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"I love the smell of lipstick in the morning..."

Posts tagged makeup artist

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Inspiration; Portrait Photography

I’ve become a little known, by the poor unfortunates that work with me on a regular basis, for my obsession with references, and finding inspiration in everything… I have files of literally THOUSANDS of images that I regularly trawl for ideas and to get the creative juices flowing.  I know I’m not alone in this by any means, but whilst there are many shots of beautiful makeups in there, I also often find myself presenting someone with an image as makeup inspiration, and seeing the look of frozen confusion on their face as they try to understand why this crazy woman is presenting them with an picture of a tropical fish, or a snap of some peeling paint, or a sweaty club kid, or… as was the case with the shot in my header there at the top of the page, an old albino woman on a stormy day.

This gorgeous shot from Paola De Grenet's “Albino Beauty" series


was the inspiration behind the “White Light" beauty story I shot with Sarah Brimley, including the image below… those translucent pink shades on the eyelids, the gothic yet delicate colour palette.. luckily Sarah totally understands the inner workings of my brain and embraces those obscure references!


Similarly this shot of nude dancers, painted gold at New York’s Studio 54 back in the 70s;


Evolved into this shot from our “I Feel Love" disco-inspired beauty editorial…


I’m constantly inspired by the thought process behind great editorials and makeup designs, and the references that, in turn, inspire them. I’m also constantly flabbergasted when I see a great makeup lifted from one artist and recreated stroke for stroke by another.  Inspiration should be the process of feeling passionate, and mentally stimulated to create something… not to pass off the creative process of others as your own.  Not to get all damn preachy but I do often wonder if the two get confused by a frightening number of artists these days.  Ahem, moving on…

This post in particular is about great portrait photography, and the inspiration we can take as makeup artists from real people, in real environments. Why you often find us trawling photography books and exhibitions, watching documentaries, and eying people up on the street.

Tim Walker's incredible “An Awfully Big Adventure” for British Vogue;



Featuring beautifully inspired makeup by Petros Petrohilos seemingly based on the flushed complexions of the Kazakhs of Mongolia. The shot below is from Jimmy Nelson’s incredible book, Before They Pass Away.


and Charles Meacham's “Mongolian Man” for National Geographic, beautifully showcasing the beautiful shades within the subject’s skin…


At somewhat the opposite end of the spectrum, Gemma Booth's Virgin Suicides-esque editorial “Pretty Sexy” for Elle France;


Where the barely there, youthful complexion and romantic makeup by Alexandra Schiavi could just as easily have been inspired by the adolescent beauty of the fresh faced girls in David Hamilton's book “The Age of Innocence”


Sebastian Kim's “Tribal” editorial for Numero, featuring clay-like, textured face paint by Maud Laceppe;


Most likely found makeup inspiration from so many beautiful images of tribal face paint (I feel another post coming on…) such as “Aboriginal Teen with a Mask of Mud” by Sam Abell for National Geographic.


And could Peter Lindbergh's 1995 “Azzedine Arizona” editorial for Harper's Bazaar;


and the raw beauty makeup created by Dick Page have been inspired by Richard Avedon's legendary "In the American West" series?


Below are some favourite portrait images from the depths of my reference vaults (aka, my ipad), some of these have inspired my makeup work in some way already over the years, some have yet to make their way to a moodboard, but they certainly go to show that in these days of overly filtered instagram beauty pages and multi-million dollar cosmetic campaigns, sometimes the beauty of a moment in reality is better than anything we could hope to create, and is more inspiring than a thousand editorials…


"Painted Boy, Bombay, India, 1996" by Steve McCurry for National Geographic


"Two Female Impersonators Backstage, NYC" by Diane Arbus


Carnival, Brazil, by David Alan Harvey


"Afghan Girl" by Reza Dhegati


"In the American West" Richard Avedon


Maori Girl, “Before They Pass Away”, Jimmy Nelson


"Calle Cuauhtemoctzin, Mexico City, 1934", Henri Cartier-Bresson


"Rajasthan, 1996, Holi festival", Steve McCurry


"Sub-Saharan Mali" by Joanna B. Pinneo for National Geographic


"Girl, Pushkar", Ron Johns for National Geographic


"Bennedetta Buccellato, Sicily, 1994", William Albert Allard


Filed under makeup makeup artist makeup artists Vogue harper's bazaar elle albino beauty gothic studio54 gold gold body paint tim walker mongolia kazakhs jimmy nelson before they pass away charles meacham national geographic gemma booth virgin suicides alexandra schiavi petros petrohilos david hamilton the age of innocence natural makeup sebastian kim tribal tribal makeup maud laceppe

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The Many Faces Of…. Daphne Groeneveld

It feels like I’ve been shooting, shooting, shooting for about the last three months, and as of next week all the editorial I’ve been working on should be erupting in the space of a month, so I should get to posting a little more about what I’ve been up to…. buuuuuut, until then I get to keep  writing the sort of posts I like to read!  And this one if pure visual porn as it’s all about the present love of my life, the button nosed, painfully cute vision of perfection that is Daphne Groeneveld.

To those in the industry, this little Dutch beauty has been a big deal for a couple of years now, but it seems she could be just about to cross that threshold into modern supermodel territory.  Supermodels don’t really exist these days in the way they used to, we all know that, but you still have your Lara Stones, your Agyness Deyns, faces instantly recogniseable to the woman on the street, and with a face like Daphne’s both men and women will be falling in love left right and centre.  When I spotted her this week in the new ad for Gucci’s Addict fragrance, it seemed like a real “star is born” moment.  I practically got a lump in my throat when I saw this, SO BEAUTIFUL, and who could more perfectly personify that cute, mischievous, adorable little goddess character, than Daphne? I really am reigning myself in not to scatter this post with repeated heart emoticons.   Just watch, and feel your insides go all a flutter.  

I first cast eyes on Daphne in the Miu Miu FW10 campaign, with the now iconic sugar-bright eye makeup by Lucia Pieroni, alongside other cutie patooties Ginta Lapina, Lindsey Wixson and Siri Tollerod, and it seemed to usher in a whole new look for top models, moving away from the punky, edgy tattooed styles of Freja Beha Erichsen and Eliza Cummings, towards doll-featured, pillow lipped, angelic faces.  

But don’t get me wrong, angel-faced though she may be, Daphne can edge it up with the best of them, with one of the quirkiest, most striking and ticks-every-box-beautiful looks we’ve been blessed with in a long time.  Ohhh what a face!  Enjoy!


Filed under makeup makeup artists makeup artist Lucy Gibson warpaint daphne groeneveld ginta lapina siri tollerod lindsey wixson freja beha ericson agyness deyn dior dior addict lucia pieroni miu miu lara stone eliza cummings

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Treasures from the kit… Newbies!

My kit weighs a tonne.  I don’t know what the weight of a tonne actually is, but I wouldn’t be surprised if my kit weighed the same as it.  I try to downsize, but in my experience (and my superstitious brain), whatever I leave at home, will be exactly the thing I end up needing for the job I’m on.  As a result, something has to be seriously amazing to be added to the kit, as it often means something else coming out.  Either that or a slipped disc from lugging the extra weight (I don’t get cars booked for me on every job, and I’m far too tight and unfabulous enough to be paying for them myself).  I drag that shit around town myself!  And I have the callouses to prove it!

Over the past couple of months I’ve been sent some amazing products and I thought I’d take the time to present you with some of them.  I’ve used these on a fair few recent jobs and they’ve done me PROUD.  We may have some permanent additions in here!

The first couple of goodies are by supercute brand BeneFit.  I have to admit to having a bit of a soft spot for BeneFit, it was my first foray into makeup hall territory on my 18th birthday, and while their super perky salespeople may unfortunately put off some more chilled out customers, if you can brave the army of peppy faces they make a great range of hero products.  Perhaps more than any other brand (scary claim but could well be true).  BeneTint, High Beam, Bad Gal mascara and pencil, Lemon Aid, Dr Feelgood, the list goes on, but my two new loves are…

Erase Paste, a creamy super-high coverage, moisturising, brightening concealer that covers under eye circles like nothing I’ve ever used before.  It only comes in three shades at present but claims to suit all skin tones… debatable, there need to be some darker shades perhaps, but if you need a little extra help in the under eye area, give Erase Paste a bash.  You need the thinnest amount, buffed into the skin… no more dreaded cakey under eyes, sweet!  And secondly…

"Bathina - Take a Picture it Lasts Longer!"  Slight mouthful of a name there, but Lordy what a lovely product.  This is a body balm, not a lotion, not an oil or a shimmer, but a block of actual sented glimmering balm, that comes with an applicator pad, and it is beeeeeeautiful!  It feels moisturising, but looks just heavenly, I can barely even describe the sheen it gives.  Lets just say, if you want beautiful dewy skin that looks like this;

…but on your body, then this is the product for you.  It will make fair skin look all plumped up and creamy, darker tones highlighted to perfection, just gorgeous. (Hayden Panettiere there by the way, one of my skin HEROINES, just take a look at her perfect skin online, it’s unbearable.)  

Next up, Clinique Lid Smoothies.  These are no crease, longwear cream shadows, but with a luxurious, softly metallic texture unlike any I’ve used before.  They come in 12 shades, £17 each, and although most are on the natural spectrum, even the more funky colours have a muted edge to them which makes all of these very wearable.   They’re wonderfully blendable, help to smooth the appearance of fine lines on the lid, and look great worn just on their own if you wish, with a little mascara/liner.  I’ve used the more natural grey and beige tones on quite a few looks recently to go with a strong lip, it’s a great way of creating an expensive looking eye whilst keeping the look effortless and classic.  Love these.

Also getting me far too turned on for an inanimate object are the nude shades of Armani’s Rouge D’Armani lipsticks I’ve been blessed with.  To be honest, the whole range of Armani Cosmetics is frankly dee-lish.  High end, luxurious, beautiful shades, beautiful packaging, textures, just lush.  I’ve already waxed lyrical about their foundations, but these perfect, tonal beige shades, 100 and 102 in particular are moisturising, just the right side of glossy, sheer yet still highly pigmented enough to leave a tint the lip without becoming waxy or thick, in a dinky little magnetised tube (I usually transfer my lip colours into pallettes, I can’t bare to do that with these beauties!).  I’m not going to get into the world of swatches, but will borrow this shot to illustrate, from the lovely folk at www.thebeautylookbook.com

Look at those perfect shades!!  Want a luxurious Burberry stylee nude lip like the dreamy Cara Delevingne?  In the mood to treat yourself (at £25 they’re not the cheapest, but they just may well be worth every penny)… You need one of these bad boys.

And finally, just as an extra cheeky treat, because let’s be honest I ain’t no manicurist, I was sent some Envy 3D nail wraps.  Without sugar coating it at all, my nails are shit.  Weak, bendy, peeling useless things, and any polish, even the best I’ve found, is chipped beyond belief in a day.  I’ve used Minx nail foils before, and whilst they may last fantastically on my toes, they still tend to peel on my fingers.  For those not in the know nail wraps are kind of like nail shaped stickers that you use instead of polish, filed to fit your nail itself.  As such they can come in an array of kerrazy patterns and metallic finishes, as rocked regularly by the Jessie J’s and Katy Perry’s of the world.  With their 3D range, available in Superdrug in the UK for £6.99, Envy have gone one step further and created clear nail wraps with jewelled embellishments.  THEY ARE SO COOL.  And not only that, I have just removed a pair that stayed put for three entire weeks, and in the end I only removed them as my nails had grown so much in that time there was a great gap of bare nail at the base.  These are my fingernails new best bud, something that helps my nails grow and looks utterly badass?!  Erm, yes please.

Just don’t go buying them all at once.  Wink.


Filed under makeup makeup artist Warpaint blog Lucy Gibson benefit benefit cosmetics bathina balm erase paste undereyeconcealer concealer hayden panettiere clinique lid smoothies eyeshadow armani armani cosmetics lipstick nude lip beige lipstick nail wraps nail foils mix 3d nail wraps benetint high beam bad gal bad gal lash dr feelgood lemon aid lemonaid

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Makeup Artists Hall of Fame… Charlotte Tilbury

I know I keep promising to write more product related posts, but one of the reasons I started Warpaint in the first place, was because I felt there just weren’t really any makeup blogs out there that I’d actually like to read.  The product heavy posts just don’t get me going as a reader.  Sorry product junkies, sorry sorry sorry.

For me, one of my favourite parts of this job is the research, yes I am a bad, bad nerd, and things like that get me very excited.  When the concept for a shoot comes my way, or when a client describes to me the sort of look they have in mind, I become the absolute undisputed Queen of Google.  The amount of files overflowing images that I’ve amassed over the years is ree-diculous.  I can pour over photography and fashion books, or become inspired by a texture, or perhaps a lip colour I see during a runway show, mixed with an eyeliner shape I’ve spotted on a 1950s movie star.  I’ve spent hours over the past couple of days amassing heaps of images of various stages of decay and buildings overgrown with flowers as inspiration for an upcoming shoot.  Research is your frieeeeend.  It inspires me, and that’s why I hope these more image heavy posts may get your creative juices flowing too.  (I have received some insanely hot products recently though, I promise my next post will be an ode to my pick of the best!)

It’s easy when writing these Makeup Artist related posts, to pick the more avant garde, more “out there” bodies of work, by an Alex Box or a Pat McGrath for instance.  But personally, my style, as an artist and as an appreciator of others’ art, is more eclectic.  I get just as much pleasure from creating a beautifully glowing nude skin, and fluttery set of lashes, as I do from a full on high fashion creation.  Whenever makeup students or new artists ask me for advice, I always try to impress on them the importance of appreciating the full spectrum of makeup, step away from those feather eyelashes young one!  Come and take a look at the elegant creations of Miss Charlotte Tilbury.

Whenever I think of the more classic beauty looks, there are a few names that spring to mind, but probably first a foremost for me it’s the legendary Ms Tilbury who takes the biscuit.  Not all makeup artists embody the glamour that people expect of us (myself often included!) but Charlotte is as recogniseable in the industry for her gorgeous boho chic and flowing firey red hair as she is for her enviable body of work.  A regular collaborator with Burberry, Chloe, Mango and Donna Karan amongst others (and unofficially known as Kate Moss’s favourite makeup artist - Kate has Charlotte to thank for beautifying her on her wedding day.  Not jealous at all Kate), she is known for that, polished, aspirational, feminine type of beauty. At the same time, her full-on 80s vamp look for Daphne Groenveld on the cover of Vogue Paris in December 2010 was equally iconic, as was her Cleopatra inspired block pastel eye for Alexander McQueen back in 2007.  Whether more dramatic, or more stripped back, the words that always spring to mind are feminine and luxurious.  Charlotte’s creations seem to come unashamedly from the mind of a girly girl, and as a bit of a tomboy myself, there are elements of that I definately aspire to!

Behind the scenes Charlotte has also been responsible for creating MyFace Cosmetics, currently exclusive to Boots in the UK (MyFace also has the backing of fellow makeup artist and personal fave Kabuki, talk about a dream team!).  I’ll put my hands up and say it’s probably the highest quality, drugstore-price range of makeup you can buy.  I’ve been given the range to use backstage at London Fashion Week and was seriously impressed, it’s presence backstage in itself is a testament to Charlotte’s reputation, you won’t find every high street makeup brand being used at the shows.  Their MyMix foundations, amongst other things, are wonderful, I often advocate foundation as being one of the parts of your personal makeup bag where it’s worth splashing the cash for a great finish, but if you want to be more thrifty, then get ye to MyFace quick sharp.  Charlotte also designed a full range of eye, lip and cheek shades clearly labelled as to whether they complement fair, medium or dark skintones.  Pretty much a foolproof method for the woman on the street, to rid makeup drawers nationwide of stacks of pretty shades you’ll never use.  Gawd bless you Miss Tilbury.

Enough of my gushing, feast your eyes on the beautiful creations of the lady herself, polished perfection never looked so pretty.


Filed under makeup makeup artist warpaint Lucy Gibson Charlotte tilbury kabuki vogue vogue paris daphne groenveld boots lfw london fashion week fashion week myface myface cosmetics cleopatra backstage alexander mcqueen kate moss burberry chloe mango gisele love magazine lindsay wixson rosie huntington whiteley jourdan dun id id magazine j-lo

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We Are Raving… Neon is BACK!!

Another mental week, another week of lazy blogging.  I put my hands up!  I apologise!  I shall be self-flagellating for the rest of the day by way of punishment, I promise.  And while it’s been a busy week, it’s also been quite a colourful week, I’m noticing more and more neon colours popping up on shoots, which has been a definate rarity in previous years, and I am quite frankly loving it!  Neon was  forecast as a big trend for Spring, and maybe our dire weather here in the UK hasn’t had us all reaching for the rave shades just yet, but it looks like that trend is spilling over into the Summer months and maybe our recent spots of good weather are inspiring us to embrace these brain-achingly bright shades a bit more.  Either way it’s about time, forgive me for sounding like a seven year old but come on, neon is AWESOME!

As I mentioned in my last post I spent a little time working with the so-gorgeous-I-could-just-eat-her-alive Rita Ora last week, and as support at Saturday’s mahoosive Coldplay gig at the Emirates Stadium, Rita, rocking a neon orange ensemble, went for a beautiful sultry, smokey makeup, and then just turned it right on it’s head with neon warrior battle stripes.  Look at her rocking that shit below, she quite frankly smashed it!

Let’s have a little rundown of the products used on the beautiful bad-ass Rita shall we?

Skin prepped with Evian Facial Spray, Bioderma Crealine H2O Solution and Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentre moisturiser.

Lips prepped with Lucas Paw Paw Ointment.

Eyes prepped with Mac Paint Pot in Painterly on lid, and BeneFit’s Ooh La Lift beneath.

Eyes in Mac Mineralize Eyeshadow in Gilt By Association to the lid, The Makeup Store’s Velvet Shadow to the socket. Further contouring with Mac Eyeshadow in Brun, with browbone and inner corners highlighted with Bobbi Brown Shimmerwash Eyeshadow in Bone.

Top and bottom eyeline, and waterline filled with Mac Kohl Power Pencil in Feline, buffed into and intensified with YSL shadow in Black Fannel along top lashline and Brun and Gilt by Association on the lower.  YSL Eyeliner Effet Faux Cils in Deep Black worked into lash line for added intensity.

Lashes curled with Shu Uemura Curlers then worked through with two coats of black Armani Eyes Kill Mascara and Eyelure Lashes in Kimberley.

Skin was perfected with a combination of YSL’s Teint Radiance Foundation and Bobbi Brown’s Foundation Stick (also lightly used as a concealer), under eyes were concealed with a little of BeneFit’s Erase Paste, all set with a light dusting of Mac Pro’s Invisible Set Powder.  Cheeks prepped with BeneFit Sun Beam, then contoured with St Tropez Matte Powder Bronzer and Mac Mineralize Blush in Warm Soul.

Lips were filled with Illamasqua Lipstick in Agony (Discontinued?!  For shame!!  Although they do do some other fantastic, highly pigmented, matte nude shades), pressed in with the finger to soften.

After bronzing up Rita’s limbs with a mix of St Tropez Medium Wash Off Instant Glow Body Lotion and Gold Skin Illuminator, we got our frickin WARRIOR ON and finger painted in those stripes, with an old school fave, Stargazer’s Neon UV Paint in Orange.  This stuff makes me feel so wistful for my teenage years in Manchester’s Afflecks Palace (that’s like Camden to us northern goth/grunge teens of yesteryear) I can’t even tell you.

And the stuff glows under UV light!  (One for the old skool RAVAH! etc) What’s not to love?!  I also cracked out the very same colour just a few weeks ago at the MEAT Clothing show to create some neon Harajuku Barbie Style looks.  Mix a little with your Mac Lipglass and off you go.  Look at that combo with Mimi’s insanely hot neon green hair!  I die.

I also shot a beauty story for More Magazine this week, and the neon brights popped up again!  Little accents on the inner corner of the eye, a little liner here and there… Believe it or not this trend can be subtle, I bet you’ll be rocking a neon nail at least, just you wait.

And just to prove I’ve not lost my mind, check out this gallery of luminous lovelies. Never mind colours that pop, this is a serious colour EXPLOSION.  POW!


Filed under makeup makeup artist Lucy Gibson warpaint phamous phamous artists neon rave rita ora mac ysl bobbi brown mac cosmetics illamasqua benefit benefit cosmetics armani cosmetics armani evian bioderma embryolisse lucas paw paw ointment pawpaw the makeup store shu uemura facepaint warrior st tropez stargazer uv

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Another bonkers week goes by…

You all know the saying about things being like buses, you wait forever for one… and then three come along at once.  Well I always find freelance work to be a little like that, I’ll have two weeks with a couple of jobs thrown in, and long leisurely afternoons doing as I wish, then suddenly a marathon of jobs in quick succession and no time do or think about anything else.  It’s all part of the fun.  But it has meant my continuing absence from this blog so… yeah, sorry bout that, I am trying!

So, this week has been a fun one I must say, on Monday I shot a great menswear editorial for super hot 1883 magazine with the jaw-droppingly, nauseatingly talented, wonderful, secret fave photographer and fellow Slipknot fan, Sarah Brimley, with hair by the equally cracking talent and agency buddy Marcia Lee.  I can’t say much about the editorial itself other than it has a bit of a dark side and is very, very cool, but what was surprising to me was how much I enjoyed doing the guys’ makeup for this one.  A lot of the time for me, grooming men means doing both hair and makeup, and as a makeup first girl, styling the hair somewhat takes my focus away from the different makeup looks that can be achieved for the male models I’m working with.  Not this time.  1883’s Fashion Director Chad and I discussed creating hyper real, polished skin, almost slightly camp (my word, not his), to give the beautiful boys an added sense of perfection and real beauty.  It’s the first time I’ve cracked out the Chanel Vitalumiere and Illamasqua’s Satin Primer on guys… Can’t wait to show you the results!  If you’re wondering why working with Sarah gets me so excited, here’s a shot we recently worked on together (yes it’s that shot from my blog title, I love it that much).  Talk about making me look good…

In between then and now, I managed to fit in meetings with a number of cosmetics brands showcasing their new products (have I got some SEXY stuff to show you over the coming weeks, ooh-weee), a very sweaty looking sporty shoot with a pro-kiteboarder (yes that is a real sport) and then an even more hectic day than usual yesterday.

I started the day with the first of a couple of dates with the gorgeous, cute as a button but utterly badass girl of the moment Rita Ora.  Rita had been at the top of my list of dream faces to work with for a while now, and it’s always a pleasure to get to tick such lovelies off that list!  Along with the legendary dude and another agency bud Paul Percival we were getting Rita ready for a TV ad shot in my home turf of Dalston!  Brrrap etc!  Once the ad is out I’ll come back with a rundown of the products used, in the meantime here’s a snap of Rita rocking that hot wine red lip in her kitchen yesterday morning.  Lip Tars being a total hero product yet again!

On my way home from the shoot I got a call asking if I could head to a Battersea studio to do a little grooming for Danny O’Donoghue of the Script (and my fave Saturday night guilty pleasure “The Voice”), so I dumped my eyeshadows, lip colours etc, and just took along my basic grooming kit.  Little did I know the beautiful Bo Bruce would be there needing her makeup doing as well!  DAMMIT!!  In all honesty it would be impossible to make Bo look anything less than stunning but I couldn’t help lamenting this MAC Mineralize eyeshadow in Gilt By Association sitting in my cupboard at home;

IMAGINE THAT ON THOSE HUGE DOE EYES.  My God.  Next time…  We had roughly twenty minutes in a darkened room with minimal kit, but Bo left rocking a serious Edie Sedgewick eye in blacks, soft grays and purples, two sets of lashes, contoured, dewy skin and a nude matte lip.  It’s amazing what you can pull out of the bag when the pressure’s on.

And today, I am doing… nothing.  And I can’t wait.


Filed under Lucy Gibson makeup makeup artist warpaint 1883 1883 magazine sarah brimley marcia lee chanel vitalumiere chanel vitalumiere chanel cosmetics kite borading rita ora paul percival hackney lip tars danny o'donoghue the script the voice bo bruce mac mac cosmetics mineralize eyeshadow doe eyes edie sedgewick

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People of the Sun; Bronzed and Beautiful Hall of Fame!

I’m not going to lie, the Sun is a-shining outside and as much as I love writing these posts, I want to be out there feeling the warmth on my skin, not sat inside on the laptop.  As I’m sure do you so if you’re inside reading this, GET OUT THERE!!  Just don’t forget the sun protection, thankyou please.

What is it about the sunshine that just makes everyone so beautiful?  Walking home late last night on the warm streets, there were groups of people just hanging out in the balmy evening air, girls in pretty dresses, guys with their shirts thrown over their shoulders.  I felt like I was in Spanish Harlem or something.  HOT.  All that was missing was someone busting open a fire hydrant on some street corner.

I have to say I do love my skin looking bronzed, but I keep it protected these days, if you’re not a fan of your own lily white flesh, get that SPF on and see my St Tropez post for tips on beautiful bronzed flesh.  But it’s not just the tans that looks great, the skin gets this sexy, glowing warmth to it that’s just missing through those long grey days of winter.

Have you ever found that when you get off the plane in a hot country, do the toilet run to freshen up before your bags come in (just me?), you look in the mirror and nothing’s really changed but you just look… better?  It’s that warm weather glow people, I’m telling you, there’s nothing like it.  And if the sun doesn’t have his hat on where you are, there’s always the next best thing, creating it. Glycerin spray, gloss, bronzing powders, and entire bottle of N9 Face and Body… This post is an ode to the work of makeup artists channeling sunshine through their fingertips.

"Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter, 

Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here, 

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun 

And I say

It’s all right…”


Filed under makeup makeup artist lucy gibson sun sunshine suntan tanning fake tan self tan bronzer face and body gucci lady gaga sophia loren isabeli fontana vogue vogue italia harlem spanish harlem new york the beatles here come the sun daphne groeneveld sasha pivovarova armani armani cosmetics abbey lee abbey lee kershaw gisele

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Secret Treasures From the Kit… Part Three

Doing a little bit of research about these old faves, I heard a hideous, vicious rumour that they had been discontinued, but after calling up in despair have been informed they are still alive and well, if only in MAC’s Pro Stores. I’m talking Sculpt and Shape powders, my absolute go-to faves when it comes to contouring. As far as I remember, these started life as a limited edition product a few years ago now, when MAC produced duo compacts, with a “Sculpt” shade in one side for contouring, and an adjacent “Shape” shade for highlighting. They were insanely popular, and I believe have only made a few welcome reappearances in limited edition collections since. However in the MAC Mecca of the Pro Store, you have the heavenly option of choosing your own six shades and making them up into a personalised blush pallette. There is no UK Pro Store website, so don’t quote me on this, but at present I believe there are ten shades, at £14.50 each, and I can safely say my personalised pallette of six is one of the most useful and versatile things in my kit. The swatches below taken from the lovely people at Temptalia.com show the current available shades, a selection of browns, bones and beiges perfect for shaping almost every skin tone.

Forgive my stating the obvious, but contouring of course, is the creation or accentuation of the natural contours of the face, and I’m not talking Siouxie Sioux style here, although I love that style just as much, this is more about creating natural shape and form to the face. The main bit of sculpting that girls and fabulous guys may want to create for themselves is of course the accentuated, high cheekbone. I can’t begin to think how many times I’ve been asked to explain how to contour a killer cheekbone. It’s one of those things that’s so simple, yet so effective, and once you grasp it you’ll feel like a frickin makeup GENIUS. It’s as simple as this; take a soft angled blush brush (the MAC 168 is perfect for this one), load up the brush with your sculpting shade (I tend to work the product into the bristles on the back of my hand for a second, to disperse any excess), then simply hook the brush into the socket of your cheekbone. You can feel the socket with your fingers, even on a moon-faced, seemingly cheekbone-less visage like mine, buried just there next to your ear.

Once the brush is placed, simply swipe it down towards the corner of the mouth with a flick of the wrist, simples. Feel free to repeat twice, even three times if you want a stronger contour. And if you feel you’ve created too harsh a line, don’t fret, just use your brush to soften, blending the colour upwards. And now look at you, RuPaul will be throwing serious shade when she sees your contouring skills. I appreciate it’s very easy for me to say “simples”, following that shorter than short explanation, so should you prefer a slightly more visual description, take a look at my old faves Pixiwoo as Sam takes you through a range of contouring in her tutorial below.

Sam uses MAC’s Taupe blush to work with, a great shade if you have fair skin but which also seems to be Pro only at the moment (I believe you can call the store and have them post product out to you, although that may depend on who answers the phone to you that day and what side of the bed they got out of that morning). Another trick if you’re looking for sculpting or highlighting shades and don’t have a Pro gaff nearby, in a store like MAC where there are such a range of skin shades to choose from; pick a product such as Studio Fix powder (it has that great slightly creamy powder texture that the Sculpt and Shape powders have, gorgeous for blending with), in a shade two shades darker than your skin tone for contouring, and two lighter for highlighting. Bosh. Sam also covers other types of contouring in her video, from nose, to eye socket, temples and more. For the sake of brevity here I won’t go into each (maybe in another post), but a great rule of thumb is to shape the cheekbones, temples and jawline. Picture an imaginary number three either side of the face as a guide, the difference it’ll make when well blended is unbelievable. And I cannot express the importance of blending here people. We’re not going for the Kim Kardashian half way through a change vibe (loves ya Kim).

If you’re wondering what in six shades of hell Kim is doing to her face there, her makeup artist is of the Kevyn Aucoin/Scott Barnes school of contouring, where concealers and foundations are used to sculpt the face. I have used the technique in the past for certain clients who prefer a look with higher coverage to the skin, and undeniably it works really effectively, however my personal preference is to keep things more subtle in matters of the skin, and my bezzie mate the sculpting pallette allows me the best of both worlds. Do go and read up on Kevyn and Scott’s work though, if you’re not already a fan, they are the absolute undisputed Gods of contouring and highlighting. Scott creates hyper perfect bronzed Goddesses out of the J-Lo’s and Kelly Rowlands of the World, and Kevyn was renowned for the transformations he could create without a prosthetic in sight. Gwyneth Paltrow as James Dean anyone?

And I haven’t even got onto the highlighting part yet! As we already know, contouring causes areas to recede, by creating shadow, and highlights bring them forward giving that real sense of depth. Sweep your highlight along the top of the cheekbone, just above your contour. Swish a little along the upper side of your jawbone, or on the forehead and down the bridge of the nose. Women have been contouring and shaping their eyes in this way for years, you’re simply taking these skills and applying them to other areas of the face, so don’t be scurrred. If you like a gorgeous, dewy highlight to the cheek, this is your time to shine! Seeing as you’re in MAC already why not add a little Cream Colour Base in “Shell”, £14.50, or for something a little more glitzy, that gorgeous sheer, gold hued, all purpose highlighter Pigment in Vanilla, £16.50.

And there you’ll be, all sculpted and refined like some sort of Michaelangelo masterpiece. Why not take a look at the gallery below for a bit of inspiration on how to rock a razor sharp cheekbone? Granted, some chicks like Marlene and Kate are just born with those babies, but brush up on your contouring skills and no one will ever know the difference. I won’t tell if you don’t.


Filed under makeup makeup artist Lucy Gibson warpaint sculpt shape sculpt and shape mac cosmetics mac makeup mac contour contouring blusher powder foundation concealer pro store pixiwoo samantha chapman temptalia temptalia.com cheekbones studio fix kim kardashian kevyn aucoin scott barnes j-lo jennifer lopez kelly rowland kate moss

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Well-decorated; Embellishment as makeup…

A few things have lead me to writing a blog about this slightly odd topic; this will be a post about “THINGS YOU CAN STICK ON YOUR FACE”, for lack of a better turn of phrase.  Or rather, embellishment, the haberdashery of makeup.  When the vision calls for it, makeup doesn’t need to stop at powders and paints, we’ve been adding lashes for years without a thought, and gems on the odd occasion, so why not take things a little further?

Those who’ve read my post about Alex Box will have heard me talk about her love for applying all sorts of unorthodox materials when creating a look, and how after my time assisting her I’ve grown to often do the same.  Never again will I walk by an art shop and come out without bags of sequins, stickers and Lord knows what else.  Kabuki, the Brit genius behind the stunning Manish Arora butterflies is a master of creating beautiful bejewelled applique for the face.  I remember the first time I was handed a Topolino book by my tutor back in my college days, being amazed by his use of flower petals and feathers, a look much copied, to the point where artists are now hungry for new materials to manipulate and create with.

The editorial that recently got me thinking about the subject at hand, is the jawdroppingly beautiful "Butterfly Effect" story featuring heavenly new face Elza Luijendijk that Ben Toms recently shot for Dazed and Confused.  The images are surreal, ethereal and jaw-droppingly beautiful, as Peter Phillips uses, what at times look like real butterflies, moths and insects to embellish the skin of the delicate looking model.  This is one of those “God I wish I’d thought of that” type editorials, using unorthodox materials, in a totally new way, to wondrous effect.  Just plain stunning.

And for those wanting to rock the look but not yet ready to go out covered in lovely bugs, there are more “wearable” options, should you wish to embellish that pretty little face of yours.  "Face Lace" is a great concept, perfectly executed and designed by makeup artist Phyllis Cohen.  Yes you guessed it, it’s like lace, but for your face.  Joking aside, Phyllis has created truly beautiful applique pieces that can be applied over makeup, creating stunningly intricate patterns on the skin.  It feels as though the concept, if handled by the wrong person, could have come out feeling cheap, and looking it, but FaceLace looks the opposite; elegant, high end and expensive.  They range from just £11.63 for smaller pieces, to £16.63 for the beautiful Noveau eye mask.  I think my favourite is the Fleurty design seen below.  God I’d put these on everyone if I could.  Yummers.

And for those not quite ready to go the whole hog, why not pick up a set of the absolutely darling Paperself lashes?  That’s right, you guessed again, false lashes, made from paper.  The designs on these beauties are something you need to be more up close and personal to see, but work so, so beautifully as a gorgeously unique bit of detail to add to your makeup.  At £10.50 or £12.50, in whimsical designs ranging from under the sea scenes to deers and butterlies, they’re just so dinky and gorgeous they make my heart flutter a little bit.

Not ballsy enough for you?  Need more inspiration?  Look no further than this ode to awesome embellishment.  Now excuse me, I’m off to my local Hobbycraft.


Filed under makeup makeup artist Lucy Gibson warpaint decoration applique alex box kabuki topolino feathers sequins butterfly butterflies manish arora gareth pugh paperself face lace mask lashes false lashes moths insects stars illamasqua id id magazine vogue vogue hommes vogue hommes japan

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I’ll be watching you… Music Video Hall of Fame!

Today’s post is going to be a little different than usual, in that it’s going to be even more image dependant than the norm, and you’ll have far less of me banging on to get through before you reach the good stuff.  

I spent the whole of yesterday in my office (aka the sofa avec snuggly throw, laptop and Pepsi Max) catching up on work after last weeks crazy marathon.  Some people find it difficult to believe that I actually have work to do besides painting faces, but believe me there is a lot of admin and research going on behind the scenes too.  As I’ve recently moved my office from the kitchen table to the living room, yesterday’s soundtrack was a nameless music video channel, feeding me the most absurd mix of videos from past and present (may I just say the new Nicki Minaj is SIIIICK), which wasn’t conducive to great concentration as every five minutes I’d be staring at someone’s makeup.

Music videos are absolute PORN for makeup artists!  The amount of looks we get to do!  Seen from every angle!  The inspiration!  The themes!  The moodboards!  They might be insanely long days but they’re such fun, and as a viewer the makeup is undeniably a huge part of the aesthetic when it comes to pop vids.  So here, I’m simply going to present to you some of my favourite makeup looks from pop promos over the years, please forgive the poor picture quality of the screengrabs, lovely people.  Some of them are personal faves (Metallica anyone?), some you may never have seen, and I’m sure there’s plenty I’ve missed.  I’ll also try to credit the makeup artists where possible but I ain’t no miracle worker, feel free to fill me in on any missing info! 

This one’s for the MTV generation… Video killed the radio star, and that’s fine by me.


TLC; No Scrubs; 1999

Katy Perry; ET; 2011; Makeup by Kabuki

Grace Jones; My Jamaican Guy; 1982

Beyonce; Why Don’t You Love Me?; 2011; Makeup by Beyonce!!  My God!  Is there anything this woman cannot do?!

Christina Aguilera; Fighter; 2003; Makeup by Francesca Tolot

Visage; Fade to Grey; 1980; Makeup by Richard Sharah

Kelis; Acapella; 2010; Makeup by Kathy Yeung

Metallica; Until It Sleeps; 1996

Pink; U & Ur Hand; 2006; Makeup by Billy B

Björk; Oceania; 2004; Makeup by Crissy Guerrero

Whitney Houston; I Wanna Dance With Somebody; 1987

Madonna; Rain; 1992; Best brows ever!  I wish I could figure out who was responsible for these beauties…

Robert Palmer; Addicted to Love; 1985; Makeup by Martin Pretorius

No Doubt; Ex-Girlfriend; 2000

David Bowie; Ashes to Ashes; 1980; Makeup by Richard Sharah

Lady Gaga; Alejandro; 2010; Makeup by Val Garland

Jessie J; Domino; 2012; Makeup by Andrew Gallimore

Filed under makeup makeup artist Lucy Gibson warpaint music music video videos jessie j andrew gallimore lady gaga val garland david bowie richard sharah domino alejandro ashes to ashes no doubt gwen stefani ex girlfriend robert palmer addicted to love martin pretorius madonna rain whitney houston i wanna dance with somebody bjork oceania crisst guerrero pink