Sunday, February 28, 2010

First poll is up!

Hey guys - first poll is in the side bar! This will help me to know how you like to buy your makeup, which reflects what brands you have access to. I don't want to blog about amazing stuff that you can't get your hands on!

So subscribe to the blog and vote - poll will close Sunday 7th March at midday.

In the meantime, I'm going to aim to blog every single day in March - so check back daily and leave me some comments! I would love to know what you think.

Have a great March! xx

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Sneak peek at yesterday's shoot!

I thought I'd occasionally share with you some of my professional work, to get an idea of what it's like to work as a professional MUA.  And I'm always happy to answer questions about my career, so ask away!

I had the pleasure of working with a great team yesterday - our photographer was Chris Fatseas, with whom I've worked with five times previously.  I don't work with someone that many times if they're not amazing!  His assistant and friend Matyas came along as always to lend a hand and tell wild stories.  The model was Emma, whose gorgeous skin just made my day.  And for the first time I had a designer on the shoot - Anna Peng, whose dresses made me ooh and aah all day.  She's only a student, so expect to hear a lot more from her!!
From left to right: Matyas, Chris talking to Anna, and Emma

The weather was overcast and drizzly, our locations had to be changed halfway through the shoot and for a few minutes we thought we had to pull the shoot after only 2 of the 5 outfits!  But the weather held out, and with some last-minute location scouting it all came together.  Can't wait to see the pro images!

This dress was amazing - the fabric in the skirt was 50% silk, 50% metal so it was able to hold its rounded shape on its own.  Amazing.

And this was my favourite piece - just stunning.  She was up in a railway carriage and I was on the ground, so excuse the angle!

Will show you the pro results when they come through  :)

Revlon Photo Ready Foundation

Well, I bought into the hype!  After reading amazing reviews about Revlon Photo Ready Foundation, I was excited by the promise of picture-perfect skin!  But for me, sadly the product didn't live up to its hype.

Don't get me wrong, it's a nice foundation.  Medium coverage, easy to apply (and no quick-dry issues like Colourstay) and a decent colour range for a 'drugstore' foundation.  I think I've chosen the wrong colour (was a bit 'pink' for my skin), which is my fault for trying to swatch under the fluoroescent lights at night, but I could look past that and see that there were some other issues that I was concerned about.

The big one for me is the 'shimmer' or as Revlon puts it 'photochromatic pigments that bend, reflect and diffuse light to erase every flaw'.  When I took a photo of myself after application (and the flash went off as it was overcast), I looked at the image on my camera and thought 'oh god - I'm shimmery all over!'  Which is not a look that I like.  As an oily gal I try to keep my foundation finish semi-matte to matte, and then just highlight specific areas (cheekbones, under brow etc).  Even when I powdered with a matte powder like Gorgeous Cosmetics powder #2 (from my makeup kit) I still came off as 'highlighted' all over in my photos.  Maybe this is the way they detract from your flaws, but I didn't like it at all.  Especially when you consider when you go out at night, all photos will have a flash.

This photo used a flash, but you can really see the shimmer in usually non-highlighted areas - I don't want my chin or cheeks as they get oily all on their own.

This photo has no flash, so you can see that it does look great in natural light:

On the plus side it didn't settle into my pores.  That should also means that it won't settle into fine lines either.

Throughout the day the wear wasn't particularly long-lasting, but then again it's not something promised by this product.  But the interesting thing was that every time I looked in the mirror I thought the foundation matched my skin tone really well (except for being a tad pink), but when I took a photo my face was rather pale.  Considering I used a colour-matched powder, this indicates to me an issue with the foundation.  It does have sun protection (SPF20) but I think these 'photochromatic pigments' may have a hand in that as well.

I would say this foundation would be AMAZING for some people, but it's certainly not going to suit everyone.  If you have the skin to carry off an all-over highlight and don't need full coverage definitely give it a go.  Personally the highlighting was an issue for me, especially when flash photography was used.  But if your skin is a bit on the dry side it could be just what you need, but choose your colour carefully - bring a hand mirror and go out into natural light to check your swatches.

Have you had any luck with Photo Ready?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Swisspers Blot-Off Oil Tissues

This was an impulse purchase during my Priceline haul - I've always wanted to try blotting papers, especially as my skin gets super-oily and shiny during the day.  So I'm a perfect candidate!

Upon opening I saw that they actually come in a cute, clear plastic envelope that would be so handy to have in your bag. I'm known for just throwing things into my handbag, so this was the papers don't get ruined.

I've seen some that have a powder on one side (which is really blot powder), but these are different. There seems to be no difference between the two sides, and the instructions say you can use either side. It felt a bit waxy to me, but I was preparing myself for powdered sheets so maybe it was just a surprise.  The size is probably a bit bigger than a business card - one sheet would stretch from my nose to my outer cheek, and from under my eye to the lip area.

Here's the before and after - it certainly has taken the 'super' shine away - I suppose it's now more 'dewy'.

They certainly feel soft against your skin - they are super light, and once your oil hits the paper they turn almost translucent.  All you do is press the sheet against your skin and the excess oil is absorbed immediately.  I waited until lunchtime to really test their power, and I had to use five sheets to degrease my face (one on each cheek, one chin & nose, two on forehead).  I was a little disappointed to see that there was a decent amount of foundation colour transfer as well as oil - usually having the powdered surface means that your foundation isn't disrupted.  But it certaintly took the only the excess oil away - I didn't look matte (again, the powder would have helped there), but I didn't look shiny.

In the end for the price ($4.99) they are a cheap, but I would bet that there are better papers out there.  I liked the idea of the powder as it would avoid losing foundation every time you have to blot.  The sheet size was great as well, as one sheet would fit my entire cheek area.  But if I keep using them I will have to bring my powder compact as well to mattify the skin and add back some coverage, so really I could just blot with a tissue and get the same effect.

L'Oreal Studio Secrets Anti-Redness Primer

L'Oreal are appealing to the makeup artist inside all of us and have created the Studio Secrets range that boasts it will 'share all the secrets' of the world's top makeup artists. There are five secrets - two of which are primer ranges, one foundation range, one eye range and one lip range.  I don't agree with their theory of choosing lip and eye colours (based on hair and eye colour - pft. Break those rules, baby!) but I do like that they are introducing primers (and a RANGE of primers) into the bathrooms of the general makeup-wearing population. They can iron out many skin issues before foundation comes into play (dullness, redness, shine and fine lines are targeted in this range) and makes it easier for us normal women to look picture perfect. Even if we're just popping out to get the milk.

There were two that caught my eye - first one was the Anti-Shine, but when I tested it at Priceline it left a greasy film on my hand, and the assistant said they have had a lot of negative feedback from customers for that reason.  An anti-shine primer that's oily... that's a problem L'Oreal really needs to deal with.  So I picked up the Anti-Redness primer which promised to 'eliminate my red patches', which is why it is a delightful green colour.

Basic colour theory tells us that to cancel out a colour on the face, the opposite colour on the colour wheel must be used to counteract it.  So if you have purple under-eye circles, you'll go for a yellow concealer.  If your circles are more of a bluish tone, then try for a peach/salmon colour.  And if you have redness - green is your friend.  Your best friend.

There is one obvious issue with this - nobody wants a green face.  It's not attractive.  So can you see the green in your skin after you apply your foundation?  For me, that was a resounding NO.  But you have to use the product sparingly.  Blend it out, get rid of the green tone without wiping away all the product.  And it's easy to do.  The primer feels very hydrating on the skin and is easily blendable.

See the comparison here - the primer is on the left, the non-primer is on the right.  That's obvious.

With foundation over the top, the effect was dulled but there was definitely a smoother skin tone going on:

Look, I'll be honest - my foundation didn't wear longer.  But I expected that.  I will admit that I love the idea of primer in that regard, but to be honest I've never found one yet that my makeup lasts longer whether I do or don't use it.  But e redness was certainly knocked out of my skin though, and as you can see the difference was amazing.  It did fade along with my foundation, but I would love to see the results on a normal-dry skin.

Have you tried any of the primers?  What did you think?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Coming up!

Well, someone spent a little too much money at Priceline... but look what I got out of it!
I'm excited to put these three items to the test tomorrow :)

  • Revlon Photo Ready foundation in 003 Shell
  • Swisspers Blot-Off Oil Tissues
  • L'Oreal Studio Secrets Anti-Redness Primer

Monday, February 22, 2010

Nail Polish Test - Phase 1

I'm forever painting my nails, just to see them chip the next day.  Uber annoying.  So I thought I would conduct some simple tests to see what brands and techniques work the best.

Phase 1 - Top Coat vs No Top Coat

As much as I love pretty nails, I'm over the process by the time it gets to the top coat.  But I'm also impatient when it comes to waiting for them to dry.  So at my last trip to the beauty wholesaler (oh the joys of being a makeup artist - wholesale beauty supplies!) I treated myself to some new polishes and a rapid-dry top coat.  I know they don't last as long as other top coats, but it's the 'something is better than nothing' philosophy.

And just to make things interesting - I painted each nail a different colour.  Which I got so many compliments on, I might do it again in the future!

All nails had no base coat, two coats of polish, and the left hand had one coat of the rapid dry top coat.  I'm very scientific  :)

So - on the left hand we had:

Thumb:  OPI 'Thanks So Muchness' (Alice in Wonderland collection)
Fingers (L-R):  OPI 'Mad as a Hatter' (AIW collection), OPI 'Absolutely Alice (AIW collection), Zoya 'Juno', OPI 'Russian Navy' matte

All had CND Air Dry Fast Set Top Coat

And on the right hand:

Thumb:  OPI 'Merry Midnight' (Xmas 2009 collection)
Fingers L-R:  OPI 'Off With Her Red!) (AIW collection), OPI 'At First Sight', OPI 'Russian Navy' matte, Zoya 'Tangy'

Please excuse the claws :S  what was I thinking????

Anyways, after a jam-packed 24 hours which included a photo shoot doing hair and makeup, 4 hours of driving, cleaning out my kit and having a barbeque, this is what they looked like:

So what have we learnt here?
  1. Fingers together look much nicer than claws.
  2. Glitter nail polish wears pretty badly.  Keep in mind they both had a top coat on.  All the polish came off in one piece.  Which makes me sad, because 'Thanks So Muchness!' is adorable.
  3. Top coats do seem to help the life of the manicure, although they all did wear around the edges.  But look at the difference between the 'Russian Navy' nails - that's massive.
  4. Rapid dry top coats leave a really dull finish on the nail.  Not a great idea if you want super-shine.
  5. Multicoloured nails are quirky and get attention.  This could be my new 'thing'.
  6. I'm terrible at painting my own nails.
  7. 'At First Sight' is a GORGEOUS nude colour for everyday wear, and it was the most long lasting out of the bunch (and it didn't even have a top coat!  *high five*)
Next step - different top coat.  What different finishes can you get, and how do they last?  Stay tuned...
CB  xx

Monday, February 15, 2010

My current skin and makeup routine

Before I get all excited about trying new products, I thought I should share with you what I'm wearing at the moment.  Gives you an idea where I'll be starting from!

My skin - 80% oily, just my outer cheeks are normal.  Can get very dehydrated.  Large pores, and quite a lot of redness.  Concerned about first signs of ageing (I'm 27) and making my makeup last all day.

Cleanser - Garnier Anti-Detox foaming gel.  Which is now discontinued.  Which is always my luck!  Look out for cleanser testing in the future!  At night I use alcohol-free baby wipes.  Just like facial wipes, but cheaper :)
Toner - Witchhazel.  It works nicely in summer to keep some balance in my skin, and gently exfoliate.
Moisturiser - During the day I use Garnier Nutritionist with SPF15.  At night I don't have a solid routine, I tried to use Nivea but it was too rich for my skin.  So it tends to be my rosehip oil with whatever moisturiser I have on hand that doesn't have SPF.  Again, Garnier discontinued my favourite ('Stop' range).  If they could 'Stop' doing that, it would be great!!

Foundation - Graftobian (pro makeup artist brand) applied with foundation brush.  Colour is a tad dark for my liking, but it is summer after all.
Concealer - Graftobian.  Trust me, you don't need another concealer.  Just apply with your fingers for a heavier coverage.
Powder - Ben nye Neutral Set.  This is me being lazy.  It's a translucent powder (and a proper one, not a cheap makeup I-really-have-colour type) and it lightens my foundation just enough to make it look like my correct colour.  I have hard skin to match for powders, as they can be too pink or too yellow.
Eyeshadow - an old Elizabeth Arden compact.  Has nine colours, depending on how bright I want to be.  I have many other eyeshadows, but during the work week this is enough to get me through.
Eyeliner - Prestige pencil liner in Black.  Prestige has some great products that last well.  Big fan.  I spend so much on my kit I tend to buy cheaper makeup for myself.
Mascara - Gorgeous Cosmetics Formula Five in Black.  Only because I got it as part of my makeup kit.  It's quite good actually, does a great job of lengthening my thin, spidery lashes without clumping.
Cheeks - Cover Girl Trublend in Golden Sunrise.  Too dark for anything but contouring my cheeks, but it does a nice job of that.  Other than that I usually steer clear of blush, due to the redness in my face.
Lips - Whatever lip balm is in my handbag.

As you can see, I'm far from perfect with my makeup or my routine.  But it does give me an idea of what I can focus on first.

I'm dying to try out the new Revlon Photo Ready Foundation, so I think that will be my first experiment.  But remember - I'm doing this for you.  I will get no pleasure out of it.

Yeah right.

Have a great day!!

What is Counter Obsession?

When you walk into the makeup section of a department store and know the layout off by heart...
When you can spot a GWC at 50 paces...
When your hand looks like a rainbow and there's no room left to swatch...

... you've got Counter Obsession!!  :)

I'm Hannah, and a makeup artist from Brisbane.  I'm also a product junkie.  This addiction is not limited to cosmetics - throw in hair, accessories, shoes and bags, and you have a better picture!  For some reason I'm drawn to the stylish and fabulous, but I always imagine those things on *other* people.  But I'm on a journey of style self-discovery, and I want to share with you what I find.

I have no allegiance to any brands, price points or preconceptions.  Let's throw all that out the window.  And have some fun in the process!

Looking forward to meeting you all!