Who to Follow on Instagram

#lifeofamakeupartist, General chit chat

Excuse the unimaginative title, but I have only just come back to life after a few months battling health and private issues, therefore my brain is very fuzzy. This is my first post for a while and hopefully, I will be bringing content to you on a much regular basis in the future…..

If, like me, you couldn’t give a toss about the latest Kylie Jenner lip kit, there are so many fantastic Instagram accounts out there that you need to stalk immediately.

Consider this makeup and beauty for grownups and prepare to lose hours of your life once I tell you who to look to for advice;

Nick Barose

As talented as he is funny, Nick Barose’s Instagram feed is one of the best out there. The man responsible for making up the faces of Lupita Nyong’o and Rachel Weisz, he is not afraid to say what everyone else is thinking and offers fantastic advice and tips to his followers while providing a unique insight into the life of a makeup artist.


Sali Hughes

With an almost encyclopedic knowledge, makeup artist and journalist Sali Hughes is my go to for everything. She is unbiased, witty and intelligent while providing friendly and down to earth advice. Her book Pretty Honest is my beauty bible. This is a woman who you want to desperately be friends with and is a trusted authority on all things beauty.


Mary Greenwell

If you miss the era of the supermodel, you will love following Mary. Responsible for the sexy and glamorous looks seen on some of the world’s most famous faces, she is a living legend. Mary serves as my inspiration for becoming a makeup artist and if I was ever offered the opportunity to assist for her, I would have no problems abandoning what I was doing immediately to be at her side.


Alex Box

A world without Alex, would be a very bland world indeed. Known for her experimental and often surreal beauty looks, the former Illamasqua creative director is one to look for if you are in need of inspiration. You will not see many wearable looks, but what you will get is a look at one of the most influential makeup artists of a generation and a look into what can only be described as creative genius.


Wayne Goss

Wayne is utterly unique as he is a well-known bridal and occasion makeup artist with a clientele of normal women. He hates Instagram trends as much as I do and offers fantastic advice, tips and tricks to women of any age. He is also a lovely guy.


Morag Ross

If TV and film are more your cup of tea, then you can do no harm by taking yourself over to see the latest projects on Morag’s feed.   To date she has won three BAFTA awards – for “Orlando” with Tilda Swinton, “The Aviator” with Cate Blanchett, and a BAFTA Craft Award in 2008. She has worked as a Make Up Artist specialising in beauty on many international movies such as “Fools of Fortune” with Julie Christie, “Edward II” with Tilda Swinton, “Lost in Translation” with Scarlett Johanson, and Cate Blanchett in “Charlotte Gray”, “Bandits”, “Elizabeth the Golden Age” and “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”. She is truly inspirational and comes across as a thoughtful and reflective artist.


And of course, me!


Who else should I follow? Let me know and leave your comments below.

Love Erin xxx





How to Choose a Makeup Artist


Makeup is more prevalent than ever and with that has been an increased rise in people becoming makeup artists.

Once upon a time when you wanted to become a makeup artist you had to either get a position assisting and/or take a NVQ level course taking 1 – 2 years after which you received a professional qualification.

Nowadays, there are plenty of one day courses and other shortcuts that deceive aspiring artists that this is all they need to learn to get into the industry. What balls. After taking these courses, the self-proclaimed MUA will lack the experience and confidence to apply makeup to a professional standard and I personally would be very worried about letting anyone touch my face who had not had any vigorous training.

This is not an argument about qualification; I’ve seen excellent self-taught artists and some truly awful course trained artists and vice versa. But as the need for makeup artists grows wider, more and more are taking advantage of this and setting up shop with little or no knowledge of what is really necessary to be a professional makeup artist and frankly, making a complete cock up of things.

As I am usually called to assist or step in when things go wrong, here is my list of things to keep in mind when booking a makeup artist to ensure that you make the right choice.

Check out their portfolio

Any professional makeup artist will have a website to host an online portfolio. Web pages are relatively cheap and anyone taking their career seriously will have made the investment at some stage.

Watch out for Instagram/Facebook/Twitter feeds where only the self-proclaimed artists face appears. To anyone with patience, it is relatively easy to apply your own makeup to a high standard. To apply makeup to anyone else is another thing, and this is where a lot of people get caught out. What you will be looking for is a variety of different types of styles and faces. If it is limited, ask why.

If the artist has only just started out then this is a judgment call and I would recommend a backup plan in case anything goes wrong. However, if the artist claims to have years of experience but lacks a portfolio, don’t book them.


This is a very good indication about the experience of your chosen artist. While it is not foolproof, you can really tell a lot by what price they charge.

When you pay a makeup artist you are not just paying for their time applying the makeup, you are paying for the products, their experience, their research, prior consultations to the appointment, communication and travel time (if applicable).

A low price indicates low quality to many. Unless the artist gives you reason for why they are priced so low (building portfolio, low season, training are all good reasons) then I suggest you avoid.

Price varies by region, but on average for occasion makeup anything over £25 and for bridal over £35 is what anyone would expect to pay.. If it is less than this, there will be a reason.


Prior to any appointment taking place, it is normal for there to have been some communication between you and the artist. This is more applicable if they are freelance and work for themselves. Is the artist friendly but professional when discussing your appointment? How long does it take for them to reply to any messages? Do they discuss looks/requirements prior to any appointments taking place? Are you requested to pay a deposit to secure your date? Has your appointment been confirmed by email and/or text?

Alarmingly, a number of brides who were let down by makeup artists on their wedding days have told me afterwards that the communication with the artist in the lead up was below par. From waiting ages to get replies to messages or the artist being vague and not quite with it, these are a few of the things that I have heard and are synonymous with bad artists.

You should reasonably expect to have any messages answered within 48 hours unless the artist is on holiday etc. (we do have lives). If the artist is not professional toward you, take your custom elsewhere.

You ask for one thing, they do another

You wanted a light, natural base; they applied more contour than seen on Kim Kardashian. You asked for soft smokey eyes; you now resemble one of the contestants on Ru Pauls Drag Race.

Seriously, all jokes aside, if a makeup artist does not listen to what you want, that’s alarming. Whenever I meet my brides, I ask for two photos; one of how they look with their normal makeup and a photo of inspiration for how they want to look on the day. My consultation is also very detailed and we discuss at length specific requirements. Please bring photos. Visuals aids are great for makeup artists.

Also, while this may seem counterproductive, a good makeup artist will also advise you if they think a look won’t work for you and make the appropriate adjustments while explaining to you why they have done this. Again, communication is the key here.

We aren’t mind readers, tell us what you want and the indicator of a good artist is ultimately a happy client.

Overuse of Filters and Heavy Editing

This one is pretty obvious; a good makeup artists does not rely on these to make his/her work look good. The results generally speak for themselves.  Some use of filters and editing is fine and to be expected but if that’s all you see, avoid.


If you turn up for an appointment and you see dirty brushes, run. Seriously. A good artist will have impeccable hygiene and also multiple brushes to use throughout the day. If you have any doubts, you are within your rights to cancel or leave the appointment. It is not worth a lifetime of cold sores or a painful eye infection.

And finally….

For most makeup artists, this is a way of life. Ultimately though, this is a business and their livelihood so you should expect any serious professional to treat it as such and with the respect it so obviously deserves.

There is much more to being a makeup artist than Instagram, selfies and likes. A true professional will never make you doubt their skill once.


I see London, I see France….hang on, no I don’t #lifeofamakeupartist


My very own Prince George on his first day

Mes Amis, it is with a heavy heart that I announce that I’m writing this week’s blog, not from the sun soaked streets of Paris with a croissant in hand, but from my kitchen table sipping Kenco from my ‘Brace Your Elf, Christmas is Coming’ mug.

How did this happen, I hear you all shout. Well, let me explain to you all how this terrible turn of events has occurred. Unfortunately, due to some rather creative planning on my son’s school’s part, he will be commencing later than I anticipated (see you later New York). Then to add insult too much already inflicted injury, he is doing taster and settling in sessions for the entire of September (Goodbye London, Ciao Milan, and Bonjour Paris).

To explain, this is my son’s first year of school, so I was left with two choices 1) Go to the “Shows”, forgo my maternal responsibilities and explain to my son, ala Miranda Priestly, the importance of fashion; or 2) Do the right thing and accompany my son to his first day of formal education and help him adjust for the rest of the month. After a brief should I, shouldn’t I, tug of war session in my head, my maternal instinct won and I chose to do what was arguably the right thing, stay at home, but it doesn’t mean I am happy about it.

A couple of weeks after my fate was decided, that Bloke I Married announced that he had a supplier conference scheduled the day of the offspring’s first intended day at school.  At first I reassured him that no lasting damage would be caused to offspring by him not being there, and with his high powered lawyer status this was very important work related thing so not to feel guilty. However, on reflection, I considered the following; why was it ok for me to miss out on a huge career opportunity but not my husband? And that was when my inner feminist kicked into overdrive.

Throughout my career, I have missed countless opportunities due to childcare commitments. Undoubtedly, if I was a single girl, I would be doing a lot more than I am.

Don’t misunderstand me, I am a committed loving mother, but maternal instincts aren’t natural to me (I’m more likely to be seen at cocktail hour than storytime and rhyme). Also, my son was very much wanted and it took lots of dashed hopes, wishing, waiting and hoping to actually have him, so to even have a chance to be a mother, is something I truly cherish. But just because I am a mother does that mean my own career is on hold?

As I have already said my choices are limited. For example, the land of TV and film is all but a distant dream for the time being due to the scheduling demands.  Simply put, the long and mostly erratic scheduling and time (sometimes months at a time) on location is not ideal for a working mum. Not only would the Bloke I Married have a cardiac arrest, but I would certainly raise a few eyebrows if I suddenly announced I was off to Canada for 3 months. I, to the most part, have an extremely supportive partner, but most definitely childcare is my responsibility. While work trips for him involve nothing more complicated than packing an extra shirt, for me to spend one night away from the family home requires military precision planning (we are without doubt the British Army’s secret weapon in case of war, us working mum’s). The last time I was in New York you would have thought, judging by the look on most people’s faces, that I was doing a runner and leaving my child motherless for the rest of his life, but the Bloke I Married goes, year after year, on “beanos” with his friends for days at a time where barely an eyebrow has been raised.

To many, a mother’s place is at home with her children and as far as equality and feminism goes, us ladies still have a way to go until childcare is a shared responsibility between the two participating spouses. Even Bloke I Married agrees that this stereotype is tipped in the favour of men; he employs a team of mostly women and despite their legal eagle, powerful jobs guess who is left doing the school run and taking leave when their little angels are ill? Yes that’s right, the women.

But is this an equality issue or is it just something part of our physical makeup? The bonding stage for most mothers begins the second we see a positive on the pregnancy test so we have 9 months ahead of our male counterparts.

For all my bleating on, I can honestly say that there is no place I would rather be than with my son on his first day of school and nothing made me prouder than seeing him walk through the gates, with barely a backward glance, ready to start his new journey. I will have many opportunities to be at Fashion Week, but to see my son’s milestones, that is a once in the lifetime chance.

Product Review: Rimmel Stayfresh Foundation 


    What They Say: 

Fresher Skin is a gorgeous featherlight formula that blends seamlessly into the skin for a super-fresh, barely-there finish

Initial Thoughts:

It might have been my sample, but I found it to be very watery. Obviously, I was expecting a light coverage, but this was light putting moisturiser on my face; and a rubbish one at that. I have had more coverage from a BB cream or tinted moisturiser. I even tried with a foundation brush and it just slipped over my face.

Suitable for?

While its not for me, this would be great for a young skin which requires little to no coverage. Price wise, it’s a great option for teens starting out with makeup.

What annoys me about this foundation (apart from the lack of coverage) is there are only 6 shades. So if you have a darker skin tone than coffee, you won’t find anything suitable. This is a common gripe I have with cosmetic companies as they do not offer a inclusive range for all races. Wake up Rimmel!

Final Thoughts?

If you are a young teenager with Caucasian colouring and near perfect skin, this is the product for your makeup bag. For the rest of us, it’s a no. Like all Rimmel products too, it’s budget friendly.

For anyone looking for a quality light foundation, you can’t go wrong with Laura Mercier Tinted moisturiser or Estee Lauder Double Wear Light. These are more expensive but ultimately better quality.

Love Erin xxx

Why I’ll never be a #bossbabe


​I just want to preface this by saying that this post is not aimed at anyone or any company in particular. I have a lot of good friends involved in mlm companies and I respect that. However, as long as we have free speech, this post reflects my own position and thoughts on the subject.

Another day, another round of messages from people promising to make me a millionaire just by shifting some mascaras. No hard work is required it seems and I will only have to work a couples hours a week to achieve this. Wow, where can I sign up??

As a makeup artist, I appear to be a prime target for this b.s. I literally receive hundreds of messages a week from mlm robots promising to change my life or added to groups on Facebook. Now herein lies the problem and is something few people seem to realise. The emails I get aren’t trying to flog me products, they are trying to get me to work for them! This to me rings huge alarm bells…….. the answer is clear; they are a pyramid scheme.

Now I’m not interested in hearing that these companies are great for women or hearing any of their defences, I have done my research and they all fit the very definition of a pyramid scheme. You only make money by recruiting and the product range is limited. Alarmingly though, a large number of my friends seem to be going to the dark side lured and seduced by the promise of financial security. 

I am yet to meet someone who is a millionaire from being involved in mlm; it’s usually the complete opposite as they are left out of pocket. Huge pressure is put on newcomers to build teams to rise up the pyramid. Those few hours they were promised they would only need to work quickly turns into a full time job. Conventions are organised which are mandatory and will usually be to a huge expense paid by the mlm bot, not the company as they would lead you to believe.

What about the product? Well they are typically private labelled mass produced crap to put it bluntly. Little time is put into the development or research of the products despite their ground breaking promises. This is because they don’t make money selling, they make it by recruiting! I have never once seen a top makeup artist use any of those products. If they were great, trust me, all muas would be over them like a rash.

If you have mlm robots on your news feed you will be subject the constant inspirational quotes and statuses about how much their life has changed since discovering Yonique (or something similar) They will tell you they can now pay off their credits cards and afford that long awaited family trip. Statistics don’t lie, but people do. 99% of mlm robots will leave in the first year saddled with debt. I haven’t seen one arbonne rep in a Mercedes, have you? But the disturbing aspect is the lack of variation. It is continual posting about the company almost as if they are being brainwashed. Look up the definition of a cult and I promise you will see similarities.

Very recently, I was asked by an mlm bot if she could use my images to promote her products. I explained politely that as the photographer held the copyright my consent wouldn’t be sufficient and there would likely be a fee. I then offered to create some looks (for free) if she could send me some products to try. I didn’t receive a response. Says it all really.

This is my plea to all mlm reps out there; STOP EMAILING ME TRYING TO RECRUIT ME!!!! If you would like me to try your products, I’m all ears and would like to see what they can do but stop with your promises of a yellow brick road. If I’m wrong, I’ll admit it but this is one time I’m sure I’m right. There are plenty of legit cosmetics companies out there, go to them for the sake of you and all of us! 

If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

Love, light and blessings to you all xxx

When Bad Makeup Artists Happen to Good People



As a makeup artist, I do various different genres but one of my favourites is bridal work. Over the years, I have had the privilege to play a very important role in many a brides day. For most of us, our wedding is something we have dreamed about since we were little girls and whether we like it or not, all eyes are on the bride, so image and looking perfect are a must.

I am not just a makeup artist for my brides; I can be their stylist, confidante and friend. I work very closely with them so that everything is perfect and with many, I am still in touch. I have mediated arguments, soothed nerves, put cakes together, fed babies and helped many, MANY, brides into their dresses. As much as I take this part of my business very seriously, this is undoubtedly one of the best parts.

Having had the wedding of my own dreams, I can fully understand how even the smallest thing can mean the world to someone getting married and I do whatever it takes to make their vision of how they wish to look a reality.

Sadly, this can’t be said for some other makeup artists as an incident yesterday proves. If you are a regular reader of my blog, you will be aware that I was called upon at the 11th hour as a lovely bride called Vikki had been let down by her makeup artist on the biggest day of her life. I am not going to hash over the details of what happened, but believe me, the excuse given was very poor and to add insult to injury, Vikki only found this out when she called the “makeup artist” to ask where she was. I don’t need to tell you how upset she was; upset is an understatement as devastated is still putting it mildly.

There is no justification for letting a bride down this badly on her wedding day and this is not the first time I have come across this or been called to the rescue of another bride having been harshly let down by someone she has placed her trust in.

Over the past 5 months alone, I have attended 6 weddings where the booked makeup artist has cancelled last minute with a flimsy excuse, done a disappearing act or simply just not shown up.

Here is a selection of some of the excuses that I have heard over the years, as told to me by the brides themselves;

  • A week before her wedding, the bride contacted the MUA to confirm all details for her wedding. In a spectacular U-turn, the MUA informed the bride that she was no longer happy to work for the agreed price and demanded more money. The shocked bride politely informed the MUA that she couldn’t pay more but kindly offered to cover her travel costs as well, only to be then verbally abused and told “f**k off I don’t work for charity”. If none of that was bad enough, the MUA then blasted the bride over Facebook, threatening physical violence!
  • I was called to one wedding last minute due to the bride being informed by her MUA that she wouldn’t be attending as she had gone out the night before, had only just come in and was still drunk “but she could come around later”.
  • Upon arrival, the attending MUA informed the bride that not only did she no longer have time to makeover the waiting bridesmaids, she could do eye makeup only on the bride as she had clients that afternoon who wanted makeup for a night out.
  • Another bride, upon waiting for the arrival of the now late MUA, decided to call her to find out where she was. Apparently, the MUA hadn’t realised this was the time she was required to come and had she known it was so “early”, would never have taken the booking. It was for 9:30 am.
  • One bride told me of her horror to receive a phone call from the MUA the morning of her wedding apologising as she would no longer be able to attend following the death of her child. It was later discovered that the MUA had in fact gone on a 3 day drinks and drugs bender. I am also pleased to report that her child is very much alive and well.
  • A lovely young bride became my client after the previous makeup artist went MIA. The bride contacted the MUA a few days before just to confirm the booking whereby she was promptly blocked! To this day, she still has no clue as to why this happened and I can tell you she is one of the nicest women I have ever met.

Clearly, not all makeup artists are built the same and a small minority are currently damaging the credibility of the industry.

With makeup as popular as ever, there is a huge influx of new artists emerging. This is great as it is nice to see new talent; however, for a few at least, this is seen more as a hobby, and therefore not treated with the respect it deserves. With social media now, it seems anyone can now put MUA behind their name, put a couple of selfies of them slapped with makeup and put statuses up saying they are now accepting appointments.

But how do you separate the good artists from the bad? How can you be sure that not only is your chosen artist going to turn up, but also be capable of actually applying makeup to a professional standard?

What follows is my advice on how to ensure your choice is the right one or, at the very least, minimise the risk of things going pete tong;

  • Go with who you know – If you use a regular artist, then obviously they should be your natural choice for your wedding. If you don’t, ask friends and family who they have used and had good experiences with, then make an appointment.
  • Be wary of recommendations – While this may seem in complete contradiction to the above, just bear with me for a second and allow me to explain. My husband is a solicitor. If you called me and asked me do I know any good solicitors or asked me on a Facebook group, as you need legal advice, I would naturally recommend my husband. Now, I have never been a client of his so I don’t know how well he does his job but because I love him, want to help him out by getting him a new client and you need a solicitor * I’m going to go ahead and recommend him to you. Here is where the trouble starts as for all I know he could be the worst solicitor in history but I am allowing my personal relationship with him to cloud my judgement. Some of the recommendations I see on Facebook wedding groups are for artists who I wouldn’t trust as far as I could throw them, and some were even those responsible for the horror stories above.
  • Don’t be fooled by pretty pictures – I have seen many a bride drawn in by a seemingly impressive portfolio of beautiful makeup only to be mortified when the reality doesn’t live up to their expectation. With the invention of Facetune and other similar apps, photo editing is no longer solely for photographers; anyone with a smart phone now can. It is a well-known fact that some makeup artists over use editing to make their makeup look much better than it is.  Also, be sure the images they are presenting are actually their own. I have sent many a letter threatening legal action to self-proclaimed MUAs who have attempted to pass my work off as their own. Check for consistency and that the skill in the photos matches the experience they tell you they have. If you think there is something not quite right, you can now do a reverse image search on google to check the originators of the image.
  • Price can mean everything and nothing – Just because an artist is the cheapest doesn’t mean they are the worst and similarly just because someone is the most expensive doesn’t mean they are the best. However, like a bottle of wine, price can tell you a lot. If a makeup artist is charging less than £20 for bridal makeup then it’s a fair assumption that the artist lacks experience and is fairly new to the industry. Don’t let this put you off as there are some fantastic new makeup artists out there and we all started somewhere. If a makeup artist is charging that little but is alleged to be very experienced, I would be wary about parting with any cash until I had seen them in action.
  • Finally, for the love of god, please book a trial! – Contrary to popular belief, makeup artists don’t pluck figures out of the air then times it by 30 to come up with a price for bridal work. With the amount of behind the scenes work, kit costs as well as necessary admin, our price will cover that and everything else. It costs more because it is more work than standard makeovers. Now, when we suggest a trial we aren’t telling you to book one because we want to make more money off you, we are suggesting it because you are unlikely to have ever met us plus this is a chance to get everything perfect for your big day. If you really object to the cost of a trial, then at the very least book with your preferred artist for eye makeup so you can see how they work. The only time I would say it was safe to forgo a trial is when you have used the artist before or have seen them work first hand. For the cost of less than a night out, suck it up and schedule it for the same day as your hen night so you can take your pretty makeup and show it off.

With all this in mind, it’s only fair to point out that life is life. Sometimes, even with all the will in the world, the best makeup artist may find they are unable to fulfil an obligation to a client. You can’t protect against or legislate for serious illness, true emergency or bereavements. However, the indicator of a true professional is how they handle this situation. If worse came to the worse, I know I could get another fantastic makeup artist to my client and there is no way I would leave someone high and dry on their wedding day.

Do your research ladies. Don’t take anything at face value. Check references. Most importantly, get to know who you are booking. You wouldn’t hire an employee without extensive interviewing, so why should it be any different with the person in charge of making you look even more beautiful on the most special of days.

As always, if anyone has any questions, comments or suggestions, please let me know.

Love Erin xxx

*for the record, my hubby is an excellent solicitor and is actually the partner of a successful law firm. That was for example purpose only in case any of his clients read this and become alarmed!


Last Minute Vikki 


Vikki had originally booked another make up artist for her big day who informed her only at 7 am that she would no longer be attending. One of my clients contacted me to see what I could do and within half an hour I was in the car starting the hour long journey to get to her.

Vikki isn’t normally a huge makeup wearer so wanted a look that was natural and defined. For skin I used Illamasqua skin veil primer, skin base foundation 6.5 and concealer in light and medium set with Urban decay setting spray and Kryolan translucent powder through the tzone. Contour and highlight was Charlotte Tillbury bronze and glow with dolly mix by Mac on the apples of the cheeks.

For eyes, I used Illamasqua cream pigment in hollow as a base then used a combination of shadows from the sophisticate pallete from Charlotte Tilbury and lined the eyes with Audrey pencil. To finish,  I topped off with a couple of costs of YSL mascara 

I lined the lips with a rose lipliner from Burberry then applied a light nude gloss from Kryolan.

We got there in the end and I am very grateful to have been privileged enough to have had the opportunity to meet this lovely lady.

For all bookings and enquiries, please email erin.tabinor@sweetpeacosmetics.com.