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Battle of the beauty bloggers

Ramona Depares gets the ladies behind five of the most popular Maltese beauty blogs to share their secrets.

Martina Vella & Denise Delceppo

at www.allthingsfabulousblog.blogspot.com

Following international bea­uty blogs was something both Martina Vella and Denise Delceppo loved. Starting their own thing was the next natural step.

Invest in a very thick, winged eyeliner

“I had always wanted to run my own blog, but not on my own. When Martina posted an online comment along the same lines, the solution was obvious,” Denise says. Martina, who had already been running a You Tube channel, still remembers the first welcome post in January 2011.

“The You Tube channel was already taking up quite a bit of time. I was studying then and I really didn’t need to take on any more commitments. But with Martina’s input I figured we could do it.”

What to expect: The blog is run along the accepted beauty blog format, with several regular features that subscribers really look for.

Focusing on: Martina is a qualified make-up artist, which means you’re definitely going to get a workable solution to any of your questions. Denise handles the other tricky aspects of beauty and grooming, with a definite slant on natural remedies that can be used in beauty and personal care.

Look out for: The girls have now also introduced some diet, fashion and fitness posts.

What they think: Martina admits to being “lazier” than Denise: “This is with the exception of a good cleansing regimen to keep the potential pitfalls of acne at bay. I’m seriously careful about what goes on my face.”

Denise religiously follows a full beauty regimen and loves nothing better than experimenting with different facial products, something she has delighted in since hitting the 13-year threshold.

Their beauty secrets: Martina swears by her “special products” (which remain a secret) and facials every six weeks. Denise opts for the full regime: cleansing, toning, scrubbing and moisturising on a daily basis.

A definite beauty no-no: Not matching your foundation to your exact face colour is tops.

Top tip: Invest in a very thick, winged eyeliner and a deep red/burgundy lipstick.

Stefy Pugliesevich

at http://blog.stefypuglisevich.com

Make-up artist Stefy Pugliesevich has been beauty blogging since summer of 2009, when You Tube gurus and the bloggers really hit it big. Realising that this was the best way to share her thoughts on her favourite topics – and having just invested in an exciting make-up haul – the first blog post was born.

Always blend your foundation down to the neck

What to expect: Anything and everything related to beauty and fashion, with the usual popular regulars (Outfit of the Day, Fave of the Day etc...) and a journal-like approach to make the proceedings more interesting. In fact, although the focus is on information, Stefy readily admits that some of the posts are a reflection of her thoughts, ideas that tend to be born of her imagination.

What she believes: As a make-up artist, thinking about her beauty regime is second nature for Stefy – but you don’t need to be a qualified professional to pull it off. Enhancing your features with beauty products is a matter of trial and error that eventually becomes a fun and easy routine that “makes you feel 10 times better about your appearance and well-being”.

Her beauty secrets: Stefy’s typical make-up routine includes a good moisturiser appropriate for your skin type (she stresses this latter part). Foundation (if used), concealer for under the eyes and ‘setting’ the whole look with a pressed powder. Stefy has a particular fondness for bronzers and says she never feels like the look is complete without bronzer, highlighter and blusher.

She can’t do without: Lipstick. With over 17 shades to choose from, she says it’s pretty much a last-minute decision what colour her lips will be upon leaving home.

A definite beauty no-no: Forgetting to blend the foundation down to the neck and choosing the wrong colour: “Sometimes I look at people and cringe. Did they forget to look in the mirror before leaving the house?” She says the most common mistake is using a foundation two shades darker than the actual skin tone to go for a tanned look. Girls, it doesn’t work – just supplement with a bronzer.

Top tip: Make sure you get a dark plum lipstick for the season. The look is ‘fierce’.

Looks that rock: You can’t go wrong with a classic, evening look: smoky eyes and a nude or a bright lip. As a concession to the current trend, pull up your hair in a high bun for the Lauren Conrad style.

Lara Azzopardi

at http://larasbeautybible.blogspot.com

Looking up independent, unbiased reviews on beauty products – always a pet subject – made Lara realise things could be much better if she actually carried out her own.

Dark lip liner teamed with nude lips is a no-no

“I loved learning new techniques and discovering innovative products. So I just decided to take the bull by the horns and start doing it myself. At the time, I hadn’t come across many other Malta-based beauty blogs and I thought it was high time things changed.”

What to expect: Visitors to Lara’s blog get the full benefit of her training in beauty. Since 2010 she has been writing about new make-up techniques, nail polish trends and a host of other beauty-related reviews. Nail art tutorials are something of a speciality of Lara’s and subscribers will also find a lot of fashion-related reviews.

What she believes: First impressions really do count and there really shouldn’t be any need to say that grooming is a must. Situation-appropriate fashion and accessories are equally important – this applies to the whole look, from outfit to hair and make-up.

Her beauty secrets: A natural look, using some concealer, eyeliner and blusher, works well during the week. Full make-up is used on the weekend and on special occasions. Moreover, going to sleep with a caked face will definitely make you break out in spots.

She can’t do without: Black eyeliner. It transforms and defines the eyes in seconds.

A definite beauty no-no: Dark lip liner with nude lips: “Never understood it, never will!”

Top tips: Berry hues for the lips, thick and defined brows and swapping bright neon nail polish for the more sophisticated and grown-up darker shades.

Looks that rock: The timelessly elegant Audrey Hepburn eyes, paired with a statement red lip.

Fiona Vella

at http://crueltyfreemalta.blogspot.com

This one’s a blogger with a difference, as Fiona Vella focuses on offering beauty advice that centres around one important topic – how to look good while promoting cruelty-free products. The blog was born soon after Fiona’s 2011 New Year resolution to start buying only cruelty-free products.

The fact that a brand is cruelty-free doesn’t necessarily mean the review will be positive

“It was not easy! I was less aware about which brands are cruelty-free and which aren’t and I was ending up buying stuff, Googling it and then discarding it. I figured the best way to gather and share knowledge was through this blog.”

What to expect: Links and information about beauty brands, their philosophy when it comes to animal testing and a rather innovative e-shop that offers access to cruelty-free products that aren’t necessarily well-known in Malta. Brands come with detailed reviews – Fiona points out that the fact that a brand qualifies as cruelty-free doesn’t necessarily mean the review itself will be positive.

What she believes: Fiona readily admits that she is less vain than the average woman. Make-up during the week was a relatively late discovery, one that happened only after a blogger friend gave her some tips. However, she is a big believer in moderate “body maintenance”.

Even for those who are keen on a full routine, maintaining a totally cruelty-free regime is not impossible provided you research.

Because of the constantly changing criteria used by companies, the status of a cruelty-free brand can change everything overnight; however, Fiona does post regular updates.

Checking the facts: Google plays a huge part, but the results aren’t always conclusive. In case of ambiguity, Fiona prefers not to include a brand. When an EU brand officially releases a declaration to the effect that it’s cruelty-free, Fiona accepts it, given the strictness of EU regulations – always as long as evidence to the contrary isn’t made publicly available.

Her beauty secrets: At present slightly haphazard as Fiona is still in the process of replacing her old products with a totally new cruelty-free portfolio. “I haven’t thrown away my pre-2011 products. Waste is not something I like to practice. The only really positive step is not to re-buy. However, I am definitely leaning towards a trend of using more natural and organic products too – it’s not just a question of animal cruelty.”

A definite beauty no-no: Buying products that aren’t cruelty-free, of course.

Elaine Anderson

www.beautyshewrote.info

Another keen beauty and fashion follower who decided to take the plunge, Elaine Anderson’s blog has been running since July 2011. Elaine moved to Malta from the UK quite recently – a move that brought with it a change of scene that extended to her beloved beauty brands, particularly since she wanted to find a way of accessing some of her favourites even from Malta.

Fake-brand cosmetics can cause untold damage to your skin

What to expect: Lots of honest reviews, mostly about products that are widely available in Malta, but even some about stuff that we usually only get to enjoy after a shopping trip to London.

What she believes: Beauty and grooming form a very big part of Elaine’s life and she cherishes every step of the ritual, from putting on make-up in the morning to removing it at night, and reading and writing about it in between.

Her beauty secrets: In the mornings she kicks off her routine with a gentle hot cloth cleanser in the shower. The eye cream, moisturiser and lip cream follow, before make-up can be applied. The evening brings with it a whole new routine – cleansing of the face, removal of eye make-up, application of more eye and lip cream followed by a night moisturiser or a hydration mask.

She can’t do without: Bioderma, a water solution that cleanses, removes make-up and soothes the skin: “I use it every single day to remove my make-up or freshen up my skin. The best part is they sell it in pharmacies across Malta so I’m always stocked up.”

A definite beauty no-no: Fake-brand cosmetics, which apparently happens quite a lot in Malta – particularly with brands that Elaine knows very well aren’t available on the local market.“You have no idea what is in these products; you really could be putting anything on your skin.”

Top tip: Look after your skin. Water cleansers like Bioderma are really popular at the moment.

Looks that rock: The natural one that takes 10 minutes to make you look like you haven’t tried. And dark, smoky eyes, with lots of mascara, false eyelashes and red lips for the evening.

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