Wedding make-up (when you’re a guest)

Image via imabeautygeek.com

This post is coming a little later than I planned but I’m sure so many people still have weddings to go to this year – I know I am four down with two more to go!

Similarly to bridal make-up, when you’re a guest at a wedding you want to choose products with longevity. You might not be suffering from nervous sweats like the bride but you’re still potentially spending the day in the sun, and you’ll definitely be eating and drinking.

Most likely, this also isn’t a time to go for something that is a big departure from what you usually wear. You want to enjoy the day feeling confident and relaxed and not worry that your Nicki Minaj eyelashes have come unstuck or that you have just left a two-tone lipstick mark on the mother of the bride’s cheek.

That said, there’s nothing stopping you from upping the ante a little – it’s a special occasion after all!

If you usually go for muted tones on your eyes, you could try a pop of copper which flatters all eye colours. Mac’s Woodwinked is perfect. Blend it in all over the eyelid and into the socket – the sheeny texture magically stays bright over the lid while defining the socket so there’s no need to add something darker.

For base, try adding a little moisturiser to your foundation of choice to avoid looking too cakey in the sun. Use concealer to cover any imperfections. If you’re in the market for a new base I love YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat and Garnier BB Miracle Skin Perfector Oil Free.

For lips you want to choose something that isn’t going to need touching up every five minutes. You could either go for a natural nude-y gloss (I wear Barry M Lip Gloss in 11 Coral almost every day) or there are lots of lipstick/balm/gloss/stain formulations around at the moment that are very easy to wear. Try YSL Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stain Lip in number 15 or Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Rendevous – both shades look fantastic with Woodwinked.

Here are a few make-up tutorials that I think work really well for a wedding guest look:

Tanya Burr’s Victoria’s Secret model make-up tutorial: Miranda Kerr (I appreciate a Victoria’s Secret model look might be a surprising choice but the make-up is so pretty and actually totally appropriate!)

Nic of Pixiwoo’s own wedding day make-up tutorial (Although a bridal look, works perfectly for a guest too).

Wedding/special occasion look by Lisa Eldridge (I’ve said before how totally, incredibly wonderful I think Lisa is – this is another beautiful look from her).

Beauty And The Bride: Wedding make-up

Eva Mendes - one of my wedding make-up inspiration photos

Eva Mendes – one of my wedding make-up inspiration photos

Whether you plan to do your own make-up or choose to have a make-up artist on the day, the most helpful thing you can do is collect lots of images of make-up looks you like. Look at them all together and pick out the themes. Have you chosen all natural styles? Maybe you’ve selected images where the skin is golden and glowing, or perhaps 60s inspired eyeliner flicks and a classic red lip? Whatever it is that you love, this will provide great inspiration for your bridal make-up.

Remember that your wedding day isn’t the time to try out a bold new look. When you walk down the aisle you want your groom to go weak at the knees at the sight of the girl he fell in love with – surprise should not be an emotion he is feeling at this point! This is the time to use your make-up to look like the best version on you.

With this in mind, along with your inspiration images, you should be thinking along the lines of enhancing what nature gave you. So, natural-looking skin (regardless of the coverage you prefer from your foundation it should always look natural), prettily defined eyes with fluttery lashes, a fresh blush of colour over cheeks, a touch of highlighter over cheekbones (and maybe also swept over forehead, down the centre of your nose and on your cupids bow – but be careful not to over-do it otherwise you risk looking more sweaty than glowy), and a lip colour that is one or two shades away from your natural colour (this will be the most flattering and won’t make your groom afraid to kiss you for fear of a) messing it up or b) donning it himself).

If you are doing your own make-up book yourself in for a consultation with brands who excel at natural make-up looks, like Bobbi Brown or Laura Mercier. Chat to the make-up artist and gather as many tips as you can. Important things are how to give your make-up staying power (primer and really taking time to work products into the skin) and flattering colours for your skin tone.

These are the products I used and loved on my wedding day:

Fluid master primer – Giorgio Armani

Luminous silk foundation – Giorgio Armani

Creamy concealer kit – Bobbi Brown (LOVE this)

Sheer Bronzer  – Giorgio Armani

Pot Rouge in Blushed Rose – Bobbi Brown (as a base for powder blusher – makes it last 10 times longer)

Blush in Nectar – Bobbi Brown

Sheer Finish Loose Powder in Soft Sand – Bobbi Brown

Eyeshadow in Brule – Mac

Pigment pot in Gold Mode – Mac (to highlight inner corners of eyes) (argh – discontinued! Try Melon instead)

Eyeshadow in Stone – Bobbi Brown

Eyeshadow in Mink – Bobbi Brown (for eyebrows) (Also discontinued, try Expresso or Mahogany)

Glam Eyes Liquid Liner in Black Glamour – Rimmel (the best I’ve tried and a bargain)

Lip Pencil in No. 22 – Make Up Forever (Try Mac Lip Liner in Spice too)

Rouge Coco in Mademoiselle – Chanel

All my brushes from Make Up Forever, Mac and Bobbi Brown.

If you are getting married, or just want some personalised make-up and beauty advice, leave a comment and I will get in touch!

Beauty And The Bride: Skincare for the face part 2

Advanced Night Repair: A desert island product.Image from www.facegoop.com

Advanced Night Repair: A desert island product.
Image from facegoop.com

There is a lot of hype around serums, and for good reason, they often work a lot harder than a moisturiser and the good ones genuinely make a difference to the appearance of your skin.

My favourites are:

Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair
I know it’s not a new recommendation but this product really is so good at perfecting the skin. Its anti-aging and smoothing qualities are well documented, but what you don’t often hear is that it’s also fantastic for keeping breakouts at bay. I want to say that’s down to the Hyaluronic Acid, but I actually have no idea which ingredient I should be giving credit to… I’m just happy it does such an excellent job.

Pai Rosehip Bioregenerate Oil
I adore this. It feels pure, nourishing and organic but with the benefits of the sophisticated technology Pai uses to create it’s skincare products. Pai’s rosehip oil is super concentrated, with high levels of the powerful anti-aging vitamin A.

Alpha-H Liquid Gold
More of a treatment than a serum, but I use it about once or twice a week instead of one of the two above. Liquid Gold contains glycolic acid, which evens out skin tone, smooths wrinkles and controls breakouts. They describe it as a ‘resurfacing lotion’, which does sound a bit intense, but I have fairly sensitive skin and feel little more than a tingle when I apply it. I always do the intense treatment, which just means that I don’t apply moisturiser afterwards. A couple of notes on this one: don’t use this at the same time as an exfoliating product and if you have very dry skin, this might not be the product for you.

I’ve tried lots of moisturisers, but for day time I always come back to Olay Essentials Complete Normal to Oily Day Fluid SPF15. I’ve used this since I was a teenager and while so many others will make me breakout in spots, when I use this my skin stays clear and balanced. I love that it has a light SPF, which is perfect for a bit of protection during winter months. (During summer I wear an additional SPF product – I like Clinique’s Super City Block SPF 40, and this year I also want to try Dermalogica Solar Defense Booster SPF 30 on Sali Hughes’ recommendation).

My favourite night cream is Clinique Super Rescue Antioxidant Night Moisturiser. As the name suggests, it’s packed full of antioxidants and makes me feel like I’m undoing some of the damage city life does to my skin.

When my skin is clear, once a week or twice I also use Bio Oil as my night time moisturiser. It’s so healing and when I wake up I feel like the lines around my mouth are plumped out a little.

Beauty And The Bride: Skincare for the body

Image via mycrazy-beautifulife.tumblr.com

Image via mycrazy-beautifulife.tumblr.com

I’ve done a bit of a lazy girl’s guide to getting into shape through exercise and diet, now on to the fun part – products!
These are the things I think it’s worth introducing into your routine up to six months (or more if you have longer) before your wedding day:

A firming, toning and cellulite busting gel or cream
I haven’t actually used many of these, mainly because I don’t find them moisturising enough, so the times I have bought them, I always end up reaching for the moisturiser instead. However, when you persevere and use the techniques they recommend (basically pummel those lumps and bumps away) I do think they help. I have tried and liked Elemis Body Sculpting Firming System (Duo). It’s pricey so I have also used L’Oreal Body Expertise Sculpt Up which I really recommend.

A smoothing body oil that will even out your skin tone and fade scars and stretch marks
I swear by Bio Oil, I’ve used it for years and totally think it’s worth the hefty price tag. It’s on offer on Boots.com right now so with that it works out as about the price of your average body cream – great news!

An alternative is pure coconut oil, which you can buy in most health food shops and supermarkets. You can also use this as a hair mask.

Something specifically for your bust and décolletage
It’s worth treating this area with as much love as you do your face. The skin is very similar but prone to neglect sadly! For me, it’s often the area that I’m most likely to burn in the sun too so I try to be extra careful with the SPF nowadays.

In terms of looking after your chest daily, I like Nip+Fab Bust Fix Plumping Treatment  and Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Bust Cream.  Both are lovely, the Palmer’s feels more moisturising, whereas Nip+Fab’s is a gel, so it just depends what you prefer. Also the Palmer’s has that very strong chocolate-y scent so this might also sway you either way.

An exfoliator
Whether you prefer a scrub (I don’t) or a body puff (I do) just make sure that when you get in the bath or shower you are giving your skin a bit of a polish and getting rid of those dead skin cells.

The same goes for your feet too, give them a buff everyday and it’ll be much less work than if you leave them for weeks (months) and only pay them any attention when summer, or your wedding, comes round.

This isn’t necessarily exhaustive but I would say start using these four products some months before your wedding day and you will feel glow-y and lovely when the big day arrives. There is actually a lot more I could say on the matter (fake tan and hair removal to name just two) but I think that’s going to have to be another post!

Beauty And The Bride: Beautiful eating

Image from prevention.com

Image from prevention.com

I’m no nutritionist but I do think I’ve got a good idea of healthy food choices and particularly those that lead to happy hair, skin and nails.

Alongside the exercise, if you make sure you are choosing the right foods you will really notice the difference.

I’m not going to write out a diet plan because I don’t have the expertise required for that but I will talk about some tips on what works for me when I’m having a bit of a health kick.

Firstly, if you work in an environment where colleagues have the habit of buying sweets, chocolate and cake, you’ve got to summon gargantuan amounts of will power and start saying no. Before you know it this can amount to hundreds (thousands) of extra calories a day. And the refined sugar is not doing your skin any favours at all.

Aside from avoiding the things you know are bad for you, generally start having meals that are low in fat and high in protein, with a little bit of carbohydrate on the side (I don’t think cutting carbs out altogether is helpful, I end up craving buttery toast).

Things that your hair, skin and nails love are avocados, nuts, fish, kale, plenty of water, oats, coconut oil, colourful vegetables, blueberries and seeds. All these foods are packed with the vitamins and antioxidants you need for glossy hair, clear skin and strong nails. Try to work them into your meals in a way that you find appealing – then you’re going to be more likely to stick to it. Just google recipes with these keywords.

Ideally, get your vitamins from the food you eat, but a supplement to this will work wonders too. I swear by Berrocca -when I’ve been having one regularly I notice the difference in my nails the most; they’re stronger, the tips are whiter and they peel and break less often. I don’t tend to have one a day because I heard that this can put a strain on your liver (and it gets expensive), four a week seems about right.

Drink plenty of water. This is not new advice but the reason you constantly hear this is because it’s so necessary to stay hydrated. It’s also such an easy thing to do so there’s really no reason not to. Also try to only drink alcohol twice a week at the most, cutting this down with get rid of lots of empty calories and your body will show its gratitude with happier skin and more energy.

Along with the exercise, a healthy but achievable diet (sometimes you should allow yourself that slice of cake – it’s really good for the soul) should be a lifestyle thing, not only in the run up to your wedding day or big event.

Next is skincare and the products I love and think make a difference.

Beauty And The Bride: Time to tone up the jiggle

photo (6) copy 3

I’m one of those people who gets really enthusiastic about getting fit for about two months and then misses one session, completely loses momentum and heads for the nearest baguette.

I’ve just started Fit February (I avoided Dry January) and, while having the bite-sized goal of doing regular exercise for four weeks really helps with motivation, this time I want to try to keep it up and make it a lifestyle thing.

When you’re getting ready for your wedding day I think it’s a good idea to take the same approach. There can’t be much worse than looking at your wedding photos and wishing you still felt as happy and confident with yourself as you did then. Why not keep it up and continue feeling super through to your first anniversary and beyond?

For me, working my exercise into my daily life is the only way to make sure I stick to it. I know that if I take my P.E kit to work planning to go to the gym afterwards there’s about a 99% chance it’ll stay under my desk unused for weeks. But if I take the same kit and change into it straight after work and then run (at least part of the way) home, I’m much more likely to do it because it’s a means to an end. Also, it’s often actually more pleasant than crushing into a packed train at rush hour, which is extra incentive.

The other thing that really works for me is exercise DVDs. This might conjure up images of cheesy 80s leotards but please let me tell you why you must try these.

Firstly, you don’t have to go anywhere. I always think that half the battle is making yourself get to the gym/park/swimming pool. With a DVD you just need clear a bit of space in your living room.

The second great thing is that no one can see you. I really don’t like anyone witnessing my bum jiggle/face turn bright red/my sweaty hair slap me in the face while I pound away like a baby elephant on a treadmill. Exercising at home means you can do all of this in private. Also, you don’t need any snazzy kit, just an exercise bra and your trainers (both of which are SO important, don’t even think about leaping around without either of these).

To see results you need to be doing about 30 minutes of exercise three times a week. If you have less time before w-day then I would up this to four or five times a week. Keeping it to 30 minutes makes it that much more achievable, it seems like a short period of time but if you work hard for that half an hour you will notice it.

These are the DVDs I have used and recommend:

Davina  – she’s a favourite because she is just so normal. I’m sure plenty of people will have other opinions but for me Davina is lovely and funny and her DVDs are created for us regular folk, are easy to follow and really work.

I have Davina Fit which has five sessions that are 30 minutes each. I like this one because the five sessions keep it varied. I also have Davina Power of Three and Davina My Three 30 Minute Workouts.

Other than Davina I have the Pussycat Dolls Workout DVD which is SO fun. You get fit while learning to dance like a bit of a ho, it’s hilarious. The girls in it have insane bodies, which is also nice and depressing. Only joking, of course I mean motivating!

Finally I have Mr Motivator BLT Workout. I really hope I’m not totally putting everyone off with my choices of DVD… I actually got this one for Christmas from my sister. Like PCD, it’s also pretty funny – set in Jamaica, Mr M seems to have pulled a few housewives off the beach to join him in his workouts. Aside from the comedy of Mr Motivators cries of ‘Get dimples in your bum’ (the muscle, not cellulite kind) it also really works. Because each workout is seven minutes I tend to push myself to do just one more and end up doing most of the hour long video in one session.

Keep doing three to four 30 minute sessions a week that get you out of breath and I promise that within just a few weeks you will be feeling fitter and healthier. Couple this with a healthy diet and you will be feeling brilliant. More to come on diet next.

Beauty And The Bride

photo (6) copy 2

We all want to look like the absolute best version of ourselves on our wedding day; I feel I can be so bold as to assume that this is a given for pretty much every lady out there.

Over the next six weeks I’m going to write a series of posts that will help you on the road to sheeny, shiny bridal perfection. Whether you just want to tone up or need tips for beautiful, glowing make-up, I’m going to cover it all here.

Before my own wedding I did something like this and genuinely felt lovely on the day. And I think that’s the main thing – feeling happy and confident so that when you put your dress on and leave to go and marry the man of your dreams you can forget about all the primping and just have an amazing day. Worrying about bingo wings just shouldn’t feature in your day.

You can pick this up whether you have six months or six days until you walk down the aisle – some of the benefits will be instant. My plan is that it’s easy to fit in around your job and all the planning you have to do too.

The fitness side of it is not intense – I don’t pretend to have an in-depth knowledge of any sports – my (fairly basic) take on it is to eat less, move more. But if you do take up the (easy) exercise you will definitely notice the difference.

Something I do know about is hair, skin and nails, and this will form a big part of the series. From the vitamins that will help you shine, to clever tricks with a make-up brush, you will feel lovely by the time I’m finished with you!

It’s worth saying here that of course all you don’t need to be getting married for this series to be relevant. If you have any big occasion where you want to feel your most beautiful self, you’ve come to the right place.