Friday, 28 August 2015

How to order Colourpop to the UK.

Colourpop is taking social media by storm. And no wonder. The products are incredible. The prices are dirt cheap and the packaging is adorable. 

But if you live in the UK you will know the torture of it being difficult to get. They don't ship here which is hugely frustrating. Lots of us are willing to pay the heightened shipping fees and potential customs charges for foreign brands but Colourpop don't even give us the option. Heartbreaking. 

I'm happy to pay the elevated costs on Depop to be honest. I love the brand. My friend Aisha got me a Colourpop order for my birthday this year, via a friend in the U.S. and I was hooked. To be honest, most depop sellers charge fair prices. £10 plus postage for the Ultra Matte collection is fair given the delivery and custom charges, and the quality is so good. 

Being me though, I wanted about twelve more shades of Ultra Matte than I already had. And finding a seller who had all of them was impossible. So I decided to do my own order. 

So many people on depop and Instagram have asked how I got Colourpop to the uk so I thought I'd share my experience. I got lots of advice from lovely girls on depop who had ordered so just passing on the wisdom here! 

Basically, the Colourpop site will only ship to a U.S or Australian address. But if you aren't lucky enough to have a stateside friend, there are ways and means. 

I used a site called mymallbox. You register for free, and along the top banner of your homepage after registering, you will see a U.S. address. That's yours! 

You then complete the Colourpop checkout system, but you enter that U.S. address instead of your own as the billing/ delivery address. I ordered around £200 of stuff, meaning shipping was free to the mymallbox address. 

It was a bit strange after, as I heard literally nothing for over a fortnight. No one contacted me from either company. 

Basically Colourpop are experiencing high demand just now and are running a little slow. It can take up to ten business days to even process your order. So a fortnight in total for me. 

I got a shipping confirmation from Colourpop and three days later, mymallbox emailed to say they'd recieved a parcel for me. 

I then logged on to my mymallbox account, and requested they ship to me at my UK address. This was £35 in total, and delivery was through DHL Express. 

It took two days, meaning the quickest part of shipping was the USA to UK part! Strange, but never mind. 

It arrived safely, and I was luckily spared customs for a change. Although I'm dubious, because I recently got a demand letter for a customs charge on a diycosmetics order I recieved THREE weeks ago. I didn't even know they could charge customs AFTER delivery but turns out they can. 

So pretty! 

I mean, £35 isn't cheap but it's not extortionate. I guess if you split with others, you could even be paying regular delivery charges of about £5-£10 each and just get it all in one order. 

I've heart a few people also use shipitto as a courier service the same way, but I went with these guys because the first depop girl to respond had used them so I felt safer! 

Hope this helps, and here are the ultra matte swatches and the new Strobing kit to tempt you even more. 

Colourpop Solow is perfection. 

Thursday, 27 August 2015

How to Make Your Own Mac Highlighters

I've been promising this post for quite some time. And here it is! 

Basically, I had a lot of people ask me where my previous post about this went. I deleted it about 5 months ago, for various reasons, but will now share a better, more detailed version. 

I've been making these highlighters ever since I made that post. I've made literally... Hundreds and hundreds of them and never had one person be dissatisfied with the quality. If you love highlighters, then this post is for you! 

So, the story goes. 

Around a year ago. I smashed my precious Dior Rose Diamond. A rare high end highlighter that I adored and which is really difficult to buy nowadays and can cost around £80-£100. I was devastated. (Don't worry- my darling friend Aisha got me one sent over from Italy at RRP-friends in high places me!) I also bought a really rare Mac Extra Dimension MSF on depop which arrived smashed to pieces because Royal Mail are brutes. 

I wanted to press it back into place because using it loose just made me sad. So I looked up how I might do that. Process seemed fairly simple. I fixed the Mac, then started on the Dior. However, as I was watching it dry, I thought, I always wished it was just a touch more pink. In my eye line on my dressing table, stood a pot of Mac pigment in the shade Fuchsia. 

I tipped some in and it became the most perfect shade I'd ever seen. 

The thing is. All these products. Highlighters, blush, eyeshadow. They are the same thing. Pigmented cosmetic powder packaged and sold to us in different forms with different names. 

I posted about it on Depop and my blog, and people were so excited that I got a lot of requests to make more. 

I'd always hoarded Mac Pigments, but never really found much use for them so I started experimenting with different colour blends. 

For such a big brand, Mac have pretty limited gold shades, so making lots of golds is quite hard, but I managed to make around 30 highlighter shades altogether in pinks, golds, silvers, nudes, champagnes etc. 

Highlighters are crazy popular. And the best highlighters (or any powder really) is usually talked about as being really 'pigmented'. What could be better then, than a highlighter that is purely made of pigment?! Usually, brands will sell us highlighters made up of pigment, and then other things to bulk it out. Fillers, talcs... Cheaper to manufacture powder products. The search for really pigmented products is annoying. So why not make our own with pure loose pigments? 

To do so, you will need the following. 

Mac Pigments. Preferably in Frost or Pearl finishes. Some of the mattes work, some really don't. It cost me a fair bit of money working that one out! I stuck to Mac, for lots of reasons. Ive heard some other people tried this with cheaper brand pigments. If it's an unbranded one from online, it may not be tested by UK cosmetics authorities and given that some fake/unbranded stuff has been found to contain rat poison, feasces, arsenic and lead, I don't fancy that on my face. Also, Mac pigment is already filled with cosmetic binders so they press really well. Other lower end brands may sell pigment or powders that look really pretty and could make nice highlighters, but they may have a less dense binder content, or a lower quality of binder meaning they fall apart really easily. Even some Mac pigments can be less binder dense. I found at least two shades that didn't hold as well as others and fell apart easier. But cheap imitations will always break apart and this is why. Unless you fully know what you are using, and you know what you are doing, and are willing to state it honestly, then stick to Mac or other well know brands and always be honest. 

Rubbing Alcohol. This is easily available on Amazon and is sometimes called Isopropyl Alcohol. Isopropyl is an ingredient that is already in Mac pigment, and actually in most cosmetics and skin care you buy in stores. Please please don't try this with surgical spirit. I don't know who started the rumour that this is ok. It's not. In my opinion. It's the main reason I'm writing this post. I'm worried about the amount of girls messaging me to say they are using surgical spirit because they don't know what else to use. I'm not a scientist, but I would never touch my skin let alone my face with a product that's sold for stripping paint. I only ever use isopropyl. You want above 70%. I've used right up to 90%. It evaporates quicker, but is obviously more flammable etc. You really just need above 70%.  This item evaporates out during the process. 

Something to mix with. A little spatula or tweezers. The handle of a spoon. Whatever. 

A tray of some form. Something to protect your surfaces, as straight alcohol isn't great for them. 

Gloves, to protect your hands. 

Pans/ Packaging. 

Sourcing the pigments and stuff is easy. Packaging is harder. At first I just used lots of empty high end compacts I had. It was good, as I weirdly hate throwing out my old Nars, Chanel or Dior compacts. They are in such statement packaging, and we pay so much for that logo. So having a use for them was great. 

But when I started making for others, at first I redecorated cheaper compacts. I would just buy piles of £1/£2/£3 compacts, dump the pressed powders in the bin and refill them with my creations. 

Then I'd decorate the compacts. It always felt morally wrong to just bin so much product but the only place online I seemed to find that sold empty compacts didn't look too secure to me. 

I liked my old compacts, but they took a whole lot more work and time to revamp than it would to just have them blank and ready. 

Eventually, I gave in and chanced the site. 

Diycosmetics is a site where people who make their own cosmetics can purchase packaging a tools to do so. When you try googling to find a place that sells them it's literally the first and only site I've ever found where you can buy completely blank packaging in bulk. It's extremely cheap, but postage to the UK is expensive if you do what I did and pay for it to come overnight. Getting stuff from California to Edinburgh in one night always pushed my costs up massively and you do usually get slammed with customs. However, even then, it worked out really cheap per compact when buying in bulk. You do have to buy the pans separate to the compacts on this site. 

So. For the process. It's literally as simple as making a pressed pigment. 

Tip pigment into the pan, you don't want it overflowing, but the amount of product will go down after you add alcohol, so you do have to top it up as you go if you don't want a half empty pan. 

Add the pigments you want to blend. 

I find alcohol annoying to aim into the pans without making a mess. So I tip mine into a bottle with a pump. 

Add enough alcohol that the pigment becomes a liquid. 

Mix the pigments together. I find that it's easiest, and gives a neater finish if it's like a liquid rather than a paste. 

Remember that while a pan may look full at this stage, as the alcohol evaporates, the product level will go down. And when you press it, it does go even further down. So it's best to keep topping it up to get a nice full pan. 

Pick the pan up, around 2cm from the surface and drop it gently. Keep doing this, turning, picking up and dropping until the surface becomes even and smooth. 

Leave the pan out in the open, to dry. To completely dry, it can take overnight. But I have one more trick for you. 

When it's almost dry. Like, it looks dry and you know it's still tacky, we are gonna hand press it rather than the traditional dry press. 

Take a baby wipe. These are light, absorbant and slightly damp so perfect for this. Lay over the pan. And roll a sponge, like an old beauty blender over the top, pressing down gently. This compresses the pigment even more tightly. 

I would then leave them out overnight to dry. 

That's literally it. Super simple. 

Here's some examples of my work, some are tagged with my depop name @kittybaker and other are tagged with my Instagram name @kirstiebarlow

And here they are on some faces, including mine and some gorgeous depop girlies. 

Image curtosy of the beautiful Megan  at @megrobbx on Depop

Image curtosy of the beautiful Naz at @_theshoechateau on Instagram. 

Image curtosy of the beautiful Elisa at @eyelashobsession on Instagram

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Bleach London Pastel Hair Colours

My little sister is entirely to blame. 

We left her two babies with our boyfriends and went shopping. And she had this insane idea we should dye our hair a ridiculous colour in memory of the times I would dip dye the ends of her hair pink for her when she was a kid. 

So we delved into the world of Bleach London. 

Bleach London Aqua Monious Colour Kit trio. £7 

They have these little trio kits. So for £7 we got three bottles, which included the two we were drawn to. Becka liked the Blullini and I liked the Washed Up Mermaid. Sea Punk just came along for the ride to be honest. 

So it began. After a few drinks, we got to the dye. 

We both are naturally blonde, but both lighten our hair. So we had the foundations that Bleach London works best on, very light blonde hair. 

The little bottles contain 50ml. But due to the thick gel like consistency, we ended up cutting the bottles open to get all the contents out. Cue a lesson to my little sister from me that you must always cut open a product you think is finished because you will always find it's still half full. 

It does suggest you wear gloves. I wish I had listened. This stuff REALLY stains. It took so many products to get this off my hands. 

You apply this to shampooed (but not conditioned) towel dried hair. That was a hard job. I have very thick, curly, unruly locks that require a LOT of conditioner. Trying to get a comb through my wet hair without conditioner was impossible so I was worried that I'd go patchy on account of the fact I was applying directly to my somewhat tangled matted mane. Then we realised that since I was dyeing my hair green, patching was the least of my worries. 

You leave it on for fifteen minutes. 

Then you rinse off. There were no directions on whether to condition or not, but I don't really have a choice so I did. 

My first application resulted in this. 

It did go green. But nothing near the shade suggested in the advertising pictures. My sisters Blullini was even less obvious. 

I couldn't decide if I liked it. So we returned to boots the next day and bought the bigger bottles to re-do it. 

Bleach London 150ml £5

The second application, I used around 100ml, so two thirds of a big bottle and I left it for an hour, which is four times the recommended time. I figured, it's a non permanent so can't do much damage.  Then it really went green. 

So far... I've decided that the Bleach London craze looks beautiful for Instagram photos. But not so great in real life grown up situations where it's better not to have green hair. 

It's also proving very stubborn to remove. I've read a lot of reviews saying that the 'wash out' shampoo they do is really harmful to your hair and doesn't remove the blue and green shades well so I've been following advice from bloggers and using Head and Shoulders. I've scrubbed and scrubbed. I still have green hair. 

My advice would be to plan your timing better than me.

If you ARE going to dye your hair green, choose a time when you aren't enjoying the only annual visit from your sister where you want to take lots of photos but don't want to look ridiculous in them. Choose a time when you don't have a super important social work meeting at work where you want to look your most professional. Choose a time when your boyfriends parents aren't flying to the UK for one evening and taking you to a high end restaurant where you would probably rather not have green hair. And choose a time when you aren't about to go on a romantic break away and will take photos, again, where you'd rather not have green hair. 

If it says 15 minutes. Leave it 15 minutes. Not an hour. Unless you want it to really really stick. 

Fml. I have green hair. 

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Zoeva Pink Elements Set


Couldn't resist. 

I feel obliged to own every Zoeva set released. 

They are all beautiful, fantastic quality, and excellent value for money. 

I. Need. Them. All. 

Zoeva Pink Elements. Beautybay. £55

There were quite a few brushes in this collection that I already owned the rose gold or traditional blue-black versions of. But this set, like them all, is worth every penny. 

(Sorry most had been used before I took individual photos, so aren't clean)

104 Buffer Brush

I do love a buffer brush, or any foundation brush with a 3D head. This is wonderful for finishing off foundation, and also great for using mineral powder form bases. I've been using this to buff and blend my Dior BB cream and I'm loving it. This is the only brush from the set I didn't already have and it's really what tempted me! It's bristles are do dense yet so soft!

127 Luxe Sheer Cheek Brush

A beautifully soft, angled blusher brush. The angle cut of the bristles gives a really defined blush application. It's also perfect for applying highlighting powders in my opinion. 

109 Luxe Face Brush

This is a brush I've already blogged about when I bought the blue version. I adore it. I use this to blend and soften a contour line. I use my bold metals real technique flat contour brush to apply a contour, but it leaves a very bold line, and this just really blends it out beautifully and makes it a little more subtle. 

227 Luxe Soft Definer Brush 

I had two rose gold ones of this, as it came in the classic rose gold set and the eye set. It's probably the eye brush I use the least as I prefer the more oval, domed brushes. 

230 Luxe Pencil Brush

My absolute favourite Zoeva eye brush. This shape is one I've not really seen in other brands. It's so petite, and so defined in it's application. I use this to apply my crease colour, and it is just perfect. I also use the tip point to apply colour under the bottom lash line. 

231 Luxe Petite Crease

Again, that lovely oval dome of bristles. Slightly less dense than the pencil brush. Love this more for applying base colour to my lids than as a crease brush. Also use the point to add a highlight shade to tear ducts and brow bone. 

317 Wing Liner Brush 

Adore. This brush is responsible for my love of gel liner. I have never liked gel liners, on account of the standard pointed brushes they come with. But since getting this and the rose gold fine liner brush, I now can't see past Mac fluidline pots and am building up a dangerous hoard of them. 

322 Brow line brush. 

Holy grail. Get this. The angled bristles are soft but dense and this makes eyebrow shaping SO much easier. 

And that's all of them. Little beauties. 



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