Why Contouring Is Still Your Secret Weapon (The ‘Trend’ May Be Over, But It’s Quick & Handy Whatever Your Age)

SPONSORED FEATURE IN PARTNERSHIP WITH DANIEL SANDLER COSMETICS

2016 was undoubtedly the year we reached ‘peak contour’ with every blogger, celebrity, makeup brand and instagrammer embracing this simple way to add light and shade to the face. We all rushed out to stock up on anything and everything that offered a way to buff pounds off our cheeks, but according to the queen of contouring Kim Kardashian, in late 2016 the trend was officially over. However, six months later she’s launched her own range of products and has proved that contouring is still very much here to stay – even if in a slightly different form to what we’ve previously been used to. If you’ve been living under a rock (or just decided that contouring isn’t for you,) then this technique is simply a way of using light and dark to create depth and shape to your face; Kim herself has used it to essentially change her face shape, slim her nose and chisel those iconic cheekbones, while there are over 800,000 video results on YouTube that help you perfect the technique. It’s big news and even bigger business.

Although it can be scary (not helped by the fact Instagram is awash with 20-somethings piling it on like its going out of fashion,) if used effectively and subtly, contouring can be a secret weapon for anyone – whether you’re 18 or 80. It can help enhance your features, slim down ones you don’t want to focus on, add definition or even take years off your complexion. The modern and fresh way to embrace contouring is with less precision, a lighter tone and the focus being on adding a sunkissed flush to skin rather than depth that makes you look like Skeletor. “The basic principal of this technique involves highlighting and creating shade. Therefore, everything you highlight ‘comes forward’ and everything you contour ‘stays in the background’. So in short, you want to highlight your good features and contour the ones you want to hide,” says pro makeup artist Daniel Sandler.

You can even use contouring to add fullness to cheeks (which can often be lost as we age,) or conceal a slightly saggy jawline that’s not as defined as it once was. Personally I use contouring most days to help my complexion look fresh, to add definition to my jawline and add fullness to my cheeks; using an angled brush helps to aid application along the cheekbones and circular motions ensure there are never any harsh lines. To help even beginners among you, Daniel has created Sculpt & Slim (£26.50), an easy-to-use pressed powder dual-purpose contour kit that helps create the illusion of defined cheekbones and a slimmer face. With two universal shades and a super soft blendable texture, it’s super easy to use and doesn’t leave you feeling uneasy about creating so much contrast.

DANIEL’S TOP TIPS FOR PERFECTING THE ART OF CONTOURING:

1. Look for matte products that are slightly darker than your skin tone – but not too dark or it will look obvious and theatrical!

2. Choose the correct professional formula that suits your way of applying. Cream textures work well for those who like using fingers, whereas those who prefer brushes should use a pressed powder formula. Remember that using a synthetic brush to apply liquids or creams will create a more sculpted, contoured finish – whereas using your fingers will provide a softer, healthier glow.

3. Sweeping sculpting powder along the jaw line creates the illusion of a slimmer face; blend the powder softly down onto the neck to avoid a tide-line. Using a small eyeshadow brush, apply the same contour powder through the eye sockets to set back over-hanging lids. Gently shade around the sides of the nose to help it look slimmer, while applying contour under cheekbones adds youthful definition and reduces the look of puffiness.

4. Contrast against the sculpting by applying a light dusting of highlighting powder above it. This adds a ‘lift’ to your features.

5. Practice makes perfect and always apply contour in even light so you can really see what you’re doing.

6. If you over-apply when using powder, simply blend away any excess by sweeping some translucent powder over the mistake. If you over-apply when using a cream formula, use your foundation brush to blend and tone down the error.

The huge trend of contouring like your life depends on it may be over, but that doesn’t mean we all can’t benefit from a little subtle light and shade to bring out our best features. The key is to create an effortless look that’s blended beautifully, rather than creating strong contrast that can easily look dated… And finding products along the way that help us do that without breaking a sweat.

Are you a fan of contouring? Will you be embracing this effective and easy way to enhance your features?

Daniel Sandler’s Sculpt & Slim is priced £26.50 and available online.

If you want to get to grips with some of the iconic and best selling products from the range, then you’re in luck – because we’re giving one lucky reader the chance to WIN a goodie bag busting with all my fave Daniel Sandler makeup treats, including: Intense Volume Pro Mascara (£18.50), Instant Tan Bronzer (£22.50), Radiant Glow Highlighter (£29.50), Sculpt and Slim Palette (£25.50) and a 4 Piece Watercolour Customisable Kit (£49.50). In total the bundle is worth £145.50! If you want to be in with a chance of winning, just enter via the widget below. You’re welcome!

SPECIAL OFFER FOR LBQ READERS: Get 15% off Daniel Sandler Cosmetics when bought from the website. Just use code LBQ15. (Once per customer; code valid until 31st December 2017

Check out the full range of Daniel Sandler cosmetics on the website: www.danielsandler.com

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This is a sponsored feature in partnership with Daniel Sandler Cosmetics; all opinions are my own.

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Reddit Helped Clear My Pores? Skincare,

Reddit How to Skin Grit

There are many things I associate with Reddit but skincare is not one; that’s not to say there isn’t forums full of great advice, it is more to do with the fact I tend to read up on unresolved mysteries over all else. Well perhaps topping the weirdest-things -list -of -Reddit -discoveries is skin gritting – a new and novel way to eradicate blackheads, that many are currently heralding as the ultimate quick fix for the problem once and for all.

To the best of my understanding, there are two methods to skin grit:

A, what I’ve affectionately dubbed as the cleanse sandwich: first you cleanse, dry skin with an oil cleanser, rinse, dry and apply a clay based mask before following up with another oil based cleanse.

B, or the AHA/BHA cleansing method: you use either a AHA or BHA cleanser, allow to dry and then double cleanse with an oil based cleanser.

What both methods have in common is: a deep cleanse, a lot of oil and skin massage – simple but apparently effective. The idea is that by doing employing such steps, you bring any trapped dirt, grime and sebum, to the surface of the skin via the mask or cleanser, and by combining the emollient quality of the oil you will loosen and free such trapped “grit”.

Now I know you are have two questions: did I try skin gritting out for myself and was it effective? You can bet your Reddit-browsing-ass that I gave it a whirl; I decided to try the more traditional approach of using the mask and oil combination in the hope of removing any blackheads on my face. I’d love to tell you it was a hugely successful operation but the truth is not much happened (not a single “grit” in sight) other than my skin was treated to a papering evening of cleansers and general tender, loving, care.

Admittedly just about every article – including the original Reddit thread – states that you do have to apply the second oil cleanse with a certain amount of vigour, but -and this is a huge but (a lot like my own) – from fear of bursting callipharies, I was reserved in terms of pressure. I did work against the grain of my skin but may not have been as firm as I needed, to properly benefit from the technique. I also should mention I do go for regular facials and double cleanse every single evening, so perhaps I’m not the best candidate on that aspect alone.

All things considered I can’t say I’m mad at the technique; my skin was left feeling softer and had a peachy, plump appearance and glowed – much like after a pricey skin treatment. I’m guessing the thorough massage is to credit here? If you decide to try either method of skin gritting out for yourself, please ensure your skin is not easily sensitised; and please for the love of all things good, do not overly exert your complexion; broken calipharies are no joke and will require pricey laser treatment.

The things we do in the quest for better skin huh?
I do apologise that my photo has been created to suit this article, I promise I have “gritted” on more than one occasion with no avail, and a photo that does not make.

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Jo Malone Iris & Lady Moore Charity Candle

Jo Malone Iris & Lady Moore Charity Candle

What could be better than a brand new Jo Malone candle? One that is both limited edition and helps to fund a very deserving cause of course.

Jo Malone Iris & Lady Moore Charity Candle

As you may be aware, Jo Malone continuously supports homeless charities via specifically created charitable products such as the Jo Malone Iris & Lady Moore Charity Candle; which the sale of in turn supports the many Jo Malone gardens throughout the U.K. Such gardens offer both training and support to those who have become vulnerable and isolated due to mental ill health.

This year to help fund such charities, Jo Malone has curated one of the most visually and sensory pleasing candles I have been fortunate enough to experience in a long while. A soft, powdery yet modern concoction of Iris is combined with the fresh note of geranium and finished with a luscious, vivacious shot of vetiver grass. It may be July outside but with this burning in my front room, I am instantly transported back to the fresh and renewing season of Spring. If this was launched as a stand alone fragrance, it is all that I would wear, and although in noway identical, I would say that is shares a similar blue, floral “vibe” to that of Jo Malone Bluebell cologne.

Jo Malone Iris & Lady Moore Charity Candle
Jo Malone Iris & Lady Moore Charity Candle

As for the packaging, it of course beautifully and intricately illustrates the fragrance of the candle with ease but rather surprisingly – and unlike past launches of this nature – the candle is not wrapped in a paper sleeve but embossed with the print. This pleases me far more than it should and I already have a million and one ideas on what I am going to store in the jar once the scent is a mere memory.

Jo Malone Iris & Lady Moore Charity Candle £46 via Jo Malone – link.

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Bridal Beauty Prep #2: Getting My Eyebrows Semi-Permanently Tattooed (A Top-Up With Karen Betts)

My personal insecurities have never extended to my nose or my boobs or anything that’s prevented me from wearing what I want or having the confidence I need to get on with my day, but they do involve having eyebrows that naturally look like they’re not yet fully grown. Those hairy bits above my eyes have never been in the best of shape (even pre-plucking they were always thin, uneven and didn’t quite reach the end!) but the stress of final year exams at Uni lead to much of them falling out and never re-growing. Ever since they’ve been a bone of contention: I’ve gone from ignoring them and hoping for the best, through to picking up the skills needed to draw them on effectively, to longer-lasting treatments that take the faff out of my morning routine. One of the best things I’ve ever done for myself has been getting my eyebrows microbladed; it’s amazing what beautifully drawn brows can do for a girl’s confidence, and the overall look of her face. Looking back at my passport photo from 2009, I look like I’m permanently in a state of shock – I can’t wait to be able to change it for an image of me looking less like a cartoon character and more like a respectable woman in her 30s!

As my Big Day gets closer, one of things that was top of my list from a beauty prep perspective was to get my brows re-tattooed with the woman who undoubtedly is the best in the industry. Karen Betts pioneered permanent cosmetics in the UK over 20 years ago and continues to be one of the industry’s leading experts; clients travel all over the world to her UK based clinics, knowing that her experience and technique is second to none. Not only does she specialise in cosmetic tattooing, Karen is also a leader in medical tattooing who works with breast cancer, cleft lip, hair loss and severely scarred patients to give them the confidence boost they need: this is a woman who knows exactly what she’s doing and provides only the best results. I trusted her 18 months ago to get my brows in order, so there was no doubt that I needed to pop back for a refresh ahead of my wedding day.

Although it’s not entirely pain free, the ease of semi-permanent brows makes the mild discomfort and expense totally worth it in my opinion; the whole appointment takes less than sixty minutes, with Karen initially drawing on the brow shape she thinks would work best so you can ensure you’re 100% happy with the results. After you’ve agreed and amended any element necessary, anesthetic is applied and Karen uses a blade to administer the colour in around three layers; the first for me is always a little uncomfortable, but once the anesthetic kicks in you can barely feel a thing. What’s unique about this technique is that it allows individual hairs to be drawn on in differing thickness and with the colour that’s a perfect match for your own tone; the result is an incredibly natural one that’s undetectable unless you get right up close – most of my friends and colleagues have no idea my brows aren’t real!

As for the after care, after a few weeks of maintenance which isn’t dissimilar to getting your ear pierced (no direct cleansing of the area and applying a hydrating balm multiple times a day to aid the healing process,) the result is a perfectly constructed brow that lasts up to eighteen months. The brows will gradually fade over time, but you’re encouraged to invest in yearly top-ups (half the price of the original treatment) to ensure a long-term result that really makes an ongoing difference. I love not having to worry about drawing in my brows or them looking too fake, especially on no-makeup days or when on the beach; even when I’m creating a heavy makeup look I just need to wipe away excess foundation from my brows using a cotton bud and top-up if I want the colour to look stronger. When it comes to my wedding day (and honeymoon) I’ll feel confident knowing my brows will be looking hawt as hell in all the pictures – and all I have to worry about is my lipstick smudging, not my brow pencil. That’s worth a few minutes of discomfort and a little expense in my opinion, no question about it.

Have you ever considered getting your eyebrows semi-permanently tattooed? Is there anything that holds you back or makes you nervous, apart from the price?

The photos below were taken immediately after and show a mess of makeup, but you get the idea as to how precise the result is – and how much difference it makes to the face.

Read the first in my series: ‘How To Get The Most From Your Hair Trial’

Thank you Karen for proving my treatment and top-up free of charge.

See my first feature on getting my brows done with Karen Betts here. Prices range from £295 to £895 depending upon the level of artist carrying out the procedure. Find out more on the Karen Betts website: www.karenbetts.co.uk

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