Friday, 28 July 2017

Ivory Foundations VS Ivory Paint Shades!

As a Graphic Designer and make up enthusiast (what gave it away lol) I've always had a sneaking suspicion that when it comes to the names of foundation shades, well they are not always entirely accurate.

Take the shade "Ivory" for example. When buying this in a decorating store for our walls, what we expect is something plain and off-white that is ideal for a calm neutral space. However in the drugstore, Ivory comes out quite a bit different and that's before it's even had time to oxidize.

I wanted to test the theory for myself, so using a canvas I painted Dulux paint in "Ivory" along with the Maybelline Fit me Foundation shade 100 Warm Ivory, Barry M Flawless Matt Finish Foundation in LF1 Ivory and Collection Naturally Matt foundation in the shade 2 Ivory. Essentially, all four shades I purchased were called Ivory - therefore they should all pretty much be the same right?!


The results of this experiment show what us pale girls have to put up with when buying foundations, unless we go to specialist brands or use a mixer product. Equally, I know many brands don't go near deep enough so on both sides of the spectrum there is clearly work to be done, namely actual research on ultra fair and deep skin tones.

Speaking on the whole as a pale person with naturally Irish skin given to me by my Father's side of the family, I honestly get really annoyed at how brands always bring out new contour palettes, lip kits, highlighters etc... but never go back to their original line to make it more inclusive.

Granted, pale skin isn't in. I know everyone loves a tan and I'm fine with that. I just want to be able to express who I am too through the make-up I wear. Why is this such a scary thing for brands, and why must they get it so horribly wrong?

Here are the swatches applied onto my arm. Whilst the Maybelline wasn't too far off, overall you can see the issue here especially when my arm is also the colour of my neck so you can imagine the tide mark issues if I don't mix the colour before application and blend well. Though, why should I have to do this in the first place in 2017, when even McDonald's has table service these days and we are coming up with new medical breakthroughs all the time yet I still can't get a foundation to match....

No matter your skintone, let me know your foundation colour matching struggles! You can also see the video I made for this post here.

Monday, 10 July 2017

My Charlotte Tilbury Meadowhall Make-Over

For my Birthday this year I treated myself to a bottle of Good Genes and a makeover at Charlotte Tilbury at their Meadowhall Counter, having called up to book the week before.

I had tried a CT lipstick before and of course heard everyone rave about the line as a whole, but genuinely didn't know what to expect as I hadn't been for a proper sit down makeover before other than having a foundation or lipstick tried on me quickly by the assistant. Plus, CT counters are a new revelation and reviews online are few and far between.

Straight away I was blown away by how beautiful the counter was and infact no pictures can really do it justice. It was gold, well lit, beautifully clean and well... absolutely full of wondrous products you just couldn't take your eyes off!

I had the lovely Autumn do my make-up, and I chose the
Ingénue which suprised me as after looking at all 10 looks online I was set on the Dolce Vita, though when I saw the products in person displayed next to each look the Ingénue seemed too beautiful not too! Though Autumn let me customise by including a shade from the Dolce Vita palette, which I also bought as the £35 cost of the makeover is redeemable against CT products.

The make-over lasted a whopping 90 minutes, which I was not expecting at all as other brands such as Mac state theirs take around 30-60 minutes with a far higher cost for the latter than what I paid for 90 minutes.

The area where you have your make-up done is at the back of the counter and slightly more secluded, which felt more comfortable as there is nothing worse than feeling you are on display especially with no makeup on! Each person gets their own little set-up with a brush set and all the products from their look, and a giant mirror infront so you can learn about the application techniques in real time. Even though we were in one of the busiest shopping centers in Europe, the experience still felt private and relaxed.

I couldn't fault any of the make-up application and was fascinated by how she applied my mascara with my eyes completely shut throughout... (you learn something new everyday!) though it's worth keeping in mind it's a very talkative makeover, with each product being thoroughly explained as opposed to you just sitting there.

I felt a little bad for only spending £4 to be able to purchase the Dolce Vita palette at £39 as she had put alot of effort into explaining each product, and I guess the expectation is that you will part with some serious cash. In all honestly I was overwhelmed with how nice every single product was from the brushes to the skincare and the make-up, so felt I wanted some more time to decide so I could return next time to buy a couple more items.

Overall it was one of the best (if not the best) beauty experience I've ever had. They treat each customer like royalty, and even though they are all quite young they all speak with such respect and kindness which is rare in beauty halls these days.

Having someone else re-imagine your make-up is an invaluable experience and can really help you shake up your look, especially if you always do the same thing everyday and fancy a change.

Here is my make-up a whopping 9 hours after application (including a two hour stifling hot crowded train ride home!):

I thoroughly recommend the Charlotte Tilbury experience and I'm so glad I chose that brand over others who might not have made me feel so special, on what was my day to be pampered (no excuse for the other 364 days!...)

If you've been or are thinking of going I'd love to know your thoughts!

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Why I'm Quitting My Beauty Job

You may or may not know that aside from my blog and channel, I'm normally self employed as a Designer and Writer, though I also work for several Beauty Agencies covering makeup and skincare counters as well as Fragrance launches.

Over the last 3 years of doing this job, it's gotten me in with the likes of Dior, Urban Decay, L'Occitane, Estée Lauder, Versace, Burberry, Liz Earle, Givenchy and most recently Guerlain where I have been promoting the new fragrance Mon Guerlain. I have worked in a total of 11 different stores dotted across England and Northern Ireland, and have enjoyed every aspect of helping customers with beauty related queries, and have even developed my perfume whispering technique down to a tee. My specialty being the husband looking for a new perfume for his wife with no idea what she likes and me having never even met her before, oh and by the way he's in a rush and he's on the phone.

Though during this last weekend something changed. After doing 4am wakeup calls and 6 hours commuting everyday not giving it a second thought because I love my job, being spoken to like absolute dirt by the management once again has made me not only want to quit, but lift the lid on some of the appalling treatment I and those similar to me have been subjected to when we are just trying to do our job.

It has to be said that as an agency worker you're already bottom of the pile seen as you don't work for the store or the brand. You are just covering the counter or a new product launch, and you will come and go often as the bookings are always temporary.

I was working in a branch of Debenhams over the weekend that I have been working in on and off for the last six months. I have a good circle of colleagues in that store and even customers who follow me from store to store to support me, as I'm lucky to have in most of the stores I've worked in.

During the end of my shift, I was approached by the store manager who walked up to me smiling so I smiled back and thought nothing of it. She then followed me around the corner of my perfume section in full view of customers and staff and said the following:

"Do you know you've done absolutely nothing today. I have been watching you and I saw a customer walk past without offering them a sample. You have been such a disappointment, Guerlain and your agency would be so disappointed in you and your performance. We will be feeding this back to them. How many bottles have you even sold today?"

The attack continued and it was very personal not to mention humiliating as we were stood on the shop floor in full view and earshot of customers and other staff who were looking over at us. It wasn't constructive feedback or something I could do differently, just someone in so many words telling me I'm crap, based on her opinion so it must be true even though it couldn't be further from the truth. All whilst smiling at me in what was a very strange exchange with the words "But I'm store Manager, this is my job" being repeated several times over.

I was exhausted at being up almost a full day at this point with my commute, which irritatingly meant I couldn't fight my corner as I normally would. Though I did point out I had been spraying customers, helping across all brands and counters as there were several absences that day, and I had just sold a 50ml bottle which was the first one to be sold of this fragrance, as like many new perfume launches it has been a slow start. After explaining my long commute as to why I'm not doing cartwheels in customers faces she suddenly tried to backpeddle ending in telling me how shocked she was and I was clearly very dedicated to the job blah blah blah. I'm sorry love - the damage has been done and I'm done too.

It doesn't help I am a depression sufferer and having someone tell me I'm a disappointment made me hyperventilate and get teary (the tiredness didn't help). So embarrassing but at the same time so very irritating and unnecessary to be put in that position in the first place in such a public arena. Whatever you think about me as an employee, launching a completely random attack on me was not the way to go about it.

Had this been the first time this had happened to me, I would have brushed it off. Previously in a House of Fraser branch I was summoned to a Clarins treatment room and shouted at for 20 minutes for spraying a perfume and discussing it with another colleague when all 5 floors of the store were completely empty (constant traffic stopping attempts only brought back tumbleweed, not customers because there weren't any!) It was apparently my fault the store was slow and people were not rushing to buy the newest perfume no one had even heard of at £100 a pop.

Not to mention another HOF store who booked me for Dior and after my 2 hours hair and makeup to adhere to Dior standards followed by the 3 hour commute on a freezing cold bus in December was told "I don't care if we booked you or not. We don't take agency staff. Go home. This is non negotiable". I'd spent the previous day revising all the Dior prices as HOF require a price scan to find this information out, which agency staff can't do as we aren't permitted to use the till or even breathe near it. God forbid.

And don't get me started on the Manager of Boots who held up a sign to me saying "Can you go away please" as I knocked on her office door to get a timesheet signed as other members of staff had refused and I was about to miss my bus home.

Or the Beauty Manager in the same store who said "Well should you even be here then?" loudly infront of customers because I'm not fit to do warehouse work with my arm issues (which I'm also not insured for and it's also NOT in my contract to do so). I was there to demonstrate Cleanse and Polish for Liz Earle and promote the brand in a Customer. Facing. Role.

After 3 years on the job, this latest experience is literally is the tip of the iceberg and it's such a shame because remove these rude somewhat unhinged individuals who could do with several days in the fresh air, and I quite enjoy my job.

If I may say so myself, I'm kind and patient with my customers and frequently help customers after the counter staff have gone on a two hour lunch, and emerge with a completely different hair style. Oh, you wouldn't believe it.

This includes helping customers with visual impairments as one woman was once nearly on the verge of tears telling me "I'm so glad I met you" because I'd been so kind and patient telling her what each smell was on each card, not judging or mocking her like she'd experienced previously. I also guided a man around the store to the top floor of Boots in Belfast to find the chemist as he had no sight at all and needed medication. This was whilst I was actually on my way for my break after a busy shift.

No, I don't jump in people's faces to force them to take notice of me and the product I'm selling. Why? Because it's bloody annoying and a complete intrusion of personal space. I hate it when it's done to me even if it's a product I like.

There have been times when I have been on the verge of closing a sale, I've left the customer to think about it as they requested, but Management insist I go over and push the product to get the sale through because they need to hit their store target. Low and behold every time I've done this the customer has walked away in a huff and I don't blame them either.

I've seen it all in these last 3 years but worst of all the way I have been spoken to time and time again by various companies I have made thousands for is completely unacceptable. Therefore, I feel I have no other choice than to make my feelings known and hand in my notice and shed light on the mistreatment of workers in an industry definitely not beautiful like the products we are selling to you.

Good luck finding my replacement who is as passionate and dedicated as me, who knows every brand inside and out and travels in all weathers and conditions just to promote your new scent or keep the counter running, filling out paperwork and sorting out the mess that's been left behind because they've been off sick for weeks, or have quit and you can't find a replacement.

Whilst not every store for every company I've mentioned is the same (for every horrible experience you always get 10 nice ones) it is the overall attitude to temporary workers that has to change, rather than the stores themselves. This also includes better support from the agencies too, who book us in the first place, who then often don't return calls or emails when you've raised issues or faced a difficult situation and needed backup to sort it out.

Unfortunately not everything that glitters is gold and this could not be more true of the beauty industry. The insane targets, uniform policies which require all women of certain brands to wear heels when they are on their feet all day or they face a disciplinary, then there is the plain rudeness of management especially if they know you are agency so only here for a few days. They know they can get away with speaking to you like crap and they genuinely don't care. Then they will see you again and be all "HIYA!" in your face. What's all that about?!

I for one don't want to be a part of it anymore. My Blog and Channel are where I will be containing my love for all things beauty from now on. Yes, I will continue to shop in these stores but I certainly won't be working in them anymore.

Let me know your experiences of working on a counter especially if you are agency too. Should I continue with the book I was 10,000 words into writing because it was cheaper than therapy? Let me know that too...

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Liz Earle Superskin Concentrate for Night

If you saw my recent May Favourites over on my channel, you will see I mentioned the Liz Earle Superskin Concentrate for Night (though, hopefully you got that far into the video... I do tend to waffle on a bit!!)

I'm a massive fan of facial oils as part of my everyday skincare routine, though I know many people are scared of oils as a whole. There is a massive different between synthetic mineral oils which clog pores and cause breakouts, and the natural plant based oils, which are actually incredibly beneficial to the skin.

I love a good facial oil either as a tiny drop mixed into my moisturiser for day or massaged intensely over my skin at night, incorporating deep lymphatic drainage whilst I'm at it.

The Liz Earle Superskin is the latest oil I have tried and I purchased the 10ml rollerball on a recent trip to Meadowhall.

With wonderful ingredients such as Rosehip Oil, Argan Oil, Neroli and Vitamin E it's one of the most plant-packed oils you can find, especially in somewhere such as Boots.

Over the last few weeks not only have I been surprised by how much a little goes a long way (I joked with the woman on the counter it would only last me a week!), but I've noticed my skin has felt softer and stubborn scarring has even started to fade.

I also like the fact that unlike brands such as Vintner's Daughter, Liz Earle give you a choice of 3 sizes to suit all budgets and even purposes such as travel. It can be daunting paying over the odds for an oil you haven't tried before, so being able to start small is a winner for me.

I'd recommend this product for anyone with dry skin, or equally those looking to brighten up their complexion. It hasn't caused any breakouts and can be used with a light moisturiser if you so wish, though is equally rich on it's own.

Top tip: For super dry skin, buff thick cucumber slices into the skin, let it dry and follow with hydraluron. Follow up with the Superskin oil mixed in with Embryolisse. Add in your eye and neck cream and feel the difference!

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Kiehl's Ultra Light SPF 50 Review

It has long been known that besides SPF being a daily essential to protect against sunburn, age spots, premature ageing and even some and skin cancers, it's also the best anti-aging secret on the market to future-proof our skin.

Did you also know that the paler you are naturally, the more likely you are to suffer the above effects? This is why everyone, but especially us fairer folk must protect our skin from the incredibly harmful effects of sun exposure especially if this is something we encounter on a daily basis.

I've been testing Kiehl's Ultra Light Daily UV Defense with SPF 50 for the last few weeks, after purchasing it for £36 on a recent shopping trip.

Granted, it's not the cheapest SPF on the market and my worry is that younger beauty buyers would much rather spend the same on an Urban Decay palette or a few Mac Lipsticks, rather than an SPF which let's face it is never going to be a "cool" product in comparison.

That said, I hope more of you will start taking skin protection more seriously, and this product is a fantastic place to start. It's lightweight, sits great under make-up or on it's own with no sticky residue, peeling or white sheen left on the face. Infact it pretty much keeps itself invisible yet genuinely does a great job at protecting the skin.

It layers well against other products though I would still use a separate moisturiser especially if you have dry skin. It hasn't broken my skin out either or irritated it - both of which are massive pluses!

Check it out here on Kiehl's website and let me know if you buy it and how you get on with it. For me, I'm really glad to have this in my daily routine and I can't recommend it enough.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Introducing Mon Guerlain

Today not only is it the re-launch of my blog with a brand new theme (did you notice?!) but also the launch of a brand new perfume by Guerlain, entitled Mon Guerlain.

I will be working to promote this new fragrance with my beauty agency which is being rolled out across stores Worldwide. I recieved a 50ml bottle as a thankyou for attending a training session for the promotion and this is the first time I've ever owned a beauty product that has not been released yet! Remember I am only a small-time blogger and youtuber and companies only send such items to the big guns.... well it's their loss because this is an incredible smelling product which I am more than happy to share with you all!

It has notes of Carla Lavender, Sambac Jasmine and Tahitian vanilla to name but a few. I can't think of a past perfume it compares to exactly, although fans of La Vie Est La Belle by Lancome and Blooming Bouquet by Dior will not be disappointed.

Most unusually, it has a light and fresh smell which has incredible staying power... this is never the case for such fragrances which typically fade out quite quickly and leave you reapplying within the hour. One spray on the blotter card in the training room filled my whole house with the smell before I had even unboxed the scent for myself.

Angelia Jolie is the face of the fragrance and is donating her entire fee to charity, so it's nice to know that her participation in this campaign will benefit those most in need in our World.

Typically Angelina does not front such campaigns and is not associated with any other brand or product, however it is the personal association she has and the memories of her Mother Marcheline using Guerlain when Angelina was a child, which made her want to be a part of it.

Marcheline used to have a powder by Guerlain which Angelina and her Brother like many children do, used to play with. It smelled of Lavender and used to comfort Angelina as the smell reminded her of Marcheline. One day, Marcheline gave Angelina the powder to take with her but being the busy traveler she is Angelina lost it.

During the making of Mon Guerlain, the company went into the archives and found a remaining powder identical to the one Angelina was given by her Mother. Angelina broke down upon receiving it and said it was the nicest thing anyone had ever done for her.

Mon Guerlain launches worldwide on March 1st 2017 so be sure to head instore during the month when we will be on hand to demonstrate and give out testers. If you do try it, let me know what you think!

You can also head over to my channel to see the unboxing!

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

The Christmas 2016 Guide To Fragrance (Part 1 - Men's)

Every Christmas it has become my tradition to work in Fragrance. Some of the stores I have worked include Boots, Debenhams, Tesco (we had Tom Ford I'll have you know!), House of Fraser and The Perfume Shop. The brands this encompasses are endless but every year I notice a similar trend as to what is popular, and what I manage to persuade people to buy when I think something that little bit different is actually better suited than the number one seller.

Here I will let you know the most popular fragrances and aftershaves I sell, as well as letting you in on some of my more unusual favourites not to be overlooked!

For this first post however we are concentrating on the men!

Paco Rabanne 1 Million

Regardless of what you think of this extremely popular Mens fragrance (also Lady Million is equally as popular!) there is no getting away from the fact that every year my customers are frantically calling the store to check if I have any left in the cabinet before making there way in after visiting every other store in the county who have sold out. When they make their way in it's like looking at the finish line of the London marathon. Infact I even point them in the direction of the free mince pies to get their blood sugars back to normal, after their breathless Yoda-like voice calls out "Did I make it in time?!" - Yes, it's that bad!

Now, where was I... Well, 1 million is warm and spicy with notes of citrus and leather. Of course it's also gold which is pretty much fool proof for anyone at Christmas! Just be aware if you buy it, it's extremely popular which can be a double edged sword if every bloke at work smells exactly the same. Unless you are copping off with one of them behind his back? In which case um let's swiftly move on!

Paco Rabanne Invictus

There is equally no escaping Invictus which is the one people buy when they are either fed up of the above or another relative has got in there first - and believe me I witness the squabbles every year!

Invictus is a little more sophisticated from the glaring gold of 1 million, and is more of a woody scent with notes of grapefruit and patchouli.  Ideal for men in their early 20's-30's in particular those are just starting to get into aftershave after leaving their Lynx phase behind them.

Hugo Boss Bottled

Don't think I'm meant to say this but I'm just gonna put it out there - I got really fed up of re-stocking this when I worked at House of Fraser Belfast.

It just sells with pretty much no effort. It's one of those that people buy year on year without even questioning changing up. The bottled is extremely popular and has notes of apple and citrus fruits with bass notes of sandalwood and cedarwood. You can't really argue with something which gives me backache year on year, can you?!

Versace Pour Homme

Now whilst I can't promise you any encounters with a blonde who must surely be freezing after leaving her dress at home for the office Christmas party, I can guarantee you a scent which is clean and manly and rather unexpected.

The Versace fragrances don't have the glitzy tv ads and they don't scream and shout with bright packaging, however they are really divine and yet so often overlooked. I was selling this last Christmas and we went from having too much stock to selling out very quickly, just for spraying it on a tester card alongside firm favourites and getting people to smell it.

Pour Homme was also very popular with our store manager who kept coming for a top up on his wrist everytime he did a loop of our section! I highly recommend if you want something a little less mainstream but equally gorgeous.

Tom Ford Black Orchid

How can any fragrance guide be complete without a bit of Tom Ford?! Black Orchid is generally considered a Unisex fragrance. It's quite strong, powerful and imposing which I guess is exactly what you'd want from paying for such a luxury item.

It's notes include Black Truffle, Black Orchid, Black Plum, Noir Gourmand Accord and Patchouli. I once owned this myself and found it lasted very long on scarves which is one of my favourite ways to wear winter fragrances.