Thursday, 2 July 2015

Canadian Sephora haul

Evening my bizarre beauties! How have my fellow Brits been fairing during our mini heatwave? I'm writing this at 2am and it's still a sauna in here, though I quite like it.

I've been working my butt off the past couple of months which is why the blog posts are still a very rare occurrence but I got back from a little getaway last week which was very much needed. I spent 12 days in Canada visiting family and friends, eating way too much and spending all the money I don't have. When I wasn't buying more (and more) black clothes, I was grabbing makeup and beauty products that aren't available over here.

I'll probably do a couple of hauls but I'm going to start with the most exciting one, Sephora. I managed to spend about an hour in the store, I'd say 45minutes of that was shopping and the other 15 was spent being stopped by strangers telling me they liked my hair and consequently my accent when I said thankyou. I guess colourful hair isn't the norm over there. I spent a lot of money yet still feel like I was pretty reserved, I definitely expected to come out with more makeup and less perfume anyway. So here's what I bought.

I was pretty strict and stuck to brands that were hard to get hold of over here, or at least way more expensive. Most of these were things I knew I wanted before arriving so was very happy to find them in stock. I swatched a couple of other items I was after and didn't actually like them which allowed me to grab some extra things and of course they chucked in a ton of samples.

The Elizabeth & James perfumes were probably the biggest surprise expense I did not expect to be spending, coming in at £40 each. Not a lot for perfume in the great scheme of things but an £80 sneak attack nonetheless. I never thought I'd be buying fragrances designed by the Olsen twins I can tell you that, I'd seen Claire mention them in a video and recommending combining the two opposing scents to create a superior mega-scent, and given that I've currently been mixing 5 Inglot cream perfumes in this way I was instantly intrigued and knew I wanted to check them out. I just didn't expect to like them enough to buy. It seems rather redundant telling you how good they are, I bought them, duh. The black bottle has a much richer, muskier, masculine smell whilst the white is lighter and more feminine. Together they're just gorgeous, I like the masculine notes coming through without smelling full on Abercrombie & Fitch.

The rollerball is a perfume by Repetto, it's completely different to my usual taste in fragrance, being overly feminine and light, but there's something very fresh and wonderful about it so I grabbed this small size. The salted caramel lip balm is by Tokyomilk and I picked this up in the queue. I'd tested all of their fragrances as their bottles are actually amazing and I was determined to find one I liked, alas they were all a bit too potent for me. This seemed like a good compromise to have something by the brand but not spend out unnecessarily.

Some of my favourite purchases are in this next batch. These are all the eye products I grabbed. I had intended to pick up the Anastasia Beverly Hills brow whizz but after trying it I realised it wasn't going to work for me and I chose the brow pomade instead which I adore. I find it very hard to get the correct brow shade because browns look very unnatural, but this is the perfect taupe. The one product I wanted to get above everything else was the Kat Von D tattoo liner, which I am now obsessed with and wish I'd bought a few. I got one in brown too, not sure why, but I'm sure it will come in handy. I grabbed one of the Stila felt liners too as it's also a very strong black but with a thinner tip than the tattoo liner.

The Shade & Light eye palette was not something I planned to get but I'm always looking for decent all matte palettes for my personal kit and this has such a nice selection of shades. I've been using it a fair bit and it has to be one of the strongest colour payoffs I've ever got from eyeshadows. Bordering on TOO pigmented, I have to be careful to just lightly dust my brush over the pans and not pick up too much. I'm not complaining though, it makes application effortless and means it will last a long time. Lastly because I'd already gone a bit Kat Von D crazy (there's more to come) I figured I'd give her mascara a go as well. I never really have a signature mascara for myself and tend to try something new every time mine runs out, I really like the brush on this, it can be a bit sharp and spiky but it applies the product very nicely avoiding clumping.

The colours aren't great in this last photo to be honest, but I'm sure I'll end up talking about these again in the future with swatches so you can see them in more detail. The Buxom lip foundation is a creamy balm to be worn under gloss or on it's own, it's a dusky rose, nude shade. I had my eye on quite a few of the lip foundations which come in a variety of nudes (I blame Kylie Jenner) but decided this one was probably most flattering on me. I'm not a great one for lip products, I have quite thin lips and find most colours look a little ridiculous, which makes the Kat Von D lacquer I picked up a completely bizarre purchase but I just LOVE the formula of these. The one I got is a pink coral, now I just have to work up the courage to wear it. The last item, and this is another one by Kat Von D, is this pink blusher. Again the colour isn't too representative of the actual shade which is far less pastel. It's quite a standard pink tone, it's great for summer and nice to have something a little stronger than my usual very natural ones. Again this is super strong so you only need to touch down lightly with the brush.

So that's everything, like I said at the beginning of the post I did a fair bit of shopping elsewhere so keep your eyes peeled for a second beauty haul soon. I'll leave you with all the links to the products, I'd love to hear what you think of the products I chose.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Art attack

As I'm freelance, my work life is typically either crazy busy or completely dead. I've been going through a slow patch the last month or so and whenever this happens I have to keep myself busy creatively to avoid going completely stir crazy. I tend to take on about five projects at once and this time the main one has been getting back into painting and illustration.

I've filled my days drawing animals and kind of fell into quite a specific style I hadn't really worked in before but came to me naturally and is something I've fallen in love with. As I write this I've just finished my biggest piece, an A3 triceratops commission.

It's been a little scary working at double the size I'm used to, and nerve wracking creating a piece that's suddenly not only on my terms. Fortunately I ended up with a very happy customer, and I was also super pleased with how it turned out. All the time and love I poured into this piece paid off.

Below are some of the pieces I've been creating over the past month, I've pretty much just been drawing animals I like, choosing ones I can give interesting textures. I've got them all available for purchase in my Society6 shop and I've linked them beneath the images. There they can be bought as prints but also in an array of other formats from phone covers to shower curtains.

I actually have a Giveaway running where someone can win the original of this alligator piece on my new art based Instagram account. If you're interested in entering you can find me at @rafflesbizarreart.

There's a couple of other pieces on my Society6 and Instagram too but these are my favs and I'm looking forward to starting an exciting new one tonight which will be a little bit different, a little more imaginative too.

I'd love to hear what you guys thing of my work, I've been having a wonderful time dabbling in illustration again and am even considering getting some prints done of a few of the pieces and trying to sell them.

So my question is: are these the kind of artworks you would buy as prints and if so which is your favourite and the one you'd most likely put on your wall?

Of course I am also available for commissions, just drop me an email if you'd like to discuss that.

Thanks for reading! I'm so glad to be back on my lonely little blog!

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

United Makeup Artists Expo - Pro Kit Haul

No your eyes do not deceive you, I really am updating my blog after months away. I'm not going to go into a lengthy description of what I've been up to, lets just say work and life got in the way, it can be tough being a freelancer. I also can't make any promises about how often I'll be blogging, but for now I'm excited to be back!

Last weekend I attended the United Makeup Artists Expo in Islington. It's a similar idea to IMATS but UK based so on a smaller scale, but with lots of wonderful artists demoing their skills and doing presentations as well as an array of great brands selling their wares, mostly at discounted prices.

While I was there I made a serious dent in my bank balance and picked up a ton of new products for my kit so as I've shared my IMATS hauls on here in the past I thought it would be fun to do that again for this one.

As you can see, I did the shopping aspect of the show justice. I did spend a lot but everything I got was discounted, some of the savings were amazing and only two of these things are for personal use so I don't feel too guilty about it.

These first items are all for special effects work, which is the area of makeup I am most passionate about. This is actually me being restrained, I could have spent an absolute fortune updating my fx kit.
Illustrator palettes - These are alcohol activated paints which I mainly use for painting prosthetic appliances but they are waterproof so are great straight on the skin too when you want something with a little longevity. They apply as transparent washes so are great for subtle skin tones or things such as veining and bruising where it needs to look like the colour is under the skin.
Le Maq Pro - Le Maq Pro is one of my favourite brands for use in film and tv, I almost exclusively use their foundations and concealers these days. This palette is a little different as it's a selection of shades for creating some nice corpse effects, their products are wax based so a lot more buildable and subtle than greasepaints. The Pink bottle on the right is an activator that can be used in conjuction with this to dilute the consistency.
Maekup - the rest of the products are by the brand Maekup which can be hard to get hold of but is usually stocked in pro makeup stores in London and online. I grabbed a big bag of gelatine which I use for making prosthetic appliances when I'm not working in silicone and is my favourite of its kind. A couple of products for simulating psoriasis and dry lips and lastly those handy empty pots which are something I always need for decanting products on set.

Makeup Forever - I've used their HD translucent powder in the past and loved it but have been waiting for an occasion like UMAE to grab another when it would be a little cheaper. It is super fine so doesn't leave as much residue as other brands whilst still keeping the skin nice and matte.
Emj - This pencil roll wasn't something I expected to pick up but something I really do need. Currently all my lip and eye pencils are in clear zip bags which has been okay but I find I only ever use a small portion of them because I can't see what I have. Now they can all be laid out on my makeup station which will make life a lot easier.
OCC - I used these tinted moisturisers on a CBBC job a couple of weeks ago, they aren't something I would use on many actresses or models but are perfect for men and kids as they don't really add any colour, they just even out the skin, that's if you match to their skintone correctly. By the time I came to buy these I had already spent a lot of money so I just grabbed three shades to start with which covers most skintones when mixed, I am so happy to have these in my kit though.
Zoeva - Zoeva is fast becoming a favourite and I've been buying a fair few of their brushes ever since I first got some at IMATS last summer. I picked up three more, mostly because I couldn't resist, but I always figure it's something I can never have too many of...right? I also grabbed one of their eyeliner pencils because it is seriously the strongest, creamiest liner I've ever found. This is one of the gifts I bought myself as I had been using a black powder shadow by Illamasqua on my waterline to get an intense black but this is the perfect replacement.

Last but most definitely not least is my Inglot palettes. I actually went up on three separate occasions because I just couldn't resist. They are however all things I needed topping up in my kit, minus the perfume palette at the top which was the other item I treated myself with.
Yes you heard correctly, that is cream perfume. I had no intention of buying this but swatched each scent on a different finger then didn't know what to do with it so wiped it on a wrist, combining them to create the most perfect scent. (in my opinion) I can't really describe it except to say that it's fresh but not overly feminine and I'm a big fan of unisex perfumes.
I don't want to go into too much detail for the other palettes as I will do a separate blog post with the shade names and swatches but I decided to create a contour palette, a dusky blush palette and a neutral eye shadow palette, all of which are mattes as I mainly work in film where I don't use a lot of shimmer. I've always loved Inglot and am yet to find a product of theirs I don't rate highly so it was time to inject a little more into my kit.

That's everything folks! I'd love to hear what you think of my choices, I hope it was interesting seeing a haul that was bought for work rather than personal use.

If you were a regular reader I'm sorry I've been absent so long, and if any of you came back to read this I'd love it if you left me a little comment telling me so. I'm going to spend a couple hours catching up on my own favourite blogs now before getting back to an illustration commission.

Lastly, I've been selling a load of clothes on Ebay over the past few weeks to save some money for a trip later in the year and there's a bunch ending tonight if you fancy checking them out here.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Review: Karin Herzog face and eye creams

This post has been a very long time coming but has given me the opportunity to use these products for over a month before sharing my thoughts. It's always hard to review skincare because you need the time to get used to different formulas before you can give an informed opinion but I feel I've had the perfect amount of time with these products to be able to do so.

I wasn't particularly familiar with Karin Herzog before receiving these samples but after doing my research I learned KH is a Swiss brand created by Dr Paul Herzog with the encouragement of his wife and the brand's namesake, Karin. The products focus on using active oxygen for cosmetic application, which you can read more about here.

I was immediately impressed with the items I was sent because of the sleek, sophisticated packaging, they look luxurious from the outset which is a quality I would expect being that the products are on the higher end of the price scale.

Day & Night Face Cream: Despite this face cream being designed for day and night I have only been using it in the evenings. It's a lovely, creamy consistency but slightly too heavy for me to personally have on all day under makeup. £57 might seem a little steep but it is a big old tub and you only need roughly a pea-sized amount each time, it also comes with a handy scoop so you don't make a mess. I wasn't sure I liked the scent at first, which isn't overpowering but is slightly more mature than I'm used to, however it grew on me pretty fast and I actually really like it now. I've used this face cream every day for nearly a month and I've found it's been very good to my skin, particularly with the change in weather. I've avoided the dry skin sneak attack that usually happens when the temperature drops and actually reduced the amount of breakouts.

Eye cream: Since my last eye cream review I had been converted to this additional step in my beauty regime. I was eager to try out a different eye cream and see if it brought about the same results. This is a much lighter consistency from the face cream but once again, you only need a really tiny amount. I didn't see a huge difference in my dark circles which is an element it aims to reduce, however given that I'd been working 14 hour days with minimal sleep most of this time, I'm just happy they didn't get any worse. On the whole however the skin around my eyes looks brighter and hydrated so I'm definitely impressed. I'm not sure I'd be able to part with £42 however, but ask me again in another couple of months of using this!

Overall I'm really pleased with these Karin Herzog products and would definitely consider trying other products by the brand on the basis of the two I've been using. I'm so glad these are lasting a long time, I'm always preaching to others the importance of looking after your skin but I don't practice what I preach nearly enough and it makes a nice change to treat my skin with such luxurious products.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Halloween's been and gone, so what about YouTube?

I started my YouTube channel very reluctantly after my first few Halloween makeup tutorials had gone live on the blog. I had a lot of people asking if I did video tutorials as well and as much as I didn't want to get into YT, I could see how much easier it would be to follow a video than a written blog post.

Funnily enough it only took me one video to fall in love with it and I then continued to film my remaining 6 Halloween looks. There was never a plan for a proper channel, I just wanted to give my Halloween tutorials a little more oomph and make sure they could be recreated if anyone fancied. However I've since decided I want to continue making videos, it's just another fun activity I can do when I have the free time and yet another creative outlet to experiment with.

As far as the future of my channel, it will likely stay focussed on special effects and creative makeups. That's my passion and making tutorials gives me the perfect excuse to practice my art and hone my skills when I'm not on a job. Of course when I am working it can be weeks away at a time so my posting will probably be erratic.

I am going to continue with big, character makeups which is how my channel started, but also include quick and realistic effects for those interested in film/tv makeup. Since Halloween I have actually posted two of these types of tutorials already, one on making scabs and the other on how to create an aged black eye.

I'm filming away in Somerset for a couple of weeks soon so in amongst the extensive makeup prep for the film I'm going to try and fit in some blog writing and video filming time so there's stuff up while I'm away. In the meantime, do check out my channel if you haven't already, I'm only a beginner at this YouTube malarky so any pointers you have would be very welcome.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Review: Flint + Flint skincare

I'm a huge advocate on looking after your skin, always telling people in Twitter chats that the best makeup tip is working on a flawless canvas. Unfortunately I don't take my own advice nearly enough and although I always remove my makeup before bed and moisturise in the mornings, that is often where it stops. I've found myself working all waking hours and not taking the ten minutes morning and night for a skincare regime, I also don't wash my personal makeup brushes nearly often enough and I've basically got in a bit of a rut with it all.

Then I was offered some products to try from Flint + Flint, a brand I'd not yet heard of and one that boasted a full collection of skincare products that "ALL work". Their website states "We’re extremely particular. A product that doesn’t work, will never, ever make it into the Flint Plus Flint range." which is something I have a lot of respect for and  sparks great expectations of the products.

I was sent these three items to try which gives me a nice overall picture of their products. I always mention what a sucker for packaging I am so I'm sure you can imagine how pleased I was to unwrap these gorgeous boxes. The design is very slick indeed and I love that each product is colour coded by the vibrant pop in the plus signs.

The first thing I noticed about all three products was the smell, I'm not actually sure if it is a particular scent and I couldn't work out from the ingredients what it would be but I really like it. It also reminds me of some skincare I used to use a few years ago and I'm all for nostalgic smells.

Lip Hero £12: I have a trusty medicated lip balm that I use all year round to keep the cracked lips at bay but I'm always interested to try some more gentle products that don't just keep my lips from being dry but actively keep them feeling hydrated. I found that Lip Hero did just that and has become a mandatory morning and night product for me, it feels so moisturising to apply and leaves my lips everso soft. This product contains active ingredients that aid anti-ageing and promote fuller more defined lips. I can't say I've really noticed this too much but it would be a welcome result if this comes from continued use, my thin lips need all the help they can get.

Serum £48: The serum is to apply between your cleansing routine and moisturising, a step I very rarely ever take in my usual skin care regime, but I was glad that this forced me to get into the habit as I've been really loving this product. The serum has the consistency of a liquid gel and you really don't need much per application. It's a delight to massage into the skin and leaves me feeling wonderfully refreshed. Upon reading the benefits of this product I discovered it is specifically aimed to hydrate the skin and restore radiance which is something I am always looking for and I can say that after nearly three weeks of using this my skin looks a lot healthier and more nourished than it did before. 

Eye Hero £37: Lastly, Eye Hero aims to regenerate the skin and reduce fine lines whilst also easing signs fatigue. The latter is definitely the most immediate complaint I have but I've also used anti-ageing products as a preventative measure for years now. With my job and awkward schedule I often have terrible dark circles around my eyes though in general it's not a part of my face I necessarily think about too much. However using this product every day has definitely made a difference in both how the skin around my eyes looks but also how it feels. This glides onto the skin so nicely, it instantly has a cooling effect and is a really lovely product, you also only need a really tiny amount of this as well.

An all round glowing review pretty much. I'm always dubious when I see claims of products that "really work" but I can't find anything at fault here. It's been such a pleasure to use all three products and I would highly recommend them.

For me, the prices of the Serum and Eye Hero are steep, had I not had the chance to try the products out first I wouldn't have risked spending the money on them personally, however now I would definitely replace them once they've run out. I'm also now very intrigued by ALL of their other products which I trust would be just as great. Flint + Flint do offer a money back guarentee if you're not completely happy with their products which might reassure some of you contemplating whether to invest the money.

I would definitely recommend each of the three products I have tried but if like me you are worried about splashing out too much money on a brand you're unfamiliar with at first, maybe try the Lip Hero first. You can find out more info about each of the products and order them here

Friday, 31 October 2014

Halloween makeup: Fresh zombie with gouged out eye

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! It's finally my favourite day of the year and I saved my goriest tutorial til last. It has been so fun creating 9 different looks this month, especially as I am not able to go out for Halloween this year due to being completely booked up doing other people's makeup.

Today I'm sharing an effect I've actually created more times than I can remember as it's one I developed for a feature film I designed the makeup for last year. The most realistic way to achieve something like a gouged out eye would be with a prosthetic appliance, but this gives an alternative method that is much easier and much more affordable.

halloween makeup tutorial, gorey sfx horror zombie, bloody gouged out eye
I wanted this to be nice and bloody so opted for a fresh zombie. (Though I intend to do a healed version at some point for my YouTube channel) I kept the rest of the makeup quite minimal as you can see.

halloween makeup tutorial, gorey sfx horror zombie, bloody gouged out eye

- First port of call was to add some characteristic zombie shading, I kept my base natural because I don't want to look too long dead. Using taupe, grey and black powder eyeshadows in turn I shaded in the hollows of my cheeks, my temples and forehead, around my eyes, chin and laughter lines. Think of the way we contour our skin with beauty makeup, start with those areas but create a more gaunt effect.

- Then around the eye that wouldn't be gouged out I used red, purple and black greasepaints to create some zombie intensity, make sure you soften the edges with a fluffy brush. I also used these colours on my lips, smudging it out roughly. This looked pretty cool but is now entirely covered in blood in these pictures, but it does give a bit more depth to that area.

- To create the hollow look to the eye socket I used a piece of gauze which I cut out of some black tights. This means you can still see out of the eye because it's not solid, but people can't see in. Clever eh! I applied surgical adhesive (basically eyelash glue) around my eye where the the gauze would sit, then putting it in place I applied more glue over the edge to hold it in place.

- Whilst this is drying I used alcohol activated paints with a really thin brush to draw on the veins. To get these realistic you want them really faint. If you don't have have these particular paints then you can mix some Isopropyl alcohol or even moisturiser in with your greasepaints and failing that, if they're still too strong - powder over them.

- Once dry I used Sculpt Gel silicone which I used all over the edge with a spatula then scraped outwards to create the ripped flesh effect.

- With alcohol activated paints again I started colouring the silicone. You don't need to match your skin like you would with a prosthetic piece because there will be so much blood. I used washes of different shades of red til it was the colour I wanted. Then with a toothbrush I used a splattering technique all around the area. If someone ripped your eye out you can guarantee there'd be a lot of blood flying about afterall.

- Then I started the fake blood. First I used a blood gel. I painted this on mainly around the edge of the gauze where I wanted it most gloopy, then with a thin brush I extended some of the scratch marks out. I also dotted some of the blood around the outside of the wound. I patted some over my mouth too.

- For the runny blood I dripped it on with a brush then let it run down my face the way it wanted to naturally. I've found most fake bloods bead up on the skin but you can easily fix that by mixing in a drop of washing up liquid to make it adhere better. Again I added some around my mouth to finish the look.

- Powder eyeshadows (Illamasqua 'Heroine', MAC 'Copperplate' + 'Carbon')
- Kryolan Supracolour greasepaints
- Duo surgical adhesive
- Gauze patch made from tights/stockings
- Mouldlife Sculpt Gel
- PPI Illustrator palettes 'American Horror Story' + 'FX'
- Make-UP International Abrasion Blood
- Pigs Might Fly Standard Blood

Other points to remember:
- If you are worried about protecting your eyebrow from the silicone, you can use a glue stick or gaffquat to stick it down first. However if you remove the makeup gently with warm water and soap it should not pull any hairs out.
- 3rd Degree is a slightly cheaper and more accessible alternative to Sculpt Gel if you are looking for something more affordable to experiment with.

I really hope you enjoyed this and all 9 of my Halloween makeup tutorials in fact. If you've not checked out the others you can find them all here. As with the majority of the looks I filmed a tutorial for YouTube which is much easier to follow than the written instructions believe me. I've embedded it below and if you like do check out my channel and subscribe becaaaaause I've had so much fun I'm going to keep doing sfx and creative makeup tutorials!