I’m ALWAYS testing out new mascaras, constantly searching for that new favourite that outperforms all the rest. After a few duds (namely Make Up For Ever’s Smoky Lash – not a fan, and Lancôme’s Grandiôse, which quickly became Lancôme Crunchy Lash, although I did love it to start off with) I have finally hit the jackpot with MAC’s Haute and Naughty mascara.
This one has been around for awhile, and I’d heard around the makeup traps that it was great. I just hadn’t got around to trying it (so many mascaras, so little time!) but now that I have, I’m hooked.
Why is it so amazing? It has not one but two fabulous brushes, so you have a brush for the upper AND lower lashes. It also dispenses just the right amount of product so you get full lashes very rapidly without a complete overload of mascara. When you’re in a hurry and don’t have time for blotches or fiddling around combing out the lashes, this is the one to reach for.
The large main brush gives you fluttery, full volumised lashes in a couple of strokes, but the piece de resistance is the small brush, hidden in the cap. This allows you to coat all the lower lashes from root to tip with the utmost precision. Years ago I used to have a Maybelline one called Lash Discovery for the lower lashes but I’ve not seen that anywhere for ages, so I’m pretty happy to have MAC Haute and Naughty as a replacement. So if you like lashes that can go from basic to bombshell in two seconds, this is the mascara for you!
Take it from me, every makeup artist needs a good range of basic metallics in their kit. If you don’t have it, there’s nothing you can do to substitute or fudge it, and you never know when you’re going to get asked to bust out a quick metallic eye or need a good silver or gold accent on something. Just last week I was on a job where we needed silver eyes, so I was very grateful I had my favourite metals palette handy – Illamasqua Liquid Metals.
These are so, so good. It’s a palette of 4 dense, creamy high-payoff pigments that have a great gold, a silver, a copper and a greeny-silver. I can’t tell you how many times I have used this guy. You can use them on lips or eyes or as a highlight. You can use them as a base and set them with a matching powder metallic, or blend them into a sci-fi, space age molten smoky eye. They also can be layered under a gloss if you’re really going for the shine.
And frankly, why did we become makeup artists if you never get to paint someone gold or silver or copper?
Makeup nerd alert – they also decant beautifully. I’m at a stage now where anything that is not nailed down gets downsized, so I have scraped out the Illamasqua Liquid Metals into a Muji container with a bunch of other creams I use occasionally. Although Illamasqua packaging is mercifully light, every bit of weight in your kit adds up, and I am not built like a WWF wrestler, able to drag infinite amounts of makeup around town (although Lord knows, I did try for many years).
Don’t get caught without your Liquid Metals!
I think you all know by now how much I love Chanel Vitalumiere foundation – it’s been one of my kit staples for years as it just melts into the skin, covers what you want it to cover and leaves a dewy, hydrated finish. It’s perfect for shoots and shows as it has a buildable coverage so you can manipulate it as you want, but for everyday life, I personally prefer something lighter for myself.
Enter Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua which came out ages ago and I’ve been using it on myself every day for at least a year. So I know it’s good. It has all the delicious skin-enhancing properties of Chanel Vitalumiere, but dials down the coverage so it’s perfect for daytime.
It’s oil-free, and nice in the warmer summer months when one is producing enough sweat and oil on one’s own, thank you very much. It’s one of those shakeable bi-phase foundations, so you shake it to mix it. I like to apply with fingers. It leaves the same gorgeous finish of Vitalumiere but is quicker and easier to apply – since you don’t need brushes or sponges, it’s also great for holidays (something very much on my mind at present as the weather warms up!)
Vitalumiere Aqua has more coverage than a tinted moisturizer but not as much as the traditional VL formula. It comes in 10 shades, but do check at the counter before you buy as I do find that the Chanel range of foundations is not a perfect match for everyone. I so wish it was as I wouldn’t need any other foundations in my kit, but more yellow and golden toned people are not always covered in the Chanel shades.
Also it comes in a teeny little lightweight plastic bottle (which weirdly is like the Tardis of foundations as that bottle seems to last FOREVER) thus making it a front runner for the next new foundation range for my kit – makeup artists love things that don’t come in glass!
So there’s a new blush in town and it’s gorgeous, bright and perfectly pigmented. It’s the new Clinique Cheek Pop blushes, and I discovered them on a job recently with makeup artist Florrie White, who is the Clinique UK Colour Artist.
Clinique has always been dear to my heart as it was the first brand that I really fell in love with, and even had a slight obsession with (obsessive about makeup, me? Never!) I loved their mint green packaging, their hypo-allergenic ethos (in a time before every second person had an allergy to something, so they were well ahead of their time) and their iconic 3 Step skincare system.
Florrie kindly showed me all the new Clinique products that have just launched, and are just about to launch, and let me tell you, there are some crackers that I am very keen to get in my kit. But the one I loved the most is the Clinique Cheek Pop Blush. It’s a powder blush that comes in great, super flattering colours, but it has a finish almost like a cream as it’s so finely milled.
I’ve been finding I’ve been using a lot of cream blushes recently as I don’t like it when it looks like blush and sits on the skin. Clinique Cheek Pop solves this as you need hardly any on your brush to get the right, natural looking density of colour. It’s almost fool-proof. And because it’s a powder, not a cream, you get a lot more longevity from it. It also has great shades for dark skin tones. I have (and love) the pink one, Pink Pop, and I’m planning on getting more.
Since blush is coming back in a big way (once we can all be done with this ridiculous contouring trend), I feel my blush bag might be needing some love in the near future. Stay tuned for more adventures in Blush Land.*
*not a real place
So there are changes you need to make to your kit and your makeup when you go from shooting beauty stories in the bush (hello 35 degree heat, and ants trying to crawl into your makeup, PISS OFF) to shooting outdoor in winter in London (I’d forgotten about having freezing hands and trying to apply red lipstick – not my most favourite thing ever, I have to say). Needless to say I am no longer carrying around piles of sunscreen and body shimmer, and I am all about heavy duty moisturisers and body creams.
Now is the time to tell you about my new favourite super heavy duty moisturizer, which is the Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Balm. It’s like butter for your skin. Kiehl’s have long been a staple in my kit as their products simply work. No fancy packaging, no heavy fragrances. Their new cream is a super dense balm that you rub into the skin, and it gets absorbed after about a minute, leaving the skin supple and hydrated, so perfect as a base for makeup. It’s like the hefty, harder working sister to their eponymous Ultra Facial Moisturiser (which is forever in my kit).
What I like best about it is the skin STAYS supple and hydrated. It contains Edelweiss flower which was chosen due to its ability to thrive in harsh environmental conditions – which certainly applies to the Tube at rush hour.
It doesn’t absorb in after half an hour, disappearing and leaving your skin feeling worse than when you started and as dry and flakey as an old croissant.
I now have Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Balm in my own beauty stash, and in my makeup kit. Now if only I could pack a bit more sunshine in there too…
Credit – Toni Garrn for Paris Vogue, shot by Katja Rawhles. Makeup by Janeen Witherspoon. Hair by Neil Moodie.