A BESPOKE FACE

We live in a world where everything is instant, we have everything at our fingertips to make our lives easier, more efficient and tailor-made to suit us perfectly. There are many devices and services specialising in personalisation available to us now, simply ranging from personalised coffee cups in Starbucks, to more quirky devices such as apps that can check that you locked the house before you left for work this morning. This new custom-made lifestyle is about to extend to our faces. We are already well aware of the many cosmetic and surgical procedures available to us in which to create a new face – the invasive needle-jabbing, slicing, dicing, nipping and tucking that all occurs on an operating table. But now there are services available to us that allow for a completely personalised visage without the intrusion, pain, recovery or expense of invasive cosmetic procedures.

Two years ago, Boots announced a service offering a foundation colour-matching service, exclusively associated with their No7 range of products (they have since extended this service to lipsticks). It was a huge phenomenon on the high street at the time it was launched, however this colour-matching device miss-matched many customers, myself included. This particular colour-matching service only matches customers to products readily available in the No7 range (as a free service this is, of course, to be expected) so wouldn’t it be great if such a service was available that custom blended foundation to your skin’s own requirements?

Lucy McRae, a ‘body architect’ from Australia says, “there are no boundaries with technology relating to the human body, the future is completely wide open and unknown”. Right now, there are companies that strive to create the ultimate bespoke makeup experience. A La Carte London, based in Knightsbridge, offer custom-blended products such as lipsticks, foundations and concealers from £250. This service allows you go back and re-order your exact shade for a further £50. A small price to pay for a truly tailor-made experience. Beauty blogger Thea Malone likes the idea of a customized shade of lipstick, “That’s such a good idea, because if you want a red, it’s quite hard to find one that suits your skin tone so if you can have one specially made then you know it’s definitely going to work for you”. Fellow beauty blogger Katie Brooks agrees, “The lipstick is a great idea – especially as brands are now bringing out more limited editions. With this you can be reassured that you’ll be able to have it again. It’s heartbreaking when your old faithful has been discontinued.”

Bite Beauty are another company, based in NYC, that have expanded their makeup brand into customisable lipstick shades, launching the Bite Lip Lab in SoHo. Beauty blogger and vlogger Amelia Liana has tried and tested the service with glowing positivity, writing on her blog: “Coming in at around £22 a lipstick in total I would say it’s definitely an experience to try. Simply awesome.” The Bathory is a company that offer a personalised bathing experience with a concoction of your chosen salt mix and oils. I have personally used The Bathory to create my own bath salts, I chose the “Detox” salt with oils of eucalyptus, grapefruit and ylang ylang which were supposed to make me feel “revived, inspired and sexy”. I’m not quite sure how much I would vouch for any of those qualities, I personally just smelt nice. But I’m always down for a gimmick (or four).

A recent beauty release is Charlotte Tilbury’s Supermodel range of products, boxes with a full face inside that also provides a handy tutorial video that begins playing as the box is opened. With a choice of “supermodel” looks, Tilbury shows us how simple it really is to create a better version of our faces. And who wouldn’t want to look like a supermodel?

With technology evolving faster than some of us can apply mascara on the way to work in the car whilst eating breakfast (it’s true, some of us can do that…), it’s no wonder that revolutionary services in the beauty industry are being brought to our attention. Experts say that in the not-so-distant future we will have fully customised hair care, skin care and makeup regimes. Now if that is not an example of a 21st century face, then I don’t know what is.

IF YOU COULD HAVE A PERMANENT GLOW, WOULD YOU?

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If I had £1 for every time I have stood in front of a mirror and wished there wasn’t such a pale face staring back, or stared at my white, pasty legs in the summer wishing I had nice bronzed limbs, I would be a multi-millionaire. I naturally have very curly hair and always wanted it to be straight. My friends with straight hair say they prefer curly. I used to dream of having a big bust. Those blessed with such often dream of less. It seems to be a case of the grass always being greener in our own minds and in the way we look at ourselves. But if you could permanently change these aspects of your physical self, would you? Changing your body temporarily is one thing, but a permanent change is a much more dramatic and final “improvement”.

When it comes to the colour of your skin, it is generally accepted that a permanent change is dangerous, bad for your health and above all, “vain”. Little is known of the long-term consequences of such products as skin whitening (or bleaching) creams or tanning injections. In September of this year, a controversial cream was released by Dr Organic and is sold in health food chain Holland & Barrett stores nationwide, it’s the Royal Jelly Body Skin Whitening Cream, this questionable product received backlash in the media for “exploiting racism”, with race equality charities campaigning for its removal from the shelves. With such dramatic skin-enhancing properties, these products are deemed as highly dangerous in this country but are still readily available. So why are we striving to be different to how we were originally created?

Having a bronzed “glow” for the summer is, in our part of the world, deemed the desired look. White, pasty legs like mine on the beach are a general no-no. From a glow in a bottle to baking in a tanning bed to getting a professional spray tan, there are many ways in which both men and women achieve this bronzed god/goddess look. But tanning injections are taking this craze to the next level.

“We are warning people not to use this product. Don’t be fooled into thinking that Melanotan offers a shortcut to a safer and more even tan”. That is a statement released by David Carter from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). Tanning injections are as medically sinister as they sound, containing the drug Melanotan, a synthetic hormone that works by increasing the levels of melanin, the natural pigment of the skin. Costing around £60 for a month’s supply, this is ultimately a cheaper, albeit dangerous option for an intense tan. So it comes as little surprise that so far, the main market has been teenagers and those looking for a quick fix.

Currently illegal in the UK and most of Europe, these injections can only be bought online and are yet to be officially tested for safety, effectiveness and quality. Some that use them however, generally have positive reviews, despite most experiencing side effects. Olivia Mansson, a fashion student from Sweden says, “I would definitely recommend them if you want a darker skin colour for a longer period of time but not if you don’t like freckles. It took two or three weeks for the best colour to show but before that, I started getting a lot of freckles.”

Freckles aside, the full extent of the side effects caused by the injections are unknown. Users report of experiencing nausea, a loss of appetite and an elevated sex drive at the lower end of the scale, more sinister side effects thought to be linked with the use of the injections include stomach and heart problems as well as blood and eye disorders. Side effects aside, the process also carries major risk of infection due to unhygienic practices and addiction to the drug and its effects have also been reported. Despite such little medical research that has gone into Melanotan as well as the warnings issued by healthcare professionals, Mansson still believes in the product’s efficiency stating, “Obviously injections aren’t good for your skin, so it’s better to not use these products, but if you’re unhappy in your skin then why not try to change it if it makes you happier?” So why not embrace your skin’s natural hue? “I think that I look better in tanned skin, I feel more attractive being tanned. I also think that pale skin is beautiful, it just doesn’t suit me.”

The quest for the “natural glow” is also achieved by some from the other end of the beauty spectrum. Whitening creams have been on the market in Asia for many years with well known European and American brands such as Dior, Olay, No7, Max Factor, Clarins and L’Oreal (to name just a few) creating products for the market targeting skin bleaching. Born and raised in Hong Kong, 43 year-old Kinnie Hung believes white skin reigns supreme, “In my country, we prefer white skin. We have a saying – ‘One white face can hide three ugly faces’”. Niporn Kent from Thailand agrees saying, “I like white skin because I think it looks clean and bright”. Global sales of such whitening products are projected to reach $19.8 billion by 2018 based primarily on the growth in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. The highest quality of skin whitening products are produced in Europe, however the ingredients in some of the products are banned from being sold here, such as mercurous chloride and hydroquinone. Hermione Lawson of the British Skin Foundation says, “Unfortunately, many skin-lightening creams contain illegal compounds that can damage your health. The common compounds are high-dose steroids”. With such diverse ideals of beauty across the globe, it is interesting to hear how Kent and Hung view those in the west tanning their skin deliberately, “Actually, I don’t agree to people making their skin darker. I think they have a nice colour of skin already”, says Kent.

The irony in skin tone modification from the tanning injections to the whitening creams is that both are aiming to achieve a “glow”. A white glow, or a bronzed glow – it doesn’t matter how we see it, a glow is something that comes from within. So why does this “faux glow” mean so much to us? Perhaps we need to relax and let our inner glow shine through; after all, a natural glow cannot be bought in a tube, pot, bottle or vial; we are lit from within.

Photo credit: Nicole Jenet

DARK ENCHANTMENT

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Better late than never…

A selection of photos from my Vogue Scrapbook layout, as exhibited in the post below. By no means do I consider myself a photographer… The proof is in the pudding. However I did get an A for this assignment so I thought I’d share the fruit of my labour. The model is Maddy, follow her instagram here.

HEAD PIECEHandmade
DRESS |  Topshop
JEWELLERY/BELT | H&M
TIGHTS | Wolford
BOOTS | Dunlop

VOGUE SCRAPBOOK

Uni has been absolutely mind-bogglingly crazy these past few weeks and the next few weeks look just as insane. One of my assignments was to create a shopping page in the style of Vogue Scrapbook. I decided to go for the theme of a “dark fairytale” as seen on the catwalks of Valentino and Dolce & Gabbana for Autumn/Winter 2014.

We were then assigned to produce an accompanying photoshoot with the shopping piece and the result is below… I will do another blog post with the full range of photos included, but for now it’s just the one I submitted with my work.

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Text:
DARK enchantment
Ethereal illusions captivate the heart, mind and soul of those willing to be cast under its spell…

Once upon a time in a far away land where denim is all but forbidden, exists a wonderland of all charming dimensions where child’s play is not limited to those in infancy. Dolce and Gabbana led this season’s enchanted offering with Little Red Riding Hood capes all the better to be seen in, along with splendidly embellished creations evoking only the most magical notions. Forest greens, deep-hued ruby reds, blood-curdling blacks and a trickle of gold were all seen on the autumn/winter 14 catwalks by way of Valentino, Erdem and Alice & Olivia who all captivated the enigmatic motif of the classic dark fairytale.

Nature-themed garments decorated with appliquéd butterflies, birds and roses at Valentino nod to Cinderella getting ready for her grand ball, whilst over at Alexander McQueen, Sarah Burton provides the darker edge to the fairytale matter with lurid evocations of past lands of make-believe. Fierce feathers provide the evasive charm to an otherworldly selection of garments of a luxurious couture-like quality. Gold accents are presented in all manner of accessories from filigree clutch bags adorned with jewels and chains; to gem-encrusted twinkly shoes by Dsquared² that will no doubt get Prince Charming’s heart racing as you skip off into the sunset. Pair your twinkly toes with equally twinkly fingernails with this season’s offering of ravishing nail lacquers from Dior.

The look comes into its own this winter with the release of Disney’s latest blockbuster Into the Woods starring the glorious Meryl Streep. Seemingly innocent, stemming from a Disney film, the undercurrents of style are of a feral innocence; this look is not for the faint-hearted. Snow White need not apply.

Follow the heart of your inner dark princess this winter party season and you’ll be in for a treat. From head-to-toe ethereal empress, to sparkly eyelids and a smattering of jewels with your LBD, however you don it you will no doubt be alluring; And with a tap of a wand you shall go to the ball, for you are the fairest of them all.

 

P.S. This was my first time using photoshop so please don’t judge me too harshly. I do enough of that to myself!

CINCO DE MAYO & MY DRESSING TABLE

Can you believe it’s already 5 days into May? I was just getting used to the idea of April and then May came along and punched me in the face. Almost half way through the year and I feel older by the second. I moved home from uni this week and after much (and I really mean much) effort in packing two cars full of my belongings, I came back home where I realised nothing had a place in my room anymore. My clothes had nowhere to go, my shoes were lined up around the edge of the room and the makeup…. Ah the makeup. Makeup is my weakness, my guilty pleasure. No matter how many times my mum will try to convince me otherwise, there is always a need for nine shades of red lipstick right? Right?!

Having grossly misjudged my hoarding capabilities, I finally decided to sort out my (life) makeup once and for all, the results of which are shown below. All I can say is, all hail Muji and Home Sense.

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Makeup brush holder is actually a small plant pot from IKEA, brushes are mostly Real Techniques (all are dirty, been putting it off), acrylic drawer set from Muji, glass jar filled with cotton pads from IKEA and metal and glass container for single eyeshadows from Home Sense.

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Mirror from IKEA, glass container for lip liners and lip glosses from Home Sense.

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Muji acrylic drawer set, perfect for storing all of my MAC lipsticks.

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The bottom drawer of the set has a jewellery divider. I swear Muji is the best thing to happen to makeup/jewellery hoarders like myself.

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The glass container that I keep some of my cream and single eyeshadows in, it was something crazy like £5.99 in Home Sense.

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Rather a lot of makeup. I have another set of drawers underneath this unit that hold all my eyeshadow palettes, perfumes, skincare and haircare.

MEETING SUE KREITZMAN

I am currently studying Fashion Journalism at uni and we were recently given an assignment to make a 3-minute film on anything we wanted. A first this idea seemed daunting as it meant actually thinking of something to create the film on, being given such a broad subject can actually be harder than you first think… As a group, we decided to create our film around TV chef and artist Sue Kreitzman, who was also one of the stars from the hugely successful Channel 4 documentary “Fabulous Fashionistas”, whose colourful aesthetic and equally as bright personality made our film a joy to create. There is a link at the bottom of this post for you to view the film!

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We met Sue at her exhibition in Cult Mountain, Bethnal Green just before she was due to go back to New York, to talk to her about her life, her work and her philosophies. She is such a wonderful character and it is a joy to have worked with her. Below are photos from around the gallery, which is unfortunately no longer exhibiting Sue’s work.

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Here is the link to view the film, let us know what you think, we would love your feedback!

https://www.dropbox.com/s/uhu37qalfghw79h/Group11_Sue.mov

MY INSTAWEEK

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Top row: [left] selfie just before #BLFW [centre] my meal before #BLFW looked more amazing on camera than it did in real life! [right] Meeting Sue Kreitzman for a uni project! There’ll be more about that later on my blog!                                                                     Middle row: [left] Found this on Pinterest, are they just gorgeous?! [centre] I want a black bathroom like this. [right] Spring/Summer is finally making a slight appearance here in the UK, but I’d love to be whisked away to wherever this is.                                                             Bottom row: [left] I bought the Benefit Gimme Brow and Estee Lauder Doublewear foundation which is incredible. [centre] Jared Leto on the cover of the Evening Standard magazine last Friday… [right] Another selfie just because.

MY INSTAWEEK

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Top row: [left] The Eiffel Tower, one of my most favourite photos ever! [middle] Saw this quote, made me laugh. Basically the story of my life. [right] My Dad’s birthday cake with sparklers, woo!
Middle row: [left] Doing uni work on the train home [middle] Saw Beyonce at The O2 Arena last week! She was unbelievably good [right] Because what’s a week on Instagram without a selfie?
Bottom row: [left] Saw this Chow Chow, it’s cute, I want it [middle] My pass for Blogger’s Fashion Week! [right] Spring has sprung in the UK!

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