on backing yourself / the story of how my client paid me almost twice what I charged her

Like most little girls who grew up “girly”, I’ve been a makeup artist my whole life.

It all started when I met my first red lipstick. It was the 90s, and my mum’s lipstick collection was entirely mauves and browns. So, when she brought home this bright red lipstick she got as aย gift-with-purchase, it was like something off the TV or the pages of a magazine. For me, it was love at first sight.

These days, I like to believe I’ve moved beyond finger-blended eyeshadow (this was my go-to) and vibrant red lips applied like a lip smacker.

I got my qualification last year and made the shift from painting my own face to painting the faces of others. I really enjoy being a makeup artist. It’s fun and it’s creative.

And yet (there’s always an “and yet”, isn’t there?) I find myself really dreading doing it.

Leading up to my bookings, I can’t help but feel all “doom and misery” inside. I’m so nervous I’ll do a bad job that I just can’t look forward to it. Which doesn’t make any sense, does it? I love doing it and my clients are always super happy with the outcome.

To be fair, all those fears go away the moment my brush touches their face and I remember I’m actuallyย good at this, people want me to do it! But it’s the lead up to the event that gets me. And then, of course, the awkwardness of charging for it.

Whenever my clients pay me in cash I awkwardly mumble “oh, thanks” and stuff it into a pocket. I behave as if I’m not running a business, and I’m embarrassed that they would even think to pay me.

Just last week I was hired to work on a photoshoot with a photographer I really like and a local musician who wanted some photo and video content for a project she’s working on. It was a really fun shoot – I was nervous, for sure, but the vibe of the team was great and we had a really good time together.

The makeup turned outย brilliantly.ย I kept catching myself looking at her and admiring what I’d done – it was the cleanest contour and the crispest wing you ever did see. She even told me, several times, how happy she was with it.ย 

But when it came time to discuss payment, I completely clammed up.

(Word of advice for MUAs: if you are working on a shoot, talk money first – be clear if you expect to be paid for all the hours you stay behind or just for the initial makeover.)

I sent her an invoice for my standard one hour/one face rate (NZD$75 if you’re curious) even though I had been on the shoot with her from 8:30am until 4:00pm which is seven and a half hours work.

So, why did I rip myself off like that?

My client was over the moon with her makeup.ย Iย was over the moon with her makeup. But I still felt like I wasn’t enough, I wasn’t professional enough or well known or whatever, and my insecurity caused me to self-sabotage.

It was actually the client who turned around and said “I would really like to pay you more as you stayed for the whole day and you did such an amazing job! Please change the invoice to $130” (which is almost double what I initially charged her).

I was lucky to have such a wonderful client who really valued my work – most people would have been happy to accept the first invoice.

And that’s why it’s so, so important to back yourself. As a freelancer, you set your wages. It’s entirely up to you to say “I’m good at this and I deserve to get paid for it.”

But this advice applies to just about anyone, in any job. Back yourself.

Once more, for the people in the cheap seats:ย 

back yourself text

It’s normal to feel insecure when you’re putting yourself out there. It’s totally normal to feel like you’re not good enough to do something.

Just don’t let that run your life.

Don’t let that fear stop you from doing what you want to do. I may have needed a client to smack me in the face with it, but I am good at what I do. My promise to myself from here on out is I am going to be more confident in my abilities and believe in myself more.

Screen Shot 2017-11-02 at 3.19.58 PM
That’s me!

So my question to you guys is, have you experienced this feeling before? What was your reminder to back yourself? Leave me a comment xx

off to the races // cheap race day looks

The Melbourne Cup is now only two weeks away and the Christchurch Trotting Cup and Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup follow swiftly behind, so the pressure is on to find the perfect outfit.

If you were organised (like me) you would have been planning/obsessing for months and would already have your outfit sorted. But if you’re still trying to figure what to wear to the races, fear not. I’ve got you covered.

Let’s break this down piece by piece.

The Headpiece

If there is one thing you can’t skip, it’s the headpiece. It’s an essential component of a race day outfit.

gold leaf headband tiara fascinator

I love this gold tiara for two reasons: it’s cute, and it’s $10. This is actually the one I have ordered for myself. You can get it here from AliExpress but be warned:ย shipping could be anywhere from two to four weeks. If you’re not willing to take the risk, you can get an identical one for $22 here on Showpo.

gold leaf fascinator crown

The Iconic has a huge range of fascinators and headpieces from $28 up to a couple hundred dollars – click here for price: low to high and happy hunting. Shipping is super quick, and some of them are really cool like this funky Monroe Headpiece.ย I mean, yeah, it’s a little different... but I can’t stop myself from loving it.

marilyn monroe headpiece fascinator morgan taylor

Other cheap places you can look are $1-$8 shops at malls (they usually have a pretty good selection!) and places like Lovisa.

The Dress

I’ve been having this never-ending battle with my BFF where she sends me links to completely inappropriate dresses she’s seen online and I have to gently, lovingly tell her no.

The races is a daytime event, so the dress code sits closer to a garden party than an evening out.

Translation: this is the only time, ever, that an LBD is inappropriate.ย 

Of course, fashion is up to interpretation but if you can, stay away from black and keep your lengths knees and below.

dzz93671_blush_xl.jpg

Jumpsuits are always an option – like this gorgeous one from Boohoo. It’s $45 but they always have sales.

dzz69491_berry_xl.jpg

This one is a little steeper at $80 but it’s pretty reasonable if you get in while the 50% off sale is on. This would look super cute with a gold tiara.

cold-shoulder-tulip-knit-dress-61182-sky-blue-detail.jpg

Of course, you can’t go wrong with rummage rack finds like this off the shoulder number from Pagani. Online it says only size 16 is available but if there’s a Pagani near you, go have a dig through the sale rack. It’s $25 – hard to beat.

The Shoes

Possibly the most frustrating part of putting together a race day outfit is finding the right shoes. You don’t want to beย too matchy-matchy but you also want them to make sense with the outfits.

A simple rule to follow: match your shoes to your headpiece – unless your headpiece is the same colour as your dress, then match them to your handbag.

http-static.theiconic.com.aupspurr-7378-411453-1

If your outfit is light but not white, these shoes from The Iconic are cute – and they’re only around $50.

womens-sandals-heels-gael-ZLA3097-SIDE.jpg

If you prefer a chunkier heel and have a little more money to spend, I love these Lipstik shoes from Hannahs. They’re $100 but they’re quite versatile so you’d get more than a day’s wear from them.

hmprod

If you’re really stuck for shoes that go with your outfit, go black. This is also appropriate if your headpiece, dress and bag are already one colour and you’re afraid of cascading (if you’re unfamiliar with the term “cascading”, it means dressing head to toe in one colour – we all did it at primary school and we’ve all sworn never again). These shoes are only $30 from H&M so they won’t break the bank.

You can also check out Kmart, The Warehouse and Number One Shoe Warehouse for cheap options.

I hope that this helps some – if you are going to the races and your outfit is sorted, I’d love to know what you’re wearing! Leave me a comment below!

 

As always, this post is entirely my own opinion and everything I have written here I believe to be true. This post is not sponsored in any way.

huda beauty desert dusk review

I’ve had the Desert Dusk palette for a few weeks now, but I’ve been finding it so hard to write a review.

To be honest, after I wrote my review for Huda’s last palette (the Rose Gold palette, read that here) I sort of changed my mind about it. I initially wasn’t a huge fanย and it was a while before I could call myself convinced. So I really wanted to get to know Desert Dusk, you know? Take her out for a couple of drinks. Find out if our star signs are compatible.

Spoiler alert: I’m swiping right.

The shades aren’t totally dissimilar to the Rose Gold palette. In fact, side by side, they almostย look like they could all be from one big palette. Shades like Suede (RG) and Musk (DD), Maneater (RG) and Saffron (DD), Coco (RG) and Oud (DD) were similar enough that, if I was buying individual shadows, I probably wouldn’t buy both shadows in each pair. The shade Angelic also appears in both palettes.

But texturally, they are completely different. The thick foiled shadows of Rose Gold are gone and instead, there is a pleasing mix of mattes, duochrome toppers, shimmers and a glitter.

Mattes

The mattes are totally different to the first palette. Where they were leaning towards dry and chalkyย before, now they are creamy and much easier to blend. The big thing here is that the mattes aren’t totally matte – if you look closely there is an almost imperceptible amount of sheen in the shadows.

Shimmers

The hero shimmers of this palette are Blood Moon (which is so pigmented it will stain your fingers after swatching!), Cashmere and Turkish Delight. They’re just so rich and gorgeous. Nefertiti is also lovely, it has small amounts of actual glitter in it but sadly the glitter doesn’t adhere so well to the lid so be wary of fall out.

Having a wild Saturday night with @hudabeauty ๐Ÿ’• details…. @ericaknellermakeup says I have the lid space for 3 people so Iโ€™m trying to be a bit more grateful to have this face of mine ๐Ÿ˜‚ eyes: @shophudabeauty Desert Dusk palette, @xobeautyshop lashes in The Gold Digger ๐ŸŒน brows: @benefitnz Goof Proof brow pencil ๐Ÿ”ฎ face: @revlonanz Nearly Naked in Ivory (this is discontinued… boo), the best setting powder @lorealmakeup true match mattifying powder, @cozzette Illume to contour, @benefitcosmetics Rockateur blush and @beccacosmetics Moonstone highlight (although it doesnโ€™t pop on me as much as it does on the gorgeous @tinay.ang) and lastly lips: @anastasiabeverlyhills Pure Hollywood ๐ŸŽ€

A post shared by Michelle ๐ŸŒน (@michefrances) on

Duochrome toppers

Honestly, I’m not 100% convinced these are better than the foiled shadows. I was totally sucked in by Twilight when I saw it in the pan, but you need a solid base behind it or it fades to the background. You can see in the picture below, I really packed it on but it is still quite sheer. It is designed to be a topper, but I thought it was just a purple version of the RG foiled shadows and I think I would have preferred if it was.

Glitter

The biggest disappointment of the palette. Cosmo looks beautiful, it has so much promise, but it simply does not deliver. It’s supposed to be “ready to wear” and packed in something to help it stick to your lid… but it starts dropping off the moment you apply and it doesn’t stop. You may have applied to your eyelid, but this glitter wants to be on your cheeks. It also moves around something terrible in the palette. When I opened my palette for the first time, it looked like it had lifted out of the pan and been patted back inside.ย It’s a no from me.

@hudabeauty Desert Dusk palette ๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป also first selfie with my iPhone 8+… let me just say that I have never seen my flaws in such high definition before ๐Ÿ˜‚ details: eyes: @shophudabeauty Desert Dusk palette (desert sand, musk, eden as transition shades, saffron, amethyst and oud as crease/outer corner, Nefertiti, royal and Turkish delight on lid and then went to town with cosmo glitter), @maybelline Hyper Sharp Wing liner, @xobeautyshop lashes in The Soulmate ๐Ÿ’• face: @revlonanz Colorstay, @rimmellondonnz Stay Matte powder, @maybelline Master Blush palette for blush, @beccacosmetics Moonstone highlight (also in inner corner) ๐Ÿ’• brows: @rimmellondonnz eyebrow pencil and brow powder ๐Ÿ’• lips: @colourpop Karrueche X Colourpop satin lip in Darling ๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•

A post shared by Michelle ๐ŸŒน (@michefrances) on

As for price point, this is a pricey palette. NZ$107 gets you eighteen shades, so you are getting a big palette for your money. Huda also upped her game on the packaging compared to the last one, it feels sturdier and it comes with a decent sized mirror. Although the mirror is basically useless since, due to the fragility of the glitter, I would never chuck this in my makeup bag to use on the go. It’s good quality and I am loving using it, the shades are gorgeous, but I guess it’s up to you to decide if you think $107 is worth it.

Close up ๐Ÿ‘€

A post shared by Michelle ๐ŸŒน (@michefrances) on

As always, this blog post is entirely my own opinion and I do not represent anyone or anything. I paid full price for this product. Everything I have written here I believe to be true.

fenty beauty review / the day mama rihanna blessed my face

It has been less than two weeks since mama Rihanna blessed us with her brand new makeup line, Fenty Beauty, and the makeup world is on fire.

Everything about this collection is beautiful – from the packaging to the shades she chose.

She totally nailed her pre-launch marketing by dropping teasers as early as June and drip feeding us tastes of what was to come, accompanied by actual countdown clocks on retailerโ€™s websites.

That gloooowwww ๐Ÿ˜ @fentybeauty

A post shared by Michelle ๐ŸŒน (@michefrances) on

She also set a new standard by releasing 40 shades in the first drop, 40 shades that cater to a broad range of skin tones and not just your standard light tones with one or two token dark shades.

I picked up for myself the Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation in 120, Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Primer, Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer in Fenty Glow and Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter Duo in Lightning Dust/Fire Crystal.

Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Primer

I love this stuff – it’s silky, smooth and packed with silicones to create a perfect base for your makeup. It contains coral powder which fills, texturises and evens out your skin giving you that gorgeous, soft focus skin look.

Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation

I was the most curious about this – I’d heard so many great things and so many bad things and I wanted to see for myself. I can confirm that it oxidized on my skin, so get a shade lighter than you would normally get. It also doesn’t wear particularly well around the crevices of my nose – by midday it’s sort of separating and with the lightest tap of a finger, it comes away from my skin. I have normal to dry skin, so I can’t imagine how this would wear on somebody with oily skin.

Fenty beauty oxidise oxidize pro filt'r 120

But for the first couple hours, and on the rest of my face it just looks absolutely flawless. It seriously makes me look like I’ve got a filter on my face. It’s light as air, sets without powder and doesn’t look cakey at all. It’s just a shame that it doesn’t stay that way.

Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter Duo in Lightning Dust/Fire Crystal

The absolute winner of the collection is, for me, this highlighter duo. It’s silky and glowy but not too sparkly. One of the shades in the duo is softer and subtler and the other shade packs a wee bit more punch but I usually layer them and I think that’s what a lot of people have been doing because it looks amazing.

The new love of my life ๐Ÿ˜ thank u mom @badgalriri

A post shared by Michelle ๐ŸŒน (@michefrances) on

Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer in Fenty Glow

I don’t have much to say about this except it’s a really lovely gloss. It’s not sticky, it’s a really universally flattering shade, it’s moisturising and stays glossy for a good few hours.

As for price point, the foundation and the highlighter were $56, the primer $52 and the lipgloss $34 from Sephora. I think it’s pretty standard for what you get, especially considering it’s all quite high quality.

I’d love to know what you guys think, which pieces did you buy or are lusting after?

syrene skincare review

syrene skincare review

I didn’t want to like this range as much as I do.

I love good packaging – if you know me at all, you’ll already know this. I’m a huge sucker for a pretty label or a nice jar. And don’t even get me started on gold foil.

Syrene has all of this. Beautiful, frosted jars with shiny foiled letters… from the moment I laid eyes on them, I needed to try what was inside.

The ingredients sounded intriguing, too. The range boasts a whole host of natural ingredients like:

  • Kawakawa extract which is a native New Zealand leaf with antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties
  • Pohutakawa extract which is supposed to soften skin and promote cell regeneration
  • Marine collagen
  • L22 which is a skin lipid that is supposed to make you look 22 (I think?)
  • Ephemer which is a powerful antioxidant

So why didn’t I want to like this range?

In a nutshell, the price tag. The toner and the lotion retail for NZ$99.99, the creme is NZ$109.99 and the masque will set you back NZ$119.99. So… not cheap.

I was lucky to be sent a sampler pack and I put the range to the test over a week. I would have loved to have tested it for longer as the range claims to have benefits for use longer than 28 days – unfortunately I can’t comment on if these claims are true.

But after using it for the last week my thoughts are as follows:

  1. It smells lovely. It’s got a sort of oceany smell that’s hard to describe. Also, it’s blue.
  2. The lotion and the masque leave your skin feeling a bit sticky, but not in an unpleasant way.
  3. Immediately after applying, my skin was GLOWING. It looked springier and fuller. What fine lines? I have no idea what you’re talking about.
  4. The lotion was an incredible primer – because it was sort of sticky, my foundation went on smooth and stayed put all day.
  5. I have sensitive skin and this did not react badly or make me break out. However, my skin is heavily affected by my hormones (lucky me!) and I only had a weeks worth of products so I can only tell you what it was like during the follicular phase of my cycle and not the luteal phase.

I would probably say the only product from this range that I wouldn’t buy is the Aquagel Refreshing Tonertoners don’t really do anything and this was no exception. I also don’t really trust a product that claims to “absorb into skin” and “soak up makeup and impurities”. I don’t think I want my makeup and impurities absorbing into my skin, thanks.

The Aqua Hydrating Masque was lovely, the Aqua Intense Creme was lovely and the Aqualight Moisture Gel made a fab hydrating primer.

All in all, if you’re looking for a bit of a luxury treat for your face, this range is fantastic and will look phenomenal on your bathroom shelf.

Is it worth it just for the packaging?

Maybe.

It’s just a bonus that the product is good, too.

If you would like to try Syrene for yourself, it is available from Health 2000.

As always, this post is entirely my own opinion. I received samples of these products for free however my opinion is completely honest and everything I have written here I believe to be true. It is my duty as a beauty blogger to give you the truth as I see it and I take that seriously.

au revoir, bleach damage

au revoir, bleach damage

I feel like I’ve found the holy grail.

Can you imagine being able to wake up with perfect hair?

We are so, so awful to our hair. We dye it, bleach it, flat iron it, put it up, take it down, tease it, curl it and then wonder why we wake up with a frizzy mop that refuses to take a chill pill. If you have ever bleached your hair, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

I bottle dyed my hair black for about seven years and then, on a whim, decided I wanted to be a redhead and the damage was catastrophic.

Gone were the days of being able to wake up in the morning, brush my hair, and go.

Suddenly I was in a never-ending game of battling my damaged tresses with my straighteners which in turn led to more damage and more straightening and more frustration.

And then I found the answer.

I’m not going to attribute my success in winning the war against my locks purely to this one thing. I do also use a number of styling and conditioning products (which I’ll go into in a bit) but I genuinely, truly feel like this makes such a huge difference that I just had to tell you about it.

Are you sitting down?

The number one thing that you can do to help your freshly bleached locks is to go get yourself a mulberry silk pillowcase.

Silk doesn’t absorb oils and moisture like cotton does so you get to keep all that goodness in your skin and hair where you need it. On top of that, the smoother surface reduces friction on the hair cuticle so you wake up with sleeker, silkier hair that hasn’t been roughed up all night.

I’m not even slightly kidding when I say this thing has been a complete game changer for me.

Once again, I wake up in the morning looking semi-decent like the good hair days of my youth. I cannot recommend this enough.

As for products, my ride or dies for battling bleach damage are as follows:

  1. Olaplex, baby, yeah. It’s a salon only product that works on a molecular level to repair broken bonds in your hair. My hair dresser mixes it into every stage of the lightening process to help ease the damage from bleaching. I also use the take-home mask once a week, the longer you can leave it on the better.
  2. Hask Bamboo Oil Strengthening Shine. I slather this onto my ends when I get out of the shower and also use it to slick down flyaways. I can run my fingers through my hair 5 hours after brushing it without getting stuck on knots. Can you?
  3. Redken Color Extend Magnetics shampoo & conditioner. The thing about bleaching your hair is it basically gives up on holding onto your colour. Using a lower sulphate or sulphate free shampoo makes a huge difference.
  4. Nak Heat Beat Protective Sealant. If you’re not using a heat protector and you straighten or curl your hair, you are literally not allowed to complain about damage. It’s against the law. This one doesn’t weigh my hair down, doesn’t affect the texture of my hair and it smells yummy like roses.
  5. A detangling hairbrush. It doesn’t have to be a branded tangleteezer or anything. I use a $9 one from Kmart (linked) and it’s amazing. Make sure you start brushing from the ends of your hair and work up in stages so you don’t end up forcing all the knots down (which leads to breakage). Brush your hair gently and try not to stress it out too much.
  6. An amazing hairdresser. Okay, Jordi isn’t a product. But she’s worth mentioning. If you’re in Christchurch you need to hit her up. A crap hairdresser can wreck your hair in one sitting. Jordi is the shit. (So take a big whiff)

If you have managed to successfully bleach your hair and not have to shave your head and hide in a cupboard for the remainder of your twenties, I’d love to know your secrets. Leave me a comment and let me know!

As always, this blog post is entirely my own opinion and I do not represent anyone or anything. I paid for all the products I have mentioned.

a slick quickie about oils

Back in my day, when a girl reached “that age” she was handed a Dolly magazine, a training bra and a Nivea three-step pack and told: “oil = bad”. And I believed it, for a long time.

Oil-free moisturisers, oil clearing cleansers, mattifying primers… These are all products that I’ve had in my skincare arsenal for yonks because I believed the myth that oil is bad and must be got rid of at all costs.

And, funnily enough, I also thought I had sensitive skin. I had dermatitis that flared up for seemingly no reason. But alongside the dry patches, I also had an ocean of zits on my forehead and temples that just wouldn’t go away – no matter how much I scrubbed and cleansed.

Then oil came along and I wondered what I had been afraid of for so long.

Oil = good.

I use 5 different oils in 5 different ways and the change in my skin has been quite dramatic.

  1. I switched my morning oil-free, SPF moisturiser for a day cream that contains sweet almond oil, chia seed oil, avocado oil, coconut oil and heaps of other skin-loving goodies. I was a little bit concerned that it would disagree with my foundation but I haven’t had any issues. In fact, after a couple of weeks, I stopped using foundation because my skin has been so good. I use Goodness Every Morning Moisturiser – it’s bae.
  2. I was using a standard body moisturiser after my shower but I find when it’s cold, all I wanna do is get my jammies on pronto. Which, unfortunately, meant that I was skipping the moisturiser more often than I like to admit. The game changer for me was when I switched to the Pure Fiji Bath & Body Oil because it’s liquid so it absorbs into your skin almost instantly (cutting down chilly naked time) but it’s also really nourishing. It has a blend of coconut oil, dilo oil, macadamia oil and sikeci oil and honestly does wonders for your skin.
  3. I started using a hair oil to tame the frizz and add shine – it’s hard to find one that isn’t just a bottle of perfumed silicone with a pretty label but I really love the Hask Strengthening Shine Oil because, yes, it has a healthy dose of silicones but it also has bamboo extract, biotin, collagen and avocado oil. I use it on wet hair but I also rub a small amount in my palms and use it to slick down flyaways to give my straightened ‘do a little protection from humidity.
  4. After using my night cream (which is essentially a heavier version of my day cream, sans SPF) I just pat two drops of this gorgeous chia seed oil into my skin. I find that I wake up with nicer skin, I get less dry patches and it helps my eyebrow hairs grow (seriously, not even kidding).
  5. I also use oil to remove my makeup. I use Break-Up Make-Up Balm which is a delicious blend of chia seed oil, coconut oil, olive oil, sunflower seed oil and avocado oil that dissolves my makeup before I cleanse. This makes a huge difference because I’m not scrubbing at my face with cotton pads to convince my long wearing mascara to get the hell off my face. Less friction on the face = happier skin (and more eyelashes).

Other skin types benefit from oils too, though – not just skin on the dryer end of the spectrum. Nadia has a great breakdown of oils by skin type here. So, even if you have oily skin, oil still = good.

Do you guys use oils? Which ones would you recommend for your skin type?

As always, this post is entirely my own opinion. Everything I have written here I believe to be true. I received products for consideration from Goodness. However, I have chosen to repurchase with my own money and continue using them because I genuinely think they are good products.