken. I think it came out stunning!

Much love xxx
^_~

Deep purple process

Finally getting to the how of Joyce’s Deep Purple shoot! 🙂

The inspiration for this shoot was the awesome wig I ordered from CosplayDNA (they supply synthetic wigs that can be heat-styled and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg – R160 for this particular wig).

Ok first up is the make-up:
White water-based face paint
Sleek palettes
Ralo purple pallet
MAC Visage Primer
MAC Oil control lotion
MAC Visage prep and prime eye shadow primer
Elizabeth Arden foundation
Essence smokey eye pencil
Essence Matt Bronzer
Essence Gel eyeliner – Midnight in Paris
Eyelure  Naturalites – lengthening

Method:

Since starting to use MAC’s oil control lotion and Visage Primer every morning for my own beauty routine, I do this as a MUST step to any make-up session. It really makes such a huge difference in how the foundation goes onto the skin.

This is the pic we used as inspiration (can’t remember where I downloaded it from, if it looks familiar please let me know so i can give due credit)

I started off by dabbing white waterbased face paint to form the basic mask shape around the eyes. The using the Ralo purple pallet I used the lightest shade and stippled it in getting gradually darker towards the eyes. Making use of different shades of purple gave the make-up great depth. I also used some of the purple from the Sleek Circus Pallet. Line the eyes with Essence gel eyeliner in Midnight in Paris and blend it in using the black shadow also from the Circus Palette. Finish off by curling the eyelashes, adding a coat of Mascara and to top it off some Lengthening Eyelure Naturalites. For her lips we used a nude shade of MAC lipstick Joyce had bought the previous weekend, if anyone really wants to know the shade, let me know and I’ll make a note of asking her.

Unedited pics of the finished make-up

Unedited pics of the finished make-up

The photography side:

Now this is where the real challenge came in: I was able to borrow two Canon 580EX Speedlights from a friend along with my 430EX. I was so excited. Here’s list of what I started with:

Canon 60D
2 x 580EX Speedlights
430EX Speedlight
Home-made beauty dish
Home-made speedlight honeycombs

(excuse the bad cellphone picture)

So I started off by setting my 430(right) and one of the 580’s(left) as rim lights. About 30degrees behind the model without any light modifiers. The other 580 I used as my mainlight, slightly to my right shining down on the model’s face with the beauty dish on it. Immediately I realised i had a BIG problem:

Namely that the two rim-lights were causing very nasty flares on the wig; understandable considdering it’s synthetic nature but nonetheless very annoying for how fake it was making it look. Then started the long process of trying to get rid/dim down these highlights.

Firstly I tried to lessen their effect by wrapping them in tracing paper and setting their power as low as I possibly could, pushing the main light to it’s highest setting and adjusting my exposure for this light so the rimlights will be sufficiently dimmed in comparison.

With the tracing paper wrapped around the rim-light flashes

Yeah, so we got a semi-satisfactory effect if not completely there yet.  But then a completely different gremlin rose it’s head – light kept bouncing off the backdrop creating a very distracting bright area just behind the model’s left shoulder:

Aaaargh!! The background glare of doom!

And to think I though I was smart by layering the organza over the purple backdrop to disguise how wrinkled it was. To try and get rid of this effect i tried anything I could think of, created barndoor-flaps out of old school writing pads, wrapped the sides of the flash in tracing paper. Eventually I resorted to adding my honeycombs, but not even that would get rid of that hotspot. Eventually just gave up and took down the organza layer.

As a last resort I decided to double-up the modifier effects: honeycombs with tracing paper wrap around their fronts which ultimately ended up giving me exactley the lighting I had been looking for on the wig. Eureka!!:

Finally success!!

Was so happy when I saw this! So now without any further delay here is the end products from this shoot ^_^