mondays+moms : makeup? what makeup?

May 12, 2014By stephanie

I have a confession to make. I actually don’t wear a lot of makeup.

I love makeup.  I have lots of makeup. I eat-drink-breathe-makeup.

I just don’t happen to wear tonnes of it.

My typical day consists of working through the morning; doing lunchroom supervision around, well, lunchtime; hot yoga; and then an afternoon of either driving around to meet clientele or an afternoon of driving around to various after-school activities.

My makeup routine is quite minimal and I think both my colleagues and clientele find this quite comical, you know … being a beauty artist and all. I thought I would share with you a couple of items that I have in rotation right now. The pic above shows what I might put on in the morning if I have a moment.

rms beauty un-cover up in 22 and cream eyeshadow in lunar : I adore this product thanks to the sheer layers you can apply with it. Never cakey or heavy, always the right amount. With the foundation, I simply apply as needed – usually under the eyes and around the nose. Sometimes the cheeks.  I like applying it over my Pelle Beauty face oil and Consonant Body sunscreen – I find it applies best after I have allowed both of these products to sink in a bit. The cream eyeshadow I actually use as my highlighter. While they do have the living luminizer in the line, I find lunar to highlight my skin tone a bit better.

bite beauty : If I’m going to brighten up my look, it’s always with lip colours and bite has the best selection of colours in my favourite form : chubby pencils. From the everyday rose to a bright and electric orange, I carry a few of these pencils in my regular makeup bag. My other favourite is NARS Lip Pencils and I look to their matte pencils when I want statement lips.

aerin rose lip conditioner : My lips, despite my best efforts will always remain chapped and  dry. It’s not fair, but what can you do. I find this lip conditioner allows me to apply once in the morning and get to about late afternoon without having to reapply.  Added bonus : the scent is quite nice!

MAC veluxe brow liner and tweezerman tweezers : Okay. I’m kind of lying about the tweezers and using them everyday because  I don’t get the chance to tweeze each morning, but the moments I do – normally after glancing into the rearview mirror on my way out the driveway (damn you natural sunlight) – I’ll make it a priority to tweeze later that night. I prefer slanted tips for the best grasp and Tweezerman has a larger selection of tweezers to choose from. For filling in my brows, I like dual-ended brow fillers – either with colour on one end and a spoolie on the other OR colour on the end and brow gel on the other. MAC’s pencil gives the soft look of powder but defines the brows like a champ!

tom ford eye defining pencil in metallic mink and stila smudge stick waterproof liner in emerald : I don’t wear mascara only because I find when applying to myself – I’m pretty messy with it. So I rely in eye pencils to define my eyes.  I love inky blacks and browns and love the Tom Ford pencils (MAC pencils are pretty great too!) and I usually apply this under the lashes and at the root to fake the look of more lashes and artfully applied mascara. Over the top lid, I’ll use a bright colour like Stila’s emerald which after application LOOKS like liquid liner – so pigmented. It’s all about the subtle pop!

I’m not sure if there is anything I would change about my makeup routine – it’s works for me and the amount of time I have to get ready for the day. Sometimes I look in the mirror and think : I really should use my primer … or my concealer … and maybe I should fill in that crease. But then I think to myself that my job is to apply beauty to others – not BE the beauty.

Well, that’s my Monday morning stephanie-ism.  Hope you all have a great week!



motivation mondays : hard work pays off …

March 17, 2014By stephanie

I’ve been super-blessed to have been in the beauty, skincare, and
bridal industry for over ten years.

Waaayyyy back when … when I first thought “hey, I wanna give people great skin
and make them feel pretty all day long”,
I never once thought that it – my life-career – could be the way it is now.

Seeing my name in print, or having talented journalists and editors like Ava B. of Elle Canada reach out to me for “expert advice”, never gets old.

This week, I represented our sister studio, fresh.beautiful: the skin studio and
shared some tips about keeping your makeup and tools clean and fresh
in order to keep your complexion clear.

I hope you all enjoy the article as much as I enjoyed working with Ava.

Have a great week everyone!


the freelance life : airbrush 101

October 2, 2013By stephanie

Airbrush is a very popular request amongst BP clientele and without a doubt owning an airbrush system is a useful addition to a makeup artist’s services and extension of their craft.

Wielding an airbrush gun takes practice but can easily be mastered over time. I think the hardest part of airbrushing comes after you have used the gun and completed makeup for your client: the clean-up.

Like anything, it is so much easier to take something apart than it is to put it back together. Hence, some artists clean around the gun and spray through cleaner but rarely take it apart. I find its best to take apart your gun after every use and give it a thorough cleaning. Less build-up leads to less on-the-job clogging.

Here’s the secret to a really clean gun: the pipe cleaner … or as they call them at the dollar store chenille sticks. Yes – the key to getting a clean and working gun will cost you $1.

There are three ways that I like to use the pipe cleaner to get the gunk out:

1. straight across the head of the gun to the back just like how the needle travels through the gun;

2. through the head of the gun again, but angled up through the bowl – a lot of buildup happens between the bowl to the head; and

3. through the spray tip of the gun, you may think you have gotten everything out during a spray but thread a pipe cleaner through and see how much more comes out!

I always use white pipe cleaners so that I can keep threading and scrubbing until no more foundation can be seen on a fresh white pipe cleaner. I also find that the pipe cleaners are flexible so you can bend and twist them to get into the nooks and crannies of your gun. The “chenille” part of them act as good scrubbers too.

Alright – so you’ve given your gun a thorough cleaning. What now – how do you put it back together? Well, there is a system but every gun is different. I’m not the best at doing videos, but here is a picture step by step guide for you to follow! Beware, it is picture heavy. And also, I don’t know the technical names for any of the parts, so please excuse my “nicknames” for the pieces. Lastly, I’m totally TOTALLY aware that you can see me in my blue shirt in the reflection of the airbrush gun.

Start with your top hat piece (what you press down on to move the needle). Note the divoted edge – this should always face towards the back of your gun.

Insert like so.

Screw on the tip. (Sounds dirty, but if you’re doing this, it means your gun is clean!)

Locate this doo-dad. I call it the wiggly nail piece … but you should never use it as a nail. Ever.

You are going to insert the doo-dad into the back of the gun, and slip the tongue of the wiggly part up behind your tophat piece.

Like so.

Insert your needle, through the centre of the doo-dad, through the bowl of your gun, and right through to the tip. You should see your needle come through the tip.

I know what that piece on the end is … it’s a spring! Probably the only term I know. This piece is important to your gun – never ever lose this piece. Place in on the end and push it into the gun.

I call this piece the locking bolt thing. It’s neither, but it does lock everything into place once screwed in. Find it, and place it over everything and screw it in tight, but not toooo tight.

Like so! Once you have this on, you should have tension and when you press down on your top-hat, you should be able to see your needle move back and forth through the tip and bowl.

This is my smaller bolt thingy. This will double lock everything into place.  This goes on the very end and screws on.

It’s just he finishing touches now: screw on the back piece of your gun, and the two itty bitty spray pieces to the tip.

And there you go: you have officially cleaned and put back together your shooting air makeup gun thingy!


lighting counts. it always counts …

August 28, 2013By stephanie

You know how when you decide to go with an all black outfit and how you get dressed inside the house and it all looks, you know, black … and then you step outside into broad daylight and realize that your black top is not as black as your black skirt and your black socks aren’t even truly black anymore? Yeah. That. See … lighting counts.

When it comes to makeup, proper lighting double counts. Maybe even triple counts. This means bright lighting in your bathroom, or better yet, bright natural lighting from a good ol’ window when applying your makeup.

Case in point, see photo above.  In my downstairs bathroom, which is all over my Instagram feed selfies, it is slightly yellow lighting. I have to be extremely careful when applying makeup in this bathroom. Sure, Instagram can work with this … but you don’t live life in a series of filters, do you …?

Sidenote: The product I am testing in this photo is Maybelline Age Rewind The Lifter foundation. I knew that the shade was already slightly lighter than my summer skintone, but for the most part, I was testing it on blendability and wear. That review will come later down the road, but FYI – it’s not bad.

Normally, after doing a full face of makeup in the bathroom mirror, I can tell if my application is even, and if the colours are right … but to truly gauge the overall look, I have to travel upstairs to my big front window and just make sure. When positioned properly in natural lighting I can see my makeup in its true colours and avoid key makeup application mistakes like unblended patches of foundation or mismatched colour.

In the above photo, all I am wearing is the swatch of foundation in each picture. On the left, the swatch blended in, downstairs bathroom. On the right, swatch blended in, front window with plenty of natural light. Granted, no major difference since the swatch is just a swatch, but look at the lighting.  Two totally different effects right? But remember, while I look glowy and warm … and slightly orange … in the left picture, it’s best to bet that everyone in the world sees me like the picture on the right. Makes sense, no?

So, the lesson? Well, the general rule is to always try to set up your vanity table nearby or in front of a beautifully big and open window. When applying, throw back your drapes and let that natural light come in and illuminate the face.

But truth is, if you live in a basement apartment, a dorm, or under a rock, you might not have access to the best lighting. AND, second to that, we seem to use the bathroom vanity automatically as our makeup station (big mirrors, counter space – it’s inviting!!). If that’s the case, here are some tips on bringing in the best lighting into your bathroom:

  • choose “natural light” bulbs – your Canadian Tire, Home Depot, or Lowes all carry them – as these cast less of a yellow or dim hue;
  • change the lighting fixture in your bathroom so that the lighting hits you directly and evenly (think of lighting around the mirror – like at professional makeup stations*), not overhead; and
  • invest in a table top makeup mirror with lighting,* this way you can apply your makeup using your nice big bathroom mirror, and then double check your application using the makeup mirror

… see, lighting counts!**

* I do not endorse the items/products/brands/companies linked above, they are just for reference.
** The above photos were taken with an iPod 5 … the same pictures taken from my actual camera are less grainy but very similar … but I’ve been too lazy to download and organize them. Truth!

pretty and the penny: keeping your mason pearson brush looking like new

October 24, 2012By stephanie 1 Comment

Okay. So I admit, I used to think that a hair brush should never cost more than a twenty-dollar bill solid. I mean, how could a brush that is almost (sometimes more depending on the one you choose) $100 be more effective than my trusty Goody hairbrush picked up at the good ‘ol big box store for $14.99? All you need to do is run it through your hair, right?

That is true. A brush (or comb) is made to run through your hair to detangle and groom.

But, I am now the converted. I repent from my past and sinful ways of p’shawing a great brush. I do own a Mason Pearson and have been a devout follower for about 3 years. And let me tell you, a really REALLY good hair brush, not necessarily Mason Pearson, but a really REALLY good one, will help to create volume, enhance shine, reduce frizz and make your hair feel like silk. Whether you have a pixie, a bob, or hair down to your ass-ets, a good brush is like a great haircut.

I guess what I’m trying to say, is hair is one of our greatest accessories. We OBSESS over it. So maybe splurging on a more expensive brush is an investment … one that leads to healthier and better hair days more often.

But let’s get real. I’m not going to splurge on a new hair brush EVERY year. But they can get slimy looking, fuzzy, and the bristles can start to splay and break. Chances are, you replace your brush when it starts to look grimy. So, if you multiply purchasing a new $14.99 bush every year for ten years, perhaps splurging and maintaining a $60+ more durable brush to last you 10 years is a better option? Maybe? So here is how you can make that unbelievably expensive hairbrush last for a lifetime and cut the investment in half. Kind of.

It’s all about keeping it clean.

Yes – you may remove your shedding hair from your brush from time to time. But do you ever really get deep deep in there and clean the pads of the brush and the bristles. You know, all those places that have trapped in years of dry scalp flakes, old product, and gosh knows what else?  You don’t? Ugh.

Yeah. I’m giving you the side-eye right now.

You’ll need the following items to clean your favourite investment brush: a fine-tooth comb, a toothbrush, some hand soap. All things you normally have on hand. You get free toothbrushes from your dentist and you should always have hand soap around the house … so you’re not really spending any extra money doing this.

Step 1: Using your comb, remove and lift hair out of the bristles of your brush.

Step 2: Fill a small bowl with some lukewarm water and a drop or two of hand soap.

Step 3: Your toothbrush is your cleaning brush – dip it in the soapy water, and holding your investment brush facing down, start to work your cleaning brush GENTLY around the bristles. Then gently scrub the pad of the brush.

Step 4: Rinse off your cleaning brush and use the now wet cleaning brush to rinse away any soap from your investment brush.

Step 5: Wipe down the handle and back of your investment brush, give it a good shake or two to remove excess water, and let dry on a towel.


An investment or splurge on anything beauty should make you feel good in addition to doing a great job. At the same time, it’s up to YOU to protect your investment by maintaining it properly. Sure you may have spent  more money than you would have liked, but if you can make it last really really long, the cost per use will amount to pennies.