Thursday, 30 April 2015


Red lipstick.  Now that’s a statement!

I was asked by Kayla Short, better known as Short Presents, to be a guest blogger this week as she celebrates East Coast talent. You've probably seen her style and lifestyle blog, or her face on television, talking about the latest fashion trends. Be sure to check her out her blog, and follow her on instagram @shortpresents.  She has more dynamic energy than anyone I know. And she rocks red lipstick so much that I chose to make this the topic du jour. This one's for you, Kayla.

As timeless as a strand of pearls, chic updo and the quintessential little black dress.  Nothing says sophisticated more seductively or easily as a swipe of the scarlet shade on a woman’s lips.  It’s sure to make you look and feel downright sexy. Complete your glam look with beautiful skin, a bright eye and a feline flick of black liner, and you’ve got a sultry look that’s always in style.

But, you might object, “ I can’t wear red lipstick!” The answer is yes, you can! You’ve just got to find the right shade for your skin tone.
A great red will brighten your complexion, while the wrong hue can make you look drawn and tired.

Here’s a general guide to choosing your perfect red hue:

Pale/Fair Cool Skin: Choose a cool shade of red or berry, and stick with blue undertones. Light pinkish reds are stunning on you.

Olive Skin: Warm undertones of orange or yellow work best for you. Coral reds work beautifully as well as more vibrant orange-reds.

Medium Skin: Select a neutral mid-tone red. Brown undertones work great for you.

Dark/Tan Skin: Look for intense colour. You can wear deep wines and berry shades. Anything from cool blue undertones to warm brick hues can work beautifully.

The best tip I can give you is let your eye be your guide.  Head to a makeup counter, select some shades you love and start experimenting. Try them on (sanitized, of course!) and see what suits you best. Bringing along a trusted friend or ask for the the advice of a sales associate.

Also pick up a lip liner while you’re at it. Nothing gives a red lip longer lasting power.

Play around with the finish.  Maybe you love a great matte. Perhaps topping your lipstick with gloss is what you love.  Or a creamy satin texture feels just right. And don’t forget the new liquid lipsticks that have taken the market by storm.  They go on liquid, as a gloss would, but provide full-on opaque colour.

Here is Emma Watson rocking a gorgeous red lip

Pictured are just some of my red lip picks. From top left (counter clockwise):

Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in Bang (bright orange-red)
Nars Audacious Lipstick in Jeanne (cherry red)
Rimmel Kate Lipstick in #1 (neutral slightly blue-based true red)
Bite Beauty Cashmere Lip Cream in Rioja (deep red)
Mac Lipstick in Ruby Woo (matte vivid blue-red)
Vasanti Love Brights Gel Matte lipstick in Unconditional Love (deep matte orange with a touch of coral)
Stila Color Balm Lipstick in Natasha (spicy red)

Thursday, 19 March 2015


It dawned on me the other day as I had about 3 minutes to throw on some makeup for an event, that when it comes down to brass tacks, a woman needs very few products to create instant allure.  It's not that this is a really a startling revelation, but a reminder that however you want to sum it up, “if you could only have x number of products” or “if you were stranded on a desert island," it’s these core products that are our must-haves. The basics that make us feel alive, youthful, and glowing.

Coincidentally, these also happen to be the products that create what is possibly the most flattering look for so many women: the bronzed bombshell.  Effortless, subtly defined, everyday glow.

Here's everything you need to get this glowing look shown on Victoria's Secret supermodel, Candace Swanepoel.

Face:  Smashbox – Camera Ready BB Cream with SPF 35 (available at Shoppers Drug Mart)
Gives a natural everyday coverage in a range of five shades to cover almost all skin tones. The beauty of this BB cream is it’s buildable coverage to give additional correction for problem areas of the skin.  Primes, protects, hydrates and corrects. 

Bronzer: The Body Shop - Baked to Last Bronzer (available at The Body Shop)
Creates a sun-kissed glow with a subtle shimmer. Available in two shades for fair to tan skin.

Eyeshadow:  Turbine Cosmetics - Mineral Eyeshadow #50 (available at Turbine Fashion)
From the Earthy Neutrals collection, this medium neutral brown will subtly define the eyes.

Eyeliner: Lise Watier Waterproof Eyeliner – Brun Noir #672 (Shoppers Drug Mart)
A long-lasting waterproof eyeliner that glides on the eyelids for a fine, precise contour that lasts and lasts. Noir/Black is always a great option too!

Mascara:  L’oreal Voluminous Butterfly Effect (Shoppers Drug Mart)
One of the best drugstore mascaras there is, it delivers incredibly fanned out and bold, fluttering volume. The rubber bristles ensure lashes aren’t clumpy and it’s available in regular and waterproof formulas.

Lips:  Stila – Nude Interlude Color Balm Lipstick (Shoppers Drug Mart)
Ultra-creamy and hydrating, this gives lips moisture, color and shine in one swipe. Available in three shades, to suit light to tan skin tones, the shade Sophie is a great shade for medium skin tones.

Eyebrows:  Gosh – Eyebrow Pencil (Shoppers Drug Mart)
A dual-ended powder-based pencil to fill out and form eyebrows, this has a built-in brush for ultimate convenience.  Available in several shades, there’s a tone to suit every brow. Remember to use short feathery strokes for the most natural looking brows.

For convenient one-stop shopping, head over to Sunnyside Mall, Bedford, NS where all these products are sold. 

Saturday, 14 March 2015


Recently I received the newly reformulated Clarins Everlasting Foundation, and I was very excited to get my hands on it. As a makeup artist who works mainly with special events and wedding scenarios, I'm always on the lookout for a high-performance long-lasting base makeup. I'm also well aware that many women love a fuller coverage. The challenge has always been finding one that wasn't thick and caky; Estee Lauder Double Wear, I'm looking at you. I'm familiar with the previous version of Everlasting and frankly, wasn't a fan.  It was too heavy and chalky for me. Well, let me say that this new version is a vast improvement.

When I talk about great advancements in ingredients and formulation of cosmetics in recent years, and the value of splurging on the superior quality of a premium product, Clarins hits the nail on the head with this one.

I've been wearing Everlasting for four days in a row now. You could say I'm a little addicted... and I can confidently give it two thumbs way up!

Here's why I love it:

Packaging: A beautiful frosted glass bottle with a brushed gold top. I appreciate the brushed gold as it doesn't show fingerprints easily.  It comes with a pump for a perfect dispensing of the product. I love the packaging, true to Clarins' high-quality French style.

Coverage: This isn't a wimpy foundation. I would call it full natural coverage that does not look obvious or caky. I can't stress enough how flawless it makes my skin look, yet it doesn't sit on top like a mask of makeup. One pump is great for daily natural wear. If you want more coverage, two pumps does the trick nicely without looking thick.

Feel: EF feels supple and beautiful on my skin. Not dry, tight, powdery or sticky. It seems to set itself but I applied a very sheer finish of translucent powder as I do to set all liquid or cream makeup. I didn't use a primer, just my Lise Watier Sunsmart Universel for UV protection. A bonus is that this has SPF 15 built in, but I'm prudent when it comes to UV protection. I applied it with Real Techniques buffing brush, one of my favourites for foundation. One of the ingredients is quinoa seed extract which is supposed to have moisturizing properties. It felt comfortable as I applied it and after it set, not tight or heavy as many full coverage long-wearing foundations do. It didn't feel greasy at all. Impressive. 

Finish: This gives a radiant demi-matte finish, great for young to mature skin. It looks beautiful even over areas with pores and fine lines. This is coverage you can get up close and personal with, and - I can't laud this fact enough - still feel confident that you don't look like you have a cake-face. Super-impressive. 

Wear: I applied EF at 9am and removed my makeup at 8pm and this really held up! My skin didn't get overly oily after a full day wearing this. I do get dewy as the day goes on (blame those Mediterranean genes) but there was no breakdown of the product around areas where I get oiler, on and around my nose, on my forehead. Coverage was still great right up until I removed my makeup. 18 hours is the claim. I don't plan on staying up that late but if I do, I'll be wearing this foundation!

Shade: I wore EF in the shade Honey, a beautiful luminous golden colour in the NC35 range (for MAC reference) or 128 in Make Up For Ever. I preferred this shade over either of those on my skin. It will get a tad light for me in the summer when I get tanned but there are 19 shades to choose from so no worries there. Even for multi-ethnic skin tones. Can I get a "hallelujah?!"

How it stacks up to its competition: This formula is as good as, if not superior to Dior Star and Nars Luminous Weightless Foundations, both highly regarded by me and other bloggers, in the long-wearing category with similar medium/full coverage. I found it incredibly light, breathable, with exceptional coverage. Yet the most impressive thing was how it was very easy to blend; there was no urgent need to get it worked in so quickly for fear it would start to set too soon. That was the worry with Dior Star and other long-wear foundations like Mac Pro-Longwear. And unlike Nars, which covered great and looked beautiful after working a fair bit to blend in, this buffed in with the brush easily and perfectly. No need to use fingers over areas around the nose or use the Beauty Blender for fear it looked thick. It just sits perfectly.

Overall, I would say the bar has been set at a new high in the long-wearing foundation category. 

This photo is me wearing just one pump for a natural day look, 4 hours after application (no flash):

And here I used two pumps with more dramatic evening makeup, 3 hours after application (no flash):

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Playing with Photography & Styling - A Spring 2014 Look with Clarins Opalescence

Clarins has launched the Opalescence Collection for spring 2014 and it can't come soon enough. I'll take the liberty for speaking on behalf of women in the Northern Hemisphere when I say that this has been a long, hard winter.  Bring on fresh colour and warm sunshine!

I felt like getting creative and shooting some beautiful makeup on a lovely woman so I called on my friend Ashley.  She is such a natural beauty and I knew she was perfect for what I had in mind.  Romantic, vibrant, fresh, luminous, and glowing were all words going through my mind as I did her makeup. I went for a smokey eye, but kept it light by adding highlight and staying away from a dramatic liner.  Her lips are washed in a sheer pop of vibrant coral, the icing on this spring confection.  Feeling satisfied with Ashley's final look, I whipped out my Nikon D3100 and started shooting.  We had a lot of fun. and despite the fact that I have no photographic training whatsoever, I'm thrilled to share the results!

The Makeup:

This collection includes an Eye Quartet Mineral Palette in Vibrant Light, Instant Light Radiance Boosting Complexion Base, Cream Blush, and Joli Rouge Brilliant lipstick.  The Cream Blush shade is 02 Candy and the lipstick is 20 Coral Tulip.

Instant Light Radiance Boosting Complexion Base in 02 Champagne warms up the skin and gives a luminous glow. It's got a light peachy tint to it and brightens up sallow or dull skin, while the light texture is moisturizing. The finish is transparent.

The eyeshadows in the Vibrant Light quartet complement each other nicely and have an iridescence to them that gives a gorgeous opalescent glow to the eye makeup.  Shades are a satin-shimmer pale pink, orchid purple, mid-tone grey, and sparkly white.

I used the pale pink in the inner corner and highlight under the brow bone, the purple across the lid and deepened up the crease and outer v using the grey.  A touch of the sparkly white on the inner corner and middle of the lid gave extra dimension.  I lined the bottom lid with a vibrant purple liner, smudging out with the purple shadow.  Soft black liner to the top lash line, and topped it all off with 2 coats of Clarins Be Long Mascara.

Who wouldn't love a cream blush named Candy?  This shade gives a glowing flush of colour that looks so natural. I applied it with MAC duo-fibre brush #130, my preference for cream blush. Any way you apply it though, the texture is light and merges perfectly with skin, leaving no line of demarcation.

The jewel of this whole look for me is this glorious lipstick.  It's sublime!  Sheer, glossy and vibrant with a scent and taste of candy.  Ashley and I both fell in love! It's packaged as a lipstick but gives the shine of a gloss and just enough colour payoff.  It's super-moisturizing too, more like a balm.

I hope you enjoy these photos.  I'm definitely bitten by the bug for styling and photographing my makeup creations.  A huge thanks to Ashley for being a wonderful model.

Stay warm and if spring would just hurry up!

Get The Look - Ancient Pietra from Vasanti Cosmetics

Being an active member of the online makeup community, I feel that it keeps me in touch with what's hot.  What women want.  Taupe eyeshadow is always in demand.

The eyeshadow duo I used to get this look, Ancient Pietra from Vasanti, is a glorious example of taupe at it's best.  Silvery, shimmery true taupe, not too cool or warm. And the buttery goodness of the blonde gold shade with it makes for a great combo.

I paired this eye look with a neutral brownish-nude to keep the focus on Avril's beautiful blue eyes.

Texture is superb, like all Vasanti duos.  The shades are super-pigmented, apply easily and blend like a dream.

Click here to visit Vasanti's blog, I Love My Colour, and get the lowdown on the how-to for this beautiful and versatile day-to-night look.

Get The Look - Ellora Caves Eyeshadow Duo from Vasanti

The third instalment in the series featuring Vasanti Cosmetics new eyeshadow duos, Ellora Caves is right up my alley...or cave - so to speak!

Chocolate brown and beige, so warm and flattering.  These shimmery shadows are soft and buttery.  They are richly pigmented and blend beautifully. I finished the look on Stephanie by adding a warm brick red using Chile lipstick.

Check out how to get the look yourself by clicking here to visit Vasanti's blog, I Love My Colour

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Sexy Smoldering Smokey Eye with Vasanti Forbidden City Duo

Here's look number two from my Vasanti blog series.

There's nothing more sexy - or easier - than a simple smokey eye.  Mission accomplished with this new duo.  One side is a sparkling black shade while the other is a matte black.  With a few swipes of shadow, some liner and mascara, this is one of the easiest looks ever! The shadows are very pigmented and easy to blend. I paired it with a soft pink lip in Pretty Poland.

Follow the steps on the blog here to get details on how I did makeup.