One of the most asked questions I get is ‘what is the best mascara’? I am actually really picky and I have to say I have some definite do’s and don’ts with mascaras. I am quite a tough customer and where lashes are concerned not easy to please. I love trying new products that claim X, Y, Z. There are so many mascaras on the market right now, you wouldn’t know where to start. The first mainstream

mascara was developed in Chicago in 1915 by a teenage boy believe it or not. He wanted to help his sister Maybel as she was using soot mixed with vaseline to coat her lashes. He called it Maybelline Cake Mascara and it came in a tin with a brush. Using his sister's first name and the ingredient vaseline the name Maybelline was born and this was the first of many cosmetic products from the beauty giant.

I think we are all guilty of ‘Mascara Face’ that funny way you pull your face when applying mascara. There is actually no real reason for doing this. I remember I would watch my mum putting on her makeup and think she looked so funny with her mouth open to apply her mascara and then she would finish and look beautiful. One thing that puts me off mascara is when you take the wand out and it is thick and gloopy with mascara. I hate how messy it can be and I don't have time to be getting rid of the excess mascara. So this is a real No-No for me, even if it's really good I still can't be bothered with the hassle.

Another thing I have found is the wand itself can really make a difference to the application of the mascara. My ultimate preference is a slim brush that allows me to get right to the root of the lashes and wiggle to the tip. This stops the lashes from clumping together and really emphasises the length and lash definition too. Advances in technology have delivered many wand varieties to the market. A fabulous wand idea is from Charlotte Tilbury’s Push-Up Lashes Mascara, it has a flat side to apply the mascara in a lifting motion and then on the other side is the volumising bristles to plump up the lifted lashes. A dream team right there!!

Mascara can be a messy part of the makeup routine if you get it wrong. My tip if you get any on your lid or around your eyes is to wait until it's dry and then pick it off otherwise it tends to leave a grey smear on the skin.

One coat or two? For me its always one coat as I prefer my lashes to be really defined. Adding a second coat is a personal preference and this is definitely for adding more thickness, drama, and depth to your lash line - so perfect for an evening look. Don't forget your lower lashes either. Applying the mascara in a vertical position will add just the right amount of mascara to your lower lashes without saturating them and causing smudges.

One final tip - repeat after me:-

Never, ever pump the wand in and out of the bottle! All this does is introduce air inside the bottle and makes the mascara dry up quicker. Only ever keep mascara for a maximum of 3 months. Any longer and you will be introducing your eyes to unwanted bacteria and a crustier version on your favourite mascara.

I have my top 5 mascara's some of them are oldies but goodies and there are a couple of newbies on the block too.

One of my old favourites is - MAC - Extreme Dimension 3D Black Lash this has that super skinny brush head that really lovingly coats every single lash effortlessly. This colour is really blacker than black and feels nourishing on the lashes too.

True Makeup Artist Kit Staple - Maybelline - Great Lash Mascara! in the iconic lime green and pink packaging you literally can't go wrong with this mascara. One is sold every 2 seconds and has been the top-selling mascara for decades in the US. Its a dream to apply with a lovely soft bristle head it just does what it says its a great lash mascara.

I fell in love with this brand for its fabulous results but also for how nourishing their ingredients are - Tarte - Lights, Camera, Lashes in Black. This gives that smokey eye the Va-Va-Voom you are looking for, perfect for any girls night out. Kind lash loving ingredients really look after your lashes too so you have guilt-free results every time.

Rodial - Glamolash XXL in Black - is a true lash warrior and never fails to amaze me. I can use this on literally anyone and the lashes just come to life. This formula is super black and clings to every lash fibre creating an intense plumped up lash line effect.

Last but not Least is - Charlotte Tilbury - Push Up Lashes Mascara, this has a super lifting effect with ultimate volume creation as a double whammy. This new launch sells out as soon as it comes back in stock so be quick and get on the waitlist!

Lash extensions and lash lift treatments have entered the beauty market place giving another alternative to wearing mascara. This trend is growing rapidly and becoming a new addition to our beauty regimes. Lashes are big business with a reported $8.1 billion in the last year on Mascara alone. Whatever your preference I hope my guide has given you a little help in choosing the right mascara for you.

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RubyLoves xxx

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Mindfulness, it seems to be the buzz word right now, and rightly so, we are talking about our mental health more than we have ever done. There has always been a sort of taboo to talk about this topic and to actually admit that you are struggling and need some help. I think over the last 5 years there has been a real shift in how we perceive our own mental health.

Mindfulness is an awareness of right now, of how we are feeling, what thoughts we have right now, and a focus on now rather than the future or the past. To be mindful is to realise we have the power to control our thoughts. It’s about understanding that we have a choice in how we react to situations. Every action you take is done twice, first as a thought and then as the reality. When you think of it like that it empowers you to be responsible for your thought patterns.

Sound exhausting to be analyzing your every thought as it happens? It’s not quite like that its about finding a happy medium that works for you. It’s a great way to be in tune with your whole self, rather than just your physical body. Have you ever caught your reflection in your phone when you are scrolling through social media and your face is all knarled up and tense and you suddenly become aware and relax well its doing this more often.

Mindfulness is being awake in this very moment. Worrying about past situations will not change them but the feelings associated with this will still affect you. The same happens when we pre-live future events or situations we naturally attach previous feelings & emotions to them before they have happened. Its a torturous vicious cycle implementing fearful outcomes. Worrying it will rain tomorrow won’t stop the rain but taking an umbrella will prepare you for that. We are human beings and we need to do more of the just ‘being’ part. A few simple techniques can help to become more mindful.

DAILY MEDITATION - 10 minutes a day can really help you to let go of unwanted thought patterns and get your focus on what you do want.

DAILY GRATITUDE - On waking, think of 3 things you feel grateful for and these can be really small things like - I love how comfy my bed is, I love cuddling my children or I’m so grateful to have my cute little pet wake me up. Then do the same before you go to bed and think of the top 3 things that happened that day that you are grateful for.

WRITE YOUR OWN RULES - Get yourself a pad and write down where you are at in your life. What’s the score in your game of life? Then think what do you want that score to be. What would be the point of watching a football match with no score? Think about it what would each side be playing for, what would they achieve? This is a simple way of being aware of where you are right now.

SET YOURSELF A POSITIVITY ALARM - This is a great way to remind yourself to be grateful for being you. Think of 3 positive words to describe you or who you want to be and set an alarm on your phone at 3 intervals throughout the day. My reminder is ‘I am creative, grateful & authentic’

This will put you in a place of calm appreciation rather than fear. We always make better choices from a place of calm.

Research over the last decade has found a significant increase in mental health issues in young adults. This spike has occurred particularly in this age group while the other groups have remained the same. I agree with the findings that there is a strong link to social media & technology advancements. Our brains are literally overloaded with information whenever we need it with our smartphones.

How we look.

Who we are friends with.

How we spend our time.

What we have or don’t have.

The Instagram lifestyle which in reality is a mirage. We don’t live perfect lives we are all just doing our best to be happy. Mindfulness is needed more than ever for the generation that has 15 seconds to prove themselves.

Its time to disconnect

Press the pause button and just BE.

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RubyLoves xxx

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Being a makeup artist I know just how important the right brushes are and it’s essential that they feel right for my clients too. When I first got into makeup I didn’t really understand the importance of the brushes and why I would use a certain shaped brush or how the firmness affected application but I quickly learned that my brushes are my tools and they need to work for me.

I tried a lot of makeup brush brands and I have to say some brands leave a lot to be desired especially if you are using them professionally. When I use my brushes I certainly put them through their paces. After every use, they are washed and sanitised and some brushes do not pass the durability test with brush hairs coming out and the heads detaching from the handle which is obviously no use to me ha! I cant have brush hairs coming off on my client's faces. If my tools don't work then I am not happy at all.

As a rule, my brushes are made from synthetic materials and over the years the quality of these materials has massively improved. Historically, brushes were made from natural fibres, which translates to animal hair. Natural brushes are deemed to be more effective giving a cleaner application than synthetic brushes. However, technology has really stepped up to produce synthetic fibres that mirror the natural hair shape and detail.

Natural hair brushes have a cuticle so are better if used for powder makeup products. The cuticle of the natural hair actually soaks up excess liquid makeup products and makes them more difficult to blend and they tend to clog up. This has a knock-on effect when you come to clean them as they are more difficult to thoroughly clean. There is also the issue of animal cruelty in sourcing the hair and how humane this is. Many brands are steering clear of animal products and opting for vegan & cruelty-free certified alternatives. There are some brands that use natural hair but strongly emphasise that they are made in an animal-friendly manner. One other factor to think about is allergic reactions. As the natural hairs are made from Goat, Squirrel, Weasel, or Pony/horsehair they can cause allergic reactions to some people. Which is obviously something we definitely want to avoid.

Synthetic hair brushes are perfect for applying liquid products are they don't soak up the products at all and you can use less product too. They are easy to clean and the good quality brushes will last years & years. They are made from nylon and other synthetic fibres so will give a smooth finish but can be more rigid than natural hair brushes and because of this, powder makeup products can be trickier to apply and blend.

I have quite a wide spectrum of brands that I use and as I have become more experienced I'm more selective about what brushes I use. I'm finding I want more and more intricate detail brushes to really perfect my makeup artistry application.

Here are my TOP 5 MAKEUP BRUSH brands:

ZOEVA - Is a cruelty-free makeup brand and has the ethos of empowering women to feel beautiful. Affordability with professional results.

SIGMA - Founded just over 10 years ago this innovative brand was born to bring their passions to life. I absolutely love their name creation. We are the sum of our passions symbolized by Σ, the capital Greek letter for a mathematical sum called "Sigma." A pricier option but worth the investment.

BDELLIUM - (Dell-ee-uhm) is a US brand with absolute style and quality at the forefront of all its creations. I have one Bdellium brush in particular that if I ever forget it I literally come out in a cold sweat as I can never find another that quite lives up to this one.

PEACHES & CREAM - A brand born in my home city of Liverpool, already world-renowned with their fabulous hot pink range of brushes and makeup products that really work and are super affordable.

CROWN BRUSH - I have loved this UK brand since forever, they have the most amazing blending brushes that I really cannot be without. In fact, I have about 6 of the same brush just to make sure I always have one clean in my kit when I'm doing a big makeup booking.

I hope you are a bit more clued up on makeup brushes but as always if you need any detailed advice then drop me a message on my Instagram at rubyloves_mua my account is full of tips, brand info, videos and more.

If you enjoyed this weeks blog then please give it a like and I always love to hear your feedback too. Since starting this blog I have had so many lovely comments and words of encouragement. That is the essence of RubyLoves. Be part of the RubyLoves community and we can support and empower each other. I have something truly exciting to share with you all very soon.

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RubyLoves xxx

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