STANDBY NAILS

My kit is never without nail polish, or nail polish remover of some sort.  The usual liquid nail polish remover is essential for general nail prep, just to clear anything undesirable that may be left on the nail: it leaves us with a clear base to work with.  But there are days when we hardly have time to do hair, let alone nails, and never mind toenails!?!  That's when it helps to keep a tub of instant nailpolish remover swabs in my standby bag. I make certain that my assistants also carry these mini tubs, so they have no excuse to run off set to get this absolute basic.  It saves us time and gives that added sense of preparedness that makes the day that much easier. 
These mini tubs of 30 nail polish remover swabs are very effective and gentle on the nail; they're a bit oily, but nothing a wet wipe can't fix.  They're also so small and compact they could easily fit into an actor's bag,  or your everyday purse.  Find them at Dischem for under R10.

PALLADIO: TAKE THE BLUSH, LEAVE THE BRUSH

 Palladio markets itself as a herbal and vitamin enriched brand. I really don't know if this is their actual selling point, or just a byline. But what I do know is that I have liked just about every product of theirs that I have tried. Except their brushes!?!
When I bought them at R50 a brush, I was ecstatic. I mean, R50 a brush!?! that doesn't happen too often. Well I bought a few. And felt horribly betrayed when they started shedding after the first wash...and continue to shed...and shed. Yes, we all know that most brushes do. And you even have some brands telling us that it's perfectly normal and to be expected. Umm, no. It's not. Well, okay, it's normal for bad brushes to shed...if that's what they mean.
I hate admitting that my product choices are not always as wise and sensible as two decades of experience as a makeup artist should prove. But... sadly, it has come to that point where these brushes are just an annoyance. It's mostly the "mop" brushes: the powder and blush brush , that are the culprits. I use the foundation brushes to apply sunscreen and cream products, and so far no shedding from those. But I am getting rather tired of picking a torrent of hairs of a model's face after powdering! So those culprits will be banished from the realm of brush pouch, never to be seen again.
But here's a product I would recommend from the Palladio brand: their blushes. These I use more often than any other blush in my makeup kit. They are matte, wonderfully matte! No risk of shimmer here. These are brilliant for HD work, and don't fade too quickly, depending on how well you have prepped the skin. The shades are ideal for basic lifestyle makeup. And you get quite a bit for your buck! They also have other detail brushes that I haven't tried...too disappointed to bother, but next time I'm at Dischem, I'll chance a look.
Have you tried this brand? If so, please share your thoughts in the comments.
Thanks for reading.
Tash

THE EMERGENCY BOX

 Trying to shrink my kit to a more manageable size is an ongoing battle. I decant, I buy smaller quantities of product, I pack and repack to squeeze extras in...just in case.
The trick is to pack lightly...it is quite a trick.
More often than not, someone calls for something I just happen to have...just in case! And that is when I am thankful for my clever little condensed kit extras. Take my teensy medic box, for example: it's not technically a first aid box, but it does cover a great many makeup emergencies, from flossing teeth to depuffing eyes, this tiny collection of makeup kit musthaves looks like this:

  1. Kiehl's Eye Alert : caffeine for tired, puffy eyes - this stuff really works, and fast, too. I have yet to encounter anything better, but it has lasted quite a while so far, I'm pretty certain I'll be stocking up on exactly the same product when this one runs out!
  2. Dental Floss : for obvious reasons, and sometimes not so obvious...cleaning teeth for that perfect smile, yes, but also an option to create FX scars on the fly.
  3. The Garnier Pure SOS Pen is brilliant at making inflamed zits fade into oblivion: again, a staple and trusted product that I will certainly buy again, and again, and again... you get the picture.
  4. A tiny tube of approximately two applications of sunscreen for face...always in my standby kit for any emergency sun-protection. This is where samples can come in handy. I have stashes everywhere!
  5. Alcohol swabs : for sterilizing just about anything, but mostly brushes and cream products like lipsticks, blushers and whatnot.
  6. Lipbalm with a high SPF: I don't always use this, but great when our indoor shoot sddenly becomes an outdoor shoot!
  7. Individual eye drop: more hygienic than those tiny bottles, and ideal to quickly flush the eye if necessary.
  8. Tiny tube of lash glue : to stick on just about anything...
  9. And what is not in frame is a small collection of plasters: not always necessary, since most sets have either a first aid kit, or a medic, but there have been time when these have been handy. 
  10. I also have a small stash of individually wrapped toothpics! We may not always have time to floss, and I sometime need to dart in and quickly dislodge sesame seeds and the like...

The smaller the products, the better
I keep these in the smallest of sizes in a tiny plastic container, and it doesn't leave my kit. When we have a large set, or need to travel from set to set without a chance to simply go back and forth to my station, I need to be sure to pack a good standby kit, and this Emergencey Box stays with me!
Good organization is a skill that every makeup artist should cultivate.

HEALTHY CHOICES #inmykit

 There comes a time, when I give my kit a major overhaul... like a detox, but with brands. I try to experience as much of what is out there, but my bank balance does have its limits! So I do appreciate it so much when brands send me product to try. I have read enough about Mama MIO  to know that is has the same philosophy of care and consideration for healthy choices, as I do when it comes to stocking my kit. As a commercials and advertising makeup designer I work with such a huge variety of faces and skin types that I need to stock products that cover this range. And, of course, I don't want to schlep along tons of product. So I naturally hunt for products that do more than just one little thing, as these multi-taskers prove not only useful, but economical.
Although body creams come and go like naughty flings in my kit, it's always easier to have a standard cream to go to. But to qualify creams have to work well, be safe and as healthy as possible, be easily absorbed, and leave no trace. They also have to be cost effective. And yes, I already have favourites, so they really have to beat those to make it into my kit. This Future Proof body butter from Mio is delectable. I adore. And to be quite frank, it is a selfish choice...because it will end up being used by me, on myself, more often than not. Firstly I love the smell of it.It has Blueberry and Pomegranate oils, and smells good enough to eat, but with a sophistication that makes it elegant to wear on skin. The Reishi Mushroom extract is intriguing , and I wanted to know what it actually does...it regulates the immune system, and improves blood circulation, with regular use, of course. Now this is pretty useless to some models that I may only see once in a blue moon, but for me, well you can see where this is going.
Yes, I love this cream. It smells good; it leaves my skin feeling silky without feeling waxy; I feel fresh when I apply it, and my sensitive skin reacts well to it; it's perfect for me at this stage in my life when I'm looking to pre-empt floppy, flabby, sagging skin... but for my kit?? I wish. At R980 for a 240g tub...I would have to be Val Garland to afford it!?! But if you are Val Garland, your kit will be much improved, and your older models will give you the eyeball of trust... you can find it at Wellness Warehouse... but you'll have to pre-order, because it happens to be in high demand, and obviously, sold out!!!

TO HEAT OR NOT TO HEAT

Perfect barrel: no hair gets caught
 Hair and Makeup in the fashion industry have a bad reputation for being callous when it comes to proper hair care. Coming from the movie side of the business, this seemed incredulous. How on earth??!? When you work with celebrities, there's absolutely no room for a trivial approach to hair and skin care. If our star wants a very special product found only under one specific rock in some remote area that is currently a no-go war-torn zone quarantined by the WHO... the producer and HOD will find a way to get in and out with said product ...with enough time to do tests. Luckily that is very rarely the case. And we have online shopping!! ;-)
But we do our utmost to take the very best care of the talent that sit in our chairs. Which is why I aim to carry products and tools that protect the hair and skin of my actors and models, and not feel too pressured to follow the mobs that are so easily swayed by mere hype.
If you haven't heard of Glampalm, let me just say: fearless styling. Because that is what I feel when I use their tools. I adore the fact that the hair looks better, feels better and is certainly better off having been styled with Glampalm tools.
Love this barrel:  size of curls work well for contemporary and period styling
 Although I generally use a thermo-protect product on hair before using heated stylers, I have absolutely no fear of damaging hair with this wand. It's their special "Healing Stone" technology that makes it so special. They own the mine in Korea where the special stone comes from. What is does is limit damage dramatically, and also enhances shine and colour of hair. All amazing, yes. But what I like most is the long cable and 360 swivel cord; plus the sweat-absorbing handle, and the barrel!!! I love the size of this barrel, and unlike my cone wand, this Glampalm wand allows me to create both Hollywood curls, as well as Victoria Secret Angel curls. Ideal!! Since they've sent it to me, I haven't stopped using it! It allows me to be so versatile with my styling, and is the one styler I reach for when working with children, because I know that no other hair tool is going to protect the hair quite as much.
360 Swivel and extra long cable
For quick lift on shorter hair this works well, just don't forget your protective glove (comes with the wand). And the pro length lead is pretty awesome for makeup artists who like to 'travel' around the model, when doing hair. It takes a bit of time to hold and set the curl, but for personal use, you won't be working under pressure!?! so it would never be a cause for concern. If you're going to pay anything in this price range ( just under R2000) for your style, then you should give it more consideration. It's a good one! Especially if you are trying to grow your hair out...
Get this!! It's called the GLAMPALM Magic Wand and retails for R1999. Use my voucher code nat606 for R100 off. Hope it helps!!
Thanks for reading,
Tash

JULIETTE ARMAND FOR SENSITIVE SKIN

 In my second pregnancy, just two weeks before my baby was born, I developed dishydrotic eczema. Apparently it's not very common, and they're not entirely sure what causes it. Stress is possibly the culprit, but hormones can influence susceptibility, as well as exposure to chemicals or other allergens. A few weeks back I had the oddest occurrence of this kind of dermatitis: on my forearms, and face!!
Dishydrotic eczema presents on the hands and feet: itchy bumps soon develop into painful blisters, then dry out, scab if scratched, and finally flake off! Not pretty. Even less pretty when it happens on your face. I was on a big job, and had had a few allergic reactions in earlier months where blisters suddenly appeared on my skin. But for a week during the shoots I had what seemed like heat rash, but the blisters were an immediate giveaway. And then those telltale itchy bumps on my face started blistering... I stopped everything. I went directly to my bee balm, and there I stayed. So I'm a little late getting this post out as soon as I had hoped, but I wanted to be certain, that my skin had returned to its average normality.
 So finally, I tried my sample set from Juliette Armand. I was not as nervous as I would be with most other brands, because this one has a reputaion for being gentle and allergen free. I followed the "Application Protocol" in the pamphlet, and used the recommended dosage for the advised time period. Here's the step by step version:

  1. First: exfoliation with the Dermabrasion Gel. Although I felt some tingling in some of my more fragile spot: around the mouth and on the cheeks, it was painless. I don't usually get too excited about that gritty feeling that exfoliation is synonymous with, but I appreciate the phenomenal results. This one in particular rendered my skin nearly poreless! Yes, I would you should try it, and it's on my To Buy list. I love it. My skin looked and felt ultra smooth, clear and (dare I say it) younger! Yes, Yes, Yes.
  2. Step two: set the Clarifying Mask for 15-20 minutes. I went for 15. It tightens on my face quite a bit, and at first I was a little worried when my cheeks started to tingle, but as soon as the mask dried, I was fine. The menthol smell of wintergreen was a bit unexpected, but not awful. It would probably be a great one for winter! The results after rinsing were not remarkable, but this is possibly because the exfoliation was so impressive. But I must say that so far my skin showed no signs of redness, and my pores were incredibly minimized.
  3. Then the two-step moisturizing starts: Moisturizing with Tightening from the Hayluronic Acid Serum sounds frightening, but it's supposed to help with anti-aging, and allow the skin to receive deeper moisturization. Tingling on my cheeks again, but note that I am super sensitive, with a rare form of eczema! So my skin tingles very easily. Even entirely natural products can cause a reaction on my skin!?! It felt a little sticky, but again, not remarkable.
  4. The final step is the second part of the moisturizing process using the Hydra Action Cream. I massaged a tiny (1ml) amount into my skin, as specified in the pamphlet. A little does indeed go a very long way. Enough to do neck as well. Great! Love the smell and my skin feels calm and smooth. Just how I like it.

So here's the micro version: I like the Dermabrasion Gel, and the Hydra Action Cream. I didn't absolutely enjoy the inbetween steps, and although they may be more effective together, I would probably end up using just the two I specified. I'm keen to try their body range, because I like the feel: not heavy at all. And I am already considering having a tub of the Hydra Action Cream in my pro makeup kit for gentle skin care, as a standard part of my pre-makeup skin prep.
Leave your questions below, and I'll be sure to get that information to you, or visit their site at: www.juliettearmand.gr
Thanks for reading.
Tash

CHEAP MAKEUP: IS IT WORTH IT?

This palette offers a lot of variety, but fades too quickly without proper application
 As a professional makeup artist in the film and photographic industry, I am lucky enough to feel that it's my job to test just about EVERY brand of makeup that I can get my hands on. And yes, there are many oohs and ahhhs when I bring out my Shiseido, Guerlain, YSL, and Sensai, but all that really matters is that I get the job done! So, yes, you can certainly use cheap makeup in your kit, but take time to prep and prime, so that the makeup doesn't simply fade into oblivion. But if you don't have the time to "work" the product... then rather don't buy the product. It will save you time, effort and money in the long run to invest in a more reliable product.
Testing my cheapest eyeshadow palette on set
 I am quite a makeup snob myself, but not as closed minded as snobs ordinarily are. And I love the challenge of making an inferior product work. In my years as a makeup artist I have learned that even the priciest and most talked about products can be a dismal disappointment, and even of inferior quality altogether. So this certainly has motivated me to try anything. With the right application, and priming you'll be amazed at what results you could achieve! But always ask yourself: do I have the time for this??
These cheap blushes have gotten plenty use, because they apply well and shades are brilliant
Priming helps considerably. So find the right one.Not all primers work as well as some, but I do feel that more often than not, they do make a difference. My Smashbox primer helps to make makeup last longer and have a deeper payoff than if the product were used on its own. If you do happen to like the shades in a cheap palette, then use your best primer to give it the boost that it needs, to NOT be a waste of money!