The stunning Bronte of Beauty by a Sparrow
I’ll be the first to admit I am no beauty buff. I’ll buy whatever’s on sale and as long as there’s concealer under my eyes and mascara on my lashes I consider myself done. This is exactly why people like yours truly turn to beauty bloggers for some much needed tips, tricks, and advice on products they’ve so gracefully tried and tested for us.
Last week I was lucky enough to nab an interview with the ever fabulous Bronte of Beauty By a Sparrow (check out her blog asap here!). There are countless things I love about her blog, and just her in general, but I just adore how damn real this girl is! She will tell it like it is, give you the BEST reviews on the most affordable products and is not afraid to give something a go in the name of beauty (Hello pink hair!).
Enough of my raving. Read the interview for yourself and I’ll guarantee you’ll fall in love with this doe-eyed beauty buff too:
B: I have always been obsessed with make-up and beauty, and I’ve always been fascinated by how you can literally change your face with the right products. From the time I was about seven, one of my best friends and I would ‘do each other’s make up’ before our families went out to dinner – it meant blue eye shadow, glitter, and anything else we could find in those kiddy-style make up packs!
The blogging started up when I realised that as much as everyone loves Instagram, no one really wants to read a two paragraph review off that tiny little screen. I also fell in love with The Beauty Department, Zoella, and Sprinkle of Glitter. For a long time I’ve also been a fan of Kayley Melissa, who taught me how to Dutch braid, and I just love being able to share what I know with people.
I started Beauty by a Sparrow mid-2013, and whilst I haven’t been as consistent with my updates as I’d hoped, I’ve received so, so much support, and this year I’m focusing on bringing out more posts more often, with more beauty things. I’m constantly raving about products on Instagram, though, especially when I really want to shout out to a brand for doing something right.
TLRB: What is one beauty faux pas you see women do that drives you nuts?
B: One of the things I hate the most, and have always hated since it became a trend when I was in year nine (2008, ugh!) is cake-face. That’s when not only does your foundation NOT match your skin tone, but there is a definitive line around your jaw, just so the world can be extra sure that your foundation does NOT match your skin tone.
Lately, however, with the rising popularity of ‘brow game’, too, too thin brows, and too heavily drawn in/on brows also get my coat. Too thin means you’ve over plucked and your poor brows are struggling to recover, too heavily drawn in and you look like a cartoon character. Life’s all about balance isn’t it?
TLRB: All time fave beauty product?
Oh, tough call! It would have to be my Almay blemish correct concealer. I started to use this stuff in year ten (2009! Eeek!) and I’ve never gone back. Not only does it conceal and correct blemishes, but it helps them to heal, and it’s one of the few products I’ve consistently re-purchased and come back to over the years.
TLRB: What is your daily skincare regime?
B: In the mornings I’m usually rushing (aren’t we all?) so I’ll usually cleanse in the shower. At the moment I’m using the Swisse Naturals Purify cleanser, with witch hazel and rice water. I was lucky enough to win a MASSIVE Swisse prize pack from Priceline, so I’ve been trying to use as much of the product as I can.
On my days off I’ll apply my Cetaphil SPF 50+ Daily moisturiser and leave it at that, but when I’m working I’ll use the Face of Australia matte eye primer, and at the moment I’ve been using the Nude Airbrush affect primer. My all-time favourite primer, however, is the Hourglass Mineral veil, but coming in at $70 a pop, it’s not always an option on a student budget.
If I’m working, I’ll apply my eye make-up first, and then use Australis Stay Put 16 Hour foundation in ‘nude’, setting it with powder and a finishing spray before I leave. For more casual days, like going into uni, or out to lunch with friends, or running errands with Mum, I’ll use Maybelline New York BB cream pure, with 2% salyllic acid over my primer, and currently I’m setting it with Nude Mineral Cover powder. Whatever I’m doing, wherever I’m going, I use products with SPF; aside from being a pale whale, Australian women are actually subjected to higher levels of UVA and UVB lighting, due to our proximity to the hole in the ozone layer, and the sun. This means on average, and Australian woman’s skin is aging about two years more so than women in Europe or colder climates do a year. I know right? When my make-up artist friend told me I freaked out. So SPF all the time!!
When I get home (whenever that is) and I’m home to stay, I take off my make-up with Johnson-Johnson’s cleansing wipes. I also love the Simple skincare range, but I tend to grab whatever’s on sale or in a three pack. If I’ve gone for a heavier eye make-up look, I’ll use Bare Minerals eye make-up remover with cotton pads. Then depending on what point in the week I’m at, I’ll either use the Swisse Purify cleanser, or the Swisse Polish facial exfoliant. Again, depending on the timing, or how dried out or upset my skin is feeling, I’ll follow it up with Cetaphil daily moisturiser, or the Swisse Age Repair night cream. I don’t use the night cream too often as it is quite rich, but if I’ve had a long day, my skin is feeling dried out, or I just want to give it a bit of a boost, I’ll use about three finger-print-sized dots and rub it in before bed.
Oh and I ALWAYS moisturise my neck and décolletage before bed. It’s one of the first places, aside from hands, that women begin to show age. Random, right?
TLRB: What is your go-to beauty look for a night out?
B: I love to do a coppery-smoked eye with winged eyeliner and big, false lashes! I’ll also conture with my Bobbi Brown concealer and occasionally, Maybelline Fit Me stick foundation in 120, so I can get a matte finish that still has a hint of highlight. I love using copper and gold shades on my blue eyes, as they really pop, and if I have a tan happening (which I usually do for a night out!) it looks amazing, and I feel like a shimmery Moroccan princess haha!
If I’m going for a less dramatic feel, I’ll do a simple, almost nude eye, with a heavier winged eyeliner, and red lipstick. I’ve been obsessed with red lipstick since age four and it’s a habit I just can’t quit!
TLRB: When it comes to brows; how do you keep yours so damn perfect all the time??
B: *laughs* oh thank you! Well I’ve plucked my brows since I was about sixteen- I had them waxed and shaped twice during my first year of uni, but I always pluck them myself at home
As crazy as it sounds, that move creepy guys do? Where they lick their first finger and pinkie, and then run them over their brows? THAT WORKS. It’s actually a great way to see where your brow hairs naturally go, and where you might need to tweak. Remember, your brows are sisters, not twins – I’ve got like, a Kardashian brow and then a cara delvinge brow, so getting those two to get along can be tricky!
Your arch should start at the same place your pupil is, if that makes sense? I always hold my tweezers vertical to my eyes to see where my arch should be hitting.
My top tip – DONT OVER PLUCK. I’ve done it once and it was the worst. I prefer to do a general tidy up, i.e. any hairs that aren’t in the main body of the brow get the boot, and only really shape them when I feel like they need it.
TLRB: For a babe on a budget, what is the best budget beauty brand you’ve found so far?
B: Oh that’s tough! Lately I’ve been loving Australis. Compared to other drugstore brands they’re so, so reasonable, and if I need something just for a one night, one week wear, $7 isn’t hard to part with. I also really need to shout about Sportsgirl! Over the last four years or so they’ve really upped their game and now deliver products I’d expect to see in Mecca, in terms of quality. Pretty reasonably priced lipsticks and nail polishes, and their palettes aren’t too bad either. And of course my secret to great brows – the $10 brow pencil in brown. My first one went down to a nub, I used it that much!
TLRB: What’s your biggest beauty splurge?
B: Ok biggest splurge.. Hmm… When I can afford it, the hourglass mineral veil, but one of my all time favourite moisturisers is Clinique moisture surge, coming in at the $80 mark. When my swisse night cream runs out that’ll be my next big splurge!
Also late last year I purchased my first ever bottle of st tropez tan, a splurge at $32 (on sale!), and that was definitely worth it!
TLRB: Foundation – liquid or powder?
B: Lately I’ve been using liquid foundations but I actually prefer a creme formula, as if my skin is dry, it’ll suck up that liquid like no one’s business and leave me patchy 😦
I like to use powder for touch ups, or to set my liquid base, but I don’t think I could ever rely solely on powder, I need more coverage than that.
TLRB: Lips – Lipstick or Lipgloss?
TLRB: Cheeks – Blush or bronzer?
My skin naturally has a very red pigment to it, so I find that a lot of the time I don’t need to use a blush, if anything I need to buff that redness down.
TLRB: Nails – shellac or polish?
B: Ah, if I could afford shellac on a weekly basis I’m sure I’d be addicted, but for now it’s polish. I also like the versatility in terms of changing up the colour and look of my mani. Also with Sally Hansen Insta Dry polish is seriously the easiest thing ever to do! Fifteen minutes tops!
B: I live for the Sportsgirl brow pencil, it’s seriously my best discovery in the last year. Depending on where I’m going I might set the wax of the pencil with a matte brown eyeshadow, the same shade I’ll use on my days off when I don’t want bold brows, but I still want a little definition to frame the face.
Thankyou so much for your time Bronte, and guys, make sure you head over to her blog NOW for more yummy beauty blogging goodness.