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Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Bourjois's Black and White Drama

My art teacher often used to talk about shade and light, how the precise control of it is essential to make the painting or etching sing by adding atmosphere. The theory of light and shade also carries through to make-up, and as in art, all shadows are not created equal. A colour washed eye of a solo shade works well, but a contrast of shadows can really add drama.

Bourjois are encouraging the inner artist in all of us with their Black & Light contrasting collection. The stars are their two eye shadows:  Light 01 and 10 Noir Fusain. Here their creative make-up artist, Cassie Lomas explains how to pull of the look without looking like a panda caught in the headlights!

  • Draw a graphic line along the base of the lashes and in the socket using
    the black end of the Kohl & Contour Shadow and Light Pencil. Smudge in using a contour blending brush.
  •  Apply a light coat of 10 Noir Fusain over the kohl to set for ultimate hold.
  • For a subtle finish, pat into lids with ring finger to soften all
     the edges into a blur.
  • Apply Light 01 all over the lower lid where there is no black. For a light wash, use a soft brush, or for a heavier layer use a stiff brush. Feather the colours together by blending over the eyes with a clean blending brush.
  • The light eyeshadow will soften the black when blended over. If you want
    to increase the intensity of the black, apply a second coat once you have
    merged the lines of the two colours.
  • For a wide eyed look,  use the light end of the kohl pencil and  layer into the
    inner rim. This creamy tone is softer and more wearable than white
  • Finish the eyes off with a slick of very black volumising masara.

Light 01, Noir Fusain are £6.99 each. Kohl & Contour Shadow & Light Pencil, £5.49 are all available in February 2012.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Scented Little Star

Just had to share this angelic tree decoration from Aromatherapy Associates. Hang next to the mirrorballs, and once the fizz has gone from the champagne, the mistletoe has been taken down and 2012 has been rung in, you can look forward to the luxurious soak the mini Deep Relax Bath & Shower Oil will bring. Well worth the wait, I’d say!

Aromatherapy Associates Little Star, £10

Friday, 9 December 2011

Tin-sel Temptations

I love pretty tins and I’ve noticed there are quite a few around in time for Christmas. So, I’ve selected two brands which I think would make great stocking stuffers!

First up is Yardley. With vintage in vogue, everything your granny loved is back on the scene, with Yardley being one of them. And their adorable Soap in a Tin makes for great stocking thrillers. You can literally smell them coming – be warned, the scent is quite strong, but you certainly have an ‘aaah’ moment when you unwrap them. I love the fact the fragrances are very traditional too: English Lavender, Lily Of The Valley, English Rose and April Violets all sit nicely in colour complemented tins. Great for sofa surfing, the tins have a waterproof liner, making them perfect for packing when staying round friends and family. And once the suds are gone, the tin makes for a nice trinket holder.

Yardley London Soap in a Tin cost £4.99 each.
Available from Boots, Lloyds and independent chemists.
Stockists: 01753 753 420

Yes, you’ve no doubt heard about STEAMCREAM, I’ve blogged about it before, but I just had to showcase one of their limited Christmas tin designs as it’s gorgeous. This one is designed by Japanese poet and textile designer. Mako Kikkawa’s featuring her character Mathilde. With an ice blue sky dusted with soft snowflakes, it’s enough to make you feel as fuzzy and festive just looking at it.


Monday, 5 December 2011

Treats get Naked!

I don’t know about you, but when I’m shop snooping for sparkly girlfriend treats, I’m always put off by gift sets. Packaging can really work a product when it’s all boxed up, beribboned and fancy, but when product is surrounded by plastic, it makes them look, ahem, cheap! But this year I’ve decided to look beyond the packaging and take note of the actual products.

I’ve taken a selection of goodies available in Boots this Christmas, which not only makes for easy shopping, but competitive pricing too. And as you can see from my snaps, the products look infinitely more tempting away from the packaging. So, my small Santa suggestion would be to discard the plastic altogether if you don’t like, and wrap products up individually in tissue paper and ribbon to spread a little luxury.

Hello Kitty Eye Smoky Eye Kit, £12
How cutesome is this for a teen sister or work friend? Two of London’s funky brands collide – Hello Kitty meet Liberty Art Fabrics, where the dinky, decorated cardboard pots include three classic shades to create a bewitching smoky eye, all of which can be professionally applied with the double ended applicator.

Compact Mirror, £8
This just goes to illustrate my point how much better this compact looks away from the packaging. It has a definite vintage feel and is just the retro handbag accessory to keep you looking touched-up and gorgeous on-the-go.

No7 The Nail Collection, £10
No7 have a couple of polish sets this season, this one is called Beneath the Evening Stars Mini Nail Set. I like No7’s polishes anyway, they cover well and dry quick, so to get four in a set is a real bonus. Plus, there’s not one duff colour! All the shades are completely on-message, and Glitterball (the silver sparkly one) looks great when applied over any of the other three colours. And at that penny pinching price, they only work out £2.50 each. What’s not to love?

Gifts available from Boots nationwide and

Friday, 2 December 2011

Jane Bradley's Beauty Rules


Make-up artist Jane Bradley has spent her career making women of all ages look beautiful. A hot favourite with beauty editors, top photographers and celebrities alike, she is not only one of the loveliest make-up artists I’ve worked with, but one of the most creative too. Here she reveals her secrets and favourite products.

DM: What are the top three classic make-up mistakes women make?
JB: Choosing the wrong shade and type of foundation, along with applying too much. Heavy application will only accentuate fine lines and wrinkles on mature skin. I see over-plucked eyebrows all the time. This is not only dated, but makes you look quite hard too. Drawn in eyebrows can look great on the catwalk, but not in real life! Blusher applied in the wrong place is also a make-up trip-up. It should be used to imitate a healthy, natural flush, but I often see it swept high up on cheekbones and creeping off into the hairline. You would never naturally blush here. Apply onto the apples of your cheeks and blend out, while highlighter should be used above and contouring powder below.   

DM: Which celebrity do you enjoying dusting with the powder brush and why?
JB: I love making up Leona Lewis. I’ve been doing her so long I could almost do her blindfolded! She’s very beautiful and has fabulous skin. We always have fun too. Patsy Kensit for the very same reasons, and recently I’ve been working with Naomie Harris – the new Bond girl who is just divine. I get to use all my deeper shades on her dark skin tone and adopt different techniques because of it. The rules change a little with darker skin tones which gives me a change to experiment more. Naomie is exciting to work with as she loves to mix up her look and is quite the chameleon so it never gets boring. We can go from soft and natural to super glam, and it all looks great on her.

DM: How can well applied make-up rock your look?
JB: It will make you look prettier, younger and fresher. It can give the illusion of clearer and brighter skin, along with changing the look of your eyes, lips and face shape. It will make you look like you’ve had a good night’s sleep, even if you’re shattered! It will build inner confidence and help you literally ‘face the world’. It will help people see you differently too.

DM: The million dollar make-up question: what key product wouldn’t you be without
JB: Liz Earle Sheer Skin Tint for a natural radiant glow, or for more coverage Armani Luminous Silk Foundation. I have Bobbi Brown Long Wear Cream Eye Shadow in almost every shade in my kit which I either use alone or as a base for powder shadows to help boost adhesion, colour intensity and ensure crease free wear. Bellini is an all round fantastic shade but for something slightly more shimmery and darker I adore the metallic Antique Gold which looks especially beautiful on darker skins. Bobbi Brown Long Wear Gel Eye Liner hard is hard to beat, so I always have one to hand. I think MAC do a brilliant range of lipsticks in every shade and texture but one of my absolute all time favourites is a vibrant matte red called Ruby Woo which suits just about everyone.

I've been working with the Puppini Sisters (a retro vocal trio) for years now and they always ask for a red lip….and it's always Ruby Woo. They love it so much they called their second album 'The Rise and Fall of Ruby Woo' which I thought was pretty genius!  I must mention Daniel Sandler's Watercolour blushers now which are, quite simply, fantastic. Last but not least it has to be mascara; my desert island must have. I've tried many many different makes and types but always keep returning to the same few which are: Max Factor Masterpiece Max and also the Masterpiece Waterproof – neither flake, clump or smudge and both have a great brush ensuring even coverage while giving long seperated wonderful lashes.

DM: What's your all time favourite make-up trick?
JB: It's hard to choose an 'all time favourite make-up trick' really because so many little things can have such a great effect. For instance, curling lashes before applying mascara makes a huge difference as does plucking the eyebrows into a great shape. Adding a little flesh tone pencil or illuminator along the upper lip line really does give the illusion of a fuller lip and a flesh tone pencil on the inner eye rim gives instant brightness to the eyes.

DM: Have you ever thought about turning yourself into a brand?
JB: I've often thought how great it'd be to have my own line. I could cherry pick my favourite pieces from all the different brands, reproduce them with my own tweaks into a perfect complete range where every single element was amazing. However, I have recently learned the complexities and cost of such a venture and have really had my eyes opened. I accepted the role of Brand Ambassador for Liz Earle Colour last year which I'm incredibly excited about; it's such an amazing opportunity for me to learn about creating a cosmetics line from the ground up with a brand who has such a strong heritage, a vast and ever growing loyal customer base, and who hold environmental and anti-animal testing values close to heart. As Brand Ambassador I'm not only there to present the brand to the public and teach them how to use it, but I'm also involved with product development enabling me to share my knowledge and expertise to help produce a range to equal the high quality and performance of their skin care.

DM: Whose make-up style do you think really pops?
JB: I think J-Lo's make up is always absolutely beautiful; she experiments with her looks constantly without ever departing from who she is. She's no Lady Gaga; she's more traditional but still looks modern, radiant and always drop dead gorgeous. I do however love more avant garde make-up too, and love to see women play with colour and textures – sticking lace or rhinestones on the face or using two or three sets of lashes at a time, etc. I really admire the work of Alex Box (founder of Illamasqua) who is more of a fine artist than a regular MUA. She's incredibly skilled at creating highly theatrical looks; she's taken make-up to another level. 

DM:  In your DVD you say you have a natural flair for make-up, do you think you can be taught it?
JB: I think having a natural flair for make is a must if you want to become a make-up artist. You need to be able to assess different face shapes and skin tones to work out what will suit each individual the best. However, I think you can easily learn how to become your own best make-up artist because you only have one face to learn! I always tell people to have a good old play with make-up and not to be afraid of making mistakes; it's not like you're getting a tattoo and get stuck with it forever – you can wash it off and start again.

Jane’s DVD Lips to Lashes is £19.99 and available from