Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Fashion Week Backstage Essentials.

Hi everyone! Well today is the final day of this season's London Fashion Week, SS15. You probably would have caught some essence of it, either by being in London and not being able to avoid the try-hard fashionista hub around the infamous key showspace that is Somerset House or just general social media hype with fashion blogger craziness, tweets, makeup artist updates, backstage looks etc etc.
I have been lucky enough to work on shows now for gulp maybe 14 seasons, assisting makeup designers and working amongst some of the best backstage glam teams. The backstage team (stylists, dressers, makeup artists, hair stylists, nail technicians and of course the gorgeous models) will usually arrive around 3-4hrs before *showtime* to prep up the models with the already-decided looks. 

Aside from all the backstage team, after a couple of hours we will be joined by a huge influx of other fashion peeps ; photographers, journalists, bloggers, blaggers, agencies and AOB. It soon becomes a flurry of noise, shouting, model-searching and it is then a to-ing and fro-ing between the hair, makeup and styling teams for the model until they have their look completed and are runway ready.

 Above: This photo was taken at a show I was working on on Saturday. The model turned up very late from another show and there was about 15 minutes to do her hair, makeup & nails. What a great snap!

Over the years, I have whittled down and tailored my 'fashion week' makeup kit to be as neat, useful, space-saving and as small as possible, and here is what is looked like this season. The wheeniest and best ever.

 Beauty Backstage Essentials
The Case
My smallest one. This is an Antler that has a few zippy compartments and pouches which makes it great for packing all the different components. I have just added my personalised Aspinal luggage tag (Selfridges are personaling EVERYTHAANG this season) as I'm forever scurrying around trying to find what zip opens the actual bag, so this just makes it easier to whizz open and also locate my kit amongst a hoard of other similar looking ones. Some makeup artists will use ZUCA pro's but I find these a little cumbersome to wheel and transport, overpriced, plus it's not often I have a kit that small, so it won't get much use. This small antler case is my least-used case out of the three I have, and it's only really for private clients, occasional bridal and fashion week.
Makeup Stuff
Some shows will be sponsored by a brand, in that case, you will often be given the *Colour* to use so only your basic bases, concealers etc will be needed.  This was the case for me this season, so I literally only packed a basic SKIN bag (foundation, concealers) , a BROW/MASCARA pencil case, a POWDER case, my trusty MAC FAB's and that was it. I try and pack all the different bits together in a sensible order and always into see-through bags of some sort so it's easy to locate and see when you are in a rush. Most of my clear cases are the M&S beauty ones which I buy by the TON and a selection of pencil cases.
This is bare minimal foundations! I have my trusty Estee Lauder Maximum covers (my review here) which I take EVERYWHERE and also a bunch of foundation sticks from Chantecaille and Bobbi Brown as this are great for space-saving, do great shades for darker skintones and double up as foundation & concealer. One kit must-have is the Illamasqua skinbase in white and every makeup artist should have this in their kit. I bumped in another MUA I had worked with on shows before and after recommending this she said it was a 'game-changer' for her. Just super handy to have to blend down the colours of your foundations when you need a really pale shade and also works as a highlighter.
Again, I packed bare minimal concealers : If I was desperate I could double up most of my foundations as concealers, but I like to pack a few specifics just in case. I have my custom-made 'MAC' concealer palette, which is literally an empty MAC palette where I have stuck my favourite Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage & NARS concealers in. This is perfect for shows and is a great alternative to the BBU palette which a load of MUA's have.  I use this a lot of bodies also to cover imperfections. The concealers in the top photo are more undereye and brightners ; favourites are the Bobbi Brown tinted eye brighteners at the moment, along with Laura Mercier Secret Concealers and of course a bunch of YSL Touche Eclats and a few By Terry Touche Experts.
Powders are mainly MAC Mineral Skin Finish, where I have pretty much all shades. Perfect for blotting away shine without that powdery finish.
My favourite brow pencils everrrrr are the OLD Laura Mercier triangular ones. These are discontinued now and don't bother with the new ones as they are rubbish. I usually carry around a couple of fresh mascaras ; one more of a volume on and one which is more minimal lashes and the NYX Fly with me mascara is perfect for au natural lashes.
Pretty much the only body makeup I will use backstage is MAC Face & Body and I can probably vouch for most other makeup artists too. Nothing I have used comes close to this lovely lightweight texture that is quick to apply on the legs and is transfer proof. Once the models are dressed in their first look, their legs, hands and any body bits showing need a going over with some body lotion and then any imperfections, scars, blisters, spots, red knees, red heels, and blotchiness needs to be banished with a dose of MAC FAB and a dot of concealer from my wonder palette.

I try to keep my brushes to a *perfect edit* and usually take around 20 which fit into my favourite brush holder from  Crownbrush. This protects my beauties perfectly in transit and also opens out to two tub-like brush holders. I don't go to any job without this. My makeup brushes are a selection of Hakuhodo (from my IMATS haul), Shu Uemura, Charlotte Tilbury, Crownbrush and Bobbi Brown.

All the bits n' bobs for keeping your makeup application clean and hygienic.
I have this little bundle of beauty accessories and tools including my mini and big Shu Uemura lash curlers (the BEST!), scissors, tweezers, a mirror, my mixing palette, lash glue and other bits & bobs.

Any minature sizes are always handy. I often will decant lotions, sprays and other things into smaller travel sizes if they are too bulky to pack.
This is also a vital section of a makeup kit. I keep all these small bits in a little side pouch and will take out if needed or someone asks for something. A makeup artist always needs to be prepared for any situation! Painkillers, tampons, nappy bags (for rubbish), deodrant, gum, straws (if a look requires a bright lip but the model wants to drink after you've finished the look), and other silly bits that someone backstage might need.
I hope you liked having a look into my fashion week makeup kit. Can you spot any of your favourites here? Until next season.....

Friday, 5 September 2014

Life Update & Ibiza Advice.

I never know how much to share on here and what to keep to myself with regards to my personal life. I have been 'off' from the blog for the last few weeks, and although I have good reason, there is a teeny tiny smidgen 5% of me that is thinking 'SH!T, I am letting people who read my blog down, PRs who send me stuff etc etc' as it is just kind of piling up. Anyway, I have taken a huge chunk of my life/work off over the last 6 months as my mum had terminal cancer and I needed to keep flying home to Jersey to see her/help her and spend time with her. At the same time, trying to keep afloat financially, keeping up this blog and actually having a normal life has not been easy. I flew back 3 weeks ago or thereabouts and was lucky enough to spend the last weeks of my mum's life next to her bedside which I am so grateful for. I'm not dusting this aside, but that's all I think I need to share <3>

Aside from that , I had booked my hen do to Ibiza around 6 months ago for last weekend, and it fell the day after my mum's funeral. I decided to go, as I didn't want to let all my beautiful friends down and also, where else would be a better place to be than surrounded by your oldest and best pals? We had an amazing secluded villa, and so much fun over the weekend. Whilst we went out for dinner on the last night, our villa was completely ransacked by a gang (I'm assuming) of professional thieves. We only left the villa for 2 hours and when we returned it had been turned over. Four out of nine of us had EVERYTHING stolen ; I'm talking my whole suitcase, designer handbags, wallet, all my personal makeup,Tom Ford brushes, skincare, beauty products, perfumes, shoes, trainers (my limited edition super expensive nikes!!!!), all my clothes, my GHD's, my hairdryer.....they even took my iphone charger out of the wall. Not only was this sickening but I felt so sad for all my heartbroken friends around me.....some of them lost more than myself and it was just terrible. 
 My insurance cover up to a certain amount but it won't cover the total amount, plus I had quite a few of my mum's posessions with me which is irreplaceable. The one thing that I want back the most was this small, heart-shaped pebble she had given me over a year ago and I had kept this in my Mulberry wallet...which was obviously stolen. If I could just get this back I think I would be happy as many of the other bits can be re-purchased. It's infuriating that this little precious stone would have just been chucked out somehwere in Ibiza and it will never be seen again. Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa, I wish I could find those awful people. 

Anyway, if you read this and are going to Ibiza, or know girls who are going to Ibiza, and staying in a villa, PLEASE SHOW THEM THIS. It's SO common for groups of girls to be targeted in villas, and my friend who organised this warned us all before we went about villa robberies. The police told us that they will keep watch on hundreds of villas, and these people must have been watching us from the woods that we looked out onto, which is pretty horrifying. They knew the exact time we all vacated the property and it was a small window of oppurtunity that they had. You also have to use ONE 'proper' taxi firm the entire time you are there, rather than using loads of different ones/drivers as these can also be dodgy and they will often report to gangs if they pick you all up for a night out, so they know the villa is empty. We were really careful about this and even when talking in the back of a cab, don't mention you are all together / the villa is empty / anything about keys / or where you are going for the night.I wanted to share this with as many people as possible so other girls don't have to go through this violation. 

*ALSO REMEMBER YOUR HOLIDAY INSURANCE!!!..The girl who lost the most, maybe around £5,000 worth of clothing/jewellry & more had no insurance for her things :-( **

I will be back to normal soon. In the meantime, I have an insurance claim to make and a bloody wedding to sort out!!!

Monday, 18 August 2014


I am having to take a bit or time off from this blogging stuff currently as I'm back home spending time with my family. 

I will be back soon. x Laura x 

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Birchbox Beauty Box | August 2014.

This month's Birchbox see's a continuation of the Summer Theme with all things adventure, travel and holiday. All the products are things that are super-handy for travel and even come in a clear plastic zippy bag (I always find uses for these) and a mini extract of a novel to get you in that true holiday vibe. I think holidays are like the only time of year I get to properly read books ; I feel a bit embarrassed admitting this, but this really is the case. I guess I have no work commitments / blog commitments and I detach myself from social media so it's a perfect excuse to get through a good murder investigation, a trashy novel and maybe some kind of autobiography. It's also a good form of escapism when you are lounging in the sun for countless hours. (don't forget your SPF /Estherderm kids..)

Anyway, back to the Beauty : Here is this month's bunch of bits from Birchbox* and as always there is a few I know and some brands & products that are completely new to me.
Liason De Parfum | Eau de parfum
This is a little mini sample of this somewhat pricey perfume. I have 'Resist Me' which is actually something I would wear. It smells very woody and leathery.. almost like Diptyque Feu De Bois which is quite manly but personally, I love it. It's a lovely strong fragrance that last on the skin ; once I had given it a few squirts before I went out last night, I kept on getting wafts of it throughout the evening. 

Number 4 | Super Comb Prep & Protect
This is a leave-in conditioner / detangler that also protects against heat styling and sun damage: perfect for holidays. I am yet to try this, as I am saving it for Ibiza.

Supergoop | Daily Correct SPF35 CC Cream
There is a couple of small sample tubes of this. I have used Supergoop suncare in the past and liked it. The shade is Light-Medium which is great for me and leaves a really nice light almost matte finish on my skin.  I like my base a bit more dewy but I guess this will be perfect in really hot and humid conditions.

Wild About Beauty | Powder Eyeshadow
I've used an eyeshadow palette from Wild About Beauty before and it's a great brand. It's a paraben-free makeup range and is great for reactive and sensitive skins. The pigment is super soft, almost creamy feeling and has a good payoff. Also contains Aloe Vera and skin nourishing vitamins E & C.

NUDE | Progenius Omega treatment oil
I have used this for years so am putting it aside for my travels. This is a great little size and usually lasts me around one week when I am away. It is packed with omegas 3,6,7 & 9 and can be used AM/PM in or under your moisturiser to give your skin a hydration boost.

Have you subscribed to any beauty boxes this year? I love my monthly drop of Birchbox and the price to sign up is reasonable at £12.95 per box inc P&P and you can cancel when you like. I find the boxes generous and I always discover something completely new.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Amazing Concealer! | Review.

You must be pretty confident in your product to name it 'Amazing'. 
Amazing Cosmetics was founded in 1999 in Hollywood by a trio of ladies who wanted to create the perfect, most flawless canvas for ALL SKINTONES. They found themselves continuously disappointed with the shade range, choice and coverage of concealers at this time so wanted something that worked perfectly on any and all imperfections. Amazing Cosmetics started off with just their infamous concealer range, that now hosts a huge 20 shades and they also do a number of other products including foundation, powder & colour. 

I want to introduce to you the key product, The Amazing Concealer* as this has recently just launched into the UK and I have been using it and am really impressed by this product. I have been through concealers high and low over the years, the perfect one to cover my acne back in the day, and a number I have tried and tested for my kit. I honestly wish they had launched this concealer sooner over here as I have a feeling there would be a good handful in my professional kit! 

First up, it's a multi-purpose concealer that can be used ANYWHERE on the face : dark undereye circles, broken capilleries, blemishes, uneven skin tone, rosacea etc. I love concealers that do everything, as ooposed to seperate eye and face ones although these still have a huge place in my kit for specific things - they aren't going anywhere! The Amazing concealer has a deceptively emollient and lightweight texture, initially I kept finding myself using it like a normal liquid concealer, to remember that this is super pigmented so I was wasting quite a bit - You need the teeniest, tiniest amount of this..literally start with a pin-dot and build it up. It's similar to my beloved Kevyn Aucoin Sensual skin enhancer coverage, but it a lot lighter in texture. After having a play and working out it's depth of coverage, I can now have a flawless face in seconds. 
Perfect Application (DOT-BLEND-REPEAT)

As it isn't your typical concealer, follow these guidelines to get the best results (and not waste any of the product!):

1.) Apply your foundation / tinted moisturiser / base as usual.
2.) DOT small amounts of Amazing Concealer onto areas you need concealing - use fingertips or a concealer brush.
3.) BLEND the product out with fingertips, this is best done by light tapping motions in the area as it will infuse the concealer into the skin and leave a natural but flawless finish. This will also ensure you don't cake it on and overload uneccesary concealer.
4.) REPEAT if needed by applying another dot onto the area if you think you need a bit more coverage. Keep doing this process until your skin is flawlessly even and gorgeous!
 The wear on this is really good, if applied appropriately you will find it will remain creaseless and perfect all day long. It is water resistant also therefore sweatproof so perfect for the summer heat, shiny faces and holidays. I am oily and it stays pretty much put. I need a little dab and correct under my eyes a couple of times a day and a light powder usually once a day, but this is totally normal. The packaging is perfect for me. Small, lighweight, squeezy plastic tubes, with an unscrew cap : they take up no space in my kit

The Amazing Concealer is now available in Marks & Spencer beauty halls and M&S online. Currently they have only launched 10 shades which is a great shame as one of their brand ethos' is that they cater for all skin, but not currently in the UK - Bring more shades in M&S!!! The size I have is 6ml and costs £19.50 and the larger 15ml tube is £29.50. I would recommend trialling the smaller size and then once you love it, indulge in the bigger size as it's much more product for your pound.

 I am going to be getting a bunch more for my kit, and am actually going to order some more shades in from the US as for my kit these are perfect but I need some darker tones. 
Have you heard or tried any Amazing Cosmetics? Is it something you would try?

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Roger & Gallet | Huile Gourmande | Fig.

Classic Fragrance house Roger & Gallet have a beautiful range of fragrances and my favourite is the heavenly 'Fleur de Figuier' scent which I have reviewed before. This scent was created by nostril god Francis Kurkdijan (did I just say 'nostril God'?) and it is a fresh, sensual fragrance that combines the uplifting scent of Fig with mandarin flowers, musk and wood.  It was created during a trip to the mediterranean and for me, it is the perfect summer holiday /sunshine & happy times fragrance. The 30ml size they do is also great space-saving bottle to take away on trips ; and is a really good price, I've just found it for £10.66 on the Escentual website FYI. You're welcome.

To add to my fig collection, Roger & Gallet have recently introduced a perfumed dry oil into this range 'Huile Gourmande'* which is as it sounds, nearly edible. This , for me, could not have come at a better time, as I am off to Ibiza in a couple of weeks and this is a total holiday essential for me. 

It is a semi-dry body oil that can be used all over (not the face I'm guessing as it's fragranced) and it leaves a subtle scent of Fig and fruit oils whilst leaving your skin nourished, plumped and with a slight gloss. Perfect for applying in the dusky evenings after the sun-tanning days before you hit the town!

The different oils include vegetable oils (apricot kernels, cereals, maize, rice) and fruit oils (grape, pomegranate, blackcurrant, olive, avocado, sweet almond) and 96% of the ingredients come from natural origin. It has a pump-spray application that can be applied by spraying straight onto the body and then rubbed in with hands. It absorbs in really quickly and can be layered with the fragrance to give a longer-wearing, headier smell that will last you into the early hours. Huile Gourmande comes in a gorgeous 100ml glass bottle and costs £25.50.

What is your essential summer scent?
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