Saturday, 27 October 2012

The Price of Makeup

If you follow me on twitter (@LadyMandyisms), you'll know that from time to time I'll complain about the prices of makeup here in Barbados.

I understand that because we are importing everything, the price will be higher. But companies here tend to all be guilty of "price gouging", that is, adding a ridiculous mark-up to their merchadise to try to make profits, and it works, because most of us will simply buy what's available. Many people don't have the option to order online, and even when we do, the duties charged once the item gets here, in addition to high shipping costs for individual packages, as opposed to the shipping costs and duties on bulk shipments, makes for just as high a price. Generally buying in bulk not only reduces the cost of the items, but the shipping is of course lower per item.

People will say that the exchange rate must be taken into consideration. I say that's true, it's roughly $2 bds to $1 US. However, my argument is this: If I walk into a drugstore here with $50, I could buy 2 Wet 'n' Wild palettes and have barely enough left for one nailpolish. Someone in the States walks into a drugstore with $25 and can buy roughly 5 of the same Wet 'n' Wild Palettes.

I took some photos today in a drugstore called iMart so that you guys can see I'm not exaggerating. These are all Drugstore brands (Wet 'n' Wild, Milani, Covergirl, L'Oreal). I apologize for the crappy photos, I took them with my crappy phone! I've noted the price when the photos are a little fuzzy.






And of course, these extreme prices extend to higher end makeup. Brands like Makeup Forever, Inglot Illamasqua etc, are not available here at all. very limited options from brands like Chanel, Clinique and Estee Lauder are available here. We do have a MAC store, where Studio Fix Foundation is upwards of $90BDS.

My dream is to open a makeup store that sells these products much closer to their original price, but for that I need to jump through a ton of legal loopholes. I'm still investigating all my options.

Something needs to change!

Monday, 1 October 2012

Changing Face

Alyson challenged me to change the ethnicity of these two beautiful girls, which is something I've always been fascinated by. Shannon and Adri were fantastic, they were such good sports about it because this took a long time (about an hour and a half each). You'll recognize both Adri and Shannon from other shots in my Portfolio. They are two of my favourite models to work with, and you'll be seeing them in future videos, too!

Alyson's idea was to create these beautiful dark women and then show them wiping away their makeup. It was meant to be a commentary on how we perceive beauty and the strain on women to be other than they are in order to be beautiful.

We started with Adri. She has bright blue-green eyes naturally, and we decided to make her look East Indian. Because I don't own an airbrush, I used liquid foundation and built up layer after layer to create the right depth of tone for the skin. I tried to keep it "artistic" looking, and Aly took photos of the process as a part of the project.

The second photo is about three layers of foundation. Once her foundation was complete, I could go ahead and contour her face. Below is the finished product.

We purposely left areas undone, like Adri's chest and shoulders, and made the edges messy. That's what Aly was going for.

Then it was Shannon's turn. Where Adri's natural skin tone is milky and rosy (I am absolutely in LOVE with Adri's skin and rarely cover it up with foundation when I do her makeup), Shannon is more of a pale Olive tone with brown eyes, and she has stronger facial architecture, and so we decided to take her much darker than Adri. Below is a shot of her with just one layer of foundation.

And Shannon's finished face.

Below is a group shot of the two girls. Adri' eyes are done, but her skin was two layers of foundation away from being finished, and Shannon still only had one layer of foundation on.

 And here they are, both finished (below). Note Adri's finished tone is more of a golden-toned brown, where Shannon's is much more dusky, with an almost blue undertone.

This final shot was Aly's original idea: to portray the anguish we can feel when we are trying to fit ourselves into some ideal of beauty and fail.

For the darkening of the skin on both girls I used various dark tones of Black Opal Liquid Foundation and Loose Powder. I stippled the foundation on with torn wedge sponges and buffed the powder in gradually with a small brush every few layers (it was a lot of liquid to set!). For the eyes and eyebrows I used my Coastal Scents 88 Colour Palette.

We did repeat this concept with two Black girls, and I'll post the results of that one shortly. I must confess, making Black girls white was infinitely more difficult that making White girls black, and the latter was no easy feat!

It's important also to say that Aly and I were commenting on the racial struggles we have, as well as the beauty struggles. We were in no way, however, saying that one race is "better" or "worse" than the other. But skin colour is one of the most immediate ways to show the contrast and conflict. White girl's tan themselves into an early grave and Black girls bleach themselves grey every day. It is something Aly and I are very passionate about. We want to raise awareness and make people pay attention in our own small way. Art is meant to hold a mirror up to society. These photos were exhibited in Aly's most recent show, and they did create quite a bit of buzz. They made people very uncomfortable, which we are extremely happy about. When people are uncomfortable they tend to sit up and pay attention, and are much more likely to act!

Stay tuned for more very soon!!

Monday, 27 August 2012

Couture Hats/Beauty Shoot

FINALLY!!! I have been waiting for nearly two months to be able to share these photos with you!

These shots are for a couture hat designer named Denise Dennis. She makes these beautiful hats by hand! If you want her info just leave me a comment on this post. Likewise if you want the info of any of the models.

My best friend and photographer extraordinaire Alyson Holder of 3rd Eye Photography took the photos. She and I worked on the concept. We wanted the makeup to be sultry and chic without being over-the-top, so as not to distract from the hats themselves. We knew the shots were going to be tight-frame beauty shots, and so the skin would have to be perfect and the makeup precise and clean, with good contour because the background would be white. We tried black backgrounds but the glow and the subtle colours were lost.

The first model up is Jade West. She's a gorgeous girl of mixed ethnicity. I love that she experiments with her hair...for this shoot she all but shaved it off and bleached it almost white. I used a thin layer of a creamy beige foundation all over her face because although the quality of her skin is lovely, she was a little hormonally blotchy that day.

Jade is well named, because she has beautiful jade-green eyes, and I wanted to make them stand out, but subtly, if that makes any sense. I used a medium purplish-taupe colour on her lid, a deep plum eyeliner on her upper lashline (actually it was a lip liner - LOL!) and a deep royal blue liner on her lower lashline. I kept her brows soft and warm, since her skin is quite pale with a slight olive undertone. She has beautiful bone structure but because the backdrop was white, I defined her cheekbones, jaw and collar bones a little more strongly with a tawny matte bronzer than I would have normally, since a white background can wash out pale skin.

For her cheeks I used a very subtle peachy colour, rather than a pink, just to avoid any monotony in the tones, and highlighted her cheekbones with a shimmery pink.

Jade has a very full, pouty, sexy mouth, and so I used a pale, plumy-pink lipstick and a little gloss to keep it sexy without it becoming the focal point of her face.

We shot her wearing two different hats. Denise designed the hats so that their placement on the head can be changed for a different effect, as shown in the picture below. It's the same hat as the first photo of Jade. Which is your favourite?

Funny enough, Jade wears colour so beautifully, but never uses colour on herself! She generally sticks to neutral colours or black. The most she'll do is wear red lipstick. Keep an eye out for Jade in future videos. She just may be a new muse for me, because I think she's just stunning. She's super sweet, too.

The next Model up is Lara Rogers. Another stunning young woman, Lara has flawless skin, a lovely heart-shaped face, and wide-set doe eyes. The look done on her was originally planned for Shannon, but once I saw Lara in person I changed my mind. She had the perfect face for this look.

I love this hat. It's almost bridal, but still so couture. Lara wore this makeup beautifully. She has amazing porcelain skin, and I just used a bisque foundation in certain areas. She needed very little foundation, and she only needed concealer under her eyes. I didn't powder her skin because I wanted to preserve her natural glow. I used medium and dark taupe colours all along the lid and into the brow bone, a lighter lavender-taupe as a brow highlight, and dark browns and black along the lid and lash lines. It was quite heavy, but the white background, again, muted the colours somewhat. For a little bit of an edgy an romantic twist I swept the medium taupe and brown out from her lid onto her temple, which you can see in the above photo. Lara wears Novalash Eyelash  extensions, and so didn't need any false lashes for this although I had originally planned the look with falsies. I lined her upper and lower waterlines with black gel liner.

This hat is a different one, but along the same lines as the first. I kept Lara's cheeks soft, and very lightly defined her cheekbones with a light matte bronzer and pale pink blush, and used a very mildly shimmery white highlight along the top of her cheekbones, the center or her forehead, down her nose and on her cupid's bow. I really wanted her to glow naturally. This makeup would be lovely on a bride, and can be softened or toned down as needed. It would be beautiful with a nude lip, as well. In fact, my makeup for my own wedding was very similar to this, with a nude lip.

As you can see, the darkness around the lash lines and the purple undertones in the taupe eyeshadow made the green in Lara's eyes stand out beautifully. (They're actually blue with a green center.) For her lips, which are naturally a gorgeous, perfectly symmetrical shape, I defined and filled them in completely with a dark red liner, then redefined them again and filled the corners with a dark purple liner. Over that I used a true red lipstick, applying it with a brush, had her blot, and reapplied it again. The result was this dense, rich lip that played off her pale skin beautifully.

Every makeup artist has those few looks that she is supremely proud of, and though this is relatively simple, it's one of mine. The finished product just took my breath away.

Last, but not least, we have Shannon Harris. As I said before, I had originally planned Lara's look for Shannon but changed my mind (although it would have been amazing on her), and so on the day, I decided to have fun with Shannon's amazing bone structure.

I've done Shannon's makeup several times, and many different ways, and she is truly a chameleon. She looks incredible in every look I have tried on her, from natural, to 80s supermodel, to ethereal fairy. There are a few shots of her on my portfolio tab if you want to go see. I absolutely LOVE making her up. She's one of those models that get Makeup Artists excited!

So for this I decided to go a little more French-Vogue-esque. I toned down her dark eyebrows, used purple contours, pale, shimmery taupe and lavender highlights through the whole center of her face, eyelids and collar bones, and no mascara. I also highlighted her cupid's bow, and ran a little beige powder through her eyelashes to further make them "disappear". Then we played around with the lips.

The first lip was nude, achieved by dabbing a satin-finish beige lipstick on with my fingers to stain the lip, rather than slicking it on.

I love this shot because you can see how Shannon's skin is glowing. Again, like Lara, she had on very little foundation only on the areas of her cheeks that were flushed because of the heat (it's extremely hot and humid in Barbados during summer). For this lip I just added a coral lipgloss on top of the beige lip stain.

This lip is my favourite. I used a healthy coat of chapstick and pressed a blue/purple (blurple!) duo chrome eyeshadow into it.

For this last lip, I lined Shannon's lips with a berry red liner and filled them in with a bright red lipstick. In this shot you can see the toned down eyebrows and lashes. Her eye makeup never changed throughout all her lip transformations.

There you have it! This was a very fun shoot, and these girls are awesome.

More is coming, so stay tuned!!

Thursday, 23 August 2012

It's been so long!

I've missed blogging! My laptop gave up the ghost and I really can't afford a new one at the moment. I've borrowed one for this post, because I really wanted to post something.

I've been up to a LOT. Had a few awesome photoshoots, and I've been doing a lot of Weddings. While I wait for the photos from the weddings I thought I'd post some shots of two different photoshoots I did and just say a little about them.

The first set of photos are of the beautiful Brittany Tuleja. She's a fellow makeup artist and I just love her face. She has a magnificent wide jaw and startling blue eyes with yellow sunbursts around her pupils. They're not just sunbursts, the yellow actually webs its way throughout her entire iris. It truly breathtaking.

I had wanted to do a pretty Amazon Queen type look for a while, and when my friend Alyson Holder suggest Brittany for a shoot, I jumped at the chance to do this.

I swear to you, her eyes haven't been photoshopped.

On the same day, we shot another lovely friend of mine, Jamie. She was to be a fiary, or something like that. I would have like to go wild with her makeup, but the photographer didn't want it overly dramatic. I'd love to revisit this concept and make her look completely other-worldly.

And finally, here are two shots of my good friend and wonderful singer Sarah Lloyd. She had asked us to do some shots of her for her press packets. I convinced her that she could carry a very heavy eye-makeup, and thought she didn't believe me at first, she was thrilled with these.

I'll be back again soon! The last shoot we completed is one that I had a lot of fun with, even thought the makeup isn't overly creative. Sometimes you just enjoy doing simple shoots with flawless makeup. :)

Stay tuned!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

New Hair!!! (Part 1)

Hey Beauties!!

I finally got my hair cut. I was soooo ready for a change.

I'm going to do a blog post on my hair journey over the last 2 years, which is the period of time that I have done the most experimenting with looks that I have ever done in my life. Stay tuned for that!

Here's my new haircut!

It's short all the way around, shortest at the very back, and then the top is longer, cut to fall naturally to the right (which is how my hair fall naturally anyway). The top is very layered to add texture. I am super happy with the cut, especially since I couldn't find ANY photos to illustrate what I wanted. I just described it as best I could to Maria, my hairdresser, and she asked for guidance as she went along. Within 10 minutes, she had nailed it!

Maria did this cut completely with scissors, only using the buzzer to clean up the hairline along my neck. This is my hair freshly cut, air-dried and just a tiny dollop of Bed Head Manipulator fingered through it whe it was almost totally dry.

My mom went with me to the Hairdresser, and went from having hair half way down her back to this:

Once again, Maria did the entire cut with scissors, only using the buzzer to clean up the edges. Mom also has Bed Head Manipulator fingered through her hair, but it her case it was done while it was still wet.

Just thought I'd add a few shots of my hair cut from the sides and back since some of you guys have been asking!! These were all taken just after I washed my hair, it's toweled and fingered through.

I'm looking forward to doing a semi faux-hawk and playing with my new hair!! Part two happens next week...I'm getting a hot pink (maybe with some purple) chunk in the longer part of my hair!! Wheeeeeeeeee!

Stay tuned for the video of both parts. And stay tuned for my Hair Journey!

Don't be afraid to experiment with your hair. It will grow back, and it's the most versatile accessory we own. just be sure to keep it healthy, and have fun!

Love, scissors and wax,

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Playing Catch-Up: FOTDs 11 and 13

Hey guys!! So I got these two FOTDs to share with you guys!!

These are Days 11 and 13 on the FOTD Challenge Calendar.

Day 11: All about liner. I kept this wearable because I was going to visit a bridal client and I didn't want to scare her away with crazy makeup!! LOL This look is actually deceptively simple, and not product-heavy at all.

On my eyes:
MAC MSF - Soft & Gentle all over the lid and under the brow bone
MAC Eyeshadow - Green Smoke in the crease
MAC Fluidline - Blacktrack (in waterline as well)
Covergirl Lash Blast Fusion Mascara - Blackest Black
NYX Eyebrow Cake Power - Dark Brown

On the Rest of my Face:
MAC Pro Longwear Foundation - NC40 mixed with MAC Select Cover Up - NW45 (I've got quite a tan and the NC40 is just far too light for me now)
ELF Complete Coverage Concealer Palette - Medium
NYX Loose Powder - Cancun Tan
La Femme Blush - Sienna
Avon Glazewear Intense Shine Lip Gloss - Maple Sugar

I really, really, REALLY loved this look!

FOTD Day 13 was themed "Mod". I've never thought that the mod look was good on me, because it's so very matte, but I decided to give it a whirl anyway! I was in a hurry to a gig and so didn't take a lot of photos.

On my eyes I used ELF Mineral Eyeshadow in Innocent, Avon Big Color Eye Pencil in Night Glisten and MAC Carbon, and then lined with MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack and L'Oreal Extra-Volume Collagen Mascara. I lef the brows fairly "undone" since they were either left totally alone or drawn in very thin and round. I skipped drawing in the "twiggies" on the lower lash line. I also made the eyes shape a little more modern by "winging" the crease shadow as well as the liner, whereas a true Mod look would have kept a very exaggerated, rounded eye socket shape. I kept my cheeks soft, matte and slightly rosy.

For lips I used a matte pink lip stick, but I applied it somewhat sheer, over chap stick.

In all I'm not too mad at how this one came out either!!

Happy Challenges!! Remember, it's all about fun!