Handy French Manicure Tip

Hi Tory,

Whichever way you look at it, French manicures are a bit of a pain to get right, no matter how much practice you put in, or how steady your hand is. I've done tips and tricks on this subject before, but found this nifty little work around this week and just had to give it a go.

All you need is a thickish rubber band. That's it. It's so simple I can't believe that I've never seen it in action before. The basic principle is that the rubber band grips to your nail so it's a solid surface, the tension pulls back the skin so you don't get blobs everywhere, and it gives you a nice, crisp edge.

all you need is a thickish rubber band

So, let's go for it. Paint your base colour - one or two coats depending on the polish and make sure that it's absolutely bone dry. The rubber band will take off some of the surface gloss, but you'll be putting a top coat on to even things out. Place the rubber band just under where you want your French tip to be and pull it down securely, holding it in place. Then, just paint your contrasting tip polish on the free edge, wait for about 30 seconds and very gently remove the rubber band. Genius!

One More Thing...

  • My clearly labelled "A4 Watercolour Paper" had to be cut down to fit my printer. How does that work??
  • The best way to get a dewy foundation? Use a damp sponge and lightly press your warm hands over the surface so that everything melts in and adapts to your skin.
  • If you're doing any kind of makeup work - theatre, shoot, wedding or whatever - always take paper cups and tissues with you in your kit. You'd be amazed at how often you'll need a tissue or somewhere to put warm water!
  • Another tip for makeup kits on the go - stock up on travel sizes of products like tissues, shampoo, moisturizer and so on. So much easier than decanting or carrying around heavy bottles.

Hugs and kisses,


Thank You!

Hi Tory,

This has been such an amazing experience for me - doing the blog, getting videos up on YouTube, and gradually people have started liking the Facebook Page, or subscribing to the YouTube channel, or following the blog.

So... I thought that ti was about time that I said a MASSIVE than you to everyone for their support and interaction. I have huge plans for the upcoming year across the board, and I'll be interacting a lot more as well through Twitter and the Facebook Page, as well as setting up some live chats - get your questions ready!

I thought that it was about time to say a MASSIVE thank you

Ways to Join and Interact

One More Thing...

  • I've started experimenting with hair pieces (so I can build up to full-on wigs) so this week I'm wearing a clip-on ombre piece from Peacocks. Only £5.50 and it blends in perfectly with my hair and looks natural.
  • A quick tip for whistle clean nails - take off all your polish just before you wash your hair. That way you get rid of every last scrap of nail polish remover and grease before you put the next lot of varnish on.
  • The theatre show was a blast! I had so much fun, made some new friendships, cemented some old ones and have finally dipped my toe in the waters of prosthetic makeup. More to come I hope!
  • Travalo have a limited edition range of Justice League atomizers coming up - I've got my eye on the Batman and Wonder Woman ones!

Hugs and kisses,


How Far Nail Polish Goes...

Hi Tory,

I had a tutorial planned, in fact I was about a third of the way through it when disaster struck.

I was happily painting my nails and photographing everything as I went, using nail polish here, a nail art pen there... and I pressed a little bit too hard on the nail art pen lid to seal it. The bottle sheared in half. The bottom went one way. The top went another way. The nail polish sprayed out in the most spectacular fashion, covering everything in a 12 foot trajectory, including your lovely niece who was relaxing on the opposite couch.

don't press too hard on the lid of a nail art pen. that is all.

Everything in a 12 foot trajectory. Walls, balcony door, couches, CJ's face, the carpet... we were both laughing so hard that it was difficult not to be impressed by events. Twelve feet is pretty amazing.

So, the nail art pen is dead, I have to go out and get a new one with half-finished nails, the light is fading fast, and the fabulous tutorial I had planned for today will just have to wait until Friday. Unless I manage to explode something else in the meantime... ;)

Products Used

  • A now deceased nail art pen - a moment of silence, please
  • A huge quantity of cloths and cleaner
  • Cups of tea to recuperate
  • A sense of humour
  • Total Cost = Priceless

One More Thing...

  • Do I need to add to this??
  • Don't press too hard on the lid of a nail art pen. That is all.

Hugs and kisses,


What's in My Cosmetics Bag?

Hi Tory,

Every family dinner, you, me and Mum all get out our respective bags and handbags to do the reapplication of the lipstick ritual and it's always amazing to me how different women are when it comes to makeup storage. I used to be of the "throw in and never find it again variety" but I was stern with myself and finally invested in a cosmetics bag... and then I saw this tag going around YouTube and had to join in.

I try to keep the items in my cosmetics bag to a necessary minimum, working on the premise of touch-ups throughout the day, and a quick face if I stay over at a friend's house. At the moment my go-to lipstick is the MAC one, but in the summer it tends to be a nice bright lipgloss or even a tinted lip balm. You can always ring the changes according to the season and update your look.

I used to be of the "throw in and never find it again variety"

With the size of the bag, it's a good practice to avoid the bigger ones - that way you avoid the temptation to overfill with a bunch of products that you probably won't need on a daily basis, and it makes you really assess what you need, rather than what you want. Your shoulders will thank you!

Of course, the products here are just my own personal preference - you might find that a touch of powder and a lipstick is all you really need. Adapt it and tweak it and play with it for your own needs. Just know that you'll be able to find everything without doing the dreaded root canal thing!

Products Used

  • Boots Flower Cosmetics Bag (no longer available)
  • MUA Professional Eyebrow Kit
  • MUA Professional Mosaic Bronzer in Natural Glow
  • ELF Complete Coverage Concealer in Medium
  • Travalo Perfume Atomizer in Black
  • Samantha Chapman Real Techniques Setting Brush
  • Boots No 7 Contour Brush
  • MUA Professional Every Lash in Black
  • Collection 2000 Eye Definer in Black
  • Bloom Lip Pencil in Outline (discontinued)
  • Rimmel Soft Kohl in White
  • MAC Lipstick in Hug Me

One More Thing...

  • I would highly recommend trying out the fuller lip technique - loads of people have asked what fillers I'm using!
  • Does anyone want a tutorial on making theatrical prosthetics? Happy to do one!
  • MUA are expanding their professional range at a rate of knots - going to do some product reviews on those!
  • I'm thinking of doing a monthly awards for the best budget products - sound good?

Hugs and kisses,


Add To The Facebook Gallery

Hi Tory,

Did you know that the Facebook Page for Makeup Tips for My Sister has a photo gallery? And did you also know that you can post pictures there of makeup and nail ideas that you'd like me to recreate? You can also leave comments either down below or on the Facebook Page itself (you have to like it first, of course!) and I'll do my best to get a video or blog post made for you lickety-split!

I have a Pinterest too, and I'm always adding interesting ideas to that for future tutorials or tips - if there's something that catches your eye, let me know about it!

did you know that the facebook page for makeup tips for my sister has a photo gallery?

One More Thing...

  • I still don't know how Google+ works. I'm connected to it, and people keep adding me, but I can't seem to post anything. Any ideas? Help!
  • I STILL can't find my Revlon lash glue...
  • The outer corner lashes of my right eye are permanently curled which makes eyeliner a nightmare - does anyone know how I can straighten them?
  • Currently making gelatine scars for a theatre show - my house smells so bad right now...
  • Also doing the makeup for a show set in the silent film 20s - five guys, five gals, all involved in show business so the makeup is so much fun to do!
  • I looked at the ticket prices for IMATS London and fell over... one day... one day...

Hugs and kisses,


Product Update: NYC Foundation

Hi Tory,

I recently wrote an unfavourable review of NYC's Smooth Skin Mousse Foundation - I didn't like the texture, couldn't get it to blend, wasn't impressed with the poor shade range... I ended up deeming it a not bad concealer, rather than a good foundation.

BUT - I don't like to give up on a product, especially when it has such a good price point and a fair amount of product.

I don't like to give up on a product, especially when it has such a good price point

I kept researching, knowing that air-whipped products behave in a particular way. It's sort of like whipping cream or butter or eggs - you want to keep the air and the lightness in, so stirring and a heavy hand destroys all the good work you've done getting a fluffy texture. It was with this in mind that I went back to the NYC foundation and kept scaling back on the amount of product. What I eventually ended up doing was three quick dabs of my Sam Chapman Real Techniques Expert Face Brush, and then working the area in circular motions. This amount of product covers:

  • one cheek area, OR
  • one half of the forehead, OR
  • the chin and mouth area, OR
  • the nose
So you end up using 18 of the merest dabs of product, which is not a huge amount. You do need to work it in with a firm but light hand, and only do one application. This is absolutely key I found - any more than one application and it starts to go cakey. If you need more coverage, you'll have to reach for the concealer. I'd say that the foundation gives a light to medium coverage, but applying it as above, it's actually really comfortable, and with a primer underneath it's really quite good as a foundation. And at only £3.99 for 14g of product, it won't hurt your pocket.

I'm still not happy about the lack of shades - you can choose from three and they are all in the fairly pale Caucasian range. Insert frowny face here.

Products Used

One More Thing...

  • How come MAC have used men like Jonny Weir in their campaigns... but they don't do male face charts?
  • I still can't find my Revlon lash glue...
  • Sorry for the lack of video yesterday... my Internet appeared to be on some sort of annual holiday...
  • Some Superdrugs are doing knock-down, dirt cheap sale prices on their TOWIE palettes, and the colours are not bad. If I can snag some I'll review 'em.
  • Hammersmith Primark does different nail polishes in different bottles - what's the T, divas??
  • I've found a better way to block out eyebrows - may do an updated tutorial!

Hugs and kisses,


Do Nail Stickers Work?

Hi Tory,

I RECENTLY LOST all of my nails - and you know how much I love my long talons. So now I have stumpy little stumpsteins from Stumpsylvania. Ugh. "Not to worry," I thought. "I'll get me some of them thar stick on nails. That'll do the trick."

Now it just so happens that I was in Primarni, and it just so happens that they have some oh-so-cute sets of false nails, and it just so happens that they are only £1 per set. Yes, ladies and lady boys, one pound of yer actual sterling on these beauties. (I had to buy two sets obviously - one is never enough. I'm paraphrasing Jacqueline Susann here, natch. Sparkle, Neely, sparkle!!)

sparkle, neely, sparkle!

What I didn't want to do, after years' of bitter experience, was use nail glue. Horrible stuff. Does terrible damage to your real nails and is a nightmare to get the false ones off. Really bad. Avoid it like the plague. So... what's a diva to do? Here's where the stickers part came in - press on, pull off. No mess, no damage, really simple, right?

Well... yes and no. The pull off part was the main problem. They were incredibly simple to put on and looked fantastic and professional and cute and all that - for literally five minutes. And then any amount of pressure that I put on my nails - and I'm literally talking picking up a spoon here - the whole nail moved back and started to lift off. I spent the best part of the day surreptitiously pressing them all back down again until I gave up in frustration and peeled them all off. Does anyone have a solution??

Products Used

  • Primark false nail sets - available in store only
  • Nailene Ultra Adhesive Tabs
  • Total Cost = £3.59
  • Prices based on what I paid for the whole look from scratch, and correct at the time of posting

One More Thing...

  • I got the makeup gig for the theatrical production - yay me! - all 1920s silent movie decadence. I cannot wait.
  • Awesome resource for printable MAC face charts - makeupanarchist.com/blank-mac-face-charts/
  • That little lips trick with the white pencil in the middle to ape a pout? It's called Dog Booty Lips. I'm gettin' hip with the lingo.
  • Why do I always need to sneeze just after I've done my mascara?
  • And why do I always need the loo when I have freshly painted nails??
  • And why can't I find my Revlon Lash Glue??? Help me, divas!

Hugs and kisses,


I ♥ Drugstore

Hi Tory,

The wonderful Emily of Beauty Broadcast fame did this fun tag video about drugstore brands, likes and dislikes - what we'd call the High Street or the chemist - and I thought I'd join. The whole point of this blog is to get fabulous looks on a bargain, so it's what we know, right?

the whole point of this blog is to get fabulous looks on a bargain, so it's what we know, right?

I'd love to know what everything else thinks too - what are your star products or the ones that you thought were complete duds? As always, you can comment below, do a response video on YouTube or leave a message on the Facebook Page - all the links are in the menu bar above!

The Tag Questions

  • What is your favourite drugstore makeup brand?
  • What are your favourite face, cheek and lip products?
  • Your least favourite product?
  • What is the best makeup bargain?
  • What is your favourite underdog product - something you love that often gets overlooked?
  • Show your best drugstore dupes.
  • Drugstore product that isn't worth the hype?

Hugs and kisses,


New Schedule for 2013

Hi Tory,

Here we all are, back and hopefully fresh as a daisy from the recent festivities and chocolate gorging. I'm still tweaking and polishing the blog and the YouTube channel ready for a relaunch of sorts on February 2nd, so you'll notice little changes here and there as the weeks go by.

From now on I'm going to be posting daily with videos every Tuesday and Thursday - comments below and on the Facebook Page with your requests for tutorials, looks and how tos! So, full steam ahead and let's get on with 2013!

Are velvet nails really a thing? Weren't they last year?

One More Thing...

  • I finally found Illamasqua when I was in London over the holidays and it is beautiful - planning a trip up there again soon for some serious shopping
  • Still working on the post about foundations for the lighter and darker ends of the spectrum - I was hampered a bit by all the Christmas crowds, but it's calmer now
  • Are velvet nails really a thing? Weren't they last year?
  • The Pantone Colour of the Year is Emerald, so look out for green and more green on the High Street. Do I like the colour? Jury's out...
  • I found an old scrapbook of makeup ideas - FUN!
  • I'm auditioning to do make up for a theatrical production... NERVOUS!

Hugs and kisses,

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