Growing Up Pretty : Niki Degoey, Toronto-Based Content Creator and Food Photographer

June 24, 2020By stephanie No Comments

On today’s edition of Growing Up Pretty, I interviewed Niki Degoey.

Niki DeGoey is a Toronto-based Content Creator, Food Photographer and Graphic Designer that wants to make your food look as great as it tastes.

I had the pleasure of meeting Niki through Make Lemonade, the Toronto virtual networking and co-working community and I was blessed with having her as my first accountability partner when I joined the group back in May!

Check out her work and services at www.heyniki.ca, and you can follow along her creative life via @nikidegoey on Instagram.

What did beauty mean to you growing up, and what or whom were your major influences?

Growing up, my mom was the biggest beauty influence for me. She takes pride in her looks, and I remember her going to the salon every few months to get her pixie cut touched up with some new colour or fun highlights. She encouraged me to wash my face often, and to not wear too much makeup because it would make my skin breakout (it broke out anyways). When I wanted to dye my hair fun colours too, she took my to the salon to get whatever I wanted. My hair changed a LOT growing up, and it was (and still is) what I care about the most in my beauty routine.

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

I’m in my mid-20s, so I’m feeling like I’ve finally got a handle of what makeup looks good on me and what I should really skip! I’ve learned that a natural makeup look is best for me and my time commitment – I don’t want to spend an hour doing eyeshadow! If you have the patience for that, then awesome! I’ve experimented a bit with eyeliner, shadow, etc but right now I just save that stuff for special occasions.

In high school, I had bad acne, so I was told by my mom to not wear face makeup as it would make things worse. I didn’t start using foundation, powder, etc until probably late university. I think this definitely influenced my current makeup routine – I have opted out of foundation for some tinted moisturizer and a bit of concealer, so my skin has some room to breathe but it still smooths out any redness that I have.

As for my hair! All throughout high school and half of university I was a brunette that desperately wanted to be a blonde – and when I was 20 I finally took the plunge and took out the bleach (yes, it was an at-home transformation). It’s been 7 years and I’ve NEVER regretted it – I can’t imagine going back to brunette! Although I do go to a salon now for touchups ;)

Explain your current beauty routine, and please feel free to provide examples of looks you want to learn, procedures you want to try, or treatments you are curious about!)

I’m very diligent about washing my face every morning and every night. I’ve had bad hormonal acne since I was 12 so I’ve ingrained and prioritized my face-washing routine over the years!
All my products I use for my skincare are from The Body Shop! In the morning, I’ll splash my face with warm water, dry it and use their aloe toner, followed by the wonky carrot moisturizer. At night, if I’m wearing makeup during the day, I’ll use their chamomile cleansing butter, but if not I’ll use their vitamin E cleanser. Then I’ll use the aloe toner again and a vitamin E night moisturizer.
As for makeup, I like to keep things looking pretty natural: I use a tinted moisturizer from Tarte, moisturizing concealer from Benefit to cover any spots and brighten my under-eye, some mattifying powder on top, then add Benefit’s tinted eyebrow gel and mascara. Sometimes I’ll add a fun lipstick – I love a bright lip!
As for things I’d like to try, I want to start using more face masks – I have a couple of expired jars that I really should throw out at some point…

We’ve been in quarantine for so long! How has your routine for both skin and hair changed since you’ve been isolated and socially distancing? Are you taking the time to do more for your skincare? Less? Have you noticed any changes in your complexion or hair?

I’ve definitely been wearing makeup less, which is always good! This will be a little gross, but I’ve also changed up my shower routine to be every third day (I don’t get too smelly, I promise!), so that’s how often I wash my hair. My skincare routine has stayed the same, but all this added stress from COVID to starting a new business venture has made me break out much more than I would like!

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?

I wear makeup for Zoom calls about…half the time. If it’s with a new client, then definitely, but if it’s just for a co-working virtual hangout or a call with friends, then usually I won’t unless I reaaaally feel like it. I am finding that I’ve been using more mattifying powder then I normally would though – gotta control that webcam shine!

Give us your fast five …

Beauty Muse : I love Leigh Dickson for her creativity and hair colour inspo!
Favourite Product : The Body Shop Banana Shampoo <3
Your Splurge Item : A new lipstick colour (even though I have 100000)
Best Beauty Skill : Washing my face each night (even when I’m a little…intoxicated)
Worst Beauty Skill : Applying eyeshadow!

Growing Up Pretty : Jennifer Van Son

March 4, 2020By stephanie

Photo by Frances Beatty

Meet Jennifer Van Son – a GTA-based photographer!  Jen and I met briefly long ago, sharing a few brides early on in my mobile beauty career; but as you know, wedding days are hectic and crazy … and you meet a lot of vendors, but don’t really get to spend much time with them. We’re all busy on a bride’s big day!

It had been a few years since I had worked with her, but fast forward to late summer 2019 and another photographer friend, Jo-Anne Haley, had mentioned that the cute little Whitby studio she shared with another photographer was looking for a third tenant. I saw that as the universe speaking to me as I was making the move to Whitby myself and wanted to move my in-home studio … well … basically, out of my home. I quickly answered the posting Jo-Anne had sent me and lo’ and behold … the person on the other end of the email was THE Jen Van Son!

So, I’ve never said this to Jen personally (hi Jen!) but I think she’s the epitome of cool. I remember meeting her at the studio to go over details before I signed the lease and when we started chatting, I thought to myself that she totally nails the whole “cool girl chic” image. I remain jealous.

Her instagram feed – like any photographer – is filled with beautifully curated content, but also gives a hint into her personal life (kids, dogs, vacations – more checks on the cool list!) and behind the scenes inspiration on her professional life. I’m really honoured that I can to share a creative space with Jen … but also, super honoured that she agreed to this interview!

What did beauty mean to you growing up, and what or whom were your major influences?

My mom never wore much makeup (she’s beautiful on her own) but I was always very intrigued by the way you could look so different in so many ways by using it.  I had a couple of aunts who wore amazing bright blue ’80’s mascara/eyeliner and I just wanted to be like them.  I’d say as a small kid the women I knew were my biggest influences and to me beauty just meant being comfortable in your skin but also bold when it came to trying new looks.

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 (meaning skincare, makeup, etc) is and always probably will be a bit of a creative outlet for me.  I’m super busy so I don’t have a lot of time daily to indulge but focusing on having healthy skin, hair, and a strong body always makes me feel my best.  My look now is much more low key & natural with a little help from lash extensions ;).

What are your thoughts on beauty in social media and what do you wish for or hope to see as beauty evolves each year? (e.g. inspirational, aspirational, overdone, attainable, unattainable?)

There’s a LOT out there but this isn’t new, it’s just a new format.  We used to rely on magazines & tv for information, now it’s online.  I think social media is a great place to go for inspiration if you can remember that people usually only put out their very best online.

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

As I get older I care less about what people think.  I try to keep my routine simple and efficient but I still have a drawer full of fun makeup for when I go out.  I’m more concerned about how my skin looks now vs trying crazy eyeshadow colours, but that’s a normal part of aging (I think).  Having said that as I get older I have more confidence to rock a bold lip or try something new!

Explain your current beauty routine, and please feel free to provide examples of looks you want to learn, procedures you want to try, or treatments you are curious about!)

I have very sensitive skin (currently in a flare up of redness & dryness… ugh) so I start with my skin routine in the morning. I have lash extensions so most days I fill in my brows and maybe use some tinted moisturizer (NARS is my favourite) to even out my skin, then a touch of blush or bronzer.  I’d love to try Microneedling to improve skin texture, although I’m scared it would be too much for my sensitive skin, I may need to go for a consultation to get some help there ;).

Give us your fast five …

Beauty Muse : Margot Robbie
Favourite Product : NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer & Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade
Your Splurge Item : Monat Hair & Skincare
Best Beauty Skill : I can wing an eyeliner like a boss
Worst Beauty Skill : I’ve never NOT failed at self tanner

Photo by Frances Beatty

Tips and Tricks : Getting your Best Hair on your Big Day …

February 18, 2020By stephanie

Just like a trip to the hair salon for a new cut and colour can make you anxious and leave you feeling stressed, so can getting your hair styled for your wedding day by a mobile hair artist. When you’re day to day life is filled with ponytails and topknots, trying to imagine yourself in the prettiest and most perfect updo can be overwhelming.

It’s important for a bride-to-be to understand that your hair trial run is exactly that – a trial run – a preview of what can be achieved. It’s the opportunity to go over your inspiration photos and ideas, and for you to communicate with your artist what you’re looking for. A great artist will also help you manage your expectations : she or he will let you know what will work and not work with your hair type and face shape and also provide suggestions on how to tweak your chosen hairstyle to flatter your unique self. The key to a successful trial run is to understand that the end result is never set in stone. It can be adjusted and tweaked and changed up right up until the wedding day itself.

And the best way to get there : knowing how to communicate!

One of the biggest obstacles to being happy with a trial run is not knowing how to describe what you want. Here’s a glossary of some of the “hair words” that when used correctly WILL achieve the hair you really want :

Volume : In an updo, volume means the fullness and height you want to achieve in your overall look; if you have straight, fine or flat hair you are most likely looking for lots of volume, and usually you’re looking for this around the crown and the perimeter of the face. Be careful when using this term as “volume” is a scale … it can go from very subtle to beehive proportions. When it comes to trying to figure how much is too much – pictures are better than words. So bring photos to describe your desired fullness.

Body : This can be used interchangeably with volume, but most artists will usually use it more when referring to hair that’s left long and loose. How much movement, bounce and fullness do you want with your hair and curls? It’s the difference between wearing your hair smoother and sleeker (think Kim Kardashian straight) or bold and big (think lush supermodel blowouts of the 90’s)

Smooth/Sleek : These two words are usually used together as “I want it smooth and sleek”. To a hair artist, we understand this to mean clean, polished and very classic. This request is often paired with photos of classic french twists and very structured updos. We will be more likely to use plenty of freeze hairspray for an updo, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll end up with helmet head. Smooth and sleek in an updo might mean less movement in the hair, and with hair left loose, it may mean straight with minimal body or volume. That said, curls can still be “smooth” – your hair artist might leave the curls or waves intact instead of breaking them up or brushing them out (for example, Hollywood glam waves can be smooth and sleek)

Tousled : This is the word every bride who wants perfectly imperfect hair needs to learn. Tousled means you want the hair to have movement, to look windblown, or to be effortlessly swept back. It can be both romantic and bohemian. Tousled and volume usually go hand in hand. Your artist will usually incorporate some teasing and the breaking up or brushing out of curls to achieve this look. Keep in mind, when you ask for tousled, you should expect to see strands of hair that are left loose, or hair that you might think are “flyaways” but are actually part of the “tousled” aesthetic.

Texture : When you ask us for texture, you’re asking us to add to or change your hair type. We might add curls, waves, or crimping to the hair to give it more oomph for a tousled style. We might run a flat iron through it so we can give you that smooth classic french twist. Texture overall refers more to your existing hair type (straight, wavy, kinky) and what texture you actually want.

Knowing how to use the above words will affect how much teasing, curling, straightening and pinning your artist will need to do. It will also help guide them with the products they will use on your hair, and also help them provide you with the right hair prep instructions.

Remember : communication is key! Why not start communicating with us and see if we can help you get the hair you always dreamed of?

#BridalInspo : The Romantic and Soft Updo …

August 16, 2017By stephanie

In case you were wondering, it is possible to do a nice, clean updo that still is soft to both the eye and the touch. Many times, we get brides who are 100% freaked out that their updo will look too constricting and overdone butat the same time, are scared that “too loose” will mean it will fall apart before they say “I do”.

It’s a fair fear …

But still, a bride has nothing to be anxious about. Your hair artist will ensure that your soft updo will be pinned properly and of course treated with the right products (hairspray anyone?) to ensure all day wear without a slip-up in sight. On your end, you just have to put a bit of trust in your artist and also, follow his or her prep instructions for the wedding day. The more you invest in adhering to their prep instructions, the more your chosen soft ‘do will stay in place and turn out just the way you like it.

Hands-off the style is also key. Don’t fuss or touch your ‘do that much and this goes for the entire bridal party … they should NOT be touching your hair or pushing pieces or “testing” if certain pieces are pinned in or if a section of the hair would look better “this way …“.

You hired your hair artist for a reason – because they are the expert.


This particular updo required that the bride wash and dry her hair the day prior. She left it dry and as is for me the day of her appointment. I went in with a 1 inch curling iron and curled medium pieced sections around the barrel. A bit of twisting with some hidden bobby pins throughout allowed me to create the fullness around the crown and sides of the hair.

Interested in this style for your wedding day? Start by booking a trial run with us at either of our Toronto-based locations. Contact us at 416.727.1754 to book today!

-s-

#BlushPrettyUnfiltered : real people looking real pretty

April 10, 2017By stephanie

Had to take a moment to share some photos from our recent #BlushPrettyUnfiltered photoshoot.

The reason these photos are so important to the team and me is because they capture the simple idea that everyone is truly beautiful in their own way. In an age where filters, photoshop and dog-ears reign supreme, we wanted to bring some beautiful faces in, give them a fresh-faced easy-to-wear makeup look, and take clean bright photos with #nofilterneeded.

real people pretty makeup real pretty people real pretty real people
Any of the looks you see through #BlushPrettyUnfiltered are available for you to have done yourself at our new beauty bar located at 508 Yonge Street, 2nd Floor. You can choose from our combos of makeup and hair, mix ‘n’ match from different looks, or choose one or the other.  Pricing begins at $65 plus HST!

Subscribe to our BlushPretty newsletter for promos and deals, or scout new looks to try via Instagram under @blushprettyteam.

Hope to see you at the beauty bar this summer!