If you follow me on Instagram or Pinterest then you’ll know my makeup addiction is showing no signs of waning anytime soon.

I love nothing more than planing what beautifully-packaged pieces of makeup magic I’m going to purchase on payday and I know I’m not alone.

Having recently installed a beauty station in my spare room, complete with an illuminated Hollywood-style mirror from Ikea, I’ve been practising and perfecting some new makeup looks in my free time. 

My friends are always asking me on a night out how I did my eyes and where did those cheekbones come from, so I thought the next step would be to actually learn how to apply makeup on to someone else’s face so I could practise what I preach!

I found a three-day makeup course online via the Scottish Beauty School’s website, which outlined the course content:

  • Plan and produce specific makeup looks
  • Adapting looks appropriate to face shapes
  • Makeup using various techniques
  • Use of basic corrective makeup
  • Changing the look into bridal and evening makeup
  • Smoky Eye Look and Party Lashes
  • Health and Safety
  • Underpinning knowledge of skin structure

The great thing about this course was that the certificate achieved allowed you to get insurance if you did want to have makeup as a career option, either as a freelancer or working in a salon.

The course was a Christmas gift to myself and part of my new year’s resolutions list to learn a new skill. The majority of attendees on the course, however, paid for the course using an ILA fund or were there because their employer had paid for them to do the course.

The attendees were a mix of students already employed in the beauty industry, either working in a salon, self-employed or mobile beauticians. I felt a bit apprehensive on the first day to say I was there just to develop my skills, but the other girls didn’t seem to mind.

Makeup on the Scottish Beauty School makeup course

Makeup on the Scottish Beauty School makeup course

Over the next three days our lecturer, professional makeup artist Elaine Coburn, demonstrated a series of techniques and looks that we then got a chance to recreate on each other. I was better at some of the tasks than others, but practise makes perfect, right?!

Day one was quite nerve-racking and it was hard to get used to being “back at school”. In a professional setting, courses are quite different to being back at a place of education – you definitely feel the clear student/teacher dynamic in the way you’re spoken to, which isn’t wrong, but it did take me a day to get used to it. We all took notes as she carried out her first demonstration on how to create a blank canvas using foundation and powder, making it look so easy when, of course, it isn’t.

Then it was our turn and that’s when the hard work really started. The lecturer did a walk round of the room as we were all trying to remember how she did this and that, what brushes were used etc, and at times this could be quite off-putting. Being watched by someone inevitably leads you to make mistakes and that was almost always the case on day one! Her knowledge and help was great, though, and if you were going down the wrong route she was able to offer suggestions to get you back on track.

What I did think was tricky on day one was working on other students. While the majority of the class were lovely and easy to talk to, there were some girls that were very specific about what they would allow you to do on them and a few others had problematic skin. Part of me thought it was great, as that’s a likely scenario you would come across in real life, but another part of me wished we had silent models with perfect skin that were a true blank canvas for us to start out on!

The other issue with working on your fellow students is that half of your time in class is spent being a model for someone else. I didn’t mind this at all and was more than happy for my partner to choose any makeup she liked, but I did think that if we all had models then we would’ve had longer to practise and perfect the techniques.

We ended day one with a focus on eye makeup and I felt a bit more in my comfort zone as that’s the one area I’ve applied makeup to on other people before. The lecturer showed us a pretty daytime look that could’ve worked for bridal makeup and then we got to recreate this on one of our classmates. I was quite happy with the look I created, using nudes on the eyes and lips, but my model had excellent skin so it made it slightly easier.

Day two started with the Instagram-famous contouring and how we could avoid looking like a hideous Kardashian gone wrong. I’d only ever contoured my own face, and I use that term very loosely, but I found it surprisingly easy to work with the shading and highlighting makeup provided. Hardest part was the nose, where I felt like I verged on making my model look like she had soot on her face! Again, I had a great model for this look with clearly defined cheekbones so that did help.

The afternoon was back on to eye makeup and this time we were going smoky. My afternoon model wanted black and gold so I tried my best, but probably should’ve gone with what I would’ve done myself and picked out colours that were easier to blend. 

Some of the makeup at this stage proved difficult to work with and I’d say that was a recurring theme on the course. The kit provided beside each bed was full of budget products (I don’t even remember the brand) and while you can scrimp on some things, you can’t do that with all and expect to achieve great results. To be fair to Elaine she brought along a lot of top cosmetic products from her own kit, including Mac, L’Oreal, Revlon, Morphe and Sleek, but having a better standard of kit beside us would’ve helped greatly.

I wasn’t overly-happy with this look and then I had to apply the dreaded party lashes on top! I’d never applied these on myself never mind anyone else, so this was extremely difficult to get the hang of under watchful eyes. I kept dropping the lashes from the tweezers and applying them too far down the model’s lashes, so in the end I had to accept that this was something to try another day! More time on techniques like this would’ve been useful for me, though some of the girls got the hang of this straightaway.

On to the final day, where we started off with a vintage 1940s look, followed by a creative afternoon trying cut creases, glitter and strip lashes. I had a difficult model (she was lovely, but her eyebrows needed some help) for the ’40s look, so I wasn’t enthused by my completed makeup attempt. During this look I also learned that applying red lip liner on another face is way harder than it looks and something I need to practise to avoid making my models look like a clown.

The last look was one of my favourites and I enjoyed using strong purple eyeshadows to create a cut crease on the eyelids. I then ruined it all with application of some hideous glitter and strip lashes that refused to curve to the eyelid. How I wish I’d taken a photo of the eyeshadow sans glitter and lashes!

And that was us done. I sat nervously at the end, waiting to see if I’d passed the course in spite of my disastrous eyelash application attempts, but I’m pleased to say my certificate was there waiting for me.

I found the course a great starting point for anyone thinking of going into makeup professionally, but I’d say more practise and maybe an advanced course would be needed after this one in order to feel totally confident about your work.

If you’ve been on this course I’d love to hear about your experience and what you’ve gone on to do afterwards, we all have to start somewhere!

Scottish fashion blogger. Always having a blonde moment.

I’ve managed to escape being tagged in those Facebook posts currently clogging up newsfeeds; you know the ones – ‘thanks for the nominations, here’s 7 random facts about me’.

Some people are completely missing the point of course, with random facts turning into obvious lists of things we already know because YOU POST ABOUT IT ON FACEBOOK ALL THE TIME. The best ones usually go something like… 1. I love my family 2. My dog too he is amaaaazing 3. I have the best boyfriend in the world ever… yawn.

But some of them are actually worth a like and I’ve laughed to myself while reading things I never knew about my best friends or Facebook acquaintances.

So here’s my ‘7 Random Beauty Facts’, in no particular order…

1. I have an irrational fear of eyelash curlers.

Straight up, the contraptions terrify me. I have tried to put them near my lashes but always end up convinced that I’m going to accidentally pull them out and have bald eyelids. Forever.

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2. I don’t know what my natural hair colour is

I’ve dyed my hair since I was 14 and that is genuinely the last time I can safely say I saw my natural hair colour. I think it was a chestnutty brown shade, but since I’ve spent over half my life with dyed locks it’s very difficult to recall.

I started off on Wella Colour Mousse, dying every towel in the house a lovely shade of red, before discovering bleach and deciding that I was going to be blonde like my childhood idol Madonna after all.

 

3. I’m a blonderexic

My mane’s definitely been through the colour wars with me and my obsession with being blonder than blonde. I do believe it’s a diagnosable illness, when your hair’s whiter than snow and somehow all you can see is yellow brass.

It all came to a head the time I decided my hair wasn’t blonde enough and bought some peroxide and bleach toner for a few home improvement sessions… that ended with the left side of my hair deciding to fall off before I abused it anymore. It took about five years to bounce back. Painful.

These days the fear of having short, frizzy hair is enough to steer me away from any extra lightening activities but for moments of weakness I have silver shampoo and fake tan on standby, always guaranteed to make me feel extra blonde!

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4. Uneven eyeliner = bad day

It’s the one thing I can rely on in the morning, the barometer of how my day is going to turn out. If it’s fifties pin-up perfection then I know it’s been worth getting outta bed. If it looks like I’ve drawn it in my sleep, I should probably just jump back under the duvet and forget it. True story.

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5. I don’t straighten my hair (anymore)

This is the one that most people can’t believe but it was a self-imposed ban that has helped my hair get back to straight health after the incidents outlined in fact 3. My hair was never in need of being ironed daily to start with. But, like many girls in 2002, I was sold the GHD dream of poker straight shiny locks and developed a completely unnecessary ten year habit.

The problem with straightening your hair every day is that your hair actually becomes addicted to the heat, only sitting properly when you’ve run those ceramic plates through every last strand. It develops a frizz that is only tamed by heat pressing down the split ends, caused by the straighteners in the first place.

Unless your hair is naturally wavy, curly or coarse, steer clear of these things. It took me two years of only ever straightening my hair at the weekend or on special occasions to finally break free.

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6. I have a love affair with Double Wear

The best-selling Estee Lauder Double Wear foundation has been a staple in my makeup bag since I was 19. As a student this wasn’t a cheap purchase but it was worth parting with the student loan. Once I realised I could get flawless skin and it lasted 6 months compared to 6 weeks of the cheaper foundations I was using, I was sold. For life, it would seem.

These days I tend to wear Fresco when my skin is paler and Sand Beige when I’m tanned, but the formula has always remained one that works with my skin no matter the shade. I would actually be heartbroken if this was ever discontinued! The rest of the Double Wear range is pretty good too, the concealer and eyeliner are now also staples in my beauty bag.

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7. It took me 28 years to wear red lipstick

Properly anyway. I had tried it on many occasions, but when I looked at myself in the mirrorI felt like a wee girl who had played with her mum’s makeup bag. Not some blonde bombshell with sex appeal, as was promised by many a red lipstick advert.

It may have been bad hair, overly-smoky eyes or just the wrong shade, but for years I smeared the red lippie off my face just about as fast as I had put it on. That all changed when I tried Topshop’s Rio Rio (don’t think I’ve mentioned that shade before??) and at last I had found my fit.

These days I own a multitude of red lipsticks but that was the first one I had the courage to wear all night and actually felt amazing when people not only compliment but asked what I was wearing. Result!

They say there’s a red lipstick for everyone and now I really do believe it.

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Scottish fashion blogger. Always having a blonde moment.

I make no secret about the fact that I LOVE a good lippie. Usually red, almost always Topshop’s amazing Rio Rio.

But why should an item of makeup have its very own day?

Yeah yeah, I know, there are national days of celebration for everything from bikinis to doughnuts (though not the same day, that would just be cruel!).

Yet this is one day I’ll be celebrating with relative enthusiasm. And obviously treating myself to a new shade in honour of this.

Here’s just a few reasons/justifications why lippie should be celebrated today…

1 – Anyone who’s anyone has had a lipstick shade created for/by them. Kate Moss for Rimmel, Rihanna for MAC – even The Queen had her own shade created for her 1952 coronation. The Balmoral Lipstick was named after her country home and matched the colour of her coronation robes. Oh to be queen for the day…

2 – It boosts morale. Fact. Apparently there was a movement to ration it during wartime, but it was thought to keep the spirits up so that idea was hastily quashed. In times of sadness, chaos and modern women warfare (ie man troubles) a slick of red lipstick is guaranteed to make you look wonderful on the outside, even if it’s a different story on the inside.

3 – Lipstick doesn’t descriminate: there really is a shade for everyone.Unlike cut-out dresses, mini skirts, crop tops, any shade of brown and denim hot pants, there will be at least one colour that helps enhance your best features and complement your skin tone.If you haven’t found the one yet, have faith – I guarantee your lipstick soulmate is much easier to find than the male version. And will probably stick around longer too.

4 – Lipstick is always fun. Even on items of clothing!

As if you need any more excuses to treat yourself to a new shade… swoon over these shades ladies

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Scottish fashion blogger. Always having a blonde moment.

I have a slight addiction to the Topshop makeup range that means I can’t shop online or instore without picking up a little something from the now extensive range.

More often than not it’s a new nail varnish shade but, inspired by some cosmetic looks I’d seen at London Fashion Week, I decided to try the new gloss ink range.

I fancied a change from my usual bright red satin matte lipstick (Topshop Rio Rio) and classic pink creme (Estee Lauder Crystal Baby) so I decided to look for a deep berry shade.

I’ve always found berry shades tricky. Too light and you’re verging on frosted ’80s heather that instantly yellowfies teeth. Too dark and you’ve crossed over to the dark side with almost black lips that scare boys. Where is that berry inbetweener?

So after what seemed like a million swatch tests, I decided on the new Gloss Ink in Cruel, a deep berry shade with a hint of pink.

Topshop Gloss Ink in Cruel

I’m a sucker for names so that was a factor – I imagined that Sarah Michelle Gellar would sport something similar in her Cruel Intentions days (15 years ago!!), most probably while she was hatching some elaborate plot to wreak havoc amongst her friends.

Sarah Michelle Gellar in Cruel Intentions

Other inspiration on colour choice comes from more ’90s screen icons, all with a dark side:

 

Nancy (Fairuza Balk) in The Craft

Brenda (Shannen Doherty) in Beverly Hills 90210

Abby (Monica Keena) in Dawson’s Creek

Rayanne (AJ Langer) in My So Called Life

The best thing about the gloss ink is that it goes on as high shine gloss colour and fades into a long-lasting stain. When I say long-lasting I mean hours – my first application lasted through two cups of tea and a bottle of water. By lunchtime I was amazed that I still had any colour on my lips never mind one with impact. 
 
It also manages to be non-drying on your lips, which is quite an achievement given how long it stays put. For £8, this is truly value for money in a chic black matte tube.
 
Definitely a new makeup bag staple and I’ll be stocking up on more colours for spring.
 

 

Scottish fashion blogger. Always having a blonde moment.

 

It’s hard to believe that Michelle Williams started her acting career in ’90s teen drama Dawson’s Creek, especially when you look at the latest shots of her in Louis Vuitton’s new campaign.

The Creek kids never had the edge when it came to style, opting for a uniform of checked shirts and stonewash jeans as they played out a series of melodramas in the backwaters of America.

But Michelle’s character Jen Lindley at least promised some fashion moments, with too-tight sweaters and flirty babydoll dresses we can only assume she’d managed to smuggle in her suitcase from her time living in New York.

The luxury label has latched onto the blonde bombshell’s early on-screen grunge roots for the autumn/winter 2013 shots, with Michelle’s first major fashion campaign featuring a strong ’90s vibe.

With the minimal styling and striking makeup, Michelle’s more reminiscent of early ’90s Madonna than ’50s starlet Marilyn Monroe, whom she recently morphed into for her lead role in My Week With Marilyn.

The overly-monogrammed Louis Vuitton collections certainly need an injection of cool after becoming synonymous with WAG meets Essex style. Judging by these shots, Michelle might just be the girl to do it.

Scottish fashion blogger. Always having a blonde moment.

Rainbow Room International lived up to its reputation as Scotland’s premiere hair salon with some star styling at this year’s T in the Park festival.

There was only one hairstyle worth talking about at the weekend and that was blonde bombshell Rita Ora’s new blue dip dye do.

The Rainbow Room team were responsible for creating Rita’s daring new hair colour, which certainly helped ensure she was a standout on the stage at this year’s event.

Rita Ora with the Rainbow Room International team at T in the Park
When I used to work closer to the city centre, and had more time and money to visit regularly, I would often go into the Rainbow Room salon on Buchanan Street. The lovely Siobhan worked tirelessly to achieve the platinum blonde colour I loved while making sure my hair was on the road to recovery after several years of bleach abuse. So I’m sure Rita’s hair was in very safe hands at T in the Park!
If you fancy emulating Ms Ora’s blue dip dye locks, try the suggestions below:

Scottish fashion blogger. Always having a blonde moment.

Since everyone keeps asking me what I’ve done to my eyebrows (in a good way, hopefully) I thought I may as well share.

While everyone else was watching Roger Federer get knocked out of Wimbledon last week, I was sauntering round Topshop on Oxford Street. A, because it was the only place I could find in central London with air conditioning and a toilet and B, because it’s always rude not to visit Topshop when in the capital.

But as I tried on a variety of skater skirts and neon vests (90s moment), I caught a glimpse of my unruly caterpillar brows and decided being away from home was not an excuse to be overgrown.

So I headed down to the Blink Brow Bar, which is handily located in the basement of Topshop’s flagship store. As I stared at the price list wondering where the simple eyebrow wax option was, a Blink therapist informed me she’d had a DNA (did not attend) and if I was after a trim she could fit me in.

Music to my ears so I hopped on to the reclining chair and got ready to be waxed.

Only I missed the key point: Blink is an eyebrow threading bar.

“Threading allows control when shaping brows to ensure perfectly sculpted eyebrows. A cotton thread is used to glide across the skin, removing excess hair while it does so. Not only that but the thread grabs and ships out every single hair by its root leaving a cleaner finish with longer lasting results. The results are wonderfully neat and perfectly symmetrical eyebrows which can take years off your face.”

Blink Brow Bar

Now I’m a rounded eyebrow kind of girl who, since 1999, has classed Liz Hurley as the uber-eyebrow icon of our times. The kind of shape you only get with a good, clean wax that I weirdly enjoy.So threading’s never been on my radar, despite all the hype over the queen of the angled brow, Cara Delevingne.

But I felt so relaxed and comfortable in the chair that I was ready to embrace threading, whatever the result!

The entire process, which lasted about 20 mins, was surprisingly calming and almost pain free. In fact, I’d go as far as to say it was pain free as the sensation of threading didn’t cause me to flinch at all. I’d imagined it to be more like plucking (ouch!) than waxing but it resembled neither. You do feel something happening as the therapist works on your brows with the thread, but it doesn’t even pull the skin.

I also have some strange eyebrow hairs that insist on sticking out from the browline, which usually has to be tamed with some vaseline. But however my brows were trimmed at Blink seems to have sorted this out, result.

New eyebrow shape courtesy of Blink Brow Bar

I was slightly nervous when she handed me a mirror to check the results but I was pleasantly surprised at how the new shape suited me. The definition makes my eyebrows appear longer, even though I’m pretty sure she shaved more hairs off the middle of the brows than I usually get with a wax.

Once I gave the nod that I was happy with my new, angled brows, the therapist massaged some calming lotion over them and I think I’d actually pay someone to do this at the end of every hot summer day – bliss!

I’m pleased to report that 14 days later I’ve not had to pluck a single hair and the shape has kept well. My only dilemma now is where to continue with the threading, since Blink don’t have any brow bars in Glasgow. They seem to be located in larger department stores, predominately in London but with some presence in Manchester, Newcastle and other English cities – so why not in Scotland?

Blink Loyalty Card

I will use the Blink Loyalty Card I received next time I’m in London though, as you get a free brow shape for every five purchased. At £17, the basic brow shape’s not cheap but it does last. And I’d be tempted to try out one of the other treatments offered by Blink, which extends beyond eyebrows to eyelashes, nails and massages (in some salons only).

PRICE: 3/5
SURROUNDINGS: 5/5 
RESULT: 5/5
OVERALL: 4/5

For a full treatment list and to book an appointment visit www.blinkbrowbar.com

Scottish fashion blogger. Always having a blonde moment.