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Sunday, 26 February 2012

Hair and Makeup Day!

As you know, I went on a hair and makeup day course yesterday. I had bought it on Groupon months ago for £29 rather than £300 but wasn't too sure what to expect and almost didn't go as I was so nervous about it. I did go and I really enjoyed myself, so I must remember that next time I am lacking confidence to do something on my own (happens a lot).

I arrived at the hotel the course was being held at fifteen minutes early and got a bit fed up when the receptionist told me to wait at the bar and I looked like an idiot amongst a huge hen party all dressed in their PJs still. I saw a couple of girls go somewhere else so decided to ask at the bar this time and one of the waitresses managed to locate the right room for me. I was worried that the mirror I had brought with me (a pretty big and ornate dressing room one) was going to be too big but the course leader was really nice and said it would be fine. More girls started coming into the room and the course started.

My desk :)

We were asked to write our names down and then get set up. I was sat on a table with three sisters who were all aged between 35-45 and another older woman and a young woman around my age who I found out was four and a half months pregnant, which gave us a lot to chat about and really helped put me at ease.

My pen and pad

We watched demostrations by the course leader on some of the girls and then were asked to recreate the look ourselves on our own tables.

We were given handouts to help recreate looks back home

I learnt some great tips which I will share with you at the end of the post. One of the best things we did on the course was learning how to perfect the smokey eye look, something I have tried and failed to do well everytime I have gone out on a night out.

My smokey eye

At 11am we had a fifteen minute break and then got back to our eye makeup, learning how to create the perfect flick with liquid or gel eyeliner. At 1pm we had an hour lunch break and then the afternoon was dedicated to hair. We all paired up and had to curl each others hair using straighteners. I have only ever been able to curl with my GHDs and I got a bit confused by the course leader's demonstration as she curled differently. The woman I was paired up with was an older woman and she didn't quite get the concept which meant that my hair fell out very quickly, but to be fair to her, for a first attempt it looked pretty good.

My curled hair

We also watched the course leader demonstrate how to back comb properly and how to make a messy bun. At 4pm the course finished and we were all given our certificates and a goody bag which had some lovely makeup in it.

Overall I enjoyed the day and found it useful to learn some tips and tricks for doing my own hair and makeup. However, there is no way I would say the course was worth the £300 price tag, and I would not have paid it if I hadn't have had the Groupon voucher. I think the makeup tutorial was good, but I thought we would be learning more than basic base makeup application and smokey eyes (we didn't even get to our lips). I also thought the course should have been more fair towards people with different lengths of hair. I am fortunate to be able to curl my short hair, but one woman even left at lunch because it just wasn't worth her staying when all the hair section was aimed at people with long hair. To make it more fair the course could include something for those with shorter hair, although I did find the tips interesting and could always use them when my hair has grown or on friends.

I would not recommend this course unless you happen to find it on Groupon as I did. The certificate is not recognised by anyone and the goody bag, although nice, was not the promised MAC goody bag (they had already explained that it wouldn't be because of a lot of fake MAC products in ciculation but the makeup which was given instead was hardly of the same calibre). I did enjoy myself but for someone who already wears a reasonable amount of makeup, a lot of it was things I already knew.

Tips and Tricks from the day:

-A facial primer is not necessary unless going out in the evening and wanting the makeup to last and last. Simply cleansing, toning and moisturising before applying makeup is sufficient for day makeup

-Apply concealer prior to foundation and use a combination of different shades under the eye to create a more natural effect (this helps to prevent having a 'reverse panda eye' where a pale semi-circle is visible under the eye)

-When applying foundation to yourself use fingers rather than a brush or sponge as it means less product wastage and the heat from your fingers will help the foundation sink into the skin better and get into hard to reach areas such as around the nose.

-A good foundation match will mean that you can apply it just to your T-Zone without it being obvious. The foundation should be applied from the centre of your face outwards to create a more natural effect

-As with concealer, it is sometimes necessary to mix and match foundation shades for different areas of your face. Different seasons can also mean a change in the shade needed for foundation with warmer tones needed during Spring/Summer and cooler shades during Autumn/Winter

-A loose translucent powder is the best kind to use to set your foundation. It should be dappled onto the face using a powder brush and never wiped on as this will wipe the foundation over the face. Once the face is completely dry to the touch you can add to your makeup

-Contouring is hard to achieve but can help transform your entire face shape so is definitely worth working at. Contour sets are best to use and can be bought relatively cheaply, but otherwise simply use a bronzer and either a highlighter or a pale nude eyeshadow (I used a very light one which was almost white in colour). Sucking in your cheeks and looking like you are tasting a very sour lemon, brush the bronzer upwards from the centre of your cheeks towards your temple using a blusher brush. Once enough bronzer has been applied, add a small amount of highlighter above this line and blend together. Use a blusher if required to apply a small amount of colour to the apples of your cheeks only (make a really fake smile in the mirror to get the right parts of your cheeks)

-Contouring isn't just about the cheekbones, it can be used to hide double chins or large forheads or to create the illusion of a different shape of eye or nose.

-Applying a brow pencil is necessary if the brow is very thin or has been overplucked, but if all you require is some definition, an eyeshadow in a colour similar to your hair colour is a better idea and can look more natural. Brush the colour gently over your natural eyebrow arch to really frame your eyes

-Smokey eyes can be achieved by being patient and building colour and intensity up slowly. Start of with a light shade such as a pale beige or a pale gold (I used a pale gold). Using an eyeshadow brush, gently sweep the colour onto your lid, not going to far up. Once the first colour is applied, choose a similar colour in a slightly darker shade to intensify the shadow. Only apply this shade to the outer corner of the eye and then use a blending brush to blend the two colours together

-Once you are happy with the two base colours, slowly add the third and final colour just to the outer corner of the eye and then up towards the brow slightly in a sidewards V shape. Keep blending and applying until you are happy with the effect. It is easier to add a little and top it up rather than adding too much at the start and having to start over

-To apply a liquid or gel eyeliner you can either use a product which has an attached eyeliner brush, or if you are applying to someone else or just want a more precise line, you can buy a seperate eyeliner brush, or even a thin paintbrush (often cheaper and more precise).

-Apply mascara before applying a liquid liner as this will give you something to rest upon when drawing on your line and make it easier to stay steady. Eyeliner should always be applied from the outside corner in, even if you are not applying to the bottom lash line, it can be used as a guide for the top line (despite these great tips, I will be sticking with my Soap and Glory liner as it is more like a felt tip pen and very easy to use)

-Lipliner is not necessary unless wearing a very dark shade


-Curling with straighteners can be achived better when hair is sectioned completely (rather than just sectioning the part you are currently curling)

-By pinning the curls in place, the hair is kept out of the way whilst continuing the curling process but also helps the curls to stay in longer and holds the shape better

-If a curl is not completely rounded and there is a straggly piece of hair at the end, simply recurl the very end of the hair in the same direction as the existing curl

-Backcombing is often abandoned because girls are afraid to damage their hair and so only make a half-hearted effort. Backcombing can look amazing if done correctly. Section the hair at the crown of the head and, using a pin tail comb, push the comb into the hair and then down at a 45 degree angle. Don't then bring it back up again as it will just comb out the knot. Simply take the comb back out and do the same to the next section. Continue all over the section of hair needed and make sure you use lots of hairspray

-Once the backcombing is finished, use a very soft bristled brush to gently comb over the hair and hide it. Use more hairspray and style as required around it

-To create a messy bun simply bring all the hair up into a messy ponytail, the more loose ends hanging out etc the better. Divide the ponytail into four quarters and work on each one seperately, twisting the hair around and up. At the top, divide the end up until you have a tiny few strands of hair and then gently pull these strands until the section of hair begins to curl itself back down. Pin the hair to the head and repeat on all four sections. Once finished, tease the hair out and add more pins as necessary to create a boho style bun that looks pretty but effortless. To make a more chic look just spend more time teasing the hair back into the centre and pinning. To create a messier look, backcomb the sections rather than teasing them

Top Products:

-Bourjois Healthy Mix foundation is pretty cheap but creates flawless skin and smells gorgeous as well (seriously, smell it)

-Collection 2000 Lasting Perfection Concealer is one of the best around and only costs just over £4!

-Sleek Contour Kit is only £6.99 but is amazing at creating cheekbones and chiselled jawlines

-Buy a paintbrush from any art store for around 99p rather than an expensive eyeliner brush

-Maybelleine have come out with a gel eyeliner which rivals the MAC one for just £7.99

-Not something I learnt from the course, but from buying my first lot of makeup brushes in preperation I discovered just how amazing the brushes from H&M are! They are so cheap as well at just £1.99 for a duo eyeshadow and blending brush and £2.99 for a duo foundation and powder brush! I also love the smell and taste of their range of lipglosses and they are only £1.99!

-The Natural Collection do a really nice range of lipsticks for just £1.99. I have a beautiful coral colour which I bought for the course and it comes out so nice and nude and just enhances my natural lips perfectly when applied using a lip brush (which, as you asked, was from Boots No.7 range for just £2 with the current £5 off voucher).

Hope you enjoyed my post! The course has definitely made me more enthusiastic about experimenting with my makeup so look out for some future makeup related posts!


  1. Sounds like it was a good day, but I agree it doesn't sound worth £300!! Glad you learnt some tips though and thanks for sharing! Good old group-on! x

  2. sounds like you got a baragin day for £29.00, i've always wanted to o something like this,
    thank you for the little make up tips, i always apply my blusher and bronzer without sucking my cheeks in, will try this next time :)

    and i'm with you on the H&M duo brush, its fabulous.

    Love your smoky eye look,

  3. Sounds like you had a fun day, definitely not worth £300 though, noooo way! Agree with you on the goody bag, just because there are fakes circulating, they could have given a more expensive brand as they did promise MAC. NYC is one of the cheapest brands, but still AMAZING!

    Love the tips, contouring is so hard for me to get right, this will definitely help!


  4. Thanks for sharing all of the tips hun, some that I will deffo use and remember. Glad you had a good day, your hair looks gorgeous in the photo :)


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