New Beauty Story ‘The Muse’



Had so much fun creating the make up for this beauty story. I was inspired by the beautiful pastel colours that Degas used in his paintings of the ballerinas he observed  in the Parisian theatres and dance studios.

I love the pale luminous pink and blue tinted colours he used for the dancers skin combined with the pastel colours that the theatre lights would cast over their bodies and costumes.




We cast the lovely Tamina Swan @milkmodelmanagment for our shoot and she totally nailed the vibe.


I had an array of colours and textures to choose from but would always keep coming back to the VISEART 08 Editorial palette to add more layers of colour regardless of what else I was using or mixing up on the day.


I found the colours to be perfect in creating the right intensity and soft enough to apply and blend over other areas of the face.  The colours are deeper than your usual pretty soft pastels, I like to describe them as ‘Acidic Pastels’, much more to the ‘Pointe’! ; )

‘The Muse’




Beauty Story ‘Cornucopia’ for Volt Cafe.



Inspired by the beautiful photography of Robert Mapplethorpe and Edward Weston, I wanted to create a beauty and still life story that explored the uniqueness of what it means to be human.  I would love to know what you see and feel looking at each of the paired images.

Photography & Casting-

Concept, Creative Direction, Make up and Props me

Full story


Dream Factory

New beauty story for VOLT CAFE.

Set designer Jo O’Hanlon who created the perspex shapes for our beauty story came up with the concept and creative direction. Jo’s inspiration was inspired by “Light refraction inspired by colours, shapes and styles from the 1960’s”.

The story was shot by Matthew Shave and our gorgeous model was Georgie Hobday @profilemodels




Please click on link for full story and credits


Radical Skincare

In a previous post, I explained how essential a good cleansing regime is in order for any moisturising and anti ageing products to work effectively but had never really considered the effectiveness of the potency in such products and how it was maintained once packaged and on shelves, in particular those with antioxidant properties, until I was introduced to Radical Skincare.


This paraben free brand was created by  Liz and Rachel Edlich, who from a young age had grown up with the science of skin rejuvenation and wound repair whilst working in their father’s lab at the University of Virginia Burn Unit.  Dr. Richard F Edlich MD.PHD, a world renowned Professor of Plastic Surgery whose own career is nothing short of extremely admirable given his own contributions to the medical world, despite having Multiple Sclerosis he has still continued to carry out his life changing work.  Inspired by his sense of purpose, passion and integrity, the sisters forged ahead calling upon the best chemists and scientists they knew to help produce the most powerful skincare possible,yet still sensitive enough to deal with their own skin issues. Liz was suffering from adult acne after turning 46 and Rachel having just given birth to her second child and was having to deal with Rosacea. Within a year they both developed a technology that could protect and repair skin. The potent formula was then combined with soothing agents to reduce inflammation.

So what is the radical breakthrough?

It’s the only skincare that uses Trylacel, a suspension technology that keeps the potency of anti oxidants in creams at their maximum in order to deliver the best results. It was found that when antioxidants are combined with reparative ingredients in creams they break down and become less effective at protecting your skin from free radicals (caused by excess sun,pollution, smoking, stress and obesity), they are the best defence  against free radical damage and ageing, so they need to function at their optimum level in order for our skin to obtain the most benefit from them.

The ingredients listed are a  powerhouse of  antioxidants that include resveratrol (phytonutrient found in dark berries and some plants), coffee berry, acai, grapeseed, red wine extract, pomegranate and cranberry. It’s the combination of powerful antioxidants and the reparative and soothing agents that are held in a bi-lipid membrane that make Radical Skincare 300% more potent than leading brands.

The Facts

The ingredients within Radical Skincare have been clinically proven to:

  • 300% more potent in antioxidant protection when compared to leading brands* to protect from free radical damage
  • Increase skin hydration by 66%
  • Reduce Wrinkles by 50%
  • 128% increase in collagen an elasticity for smoother skin
  • Reduce under eye dark eye circles and puffiness
  • Even skin tone and reduce age and sun spots
  • Reduce pore size

Impressive claims to make but does it work?

Before I go into the review it helps to understand the ingredients you need to be looking out for and what their function is when it comes to buying anti ageing skin products.

Promote maximum hydration

  • Hyaluronic Acid – Key water maintaining substance in the skin that plumps out and hydrates the skin.
  • Sodium Hyaluronate –  Same purpose as above but it has a smaller molecule size that makes it more penetrative and 5x the water binding capacity than hyaluronic acid. Found in anti ageing moisturising products.

Encourage skin cell renewal

  •  AHA’s –  Naturally occurring molecules found in sugarcane, milk and fruits you will often find them listed as Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid and Citric Acid. They help to reduce the appearance of skin wrinkling by removing dead skin cells so that the skin is more even and softer in tone. These are the ingredients you need to look for in cleansing and exfoliating products.
  • Salicylic Acid –  A Beta-hydroxy acid that is similar in function to that of AHA’s but  less irritating and better for those with very sensitive skins
  • Retinols – A derivative of Vitamin A with a molecular structure small enough to penetrate skins lower dermis. Their function is to heal and repair DNA damage caused by sun damage, smoking, pollution by strengthening the skins elastin and boosting collagen production. Please note these are not to be confused with Retinoids these are topically stronger and are generally used to treat acne proned skins.. Found in anti ageing moisutrisers and treatments.
  • L – Ascorbic Acid – Otherwise known as Vit C. A high strength antioxidant that helps to stimulate the synthesis of collagen production as well helping to minimize wrinkles, scars, and fine lines. Also listed as magnesium ascorbyl phosphate or ascorbyl palmitate.
  • Peptides – A beauty buzzword I’m sure most of you will be familiar with, slightly controversial as to whether or not they actually penetrate the skin. Peptides are broken down strands of amino acids and when applied to the skin they send a signal to encourage collagen production. Many studies have shown that they are effective but they need to be in high quality products where they can be stabilized and easily absorbed so as to prevent them breaking down further thus rendering them ineffective.

Does Radical Skincare contain all the above?

With the exception of retinols RS contains the other listed anti aging ingredients and extensive list of other high quality ingredients too but those listed above are pretty much the essentials you really need to be looking for especially where cost is concerned, we’re all to familiar with supposed miracle claims and I only endeavor to write posts about products and brands I believe in.

So do they work?

I have fine lines, my pores are more noticeable and my eyes are certainly puffy in the morning and where these little matters are concerned I’ll answer in short, a very impressive yes. For a month I trialed the Hydrating Cleanser, the age defying exfoliating pads, the Peptide Infused Antioxidant Serum, Restorative Moisture Creme and the Eye Revive Creme. It’s a bit of a regime and I don’t usually use all one brand when cleansing and moisturising so I was a little concerned about product overload on my skin but throughout each step the products work in harmony and any acidic properties are calmed by the soothing ingredients so as not cause any irritation. The only product that may cause any if it all is the exfoliating pads, as they contain AHA’s but a little tingling is normal and it’s this product that really mops up skin debris,  firms skin, tightens pores and allows other active ingredients to penetrate the skin more effectively.  The serum and moisturiser feel amazing on the skin as they’re incredibly light in texture but kept my skin hydrated all day thanks to the Sodium Hyaluronate that’s in the serum. The only downside as with many high end products is that it is a little expensive but If I had to make a couple of choices it would be the exfoliating pads and the Peptide Infused antioxidant serum.



I really love the products in the Radical Skincare line otherwise I wouldn’t have wrote such an extensive post but when it comes to anti ageing there are many products that are best kept on the shop shelf in my opinion and if this brand is a little too expensive then at least you’re armed with better knowledge of what you need to be looking for if you want find a cheaper option.

Just keep in mind, that although good quality anti ageing products can do a lot of good to sun damaged and wrinkled skin, you will benefit far more from their use if you start to use them once fine lines or any noticeable UV damage starts to show.

Prevention is always better than a cure 😉


Is Your Sunscreen Safe?

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It would be the last thought in most people’s minds given all the constant barrage of information about how we must apply an SPF for protection against skin cancer and rightly so but safety concerns over chemical sunscreens (these work by absorbing the sun’s rays as opposed to physical which deflect or block them) have come to light in the public domain.  Is there any validity in the claims that these products created to protect our skin could also be the very thing that’s harming us?

Over the last couple of years the ingredient oxybenzone and its use in chemical sunscreens is a cause for concern. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) “it seems able to penetrate the skin and may have some hormone-like activity in the body”, otherwise known as a hormone disruptor. It’s also a derivative of benzophenone which can attack DNA when it’s illuminated. So whilst you’re out sunbathing the sun literally acts a light switch for an increased production of free radicals, which are the very things your sunscreen should be protecting you from. It’s counterproductive to say the least.

With a little research I found that products only have to label “contains oxybenzone” if it contains 0.5% or more, so even if it’s not labelled it could still be present but according to The Skin Cancer Foundation, “there has never been any evidence that oxybenzone, which has been available for 20 years, has any adverse health effect in humans. The ingredient is FDA-approved for human use based on exhaustive reviews” The SCF then dismissed the EWG findings as nothing more than the result of “junk science”.

So it’s ok as long as it’s not adverse..? I would’ve thought that if there was an alternative for using sunscreen that’s just as safe and effective without the addition of chemical nasties then all sides would be championing that but I guess it’s only the non profit organisation EWG who seem to be…  We could open up a whole pandoras box here of nasty ingredients that regulatory bodies have allowed to slip into many foods, drinks and cosmetics but that’s a whole other issue.

Another growing concern is the continued use of Vit A (retinyl palmitate) to be added to many sunscreens and cosmetics, despite growing scientific evidence that they to pose safety concerns for sun exposed skin,

“In December 2010, the FDA and NTP teams published a draft report consistent with EWG’s findings. On January 26, 2011, the NTP Board of Scientific Counselors unanimously adopted this position. (NTP 2010, NTP 2011). The NTP published the final report on this project last year (NTP 2012). In it the NTP concludes that both retinyl palmitate and retinoic acid, another form of Vitamin A, sped up the development of cancerous lesions and tumors on UV-treated animals.”

Despite the findings it appears the jury is still out as to wether Vit A in sunscreens can be detrimental on human skin tissue when exposed to sunlight but it doesn’t make sense that an SPF should contain it as an ingredient. Its use in anti ageing products is well known but anyone who uses retinols are always advised to avoid the sun or at the very least be vigilant with sun protection, so why add it? Even if the Vit A is watered down by the addition of other ingredients it can’t then be of much an anti ageing benefit but they’ll cost you more for the small added pleasure.

With so many products coming under the spotlight of safety lately you’re sunscreen should be of the least concern and perhaps there really is nothing to worry about with regards to chemical sunscreens but who knows what the accumulative damage is with use of these products, particularly in mothers who breastfeed and young children. Also not forgetting the damage it’s already causing to our environment by polluting our water sources, simply from our sunscreens washing of once were in the water.

“Researchers estimate that 4,000 to 6,000 metric tons of sunscreen wash off swimmers annually in oceans worldwide, and that up to 10 percent of coral reefs are threatened by sunscreen-induced bleaching.”

“Make sure your sunscreen is a physical sunblock, which means it would only have zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Also read the label and choose better ingredients like shea butter, cocoa butter, plant oils and avoid synthetic ingredients like fragrance.”

Many physical sunscreens are now much lighter in formulation compared with the thick gloop of the past so you won’t be left with that annoying white film on your skin. Those with skins that are very fair and sensitive to chemical sunscreens should opt for physical sunscreens, one of the  best things though about them is that they work straight away. If using a chemical sunscreen doesn’t bother you then it’s still a good idea to opt for formulations that are lighter in chemical filters.

So what to use then? Well there are a few brands that I use personally as well as in my kit for jobs on location shoots but I’ve also been on the hunt for other options and I’ll continue to update with suggested products but if anyone else has any others that are tried and tested I would be more than happy to add them to the list on this post. Just remember that even though the  list below consists of products with  SPF30+ does not mean you can stay in the sun all day without reapplying. You need to do so at least every couple of hours. Obviously it goes without saying that the sun is a great source of Vit D and  we still need to absorb the suns rays in order to beneft from it, so you don’t need to cover yourself top to toe 24 hours a day just be sensible and don’t allow yourself to burn.

For very fair skins that are aggravated by chemical sunscreens

Alpha H Ultra Protector SPF 30 RRP £30

Dermalogica super sensitive shield SPF 30  RRP  £38.10

Clarins Sun care cream High Protection SPF 30 and 50 RRP£18.00

Clinique City Block SPF 25 RRP £16.00

Avene Sun Care Very High Protection Mineral Cream SPF 50 RRP £13.50

Heliocare Gel SPF 50 RRP £20

A great lighter chemical filter option is that of  La Roche Posay Anthelios XL SPF range which is available from Boots prices retail from around £14.00

I really want to get hold of Banana Boat’s new mineral SPF 30 but sadly not available in UK at the moment

Other brand suggestions can be found on the Lovelula website and they have SPF”s from 15+ if you still want to tan.

Listed below are a few links that I’ve sourced for this post. Please take a look as they’re full of information and the best thing anyone can do is to be armed with a little knowledge especially when it comes to the health of your skin.

M.A.C Masterclass with Val Garland



A wonderful insight into the collaboration between Val Garland and Alexander McQueen. Val has created many truly unforgettable and iconic looks for the McQueen shows.


During the beginning, the screens flashed through many of Val’s stunning editorial and catwalk creations that she’s so well known  for. Many were then brought to life by the models who then took to the catwalk, marking a beautiful visual history of collaborations that included Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, Lady Gaga, Nick Knight, Tim Walker and Mario Testino,


Each of the models then took to the front stage to be seated where Val would then create signature looks from past Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen shows.   Behind each make up creation was a story and a journey of her career so far.

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Whilst blending, lining, glossing, squiggling and face glitter dipping she talked us through the concept of beauty ideas and how something so wrong can be so right,  ideas that are so simple can still be so magical, yet also when to know not to throw everything but the kitchen sink into an idea, “Be more than a make up artist, be an artist!”

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Watching and listening to Val Garland reminded me that every make up artist/artists really does have their own footpath to follow.  There’s always an element of luck involved but it doesn’t keep you places without the addition of hard work. It’s also realising when opportunities are presented to you and making the best out of the connections you make along the way are what can get you far in this industry. Don’t compare yourself to others but be inspired and be intuitive enough to follow what you believe is right for your career.



Real Techniques Brushes

My collection of brushes for work is vast to say the least but out of all them there are around ten that I repeatedly use on shoots.  There’s five I use for eye make up application for blending, contouring, defining and lining. Three which I use for applying foundation, concealor and cream/liquid colours. The other two are used for applying powders,blushers and bronzers. I also use them to shade and buff the make ups I create for a flawless finish.

To purchase ten brushes can be quite costly and probably not necessary for many of you but I always get asked how to do a smokey eye or how to contour in order to create the illusion of cheekbones and without the right tools it’s not particularly easy to get across how to do it. I find that the brushes that come in many make up compacts are just to flimsy or to hard and are therefore inferior in their application of the product in hand.  I’ve encountered many a woman and girls make up bag that contains these “kinds of brushes” but what’s the point of spending all that money on great make up if you can’t apply it properly?

Recently I was given some new brushes “Real Techniques” to try. Created by pro make up artist and beauty blogger Samantha Chapman, I had the “Your eyes enhanced” starter set, “Your base/flawless” expert face brush and the “Your finish/perfected” Kabuki brush. All are  hand cut with ultra plush taklon bristles making them 100% animal cruelty free. All are now staples in my brush collection.





My personal favourite is the flawless face brush (2nd brush from left) which I’ve been using to apply cream and liquid foundation as well as cream blushers. The beauty of the brushes (other than the price) which you will find when you view the online tutorial that features Sam herself, as she guides you through each of the collections, is that they can have multiple uses for other than what they’ve been labelled as.

The starter set for eyes is a great beauty purchase at £21.99 and I love the Base Shadow Brush and Deluxe Crease Brush (3rd and 4th brushes from left). These  particular brushes are very similar to another brand which I use when applying eye make up and they will make creating that smokey eye so much easier for you! Click the link below to see how it easy is.

The Kabuki brush is a genius little invention in that in it’s closed position it acts as a powder brush for finishing powders and when opened, you can use it to sweep colour on and contour.


There are many other brushes in the Real Techniques range and if you only want to opt for what I’ve featured here or less on this blog they’re still a brilliant beauty investment for you and your make up. Not only will you be getting great quality Hi Tech brushes but also great advice on how to use them!

Expert Face Make up brush RRP £9.99

kabuki Brush RRP £11.99

Every Face Tells A Story…

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So let’s start from the beginning.

Skin, our very own protector and guardian, protecting the body from water loss and shielding us against external damage that comes from UV rays, chemicals and infections. It fights a constant daily battle with the frequent hot to cold and cold to hot thanks to moisture sucking central heating and aircon and for a while it seemingly puts up with bad diets, excessive  alchohol consumption and smoking but eventually all these factors take it’s toll, leading to our decline  in collagen and elasticity production that causes premature ageing.

Obviously genetics play their part here to and your parents are a very good indicator as to how you yourself are likely to age, so if they’ve adopted bad habits that have speeded up the ageing process then it’s very likely that you to will be affected in the same way if you adopt similar lifestyle choices.

Our skin after all  is a projection of the state of our health and people subconsciously respond to it good or bad depending on how healthy we look and as its the bodies largest organ consisting of three layers, the epidermis (upper layer of the skin), dermis (middle layer) and the subcutaneous layer (lower), all three need to be maintained for skin to be at it’s healthiest and youthful.


When it comes to problems with our skin we often think the way to treat it is just with topical solutions rather than a holisitic approach. So we need to be doing our best to eliminate or at least try to cut down on any of the aforementioned bad habits   Eating a diet rich in antioxidants/essential fatty acids, exercise, sleeping well and drinking plenty of water will help to maintain all the layers of our skin, starting with the deepest layer, the subcutaneous. It’s mostly made up of fat and is essential for our skin to function normally, any significant loss here contributes greatly to ageing and once the skin loses it’s elasticity and collagen in the next layer, the dermis, it then becomes weaker and poorer at maintaining the supply of nutrients and water which is vital for the epidermis (surface of our skin) to regenerate new skin cells. This is why skin then starts to sag, wrinkle and become thin, so you really need to look after skin from inside out.

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Having a good skincare regime is also important, it goes a long way to help rejuvinate and kick start the skin cell renewall process and cleansing should be the one area in which your attention should be the primary focus. Without proper cleansing, other products that you use wether it be primers, serums, night creams etc won’t work as efficiently.

Regardless of what type of skin you have cleansing should be gentle and thorough, not abrasive and harsh. Doing so only over stimulates sebum oil production in the dermis which leads to pores clogging. The purpose of cleansing is just to remove make up, grime and dead skin cells on the skins surface, not a full scale attack.

Cleansers come in all sorts of varieties, gels, oils and creams and so on but I’ve listed below my favourites that cover all skin types. You will find that your skin type may change from week to week or month to month. It can be affected by the weather, hormones and other environmental factors so you will need to adapt from time to time the products you use depending on the current condition of your skin.


Shu Uemura Skin Purifier ultime8


One of my absolute favourite cleansers ever! I use it every night as it completely dissolves any make up and impurities on the skin, you only need a few little drops from the dispenser to massage on the face, then add a little warm water to emulsify it then you rinse of with warm water. It contains 8 botanical ingredients that target 8 different skincare concerns, to then provide you with 8 skincare benefits. It’s a little pricey at £34 for 150ml bottle but because it’s so replenishing and nourishing you may find you could skip the need for a moisturiser.


Alpha-H Triple Action Cleanser


This is my go to cleanser if my skin is feeling a little oilier than usual.  It’s so gentle at mopping up any excess oil on my skin but very effective at removing all traces of make up whilst still maintaing a healthy pH balnce in my skin, thanks to it’s soothing cucumber, hydrating Aloe Vera and Thyme wich acts as a natural anti- bacterial. I’ve recommended Alpha-H to a lot of people who’ve been seeking products that are effective at dealing with their skin concerns, from acne, open pores, pigmentation and sensitivity amongst others and I’ve heard nothing but great results. In my opinion one of the best skincare brands across the board.


Alpha-H Balancing Cleanser


Another 3 in 1 cleanser from Alpha-H except this one is cream based and is rich in Vit E and Aloe Vera so it has great antioxidant and soothing properties. Ideal for all skin types, it serves as a make up remover, facial wash and toner.


Gentle Softening Cleansing Fluid Face and Eyes


A great cleansing product I love to use on shoots as it’s very quick at removing stubborn make up and leaves their skin super soft. Once you’ve applied the cleanser you only need a soft tissue to remove any residue but i usually spritz a piece with a rose or lavender infused toner if a model has oily/combination skin before removing.


Dermalogica Skin Resurfacing Cleanser


This cleansing product from Dermalogica contains Lactic Acid (Alph-hyydroxy acid) it’s a naturally occurring substance in milk and dairy products that’s ideal for those with sensitive skin as it’s much less potent than Glycolic Acid which is another natural substance derived from sugarcane. This product works by retexturising the skins surface by removing dead skin cells and accelerating skin cell renewal. It’s perfect for those with skin that has a tendency to be dry and because it has an AHA in it, it allows other products you apply to penetrate the skins surface a  little more deeply thus making whatever you use after cleansing much more effective. Just remember to make sure you apply an SPF as use of AHA’S make the skin more sensitive to the suns UV rays.


Beauty cleansing staples in many a make up artists kit. They remove make up up from eyes, face, lips quickly and efficiently without any need for rinsing of.  A brilliant timesaver when I need to create different looks on models without aggravating their skin, as they have very soothing and hydrating properties. I wouldn’t use them as a constant alternative for a thorough cleanse but they’re perfect for quickly removing make up after a heavy night before crashing into bed, when rushed for time in the morning or even if skin needs a little refresher throughout the day.  They’re also great to use as toner after using oil based cleansers.

Eau Micellaire Douceur


Bioderma Crealine H20 Micelle Solution


The subject of skincare is ever evolving but I hope you find this post on cleansing, sheds a little light on the story so far.


Beauty images shot by Matthew Donaldson

Noble Metal

Shot by Jenny Hands and styled by Anne Shore.

Model is Milana Kruz at Select Models, our ethereal, noble, warrior queen for the day.

The Hunger