Tag Archives: dressup

Online shopping … customer… served?

So… the internet… it is a bright and beautiful thing, but can also be a dark and scary place… especially when you are shopping online. It might be one thing to buy a product locally, where you can go and speak to a human being if something goes wrong.. but emails, telephone numbers… you are never really sure if you are being treated as a person or a reference number.

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I thought I would have a look at customer service from 2 different companies that I have dealt with online, one big, one small.. and what my experience has been.

Now the first is Urban Decay http://www.urbandecay.co.uk/     a large international makeup company renowned for its Naked Pallets. Well I was lucky enough to receive one of their pallets for my birthday this year. I wouldn’t have tried their products without this prompt, as I am nervous about spending so much money and not really being sure if the product will be a good match for me.

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This is of course a big issue for us when buying on line, especially if it is for the first time. So when I received my pallet and tried it I was blown away… yes, they really do live up to the hype people. I then decided to give some of their eye liners a go, both stick and gel liner, as this is one product I find difficult to get right. When the gel liner arrived, it looks … well it didn’t quite look right, so I emailed their customer service to check if it was a dud, or if it would be okay. I didn’t really want to use it and find myself having negative experiences if it wasn’t in tip top condition.

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I got a swift reply, apologising for the product, and asking if I would send it back to them to check, and replace as needed. This sounded good, I am usually reluctant as the postage can almost cost as much. But it was free, and I put it to one side to do when I next went to the post office. Well, a week later, I realised it had gone missing… couldn’t be found anywhere. I was panicking because I was sure they wouldn’t hold the ticket open forever and I didn’t want them waiting for something that wasn’t on its way. So I emailed and explained the situation. I was assured that they would put a hold until it was found.

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Well I won’t say how long it took to find it, I had given up on ever seeing it again when one afternoon it was on the mantelpiece… my BF explained that he had found it and put it there for me. Well.. I emailed Urban Decay and apologised for everything, explaining it had finally been found etc. I received an email back again saying that it isn’t a problem and I could send it to X address. I was more than surprised considering the time that had elapsed.

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I am waiting for my replacement – it isn’t like for like, as the product i had initially bought is out of stock so have negotiated a replacement which is on its way. I have to say, the quickness of replies, and the interactions i have had have galvanised me to spend more money on Urban Decay. Which is really one of the primary reasons companies, big and small should be investing in good customer service. To be perfectly honest, I would have been happy without the replacement, I wasn’t expecting it and the level of service I had received in my initial interaction had left me with a positive experience.

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Now, onto a small, relatively new company that I have mentioned before, Revenge Wigs. When I first came accross them via Instagram the business was not actually live, so a lot of the emails were updating me on progress, ETA’s, some delays (I say delay, like a day or two). But I won’t go over that, you can see my review in an earlier post.

I have continued to buy from Revenge Wigs, and the level of customer service has not diminished, there is an immediate email to confirm that my order has gone through, and again once posted (next day if done on a working day). The wigs are always labelled and there is always a handwritten note inside. It is little touches like this, that make the whole experience more personal. It feels as if you actually matter to the company and are not just another sale.

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As a new start up, I really was hoping that everything I had experienced when I first bought a wig would continue but actually figured it would just be an opening gambit and it would be ‘business as usual’ going forward. But Revenge Wigs are active on both IG and FB so you feel more involved, and even had a new website since launch. (the new website looks amazing, go check it out http://revengewigs.co.uk/)

I did have one stumble in my relationship, which was a wonky wig – not the fault of the business. I fully expected to have to put up and shut up. How would the business be able to confirm there is a problem with the product and not me, or my head.. without one or both of us paying out to return it. It was with a heavy heart that I contacted her. I realised that a lot of wig companies do not accept returns (for valid reasons) and I was so disappointed in the wig. How dare it be wonky. But, within 30 mins, Revenge Wigs responded with a return address and confirmed they would refund me for the wig and postage (which is over and above what I had expected). The wig was refunded, and I responded as any reasonable person would …. by buying another wig 😉

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I am sorry if you were expecting a negative post, I wanted to let people know that it isn’t all doom and gloom when buying online, especially with the shopping season upon us. We are all working longer hours and finding time to shop locally isn’t always easy. (conversely I am a big promoter of shopping locally – I am just a realist)

I realise that it is hard for new businesses to compete with larger, and established companies, as Revenge Wigs have found, by relaunching their website. It is all about first impressions and honestly this is no different from window dressing on the high street. If you make your website look good, easy to access, and give people an easy way to contact you.. it will make people more confident in buying from you. And as you can see, it really doesn’t matter what size, or how old the company is…. customer service is important and it is becoming more important now we are doing most of our shopping online. Be confident when shopping online.

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Halloween Makeup #2

Okay this is a really quick walkthrough, basically because I forgot to actually take photos as I went along! Sorry but it is an easy one, I promise!

A couple of weeks ago, I was playing around with makeup, which I do. A lot – and I decided to refresh a Pin Up Frankie (Frankenstein’s Bride) which I had done a couple of years ago.

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This evening while I was putting together the 5 min zombie look – I thought I could review Frankie as the only thing that wouldn’t necessarily be in everyone’s makeup box, is the body paint used for the green skin.

So for this experiment, I used a green mineral eyeshadow and a blusher brush to apply onto my face, and blended it in. I then picked a slightly darker green and used it on my cheekbones, nose, and temple.

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I then applied a deep purple eyeshadow over the eye socket, following my eyelid around and underneath. I used another loose powder for this and the loose powder falling was blended in under the eye, so being slightly messy certainly works in this instance!

I actually set the green with a translucent powder because it was just a tiny bit glittery – which is fine if that is what you are going for 🙂

I then applied lashings of mascara and a little liner to finish my eyes off before moving onto the stitches.

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For this, I just used a pen eyeliner – now I haven’t given much thought to placement of the stitches – I usually try and make sure that they won’t be covered by a wig, so I keep them more central but you may want to look at some more authentic autopsy scars for your own makeup!

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And one where I remembered to put on some lipstick 🙂

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This makeup look really won’t take long to do – both this and the zombie makeup are designed to be 5 min makeup looks that can achieved without spending much money of time. I would love to see what you come up with!

Halloween Makeup Ideas #1

So a friend recently asked if I could put together a simple makeup look for her son – who currently is on the fence about whether he wants to be a vampire or a zombie – so here is my simple walk through 🙂

So to being with, we are starting with a simple zombie look, using cream colours, picked up in a store (I bought mine from a Pound shop) and some cheap velvet lipstick. You can use any, I prefer to use lipstick as it will dry and stay put whereas the more traditional fake blood will keep moving around, and this isn’t ideal especially if you are making up a child 🙂

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Start off with a bare face, but clean, you don’t want anything interfering with the makeup as it needs to dry on the skin so it doesn’t move later on.

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Now i personally put a little of the cream on the back of my hand, and apply from there, I put a pea sized amount on, and it was more than enough. I use my fingers to apply, which means i am not loosing any to being absorbed into a sponge, but it really is personal preference. I will say using your fingers does lend itself to this makeup as you don’t really want an even colour for the newly risen/walking dead 🙂

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This is the first layer of makeup, the lighting isn’t fantastic, i keep forgetting how quickly it gets dark so there wasn’t a lot of natural light available!

Next step is to add black – now I use this in the same as one might contour – basically I use it under the cheek bones, the side of the nose to the side of the chin, on the temples and then around the eyes for the sunken look.

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The next step is the fun one – ADDING THE RED! Now I chose to use a cream colour first as these will all dry on the skin and not budge. This is applied along the side of the mouth and chin, down and onto the neck – trying to imagine where blood would drip really. I apply a little to the eyes, and then any open wounds as well. You can really have fun with this! (see my neck)

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And lastly, I use my velvet lipstick – I would normally use a darker shade, but it was sadly unavailable to me at this time – so please just use your imagination! But all I do is apply over the red around the lower lip to add a little more depth and colour, and a tiny bit again around the eyes.

Et voila!

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The meaning .. of life?

42? Right? No ? Was I was sleeping while you all grew up around me?

In my first reboot blog, I explained my relationship to makeup and to some extent, wigs, how my relationship has changed throughout the years… (aborted green period anyone) and I have since gone on to share my love for the art of makeup, wigs, playing dress up…

I was chatting to a friend on I.G earlier today, and debating what my next blog should be about (I have usually 2 or 3 ongoing… occasionally I even publish them!) … he suggested, and I will quote ‘About how life, about how we change, age and think differently .. if you knew how long you had left, would you use your time differently?

Some biggies there to tackle so let us go slowly, don’t worry, I am right here, I will hold your hand!

So in my very abrupt bio, I have stated that my job doesn’t inspire me. No, it really doesn’t, not to any meaningful degree. A wise person once told me, that there is no reason to blame anyone else for the situation you find yourself in, as you, and only you are the one responsible. And I have to say, that did change my outlook. I have spent years bemoaning one thing or another, parents, school, boys. But at the end of the day, I am the one saying yes or no.

So in that respect, I have changed, I have learnt to accept that I am the one writing my storyline. And I am making the best of it. I have become a lot more relaxed, and looked for outlets outside my day job. This started with makeup, I love makeup. You know that already. Right? And that then moved to wigs, cosplay… generally dressing up and pretending to be someone else (occasionally I even pretend to adult!).

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I have been really lucky, because of the makeup, to meet a really encouraging mentor, and through her, worked with a theatre group, have done a fan film, did the VT for a show as well as backstage and general running around. And most recently it has resulted in my being on radio. I have learnt that being out of your comfort zone is a good thing, that sometimes jumping without looking first results in things other than broken bones. Yeah, one of those annoying people. But if it makes you feel any better, I get hijacked into things and rarely have time to really think about it. So I am not entirely cured!

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Well… the big question… it is one that keeps getting bandied around isn’t it … if you had an expiry date, would you do anything differently. Or the other is, if you could go back and tell your teenage self something….

I hate to be THAT person… no! No I wouldn’t do anything differently because I am the person today, because of the things I have done, the people I have met, the people who raised me up, those who tried to drag me down. But if I knew when I would be leaving this world? I wouldn’t let it dictate what I did or how I treated people. I would love to say I would go travelling, see all the things I wanted to, go visit family, far flung friends… of course that is on the bucket list among other things. If it happens, it happens. I will keep aiming to do all the things on that mental check list. If it doesn’t happen. It wasn’t meant to be 🙂

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I would miss this little dude though ❤

You can find my wigs at : http://revengewigs.co.uk

You can find my leggings at : http://www.wildbangarang.com/

Tis the season… To don your Leggings!

It is that time of year, it is officially autumn now, september is already ticking by fast. It is bright but there is a chill in the air.

What is a girl to do now….

WEAR LEGGINGS!

I implore you all do to this! It is the perfect weather for it, they are comfortable and go with anything! Now last year, I discovered printed nylon. What I hear you cry, what about Black Milk, Living dead… I hear you. I honestly do. But I have never really felt comfortable paying the prices. I work in a conservative environment so I knew I wouldn’t be able to get away with wearing them at work, which leaves the gym or weekends.

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Wild Bangarang jumped onto the nylon scene last year and quickly I found myself in possession of quite a collection. I can’t put a finger on what exactly prompted this. It is a combination of the designs, price, that it is a small, local (relatively speaking) business, and did I say designs already?

I have to say, there is something about wearing WB leggings that gives me a little swagger in my walk. I get looks, but since I have no body issues where my legs are concerned I welcome it. I have been stopped on several occasions to ask where I got them, the most unusual was when a woman stopped me a couple of times to comment on them – see the featured image – and told me I look like Spiderman’s girlfriend.

Now don’t think for a moment that I am telling you to give up the black leggings – they have their place, and Batman knows i have enough knocking about. But before you automatically reach for your faithful black leggings, think WB instead. They will instantly cheer up any outfit – when you are just planning on wearing a jumper, or if you are hitting the gym and want something to cheer up the tired old gym wear.

I used to dance before injury to keep fit and socially, and one thing that I always did, I think it was just something in the scene, I always dressed up and was bright and flamboyant. When I had to switch to more traditional gym sessions, I just wasn’t inspired. A baggy vest or t shirt and a pair of leggings. But actually as much as I don’t feel like spending a lot of money on clothing to sweat in, WB leggings do great double duty. I can wear one pair to the gym, and another on the way out. And I do feel, just as they put a spring in my step normally, they inspire me to push a little harder in the gym.

It is all in my head, these leggings are not magic. They may well be magical though – do buy a pair and let me know what you think?

Check out the website: http://www.wildbangarang.com

You can also find Wild Bangarang on Facebook and Instagram

Revenge of the sith.. I mean wigs… REVENGE WIGS!

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So on Friday I came home to WIG MAIL! This made me so happy, before even opening it, the sticker on the outside let me know who it was from. Once open, I had a lovely hand written note, and tag which was so sweet. The handwritten aspect continued with the tag on the wig, I chose Patootie as my first Revenge Wig and I am glad I did.

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Now I am getting ahead of myself, let us go back a couple of steps in my Revenge Wig journey 🙂 I first came across Revenge WIgs (REVENGEWIGS) on Instagram and as I was looking for a new wig company, I sent a quick email, not really expecting a reply.

A short while I had an email back, which started me on my journey with Revenge Wigs, Communication has been amazing with this company, I know it is something a lot of us worry about when ordering online, and I am guessing the owner knows that as well. She obviously did her market research! At every stage I was kept informed by email, but at no point did I feel I was getting too many, nor did I feel like a bother when replying.

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Now to the wig itself, I am pretty happy with my pick (wearing her right now) and snapped off a couple of photos on Friday night. The quality is amazing, I cannot fault it at all, it is a high standard that many of us expect when buying wigs, the wig, Patootie, is a gorgeous pink colour, the top is a really light pink and not white as I first thought 🙂 I love the cut as well, there is enough fringe and it sits nicely away from the face, with a graduated cut at the front which adds a little depth to the overall wig. It looks and feels very natural which will mean that it gets pulled out to wear more often which of course is a good thing. It is a thick wig, but not heavy (I am going to suggest the cut helps with the weight) and there hasn’t been much hair loss which is a bonus.

Overall, and checking the website, there is a great selection for a new business, covering most tastes and the price is great. I love the interactive Instagram section, as long as you are tagging your wig, you will feature in on the website in the IG feed which is a great way of involving your customers! You can find the tags to you use on both the website and I.G. I am already debating my next wig, I am torn between Bubblegum and Flossie – so if anyone can help me choose that would be great!

It is worth checking the website, Facebook and or I.G as there are special offers and discounts added and it would be another reason to invest in a new wig!

p.s if you do use I.G you can find me under beautifullystrange_makeup xx

Beauty is only skin deep

Beauty, or its perception is a very personal thing. It is taste. This will be down the individual, it can be environmental, what you were bought up around, it can be cultural. But I digress.

I am working in collaboration with a friend and fellow (albeit infinitely more talented) makeup artist, Wechselbalg (find him on facebook) to bring to life some concepts inspired by the Hansel and Gretel : Witchhunters film. To this end, I selected the Desert Witch as my first witch.

The image I have included with this blog is the unedited image I uploaded to Instagram last night. It got some positive comments on it – which of course delighted me. But it also made me think about the perception of beauty within our own and other societies. I was told that I look pretty, amazing, beautiful. But… and this is really what I am trying to get it. Is it really me that they are complimenting or my work.

I call myself a makeup artist although I have no formal qualification. I do however, use makeup as my artistic medium and outlet. So, if we take it as a compliment of my work, I am honoured. I am very pleased with the way it turned out. I was lucky that the weather was bright and worked in my favour.

However, the other interpretation is that they are saying that I, am pretty. And it feels wrong. I cannot really accept this as a compliment. And please let me explain why.. take a moment to look at the picture. I am wearing a wig (which I customised), blue contact lenses, self tan, and a bucket load of makeup. So .. there is nothing in the photo that makes me, me. I am the canvass a painter starts off with before applying paint.

And this is the point that bothers me. Is skin truly only skin deep. Am I only pretty when I have so many layers of makeup, my own mother wouldn’t recognise. This is a difficult topic as clearly, I do love makeup and apply it at times, with wanton abandon. And yes, it makes me feel beautiful, I love looking at the mirror, and seeing what I have created. I don’t want to bring the patriarchal or feminist gaze into this. Really, makeup is a personal thing, wear it, don’t wear it. Throw it on with a trowel, go natural. If it makes you happy, then really whether someone is hitting like on it, count it as a bonus and not a comment on you as a person. They are liking the art created?!

Strange…. made … up

So .. this is my first proper blog post. This is an old account for for some reason I have never posted any of the articles. I hope that this is going to become a good habit of mine and it won’t go back to gathering dust.

So with that In mind I thought this would be a little …. insight to me and my life, what makes me tick.

Since I am linking this to my make up page, let us start there. How did I get started with make up? How does anyone get started, of course I first experimented as a girl. I remember saving up and picking colours I really liked and slathering them onto my face. But I have to be honest, it was never something I felt entirely confident with.

As a teenager I fell down the Goth rabbit hole, and I remember standing in nightclub toilets, in awe of the older girls and their amazing makeup (late 90’s so there was still a crossover New Romantic vibe). This resulted in saving spare coins and running to SuperDrug to buy makeup and hope that it would work.

Over the years, my taste has changed, I went from wearing glasses, to contacts, and back again. I have been through ‘purple’ periods, the aborted ‘green’ period, I have gone for a little, a lot. Everything in between. Makeup has been something to make me feel better about the image I see reflected in the mirror.

But about 3 years ago (more or less) I found an amazing Cos Player called Roxy Lee (go find her on FB) who is first and foremost and amazing special FX makeup artist. She was really supportive and helped me, gave me advice and tips. So I started experimenting first with gore, then just any ideas that popped into my head. I soon realised that this may not be appropriate for everyone on my friends list. So I created a page dedicated to my make up experiments,

And that is how my page, Beautifully Strange Makeup was born.