Jet Set Beauty | Zinah Nur Sharif

Where do I begin? I feel as though any way I introduce Zinah Nur Sharif wouldn’t do enough justice to capture her essence – she is effortlessly cool, steal-her-entire-wardrobe kinda stylish and if I were forced to mention just one thing I love about Zinah, it would be that she is just a breath of fresh air. In the years I’ve worked with and have been friends with her, I’ve come to find that there are very few people out there with the same work ethic, determination, passion and creativity as Zinah; spend a day with her and I’m willing to wager that you’ll leave buzzing and inspired!

I recently spoke with the fashion designer, check out her latest London Expedition collection, about her favourite destinations and her travelling beauty essentials.

ZNS4     ZNS5

1. What’s your in-flight beauty routine like? I never had an in-flight beauty before July 2014, after watching the Lisa Eldridge My Beauty Regime on Long Haul Flights’ video. My skin and body gets irritated on flights, even as short as a one hour flight. My face gets puffy (almost swollen!) and dry, it’s such an unpleasant feeling, so discovering this beauty routine was wonderful and it works well with my skin. I start off with removing the make-up with Bioderma Crealine H2O, and then spraying Caudalie’s Beauty Elixir on my face just to feel refreshed. I then apply a mask; sounds crazy, but the mask I use is the Dermologica Skin Hydrating Mask which is invisible once applied. It leaves the skin moisturised, and unlike most masks, it doesn’t dry or get stiff at all. I also moisturise my lips with the Burberry Lip Glow Balm in Pink Peony No.02; a lip balm that both adds a hint of colour to the lips and moisturises. The final step is just to moisturise my hands and I use Soap & Glory’s Hand Food - perfectly soft and lightly fragranced. Then I try to nap, though I struggle with naps on flights and moving vehicles! I keep it all on just before I reach my destination and then wipe it all off again with the Bioderma Crealine H2O and just apply concealer, and I use the Bourjois Healthy Mix Illuminating Brush Concealer on the areas needed and use the Burberry Lip Glow Balm to add colour to my lips. Et Voila!

P.S. I carry my Chanel compact mirror (with a magnifying mirror on one side, perfect!), face cotton pads and travel size containers, the best ones are found in Muji for the creams and liquids.

2. Ultimate getaway destination? When I’ve needed a break from London, my getaway has been always Paris. Just a quick getaway to change the culture, atmosphere and sometimes when lucky, the weather. I wouldn’t call Paris my ultimate getaway destination, I just happen to visit it a lot for convenience and the short distance. If however, I had both the time and the money, it would have to be South East Asia, Bali or something!

3. Any style/fashion tips for flying? Don’t try to be a fashionista by wearing uncomfortable clothes that cause both yourself and everyone else around you inconveniences! Knowing you have to go through security and there’s a massive queue behind you, don’t wear all the jewellery you own – do you know how annoying that is? Also, avoid wearing heels, you’ll be sitting on a plane, the aisle isn’t a runway! I always try to dress as comfortable as possible, trying to be cozy in what I wear. I tend to take big, chunky scarves with me, and my Willow Road scarf has been great company even when flying to hot destinations because up in the air, it’s freezing cold. I either wear sandals or trainers such as Converses or New Balance, jeans and a simple blouse or knitwear, depending on where I’m travelling to – see photos above.


4. If your luggage was lost and never to be found (God forbid!) what would you not be able to live without/what are your travel beauty essentials? Oh goodness! The thought alone is frightening! I carry my Prada cosmetics bag with me all the time and it contains my most essential make-up products. Top of the list are my Kevyn Aucoin Celestial Powder in Candlelight , Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet foundation, Burberry Lip Definer in Brick Red No.05, which I use as a lipstick because it lasts much much longer than an actual lipstick, and my Burberry Light Glow Blush in Blossom Blush No.05. These are the products that make-up my face and without them… well I’d have to invest in them again!

5. What has your favourite holiday been? That’s difficult, in the past five years I’ve travelled a lot and to really lovely places with lovely people. Kuwait was one of my favourites until I went back to Paris for the third time and that was very adventurous. However, Kuwait is a place I’m considering going back to!

6. Where are your favourite stores and boutiques? My favourite store is Zara, not a particular one, because their customer service is consistently awful, the worst perhaps, but the clothes are just on point! In terms of customer service, the best I’ve ever received has been at Burberry in London’s New Bond Street and Chanel Avenue Montaigne - they made me feel like a princess.

7. You’ve been behind the scenes at a fashion show or two – any tips you’ve picked up from beauty experts and makeup artists? It’s very crazy behind the scenes at fashion shows and the last thing anyone has time for is answer questions that aren’t priority or irrelevant to work. I only had to briefly talk to Maria Papadopoulou who did the make-up for both Bora Aksu shows in 2012, I didn’t pick up any tips from her regarding beauty, just how fast she needs to work and do make-up of so many models in a short amount of time. She works in partnership with the designer and tries to convey his vision through the use of make-up. She briefly introduced me to the cosmetic line Ellis Faas. That’s pretty much it.


8. If we were to rummage through your hand luggage what could we find?  You wouldn’t find much, I tend to travel light, or as light as possible. I always have my iPhone with headphones, my card holder and cosmetics bag, these three are a must. Other things I carry now and then are a pen and a notebook (old school!), my own hand painted Christchurch Hill handkerchief, iPad, Burberry Body Tender travel size fragrance and Soap & Glory Hand Food.

9. With a limited baggage limit and packing space what items of clothing should we all pack with us for a holiday? Regardless of the season, always take a pair of sunglasses, your most fabulous ones of course! Clothing wise, it really depends on the season – for the warmer months always have a maxi dress and skirt, there’s nothing more liberating than wearing those during the summer. For colder days, a cosy coat, something that’ll keep you warm but isn’t too heavy to wear. The best tip is to take clothes that you’re comfortable in, there’s nothing more irritating than having to adjust your clothes during what supposed to be a holiday


Operation Banish Those Marks

20131002-041327.jpgYou’d think that suffering at the hands of acne for years would be enough, but once you tackle it what’s left behind is a patchwork of hyperpigmentation enough to leave you convinced that you’ll be reaching for the full-coverage concealer for eternity. I’ve always liked to apply a little optimism and an ‘it-could-be-worse’ attitude to everything, and that doesn’t stop with my skin – it really isn’t that bad. However, who doesn’t want to leave the house without a slick of make-up and not have to worry about everyone looking at their skin? While I think that there should be a lot more substance to the foundation on which we base our self-esteem, to a certain extent I believe that when we look good feeling better and more confident becomes a given. When society accepts nothing short of perfection things like acne, severe eczema and hyperpigmentation can unfortunately hinder our ability to feel confident. My approach to beauty has never been to see it as a crutch, rather I view cosmetics and skincare as a tool for enhancing features and helping to correct these concerns, and in turn this does amazing things for one’s self-esteem. With my acne finally under control (but knowing the temperamental nature of my skin I’ve probably spoken too soon!) treating the marks left behind is the next step, and I’ve acquired a few products containing licorice root, kojic acid, arbutin and other ingredients used to treat hyperpigmentation:

Origins Mega-Bright Skin Tone Correcting Night Mask

Yon-Ka Solution 46*

Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector*

Doctor Babor Skin Brightening Mask*

Eucerin Even Brighter Spot Corrector*

SkinCeuticals Pigment Regulator*

I’ve also enlisted the help of the newly launched Dr Andrew Weil for Origins Mega-Bright Dark Spot Correcting Night Mask* which is a natural blend of vitamin C, mulberry, scutellaria, rosa roxburghii, molasses and ume. Created by Harvard University trained medical doctor and botanist, Andrew Weil, the mask is said to boost radiance, even skin tone, correct dark spots and address the root cause of inflammatory discolouration while you sleep. I have high hopes for the Mega-Bright Dark Spot Correcting Night Mask and I’ll be reporting back soon – in the meantime feel free to comment below and leave your recommendations for treating hyperpigmentation. 

Brushing Up

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Brushes or fingers? If there ever was a debate within the realm of beauty it would be this. Proponents of the former argue that makeup application is precise and that brushes give the skin a polished look while ‘slap-it-on’ is often the mantra for advocates of the latter. Although some things just naturally call a quick dab of the fingers i.e. cream eye shadow, my inner germaphobe makes me brush inclined, but despite this I’ll openly admit that I’m a complete novice when it comes to which brushes to use and how. I pour through makeup tutorials on YouTube and the bits about using this fluffy brush for blending eye shadow and that kabuki for bronzer just go straight over my head. However, things have been changing lately, and I’ve been brushing up on my brushes:

Real Techniques Contour Brush – I’ve always admired the ‘art’ of contouring from afar, and until very recently I was too afraid to dip my toes into its waters for fear of looking like I had two brown streaks running down my face. However, a couple of YouTube videos, MAC Studio Tech NW55 and a Tom Ford Cream Foundation Brush later and I’m glad to report that things aren’t as scary as I’d previously imagined. The Tom Ford offering is every bit of luxury, but for a fraction of the price the Real Techniques Contour Brush, part of their Core Collection, has a shape that makes for super easy contouring.

NARS Eyeshadow Brush 40* and Diffusing Brush 41* – While NARS boasts the #1 spot in my favourite makeup brands of all time, surprisingly enough it was only last year that I became the proud owner of a couple of their brushes when NARS kindly sent me some things as a thanks for being a fully fledged NARSissist. My starting point into NARS extensive brush collection was the 40 which is great for patting on loose eye pigment and blending shadow into the crease, and the 41 which is slightly ambiguous in that it’s perfect for absolutely everything from applying highlighter to sweeping shadow across the lids.

Foundation. Contour. Eyeshadow

Estée Lauder Sculpting Foundation Brush* – Launched alongside the Perfectionist Youth-Infusing Foundation* my initial sentiments towards this brush were a mix of intrigue, scepticism and excitement, if that makes any sense. Upon using the foundation brush my scepticism was done away with, and that’s because it’s an ergonomic dream – the brush allows you to get into every nook and cranny around the eyes and nose, plus the angled shape is great for contouring.

What are some of your favourite makeup brushes?

2014’s Favourite Products

The thoughts and emotions that come around this time of the year are so overwhelming – I’m often in a pensive, reflective mood and can’t help but look back to the past year’s regrets, triumphs and achievements. For me my year couldn’t be more bittersweet – while 2014 was my best year yet with it being the year I graduated, met life changing people, moved onto study for a master’s degree at my dream university, was featured in The Sunday Times Style and gave a presentation at an industry conference, 2014 was also the year I lost someone I loved very dearly to illness. But such is life, while we’re challenged in one aspect we find ourselves successful in others.

With a dissertation to complete, numerous essays, exams and a new job, blogging became less of a priority for me but I so desperately wanted to share my beauty discoveries throughout the year. However, when you’ve spent the entire day sitting at a desk writing a 4,000 word essay on the impact of political risks on foreign direct investment in the Middle East and North Africa the last thing you want to do is spend more time writing at a desk! Therefore here’s a little roundup of the products that got me through graduation, hours sat in front of the computer, job interviews and a few family weddings.

photo (3)Mavala Via Veneto* and Barry M Cappuccino – With the exception of a few nail polishes, Via Veneto and Cappuccino are all I’ve been wearing on my nails this year. They’re perfect for quick paint jobs when you’re on the go, and they give off that impeccably groomed and polish vibe. Cappuccino has also been a colour I’ve received constant compliments on, and someone even struck up a conversation with me on the bus to find out what I was wearing!

Estée Lauder Pure Colour Envy Palette* in Envious Orchid and Fiery Saffron – what I love about these palettes is how they truly encompass the whole ‘day to evening’ concept – I’ve used both palettes for simply going to a lecture and to weddings. You can create an office friendly eye and quickly smoke it up by applying the darker colours to your creaseNot to mention the sleek packaging makes it super easy to carry around in your handbag.

Clinique Aromatics in White* – The minute I got a whiff of this new fragrance from Clinique and I was reminded of the attar fragrances I’ve been used to since childhood. It’s a beautifully bold fragrance with notes including Sichuan pepper, rose, patchouli, benzoin and amber gris.

Fashion Fair Spicy Plum* – I recently had a consultation with Fashion Fair’s International Makeup Artist Delita Pintos at their counter in Debenhams Westfield White City, and she was determined to get me out of my comfort zone, and succeed she did. I’ve always gone for subtle, barely there lip colours but ever since Delita introduced this lipstick to me I’ll be expanding my collection of Fashion Fair lipsticks, starting with Bordeaux.

Clarins Lotus Face Treatment Oil – This oil has been the best thing for my skin this year. After finally clearing up my acne through healthy eating and exercising regularly Clarins’ Lotus Oil which contains rosemary, geranium, hazelnut oil and lotus extract has helped to maintain my skin, even when I’ve fallen off the healthy eating bandwagon (oops!).

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Clarifying Toner* – I will forever extol the glowing, clear skin virtues of exfoliating toners and this toner is simply amazing. The annoying thing however is that this product isn’t sold separately as it comes with their Effaclar Anti-Blemish System which includes the Effaclar Duo [+] and Purifying Foaming Gel, the latter being a product I’m not very fond of.

Benefit POREfessional – Imagine my luck when I woke up on the day of my graduation to the biggest zit known to mankind – all I could think about was how I’d look in the photos that my family would look at for years to come. This primer helped to calm the redness down and smooth my pores out, but with it being the day where all of my hard work and efforts finally came to fruition my skin was the last thing on my mind!

New Year

Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge – When it comes to foundation I’m a ‘just slap it on’ kinda girl, but this sponge has been a game changer. Product blends seamlessly into the skin, and 3 surfaces of the sponge allow you to cover blemishes with the precision tip and blend in a darker contour product with the flat edge.

Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser* – As well as exfoliating toners, I do love a cleanser chock full of glycolic, lactic and salicylic acid. Before this cleanser from American brand Murad came into my life I’d use the Jan Marini Bioglycolic Cleanser, but it’s proving to be difficult to find but the Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser is no consolation prize because it’s just so good at brightening the skin as well as calming breakouts down.

Neutrogena Visibly Clear 2-in-1 Wash and Mask – While I love the previously mentioned cleanser, when I started off in my postgraduate studies forking £34 on a cleanser just wasn’t an option. Instead I’ve opted for this £3.79 Neutrogena cleanser that I’ve been using on and off for years. It’s effective at keeping breakouts at bay, but it’s also gentle. It doubles up as a face mask too which is helps to save money.

MUA Ever After Matte Palette – This year I started taking my ‘eyebrow game’ seriously. I know absolutely nothing about filling in brows, what products to use, techniques etc. so I turned to my sister blessed with impeccable brows. She introduced me to the £4 palette that is the MUA Ever After Palette and I’ve been hooked since. Although it’s not intended for brows, I still flip flop between Penny and Truffle depending on how intense or subtle I’d like my brows to look.

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