Know the basics – Makeup Primer


makeup primerI was asked this weekend by the lovely “Friend of the store” Allison (it’s a new thing for us – go with it !!!) if I could write some articles going over some Makeup basics, which sounded like a great idea to me !!!

I thought for this series of articles, I’d start with (naturally enough) makeup primer. If you’re one of the many ladies who don’t use (or have heard of) this little gem, this essential is a worthwhile addition to your makeup bag. So, come with me into the store and let’s have a play !!! After all, that’s how I roll !!!)

Younique Touch Glorious Primer
As you know, I present for Younique and their version is called “Touch Glorious primer” which you can find here. If you’ve not tried Younique, or prefer a different makeup brand, don’t worry, pretty much all of what I’ll be talking about here is equally applicable to other brands products, so you won’t be losing out, except when I’m talking about ingredients, which I know a lot of girls are interested in, particularly when it comes to using a product that is cruelty free. So let’s get that out the way first shall we ? Are you ready ? Here comes the sciencey bit !!
Younique’s primer contains the following ingredients. Isododecane, Dimethicone, Polysilicone-11, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Retinyl Palmitate, Ascorbic Acid and Tocopheryl Acetate. That’s a lot of chemistry !!! But you needn’t worry, like a lot of cosmetics suppliers, Younique is cruelty free and I’m sure your preferred brand will be too.
Most primers contain silicon-polymers which help flatten out or smooth the skin, so you’ll probably notice your products ingredients will be similar to the above. Taking the above list as an example though, if like me, you have sensitive skin, the ones to look for are Dimethicone and Retinyl variants. The reason for this is that they can cause some skin irritation, or in extreme circumstances and allergic reaction, so it’s worth getting a small sample to check before you start using, particularly if you suffer with acne or eczema.

How do primers work ???

Unlike a moisturiser, which you apply to soften the skin, a primer smoothens the skin, improves the adhesion of your makeup and hence it’s resistance to coming off through the day. When used over nourished skin they create a thin, weightless film on the surface of your skin, which provides the key for your foundation to stick to. It can also help keep your foundation in place in wet or humid environments (it can even help if you tend to sweat your makeup off during the day !!!)

How to apply your primer

Apply your primer in a circular motion over your skin
You should apply your choice of primer onto clean, dry skin, but you don’t need a lot. This is definitely a case of less is more !!!! A spot the size of a 5p coin (or similar) is enough for most people. All you need to do is massage it into your skin with your finger tips in a circular motion. Some people find it easier to apply under their eyes using a small, thin brush (like an eyeshadow brush) but I don’t find a need to do this personally. Some people also find the area under their eyes to be a little more sensitive than the rest of their face and will use a specialist, gentler eye primer, but, even with my sensitive skin, I don’t tend to find I need this. The key after application is to allow it to dry on the skin for a 2-3 minutes to get completely dry before you apply the rest of your makeup.

Advantages of Using Makeup Primer

As a makeup artist, makeup primer is an essential piece of kit, which I always keep to hand in my makeup bag of tricks.  Why ? Well, here’s my top 3 reasons……….!!!
  • It reduces the appearance of pores – I’m not proud of it, but just to the side of my nose, I have a large pore (You could probably serve dip out of it at parties, gross but true). If like me, you have the occasional deep pore, you’ll find that using a primer will seal, fill and reduces their appearance. Even if you’re one of those lucky women who are blessed with small pores, you’ll find that it a useful to use a primer, particularly if you use a liquid foundation, which can sometimes magnify their appearance.
  • It smoothens your skin and evens its tone – Using a primer will make your skin smooth and soft to the touch – Glorious !!!! (See what I did there ?) If you have redness, burst blood vessels, moles or freckles on the face, a primer will help minimize all these. Using a Primer, gives your skin a smoother more even tone. It will also help with evening out fine lines around the eyes or edges of the lips.
  • It makes the makeup more resisilient – The main task of a primer is to make your makeup more resistant. A primer helps reduce sweating through the pores; it helps the makeup remain longer held in its place. A primer also acts as a certain shield for dust, water, and dirt, which erases makeup.
So, finishing up, a makeup primer is really simple to use. It dries instantly without leaving a sticky sensation. And reduces the appearance of fine lines, pores and skin redness. Don’t think of it as adding more time to your daily beauty ritual. Think of it as adding 2-3 minutes, which will give you extra confidence that smudged makeup is a thing of the past, as well as the need for constant re-applying !!! (And if you are worried about the 2-3 minutes, use it to work on your nails with some lovely Jamberry Nail wraps !!!!)
I’d love to know what your experience of using makeup primer is, or, if reading this you’re tempted to try it – why not pop me a line and tell me ?
Love always

How to apply your blusher



We had a fun email from Amy today, who wanted to learn a little more about how to apply blusher. I’m not going to go into all the details, (it was a very funny letter) but suffice it to say, she is fed up looking like a bit of a tart. (and not the scrummy type that you service with custard) Although I am not a fan of blusher personally ( I prefer highlighting and sculpting) there’s no denying that for a lot of women, it’s a make-up essential, so it seemed only right and proper that I wrote a little about how to apply your blusher correctly.
The key thing about highlighting, sculpting and blushing (was that the right way to say that ?) is to work out what your face shape is before you start. Take a look at the diagram below and then pick the one that most looks like your face shape.

What’s your face type ?


Most makeup artists will tell you that when it comes to applying your makeup and highlighting, Oval faces are often considered the ideal face shape. This is because they have prominent cheekbones and a forehead that is slightly wider than the chin. Heart shaped faces have a wide forehead and high cheekbones, and the face tapers to a narrow chin. Square faces have a forehead that is roughly the same width as the cheekbones and chin, while round faces are as wide as they are long. Long faces, or “rectangular” as it is sometimes called, are similar to oval and square-shaped faces. The only difference is, the face is longer and less wide. Your forehead, cheeks and jawline should all be pretty much the same width. If you have a triangular-shaped face, your chin will be narrow and pointed and your high cheekbones will be your most prominent feature. So with this in mind. How do you make the most of your features with a little blusher ? Well, the key point is “Less is more” You don’t need to apply so much that it’s visible from a distance. You want your blusher to be subtle, elegant and delicate. Now lets take a look at how to WHERE to apply it.
Oval faces – sweep your blush over your cheekbones. You can easily find your cheekbone with your fingers – aim to place the colour just above the bone rather than towards the hollow beneath it to help raise the height of your cheekbone.
Heart shaped faces – because your face can appear pointy, we need to soften the edges so it appears more like an oval. Apply blush to the outer corner of your cheekbone, starting by your ear and ending at a point below the outer corner of your eye. Also add a touch of colour by your temples, towards the centre of your forehead, to help balance the width of your forehead with your chin.
Square faces – your cheekbones are the same width as your chin, so to help define them apply your blush slightly below the cheekbone. Blush in the hairline will help soften the edges of your face.
Round faces – try not to use pearlised or highly reflective blushers as these reflect the light well and make a surface appear more round, which we want to avoid – matte blushers would be best for you. Sweep your blush from the ear down the cheekbone towards the mouth. Add a little touch of blush to the chin and blend it well to make your face appear longer.
Long faces – Apply blush on cheekbones below the outer corners of the eyes and blend well. Be sure the blush never extends lower than the tip of the nose.
Triangular faces – Blush should be applied in a sideways V on the cheekbones. Blend up from your cheekbones to your temple and then extend the blush over your brow a bit toward the centre of your forehead. This will help to balance the width of your forehead with the rest of your face.

Which is the best blusher to use though ?

Cream blusher – Apply the satin-like, creamy, non-greasy texture with fingers for an anti-ageing effect. It blends beautifully over naked skin or foundation leaving a hint of flattering colour. Perfect for all skin-types and drier skins will love it the most as it feels comfortable and non-drying on the skin.
Liquid blusher – This is probably the easiest type to misuse, as it’s easy to over-apply. That said though, the silicone in these types of product, makes it virtually rub-off proof and water-resistant.
Powder blusher – Sheer colour, some with shimmer finish. Smooth, satiny powder finish that floats over skin. Creates a soft transparency that lasts for hours.

How to apply makeup for glasses wearers

Header image.jpg

Darlene recently got in touch with me complaining that as a glasses wearer, it seems everytime she tries to apply makeup, things go wrong and she ends up “looking like a clown” or “not getting the look that she wants”. This got methinking, there are lots of guides out there for looks you can achieve, products to use etc, but how DO you apply makeup if you wear glasses ? I mean, not everyone can or wants to wear contact lenses, right ?
So, Darlene, here are some hints and tips, which I hope will be of help to you !
First of all, you’ll benefit from a little planning up front. I know, it’s boring, but a little planning and preparation up front really gives you a clear picture of what to achieve. When you’re selecting your look, look at pictures of women wearing glasses already !!! More than that, look at pictures of women wearing glasses similar to YOURS !!!! We know, it sounds obvious, but a lot of girls forget this and look at pictures of dramatic evening wear makeup (like the smokey eye look, or cats eyes) which when framed by your glasses, can make your eyes look really heavy and deep set.
Once you’ve chosen your look, as strange as it seems, you’ll benefit from a really good mirror.

Waneway makeup mirror
When I say good, I mean good magnification and also illuminated. My personal favourite is this one from Waneway. It’s got 20 dimmable LED lights around the edge which help illuminate your whole face (it also has a memory function which saves you having to pfaff with setting it each time you use it) It also has a 10x removable spot mirror, which really helps see detail when you are doing fine work – finishing lash edges, wingtips, that sort of thing. Best of all its less than £20 !!! BARGAIN !!!!
Another really handy product is this little beauty I came across when researching this article

Foldable glasses – who’d have thought ?
Foldable glasses !!! I have to admit, I don’t wear glasses (I had laser surgery a little while ago to correct my vision) but I’ve heard a few ladies say they use these and although fiddly at first to get to grips with, they’ve found that with time, they have learned to make the most of them. One comment that I did hear from ladies that use these is that they are more useful for doing eyeshadow than eyeliner. I also noticed when looking at them, they tend to come in standard magnifications (1.00 +1.50 +2.00 +2.50 +3.00 +3.50 +4.00 were the most common, so they might not be exactly right for your prescription. But at £6.99 for a pair, they’re worth trying if you’re struggling with fine detail.
So, you’ve got some great tools (you can get your brushes here) now, what to do with them ?

Youniques Glorious Primer
Well, first things first, you’re best to apply primer to your face. There are two reasons for this. (1) It provides the perfect surface to apply your foundation on. (2) It helps even out blemishes across the skin which can be magnified by glasses, particularly under the eye. My personal favourite is Youniques Glorious Primer. This is absolutely PERFECT for building your foundation on and stay in place. It’s a little heavy for the eyes though, so there’s a special formulation that you can get for your eyes here.
With your primer set, you’re ready to move onto your concealer. When you wear glasses,

Tounch mineral foundation
your eyes will tend to need a little more attention in this area, as the glasses will tend to magnify any circles, dark areas or pores by drawing attention to this area of your face. Concealer is great for prepping your eyelids before applying your eye shadow application. You’re looking to apply a concealer 1-2 shades lighter under your eye (remember, not too heavy) and then smudge it out. A lot of girls like to use their fingers for this, but I personally prefer to use Youniques blending buds for this – the pink one is perfect for fine detail around the eyes and they leave a smooth even finish without to much pressure, which is important in delicate areas like the eye. Depending on the shape of your glasses, you may find that you need to apply a little more concealer in the under eye area than your used to, because big bold circular glasses (like the lady on the cover photo of this article) tend to magnify a large are under the eye. As before, blend it out with a blending bud (this time the purple one)

Younique touch mineral foundation
Now you’re ready for your foundation. As with all makeup, its a personal choice, but my personal favourite is Touch mineral foundation at the moment. I use it with a foundation brush, rather than pads, sponges or fingers (but this is just my preference) Check out the tips section at the bottom of the page for a really useful tip for how to use your brushes !! If the frame of your glasses is quite thick, don’t worry about applying foundation in the area of the bridge of your nose. There’s simply no point applying in this area, it will only come off and the finish of your foundation will encourage your glasses to slide down your nose. It will take a little more blending (and hence time) but the result will be worth it. Don’t forget to blott away excess foundation to keep your makeup from coming off onto your frames in the cheek area. If you’re set on applying foundation in this area, fix it in place with a little setting powder which will also help stop your glasses sticking to your foundation and lifting it from your face.
Before we leave this area, I want you to put your glasses on. Why ? Well, while the frames of

Flawless Complexion enhancer
glasses frame your face, your cheeks and brows frame your glasses. So, we’re looking to accentuate these features to draw attention to your eyes! Use sculpting trio with a dark brown shadow and an angled brush to fill in your brows so they are prominent. Then apply a bit of pink blush on the apples of your cheeks. If your glasses are larger frames that hide a bit of your cheekbone, use them as guidance for where to apply the blush so the colour doesn’t rise up past the frame. With the glasses on, use a highlighter to add some shimmer to the outer cheekbones, the bridge of the nose, and above your eyebrows. Blend bronzer into the hollows of your cheekbones for added definition.

Moodstruck addition eye shadow
Now…… It’s time for those funny looking glasses !!! (or if you’d prefer, the spot illuminate mirror) Because, we’re going to focus on our eye shadow, eye liner and mascara !!! Exciting huh ? I personally prefer a light, clean and simple look for the eye lid because the glare from the lenses can sometimes be distracting enough. Apply a nude, neutral or bronze, matte shade just above the crease with a fluffy brush. Then use a velvety, peach shade in the inner corner of the eye and on the centre of the lower lid. There are lots of fun shades to choose from out there though if you want to be a little daring – Younique offer an amazing range of colours here.

Younique liquid eyeliner
We’re almost done !!! Use black, liquid eyeliner to apply a thin line along the upper lash line, finishing it with a small upward flick at the end (Winged eyeliner is so IN at the moment !!!) and then finish your look with mascara – 3d lash mascara (or a lash enhancer if you prefer) is ideal for this !!! Don’t forget your brows too – pluck any stray hairs and give them a nice shape using one of our contour guides. I personally prefer to colour my brows, but a lot of girls are choosing to go for shaping and fixing in place with a clear mascara (You can use liquid one from the 3d mascara set for this) Then pop your glasses on for the ultimate finishing touch – LIPSTICK !!!!

Stiff upper lip stain by Younique
Because you’ve kept your eye makeup clean and simple to this point, you can have some real fun with your lip colour – and the best news is there are some amazing shades out there at the moment, which better yet, really stay in place !!! My personal favourite at the moment is the “Savvy shade” from the Younique lip stain product range, which you can find here.
And that’s all there is to it, you’re all good to go girl !!! If you’re a spectacle wearer, I’d love to hear what tips you have for your makeup and products you use – it’s always great to learn new things and who knows, you might even get a personal message of thanks from Darlene !!

My top tips

  • The thicker your glasses frames – the thicker your eyeliner can be and, if your frames are tiny – draw thinner line with your eyeliner. This adds balance and harmony to your look.
  • Smudging your eyeliner draws attention to your eyes without looking too sharp and angular. If you find your eyes water when applying eyeliner, try this my pro tip: draw a thick line with your black/brown eyeliner pencil on the back of your hand and then, using a smudging brush and apply the product on your lash line (try to keep it as close to your lash line, as possible). This helps make your eyeliner look very soft and elegant.
  • Curling your eyelashes can help move them away from contact with the lens of your glasses, prevening marks on them which you have to clean off and lets be honest, who has time to do that in the office ?
  • When you wear glasses, eye shadow that has “shimmer” in it can make your eyes look smaller. A light amount of shimmer for your brow bone area is the one exception to this rule.
  • Using a moistened brush helps move the product over your face. I find that if the brush is too dry, it can pick up too much of the product and pull too much at the sensitive skin under the eye.
  • Black liner or shadow can be too heavy for most girls with glasses, but a sparkly navy or a deep burgundy liner, makes everyone look good, no matter what skin tone or hair colour you have.
  • Use a tinted moisturizer to help hide those annoying red marks that glasses often leave behind on your nose. That way if you take your glasses off at any point during the night (when you’re snogging a guy for instance), you won’t have those annoying little red marks that glasses tend to leave on the bridge of your nose. BB creams and BB Foundations will also help get rid of any uneven redness from the start, making your skin look really polished so that your eyes standout even more.
  • Even though your glasses may hide them, it’s equally important to tend to your brows because they help frame your face for a makeup look that feels complete. To make them standout, use a clear or coloured brow mascara and brush your brows upward and outward to darken them slightly and ultimately give your face a gorgeous, polished look.
  • Let the colour of your frames guide your choice of eyeliner shades. If you have black frames, you can pull off any colour of liner. But, if your glasses aren’t solid black, try a dark bronze or smoky quartz shade. For tortoise frames, choose one of the colours within the frames of your glasses to make your eye makeup look softer.

Safe Tanning Tips

tannnigNow that summer is upon us (no honest – it REALLY is here in the UK, the rain is getting warmer !!) it’s seems a good time to remind ourselves about safe tanning.  If you’re unfortunate like I am and one of those people who seem to burn if you’re out for more than half an hour or so in the sun, then hopefully, you’ll find this guide a useful reminder of how to enjoy the sun safely.

Specifically, who needs to take care, what the risks are, sun protection factors and the all important what to do when things go wrong………..

So pay attention girls – here comes the “sciencey bit” !!!  Also – its a bit of a long one today – so you might want to settle in with a nice cuppa and a biscuit (or two)





What is a Tan ?

Did you know that a tan is actually a sign the skin has been damaged and is trying to protect itself ? You’d be surprised to know that if you did, you’re in good company, nearly two thirds of the ladies in my Facebook group thought the exact opposite !!! Mist commonly quoting “You look a lot healthier with a tan – it gives you a healthy glow and makes you feel better about yourself”.  The truth is a little different though !!!  The dark pigment that gives the skin its natural colour is a substance called melanin which is manufactured in the skin by pigment cells called melanocytes.  After our skin has been exposed to sunlight the melanocytes produce more melanin in attempt to absorb further UV radiation, and so the skin becomes darker.

Why should you be careful?

Summer’s great isn’t it ? Holidays, days out at the beach, picnics and barbecues.  Let’s be honest, nobody wants to spend summer indoors !!!  And, some sunshine, below sunburn level, can be good for us.  It helps the body to create vitamin D and giving many of us a feeling of general wellbeing as we enjoy outdoor summer activities.  The problem is of course when we over do our exposure which can lead to a range of skin problems.  Everyone is aware of the most serious of problems (the dreaded C word) of course, but there are a whole range of other issues including sunburn, photosensitive rashes and prickly heat. Over exposure can also worsen existing conditions like rosacea.

As I mentioned before, a number of my friends associate a tan with looking healthy.  But, the truth is that a tan is actually a sign our skin has been harmed by UV radiation and is trying to defend itself against further damage. This kind of damage can in turn increase your risk of developing skin cancer.  Its estimated that over 100,000 new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed annually in the UK, and while the disease can also occur on parts of the body not exposed to sunlight, extensive sun exposure is thought to be responsible for the vast majority of cases. In more than four out of five these cases skin cancer is a preventable disease.

UVA and UVB radiation (Deep breath, its another sciencey bit)

UV radiation from the sun is transmitted in three forms, which are differentiated by their wavelengths.  Their names are UVA, UVB and UVC.  Fortunately, because UVC doesn’t penetrate the atmosphere, we only really need to protect against UVA and UVB.  UVA irradiation is most commonly associated with skin ageing. This is because it affects the elastin in the skin, leading to wrinkles, leathery skin and brown pigmentation.  UVA is capable of penetrating window glass and penetrates the skin more deeply than UVB.  UVA protection in a sunscreen will help defend the skin against photo ageing. and potentially skin cancer.

UVB on the other hand, is mostly responsible for sunburn and has strong links to malignant melanoma and basal cell carcinoma risk (types of skin cancer).  A sunscreen with a high SPF (sun protection factor) will help block UVB rays and prevent the skin from burning, and by association, any damage that can lead to skin cancer.

So, tell me about SPF – what’s that about ?

Sunscreens here in the UK are labelled with an ‘SPF’ rating, which stands for ‘sun protection factor’ and is usually followed by a number.  SPF is a measure of the level of protection against UVB, not the protection against UVA.   Because of this, you’ll sometimes hear people refer to it as the “Sun burn protection factor”.  SPFs are rated on a scale of 2-50+ based on the level of protection they offer, with ratings between 2 to 14 forming the least protected end of the spectrum and ratings of 50+ offering the strongest forms of UVB protection. Most dermatologists I spoke to when I was researching this article recommended going for an SPF of at least 30, with some going as high as 50 if you have fair skin.

As well as the SPF number, Most sunscreens I saw while browsing in Boots had the following table on them.  You should also check that your chosen sun protection is photostable. ‘Photostability’ means that the filters do not break down in the sun.

New Label SPF
Low protection 6   to 14   (i.e. SPF 6 and 10)
Medium protection 15 to 29   (i.e. SPF 15, 20 and 25)
High protection 30 to 50   (i.e. SPF 30 and 50)
Very high protection 50 +         (i.e. SPF 50+)






I see some foundation and moisturisers now have SPF ratings – is that the same ?

SPF used in moisturisers are tested the same way as sunscreens, so an SPF 15 moisturiser should provide an SPF of 15. However, these formulas are less likely to be rub-resistant and water resistant, and most importantly are likely to be applied a lot more thinly than sunscreen. They therefore are unlikely to offer the same level of protection.

A moisturiser with an SPF will help protect you against small amounts of UV exposure, such as when you walk to the car or pop outside to hang out the washing, but sunscreen is better suited for longer, more deliberate UV exposure, such as spending your lunch hour outside.

It is also worth noting that moisturisers containing an SPF may not contain any UVA protection and as a result will not protect against UV ageing.

How should I apply sunscreen?

Think its easy ?  Surprisingly not !!! a number of studies have found that people apply less than half of the amount required to provide the level of protection indicated on the packaging. While you might guess that tricky to reach areas such as the back would be missed, most people also miss the sides of their neck, temples and even ears !!! Like the Australian motto says “Slip, Slap, Slop” says – don’t be shy, apply it generously !!!!

Nowadays there is a vast range of different product types available, including lotions, mousses, sprays and gels. Because of this variation, it is not possible to give a set amount that you should apply that is the same for all products. Individual manufacturers can provide further details specific to the application of their particular sunscreens. When using lotions, as the bare minimum you should to apply at least six full teaspoons (approximately 36 grams) to cover the body of an average adult, which is more than half a teaspoon of sunscreen to each arm and the face/neck (including ears), and just over one teaspoon to each leg, front of body and back of body. This is the amount used when products are tested for their SPF (it equates to 2 mg /cm²). Applying less will reduce the protection to a higher degree than is proportionate – for example, only applying half the required amount can actually reduce the protection by as much as two-thirds. The overall message in terms of sunscreen use is “more is better.” It is also easy to forget to reapply sunscreen as often as necessary. Apply sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before going out in the sun to allow it to dry, and then again shortly after heading outdoors to cover any missed patches and to make sure you’re wearing a sufficient layer. Reapply it at least every 2 hours, and immediately after swimming, perspiring and towel drying or if it has rubbed off.

Skin types

Any article about tanning wouldn’t be complete without talking a little about the different types of skin.  Dermatologists generally divide skin types into six categories, from phototype 1 – fair skin that burns very easily in the sun and does not tan, to phototype 6, which is darker black skin that does not burn easily.  People with a darker complexion have more natural sun protection, and fair-skinned individuals are more susceptible to sun burn, skin cancer and photodamage. See our leaflet on ‘Skindex’ for more information.

The key character difference between black and white skin is that of melanin packaging and processing.  Naturally occurring biological agents in the skin absorb a proportion of UV irradiation, melanin being one of these. Melanin is a pigment molecule in the skin and is packaged slightly differently in people of different ethnic backgrounds. The type of melanin of all skin colours is eumelanin except for those with red hair and freckles, who have phaeomelanin, which is less well able to cope with UV irradiation.

If you tan very easily, as with black or Asian skin (e.g. types 5 and 6) you need less ultraviolet damage to initiate the tanning process. You do not need a sunscreen to stop skin cancer and skin ageing to the same extent as a fair skinned person, but sunscreen will still be needed during intense or prolonged exposure.
If you are of Mediterranean type skin (e.g. Type 4), you also tan easily, but you will need more ultraviolet to tan than lighter skins. You can still suffer from UV damage and although you are less likely to develop melanoma than skin types 1 to 3, your skin will age with sun exposure.
If you are very fair and cannot tan at all (e.g. Type 1), you will not tan with or without a sunscreen, but you will damage your skin badly if exposed without protection. You need to take particular care to regularly apply lots of high SPF sunscreen (i.e. 30 or above) with high UVA protection too. It is also important to remember to wear proectedtive clothing, such as long t-shirts, and spend time in the shade during the hottest parts of the day.

Recommendations regarding sun protection (e.g. clothing, shade and sunscreen) should be used in conjunction with the skin type guide. For example, the use of clothing and sunscreen applies to skin types I and II at all times in the sun, and to skin types V and VI during periods of prolonged or intense sun exposure. Darker skin types do not need to routinely use sunscreens.

Top sun safety tips

So, that’s it !! Tanning in a nutshell – so lets finish with a few tips to help you get a safe tan this summer.

  • Protect the skin with clothing, including a hat, t-shirt, sunglasses and sunscreen.
  • Spend time in the shade between 11am and 3pm when it’s sunny
  • Use a ‘high protection’ sunscreen of at least SPF 30 which also has high UVA protection, and make sure you apply it generously and frequently when in the sun.
  • The British Association of Dermatologists recommends that you tell your doctor about any changes to a mole – if your GP is concerned about your skin, make sure you see a Consultant Dermatologist (on the GMC register of specialists), the most expert person to diagnose a skin cancer. Your GP can refer you via the NHS.

Skin Care for all ages


One of the really nice things about running a social media group on Facebook and also my blog is that you get to interact with a wide range of people from a number of backgrounds.  All with different issues, constraints and questions.   It’s a lovely way to share knowledge, learn, test yourself and hopefully help some people along the way.

Take this weekend for example, I was running a question and answer session on skincare following an enquiry from an older member in the group.  Inevitably one of the younger girls felt this wasn’t an issue for her and wanted to steer the session in another direction towards her need, but with a little persuasion, we were all able to join in and talk skin care regimes, treatments and products for all ages and the benefits of starting sooner rather than later.

Take a look at where we got to and let me know what you think – does it fit in with your experiences ?  Perhaps I missed one of your favourites ?  Let me know !!! I’d love to hear from you !!!


15 to 25

When we’re young (yes I can remember…….) we’re predominantly concerned with spots. At this time, our skin regime is primarily concerned with controlling the bacteria and oiliness which leads to spots, rather than moisturising.  (Remembering the ingredients commonly used to treat spots can often lead to dryness)  If you have oily skin, you should look for products which contain an anti-bacterial ingredient.  Whereas if you’re suffer with drier skin you should choose a product with a low content of moisturiser so as not to block pores.  It’s also important to exfoliate regularly to help remove dead skin cells.

Another key feature of our skin regime when we’re younger is that it needs to be affordable. When I spoke to some teenage friends of mine, they explained that this was their most important feature in a product, over brand name or fancy advertising.  Denise explained “Affordable doesn’t mean cheap, it just means that I don’t want to pay more for the results I’m looking for”  Her preference is to cleanse with the Body shop Tea Tree facial wash, skip toning and to finish with a light moisturiser, her preference being  Moisture Match from Garnier .  She rounds off her routine by taking vitamins which contain Zinc Gluconate and Salicylic Acid, which help regulate the production of Sebum which is oily/way matter which lubricates and waterproofs the skin.  “Multi Vitamins are boring though” she says “So I look for Cereals which have these added as a supplement”

Denise’s favourite products are shown below which works out to about £12 per month (just click on an image to be taken to the site)






25 to 40

Once we’ve passed out mid 20s, the bodies production of Sebum starts to slow down and with it, the first signs of skin aging appear.  Therefore at this our priority changes from controlling bacteria to protecting the skin and moisturising to help prevent aging.  The importance of cleansing becomes more significant in our regime too, as it can help maintain the skins moisture balance and PH level.   The initial “fine line and shallow wrinkles” of aging will tend to appear earlier if your lifestyle choices include smoking or regular sun bathing as well as diet choices and the regular intake of water.

Claire laughs when she tell me “Looking back, cleansing has now become a more regular part of my regime, I certainly don’t go to bed without taking my make up off any more !!” “I also take more care around of the area around my eyes, as I’ve noticed this area is different to the other areas on my face, its more delicate and needs a different cleanser. “  Claires preferences for skin care are below, why not check them out ?







In addition to Claire’s choices, it’s important to keep up your exfoliation regime, because another tell tale sign of aging is an uneven dull skin tone which is caused by dead skin cells, particularly on the cheek and forehead areas. You may also find that using a primer and liquid foundation as opposed to a powder based foundation helps reduce the appearance of fine lines.  Two really good products to consider are







40 to 55

As Becky said to me recently when I was researching this article “Sweety, it’s not the years, it’s the mileage !” Scientifically speaking, what I think she meant was that at this time, we start to develop pre-menopausal skin, which is caused by a decline in the amount of oestrogen and elastin we produce.  Also, a decrease in Melanocytes leads to reduction in natural protection, which all combine to cause the skin to decrease in both thickness and suppleness.  The net effect is an increase in the skin becoming more susceptible to damage from the elements, in particular the sun and an increase in the signs of aging.

I’m not going to tell you which end of this age range I fit into (a girl has to have some secrets) but, in a nutshell, its all about moisturising, toning and exfoliating, with a little night cream thrown in too. My fave products to use are (You should try the Elizabeth Arden crème, as recommended to me by Zoe – its lovely !!!)






The reason why I take a vitamin supplement is that they help to strengthen and regenerate the skin as well as having anti-oxidant properties. All good to know !!!

55 and upwards

Speaking to Shirley, who proudly fits in the “Upwards” section of this range, she has found that as she has got older her skin has tended to become more sensitive. The science behind this sensitivity says that the skins metabolism slows down as the production of collagen and elastin reduces. Shirleys preference is therefore for Hypoallergenic products, ideally those which contain natural ingredients.  When I asked Shirley what was in her skin care locker, she told me “I love natural products and would be lost without my night cream too, but one of my favourite things to do is a body and face massage where my therapist uses an almond based oil which really helps with the dryness of my skin”






Shirley also recommends using Jojoba oil instead of a crème at night which she finds helps seal in moisture.



Clean your makeup brushes !

WP2016_07_23_011Be honest, when was the last time you cleaned your makeup brushes ?  When I told Laura I was thinking about writing this, she confessed to me – “I don’t think I’ve ever even done that – I usually just throw them away……”

Does that sound like you ?  You can’t be as bad as Laura surely ?  (She even buys cheap brushes to make herself feel a little less bad when she throw them away)  But Laura aside, did you know how important it is to clean your makeup brushes regularly ?  Besides being a basic hygiene routine, leftover makeup in brushes particularly foundation, can be a cause of skin irritation leading to redness, stop you getting a matt smooth finish to your look and change the colour of what you’re applying.

Also, when you pay for quality in your tools, you want to look after them so they last, particularly those made from natural materials like fitch or squirrel (yes you read that right !!!)  so a regular cleaning regime not only protects your investment but helps to prevent them shedding bristles when you use them and keeps them soft and supple for the next application ensuring your makeup always looks flawless.

So why don’t we  clean them more often ?  Well, the most common reason my friends gave me was that “they didn’t have time”.  This was closely followed by “I find they lose shape if I clean them” and “they shed their bristles quickly if I clean them too often”.  All valid reasons, but if you follow my top tips below – you’ll find that it won’t take too long and you’ll keep your brushes in tip top shape !!!

  • After you’ve used them, spend a couple of minutes just wiping off any excess from the brush.  I personally use a tissue to do this, but one lady I spoke to suggested using a microfiber towel to do it as she felt it was more environmentally friendly.  Sounds like a good idea to me !!!  Remember natural hair brushes aren’t so porous as synthetic ones, so should release pigment a little easier, so you won’t need to work them too hard.
  • Next, like the photo shows, mist your brushes with a no rinse spray cleaner.  I personally use BeautySoClean Conditioning Brush Spray but there are a number of others out there.  Having just started as a makeup artist I can’t speak highly enough of this product, its an alcohol based cleaner which sanitizes the brush whose emollients keep the hairs soft between uses.
  • If you use natural brushes, deep clean them every 1-2 months with a gentle brush “shampoo”. A friend of mine uses Clean Apothecary Brush Shampoo which removes dirt, oil, makeup and bacteria—all without stripping your brushes !!!  I’ve included her tips for using below !
    • Gently moisten the bristles under lukewarm running water, making sure you angle the brush downwards to ensure the metal ferrule of the brush doesn’t get wet. (Water in the brush’s ferrule can lead to the glue holding the handle and the bristles together breaking down – Yuk !!!)
    • Give your brush a gentle “swoosh” across the your Brush Shampoo block to create a delicate lather. Easy !!!
    • Next, using the palm of your hand, ease the brush in gentle circles to create a foam, after a few short moments , you’ll begin to see makeup pigment release.  (Apparently, this is really relaxing too !!!)
    • After you see all the pigment release, rinse your brush just like you did in the first step, using your fingers to gently move the hair around  to ensure that all makeup and soap has been removed.
    • Once you’re done, squeeze out any excess water and place your brush in a Brush Guard.  If you’re on the move as often as I am, these guards are an absolute godsend for keeping your brushes in great condition – literally a must have !!!! These breathable mesh sleeves help to maintain your brush’s shape and keep bristles in like-new condition.
  • Lastly, allow your brushes to dry upside down overnight so that water doesn’t leak into the ferrule and loosen the bristles. The Benjabelle Brush Tree is absolutely perfect for this !!!!

Do you clean your brushes ?  How do you do it, do you have a routine ? I’d love to hear !!!

Lemon based skincare

lemon skincare

If you’re a girl who loves to use natural products in their beauty regime, then one of the products you can’t be without are lemons.  You know that old saying ? When life gives you lemons, make lemonade ?  Well, lemons are a great way to provide the daily amount of vitamin C needed for our body. They also have a high content of B vitamins, which facilitates the absorption of sugars from the body, prevents cardiovascular diseases and supports the mental balance.  They also contain many minerals such as phosphorus, copper, iron and magnesium which are rapidly absorbed by the body and helps strengthen the immune system.

Check out my top ten tips for ways to incorporate this fantastic, natural product into your regime !!!

For removing makeup – squeeze the juice of half a lemon and with it soak a cotton swab and clean the face. In addition, that it will clean your makeup, your face will get a fresh dose of vitamin C. Don’t forget to protect your eyes!

For dealing with dry skin – mix 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 3 tablespoons of honey and 1 tablespoon of cabbage (boiled and ground into paste – I know, it sounds icky !!!). Apply to the face and neck, stay for 10 minutes, then rinse with cold water.

If you have oily skin – mix half a tablespoon of turmeric powder, 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 3 tablespoons of ground papaya. Apply for 20 minutes and wash.

For white teeth and fresh breath – over the half of a lemon put a little salt and a pinch of baking soda. Rub in the teeth.

If you suffer with dandruff – mix the juice of one lemon with one egg white. Apply on your hair and leave for an hour. Do it for 1 month and you’ll be flake free !!!

For shiny hair – after shampooing, rinse your hair with lemon juice, without washout.  Smells gorgeous and adds a lovely shine !!!

For cracked lips – mix a tablespoon of cream, lemon juice and honey. Rub a little into your lips until you feel them tingle and then wash it off.

For lightening of the skin – mix equal quantities of tomato juice, lemon juice and milk. Apply for 10-15 minutes and rinse.  (I’ve not tried this one myself, so I’d love to hear from you if you give it a go !!!)

For refreshing the face –Mix the juice of an apple, pear, with a few drops of lemon juice.  This not only freshens the skin, but smells gorgeous – you can thank me later !!!

Care for the aging skin – mix one tablespoon of honey, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 2 tablespoons almond oil. Apply on the skin and leave for 20 minutes before washing off – heavenly !!!

15 minute skincare !


We all know the scene, we’ve all been there.  Stood in front of the mirror looking at the reflection.  We look a little tired, lacklustre and lets be honest, we’re looking for a quick fix to freshen up.

The good news is though that help is at hand and with these four methods (all natural too – bonus !!!) you’ll soon be on your way – team them up with my guide to natural DIY facemasks (The honey and lemon one is ADORBS !!!)


I’m loving natural products at the moment – they’re so cool and accessible.  Although it takes a little longer to prepare them (and they don’t last as long, even in the fridge) there’s something about them, they just feel better when you’re using them, more rewarding, more beneficial.  Try this lovely mixture for a quick cleanse, all you need is to finely chop some dill, mix it with some oat bran (about 150g should be fine) and a tablespoon of vegetable oil until you get a thick porridge. That’s it – simple as that and you’re done !!!  Apply the mixture after cleansing your face and massage with circular movements. Your skin will be cleaner and more clarified.


Into a quick fix ?  Not really feeling like a run to Tesco for some supplies ?  Well, I’ve got something else for you to try and this ones even easier !!!!  All you need to do is dampen a couple of small towels in hot water and place them over your face so they completely cover the forehead, eyes, cheeks and chin.  Leave them there for a couple of minutes and then soak the same towels in cold water and place them back on your face for another couple of minutes.  Pop them off and your skin will look younger, more radiant and fresh !!!


A couple of tips here, although they’re not strictly moisturisers in the truest sense of the word, they’re perfect treats to enjoy and have many of the same benefits…………

Banana Face Mask

If you’ve read my earlier article about DIY facemasks, you’ll know that these can be a really easy to way to recreate that self indulgent spa experience and this one is simply scrummy !!!!   Just mash a ripe banana up with a tablespoon of flour. That’s all.  How easy is that ????  Then apply the mixture on your face, neck and neckline, and after 10 minutes rinse with warm water. Mmmmmmm, bananery goodness !!!!

Cucumber Eye Care

If you suffer with dark circles under your eyes or maybe a little puffiness, try this quick fix for a little pick me up.  Grate 1/2 cucumber and put a couple of dollops of the puree into a couple of handkerchiefs and leave them on your eyelids for about 10 minutes.  Give your eyes a quick rinse with lukewarm water and Voila !!!

As good as these are though, you shouldn’t forget the appearance and condition of your skin is related to your way of life. In order to have beautiful, glowing, and especially healthy skin, not only of the face but also of the entire body you need to eat healthy and aim at having a well-balanced diet.  Be sure to drink 1.0 – 1.5 litres of water per day as well as tea and freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juices. Always try in your daily menu to be present foods from all the groups of nutrients. Emphasize on the fruit and vegetables and try to take time to exercise regularly. All this is beneficial not only to your skin but also to the whole organism.

Micellar Water – what’s all the fuss about ?

Micellar water 2In between binge watching your favourite series on demand (It’s game of thrones isn’t it ? I’m right aren’t I ?) You’ll probably have noticed adverts publicising a product called Micellar water (or as my children say missile water – don’t buy that by the way, its an entirely different product, VERY tough on spots I’ve heard though)

But what is  Micellar water and why should you be interested in it ?  Curious myself about what people were raving about, I did a bit of research and this is what I found out !!!

Pay attention – here comes the ‘science bit’

Micellar water originates from France where it was initially used by women as a substitute for hard water. Far from being rare, the name micelle is actually given to a wide range of spherical liquid crystals which form spontaneously when you put them into water.  Close up, they resemble ice cream cones (yummy) and agglomerate into a shape with all the tips pointing inwards.  The end result is a sphere enclosing some water inside.

Because they’re formulated to be compatible with the skins natural pH balance micelles and reduce the irritancy of some detergents, they’re a must have for those of us with sensitive skin.  They can reduce some toxic effects but also stop actives you want to work from working.  But the thing that micelles are really good for is trapping small quantities of oil, Sebum, dirt, call it what you will.  So they make ideal mild makeup remover, which you can even leave it on your skin after application.

But so what ?

It’s a fair question, I mean, you’ve already got your skin care regime sorted out haven’t you ? Cleanse, tone, moisturise – what more do you need ?  Is there even room in your bathroom cabinet for another bottle ?  How can they realistically replace your skin wipe ?Well, it’s worth considering, somewhere in-between your toner and cleanser in your normal daily routine would be perfect – it’s also great for travel when you don’t have access to your full bag of tricks or are looking to cut down on weight.  I personally prefer to use it for double-cleansing in the morning, approximately 30 minutes before using doing my daily make-up routine.  Don’t forget too, while there are many pros to the ease of using a face wipe, they’re often saturated with chemicals that can leave a harmful residue. Micellar water on the other hand is just as convenient for a swift cleanse, but is less stressful on the skin. And from an economic standpoint, it’s a more cost-friendly option as a bottle will last you waaay longer than a package of makeup wipes.

How do you use it ?

As women, can we all agree that there’s no bigger feat than motivating yourself to get up and wash off your makeup after you’re already in and in front of the TV ? (Remember that Game of thrones bit earlier ? I Totally understand). But it’s a much more realistic and achievable goal when you can wash your face and remove your makeup, foundation, eyeliner and lip colour ALL in one fell swoop. It’s gentle and gets the job done, plain and simple.

Cotton pads are micellar water’s natural friend as they’re  cheap, easy to use and Hydrophilic (meaning they attract fellow hydrophilic heads that contain oil and bacteria, drawing them out like a magnet)  You simply pour a little product on a cotton pad, then wipe your skin clean. It feels amazing !!!  I tried using it a few different ways in the two weeks I tried it and found the following the best ways

  1. Final cleansing step
    It’s a great cleanser after you’ve removed your makeup. If you double cleanse, let this be the second product you use and don’t rinse after using it. It’ll double up as a toner and all you need is to moisturize after cleansing your face with it.
  2. For washing your face in the middle of the day
    I always recommend a maximum of two face washes a day in order to retain your skin’s natural lipids but I know some people prefer to wash their face in the middle of the day. If you belong to this group who feel a need to wash your face in the middle of the day for whatever reasons, consider using a micellar water based cleanser. It is not only convenient to use, it is much gentler on your face and will not strip your face of excess lipids. Definitely beats using a foaming cleanser and having water splashed all over your face.
  3. For use in place of cleansing wipes
    If you examine points 2 and 3 that I’ve discussed earlier, it’s not difficult to see that a micellar water based solution can replace cleansing wipes. Not only is a micellar water based cleanser gentler because it usually contains lesser ingredients, I would even say it is more beneficial as compared to using cleansing wipes.
  4. For washing your face during the morning
    Finally, for those of you who want to wash your face in the morning but do not want to use anything harsh, micellar water might be the way to go. Not only is it gentler, it is most convenient. You probably will save some time too especially when you are in a hurry. Plus it’ll double up as a toner, which means your face would be ready for your moisturizer and sunscreen right after your cleansing. No rinse. YAY!

Personally, I’m beginning to warm up to the idea of using micellar water as a final cleansing step. It’s very convenient to use and no wonder so many women are hooked on it. But I think it’ll probably yield better results for those who live in countries where the water is harder. The water supply in Singapore is not so harsh and is still quite kind on our skin. So the difference might be less apparent.

So that’s it a nutshell – But before I go, I’ll just leave you with a photo of the products I tried in my two week period.  My personal favourite ?  Simple.  literally !!!






Perfume 1I thought I would write a little today about perfume. As women, when we think of beauty, we tend to automatically think of skin care regimes and make up.  But for me, an essential that you should also consider as part of your beauty regime is perfume.  Why would I say that ? Well, I think that perfume is something that augments our image, in a different way to makeup.  When I get made up, I’m putting on a face for the world to see (and hide my wrinkles) but perfume has always seemed to me to be a more personal affair, something that I wear to express my personality in a subtle way and something that I carry around with me, for me.  I guess what I’m saying is that its more about how you look, it’s about how you smell !!! Scent is strongly linked to our emotions as women and the right perfume can make us feel anything from incredibly feminine to alluring sexy.

Continue reading “Perfumes”