Top 10 Makeup Looks of Sydney Fashion Week 2016

The makeup looks from Sydney Fashion Week have been incredible this year! The makeup has ranged from slick and simple (we are kindred) to slightly creepy (toni maticevski) to absolutely hectic (discount universe). We have such amazing artists down under- and this week really proved that. Below are my personal favourites of the week so far,

Toni Maticevski

Created by Nigel Stanislaus for Maybelline, this look is all about clean perfect skin clashing with hectic, spidery lashes. 


This look by Carol Mackie for MAC Cosmetics combines my two favorite things: beautiful natural skin and sparkle!

We Are Kindred

Ania Milczarczyk paired soft rounded smokey eyes with natural brows and fake freckles for Laura Mercier. Skin is in!

Rebecca Vallance

Mac Senior artist Carol Mackie created these two looks and I can't decide which one I like more. For the killer red lip she used: Velvetease Pencil in Anything Goes, Retro Matte Liquid lip in Feels So Grand and Magenta Madness Pigment. The perfect natural skin is thanks to MAC Studio Waterweight Foundation.

Discount Universe

Vampy, glossy, mismatched goodness makeup goodness by Nicole Thompson for MAC Cosmetics. The best damn thing I've seen all year. 

Image source


Nigel Stanislaus created this absolutely incredible look for Maybelline. Mismatched metallic eyes, strong brows, glitter plum lips and sparkles! Richard Kavanagh created this hair genius for redken.

 Image posted by @brooketjames

Image posted by @brooketjames

 Image posted by  @pennyantuar

Image posted by @pennyantuar


I was incredibly privileged to work with an amazing team of creatives on this shoot- which was later published on Makeup wise I wanted to keep things very fresh and natural. Not overly cakey or matte- but none of this strobing nonsense! 

Photographer: Elizabeth Grinter @ Illuminate Management

Fashion Stylist: Karmyn Thomas @ Illuminate Management

Hair Stylist: Trevor Masoe @ House of Zion

Makeup: Hope O'Connor

Model: Tayla Spier @ Vivien's Model Management

Beauty Breakdown: Model Test with Miranda

I had some time in the studio with the incredibly talented Andre Cois and Miranda Aston from Que models recently. Miranda is one talented gal- a talented model turned fashion designer- she hand crafts her own intimate apparel line which we were able to shoot with.  I've been inspired by the soft matte eye looks and glowing skin that Ania Milczarczyk creates, and wanted to try something similar, with my own take on it.

Hero Products:

Viseart Paris: Neutral Basics 01 Matte

My go to palette. These beautiful,  soft eyeshadows blend themselves and are so easy to work with. I used the middle row of colours on Miranda. The warm orange tones in the shadows complimented Miranda's deep blue eyes. I love this palette because it is a great multitasker. For example, I used the taupe shade as a natural contour in Miranda's cheekbones and a mid tone brown in her eyebrows. I don't see the point in carrying around three different eyeshadow, brow and contour palettes, when one does the job perfectly.


RMS Beauty Living Luminizer

This creamy highlighting product is my current must have highlighter. I love it because it's creamy texture gives a glossy sheen to the skin, rather than looking heavy and powdery. I only wish it came in another more gold shade, as it gives a silvery sheen to the skin. Perfect for paler skin tones- but it will look ashy on darker skin. 

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit

I layered all three blushers in this palette on Miranda's cheeks and eyes. These blushers give the most beautiful, natural glow to the skin. Very lit from within. They are both pigmented enough, and blendable.  I used them as transition shades on Miranda's eyes and all over her cheeks- layering the shades until I created the depth of colour I wanted. These powders are expensive- but so worth it! I'm yet to find a pressed powder with similar properties to the Ambient Lighting Powders.

The Final Images

Golden globes 2016: Best hair and makeup looks

Olivia Wilde

Red and burgundy smokey eyes can be a risky move, but Olivia Wilde nailed it!

Laverne Cox

Dark berry lips provide a stark contrast against Laverne's stunning white dress, combining perfectly with the soft eyes and curls.

Jennifer Lopez

Whoever created this look for Jennifer is an absolute genius. Perfection.

Katy Perry

katy perry.jpg

Stunning kitten flicked liner and her incredible beehive make this an unforgettable look, for all the right reasons!

Channing Tatum

He could wear a potato sack and nail it.

Kate Bosworth

Angelic. Ethereal. Everything good in the world. Heavy makeup has its place, but it can never replace looks like this.

Amber Heard


Jaw droppingly beautiful. Deep red lips, shimmery champagne eyeshadow and a faux bob.  Soft and striking at the same time.

Brands to watch in 2016.

Makeup artist Sheri Vegas created and launched this brush range late in 2016. I was lucky enough to attend the launch party, and see for myself the incredible quality of these brushes. Sheri has spent the last few years sourcing the best possible materials, with a focus on quality, durability and sustainability. 

Makeup Weapons brushes are 100% cruelty-free brushes made from high quality and durable synthetic hairs, a copper ferrule and a sustainably grown bamboo handle. The quality of our brushes will provide you will an incredible application every time. The hair of our brushes are made from a nylon and taklon blend, which does not contain allergens and is considered a ‘green’ product.

In 2015 Ellis Faas launched the Glow Up powder highlighters (the best powder highlighter I've ever used). This brand is known for product innovation, beautiful slick packaging and pigmented long lasting formulas. I'm constantly surprised by how little attention this brand gets in Australia, it's vastly underrated.

Becca Cosmetics

The highlighting trend (or strobing if you like to reinvent the wheel) is only going to get bigger this year, and Becca is going to become huge. In 2015 they expanded their range of skin perfectors by collaborating with famed youtuber, Jaclyn Hill. A controversial move that definitely payed off, propelling Becca into the mainstream. This clever marketing combined with the amazing product and colour range will serve them well this year. Watch this space.


My top 10 Beauty products of 2015.

I tried a lot of makeup and skincare products this year, some of them good, some of them not so much. Below I've listed my ten most loved products. I'm not a snob. I don't care about labels; what I'm concerned about is the functionality and quality of the product. That being said, I want the highest quality ingredients in the products I use. Say I have  choice between eyeshadows hand pressed in france, or made in a questionable location somewhere in the third world, I'm going with france. Quality is key.

Everything listed below is available to purchase in Australia, click the photo to find out more about each product.

What were your favourite products this year?

10. Dr Dennis Gross Skincare: Alpha Double Peel.

This two step chemical exfoliator is a gentle, yet effective, way to exfoliate the skin. It uses blends of Alpha and Beta Hydroxy acids to gently remove dead skin cells resulting in a clean, glowing complexion. I love this product because its gentle enough for my incredibly reactive and skin, and it actually works. After using your skin feels smoother, tighter and cleaner. I use this bad boy twice a week, but the older you are, the more you should use it. Coming in at $23 for five treatments, they're pricey, but incredibly worthwhile.

9. Eye of Horus: Smokey Black Goddess Pencil.

A must have for fans of the smoky eye. Eye of Horus have managed to create an eye pencil that is both creamy and gentle on the eyes, but waterproof and longlasting. This pencil glides on the waterline like butter, but once it sets it won't move. Amazing! Eye of Horus products are not tested on animals, made from all natural ingredients and paraben free. Definitely a cult product in the making, it is comparable to a certain Urban Decay pencil eyeliner, but so much better.

8. Makeup Weapons: 1.4 Dome Foundation Brush

If you'd asked me six months ago whether I'd spend $42 on a foundation brush, my answer would have been 'Hell no!' That was before I tried this incredible brand. This foundation brush is impeccably made and feels nice and weighty in your hand. It blends creams and powders perfectly. The entire makeup weapons range is made from synthetic fibers, but they feel and perform like natural haired brushes. Cruelty free, and made from entirely sustainable products, I really cannot get enough of these brushes.  The combination of black and rose gold is so pretty.

7. Bareminerals: Complexion Rescue Gel.

I hate wearing foundation. I hate how it feels. I hate how it melts off my face in summer. I hate that if I want to look professional, I'm required to slap the stuff on. This product makes me hate wearing foundation a little less. It feels beautiful on and gives a lovely glowing coverage. It contains a physical sunscreen to protect the skin and is incredibly hydrating. I do wish it came in more shades, and at $43 it's not cheap. Definitely worth looking into if you share my frustration with traditional foundation formulas. As it is a water based product, if you try to use it on top of a silicone based primer or with a silicone based concealer it will bunch up. Know your ingredients!

6. Ellis Faas: Glow Up.

These beautiful highlighting powder give the skin an almost etheral glow, without emphasising fine lines or looking like a disco ball. I've used these powders on pretty much every makeup on this site, either as a highlighter, eyeshadow or finishing powder. They come in three different shades and are suitable for most skin tones, barring the deepest of the deep. I much prefer this type of lit from within highlighting powder over the super shiny powders for everyday use; they are much more flattering

5. Hourglass: Ambient Lighting Palette.

These products are definitely misunderstood. They are not setting powders, they are not going to make your makeup last any longer. They are finishing powders, so, when buffed over the skin they create the most beautiful finish. Pores, imperfections and fine lines are blurred and the skin looks healthy and luminous. Dim light looks beautiful buffed all over the face, and is great for bringing life back to an overly matte complexion. The other two powders are beautiful on the high points of the face, or as eyeshadows all over the lid. The price of these do sting, but once you start using them you won't be able to stop. 

4. Eyeko London: Brow Gel

A cult brow product that thickens, defines and sets brow hairs for the perfect natural look. This magical formula is transparent enough to look natural, but builds well to add create depth and colour to the brows. A must have for those with sparse brows to build them up, or those already gifted with strong brows to sweep them into shape. 

3. Erin Bigg Cosmetics: Waterproof Lip Liners.

These lipliners were a game changer for me. Deeply pigmented colour, that is completely smudgeproof and waterproof. I know I can put these on a client's lips and they will not budge. They also make any lip colour applied on top last much longer as well. I only wish there was a larger colour range!

2. Kevyn Aucion: Eyelash Curler

Eyelash curlers are such an underrated beauty tool. By curling the lashes you open the eye and make them appear larger and more awake. If you curl your lashes before putting on mascara, you'll use less product and get a far better result! The Kevyn Aucoin eyelash curler is the Rolls Royce of lash curlers. Everything from the high shine stainless steel frame to the decedent royal red pad is designed to get the perfect curl every time. 

1. Viseart: 12 Shadow Palette- 01 Neutral Basic Mattes.

The original and the best. These eyeshadows cannot be duplicated or replaced. Amazing pigmentation combined with incredible blendability make these eyeshadows so easy to use. This palette is great for eyes, contouring, blush, brows and anything else you can think of. Every single shadow is hand made in France, so there's none of that private label china nonsense here. The quality of these shadows is second to none. They retail at $99 for nine shadows or $11 per shadow, which is incredibly reasonable when you consider the quality of the product. 



Always learning.

I recently traveled to Melbourne to train under Kevin James Bennett. Now Kevin has been doing makeup longer than I've been alive. He has watched the industry transform with the introduction of HD technology, and social media, and even more impressively, he's been able to continuously adapt his career to stay on top of the game.  He's most commonly known for creating the In My Kit, facebook page, which inspired and allowed me to start my journey as a Makeup Artist. He isn't just a social media mogul, however, he has an resume which would turn most makeup artists green with envy. 

Obviously,  when I heard Kevin was coming to Australia to teach, I saved all the money I could and booked myself in. Airfares to melbourne were a small price to pay for the chance to learn from one of the best in the world. And learn I did, Kevin's class was unlike anything I'd learnt before. We started at the very beginning, learning about cosmetic ingredients and formulations. It may seem simple, and many artists don't bother to know what's inside the products in their kit, but knowing ingredients has allowed me to manipulate products in ways I wouldn't have thought possible, as well as prevent allergic reactions from occurring.


We also tackled the elusive concept of colour theory, which is rarely taught well in Australia. Under Kevin's guidance I managed to conceal the deepest blue, yellow under eye circles, something that I've always struggled with. He demonstrated get flawless results, using highly pigmented makeup (which in the wrong hands leads to drag queen- esque results). 

At the end of the two day workshop, we had the opportunity to compound our newfound knowledge on a photoshoot with Courtney Dailey. I chose to shoot with Steph D of Brazen models. Steph is best known for her fierce bitch face, but her versatility astounded me. I gained more than I ever thought possible from the workshop, and I strongly encourage other artists to take the plunge and invest in this level of education. 

Behind the scenes:

Hair and makeup: Hope O'Connor.

Photographer: Lance Balchlin

Styling: Eve Christie

Model: Carter Hobson

 I wanted Carter to look polished and healthy, but not overly made up. Cream blush and illuminator was used to add glow to her complexion. 

I wanted Carter to look polished and healthy, but not overly made up. Cream blush and illuminator was used to add glow to her complexion. 

Wedding photoshoot: Max and Ty

I recently had the pleasure of glamming up newly-wed Max for her wedding photoshoot. Such a lovely bride, and I wish her and her husband all the best for their new life together. Many thanks to Photographer, Adam Chant.

Mothers Day Makeovers at St Vincents Aged Home

Just before mother's day I was lucky enough to participate in a planned makeover day for the residents of St Vincent's Care Services Bardon.  Myself, Shannon Jennings and Melinda Robinson collaborated with a professional photographer, musicians, and the wonderful staff of St Vincent's to treat the residents to a day of special pampering. I had the greatest time chatting to the lovely residents, and making them feel special. We received such a positive response from the residents, and will definitely be planning another day. I would like to offer my sincerest thanks to Brooke Nolan, St Vincent's lifestyle manager, for making this day possible. 

Enjoy the photo's of myself, Mel and some beautiful residents.

The Great Brush Debate: Natural or Synthetic?

The staggering amount of makeup brushes on the market is overwhelming. The best way to navigate through the endless sea of brushes is to understand that quality is esential. Whether it's natural or synthetic, a cheaply made brush will deliver horrible results and deteriorate in a matter of months.  Luckily for you, I have already navigated many brands in my search for perfect brushes, and will list my favourites at the end of this article.

Bristle type is an important consideration when purchasing brushes. Many makeup artists feel very strongly one way or the other. I personally am yet to find a synthetic brush that blends as well as natural haired, however, there is room for both in a professional makeup kit.

Natural haired brushes are often made from sable, squirrel or goat hair. These hairs are coveted for their softness, visual appeal and functionality. They are often viewed as the staple option of makeup brushes, because, until recently, synthetic fibers did not compare in quality or price.

Today, synthetic filaments are specifically designed to enhance makeup brush functionality and performance. Nylon, Tacklon and Polyester can be processed to look and feel like the finest quality natural hair. 



  •  A natural bristle is the is touted as the only type that will easily pick up powder and transfer it to the face. This is due to the microscopic surface texture that animal hairs have (called the cuticle). Resembling fish scales, cuticles grab and hold onto powder, then releasing it when it's brushed up against another surface. This is why natural haired brushes are often referred to as the best choice for powder products.
  • BUT, synthetic fiber's have now been developed to replicate the cuticle texture. DuPont laboratories created a patented polyester filament called Natrafil, which they claim surpasses the pick up and deposit performance of natural hair. Combine this with the added quality and durability of synthetic brushes, and you are surely onto a winner. 
  • Synthetic brushes are vegan and cruelty free. If a company tries to tell you they have cruelty free natural haired brushes- they are lying! 
  • Synthetic brushes harbour less bacteria and are easier to clean and disinfect.
  • Natural hair brushes blend powders like a dream. I personally think nothing compares to a soft goat hair blending brush (brush manufacturers, I dare you to prove me wrong).


  •  Traditionally, synthetic fibers do not hold on to powder well. When dusting powder on the face, a cheap synthetic brush will often create a massive cloud, depositing powder all over your clothes and sink, but not on your face. This is why it's important to research the quality of your brushes.
  • Natural bristle brushes must be cleaned regularly, especially when being used with liquid products, as they are a breeding ground for bacteria. If your face is breaking out regularly, and your skincare routine is solid, then look at how often you are cleaning your foundation brushes.
  • Unfortunately, constant use and cleaning of natural hair brushes often breaks down fragile hair fibers. 

High Quality Synthetic Brushes:

High Quality Natural Hair Brushes:

REVIEW: Viseart 08 Bright Editorial

Viseart shadows are world renowned for their pigmentation, blendability and creaminess, and this palette is no exception. Containing eleven neon bright eyeshadows, and a matte white, this palette is perfect for Makeup Artists and consumers alike. 

Pigmentation: 9/10

These shadows are extremely pigmented. My swatches below don't do these shadows justice. There is no need to build up colours with these shadows, one swipe and you have a rich shade. These shades also mix with each other very well, which is something that is unique to viseart shadows. So, if you want to create a pastel pink shade, simply layer the pink on top of the white, and you have a perfect pastel pink. 

Texture: 10/10

These shadows are incredibly creamy and blendable. This makes them very easy to use. If you accidentally apply too much colour, it is very easy to blend it back. They have a very, very subtle satin sheen, which I think contributes to the amazing blendability of these products. Because of the extreme creaminess, you do get quite a bit of fallout. Resist the urge to stick your oily fingers in the shadows to swatch them, as our natural skin oils can degrade the formula over time. Definately one to apply with a brush.

Packaging: 10/10

08 Bright Editorial has trademark Viseart packaging. As a makeup artist, this packaging is perfect. I can easily stack my palettes on top of each other, and the small size means they fit easily in my kit. Viseart shadows are extremely delicate, but the packaging protects them well and prevents breakage.


swatch 2.jpg


REVIEW: Indeed Labratories Hydraluron

What is it?

Moisture Booster with the purest hyaluronic acid. Increase skin hydration from below the surface with an ultra-high-quality hyaluronic acid that holds up to 1,000 times it's weight in water. This serum uses the world's purest hyaluronic acid from the Netherlands to restore optimal hydration levels.

What's in it?

Water/Aqua/Eau, Propanediol (Solvet, increases penetration of ingredients and has hydrating properties), Sodium Hyaluronate (Hyaluronic Acid), Ahnfeltia Concinna Extract (Algae extract), Carbomer (absorbs and retains water, stabilises forumulation), Butylene Glycol (slip agent), Disodium EDTA (preservative and stabilizer) , Sodium Hydroxide (PH adjuster), Phenoxyethanol (preservative).


Sodium Hydroxide- Can be an irritant. In this serum it is the second last ingredient (very low concentration) so unlikely to cause trouble.

Who is it for?

Most skin types will benefit from this serum (barring the oiliest of the oily). It is unique in its ability to increase skin hydration, but feel weightless on the skin. It's particularly great for balancing combination skin types, who suffer from dry patches and extreme oiliness. Hyaluronic acid helps fight early signs of aging, by keeping the skin hydrated and plump, it prevents the onset of fine lines and wrinkles. If you are concerned about the onset signs of aging, this is the product for you. 

When should I use it?

Being a serum, apply after cleansing and toning, but before moisturisers.

Is it worth it?

At $27.99 for 30mL's of product, this is not cheap. However, it's an incredible serum and will benefit almost everybody. I use this product regularly and credit it for my good skin. Highly recommend!