Rachael Divers Artistry » Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle

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    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.

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.

The Body Shop

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


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


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


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

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

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

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. 

Mother and Daughter Makeover Shoot

From gore to gorgeous! The past few weeks at the studio have been a big mix of both gory and gorgeous makeup looks, and after the influx of Halloween images I’ve been sharing lately, I thought I’d balance it all out with a few beautiful makeover images!

Recently, we had the beautiful Janet and Nina visit us at the studio for a Mother and Daughter Makeover. I think these types of makeover are really special – after all, what stronger bond is there between a mother and her daughter?

I hope that you enjoy the before and after images below. Hair and Makeup was created by myself and each of the beautiful images were taken by John Divers Photography.


Nina’s before and After – I think she looks the double of Alexa Chung!


Janet Before and After

Janet’s before and after


Beautiful Mother and Daughter image

Beautiful Mother and Daughter image



Nina’s ‘Alexa’ look


Please kindly note that all images on this post are copyright of John Divers Photography.

© This post is copyright of Rachael Divers 2014.

Halloween Makeup Inspiration Volume 1

Hello beauties! Today I’m writing to you al fresco from my garden set up – it would be an awful shame to waste this gorgeous sunshine that we’ve been having just lately wouldn’t it? Today’s post is all about my favourite topic of late – Halloween! If you follow me Facebook or Twitter, you’ll have noticed that I’ve been working with some SFX products to create my Halloween 2014 look book for my gorgeous clients who want a ghoulish transformation. Here are a few images below of what I’ve been up to…

Dead and decaying was the order of the day...

Dead and decaying was the order of the day with ghoulish greens and draining greys…


Followed by a little flash of red and stage blood to create a burning effect…

Not everybody was too sure about my new look...

Not everybody was too sure about my new look…


But not to worry, it

But not to worry, it’s only pretend and peels right off!

To create each of the looks, I used the amazing Third Degree, Mehron Colorset, Ben Nye’s Stage Blood and colour wheel and a bunch of eyeshadows, liners and lipsticks from HD Brows and Illamasqua. If you’re thinking of booking a Halloween makeover this year, why not take a look at my Halloween 2014 page here for more ideas. Stay tuned for Volume 2 coming soon!


Halloween 2014


© This post is copyright of Rachael Divers 2014.

Retin-A for problem skin – the journey so far using Tretinoin

As somebody who has had clear skin for pretty much all of their life, I was absolutely heartbroken last year to find myself suffering with a stubborn bout of adult acne. My skin was absolutely full of spots, blemishes and dry patches and felt unbelievably sore and irritated. It took me a really long time to get my skin back to health again, so imagine my horror when my skin started to play up again just a few months ago.

Despite having a great skincare routine, following a healthy diet and taking regular exercise, my skin still wouldn’t behave. I decided that I needed something more potent to help me along in my quest for clear skin once again.

Tretinoin 0.1% gel

Tretinoin 0.1% gel

I’d read up enough about Retin-A to know that it was a really beneficial treatment to put onto my skin and after trying out Indeed Labs Retinol Reface a while ago and not really seeing much difference to my skin, I decided to try something a little stronger.

I found out about Tretinoin which is a derivative of vitamin A and is used on the skin to treat acne, fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and rough skin. The treatment causes the cells of the skin to grow and die more rapidly which is why Tretinoin is well known to cause flaking skin and redness. This speeds up the cell renewing process revealing fresher, less problematic skin underneath.

According to medical reports, improvements in sun-damaged or skin with hyperpigmentation can be seen within the first three to four weeks of treatment with dark spots fading after around six to eight weeks. Wrinkles decrease or disappear after around three to six months. Some people have reported that their acne has seemed to improve within the first few weeks of use.

The treatment comes in either a gel, cream or capsule form. I opted for the gel which comes in the following strengths from weakest to strongest: 0.01%, 0.025%, 0.04%, 0.05% and 0.1%. The gel strength which I have is 0.1% – the highest strength.

My experience

I was so excited to get hold of my Tretinoin and read up carefully about the application process and what to expect. On the first evening of using my Tretinoin, I cleansed my face with my usual routine and waited the recommended 20-30 minutes before applying the treatment. This is done to ensure that the skin is thoroughly dry and help to alleviate irritation of the product.


Here’s day one of starting treatment with very unhappy skin!

Day one: I was advised that a pea-sized amount was enough to cover the whole of my face so I took a small amount and carefully spread it firstly over my problem areas – my chin, jaw line and cheeks. I was careful to avoid contact with my eyes and lips. I’d read that many people experienced either a stinging or burning sensation when applying tretinoin, I only felt a mild warming sensation which wasn’t uncomfortable at all.

Day two: When I woke up the next morning, my skin had already started to peel and looked a little red. After cleansing my face in the morning, I found that my skin felt extremely tight and stung a little. I made sure to moisturise throughout the day.

On the second evening of applying the gel, I felt quite a strong burning sensation which was actually quite unpleasant. I had mixed a moisturiser with the tretinoin and after a few minutes the burning subsided and my face felt normal again.

Day three: The next morning, my skin didn’t appear to be peeling so I applied a little makeup and went out for Sunday lunch. After lunch, I popped to the powder room and was absolutely horrified to find that my skin was literally hanging off my face around my mouth. Even worse that nobody had told me despite sitting next to me at the dinner table for over an hour! The only thing I had to hand was a suncream so I applied this to my face. Big mistake. The suncream was blue. I looked like I had a blue beard. So for the rest of the afternoon, I braved the world with my strange blue beard and just put up with it.

The third evening of applying the cream really stung and I was getting a little worried that the gel was too strong for my face. If this was the case, I would have to start using the gel once every other night rather than every single night. After a few minutes, the burning subsided again.

Day four: This morning I woke up to find my skin looking healthier and was happy to see that my acne looked less inflamed. My skin could almost pass for semi-clear! My skin didn’t feel quite so tight and wasn’t peeling as much as it had on the previous days. Even my mum commented at how fresh my complexion looked. I applied my normal moisturiser throughout the day and didn’t really see any peeling until the evening.

I applied the Tretinoin again in the evening with the moisturiser and was pleased to only feel a mild warming sensation again.

Day five: Today is day five and I have woken up once again with clearer, fresher looking skin. After just five days I have already seen a remarkable improvement in my skin which I didn’t think was even possible. Although my skin does feel a little tight, it feels much better than it has in a long time. With continued use, I have every faith that this little wonder gel will work miracles and give me my skin back!

Day five - much clearer skin with a healthy glow

Day five – much clearer skin with a healthy glow

A few things to note

  • Tretinoin makes the skin more sensitive to UVA and UVB, it’s really important to wear a high SPF each day to protect your skin
  • The treatment will make your skin look a little red and peel – this is completely normal. Don’t give up too soon! As embarrassing as it might be to have peeling skin while you’re out and about, think of the benefits you will reap in the longterm. Your skin WILL get used to this in time and the peeling will subside
  • Tretinoin is not to be used during pregnancy and nursing – the effects of Tretinoin within pregnancy and during nursing is not really known, so the manufacturer advise that it should not be used during these times to exercise caution
  • This is not a quick fix, it’s a longterm commitment. Starting to use Retin-A from a young age will be beneficial to skin and help to keep a youthful complexion with happy, healthy skin
From day one to day five

From day one to day five


© This post is copyright of Rachael Divers 2014.

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