Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Darphin Intral range review (for sensitive skin) Glossy Box review!

Glossy Box- Darphin, Intral Discovery box. £14.50
I don't shop for the newest & most advanced anti-aging skincare, I never have! I have a far larger issue to address which is sensitivity, that is always the most important factor whether I am going to have any form of reaction to something.
When I do have a reaction it looks like this.......................... like I have been *burnt* there can be extreme redness,  raised bumps/lumps and it *hurts* stings and is sometimes itches.
I have an emergency routine when an irritation occurs- link is below if you want to see the original post.

I do tend to mix up my *basic*/daily routine, I add extra oils & masques in too but this review is about a basic routine from Darphin of 4 products from the Intral range. I saw the Glossy box offering  and as I was travelling it meant these sizes in the kit were perfect to try and I haven't used a regime from 1 brand for a very long time.

Darphin Intral Discovery Set contains:

Ideal for sensitive skin prone to redness and irritation, soothing INTRAL formulas help reduce the appearance of redness, while repairing and strengthening skin's natural barrier.

Set includes: Intral Cleansing Milk with Chamomile (50ml), Intral Toner with Chamomile (50ml), Intral Redness Relief Soothing Serum (5ml), Intral Soothing Cream(15ml).


  • Intral Cleansing Milk with Chamomile - A gentle, rich cream cleanser, it removes make up and leaves skin clean without stripping it. I do a double cleanse at night and remove with a damp flannel- irritation- None
  • Intral Toner with Chamomile- very soothing and feels slightly hydrating, it is very gentle and preps skin for the next step- Irritation- None. 
  • Intral Redness Relief Soothing Serum- This is like an *sos* product to take the *heat out of the skin and reduce redness. I have been using it as an extra step under the soothing cream for a little extra hydration- Irritation- None
  •  Intral Soothing Cream- a rich textured skin that penetrates easily and gives a *matte* finish on the skin, for me it was a *basic* maintenance cream that I have been using day and night. Irritation-None
Everything works very well in synergy with each other. The range contains chamomile and definitely contributes to calming a sensitive skin. I would add in the chamomile oil from Darphin for extra nourishment as my skin still felt in the recent harsh weather that it needed a little extra moisture. The 1st thing I would purchase full size is the toner, it really was a gorgeous/hydrating formulation that left my skin refreshed/prepped & smoothed.

The Glossy box was £14.50 but the Discovery kit is still for sale but retails at: £29.00

Monday, 25 March 2013

No-nonsense advice- regarding make up hoarding!

A *Hoard* of make up.
Image from:

I love teaching, by nature I am a bossy boots but also have patience. Teaching is something I find so rewarding and I love *teaching* people about make up whether it is a class interested in becoming make up artists/somebody interested in expanding their skill set or even private make up lessons where I teach someone about how to create a  make up look for themselves.

I see women who have so much make up they have bought sooooooooo much but use a fraction of what they have, it could be: habitually they are in a rut, they have bought things they don't know how to use, they have tried something at home and it just did not work, they don't know where to start, the colours are wrong, and they literally have *hoards* of make up that they don't use.

These are the common mistakes I see:

  • Impulse buys
  • Wrong shades of base/foundation
  • Wrong textures not suitable for skin type
  • Products kept for too long (need to be thrown)
  • Brushes/tools are not great quality
  • Make up/brushes kept in an insanitary condition
  • Not actually being able to discern: Skin tone/skin type.
  • Too much choice out there so just sticking to a formula and always buying the same thing.
  • Needing to overhaul skincare as the skin texture/type has changed
  • Buying something because it looks great on someone else
  • Repeat purchasing because it has always been used but there might be something more current.
  • Gift with purchase- aah the temptation.
  • Out of stock of the thing you really want and god forbid you can't leave with *nothing*
  • Feeling coerced into buying by the staff
  • Not knowing how to actually use the product.

Every 6 months: edit your make up/skincare, if it is not right give it away (if it is too old bin it) if it is still *usable but not for you then think about giving it away.


  • Invest in key items: Skin/base/tools these are your basics and the better your base is it elevates the look of the rest of the make up so you if your budget doesn't allow for the high, high end then a dupe that fits your budget can be found
  • Go and try and if you are not 100% sure, don't buy, get a sample if you can, if not test it on your skin and *live* with it for a while if after a couple of hours you still *love it* think about buying it, don't buy something thinking aah it doesn't matter I can take it back!
  • Don't test foundation on the back of your hand (other than for texture) test on the jawline and don't be afraid to go to daylight with a mirror.
  • Test somewhere with great hygiene practise and disposable/hygienic  items like: cotton buds, spatulas tissues, hand sanitiser, clean brushes, alcohol to rub something down before use eg: Lipstick.
  • Don't be afraid to go back and have a product explained in detail again.
  • If you feel something just isn't *performing* properly just check that you are using it correctly so that you get the best out of your make up.
If you feel at a bit adrift and need some sterling advice for skin/make up book in for mini facial/skin assessment with a brand that you love (always great if the cost is redeemable against purchases). Book in for a makeover with a make up brand that you would like to find out more about/understand fully or somewhere like Space NK where the artist will pick and choose across the ranges. Or take a friend shopping who has make up you love and has similar colouring.

Or if your budget allows book in for a masterclass with a make up artist for brilliant/impartial advice with top tips & tricks.

Go on......have a spring clean you will be amazed at what you really should rid your make up bag of.
If you want to pass make up on to a very worthy home (if it is still in decent condition eg- you would give it to a friend) think about passing things onto Give and Make up.    very worthwhile cause and the things that you never use might just be perfect for someone else.

Friday, 22 March 2013

My favourite False lashes of all time Mac#20 & Ardell Individual.

I am not a fan of HUGE false eye lashes that are too heavy and obvious. I like false lashes to work with the natural shape of the eye *open* the eye up and create a little extra drama without looking too obvious or detracting!

My all time favourite false lash is:
Mac 20
MAC #20 Lashes £10.00
They are amazing, tapered so that they follow the natural *sweep* of the eye and they are part lashes so they don't cover the whole lash line, they never need to be cut down to size, they just enhance your natural lashes perfectly and create a sexy feline look.

My Other favourites are:
Ardell Duralash Flare Individual
Ardell Duralash Flare individuals Around £5
These individual lashes come in: Short, Medium & Long. They are *flared* so they fan out sightly and create *volume* in between your own lashes. As they come in different lengths you can create a very natural effect with short on the inner corner, medium/and or long just on the outer corner where your lashes are longest. These are perfect for a subtle look and a delicate bridal look.

Duo Adhesive is the best  quality glue and dries completely clear around £10.00
A bridal look using 3 individual lashes in Medium applied to the outer corner  of the eye.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Hope *Springs* Eternal favourite Spring Pixi palette!

Spring Magnolia- Central Park
That's it, I am oficially sick of waiting........there have been so many false starts and I just want to talk *Spring*! I was born in May and Spring has always been my favourite time of year and this year I am craving Spring. I swear I won't complain if we have a hum dinger of a sticky hot summer , a blue sky and just a warm breeze would work for me right now :)

A pared down delicate look with a soft hint of pink
Photographer: Tim Wheeler Hair & Make up me.
Pixi Soft Focus Fresh £24.00
This is a palette that is so wearable with 12 shadows in a mixture of textures, 2 highlighters, 4 blushers  and 4 very muted shades for lips all of the colours blend beautifully and create a *fresh* look which is exactly what I needed today but it would be very easy to turn it up a notch.

Creating a very natural look from the kit today.
I used the mid brown across the lid as a colour was, a touch of the white on the inner corner to open the eyes. The darkest brown close to the lash line as a soft liner, the soft baby pink blusher and the tea rose on the lips. I love this look and feel it gives the perfect  soft *spring* look. I also used a little bronzer just to give a little warmth.
* Pixi palette and bronzer were press samples given to me to use specifically for my kit.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Railway Children in association with Mumsnet & Aviva- trip to 10 Downing Street.

Yesterday one of the most surreal experiences of my life happened. I met & spoke to Samantha Cameron at an event at 10 Downing Street. I did not have my kit, I was not there in the capacity of a make up artist I was there as a supporter of the amazing charity Railway Children in partnership with Mumsnet.
We were a group of people visiting 10 Downing street to raise awareness for the charity Railway Children. The group included: representatives from the charity itself, Aviva, Barnardo's, people from the *in the field groups*: Safe@Last, New Horizons, Streetwork, Miss U, Aberlour Young runaways, Some Mumsnet Towers staff and about 9 people selected by Mumsnet to participate (of which I was one).

I make no bones about my personal political allegiance lets just say it co-insides with my favourite shade of lipstick (red) but this was not the time to voice my political views, it was a brilliant opportunity for the Railway Children to be acknowledged and also the in the field workers be recognised for the brilliant job they do.  Me......a chance to hop on a soap box for something that I feel so passionately about- to make a difference even in a small way!

The heartbreaking statistic in the UK is: A child runs away every 5 minutes.....imagine that! By the time you have taken to make and drink a cup of tea/coffee a child has run away. The reasons for running away are many including/but not just: abuse at home, mental health issues, bullying at school, craving attention and a cry for help and can be very complex and not restricted to one social group it is across all social groups and it can be any child which is why this campaign is so critical and essential. Railway Children are an organisation that support these children and they do not judge. Once on the street and effectively *homeless* they are incredibly vulnerable and can descend into a stark living nightmare.

It was inspiring hearing Andrew- from Railway Children speak so much from the heart from his own experiences on the street, Carrie from Mumsnet about the involvement of Mumsnet with Railway Children and the incredible success this partnership has brought already and yes the person  from Aviva :), (Aviva) support Railway Children financially and raise awareness.

I would like to give a special mention to Safe@Last based in Sheffield they have been running for 13 years. What an absolutely wonderful group of selfless & altruistic people that dedicate themselves to their work providing support/wraparound care.

Aah The Eye.
At the presentation before we headed to 10 Downing Street.
Carrie from Mumsnet 
The view from inside the gates.
More security.
Blurry shot of us entering #10 on a red carpet no-less!

Please help in anyway that you can! I have put at the bottom of the post links to further information: Railway Children is an International charity, so please support even if you are not in the UK.

Obligatory shot *after* on the steps of #10.
Where does your money go in the UK?

£1 could buy a warm drink for a vulnerable child on the streets 

£5 could buy a warm meal for a young person staying in a refuge

£10 could fund resources for 30 young people at a runaway prevention workshop

£25 could help keep one of our workers on the streets, seeking out children who may be at risk

£50 could pay for 1:1 support sessions to help a child work through their issues

Twitter: @RailwayChildren #runningaway

* No cameras were allowed in No 10 itself.

Ecru Acacia Protein oil- review!

Over time I have been doing a lot more *hair * on shoots as well as make up, so I am always on the hunt for amazing products to add to my kit. Here is a range that might just be of interest and a *hero product* that has gone into my kit.

Ecru New York- Acacia Protein Oil- 50ml $30
Ecru is a pro performance line that uses gorgeous ingredients and in my opinion is almost like a hybrid between Phyto and  Bumble & Bumble - combining session worthy formulations with amazing botanical ingredients.

I use this before heat styling as it is a beautiful light texture, it smoothes and de-frizzes whilst protecting the hair from heat damage. It leaves hair very *soft* and with movement. I don't like anything that is too heavy and looks like *product* and this is just perfect.

Oil before heat styling, gives the hair a beautiful *texture*.
 Photographer: Andrea Vecchiato. Hair & Make up: Me

Shea Terra more skincare amazingness........

I have tried a lot of the Shea Terra range now and I am a huge fan! It unfortunately is not widely available in the UK but it is on ebay and you can order it from the US website or buy in the US. I have posted about my love for this brand previously the clay masque and the Dark chocolate scrub. I was introduced to this range by a friend in New York (my friends abroad are always introducing me to new brands which I am always thankful for) it keeps me in the loop with beauty/skincare outside of the UK and on a personal level introduces me to some amazing ingredients and ranges. I love a quirky brand and everything I have tried from Shea Terra is very *different* the formulations are so pure and there are no additives, there are lots of things that are powdered that you have to mix with water like a *traditional* form of skincare, it is fair trade and each product is like a *hero product* in its own right, I do find it a very pure range and so far I have not had a sensitivity to anything I have tried BUT I don't leave products on for the full recommended time, I leave for a third and build up to half and then the full time (but that's just me).
Boabab & Coconut Water Smoothing enzyme masque $28.00

What they say:
Reveal radiantly smooth skin as you vita-infuse with two of Africa’s super-fruits. Wild harvested from ancient “upside-down” trees, baobab fruit contains vitamin rich enzymes that effectively break down dead skin. Young coconuts produce a nutrient water rich in electrolytes and natural sugars that makes skin glow.
Ingredients: Contains only: wild harvested baobab fruit (adansonia digitata), coconut water (cocos nucifera)

My review: 
Now, I tried this because I have been drinking electrolytes for a long time (in emergen C/vitamin drinks) and also in coconut water too. Electrolytes rehydrate the body and I was interested to use an electolyte rich product topically.  Now the Shea Terra website and text on the Shea Terra products  are wonderfully low key and don't wax too lyrical about the ingredients, so I have done a little more research into the Boabab tree and in Africa it is referred to as: The Tree of Life. The fruit from the tree has three times as much vitamin C as an orange, 50 per cent more calcium than spinach and is a very rich source of anti-oxidants. 
So what does this mean for the skin? You mix it into a liquid  by adding water (I add filtered water) don't get excited as it is just from the Britax filter not  filtered through volcanic rocks in Fiji :) and I have left it on for up to10 minutes (next time it will be the full 15 mins). My skin looks: smooth, soft and re-hydrated and just very, very healthy and absolutely no irritation after use at all.

All in all a gorgeous little find, I genuinely love this range and will be purchasing more when I go back to the US soon!!!

Monday, 18 March 2013

A little pot of extreme moisture...Sisley Nutritive Lip balm.

Sisley Nutritive Lip balm 9g around: £41.00
A rich/intense texture.
What they say:
With its exceptional repairing benefits, Nutritive Lip Balm is a true emergency treatment for cracked, dry and chapped lips.
The Nutritive Lip Balm formula is rich in soothing, emollient and protective lipids which provide lips with moisture and protection. The melting texture is naturally coloured by its own ingredients and leaves the lips feeling comfortable and supple.
A combination of oils (hazelnut, plum kernel, sunflower), shea butter and kokum butter.
Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Dipentaerythrityl Hexahydroxystearate / Hexastearate / Hexarosinate, Butyrospernum Parkii (Shea Butter), Silica, Beeswax / Cire D'Abeille (Cera Alba), Garcina Indica Seed Butter, Triisostearin PEG-6 Esters, Corylus Americana (Hazel) Seed Oil, VP/Hexadecene Copolymer, Prunus Domestica Seed Extract, Propylparaben, Hydrogenated Soybean (Glycine Soja) Oil, Tocopherol, BHT.

Why I rate it:
No fragrance, no mineral oil it is not greasy but relatively *solid* and melts, it is very moisturising and I personally use it for MANY things in an emergency as well as a very nourishing lip balm obvs:

  • Lip Balm- very healing and ultra nourishing even for *problem* dry/cracked lips.
  • Mixed with a little sugar to create a very gentle lip exfoliator
  • A base for lip gloss, because it has a waxy kind of texture it gives the lip gloss something to adhere to
  • A clear wax for brows ( tiny amount on the back of your hand brushed through the brows with an agled brow brush
  • To seperate lashes, use a tiny amount on a clean mascara wand and just zig zag through the lashes for a little extra definition but pigment- free
  • Dry skin salve and dry/very red skin, just a tiny amount to add some extra moisture
  • Ok weirdest yet but so effective- a tiny amount rubbed between the finger tips and used to smooth fly-away ends/a little frizzy hair action.
I find a little goes a very long way, not exactly *in-expensive* but 100% multi-purpose.

Shellac Manicure. review & removal.

At the amazing salon Glamr I had a CND Shellac manicure (my 2nd) but my 1st at this salon. I am pretty diabolical when it comes to nails, I tend to keep them short & neat and normally either nude, black or some muted colour. I am one of those annoying people that would like a manicure to last yet washes their hands many times a day and essentially works with their hands so realistically if a manicure isn't on it's way out by day 3 it is doing pretty well. I have had a Shellac manicure before and it lasted about a week before it started to lift & peel.
I chose the shade *Wildfire* which is a beautiful fire engine red. It was so shiny (I feel like the little girl from Despicable Me- but for her it was *fluffy*),I loved the effect of the gel as it was beautifully applied and just looked so meticulous! The manicure from Glamr lasted 3 weeks which is literally a miracle!
If you are fastidious with looking after your nails please avert your eyes........
I was very good and resisted the temptation of peeling it off and actually removed it myself with the correct steps. I know, I know! The Shellac manicure I peeled off my nails (probably took many layers of nail with it) like a nail onion yuk!

Shade chosen: Wildfire on day of manicure.
3 weeks later. Nails had grown but no chipping.
As the nails were just starting to chip/peel, I decided to remove them correctly. I was in Toronto and did not have time to find a salon that could remove them so I headed to the veritable cornucopia that is the drugstore: Shoppers Drug Mart which sells from the high end to the low brow and their own range called *Quo*.

I bought an acetone based remover developed by Orly, the plastic pockets that you pop onto the finger tips (with sponge, the remover soaks into the sponge and it means that you can keep the remove on the nail for the required 10 minutes). After 10 minutes the shellac peeled away easily so I used some of the balance me oil to put some moisture back into the nail and cuticle.
The acetone remover, the pockets with sponge you pop your fingers into, I used a pronged nail implement to take off the sheet of shellac and then rubbed a Balance me oil into the nail and cuticles afterwards. The remover, pockets and implement came to about $8 Canadian Dollars- but the trick is an acetone remover and allowing the acetone to remain in contact with the nails for around 10 mins.

Note: In an ideal scenario  it would be definitely advisable to go to a salon to remove the shellac but it is great to know that in an emergency there are alternative ways to removing opposed to peeling off (don't do it).

How we see ourselves and what other people see.

I remember having a chat with a female friend about 10 years ago and it was about *our best feature*, I have always thought that my eyes were my best features a slightly unusual colour quite big and kind looking, she was adamant it was my hair...............hmmmmmm! Wasn't sure that I agreed, it is sometimes funny what other people's perceptions are!  I did not *care* per-se but it did made me think. I have been going through some old pictures and I found this one from 10 years ago. What a doof! Albeit a doof with shiny hair :)

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Good to Glow... top picks of skin brighteners.

Looks like Spring is still proving to be elusive (for now), all of the changes in the weather literally play havoc with the skin and your complexion can end up dehydrated and duller than dishwater. So what do you do??? Not a rhetorical question, I will tell you what I do, roll the sleeves up and start a regime to get the glow back and here are my top picks. Let's get all Johnny Lydon and stick 2 fingers up at this endless winter and totally get that glow back!

No make up make up look I created with a glowing skin.
Base: Pixi Illuminate tint & conceal #2.

The above look was created using this product. Pixi Illuminate Tint & Conceal:£21.50- 4 shades

Best All-in one: I use this tinted moisturiser frequently when I want to create skin with a lustre, it reflects the light, is packed with humectants so skin feels *plump* and hydrated. The effect is quite dewy but another thing I love is the full coverage concealer in the lid for the areas that need a little extra *help*.

Mac Strobe Liquid Lotion 1 shade £22.50
Best to use with your existing favourite base: This gives a very subtle glow, you can use it as a primer, mixed in with your foundation/tinted moisturiser or even neat after applying your base, it blends easily and gives a very delicate finish.

Sophyto Brightening treatment £19.50

Best *miracle glow* skincare fix: This is a liquid that you can leave on the skin for up to 5 minutes (I leave for around 2), you can be quite prescriptive and use it whenever you feel that your skin needs an amazing brightening boost. It contains organic desert lily aloe and emerald green micro-algae and really makes the skin look fresher & brighter in a couple of minutes.

Dr Bragi Marine Enzyme Mask £10.00
Best hydrator that restores a glow: This is a 15 minute single application mask and is fantastic for dehydrated as well as lacklustre skin. It is a fabric mask with enough liquid to be able to use on the neck, the decolletage and even on the back of the hands. A great *prepping* mask or evening skin treat as the skin feels so moisturised and hydrated.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Male grooming....Make up Forever Concealer compact.

Malachi Kirby.
I put a lot of work into the skin when I am working on Men, it is not about *colour* it is always about perfecting the skin and some very subtle contouring.

I wanted the skin to look flawless but still *real* with a beautiful glow.

I cleansed, toned, used 2 drops of a facial oil, some primer and used the Make up forever concealer palette in No5 with the Laura Mercier Secret camouflage brush for precision application, blended the products out (using more like a stick foundation than just a concealer) and then contoured with the deepest shade in the MUFE concealer palette for a beautiful *sharp* bone structure..

Make up Forever concealer Palette No 5.
Laura Mercier secret camouflage brush.
Photograher: Andrea Vecchiato
Malachi Kirby