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How to blow your loan in style: The beauty of Leeds

  • Published in Trends

Being a student just after Christmas you spend days, which eventually turn into weeks, longing for your favourite present to appear...in your bank account. Of course I’m referring to the godsend that is your student loan. Now you’ve entered the New Year with your new found wealth, you find yourself observing the lovely shiny new things you have which were given as gifts. But, out of the corner of your eye, the same grubby old makeup bag lingers on your dressing table...which doesn’t look so shiny and new. After nights of applying the same old makeup for work do's and NYE parties, are you bored of the same old make-up routine? That same old smokey eye you try to create with not-so-winged eyeliner? Me too.

With your fat bank balance lurking in the back of your mind, it's oh so tempting to treat yourself to some new products. So let me help you...


Situated in Harvey Nichols on Briggate, the MAC section is about the only place you can be in Harvey Nichols without your being there being questioned. With friendly, helpful staff, MAC offers a range of high-end makeup to suit everyone. The lipsticks have gained somewhat of a reputation, with favourite colours such as Velvet Teddy, Brave, Honeylove and Twig hard to buy. Reasonably priced at just over £15, there is a shade for everyone. Basic makeup is made interesting with a slick of red lipstick, or if you’re feeling more adventurous, a dark purple. As well as lipsticks, MAC offers other products such as their Studio range. MAC Studio provides you with the professional products needed to give you cheekbones you never knew you had. If that’s not your thing and you prefer to create a more natural look, the Studio range also offers products that give you good coverage and ensures that your makeup stays put.


Benefit Brows” has become a newly-coined phrase among friends who crave brows like Cara Delevigne’s. The Brow Bar, which there are many of in Leeds, can wax and tint your brows for £18...trust me it’s worth it. Whether you've been tweezer-happy and have barely-there strands of hair, or they're so untamed you look less like Cara and more like SuBo prior to Britain’s Got Talent, Benefit can make your brows advert worthy. With Brow Bars in Boots, Debenhams and Harvey Nichols, you’ll never be short of places to go. Staying in the brow area, let's discuss lashes. After trying many different Rimmel mascaras that all claim to do different things, but actually all do the same thing, I was given a tester for Benefit’s “They’re Real!” mascara...and it’s bloody wonderful. Virtually creating the appearance that you’re wearing false eyelashes, without actually having to put yourself through that fiddly process and fishy, smelly glue, this mascara is the future and strongly recommended.


Nars is a well-established company that prides itself on forward thinking when it comes to beauty. Found in Harvey Nichols and House of Fraser, Nars encourages their customers to be bold and daring. Nars is well-known for their palettes and currently offers a palette called “And God Created The Woman” which in itself makes me feel omnipotent. The palette puts a twist on the repetitive smokey eye, offering different shades and options that you can add to, and use to update your daily makeup routine. Great makeup needs tools to suit, and Nars also offer a range of professional brushes that get the best out of your new products: believe me, new brushes are the softest things you’ll ever know.

Bobbi Brown

Bobbi Brown's book was my saviour during my teenage years, teaching me all the basic rules of makeup and skin there was to know. As a teenager, it’s easy to make mistakes with makeup, buying all the wrong products. As a young ‘un I wished I had the money to spend on the products she spoke of in her book...thankfully now my time has come. According to Bobbi, a touch of colour makes everyone look fresh and pretty. Her cheeks selection is definitely something to rave about, offering a blusher for every skin tone, so you can glow all day long. Although, with how cold the weather is, I’m pretty sure some of us won’t need help in looking rosy! If, like me, you’re longing for summer to come back around then there are bronzers for everyone too. You can discover the Bobbi Brown collection for yourself in House of Fraser and explore the variety of colours they have to offer.



As we all know, Leeds is most famous for its arcades and the variety of independent stores they have to offer. The Victoria Quarter, just off Briggate hosts the growing chain Illamasqua, who at the moment have up to 70% off on selected lines - so even if you aren’t rolling in it this month you can still treat yourself. The British company which launched in 2008 opened its store in Leeds in 2011. Illamasqua offer eerie and alluring colours to transform anyone, enticing customers to the dark side. For those who consider that makeup is an integral part of their identity, Illamasqua offers the products needed for someone to find themselves and transform into a mystifying creature. The brand sells avant-garde eye shadows, lipsticks and liners: everything you need to create your ideal look. Evoking a more futuristic look, Illamasqua might not be the ideal makeup source for wallflower types. However, they also sell foundations, brushes and body products which are of very high quality.

Urban Decay

When it comes to makeup, the feature you can be most creative with is your eyes. Blending, mixing and defining, there are so many different looks you can create with the right colour palette. Urban Decay are famous for their eye palettes, giving you everything you need to create the perfect day or night look for you. If this sounds like something you are eager to experiment with you can find them in House of Fraser. Not unlike Illamasqua, Urban Decay is guaranteed to enchant you with their intoxicating colours. Whether it is a smokey palette that suits you the most, or you fancy a change by daring to go for the electric palette, you’ll definitely feel glamorous.



If you’re one of those unfortunate people whose loan mostly goes on their accommodation like me, but you still want to treat yourself, Kiko is perfect. It is a new store that has just opened in the Trinity centre. Their customer service isn’t much to go by and most of the time you are left to your own resources, but the prices surely make up for it. Their brilliant Kiss balms are as cheap as £3.80. They’re very moisturizing and give brilliant colour, are perfect handbag size and instantly refresh your look. As well as makeup they do skin care products such as beauty masks that tackle different skin problems for different people no matter what your skin type - and at only £5.80 you really can’t go wrong. I first experienced Kiko when I was in Rome in 2013, and was devastated when I came home to find that there wasn’t one in Leeds. So, when their store opened in 2014 last year I was elated as their products are so affordable and of very good quality.

Rosie Powers Makeup artist

Rosie Powers is a well-established makeup artist based in Leeds who works throughout the UK. She has worked with newspapers and magazines such as The Sun and Vogue, and also been involved in London Fashion Week. When your makeup bag is full of products that will illuminate, sculpt, highlight and enhance, you might be stuck and wonder where to start and how to get the most out of them. Rosie offers one on one tutorials, or group tutorials, and will teach you. You can find her online where she discusses what she has to offer and how you can get in touch with her.

Go on, treat yourself.