I recently photographed this lovely young lady, Darby, at my home studio. I had been itching to do a few indoor creative shoots during the tail end of this winter, so when I found Darby and her magnificent mane of pink hair, I was instantly excited to photograph her. I created a subtly mermaid-inspired makeup look with iridescent pastel tones using the Yaby Cosmetics World of Pearl Paint pre-set palette, which I would highly recommend. I wanted to let her naturally perfect skin shine through, so I used only a small amount of Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Foundation. On her lips I used Sephora Collection Ultra Shine Lip Gloss in Reflex Frosty White.

Darby, thanks so much for modelling for me. I wish you the best of luck in all your adventures.

Many thanks to my friend Katryna Rae for lending me the beautiful ombrรฉ backdrop!


Maison Crรจme de la Crรจme is not your average beauty boutique. In both its opulent setting and unique product line, there is nothing standard about its approach. When owner Akosua Nyarko was conceptualizing her shop, she planned to offer products that couldn't be found anywhere else, which is what led her to focus on customized beauty goods.

For example, a customer can arrive at their newly opened beauty lounge in Sherwood Park, AB with a specific idea or even a vague imagining of a lipstick shade, and Nyarko and her team will whip up an entirely customized lipstick right in front of her eyes. They also offer custom face oils and self-guided fragrance creations, as well as nail glosses, hair extensions, ready-to-wear perfumes and a large variety of mink eyelashes.

The lashes, which were their first products, have developed a cult following through online sales before the opening of the beauty lounge. They've been worn by many celebrities, most notably by Rihanna (!!!) and are also stocked by Edmonton's LUX Beauty Boutique.

I recently dropped by the beauty lounge for a tour and to experience a custom lipstick creation. The process began with a conversation about what kind of lip colour I had in mind. I told them I prefer bold colours, but was open to anything they thought might look nice for the holiday season. One of Crรจme de la Crรจme's makeup artists, Sondra, began the design process with me by mixing together various "colour truffles" on a palette until she reached a desired shade. She created three options for me and invited me to try each on in turn. Keep reading to see which one I chose!

Yes, in the end I chose the darkest shade of the three, a deep berry colour. I loved the pink and nude tones, but this one seemed just right for an evening look for the holidays! Once we decided on the colour, I was asked to choose a scent that could be added to the lipstick. I decided on "sugared strawberry."

Above, you can see the colour applied at full intensity, straight from the tube. The formula is matte but very creamy so it glides on easily. Below, I've blotted is off a bit with a tissue for a more muted, stained effect, which has a lot of staying power. Sondra recorded the exact recipe she used to create my custom colour and stored it in my customer file, so when I am ready for a refill, (which I will be!) it's all in their records.

While Sondra completed the mixing and moulding process of the full-size lipstick, I had an opportunity to explore the space a little more. As I mentioned, nothing about Maison Crรจme de la Crรจme is ordinary, so it's not surprising that Nyarko had all the furniture and packaging custom designed to her specifications. The result is a rococo-inspired wonderland that is as comfortable as it is ethereal.

Aksoua, thank you so much for inviting me to visit your magical space and experience the joy of a custom lipstick creation. I can't wait to come back!

Maison Crรจme de la Crรจme 

Unit 182-150 Chippewa Road

Sherwood Park

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It's been a while since I posted a product review, but I had so much fun testing out this collection that I hope to post many more reviews in the near future! My friends at MAKE UP FOR EVER sent over their Aqua XL Eye Pencils, released in collaboration with singer Charli XCX. This collection contains 20 boldly coloured pencils in five different finishes: matte, diamond, satin, iridescent and metallic. The "XL" in the name stands for extra-long lasting formula, which uses a unique blend of ingredients to offer impressive durability, as well as a vegetable wax that gives strong colour payoff. I can definitely confirm that all the pencils in this collection have crazy staying power. They also apply and blend beautifully. 

Here's an image of the full range of shades:

Rather than show you swatches, which has never really been my thing, I thought it would be more fun to show you how the products look in context. My cousin Tara stepped in to model three different looks using this pretty fabulous collection. On her lips, she is wearing MAKE UP FOR EVER Natural Rouge Lipstick in N4 (a pink-beige) with all three looks.

First up, I did a very simple two-tone pastel look using the seafoam M-30 and lilac M-92 pencils. I also used the charcoal M-14 shade to tightline her eyes by applying it to the upper and lower waterline of her eyes. Anchoring pale eyeliners with a deeper tone along the lash line provides a subtle bit of contrast and actually helps show the pastel shades off much more than if you'd used them alone.

For the second look, I wanted a more lived-in look that allowed me to test out if the shades play nicely together. I combined the coppery M-42 and the aubergine M-80, blending them with my fingers for a smoky effect. Essentially, I smudged them enough that they became eyeshadow more than eyeliner, and they blended really smoothly under my touch.

For the third look, I decided to do a more graphic combination of colours. I started by lining the outer two thirds of her eyes with the taupe S-50 pencil. I layered the royal blue M-22 on top, on her top lashline only and added a bit of the chocolate brown M-60 just along the lashline at the outer corners of her eyes. I finished by adding the light turquoise M-26 in the inner corners of her eyes. The pencils go on silkily but dry quickly enough that the colours don't bleed into each other, which is key for super defined colourful looks.

I would recommend this collection to any makeup artist, as it has a bit of everything and the possibilities for different looks you can create with it are virtually unlimited. The quality is so high and colour intensity is great.  It was the sheer ease of application and blendability that actually impressed me the most. I look forward to playing around with these waterproof beauties all summer!