Beauty · holiday · Makeup · makeup addict · makeup blogger · Makeup palette · packing · summer · summer vacation

What I did on my Corfu holiday

A month ago I went on a summer holiday to Corfu for a second consecutive time with my husband (my 3rd time in total). We love this beautiful Greek island in the Ioanian sea. What’s not to love! Beautiful architecture, scenery and luscious green mountains meet the crystal clear turquoise-blue sea waters.

We stayed in some amazing accommodation found on Airbnb. We spent the first 5 nights in the most serene setting: an Oak House in the mountains and the last 4 nights by the seaside. It was a wonderful change of scenery and it was lovely to unwind and relax in nature.

Here’s a few photos of the many I took that show how idyllic this island really is:

Instead of boasting about my holiday though, what I really wanted to share is the makeup looks I was able to create while on holiday. As previously mentioned in my post beauty-preparations-for-my-summer-holiday/ I travelled lightly and most days I didn’t wear make up as we would spend our time on the beach or exploring the island. I did, however, take along this compact Estee Lauder makeup bag which proved very handy:

Along with my foundation and bronzer these were the only other products I took on my trip. The brown eyeshadow palette gave me some natural looking results in cut-crease and smokey eye look, but I particularly liked the lipstick shades which were subtIe in colour. They were also good for mixing together to get even more colour options.

Here’s the makeup looks I was able to create with these products:

Beauty · birthday presents · corrector palette · foundations · Makeup · makeup addict · makeup blogger · makeup brushes · MUA · MUA certificate · skin tones · travel · Uncategorized

What makeup and beauty products did I get for my birthday?

Last month I had my birthday but didn’t do any big celebration. That doesn’t mean I didn’t get to receive a few good presents :-). Some of these presents were make up and beauty products, of course!

For starters, I got some cash from close family that partly went to buying makeup and beauty products and partly went towards my holiday expenses. I ended up buying a few of my everyday beauty regime necessities with the cash gift money I set aside for the purpose of buying beauty products. Such necessities included my daily face lotion, a dry shampoo hairspray and my daily face scrub:

I needed to replenish a few favourite make up products too so I went to the Kryolan representative to get a new packet of it’s Banana coloured loose powder. It’s the best setting face powder for my skin type and undertone so although the one I owned was a big container I have gone through it rather quickly and needed to make sure I replace it before it’s completely gone. I used, of course, my MUA discount when buying these products. That’s one of the perks of having a MUA certificate!

Another favourite makeup staple that I ran out of and needed replacing was my BareMinerals Makeup Pro Foundation in Cool Beige 10. BareMinerals are not being sold in Cyprus nor have I found a way to purchase their products online and get this brand shipped over. I first bought this foundation from Manchester airport on my way back from visiting my husband’s family last year and it soon became my favourite alternative to Est√©e Lauder’s Double Wear. When I realized I was running out I had to find a locally sourced alternative. My search led me to buying the NYX CAN’T STOP WON’T STOP Warm Vanilla recently. Though an ok everyday option, the NYX foundation “pales” in comparison (pun intended) to the BareMinerals one.

So I was ecstatic when my friend Ellina visiting from the UK offered to buy it for me as a birthday present. It gives full coverage and the colour matches my skin tone perfectly.

Then my sister bought me a few good makeup products, some of which were a complete surprise! She just came back from a summer vacation/shopping spree to the UK and had the opportunity to find products not found in little old Cyprus. While in the UK she ordered for me and her a set of make up brushes from the famous British MUA Wayne Goss’ product line. So exciting!!

The packaging itself was really cute and the makeup box and the brushes themselves are quite compact. This makes it perfect for carrying around for everyday use and for when travelling !!

I have already used most of the brushes and love them, especially the foundation brush. It’s shape is perfect for flawless blending using minimal product so it’s very efficient too!

The other birthday makeup products my sister brought me were a RIMMEL lipstick and matte bronzer that came in a cool RIMMEL makeup bag and a NYX corrector palette.

I have tried them all and can attest that all 3 makeup products are absolutely amazing!! The bronzer and corrector palette have become part of my everyday makeup routine. The shade of the lipstick (a glossy shade of light brown/pink) is wonderful for daytime use. So, I couldn’t be happier with these new “finds”!

I’m really happy with my birthday makeup stash and can’t wait to show off some of my makeup looks using these products and the brushes on a future blog post!

Beauty · inspiration · journal · lip gloss · lip scrub · lipstick · Makeup · Makeup academy · perfect mouth shape · Personal diary

Creating the perfect pout

Remembering my makeup Masterclass at the KLMA makeup academy in North Manchester just over 2 years ago, the lessons that inspired me to journal about my creative journey through this blog, I wanted to write about the lesson which focussed mainly on lipstick application on different mouth shapes to create the perfect pout.

Some lips are small and round, some lips are thin, others are big and fleshy. These days, a lot of people’s lips are injected with fillers to look plumper.  That’s because, as with many other beauty features, can fall victim to fashion and what’s considered aesthetically pleasing for the times.  In the 1990s there was this awful trend of lining lips with 5 shades darker pencil colour than that of the lipstick. The idea was to make lips look bigger but the result was usually a hot mess.  You see, the concept of grading colour was not a thing back then. The bigger the difference between lip pencil and lipstick the better it was, apparently. Then, more recently, there was the trend of nude lipsticks to give the impression of natural looking lips. The made-up-to-look-like-there’s-no-make-up-at-all look

Personally, I like lips to have a bit of colour on them.  Growing up I associated makeup with bold red lipstick. My all-time favourite is the iconic red lip of the Hollywood beauties of the 40s and 50s.  Few people think that Ava Gardner, Marilyn Monroe or Rita Hayworth were not gorgeous, am I wrong? 

Who doesn’t recognise Marilyn Monroe’s iconic fire red lips
The beautiful Rita Hayworth as Gilda in an ox’s blood red lippy

All of these glamorous stars wore the signature red lipstick with pride. And have you noticed how red suits them all regardless of their hair colour?

Anyway, parenthesis over…

What I realised during the makeup class (and subsequently from practicing on a number of women) applying lipstick on others is really not the same as applying in on one’s self and definitely not as easy.

I will do my best here to share with you what we were taught in terms of creating the perfect pout.

  • The starting point is to ensure the lip skin is in good condition. If the lips are dry they might need a lip balm for hydration. If they are very dry to the point where the skin is scaling then a lip scrub needs to come to the rescue. My favourite for this purpose is from LUSH, made from natural ingredients such as castor sugar and jojoba oil. (I use the bubblegum flavoured one which is scrumptious and tasting like candy floss). If the lips are dry and you skip this step the applied lipstick might look clumpy and your lips really unattractive.
  • Then on to the shaping of the lips using a lip pencil. It’s good to use a pencil in the same colour or similar to the lipstick you will be wearing but if you don’t have one a nude lip pencil can also be useful to do the lips’ outline. Depending on your mouth’s shape and whether you want to make it look larger or smaller you can carefully outline with your pencil slightly outside your natural curve (to enlarge the shape) or inside it (to make it appear smaller). The same goes with evening out a lopsided lip or a smaller upper to bottom lip and vice versa. In class we were taught to start lining from the corners of the mouth towards the middle top or bottom but I personally feel more comfortable starting from the arch of the top lip in the middle doing one side first and then the other, creating an X where the two lines meet at the top. Similarly for the bottom lip I like to start from the middle towards the outer corners of the mouth. This step is extremely important in not only ensuring you have the shape you want but to also avoid the lipstick you will apply next from “bleeding out”.
  • The next step is to fill in the lips with the pencil colour followed by the red lippy of your choice for full coverage.
  • For maximum duration (who wants to be re-applying lipstick every time they take a sip from a glass or bite from their fork, right?) I recommend blotting your lipstick on a tissue then reapplying your lipstick, putting the tissue again between your lips and dusting some translucent powder with a big makeup brush onto your tissue-covered lips and then re-apply lipstick for a third time. Sounds a bit tedious, I know, but trust me if you’re a bride or going to a super important event this trick will work wonders for keeping your lipcolour in place for hours without retouching! Besides, if you spent all that time perfecting the shaping would you really want to be doing that over and over again throughout the day?
  • If you want a bit more shine, you can add lipgloss as a top coat , especially if your lipstick colour is a bit matte but you’re going for a glossy look.

So there you have my step-by-step guide to creating the perfect pout. As I mentioned earlier, it’s much easier when I do this on myself. As hygiene is important, I avoid sharing my lipsticks with others. I use lipstick palettes and lip brushes instead both of which I can more easily sanitize. But this means that the lipsticks which are perfectly shaped for applying colour directly onto the lips are out of the question when doing someone else’s makeup. It can take much longer applying lipstick using a lip brush and the experience of doing this on various different ladies has made me realise how squishy lips can feel.

Not forgetting my obsession with red lipsticks before finishing this article I wanted to share with you my current collection of red lipsticks and liners:

  • Lip liner no. 11 Burgundy from The Body Shop. I bought this years ago so not sure if it still exists
  • MaxFactor’s colour elixir lip liner no. 10 Red Rush
  • INGLOT’s no. 20 Lip Pencil (can be used both as liner and lipstick)
  • A L’Occitane organic lip balm/lipstick which was a birthday gift a couple of years ago from my best friend Maria (unfortunately the writing on the packaging has faded so I don’t have it’s name)
  • The LUSH lip scrub – not a lipstick but thought I’d show it off as I find it handy
  • Two similar red shades from Lancome, no. 132 and no. 151 from the L’ absolu rouge line (have had them for a while too)
  • A Diego Dalla Palma lipgloss in no. 44
  • My brand new Elizabeth Arden Red Door Red dedicated to Reese Witherspoon. This little gem was my Secret Santa gift from a colleague last Christmas and I’ve been treasuring it since. It looks so pretty intact in it’s packaging I don’t have the heart to spoil its look by using it! But I look forward to trying it as it’s moisturising and has a beautiful, vibrant colour.

I know that red is not everyone’s cup of tea. Although I find it hard to accept, I know that some people find it a very strong colour. Some even told me they find it vulgar! Do you like red on the lips as much as I do?

Did you find my guide to creating the perfect pout useful? Did I miss any important steps?

Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.

body oil · concealer · cracked heels treatment · Eyeliner · face creams · Makeup · makeup brush scrubber · Shopping · summer

Hello summer! June makeup buys

Giant Pink Flamingo Pool Float Inflatable Ring Swimming Pool Toys Water Fun

Summer in Cyprus arrived early this year. From the beginning of May the temperature rose to the range of 40 degrees Celcius pretty quickly in my country. So 6 weeks later it feels that we are well into summer season.

With the change of season comes the urge to renew ourselves. Everyone changes their winter wardrobe for their summer clothes and it’s obvious that the weather has turned. Boots are replaced with open toe shoes and sandals. Long hair feels too hot unless it’s kept in ponytails or braids and inevitably people’s skins tan making makeup looks more inclined towards bronze and bright colours.

I am no exception and hope to fit back into some lovely summer clothes I bought a couple of summers ago and hardly wore the first time round. If I reach my goal soon I’ll be wearing some breezy summer dresses that will feel like they’re new. A win all around!

In this mode of renewal, I also splurged a little on (surprise, surprise) some beauty products. Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t go crazy on the spending. I only bought a few items to get in the summer vibe.

Here’s what I bought:

  • L’OREAL Purple lights glitter eyeshadow – the colour is mesmerizing
  • GALENIC Aqua Porcelaine hydra-illuminating fluid – leaves a velvety texture on the face with an exquisite aroma and illumination
  • bacche di TUSCIA Body Dry Oil – an aromatic concoction made of various oils for the body that has a silky feeling and doesn’t feel oily
  • Hair band from JUMBO toy store
  • FOOTLOGIX Cracked Heel Formula – a highly recommended foam from a Canadian brand I bought from my nail salon to heal my dry heels. Apparently it takes 40 days of using it day and night to see results and I haven’t been very diligent with this routine so will have to see if this works for me
  • MAYBELLINE master ink in Metallic – a silvery-lilac eyeliner
  • INGLOT Makeup Brush Scrubber – still in it’s box as I haven’t used it yet but intend to try it the next time I have a video or photo shoot involving the makeup of more than 1 person at a time
  • GALENIC Purete Sublime mattifying fluid – this was a prize I won when I bought the other GALENIC fluid from my local pharmacy. It’s for oily skin types. Having normal to oily combination skin I think it’s perfect for summer when the heat makes my face oilier. It smells great too!
  • Pink Dolphin waterpistol from JUMBO toy store – I will explain this purchase in a sec!
  • INGLOT concealer and salmon/peach coloured eyeshadow along with a freedom system palette to store them in
  • L’OREAL true match La Touche Magique – an anti-fatigue illuminating concealer that promises to match the colour of your skin

Going back to the waterpistol…Well, unless you are a die-hard from vanity to sanity fan you would’t know that recently a beautiful cat adopted me. Yes, she chose me to be her carer and when she gave birth she brought me her sweet little nugget to protect him too. They are both adorable so I can’t resist sharing a few photos to show them off!

So, why did I buy a waterpistol? I resorted to that as a method to deter them both from scratching my furniture and it seems to be working.

So? What do you guys think of my June buys?

Beauty · concealer · foundation · INGLOT · lip gloss · Makeup · Sanity · summer · Uncategorized · Vanity

Summer Makeup – application tips for extreme heat

Ever since returning to Cyprus from rainy Manchester in the peak of summer (end of July) in 2017 I’ve been thinking of writing a blog post about the difficulties of applying makeup in hot weather as this is a daily struggle for me. I never had such issues when I lived in the UK or even when I lived in Greece back in 2004-2006. You see, for those not familiar with Cyprus,the small European country in the middle of the Mediterranean sea, summers here are hot and humid with temperatures rising well above 44 degrees (usually in July and August). But with climate change, recent years are seeing a bigger and bigger extension of these heatwaves in Cyprus, with summer weather lasting from the beginning of May to the end of October. Just this year we had 42+ degrees Celcius in May already! I don’t even dare think what the rest of the summer will be like.

So when Sarah of the lifewithlilred blog gave a shout out for a collaboration with anyone wanting to write about a summer topic as a guest on her blog thought this is it, I HAVE to finally write this post because who likes dripping makeup, right?

Wearing makeup for me is very important. Unless I’m going swimming (and even when I go to the beach usually I put on an under-eye concealer and tinted sunscreen for minimum cover) I like to look well wherever I go. No longer a spring chicken, this unfortunately for me means not just wearing a nice lipstick to brighten up my face. (Oh to be young again, able to get away with bare skin and just a bright coloured lipstick)! I now need the full works: foundation, concealer, mascara, lipstick and blusher. But if you’re a makeup addict like me then you know those products make the bare minimum of a made-up look.

But heat and humidity are makeup’s enemies. So what are makeup’s friends in hot weather then? Well in my case it’s tissues, sunscreen, face powder, setting spray, blotting paper and the coolness from a powerful air-conditioner. Without them applying makeup in extreme hot weather would just be impossible.

First things first, to be even able to start the process of applying makeup in a hot and humid environment I personally need to be in a cool place. So I make sure to have the aircon on full blast before I sit in front of my vanity mirror. Then I dry my face to avoid any wetness from the humid climate using tissue paper and I’m set to go with the following products in step order:

  • Under-eye concealer – As I’ve always had dark circles under my eyes this is an absolute must for me and it’s always my first step.
  • Sunscreen – if I’m not going for a heavy made up look I’ll use a 50+ SPF tinted one and skip the foundation. Two good tinted options of mine are LA ROCHE-POSAY’s ANTHELIOS XL and SUN SENSE. I make sure to cover my face well with the sunscreen, especially the bridge of my nose and cheeks which are my features that get the most sun exposure and are prone to sun damage.
  • Foundation – If I’m going for a full cover then I’ll use a non-tinted sunscreen in the previous step followed by a good foundation. An all-time favourite of mine is the Estee Lauder Double Wear foundation but I recently discovered a good alternative from SHISEIDO, the UV Protective Stick Foundation with 30 SPF. As it’s in stick form it’s very easy to apply and doesn’t need particular blending.
  • Powder – Preferably in loose form, face powder is essential in setting the creamy products applied to the face before potentially adding any others such as blusher, eyeshadow, brow liner, mascara and lipstick.
  • Setting spray – This is the last step in ensuring the look stays intact. By spraying the face from a distance of about 25 cms you help everything stay put and not melt away when the temperature rises.
  • Blotting paper – Essential to blot out sweat throughout the day and/or night, this product is handy to be kept in your handbag to avoid looking oily when the temperature and more importantly the humidity levels rise.

Following the above steps but also adding mascara, bronzer and lip-gloss I created this everyday, natural look (the frizzy stray hairs are testament to the humidity):

Here’s a snapshot of the products I used for my look:

I’d be interested to hear of any other tips for applying and maintaining makeup in extremely hot weather as frankly I am finding it a challenge!

2019 resolutions · Beauty · girls bonding · hair · hair detangler · hair dryer · make up and health · makeup blogger · packing · Personal challenge · swimming · Uncategorized · Wellbeing

Locker room beauty talk

As part of my 2019 new year’s resolutions to improve my overall health and wellbeing I bought myself an annual membership to a swimming gym. I’m not a great swimmer but I love swimming nonetheless. I may lack speed and technique but nothing beats the calmness I feel from the water element. My astrological sign (Cancer) is a water sign so maybe that’s the reason. What I know for sure is that exercising in the water is one of the most beneficial forms of exercise so I try to use the swimming pool regularly.

Using a public swimming pool does have its downside though. The most annoying part for me is the whole drying my body and hair off after my post-swim shower. It can take almost as long as the actual time I spend inside the pool! Due to my long, thick hair I’m restricted to always using a hairdryer to avoid moisture lingering on for hours, which happens even in the boiling hot Cyprus summers. Like most people, I don’t like my hair looking unruly. Unfortunately, my hairdressing skills are non-existent so in the past (time permitting) I liked to frequent hair salons to have my hair professionally blow-dried. Now that I usually swim between 2 to 3 times a week it simply makes no sense to be paying for a blow-dry that won’t be lasting me very long. Simply put, there’s no return on my investment.

Another thing about using the gym’s swimming pool is that there is no point putting on make-up before swimming (nor is it hygienic). Also, unless I have somewhere specific to go to afterwards (and enough time to get ready), I no longer have the inclination of taking along a makeup bag to “put my face on” so to speak, in front of a live audience.

Yes, I very much am self-conscious when make-up free in public but I decided that as far as swimming is concerned that’s where even I can draw the vanity line. Especially if I happen to go to the pool during the kids’ swimming lessons where dozens of children swarm the locker room with their parents all at the same time fighting for the hairdryers and hogging the mirrors. At those times I cannot wait around indefinitely to fix my face and hair.

So, I’m now avoiding the afternoons entirely and trying the pool at different times in the morning to figure out the best time slot, i.e. the less people the better. Last Wednesday I happened to wake up at stupid o’clock feeling wide awake at 5:45 a.m. so I decided to try the pool first thing and realised that a lot of 30 to 50-year olds prefer to exercise at that time before going to work.

I enjoyed an hour’s swim (I managed 42 laps of breaststroke at my slow pace) and after showering and washing my hair I decided that I didn’t want another completely bad hair day. Besides I had the whole day ahead of me. So, for a change I took my sweet time drying my hair in sections using one of the hairdryers provided in the locker room. Another lady was doing the same further down from me. One of the gym trainers doing the rounds who was clearly familiar with her asked her why she always spends so much time blow drying her hair when she could let it dry naturally. She explained that she likes to look after her appearance, stated that “those who don’t are not doing so because they’re bored and can’t be bothered” and proceeded to do her make-up.

Hearing her response made me smile. I smiled because I agree with her. I know that without my hair and makeup in place I can look a right mess and that clashes with my vanity. Some other ladies who soon after started to get dressed in the locker room got chatting to the lady doing her makeup and talk quickly turned to how they also like, when not pressed for time, to put at least some effort into not looking their worst. They all agreed that they like to look nice at work when seeing and dealing with a lot of people and one of them mentioned her elderly mother who is notorious for never leaving the house without her lipstick on which I thought was really cute. She apparently called her once while staying overnight in hospital for an operation to tell her that she forgot her lipstick and needed her to bring it for her as she could not be seen without it by her visitors.

Exercise in general, not just swimming, has it’s beauty challenges but in moving to a healthier lifestyle I have found a few small tricks to make the adaptation to this new regime do-able. I no longer go for the full-on made up look after my swims but I always take with me a few good products to make myself look presentable in the most efficient manner.

My swim-gym vanity bag now contains the following products that have become a must:

  • Alterna’s smoothing anti-frizz shampoo from it’s CAVIAR Anti-aging line – A life saver recommended by a very good friend of mine who is a runner and has no choice but to wash her lovely long hair daily
  • A hair conditioner – currently using L’OREAL’s Pure Sleek which is good for eliminating frizziness
  • My small (palm sized) hair detangling brush – an absolut saviour to my long, thick hair after a wash; also using it during blow-drying
  • A good hair serum or detangling spray – currently using L’OREAL’s The Sleek Serum from it’s Stylista line. I spray this on all my hair before blow drying it
  • A good tinted sunscreen to avoid adding on foundation – the one I currently use is the ANTHELIOS XL 50+ SPF by La Roche-Posay
  • And of course a good deodorant – my favourite brand is Sanex

As I said in my previous blog Travelling and packing lightly I’m finally growing up and have started using less beauty products in order to be efficient. A healthier lifestyle is further forcing me to continue this way.

Beauty · concealer · Diary · Eyeliner · Felt tip pens · foundation · journal · lipstick · make up and health · Makeup · makeup blogger · packing · Personal challenge · Personal diary · travel · Uncategorized · Vanity

Travelling and packing lightly

I am a makeup addict. That much is known. That means that I have tons of makeup products and I find it extremely difficult to not use a lot of different types of products when doing my makeup. Light makeup and me don’t mix very well. Which is why I always struggle with what few products to take along with me when travelling.

I very recently took a short trip and realised that I would have to pack very lightly. With only 1 small suitcase to take on board my flight I had to pack efficiently and think very strategically about what to include in my travel-sized make-up bag. I must be getting wiser as I get older because I honestly think this was really the first time I managed to travel with so few makeup products in the last 15 years.

My small travel makeup bag included only: 1 sun screen face cream, 1 eye cream, 1 foundation, 1 concealer, 1 corrector palette, 1 face powder, 1 blusher, 1 lipstick, 1 eyeliner, 1 mascara; and 3 brushes: 1 for applying my blusher, 1 for the concealer and 1 for using the blusher as eyeshadow.

The whole idea of packing lightly with so few makeup products reminded me of the personal challenge I set myself 2 years ago. You can read about it in my 2 blog posts https://fromvanitytosanity.wordpress.com/2017/05/16/make-up-your-mind-part-1-of-my-personal-challenge/ and https://fromvanitytosanity.wordpress.com/2017/07/25/make-up-your-mind-part-2-of-my-personal-challenge/

I deliberately avoided taking an eyeshadow along and decided to use my blusher both on the cheeks and eyelids for colour. I thought that was a genius way of limiting my products even further.

Here’s the make-up look I was able to recreate using all the products in my travel make-up bag:

In hindsight, if pressed for space even more, I could have ditched the concealer and replaced my half used KIKO corrector palette for a newer version (I do own another one that’s unopened). That would have being used both as a concealer as well as a corrector. I could also do without the eye cream perhaps and the eyeliner. Not that they took a huge amount of space in my bag.

I do feel that I’m growing up and maturing as far as my attitude towards make-up is concerned. I am proud of me for that ūüôā

P.S. Not saying where I travelled but here’s my favourite photo from my trip:

Beauty · Diary · foundation · journal · make up and health · Makeup · Makeup academy · makeup addict · Makeup artist · makeup at work · makeup blogger · MUA · packing · Personal diary · Shopping · surprises · Uncategorized

2nd year blogversary and a (make-up) surprise!

Today marks my blog’s anniversary. It’s been 2 years already since I first embarked on this make-up learning and blogging journey!

I haven’t always been consistent with my blog writing or practicing my make-up skills enough. A day job and life in general tends to get in the way of favourite past times like that. But I have every good intention of getting more blog-active and I feel that I have made good progress already this last blogging year, compared to last year.

Since last year, I had the opportunity to seriously practice my makeup skills on other people and document it for the blog, including not 1 but 2(!) professional photoshoots!!

So what better way to celebrate than by investing a bit on my make-up, as you do!

Last Thursday, after my morning swim, I remembered that I wanted to buy more foundation for myself and a new notepad to use for journaling my meditation thoughts. (Yes, swimming, meditating, yoga and pilates are now a part of my everyday life and I’m loving it! You see, after 21 years of working for others my body was telling me that I needed to take a break, relax and focus on my health. I finally found my own work life balance, concentrating on my love for makeup while nourishing my body and mind).

So, there I was, completely makeup free (and scared of bumping into acquaintances who would see me in all my face-naked, blemished glory) walking in The Mall of Cyprus with a plan of going to the Public store in search of a notepad worthy of my meditation journaling. Thankfully, as soon as I got up the escalators to the Ground Floor my eyes caught glimpse of the NYX corner counter inside Debenhams. That reminded me that I was in desperate need of a new foundation and wanted to find a cheaper but equally good option to Estee Lauder’s Double Wear.

I got chatting to the makeup shopgirl who somehow must have realized my passion for makeup and swiftly went on to tell me about the shop’s latest promotion: receiving a mini NYX makeup box with purchases of 70 or more Euro. “Easy” I thought to myself. Put me in a makeup store and I can browse and try new products forever, not to mention ending up buying loads of them as a result.


Surely enough I didn’t struggle much to reach the 70 Euro purchase mark and make sure this baby was mine!

Although I do own a big makeup box, a small one for individual use on myself or a single client is definitely handy.


And here are the day’s purchases, the ones that made the ownership of the NYX small makeup box a reality

Who doesn‚Äôt like (pleasant) surprises?  Do you have any makeup surprise stories you would like to share?

P.S. By the way, part of my purchases was the CAN’T STOP WON’T STOP NYX foundation which is a great buy at 1/3 of the Estee Lauder price. I already tried It on and highly recommend it for it‚Äôs good coverage. I have also started using my new notepad to journal my new meditation journey and I’m very-very pleased with my choice!

Beauty · inspiration · Makeup · makeup addict · Makeup artist · makeup at work · makeup blogger · MUA · Personal challenge · Personal diary · professional photoshoot · Uncategorized

Professional photoshoot – Part 2

In my previous blog post I briefly talked about my first ever makeup work for a professional photoshoot where I did the makeup for some models posing as job candidates for a corporate campaign. It was a lot of fun and a great boost for my confidence as a makeup artist. So I was really looking forward to the 2nd part a week later whereby the HR Innovate team would be photographed for their website’s rebranding.

I knew the drill from the week before: prep in advance by washing, thoroughly cleaning and drying all my brushes; and sanitizing my makeup palette and all the used makeup products that didn’t come with a pump.

I asked to have access to the premises where the photo shoot would take place half an hour early prior to the shoot in order to invade the upstairs floor and lay out all my makeup products so they could be within easy reach.

Having said that, my tools and products of the trade are so many I did almost forget certain important steps in the process such as using powder on the ladies to set their makeup. Thankfully I remembered at the last minute.

My models this time were the owners and employees of the recruitment agency and it was a real laugh doing their makeup and watching the shoot afterwards. They are so close they were very comfortable around each other, like family members. Their constant banter made for some naturally funny shots too.

The whole experience was very enjoyable and I felt in my element. I am grateful to this amazing bunch for offering me the opportunity to flex my makeup muscles!

Beauty · Diary · Love · Makeup · makeup addict · Makeup artist · makeup at work · makeup blogger · MUA · Personal diary · Uncategorized · Vanity · work life

Professional photoshoot – Part 1

The lovely Marie, one of the photoshoot models I had the pleasure of working with

Today I had the pleasure of doing the makeup for a corporate photoshoot and was very excited and anxious at the same time as this was my first ever professional gig as a makeup artist!

I was very honoured to be given this opportunity by HR Innovate, a recruitment agency currently working on their rebranding campaign. You can check their website here.

I did not want to disappoint so I spent a good amount of time thoroughly sanitizing all my brushes and makeup tools in advance and thinking ahead of how I would spread out all of my (many-many) potentially useful products on the day, so that I would be able to work in an organised and timely manner. I didn’t know who the models would be so I had to bring all my different shade foundations, powders and concealers to be prepared for any skin tone. So that’s a lot of products to start off with.

Before my imposter syndrome had a chance to kick in, I was very fortunate to work with professionals who treated me as an equal. I started working first on Marie, the female model, who has extensive photoshoot experience and she put little-old-stressed-out-me at ease straight away by telling me that she could tell that I love what I’m doing.

These are just photos I took during the shooting so watch this space for Part 2 and the professional photographer’s shots!

Beauty · girls bonding · inspiration · Love · make up and health · Makeup · Makeup artist · makeup at work · makeup blogger · Personal challenge · Uncategorized · valentine's day

Why I love makeup

Valentine’s Day…what better day than the day dedicated to love to write about my love for makeup and on having the opportunity to do a beautiful lady’s makeup on the day she tied the knot to her beloved.

The happy couple

Why do I love makeup so much? Simply because of its transformative power!

Makeup can hide imperfections and accentuate one’s best features, making it the ultimate confidence booster and feel good factor. Which is why although I was petrified when one of my closest friends asked me to do her bridal make up recently I was also honoured that she trusted me enough with this important task. It made me extremely happy to be able to help make this natural beauty feel even more gorgeous on her wedding day by doing for her something I absolutely love.


Worried I wasn’t up to the task I prepared by doing a couple of trials with the pretty bride-to-be ahead of the wedding. We first tried a grunge look but decided it was too harsh for a wedding so we opted for a very natural look with soft pink and lilac hues to accentuate her beautiful green eyes.

Armed with my best makeup products under the watchful eye of my sidekick in the bridal makeup process Maria, we wrote down the list of products and the order I used them so that I would be able to recreate the exact look without wasting precious time on the day.

Looking back on the photos of this joyous event I think I can proudly say I didn’t do too badly! But having such a beautiful model helped no doubt.

What isn’t there to love when using makeup can spread some joy ūüôā

Important note: The bridal makeup photos are courtesy of the young and talented Eleni Papadopoulos

Beauty · lipstick · make up and health · Makeup · Makeup artist · makeup blogger · MUA · sanitation

Back to makeup basics (and blogging)

It’s been ten (yes, 10!) whole months since I last posted on my makeup blog.¬† Swiftly moving on from the shame and embarrassment of that realisation I want to return to my promise in my last blog post¬†and restart by writing about the No. 1¬†lesson I was taught from my makeup instructor: hygiene and sanitation.

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Not the most riveting subject, I know, but if you want to be taken seriously in this line of work or if you are looking to have your makeup done professionally by someone you need to pay attention to their level of cleanliness because your health could be at risk.¬† Back in my youthful, naive student days I once used a friend’s mascara and learnt my lesson the hard way when I contracted conjunctivitis! So I speak from first hand experience when I say, using products directly used on another person is a big no. If you use lipstick used directly on someone else for example, you could catch anything from a mouth cold sore to Hepatitis. Just like you shouldn’t put cosmetic testers anywhere else but on the back of your hand to test them out you should also avoid old , expired cosmetics. Both categories of makeup can have bacteria ranging from eColi to Staphylococcus.

Grossing you out is not my intention here but please, for your health’s sake, look out for make up artists who do not follow the following basic rules of make up hygiene and avoid these people like the plague:

  1. ¬†Having clean hands¬† – MUAs use brushes and other makeup tools but they also use their fingers a lot to apply or fix makeup. So if they’re not using a hand sanitizer and do not keep their nails trimmed and clean that is a major warning sign.¬† health warning

Tip for professional MUAs: Always clean your hands before working on a client and try to maintain well-manicured nails to look clean and professional. Using a hand sanitiser and keeping a box of wet tissues in your makeup box are absolute musts.

spraying on brush to clean

2.  Thorough cleaning of makeup brushes РEveryone who uses makeup regularly must thoroughly clean their brushes at least once a week. Professional MUAs should do that every day without fail using an antibacterial wash that is soft to the bristles. In addition, they must always clean their brushes between uses (e.g. cleaning the bristles of an eyeshadow brush with a cleansing spray before  dipping it into another colour) and most importantly deep clean them between clients.

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The best cleanser for deep cleaning is Isopropyl alcohol.  Pour a small amount into a shallow open container and soak your brush bristles in it, then dub them repeatedly on a paper napkin or tough kitchen roll paper to remove all the moisture and let them dry.

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The brush handles also need regular wiping down with sanitised wet tissues or a cotton ball dubbed in alcohol to avoid contamination.

3.  Using a stainless steel palette and spatula

spatula and palette

¬†Having a stainless steel surface like a palette where you can apply small amounts of the products you want to use with a spatula and then wipe them off when finished is the best way of ensuring you don’t apply too much product AND do it in the most hygienic way for your clients. This way lipsticks, foundations, concealers, etc (and thus dead skin cells) will not come into direct contact from one person to another.¬† The lipsticks will not look pretty, as you will be breaking them up slowly with the spatula but this way you keep your hygiene standards high.

4.  Using disposable tools

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Spoolies, small makeup sponges and Qtips are essential for hygiene.  These one-use only tools are so important in avoiding having any direct contact between a person and another using the same product.  Especially when it comes to applying mascara spoolies are your best ally.  Use one per application and dispose of it then use a fresh one for a second application. Never-ever double-dip the same wand in the mascara container. That would defeat the whole purpose.

Finally, not wiping the surface of powdered products (blushers, eye shadows, face powders) and blowing on brushes to remove excess product are bad form when it comes to hygiene.

Any self-respecting makeup artist who takes their love or profession for make up art seriously will follow these golden rules.¬† Sadly, I have come across some disappointing “professionals” who do not know the meaning of basic hygiene.¬† ¬†If you come across such professionals do yourselves a favour and run before you let them work on your face.

Beauty · elections · Eye pencils · Eyeliner · lipstick · Love · Makeup · Makeup artist · MUA · Sanity · Shopping · Uncategorized

Impulsive makeup buys

Hands up who else is also guilty of trying a new brand of lipstick, eye pencil or shadow, liking it, buying it, only to discover when they get home that it’s almost an exact replica of a product shade they already own. This has happened to me multiple times. I must have accidentally bought at least 3 identical shades of red and 2 dark purple lipsticks around the same time; two similar blue/grey eyeshadow palettes‚Äč, 3 exactly the same shade of green eyeshadow in wet and dry form and 4 different types of purple shadow which on application ended up looking pretty much the same.

That’s because I am what you might call an “impulsive buyer” sometimes. ¬†Does that happen to you too? Always going for the same thing just in slightly different packaging or with only a minor (unnoticeable to others) difference?

I am also guilty of absolutely detesting the idea of throwing useful things away. Even if they are not useful to me! It’s¬†a conservative streak I have always had. ¬†For one, growing up I was taught that throwing away leftover food is a sin. And it makes sense to not waste food in a world where there are people starving. ¬†Similarly, I hate getting rid of belongings‚Äč. My mum actually told me off once for wearing an expensive jacket (which I thought still looked amazing years after I bought it) that was worn out.

So if I end up with lots of similar makeup products which I impulsively bought they usually just stay in my possession, collecting dust. Unless they are that bad that even I have to chuck them out eventually.

Needless to say that I own way too much makeup for my own good.

Testament to this is when four years ago I decided to have a 1-2-1 makeup lesson with a well known Cypriot makeup artist to perfect doing my own makeup. The poor guy didn’t know what he was in for when he suggested I bring along the products I have to our session. He probably thought I only had one makeup bag. Instead, I showed up on his doorstep with 4 big plastic carrier bags full of palettes and vanity bags filled with all kinds of makeup products. Even¬†he¬†thought I had far too many products for a non professional.

And that’s one of the reasons I decided earlier this year to do something about this and take the MUA course which in turn inspired this blog. ¬†So at least something good (I think at least) came out of my impulsiveness ūüėŹ

Diary · Father's day · inspiration · Makeup · Personal diary · Uncategorized

My make-up classes – Dedicated to my father

The inspiration for starting this blog came from my spur-of-the-moment decision last April¬†to enrol in a makeup academy which is within walking distance from my place of work. As I have mentioned before, I’ve always been fascinated by make up and colours and spent a lot of money in products so I thought that taking up professional classes was¬†a good idea.¬† I still don’t know where the makeup artist certificate will take me (if I’m good enough to pass the exam at the end of the month) but it’s always good to learn a new craft.

I had first seen adverts and short articles about this particular makeup academy (KLMA) by Kiera Louise in local publications in the Greater Manchester area.¬† I had even enquired about Kiera’s classes shortly after I moved to the UK with my¬†then-boyfriend/now-husband 3 years ago.¬† For some reason I didn’t take the plunge then but recently decided to go for it.

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I work in HR. I’ve been in the profession for 20 years now and I think my father was proud of my career choices and progression; even though in recent years I struggled to find work in Cyprus, due to the economic crisis and moved to the UK in search of new career opportunities. ¬† My dad was the person who convinced me to study Human Resources Management without giving up my idea of becoming a Psychologist as a teenage student. While I was dead set on becoming a Psychologist, without really understanding what it would be like, he didn’t push me to give up the idea although I knew he wasn’t thrilled by it. Instead he came up with an alternative which he thought I would like. He was right! He told me that some universities allowed for dual courses‚Äč so that I could give both subjects a go at the same time. And that’s how I ended up in the HR profession.

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My late father, unlike me, was an intellectual. He¬†read a lot, liked poetry, history, current affairs and¬†studied encyclopaedias and languages. I always admired him for his thirst for knowledge that does not come so naturally to me. Apart from having inherited his love for traveling and a condition that makes me easily perspire profusely (and suffer from it like he did) I don’t think we had very much in common. ¬†But just a few days before he passed away suddenly last year, I was in Cyprus preparing for my wedding. I was talking to my mum and mother in law about my bridal makeup and hair trials, things I thought were trivial and superficial to him but my dad showed real interest and wanted to see the photos. His face actually lit up and I am happy we shared those moments as he didn’t make it to my wedding but he was part of the preparations.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that although the makeup classes are my indulgence I would like to believe that he approves and doesn’t think it’s silly. That he can see the potential in my “vain” decision and agrees with me for giving it a go.

I enjoy the makeup masterclass. I’ve learned the basics of skin types and skin undertones, the use of different brushes, hand and brushes sanitation, identifying different face, mouth and eye shapes‚Äč. ¬†All these are paramount to know when putting makeup on other people. I quickly realised that working on other people’s faces is quite challenging. I am working on my techniques and have experimented with different looks.

Here are some examples of my learning so far:

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Next Tuesday we will have the last lesson before the final exam and I have asked Kiera, the owner of the academy, to do an interview with me for my next blog post. Though she’s only a young entrepreneur, she’s a success in her field and an inspiration to a lot of women. So I wanted to get the chance and learn more about her and share with you too. ¬†Thankfully, she happily accepted.

So, do you have any questions you would like me to ask a professional makeup artist and teacher? Now’s your chance!

Corfu · Eyebrows · holiday · Makeup · makeup addict · makeup blogger · packing · summer · summer vacation · travel · Uncategorized · Vanity · Wellbeing

Beauty preparations for my summer holiday

Call me weird but when I am preparing for a holiday I also plan my beauty regime just before my travel.

Having just arrived at a fairytale like oak house in Ano Korakiana, in less than 15 hours I’ll be sitting on a beautiful beach in the beautiful island of Corfu, overlooking the crystal clear waters of the Ionian sea. Jealous much? You should be because Corfu combines luscious mountainous areas with beautiful sandy beaches and clear blue sea!

One of Corfu’s many amazing beaches

In anticipation of my summer vacay I embarked on a series of beauty activities last week. You see, my intention is to look my best with as little make up as possible while relaxing.

I started by having my eyebrows shaped and getting a deep facial at my beautician’s at the beginning of last week. I love it when a professional shapes my eyebrows as I can’t pluck the fine hairs myself. I find that a “clean” eyebrow shape without any fine stray hairs brightens the whole face up. It’s the arch of the eye that gives the face it’s glow so I think it’s extremely important to keep eyebrows sharp looking.

Once every so often, I also indulge in a professional facial to unclog my pores. In preparation for my trip I could not not get one now.

I then scheduled a gel manicure and a spa pedicure. I chose a sparkling turquoise colour for my nails, befitting the sea watercolour I will soon be enjoying. Neatly looking nails and smooth-skin feet always make me feel “polished”, giving me an instant boost.

My holiday manicured nails while waiting to board my flight in the Larnaca airport lounge

I also arranged an appointment at the hairdresser’s to touch up my roots as I didn’t want my many greys to make me feel self conscious.

Lastly, I had to decide what make up products to take with me. I wanted to travel as light as possible so this Est√©e Lauder travel sized makeup bag (a recent present from my aunt/godmother) came in very handy. I decided to take most of it’s contents with me except for the mascara and blusher which I substituted with my bronzer and Maybelline mascara I still have in use.

I will be most probably be writing more about my holiday and make up looks in blog posts to come but for now let me give you just a little taste of the unique little house we’re staying at for the first half of our holiday.

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Beauty · Blender sponge · brunch · eyelash curler · inspiration · journal · kaboodle · Love · make up and health · Makeup · Makeup academy · makeup addict · Makeup artist · makeup blogger · Makeup brushes belt · Makeup palette · mascara and shadow shield · MUA · oval makeup brushes · professional photoshoot · Silicon sponge · Uncategorized · Vanity · vanity kit

My precious makeup possessions (Part 1)

As a makeup addict-turned artist I  have over the years collected  a number of makeup products and tools of the trade.  Some have turned out to be all hype but no substance but most of them have been very good buys in that they make putting makeup on easier.  So I thought I’d share a list of my most precious pieces with you. 

As the list is a rather extensive I thought I’d do this in parts and categorize my precious possessions.  Here, in Part 1 I would like to share with you my most favourite makeup tools of the trade.

The very first makeup tool I bought without realising how precious it would be to me was the MAC eyeshadow brush number 227.  It is a thick, semi-fluffy and relatively short in hair-length brush which does wonders for eyeshadow blending.  I swear by this brush to make eyes look flawless.  It’s a bit pricey at around ¬£32 from the UK but totally worth investing in.  I had to buy it twice because the first one I bought was stolen from me a few years ago when my car was broken into and all the stuff I left inside it, including a make up bag, were nicked.  It was a horrible feeling to have strangers damage my car  and steal my possessions, including a pair of very expensive sunglasses, but the item whose loss I mourned the most was this brush.

For years I tried to find it to buy it again without any luck. I looked in my hometown of Nicosia in Cyprus and in Manchester where I lived for 3 years without success.  Finally, it was during a visit to London to see my good friend Asha as described in a previous blog as can be seen here that I managed to find it and purchase it again before it got discontinued (sniff).

Favourite makeup brushes, sponges and eyeshadow shield

A favourite makeup application toolset of mine, one example of which is shown in the above photo, is a set of Oval brushes which are excellent for applying both liquid and powder based products. I found and bought online the below cheap and cheerful set by (the ingeniously named) My Makeup Brush Set and it did not disappoint. It’s great for applying foundation, concealer, face powder and blush as well as for contouring (nose, chin and cheekbones).

My set of Oval brushes

Other essential application tools include silicon and blender sponges. I find the silicon sponge to be particularly useful in the hot and humid Cyprus summers to apply my foundation on top of my primer or sunscreen without wasting any product.

Blender sponges are excellent (when wet with some water) for blending foundation and giving a dewy finish but also (when dry) for dubbing powder to set the foundation.

My makeup toolkit also includes an Elf mascara and eyeshadow shield. As it’s name explains, its purpose is to protect the face from mascara and eyeshadow dropping and smudging. This is extremely useful as usually the eyes are the last part of the face to be made up.

Next up, is my precious MAC brushes belt. This was a beloved birthday gift 2 years ago from my dear friend Asha. She knew I had my eye on it since I had started my makeup Masterclass. It has proved to be a space saver for my brushes ( I have dozens and dozens) and extremely useful when working on others’ makeup, like for example during the photoshoots I worked on.

My MAC makeup brush belt and other brush cases

In a previous blog post I talked about a stainless steel makeup palette and spatula are essential elements of sanitation for any professional MUA. I bought mine 5 years ago without really knowing at the time how important it would become to me once I became a certified makeup artist.

Metallic palette and belt for brushes

A mention in this post would have to be made to my pride and joy, my professional makeup cases or vanity bags (otherwise known as kaboodles apparently). I have a big dark pink one which I bought shortly after starting my makeup Masterclass 2 years ago. (If you haven’t been following my blog from the beginning and are curious to know you can find out about it from my very first blog post).

My big vanity makeup bag
The inside of my big pink makeup case

Apart from the pink, big professional makeup case which can hold a tonne of makeup products and is extremely useful when doing the makeup of a number of people, I recently “won” a smaller one from NYX recently. (If you want to learn more about how I explained more on this in my recent article about my 2nd blogversary). This smaller case is convenient for when I need to do the makeup of only 1 person, for example for bridal makeup. It’s more compact but can fit enough products for 1 person’s specific makeup look.

My small vanity makeup bag

It’s essential to invest in a good eyelash curler. I bought one from Tweezerman and it did not disappoint. Eyelash curlers are extremely useful to have, especially if like in my case, your eyelashes are very short or face downwards. It does wonders to curl up and lengthen the eyelashes, preparing them for mascara application.

Tweezerman eyelash curler

The Tweezerman brand reminded of another MUA essential, the false eyelash tweezer. A small contraption used as a helping hand to apply fake eyelashes and avoid getting glue all over your hands and face. It definitely does the job much quicker without hassle.

False eyelash tweezer

And last but not least on my list of precious makeup tools is this KIKO powder sponge:

Using a sponge like this is great when doing someone else’s makeup. It’s amazing for keeping the face intact while working on the eyes or eyebrows when the rest of the makeup is already on. By encasing the hand in it the makeup artist can lean on the person for balance in order for their other hand to work with precision. Without the sponge you can be sure that the makeup products where the hand touches the face will get smudged. Without leaning on the face to work on the eye details you will be very challenged and frustrated. So using this sponge is a no-brainer when doing someone else’s make up. Trust me!

So there you have my list of my most precious products that I need and use as a makeup artist. Do you own any of these? What do you think of them?