Category Archives: makeup

Cosplay by Roxy Lee

In a recent show, I talked about Cosplay, I love cosplay, and embrace the fact it has become more mainstream. I follow a few cosplayers on line – I love seeing the process and the costumes they come up with. There is a different level of interaction with different artists, and I approached a couple to gain some insight to their experience of cosplay and the community. One of the cosplayers I approached was Roxy Lee – like Mistress Zelda, I first found Roxy Lee through Geek Girls and now spend most of my time stalking her on her Facebook Page.

If you recognise the name, it is because Roxy Lee is my mentor when it comes to make up – her skills are fantastic, what first attracted me is her ability to put together some pretty epic special effects looks using items found in the average makeup bag. She is always there to answer questions and a mother bear to her friends as well as putting together some ass kicking cosplays – which you will find on her page. And now over to the lady herself :

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  1. How did you first get started in cosplay
  • I was actually a booth babe for a known comic series called “Bad Kids go to Hell” Funny enough I was modelling at the time and looking to branch out into something more interesting and answered an ad! I did it voluntarilly and had the time of my life and found a culture I never knew existed. You could say I kinda accidentally fell into this world and thank god for that!
  1. Why do you cosplay?

– Honestly there are times I don’t have the motivation, drive or energy to cosplay and that goes hand in hand with what is going on in my life at the time. But mainly I cosplay when I am in a great place mentally and emotionally as it helps me feel creative and express myself. But mainly I just enjoy the artistic side of it, I love the feeling of accomplishment I receive once completing something I am proud of, and the outpour of support from viewers and those who share my work is beyond a feeling I can express. I also love attention. Not many will openly admit that but I do. I am a born performer lol. It also helped me meet some of my greatest friends, people whom have accepted me for me and not bullied me for my interests.

  1. What are your favourite aspects of cosplay

Easy, people, creativity, feeling of accomplishment, pride, attention, fun!!! Performance, love and a feeling of being understood and accepted.

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  1. How do you find the community
  • We would need a lot more than this page to explain my stance on this at the moment but I will say it isn’t a very good one lately. The community is becoming something different and as sad as it is I still remain accepting of peoples choices and direction. But it is making it extremely hard for certain artists to be noticed in their work to create a business out of it. And the negativity, bullying, harassment and judgement is starting to get to me. Call me jaded I guess. The things I stated above of why I loved this community and this hobby are slowly diminishing. Which adds to the lack of motivation to create new costumes. It is vicious cycle. I got into this community for acceptance and quickly realized that was the last thing on the list for a lot of people. I think I will mainly stick to my makeup for the time being as that is my happy place haha.
  1. How do you select a costume – do you go for ease, comfort, do you consider your body type

I wear what I feel best in, comfort and mobility are huge factors as I love to really get into character and move around a lot in photo shoots. I tend to pick characters I can easily portray as closely as possible or resemble as much as humanly possible also. I don’t like to wear wigs all that much so a character that I can fit my hair into, or dye or cut to resemble is a plus. But for myself personally I costume to my comfort in my body, not my body type. If I cosplay as a character, say my arkham asylum ivy, she has an open exposed shirt. I am not comfortable with that but still wanted to wear her outfit, so I simply wore a buttoned up blouse instead. Bam problem solved! But I also tend to wear costumes I can add my spfx background into, and basically every costume I wear I add blood and cuts into anyway haha.

  1. Do you design and create your own costumes? And do you stay true to the source material or ‘inspired by’ designs?

Little bit of all worlds. I don’t stick to one type of cosplaying. I have bought pieces from thrift stores and modified them or pieced them together, I have made entire cosplays from scratch, I have commissioned others to create armor and guns for me and I have borrowed other costumes from friends just to try something I normally wouldn’t for shits and giggles. I don’t hold a standard to any one cosplayer. Their cosplay is their cosplay experience. It is all personal. I do however tend to add something of my own into every costume for creative purposes.

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  1. Have you ever faced any negativity while in costume or in the wider community?
  • Sure, I was once told I was fat as Lara Croft even though I was probably at my thinnest and felt really great about myself haha and was an athletic ass kicking lara croft, I knew this. So it didn’t affect me as much as it might have. I am a curvy girl and I am perfectly ok with that but it did not make it right for this stranger to try to make me feel uncomfortable about my own body. I was also in a situation where two people were taking about how they wanted to rape me in a costume as if I wasn’t even present on my own page reading it as a person, that one upset me and I spoke out about it, it kinda received a viral amount of support from people so that was awesome to see so many people stand up to these bullies. But other than that my page is an extremely safe place with wonderful people that I admire and respect and adore. But as an admin at Geek Girls and manager at Super Cosplay Girls I see the harassment every single day, and it starts to weigh on you.
  1. Have you ever faced or found yourself in an unsafe situation?
  • Myself and many of the Geek Girls faced a sick man who was stalking, harassing and threatening us with horrible murderous actions and rape for months. Simply because we cosplayed and simply because some of us (many of us didn’t do this) had sexualized images. He was horrendous in what he would say and I wont repeat it but it scared us. He would make new accounts and harass us for weeks at a time non stop. He actually threatened to come kill us at our events. We went to the police with that one and it is an on going case. It is sad because he finally admitted to myself and another girl that he did it because he felt rejected by women like us and just wanted to see us naked…. Da fuq? I didn’t sign up for that.
  1. Tips for staying safe and having fun while in cosplay?!

Never ever let someone tell you to just deal with it. And to not stand up for yourself or that you deserve it or encouraged it because of what you do or who you are. They are absolutely wrong. Everyone will react differently to an unsafe or potentially harmful situation. We all have different coping mechanisms. You deal with these problems as you see fit. Never allow someone to make you feel uncomfortable or unsafe in your own environment and do not be afraid to speak out about it or call them out on their behaviour. Do not condone it. Ban and delete them as soon as possible, do not give them the option to repeat their behaviour or defend their actions. Freedom of speech does not equal freedom to harass. You are the boss in this situation. You control it. Never forget that you are in control. The worst possible thing you can do is allow these people to take that away from you.

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Make me younger

On last weeks show we discussed life hacks and cheats, I was challenged with putting together tips for looking younger… I cannot imagine why!

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Tips on using makeup to look younger

  1. Don’t use heavy makeup. I know we have all been there, convinced that we need to layer on makeup to cover imagined blemishes. But I have found that the older I get, the less I wear. It is aging to wear a lot of makeup, it settles in lines, and pores, it high lights the areas we want to avoid. Use a light foundation, and if you are worried about things like dark circles, use a light weight cream concealer and blend in well.
  2. Switch to a tinted moisturiser and translucent powders to help make your skin look younger – I would suggest using something like a colour matching BB or CC cream. They contain iridescent particles that reflect the light. They are a light liquid which will hug the skin and not highlight any lines. The translucent powder applied with a brush will help set the foundation for the day and control any oil without settling anywhere you want to avoid.
  3. Open up your eyes – simple things, don’t go heavy on the liner, just line your upper lid to give the impression of longer lashes, use a black mascara to help bring out whites of your eyes (no, seriously), use lighter colours in eye shadow during the day and If you must use liner on both lids, pencil half way and blend to the inside corner.
  4. This may sound old fashioned but using blusher and a complimenting lip colour during the day, will help keep you looking fresh. It is the trick we all grew up with, suck in the cheeks and apply the blusher to the ball of the cheek. Use a rose colour for both lips and cheeks – the cheeks will help give you a glow, and the lips will just give a natural colour that can start going as we get older – and you have plenty of tinted lip balms through lip velvets to choose from. Keep it in the rose spectrum as this is the most natural looking colour and pick darker shades the darker your skin tone.
  5. Going back to lips – lips change as we get older, not only do they loose their colour, but the shape can change. Use a lighter liner to give a better shape, and using a light colour will help reflect light and give the illusion of a fuller lip without looking drawn on. Again when you aren’t wearing lipstick, having a good balm is going to be your friend.
  6. A personal tip – brows. Eye brows frame the face, so it is important to look after yours – go get them looked after professionally. It doesn’t need to be expensive, and you will reap the benefits – get your brows tinted ones a month – a good technician will match it to your hair colour to make them look as flattering and natural as possible. A nicely shaped brow will help you stay looking younger.

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This doesn’t mean that you can’t still have fun with makeup – play around with colours, try different eye shadows, high light your best features. This is just a basic walk through on how to many your skin glow and not over load. One thing that I would also suggest, go to makeup counters, and see which do makeovers – I know Benefit do great ones, but off hand I can’t recommend any! Sorry! But it is a great way of exploring new looks and products. Never feel obligated to buy anything, if they offer a discount don’t fall for it unless you can use it on another day – you need time to see how the make up lasts and how you feel about it. And let us all be realistic, you can find dupes for many products, if you really like something you can try a cheaper version to see if you still like it before committing! And who doesn’t like a little pampering!

Office to Party

T’is the season – no way of getting away from it now – we are all having a lot more social commitments with people we work with, and often during the week. We don’t always have enough time to get home and back out again.

So with that in mind, I have put together a little cheat sheet to make sure you will be ready for that office party!

Let’s start with what you will need – it should all fit into a medium sized makeup bag – easily kept in your handbag for emergencies!

The first thing to pop in, is actually NOT makeup, but a funky pair of tights that will change up your outfit quickly and easily for example : Debenhams fashion tights.

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The next thing you will want to invest in, pre glued false lashes – I really love them, they cut down on the waiting around for the glue to prove. And they really are a godsend for those of us who are not confidence in using lashes in the first place!

For finger nails – press on or nail stickers will make them look freshly manicured. They are really simple to apply, and are available in most stores – Primark have a fab little collection of press on nails including seasonal ones.

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Now for your eyes, you want to just top up your makeup from the day – I would make sure you already had a great eyeshadow primer like urban decay which will mean you already have a good base. You don’t need to do much with your eyes, I would just take a colour a couple of shades darker than your usual makeup, take it along your lash line and around the eye socket and blend in. You can use any colours and don’t have to stick to black to get a nice smokey eye – grey, green, blue, purple, browns are all good colours – makeup revolution do a night range of pallets that are a great price and size to suit your bag. It is worth having a little play. And you will want to invest in a couple of brushes, the sponge you get in most ‘drug store’ kits are not worth it – Makeup revolution do some cute mini brush kits. And it is also worth going over your eye liner and extending it out a little. This, combined with the darker eye shadow over the lash line has the added benefit of blending the false lashes in as well!

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Before you finish – and you are nearly there – grab a contouring pallet – this will be a blusher, highlighter and bronzer and won’t take up much room – this will help freshen up your face and will help really take you away from your daytime look. You want to have a stronger look, the lighting will be a lot lower, and camera flashes are notoriously unforgiving. I know a lot of people get really worried about this but it is simple – I prefer to use a powder as I apply the contour after my base. Which is exactly what you will be doing if doing it before going out! Check the picture below for hints as to where you want to place it. All it will need is a quick swipe of the brush and then you just blend it all in. Little is more here, as you don’t want to have visible streaks 🙂

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Now another quick way of taking your outfit from day to evening is accessories – it doesn’t matter if you don’t really wear much at work, a necklace, earrings, or even a bangle will change up an outfit really simply.

There are really only a couple of other things you need in your bag – deodorant and dry shampoo. You can get both in travel size so you don’t have to worry about it taking too much room. Dry shampoo really can help transform your hair, especially if it is a little tired after a long day.

Now, all of this will take under 10 mins, doesn’t require much space (okay you may have a little impromptu yoga practise while changing tights) and won’t take up much room in your bag!

Please note the products and companies suggested are merely that, suggestions, they are far from alone in supplying products, I have merely provided links to items that I have personally used 🙂

All tangled up!

So, I have done a couple of posts recently on caring for your wigs. Well…. I don’t always care for mine. I try my best, and what I have previously shared is best practice. But what if you have something in mind for your wig? 

I bought a long, blonde crimped with in the sales early last year, I love crimped wigs, but having naturally dark hair, I wasn’t sure what blonde would suit. This blonde for me, felt too light… so it wasn’t ever going to be in my daily rotation. As you can see from the featured image, I have had a little fun with the wig 🙂 And that I am the Queen of derp faces – I cannot take myself seriously, clearly not a model heh

I was asked by a neighbour if I could come and help at her daughter’s birthday party, and we somehow agreed that I should do it dressed as Elsa from Frozen… so the wig was transformed, which to be honest was pretty easy! 

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The only thing you really need to be aware of when styling a wig like this, is making sure that the wig cap is covered. As these wigs are not really designed to be pulled up and around you can easily show the cap, and even worse (especially if you have dark hair) your own hair line!

I don’t think I made a bad Elsa, all things considered, and thought that would be the end of it. I could drag the wig out for make up, if if anyone needed an Elsa wig (or a plus size Elsa LOL).

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Early last year, I got talking to Wechselberg (Wechselbalg Facebook Page – give him a like!) about Hazel & Gretel: Witch Hunters and we were both inspired by the witches, more so the concept art attached (which is another post!) and I knew exactly which witch I would tackle first. You see, I like a challenge – I had a wig I didn’t really care for, so it was the perfect excuse. 

So I set about making the wig resemble the hair of my chosen witch, including plaits and braids, tangles and general untidiness. I had no intention of ever returning her to her former … glory? So I really had a lot of fun, back combing, pinning, sewing… just treated the wig as badly as you can imagine!

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And this is the result of my hard work! I really had a lot of fun, and it felt quite liberating treating my wig with such disregard. The worse I treated her, the better she ended up looking. It was the first time I really put together an entire outfit to complement my makeup, and it turned out rather well!

I haven’t really had any cause to use the wig again, but figured it would be beyond my capabilities to get her back to normal, and that I might need a message up wig again. Into a cupboard she went.

Until thursday, when my friend called and asked if she could borrow my ‘elsa wig’ … well, like I said earlier, I do like a challenge. I knew the basic principles, combing out gently, fabric softener, steaming, washing in warm water, and praying to the gods of good hair. 

The wig started out like this:

 

And I honestly thought I would be at it all weekend, I figured I had four days to get it to the point it could be put back into a braid and look like an ‘Elsa wig’ again. I sat down in the bathroom with my trusty backcombing brush (ironic I know) and slowly started brushing the messy dreads out from the bottom. I then started on the various braids that had been backcombed so they would stay in place and not unravel. It took 40 mins, and then I brushed out my wig. I was honestly expecting to take long, it was a lot of fluffier but washing would help that. Because I had not applied heat while restyling the wig, it bounced back so to speak. 

After it had been brushed out, I soaked the wig in a lukewarm bowl of water with wig shampoo – any mild shampoo or fabric softener works equally as well 🙂 and dried it overnight.

As you can see, she turned out pretty nicely, and is now braided up as an ‘Elsa Wig’!

(please excuse my lack of a top, I was about to do some body painting!)

While I am not for a moment suggesting that would should all back comb your wig to within an inch of it’s life, it is doable, and you can get some great results, and wigs can be rescued! 

If you have found that your wig it damaged, nearing the end of it’s life, and you are lost as to what to do, you can always speak to Scarlet von Trapp who did an amazing rescue on a wig, which really was beyond my ability! 

 

 

Online shopping … customer… served?

So… the internet… it is a bright and beautiful thing, but can also be a dark and scary place… especially when you are shopping online. It might be one thing to buy a product locally, where you can go and speak to a human being if something goes wrong.. but emails, telephone numbers… you are never really sure if you are being treated as a person or a reference number.

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I thought I would have a look at customer service from 2 different companies that I have dealt with online, one big, one small.. and what my experience has been.

Now the first is Urban Decay http://www.urbandecay.co.uk/     a large international makeup company renowned for its Naked Pallets. Well I was lucky enough to receive one of their pallets for my birthday this year. I wouldn’t have tried their products without this prompt, as I am nervous about spending so much money and not really being sure if the product will be a good match for me.

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This is of course a big issue for us when buying on line, especially if it is for the first time. So when I received my pallet and tried it I was blown away… yes, they really do live up to the hype people. I then decided to give some of their eye liners a go, both stick and gel liner, as this is one product I find difficult to get right. When the gel liner arrived, it looks … well it didn’t quite look right, so I emailed their customer service to check if it was a dud, or if it would be okay. I didn’t really want to use it and find myself having negative experiences if it wasn’t in tip top condition.

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I got a swift reply, apologising for the product, and asking if I would send it back to them to check, and replace as needed. This sounded good, I am usually reluctant as the postage can almost cost as much. But it was free, and I put it to one side to do when I next went to the post office. Well, a week later, I realised it had gone missing… couldn’t be found anywhere. I was panicking because I was sure they wouldn’t hold the ticket open forever and I didn’t want them waiting for something that wasn’t on its way. So I emailed and explained the situation. I was assured that they would put a hold until it was found.

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Well I won’t say how long it took to find it, I had given up on ever seeing it again when one afternoon it was on the mantelpiece… my BF explained that he had found it and put it there for me. Well.. I emailed Urban Decay and apologised for everything, explaining it had finally been found etc. I received an email back again saying that it isn’t a problem and I could send it to X address. I was more than surprised considering the time that had elapsed.

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I am waiting for my replacement – it isn’t like for like, as the product i had initially bought is out of stock so have negotiated a replacement which is on its way. I have to say, the quickness of replies, and the interactions i have had have galvanised me to spend more money on Urban Decay. Which is really one of the primary reasons companies, big and small should be investing in good customer service. To be perfectly honest, I would have been happy without the replacement, I wasn’t expecting it and the level of service I had received in my initial interaction had left me with a positive experience.

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Now, onto a small, relatively new company that I have mentioned before, Revenge Wigs. When I first came accross them via Instagram the business was not actually live, so a lot of the emails were updating me on progress, ETA’s, some delays (I say delay, like a day or two). But I won’t go over that, you can see my review in an earlier post.

I have continued to buy from Revenge Wigs, and the level of customer service has not diminished, there is an immediate email to confirm that my order has gone through, and again once posted (next day if done on a working day). The wigs are always labelled and there is always a handwritten note inside. It is little touches like this, that make the whole experience more personal. It feels as if you actually matter to the company and are not just another sale.

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As a new start up, I really was hoping that everything I had experienced when I first bought a wig would continue but actually figured it would just be an opening gambit and it would be ‘business as usual’ going forward. But Revenge Wigs are active on both IG and FB so you feel more involved, and even had a new website since launch. (the new website looks amazing, go check it out http://revengewigs.co.uk/)

I did have one stumble in my relationship, which was a wonky wig – not the fault of the business. I fully expected to have to put up and shut up. How would the business be able to confirm there is a problem with the product and not me, or my head.. without one or both of us paying out to return it. It was with a heavy heart that I contacted her. I realised that a lot of wig companies do not accept returns (for valid reasons) and I was so disappointed in the wig. How dare it be wonky. But, within 30 mins, Revenge Wigs responded with a return address and confirmed they would refund me for the wig and postage (which is over and above what I had expected). The wig was refunded, and I responded as any reasonable person would …. by buying another wig 😉

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I am sorry if you were expecting a negative post, I wanted to let people know that it isn’t all doom and gloom when buying online, especially with the shopping season upon us. We are all working longer hours and finding time to shop locally isn’t always easy. (conversely I am a big promoter of shopping locally – I am just a realist)

I realise that it is hard for new businesses to compete with larger, and established companies, as Revenge Wigs have found, by relaunching their website. It is all about first impressions and honestly this is no different from window dressing on the high street. If you make your website look good, easy to access, and give people an easy way to contact you.. it will make people more confident in buying from you. And as you can see, it really doesn’t matter what size, or how old the company is…. customer service is important and it is becoming more important now we are doing most of our shopping online. Be confident when shopping online.

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Halloween Makeup #2

Okay this is a really quick walkthrough, basically because I forgot to actually take photos as I went along! Sorry but it is an easy one, I promise!

A couple of weeks ago, I was playing around with makeup, which I do. A lot – and I decided to refresh a Pin Up Frankie (Frankenstein’s Bride) which I had done a couple of years ago.

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This evening while I was putting together the 5 min zombie look – I thought I could review Frankie as the only thing that wouldn’t necessarily be in everyone’s makeup box, is the body paint used for the green skin.

So for this experiment, I used a green mineral eyeshadow and a blusher brush to apply onto my face, and blended it in. I then picked a slightly darker green and used it on my cheekbones, nose, and temple.

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I then applied a deep purple eyeshadow over the eye socket, following my eyelid around and underneath. I used another loose powder for this and the loose powder falling was blended in under the eye, so being slightly messy certainly works in this instance!

I actually set the green with a translucent powder because it was just a tiny bit glittery – which is fine if that is what you are going for 🙂

I then applied lashings of mascara and a little liner to finish my eyes off before moving onto the stitches.

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For this, I just used a pen eyeliner – now I haven’t given much thought to placement of the stitches – I usually try and make sure that they won’t be covered by a wig, so I keep them more central but you may want to look at some more authentic autopsy scars for your own makeup!

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And one where I remembered to put on some lipstick 🙂

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This makeup look really won’t take long to do – both this and the zombie makeup are designed to be 5 min makeup looks that can achieved without spending much money of time. I would love to see what you come up with!

Beauty is only skin deep

Beauty, or its perception is a very personal thing. It is taste. This will be down the individual, it can be environmental, what you were bought up around, it can be cultural. But I digress.

I am working in collaboration with a friend and fellow (albeit infinitely more talented) makeup artist, Wechselbalg (find him on facebook) to bring to life some concepts inspired by the Hansel and Gretel : Witchhunters film. To this end, I selected the Desert Witch as my first witch.

The image I have included with this blog is the unedited image I uploaded to Instagram last night. It got some positive comments on it – which of course delighted me. But it also made me think about the perception of beauty within our own and other societies. I was told that I look pretty, amazing, beautiful. But… and this is really what I am trying to get it. Is it really me that they are complimenting or my work.

I call myself a makeup artist although I have no formal qualification. I do however, use makeup as my artistic medium and outlet. So, if we take it as a compliment of my work, I am honoured. I am very pleased with the way it turned out. I was lucky that the weather was bright and worked in my favour.

However, the other interpretation is that they are saying that I, am pretty. And it feels wrong. I cannot really accept this as a compliment. And please let me explain why.. take a moment to look at the picture. I am wearing a wig (which I customised), blue contact lenses, self tan, and a bucket load of makeup. So .. there is nothing in the photo that makes me, me. I am the canvass a painter starts off with before applying paint.

And this is the point that bothers me. Is skin truly only skin deep. Am I only pretty when I have so many layers of makeup, my own mother wouldn’t recognise. This is a difficult topic as clearly, I do love makeup and apply it at times, with wanton abandon. And yes, it makes me feel beautiful, I love looking at the mirror, and seeing what I have created. I don’t want to bring the patriarchal or feminist gaze into this. Really, makeup is a personal thing, wear it, don’t wear it. Throw it on with a trowel, go natural. If it makes you happy, then really whether someone is hitting like on it, count it as a bonus and not a comment on you as a person. They are liking the art created?!