Sunday, 30 December 2012

Going without make up. Bare faced Freedom.

GoingWithout Makeup:
 Bare-faced Freedom

Considering I own such a lot of make up and talk so passionately about the subject, people are always surprised at how infrequently I wear it. There is something ever so liberating about going bare faced, and here's why.

As a teenager I definitely felt self conscious and wore make up to improve the way I look but I'd say that it was as much of a social norm habit. It wouldn't occur to me NOT to wear make up. And I wore a lot of it. I was your quintessential bleach blonde extensions, orange bodied, too much bronzer teenager. 

When I was 19 I met an Australian guy and decided to move to Perth with him. I would straighten my hair every day, wear my extensions and go around wearing my normal face of make up (foundation, concealer, bronzer, blusher, eyeliner, mascara and lip gloss). However, I started to notice that none of my new female friends did the same. Don't get me wrong, they were highly glamorous, the girls in Perth had an effortless beauty; beach chic in every sense of the word. Day to day, they wore little to no make up.

Initially I would feel panicked if we went to the beach bare faced, but gradually moved to the pub as the day went on.. I'd find myself in a bar wearing flip flops and a beach dress with tangled sea salt hair and not a scrap of make up. It went against everything I knew.

A year later and I was wandering around the grocery store wearing a Bintang grubby men's vest, board shorts, no shoes on my feet and absolutely no make up. And I felt more confident, attractive and desirable than ever before. I'd go on a night out wearing tennis pumps and no make up. I felt free. I felt like I had tapped into this secret and being beautiful wasn't about how much effort you put in, it was feeling confident in my own skin. I can't lie, the tan helped a lot!

I used to read these interview with overtly sexy female celebrities, all claiming that they felt most attractive when in their joggers, lounging around the house without make up. I scoffed "bah! you can't fool me, vain beautiful liar". Until I experienced this 'enlightenment'. 

I came home to England and my friends didn't get it. I actually started to feel that make up was a big deception. That by wearing it, I was lying to the world about how I really look. One of my friends told me I was being rude by going out without make up! 

Then I got acne....

I no longer felt this smug confidence about my bare face. I felt ugly. I didn't just 'feel ugly'. I had an absolute conviction that I WAS ugly. Acne is a fail safe way of making anyone feel really low and insecure. 

No longer was I not wearing make up because I felt satisfied with my naturality, I became afraid of wearing make up. I didn't want to do anything to my skin that might make it worse. Even though I probably needed it (the acne was quite 'in your face' and the treatments only enhanced the redness), I shunned any make up. Even eye make up was a no no.. I didn't want people to wonder why, if I was wearing some make up, was I not covering my offensive face. 

I did try wearing make up for a night out... But the treatments made my skin so dry that foundation would cake and crumble, flaking right off my face. It actually just made me look worse. There are so many online tutorials for heavy duty spot coverage, but I couldn't master it without the flakes. I would give up, scrub it off, cry my eyes out and cancel on my friends. 

Having acne and not wearing make up wasn't 'difficult' because I felt like I didn't have the option to wear it anyway. I did feel like it affected how people perceived me, but in retrospect, I think it was a change in my own attitude which caused that.

My skin has been clear for about a year now and my relationship with make up has changed again. I'm not afraid of make up, and I don't feel like a liar and a fake when I do wear it. When I do wear make up, I look at it like art. I can change my face with the use of a few powders, like temporary plastic surgery! However I still feel more than comfortable going out bare faced, I don't cringe and avoid people I know... I'm not ashamed of how I really look! 

I think that in the end, we are all born with these faces. Girls are lucky, we have so many different makeup products to choose from that we have the freedom to improve the way that we look. But looks aren't everything. If we can't accept our young faces without make up, how will we deal when wrinkles inevitably mark the laughter and anguish of our past as we age? 

If I put a full face of make up on every day, I'd spend more than 1 week per year doing my make up... That's 1.5 years in a life time of just applying make up. Life is short, I have better things to spend my time doing than putting make up on my face and worrying about how everyone else perceives me. Having the freedom to choose to go without make up is a real treat. 

Showing make up free pictures of me to the world doesn't daunt me any more

I challenge you to go to work/college/school/university for 1 day without make up, please let me know in the comments section how it made you feel! Please feedback how you feel about going without make up! 

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Pink Butterfly Ombre Nail Art Tutorial

Butterfly Ombre Nail Art Tutorial 

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday. 

One of the gifts I received was a nail art brush set (thank you bestie). For years now I've been improvising (poorly) with paint brushes, tooth picks and hair grips and may I say, they do not compare to the real thing. This particular set is from NPW. 

You Will Need:

  • Pink Nail Varnish (I used four shades of pink from light to dark, although using two shades in any contrasting values will work just as well)
  • Black Nail Varnish (for the detailing, although a Sharpie pen will suffice)
  • White Nail Varnish (for dotting)
  • A small sponge (I cut up cheap makeup sponges for this)
  • Dotting Tool (the head of a bobby pin/hair grip, a propelling pencil minus the lead... lots of things will do for dotting!)
  • Short striping brush (I used to use a very small paint brush and stripped lots of the bristles for a fine application)
  • Nail Polish Remover
  • Cotton Buds
  • A thick piece of card (for loading with varnish for dotting and striping)
  • Patience! 

Step 1 

Base coat. Paint your nails in stripes, light to dark towards the ends of your nails. You'll be sponging over this with more polish so this doesn't need to be neat! Allow each colour to dry slightly to avoid colour bleeding. Allow to dry fully before attempting step 3.

Step 2

Cut a piece of sponge about the length of your nail. Paint it thickly with your colours from light to dark. 

Step 3

Taking care to place the sponge the right way around, dab it onto your nail making sure to cover all of your nail. Dab the sponge with a light hand, moving it slightly up and down for a gradual gradient. This will no doubt get onto your skin; this can be removed later.

Step 4

When the gradient layer is fully dry, take a black nail polish and drip a few drops onto a piece of card. Use a thin brush or a short striping tool to create a half moon design. This should go from half way on your cuticle to a quarter of the way up your nail. 

Step 5

Using the same tool and black nail varnish, swipe carefully upwards from the half moon in four upward strokes. My thumb nail is wider; I used five upwards strokes for this. 

Step 6

Bridge the stripes with a sweeping arch. I did these quite high up but lowered them later when filling in the gaps to allow more space for the white dots. Fill in the tips of your nails in black nail varnish. This can be done with the striping tool, although this might give a slightly rough finish. A careful hand and a slip polish brush works well for this. Allow to dry

Step 7
Drip some white nail polish onto the cardboard. Use the dotting tool (or hair grip/bobby pin end)  into this and lightly dot a pattern in the black areas. At this point I took a cotton bud soaked in nail varnish remover and cleaned up the edges.

Step 8
Once all this is dry, apply two coats of top coat. Seal (paint) the tips of your nails for longevity. I usually use Revlon Liquid Quick Dry after this to accelerate the drying time. I know that Avon do a similar product to this in the form of a spray. 

When it comes to left handed nail art, things can get a little tricky. It is sometimes advised to keep your left hand (holding the brush) still and moving your right hand... Although I think this technique has a big risk attached to it. Try practising on a fake nail first, take your time and don't feel disheartened if things don't look perfect.

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