In My Makeup Kit: No Longer Reliant on the Kindness of Strangers

Zuca Bag

Anyone who’s been following my Twitter feeds this past week or so, knows that I’m crazy about my new Züca bag, and today I’m going to tell you why.

Carting a suitcase full of makeup all over town goes with the territory of being a makeup artist, especially in London where you need to be prepared for pretty much anything. But when it weighs about two thirds of what you do it can get a bit out of control, and eventually the inevitable happened and my overburdened body gave out and I ended up at the doctor’s. Months later after my ligament injury I am finally recovering, but I’ve had to seriously re-assess my work life. Enter Züca.

Designed by an engineer for a daughter with a back problem (due to carting around too many school books – I’ve been there, too!), it’s a simple idea – a bag with a seat.

A seat I tell you! So no matter where the studio, the location, the train, whether I’m waiting outside a Winnebago whilst the star is getting dressed, or in a field all day watching the shot on location, I can sit down if I want to. Already I’m sold!

It also has special square mesh bags that maximize the space available. Because they’re flat and zip open, you can stack them in the bag, put them out on your work surface and away you go. I separate different areas with smaller bags inside, and it makes unpacking and re-packing super easy. Zuca Bag and its individual pouches

Then there’s the wheels that you can push up and DOWN stairs, since it pushes forward as well as it rolls backward, and I no longer have to heave the whole darn thing up when I reach a flight of stairs (and anyone who’s worked anywhere in East London knows just how many steps there can sometimes be!)

It’s not a huge bag, but now I’ve decanted everything, it doesn’t need to be. And really I’d rather be a bit more organized with a LOT less stuff, and still have a body that can do makeup for years to come.

For more information on Züca bags, check out www.zuca.com

In My Makeup Kit: Serge Lutens Lipstick No1

Serge Lutins Lipstick No1There’s a new diva in town, and she’s one classy broad. She’s the deepest, most perfect, devilish red, she’s like Louboutins for your lips – pop her on, and the night is yours for the taking. You can’t help but be a femme fatale in this gorgeous, Rita Hayworth 1940’s power pin-up shade – honestly I could go on all day about my new favourite lipstick – Serge Lutens No. 1.

Densely pigmented and yet really creamy, this is no ordinary lipstick – it feels like a Rolls Royce with its heavy black lacquer packaging, yet it’s small size bullet is tiny enough to go in the smallest evening clutch. And I love that its sharply beveled edges make drawing the perfect lip line a total cinch – no lip liner required. It’s official – this new(ish) range of makeup is my new obsession.

For the uninitiated Serge Lutens is an icon amongst makeup artists, and this perfect jewel of a makeup line really is the culmination of years of obsessive perfection to detail. He’s distilled the essential makeup items into one tiny yet mighty collection, and from what I’ve tried so far I’m in love. It is definitely an über-prestige line though, so if you’re looking for a quick cheap fix this is going to be right out of your league. However if you’re looking for an amazing piece of makeup that will make your heart sing – well she’s only a Harvey Nichols away.

Serge Lutens Beaute is available in the UK exclusively from Harvey Nichols London, and in the US can be found at Barneys.

In My Makeup Kit: MAC Face and Body foundation

Mac_Face_and_Body_Foundation

Recently I’ve had to radically downsize my kit, as you know what? My body doesn’t love me carrying my bodyweight in makeup to and from work every day.

So I’ve stripped my kit back to bare bones, re-tuned the chassis, super-charged the performance and fine-tuned it to just what I need.

One of the few foundations that survived the cull? MAC Face and Body (although I decanted the ass of them first, as they come in jumbo outsize bottles which I love, but they weigh a ton). I carry it in five colors, (although there are many more available) ranging from pure white to deep mahogany. I won’t go on a job without it, mainly for its extraordinary body improving abilities. It’s like a gym and a solarium in a jar (but with a lot less effort involved).

It evens out the skin tone, making it look smooth and polished, taking the color up a couple of notches, or many to a deep dark tan if desired. Or down to a Twilight pale glow if that’s more your speed. The finish can be built up with two coats to robotic and plasticized, or one coat for a more natural glow. Simply apply liberally with bare hands, smoothing it out – but be careful of pale colored clothing, as it can transfer. And it is literally the wonder-product for what I call ‘corned beef’ legs – pale, translucent, slightly blue, the color of well – you get the picture. And not what you want in a picture peeking out from a Prada dress.

Another lovely thing – it’s a beautiful, super sheer face foundation. Applied either with fingers or a brush it will give you the baby skin (you wish) you were born with.

In My Makeup Kit: myface.cosmetics – Vintage Pink Lipstick

MyFace Cosmetics by Charlotte TylburyCan I be really honest? I had misgivings about this line when I first heard about it – the fact that Charlotte Tilbury, one of the world’s biggest makeup artists known for her high-octane glamour shoots with fashion darlings, photographers Mert and Marcus, was launching a budget – BUDGET I tell you! – makeup line to be sold in Boots, well it just didn’t seem quite right. I am not generally keen on drugstore brands at the best of times because I think life is too short to have inferior pigment, nasty why bother sponge applicators and over-inflated ideas of a product’s abilities due to how gorgeous Kate Moss looks in the advertising (cough cough, RIMMEL), but as they say in the classics there is a time and a place for everything.

So in the interests of fairness I decided I had to give it a try, starting with a pale pink lippie called Vintage Lace. The range itself is quite a clever idea, dissecting the line into Fair, Medium and Dark skin tones, and has been well parlayed into very user-friendly colors. I hated the packaging though, all based around the whiteness and shape of an Ipod (it’s working on the blushes because they are actually shaped like an Ipod. On the lipsticks? Not so much. They are white plastic with clear lids like some nasty Avon tester from the 70’s).

However – the Vintage Lace color is the perfect nude, just a notch down from your own lip color to give you the illusion of supermodel lips, and although the texture is not super creamy (like, say, Estée Lauder), it does have good pigment to it which I like. It’s dense and matte and can either be dabbed on with a finger (my preferred method), or applied with a lipbrush.

It’s not what I expected Ms Tilbury to be putting her name to, but this lipstick has me sufficiently intrigued that I’ll probably try some other things. Tune in for more updates. Below you can find a video of her version of the myface.cosmetics 5 Minute Face.

In My Makeup Kit: Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealers

Concealer is a key, key product in my kit, because if your skin doesn’t look good, you don’t look good. Quite frankly I could live without foundation, but if you expect me to do a face without concealer – well let’s just say it wouldn’t be easy.

Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer
Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer

 I have to confess that the reason I got into the Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealers was because they gave me the a-m-a-z-i-n-g Pro Palette, and before this, I was a hardcore Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage girl.

Pro Palette
Pro Palette

 Don’t get me wrong, Secret Camo is still on my workbench for every job, but more and more I’m reaching for my Bobbi Brown, and recommending it to clients. The secret is in the Correctors, which come in tones from pale pink to dark peach, and can be layered with the concealer to properly correct under eye circles. You can also layer it over their genius Eye Brightener (which comes in four color correcting tones) if you have very dark under eye circles.

 The Creamy Concealer comes in fourteen shades, and Bobbi’s range of foundation and concealer shades is one of my favourites for women of color (the other good range is Becca). With the Pro palette you can mix and match to get just the right shade, but it is quite expensive, so for those of you who aren’t either employed in the realms of makeup or completely obsessed (ahem), this could be overkill.

Eye Brightener
Eye Brightener

 Simply apply with a concealer brush on any skin blemishes or under eye circles, and tap in with a finger (no wiping or swiping please! If you are sweeping the product around on the surface of the skin, you ain’t doing it right.) Press it in and let the warmth of your fingers melt the concealer into the skin, then dust over with a TOUCH of translucent powder using a fluffy brush (like a small eyeshadow brush). This will set the makeup.

 Voila! No more ugly under eye luggage, and your skin looks like a dream.