Starting Off: Eyeliner Guest post by Pixie Anna ft. Bird

The closest I come to being able to use eyeliner is Bourjois Liner Effect Mascara. I am long sighted amongst other eye problems and can’t see enough without my glasses on to apply it without poking myself in the eye  (I’ve had eye injuries this way) and I can’t wear contact lenses either. Unfortunately laser eye surgery is off the cards too. Luckily, I have fabulous friends who happen to know more than  a thing or two about flawless eye makeup.

So without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, please give a warm welcome to Pixie Anna and Bird for this fabulous guest post on eyeliner!!!

Claire over and out!

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Eyeliner. It does what it says on the tin (or tube, or pot!) It defines and emphasizes your eyes. You can be subtle or bold, you can use whatever colours you can find, you can even use eye shadow applied with a damp brush if that’s what takes your fancy. Eyeliner can be difficult to apply at first, but with a bit of practice and experimenting with the different types available you will soon find your own way of doing it.

Most people start out with a kohl pencil. Pencils can vary hugely in quality, some are quite hard and others much softer. As the skin on your eyes is very delicate make sure you choose a softer pencil that won’t drag and irritate the skin. Try them on the back of your hand; if the skin pulls then it is too hard and will hurt your eyelid. I like Boots No.7 metallic eyes pencils. They are nice and soft and come with a blender on the other end so if your line is a bit wobbly you can go for a softer smudged look instead! Make sure you keep the point fairly sharp or you will end up with a very thick line (unless that is what you are aiming for, in which case sharpen it less often.) You can buy retractable eye pencils, which never need sharpening. I have a Collection 2000 eye definer which is as good as any. They seem to be getting few and far between, although they may be worth looking out for if you don’t like pencils but don’t feel brave enough for liquid or gel liners.

If you’re aiming for that 50’s Marilyn Monroe look a pen eyeliner is your best bet. As the name suggest these are like a felt tip pen and the fine tip of the pen can be used to dot in any gaps which you may have after application. This goes for any type of eyeliner – at first you may have small gaps which do look better filled in.

Liquid eyeliners are very popular and come in a rainbow of colours and finishes. I find they are the trickiest to apply, as they can sometimes be quite wet and runny (as you would expect from something with ‘liquid’ in the name!) but they can be fun as these are the ones that manufacturers usually produce in all kinds of glittery finishes and I cannot resist a bit of sparkle! I have two glittery ones from ELF cosmetics, a silver one and a copper one. I also have a Rimmel liquid liner in black but I rarely use it as I’m allergic to Rimmel eye products. It does give a good depth of colour and I would recommend it, especially if you’re on a budget. ELF are fab if you’re on a budget too, although you do have to factor in postage costs.

My favourite type of eyeliner, one which I use almost daily, is the type that comes in a pot and you apply with a brush. They are called gel or cream eyeliners. I would recommend buying a very fine eyeliner brush – mine is from ELF and has a bend at the end which makes it much easier to apply your liner in a fine line. As with all make up it is easy to build up but more difficult to remove if you use too much!

When applying liner some people find pulling the eyelid taut with your other hand helps with accuracy. As it goes against everything your brain tells you when putting a sharp object near to your eye it can be hard

to apply close to your lash line, hence the tiny line of skin between eyeliner and lashes which a lot of people get. I find that trying to draw your eyeliner line onto the roots of your lashes helps to place the line where it should be. If you have a wobble and there is a gap or two simply fill the gap in with your brush/pencil/pen, or use a clean eye shadow applicator or a cotton wool bud to smudge the line.

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To line the lower lids or not? Lining the lower lids in a dark colour, such as black, looks very dramatic but it will make the eyes look smaller. If you have eyes that are on the small side bear this in mind.

It is always worth going into your favourite make up shop and trying all the different kinds of eyeliner to find one which you prefer. There are some wonderful colours and finishes available which are always fun to experiment with. Lush have recently brought out a range of make up, including eyeliner. I have plans to get my hot sticky hands on their gold eyeliner – just in time for Christmas!!Using a white or nude eye pencil will make the eyes look bigger and will make the eye look more defined without a heavy eyeliner look if you don’t want lots of dark liner.

Bird recommends….

My go to product has to be Rimmel exaggerate eye pencil in noir. It’s easy to apply, doesn’t pull the skin and feels light an smooth. It has a smudgey thing on the end should you want to go for a smokey look. This also pulls off to reveal a built in pencil sharpener. How handy! It’s not too pricey either coming in under £5. Unlike other eyeliners, this does not irritate my eyes, especially useful when applying to the lower lid too. Watery eyes = panda eyes = not a good look (unless of course you’re dressing up as a panda, whatever floats your boat…)

If you want to make more of a statement and opt for liquid liner then I would recommend Gosh Long lasting eyeliner pen in carbon black. A little pricier but still under £10. A word of warning: this stuff dries quickly. Use only if you have a steady hand!

Personally, I find eye pencils easier to apply than liquid liner. I also find it easier to be creative with pencils (doing flicks etc.)

Erm, anywho, I hope this has been of some use! Blog entries are not my forte, I leave that to Claire!

Thanks ladies!!! Next week Claire returns for Eye shadow!

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Starting Off: Foundation

Week 3 Already! Crikey! I have a confession to make; I don’t really wear foundation…HAHAHA, your faces! Just kidding, of course I do!

Foundation is basically the base to all your other makeup; it is used for evening out skin tone, general coverage of blemishes and give your face a nice healthy glow/look. There are a few different types, so we’ll just look at them briefly before going over application and recommendations etc.

  • Liquid
  • Cream
  • Powder
  • Mousse
  • Tinted Moisturiser/BB cream.

The type you use will depend on your skin type. I  remember being told when I was younger, that no one under 25 should wear liquid foundation…well I can tell you now, that’s the only kind I’ve ever been able to match correctly to my skin tone, so there! I think this is mainly because you’re prone to oily skin/acne, and full on foundation can clog pores and make this worse. However, if you need to cover those spots, there’s nothing better. Powder is better for oily skin types, but using some oil absorbing sheets and a bit of powder on top of other types of foundation will help with that.

Tinted moisturiser is good for all skin types, it is perfect if you want to even out skin tone but can’t be pestered with a full face of make up. I am a fan of this!

Applying your foundation:

First of all, look back at weeks 1 & 2, you’ll want to have a nice freshly cleansed face and pop on some moisturiser. Everyone seems to have a different take on the length of time you should leave between moisturising and applying foundation, some say 5 minutes other say 15. Personally I prefer 15-20 if I have the time. This does also depend on the type of foundation you use. Once this is done and any under eye concealing has gone on, you’re ready to get going!

Application techniques:

So using your preferred tool, whether that be a brush, a sponge or your fingers, use a small amount and blend outwards towards your hair line and neck. I tend to dot a small amount on my forehead and cheeks, then blend using a damp sponge ’til there is even coverage and no blotchy patches on my face.

It is no secret that I am rather lazy when it comes to makeup and beauty; I like to cut corners where I can, and using foundation is no exception. My favourite item is tinted moisturiser. But, as it’s me and no post of mine would be complete without it, I like to (sort of) make my own using Lush!

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My foundation of choice is Lush’s Jackie Oates colour supplement. If I want complete coverage, I use it after moisturising, blending with a damp sponge and it gives a lovely flawless finish – in that it covers all my summer induced freckles and any red patches/blemishes I may have. Most days, though, I just want a light finish to even out my skin tone from red patches I get on my cheeks. So on those days, I mix a small amount with my moisturiser, using the back of my hand as a palette, and blend it either using my fingers or a damp sponge. I normally just use my fingers. I love how light it is, and is made using all natural products, which is perfect for my crazy skin.

On those special occasions though, I use (as mentioned in my last post for concealer) Estee Lauder Double Wear. I purchased the foundation and concealer in the lightest possible shade for my wedding last year. I believe this cost me £28, and is long lasting, so it’s not something you’ll want to wear everyday (to avoid clogging your pores), but more for those occasions where you want to stay photo ready, for example a wedding. This goes on pretty much like every other foundation, however it does dry quickly to fix itself in place, so it’s best to keep your moisturiser on hand, and use a little bit to manipulate any bits of foundation which have dried blotchy and need blending.

Generally speaking, I find both of these fine on their own, but when necessary (or predominantly around the t-zone at least) I use a bit of Lush’s Emotional Brilliance powder on top.

So there you have it, a brief look at my foundation usage,

Next week: Bronzer. I will not be posting next week as I never have and sincerely doubt I ever will use bronzer, but I’m still looking forward to reading through everyone else’s posts. Please follow #theSOproject on Twitter to find the plethora of amazing posts from my fellow SO project bloggers!

Starting Off: Concealer

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If you hadn’t guessed already, I am bit lazy when it comes to beauty. I think this is what makes me a bit different in the starting off project; I don’t do anything complicated, I like being able to things as quickly and effectively as possible. I often like to go barefaced because of this; if my skin looks good, I’d rather not cover it up. However, there do come days when the odd blemish or the demon pimple appear and even I am vain enough to cover it up.

This week we’re looking at concealer.

TEENAGERS: After a good skincare routine, concealer is your BEST friend and secret weapon! 

What is it? Well it’s used to cover up any spots, blemishes and general imperfections on your face, including those horrid black circles under your eyes. Those of you who are younger teenagers probably won’t have this problem, though those of you who wear glasses might find that they do.

I’m relatively new myself at covering up under the eyes, (I generally just try to hide them with my glasses) so the main focus of my concealer post will look at mainly covering up blemishes and the dreaded Vesuvian-esque spot, but there will be a bit on under eyes later on.

I started wearing concealer in school, well before I started wearing makeup/foundation etc. I tended to use it when I had a massive eruption somewhere roughly the size of Lady Gaga’s hair, and only really in a dire emergency. I became a regular user when I was in college and contracted Impetigo after a college holiday to London (I’m convinced I was in fact allergic to London). Not knowing what on earth had overtaken my face, I was (with good reason) far too self conscious to leave the house and attend a friend’s birthday party till my mother kindly went and bought me some more concealer with which to cover it. By the next morning however, the rash had gone from being a few obvious but small red patches to have taken over the lower part of my face and took some considerable effort to cover up. However, for the first time in years I did notice my skin looked much better than it ever had when I hadn’t contracted a highly contagious face disease.

So, first things first, covering up a blemish. This is so much easier shown via video than described, so sorry if you’re not keen on watching videos, but this was the best video I came across and is much more detailed than I could ever describe:

This is pretty much the technique I use to do this, though I must admit before watching this I always used a finger or the applicator that came with it; I’ve never had the inclination to buy a special concealer brush (okay, okay shock horror of FGSJ does #theSOproject part 3: I only own 2 make up brushes, one for foundation and one for blusher. I’m sorry, I promise to fix this later in the project when we all start recommending make up tools) and hadn’t thought of trying to use a cotton bud, they really are genius!!

Technique aside, the main things to take from this video are:

  • Don’t use the same concealer for under your eyes as for blemishes. You want something lighter for lightening and brightening under your eyes, and you want a concealer as close to your own skin tone as possible for covering blemishes to make it look as natural as possible.
  • Foundation first or second? It’s up to you which way round you do concealer for covering blemishes. I prefer to do it afterwards, but do any under eye coverage before foundation.
  • Remember to use powder on top to avoid creasing.

My favourite choice of concealer, which I’ve used for years is without a doubt is this from Rimmel:

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It is apparently the UK’s most popular choice of concealer, I don’t know if this is true but it certainly does a good job and only costs £3.99. However, I’ve recently opted for a cheaper choice by Collection, as it was, well, cheaper costing only £1.99 and seemed to match my skin tone a slight bit better, I have yet to try it out though. Last year I also pushed the boat out and purchased myself some Estee Lauder Double Wear liquid concealer to go with my Double Wear Foundation for my wedding day, and this currently is my favourite go to product on a really bad day; when I don’t want to wear a full face of make up and would rather go bare faced or go ‘nudey faced’ as I like to call it. It doesn’t budge at all, feels really light, doesn’t crease and gives good coverage. It is however, mega expensive at £21.

I set my concealer in place with Lush’s Emotional Brilliance (big shout out and massive thank you to Pixie Anna for collecting this for me as I had completely run out!).

For those rare occasions that I do in fact use concealer under my eyes, I use my Lush Jackie Oates colour supplement (which I also use occasionally as foundation/make tinted moisturiser) and once again, set it using Emotional Brilliance. Now this isn’t something I’m great at, so again, I’ll let the video do the talking:

I tend to use the damp sponge technique though until I watched this I didn’t dampen the sponge, (yes I learnt something new AND whilst I may not own many brushes, I do love a good sponge, so there!)

So there  you have it, my imparted wisdom on concealer. Surprisingly still a relatively long post for a short subject; it’s amazing how much there is to say about one tiny product.

Next week: Foundation.

Starting off: Skincare

Skincare… pretty much what it says on the tin really, caring for your skin. Your daily skincare routine tends to start as a wee nipper, when your mother or some other relative, guardian or carer washes your face with warm soapy water and a face cloth, or as I like to call it, the flannel of dooooom. Generally speaking this is sufficient, but as we get older and skin gets dryer or oilier depending on your age/skin type, it is best to switch this for something a bit more productive/useful.

So the basic 3 step formula I was taught when I grew up was this:

  1. Cleanser
  2. Toner
  3. Moisturiser

I then sort of threw this out the window…okay so really I only  threw step 2 out and for many years step 3, as my skin was so oily, I couldn’t even use a light moisturiser, even after using tough anti blemish type cleanser.

So cleanser then, any kind of face wash you like really, or rather any that your skin likes is good. Personally, I have super sensitive skin and as a teenager tried many brands, but found that they dried my skin out far too much. A lot of brands aimed at reducing spots WILL dry your skin out, I found the best, having sensitive skin, being ones that were gentle, like the Simple range and one or two of the creamier ones from Neutrogena. I remember one Christmas my mum bought me the Clinique anti blemish gift pack, and whilst the other products were harsh, the cleanser was pretty good and gentle. These days for cleanser I stick to products made by Lush. Use this once a day, I would suggest on an evening especially if you wear make up.

I would personally avoid Toner, they contain alcohol and will dry your skin out and make it more irritable, however, Lush do some nice toner waters, especially their Grease Lightning, which is brill for teenage skin. Toner is mainly used to remove any remaining dirt and make up, but really you should use decent make up remover specifically made for your eyes and then your cleanser should do the rest. You can find Lush’s spot treatment/good for spot prone skin products here.

Moisturiser can be a pain to get right as a teenager, but stick with it ’til you find a good one. I used to use Simple moisturiser whenever my skin felt like it needed it, and a lot of the other bloggers involved reading this will probably gasp in horror when I say I didn’t use it everyday; my skin didn’t feel like it needed it and was pretty oily most of the time. If you suffer from similar issues, I’d say moisturise as you feel you need it e.g. when your skin feels dry and tight and remember not to use too much; a little goes a long way!

These days my skincare regime consists of cleanser: Angels on Bare Skin by Lush unless I’ve been wearing make up, which I don’t do everyday…I know, I know, please contain your gasps of horror. On those days I use 9 to 5 by Lush or Ultrabland by Lush. I prefer 9 to 5 for ease of use, but sometimes Ultrabland is necessary for removing waterproof mascara effectively and is really good when my skin is really red and sore and having an allergic reaction. As it is so thick, I prefer not to use it everyday as i find it hard to get off sometimes! I follow this up with Neutrogena Multi Defense moisturiser, as another good tip is using a good SPF to help with anti aging! Using sun cream is highly recommended, but I’ve never been able to get away with this so I use this Neutrogena moisturiser which is SPF 25 instead. I’m sure its not as good as a sun cream, but if you’re worried about oily skin, a moisturiser with SPF will do in a pinch. I have however, recently purchased some of this Steam Cream, and will be giving it a go.

I love using Lush products because I have incredibly sensitive skin and am allergic to all sorts of random things. Because Lush is all handmade products from all natural ingredients it means there are no harsh chemicals to bother your skin. I cannot recommend them enough. That’s not to say everything is perfect, I once had a disastrous incident with their Oatifix face mask, which is meant to be super gentle and kind…it would appear I am allergic to one of the ingredients.

Now, Angels on Bare Skin is my all time absolute favourite skin care product. Love, love, love it!

How to use it:

On days when I’m having bad skin or fancy giving it a treat I often buy Lush’s fresh face masks. Catastrophe Cosmetic is brilliant for red, spotty and bothered skin. It is my miracle cure for bad skins days! Last year Clipper tea included vouchers in their green tea boxes so you could go to your local Lush store and have a free face mask making work shop. I went with my friend (whom I refer to as Bird if you’re not a regular reader) and we got to drink green tea while they gave us a skin consultation and tried different products on us (on our hands though, not face in case of allergies etc though I believe some stores did do this as a full facial) then had the opportunity to make a batch of Catastrophe Cosmetic which we got to take home.

Someone else enjoying their workshop:

I honestly think that discovering Lush skin care products in my mid to late teens was my savior! They have genuinely made a massive difference to my skin. Many times I have strayed and tried other brands but always seem to return to them. So if like me, you have sensitive skin that products seem to dry out, but at the same time you have oily teenage skin that seems to be a complete nightmare to buy for, try some Lush! As I said, with them being handmade from all natural ingredients they will be kind and gentle to your skin. The staff are brilliant and know their products well; they can advise you and you can test products in store.

Other tips and tricks you may not want to hear:

  • Drink plenty of water – keep your skin, mind and body hydrated, Alcohol and caffiene dehydrates so tea, coffee and cola type products won’t help.
  • Don’t smoke – smoking damages your skin as it restricts oxygen to the blood vessels which dries skin out and can make it even take on a greyish appearance; attractive! (Not to mention all the other icky stuff it does to your body!)
  • Don’t drink too much alcohol – again, it dehydrates and will help to age your skin.
  • Avoid sunbeds – this should be self evident, if you should wear SPF to stop the sun aging your skin, sunbeds will have the opposite effect and age you well before your time!

Remember, when in doubt, try it out. Test products if you can to see how your skin will handle it, look on websites for free samples and find stores that will let you test them there and then. Everybody’s skin is different so what works for your friends may not work for you.