Rachael Divers Artistry » Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle

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  • HELLO BEAUTIFUL…

    Welcome to the home of Rachael Divers Makeup Artistry. I am a professional Makeup Artist, Makeup Tutor and Beauty Writer. I am fully insured and a member of the British Association of Beauty Therapy and Cosmetology. I like to make people look and feel beautiful.

Elegant Touch Express Press-On Instant Manicure review

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As a massive fan of gel nails, particularly Calgel, my nails hadn’t been without a coat of gel for absolute years. I wore it all the way through college, university and some time after up until just a few months ago when I decided to give my nails a little time to just breathe.

On a recent trip to Boots to pick up some essential beauty supplies, I came across the Elegant Touch Express Press-On Instant Manicure sets. I used to wear press on nails absolute years ago when the nails were horribly thick and looked extremely tacky – I’m talking fluorescent yellow nails with huge sky blue and crimson red flowers dotted all over them, not an understated look to say the least but could have been quite striking had it not been for the digger-sized tips. Anyway, the Elegant Touch offerings looked quite different and came in a really good variety of styles and colours. At £7.99 for a 24 nail pack, I thought I might as well give them a go.

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The colour I chose was a gorgeous deep burgundy named Polished Garnet. The next evening, I decided to give my nails a pre-manicure and pop the nails on.

The pack comes with a short set of instructions which advises you to thoroughly clean and dry your nails before using the nail wipe which comes with the pack. I assume that this dehydrates the nail plate before application so that the natural oils that sit on the nail are stripped away leaving a smooth, dry surface for the glue tabs to adhere to. Each nail comes with a glue tab already fixed so the only thing you need to do is size up the nails to your own, peel away the sticky tab and press on in the centre and the sides. Having quite small nails in width, I found it quite difficult to find nails to match my own and only four out of the whole pack were small enough to fit naturally. Nevertheless, I picked the closest and pressed them on. The whole process literally took around five minutes – they really are express!

As you can see from the picture below, the nails do look quite lovely and natural once first applied, but because some of them were too large and a little too wide to look completely natural, I clipped and filed a little away.

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I applied the nails on Sunday evening and they felt extremely sturdy and didn’t leave me in fear that they’d end up pinging off at the most inappropriate moments like the old offerings of press on nails so often did. I woke up this morning (Monday – this post will be going live on Tuesday morning!) with each nail still intact and each nail feeling just as strong as the night before. I wore the nails throughout the day for a dinner and cinema date with hardly any issues except one which is kind of a biggie…

As you’ll see from the image below, the natural arch of the false nail doesn’t quite match the natural arch of my own nail so there’s quite a significant gap between the false nail and my own – a great place for dirt and nasty bacteria to set up home, so sadly, the nails had to go after one day instead of the full seven. Had it not been for the gap, I’m pretty sure the nails would have lasted the full seven days providing I’d been careful when taking a bath or styling my hair (I found that my hair got stuck underneath the nails quite often).

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The nails took me all of a few minutes to remove by gently peeling them away from the cuticle upwards, and my nails were left clean of any glue residue with absolutely no damage. I’d really recommend these nails for a quick fix for a night out or special occasion, they’re fab for a really fast manicure with zero fuss and zero drying time. Had they fit my natural nail arch a little better, I’d definitely repurchase them them in the future. A really lovely product that has been made with the consumer in mind and offers a really great variety of colours and styles. Have you tried the Elegant Touch Press-On nails before? What did you think?

© This post is copyright of Rachael Divers 2014.

The ‘Would you rather?’ Beauty Blogger Tag

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I don’t know whether it’s the fact that I’ve been pulled out with gorgeous makeovers or whether time really has sped up (I heard it does the older you get – remember that, you’ll agree with me one day), but It only seems two minutes since the last bank holiday over here in the UK. As it’s another holiday, I thought I’d take it easy with a fun post and answer the ‘Would you rather…?’ Beauty Blogger Tag.

1. Would you rather lose all of your mascaras, eyeliners, lipsticks, and lip glosses or lose all of your palettes and eye shadows?

As much as this pains me to say it, I think I’d rather lose all of my palettes and eye shadows (good God) simply because I could probably live without eye shadow for a while but mascara and gloss? Nah. I have blonde lashes so foregoing the mascara would just be horrendous.

 

2. Would you rather chop all of your hair off or never be able to cut it again?

I have been trying to grow my hair for such a long time that I think I’d rather never be able to cut it again. Some girls love short hair but it just would not suit me at all! I’m more down for the Rapunzel.

 

3. Would you rather have a coral cheek or a pink cheek?

Coral! Although pink is girly, fresh and young, I prefer the sophistication and the soft glow of a coral cheek. I love Illamasqua’s Lover blush and have worn it for years.

 

4. If you had £1000 to spend, would you rather buy clothes or makeup?

Makeup. Obviously. Although there’s a pretty nice jacket I’ve got my eye on right now.

 

5. Would you rather apply lipstick as eyeliner, or eyeliner as lipstick?

Eyeliner as a lipstick – I already do this for quite a few of my Halloween looks!

 

6. Would you rather only shop at MAC or Sephora?

MAC – MAC foundation is the best that I’ve found for my skin type and skin sensitivity, I’d be gutted if I couldn’t get hold of my Studio Fix Fluid anymore.

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7. Would you rather only use one eye shadow colour or one lip colour for the rest of your life?

One eye shadow colour I think. That’s a tough one but I’m sure I could narrow it down to a single colour in my Naked palette.

 

8. Would you rather wear winter clothes in summer or summer clothes in winter?

I am absolutely an Autumn/Winter lover so I’d much prefer to wear winter clothes in the summer. Plus, I’m always absolutely freezing no matter what the season is! 30 degrees outside? My hands are still cold.

 

9. Would you rather have dark nails or bright nails all year round?

Bright nails – cheery and cute.

 

10. Would you rather give up your favourite lip colour or favourite eye product?

I’d rather give up my favourite lip colour than my favourite eye product – my current favourite lip colour is a KIKO Super Gloss but I just couldn’t live without my mascara. My current favourite is Givenchy’s Phenomen’eyes waterproof mascara.

 

11. Would you rather only be able to wear your hair in a ponytail or messy bun?

Seen as though I think they look ultra glam and can be either dressed up or dressed down so easily, I’ll go for a messy bun.

 

12. Would you rather never be able to paint your nails again or never use lipgloss?

I’d rather never be able to use lipgloss again. I’d miss it a lot but one of my pet hates on my own body is unpainted nails! I just don’t like looking at them without a coat of gel or polish.

 

13. Would you rather shave your eyebrows and have none at all or sharpie them in everyday?

My eyebrows are actually tattooed so I guess if I shaved them off, it wouldn’t be too much hassle anyway!

 

14. Would you rather live without makeup or nail polish?

What a horrible question. Which is the lesser of two evils? I’d have to live without nail polish if it came to the crunch. Does that mean I can still have gel….?

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I’d like to tag all of you lovely beauty bloggers (and any other bloggers for that matter) who’d like to give it a go! Let me know if you attempt it, I’d love to see your answers!

© This post is copyright of Rachael Divers 2014.

My current favourite YouTube makeup artists

As a makeup artist, I’m constantly scouring YouTube for lovely new vloggers to look to for inspiration and tips. In an industry that’s ever evolving, it’s so important to stay ahead of the times and so interesting to look to others to hear their tips and tricks for flawless, beautiful makeup.

I thought I’d share my current five favourites with you all so you can check them out too and take a look at their fabulous videos!

1. Miss Jessica Harlow

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An amazingly talented artist and vlogger who’s fabulous at recreating the looks we see daily on our favourite celebrities. One of my favourite videos was her Kyle Jenner inspired makeup look featuring ‘that’ nude lip.

2. Desi Perkins

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I could sit and listen to this gorgeous girl all day! Flawless skin, flawless makeup and a fun personality to go with her inspiring videos. I absolutely loved her Sophia Loren makeup tutorial, she looks the absolute double of her once the look is complete. Not only does she do the pretty girly looks but she also delves into the special effects makeup scene which I adore.

3. Pink Stylist

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Fancy a little Halloween inspiration? Charlie Short is your guy. What an amazingly talented special effects artist! From Sharon Needles (Ru Paul’s Drag Race) to The Gentlemen (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Charlie nails every single look with scary accuracy. His tutorials are fun, eerie and absolutely on point with easy to follow steps and tips. This is the first channel I go to when I want some inspiration for my Halloween looks.

4. Pixiwoo

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How could I write a YouTube favourites video without including these two gorgeous ladies? Sister Sam and Nic have played a huge part in my makeup learning curve and I’ve watched them ever since I first started to learn the art of makeup. Their simple tutorials are peppered with stories from their day to day life which makes you feel like you’re simply chatting with a friend while they apply their makeup. From mainstream celebrity looks to helpful tips tutorials, I’m confident you’ll find more than one tutorial you’ll love.

5. Made Yew Look

Made Yew Look

Okay, so here’s another fabulous special effects makeup artist that I couldn’t bear to leave out of my list. True to her YouTube name, she certainly will make you look with the incredible makeup looks that she creates. One of my favourites is her tutorial on the Pumpkin King inspired by one of my all time favourite movies, The Nightmare Before Christmas. Check this girl out for a good dose of fear.

© This post is copyright of Rachael Divers 2014.

The Holy Grail of waterproof mascaras

After my MAC Zoom Waterfast Lash dried up after a couple of weeks, I decided it was not the Hobnob of the mascara world, but rather the Rich Tea despite the lovely application and sleek packaging that I had come to love. I set out to find another alternative and what I found was actually quite surprising.

On a trip to Meadowhall for dinner at TGI Friday’s, I dragged my long-suffering Mr Wright into the The Body Shop to take a look around and had a pretty fun twenty minutes subjecting his hands to primers and foundations, swatching and marvelling at the formulations. I came across the Big and Curvy Waterproof mascara due to the lovely bright blue packaging and thought I’d pick it up and try it out. As there was a 3 for 2 sale on at the time, I actually got the mascara for free so I thought I might as well take it home and sample it to see if it would be a good addition to my professional kit.

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The Body Shop’s Big and Curvy Waterproof Mascara

The next day, I applied the mascara instead of my current favourite Thick and Fast by Soap and Glory. I found the mascara went on quite beautifully and separated my lashes quite well. Although this mascara is a volumising mascara, I’m happy to say that it wasn’t clump city as so many thickening formulations are. My lashes looked longer, thicker and a little more curved than usual.

I wore the mascara for the duration of the day as I went about my mobile makeovers travelling up and down to visit clients. When I got home later on that afternoon, there was just enough time to apply my mum’s makeup before we were both out the door and heading to my lovely friend’s Hen party. After a fabulous time at the party, we finally returned home at around 10pm and I was pleased to see that my eye makeup looked exactly the same as it had done when I’d applied it at 7am that morning. Pretty good going if you ask me – that’s 15 hours of excellent results!

Ready for the Mexican Hen party - mascara still intact!

Ready for the Mexican Hen party – mascara still intact!

When the time came to remove the mascara, I learned just how amazingly waterproof this little formula is…I tried my usual DHC Cleansing Oil to no avail and also tried my Mum’s Nivea eye makeup remover. I still had traces of the mascara on my lashes! I cleansed the rest of my face with my favourite facial scrub and again came back to my lashes to try and remove the remainder of the mascara. Despite my efforts, I couldn’t quite get the very last traces of the mascara off and had to retire to bed. The next morning, the dregs of the mascara were still intact and I was happy to see there were no panda eyes. After a gentle cleanse with my DHC Cleansing Oil, the remainder of the mascara slid away and my lashes were fresh and clean once again.

Separated, volumised natural lashes with serious staying power

Separated, volumised natural lashes with serious staying power

I am seriously impressed with the longevity and performance of this mascara, and at the retail price of £10, it’s £4.50 cheaper than my previous MAC offering. I can’t tell you about how long the mascara lasts without drying out just yet as I’ve only had it for less than a week so far, but I’ll keep you posted.

I’d highly recommend this mascara to all you party animals, water babies or simply ladies who have problems with their mascara imprinting onto their faces after a full days wear. Great value for money, and serious staying power. Just ensure to remove the mascara gently and carefully to make sure you don’t irritate your eyes or damage your lashes in the process.

© This post is copyright of Rachael Divers 2014.

Crownbrush makeup and brush review

IMG_0787I’ve been debating with myself whether to write a blog post about something that has really been grinding on me over the past week or so. After much toying with my ‘should I, shouldn’t I?’ debate, I’ve made the choice to set this post to public in the hope of inspiring better judgement calls for you than my own proved to be.

If you aren’t a regular reader of my blog or don’t know me from social media, allow me to tell you a little about myself: I’m a professional makeup artist by trade and a beauty writer in my spare time, I also teach makeup to aspiring makeup artists and seasoned professionals alike. I have worked for the likes of Illamasqua, and I currently work as the in-house makeup artist at my family-run photography studio alongside my own personal undertakings. I specialise in beauty shoots and I’m self-taught in the art of prosthetic and special effects makeup. I’m very much enthralled by the world of makeup and take my profession extremely seriously right down to the fine print on my makeup artist insurance certificates. 

I recently placed an order with the popular makeup brush company, Crownbrush, for an eye shadow palette, a blusher palette and a lipstick palette along with a serious helping of brushes for my makeup kit. As I’ve ordered brushes from Crownbrush before, I knew the quality could be hit and miss depending on the style of brush but thought I’d nailed my preferences with the brushes that I chose. 

The palettes and brushes arrived and all looked very well – the palettes looked highly pigmented and the makeup brushes felt luxuriously soft, I was sure my clients would enjoy being pampered with them.

Imagine my utter disappointment when upon using the palettes, I found that the pigments were less than desirable and the brushes were losing hairs here, there and everywhere. I was left with uneven application of product and a client full of hairs on their face.

Let me break it down and explain the issues I have with each product.

The Professional 88 Palette 01 £22.99

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This palette may look pretty impressive to the naked eye, but upon use, you will surely find that some of the colours are so sheer that they don’t even offer the slightest hint of colour when swept over the lids. From crumbly textures to uneven application, this palette disappointed me from the get go. This palette is also marketed as a ‘matte’ palette despite the majority of the colours having a frosted finish. Upon further inspection into this palette, I was horrified to find that this isn’t actually a product made by Crownbrush, but a product mass produced and sold out to several companies from a different source. Notice the lack of branding on the packaging? I actually came across this pretty damning article over on Kevin James Bennett’s blog that explains the whole debacle really well and delves into the safety of the makeup too. 

The Blusher Palette £10.99

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Marketed as a “10 matte and shimmer blush palette can be used as contour, bronze and blush in colours from light pink to deep dark pink as well as a couple of neutral shades perfect for adding depth and giving a polished finish to any make-up look. This palette is presented in a matte black case ideal for travelling and easy storage and cleaning.” Looks great in the palette, but doesn’t transcribe well onto the face at all. See the dark contour colour that looks a little like MAC’s Harmony blush that you think will look amazing and is a fraction of the price? It doesn’t. It’s shoddy quality and can hardly be seen on the skin without a laborious session of building, building and more building.

The 32 Lip Colour Palette £19.99

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The Crownbrush 32 Colour Lipstick Black Matte Palette is designed for professional make-up artists and the amateur which contains both lip stick and lip gloss texture either blend together or wear alone with long-lasting lip effects. Shades range from opalescent natural glossy colours, bright pinks, beautiful berry shades, a highlighter and more!” This palette certainly isn’t designed for professional makeup artists. The lovely looking nude shades to the left are in fact so nude that they cannot even be seen. Not unless you want to gouge half the pan out trying to achieve the colour on the palette.

The brushes that I ordered were:

  1. BK38 Deluxe Crease
  2. SS025 Syntho Brow Duo
  3. SS021 Syntho Blending Fluff
  4. SS027 Syntho DLX Blending Crease
  5. SS011 Deluxe Oval Shadow
  6. SS004 Deluxe Oval Concealer
  7. SS013 Deluxe Angle Brush
  8. C139 Stiff Tapered Crease
  9. SS020 Syntho Precision Crease
  10. BK26 Badger Powder Dome
  11. BK09 Deluxe Oval Foundation
  12. C250-1 Taklon Liner

Now, some of the brushes I like and I have used before, such as the Syntho Brow Duo which I find fabulous for brows on the go. But some of the brushes have been a catastrophic let down and left more than just a dent in my bank account. I’ll break down the problem brushes below.

The BK26 Badger Powder Dome £15.79

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Crown says: “Power dome brush which is perfect for applying mineral, loose powder. If you used a puff to apply your powder, use this brush to sweep away any excess.”

Rachael says: Terribly rough brush that feels less luxurious and more like bramble. Sheds excessively and causes clients to appear like they’ve sprouted a spontaneous beard.

The C139 Stiff Tapered Crease £3.09

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Crown says: “Stiff Tapered Crease.”

Rachael says: Stubblin’ ‘ell. Sheds horribly with the tiniest black hairs which are horrendous to try get off. The brush splays quickly and feels like terrible quality. Cheap price, cheap quality.

The SS013 Deluxe Angle Brush £9.69

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Crown says: “Angled blusher brush to accentuate bone structures. Apply a sweep of powdered blush or bronzer on the natural contours on the cheeks.”

Rachael says: Deluxe Schmeluxe. Another terribly scratchy brush which frays horrendously and loses more hair than my long-haired chihuahua before summer.

My total order came to just over £200 as I doubled up on each brush and added the largest brush cleaner to my order (which I don’t really care for either but there isn’t enough room for more negativity in this post). After complaining to Crownbrush and receiving a response, I was told I could return the faulty brushes and if Crownbrush deemed them to be faulty, I’d be offered a refund. Unfortunately, as a busy artist with no alternative brushes, this wasn’t an option for me – it was do or die. I’m not sure which of those I’m currently achieving. Here is the response I received:

Thank you so much for your email and I’m sorry to hear that you were not happy with your recent order.  Here at Crownbrush we pride ourselves on the quality of our products and we have never received such complaint before about our makeup palettes. Our palettes are used worldwide by TV Studios, Makeup Artists, Beauty Bloggers and the Royal Opera House and we have never received anything but positive feedback.  Customer reviews can be read by following this link: - https://www.trustpilot.co.uk/review/crownbrush.co.uk.”

To be honest, being made out to be a liar from the first response kind of grated on me and I’m a little confused as to how Crownbrush haven’t come across the negative complaints and feedback which I encountered on their own link and also through my leisurely browse through social media. After a couple more email exchanges, I was pretty much told hard luck and that Crownbrush couldn’t help me any further. I also brought up the points that Kevin makes on his blog of which Crownbrush skimmed over.

I am absolutely disappointed with both the products and the service that I have received from Crownbrush – a company that is trying to be at the top of the ladder in the makeup industry. Unfortunately, it would seem like they’re heading more towards the slippery snakes than the climbing ladders with the response to this particular issue. Fellow makeup artists, please consider your options before investing your time and money in a cheaper product. In my professional opinion, and the opinion of many other bloggers, Crownbrush palettes have no place in a professional, quality kit. But don’t just take my opinion for it, check out these links for more information:

  1. http://stephanielouiseatb.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/my-imats-crown-brush-haul-matte-rant.html
  2. http://x.superbadgirl.com/blog/tag/crown-brush-review/
  3. http://annettibus.blogspot.ie/2013/06/private-label-beauty-brands-what-is.html

© This post is copyright of Rachael Divers 2014. All images excluding header courtesy of Crownbrush. 

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