The Power Of A Great Lipstick - National Lipstick Day

A swipe of my favourite shade across my lips can totally and utterly transform my mood. Wearing a bold red likeM.A.C’s Lady Danger makes me feel powerful, my favourite deep nude Velvet Teddy makes me feel put together and my favourite pink toned Kinda Sexy makes me feel all kinds of happy. 

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The Perfect Pout

We all have things we don't like about ourselves or wish we could make changes too. One of those things for me? My thin lips, look I know I don't have nothing there, but they drop at the sides quickly and definitely lack oomph. I love the shape, I have in my opinion, a great cupids bow, but I wish they packed a little more punch. Back in the day when I used to model, makeup artists were forever over drawing my lips to make them fuller and I much preferred them when they did that. Which lead me into my first experience with fillers. It was 10 years ago, so I can't even remember where I got them done, but it was a legitimate place. They filled the outer area of my lips and placed a small amount in my bottom lip too and was told I would love the result when the swelling went down. But I HATED IT, they filled my upper lip far too much so it stuck out like a duck and looked so un natural. The bottom lip is meant to be fuller so this just looked ridiculous. Lucky I metabolise fillers reasonably fast (this is a natural process your body does) and they eventually subsided to their normal lack lustre size. Safe to say my Donald Duck experience scared me from ever trying filler again.

As some of you would know from my Instagram and Snapchat, I have gone and given fillers a second shot. What changed my mind you wonder? It came about through talking to Caci Clinic about another procedure, Botox in my Masseter (jaw line) muscle. I'm a big jaw clencher and teeth grinder and I hate it. It gives me headaches and is not great for my teeth, so when I found out that Botox was being used to weaken those muscles I knew I had to check it out.

It was when I went and saw Karen a cosmetic nurse specialist at High St Caci Clinic that I got talking about my lips and how I had always disliked their fullness but loved their shape. Karen said that she imagined they tried to flip my lips to create the fullness on the outside, she said that often gave the trout pout look. Karen managed my expectations and said iff I added little more fullness to the middle of my lips and a tiny bit on the outside that it would give a natural fullness to my lips but wouldn't change  that much how they dropped at the sides, I couldn't achieve that without going BIG. I was really nervous, but I really trusted Karen on this. Caci Clinic have been treating people for years and she said in the last ten years, the industry has come a long way in realising where the best place to put fillers is to achieve the desired shape or fullness. Their really is a knack to knowing where to place it with how it will alter the shape. So I bite the bullet and booked in to have some filler placed in my lips at the same time as my Botox treatment.

Now I wanted this to look as natural as having your lips filled can be. I didn't want massive lips, as  that's just too drastic for my liking and I have to say I'm thrilled with the results. They are fuller in the middle, but I don't think I look like your typical women who wants filler for a huge change aka Kylie Jenner lips. Not to say there is anything wrong with that, it's just not my vibe.

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Was it painful? It's not painless but totally manageable, you get numbed and ice is applied throughout to numb the injection sites further and to help with swelling. The injections took about 10 minutes and with deep breaths it was fine. Karen is a pro and she did warn me that she thought one side may bruise, they can't see where the blood vessels are but they can tell if they hit one. She was right, I did have a massive black bruise on one side of my face for about 5 days which I had to do a lot of covering up on. It looked like I had been socked in the mouth. But other than that I had the very normal post procedure results which is swelling. I was told most people love their swollen lips from day 2 and always come back asking for a little more. I see what she means, the plumpness swelling gives you is awesome, but you can never quite replicate that natural swell with filler so you just need to move on from that idea. I think it took about 10 days for it to really settle down and show the true results and In my opinion I think it's such a nice change, the perfect "little bit extra". I like that my bottom lip is a little bigger than the top now, as before they were pretty similar in size.

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The Botox in my jaw has really helped ease my clenching, I don't get as many headaches and my teeth aren't as sore from clenching down on them. Plus this didn't hurt to have in the slightest, I barely felt it at all! As an added bonus after a few months you can notice your face start to slim where the muscle weakens. I can slightly notice that has started to happen but photos aren't really doing it justice. It's just one of those things where you know your face so well that you can see it before anyone else can ( you can slightly see it in the above before and after picture of my lips, the outer part of my jawline looks slimmer). I will update on that in a few more months if you can really see the difference. But if you have the same issue as me, then I really recommend going to talk to Caci Clinic about it, as it has dramatically improved that issue for me.

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Liquid Compacts Are A Big Thing

Everyone seems to be about makeup on the go, something portable and easy to take with you to touch up during your day. Liquid compacts have been around for a little while now and they don't seem to be trend on it's way out...all the big players have been releasing them, so I thought I would show you a few of my favourite ones available. As let's face it, we are all busy and makeup that we can apply when in your car, Uber or out and about is very appealing!  M.A.C Matchmaster Shade Intelligence Compact

I love the Matchmaster foundation from M.A.C and the fact that it's be re-delivered to market in a new and exciting way is what first got me excited about this whole liquid compact trend! This foundation is sheer, it smooths imperfections to skin tone but doesn't completely cover what makes you, you. I love sheer foundation, I don't want to look fully made up during the day! But if you do need a little bit more coverage then you can build up to a medium coverage.  it comes with a handy sponge so you can use that to apply it on the run but I prefer to use a bristle brush when I'm at home.

Matchmaster has the Shade Intelligence Technology in it, which means it sit seamlessly on your skin as it reflects your true skin tone - in layman terms, if you skin colour is changing you aren't going to have to run out and buy a new shade to match! I find this time of year particularly hard for matching shades. I'm definitely not in my summer foundation, but I'm just not quite pale enough for my winter shades, I can buy this one and it will happily take me from autumn to winter without ever looking too dark or too pale.

Another win, you can buy refills so you don't have to replace the entire compact!

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Estée Lauder Double Wear To Go

In terms of delivery this compact is ahead of the game; with the push of a button it delivers the perfect amount of foundation for sheer coverage. The cushion compacts don't lend to wastage either, but for some reason this delivery method stands out to me as simple, waste proof and really easy for touch ups in the back of your Uber!

A sponge applicator sits right on top, so it has everything you need to use to keep your makeup looking legit all day or to throw in your clutch for a night out.

The trend amongst all these foundations is they are all on the dewy, sheer, hydrating scale. Double wear hits this mark and promises 8 hour coverage too!

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L’Oréal Paris Nude Magique Cushion

Another cushion but on the more affordable scale. L'Oreal always provide quality products that are great value and this compact does just that. It's a lightweight foundation and is SPF 25 too! It's not quite as dewy as the other compacts, so I feel it sits on my skin a bit more but it definitely doesn't feel chalky and it doesn't crease in fine lines.

L’Oréal Paris Nude Magique Cushion RRP$33.99

So if you are looking for something ultra portable to add to your makeup bag then check out one of these compacts, as they really are foundations that are going places!

Foundation Crayon -Say What?!

Foundation, contour and highlighter in a Crayon. Intrigued?  I was. I've heard about Clinique Chubby range over the last few years but I hadn't tried it yet.  It started with tinted lip balms, then blushes and eyeshadow and now a foundation and sculpt range. To say I was excited to try the latter two was an understatement!

I'm all about foundations that smooth your skin tone, are moisturising and look like no makeup, makeup. This Chubby Stick in the Nude Foundation Stick ticks all those boxes.

It's so easy to use, you basically draw the foundation across your face and blend it in with your fingers, sponge or brush. Use it all over or just for spot coverage. I like that it looks like you aren't wearing makeup, perfect for day time but you can build it up to a moderate coverage if needed. It definitely has staying power too, I have worn it the past week and it's still there after a day of chasing children around But if you like to touch up during the day then this is so portable, throw it in your handbag and you are good to go. And no, you don't need a giant sharper as it's a twist up!

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I think the free reign of where to apply it may scare people a little bit so here is how I apply it.

  1. Draw an upside down triangle from the top of your nose to a third of the way up your forehead. You can go further if you need more coverage but I usually wear a fringe so don't need a lot of foundation on my forehead.
  2. Draw 2-3 stripes across your cheeks
  3. Draw a line down the ridge of your nose
  4. Mirror the triangle on your forehead on your chin, the right way up this time around.
  5. Blend all the stripes with your fingers or brush in circular motions towards the outer area of your face. You can now add any more to areas that need a bit of help, like redness around the nose etc.

I tried to take a photo of the foundation laid out across my skin for you but the colour is such a good match that the camera wasn't picking it up!

If you are looking to add a little bit more to your look then the Chubby Sculpting Highlighter or Contour stick is just as easy to use. Draw the lines where you want to add depth or highlights and blend. The contour colour looks really dark and scary. When I first saw it I thought I was going to look like I had drawn mud across my face! But trust me, it blends so well, so don't be scared. You really have to build it to get a really dark contour, so it is pretty hard to get it wrong.

The whole Chubby family is all about natural subtle makeup, so you won't get that caked on contour look with these. I apply it under my check bones to get a little bit of depth and occasionally along my jaw line, you can also use it to shape your nose by applying it either side to the bridge of your nose. I like to use the  highlighter on the top of my cheek bones and on my brow bone. It picks up just the right amount of light so your skin looks like it is glowing.

Natural pretty makeup that enhances your beauty versus "covering it". Portable and very simple to use, that's what the Chubby Sticks are all about and they get a big thumbs up from me!

Chubby in the Nude Foundation Stick comes in ten shades RRP:$49

Chubby Stick Sculpting Contour (Curvy Contour) RRP: $57

Chubby Stick Sculpting Highlight (Hefty Highlight) RRP: $57

A skin journey

In my previous life I worked in PR and one of my accounts was About Face, we worked on spreading the word about their fractional laser treatments, Fraxel and Clear+Brilliant and holy moly the results I saw really did blow my mind. I'm a bit of a beauty nerd at heart and I love learning and trying new treatments, machines, tools...you name it, and this went straight to the top of my "I want to try this" list! I fell pregnant shortly afterwards so the timing wasn't quite right. Fast forward three years and it was time to finally strike it off my list. So last July I signed up for and started a course of Clear+Brilliant. 

Now I do have good skin, I don't have too many complaints and you may all think I am crazy. The thing with factional lasers, is that as well as treating current concerns it is a great preventative measure in the ageing process and we all know that preventing is way easier than erasing! So that was my number one reason why I wanted to try this, I'm also turning 30 this year and I want to keep looking fresh and youthful. Let's face it, a lot of sleepless nights have happened in the last two years due to two busy boys and those first signs of ageing were creeping into my skin. Not going to happen on my watch, definitely doing something about this!

One of the biggest issues was pigmentation, I get really bad pigmentation after "traumatic stress" aka the fancy way to describe a pimple as well as across my cheeks. Secondly I had noticed how thin the skin underneath my eyes was starting to feel (thanks sleepless nights) when it used to feel really thick and healthy but now it felt all papery.

Now how was Clear + Brilliant going to fix all these problems?  It's great for those in their 20's to early 30's who want a more advanced treatment than your regular regime or facial, but doesn’t need the benefits of a more aggressive laser skin resurfacing procedure like the big sister to C+B, Fraxel. It's the most gentle laser available and it works by regenerating your skin from the inside out. A fractional laser beam comes out like little pixel dots and affects only a percentage of the targeted skin. The healthy skin around the treated area is what actually causes your skin to regenerate right from dermal layer. Our skin regenerates every 4 weeks (this slows down as we age) so if you are treating right down to that cellular level your skin can make some huge changes! The laser is non ablative, so you don't need to worry about it "burning" your skin; which is something people often ask me when I say I have had a laser treatment. It’s perfect for reversing and preventing early signs of aging and correcting minor sun damage. Basically everything that was on my hit list. Finally it is something that keeps "working" after you have finished your treatments, so you will still see changes in your skin even months after you have finished your course. I'll take that!

Below are my before photos, these aren't the best as they are taken in a dark room and the photographer was quite a lot shorter than me so the angle is a bit weird and they are a bit blurry.

In the first shot you can see all the dark patches of skin on my chin and you can kind of see the pigmentation on my cheeks. This was all much more obvious in real life. My under eyes here felt so papery but that for obvious reasons doesn't translate in photos. My biggest issues were on the left hand side of my face so I use those photos in this post the most.

In hindsight I would have taken before photos in natural lighting myself, but this was a long time ago and this blog or writing about this procedure weren't even on my radar.

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The before photos were taken at a High-tech skin consultation before I locked in the treatment. You have to meet with a Clear + Brilliant technician to talk through the procedure, your expectations, problem areas and check that you are a good candidate before they will book you in. We discussed all my issues and I was right in thinking Clear + Brilliant would be the right treatment for me, we decided a course of 4 treatments would work best for me and these appointments would be about 6-8 weeks apart. The whole thing would take me from July to December with my final after shot and check up in the new year.

The appointments are all the same - you arrive with a bare face and a topical numbing cream is applied to your face and left to do its magic over 40 minutes. You can have a cup of tea, read your book or for the mums out there, have a nap! Once your face is suitably numb you head through to the treatment room, get comfy and have eye patches applied so you don't do any damage to your eyes.

Now I'm not going to lie, you don't not feel anything, but it isn't bad. It feels like little needles pricking your skin and there are definitely areas that hurt more than others. I found this area to be my forehead and when the laser would get closer to my hair-line. Otherwise the only other sensation you feel is a hotness, but you can combat that with a hose you hold over your face that you can use to blow cold air on the area that is being worked on. The actual lasering part takes about 20 minutes, so it's not too long to grin and bear it if you are uncomfortable.

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Once all is done you apply a cold compress to your face and a cooling moisturiser. You definitely don't look weird after the treatment, I felt comfortable to walk around in public. You're just red like you have had a mega workout or got a bit too much sun. After care is easy, keep moisturising and don't use any glycolic acids (check your skin care as it is quite a common ingredient in a lot of products) or exfoliate. The first few days after the treatment I looked like I had gotten a tan, my skin looked darker (this is because of the healing process of all those "pixels") and my skin felt rough to the touch but didn't look it. I was self-conscious about it but no one said they could see anything. The only time I could visually see any difference was when I wore a thicker foundation out one night; it kind of stuck to the skin that was dry and was starting to shed away. So stick to really moisturising and light foundation and you won't have a problem. After about 10 days max my skin felt back to normal, but not its usual normal self, it was super baby bottom smooth! I seriously couldn't stop stroking my face and kept catching myself doing it sub consciously.

I couldn't see that much improvement to my issues after that first treatment and I discussed this with my technician at the next appointment which was 8 weeks later. She told me that often people see the most initial improvement in between the second and third treatment and then it is something that progressively gets better. She was right, I really noticed my dark spots on my chin start to lift after that second appointment.

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My final treatment was in December and due to the holidays etc we booked in to have my final post treatment shot in February. A couple of scheduling issues meant it was pushed out a little bit longer and I had these done just the other week. I was told I needed to apply a lot of sunscreen over my face during summer to really protect that new skin that was coming through.

My after shots below are one set from inside About Face and a second I took at home in natural light as I think it's easier to see the real results. I definitely have a few more freckles than in my first before shots, but that is very typical of my skin during summer (I try to slather my face in sunblock but sometimes I forget to re apply after swimming etc, naughty Anna). You have to remember the first photos are taken during winter, so my freckles have usually died down during those months and re appear when my skin sees a bit of sun. So try to look past those and check out my chin! All that pigmentation has DRAMATICALLY improved and my skin tone is so much more even through the cheeks. My under eyes feel so dewy and the skin is much thicker there, I notice my concealers and foundation don't get "stuck" in fine lines under my eyes anymore. Which is such a win as I hated that! In general I feel my skin is so much smoother, supple and has a glow about it. In the after shots I took at home my skin is literally glowing where the light hits it, that's all natural sun highlighter people! I don't have a stitch of makeup on (that's left over eyeliner tattoo on my eyes). I even notice my skin is a lot less red, even though Clear + Brilliant don't claim to make a difference in this area.

So to sum it up, I'm stoked! It was so worth it and I really hope it will help in the long term with slowing down the ageing process. My friends all have commented on how my skin looks great. The compliment that sticks out to me the most is how when people I meet find out I have twins they always say how "rested" I look and they can't believe I only had a few hours sleep the night before or have had a tough week with the boys.

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Before - After

The course of four treatments cost $1,500; which I know is not something everyone has lying around. I used the no interest payment plan, which was 10% upfront and $26 a week which made it affordable for me. I don't drink coffee so I sold it to the husband as less than the amount he spends on coffee every week!

The best time to start any treatments like this is the start of winter; your skin is much more sensitive to the sun afterwards so that's the reasoning behind that.

Since its Autumn it's the perfect time to be making any enquiries if you are interested in a course of Clear + Brilliant. About Face have a special on at the moment, book a high-tech skin consult which is usually $55 (redeemable on treatments usually) but this month is free. Then if you book in for a course before the 30th of June you will receive three Skin Peels valued at $360 for free! You can request your own consult here.

GIVEAWAY

I have talked to the ladies at About Face about this post and they have kindly given me a Power Of Three facial to giveaway valued at $259! It's About Face's signature bespoke facial and is great to prep the skin before a skin-changing treatment like Clear +Brilliant. About Face is only based in Auckland so the winner must be able to visit on of their clinics to be able to redeem it.

To win please comment below, on my Instagram or Facebook post  about this post with what your skin wish is? Do you want to even out skin tone, reduce those fine lines or minimise your pores...go crazy! I'll choose a winner on Friday 22nd April.

 

 

 

M.A.C Makeup Parties

I love makeup and I LOVE learning new tricks when it comes to applying it, so I was pretty excited to get invited to be apart of the first ever M.A.C makeup party on Wednesday night. We all know that M.A.C offer a number of makeup services and now the party has arrived! You and your girlfriends can book in for your own party, where you will get your very own M.A.C artist to teach you the tricks of the trade to two feature areas. You could learn to master the smokey eye, contour like a Kardashian, pencil in some banging brows or get the perfect pout.

You need to have a minimum of three people and it is $90 a head, but that is fully redeemable on product. If you're going to splash out on a few new items, you may as well make a party of it right? I think it would be really fun to kick off the night for a hens party, a birthday or just a really good excuse to get the girls together!

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You can book your own party now at the below stores:

MAC PRO Britomart, Auckland

MAC Botany, Auckland

MAC Ponsonby, Auckland

MAC Smith & Caughey’s Newmarket, Auckland

MAC Smith & Queen St, Auckland

MAC Farmers, Hamilton

MAC Farmers Queensgate, Lower Hutt

MAC Ballantynes, Christchurch

MAC H&J Smith, Dunedin

All About My Brows

So we all know I have had Alopecia Universalis since I was seven years old - all of my hair including my eyebrows and eyelashes fell out in two weeks. Scary stuff, right?! Growing up, playing with makeup is a normal aspect in every young girl’s life and as soon as I discovered eyeliner I was hooked!  I loved that it gave the illusion of depth, as if I had lashes. I tried penciling my eyebrows too but I could never get them even. Wonky brows are not a good look and the block colour that the pencil would leave looked so fake! I loved that my Freedom Wigs looked so natural that no one could tell I was wearing them; but you could pick the bad brows from a mile away! So I cut a fringe to hide my non-existent brows when I was 14 and wore one ever since then till I got my fancy new eyebrows!

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