Finding My Aesthetic

Hello and welcome to my blog! I thought I’d start by talking through the various successes and colossal mishaps that have led me to evolve my makeup aesthetic. I am so proud of the looks that I create and I have tried and tested literally thousands of products to make sure that my kit is made up of the best possible products – with no duds.

My makeup journey started by watching my mum get ready – I think this is true for so many of us. I vividly remember balancing on the edge of the bath watching my mum dust on Max Factor’s Creme Puff, lace her lashes with 2000 Calorie mascara and finish off the routine with a spritz of Calvin Klein’s Obsession. I stared in wonderment as she turned herself from our mum into a glamorous, sophisticated woman. I ached so much to do the same, so it wasn’t long before I began to experiment and ‘borrow’ her products for myself (sorry Mum!).

During my teen years, with Creme Puff firmly cemented into my routine, I began to embrace colour. And I seriously went for it. You’d often find me with shakily applied blue Urban Decay liquid eyeliner finished off with blue mascara, or green shimmery eyeshadow, or bright pink, or a casual black smokey eye – perfect for English period one. My favorite product from these years was probably the Body Shop shimmer brick – another of my mum’s purchases – that introduced me to the world of glitter, and I’ve been a bit of a magpie since. Around about this time I began to get teenage spots – enter Maybelline’s Dream Matte Mousse (shudder), troweled on with finger tips. Next came Collection 2000’s sticky, grainy lip glosses, which I liberally applied and reapplied several times a day like it was a full time job. I was forever getting told off in school for wearing too much makeup, but I totally ignored any threats of detention and reeled off a well rehearsed speech about my right to express myself and bustled on past. 

By the time I’d got to university I had realised the joy that makeup bought me. Having lots of time on my hands meant that I would spend hours practising different makeup looks in front of the mirror, experimenting with liquid eyeliners, lipstick, cut creases and blending. Although I couldn’t afford high end products I made do with what I had and put some really special purchases on my christmas list. Despite this, I hadn’t yet made the connection between good skincare and makeup, so I spent years crawling into bed after all-day pub crawls with a full face of makeup intact, only to wake up and the morning, pick off my mascara, and start to reapply, relishing every second.

After university I entered the professional realm. Fresh out of university I felt young, naive and utterly inadequate compared to my colleagues. Putting on my face everyday instilled a deep layer of confidence in me, allowing me to flourish professionally. Another happy by-product of beginning my career was that I could afford to update my makeup stash. This I did with gusto. I followed Sali Hughes’ Guardian column and bought nearly every recommendation – filling my cupboards with a mixture of high end and high street makeup. Some favourites from this time include Lancome Teint Idole which lasted all day even with my oily skin, Bobbi Brown lipsticks, Clean and Clear blotting sheets, YSL’s Touche Eclat and Revlon’s Lip Butters. The looks I created became less garish and more sophisticated, but still with that edge of fun. I finally felt like I was finding my style. Despite this, I still had this nagging feeling that I was vain for thinking about makeup so much – surely there were more important things in the world? It wasn’t long before I found Sali Hughes’ Facebook group and furtively joined. Suddenly I was plunged into this community of women who celebrated their love of makeup and didn’t feel ashamed. I felt like I had found my people.

During my mid twenties I discovered skincare and stopped using such high coverage foundations. This was transformative – I realised that I could balance high impact eyes or bold lips with natural looking skin for an altogether more sophisticated look. I embraced this so much that I completely forewent foundation for years. Staple products began to find their way into my makeup bag. When I opened it, the rich berry colours of Charlotte Tilbury packaging blended with the black of MAC, interrupted by a healthy dose of Huda Beauty. I discovered Armani’s Luminous Silk foundation which delivers a glowing sheer base, Laura Mercier’s Secret Camouflage to cover any blemishes from dawn ‘til dusk, Charlotte Tilbury’s Beauty Light Wand to subtly highlight and Stila’s Magnificent Metals eyeshadows to introduce some sophisticated glitter. Fenty Beauty’s Lip Paints delighted me with their staying power and my lipstick collection bulged with a plethora of premium brands. I had found my aesthetic. 

As I rolled into my thirties I was doing my friend’s makeup for a wedding when she suggested that I make a career out of it. I quickly dismissed this, but, being on maternity leave made me reassess. Makeup felt like a big part of me – a creative outlet that I didn’t otherwise have. Why shouldn’t I pursue that? So I booked myself on a makeup course, feeling slightly out of place surrounded by lots of twenty year olds fresh out of college. Reader, I loved it. Having the opportunity to play with makeup and create different looks felt amazing and life-affirming and I knew that it was what I wanted to do. 

And so here we are. My kitbag is full to the brim of outstanding products, and it gives me enormous pleasure to apply them to women and make them feel amazing. Over the years I have realised that loving makeup isn’t about vanity – it’s about creativity, and empowerment; when I apply my makeup I feel ready to take on the world, whatever it throws at me. Every person deserves to feel like that. This philosophy is what underpins everything I do as a makeup artist, and I hope that through my work I can spread that message far and wide.