For my very first post I thought I would show you how I prepped and pampered myself for a recent special event! Last week was my university graduation ceremony where I was awarded a degree in English Literature after three years at Queen’s University of Belfast, which have been the most amazing and rewarding years of my life. I am continuously grateful to have had the opportunity to experience university. The ceremony was a lovely way to celebrate my achievements with my family and uni friends before we all said our goodbyes and scattered across the country again. We even got semi-nice weather which is highly unusual for Northern Ireland!
While I will try to break it up with plenty of pictures, I do apologise if this post is extremely long and if I appear to have gone overboard with products- this really was a labour of love as I wanted to wear all of my favourite make-up items at once!!! Is that weird?
Photos from the day are in a gallery at the end!
I wanted to keep the look simple, fresh and elegant as it was still a formal event, therefore I reckon this make-up would also be ideal for summer weddings. I aimed for a glowy, flawless base and a peachy lipstick, but kept my trademark eyeliner flick to lift it. I think it’s important at special events to keep some of your usual flair in your appearance, you want to be recognised in photos! 😉
Please remember these are my personal make-up preferences, and feel free to disagree on how I apply any of it. I am by no means a professional, just a standard make-up junkie. I also welcome any queries or tips in the comments section below, and let me know if you re-create this look!
To prep my skin I used Embroylisse Lait-Crème Concentré to help my foundation glide on effortlessly. This is gorgeously moisturising, however my skin is oily/combination (with dry patches around my nose, y’know, just to mix things up) and this cream does not sink in entirely. Therefore, in order to reduce shine it is essential to use a primer with this product if you usually have to blot throughout the day. I skipped serum on the day simply because I ran out of it, but usually I would have included Vichy Aqualia before this step. For my eyes I used L’Oreal Skin Perfection which is an all-round great dark circle buster, and Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Intensive Lip Balm to prep my lips for lipstick.
To prime my skin I used Benefit The Porefessional along my t-zone. Next, I applied Estée Lauder Double-Wear Foundation in Pebble for its unbeatable staying power and flawless finish. I knew I would be a nervous sweaty mess waiting to walk across the stage in a heavy robe and heels, the last thing I wanted to worry about was my foundation! Since there were lots of photographs to be taken, which will probably hang around on relatives’ walls for years to come, there was also issues regarding flashback and oxidisation to consider. This foundation has never oxidised (gone a funny orange colour throughout the day) or shown flashback in photos for me (that ghostly white phenomenon) therefore it has become my trusty events make-up. I applied it using a Real Techniques Expert Face Brush, blending quickly before it set because once it does it STAYS PUT. For my under-eye area and any blemishes I applied Benefit’s Boi-ing Industrial Strength Concealer , which I absolutely hate the name of, and then some of my Mac Prep + Prime highlighter pen in a triangle shape under the eyes to brighten. To blend these in gently around the delicate eye area I used a Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge, but be careful to blend using a q-tip or your finger on any breakouts to avoid transferring bacteria onto your beauty tools.
To set the base I applied a dusting of Rimmel Stay Matte Clear Complexion Powder in Transparent. While the normal version appears to be the most popular powder in existence I actually prefer this one as I think it cakes less and prevents colour-change in foundation. Although I’m usually not a huge contouring fan it does look pretty good in photos if blended well, so I contoured my cheekbones and jawline very slightly using Benefit Hoola Bronzer. Next, I used Soap & Glory Peach Party on the apples of my cheeks, which is a STUNNING blusher and highlighter combo and my new favourite product right now!
It has a good bit of shimmer, so if you tend to stay matte I’d avoid, but personally I think its great and doubles up as a lovely highlight along the cheekbones lasting all day even after powder touch-ups! Don’t forget to lock in your base with a setting spray to reinforce its staying power, on this occasion I went fot Urban Decay De-Slick Make-up Setting Spray.
Since I usually wear a bold eyeliner look, I don’t tend to make my eyebrows too strong in order to avoid scaring young children. I brush through my brow hairs with a cleaned mascara wand to remove any foundation (and to make them point the right way!) and then I take a little of Mac Charcoal Brown eyeshadow on an angled liner brush and using light strokes I fill in any sparse areas. I follow my natural eyebrow shape, and then extend the outer edges down very slightly to frame my eyes. I then use Rimmel Brow This Way in Mid Brown to set the hairs into place. Cheap but effective.
To prime my eyelids I used Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer in Eden to even out the colour of my lids and provide a surface for eyeshadow to hold on to. Then taking the Sleek i-Divine Palette in Storm, I coated my lids with the palest gold colour using a fluffy eyeshadow brush. This is a really beautiful colour which looks especially striking against blue eyes. Taking a Zoeva Luxe Petit Crease Brush, I then used the darker brown colour in my crease and outer-V, applying with a sweeping motion until it was fully blended. Then I went back to the pale gold colour and popped some onto the brow bone and inner corner of the eye using my finger to create a bright-eyed effect.
Using a nude or white eyeliner pencil you can then line your waterline to help open up the eyes further, I just used a cheap Primark one. Then I used my good old reliable L’Oreal Superliner in Black Lacquer along the lashline and extended outwards to create a slight cat-eye effect. This eyeliner is amazing – it has an almost ‘wet-look’ shiny effect which is subtle but creates the illusion of bigger, brighter eyes. Focus more on the outer edge when lining, if you avoid extending the line the whole way into the inner corner of your eye you will be left with a more flattering almond-shape. If you struggle to apply liquid eyeliner then a quick tip is to take an angled liner brush and a dark eyeshadow and use this to sketch an outline before filling it in with your liquid eyeliner.
On a side note, this liner WILL NOT BUDGE EVER. If, like me, your eyes tend to stream at the slightest bit of wind/hayfever/sneeze/yawn/sad film/cute baby/tiny kitten then you understand the struggles of wearing eyeliner. But never fret again, this is the holy grail of durability! When taking it off at night, I advise using a micellar water at this removes it gently where a make-up wipe tends to fail.
To finish off the eyes I curled my lashes with a Ted Baker Eyelash Curler, heated up ever so slightly with my hairdrier to help hold the curl, then went for lashings of Too-Faced Better Than Sex Mascara. While I opted to go with mascara alone, this look may also be nicely completed with natural looking false lashes. If you absolutely can’t go without lashes to an event, Tanya Burr Everyday Flutter are perfect corner lashes for adding definition but without being too à la Geordie Shore.
And now for my favourite and final part, the lipstick! My outfit includes touches of coral in my nails, handbag and heels, therefore I wanted to tie everything together with a more orange-toned neutral lipstick. Is that a thing? Not a beige nude, or a pinker ‘my-lips-but-better’ colour…
Here, I’ll just show you!
This lipstick shade makes me feel so classy and put-together every time I wear it. If elegance had a colour it would be Mac’s Kinda Sexy. It is a matte texture which can sometimes be a bit drying, so to keep the colour set and to make this look a bit more glowy and summery I added a gloss, as seen by the second swatch above. Soap & Glory Motherpucker Lipgloss is perfect: ultra shiny and just sticky enough to keep all dryness banished and colour locked in. Just remember to bring it with you for touch ups after drinking or eating!
Channelling my inner Grace Kelly with a pastel blue dress from Coast, I decided an up-do would suit it best. I washed my hair the night before, and applied a little Parlour Moisturising Sea Salt Spray before putting it in a wet plait and sleeping on it. This spared me some effort on the actual morning, which was good considering the ceremony was so so early and I had to get up at 7am… Taking some Colab Dry Shampoo, which is amazeballs as it leaves no white cast and provides a lovely spritz of fragrance, I sprayed onto the roots to add a bit of volume. Next, I twisted my hair into a low bun and pinned it securely into place. To make this look a bit more soft and feminine, I left some curls hanging around my face to frame it, and some pulled out of the actual bun at the nape of my neck. To finish, I applied Tresemmé Extra Hold Hairspray liberally and then some Umberto Giannini Dazzle Shine Spray to make my hair look glossier in photographs.
My dress was the Gracie Crepe Dress in a Size 8 from Coast (available here).
My shoes and clutch bag were from New Look, unfortunately they were purchased last year and are no longer available online.
I hope you’re still conscious after this massive essay (I am a Literature graduate after all!) I’ll try to keep posts a bit more concise in the future. I had an amazing time with my family and friends, and I absolutely loved my outfit and make-up for the day. Oh, and I didn’t trip on the stage which is always a bonus!
Here are some photos from the actual event, taken from a few different cameras- I had a fun old time attempting to bring them all together in one place.
Thank-you very much for reading. Don’t forget to subscribe, now that I’m off for summer I have a lot of plans for this blog coming up!