Make up artist Sally Bunting: “Never let your creativity be caged, let it out”

Words by Steph Hodgkinson

Make up artist Sally Bunting

Make up artist Sally Bunting. Image courtesy of Sally

Make up artist Sally Bunting, 21, has been freelancing for the past few years. She gives Polka Dots & Potions an insight into the highs and lows of her job…

Being a make up artist might seem like one of the most glamorous careers, but life as a make up artist isn’t easy. Freelancing is particularly difficult in the current economic climate, as make up artist Sally Bunting says: “It’s a very expensive career and the work isn’t always constant.

“It’s hard because people assume I can get to all the locations easily. There are always people who want something for nothing as well but the products are expensive, so I have to think whether it’ll be of any benefit to me and my portfolio.”

The 21-year-old from Sheffield has been freelancing for the past few years and does make up for everything from weddings and proms to music videos, photoshoots and fashion shows. She studied cosmetic, theatrical, special effects and media make up at Sheffield City College.

Sally's 'wound' special effects make up

Sally’s ‘wound’ special effects make up. Image courtesy of Sally

Sally is under pressure to get the look right to ensure her clients are satisfied with their makeovers. She says: “There is a certain amount of pressure, but I always emphasise that if they want anything changing that they tell me. I wouldn’t be offended.

“A lot of it comes down to personal preference, especially with weddings, but I include a trial with my wedding packages to prevent situations like that on their big day.”

Sally’s favourite shoot was one of her first shoots for a photography student. “Her theme was ‘The Seven Deadly Sins’. It was really fun, and I enjoyed how I had a theme to stick to, but each look was totally different.”

Sally on the set of a photoshoot. Image courtesy of Megan Smith

Sally on the set of a photoshoot. Image courtesy of Megan Smith

She says the highlights of the job outweigh the expenses, though: “One of the best things about the job is the proud feeling I get when I get the images back, or when I help to make a bride’s day special.”

Her dream client would be Lady Gaga or Marilyn Manson because “both are incredibly individual and their looks are very creative.”

So which products does she swear by? “There’s a discontinued No7 Highlighter, which I cherish! It looks amazing for any look, especially bridal makeup. Brand-wise I use a lot of MAC, Illamasqua and Ben Nye. I’m also HD airbrush trained, so I use Airbase for that.”

Although it can sometimes be tough, Sally’s found her ideal career. What’s her advice for aspiring make up artists?

“Save up as much money as you can! It helps when you can afford high quality brushes and products. Also, never let your creativity be ‘caged’, let it out.”

Make up by Sally, modelled by Sally

Sally modelling her make up techniques. Image courtesy of Sally

Read more from Steph here


Stiletto Nails

by Bethany de Thierry

A simple French manicure is now a thing past as Stiletto nails are the new beauty craze of 2013. To achieve this off the wall look, the nails have to be outrageously long, razor sharp and graduate in to a point. This bizarre and animalistic trend is really taking off.

The talons have been sported by some of the biggest names in Showbiz. Pop star and fashion icon Rihanna was one of the first celebs seen with this dagger like design. Lana Del Ray, Beyoncé and Lady Gaga are also some of the A-listers caught rocking these spiky and almost weapon like nails.

Below : Rihanna rocking red claws.


I couldn’t resist trying out the latest celebrity obsession so thought I’d try out the one of the latest nail trends for myself.  I instantly fell in love with my dramatic acrylic claws.

However as you can see, these towering talons are far from practical. Completing everyday tasks such as typing on my keyboard, cooking my dinner and getting myself dressed in the morning all became a very difficult and long winded process. At the time I was working in a nightclub and by the end of my shift I had lost two of my claws. The stiletto nails are impractical but I still think they’re an amazing look and I love the uniqueness of them.

My friends and family were certainly not a fan of my wacky nails; one of them even went to the extreme of saying that my hands resembled those of Tim Burton’s uncanny fictional character Edward Scissor hands!


I tried a splash of fruity tangerine…..


And a shade of pink and sparkle!

I spoke to Lawrun Kennel a nail technician who works in Divine Nails in Birmingham. The 23 year old beautician tells me how the wacky style is hitting the high street and what she thinks of this controversial look.

What style of nails do girls usually ask you for?

I’ ve been working in the salon for 4 years and I usually do a French manicure or just acrylics with a block colour. But over the last 6

Imagemonths I’ ve had so many girls asking for claws – it’s crazy.

When did you first hear about the nails?
We have a nail book in the salon; which is where I saw the trend. When I first saw them I thought they were absolutely vile and that they would never take off! But I have to say I actually love them now.

Have your customers been happy with the results?

I’ ve had so many girls ask for the nails. Some have them ridiculously long and some have them a bit shorter so they’re more practical. Usually the girls that go for the long ones do come back a week later because they’ve lost a nail! I had one girl who works in a restaurant and she said she lost one of her claws in the food!

What advice would you give to anyone thinking of having stiletto nails?

I think they look amazing. The only advice I have is if you are going on holiday or are in a job where you don’t do a lot then they’re perfect. Just be aware that they can break and if you do break a nail then it will cost a little bit extra to have the acrylics repaired.

This eccentric style is not for everyone but without a doubt this trend is sweeping the streets. The question is, are you brave enough to possess a pair of daring daggers?

To the right : Lawrun beautician and converted claw lover

Bethany de Thierry

Top 10 Nail Effects : Tried and Tested

By Bridget Owen

Nothing sets off an outfit like the perfect shade of nail polish, but now its not just about colours, its about having fun with effects too!

It’s only in the last few years that I’ve become especially interested in different effects that I can create myself at home. Without looking like they have been done at home!

My favourite nail varnish brands are OPI and Nails Inc. I go back to these brands as their quality always remains the same, but that’s not to say there are many other cheap alternatives that can work just as well!

I have ten favourite pieces for your nail essentials bag that will leave you with a shade and look for every occasion!

1. Base coat & Top Coat
Most importantly, a good base coat needs to be applied before you can start decorating with your favourite shade.

The nails need to be clean, dry and filed before you apply the base.

My top base coat is OPI, that comes in a small set with a top coat. You can buy both for £10.00 at Amazon.

2. Pastel Shades

Pastel pink and blue can look really fresh for spring and summer. Barry M sell a lilac shade called Berry Ice Cream – it’s perfect. Barry M have an extensive range of shades and you can buy them for 3.99-5.99 in Superdrug and Boots stores.

Illamasqua have created a special range of ‘speckled’ pastel shades, created to look like birds eggs. They are around £14.00 from Debenhams and other beauty retailers. The collection includes pink, blue, yellow and green.


Credit: Llmasqua


3. Matte Effect Shades

Nails Inc Kensington Matte effect top coat has been designed to go over any shade and give it a matte effect!

I love this trick after looking for matte shades in 2012 this handy polish will make any shade look chic! I think it looks best over grey, black and brown shades!

Nails Inc. Kensington Matte shade is available at Debenhams, House of Fraser and online for £12.00.

Credit: Pandora’s Nails


4. Nail Caviar

Nail caviar has only recently been seen in the beauty industry but is already available for you to do yourself at home.

The effect is created by many little balls sat together on your nail to create texture- very much like the look of caviar.

Different brands sell nail caviar, but a brilliant cheap version is Nail Constellations by MUA.

They come in 5 different colours and are available at £3 per bottle. They’re so easy to use- apply a base coat and then pour on the beads to the nail to stick them on.

I bought ‘Libra’ and this is how my nails turned out on first attempt!

Remember, if you’re using nail caviar just paint and stick beads to one nail at a time. Once all your nails are done, go back over them with a base or top coat to keep the caviar beads in place. If you have any gaps you can stick more beads to the clear top or base coat too!


My Caviar Nails

5. Feather effect

Nails inc have created a creation of feather inspired nail polishes. These multicoloured confetti like strands go onto your nails in a clear polish to sit on a base coat or alone. I love this effect, and the cute little bottle it comes in! Nails inc shades can be bought for £10-£15


Credit: Nails Inc


6. Glitter!

We all love to get out the glitz and glam for girlie nights out and dressed up dates- but how about for your nails?

On first seeing this trend, it reminded me of painting my nails for the first time, using cheap glitter from a girls magazine- but OPI had bigger ideas for glitter.

The James Bond Skyfall collection flew from shelves at Christmas as OPI brought out their special collection for the new Bond release.

I bought 5 of the shades from the collection, consisting of bright reds, sultry greens and glittering golds. Their is also a special edition ‘man with the golden gun’ which has real 18k carat of gold in.. Could you get any more luxurious?

Glitter can be over-done, but can also be worn in so many ways. It’s all about being creative and seeing what will work.

Fur effect

Yes, I know, fur effect nails sound a little different.. But this is how they look!




Credit: MUA


The fur again sticks to nail varnish much like the caviar effect.

You can buy a little pot of fur effect by MUA from Superdrug stores or online for £3.

This is the effect I’ve had most doubts about- but the finishing look of the nails is really good and the effect is really unique.

8. Magnetic effect

It’s simple to create this effect. Magnet nail polishes are available to buy from Boots and Superdrug for around £5.00 for Barry M shades and around £10.00 for the Nails Inc. version.

Each bottle of varnish comes with a magnet in its lid. After you have coated your nails with varnish, you hover along the magnet over the top of the nail creating a ripple or wave effect which you can see below!


Credit: Nails Inc


9. Nail foils/wraps

Without a steady hand, nail wraps can be a nightmare to apply and look professional.

I first tried Primarks own nail wraps, which were Zebra print and only cost £1. It took hours to do both my fingernails and toes.

The nail wraps were much too big for my fingernails and toes and cutting them down was really difficult.

Once I’d got the right size the wrap would no longer be sticky or there would be an air bubble when I tried to apply the wrap.

I have since tried Superdrugs nail wraps (£4.99). Again they were too big and really fussy to apply to look professional, but they were a better quality and made an impressive leopard nail effect.

If I was going to use wraps again, I’d go for some from a trusted beauty retailer like Superdrug or Boots, I wouldn’t buy them from clothes shops such as Primark or New Look.

I’d get a really cute design too, like these beauties!


Credit: Beautyblog


10. Nail art pens

So you’ve tried magnets, fur, caviar and all sorts of other beauty crazes. Now it’s time to get creative and do your own! Express yourself 🙂

Nail art pens are brilliant! Sally Hansen has a brilliant range of pens for any design you can imagine.

I love creating cute little floral designs, daisies are my favourite for summer- but it’s so hard to paint them on my nails without these pens! (They usually look like fried eggs.)

So go ahead, mix and match your nails and see what effects you could achieve…. without the hefty salon prices!


Credit: Sally Hansen

You can go into any large Debenhams store across the country to find a Nails Inc counter, where you can test all these effects on your own nails, and get a beautician to show you what you can achieve too!

Read more from Bridget here

Top 10 Make-Up Bag Essentials: Tried and Tested (including a free Benefit Makeover!)

by Bridget Owen

A recent make-over at the Benefit counter with Polka Dots and Potions’ Lucy inspired an article made up of the Best 10 pieces for on-the-go make up satisfaction. All of the products featured in the article have been tried and tested for their application, durability and overall look.

We even ended up bagging a free Benefit makeover for our lucky readers!


Lucy and Bec

Lucy and Bec from Benefit

1. The most important part of my make up bag is a good concealer. Dark under eye circles and blemishes are a big problem to me.

The Porefessional – Debenhams – £23.50

This concealer has the strangest sticky feeling to put on- but works wonders on coverage. You can wear it alone or with make up and the gel-like substance will cover a range of sins!

Bec from Benefit, Sheffield admitted this was one of the most recent best sellers.

“Porefessional and They’re Real mascara are our two most popular products, and are much cheaper and user friendly than similar products by bigger brands. Porefessional lasts a long time as a small amount goes a long way.”

The Porefessional

2. Foundation – Benefit Play-sticks Cream to Powder foundation – £26.00

This foundation is amazing! It conceals well, has a really nice soft texture and has added vitamins to keep your skin in top condition. Applying it with a stick also really helps with application – it goes on quickly with no messy hands!

Bec: “Play sticks are ideal for precise mess free application, and go onto your skin smoothly without drying it out. It has vitamin E which can maintain your skins vitality.”

3. Pencil Eyeliner – Benefit Bad Gal – £14

You can buy this eyeliner on its own or with the matching mascara for around £22.50. It goes on smoothly and stays put most of the day.

4. Mascara – Benefit – ‘They’re Real!’ – £15.50

They’re real has been voted the best current mascara – and I can see why!! I purchased this after Bec, at the Benefit counter let me try it. As soon as I used it I could see how powerful it was. The mascara doesn’t clump and is easy to apply for long lasting effects.


They’re Real

5. Eyeshadow – MAC – smokey eye kit by Julie Verhoeven – £39.50

My oldest but most important palette is by MAC. You can tell through the picture that the palette has had plenty of use. Although the kit is for ‘smokey eyes’, I use the neutral colours on a daily basis- opting out of using the black.

The light look really natural and stay on all day. The kit comes with a black MAC eyeliner pencil, two application brushes and a travel-mascara. It’s also handy to keep with you, as you can change to a night time sultry smokey-eyed look in seconds with this kit.

6. Blusher – BareMinerals – Rose – Debenhams- £15.50

BareMinerals is my favourite range of powder foundations and blushers!

My skin is fair, and I use a Rose shade. It doesn’t look too bright buts gives a luxurious slight pink shimmer across the cheeks.


Bareminerals Blusher

7. Lipstick/gloss – Benefit Posie Tint (travel stick) with California Kissin’ (lip and cheek stain with a smile brightening gloss) – £15.50

This lip stain stays on for hours, it is a really pretty pink and really sets off fair skin. This travel version has a second side to put on top – a blue minty gloss to go over your lips to ‘brighten your smile’. Both the colour and application of posie-tint is perfect, and the California Kissin gives your lips a cool tingly sensation and helps the colour gloss to stay on your lips all day.



8. Primer – Nivea Express Hydration Primer – Superdrug – £3.99

I’ve only recently started using a primer, but the dry weather conditions began to wear my skin down and dry it out – making my other make-up look dry and patchy. Many cosmetics companies have their own primers, but Nivea’s is my favourite. It has a sensible price tag, a fresh smell, is made up of natural ingredients and leaves my skin feeling healthy and ready to face the day (and the make-up I throw on it!)

9. Gel Eyeliner – Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Gel Eyeliner in Black – Boots – £6.95

I generally prefer using pencil eyeliners around my eyes, they seem to create a better effect and smudge less than liquid eyeliners.

This Gel eyeliner from Maybelline holds the best features of both a pencil and liquid. It comes with a tiny brush for ultra precision, and is thick to gain control over application on the brush.

You can create any look you like as it is easy to have thick or thin lines – and it stays put.

10. Eyebrow pencil – Soap and Glory – Arch de Triumph– Boots – £8

Arch de Triumph has an end to highlight your brow bone and an end to highlight the eyebrow itself. The pencil is soft and creates a natural effect- no ‘scouse-brows’ to be seen here!

The only thing I would suggest with this pencil – you need a large sharpener as the pencil is thicker than other eyebrow or eyeliner pencils.

For your free Benefit cosmetics ‘Face Date’ makeover, ring for an appointment or pop into Debenhams stores’ Benefit counters across the country!

If you’re based in Sheffield you can call ‘Bec’ for your ‘Face Date’ at Debenhams, The Moor on 01142895341






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Kim Kardashian gets extremely painful facial

Reality TV star Kim Kardashian is known for her beautiful looks and earlier this week on her hit show Kourtney and Kim take Miami she shows how far she is willing to go to look good. “I love trying anything that makes you look and feel youthful,” she saidThe Armenian beauty tried out the latest beauty treatment the ‘Vampire facial’. The procedure consists of firstly drawing blood from your arm before the sample is splashed onto the face using little acupuncture needles.Kim who is pregnant with rapper Kanye West was in obvious pain and discomfort throughout her treatment “Oh my God. I will never get a facelift if it feels like that.”

The reality star tweeted a pic mid treatment
Not only did the procedure look terrifying but were the results even worth the torture? After her procedure Kim quizzed older sister Kourtney Kardashian to see if she noticed her new ‘youthful’ skin. Mother of two Kourntey bluntly replied saying that she thought her sister looked exactly the same.

Here are some pretty disturbing images of Kim during her treatment. If you’re a bit squeamish then look away now.

Polka dots and potions think this beauty craze is a lot of pain for very little gain. What do you think?

Bethany de Thierry

Animal testing on cosmetics banned after 30 years

Words by Steph Hodgkinson

Today, activists celebrated the success that they’ve been fighting to achieve for 30 years: an animal testing ban on cosmetics in the European Union.

The new law means that cosmetics companies are banned from selling products which have used animal testing outside the EU.

The ban includes products such as make up, soaps, hairsprays, bath and shower products and deodorants.

Embedded image permalink
Animals will not be used in the testing of cosmetics within the EU.
Image courtesy of Animal Equality

Fighting Animal Testing posted this picture on Twitter in celebration after their hard work and campaigning paid off

Animal Equality – whose motto is “Defending Animals, Promoting Justice” – took to Twitter to express their delight at the legislation. They tweeted: “AMAZING NEWS! Finally the EU ban on animal testing comes into effect!”

Lush Cosmetics said: “Animal testing: something to celebrate, plus something to fight for!”

While cosmetics companies and animal rights groups rejoiced about the long-awaited legislation, animal rights charity PETA warned that there was still a long way to go:
“Companies making cosmetics and toiletries will still be able to profit from products containing chemicals which have been tested on animals in horrifying ways.”

The campaigning has paid off in the EU at least, but The Body Shop – who helped to spearhead the campaign, along with global activists and organisations – now have the task of making animal testing illegal worldwide.

The Body Shop UK Facebook page said: “It’s been a long journey. We continue to campaign for a global ban on animal testing in cosmetics, so that all countries are like the EU. Watch this space.”

Read more from Steph here