The Great Beauty Bake Off

Today I’m going to talk about a beauty trend which has been attracting a lot of attention in the press and on social media of late – baking. No, not that kind of baking. There’s no jam or soggy bottoms to be found here. This type of baking is of the beauty variety. A trend beloved of celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, baking is a technique that has actually been around for years in the drag community and practised by professional makeup artists. It originated as a way for performers to prevent their makeup from melting under hot stage lighting but for us mere mortals, it can help you to achieve a really flawless, wrinkle free makeup look (in theory). So what exactly is it? Read on and find out… 

Just like other techniques such as highlighting, contouring and strobing, baking is another technique that can appear ridiculously complex and leave viewers of beauty tutorials scratching their heads and thinking, ‘Huh? I ain’t got time for that!’ Well, in case you have got the time, here’s how it works. Before we go any further, I must point out that despite the name, baking does not involve warming up your products in the microwave or sticking your head in an oven. So please don’t do it! The ‘baking’ process actually comes from the heat from your face. So in effect, the warmth of your skin sets (bakes) your makeup. Aaaah… Making sense now? So how do you do it? 

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Translucent setting powder is used to set your products during baking

Firstly, you need to make sure that your skin is really well hydrated and moisturised (particularly under your eyes). Moisturising should be a non-negotiable part of your daily skincare routine anyway but it’s particularly important for makeup techniques like this. If your skin is dry, baking will make your skin look cakey, flakey and pretty rank in all honesty. Once you’ve ensured that your skin is moisturised and silky smooth, you can then get to work on your baking. Also make sure that you have good lighting when applying your makeup. You don’t want to do this in a dark room and then emerge looking as though an undertaker has applied your makeup. Basically all you do is apply your foundation/BB cream (or whatever base you are using). Then apply a thick splodge (that is a technical term) of concealer below your eyes in an inverted triangle shape. It doesn’t matter if the concealer is heavy – it’s meant to be. It’s best if you work your concealer using upward strokes and blend using a slightly damp blending bud or makeup sponge. You can also add concealer to any other areas of your face that you wish to appear brighter. It’s a little like highlighting but without the shimmery sparkle. If you really want to go all out, you can apply another layer of concealer. I know what you’re thinking… ‘F*ck, that’s a lot of makeup’. Yes it is and don’t worry, it’s supposed to be.

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A fan brush (centre) can be used to dust off excess powder

Once you’ve applied your concealer, blend the edges so that it is blended naturally with your foundation. With me so far? Once you have reached this step, you then apply a thick layer of loose translucent powder on top of the concealer. You can do this using a damp sponge or blending bud. You can apply more powder if you wish. You then proceed to ‘bake’ (in other words, you leave the powder and concealer to set using the warmth from your skin). Most people ‘bake’ for around ten minutes and use this time to finish the rest of their makeup. Some people take it even further and ‘bake’ for half an hour. Crikey. Once you have finished baking, you can lightly dust off and blend any excess powder if there is any using a fan brush (or any other really fluffy brush). And voila! If you have done it correctly, you should have flawless, even skin and perfectly set makeup. If you wish, you can then contour, apply blusher or whatever else you want to do to finish your look. 

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Finished baked look using Younique products

Ultimately, this is not a technique you should be employing on a daily basis. Baking requires a thick layer of products which in time, will clog your pores and mess up your skin. No matter how much you may dislike your makeup free skin, it’s always a good idea to allow your skin to ‘breathe’ sometimes. So that’s how you bake. It’s not a difficult technique to master, it just takes time and practice. There are plenty of tutorials out there on YouTube showing lots of different tips and techniques, some more complex than others… But these are the basic principles of baking. Why not give it a try yourself sometime? 

Until next time, stay beautiful x 

Autumn Inspired Makeup

Every season, I say ‘this is my favourite time of year’ and Autumn is no exception. I really love the darker evenings and being able to make my house warm and cosy with my little lamps and scented candles of pumpkin spice and gingerbread. Drinking hot chocolate with lashings of cream, cinnamon and nutmeg, wrapping up warm and walking through crunchy leaves, the smell of bonfires hanging in the air, the fun and festivities of Halloween and Guy Fawkes Night, eating warm chestnuts and toffee apples, sleeping on warm, flannel sheets… There are so many lovely things about autumn. 

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I adore autumn and all of the beautiful colours associated with it 

And not forgetting of course, all of the gorgeous colours of falling foliage that surround us at this time of year – rich, vibrant shades of red, yellow, orange and gold. As a natural redhead, these are not normally colours that I would choose to wear. My hair is a fairly light shade of red (almost a strawberry blonde shade) and I have pale blue eyes and so for me personally, I don’t feel that these shades are the most flattering on me! However, getting in the spirit of Autumn, I decided to have a play around with my makeup and try some colours inspired by the changing seasons. 

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Today’s autumn inspired look

I have used colours from Younique’s range of Mineral Pigment Powders to create this eye makeup look, applied dry and then blended with a Sponge Brush. On my lips, I am wearing Lucrative Lip Gloss in ‘Livid’. As I said previously, they are not colours I would normally choose to wear but it’s always fun to experiment with different makeup looks and colours and you never know – you may discover something that looks amazing on you! 

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These are not colours I would normally choose to wear but it’s fun to play with colour sometimes 

I am also looking forward to trying out these beautiful Splurge Cream Shadows in autumnal inspired colours. These eyeshadows have a lovely, velvety smooth texture and are super luxurious so I am looking forward to adding more to my collection!

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Splurge Cream Shadows in ‘Tenacious’, ‘Defiant’ and ‘Elegant’ 

What colours are you planning to wear for your makeup this season? Feel free to let me know in the comments! 

Until next time, stay beautiful x 

A Buyers Guide To Makeup Brushes

In my last post, I talked about how I consider makeup an art form. And when it comes to applying your makeup, like any artist, it is worth investing in good quality tools. One of the most important tools in the application of your makeup is your brushes. Good brushes can make all the difference between your makeup looking ‘good’ and ‘great’.

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Good brushes are one of the most important makeup tools you will use

Everybody wears different products and applies their makeup differently and so will require different brushes to suit their needs. The main brushes which I use on a regular basis are a brow brush, an eyeshadow brush and a face brush. These are basic brushes which are used by most of us on a daily basis and so it is worth buying the best you can afford. There are many other types of brush available for different purposes and it is up to you to decide which ones you need depending on the type of makeup you wear.

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Assess the quality of your brushes before you buy

Although there are many different styles of brush available to buy, the key points to consider when choosing your brushes are –

Bristles – The bristles on a brush will be either synthetic or natural. Synthetic bristles are stiffer and offer a more controlled, precise application. These are therefore a good choice if you are working with liquid makeup products. Natural bristles are soft and allow more scope for blending so work well with powder based products. However, bristles are obtained from animals such as squirrels and rabbits so if this is an issue for you, stick with synthetic.

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Many makeup artists such as Bobbi Brown have their own range of high quality brushes

Cruelty free – If you do not wish to use brushes with bristles obtained from animals, there are alternatives that are soft and perform much like a natural brush. Too Faced cosmetics have a great range of high quality, soft synthetic brushes. Other companies such as Younique make brushes using animal hair that has been obtained in a cruelty free manner.

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Too Faced cosmetics have a great range of cruelty free synthetic brushes

Quality – Run your fingers through the bristles to see if there is evidence of shedding. Poorer quality brushes are much more likely to shed. Test brushes out by seeing how they feel against your skin. A good quality brush should feel comfortable to hold and easy to control.

Size – Some makeup products come with a brush included although these are usually very small and are designed to fit inside a compact and therefore are not the easiest to work with.

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Chanel Kabuki Brush

Whether you use two or three basic brushes or have an entire professional style roll, using these basic tips will help you to choose the best brushes for your needs.

Until next time, stay beautiful x

The Artistry Of Makeup

In a previous post, I talked about whether the beauty industry and the professionals that work within it were taken seriously enough. In this post, I would like to continue on that theme and talk about whether makeup should actually be considered an art form. Art elitists would probably say ‘no it isn’t’, but I beg to differ. Some consider makeup as a ‘cover up’ –  a way to fake beauty and to dupe the outside world into thinking that you are more attractive than you actually are.

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Day Of The Dead inspired makeup

I totally disagree with this point of view. Yes, makeup can be dramatic and over the top. You can take it further and make yourself literally look like a different person. But it can also be subtle, delicate and a way to enhance your own natural beauty. A way to accentuate and bring out your best facial features. The scale of what can be achieved by applying makeup, the scope for creating different looks and the way you can express yourself with how you look are to me, why it should be considered an art form.

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A beautiful combination of false lashes, eyeshadows and jewels

An un-madeup face is like a blank canvas. As if painting a picture, you prepare the surface you are about to work on – your skin. Then like creating any other piece of art, you can play with colour and techniques. You can coordinate your makeup with your hair and clothes. Just because the medium we are working with is our own face, it doesn’t mean that we cannot create something artistic and beautiful.

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An unusual pink inspired makeup look

I think we are beginning to see a change as to how makeup is perceived as an art form. For years, fashion design has been considered an art and we are now seeing the makeup on models at fashion shows being given almost as much attention as the clothes themselves. Like a creator of ‘fine art’, a makeup artist makes skillful use of colour, shadow and light. Anyone who has tried their hand at contouring and highlighting will tell you, it’s not an easy skill to get right!

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A striking purple makeup look

Many of the characters that we see in films – Voldemort, The Joker, Mystique…Their looks are all a result of special effects makeup artists. So why do some people judge women that wear makeup? Why are they seen as attention seeking (particularly from men) or shallow as they cover up their face with makeup? I am comfortable with or without makeup. Some days I wear very little or none at all and then other days, I will go all out and wear a full face of cosmetics. It just depends on how much time I have, what I am wearing, where I am going or how I am feeling. It doesn’t mean I am shallow, it just means I enjoy having fun with the way I look and enjoy looking different sometimes.

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A theatrical, innovative makeup look

So the next time someone tells you you’re wearing too much makeup, tell them – ‘it’s not makeup, it’s art’. 🙂

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Beautiful, bold use of black eyeliner and red lipstick

Until next time, stay beautiful x