How To Make An New Eyeshadow

A few months ago I experimented with how to repair a broken compact.  Through doing this I had the idea of trying to create a personal eyeshadow, using colours of my choice. I have a bag full of broken eyeshadows and loose pigments and so had plenty to experiment with. This is what I did:

The colours I used.

The colours I used.

Step One – Select the pigments you wish to use. I decided on brown, gold, dark blue, turquoise and a dash of black. These are various makes, but generally quite cheap (I didn’t want to use anything too expensive as it’s just an experiment at this stage). The gold and turquoise were £1, the black was the result of a broken Grimas eyeshadow and the brown and dark blue were from Collection 2000.

Put a bit of each colour into a spare pot.

Put a bit of each colour into a spare pot.

Step Two – Mix a little bit of each one in a spare pot. I used a pot I had got from Origins, containing yummy skincare samples. I only used a small amount of each as I had five colours and didn’t want to make too much in case I didn’t like it.

Cover pigments with surgical spirit

Cover pigments with surgical spirit

Step Three – Add a few drops of surgical spirit, enough to cover all the powder, mix it all thoroughly. After this I left the lid balanced on the top, but not screwed on tight, the surgical spirit needs air to dry. Leave for a week or so until dry (mine took 8 days.)

I'm wearing this new eyeahdow over a base of Illamasqua's Liquid Metal in Surge.

I’m wearing this new eyeahdow over a base of Illamasqua’s Liquid Metal in Surge.

Step Four – Wear. I’m wearing mine today, over a base of Illamasqua’s Liquid Metal in Surge. The colour doesn’t show much blue, but perhaps its mixed with the gold to give a slight green touch. Even so, I like it and I like getting messy so I’ll probably be making a few more in the coming months.

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Producers, Posters and Painting Faces – May 2013

bafta-crewIn May I attended my first BAFTA Crew event – a Q&A session with Anita Overland, a top film producer who gave a masterclass for all us filmbods to attend.  It was a great chance to meet other filmies and also to hear from a filmy at the top of her game.  Although I’m not a producer, it’s crossed my mind on a number of occasions that it’s a direction I wouldn’t mind heading down at some point.  For this reason it was a very insightful talk, quite often us production crew members don’t appreciate quite how much work goes into the pre- and post-production of a film.  It certainly hasn’t put me off ever heading down the production route, but it has made me a bit more realistic about the work involved!

Also in May I was back working with PurpleCoat, who I had previously worked with on Titus Andronicus.  This time, we were creating posters for their upcoming Shakespeare production.  The brief was to create glossy, Italian 60s style film posters advertising The Merchant Of Venice set in Blackpool.  Shylock was to be the film producer, Portia the starlet, Antonio the good guy and Bassanio the rebel.  Hmmm, interesting!  Due to the style of the posters quite a lot of make up was required, particularly for Portia and Shylock.  I think the actor was quite horrified when he looked in the mirror, but the posters turned out as planned.

Posters for PurpleCoat's production of The Merchant Of Venice

Posters for PurpleCoat’s production of The Merchant Of Venice

Throughout the rest of May I had bits of facepainting work in various venues.  It’s easy to get a bit snotty about facepainting, particularly amongst certain areas of make up artistry, but it’s actually rather difficult to do well.  Firstly you have to get the child to trust you, then get them to decide what they want and lastly, the hardest bit – get them to sit still for a few minutes.  It can get a bit tiresome painting pink butterflies all the time, or doing Spiderman (spidermen? would that be the plural?)

I much prefer original requests and like to encourage imagination but I was left speechless when one little blonde girl asked me to paint her to look like Will I Am!  Erm, how do you say no to that without having to explain the whole concept of racism to a 4 year old?  A few seconds of quick thinking and I explained to her that I would also have to cut her hair into a daft wedge if she wanted to look like Will I Am.  Cruel perhaps, but she quickly changed her mind and opted for…yep, a pink butterfly.  Sorry little girl, sorry for crushing your imagination!

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Lessons, Legends and Locations- April 2013

During March I was offered a couple of really good opportunities, as you will know because you very diligently read my posts.  The first of these was the offer of a teaching post in a private college in the North West.  Although I am not a qualified teacher, I have had plenty of experience running workshops and the like and so was naturally thrilled to be given this opportunity.  I am now a teacher of Media Make Up and have to devise a scheme of work, lesson plans, handouts etc.  All the things that many of my family members do and I swore I would never do!  So far, I love it.

Applying make up to Catherine, the Fairy Bride

Applying make up to Catherine, the Fairy Bride

The next opportunity I was given was the chance to go on location to Beddgelert to work on a short film called ‘Beneath The Waters Of Llyn Coch’.  The aim is to turn this into a TV series, called ‘Legends Of Old’ with each episode retelling a different Welsh myth.  We had a beautiful song written for the film by the ethereally voiced Eve Goodman and filmed a music video with her alongside the main film.

Wales was very cold in March, and rather wet too.  The wind played havoc with continuity and many scenes had to be postponed or rescheduled due to factors beyond our control.   But there’s just something about filming on location, when everybody lives, eats and works together.  It seems to pull the team tighter and focuses all energies on the film.  There’s no distractions of friends and family tempting you with nights out when your working day is finished.  Everyone is there for one reason only – to make the best film possible.  This was especially true here, as mobile phone/internet signals were temperamental meaning there was even less distraction from our work.  It’s a great way of working and one I particularly enjoy, but can get pretty intense and it’s always a pleasure to get home again.

Creating a killer hangover

Creating a killer hangover for The Morning After

Towards the end of April I had a theatre production to work on, ‘The Morning After’ at the Lantern Theatre.  It was directed by an up and coming young director I have worked with on a couple of occasions previously and this was a pleasure to work on.  The acting was superb and the darkly comic script with a twist in it’s tail personally appealed to me.

At the end of April there was another pay off for my hard work with the premiere of Tamla Rose.  All the cast and crew assembled in New Brighton for the screening before it headed off for Cannes.  Good luck to everyone involved!

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The Best Brush For Blending Eyeshadow

My three favourite blending brushes

My three favourite blending brushes

For applying eyeshadow I like a densely packed brush that holds it shape well.  For blending, however, I much prefer a softer fluffy type brush of which I have several.

Close up of Smashbox Crease Brush #10 bristles

Close up of Smashbox Crease Brush #10 bristles

The first one I’m going to write about is Smashbox Crease Brush #10.  At £19.50 this is an average priced professional brush.  Its bristles are quite long and therefore, for me not very easy to control.  It’s also very soft so would require a bit longer to nicely blend any eyeshadow.  This is a good brush to have in your kit but it’s not my favourite.  I only tend to use it when the others are dirty.

Close up of MAC Tapered Blending Brush 224 bristles.

Close up of MAC Tapered Blending Brush 224 bristles.

The next blending brush I use is MAC Tapered Blending Brush 224. At £22 it’s more expensive than Smashbox, but not really by much. Again, the bristles on this are relatively long and so less precision control.  I received this brush as part of a set which I have decided to keep for personal use, rather than keeping in my kit.  As with the Smashbox brush, this is good for blending if you have quite a large eyelid and brow bone area.  Also, these two brushes, although not designed for this use, are excellent at blending under eye concealer.  For this reason alone, they are worth having in your kit.

Close up of MAC Blending Brush 217 bristles.

Close up of MAC Blending Brush 217 bristles.

And now to my favourite – MAC Blending Brush 217.  At £17 it’s the cheapest of the three yet still, to my mind the best.  Its bristles are slightly shorter giving more precise control and also meaning that it blends quicker than the others.  I’ve had mine for nearly 5 years and it may well be my favourite brush in my entire kit.  It’s excellent at blending anything – powder or cream, hasn’t stained too much and has kept its shape well.  This is always the first brush I use for blending and I can’t see it being surpassed anytime soon.

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Rigid Collodion

Mehron Rigid Collodion scars with and without colour underneath

Rigid collodion is a cheap and effective way to produce scarring. The brand I generally use is Mehron. Collodion is applied straight to the skin and then it gently constricts as it dries, tightening the surrounding skin, producing an indented scar. It can be applied to clean skin, or over a colour depending on the desired effect.

Heath Ledger’s Joker scars

In recent years, collodion has been used by many make up artists as a cheap way of reproducing the Joker’s scars (Mehron Rigid Collodion is £3.66 for 25fl.oz.) However, on closer inspection, the Joker’s scars are a mixture of hypertrophic (raised) and atrophic (indented) scars. Collodion can only do atrophic. A minor point perhaps, but I like to be a bit geeky sometimes.

As effective as rigid collodion is, it does have a downside. It’s extremely flammable and can also irritate skin. I have personally experienced this irritation after dressing as the Corpse Bride for a Halloween party. The next day my skin was itchy and red and I still had marks around my mouth, despite peeling the collodion off several hours earlier.

Mehron Rigid Collodion Scaring Liquid

Despite this, I haven’t been put off using it again; my skin is extremely sensitive anyway. I have used it on various different people, skin types etc. and I’m the only one I know who has reacted from it. Perhaps I’m just unlucky.

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BAFTA, Beggars and Beatles Haircuts – March 2013

In March I was fortunate enough to be accepted in BAFTA Crew – a database/network of industry professionals from across the UK.  We are invited to masterclasses, receive regular newsletters and bulletins and discounts to other BAFTA events.  I’ll write some more about this in the coming months, when I’ve had more of a chance to experience it, but for now it already seems pretty beneficial.  Within hours of being accepted into BAFTA Crew I received 3 really good offers of work.  Perhaps it’s just a coincidence, I like to think not.

Ruth Negga in  Noble

Ruth Negga in Noble

At the very beginning of March I spent a day working on a new feature film Noble  This is perhaps the highest budget film I’ve worked on and, coming into it halfway through was strange for me as I’ve usually been on projects from the beginning.  Noble is a biopic of Christina Noble, an extraordinary woman who travelled from Ireland to Vietnam to create better lives for thousands of people.  The scenes we were filming were set in a nightclub in the 60’s – cue lots of false eyelashes, black eyeliner and wigs for the girls and shaved chins, moptops and long sideburns for the chaps.  (How glad am I that I started extra wig training in Feb?!)

Two Characters from The Beggars Opera.  Nothing subtle about their make up!

Two Characters from The Beggars Opera. Nothing subtle about their make up!

Later in March, I was asked by a friend to provide hair and make up for a production of The Beggars Opera, being staged at The Epstein Theatre.  I’ve never done an opera before, but I like new things so jumped at the opportunity.  I was surprised by quite how much make is required for opera, even in a relatively small theatre.  In my film work, I’m always conscious of HD and so less is more.  Opera throws all that out of the window, which I actually found quite liberating.  My first opera, hopefully not my last.

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MAC Cine-matics All-Over Brush Set from Nordstom

Mac Nordstrom Cine-Matics Brush Set

Mac Nordstrom Cine-Matics Brush Set

Last year I was very kindly given this brush set and have been meaning to write about it ever since. I’m a massive fan of MAC brushes and try to add them to my kit whenever financially possible. I was extra excited to learn that this set is limited edition (childish I know, but I like stuff like that.) This set is exclusive to Nordstrom (upmarket US fashion retail store) as is the rest of MACs Cine-Matics range. The kit contains 5 brushes which are:

MACs wonderful fluff and powder brushes.

MACs wonderful fluff and powder brushes.

129SE – powder brush (purple/plum). This is a lovely soft feeling brush and, like any powder brush, will always be useful.

227SE – fluff brush (blue). I’m not sure what you would call this brush. It’s too big for eyeshadow but too small for blush/powder. At first I was unsure what to use it for until I discovered it’s amazing as a highlighting brush – just the perfect size and density. I didn’t realize I needed this brush until I got it. It’s definitely my new favourite.

A great selection of eye brushes. Apologies for not cleaning them before taking this photo...Oops.

A great selection of eye brushes. Apologies for not cleaning them before taking this photo…Oops.

219SE – pencil brush (yellow). This brush is great for either placing eyeshadow in the crease of the socket or smudging eye pencil for a more smoky look. Its dome shape is quite firm and so is easy to control.

224SE – tapered blending brush (red). This eyeshadow brush is much softer and as such is great for blending. It could also be used for highlighting, but I’d rather use 227.

266SE small angle brush (green). This is ideal for eyebrows. It could also be used for eyeliner, but I think there are better brushes for that (see here). This is one of, if not the best brush I’ve used for eyebrows. Since I’ve been using it, it’s held its shape brilliantly and hasn’t splayed.

Rather selfishly I’ve only used these brushes on myself so far. They haven’t quite made it into my kit yet, nor are they likely too any time soon. For years I’ve put all my good brushes into my kit and just used cheap ones on myself. However, these are travel size and came in a lovely denim pencil case-sized make up bag which just so happens to be the perfect size for my own portable personal make up kit. And besides that, they’re really pretty, really useful and I just want to keep them all to myself. There’s nothing wrong with that is there?

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