You’re eloping? PERFECT!

June 12, 2020By stephanie

There’s never been a better time to elope …

Ever dream of your happily ever after to begin with some classic vows and only a handful of your core people? Maybe it’s just you and the love of your life? Or maybe, its a few more : like mom and dad; and of course your BFF since Kindergarten to stand as witness.

And when you’re thinking of your ideal wedding, the words intimate, sacred, and simple all come to mind. You don’t see a long walk down the aisle or standing in a receiving line for an hour while h’or d’ouerves are passed around. Rather, you may see a quiet morning before you head to city hall, followed by a brunch for ten people just after you take some photos to commemorate your forever union. Or maybe, it’s an evening affair where you, your bride/groom, and a select group enjoy a meal first, and then you exchange vows once the clock strikes midnight. If both of these scenarios excite you – you sound like the “elopement” type.

Like I said, there’s never been a better time to elope. 2020 is the year. Between social distancing, limited entry into venues, and gatherings no larger than 10 people during Phase 2, sneaking away to elope has never looked more favourable. Your extended family will understand why they weren’t invited. Your co-workers who expected an invite, won’t blink twice. Your parents won’t even try to invite their friends. Win. Win. And win.

Regardless of how you do it, your perfect wedding day – the elopement – will still be captured in photos. Those photos and videos will eventually announce your union on Facebook, maybe on an Instagram story, and even a TikTok – because you’re hip, right?! Your fiance will still be looking their absolute best – the best you’ve ever seen them and how you will forever want to remember them. You’ll still have the special dress with the comfortable but pretty shoes. And, let’s not forget – your hair and makeup will be absolutely f*cking perfect.

We want to help make this all possible for you. If you’re thinking of eloping this coming July or August 2020, we are offering makeup (with lashes!) and hair services for the bride plus one – whether that’s your mother, your maid of honour, or a witness for just $450 (HST included).This special package can be booked well-in-advance, or for the super-spontaneous ones, with as little as 48-hours notice. Appointments can be held at either one of our beauty studios (Toronto or Whitby), or on-location within the GTA. To book, you just need to start with an email (beautymail@blushpretty.com) or a phone call (416.727.1754).

You know, 2020 took us all way off course. LIKE WAY OFF. Maybe waiting until 2021 to get married is not an option for you. Maybe, you and your “Right One” during this whole pandemic realized life’s too short and decided now is the time. Whatever your reasoning for eloping in 2020 – the BlushPretty team wants to be right along side you making it happen. Just let us know how we can help …

Here’s to elopement season … xo

P.S. Crazy enough to wing your wedding, but not your makeup and hair? That’s okay – we get it – some things still need to be planned. If you’re hoping to have a preview of your bridal style, we are offering a trial run for the bride to be added to the package as well. This is best for those who have a slightly longer lead time before their elopement date.

P.P.S. We are also open to offering this amazing package to brides outside the GTA, though travel fees may apply. Please email to discuss!

Growing Up Pretty : Natasha Anwar, Freelance Web Designer

June 10, 2020By stephanie

Natasha Anwar is a freelance user experience/web designer who loves working with small business owners looking to grow their online presence. When she is not glued to the screen, she’s usually training her cat, Theodore, how to perform tricks and cooking all sorts of cuisines for company – when she could have company.

I recently (virtually) met Natasha through Make Lemonade, the co-working space which, during the the pandemic, created a new online networking community bringing entrepreneurs, small business owners, freelancers and female powerhouses together – through Zoom, of course!

Here’s what Natasha has to say about her “routine” for being Zoom ready, and check out who her beauty muse is … you’ll never guess!

What role does beauty play in your life at this moment? How has it changed over the years? What do you focus on to feel like your most beautiful self? (e.g. skincare, makeup, hair, mental well-being, physical well-being?

Beauty has always been something close to me and it has definitely changed the way I have seen myself over decades. I’ve come a long way from seeing beautiful as clear skin and no wrinkles.

My biggest focus towards my beauty happens in my mind. When I decide to take care of my thoughts and feelings, I’m able to take care of my body, my environment and my relationships with everyone around me. I find that all three of those things add to my personal beauty.

Describe your journey with beauty as each birthday or decade passes.

Growing up, I used to believe that ‘being beautiful’ was a tangible experience. That I could measure beauty in kgs and lbs, in the number of hours spent on removing facial hair, in the inches on a tape around my waist, even in the daily calories I consumed. I thought I could find a calculation and become beautiful (I studied life sciences and math for 8 years). But as I entered the somewhat real world in university, I thought maybe there was more to beauty than what I saw. It was kind of… everywhere.

I saw beauty in poetry and paintings and how a restaurant presented its dinner on a plate and in sunsets and the curves of a ’57 Chevrolet Bel Air…it was, quite literally, everywhere. I began to associate the feeling I felt when I experienced each of those with finding something beautiful.
When it comes to beautiful skin, I’ve watched mine have a mind of its own: be angry, be sad and look like it was crumbling until I decided to nurture it. I learned to ask for help when I needed it, and give it space when it felt like I was helping a little too much.

This experience led me to believe that inner and outer beauty is connected through a state of mind. If I can nurture myself from the inside out, find time to sit with my thoughts during my busy days, and look objectively at the state of my self-care, then I can pay attention to what I feed myself, when I hydrate and how I add nutrients to my body/skin. And when my mind and body feels like its healing together from under the surface, I feel the feeling I associate with something beautiful.

In light of Zoom calls and virtual meetings, tell us your tips and tricks for looking presentable online? Are you still wearing makeup? Still doing your hair?

Now that conversations are virtual, I sometimes need to show up at short notice. Here’s a mental checklist of the things I make sure I’m good with before hopping on a call:

  1. Does my hair look like it ran a marathon? I check for cowlicks, unruly curls and then pull it into a french braid as if that was the original intention.
  2. Are my dark circles screaming for help? I’m not a morning person so if I’m bringing my face to a video chat 12 minutes after waking up, I’m most likely wearing some salmon concealer and blending it into my skin to give off a ‘look I’ve been awake’ vibe.
  3. Is my concealer making my eyes look bland? Ok fine, I will wear mascara too.
  4. Does my face look too pale now? Is it hot enough for my face to be flushed on its own, and if not, I guess I’m wearing some blush as well.
  5. Do my clothes make me feel good? I managed to make some cute combinations and hang them close-by for a quick change between meetings. Even though its true, I don’t want everyone to know I packed up all the good things until next year.

Having a mental ritual has helped me in feeling somewhat grounded and more prepared to deal with the fact that my cat might come sit on my lap during an interview … and that’s okay!

During lockdown, what products have you been reaching for the most, and emptied out? Which products and items have you realized you don’t really need or use?

Somehow, lockdown applies to my wallet just as much as it does to my social life. I’ve been saving $$ on beauty products and to my surprise, products I couldn’t previously live without are not as necessary for me.
My day and night moisturizers, vitamin E serum, face wash and face masks are still super important for me but I haven’t had to replenish makeup products like my foundation, primers, setting sprays – I’ve saved quite a bit there.

Give us your fast five …

Beauty Muse : Neri Oxman (Yes, I’m a nerd)
Favourite Product : NYX Epic Ink Liner in Black
Your Splurge Item : Clinique Moisture Surge
Best Beauty Skill : Winged eyeliner sharper than my wit
Worst Beauty Skill :
Finding my foundation shade without help

Want to learn more about Natasha, check out her Instagram at @thatdesignernatasha and her website : www.anwarnatasha.com

Retinol 101

June 2, 2020By stephanie

What is a Retinol?
Retinol, a Vitamin A, is one of the buzziest ingredients on the market today and is best known for its ability to “resurface” the complexion – blurring away fine lines and wrinkles leading to a more smooth, glowy, and lifted appearance with consistent use.

Is it different from a Retinoid?
Retinol IS a retinoid … it’s a specific type of retinoid. So when shopping for a retinol product, don’t confuse the word Retinoid with Retinol! Retinoids tend to be stronger and are prescribed. Retinols can be found over the counter and in many new products from drugstore to high-end beauty counter!

When should I start using Retinol?
Usually I would suggest my clients start around 30 years of age as its when many being to see the small, tiny changes to their skin that they want to prevent. But now, with more and more exposure to pollutants, radicals and the sun, mid-twenties is ideal to get a head start!

The only time you shouldn’t apply retinol or need to take a pause is when you are pregnant or breastfeeding. And just to be safe, if you’re trying to conceive, put a pin in it and wait. If you’re looking for an alternative, studies suggest products with bakuchiol are safe! (We will be doing a 101 on Bakuchiol soon – don’t worry!)

What is Retinol best used for?
I hate to use the term, but I’m going to use it : anti-aging. Think all the best things you want your skin to be – brighter, clearer, firmer. Since it’s a Vitamin A – its main purpose is to boost cellular turnover. When added to your favourite products, it promotes skin renewal, a brighter skin tone, and a boost to collagen production.

How often should I use it?
Like any new product, you want to start off easy. Start with 2-3 times a week to let your skin and routine adjust. Once you have determined you have no allergies or adverse reactions to the ingredient, you can work yourself up to daily. However, don’t be too quick to jump to conclusions about allergies and sensitivities. See below re Retinol Uglies!

Lastly, exposure to sun can reduce it’s efficacy, so try to find a way to make it a part of your nighttime routine.

What are the Retinol uglies?
Once you begin using retinol, be prepared for an adjustment period, a.k.a. The Retinol Uglies. Expect your skin to appear dry, flaky, and peeling. Some may experience redness. It’s easy to mistake this period with an allergic reaction – if the flaking and peeling is not accompanied with pain or inflammation, it’s most likely just the retinol uglies.

This adjustment period doesn’t last long, as once you pass it, you’ll see it was worth persevering through.

When will I see results?
Over the counter retinol products will tell you that you’ll see results within a few weeks. The truth is, you’ll start seeing the retinol do the work within a week – hello again, the retinol uglies – and continue to do its work week after week. But you will see major changes in your complexion around the 3-month or 12 week mark. Try to stick with your retinol routine for at least 3 months before deciding whether or not you want to make it a part of your overall skincare routine!

Three products to try :
There is a retinol cream or serum for every budget. Here are three for you to discover :
Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream
Olay Regenerist Retinol24 Night Serum
The Ordinary Retinol 0.5% in Squalane

The unexpected makeover …

May 25, 2020By stephanie

Photo by Stephanie Daga
Hair by Samantha Wilson for BlushPretty
Makeup by Stephanie Daga

Times are changing.

It is now the end of May 2020 and finally, here in Toronto, we are s-l-o-w-l-y starting to emerge from quarantine and the COVID19 pandemic. As Toronto and the GTA begin Phase 1 in opening the city back up, beauty studios like BlushPretty still do not have the green light to open our doors and our mobile team are unable still to provide on-location services. And that kind of sucks … a lot.

But what doesn’t suck is that we are FULLY prepared to bring our above-standard and exceptional skills and customer service to the table when our doors DO open. We’ve taken the last eight weeks of quarantine to educate and train ourselves on health and safety practices, cleaning and sanitizing procedures, and develop policies and plans to keep YOU safe. And that’s what really is important now – keeping our staff, artistry team, and dedicated clientele SAFE!

With these new policies and procedures in place, we have undergone a slight and unexpected makeover so to speak. While our services and offerings – both in-studio and on-location – remain the same, how we will operate and provide our clientele the exceptional experiences they have been accustomed to have had to evolve a bit. Just a little bit.

And while nobody likes change – not babies, not my 11-year old autistic son, not me, not you – I’m excited to tell you that along with changes to procedures we have also brought in new services. Yes, new services! More fun and beautiful ways to make you feel and look like your optimal best. So you know, there’s that to look forward too.

Over the next few days and weeks, we will be sharing with you all the different ways BlushPretty has evolved since the pandemic began and how we plan to make getting out and getting all pretty fun for you again … but also safe! Always safe …

Stay tuned here to the blog and our Instagram (@blushprettyteam and @ms.blushpretty) for more news as it comes!

Unbooked and Unbothered to Booked In and Beautiful …

April 21, 2020By stephanie

As we slowly watch April come close to an end, it’s a bit surreal to have a clear “social” calendar isn’t it. It seems that days no longer exist and we’re just riding out one super long extended weekend … or hour.

Well, no one misses having appointments more than we do but closing our doors temporarily and rescheduling bridal, beauty, and skincare treatments is the thing to do in order to flatten the curve and knock COVID-19 on its butt.

We remain optimistic that our doors will open sooner rather than later, and we can’t wait for the day when we can finally curl someone’s hair or apply false lashes or make their skin glow with a dose of low level light therapy. Until then, here are a few ways to get a head start on rescheduling your 2020 wedding (or planning your upcoming wedding), booking a beauty appointment once society reopens, and staying connected with the BlushPretty team.

  1. If you are a bride already booked with BlushPretty 2020 season but are unsure if your wedding is moving forward based on changing lockdown dates, don’t fret – you are NOT alone. We’ve had plenty of brides and clients from March, April and May already rescheduled to dates later in the season and well into 2021. We’re keeping on top of all June, July and August brides and are always available to discuss options, new dates, and beauty plans. All you need to know is your deposits are safe and transferable – just keep us posted on how your wedding day rescheduling is beginning to unfold.
  2. If you are a bride who hasn’t yet booked with our team but starting to plan your upcoming wedding, we are booking-in consultations by phone or video-conference. Our 30-minute consultations give you the opportunity to ask all the questions you might have about bridal beauty, how we operate as a team, and how we can serve you best! From there, we can set a tentative date for your trial run – post-lockdown!
  3. We get it – you got BIG PLANS for post-quarantine. You want your hair did, makeup did, everything did … and you want to hit up your favourite beauty team to get it done. We feel you. And we got you. Right now, we are taking in bookings for June 2020 and scheduling them in like its business as usual. Of course, should businesses still be closed in June, we simply cancel your appointment – but why not schedule in your makeup, hair or skincare appointment now? It’s encouraging to have something to look forward to and as they say – “if you schedule it, it will come!”
  4. Self-isolation brings about a lot of self-reflection. If you’re like me, you may have treated the past five weeks as a time to learn new things, begin new habits, or practice better self-care. Stay connected with myself and the team by following us on Instagram or signing up for our weekly email newsletter for hot tips and insider tricks! You can also schedule an online beauty lesson during COVID-19 via Zoom. We’re offering all of our beauty lessons at a preferred rate, so please send us as email to set one up!

So in the words of the Marvellous Ms. Maisel – tits up Toronto! Our day will come soon and better hair days will follow. Until then … stay safe and stay home!