So a week ago, Donna from Bras & Honey and I attended the prestigious Beauty School Drop Out event at Harvey Nichols, Manchester as part of their Beauty Bazaar season.
On arrival we were greeted with adorable cocktail milkshakes in retro milk bottles with striped straws, alongside paper bags filled to the top with chocolate and candy. As you can imagine, we were very pleased.
The event offered a chance to explore the latest trends in Hair and Beauty as well as learn a few tips from exclusive make-up artistry, skincare and nail classes at the Beauty Assembly performed by The Kognac Sponge Company, James Read, Bobbi Brown, Only Fingers and Toes and Shiseido.
As we worked the room, we (or more so, I) became victim to many Cosmetic demonstrations, the first of which was a presentation from exclusive salon brand He-Shi tanning. Although I’m not a regular tanner and often reserve a good fake bake for special occasions or events, He-Shi may have been quite close to converting me to the ways of Faux Tanning.
The He-shi rep offered to tan both my arms and so I went along with it! She applied the Express Tan Liquid with a foam mitt and blended the product in from hand to shoulder on each arm. All worried that it would stain my new, Silk Kimono I enquired about the developer and drying time of the product to which I was told that He-Shi Liquid Tan dries within 30 seconds and develops from first application. The Paraben & Alcohol free formulation enables the product to be applied streak-free and the PH Balance makes it appropriate for both Face and Body. By the time I got home, showered and exfoliated the tan had developed nicely into a beautiful sun-kissed glow that works with your bodies’ organic Melanin to enhance your natural skin tone without looking too Mahogany or Orange. Unfortunately, this product retails at £37.00 for 300ml in the UK, making it the most expensive tanning product in Hi-Shi’s dynamic range but I’d certainly refer it to any friends who regard tanning as one of their Beauty priorities, as the Tan was both natural and significant with a resistance of up to 5 days from one application. My arms never looked so sexy.
Next up, was a consultation with a company I’ve been researching for a long time; Bare Minerals. Having super troublesome and blemish prone skin I’ve become more inclined to try Mineral skincare that offers coverage with all the added goodness of the mineral formulations to improve my oily complexion. Bare Minerals is already the most notable distributor of Mineral Make-Up in the US and has recently gained a fab cult brand status in the UK with Beauty Bloggers like Gh0stparties being converted by the coverage and benefits of their products.
However, the consultation left me pretty undecided on the matter and still a little intrigued about the properties. I attended the event with a modest face of make-up, priming, concealing and applying a CC cream beforehand in fear of looking like Sloth around such beautifully pampered people. I approached the Bare Minerals counter and enthusiastically explained my growing curiosity about the brand and my evident skin concerns. The Make-up lady sat me down for a consultation and promptly removed a small area of make-up around my most problem area at the right of my chin and mouth. Sat their all vulnerable and exposed, the lady began to swatch different colours on the left of my face to which I was still wearing make-up in a bid to compare colours to the tone I was already wearing. Having a naturally Olive Skin tone I’d say I was of a Medium shade in most cosmetic products. The make-up artist then asked me to pick from the swatches on the side of my face and honestly, I had no idea what I was looking at. The swatches had pretty much camouflaged into my complexion with just one bright ivory example standing out amongst the almost invisible array of samples. So after an awkward, long silence trying to work out if there was anything there I just pointed at section of my face around where she’d been working and hoped for the best. The lady kindly built up coverage around the exposed 10th of my face, with a primer and a range of powders. When she was done I looked in the mirror and I have to admit, that 10th was possibly the most beautiful and clear fragment upon my face! All my blemishes were covered and the combination of products offered a luminous, natural glow without a cakey finish.
When looking at the ‘Get Started' kits the consultant added that I was actually shade ‘R330’, the darkest shade on the Bare Minerals Shade Palette and this really surprised me. I understand that I have Olive pigmentation but this shade looked super dark on the box and way too warm for my complexion and effectively this swayed me out of purchasing the product. However, my pursuit to get stuck into some Bare Mineral products has not ended and I hope to visit my nearest Bare Minerals counter soon and get a thorough consultation with a representative that seems more willing to discuss the benefits of Mineral Make-up for problem skin and determine an effective and realistic shade. I’m sorry to be critical but this experience really killed my buzz.
Amongst the demonstrations and consultations was a little light hearted chance to win some prizes and play some Playground themed games. Donna and I were really into this idea and our competitive streak was perhaps a little to evident. The first game was Hopscotch! The idea was to roll a (deflated) ball to the end square and get it to stay there before completing the Hopscotch without touching the lines. We were offered six chances to complete the game and unfortunately Donna didn't possess the crazy Hopscotch skills that I did and on my final attempt I did it! Way too proud of myself and openly elated, i collected my prize, as I won a selection of samples from exquisite perfumery brand, exclusive to the Royals, Creed. I’ve smelt amazing for the last week with the selection of six dynamic fragrances suitable for both day and night.
Donna managed to get her revenge, during a very tense and unnerving game of ‘Noughts & Crosses’ to which she won and was awarded an adorable Marc Jacobs coin purse from the quirky ‘Dot’ range. The jealousy was pretty much on a par.
We then attended the exciting make-up class with a Bobbi Brown artist and garnered a chance to learn about all the imperative processes we should never forget to include in our skincare regime. Bobbi Brown boasts that perfect texture and skin quality is imperative for flawless make-up. The class provided a great insight into the tricks and tips of the professional make-up artists and provided us with a few ideas we can easily work into the preparation and application of our make-up at home. If you can’t get out to visit a Bobbi Brown rep, I really recommend googling a few articles or interviews in which Bobbi Brown discusses her make-up and skincare advice, her philosophy is universal and appropriate for every age, race and skin type.
After mingling for the rest of the night we decided upon a Brand to which we’d want to get a make-over from and opted for cult 90’s Brand, Stila. This Brand doesn’t seem to get a huge amount of coverage in the press and is continuously on the rise. Their eclectic product range is both fun and unconventional with a few essentials that enhance a natural complexion. For playful, interesting and unique beauty looks with the application of professional artistry, Stila is certainly the one.
Our aim was to try out bold and exciting beauty looks that extended beyond our personal make-up routine and enhanced our personalities and tastes. Donna was up first! Wearing a Neon Floral Print top from Next, she wanted to pick out the Brights colours from her ensemble and match them to her beauty look.
The Make-up Artist, Danni was super enthusiastic and excited that we were happy to experiment.
Donna already has flawless and blemish free skin and went to the event virtually make-up free and fresh faced. Danni started with ‘One Step Illuminating Serum’ this serum is super versatile and can be used as a primer, alone or under make-up. It brightens up dull complexions and provokes a natural glow with nourishing properties. Great for fine lines and wrinkles! She then followed with their best-selling product the ‘Stay All day Foundation and Concealer’ in shade 4 Beige, and buffed it into skin with a slightly damp ‘Double-ended blending sponge’ perfect for those awkward nose and eye areas.
Donna’s major beauty complaint is her eyebrows, having quite naturally fair hair she’s always conscious that without a little alteration it looks as though she is ‘eye-browless’ when in fact I’m the total opposite, with naturally dark hair i’m forever in fear of looking ‘over-browful’. If that makes sense?
Anyway Danni took care of all Donnas brow-related trauma and offered brow definition with the ‘Stay All Day Waterproof Brow Colour’ in Medium. The tool effectively looks like a felt tip with a fine nib that enables you to subtly render brows using a small brush stroke technique. Danni then reapplied a little of the illuminating serum on Donna's cheek bones for a brightening effect and finished with a bold Pink lip colour from the ‘Colour Balm Lipstick’ range in Betsey.
My make-over was a little different; opting for an oriental theme that day in a monochrome kimono and an all black ensemble, I was able to try a range of colours. Danni primed my face with the ‘Stay All Day 10-in-1 HD Bronzing Beauty Balms with SPF30’….what a mouthful. The tinted balm offers an natural glow that can also be worn alone or as a primer or illuminator. The bronzing properties worked beautifully with my skin tone and the abundance of features and benefits ensured that it softened the appearance of blemisheds and pores with an oil and paraben free formula and micro-spheres that increase antioxidant activity by 89.7% in skin quality. She followed with the same Foundation used on Donna, this time in Skin shade 8 Honey and concealed my terrible problem areas and dark circles with the stay-all day concealer.
Often, I prefer a natural skin kissed glow over a pop of colour on the cheek and without a mention of this, the make-up artist got to work on highlighting my cheekbones and illuminating my features with 'Stila Sun Highlighter' and ‘All Over Shimmer Powder Kitten’ creating a contouring effect across my cheekbones and apples. When it came to Lip Colour I told Danni to totally freestyle and she said she’d been dying to try this specific Lip Shade on somebody of dark complexion for a while... As she intricately applied the colour with a lip brush I looked down in shock at the vibrant purple shade she was putting on my lips. Terrified I was going to look like an awful Jessie J impersonator I looked in the mirror and in fact the colour was gorgeous! A rich shade of Purple from the ‘Colour Balm Lipstick’ Range in Gemma, a perfect alternative to my usual deep Berry hues.
We both purchased the Stila Primers and Foundations used on our faces with the intention to go back soon and pick up some more of the bright and illuminating products in time for summer. I've been using the Bronzing Balm on a regular basis and am already super thrilled with it's adaptable and versatile qualities, whilst the concealer in the foundation hides an abundance of flaws.
The night offered an inclusive insight into new and exciting beauty trends and the forever inherent themes and ideas behind skin care and make-up application. I always find it super invigorating to attend nights like this and refresh your outlook on Fashion, beauty and Hair trends for a little inspiration....and free stuff too!