This season I’m going to wear black eyeshadow and dark purple lipstick

In the words of Scott Robinson when he spoke to Charlene*, I am just “sick and tired” of the magazine editorials showing us the upcoming fashion trends for makeup. (He was just sick and tired of many things, nothing to do with makeup).


Pretty pastels for spring; nautical-inspired for April/May; early summer is usually ‘poppy brights’, with late summer being animal print or ‘Indian Summer’ inspired; autumn is always about plum/olive/smoke, then bring out the bling for Christmas.

And then back to pastels for spring. Yeah yeah yeah.

Pastel lips look good on Sindy doll circa 1981. I know, I know, they’re not telling us to buy it. No one is forcing a credit card from our hands and marching us to the nearest Guerlain counter. But every bloody year. Fashion is dictated by the big fashion houses, I get it. But the problem is – by and large – the availability of what we want to wear is dictated by them. There was one year I was desperate to find a simple pair of navy sandals – could I find them anywhere? No, because it had been dictated the gold, tan and white were the trends. Retail buyers won’t buy if if they think it won’t sell, and the presumption is, we all want to be fashionable.

Well, lilac lipstick and mint green eyeshadow will never be fashion in my book. And it will never be classic. So I am going to buck all the trends. Black shadow and dark purple lipstick for spring, pastel brights for Christmas, no makeup at all in summer (because, who can be bothered?). And for that ‘in between’ nautical time that seems to pop up every year, I will take actual sailor inspiration from Popeye (not simply ‘team crisp Breton stripes with a sharp cherry lipstick’ – what sailor wears that?) and don a fake anchor tattoo on my forehead and a spinach coloured wig. Or should it be kale and ‘smashed avocado’ (no, too trendy).

Sod off with your pastels. I’m not having it.

* Scott and Charlene, for those who don’t know:


Take it easy… (with the highlighter)

I know highlighting and contouring has been fashionable for a while, with strobing (highlighting without the contouring) set to be a ‘thing’ for this year. But one thing I must say… it gets to the point where SO much highlighter is used that the skin takes on a grey sheen. It doesn’t matter if your highlighting cream or powder is prestige or high street, too much doesn’t look good – it looks grey. It totally negates the whole point of the trend because grey isn’t a good look for anyone, unless you happen to be a breezeblock wall, then go for it.

But – in the words of The Eagles – take it easy…

Some tips when going for a foundation match

I must do about 100-200 foundation matches a week. No, that isn’t a joke. I work for a brand that sells a lot of foundation. A lot.

My current bugbear is young ladies (and it’s always the younger ladies, sorry) coming in for a foundation match and asking me to match them “2 shades darker”. No, sorry, it doesn’t work like that. When you have 40 shades of foundation, there is a lot of ‘2 shades darker’. Here is my advice when coming for a foundation match.

Back to basics

What is a foundation supposed to do? Well, it is supposed to make your skin look flawless. Very few people have an even tone all over their skin – most of us have darker patches, lighter areas of things we want to cover (like melasma, freckles, high redness, hyperpigmentation of all sorts). That is where foundation comes in. No one NEEDS to wear it but those who enjoy makeup like to start with a smooth, even base. For those with skin concerns, it increases confidence.

Oompa loompa doopity do

There seems to be a current trend of younger ladies wearing foundation to look tanned. What happens is they end up with an orange face and a pale neck. It looks awful. Every day I will have at least 3 or 4 ladies come to me asking me to match them ‘but darker’. I always explain that when I do a match, my aim is for the foundation to match the neck (which is usually a little paler than the face) and jawline, so everything matches. Faces are usually highly coloured due to many reasons – a slight tan, high colour on cheeks, freckles – so matching to the cheeks or forehead is not going to work. If you want your skin to look warmer, get a proper foundation match then use bronzer or blusher to warm up areas of the face that naturally tan or colour. If you get a foundation darker than your skin, you end up with a tide mark!

The other problem is, many ladies come in with a face covered in darker foundation, will only let me take a patch off, then when I do and put their match on, even though it blends in to their skin, all they can see is a big pale patch, at which point they scoff that it is too pale. I am always tempted to say, “Yes, it is paler than the Fanta orange shade you currently wear but your skin is that colour, whether you like it or not”. I bite my tongue. It’s never going to work if you won’t let us take off your makeup. Trust us, we’re make up artists, we can put it back on again!

Top Tips

Here are my top tips for getting a good, proper foundation match.

  1. Be prepared to have all of your makeup taken off. Ideally, come in with no makeup on as it’s quicker and will give you a better idea of the whole finished face.
  2. Don’t ask your beauty adviser for a darker match; it doesn’t work like that. A darker match is not a match, it’s the wrong colour.
  3. Do ask for a mirror so you can see how your beauty adviser applies the foundation and to see how well the colour blends in.
  4. Go in the morning, when it is quieter and the light is better. Ask if you can go outside into natural daylight with a mirror too, so you can see the match in proper light.
  5. If you want a foundation to match your skin after you’ve had a fake tan or been on a sunbed, come after said fake tan or sun bed session – we can’t guess what colour your skin will be.
  6. Don’t use sunbeds. They can cause skin cancer and exacerbate ageing. They’re just bad news all round.
  7. Always ask for a sample – a good counter will have little bottles ready to give you a sample so you can try the product at home at your convenience.
  8. Don’t use sunbeds. I can’t stress that enough.


Here’s to seeing less orange-foundation people on the UK high street in 2016!

When enough is enough. Time to quit?

As if the chaos of ‘Black Friday’ wasn’t enough, getting shouted at over the 5p carrier bag charge is putting another nail in the coffin of my career in beauty.

I have become increasingly disillusioned over the last year; the industry that used to be about glamour, feeling good, luxury, treats and (to a certain extent, although it is debatable) empowering women has slowly become about discount and what the customer can get for free. Continue reading

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Miserable Wednesday

I made the last one up but, although it may not be ‘a thing’, it exists, believe me.

As does Terrible Tuesday, Crappy Thursday, Hideous Saturday and ‘I want to go home’ Sunday. Continue reading

Raising money for Sarcoma UK.

As many of my regular readers will know, I am a huge fan of the beauty journalist Sali Hughes. I recently saw on her twitter account some links to the Justgiving page of Camera Obscura musician, Carey Lander.

I know the music of the band well (who doesn’t love a bit of French Navy?) and Carey’s story is both heartwarming and touching; her tenacity and courage at fighting the disease and raising funds for those in the same situation is inspirational. You can read more of her story on Sali’s “The Pool” article here. And you can donate to Carey’s Sarcoma UK appeal here.

Why retail Head Offices need to learn to say “No”.

In my previous post about an incredibly rude customer, fellow blogger southsidesocialist raised a valid point and one I hadn’t thought about for a long time. They said

“If management know her behaviour has been repeatedly appalling, management could ask her not to come back…”  Continue reading

“Have you got a problem with me?” YES, I DO!

Dear friends,

I have held back posting about this for a long, long time, as it took me a long, long time to get over it.  I now feel able to share my story.

Unecessary Anger

A couple of months ago, I was on the shop floor, doing my thing. I noted a customer walked in and started browsing. I looked over, smiled, and said ‘hello’. All normal so far. Continue reading

The thrill of the beauty purchase

Friends, it’s been a long time.

I’ve been in the beauty wilderness, unsure of what to write next, unsure of which lipstick to wear. I think it’s an inter-seasonal confusion and transition. And I’ve been a little down in the dumps.

However, if there’s one thing that always cheers me up, it’s new skincare. And despite having had a lean few months (new white goods needed purchasing, along with other household expenses), I thought, what better to cheer me up than a fancy new serum? Continue reading