try it : the one “must-do” step before applying colour corrector …

March 28, 2016By stephanie

my Instagram feed is literally dotted with colour correcting and concealing. seriously. the newest hype is officially dot concealing … because you know, dotting your concealer in specific places is way different than applying it normally in those same places. totally. *insert rolling of the eyes here*. and please don’t get me started on excessive colour correcting. just don’t.


for those of you who aren’t sure what the difference between colour correcting and concealing is, here’s the Cole’s Notes : colour correctors – usually in shades of peach, orange, lavender, and green – are used to counteract or neutralize different unflattering colours in the skin such as blue-black under the eyes, or redness over the cheeks and around the nose. corrector formulations vary, with some being more liquid and wet like (YSL’s new pen correctors) and others more firm or dry-creamy (such as those that come in palettes like Stila and Tarte). they are meant to stay on top of your skin, and not sink in. your concealers and foundations are meant to be worn over these correctors.

for most and depending on one’s skin type, the layering of correctors, concealers and foundations can go awry pretty fast and the end result in broad daylight and not through an Instagram filter is … interesting. the whole area can look aging, thanks to too many layers. or it can crease. or it can emphasize the drier area directly under the eye. there is one thing those tutorials are forgetting to tell you, which is :

the number one step before you go to dot dot dot correct town, is to pat pat pat on some hydrating under eye cream. very liberally.


for most of us who are busy AF, we tend to have a nighttime skincare regimen that is totally on point complete with a state of the art exfoliate, moisturize, and then moisturize again method. when we make up in the morning, it’s simply wash face, moisturize face, make up face, and go – which is totally fine, because how much damage can you do when you’re fast asleep.

but what we aren’t thinking about, is the 12-15 hours we spend between in between with those said layers of corrector, concealer and other related makeup. regardless of how creamy or “hydrating” your concealer or foundation says it is, you still need a protective barrier between the delicate skin around the eyes and those extra makeup products that are sapping moisture from it.

here is your best bet when it comes to perfecting your eye cream-corrector-concealer trifecta …

choose an eye cream made for hydrating and moisturizing the eye area. there is a plethora of formulations out there, so stick with ones with those key words instead of “firming”, “brightening” or “lifting”. firming and lifting are more about tightening the eye area, which means there formulations are a little more “dry” than moisturizing or hydrating ones.

apply your eye cream liberally. using your ring finger and a good dose of eye cream, pat on the product under the eye and over the upper cheeks. bring it up into the inner corner (carefully) and outer corner as well. technically, you can apply corrector and concealer anywhere on your face, but its this area around the globe of your eyes that is most delicate and needs the extra love.

give it time to sink in! i know – who has time in the morning, right? but you do. apply your face cream and eye cream immediately after your shower or when you wash your face. then go get dressed, or do your hair, or have some breakfast. if you don’t give it time to sink in, your corrector and concealer might not stick or adhere to the skin well, and will slip around throughout the day.

apply your corrector. if you’ve followed the three steps above, once you are ready to apply your corrector colours – whether swiped on, dotted, or in little tiny stars – it should glide over the eye area and blend with ease. remove any excess product with a beauty blender or sponge and let it sit. removing the excess here is clutch!

apply your concealer/foundation. this is the easiest step .. because all I have to say is “apply as you normally would, and complete the rest of your makeup. with either foundation or concealer, just make sure it’s a formulation made to cover up the green, lavender or orange shade you did your colour correcting with. sheer formulations probably won’t help!

and here is the bonus tip : while applying your corrector, if you happen to notice that it’s already streaky upon application, isn’t spreading/gliding easily, or looks super dry after application (even with our super eye cream tip!) … remove the colour corrector and just reach for your concealer.  reconsider the formulation you’re using, or reconsider the idea of colour correcting completely. don’t get me wrong, when done correctly and with the proper products and application for an individuals skin type, correcting can be effective … but it’s not for everyone …

hope this helps you navigate your way through the newest makeup trend. please do leave me any comments or share your stories on what works and doesn’t work for you when it comes to adding in some peach, green and lavender into your makeup routine!


scoop : five ways to slay perfectly winged eyeliner …

March 25, 2016By stephanie


you know that meme that keeps floating around about never asking a girl why she’s late with an image of a perfectly crisp winged eyeliner? makes you want to punch someone in the face, yes? it’s like, you want that line. but you can’t do that line. but you really want to do that line.

i get it. i really do. 

i would love to walk out of the house every single day with a perfectly lined eye that could slay Lauren Conrad’s signature eyeliner in a quick minute, but the truth is applying liquid eyeliner to myself is hard. i can work it on a bride, a client, and my BFF no problem … but i’m screwed over several times when it comes to perfecting it on me.

but after some practice and playing around and a bit of cheating, i can do it … now. i don’t do it often … but i can if i want to and really apply myself. and i know you want to do it too. like as soon as tomorrow.

so, here’s the problem : you, and several other Pinterest junkies out there, are too focused on achieving the end result that you aren’t paying attention to the tools you are going to use to get there. and that is where the answer lies – HOW are you going to get that perfectly flicked, incredibly dark eye line? the question has never been “can you do it” … because you can.


here are my five tips on getting Instagram worthy eyeliner :

choose your weapon wisely. liquid liner has always been the forerunner in creating enviable eyeliner looks but you really require a steady hand (i’ll touch base on this more in the next tip!). if you’re less than Cool Hand Luke, consider other inky options such as gel liners or tube or pot based liners (like Tarte Tartiest or Bobbi Brown Gel Liners) paired with an eyeliner brush (more on this in a bit too!). these alternatives to liquid liners are just as inky and create an equally crisp look. basically, you have options!

if you must use liquid liner than consider this … take a look at the applicator or wand that you will be working with. if you’re super steady and able to … say … thread a needle in the dark, then you probably could have your pick of the lot. you’ll most likely be comfortable with any applicator style including those that have a super slender and flexible applicator (such as Urban Decay’s 24/7 Perversion Liquid Liner). if you’re pretty steady-handed but prefer control, aim for something with a felt tip end (like Charlotte Tilbury’s Feline Flick). i find felt tip ends still glide across the lashline, but offer more control. this might not be a good example for everyone but here’s how I see it … I prefer writing with medium point pens and think my handwriting looks atrocious with anything fine tip or a light weighted pen. if i use a liquid liner, i’m on team felt tip.

invest in some eyeliner brushes.  if you are feeling my tip about gel or potted eyeliners, you will need to pair them up with an eyeliner brush. i prefer a super flat slanted (MAC 209), but a pointed end brush (MAC 208) is good to have as well. i personally use a flat slanted to walk the product across the lash line and execute my flick, and the pointed one to blend the line smooth. if you’re still a straight from the liquid line tube, the pointed liner brush can help blend and smooth the line, or when dipped in some makeup remover, clean up mistakes without removing the whole line.

do up your eyes first. it’s always super cute when the team or i am working on a client and we start doing their eyes and they get all confused about why we haven’t applied foundation first. if you’re only beginning to practice winged liner or cat eyes, it might get a little messy. may i suggest shading and lining your eyes first, then going in with your foundation and concealer afterwards, which will allow you to clean up the eye area and your liner. you can hide mistakes by blending them away with some foundation on the tip of your eyeliner brush, and i also find it really sets off the inkiness of your line.

eyeliner is life … so practice your ish. seriously, half the fun of buying and having makeup is watching YouTube tutorials and practising the looks at 2 am when you should be asleep. so, wear winged eyeliner and a cut crease while you’re vacuuming. do up a cat eye while you’re waiting for your laundry to dry. or just practise for the sake of practising. the more you practise the more comfortable you’ll be and your weapon of choice will become natural to you. you’ll know what works and what doesn’t and the next thing you know someone will ask you “how did you get your eyeliner so nice?”

Leave me a note or comment and let me know your worst eyeliner disaster. Would love to know what products you love and hate!

Happy Easter all!


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!


how to : ensure better hair days …

November 11, 2015By stephanie

Hair. It’s the one thing that can shoot down a gal, even the most savviest and uber-chic of ’em. Hair can make us feel like a million bucks on it’s best days, and like garbage on its worst.

In a world where products to pre-style, style, and post-style your hair and a blow dry bar are on almost every corner and in every shop, it’s super easy to overdo it. And overdoing it – well … that leads to damaged, weak, and unruly hair.


Here are my top three tips to ensure better hair days … or at least better hair days most days of the week.

1. Detox your hair : Instead of letting your hair get dependent on styling aids and products,  bring it back to basics. You know how a grown women will ooh and ahh over a 4th grader’s beautiful hair … well, chances are that 4th grader didn’t use a hair primer, a blow dryer, and some hair oil on her split ends before she went to school. Best bet it’s wash and go … or even better, a two day old wash. Start the Friday night before a weekend hibernating at home. Wash your hair clean of any and all product and let it air dry. Leave it alone Saturday night. Leave it alone Sunday night. On Monday … do a co-wash : wash your hair with cleansing conditioner only, like Wen or Herbals Essences’ Naked Cleansing Conditioner. Let it air dry while you get ready for work. If you dread not styling it, throw it up in a top knot. Whatever you do, go product free for a good week or two. Co-wash every few days, and if anything, shampoo once a week. After two weeks, re-introduce products into your routine, but only when you really need to and not everyday. You’ll find your hair will look great on non-product days, and super responsive and cooperative on styled days!

2. Limit your hot tools : I know, easier said then done, but truth bomb – hair always looks better when beach waves are actually created by the beach and bedhead actually happens while in bed. Going to bed with your hair in loosely plaited french or dutch braids or twirling your hair into two Princess Leia buns while you let it air dry over night gives you all the trendy styles, without the heat. Plus it looks natural, effortless and healthy.  Save your hot tools for the occasional blowout or the long awaited girls night out.

3. Make regular dates with your hair stylist : Even when growing your hair long, trips to your hair stylist are key to better hair days. You need your stylist to maintain your hair shape and clean up rogue ends – both are integral to how your hair responds to your styling and how it looks day to day.  This is especially true for those going through the awkward growing out phase.  Seeing your stylist for trims regularly – even though you want to keep all those inches – will allow her to restructure and reshape your style as it grows so you don’t struggle with it daily. For those who wear their hair long already – your long beautiful hair will never look amazing if your ends are a wreck. Call your stylist. Now.

Hope these tips help on this happy hump day!


how to : deal with a difficult bridesmaid ( or sibling, or friend …)

November 2, 2015By stephanie


Photo by Tamara Lockwood
(And none of these bridesmaids were difficult, we swear, just a pic that fits the post! Ha ha.)

As we near the end of bridal season, it’s crazy for me to even think of how many years the team and I have been doing bridal work. We’re talking over 10 years beautifying brides, and weddings every weekend. And over the past decade-plus, we’ve seen it all  and heard it all … so we thought that a great series to bring to a blog, was a “how-to” of sorts ranging from everything beauty to everything wedding prep …

For our first “how-to” let’s begin with bridesmaids (or siblings or friend). She’s the one you love to death, the one you can’t imagine life without, and the one you wouldn’t dare exclude from you bridal party. She’s always honest, always has your back, and is the life of the party. No wonder you chose her, right?

But, once you showed up with that ring on your finger … things changed. She may have gone, what a previous bride called it when telling me about her issues, “rogue”. The rogue bridesmaid seems to choose the opposite of what you request, is MIA for bridal party chats and get togethers, and perhaps, questions or shows disinterest in anything wedding.  Or perhaps she believes that it’s her day! Prime examples of the rogue bridesmaid are :

  • chooses a strapless style bridesmaids dress when you specifically said you wanted the bridal party to wear straps – or basically, she chooses the exact opposite of what you requested;
  • seems to have forgotten to follow through on some or all of the tasks she was delegated for your bridal shower, bachelorette, etc.; and
  • has an opinion on everything, and that opinion teeters on condescending rather than being helpful.

Bride’s often ask me for bridezilla stories (I’ll never tell, xoxo) – but the honest truth is that it is very rarely the bride … and always a bridesmaid. Perhaps it’s the bestie, the sister in law to be, or for some, that cousin that you adore but also felt obligated to choose to stand at the altar with you. Regardless of the connection, any stories we do have are those that involve the rogue bridesmaid.

Rogue bridesmaids can often bring negative energy into a room on the wedding day. Things can get tense. Bridal breakfast seems cordial rather than casual. And prep can start to centre around the rogue bride and her drama instead of the bride.

If you happen to have a rogue bridesmaid who seems more interested in herself and her role at your wedding than your own nuptial bliss, here are some tips to bring the focus back to the most important person of all : you!

  • Have a heart to heart : before moving along to any of the take-aways below, it’s always best to try communicating first. Rule out misunderstandings, inadvertent hurt feelings (because someone said something to someone about something you said to someone about her – duh!), or perhaps a personal situation she didn’t want to share with you because she didn’t want to bother you. You should also take the time to communicate how you are feeling about her actions as well. Half the time, this will solve the problem … and if it doesn’t keep on reading!
  • Delegate less : if she happens to neglect appointments, meet-ups and tasks she was delegated, spend less time obsessing or stressing over it, and just delegate less to her. Or even, nothing. Don’t rely on her to help out with your bridal shower. Don’t ask her to help you shop for the ribbon for your giveaways. Focus on what you need to get done, and less on what she isn’t doing. Her only task will then be “show up for the ceremony, look pretty”.
  • Embrace a bridetatorship : it’s your day, right? Everyone knows that, and no one will argue. If you have a certain look that you want each bridesmaid to follow, and 5 out of 6 of them are following it (rogue being the 6th) – tell her “no, i’m sorry, you cannot have the deep dark royal blue dress when everyone is wearing baby blue”. If you still have push-back, then become a “dresstator” : pick three dresses you love and are happy with, and let your bridesmaids choose from the three … no ifs, ands, or buts. Take this piece of advice and apply it to anything bridesmaid-related : you choose the options, they choose one.
  • Don’t ask for her opinion: This can actually apply to everyone, rogue or not. No one’s opinion on your dress, your hair, your shoes, your bridal colours matter … but most importantly, hers definitely does not. You make all the decisions, don’t ask for her opinion if her opinions constantly drip with negativity.
  • Opt for a bride only morning: Yes, it can be fun to get ready with your bridal party, but if you have come to the point where her actions make you request valium or hard liquor before the clock strikes 9 am … opt for a bride-only morning. Get ready with just your mama. Or your maid of honour and no one else. Have your other bridesmaids get ready on their own and meet you at your house before departure time, or at the wedding venue. There is no rule that you must get ready with your entire bridal party … but if you are … keep reading.
  • Time it perfectly : There is one reason you should get ready with all your bridesmaids and that is, to ensure they are on time and that the adhered to your beauty and accessories options (because rogue is always late and she will probably take centre stage by wearing bright red lipstick in the exact same shade you are!). If you choose to get ready with your bridal party as a whole, keep your rogue bridesmaid from monopolizing the morning by scheduling her to have her makeup and hair done close to the end of your party’s appointment time. If you schedule her first, she won’t care how much time she eats up with or cuts into for the next bridesmaid on the list because she has “tweaks” to her hair and makeup. Also, have two getting ready areas : one for the bridal party, and one specifically for you where you can get ready in private and away from her.

Now of course, there is always the option of parting ways with a rogue bridesmaid if it comes to the point that you can stand each other but for the most part, we find that our brides tend to take the high road and keep the peace. things often return to normal once the bride says “I do” , so patience is always key. In the meantime, we do hope the tips above will help you survive the big day and all the time leading up to it.

Hope you enjoyed our first “how to”.