Thursday, 15 October 2015

You can have great brows too!

Flashback 5 years ago, who could have predicted how eyebrow OBSESSED we would be now?! Back in the day I'm sure we all committed some brow sins, whether it was tweezing them to near extinction or covering them with foundation until they were no longer visible... We've all been there. So here's some little tips and tricks on how to get the perfect "Instagram Brow!"

1) Its all about the shape.
Every day I see brows of all different shapes and sizes; over plucked brows, brows that haven't been touched and almost all of the time we can do something with them. I can't stress enough how important it is to see someone to regularly shape your brows, as there are view few woman I've seen who can do their own brows and not get carried away. A professional takes your face shape, hair colour, makeup style etc. into consideration when tailoring your brow and uses a range of techniques to perfect your brows! I always recommend HD Brows to those enquiring as I genuinely believe they are the original and the best. However if you do choose to do your own brows, have a look at your face shape... If you have small facial features, will you really suit a larger brow? If you have plenty of eyelid space, would they really benefit from being thinned out? 

2) Products, Products, Products!
Now what products you use depends on your makeup style and what you want to achieve, but for the purpose of this post we are talking carved out, perfectly sharp Instagram brows! This technique will take time to master, but once you have it you'll love the result. Firstly (and most importantly), is finding a good eyebrow brush! There are so many on the market out there that it can understandably be a little overwhelming trying to choose one so I thought I'd share my 2 personal favourites. The Zoeva 322 Brow Line is perfect for a sharp line at the base of the brow and for creating a precise tail end, however my personal favourite is the MAC 208. This brush is small yet firm which allows you precise application and packs on the colour!

Next up is the actual brow products, my 2 die hards are the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Pomade or the Illamasqua Brow Cake. Both of these will give you pigmented colour whilst lasting as long as you do. I've posted a colour guide below so if you're unsure of which colour to get, have a look below!

3) Step by Step.
Before you even start on your brows, I recommend priming your eyelids so you're ready for your eyeshadow or mascara afterwards, I like to use MAC Prolongwear Concealer for this or Collections Concealer which is only £4 (Step 1)! Next up, you want to start by loading your brush with your chosen product and tapping off any excess. Start about a 1/3 of the way into your brow and start to brush the product along the base of your eyebrow trying to keep the line as straight as you can (you can go outside of your natural brow if it allows you a more precise shape). Follow this by doing the top of the brow, allowing your brush to create a nice subtle arch which should be just above the pupil of the eye (Step 2). Any leftover product should be subtly dragged through the first 1/3 of the eyebrow to create that gradient or ombre effect we all love! Comb through the brows with a clean mascara wand to soften the look (Step 3). The final step is to get a small, firm concealer brush and line along the edges of the brow with a cream concealer 2 times lighter than your own skin tone (Step 4) then blend out with your finger, this will give you a lifted effect and the illusion of more arched brows.

Brow Before.

 Step 1

 Step 2

 Step 3

 Step 4

Finished Brow!

 If you'd like any more tips & tricks on anything makeup related, leave me a comment and let me know! :) 

ARK xo

Anastasia Colour Guide!

Taupe - Best for those with Ashy Blonde/Light Brown hair who like a natural effect.
Blonde - Best for those with Golden Blonde/Light Brown Hair who like a natural effect.
Caramel/Soft Brown - I have both of these and honestly they are very interchangeable. Best for those with Warm Dark Blonde/Light Brown hair.
Auburn - Best for those with Warm Light Brown/Auburn/Red hair.
Medium Brown - I found this one to be darker than it sounds. For Ashy Medium Brown/Dark Brown hair.
Chocolate - Best for those with Warm Dark Brown hair or who like a dramatic effect.
Granite - Best for those with Ashy Dark Brown/Black/Blue Black hair or those who like a dramatic brow.
Ebony - Best for those with Neutral or Warm Dark Brown/Black hair or those who like a dramatic brow.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Origins Ginzing Energy Boosting Moisturiser Review

My love of Origins products continues with this little review of the Ginzing Energy Boosting Moisturiser. In spite of loving their Mega Mushroom face cream, it wasn't quite working in the morning before I put my makeup on so I trawled their website looking for something lighter. I had heard amazing things about this moisturiser from everyone who used it, so decided to give it a bash as my new day time face cream.

What Origins say- 
"Origins Ginzing instantly hydrates and revs up radiance. This lightweight, oil-free, skin energy drink fortified with legendary skin-boosters like Panax Ginseng and Coffee Bean, jumpstarts skins hydration levels. Lacklustre looking skin is rapidly refreshed and revitalised to create a healthy, vibrant glow."

Yet again, the first thing you notice about this product is the smell; a bright zingy citrus smell which I love as it definitely wakes you and your skin up in the morning! The texture of this is a light gel-cream formula so will be perfect for normal to combination/oily skins which are dehydrated, as it gives you a moisture boost without being thick and clogging pores. The promises of more hydration and radiance are definitely fulfilled, as I notice a massive difference when applying and to the look of my makeup if I don't use this. This leaves my skin looking brighter and plumped with moisture, as well as making my makeup glide on smoothly and adding a radiant glow. All in all, this would be absolutely perfect for those of you have any hint of oil on the skin but have dehydration or anyone who's looking for a lightweight cream for under makeup!

ark xo

Friday, 6 February 2015

Beauty on a Budget

It's no secret that I love my high end makeup products, however there are some hidden gems among high street brands that I also love and are great if you're on a bit more of a budget. Also, sorry about the lack of pictures, I'm having problems with my blog layout that hopefully I'll be able to rectify soon...

Now, with regards to foundation I think it is one makeup item where you definitely get what you pay for. Personally, I have never found a cheaper foundation that I would be comfortable wearing every day however there are some good ones out there if you're on a budget. 

Rimmel Wake Me Up Foundation is a great budget buy for those of you looking for that healthy, glowy finish that can be hard to find on the high street. It overs fairly decent coverage which is build-able and I found it fairly moisturising for my dry skin. Perfect for those with drier skin or who love a glowy finsih. £7.99

Revlon Photoready Foundation is another great radiance boosting foundation which I used to wear a few years ago. It gives your skin a lovely radiant finish combined with great coverage which, in my experience, lasted all day without touching up. Perfect for those who like radiance & longevity from their foundation. £12.99

Revlon ColourStay Foundation is a great alternative for your die-hard Doublewear fans out there. It gives great coverage with a matte finish and unparalelled longevity from a cheaper brand. The only thing to be mindful of is the fact that matte (and especially long lasting) foundations can enhance a drier skins appearance and texture. Perfect for those with Combination/Oily skin who need something that won't budge. £12.49


Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer is an amazing product without even looking at the price. In the past it has been compared to the Estee Lauder Doublewear Concealer which I would say is a fair comparison (the Doublewear is only slightly creamier). This stuff is perfect for blemishes and gives amazing coverage to under eye circles, and all of this combined with amazing staying power. £3.99

Rimmel Wake Me Up Concealer is great for those of you who love a light reflecting concealer for under the eyes. This one doesn't give quite as much coverage as the Collection but is great for a more natural, dewy finish around the eyes. £5.49


Bourjois Delice de Poudre Bronzing Powder; also known as "the Chocolate Bronzer" comes in a variety of colour options for all skin tones and has great pigment without the fear of looking dirty after application. Oh, and did I mention it smells like chocolate!? £7.99


Sleek Blush or Blush by 3 are amazing in their own right. These blushers actually rival a lot of the high end blushers I've used in my time, and they are cheap as chips! A wide range of colours and finishes are available, my favourites being Rose Gold (dead ringer for the famous NARS Orgasm), Pomegranate and Sunrise. £4.49 or £10 for Blush by 3.

Contouring & Highlighting

Sleek Face Contour Kit or Face Form are one of the best products out there for powder contouring & highlighting. They come in 3-4 shades to suit the fairest of skins right down to the darkest. They give fabulous pigment from the contour powder and a gorgeous glow from the highlight, not to mention these will last you countless contouring sessions. £6.49 or £10 for Face Form


Sleek Brow Kit is a great cheaper alternative to the likes of your Benefit Browzings or Illamasqua Brow Cake. It comes with a soft wax for setting your brows, a powder colour for filling in, a small set of tweezers and 2 little brushes (which personally I would chuck in the bin) so everything you need to create the perfect arch. £8.50


I'm not even going to bother listing mascaras that are great from the High Street as there are far too many, and I think mascara is such a personal thing. I've used mascara and hated it but my mum or best friend would absolutely love it. Just experiment, but I generally find you can't go wrong with Max Factor or Maybelline.


Rimmel Glam Eyes Liquid Liner is one of the best liquid liners I have ever used point blank, which is such a bonus when it's so cheap. Deep black, long wearing and easy to apply this one ticks all of the boxes! The only grumble I have with this is when its drying, it can make my eyes feel a bit sensitive but I can deal with that because it's such a bargain. £5.29

Rimmel Scandal Eyes Waterproof Kohl Liner is one I have just recently purchased in a few colours and I'm really enjoying it! It has a similar creamy, smooth texture to my favourite Urban Decay 24/7 and has great longevity even in the waterline. £3.99

Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner is one you've probably heard of before. Very comparable to most high end gel liners I've used and better than most of them too. Smashed my Bobbi Brown out of the park. Rich black colour and amazing staying power. £7.99 


Sleek Palettes are absolutely fantastic little finds. They come in all the shade ranges you could possibly want and have amazing pigment to boot. My first makeup palette was the Sleek Storm palette and I used it until it fell apart, and since then I have bought others from the range and still use them to this day. Each palette contains 12 eyeshadows which is a total steal at £7.99

Makeup Revolution Palettes are a new one I came across whilst shopping the other day. I found it funny how 3 of their palettes seem to be blatant copies of a very famous brands eyeshadow range! They have a wide range of colours for everyone's preference with great pigment at only £4 a palette!

Again with lipstick and lipgloss, I don't see the point in listing all the amazing ranges out there. If you swatch them on the back of your hand, you'll get an idea of the colour, finish and whether you will like the product or not :) 

If any of you know any great options for budget buys I haven't mentioned, please post in the comments! xo

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Lime Crime Velvetines Review - Red Velvet & Utopia

I've always fancied some Lime Crime products ever since they launched as I've read Doe Deree's blog for years. In spite of many saying she's a bit of a crackpot, I was still dying to try these bad boys in particular. With the promise of pigment intense colour that dries to a gorgeous matte finish that lasts the whole day, who wouldn't be dying to get their hands on these? I picked up Utopia, (a gorgeous pink-purple orchid colour) and Red Velvet (bright blue based, true red).

I've used these for the past few weeks and I can honestly say they are probably the best lip products I've ever used. The colour that's in the tube? That's what it will look like on your lips. They're so crazily pigmented and with so little product used to achieve that effect! You swipe them on like a lipgloss but within a few minutes they dry to an "on-trend" matte finish that looks incredible on everyone. What I found most surprising, is that these didn't dry out my lips at all; unlike other matte lip products I've tried in the past. I would personally use a lipliner with these so you can draw an exact outline of your lips, however I've had no problems with bleeding so you can go without one.  

 Wearing "Utopia"

Wearing "Red Velvet"

For £13.50, you cannot go wrong with these if you're wanting a bright lip for a special occasion. I got mines from Love Makeup, but beware because they constantly sell out!


Sunday, 16 November 2014

Contouring, the product low down

I asked you all what you wanted to see and one of the requests was how to contour. Kim Kardashian and her amazing makeup artist are to thank for the big revival of contouring; and who could blame her for loving it. I for one join her in the love for contouring and highlighting as I unfortunately was blessed with a ball face instead of chiselled out cheekbones. Not to worry, in this post I'll address what products to use to fake killer bone structure as well as bigger or smaller features. 

The first thing to address when talking about contouring is whether you want a powder or cream contour. For the sake of this post, I'll talk about both however cream contouring is significantly more difficult and I personally wouldn't recommend it for a beginner. For a powder contour, you're going to need a cool toned bronzer/blusher which is at least 2 shades darker than your natural skin tone. By cool tone I mean something without an orange or yellow undertone, a cooler tone creates a more natural shadow on the face. My go to contouring product is MAC's Blusher in Harmony, as I find it suits a wide variety of skin tones and is the perfect colour. Other products I've used are the Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour palette, NARS Laguna Bronzer and Sleeks Contour Kits all of which are great alternatives. Next up if the kind of brush you use for contouring, I'd say this is the most important part as the kind of brush makes a massive difference to me when contouring. The MAC 109 Small Contour Brush is my personal favourite as it's small enough to get right into the hollow of the cheek but also blends the product seamlessly. The MAC 168 is also a great brush if you're looking for a more natural and softer contour as this is fluffier therefore doesn't pack on as much product. However, with this brush I'd save your money and go with the Crown Brush C405 which is a great dupe and (dare I say) even better than the MAC one.

Now with a cream contour, you're basically going to use a very light concealer to highlight and a much darker concealer to contour. Sound like a lot of makeup? Well it is, not an everyday look and definitely more for special occasions or nights out. For cream contouring, I use the Bobbi Brown Foundation Sticks in Porcelain and Espresso. These amazing foundation sticks blend seamlessly to avoid that "dirty" look that so many of my clients talk about when they've tried contouring in the past. For a cream contour, your tools are key in order to achieve a perfectly blended effect. Personally, I use a Real Techniques Beauty Blender sponge (dampened) to melt the product into the skin and seamlessly blend colours together.

I'll be following this post with a "How to" blog post or video to show the techniques of creating a perfect contoured look. I hope you enjoyed this post and found it useful!


Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Full Coverage Series: Laura Mercier Silk Creme Foundation Review

Following on from my "Foundation - What to Look for" post, I thought I would start a series of reviews of foundations, specifically full coverage as that's what is requested most when I'm freelancing. Full coverage foundations can be a tricky thing; we all want the best coverage possible but for it to look natural all in the one go. To start my series, I've chosen Laura Mercier's Silk Creme Foundation which is one of my personal favourites.

What Laura Mercier say -
"Smooth on this creamy foundation and watch imperfections, hyper pigmentation and even fine lines disappear. The long-wearing formula is blendable, glides on easily, giving you a fresh look that lasts all day."

Wearing Laura Mercier Silk Creme in Cashew Beige (unedited) 

To be perfectly honest, I'd say that description sums up this foundation perfectly. Silk Creme is a rich, creamy foundation which is unbelievably pigmented and therefore means you require the smallest amount to get amazing coverage. I particularly love the texture as it feels so beautifully moisturising for my dehydrated skin and I find no matter how thirsty my skin is, it doesn't drink in this foundation.  Silk Creme has a satin, luminous finish to it and definitely gives you a gorgeous glow which looks great in pictures (near impossible to find in a foundation, can I add). The staying power is fantastic as well, however I definitely recommend using a primer underneath, particularly if you are combination or oily so the foundation doesn't slide. My only grievance with this is the colour range, it really doesn't cater for everyone especially those of you with darker skin tones. The darkest shade is Hazelnut beige which I attempted to wear on holiday this year and was much too light. Come on Laura Mercier, give us more shades! All in all, I really do love this foundation and most people who try it love it too. The only thing I could say is I've found people with oily skin don't tend to favour it as it is a very creamy texture. 

Have you tried this? What did you think?

ark xo 

Sunday, 19 October 2014

MOTD - Brown Smoke

Just a quick little post to take you through the products used for this makeup! Excuse the rollers! Picture is completely unedited.

Face: Clarins Beauty Flash Balm used as primer followed by Laura Mercier Silk Creme foundation in Cashew Beige mixed with a little Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk foundation in 6.5 Contoured with MAC Harmony Powder Blush. Highlighted with NARS Orgasm Illuminator and Tom Ford's Contouring Cheek Colour Duo in Stroked. 

Brows: Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow in Chocolate with angled MAC 263 Brush.

Eyes: Laura Mercier Gel Eyeliner in Brown as a base. Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Snakebite blended out with MAC Eyeshadow in Texture. Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Blackout in outer corner. MAC Eyeshadow in Nylon as inner corner highlight. Tom Ford Liquid Eyeliner. Eldora Lashes in M106.

Lips: MAC Lipstick in Hue.

ark xo

 photo blanklogofull.png