Beauty, Makeup, Skincare, Wellbeing

Crystal facial rollers: A skincare aid and headache reliever

Anything promoting healthier skin, relaxation and relief from migraine tension is something that is certain to grab my attention.

As a long term sufferer of migraine, a product that offers some form of relief during my time of need is an absolute must!

As a makeup artist, any product recognised for stimulating and energising the skin will always peak my curiosity; whilst on a personal level my preference for natural, clean beauty, harnessing the power of crystal will definitely get me excited!

So what exactly is the roller and how can it help?

The tool itself dates back thousands of years, found in chinese medicine as a means of boosting and maintaining skins youth.

Today, as part of a daily skincare routine, the roller can be used after applying a serum and before moisturisng; helping to reduce swelling, smooth skin and energise the complexion.

In the same way that a facial encourages blood circulation, rolling the tool across the forehead, cheekbones and jaw in an outwards direction can reduce inflammation by draining lymphatic fluid out through the lympth nodes. As blood flow is increased, any serum or oil applied to the skin is better absorbed, promoting brighter, bouncier skin.

A wonderful 100% natural face oil from brand ‘BalanceMe’ offers the perfect addition for doing just this. ‘Radiance facial oil’ tackles dehydration, dryness and pigmentation. Suitable for all skin types and age, the product aids in clearing toxins and brightening skins appearance.

If kept cool, the roller acts as the perfect relaxation tool, easing muscle tension and helping to lift the pain of headache.

Used in conjunction with essential oils, a few drops of lavender and peppermint mixed with water provides the perfect solution to soak a muslin cloth, rinse, and lay across the forehead. kept refrigerated, the cooled crystal stones can be rolled over the top of the cloth, helping to soothe pain, while the aroma calms and relaxes.

My own roller is made from jade, a stone recognised for its calming energy, elimination of negativity, conjuring of wellbeing and self love. Known to be one of the oldest healing stones of China, the stone is said to aid in detoxification.

A cleansing stone, associated with the heart chakra, jade assists the bodies filtration system, supporting the immune system and organs such as the kidneys.

If wanting to relax and calm both body and mind, a lovely way to use the crystal roller is over the top of a sheet mask after a long day or stressful week.

A great option for doing this is ‘Drops of Youth’ sheet mask from ‘The Bodyshop’. Infused with the ‘Drops of Youth concentrate’ (a serum found within the range), this fully biogradable mask will truly nourish the skin, saturating it in 99% ingredients of natural origin. The results are to die for, making skin feel smoothed, refreshed and supple.

Needless to say, I have taken to this facial tool, having noticed an improvement in my own skins texture and the variety of ways and uses in which I can benefit from using it.

Beauty, Makeup, Uncategorised

Carol: A mature make-up – a guide on how best to use cosmetics once over 50. Part 2

In this instalment we consider the right choice of concealer, subtle eye makeup tips and how to make the lips look fuller and more defined.

Concealer :

Much like the array of primers available to choose, concealers also come in many consistencies and forms. Knowing which to select can be a little daunting, but a general understanding of what each type of concealer does and how it may, or may not help will aid in eliminating those unsuited to you or your needs.

  • Cream concealers:

These tend to come in either stick form or a little pot, they look and feel creamier and often have a heavier, thicker consistency compared to other types of concealers. As a more heavy duty choice of product, these provide a higher level of cover, with a denser texture and soft clay feel.

Instinctively the first choice for anyone seeking good cover for dark shadows under the eyes, scars or blemishes, this is not necessarily always the wisest choice for all three. Yes- this product may cover the concern, but the finish is not always the most effective.

From experience I find this choice of concealer best for disguising spots or small scars. Layering gradually in conjunction with a foundation can help disguise such issues.

Under eyes however it can look cakey and dry. The problem with applying a thicker product in the eye area is how it can settle in lines and creases you never knew you had! The finish too tends to be less illuminating, with a more chalky, flat appearance.

If (as previously discussed in the first chapter) you are desperate to conceal areas of pigmentation across the face and have already applied a suitable primer and foundation, further cover can be applied using a concealer such as this. Select a concealer closest to your foundation shade and warm a small amount of the product between your finger tips. Gently press this into your skin over the area of concern, repeating the process with your foundation. This same method can be used to hide blemishes, redness and scars.

More often than not, you will find that having followed the previous guide on priming and applying foundation, a small amount of concealer is only really required for illuminating and brightening any lingering shadows under or around the eye.

This concealer is usually found in liquid form, coming in pen like containers with a little brush at one end through which product is dispensed. The texture feels much finer, more silky and less heavy. As a finishing touch, this usually works a treat, helping to brighten the eyes without creasing. A light dusting of translucent powder over the top will help to set this in place.

Some concealers will come in corrective shades. Those best suited for the eye area are those in peachy/pink to conceal brown shadows, or yellow/orange to hide blue circles or veins.

For Carol, the application of the primer and foundation alone provided sufficient cover for her varied skin tone. No further concealment was required, so her complexion was finished off with a dusting of bronzer across the high points, (forehead, nose, cheek bones and chin). A touch of blush was then chosen to compliment the lip colour.

  • Lipstick

Carol was initially after a coral shade to wear on her lips. Although not opposed to this idea, the vibrant salmon colour she had in mind really wasn’t doing her any favours once applied. The vibrancy of the colour looked harsh, whilst the rich intensity only served to reduce her lips to a slash of colour across her face…

Now, I’m a strong believer that certain colours should not be limited to a particular age range. There are factors other than age that will influence whether or not a colour works on an individual.

A few guidelines however won’t go a miss when looking to dress the lips…

Generally speaking, our lips loose volume as we age, loosing fullness and density. It is not therefore advisable to choose harsh dark, or very intense colours, these only harden your overall appearance and make the lips look smaller. Problems with product bleeding can become a big issue, especially if the lip product is very creamy in texture.

If a brighter choice is your preference, lipsticks with a satin sheen or shine are best, they reflect light and make the lips appear larger. When it comes to outlining the perimeter of the lip I suggest applying a pencil after applying the lip colour. This way you can push the line a few millimetres beyond your natural lip line, fixing the edge of the lipstick like a seal and preventing colour from seeping into tiny lines.

Another top tip for keeping lips looking soft and full is to apply colour with your fingertip, gently press the colour outwards to create a featherd edge, extending slightly beyond your own natural line.

  • Eyes

The application of eye makeup really varies from one person to the next. Regardless of age, eye shape will determine how best to wear makeup to enhance the eyes.

There are a few pointers however that won’t go a miss when looking to choose eye makeup and how to make the most of it.

  1. Look for matt eyeshadows. Avoid those that are overly metallic or sparkley. These will only enhance and draw attention to lines and wrinkles.
  2. Choose earthy tones to contour and lift. Use shades to sculpt and lift the eye rather than draw attention through colour alone.
  3. Use accents of colour to brighten and enhance your natural eye colour – a touch of eyeliner in blue looks great on brown eyes, purple on green and gold or brown against blue.
  4. Don’t forget eyebrows! These will frame the eyes and give them an instant lift.
  5. Highlight the brow bone. If you’re going to use a shimmer or pearlescent shade anywhere, apply it beneath the brow and across the brow bone.
  6. Extend eyeshadow beyond the socket/crease a little further than you think. This especially applies to those with hooded or dropping eyes, helping to open and make them appear larger.
  7. Make lashes appear thicker and longer by applying a soft Smokey line along the top lash line using either a soft kohl pencil that can be smudged, or eyeshadow that can be blended out.
  8. Keep everything soft edged and well blended. Avoid harsh lines and hard edges.

And so concludes my guide on mature make-up.

Don’t be afraid to try something new; introduce and implement these changes gradually over time. Embrace new method and techniques, but most importantly celebrate a better version of you!

Beauty, Makeup, Uncategorised

Carol: A mature make-up – a guide on how best to use cosmetics once over 50. Part 1

Recently I met with a lovely lady in her seventies seeking advice and help with her make-up for an upcoming wedding.

On the advice of family and friends, Carol wanted to enhance her eyes and find a suitable lipstick shade. With a colour scheme in mind we set about finding the perfect solution.

Now, I’m fortunate enough to have worked on the faces of all ages, yet with the more mature client often comes a degree of concern, some deliberation regarding ‘change’ and scepticism towards the unknown.

With this in mind, I got thinking about some of the key points I usually advise older clients where their makeup is concerned and the types of product and application methods best suited to them.

Now, everyone is different and therefore not all of the mentioned tips will necessarily apply to any one individual, but hopefully there will be something for everyone to take away from this, young and old…

So, where to begin?

Well first and foremost has to be the ongoing care of the skin itself…

  • Skincare

Hydration hydration hydration! Regardless of your skin type, young or old, oily or dry, the need to keep your skin clean and hydrated is a must.

Let’s be clear, a dehydrated skin is not necessarily a dry skin, in the same way that someone who may describe their skin as being oily is not necessarily hydrated. All skin types require some level of moisturisation, especially after cleansing or removal of makeup products.

Ensuring that skin is looked after properly is the first step in making sure that anything that goes on top (makeup) is optimised.

So, what are the key steps where skincare is concerned?

  1. Cleanse
  2. Tone
  3. Moisturise

Cleansing will clear the skin of dirt and pollutants, excess oils and impurities. Toning will protect cleaned skin from dirt re-entering, as well as smooth and refine its texture. Moisturising will feed the skin with nutrients and of course hydrate, as well as leave the skin feeling comforted.

  • Prep and prime

With so many different primer products available on the market it can be difficult to know where to begin when it comes to choosing one.

As a general rule of thumb, when choosing a primer suited to an older skin, I advise upon primers that help to energise or brighten the complexion, whilst smoothing also.

The ones to look out for are those that come in pink or lilac shades, helping to reduce sallowness, and lift dull, tired looking complexions.

Options to consider can be found in both ‘skincare’ and ‘make-up’ categories, yet the purpose of both remain the same, that being to brighten or correct the skins tone, smooth and refine fine lines and ready the face for further makeup application.

A few favourites of mine include ‘Vitamin C Skin Reviver’ by The Bodyshop, which helps keep skin hydrated and comes out as a pearly orange colour with a subtle tint of pink. The texture is unbelievably soft, melting away into skin leaving an extremely silky veil that instantly provides glow and radiance.

Another to consider is ‘one step correct’ by Stilla, which combines three colours in one pump, green to help combat redness, lilac sallowness and peach to brighten/diminish dark spots and shadows. I love this product because almost anyone can use it to help neutralise a host of skin complaints whilst also gaining a smooth base ready for foundation.

CC creams can also be applied as very effective primers and offer more in the way of coverage where pigmentation or discolouration is concerned.

I favour those that are peachy coloured, finding these to be effective at knocking back dark shadows as well as neutralising areas of the skin damaged by the sun. The result provides a more evenly coloured base on which to apply a foundation suited to the individuals natural skin colour.

  • Foundation

Now when I say ‘natural’ skin colour, a good point of reference is the skin of the neck and along the side of the jawline towards the ear. Although I’d always recommend selecting a shade of foundation based on the closest match to this area of the face, it is useful in cases where a complexion may be affected by the sun, or varied in tone, to consider the bigger picture and take into account the colour of the individuals arms, shoulders and chest.

If a fair amount of redness is evident across the face and is followed through the body in the form of freckles and a tan, then it makes sense to play on the warmth of the complexion and go with a bronzed look. It would look silly otherwise to neutralise this, leaving the face looking pale in comparison to the rest of the body.

If the face alone appears different in colour, then after priming accordingly so to neutralise and even this out, a shade of foundation that best matches the jaw/neck can be applied.

In all instances, fine layers of product should gradually be built up with higher levels of cover only applied to those areas in need of it.

With Carol as is often the case in older Caucasian women, her complexion had seen its fair share of the sun. Following priming, foundation was applied in a shade to match with pink undertones. This helped to further diffuse the red areas and bring together a more even complexion that tied through with the rest of her body.

Foundations that are matt in finish or powdery in texture are the types of product I tend to find excentuate wrinkles and give skin a flat, dry appearance. Although they may offer high coverage, the end result is not necessarily the most flattering. Choosing foundations that are described as ‘illuminating’, ‘fresh’, ‘smoothing’ and ‘glowing’, as apposed to those that are ‘matt’, ‘velvet’ or ‘powder’, usually work favourably.

For Carol, a dewy light to medium weight foundation was chosen and applied sparingly, starting from the centre of the face and worked outwards.

A now perfected base was ready to receive the next steps!…

In my next installment I will continue to explore the topic of mature makeup, turning focus towards concealer, eye makeup and the lips.

Uncategorised, Wellbeing

The struggle with migraine

As I open my eyes my heart sinks at the realisation that I have woken with yet another crippling headache.

Today it is predominantly residing in my jaw, extending across my face and up into my left temple. The pressure of it throbs as a feeling of nausea sweeps across.

I am angry. Another day is ruined, but I’m thankful that today I don’t have work (small mercies).

I used to work full time, more than full time infact, close to 60 hours a week in the hospitality sector. That couldn’t be sustained of course, my health deteriorated, the migraines escalated and my happiness plummeted.

The migraines had been under control; two years of taking a daily suppressant, I’d been able to reduce the headaches from two/three times a week to once a month, (much more manageable).

However, the effect of this was waning and the migraines were returning with a vengeance. Sick days were escalating and more days were being spent in work feeling unwell than not.

I often pondered how others with migraine actually managed to lead a ‘normal’ working life, with so much uncertainty over attendance and the ability to function properly day to day.

For those who don’t suffer from migraine I think it’s difficult to fathom just how debilitating it can be. For employers especially, the sympathy wears thin.

This is not just a headache, nor a really bad headache, it’s a whole different level.

Migraine presents itself in many ways and for me, I often wake from a night’s sleep barely able to open my eyes, the pounding so intense. This immense pain can last for twenty four hours or more, it’s draining and time consuming. Sleeping through the pain is usually my only refuge, attempting to stay awake results in being sick multiple times and unable to concentrate on anything other than the feeling of my head cracking.

Push came to shove when after a prolonged period of feeling unwell, I woke up on my bedroom floor surrounded by three paramedics, a concerned looking boyfriend and our late cat Neo hovering above my face, (having sat besides my head the whole time I’d been out).

Needless to say, I decided it was time for a change.

I left the job. Took some time out and re assessed my options.

Of a few things I was certain:

  • I needed flexible working hours
  • I needed less hours
  • I needed to focus my attention on my own creative projects
  • I needed time to work on our home
  • I needed quality time spent back with james
  • I needed to feel well and healthy
  • I needed to find a new source of medication.

And so began my life to date.

I work freelance as a designer/maker and Make-up artist. I support this with two part time jobs, one zero hour contract, the other just eight. I have weekends back for the most part, I have evenings to do as I please, time to cook proper meals, see friends and family and most importantly I have my health and wellbeing.

James suggested that I try acupuncture as an alternative treatment for my migraines.

I took the plunge and discarded my prescribed ‘beta-prograne’ capsules, they’d lost their effect anyway and I wasn’t keen on taking beta blockers on a daily basis anymore.

So began the acupuncture process…

Now, here was a practice that sought to find out the cause of my migraine in order to effectively treat it. Was it stress, my diet? Were there specific triggers, was there another underlying problem?

Eight months in I’m no longer on daily prescribed treatment. I have monthly acupuncture in line with my menstrual cycle, (as my hormonal balance is my trigger) and I’m able to manage the now less frequent migraines with a prescribed pill that I take only when symptoms manifest.

In short, my problem with migraine has become more manageable. Establishing a suitable balance between work and life is never easy, nor is understanding and acceptance from others who don’t quite grasp the severity of the condition.

As my headaches have become less frequent or severe, I have turned to using home remedies to relieve the pain, here is a simple and quick mix that can be used to soothe:

  1. Fill a bowl with warm water
  2. Leave a peppermint tea bag to soak in the water for a minute before wringing it out and removing from the bowl
  3. Add 6 drops of lavender oil
  4. Add 2 drops of olive oil
  5. Place a flannel in the bowl for a minute
  6. Wring out the flannel and Place across the forehand whilst laying down in a quiet, dark space.
  7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 until the pain eases. (the longer the better)

The process will help to cool and dissolve away the headache.


Lifestyle, Uncategorised

An Introduction

In 2010 I graduated with great pride from University of the Arts, London college of fashion.

With a first class honours degree under my belt and the prestigious title of a Bachelor of Arts from a reputable establishment, little did I know that my venture into the arts world, more specifically that of the fashion and make-up industry, would be in no way rewarded with great fortune or a straight forward path.

Having learnt make-up and prosthetics for TV, film and theatre, I embarked upon a journey that saw me sample both film and stage industries, coming to settle upon fashion and work within premium brands at an expert/specialist level.

With continued development and training at industry level, I enjoyed the prestige of working within such companies as Dior and Chanel, but ultimately was left feeling unfulfilled and in need of taking back ownership of my creativity in order to pursue futher artistic endeavours.

I have never been one to seek vast wealth, fame or fortune, driven instead by a desire to simply be happy and achieve a comfortable state of well-being and comfort.

Ultimately this has influenced the various decisions I have made in the eight years since graduating, largely in part due to my personal history with depression and the acceptance that mental health far outweighs my need for expensive assets, designer gear and the latest technologies obtained through a job that destroys my very soul!

Needless to say, this has not always been entirely straight forward, or in fact possible.

At the end of 2016, my boyfriend – (recently promoted to ‘fiance’), James and I bought our first home together.

In achieving this momentous milestone, my artistic practice took a back seat as I sought solid career progression within the hospitality sector, embarking upon futher study and qualification in management.

To date, I have dropped the devastatingly anti social and long hours of hospitality management in order to better focus my time on artistic pursuits.

With our home now an ongoing, long suffering project; as we struggle to fund the numerous renovations we so desperately desire to make, much of my thought and attention has turned to colour schemes, furniture and decor.

Indeed, recent craft projects have seen me turn my attention to interior accessories, having branched into creating decorative pieces for the home.

It has often been said by others that both James and I share a very unique aesthetic, one recognisable and characteristic of the two of us.

We don’t proclaim to lead terribly exciting lives, but we love to travel about the country, explore the landscape and the country’s rich heritage.

Searching antique centres, craft fairs and markets is usually high on the agenda, especially as James loves to restore and revamp pieces most would regard as junk or just plain random!

We are lucky enough to share for the most part our hobbies and interests in music, style, dining, travel and culture.

An emphasis on the outdoors, nature and the changing seasons has become an increasingly important part of our lives, with foraging and sourcing of ingredients to make herbal remedies in place of traditionally prescribed medicines. (mainly in response to my never ending list of aliements and plight to find cures…)

With autumn now firmly underway, I look forward to embracing the changing season, taking walks in the woods, enjoying cozy evenings in with the company of good friends and family.

It is a time of year that I often feel most creative, inspired to design and make new pieces, adding to my ever growing collection of projects!