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Big brands. Big competitions. Live demos. New product launches. Massive pro discounts.

Who? What? Where? It’s Olympia Beauty 2013!


This was the second year I attended this beauty exhibition for beauty industry pros/ students. (Last years review here.)

I attended on day two (Monday 23 Sep) and so while I missed the annual Nailympics competition sponsored by Scratch magazine (always held on day one), I saw the gallery of amazing creations front finalists. I’ve never really been into nail art but I’m really starting to come round to it as a form of creative expression.

2013 saw some new exhibitors, like Illamasqua at Olympia Beauty, but some notable absences (Crownbrush anyone). The mezzanine floor was transformed into make-up central for the Art of Make-up competition judged by Head Judge Nicci Jackson (London Muse make-up school founder), Nicki Haste & Sam Chapman (Pixiwoo), Mandy Gold, Mariam Jensen, Katie Pettigrew and Francesco Lo Cascio. This is a competition for final year degree students or recent (6 months max) graduates and they are required to design a full hair & make-up look with costumes and accessories to a pre-determined theme. The 2013 theme was Anglo-Eccentricism.


On the main make-up demo stage I was lucky enough to see a live demo on the make-up stage from Supercover founder Zaf Ansari. He demonstrated the right way to cover and conceal without giving a mask-like appearance to the skin. I also met Zaf later on at the Supercover exhibition stand. He explained why he felt compelled to create his foundation range 15 years ago to cater for every woman.

Zaf Ansari of Supercover says quite simply his motivation for creating the brand came from a lack of foundation shades for women of colour. He says, ‘When I came to England and was first teaching makeup and working on models, I couldn’t find single shades that matched the (Asian) woman. I used to blend 3 shades together to get the right shade and undertone. So when I created my own foundations, I just took the 3 shades and mixed them together to create a single foundation with yellow undertones. I repeated this for every shade from porcelain to darkest ebony. Here is the result.’ Here, Zaf held up his two 10 shade palettes.

Having used Supercover foundation on numerous shoots and catwalk shows I can only agree. I haven’t found anyone I couldn’t match with my pro palette (I have the full palette of both light and dark shades). Other than Sacha Cosmetics (based in Trinidad & Tobago), Supercover are the only other brand I’ve tried that get the yellow tones for women of colour spot on. Daniel Sandler is also very good for olive to very dark shades and would be amazing in palette form for MUAs (nudge nudge wink wink).

Also based on the mezzanine floor were Illamasqua and the Pro Makeup Store, both of whom were disappointingly not selling products on the day but were there for promotion purposes only.


As well as the make-up demos and main competition, I spent a good deal of time talking and networking with fellow beauty lovers, trying out different products. My first stop happened to be at the Pro-Whitening Gel stand. There were a number of teeth-whitening exhibitors all using different methods, gel trays, strips, toothpastes and UV lights. This particular brand involves a bleaching gel that you apply gel whitener to and then place on your top and bottom teeth for 20 minutes. You then remove the strip and gargle/ rinse teeth. The programme starts with a 7-day daily treatment, and then once a week for longer term maintenance.

Having met the lovely MUAs at the Airbase stand and talking at length about their training, I’ve finally committed to taking the plunge and trying airbrush make-up. I’ve booked training in January 2014 ready to perfect my skills for Easter/ Summer wedding season 2014.

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Back to business of stocking up on make-up goodies! I was very selective in my purchases and had a strict shopping list and budget (which I stuck to… much to my surprise). Here’s the proof…

A new brush belt (£10), mini contour shaders (£4 each) and pointed foundation brush (£6) from Royal & Langnickel brushes.

Gold/ silver leaf (£1 each), an everyday use  fan brush and nail buffing/ shining blocks (50p each!) from Mirage Cosmetics.

Orange concealer/ colour correctors (£4 each) from NYX Cosmetics and their fabulously vibrant gel liners (£6 each).

Supercover glitter pots at just £10 for the set of 12!


On my wishlist but out of my fixed budget…

Zuca Pro set bag/ trolley special edition for Inglot at only £140! (RRP £185, regular Zuca Pro RRP £295) I also missed out on some amazing deals on fabulous creative lashes from Eldora (cash-only and I was all tapped out and cash machine broke down *sob sob*).


Overall it was an afternoon well spent, and I look forward to next year.



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