best of bridal beauty : a few of my favourite things …

April 29, 2015By stephanie

Our Bridal Beauty Preview for Fall/Winter 2015-2016 was a smash success, and it had me thinking that I should really take a moment to share some of my favourite items for knocking out some bridal beauty.

Like any makeup artist worth her beauty blender, I have a huge kit, but a selection of products that are a must, must, must. I have products I love for creating a smokey eye, a classic twist, a vintage red lip. So keep reading … because I’m about to share.

The Red Lip …

Hands down, it’s NARS. Always NARS. My favourite product(s) is their Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in either Cruella, Red Square or Pop Life. The matte finish stays put but doesn’t look dry and for an all day event like a wedding you need something more matte than glossy.  If it’s not the pencils – it’s their new Audacious lipstick colours and you can take your pick : Rita, Marlene, Geraldine, Lana  – which range from true red to a more orange based (which I think is hot for a bride!)

The Rosy Lip …

Photo by Jonathan Ponce

Rose, Plum, and anything softly pink are the other bridal favourite.  To be honest, I smushed everything down into a palette, and didn’t write the names anywhere, but I do have my favourites in a tube. They include : Plumful, Syrup, and Twig by MAC; Casablanca by Tom Ford; and pretty much anything by Bobbi Brown! And while we are here, let’s talk about nude lips, again, I’m going to throw to NARS for Belle Du Jour and Bobbi Brown for a colour I have called Uber Pink (which isn’t a bright pink at all).

The Eyeshadow …

Makeup artists have their shadows they swear by. For example, it doesn’t matter what other palette I have in my kit … I’m a slave for MAC Shroom. I will always have a pot or seven of it in my kit(s). But right now, I’m favouring Lorac Pro Palette for it’s neutral but shimmery shades however this is currently not available for Canada so you have to online shop it.  My Smashbox Double Exposure Palette is hitting the mark for more glam styles (and you can get this at Murale or Shoppers Drug Mart for those Optimum points!) and I’m am currently obsessed with TooFaced Chocolate and Semi-Sweet Chocolate Eyeshadow palettes.  Both the Smashbox and the TooFaced Palettes, I find, really stick to the eye … not a lot of shadow fallout so I really enjoy using them for shading a heavier look.

The Flawless Skin … 

Photo by Jonathan Ponce

Again, I’m very much attached to my MAC Face and Body, because it allows me to adjust and layer as needed without getting to cake face. But for concealers, I’m devoted to my Amazing Cosmetics Concealer in various shades from Ivory to Light Honey, MAC Select Cover-up in those super portable triangle containers, and also, Stila Perfecting Concealer.

If I happen to have a client with acne issues, I’ve been reaching a lot for me Estee Lauder Clear Difference BB Creme, which for me, lays down a nice layer of coverage without looking dry, cakey or messy. For mature skin, I find their EE Creme to be effective as well.

Also, you can get great skin without primers. For the eyes, it’s always Urban Decay eye primers, and for the skin, I’ve been using Makeup Forevers new Step 1 Primers.

The Blush, The Highlight and The Contour …

Well, this list could go on forever, huh? Ha ha. I would have to say my friends right now are Cliniques new Highlighter and Contour Chubby Pencils. Just for the ease of use alone.  But I am also loving my new Stila Shape and Shade Custom Contour Duo and NARS The Matte Multiples in Altai.  As these are creams, after I set the cream product, I’ll go back in with a powder set for intensity, so I’m often reaching for Makeup Forever’s new Pro Sculpting Duos (which are insane – j’adore!), and my Aerin (Estee Lauder) Kaleidoscope Palette especially when the bride doesn’t want too much shimmer/shine.

For blush, well, hmmmm. I always layer cream under powder and my favourites are from rms beauty in Modest, Smile and Demure.  I also favour Makeup Forever’s HD Cream Blushes and NARS The Multiple in Puerto Vallarta or Altai.

For powder blushes, it’s always a selection of pinks and peaches from MAC that I lightly dust on.

The Lashes and Brows …

Photo by Rhommel Bernardino

I currently carry all three shades of Cargo’s Brow Kit in my bag and use both the powder and the wax for perfecting brows. But I also lean on MAC Brown Pencils as well and I love these for their easy application and also the spooly on the other end.

To define the lashes, it’s always Maybelline Great Lash in various formulas ranging from brown to dark brown to black. I rarely use pencil liners, but when I do, I’m using Cargo’s Swimmables or Urban Decay’s 24/7 pencils.

The Hair …

Let’s start with caring for the hair … which I normally don’t carry in my kit, but suggest to my brides. Especially after the long cold winter we are JUST getting rid of, brides need to start nourishing their hair back into shape.  I’m currently recommending the Nexxus Therappe and Humectress line of shampoo and conditioner for longer length hair that needs to be brought back to life from a dry season. I would also recommend OGX Vitamin E Shampoo and Conditioner for hair health. I suggest brides also pick up OGX’s Penetrating Oil and work it into the ends of the hair  – especially if they plan to leave the hair long and loose for the big day.

The Updo …

Well, I am sure bobby pins are a no brainer – right? I’m picking them up by the box at Sally Beauty in shades of black, brown and silver.  SalonCare is the brand available, but there is also Marianna.

To reduce  oil or add texture to the hair, it’s always Not Your Mother’s Dry Shampoo.  For tousled perfection, I’m really liking Tresemme’s Perfectly (un)Done Hairspray. I also like their big cans of spray and will usually carry a couple of extra hold formulas, and also climate control. To tame frizzies, or induce a sheen, I’m going back to Not Your Mothers for their Smooth Moves hair creme.

For hair prep and finishing, I’m also relying on Sally Hershberger’s Signature Line (available at Shoppers Drug Mart) mainly using the Keratin Repair Spray and also, the Galm Waves Texture Spray.

So that’s it!

My kit in one really long blog post.   Would love to know what other artists are using in their kits, but would also love to answer questions any brides or beauty bunnies out there might have about any of the above products! You know where to reach me :!

Have a great hump day all!


the low-down from laura : flower beauty

November 5, 2014By DJMC

This is the first post from our newest blog contributor, Laura Amaya.

I’ve been wanting to try out the Flower Beauty line by Drew Barrymore for a long time now, so I was pleasantly surprised a few weeks ago when I saw that Wal-Mart Canada has started to stock it! As soon as I heard, I promptly went to and placed an order for some goodies.

As a new mama I’m all about practicality these days – I’m lucky if I get a good 10 minutes to shower and change so simple makeup is key. With that in mind I decided to pick up 3 items which would all help me create a quick and simple 5 minute face:

The BB cream went on very smoothly; I was also surprised at how full the coverage was. It absolutely did the trick for a quick face! The lip and cheek tint is my favourite of the 3 products I purchased, a quick swipe on the cheeks and lips and voila I was done – the texture is very velvety and super bendable.

Lastly, the eyeliner. I’m a huge fan of eyeliner pens because I find them easy to use, so was excited to try this one. It was definitely easy to use however the colour payoff wasn’t that great – I found that I had to press the pen hard for the colour to be very dark, otherwise it came off very light and I personally prefer a dark black liner. Below you’ll find swatches and a picture of the final look.

Overall I did like the products especially for quick every day use. It’s also great they are super affordable! You can find them at Wal-Mart Locations and on

musings from morgan : bring on the bb cream

October 24, 2013By stephanie 1 Comment

BB Cream has been an overnight sensation in the world of beauty. There was a time when we had no choice but to go through a beauty regimen with what could feel like endless steps. Individual products provided the SPF, moisture, priming, concealing and overall coverage we needed…then along came BB cream, solving all of that in one swift step.

BB cream (“beauty balm” or “blemish balm,” depending on who you talk to) is an all-in-one super-product designed to simply the face prep process many of us go through in the morning. Women on-the-go, rejoice!

Full disclosure: I never really took the BB plunge when the product first took markets by storm in North America, so the Dream Fresh BB I tested from Maybelline was my first venture into BB territory.

Dream Fresh BB touts 8 skin benefits:

• Blurs imperfections
• Brightens
• Evens skin tone
• Smoothes
• Hydrates
• Enhances
• Protects with SPF 30
• 0% oils and heavy ingredients

As a long-time foundation girl (be it liquid or powder – I like the guaranteed coverage of foundation, knowing every patch of red or blemish on my face will be hidden from the world as I go about my day), the challenge to try something new was perfectly timed. I was looking for a lighter alternative to foundation on days where my skin was calm and I just wasn’t up for my full routine.

I thought it would be best to test this product over the course of a few days. It’s one thing to swatch a foundation and get a sense of its texture and coverage, but a whole new product deserved a thorough test drive. I wore Dream Fresh for about three days, and then switched back to my usual foundation.

The formula is very lightweight and feels more like a moisturizer than a foundation. Using my fingertips (as suggested), I smoothed the product over my face and was impressed by its level of coverage. With the help of a little concealer, it truly did smooth out my complexion and even out my tone.

 Left: Before, Right: After

After wearing it for the full three days, however, I noticed my t-zone felt more oily than usual. I found the BB cream was not best suited for those of us with oily or combination skin, (perhaps because it’s designed to moisturize and hydrate throughout the day) as by mid-afternoon I found it just wasn’t staying put.

That being said, the product itself does what it says by providing decent coverage, while smoothing things out and helping to speed up your morning routine. I’d definitely recommend it to women with less problematic skin who want a simple beauty regimen.

Morgan Cadenhead is a self-professed beauty junkie living & working in Toronto. By day, she’s a PR pro who loves all things writing & media, but by night she’s often catching up on her favourite fashion & beauty blogs or hitting up the gym. Her makeup obsession stems from the realization that makeup is a powerful and (most importantly) fun tool – it can make the difference in how you carry yourself, set the tone for a good day and above all, make anyone feel gorgeous! Follow her on Twitter @morgancadenhead or drop her a line at

fresh year, fresh start: the skin …

December 29, 2012By stephanie

When a the opportunity arrives to start fresh, I jump on it. The start of a new week, a new month, a new year … it’s always a marker for me to try something new.

Without a doubt, you are probably the exact same way. With the onset of 2013, let’s focus on beauty products that can help you start fresh!

Maybelline Dream Fresh BB

Available in five shades, this lightweight but longlasting BB cream keeps your skin looking real, dewy and healthy. It’s perfects the skin without masking it so you’ll start your day (and new year) with brighter, smoother skin without the weight. Complete with SPF 30, this BB cream is under $11 CDN and can be found at WalMart, Shoppers DrugMart and Rexall.

Urban Decay Eye Primer Potion

Never forget the skin over the eyelids. Even out the entire face by adding a bit of this nude based primer over the lids to where alone for an flawless look (it will hide the tiny veins and slight coloring on the eyes) or under your eye makeup to prevent creasing and to let eyeshadows show their true colours. Urban Decay does carry tinted/colored versions of this primer, but nude is always best! Under $25 CDN at Sephora and select Shoppers Drug Mart.

MAC Blot Pressed Powder

Sometimes, perfect looking skin requires that you touch up throughout the day. MAC Blot Powder is a makeup artist favourite that can help to reduce shine without adding any extra “cake” to the face. It let’s your skin radiate through without the oiliness. Just $29 CDN at MAC Stores (free-standing and at The Bay).

Laura Mercier Undercover Pot

Every girl needs a concealer she can trust to do its job and stay put. This one gives you three useful products in one travel-friendly pot. A yellow toned concealer for marks and blemishes, a creamier peachier-toned concealer to mask dark circles and discoloration; and underneath a yellow based powder to set and brighten. Available at Holt Renfrew and Sephora for approximately $40 CDN.

For more fresh skin inspiration, click on over to our “the fresh skin …” board on Pinterest!

Tomorrow: the cheeks …


trending: new from COVERGIRL

December 18, 2012By stephanie

When the new year hits, everything seems to slow down for a bit. Even though we are gung ho to stay on top of new routines, resolutions and regimens … we also just kind of … take a step back.

We scale back our eating habits (to make up for the weeks of bad eating during the holidays); we simplify our social calendar (to take a break from the night after night of holiday parties and meetups) and most importantly, we scale back on the shopping (this doesn’t need an explanation as to why we do this … just wait for your credit card statement to arrive …)

But a new year also means a new you. And for a beautythusiast sometimes that means a little pick me up or change to our wardrobe, hair, or makeup.

Luckily, we can still make such changes and go easy on the wallet. YAY!

COVERGIRL has some innovative and totally on trend products arriving nationwide  January 2013 so that you can start the new year off right. I’ve been playing, and testing, and loving! And with none of the new products being over $20.00 – how can you NOT love?


This is the first product I ripped into.  I love concealers in stick form for their portability factor and this is no different.  While it is lighter than most concealers (it IS a balm), it’s quite smooth and hydrating. Upon touch-ups, I didn’t feel any drag and it didn’t look cakey on top of what was already there. It’s best for under the eyes and slight redness.

COVERGIRL Outlast Stay Brilliant Nail Gloss

When I was invited to peruse the not yet available products back in November 2012, the colours of the polishes caught my eye immediately … I immediately brushed each available colour on one fingernail each also. No base coat. No topcoat. Just one layer each of the colour. And it stayed on my nails forever. I am pretty rough on my hands, so chipping is inevitable with me no matter what the brand or polish – but let me tell you – my blogger friends and colleagues were laughing weeks later when there was STILL polish sticking around. Watch out for Go Go Mango …

COVERGIRL CGSmoothers BB Cream

Okay, I know – plenty have already moved on to trying to get their hands on a CC cream, but lets pay some homage to the original – BB. There are plenty on the market right now from department to drugstore and pricing can range from as little as $10 to as much as $60. I know plenty of ladies who like to have full coverage from their BB all why reaping the benefits it can provide: hydration; correcting skintone, brightening, etc. I find this BB cream blends very easily into the skin, looks dewy and natural, and most importantly is sheer in coverage.  This is a great choice for those who want to perfect their skin using a BB cream but don’t want super heavy coverage. I am partial to tinted moisturizer coverage over foundation, and this is a BB cream I can get on board with. :)

Alright –  these are just a few of the new products I have put through my own personal test lab (a.k.a played with as I sat in front of my vanity wondering what makeup look to do for the day). There are a few more to look foward to including the Jumbo Gloss Balm, the new Clump Crusher Mascara and their 3-in-1 Foundation – which I plan to get to soon. Until then, you can add the top three to your new year new you shopping list …