Makeup Skills: Choosing the Right Foundation Colour For Your Skin!

One question keeps coming up over and over on forums, Youtube videos, on Quora and Reddit, and that’s ‘how do I choose the right colour of foundation?’ To help answer that (it’s a bigger question than it looks), I put this video together looking at basic and more advanced areas of this all-important skill. It’s not exhaustive and of course some makeup brands are notorious for not having shades that suit anyone who isn’t orange, but I thought it might be a helpful starting point for those people who are baffled by undertones, shades, whether to get a powder or a liquid, what a mineral foundation is, how to apply it etc, and how to tell if the foundation’s wrong for your face.

If you’re still not sure, it might be worth getting matched at a (good) makeup counter.

What I haven’t covered: Blending into the neck, BB creams, tinted moisturizers and setting powders. These sort of fall into place though once you know how to choose the right foundation shade.

One thing to add, is that in the debate over whether to go for the opposite undertone to your skin or one that matches your skin, I match my skin. I also use different shades of foundation for everyday makeup depending on the time of year.

I hope this helps someone, and any questions let me know in the comments here or on Youtube.

Monday Motivation: Blogilates

Cassey Ho, from Blogilates: "Train Insane or Remain The Same."
Cassey Ho, from Blogilates: “Train Insane or Remain The Same.”

Trying to get back into good habits and I find myself coming back to Cassey Ho’s Youtube Channel Blogilates! She’s just phenomenal at fitness and really energetic and motivating which is what I need on this gloomy, overcast April day, when two of my bunnies are critically ill.  Check Cassey out if you love to exercise in your living room! Today I did this fun leg workout video:

What’s motivating you today?

Wednesday Addams: Full Cosplay Tutorial

So I had a long black wig and Morticia was too easy for the first use of the black wig (plus I need something resembling an evening dress before I can do Morticia), so I decided to do a hair, make-up and costume tutorial for a Wednesday Addams cosplay which I uploaded to Youtube.

Here’s the pictures:

wednesday4
Wednesday Addams cosplay.
Wednesday Addams cosplay tutorial
Wednesday Addams cosplay.
Wednesday Addams cosplay tutorial.
Wednesday Addams cosplay.

And here’s the link to the Youtube video with the full Wednesday Addams tutorial. Enjoy.

Click here to find out how to get picture perfect skin for cosplaying.

Three Classic Lara Croft: Tomb Raider Hairstyles

Today’s video is a hair tutorial showing how to do three classic Lara Croft hairstyles from the video game and film franchise Tomb Raider.
In this video, I show you how I did the original video game bobble braid, how I did the pigtail bobble braids from the first level of Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation (and those Irish levels from Tomb Raider: Chronicles) and how I did the Angelina Jolie French Braid (with my short hair…) from the first film.  Which one’s your favourite?  I love the French braid in the middle best, and I think the pigtails didn’t suit my angular features at all!

Lara Croft Tomb Raider cosplay fancy dress tutorial hair
The title card from today’s Lara Croft hair tutorial video.

Also after a lot of thought about my longer-term Youtube plan I have decided to drop back to one video a week rather than two, now that my backlog of finished videos have all made it onto Youtube. I had a period of time at the start of the year when I was very active at making videos and I wanted them to all get onto Youtube sooner, so I’ve been updating twice a week since the New Year, but now I’m back to my usual update schedule of one video a week.
I had so much fun doing this video and when I recorded the shower scene at the end I just couldn’t stop giggling, I had to re-take it about 12 times with the shower door open and my tripod half in the bath and my bathroom floor got soaked!! It was one of those “THIS is why I make Youtube videos” moments.

You can watch the latest video here

I’ve also changed my update day to Thursday because I think it’s going to work better with the rest of my schedule.
I’ve also stopped embedding my videos onto WordPress because I want to keep track of how many views they’re getting and I can’t tell if anyone’s clicking the play button or not on here; if no-one’s actually watching my videos when I link them on WordPress, there’s probably a better thing I could use a full day’s post for. It’s still one click to get it to play, and it’s still going to take pretty much the same time to load, it’s just now it takes you to Youtube when you click the link so you can do Youtubey things.

When I see other people link their videos in WordPress I always prefer to go to Youtube to watch the video so I can like the video over there and comment on it. Let me know if you preferred it when the videos were embedded in WordPress or whether you like the new system better!

I know I haven’t written a beauty post in a little while but don’t worry, I’ve got some doozys* coming up in the near future that I’m so excited to share with you!!

* What’s the plural here?  Is it doozies or doozys?  They both look wrong.

Cute baby bunny Timmy plays with ball.

My latest Youtube video is here and I also need some photography advice.

Petit bébé lapin “Timmy” joue avec le ballon.

Piccolo coniglietto “Timmy” gioca con la palla.

Whichever language you speak, it’s freaking adorable (also I feel so proud I translated the title and description into French and Italian for Youtube)!  Enjoy cute bunny video (sorry about the wobble):

By the way (and this is why I tagged photography, sorry if that’s going to annoy people I promise I don’t usually do this), does anyone have any tips for photographing fast moving objects that startle if you move too close??  Any tips at all even if they seem obvious?  I find it hard to get my focus etc sorted before the rabbit moves again and he’s so movable!  And when he moves, the light levels change from where he was to where he is, and then I need to change all the settings on my camera by which time he’s moved again!  What do other people do?

Princess Leia Tutorial: Hair, Make-Up and costume from Episode IV: A New Hope.

Princess Leia Tutorial: Hair, Make-Up and costume from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.
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Princess Leia tutorial end result.
Princess Leia tutorial from Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope end result. I promise I’m wearing the floor length skirt in this picture!!
Princess Leia from Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope. I was very tired after such a long tutorial so thought I'd rest my head!
Princess Leia from Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope. I was very tired after such a long tutorial so thought I’d rest my head!
A close up of Princess Leia's face and hair from the Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope tutorial video.
A close up of Princess Leia’s face and hair (mmm… cinnabons) from the Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope tutorial video.

So this is what I spent all day doing yesterday.
Total cost: £12.
2x hair extension ponytails from China £1.56 each (ish).
1x white polo neck top in size UK16 (USA 12), £3.50 (ish).
1x long white skirt in size “one size fits all” (tschah), £4.50 (ish).

If I did it again I’d buy a better skirt because this one had gaps that were too wide and there is no WAY that it would fit anyone bigger than a 10 (US6). Additionally, they listed it as white and it’s *blatantly* cream so it clashes a bit with the top. These things don’t show up in the photos (because the skirt doesn’t really show up in the photos. I am wearing it in every picture and throughout the video, and it’s floor length).

I am actually thinking of buying a better skirt, but I already bought that one, and it’s not worth paying the return postage because it’s going to be nearly as much as the skirt was.

I would also get a top in a size 18 instead of a 16 because the advice on buying baggy clothing was lacking and I was worried I’d be lost in the longer sleeves which was redundant thinking.

Oh well, I am still very proud of this cracking tutorial, so here’s the video of how I did it:

Link here for those like me who prefer to watch on Youtube (I hate it when I can’t click the “like” button on an embedded video): https://youtu.be/oj3dAp5uWaw

I’ve made some comedy videos of Princess Leia (because a 7 hour tutorial ought to be used for something longer than just the tutorial) doing random stuff, they will be on Youtube pretty soon.
I’ll link them when they’re up.

SCIENCE! Video issues and stupid internet connection.

Bleurgh I’m feeling under the weather. I’ve waited all day for painkillers to kick in. Obviously they didn’t.
I’m editing my next book ready to send to the publishers (so they can probably send it back with more edits but y’know, I respect the process), I’m trying to keep my Youtube channel alive and get my Science channel up and running, and my camera battery is refusing to play ball (because it’s a cuboid. They don’t roll so good), I’ve got the school run in a minute and OMFG I just want to crawl into bed and whimper quietly to myself.

The worst problem?  My upload speed is 0.2Mbps (Thanks Internet Company) and so it has taken 6 hours for it to upload a video which, when it uploaded, was so shockingly bad quality that I had to delete it straight away because it was supposed to be high definition.  I started again about 2 hours ago, it’s uploaded less than 30 seconds of video so far and it reckons over 5 hours remaining (and this is a 5 minute video, which should take less than 30 mins to upload by my usual weekly upload experience).  So I don’t have a video for science friday yet and probably won’t have one before it’s “Internet Connection Reset: Couldn’t upload to Youtube, please try again” Saturday.  That has happened before and it’s all just infuriating.

Here’s a screenshot:

...And then the internet took several minutes to upload this tiny picture. FML.
…And then the internet took several minutes to upload this tiny picture. FML.

That probably means this post won’t go up very soon either.

Between nothing loading on my internet and my shitty day in general I’m afraid I haven’t been able to catch up on anyone else’s blogs either. 😦  Imma go crawl in a hole nao.

Beautiful Saturday: To straighten or not to straighten?

I got my first pair of straighteners (called flatirons in the US) back in 2003.  I was 16, and they’d been out for about a year.  I had the Babyliss 4×4 straighteners, that came with 4 different interchangable metal plates – ceramic coating was a couple of years away – and the options were: standard crimpers, wide crimpers, “loose wave” (which was utterly useless) and the flat plate to make hair straight.

The straight plate took about 5-10 minutes to heat up.  The temperature it reached was probably fairly low.  Because the plates were made of aluminium metal, they did not glide through the hair.  You had to use them like crimpers, where you spray the hair with loads of hairspray, then close the plates around a piece of hair, held it still for a count of 10-20 (depending how long you wanted it to last vs how much time you could spend on this), then opened it and moved down, closed the plates around the next part of the piece of hair, held it still again for a count of 10-20, then did it again, all the way down each piece of hair.  Then you could do the next section.  It would generally take about an hour to do a full straighten and even then it didn’t make the hair sit properly flat unless you used excessive amounts of hairspray, which defeated the point.

A straighten done like this would basically have the same effect as when you blow-dried your hair straight, where the heat of the hairdryer would fix the hair straight when combined with the pull of the round brush.  It would take longer, because you had to dry your hair first, and generally was a bit of a waste of time.

The BaByLiss 4X4 crimpers in all their glory.  Source: www.toutvendre.fr
The BaByLiss 4X4 crimpers in all their glory. Source: http://www.toutvendre.fr

Fast forward two years, when in 2005 the ceramic straighteners exploded onto the UK mass consumer market.  GHDs had been out for around a year but nobody could really afford them.  Suddenly, glossy, long-lasting, straight hair could be anyone’s.  But there was a drawback.  They got too hot.  There was a problem in 2006 because particular high-end branded straighteners were causing house fires and property damage, because people were leaving them plugged in and they didn’t have an upper limit on how hot they would get.  The best case scenario was that they would melt and you’d need to buy a new set.  The worst case scenario was that they’d cause a house fire.  Whilst researching this article I discovered this is still happening.

To try and improve safety, manufacturers of most straighteners fitted thermostats and many also gave consumers the option to set the temperature – my 2007 model wet 2 straight straighteners had a range of 160 to 230 degrees celsius and would stay there.  The problem was, the lower temperatures produced a less lasting straighten, while the higher temperatures, as I’m sure everybody knows now, damaged the hair.

Enter heat protection spray.  Nobody really knows how it works (I spent serious time on Google recently trying to find out), although manufacturing blurb likes to point to “proteins” “keratin” “amino acids” and other ingredients as the thing that prevents hair damage.  I couldn’t find any research that showed how much these sprays actually protect the hair (as opposed to a placebo effect) and beauty bloggers seem to only know what they’ve been told by the companies that make them, which is the same as what the manufacturers say on their adverts.  It’s all a bit circular, like so many things in beautyworld.  The thing that’s most worrying, though, is that people think they can use the same high temperatures on their hair and not damage it.  It still weakens the hair to straighten it, no matter what you do.  If your hair is stronger to start with, you can probably get away with doing it every day and only suffering slightly more wear and tear than if you didn’t straighten.  For you, it’s probably a pretty good payoff.  If, however, you have the sort of hair that I have (frizzy, stands on end when cut short, prone to breakage under light stress, prone to dryness), you have a choice to make:  You can either bleach your hair white or straighten it regularly, but not both.  I chose to have white hair, that I sometimes tone silver or platinum.  Because of this, and because my hair has grown past shoulder length, I cannot straighten my hair every day.  If you have thicker hair to start with, you may get away with straightening regularly, I’m not sure.  I blow dry my hair when I wash it, and wash it two to three times per week (I know I should only wash it once a week, but I still struggle with this).  I find that my natural shape and frizz of hair actually doesn’t look too bad when it’s very blonde, it looks fluffy and softening rather than frizzy and harsh, which is what it looks like when I have my natural very dark hair.

All through school I used to get bullied for the unruly hair that I was born with.  Growing up in a 100% white British area, having 1/4 Afro-Caribbean genes makes big hair something the other kids would seize on and be very nasty about.  They weren’t exposed to other cultures enough to understand that hair was just like that for some people.  They thought I didn’t brush it, or that I had “cheap shampoo” because the shampoo and conditioner adverts told them that good shampoo = sleek straight glossy locks.  When I had dark hair, even last year, I was still getting told by people that I need to use X conditioner to fix my hair (when I’m blonde, they blame it on the bleach).  When you get treated like this by enough people, you start to believe them, especially when there’s no-one else around with hair like yours (I’ve never knowingly met the man responsible for my frizzy genes, and as a child, I didn’t really remember what people’s hair looked like when we lived until I was 5 in the Jamaican community in South East London).  When ceramic straighteners came out they were top of my Christmas list and I would use them daily (or put my hair in a bun), and have done for years until I discovered chemical relaxants aka chemical straightenings.  I went for those for a while but didn’t like how much more frizzy my hair was when they wore off, or how much more breakage there was, so I stopped everything when I grew my hair for my wedding.  As a result, I was very worried about bleaching my hair because of not being able to straighten it, but I have had icy white hair, generally toned silver, for about 8 months now, and I’ve never really looked in the mirror and said to myself, my hair needs straightening.  So through bleaching my hair, I’ve learned to accept it’s natural frizzlike tendencies, which is great.

I did straighten my hair last week, for a Youtube video because I was playing a character, and it had been so long since I last had straight hair that I didn’t recognise myself when I did it.  It felt weird, like some of my width was missing, like the very first time I straightened my hair.  I could definitely get used to having straight hair, but the time; effort; money on hair products such as primer and protein sprays; and the misery of having dark hair (which actually makes me depressed, I wish I was being hyperbolic) all outweigh the benefit of having straight hair.  Most of the time these days.  I’d rather have unruly sproingy white hair than sleek straight dark hair.  It fits my personality better.  Now my styling priority goes: 1st choice: Naturally springy hair.  2nd choice: Curled with my curling tongs (for special occasions).  3rd choice: Straight.

Are you pro-straightener?  Do you prefer straight hair, curled hair, or au naturel?

[beauty] Neutrals Full Face Tutorial Video

Hey guys so I thought I would mix it up a bit today by putting my latest Youtube video as a blog update as well!  I know Makeup Geek do this quite a lot and thought I’d have a little experiment.

The video assumes you’ve started by putting on your normal daily face cream, and that you are ready to start putting make-up on.  On reflection, I should probably have started with an introduction as I know a lot of YouTubers spend a few minutes at the start introducing what they’re doing, and I just jumped right into it, but I was excited to get on with the make up!  This look is for everyday wear and is intended to be understated and subtle.

Let me know what you think of my video either by commenting on this article or on the video on YouTube, and don’t forget to subscribe to my channel if you want to see more delightful randomness, I do videos on allsorts!