Baking 101

Baking is a term, which has been used in the drag community for years, it refers to letting translucent powder sit on your face for five to 10 minutes, which allows the heat from your face to set your base foundation and concealer, and then dusting it off your face, leaving you with a creaseless, flawless finish
1. Hydrate your eye area. Apply an eye cream around your eye area to hydrate your skin and plump it up, minimizing the appearance of any fine lines or creases. 
2. Apply a thick concealer under your eyes. While concealer usually contains oils and has a tendency to crease, it won’t if it’s set right. Apply it upward from the apples of your cheeks toward your temples all the way underneath your eye. Use a damp makeup sponge for best results.
3. Coat on more concealer. At this point, you might be thinking, This is a shit-ton of makeup, and yes, it is. So, you can skip this step and still get great results, but for lasting power, a sheer second coat can lock in the first formula. After you apply the second layer of concealer, blend it in again with your damp makeup sponge. 
4. Dust on translucent powder. Use a fluffy eye shadow brush to apply translucent powder over the entire patch of concealer to set the base makeup. 
5. Now, “bake” or “cook” your makeup.Use a sponge and dampen it with a setting spray. Then, dip the sponge into the translucent powder you used in step 4 to pack the loose powder generously over the area where you applied the concealer. Leave the powder on for five to 10 minutes.
Boom, you’re baked.


YSL kiss and blush

Honesty it was love at first try! Two products in one! How could you not! and it saves space in my cosmetics bag when I’m traveling… genious!
This pint size nail polish dopple ganger is an air-whipped, two-in-one mousse formula for lips and cheeks. There are 15 different shades to choose from and I honestly havent found one that isnt’ wearable.
It’s so light and blendable that you can dab it right on your cheeks and blend out like a powder blush. Unlike some liquid checks stains that actually stain your cheek the second you put it on.
Its a soft matte finish and you can easily apply a clear lip gloss overtop or a complimenting colour gloss. The colour variations you can do with these 15 shades are endless!

Skin test: what’s your type

It’s important to ask yourself a few questions in order to make better decisions when purchasing beauty products. They are not a ‘one size fits all’ kind of thing.

How does your skin look when it’s clean, un-moisturized? Is the texture
Flaky (dry)
Shiny (oily)
Or smooth (normal)

How does your skin feel right after you wash it with your currant cleansers? If it feels tight, it’s an indication of dry skin

Half way through the day how does you skin look? Is it dry, shiny or matte?

How are your everyday lifestyle factors doing to your skin? Stressed? Hormonal fluctuations? Sun exposure? Poor diet?

Does your skin have noticeable sun damage? How are you protecting your skin from harmful rays? Are you putting it on often enough? Are you using harsh sprays that contain alcohol?

Answering questions like these can help you get a better understanding of your natural skins behaviour and also recognize the chemical influences your inflicting on your skin. This will help determine the most effective cleansing, hydration, sunscreen and make up products you should be using.
However when problematic skin shows no improvements or worsens, see a dermatologist.



Why are primers important?

Would you just slap paint onto a wall without priming? Well, some of you might but then you’d soon discover how fast it fades and how many uneven surfaces cone to the forefront. If you take take the time to prime, you create a flawless smooth canvas without imperfections. These lightweight, transparent gels and lotions glide atop the skin and fill in little fine lines and wrinkles like stucko, creating a smooth uniform surface to apply makeup to. Primers prevent your foundation from soaking into dry skin and disappearing too quickly. It provides a barrier between the skin and your make up and makes it last twice as long. It’s the weapon of choice for most makeup artists when going after a flawless face that will last and look polished all night long.

Try Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer Broad Spectrum SPF 15

Smashbox Iconic Photo Finish Foundation Primer

Tarte BB Tinted Treatment 12-Hour Primer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen

Bite on this!

Originally conceived as a summer pop-up shop, the Toronto-born makeup brand’s now a permanent outpost in SoHO New York is killing it with their custom lip lab.

Customers can customize any shade of lipstick and have it made before their very eyes.
They pick pigments and emollients and spin it in a compact centrifuge, then pour into a neat circular lipstick mold chilling at precisely -2 degrees Fahrenheit until it hardens into a perfect waxy bullet. The entire process takes approximately seven minutes from start to finish, right down to the neat handwritten label with your name on the box. The grand total? Forty-eight dollars—and enough newfound lipstick love to carry you through until the next one.

Oh! And before I forget to add the icing on the cake, the company is committed to using only all natural food-grade ingredients that are technically safe enough to eat,—even if you’re not the type to worry about silently ingesting trace amounts of your lipstick.


One of my favourite creams

E45 is a white cream containing White Soft Paraffin 14.5% w/w, Light Liquid Paraffin 12.6% w/w and Anhydrous Lanolin (Medilan) 1% w/w as active ingredients and also Glyceryl Monostearate, Cetyl Alcohol, Sodium Cetostearyl Sulphate, Carbomer, Methyl Hydroxybenzoate, Propyl Hydroxybenzoate, Sodium Hydroxide, Citric Acid

I start off by listing the ingredients first because it’s amazing! And safe, which is really rare these days when it comes to skin care.

When I lived in London as a child, my grandmother who was a nurse at the time used to bring this cream over on the regular, she swore by it. She used it on her patients for numerous concerns but for us it was just about moisturizing and a good ‘after sun’ cream. She had it everywhere from her handbag, her medical bag, the cabinet in the bathroom and in the kitchen for those dish pan hands.

It was only available at the time to doctors and nurses but as the word spread and the demand for it was there, it slowly made it’s way to the shelves. It’s known to be great for the symptomatic relief of dry skin conditions, such as flaking, chapped skin, ichthyosis, traumatic dermatitis, sunburn, the dry stage of eczema and certain dry cases of psoriasis.

I use it to this day on my face, neck, décolleté, and full body. It’s one of my top ten skin creams and I definitely approve.



Is your make up outdated?

With make up, the first thing you need to ask yourself is whether you’re stuck in a beauty rut. If you’ve been using the same techniques, colours and products for the past decade, then you definitely are. What looked good on you when you were 18 is not going to suit you when you are 28, as your face and personal style change.

A lot of people get scared of change, mainly because they just don’t know how or where to start.
Getting your make up done by a professional is a great way to start.
Ask questions and take notes on the looks, colours and products they are using.
Get inspired by flipping through the latest fashion magazines or gossip magazines to see what the celebrities are looking are like. They have access to the industries top make up artists and have the latest products sent to them on the regular.
Ask yourself if you have a make up crutch; a product or look that you rely on too much. (Mines definitely blush) look over old photos over a long period of time and see if you can see something obvious. The great thing about make up is trying new things, experimenting and passing around tips and tricks with friends. They’re are so many great products out there.. And many of them can be found under one roof; Sephora.

Here’s an example of what’s in my personal make up bag.

Make Up Forever HD foundation in #127
Hourglass tinted moisturizer

Face illuminators:
Laura mercier
MAC strobe cream

Guerlain terra cotta for blondes

Nars in Orgasm
YSL kiss n blush in shade #5

MAC 8 hr
YSL touche éclat

MAC in hue
Finally it’s always a good idea to seal your make up so it stays put. Like hairspray keeps your hair in place, so does a make up sealer.
I like MAC Fx plus and skindinavia has a bunch of great ones to choose from.



Ewww WTF is on your face

In this day and age with companies wanting to increase their profit margins by using cheap ingredients proven to cause toxic damage, is it next to impossible to actually get ‘good’ products?

The ‘good’ and by good I mean free from long term toxicity and actually having benefits to using it. Is oddly enough very difficult to track down. It’s like hunting for four leaf clovers on a soccer pitch.

But just how do know what to look for and what to avoid? Just reading the ingredient list can make you feel like a toddler learning to read for the first time.

There are so many disagreements regarding what is safe and what isn’t when it comes to skin care ingredients. It will make your head spin the more you dig around for answers. There is virtually no regulations regarding the skin care industry and what ingredients they can add to a product; unlike the food and industrial sectors.
It’s up to us to be smart about what we’re really splattering all over our face. Thus essentially absorbing into our blood streams and organs.
To get started and open your eyes a bit, here’s a few ingredients you might want to start avoiding.

Parbens: are aesthetically a preservative used in cosmetics and perfume. They easily penetrate the skin and blood stream and are said to interfere with hormone functions. Studies indicate they age the skin faster and cause DNA damage.

Formaldehyde: another preservative particularly found in shampoos and liquid baby soaps.
What are the health concerns?
Cancer: Formaldehyde is considered a known human carcinogen by many expert and government bodies, including the United States National Toxicology Program

Phthalates: They’re used in cosmetics to hold color and scents.
What are the health concerns?
Two decades of research suggest that phthalates disrupt hormonal systems, which can cause harm during critical periods of development. Phthalate exposure in pregnant women, as measured by urine samples, has been associated with a shortened distance between the anus and genitals in their male babies, indicating a feminization had occurred during prenatal genital development.

Sodium Lauryl Sulphates: This ingredient creates suds; bubbles. It said to be very toxic. The California Environmental Protection Agency has classified it as a possible developmental toxicant based on evidence that it may interfere with human development. It’s also said to do harm on the nervous system and
has caused countless arguments over weather is causes Cancer.

The average woman uses 12 products containing 168 unique ingredients every day. Men, on the other hand, use 6 products daily with 85 unique ingredients, on average.

Scary stuff! So do your due diligence before you commit to buying a certain product.

Creme de la Creme?

I’m not sure how or when my obsession with wanting to try Crème De La mer started, but it did, and I wanted it bad. I wanted to know just what was so special about this so-called “miracle broth”

It was on a working trip to London and my first time at the world renowned Harrords where I purchased my first jar. I remember feeling the wrinkles melt from my face second the clerk handed over my little miracle jar. I couldn’t wait to get home and begin my application.

But what is it about this cream that has major celebrities and hoards of people flocking after it with huge claims of perfection and a huge price tag to boot.

Crème de la Mers story is this; it was originally developed by NASA scientist Max Huber to treat and cure his severe chemical burns, which he sustained in an accidental explosion during an experiment. Dr. Huber sold and marketed this product himself. After his death, his daughter continued selling the cream until Estée Lauder purchased the rights to manufacture and distribute it.

Interestingly enough, the second and third ingredients in Crème de la Mers Ultra Rich crème (mineral oil and petrolatum) also have a similar “burn” story behind them.

Petrolatum (petroleum jelly) was discovered in 1859, the creator traveled NY demonstrating the product by burning his skin with acid or an open flame, then spreading the ointment on his injuries and showing his past injuries healed. This Creator (Robert Chesebrough) opened his first factory in 1870 in Brooklyn using the name Vaseline.

Mineral oil and petrolatum are known to be efficacious in wound healing, and are also among the most effective moisturizing ingredients available. Their effectiveness in accelerating wound healing stems from it’s sealing effect on cuts and burns, which inhibits germs from getting into the wound and keeps the injured area supple by preventing the skin’s moisture from evaporating.

Interestingly enough, La Mer in the past was affordable and could be purchased from pharmacy stores, until the brand was purchased by Estée Lauder, after which it became a high-end brand.

So is it really worth the hefty price tag?

I must say, I did enjoy using my crème (well, the 20 applications or so that came from that little jar) But I also feel like I could get the same effects by being more aware of what’s inside the jar and how much money I’m just actually throwing away on marketing and branding. It pays to do a little research.


Drink to better skin!

Hydration is key!

With age, cells stop regenerating at the rate they once did and in the same efficient way. Cells become abnormally shaped, which makes the texture of the skin appear deflated and prevents the skin from retaining water to plump it back up.The recommended daily intake of water is 2.2L a day for women and 3L for men. Yes that’s allot of water but it’s worth it, not only for your skin but your entire body! If you’re like me and have a hard time putting back that much water try adding lemon slices or fruit to add a bit of flavor. Stay away from powdered flavorings as they tend to have allot of crazy chemicals in them, yuck!

Sarah Scotford