Category Archives: foundation


try it : pencil me in …

My favourite kind of packaging for any makeup product is a pencil. Whether it looks like your standard lead pencil, thick like a chunky pencil crayon, or feels more like a Sharpie in your hand, I find stick makeup portable, user friendly, and the ultimate choice for easy touch-ups. And with all this hype about Adult Colouring books and colouring for relaxation … what better canvas to colour with than your beautiful face??


Here’s a list of my current obsessions …

Bobbi Brown Retouching Face Pencil in Illuminate : Bobbi Brown is all about easy, natural makeup, so it’s no real surprise that she has introduced a great pencil foundation/concealer for on-the-go touch-ups.  In addition to a variety of shades, she also has one for illuminating the skin … I think this is a great choice for those who want to jump on the strobing trend but require the most fool-proof way to do it. The Illuminate colour isn’t your typical pearly, super shimmery white hue, but rather has a slight soft golden tone to it, which I find the most flattering for a spectrum of skintones. The product is creamy enough to blend but still firm enough to lay down a nice layer of coverage. They also come with a sharpener making your life that.much.easier.

Clinique Chubby In the Nude Foundation Stick : Again, I’m not very secretive about how much I love Clinique’s Chubby Stick Highlight and Contour products; so when they introduced the new Chubby Stick foundations, I was in line already to be on board that train. With 8 shades, the formulation is sheer to moderate coverage, so you can layer it on when you need a little more help in the “looking well-rested and healthy” department or spot treat on the days you’re near flawless! I find the creamiest of most pencil or stick foundations. It’s also a twist up which means you never have to sharpen!

Charlotte Tilbury Colour Chameleon in Amber Haze : Even your smokey eyeshadows can be applied in pencils. Charlotte Tilbury’s pencils are rich in colour with just the right amount of shimmer. Plus, she has done all the guess work for you, offering colours based on your eye colour AND providing a shade made for day and another for night.  It’s enough to wear each colour on their own thanks to the quality of pigment, but don’t be afraid to mix and match either. I adore Amber Haze, but I also have Golden Quartz and Dark Pearl!


NudeStix Cheek/Lip Pencil Duals : The reason these are a no brainer is the fact that you can cover both lips and cheeks, but also, you can get two colours in one pencil. This is the perfect example of staying on top of touch-ups without the fuss. Nudestix also come in a handy tin with a mirrored lid and a sharpener made for the size of their pencils. The colours layer on sheer, so you can build to your desired intensity – going light during the day and then adding more colour and layers when the clock hits 5.

NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencils : This is a love affair that has gone on and on for years. When any client asks me for a statement red or bold lip I choose from three of NARS finest Velvet Matte Lip Pencils : Cruella, Red Square, or Pop Life. And then there is Damned … Never Say Never … and Sex Machine … I find these give the right amount of slip over the lips but no budge. A staple in my bridal makeup kit … but also my personal one too!

Bite Beauty High Pigment Pencil : Lately I’ve been Instagramming their Amuse Bouche line because it just came out, but I became a fan of Bite when I started dating their High Pigment Lip Pencil line. I love this brand when I wear brighter or softer shades. It’s creamy colour that isn’t matte, but isn’t super glossy either – just a layer of spot on lush lip colour. Madeira, Violet, Velvet and Tulip are my favourites. This pencils are also twist-up which for me means less mess, more product!

There are several other pencil products I enjoy using however the above products are currently in rotation and heavy play!

I hope you get a chance to check them out.


Posted in beauty, Bite Beauty, Bobbi Brown, Clinique, concealer, eyeshadow, foundation, makeup, NARS, Nudestix, pencil, product, product reviews | Comments Off on try it : pencil me in …

how to : fresh foundation …

portfolio11Photo by Rommel Bernardino
Makeup and Hair by Stephanie Daga

In a world owned by Instagram filters, contouring, and strobing, I think the everyday gal finds it a bit hard to create a look of really wearable, see-through foundation. It’s almost too easy to overdo it these days : primer, corrector colour, concealer, foundation, cream blush, cream contour, powder blush, powder bronzer, powder highlighter, setting powder, setting spray, and don’t forget that extra bit of highlighter dust on the tip of your nose to make it look super cute! Am i right?

Don’t get me wrong, as a makeup artist, playing with all that product and layering it on carefully for our brides, stage beauties, and corporate clients is the name of the game. There’s stage lighting, HD film, photos,  and all-day wear we have to take into consideration … but that same technique for everyday? Um … yeah … but NO!

I find the best way to fake flawless skin and a natural glow is to minimize your products and also, choose wisely between your formulations. For me, fresh looking skin starts with liquid or cream products, and the tiniest hint of powder.

It’s all about the base. Fall in love with a liquid foundation. The thinner, the better – in my opinion – because you can layer it on for a slightly fuller coverage when you need to. And if said liquid foundation has the word “illuminating” in the name – bonus. Starting from the centre of the face, dot a bit of foundation down the nose and chin, and then again across the forehead and cheeks. From there, gently blend and spread the foundation outward. Go ahead and use your fingers too … or a brush (I guess!)!

Add some concealer. Keep the formula full coverage, super creamy, and blendable, but apply it only where you need it.  This means under the eyes and around the nose. If you’ve had a bit of a breakout, gently dot and pat over the specific spots – not the entire area where the singular pimple or scar is located.

Make friends with cream blush. I use cream blush ALL the time. All the time. Stick with a non-shimmery formulation and dot it high on the apples of the cheek. Just like foundation, blend with your fingers upward and outward.  Avoid spreading your blush colour below your nose or in one thick block across the cheek. Look for simple colours- peach, pinky peach, pink- and layer this on until you have your desired intensity. The great thing about cream blush, unlike powder blush, is it doesn’t become too thick when applied in layers.

Buff it … buff it good! You can skip this step – but j’adore buffing in my foundation, concealer and cream blush. My favourite brush to do this with is MAC 109, and all i do is take a clean 109 brush and buff my products together in circular sweeps. It blurs lines, removes excess, and just ties everything together.

It’s all about the vanilla and chocolate swirl. Instead of over-powdering or layering a bunch of powder products over one another … embrace a twofer product … a powder product that can act as both highlighter and bronzer all in one – it might even be able to act as your setting powder. Think Lorac Tantalizer, Bobbi Brown Shimmer Bricks, NARS Contour Blush (favourite!), etc. etc. One product to highlight, contour and set in one layer (or  maybe two). There is no powder contour and then powder bronzer. No powder blush topped with a powder highlighter and shimmer product. No translucent or setting powder.  Just one powder that gives shape to the face, a glow to the cheeks, and shine control through the t-zone.

The truth is, to each their own. If you love wearing full face all day every day … more power to you! But if you’re just trying to polish up the complexion and look great on Instagram sans filter … the quick routine above should help you out!

Have an amazing weekend everyone!


Posted in beauty, foundation, how-to, makeup, skin | Comments Off on how to : fresh foundation …

if you must : paul+joe moisturizing foundation primer

It’s Fri-yay!

In an effort to let you get to your weekend faster, I just wanted to share with all you artists and junkies out there the current primer I’m having a fling with : Paul+Joe Beaute Moisturizing Foundation Primer.


While I do carry a few other primers in my kit, I love using this one to not only diffuse and blur imperfections, but also because it’s creamy and just sinks right in. I find some primers  pill on the complexion, making foundation or concealer harder to apply.

It brightens up the complexion and is weightless too, so natural “I don’t wear any makeup” brides or clients don’t feel like they have layers upon layers of makeup. It works wonders on mature skin too.

To get your hands on some Paul+Joe, check out Jacob+Sebeastian on Queen St. West or in the Distillery district.


Posted in beauty, face, foundation, Paul+Joe, primer, product reviews | Comments Off on if you must : paul+joe moisturizing foundation primer

musings from morgan : cargo hd foundation

Foundation is one of those things that isn’t really one-size-fits-all. It can take a long time to find one that suits your needs, especially because you have to factor in colour, skin type and preferences for factors like weight, coverage, finish and more.

Personally, I am partial to medium-to-full coverage, matte finish products. I have combination skin with a temperamental t-zone and am always looking for something that will last all day. I had the chance to try Cargo’s HD Picture Perfect foundation, which promised everything I prefer in a foundation so I was pretty stoked to get testing.



An oil-free formula, this HD product is perfect if you’re looking for something to use in a setting where you’ll be taking photos, like a studio. HD foundations like this contain light-diffusing products, meaning your skin will look flawless even under the most intense, brightly-lit situations (think right under the hot lights of a photoshoot). It also means the product is meant to blur skin and give an airbrush looking finish and will blend seamlessly.

The shade I tried was 1N, which appears to be the lightest shade in the line. Unfortunately, it was really yellow on me (I’m super fair and lean more pink than yellow – you can see the difference in my neck and face) but may actually make for a good summer foundation if I catch a tan…but we’ll have to wait and see. I applied with a beauty blender and was so impressed with the finish and coverage. It truly blends beautifully on the skin and a little goes a long way to mask imperfections. It’s also suitable for all skin types, and I found it worked great on my skin.


I can get away with wearing it when I use a brightening concealer and some contouring products as a more dramatic, going-out look, but as an everyday foundation the shade is just too yellow. If it was a perfect match, this would no question be a go-to foundation for round the clock wear!

At $42.00, it’s a great option if you’re in the market for an HD foundation and on par with most like it. Grab it from Cargo Cosmetics directly, Murale stores, or!

Disclosure: Press samples featured.

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made up with mer : foundations for dry skin …

I love foundation.  I think I might prefer foundation over mascara….gasp!…, I take it back.  Not true.  But close.

If you are like me and have “dry’ish” skin and are looking for a good foundation, allow me to introduce a few suggestions that provide a little more moisture and don’t cake or flake. I will start from the least amount of coverage to the most.

Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer  ($49.00 at Sephora)
This is great for the no makeup makeup look, the I just rolled out of bed this way but look miraculously more polished than one might think look and the Sunday look if you are me.  Hydrating light coverage, this is a great staple.  Let’s call this the casual foundation or the low commitment foundation.  Good stuff.

Nars Sheer Glow Foundation  ($57.00 at Sephora)
This is a step up in terms of coverage.  Don’t let the glow fool you though – it’s very subtle.  Think Natural, not matte but not dewy.  This foundation is smooth to apply and lasts the whole day.

Hourglass Illusion Hyaluronic Skin Tint ($64.00 at Sephora)
Bit of a mouthful this one.  Its predecessor was the Illusion tinted moisturizer.  This is a full coverage foundation.  Fairly thick to apply but has a luminescent quality to it.  Tip – If you like the formula but wish a lighter application mix in a little moisturizer.

As with any foundation, I recommend asking for a sample before purchasing.  Use the sample for a couple of days to ensure the colour and formula are a perfect fit.

Happy shopping!


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