The Beauty Barometer - The Makeup MASTER CLASS

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Each month Nicola McGeorge takes you behind the scenes at one of the leading fashion and photographic make-up courses in Spain.

I am going to call this the ugly makeup month. Why? Because each week we seem to be leaving the class looking worse than the week before.

Fellow student, Katie, actually whispered to me, (while I was removing her eyebrows), that it would be nice maybe, just once, to walk out of the academy looking better than when we arrived, only for our teacher Faye to tell us that the next class was ageing makeup. I can hear you thinking, “Isn’t the point of makeup to make you look more attractive?” Well, yes - unless you have been studying the art of special effects! FX has been my favourite part of the course so far and I have loved every minute of it. However, I have found it much more challenging than the fashion or beauty makeup.

Working with any kind of special effect needs a completely different range of tools and products from our usual kit. This is how professional makeup brand Kryolan has become my new best friend.

We dipped our toes into the special effects genre by blocking out eyebrows. This method is used for creating Geisha and period makeup or simply to change the position of the brow. After gluing down our brows with spirit gum and rolling them with a pin comb to flatten the hairs (quite a relaxing experience actually), we then covered them in moulding wax or soap. The result wasn’t pretty. Having no eyebrows makes you look like an alien or, in my case, a worm.

The ageing makeup class was incredible. Faye started off with her usual showstopping demonstration; the final result was so realistic it reduced the model to tears, as she whimpered that she didn’t want to get old. Gulp! I have cried at every birthday since I hit 21, how was I going to deal with being faced with my future aged self?

Following Faye’s directions I asked my model to pull a variety of amusing facial positions, which she held while I covered that area in greasepaint from Kryolan, aptly named Death Wheel, to create the sallow appearance of aged skin. Once the model relaxed her face, a series of deep lines appeared and this was the basis for the deepset wrinkles. After making each of the wrinkles more prominent, I moved on to the contouring, which was basically the opposite of what you would do for beauty makeup, as you are trying to make everything look sunken.

Then it was simply a case of adding on any of the particular traits of ageing skin, broken capillaries with a stipple sponge, liver spots, white hair, lashes and brows with white grease paint, thin blue-tinged lips and we even got to create a hairy mole. Alix got very excited when using the fake hair that she ended up sticking it all over poor Elna, who even had it coming out of her nose and ears. Well they do say hairs sprout out of everywhere when you get old, don’t they?

So, what did I look like as old lady? Well I think I actually looked like The Emperor from Star Wars. I decided to keep the makeup on and surprise the other half. He completely freaked out and then told me I looked like my Nan. Humph.

Saving the best till last, our final FX class was casualty makeup. I SO wish we had been taught this before Halloween because it was a total blood and gore fest. Cuts, bruises, burns, open wounds and blood running everywhere. This was also the first time we got our hands on latex. I have to admit I was rather slow during this class (I need to stop talking so much), so I only managed to finish a few of the effects. I started off by giving my model Zoe a black eye using only Supracolour greasepaint. It really doesn’t take long to make someone look like they have had a good bashing. I then moved on to creating a large gash on Zoe’s head using moulding wax. This stuff gets stuck everywhere (I even had to call Faye that evening to ask how to remove it from my hair – oops!) After applying flesh coloured greasepaint, I used a spatula to slice the wax down the middle, peeling back the edges before filling it with wound filler and finally adding a few drops of liquid blood to run out from the wound. Wanting to take it one step further, I attached cotton thread to create the effect of stitches and then pierced the end of the wax/ gash with a needle, so that it looked like I was sewing up the wound. Zoe totally panicked when I came at her with the needle, but then spent the rest of the lesson quite happily walking around with it stuck in her head. The girls really pulled out the stops during this class and I think the photos speak for themselves.

December finished on a total high when I was given the chance to create the makeup looks for CONFETI Magazine’s bridal fashion spread. I was thrown in at the deep end and at one point had to do an hour’s worth of makeup in half the time, but it was an amazing experience. Please check it out in the Spring issue – due out mid February 2014 - and let me know what you think.

Marbella Beauty Academy
Tel. 952 817 632/ 693 507 267

Let your finger do the Talking


The Nail Place is the most established nail salon in Marbella, frequented by many celebrity clients over the years, including supermodel Naomi Campbell this summer.

Now under new management, ultra glamorous salon owner Samira Khoshnou, who boasts a degree in business management and is fluent in, Spanish, Swedish, Farsi and English, is using her business expertise to modernise the brand. “We have had a complete refurbishment and the salon is now a contemporary and stylish haven for customers to relax and enjoy the finest beauty services,” she explains. “There is a new dedicated spray tan room and we have widened the list of treatments available. We also want to keep our clients updated with the latest trends, treatments and offers, so we will be using Facebook to showcase our promotions and, of course, to exhibit our work. For example, our Christian Louboutin inspired nails, black on the top and red underneath, are currently going down a storm on Facebook.”

All technicians are fully qualified, with many years experience. Eeva, a 2006 European award winner, hails from Finland, and whilst speaking fluent English and Spanish, brings a Scandinavian touch to the salon. Caroline, is a talented nail therapist whose pedicures are legendary, while Rachael, the queen of nail art, also offers lash extensions and spray tans.

The salon offers a full range of nail treatments, including manicures, nail extensions (acrylic, gel, silk and fibre), pedicures (including toenail extensions,) 3D nail art and the brand spanking new additions of Diva spray tanning, Amazing Smile Teeth Whitening, HD Brows, waxing and semi permanent lashes. Botox and fillers treatments will also be available, administered by dental surgeons from the renowned Mark Dental Clinic.

Product wise they opt for the fabulous Jessica range for natural nails. With over 170 nail polishes, including the latest A/W collection, I always drive the girls mad chopping and changing between my colour choices; I am totally LOVING Opening Night at the moment, a rich plum-fuchsia glass fleck polish and, to make a mani-statement, I have a stripe of diamantes running down the middle of my ring finger.

If I am going away and want something a little longer lasting I opt for the world famous Jessica GELeration. A hybrid between gel and polish, it doesn’t chip or peel and dries in seconds, great for those of us who are always on the go. Again with over 5O colours you are guaranteed to find something that tickles your fancy and it can even be used on your toes.

Whatever they turn their hand to they are guaranteed to Nail It.

The Nail Place
Tel. 952 818 636

Auto Immune Disease - an environmental problem?

 JCP5416Dr Ursula Jacob addresses some of the issues in her work with patients across the world.

Are you feeling fatigued or low in energy? Are you suffering from abnormal hair loss?

All too often these symptoms result from having a dysfunctional metabolism which can be caused by a slow or under-par functioning of the thyroid, intestines or the general immune system.

The medical and scientific community recognises the impact of environmental factors in relation to these common symptoms. Chemicals that we come into contact with in our homes and in the atmosphere and heavy metals, such as those which are thought to be released by old Mercury fillings or found in the environment as a result of pollution, all have the potential to disturb our organ function, leading to autoimmune problems and/or chronic allergy problems.

In autoimmune disease, the body is working against itself as antibodies join together with normal cells, such as our immune cells, our thyroid cells and intestine or bowel cells. This can happen anywhere in our body where we have small vessels like the hands, feet, brain, bowels, skin etc. The intestinal and digestive system gets compromised and because this is the biggest immune system in an adult body, the lymph system gets “lazy” and cannot produce enough immune cells.

When the circulation and metabolism is not functioning properly the thyroid function is lowered as in Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. This is an autoimmune disease in which the thyroid gland is attacked by a variety of cell and antibody-mediated immune processes.

If the skin cannot detox properly it can lead to Psoriasis and when the bowels cannot form stools or maintain a normal level of bowel flora this can result in Colitis. In extreme cases patients can develop diabetes, heart problems and high blood pressure.

Many of my patients have experienced these conditions over a long period of time, sometimes for years, and being unwell with fatigue, sleeping problems, digestive problems and generally being under par has become a way of life.

There are various hypotheses about the cause of Autoimmune Disease. Genetic disposition in combination with external factors (like stress, infections, etc.), too little exposition to environmental bacteria, chronic viral infections and unfavourable environmental influences.

At our clinic we use state-of-the-art testing to investigate thoroughly the functioning of the immune system and metabolic system along with flora levels and functioning of the bowel in order to identify possible triggers. We then design an individualised treatment programme comprising targeted micronutrients, good fatty acids and natural supplements that are specifically designed to improve function and reduce chronic inflammation.

We combine that with treatments designed to reduce any pre-existing antibody imbalances, as well as detox programmes and lymphatic drainage treatments. Our services are beneficial for anyone who already has autoimmune problems or those just seeking to maximise their health and wellbeing in order to prevent disease in the future. If you would like to make an appointment or find out more, please contact:

Dr. Ursula Jacob
+ 49 (89) 46 22 95 02
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

The Makeup Master Class

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Since my last diary entry I have finished the theory section; now that was hard work. I can just about explain the functions of the skin, but if you want me to name the bones in the human skull, forget it. I currently have a skull diagram taped to my bathroom mirror which I study while cleaning my teeth. I know - not really what you want to see first thing in the morning but, fingers crossed, something will sink in before the final exams.

I have also started the practical side of the C.I.B.T.A.C Fashion & Photographic Makeup Level 3 course, meaning the one super group of students has been split up into their specialised subjects. There are five students in my class and four teachers, Liza Mayne (makeup), Maria Arana (airbrushing), Alex Maloney (hairstyling) and our head teacher Faye Kilcourse, who has a BA in makeup and prosthetics from the London College of Fashion under her belt. Faye is everything that you would want from a teacher. She is passionate, inspires her students to spread their wings creatively and pushes us to think outside the box. She is also a little scary, quite surprising really, as on first impressions you think she is this beautiful tiny little china doll but, believe me, you wouldn’t want to forget to do your homework. I have seen the outcome and it’s not pretty.

Faye started our first lesson by outlining what we would be learning about, everything from ageing the face to high fashion makeup and from cuts and bruises to prosthetics. We will have to present a final portfolio to the examiner which will contain the following looks: period, fantasy, high fashion, catwalk, bridal, commercial, day look and basic fashion look. Alongside that we will be judged on our mood boards and research.

My best ideas come to me in the middle of the night, so as usual I was up at 3am scribbling away. I have decided to run a theme throughout my portfolio. All the looks will be linked by the Seven Deadly Sins. For example, for the bridal look, the model may be looking in the mirror (Pride) however, for the fantasy look I could go all out with Wrath. This has got me super excited and I cannot wait to get started on it.

For our first hands-on experience, Faye gave us the task of painting a skull on each other’s faces. I can hear you thinking, “Erm…okay!” Don’t worry there was a method to her madness. In order to paint the skull we had to explore the structure of the face with our fingertips; where it was hollow we had to apply black and any areas which were prominent or raised had to be painted white. This makes you think about the person’s face shape, contouring and highlighting. Yes, this is exactly how a makeup artist would create their base but using foundations, bronzers etc.

I have to admit my final effort totally sucked. Poor Ali, who had drawn the short straw by being partnered with me, looked like she had been attacked by a five yearold with face paints. I ran out of time and left feeling very disheartened and doubting whether I actually had any talent at all.

Faye sent us away with two assignments. First she gave us a list of products and tools we needed for our kit. Now this is MY kind of homework. To cheer myself up, I ran around El Corte Inglés like a child in a candy store. I bought out most of MAC, Make Up For Ever, Benefit and YSL, before bounding upstairs and attacking the art section. This shopping spree lifted my spirit for a few days, until I got my credit card bill. Thanks Faye! The second part of my homework was to study face shapes, skin types and collect ideas for natural makeup looks.

After my skull disaster I decided to get stuck in and thoroughly prepare myself for the next lesson. I was totally unimpressed to find out that I have a ‘square shaped face.’ All these years I have been happily floating around thinking I was ‘r ound’ and now I find out I am Spongebob Squarepants.

For the natural makeup lesson, Faye brought in a beautiful model for her demonstration and we got to see her work her magic. It’s like watching an artist painting a blank canvas. This time I was paired with Katie. I had supermodel Gisele pinned to the mirror for inspiration, my new products and brushes in my hand and I set to work. This time I was delighted with the final result. Obviously I won’t be getting booked by Vogue just yet, but for only my second lesson, I was pleased with my work.

The downside to learning all of Faye’s tricks is it now takes me twice as long to get ready as I am constantly practising on myself. I am consistently in the other half’s bad books because I am late for everything - and just wait till my new SIGMA makeup brushes arrive and he sees how much I have spent. I think I am just going to blame everything on Faye from now on.

Marbella Beauty Academy
Locales 2 and 3, Aloha Mirasierra,
Avenida Valle del Golf, Aloha,
Nueva Andalucia
Tel: +34 952 817 632/ +34 693 507 267

Shine Bright like a Diamond


Diamond Oil by Redken is the new line of hair oil shampoos, conditioners and masks designed to increase the strength and shine of your hair with natural oils. Enter the next dimension of oil care with the help of Wood Salon.

The Diamond Oil range includes five new products - shampoo, conditioner, treatment, and two varieties of oils in different strengths. The range is designed for intensive treatment and repair from damage and, boy, does it deliver.

Each product contains a mixture of gorgeous natural oils, including camelina oil, coriander oil, apricot oil, olive oil, jojoba oil and coconut oil to condition and repair every layer of hair from the inside out, strengthen your hair and make it sparkle - hence the name Diamond Oil. “Many of our clients are a little nervous of products which contain the word oil in the title. It conjures up worrying images of putting way too much product on your hair and ending up with a big greasy mop,” laughs salon owner Zoe Woods. “However this is simply not the case with the Diamond Oil range. We create a bespoke experience at Woods Salon and will advise you on which hair oil is best for your hair, show you how to use oils properly for your hair type and styles that will amplify your look even further.”

Diamond Oil Shampoo & Conditioner

Diamond Oil Shampoo is hair care for dull, damaged hair. The rich foam cleanser strengthens hair to prevent breakage and hair fall, while boosting smoothness and shine. The essential oils in the conditioner moisturise, protect, de-tangle hair and increase its overall softness. “One application keeps your hair smooth and silky for days,” exclaims Zoe. “You will also notice less breakage and less hair loss over time.”

Diamond Oil Deep Facets Treatment Mask

This deep conditioner nourishes and intensely replenishes with penetrating oils that help provide strength and shine. Enriched with a luxurious blend of coriander, apricot and camelina oils, hair feels moisturised, super strong and silky without being weighed down. 

Diamond Oil Shatterproof Shine Oil

This is silicone-free and comprises 99 per cent natural oils. An extremely versatile product, the oil can be used as a pre-shampoo treatment, overnight treat, pre blow-dry and as a finishing product for stunning, head swishing shine!

“I love that this is silicone-free (most aren’t) and the pipette dropper ensures you control the recommended amount to apply - a drop goes a long way so this will last for ages. Without weighing fine hair down or making it greasy, this oil provides shine and shape - love it. Oh and did I mention it comes in the most beautiful bottle ever?” says Zoe.

So you heard it first from the expert. Not all hair oils are created equal - Diamond Oil is a cut above all the rest.

Wood Salon Tel. 952 771 791/ 645 089 399 Le Village - Local 12, Ctra. Istan, Marbella

Personal Experiences of EMS Training

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I am a 33 year old Mum of two-year old Lucas, I enjoy working out but never manage to find the time or the long term motivation. My aim when I started training at Look Your Best was to find a way to quickly lose my “wobbly bits”, without losing weight and try to find something which can incorporate into our very busy schedule.

The idea appealed to me, as it’s just a short 20 minute session, but because of the EMS technology, you can work 90% of your muscles at once and therefore get the equivalent results of 120 minutes in the gym! It can also target problem areas such as your tummy as the muscles are working harder for longer. It also strengthens your back, which I worry about as my toddler gets heavier and heavier.

How the training works

At the start of training they give you a comprehensive body test with their clever In Body machine which tells you your BMI, muscle mass, percentage of body fat, hydration and more. This is used to set goals and showed that I needed to put on 4.1kg of muscle, but lose 1.7kg of fat.

The normal training session consists of enjoying an isotonic drink, then being given cycle shorts and a long sleeved t-shirt and socks to work out in. You are then helped into the special suits which look a bit Lara Croft (in my mind anyway) to start the workout. It’s thanks to this clever equipment that you can get such great results in such a short time, as the suit contains electrodes in all the right places to make your muscles work really hard throughout, so if you’re doing a squat, the suit is also working your arms, tummy, back etc.

The EMS feels like a strong pulse or tickle, which you can really feel working but isn’t uncomfortable. The session includes muscle building, cardio and then stretching and relaxation – a lot to pack in over 20 minutes.

This is a proper workout with a personal trainer, but those pulses really make you work a lot harder and achieve better results and the interval training nature of the class means you achieve a lot in a short amount of time. Having the personal trainer there checking you’re doing the movements properly and motivating you to keep up the intensity is really valuable and definitely helps us to get the most out of the session.

Following a shower in their spacious and pristine changing rooms, you are given a protein shake and can relax on their sofas.

We’re so busy that we haven’t been able to do the recommended 2 sessions per week. However the results are amazing, after 5 sessions split over 3 weeks I achieved:
*An increase in muscle mass from 20.5kg to 21.9kg
*A decrease in body fat from 14.4kg to 12.8kg
*A decrease in percentage body fat from 27.3% to 23.9%

That was with a lower frequency than recommended and no change to eating or activity habits – amazing!

TOP TIP - Leave at least 1 hour for your first session and 45 minutes for subsequent sessions, as although the workout itself takes 20 minutes, you need time to have your isotonic drink, get changed, get the suit on and the machine set up, plus time at the end for a much needed shower and a strengthening protein shake.

To try EMS training at Look Your Best, book their special trial for 25€, or to really see the results the Triple Trial Training for 99€ is highly recommended.

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