Thursday, December 30, 2010

Primark vs big brands

I've decided to focus this blog on budget make up as there are so many blogs out there dedicated to expensive brand make up, as much as I adore the bigger branded make up such as mac or nars, I love nothing better than to find cheap little gems whose quality compares to the more expensive brands. 

I came across Primark's newest make up section and after testing some of it out I decided some was not worth the €1.50 price tag and some were a bargain at that price range!!

I'll start with the cheek & lip tint. I haven't got a picture of it sadly, but it's in white packaging, it screws upwards and looks like a large lipbalm in a rose red colour with a creamy texture. It resembles a Pout cheek tint I have (that you sadly can't buy anymore as the company closed down 3 years ago) pictured below:

I picked the Primark cheek tint up because it was reduced to 50cent and the swatch looked like it was good quality. It gives a nice flush to the cheeks if you apply it to your cheeks lightly with your finger and blend into the foundation on your cheeks. However saying that I think I've only used it the once! But it's better than the Benefit's liquid rose cheek and lip tint, I find it uncontrollable and almost leave a watermark on your face!

The next thing I bought was the Primark primer called "The Prime of your Life", I picked it up as it was only €3 or something, so it was worth the try at that price.
As you can see it's almost like a copy of Benefit's primer:

Prime of your life is a pink toned primer with highlighting particles.
I would not use this as a primer as I used it once as and left my skin very shiny and very pink, a primer is meant to even out the skin texture, filling out any lines and pores so that the foundation application over it goes on with an airbrushed effect.
However I mixed it in with my foundation and it gave a lovely silky gleam off it. To get that dewey finish to the skin I normally mix some Illamasqua gleam cream into the foundation and apply, but for everyday wear the Primark version works a treat as the Illamasqua gleam cream costs something like €28, its not ideal to use every day.
I wouldn't recommend it if you are prone to redness or have oily skin.

Next thing is the Primark Activ Eyelashes (Thanks to Debbie for telling me about these!)
They cost €4 for a pack of 5, and they are identical to the Girls Aloud eyelashes which cost something like €8 per pair!  The quality are just as good if not identical to the Allure Girls Aloud lashes. Instead of using the glue that comes with the primark lashes, I used my Duo glue that I use with all my fake lashes, so I cant review the glue that comes with them.
Here you can see the Primark lashes and the Allure Girls aloud ones:

Another Primark product I picked up was Rock Spirit perfume, for which I paid  £4 sterling for. It smells identical to Ed Hardy perfume, very sweet and light. The bottle is gorgeous, it's clear
with a black lace design on it like the Christina Aguilera perfume.
I just wear it to work everyday, the scent doesn't last at all though, but it's great for everyday wear when you want to keep your nice perfumes for the weekends!

Theyre all the products Ive ever used or bought from Primark/Penneys, Ive tried a few other things by them such as the eyeshadows and blushers and theyre not pigmented enough for my liking. The brushes seem okay, but I'm a brush Nazi and stick to the mac ones that i love!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Pin Up Shoot

Model: Maggie Page
Photo: James Brophy
MUA: Me.

Pretty self explanitory really!
This model was easy to work with as shes just so pretty !
I'm a complete eyebrow nazi, I love eyebrows and they have to be perfect with a perfect arch, I think they're the most important part of make up.
Trish had naturally very blonde eyebrows, so I loved the fact I had free reign asto how her eyebrows would look.
I think they look natural, yet defined in the finished result, which is what I was aiming for. They frame her beautiful face :)

One thing I would change, would be to use a different matte black eyeshadow.
I paid €20 for a single black matte eyeshadow from Make Up Forever.. and everytime I use it, it creases, on every skin type! For a tiny little eyeshadow, that's a lot of money, I wouldn't buy it again!

Make up tattoos

Model: Irina
Photo: Peter Griffin
MUA: Me.

This shot was just an experiment really, the model really wanted to know if I could do tattoos with make up, i've never done it before, but thought it would be a challenge, so I said I'd do it.
I just used some black and a small make up brush and drew the tattoo out of my head really!
If I were to do it again, I would do it differently, I'd use a different brush, and do something with more detail and colour.
But this was just testing out if I could so it really!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Read my lips. Budget friendly lipstick

Recently I've been testing out a lot of lipsticks, I, like most make up artists and girls in general favour MAC's lipstick ranges, as the colours are so intense and they're very moisturising, but as I never get the time to visit MAC, i've been shopping around in my local chemist/drugstores to see if I could get any colours that compare to MAC's pigment and quality.
And surprisingly I did !

The first lipstick that caught my eye was one by Barry M.
I've always wanted a bright pink lipstick, but as I was afraid it wouldn't suit me I decided to try out a cheaper brand to test it out.
The shade I bought was 145 Punky Pink.
A bright pink lipstick with a slight purple tinge off it.
Straight off it reminded me of MAC's Girl About Town (one of my favourite lipsticks that I never got around to purchasing).
The price came in around €5, so I thoughtit would be worthless, but turns out, I really love it !
Here you can see it againt MAC's Girl About Town:

Left: MAC girl about town
Right: Barry M in 145 Punky Pink

It went on very smoothly, very moisturising and it had a gorgeous gloss finish.
I applied Illamasqua's sheer "Divine" lipgloss over it to finish it off.


Girl about town ----------------------------- Barry M's 145 Punky Pink

This colour could be used in various ways, never team it with a bright eyeshadow, the rule in make up is that either your lips, or your eyes should be the main feature. Like if you're wearing lime green eyeshadow, a natural lip should always be worn so the eyes are the focal point, if you're wearing a bright lipstick, then the eyeshadow should be neutral. With this shade I think a grey smokey eye would be very complimentary.

Revlon Colourburst lipstick:

I spotted a revlon advert at the back of a magazine and the shade Jessica Alba was wearing seemed to be the exact colour I've been searching for, yet I still doubted it as I dont trust make up from adverts, they're over photoshopped!

The shade on the advert stated it was Crimson, so I tried it out for myself and fell in love with the shade.
You still have that bright red lip, but it's a more wearable shade than some of the brighter red lipsticks on the market, it has more of a blue tinge so it also makes your teeth seem whiter.
The packaging also attracted it to me, it has a lovely quilted, classy packaging giving a much more expensive feel to it.
The lipstick itself glided on, and stayed in place a LOT longer than some more expensive high end brands.
This is the only product I really like from Revlon however, their foundations smell like paint stripper and go on just as bad!! The price? Only €11 !
This shade is AMAZING on porcelain skin teamed with a simple black liquid liner and defined brows. With this shade you really have to keep the make up to a minimum.
I will definetly be purchasing more shades, I was very impressed!

Here is a shade chart for these particular lipsticks:

The Fuschia lipstick looks gorgeous! I might have to buy that!

I think Crimson is nearly identical to MAC's classic Russian Red lipstick.

MAC Russian Red ---------------------------- Revlon's Crimson.

I think some of the shades this lipstick comes in can be compared to a lot of higher end lipsticks..
So if you want to buy a variation of shades, with a cheaper price tag than a lot of lipsticks, this line is fantastic!

Revlon's baby pink ------------------------ Viva Glam Gaga

Cannibal Cheerleader

The following pictures are from a shoot I did last Sunday.
I really really enjoy working with Carl at Red Tree Studios and model Trisha, we can all read each others minds and visually have the same tastes.

*Pics courtesy of Red Tree Studios (*


I've been lagging behind with the whole blogging thing.
When I created it last year I thought I'd make posts every week..
Its been a year and I've made about 5 posts, this is going to change.
From today, I promise I'll post more things :)
Photoshoots I've did, fashion that inspires me, nails and hair.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Illamasqua The Art of Darkness

The Mistress of Ceremonies

"With her authoritative aura, all eyes are drawn to the Mistress of Ceremonies. It is she who ensures the forces are balanced and the gods appeased. Her body is a patchwork of mythical symbols and semi-precious stones - a walking celebration of the earth and the heavens..."

So this is Illamasqa's new collection, so far we have only been introduced to the new liquid liner (which I might buy today if its instore)
It seems like Illamasqua are steering away from their 1920's Berlin expressionism style, this new collection along with their last collection Body Electrics, seems to be more futuristic and fantasy, I think I prefer their older style.

I have a feeling this line is going to be all about liquid metals, amber shades and dusty blue hues.
Still, Im excited about the fact there are going to be new products, but I think they should focus on their darker imagery, I think it works better for this brand.

I have an interview with Illamasqua on Thursday for their new headquaters in London, very exciting ! I cant wait to just meet the crew, maybe even Alex Box *dies a little*.
The guy told me on the phone that Ive been one of the 8 selected out of a few hundred, so I hope I live upto their expectations, I also cant wait to see the other candidates and their skill.


I got the job ^___________________^

I was so so nervous going in to the point I felt phsyically sick.
But as I got in there and the introduction started, I knew, deep down, I was going to get this job.
They started off with a video about how they based the brand on German Expressionism art..
My eyes lit up as I did my degree piece on German Exprssionism and its my all time favourite art movement, of course I didn't hesitate on telling them this.
After that, i was extremely confident and knew I could get:)
So im still waiting on this weeks rosta when I start ^_^
So excited as this is my dream company, everyones lovely and we all share the same aesthetic.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


I've been getting a lot of people asking how they can become a make up artist / what course I did etc..
So instead of answering these questions over and over I'm gonna write some little lists and facts.

Going back to the start, I started doing make up when I was a child, basically.
One of the first presents I asked off Santa was a make up kit, and was devastated when I woke upto a plastic make up kit under the tree! True story.
I started studying make up when I was about 14. I still have really dodgy 90's make up books in my room that I bought when I was younger. I used to study them back to front.. which honestly taught me everything I know now, and I started doing other people's make up back then.
When I left school I didn't persue make up as there was no career options in make up back then so I studied art and design for 5 years and then did my make up course. Some people in my graphic design course were so passionate about design, they spent all their time practising it and ate breathed and lived design. I LOVED my course but felt that I was as passionate as them about make up, not design and knew that make up was what I was meant to do.

I started a make up course in October, finished in Feb.
It taught me sweet fuck actually, it taught me nothing (except how to avoid infecting people!!!) I started working on photoshoots whilst I was doing the course and learned more that way.

So. Here's some guidelines to know if this is the career for you.

Do you feel that you aren't fantastic at make up, but that a make up course will teach you make up?

Then it's not the course for you. Courses teach application, professionalism, how to use materials, it does not teach you creativity, passion, talent. You have to be born with it.
If you can't put make up on your own face, why would people pay you to put it on their face?
Think about it.
If a person that can't draw decides to do an art course to teach them how to draw and comes out after a year of studying art ..... would they call themselves professional artists?
An artist is born an artist, courses will certainly teach them how to expand their skills, but it's something you're born with, not something you can create.

Are you an artist / are you good at drawing/painting/sculpting/design ?

If you are, then its just about looking at make up as your materials and the face as a blank canvas and using your creativity and I think that if you're a good artist you can become a great make up artist.
I find mua harder than art because in art the canvas doesn't move!
If you can't draw/paint/ aren't creative then you're gonna have a hard time, I think anyway.
Look at body painting/face painting. Its still art, just with different materials.

Do you people compliment your own make up and ask you to do their make up constantly?

Then you definitely should persue a career.

Are you extremely passionate about make up and a total make up nerd and secretly spend hours on end practising it?

Then go for it!

Do you want to become a make up artist because it seems like a cool, glamorous and easy career?

Lady, step awaaaaaay from the make up before I stab you in the eye with tweezers!!!

I certainly do not know everything about make still learning, I need a lot of practise still, but I've just had so many people ask me these questions, I felt they needed to be answered.
I think too many people think this career is easy & that it's glamorous.
At the end of the day, it isn't about how many make up qualifications you have, it's about the looks you create for your portfolio.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Thursday, April 29, 2010

MAC Massacre

As a make up artist, I'm constantly building up a collection for my kit, so whenever I can I splurge on make up! I used only purchase high end make up and believed that anything less just was not worth putting near your some extent I still believe that, but after discovering a few cheaper products that have all the quality of brands such as MAC, but without the price tag, I've changed my mind.

I used to be a MAC obsessive, I thought the brand could do no wrong, but after having brief experience in the cosmetics manufacturing industry I've came to believe that MAC products are average and over hyped, it's my belief that the success of that make up line is down to it's clever use of advertising. MAC pay a lot of celebs to advertise their product like Fergie etc

I also bought a MAC lipgloss recently and find it not good at all.
The tub is tiny and it comes off after a few mintes and I paid something like €17. 50 for it.
Personally I have never used their foundations, so I cant really comment on them, but I have used them on other people.
The face & body foundation is 80% water, so you're basically paying for a bottle of ballygowan, and some of their other foundations are really runny. But, I haven't used it myself so I cant really comment. Some of their products are good, but I can probably find a cheaper alternative.

So I'm going to write about products that everyone can afford that has the quality of over priced products such as MAC, Armani etc etc.

The foundation I have sworn by for years is Georgio Armani Luminous Silk.

(It's specifically for dry/normal skin, I wouldn't recommend it for oily skin at all)
This foundation gives a dewy glow to the skin and you can layer it on without it looking too heavy and it makes your skin look really natural and every moviestar and film star swears by it.
The pricetag, however is €41 here in Ireland (i think its about $60 in the US).
The bottle lasts about 4 months, and the product itself will last on the skin for 12 hours or longer.

But, i've found an alternative foundation that does everything the Armani does. It leaves the skin very dewy, gives it a glow and you can also build up coverage by layering it without it looking too ckaed on or heavy, and comes in at a very affordable €11.99 and that product is Maybelline's dream Satin liquid:

I discovered in one day in my local Superdrug when I spotted it reduced to €4 on the shelf because it was missing a lid and bought it for my kit, but as soon as I tried it on myself I was hooked and straight away swapped it instead of my my usual Armani.
However the downside of this product is that it doesn't last as long on the face as the Armani, but I would definitely recommend it for those who have dry/normal skin and want the same glow as the Armani gives you.

Next up is eyeshadows. I've been collecting MAC eyeshadows for years since I was a kid and at this stage I've used up most of them. The colours I still have are the ones I wouldnt use very often like bright pinks and bright blues. The last eyeshadow I bought from them was a pink shade called 'Sweet Lust' and like a lot of other MAC shadows, I found i had to put quite a lot of layers of it on to be able to even see it, I thought it was quite frankly rubbish quality which put me off their eyeshadows for good.
Last week I came across a brightly coloured eyeshadow palette a friend had, I asked to see it to try out the colours and as I tried them on my hand I was amazed! The colours very very highly pigmented and vivid, I needed to buy this palette right away.. I asked her where it was from, thinking it was something expensive like Smashbox or Make up Forever and she replied "Oh it was like €12 from Claire's accessories" So I went in and bought the palette and went home and started experimenting with them. Every single colour is without a doubt MAC quality. The turqoise was the exact same as MAC's Aquadisiac that I own. The MAC on cost me €14 alone, I put the MAC one on one lid and the Claires one on the other and honestly, I could not tell the difference. The MAC one lasted a little longer but nothing that was noticable.

MAC's Aquadisiac:

Claire's accessories palette (its not the exact one that I bought)but the aqua shade in it looks familiar)

Every single shade in the palette is gorgeous, highly pigmented (so much so that you wouldn't even need a primer) and I'm certainly swapping Claires for MAC. However I've tried other Claires eyeshadows and some are rubbish, I think it's hit and miss really, Ill try get a picture of the one palette I bought up.
Another palette worth SERIOUSLY investing in is the Coastal Scents 88 palette.
Its €20 for 88 vibrant shades that in my own opinion are certainly miles better than MAC. and the range of colours are amazing !

here's a rainbow look I did using this palette: (sorry its a bit big & excuse the horrific brows :P)

The next thing I'm going to talk about is fake eyelashes.
I have absolutely no idea why people would dream of paying €15 or more for eyelashes,
maybe if they were huge dramatic eyelashes then they would be worth it, but for plain ones?
Here are some lashes I also swear by:
(However I would use decent glue like DUO glue, as the glue that comes with cheap lashes is generally rubbish.)
Essence eyelashes, I think they're about €2 maybe €3 at the most and are available from most pharmacies:

They're full thick lashes and are re usable upto 10 times (once you take them off put them back in the packet so they keep their shape, also when you go to re use them you can peel off the old glue on them to make them look fresh and new)

More lashes I would recommend are these ones off Ebay:

You get a box of 10 pairs for €1.50 from Japan (with free postage and packaging).
Most cosmetic companies will buy these in bulk, put their own branding and packaging on them and sell them for at least €10 per pair, believe me, I have seen make up companies do it, I was the slave packaging them all!)

Another thing make up companies do is buy brushes in bulk and put their own stamp on them then charge us a fortune..especially Crown brushes. Ive spent €100 on a brush set before, only to realise a few weeks later that the exact brush set was from Crown and without the companies stamp would have only cost me half of that..and i bought the brush kit when it was reduced from €200 !! Personally, I don't even like the brushes I bought, I like some of the larger face brushes like the buffer brush and powder brush but the eyeshadow brushes are a joke, I never use them.
One thing I do swear by is MAC brushes, without a doubt the best investement you'll ever make with make up. I can't actually do eyeshadow without the 217 fluffy brush, no other brush compares. So if you're going to splurge on one thing, make it the 217 brush, I have NO idea how people blend their eyeshadow without it.

If you want to request any look at all, let me know I might start doing make up tutorials :)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

It's been a while..

I forgot I even had this thing so I think I'll bring it back to life!
So what has changed since I last blogged?
Not very much ...

Well I've been made editor of the magazine I was working on.
Which sounds just fabulous! But believe me when I say it's more The Devil Wears Primark, than The Devil Wears Prada.

It basically just means I have complete control over the magazine, which is DEF a good thing. I've completely revamped the magazine, from tacky to a little more upmarket.
I'm taking a lot of inspiration from high end magazines like Vogue and Elle, tone it down a bit and make the design and typography a lot more sophisticated...before I got my hands on it it looked like a copy of the Argos catalogue!

This issue of Vogue is amazing.. but seriously, no eyebrows? Not even if you're head to toe in Chanel can you pull off the egg look. It's not attractive, and she looks like a corpse!

Talking about egg faced corpses, Im looking for a model as I'm setting up a high fashion photo shoot for my make up portfolio with a photography student who specialises in portraits, I'm so excited...and very nervous as it will be my first high fashion shoot. EVERYTHING I have done is very dark .. I also just set up another photoshoot to do Sylvia Ji type make up ..SO EXCITED!! I'm absolutely in love with Sylvia Ji paintings.

I love the contrast of beauty and death (as in Mexico, people celebrate the dead one day a year they build private altars honoring the deceased, using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed, and visiting graves with these as gifts.)

Hmm, that's enough for now, I'll try update this more!
Not like anyone read it anyway!
I'm heading off to Camden on Sunday YAY! Such a beautiful city.. I might never come home. :)