How to feel good without make-up

Make up is a wonderful thing, right? You can go from feeling a 0 to a 10 in a matter of minutes! But what I want to write about today is how to feel like a 10 without wearing an ounce of make-up. And it’s got nothing to do with any miracle product.

This is an interesting post for me because I am the type of person who never used to be able to leave the house without wearing  make-up. I mean, I literally could not go to the corner shop until I’d showered, got dressed up, put on a full face of make-up and done my hair.

Today, I woke up and the first thing I wanted was a cup of tea. But oh, what’s that? No milk? Fantastic.

The old me would have sighed, jumped in the shower and literally moaned to myself for a full hour whilst I got ready for what a normal person would recognise as a night out!

Sound familiar to you?

Now, I’ve been paying close attention to the women I see on the street when I’m out, especially at the weekend. Whilst I’m walking around with a full face of make up on, I see women, looking absolutely great with nothing on their face. I think to myself, how lucky are they? They can just wake up in the morning looking great, jump in the shower and go about their day without having to worry about putting any make up on.

Don’t get me wrong, I love putting make up on, not just for the way it makes me feel afterwards, but the actual process excites me. However, sometimes, it is good to let your skin breathe for a while and on a Saturday morning when you’re running to the corner shop to grab some milk, a full face of make-up is definitely not required, particularly when you weren’t planning on going anywhere else for the rest of the day, hence you wasn’t actually going to wear make up in the first place.

So back to this morning. I opened the fridge and sighed. And yes, I jumped in the shower. And then a miraculous thing happened… I got dressed and left the house. I walked to the corner shop with absolutely no make-up on my face, bought my milk and walked back. And do you know what? I didn’t die… I didn’t get chased down the street by people wielding pitchforks and children didn’t scream and run away when they see me.

How did I get to this point in my life? I hear you ask.

Well, let me break it down:

  1. As sad as it may seem, I have realised that no one actually cares that you’re not wearing make-up. You’re worried that everyone will stare at you, like you’re some kind of monster? Let me tell you something, no one is looking at you at all! It’s true, I’m sorry.
  2. You’re walking to the corner shop at 9.30 on a Saturday morning. If you are walking down the street looking like you’re about to hit the biggest club in London, chances are, you are going to get attention, but it will most likely be the attention of people thinking “what an imbecile, where the hell do they think they’re going?” True story – I’ve thought it myself when I’ve seen people do exactly what I used to do.
  3. It’s effort! I just want a bloody cup of tea, why the hell should I waste an hour of my life getting ready to go for a 45 second walk to the shop. It’s, quite frankly, stupid.
  4. This point is important. I grew up. I have realised that there are more important things in life than perfect make up at all times. 9.30am on a Saturday morning when, let’s face it, half the population are still in bed and won’t even see you anyway is one of those times.

Aside from all this thinking I did about how I feel about the laborious task of getting ready to go out and buy some milk, I started to do things at home slightly differently.

  • As soon as I got home from work, a day out or wherever, I took my make up off. This sounds simple right, and to those of you who do this anyway, perfectly normal (I’m guessing you’re the people who are reading this post thinking, wtf) but I never used to do this until the minute before I was going to bed. If I got home from work and had to pop out to the shop or put the bins out, whatever, I didn’t want to be seen without my make up on, so I would wait until I knew that I wasn’t going anywhere to take it off. Absolutely ridiculous.
  • Now, you’ve got that make up off. Every time you go to the bathroom, pass by the mirror, wash your hands etc. you will see your face without make up. If you’re not used to this, it might seem very weird at first. But you will get so used to it after a while that actually, seeing yourself with make up on will seem odd.
  • Take a good look at yourself. I do this all the time without make up on. I will stand in the bathroom and get really close to the mirror and look at my face from every single angle. Yes my face is pasty, yes my eyebrows are so blonde you can barely see them, yes my lips look flatter, my eyelashes not as long. But do you know what? That’s me. That’s what I actually look like! Appreciate yourself. Look at the things you do like about yourself which get covered with make-up. Maybe it’s your freckles, or your rosy cheeks, whatever. The point is, learn to love your ‘real’ self.
  • Take care of yourself. Drink water, eat healthily, cleanse and moisturise your skin. Have you ever not worn make up for 2-3 days in a row and cleaned your skin with a cotton pad? I have and on the third day, make up was still coming off my skin! Not because I wasn’t cleansing my face properly but because that stuff gets into your pores so deep if you wear it every day, that you literally cannot reach it until your skin starts expelling it days later! When your skin is that clean, you may learn to appreciate how you look without make up.

Now, back to the woman you see walking down the street without any make up on. Is she that lucky that she looks so great without having to wear make-up? Maybe she is, but so are you. If you have never allowed yourself to be seen without make up on, how do you know how you will feel about it?

Make up is a great thing, but you are as well. Allow yourself to be seen, not for what you could be, but for what you already are.

me no make up


Strobing; latest fad or best idea ever?

Hey!  I hope you’re all doing well and enjoying your weekend… well, what’s left of it!

So, strobing… what the hell is strobing?  You’ve probably all heard of this latest trend but are wondering where the hell it’s come from.  Let me tell you a secret… it’s highlighting in disguise.  Yes.  Highlighting took it’s little butt down to the Deed Poll office and changed it’s name, expecting us all not to recognise it!

The thing with strobing is, it’s a little bit different.  Please correct me if I’m wrong, but highlighting is literally taking a lighter colour foundation/concealer (shimmer may or may not be included) and using that product to highlight (literally) the high points of your face, where the light would naturally hit, to give it more dimension.  When using this technique, you probably almost always use a darker contour to accentuate the highlight à la Kim Kardashian.  All gets a bit complicated doesn’t it?

Strobing is slightly different.  Instead of using light to attract attention in certain places, strobing uses shimmer.  It makes you look amazingly alive, awake, refreshed, rejuvenated and all that other lovely stuff, but how do you achieve this without looking like a glitterbomb just exploded all over your face?

Firstly, you need to find what type of product works for you.  It could be cream, gel or powder.  Typically, if your skin is oily, I would suggest a powder and if you skin is dry, I would suggest a cream or gel based product.  Of course you are welcome to try all of them, as I’m about to suggest.

What I tend to do when I’m ‘strobing’ is to start of my make up routine by blending a strobe cream with my usual concealer.  Generally, you will use your concealer where you want to strobe, right?  Under your eyes, down the bridge of your nose, on your cupids bow, on your forehead and on your temples.  For the cream, I use this great and inexpensive product by Seventeen called Skin WOW! 3 Way Highligher – part of their Glow & Prime range.  It’s a really nice finish, barely detectable when mixed with a concealer but just adds enough ‘glow’ to know it’s there.

Once I’ve done this I move onto a powder product because who said you had to just use one?!  The product that I use I’ve actually mentioned in a previous post.  It’s by the MakeUp Academy and it’s call Undress Your Skin Shimmer Highligher.  It’s a great colour if you have fairly light to medium skin tones.  I take a small contour brush and lightly dab this product onto the top of my cheekbones (just below the outer corner of my eyes), down the bridge of my nose and on my cupids bow.

Something I’ve learned the hard way through trying various techniques with strobing… less is definitely more and you need to be really careful where you put this stuff because, honestly, it can be mistaken for sweat at a distance and you don’t want people thinking you’re a sweaty beast on a freezing cold day, not a great look!  So my suggestion is, you can go to town quite a lot on your cheekbones (you don’t generally sweat there), however when it comes to your cupids bow, use it sparingly and when it comes to your forehead, use it even more sparingly… if at all!  Honestly, someone has asked my why I’m sweating before when I wore it on my forehead.  If you would prefer to avoid these sorts of questions, follow my advice.  Plus you already have that strobing cream on your forehead mixed with your concealer, so it’s not like you’re totally not inviting your poor little forehead to the strobing party!

Once you’ve finished dabbing the powder on your face where you want it, take a big fluffy face brush, and blend it around the spots where you’ve applied the product so that it isn’t so ‘built up’ and continue with the rest of your face.

There you have it, the perfect, subtle strobe!

So, to summarise; 

  • Strobing is a little joker who changed it’s name from Highlighting to try to trick us all
  • Don’t strobe your forehead

No seriously, I hope you found this post useful.  I know strobing is a hot topic at the moment and I just wanted to give my take on it.  Hopefully my tips will help you to look youthful, rejuvenated and glowing and NOT like a glittery alien.

5 Minute Hair Routines for Monday Morning Madness!

Hello lovelies!

Well, it’s that time of the week again, y’know, our favourite day!

Monday is always a funny one for me because you would think that with all the time you have over the weekend to sort your life out for the following week that you might actually end up waking up on time, having done plentiful amounts of washing and ironing over the weekend.  Yeahhhh…

So I woke up this morning with about 35 minutes before I had to be out that front door… never a fun time when you’ve been out literally all weekend and haven’t even looked at the washing machine, right?

I managed to scrape out some old dress from the back and beyond of my wardrobe… problem one sorted.  On to problem two; my hair.  Oh my god, my hair.  I’m not going to lie to you, my hair is curly.  When tamed in the right way it can look nice.  When left to it’s own devices it can look like Crusty the Clown (what ya gonna do?)  Mostly, if I have the time I will straighten that bad boy until the cows come home to save everyone some trauma.  Today wasn’t that day.

So… what I wanted to just skim over today is Monday morning hair.  I will talk about two routines for when you literally have 5 minutes (or less) to sort that mess out.  Routine one will be what us curly girls can do and routine two will be what those of you with straight hair can do.  Read: the straight version can also be me if I’ve straightened it the night before and I wake up with it stuck to my head.

The reveal.  You’re standing in front of the mirror, eyes to the floor.  You know when you lift your head it’s not gonna be great but you know it’s a necessary evil.  You look up.  OH HELL NO.  It’s so far from great it’s unreal.  There’s two things you can do at this point… you can admit defeat and tie that nest up in a bun on top of your head and just wait for the frizz to appear around your forehead (so attractive), OR, you can use those 5 minutes you’ve got to man up and deal with it.  I’m gonna tell you now, I’ve admitted defeat more often than not but that’s not the way!

Routine One:

Curly Hair

What you will need:

  • Straightener
  • Hair clip (one of those big claw ones to scrape that s*** up)
  • Serum
  • Leave in conditioner

What you won’t need:

  • Brush/comb (believe me)

What to do:

Firstly you’re going to split that hair into 3.  Take two thirds of your hair up (like a half up, half down scenario) and clip it out of the way. (15 seconds)

Take your curling iron/straighteners.  I find whenever I’ve slept on my curly hair, some bits go flat, especially at the bottom.  What you want to do now is find those flat bits that make your hair look so atrocious and curl away.  (1 minute)

After you’ve curled all those bits and bobs on the bottom third, condition it up.  Take a pea-sized amount, rub it between your hands until it’s body temperature and run that through every bit of your hair. (30 seconds)

Take down another third, repeat steps above. (1  minute, 45 seconds)

Take down final third, repeat steps above. (1 minute 45 seconds)

Finally, take that serum and, if your hair is as frizzy as mine is, take maybe two pumps of that and distribute all over your hair.

If your hair isn’t looking half-decent by now, then I don’t do refunds.

Total time: 5 minutes, 15 seconds.  (Soz about the 15 seconds)

Routine Two:

Straight Hair

I would definitely see this as the lesser of two evils!  However, still evil.  The scenario at this stage is that you’ve dragged your butt out of bed, and your hair is stuck to your head in some nasty, greasy eugh way.  Maybe you should have washed it last night, but you got busy chilling so you didn’t.  (Happens to me regularly).

What you will need:

  • Brush/comb (need that this time, trust me)
  • Straightener
  • Dry shampoo

For speed purposes, you don’t need to split your hair.  What you’re going to do instead is take your brush/comb (paddle brush is honestly the best one to use) and simultaneously, using the brush and the straightener, work that down the lengths of your hair from the root to the tip, like you’re double brushing it.  To break that down for you, take the brush first and brush down the hair and literally 1-2 inches behind it, swipe the straightener down.

Keep doing this until your hair looks straight.  Read: looks straight.  Every single strand of hair doesn’t need to be poker straight.  If you are here to learn how to straighten your hair to the maximum, ain’t nobody got time for that.

Once that step is done, take that dry shampoo and, lifting 2-3 inch sections, spray it everywhere.  Like… everywhere.  You need that in your life asap.  After you’ve emptied the can, rub it in just as if you were shampooing and then brush it out.  That’s it. The end.  (Seriously though, don’t put that much dry shampoo in your hair, can get a bit expensive and you will look like a Grandma).

Total time: 5 minutes (if that)

That’s it guys.  My 2 quick morning routines for when you’ve snoozed that alarm hardcore.

P.S. Of course, before using any heated styling tools, you will protect your hair with heat defence spray or whatever blah blah 🙂

Monday blues… or reds… or purples…

So it’s nearly the end of Monday.  Everyone’s favourite day I’m sure!  It’s funny how Monday is exactly like any other weekday yet people despise it so much.  I wonder who created that stigma?  People who hate their jobs I guess…

For me, Monday doesn’t have to be a negative thing.  It should technically be the day you feel most refreshed!  You’ve usually just had at least 2 lay-ins, probably been out with family and friends relaxing and catching up, had time to chill and unwind and by Monday you should feel like a new person.  Never works out that way does it?

I try to make Mondays a positive thing.  You’ve got a whole brand new week ahead of you and to be honest, Monday is probably the only weekday that I actually get up on time and have time to do what I really want to do.

I do have a full-time job, so getting to the office on time can be an issue if I spend as much time on my make up as I would like to, but there are some shortcuts that I’ve learned over the years that help keep you on time but still allow you to look polished when you finally clock in!  “What do I need to do to help me look polished?” I hear you ask!  Ha, well I will list these steps for you now.  If you work in an office/corporate environment like I do, you might find this useful!

Step One: Moisturise

Honestly, if you work in a office like mine where the air-conditioning is constantly on, you can’t really afford to miss this step.  I find when I do, my face ends up getting really dry and my make up starts falling apart.

You don’t have to spend a fortune on moisturiser… I’m not here to tell you that you need to buy a £50 cream that’s going to give you a facelift, nose job and buy you dinner, you just need one that’s going to do it’s job: moisturise.  I personally like to use Boots Essentials Cucumber Moisturising Lotion (ironic because I hate cucumbers!) and seriously, this stuff costs like £1.50.  You go through moisturiser like crazy so why the hell should you spend all your salary on a cream?  Put that all over your face and leave it to soak in.  I tend to do this just after getting out of the shower; that way your pores are open and the cream soaks in really well.  Whilst that’s soaking in, you can go and do something else, like make a cup of tea!

Step Two: Foundation

Foundation, for me, is important.  I’ve got a really pasty blue complexion that can be very uneven.  If you’ve got good skin, skipping this step may be an option but for me, I think the first step to looking polished is even, glowing skin.

My foundation during the week is not an expensive one… I’ve got to wear this stuff every day so I don’t want to spend a fortune on it!  I’ve tried hundreds of drugstore foundations over the years, but I’ve found that one of the best ones so far is Rimmel London Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation (I use the colour 103 True Ivory) and this stuff seriously stays put.  I have dry skin and as long as I moisturise beforehand, the finish on this is great.  Really good coverage, blends well and stays put all day!  Make sure you blend this really well; you want your skin to look even and glowing, not cakey.  To blend, I usually use the Real Techniques Buffing Brush but if I’m pushed for time, using your fingers leaves a good finish as well.

Step Three: Powder

The product for this step can change quite often and sometimes doesn’t occur at all, but usually I will use Rimmel London Stay Matte Pressed Powder or if I’m feeling fancy, my bareMinerals Original Powder Foundation in Medium Beige N20.  The bareMinerals is seriously full coverage so I would maybe only suggest it if you’re having a bad skin day or something because coupled with your foundation, for an every day basis it may appear a bit much, but that’s entirely up to you!

After I’ve powdered, I apply The MakeUp Academy Mosaic Bronzer in Shade 1 Natural Glow.  THIS BRONZER, oh my God, it cost me like £2, seriously, and I absolutely love it.  It’s such a lovely colour, not too intense and has this really nice glowy shimmer to it which is barely detectable but leaves you looking less like a flat painting and more like an alive human being.  Saviour come Friday when I feel half dead!  So I just put that on top of my cheekbones, maybe around my temples if I’m feeling like a rebel and down each side of my nose (kind of like a contour, but much, much softer). 

Last but not least for the face, I usually apply a highlight which at the moment is, again by The MakeUp Academy, this time their Undress Your Skin Shimmer Highlighter (had a little spree on The MakeUp Academy section of Superdrug a couple of weeks ago, spent like £10, came out with about 50 products, it’s so good!)

Now, I know what you’re thinking, this seems like a million products, but I promise you, by the time I’ve got to this step, I’m about 4-5 minutes into my make up routine.  At this point, for a standard ‘work day’ face, you wanna keep it fairly casual now, right, because it’s not a disco(!)

Step Four: Eyebrows

Can I just stop here for one minute.  Eyebrows.  This is one step I won’t leave the house without doing.  My eyebrows are horrendous when left to their own devices, honestly.  I can forget looking polished if I forget about these bad boys.

For this step I use Anastasia Beverly Hills DipBrow Pomade in Taupe using the Anastasia Beverly Hill Eyebrow Brush (number 12).  This eyebrow brush is one of the best.  It has a little spooly at the end for combing through your eyebrows and then a really nice, fine brush at the end for putting the product on your brows.

I think eyebrows can be tricky if you don’t know how to do them properly.  They can seriously help change your face but one thing I want to point out… your eyebrows are not supposed to be twins, more like sisters.  Mine on the other hand are like distant cousins but I guess you just play the hand you’re dealt!

I start off by filling in the ‘tail’ end of my brow first and then line the top and bottom really faintly.  After that, I just use the residue of what’s left on my brush to ‘colour in’ the rest of the brow, so hopefully it looks done but not like two fat slugs just come and started chilling on your forehead.

Step Five: Eyes

This is pretty simple.  I found if I wear too much eye make up to work it just looks like a mess by the end of the day.  I actually tend to avoid wearing anything on the lower lash line at all if possible because I find it just smudges like nuts throughout the day.  Just take a light brown/greyish colour, I like to use Copperplate by MAC on a fluffy blending brush (I use the 224 from MAC) and blend this through the crease really sparingly.  You want it to just look like a shadow.  Then I run some black liquid eyeliner along the lashline, flick it out if I’m feeling daring and top it off with a black volumising mascara on the top lashes only.  This actually helps your eyes to look bigger as well – because you haven’t created a line to cut off the bottom of your eye, it creates an illusion that the eye is bigger than what it is.

Step Six: Lips

I’m not going to lie, this changes on a day to day basis.  Most of the colours I wear are pretty neutral because if I don’t get the chance to top them up during the day, it means they will just wear off with no trace of any gross old crusty lipstick left on my lips.

On a typical day, for long-wearing results, I will line and fill in my lips with a flat coloured lip pencil like Stone from MAC.  If you have small lips or just want to make your lips look a bit bigger, this sort of colour is a really good one to use as it has no red it in which naturally makes the lips look smaller.  After this I might put Honey Love lipstick on by MAC and then run around the edges of the lip again with the Stone pencil.  This generally doesn’t need to be reapplied again for about 6-7 hours and that’s through drinking countless cups of tea and coffee.

And you’re done!  Finally!

No, on a serious note, you should be around the 10-11 minute mark by now… that is how quick this makeup is!

So now, if you’re not a Monday person, you can snooze that alarm for another 5 minutes and rest assured that you’re going to look refreshed and rejuvenated to the rest of your colleagues in 10 minutes flat, even if you don’t feel it!


Hey guys!

Where do I start?

After deliberating about making a blog for the last 4 years and having never found the time to actually just sit down and do it, I finally did it tonight.

You see, my ‘finding time’ fits somewhere between laying on the sofa doing literally nothing, working and sleeping.  You would think over the last 4 years I might have found something more productive to do ha!

So now I’m a bit late jumping on the old bandwagon of make up and beauty blogging and I’m not promising I’m going to show you anything you probably haven’t already seen a million times, I’m not even promising that it might be interesting(!) but what I would like to think I’m offering is a different angle, with hopefully a bit of humour and fun along the way.  It’s dissapointing I took so long really… all the amazing, unique, quirky names for a blog I had come up with over the years are taken! So upsetting.

So guys, I’m definitely no make up artist.  I can safely say, aside from Halloween and one random day I decided to wear black lipstick (why?) I hardly ever wear anything crazy on my face.  Yes I go completely overboard with foundations and concealers and powders, but what I’m hoping I can share with you is how to walk out of the house thinking “yeah, do you know what, I look bloody decent today!”  Not “I feel a little uncomfortable wearing this make up because I don’t feel like myself” (try wearing black lipstick in public, you’ll never have that feeling stronger, trust me)!

Who am I?

To give you a bit of a back story about me, I started wearing a full face of make up when I was about 11.  Yes, 11.  It was horrendous.  I’m talking full coverage foundation, blue eyeshadows, black eyeliner and bright pink blusher all topped off with the gloopiest lip gloss you have ever seen.  The worst part is, I thought I looked good!  My Mum kinda went a bit nuts whenever she see me wearing it… “what impression do you think you’re giving out…” etc.  The thing was, I didn’t really know what she was talking about.  I certainly didn’t slap all that make up on my face to make anyone else happy!  I loved it… I loved sitting in front of that mirror and putting all these products on my face; to me, my face was a canvas and I was making it look pretty and colourful!  I still feel like that.  I get out of the shower in the morning, get dressed and sit in front of that mirror.  I look at my face for a long time deciding what I’m going to do today to make me feel good; it’s a satisfying experience for me and to be honest, the only 15 minutes of actual peace I have in my day where I get to 100% truly focus on myself.  I know there may be some ladies (or gents!) out there who find the process of make up application a laborious, unfortunate task that needs to be done.  I just wanna share that it doesn’t have to be like that.

I hope you enjoy this blog as much as I’m sure I will enjoy creating it.  If you have anything you want to ask me, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Maria xo