Pioneers Of Beauty – Barry Mero

Here is the latest post in my Pioneers Of Beauty series looking at people who have shaped the beauty industry as we know it. Today’s beauty pioneer, Barry Mero, is not exactly a household name. Chances are, you have probably never even heard of him. But you have probably heard of the London based cosmetics company that bears his name – Barry M. One of my favourite budget (and cruelty free) beauty brands, Barry M are famed for their multicoloured, sparkly and reasonably priced products. When I first came across Barry M products, I honestly thought that Barry Manilow had his own makeup line. But no, the Barry M behind the company isn’t Mr. Manilow, it’s Barry Mero. Barry began his career in beauty by selling cosmetics and hair products on a market stall near his home in east London. He had an entrepreneurial spirit from a young age and quickly spotted a gap in the beauty market – colourful, trend led makeup in keeping with the outrageous goth, punk and new romantic fashions of the 80’s. 

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Barry M’s famous Dazzle Dust

And so in 1982, the Barry M brand was born. The first products in the Barry M range were the famous Nail Paints. Barry introduced cruelty free, quality nail polishes in bright, vivid colours that were like nothing else available at the time, all at very affordable prices. I absolutely love them and own way too many colours to count. Finely milled nail glitters, crackle effect and black nail polishes are just some of the innovative products that he has bought to the world of beauty. Far from being an obscure, cult brand, Barry M count Angelina Jolie, Geri Halliwell and Victoria Beckham as fans. Barry M has evolved from a small, niche brand selling colourful nail polishes to a fully fledged cosmetics company offering a full range of makeup including lip glosses, eyeshadows and foundations. 

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Still a best seller… Black Nail Paint

A true innovator, Barry definitely deserves his place on my list as a Pioneer Of Beauty. 

Until next time, stay beautiful x 

Barefaced Chic

Wearing no makeup is a big deal to a lot of women. Going out with no makeup is to many, unthinkable. In fact, I even know some women whose husbands or boyfriends have never even seen their face with no makeup. They get up at the crack of dawn to put their face on before they are seen devoid of their beloved makeup products. A few years ago there was a big social media campaign for Cancer Research that involved posting a no makeup selfie. Again, this was seen as a huge deal for some women and many people I know actually refused to participate as they couldn’t bear people seeing them without makeup. The fact the whole campaign was marketed as a ‘challenge’ speaks volumes. Makeup provides many women with that extra confidence boost that they may feel they need and to ‘disguise’ what they don’t like. None of us are perfect and most of us have aspects of our face that we consider ‘flaws’. 

There are things that I don’t like about my face – my freckled skin, blonde brows and lashes, slightly asymmetrical features and thin lips. However, despite the things that I consider flaws, I look for the beauty in my face. I love the colour of my hair and eyes, the bone structure of my face and the fact that my skin is smooth and clear. I’ve even learned to love my slightly crooked teeth (I feel they give my face uniqueness and character). Rather than seeing an unmade-up face as unattractive or worse still, ugly, I see them as blank canvases. Makeup is an art form – the products are the medium and the face is the canvas. Makeup is not to be used as a mask, it should be used to accentuate the natural beauty that is already there. As much as I love wearing makeup, I don’t think it should be used as a crutch to hide what you don’t like on the outside. It’s a cliche but true beauty starts from within. And don’t forget that makeup can only do so much, you still have to work with what you’ve got. 

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I am comfortable with my makeup free face

I feel it’s time more women learned to love themselves without makeup. And it’s important too that men don’t make women feel as though they are not attractive without makeup. Men don’t realise that all too often when they are complimenting a woman on her beauty, they are in fact complimenting her on her makeup. When was the last time a glamour model or a stripper did her job without a full face of makeup? Some of the most ‘beautiful’ women out there have skilled makeup artists or are highly skilled themselves at applying makeup. It gives a false idea of beauty. All this I feel puts pressure on women to constantly be made-up. And to me, that’s not cool. So no matter how you look without makeup, whether you feel confident or not, I would encourage you to fall in love with your makeup free face. Look for the features you love rather than concentrating on those that you don’t. Despite my love of makeup and how it makes me feel and look, I’m still comfortable with my makeup free face. And you should be too. And even if you’re not – make sure you take it off at night, sleeping in it isn’t good for your skin. In fact sleeping in makeup can make your skin age up to seven times faster! Another reason to go barefaced!  

Until next time, stay beautiful x 

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 

Pioneers Of Beauty – Barbara Daly

This is the first post in a series entitled ‘Pioneers Of Beauty’. This series will look at people who have shaped the beauty world as we know it. The artists and innovators who have made a lasting impact on the cosmetics industry and have changed the way we view makeup and indeed, ourselves. My first ‘beauty pioneer’ is British makeup artist Barbara Daly. Even if you have never heard of her before, most of you will be familiar with her work. She was the makeup artist for the Stanley Kubrick films ‘The Shining’ and ‘A Clockwork Orange’ and has inspired countless Halloween makeup looks since!

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Barbara Daly’s infamous work on the film ‘A Clockwork Orange’

Barbara began her career as a makeup artist in the 1960’s working on TV shows for the BBC before embarking upon a career as a freelancer. She has worked with numerous well known photographers such as Helmut Newton, David Bailey and Lord Snowdon and was the makeup artist behind some of the most iconic Vogue covers of the 1970’s and 80’s. She was also called upon to be the makeup artist for one of the most famous and photographed weddings in history – Princess Diana’s. Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was also a client of Barbara’s.

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Barbara Daly’s highest profile commission – Princess Diana’s wedding day

If you live in the UK, Barbara has a self titled range of makeup available from Tesco. From the outlandish style of ‘A Clockwork Orange’ through to smokey eyes and the fashionable ‘no makeup’ makeup look, Barbara Daly’s influence can be felt to this day throughout the world of makeup artistry. There are many well known makeup artists these days such as Bobbi Brown, Jemma Kidd, Jeffree Star and countless others. But Barbara truly paved the way for makeup artists to become ‘stars’ in their own right. A true pioneer of beauty. 

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 

Beauty Tips For Bad Days

We all have days where we feel (and look) a little bit below par. Even the most naturally beautiful women. Days where we wish we could just hide away and not have to grace anyone with our spotty, tired looking face. Unless you’re like me and work from home, this is however not an option for the majority of people. Not to worry though. There are some ways we can cheat the appearance of looking good on a bad day, even if we woke up this morning looking far from our best. 

Add some colour – The appearance of sallow looking skin can be improved by adding a hint of colour. Try using a tinted moisturiser, BB creambronzer or self tanner to add a hint of colour to a pale complexion. Finish with a hint of blusher. Don’t go too heavy though! Try to make your skin look natural with your colouring. For example I’m a redhead and naturally have pale skin and eyes. If I use bronzer, my skin just looks dirty! Tailor your makeup to your natural colouring. 

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Add a touch of Bronzer to add some colour to your face

Concealer – Concealer is the ultimate weapon in your beauty arsenal. Blemishes, bruises, dark under eye circles, redness, scars and spots can all be covered using a good quality concealer. Dark under eye circles in particular can make a face appear tired looking. Concealer will help to lift and brighten your face. I recommend Younique’s Touch Mineral Skin Perfecting Concealer. It’s an amazing concealer that works so well, it even covers tattoos! 

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Using Younique’s Touch Mineral Skin Perfecting Concealer to cover a tattoo

Lip colour – Lip colour can draw attention away from tired looking eyes and brighten up your look. 

Moisturise – Those of you who are regulars of this blog know how much I stress the importance of looking after your skin. When your skin is dehydrated your skin can look dull and appear older. Make sure that you moisturise your skin in the mornings and ensure that you are drinking enough water to keep your skin and the rest of your body healthy and hydrated. A good quality moisturiser is one of the best beauty investments you will make. 

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Make moisturising a daily habit 

Sunburn – My nemesis. After sun exposure, if you’re suffering from sunburn take a cool shower or bath and apply a cold compress to help cool the skin. Younique’s Rosewater Toning Spritz is a soothing natural toner that works well on sunburn. It’s non-irritating, helps to reduce redness and encourages your skin to heal itself. If your skin is still red, applying a light tinted moisturiser can help to disguise it. 

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Rosewater can help soothe burnt skin

Tired Eyes – You really shouldn’t get in the habit of depriving yourself of sleep. However if you’re sleep deprived and have tired looking eyes, there are a couple of tricks you can use. As I mentioned before, concealer is amazing for giving tired eyes a lift. Also try curling your lashes to open up your eyes and look a bit more awake (even if you’re not!) Dark eyeliners and eyeshadows can make you appear even more tired than you already are so stick to lighter colours on those days. If all else fails – put your sunglasses on! 

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My husband looked good, I was having a bad day so hid behind the glasses! 

Until next time, stay beautiful x 

Backcombing For Beginners

If like me you’ve got fine hair, one of the best ways you can cheat the appearance of having big hair is by backcombing. For years I actually had no idea what backcombing was but basically, you comb the underside of your hair backwards and then smooth over the top section so it looks volumised and has added height. If you’re creating a beautiful ‘up-do’ or hair for a special occasion, backcombing is a great place to start. It is also how hairstyles such as Amy Winehouse’s trademark ‘beehive’ are created. Before you try backcombing your hair for yourself, there are some points you need to consider. Firstly, if you are trying to add some volume to your hair, it’s a good idea to use a clarifying shampoo every so often. These work by stripping away gunk and oils that have built up from other products that you have used which can weigh your hair down and make it appear flatter.

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Backcombed hair on my wedding day

You can also use volumising products such as shampoos, conditioners and mousses which can help to boost volume. Apply conditioner to the mid-lengths and ends of your hair only though as applying it to your scalp can weigh your hair down and make it appear greasy. Aussie have some really good volumising products which I highly recommend. Personally I find my hair easier to style a day or two after shampooing. I have very dry hair and if I try and style my hair when it’s freshly washed, it’s too slippery and the style just doesn’t hold as well, if at all. If you wish to backcomb freshly washed hair, try adding products that make your hair feel less slippery such as salt spray. 

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I like Aussie volumising products as an inexpensive, salon brand alternative 

Another good tip for adding volume to your hair is to blow dry it upside down. It’s an old trick which my mum was taught by a hairdresser years ago but it really does work as it dries your hair almost weightless. Next time you dry your hair, turn your head upside down and use the diffuser attachment on your hairdryer. And remember to use your hairdryer on a lower temperature setting to minimise heat damage. In terms of actually backcombing your hair, I would suggest watching some good tutorial videos before you attempt it yourself as backcombing can damage hair if done incorrectly. The basic technique is to take a section of hair that you wish to add volume to (most people choose the area right on top of their head and sometimes the sides too) and hold it straight and taught as close to the end of the hair as possible so that no strands of hair can work loose.

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L’Oreal Elnett is an easily available, inexpensive hairspray that works well for long lasting hold 

Then using a brush or comb halfway between the roots of your hair and your hand, repeatedly and firmly brush downwards towards your scalp to create a volumised ‘cushion’ of hair. If done correctly, it should look a complete mess at this point! But don’t worry, the next step is to use a brush to smooth over the top layer of hair. Work from the roots and brush very gently over the top layer only so you don’t remove the backcombing or flatten the volume you have just created. Once you have finished styling your hair, you can then set your style in place with hairspray. L’Oreal Elnett is a good, inexpensive hairspray to hold your style. I’m not overly keen on the smell but it holds really well and brushes out very easily so it is still my ‘go to’ hairspray. Backcombing isn’t the ‘dark art’ that many people consider it to be and as long as you use the correct technique, it’s a style that you can easily achieve at home. 

Until next time, stay beautiful x