beauty

MY NEW MAMA MINIMALIST MAKEUP KIT

minimalist mama makeup.jpg

Time is short to get fancy these days, but as a makeup artist, I still like to whip my face into shape before I leave the house.

I'm aware that most people would not consider the above image a minimalist kit by any means, but for someone with a giant arsenal of beauty products for work, this is about as simple as it gets for me. I should mention that I don't wear makeup every day. When it's just me, Felix and Pearl at home I'm usually barefaced (or doing a face mask!) and some days I just stick to tinted moisturizer, curled lashes and lip balm. But with this mini kit, I can do a full face when I want to turn myself out a little more nicely for something special.

I thought it might be helpful to share the products that I've found are perfect for life as a new mama. Everything in here is chosen to help you look as awake and revitalized as possible, even after countless sleepless nights.

  • MAC Strobe Cream. I blend a drop or two of this with my moisturizer, or put it on alone as a luminous base under foundation. This basically makes me look awake after a long night.
  • Rouge Bunny Rouge Sketches on Water Tinted Moisturizer. This is by far the best tinted moisturizer I've tried. It tries down beautifully into a velvety finish, but isn't at all drying. The amount of coverage is pretty generous too, and it covers redness well. I wear this when my skin is looking decent and I just want to even out my skin tone a bit.
  • Josie Maran Vibrancy Argan Oil Foundation Fluid. I just started using this foundation a few weeks ago after a consultation at Sephora. I was looking for a natural foundation in a liquid formula, that was a bit quicker to apply than my beloved RMS "Un" Cover-up, which is a cream formula. It is the only foundation that's designated as a skincare product at Sephora, and indeed it's very moisturizing and soothing thanks to the base of argan oil. A little goes a very long way; the formula is lightweight yet a tiny half-pump is all you need for a medium-to-full coverage finish of the whole face. Special thanks to my friend Kate for sending me a Sephora gift card as a new mama present - so thoughtful! 
  • RMS Beauty "Un" Powder. I use this non-toxic, featherlight powder to set the Vibrancy foundation, which doesn't dry down completely otherwise due to the oil formula. This powder sets it perfectly.
  • Beauty Blender. I use this sponge to apply the foundation rather than use my fingers. With my dry skin, pressing the product on rather than blending with fingers is the best way to disguise any dry texture or flakiness.
  • NARS Blush in Gaiety. The most cheerful pink blush that makes all skin tones look instantly perked up.
  • Stila All Over Shimmer in Rose Gold. Sadly this has recently been discontinued. I would recommend NARS Illuminator or Fenty Beauty Matchsticks Shimmer Skinsticks as an alternative. Applied to the cheekbones, it gives a lovely luminosity that just isn't there when you're feeling exhausted.
  • Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade in Taupe. It's really hard to find a cool/ashy brow shade that doesn't warm up in tone as the day goes on, but this one nails it. It's waterproof and stays on like a dream.
  • Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler. I never skip the step of curling my lashes anymore, as giving them a quick crimp helps me feel that much more awake.
  • Amaterasu Ultra Volume Mascara in Black. I discovered Amaterasu via LUX Beauty Boutique and instantly understood why this is one of their bestselling products. This tubing style mascara coats the lashes, adding tonnes of volume. It is waterproof and doesn't come off with oil or sweat, yet is removed easily with warm water. I would recommend it to any new mama as it lasts through the sweat and tears of postpartum life, and also to brides or anyone out dancing all night!
  • Amaterasu Liquid Eyeliner in Black. This eyeliner doesn't budge! It's the only liquid eyeliner that I can wear without a primer and it will stay on all day. It even unseated my former favourite (Stila Stay All Day Liquid Eyeliner) from its throne. The applicator is also perfect and allows you to do a super thin or quite thick line. Also, if you have to layer it to fix mistakes, it doesn't gum up. It is perfection.
  • Make Up For Ever Aqua XL Color Paint in I-80. This iridescent pink-beige cream color is the perfect daytime eyeshadow. It goes on super smooth, blends beautifully and creates a fully waterproof base for anything I'd want to put over top of it.
  • Skyn Iceland Berry Lip Fix. This is the most velvety and lovely lip treatment. I apply a thick layer after brushing my teeth in the morning and let it soak in while I go about my day.
  • Bridlewood Soaps Winter Rescue Lip Balm. This medicated lip balm is lovingly made by my friend Jen in Orangeville, Ontario. It is incredibly soothing and moisturizing and I keep one in my makeup bag, and one beside the bed to apply at night.
  • Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Fiore. I packed this in my hospital bag, and it's still a mainstay in my new mama kit because it instantly makes me happy when I wear it. Nothing zhushes up the face like a bright lipstick. My signature shade is actually "La Malicieuse" by Chanel, but that one is not nearly as long-lasting for mama life (ain't nobody got time to reapply constantly), which is why I choose the Stila one for this season of life.

Hope you found this useful!

MAKE UP FOR EVER AQUA XL REVIEW

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!

work in progress | beauty lookbook

Sometimes I feel like I am flooding this blog and my social media with new work and other updates. Other times, I get so wrapped up in the early or mid-stages of a bunch of projects that I suddenly realize I haven't shared anything in ages. During these cold winter months, when I have a wee respite from shooting, this is my time to dream up ideas and nurture the early stages of new work. In an effort to break the silence during the quieter times of year, I'm introducing a new series called "Work in progress," where I'll share yet-to-be finished projects and other things I'm in the middle of doing.

For this first post, here are some images from a shoot I recently did with my friend, Jenna. If you look at the photos from left to right, you may notice that her eye makeup grows increasingly more dramatic. This will be part of the eye makeup intensity guide from my Beauty Lookbook.


I've been working on this lookbook for over two years now, as it's not an urgent project so I only get to work on it when I have free time. I'm determined to finish it up this spring, however, so I'm shooting the final images and wrapping up the writing. The purpose of these images is to give clients a point of reference they can use to describe to me how intense they'd like their eye makeup. Does it seem a bit much to do a whole shoot just based on eye makeup? Maybe. But all my new initiatives are based on streamlining communication so I can better serve my clients, and that means developing custom tools and guides. Anything that presents something highly subjective (e.g. a smoky eye look) in a clear and objective way helps bridge the gap between a client and makeup artist's interpretations. Crystal clear communication is a beautiful thing!

I'm working on a bunch of other things behind the scenes right now, but I'll save those for future posts. Special thanks to Jenna for modelling!

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