how to : fresh foundation …

January 29, 2016By stephanie
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!


get inspired : emma stone waves

January 26, 2016By stephanie

Remember that year when it was all “short hair, don’t care”? A year of pixies, undercuts and fringe were all the rage, and rightly so because the look was hot. And while pixies and undercuts are still great cuts, some people have opted to start growing out their hair into bobs, and their slightly longer cousin – the lob.

But with any grow-out, come wedding season, we are often told “I’ve been growing out my hair, and it’s just a bit longer than a bob …and I really don’t know what I can do with it. Maybe we should just blow it out and I’ll wear it straight”.

Wearing your hair as is can be an option – nothing will translate as more you than a slightly more polished version of how you regularly wear your hair. You’l look great! However, if you are looking for another option, I think that the textured and wavy lob adds a bit of flare to your “not long enough yet” strands!

tousledLeft : Emma Stone
Right : waves done by Stephanie Daga, BlushPretty

I think the poster child for the ultimate wavy lob or bob is the always stylish (and charming) Emma Stone. She’s known to wear her short hair many ways from middle part to deep side part, straight to curly, bangs to no bangs. She knows her options! But I find her go to look is always a bit of piecey twistedness.

I have plenty of clients scheduled in this year with lobs. Some are brides, some are maids of honour, some are the chicest of mothers! Plenty are shooing away the standard blowout and flip for a sexier bedhead style.

To create this look for my clients I prefer to use a 1 inch curling iron and very few products. The list looks something like this:

– Hot Tools 1-inch barrel curling iron
– Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak
– Sall Hershberger Supreme Lift Root Spray
– Sally Hershberger Glam Waves Texture Spray
– Elnett Hair Spray
– Bumble+Bumble Styling Creme
– Bumble+Bumble Texture (un)Dressing Creme

For prep, I always start with a bit of dry shampoo brushed through the hair. My pick is Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak, and I find it adds a bit of lift and texture, especially for finer hair types. It soaks up the right amount of excess oil, but doesn’t leave a film or dusty layer of product.

As I section through the bottom layers of hair, I’ll spray Sally Hershberger’s Supreme Lift Root Spray before wrapping small sections  around the barrel  of my iron. I never use the clamp and wrap the sections with the barrel pointed downward. I also leave the ends free a bit for a more undone look.  I’ll repeat this sectioning and wrapping from the nape of the neck to the crown, alternating the direction I wrap the the hair with each section.

For the layers from the crown and up, I do repeat the process, but instead use Sally Hershberger’s Glam Waves instead of root spray. This is just personal preference as I find it gives a shiny but not weighted appearance to the top layers.

Once I’m done wrapping the hair and styling the front according to the client’s wishes (some want fringe, some don’t; some want it up off the face, others flat!), I’ll either finesse and finish with some Bumble and Bumble Styling Creme or Texture (un)Dressing Creme.  While both are made to be applied to the hair while damp, I actually will rub a bit through my fingers or palms and then either smooth the hair (Styling Creme) for a bit of shine or break up the waves and “fluff” a bit more (Texture Creme) for a more undone appearance.

Everything gets finished with some Elnett. Every-THANG!

So that’s how we do the ‘do! If you want to see it up close and personal – have you RSVP’d for our Bridal Beauty Preview this Sunday, January 31, 2016 yet?  If not, there is still time with a couple of spots left! Save your spot by heading over to our Eventbrite page!

Have a great week!


try it : olivia wilde smoky eye

January 12, 2016By stephanie

It’s a pretty safe  bet to say that Olivia Wilde has some pretty piercing eyes … and that she has the smoky eye look down to an exact science … yes?


As we all struggle everywhere to create a sexy smoky eye that resembles more than just smudged eyeliner, Olivia’s makeup artist – Melanie Inglessis – shared with InStyle magazine her trick : purple eyeshadows.

According to the magazine, Inglessis uses mainly purple shadows and NO KOHL or black shadow (*gasp*). It kind of flips many of us upside down, because it’s extremely natural to think that a smoky eye = black shadow (and dark greys too!). Another tip : to soften the look, she rounds out the outer edges of the eyeshadow and diffuses any harsh borders.

While Olivia’s transformation over the years has her experimenting with everything from the bold statement lip to feline flicked liner, her go-to is definitely smoky. If you are thinking of trying her purple-hued smoky style, may I suggest :

NARS Eyeshadow Duo in Jolie Poupee : a violet and pearlescent purple pairing which would be great for adding layers and dimension to a purple smoky eye.

MAC Eyeshadow in Shadowy Lady : a matte deep plum that  is perfect for smoking it up from the lashline and grounding more shimmery shades.

Urban Decay 24/7 Eyeliner Pencil  in Empire : an inky pencil that glides one with ease giving your smoky look a complete finish.

There are plenty PLENTY of options out there from all your favourite brands, and the great thing about the whole sexy sultry smoky eye look is that playing with the combinations is half the fun.

Try it!


try it : detox your face …

January 6, 2016By stephanie

I was perusing Twitter recently and came across a tweet of Behati Prinsloo with her hair pulled back in a ponytail and her face free of most makeup. The picture, taken a while back, showcases how Prinsloo went makeup free after spending days on end abusing her face with runway makeup. Looking radiant and aglow – is there a case for a “makeup detox”???


Photo courtesy of Behati Prinsloo, @behatiprinsloo


Whether you wear a full face daily with false lashes, or a variation of a five-minute face most days of the week, everyone’s skin can benefit from a makeup-free day. It doesn’t matter if you are diligent about washing it all off nightly and following it up with a tried’n’true skincare and repair regimen – aiming to go makeup free for a few days always does a body good.

I have had many brides with various skin issues go makeup free the week before their wedding and the results come walk down the aisle day are always noticeable in a very beneficial way. The pores are smaller, the texture is smoother, the tone is even, the skin is smoother. Making a conscious effort to let your skin return to ground zero and giving it room to breathe is like magic.

Here are my tips for detoxing your face …

Go deep! Whether you hit up your favourite spa for your favourite all out facial, or DIY it at home … start with a deep cleanse and repair. Wash your face. Exfoliate. Do a hydrating mask. Serum, eye cream, moisturize. Basically, you’re choosing the deluxe wash option complete with the rust-inhibitor at the carwash … except, you know, for your face.

Keep it simple. After you initial deep clean, keep your daily cleansing routine simple. Gentle wash, light moisturizer, and if you must, anything to treat any skin issues.

They can’t sit with you … unless their clean. Anything that comes near your face should be cleaned and disinfected. Pillow cases. Sheets. Workout headbands. Clarisonics. Sleeping masks. If they aren’t scrubbed clean – they can’t sit with you. And you know what – while you are at it … wash those makeup brushes. You may not be using them during detox but when you’re done, they’ll be waiting!

Stay away! I’m not going to tell you to avoid cupcakes and french fries because you are already foregoing makeup, why make it harder? Rather, just eat less sugar. Drink less sugar (soda, juice!). Go easy on the processed foods and the junk. Drink more water. Try a green smoothie. Switch from coffee to green tea once or twice. The focus is your face, not your diet … but if you have the strength – this does help!

Remain calm for 72 hours. Don’t wear makeup for at least three days.  I’ll give you bonus points for five days. Look gorgeous if you wait seven.

There you go – my steps for a makeup detox face. It’s the start of the new year … so why not?