Archive | January, 2013

nailed it: Hunger Games/Katniss/flame nails

30 Jan

Feeling a lil bit hot-rod one day, I thought flame nails would be a good idea.  HOT DAMN!

To YouTube!  The CutePolish tutorials on YouTube are some of my favourites.  Using my newly acquired nail stripers from, I got busy.

I’m right handed so I had a go painting my left hand with free-hand flames, which in the end came up better than the flames I painted on plastic for my right hand.  I used cling-film instead of a thicker lunch bag type plastic, and they ended up kind of wrinkly.  They still looked pretty cool, though.

Here are the nails I painted freehand, I don’t seem to have a photo of the other hand.


These I painted on starting with the red then moving in towards the centre of the flame with the orange, followed finally with the yellow.  Once it was dry I went around the outside with a black glitter nail striper.  The usual Sally Hansen base and top coats (Miracle Cure nail strengthening basecoat and Insta-Dri anti-chip top coat).

What do you think?

nailed it: grey on grey skulls

28 Jan


Sally Hansen Miracle Cure nail strengthening basecoat – I f_ck with my nails a lot and this stuff keeps them going.

2True Fast Dry Colour Quick Nail Polish in Shade 13 – cheap cheap, from Superdrug.

Nail stickers also from Superdrug, also cheap cheap.

Sally Hansen Insta-Dri anti-chip top coat.

It’s been on my nails for about 4 days now and there isn’t a single chip – this is almost unheard of for me, my nails usually don’t last more than 24 hours before they start to show serious signs of wear.  The grey is an unusual choice and a lot of people have commented on it.

Just goes to show that you don’t need to spend a fortune.  British high street is amazing for cheap, good quality makeup.  Which is how I justify buying so much of it 🙂

artists I admire: Kevyn Aucoin

26 Jan

I owned Kevyn’s books, Face Forward and Making Faces, years ago, when I was back in Australia and first becoming obsessed with makeup.  I’d taught myself a lot from practice, trial and error, and reading magazines.  But I was at a stage when I was acutely aware of how much I didn’t know, and I was hungry for more technical knowledge and inspiration.

I can’t remember how I first came across the name Kevyn Aucoin.  Probably at the library.  I would have read every makeup book they had, but I couldn’t tell you now about any of the others.  Kevyn’s were all I needed at the time, and there was a lot I liked about those books.  His philosophy and attitude to life, not just to makeup, came across as incredibly positive, inclusive, open-minded and altogether exciting.  He seemed to see the value and beauty in everyone and everything, and his books generously share all he knows.

These two books have so much in them; incredible transformations, technical tips and tricks that are so well illustrated and explained.  Even though I read these books years ago, so much from their pages has stayed with me.  I remember Kevyn writing something about running a mile if you’re hearing the words “always” and “never” being used in a beauty-facist kind of way.  I like the idea that absolutely anything goes, and being open to all of it will teach you how to do things you wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.  Even if something is a mistake or doesn’t work the way you want it to, in another scenario it’s just the look you’re going for.

gweneth as james dean

Hell’s bells, he’s only gone and made Gweneth Paltrow look exactly like James Dean.  Nice work, Kev.  That picture first appeared in FaceForward (published in 2000 by Little, Brown & Co.) – does it further blow your mind to know that it took him 15 minutes to create that portrait?

Like me, Kevyn was completely self-taught, and unlike me he was seriously amazing at what he did.  Now I’m at the stage where I’m looking seriously at gaining a qualification, because once again I’m feeling like there’s so much I don’t know I don’t know.  Seriously.

Oh Kevyn, not a day goes by without me putting eyeliner underneath my top lash line, thanks to you.  Try it for yourself; once you get used to it, it’ll revolutionise mascara for you.

I also highly recommend getting on Amazon where you can pick these books up for a song, second hand.  Even though I have copies of them back home in Australia I justified buying them again the other day because they were only a few bucks each.  And I’m falling in love all over again.  As Gena Rowlands says in the foreword of Making Faces (published 1997 by Little, Brown & Co.)…

“There are so many things in the world that you have to face that aren’t so pleasant, that being able to learning something and have a little fun and feel better about yourself, all in the time it takes to get from one page to the next, is a special and wonderful combination.”

men with makeup: Olli Herman

24 Jan

This blog is about makeup, and this photo is of a man wearing quite a bit of makeup.  So the relevance is tenuous, yes, and I’m happy to admit I just wanted to post a photo of me with the lovely Olli Herman, of Finnish glam rock outfit Reckless Love.

That’s us out the front of the Cathouse in Glasgow, after their gig in October 2012.  A lot of people, upon seeing this photo, don’t realise at first that he’s a bloke, but he’s all man in real life, oh yes.  Even with all the fake tan, eyeliner, long blond hair extensions, lip gloss, coconut-scented hairspray, bronzer, false eyelashes, skin-tight velvet trousers etc etc etc.


A few things you can take away from today’s post:

1. Men in makeup are hot.  There were a lot of screaming women at that gig. Men in makeup are also manly. There were also a lot of rough, tough, tattoo’d, bearded, leather-wearing metal men there who were taking it seriously.

2. Anyone can pull anything off, so you should just wear whatever you want all the time, and don’t worry about what anyone thinks, because it actually doesn’t matter.  Regardless of what you look like, there are always going to be people who think you look good and people who don’t think you look good, but if you like how you look, who gives a shit what anyone else thinks anyway. Go see Reckless Love just quickly for a crash course in confidence; they’re amazing and very, very entertaining.

3. If you want makeup to show up in photos, you really do have to trowel it on.  I thought I’d gone a bit wild on my own eyeliner that night, but next to Olli I look relatively bare-faced!  Haha

Also, you have a right to know that I was wearing a pair of fingerless pleather studded gloves when that photo was taken.  Details are important.

“My style icon is anyone who makes a bloody effort.” – Isabella Blow

Barbie without makeup

22 Jan


I apologise to whoever owns this image; I pinched it from Twitter then forgot where it came from, so I can’t credit it. Naughty naughty.

Anyway, not that makeup is all about covering yourself up to look better… but there’s something to be said for the magical properties of a bit of brightening-this and soothing-that on the more bloated, blood-shot days, am I right? Barbie knows it.

goldeneye/graphic black and white eye

20 Jan

Agi is a big fan of the asymetric look.  She often gets me to do a feature eye (just the one – see the pictures of her on my Introductions post), so today we did two different eyes.  A graphic black and white eye which Agi has wanted to try for a while, and a ‘goldeneye’ that I have always wanted to do on Agi – she’s really blonde and I thought making a feature of her pale lashes would be cool.  So here she is!


The black and white eye was done with MAC eyeshadow in Shroom all over the socket, MAC Paint Pot in Blackground, MAC Pigment powder in Vanilla between the top lash line and socket to make it extra white.  Maybelline Colossal Volum’ mascara in black, and some Eyelure individual falsh lashes glued on with Revlon’s new Precision dark lash adhesive.  Maybelline Master Shape brow pencil in Dark Blond and the Body Shop Lightening Touch 01 under the eyes.  Her lips are MAC lipstick in a shade called 15 Minutes which from memory was part of the Andy Warhol limited edition, so not available anymore, although their shade Scanty is similar.

DSC04250 (2)

The goldeneye was done with my lovely, shimmery new creme eyeshadow, Maybelline 24HR Colour Tattoo in 65-Pink Gold. (I’ve also got it in 35-On and on Bronze, which is great for blue eyes).  It’s all over the eyelid and slightly above the socket, applied with a concealer brush because my nails were too long to get into the pot with my fingertip.  Agi’s golden lashes (top and bottom) were done by coating them with MAC Paint Pot in Rubenesque, also used on the brow bone to highlight.  This photo doesn’t really capture how it looked in real life unfortunately; it really suited her olive skin tone and brought out the colour of her eyes.


Both eyes looked cool however if we’d actually been going out, rather than just doing two completely different eyes just for practice, I’d have matched the graphic black and white eye with something a bit stronger on the other side to balance it.  The goldeneye would be good for some kind of ethereal dress-up.  Angelic 🙂

What do you think?

agi eyes

have you lost weight?

18 Jan

I like skeletons.  I have skull-motif everything.  If it comes in a bones version, I’ll take that one.  It’s no surprise, then, that one of my first major Halloween face-paint undertakings was skull makeup.

First I hit Google images for some guidance; quite often I’ve got no clue how to actually execute these brilliant ideas of mine.  I’ll admit it… I’m very ‘inspired by’.  Luckily, there’s the internet, just brimming with ideas to be pinched, mixed together and re-done.  There are some fantastic ideas out there… check out this and this and this!

So after a LOT of research, I pinched ideas from basically all of them and got busy.  I really liked the idea of vertebrae painted on the neck, and I wanted the teeth to be the main detail/feature.  Alewyn lent me his face to practice on:


…which I was pretty happy with.  Not bad for a first attempt.  Here’s my second attempt, on myself:

skull mirror

… and in negative, X-ray style.

skull portrait

I actually like Alewyn’s better.  No one recognised me, which was my secret goal, so still a good effort.  Here’s what I used to do it:

  • basic black and white cream makeup (you can see the black tube in the top left-hand photo of the pictures of Alewyn.  It comes in every colour of the rainbow – plus an odd range of baby-shit browns and mustards – and you can buy it on eBay for a couple of bucks.  With the exception of the blue one, which flakes like f_ck, this makeup is pretty good.  Cheap, opaque, wears well without smudging/travelling, easily washes off.)
  • MAC Paint Pot in Blackground around the eyes, as I didn’t trust the cream makeup not to crease;
  • black and brown eyeliner to outline the teeth, and matte eyeshadows in medium brown, orange and yellow to discolour them (the brilliant white of the cream makeup was making my own choppers look rather beige in comparison.  Action had to be taken); and
  • yes of course I’m wearing mascara.

Oooh, now I’m inspired to do another skull-face again soon.  These photos are from Halloween 2009 I think… so it’s long overdue.  Next time I’ll be using my newly-acquired Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation (Shade: SB01) which gives a good translucent ghost-pale.  Set with universal/colourless finishing powder so black and grey powder can be used to create hollows and shadows, make it a bit more 3D.

Since we’re here, here’s Agi and Paul, both with a quarter-face skull done by me for Halloween 2010.  Looking at this photo now I am going to guess (cos I can’t remember) that the black in the eye sockets and on the nose is MAC Paint Pot in Blackground, and the white is Snazaroo Clown White.  By the by, Clown White is more comfortable to wear and doesn’t flake as much as cream makeup, and you can build it up as you want it (you can see it extends down to the jawline on Agi, and is much more opaque from the teeth up where I’ve put on additional layers).  So for whitening up a bigger surface, I’d recommend it over cream makeup, even though it’s probably not as opaque even when it’s on nice and thick.  It’s just less likely to become dry/uncomfortable, and crack up.  Anyway, here they are:


… and from Halloween 2012, here’s my friend Joy looking amazing as a sugar-skull.  It wasn’t me that did the makeup, but I love her look; the cherry-red hair and white contacts, wow –


So there you have it, boys and girls.  Skeletal fun.  Stay tuned for further adventures in the underworld, this is one of my favourite faces to do so it won’t be the last you see here 🙂

Introducing my models

16 Jan

I suppose I should begin by introducing the gracious folk who lend me their faces.


That’s us (probably about 20 years ago), me on the left and my sister Chloe on the right (bad photo, she’s not actually developmentally challenged).  Chloe has been with me from the beginning, letting me apply eyeshadow directly to her eyeball without (much) complaint.  She is a very patient model and one of my favourites because her face is so similar to mine, so it’s easy.  And weird and interesting putting makeup on my own bone structure, but not in the mirror.

Speaking of mirrors, here she is again.  A more recent photo, mirrored in two different wigs.  This was Halloween 2012, where she went POP-art.  More on that occasion later.


I am also lucky enough to have a dear friend who is as keen as I am on the more creative side of makeup; Agi, who always has an interesting idea and always lets me just practice.


So these two are my main faces.  You’ll be seeing plenty of these two lovely ladies.

%d bloggers like this: