Monday, March 30, 2015

Wedding Hair - Why Using Your "Usual" Stylist May Not Be The Best Choice


So as anyone who reads this blog knows I do A LOT of weddings.  Sometimes I do just makeup, sometimes it's just the hair and sometimes it's both makeup and hair.  The more I do weddings and the more confident I get w/ both bridal makeup and hair I will be honest the more I enjoy having complete control over the entire look...that means being in charge of both the makeup and hair (at least for the bride).

Of course that is not always the case and I'm totally cool with that but I will say there has been more than one occasion where I have thought "Oh she would have looked better if she just let me do her makeup or her hair" when I haven't been in charge of both services.  

A lot of times when I'm not booked for hair it's because the bride has opted to use her "Usual Stylist" for her wedding day hair.  Now I'm not going to say that this is always a bad decision because it's not - there are plenty of salon hairstylists that are good at wedding updos and styling...but there are also a lot that aren't!

I think a lot of times brides feel "guilty" if they don't hire their regular hairstylist for their wedding day or they just assume they are a hair stylist and they cut/colour my hair great therefore they'll do my wedding hair great...but that's not always the case.  Do not feel like you are "cheating" on your usual stylist if you don't use them on your wedding day.  

So this isn't to say you shouldn't hire the person that cuts/colours your hair it's just important to ask some questions and make sure they'll be the right artist to achieve you wedding hair dream.



Here's some questions to ask or things to think about:

Do they do weddings often/Have they done a lot of weddings in the past? Ask your stylist this don't just assume they do.  There are a lot of hairstylists nowadays that don't want to do weddings or almost never do weddings.  Either because they don't like them or their specialty isn't updos or wedding styling.

How comfortable are they with Wedding Hairstyles? Some salon stylists are amazing and cut and/or colour but you ask them to do an updo or half updo and it's just not their forte.  This doesn't make them a bad stylist it just means it's not one of their strengths.  If they aren't strong in updos do you really want to risk their skills on your wedding day.

Are they willing to come to you on your Wedding Day? Weddings typically happen on Saturdays which of course is the busiest day in the salon.  Are they willing to leave the salon for several hours to work your wedding w/ you and your bridal party or do you have to go to the salon? 

 If you have to go to the salon how will this effect your timing for your wedding day?  Is this going to cause more stress or anxiety for you having to travel to and from the salon vs. getting your services in your home or a hotel where the artist comes to you?  More and more brides are opting to have mobile services for this reason.  It's just so much more stress free to have an artist or team come to you and your girls where you are!

If the stylist comes to you or you go to the salon what's the timing like? I've also seen several times where b/c the bride wants her usual stylist to do her hair she's had to get it done HOURS before the ceremony or pictures b/c that's the only time the stylist could fit her in.  Either the stylist came to her and did it super early before their Saturday salon hours or the bride went to the salon super early in the morning.  If you have an updo this might not be the end of the world as they are typically pretty sturdy if done properly but if you are wearing your hair down and you get it done hours before pictures or the ceremony you have a much stronger chance that they hair is going to fall and not look like you had hoped by time the ceremony comes around. 

Remember to ALWAYS do a trial with your usual stylist! If you do want to use your usual stylist make sure to book a hair trial with them...don't just chance it and think they will do exactly what you want on the day b/c they are use to cutting/colouring your hair.  I personally find even with my own work I do a better job on the hair the second time around.  I figure out little adjustments and things I want to fix for the wedding day.  The trial is as much a practice round for me as it is for the bride so it's VERY important!

If you aren't happy with the trial DON'T feel obligated to still use your regular stylist!  I've seen and heard this time and time again.  A bride does a trial w/ their stylist and they leave unhappy but then somehow magically hope/expect that their wedding day will turn out better.  Speak up at your trial.  If the stylist isn't getting your vision let them know so they can try to fix things they aren't mind readers lol!  If they still don't get it and you are doubting they'll get it on the wedding day FIND ANOTHER STYLIST FOR THAT DAY!!!  It's one of the most important days of your life and you're spending so much money on every detail you HAVE to hopefully LOVE...at least LIKE your hair!  DO NOT stick w/ a stylist if you are judging their wedding hair skills.  It will cause more stress for you and you'll actually resent them later if you hate your wedding hair.


Like I said above just b/c a stylist is amazing at cutting and colouring doesn't mean they understand or can execute wedding hairstyles.  It's a VERY different skill set for a stylist and truthfully a lot of stylists don't get that much practice at it and it's not heavily taught in school.

I don't cut or colour hair but I specialize in wedding hair...you wouldn't want me to cut or colour your hair b/c it would be a disaster but I feel pretty confident doing your wedding updo lol!

I've had it happen multiple times where a bride who I was doing makeup for contact me after and ask to do a hair trial b/c her regular stylist just didn't seem to get her vision.  I've also seen brides cry b/c they had their regular stylist do their hair while myself or my team has done their bridesmaids' hair and it's looked better.  And of course I've seen salon hairstylists do work that's amazed me where I've wanted their card lol!

All I'm saying is think about what's right for you on your wedding day and don't feel obligated to make a choice b/c you feel pressure or a sense of loyalty if it's not what's right or convenient on your wedding day.  

Friday, March 27, 2015

Collectiion XXII - Anti-Aging Skincare

As I get older I'm more and more concerned w/ aging and the signs of aging showing up on my face in particular.  So whenever I get the chance to try out new anti-aging products I of course jump on that.  Awhile back I was asked to test out some new products from a company called Collection XXII who are based in Quebec but formulated in Switzerland.  They are new to the anti-aging market just coming on the scene in 2009 w/ a single product.  Since then they've taken the past 4 years to formulate 4 products in total and are continuing to develop more.  I like when brands take time to develop and formulate a couple of good products vs. throwing a lot of mediocre products on the market just to create a "full line" to retail.

So all of their products are infused w/ their 4 "Secrets" which include: Collagen, Cavier, Gold & Grape Seed Oil.

Collagen - Helps skin's elasticity and helps prevent wrinkles. As we age collagen in the skin breaks down creating wrinkles, saggy skin and age spots.

Gold - Absorbs into the skin and creates a healthier glow.  Collection XXII gold flakes help open up the pores which helps the collagen penetrate the skin which makes for a more effective treatment.

Cavier - Helps to speed up the natural  production of collagen in the skin.  It's also rich in vitamins A, D, B1, B2, and micro-elements Co, Cu, P, Si, Zn.  Cavier extract helps firm the skin and provide optimal hydration.

Grape Seed Oil - Provides protection against sun damage and the astringent properties can tighten the skin.  It can really help with things like acne, dermatitis and eczema.  It also helps reduce age spots, stretch marks, sunburns and wrinkles.

The first product I got to try out was the Collagen Eye Mask XXII.  The patch targets the delicate area under the eyes and it helps reduce wrinkles, fine lines and diminish dark circles and puffiness. Pretty much issues all women (and men) face.  I really liked these patches and definitely felt that they were hydrating to the eye area.  I can't speak about any long term results as I only had the one set of patches to try the one time but I definitely felt like the skin around the eye was softer and more moisturized.  I'd definitely use these on or recommend these to brides on their wedding day.  A lot of brides don't get a lot of sleep before their wedding so I think a product like this would be great for moisturizing and de-puffing the eye area which would allow for better and smooth makeup application after.

I also got the chance to try Collagen Lip Mask XXII.  This patch also reduces fine lines and wrinkles by softening and hydrating the skin.  I had never used a patch like this before so this was unique to me.  Again like the eye patch I found it very hydrating.  I don't personally have a lot of wrinkles around the mouth area so I don't know if it would benefit me in that way but I imagine for someone who is a smoker something like this might be very beneficial to them as they tend to develop more or premature wrinkles around the mouth area.






Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Theatrical Wedding - Young People's Theatre

Last November I had the pleasure of working with Rebecca...probably one of the kindest and sweetest brides I had last season.  Right away during the trial we hit it off and actually had a few hidden connections!  We actually both studied Theatre at York University but didn't know each other b/c we were in different sections of the program and she was a year younger than me plus my friend Victoria actually stayed w/ her mom when Victoria was touring her one woman show this past Summer in London!  Not only that but when Rebecca spoke of her fiance Stephen she mentioned he was a Dramaturg at Young People's Theatre and I nodded my head...she asked if I knew what that was and I did (b/c of my theatre background...this was before we realized we both went to York lol)...I'm probably one of the only makeup artists (or non theatre ppl) to know what a dramaturg is so we definitely had a chuckle over that and she joked her fiance would want her to hire me just on that face alone lol!  Btw a dramaturg is someone who deals mainly with the research and development of plays and operas.  

So right off the top we obviously got along great...plus the trial went superbly (of course) so she locked down the day right away!  Which was actually great for her as I had a few brides interested in the date (and I actually ended up doing two weddings that day)...yes even in November ppl are getting married in Toronto!

Rebecca and Stephen's whole weddings was so unique and perfect for them and I really loved that aspect of it!  They actually met while working at Young People's Theatre and even though Rebecca no longer works there Stephen still does so they actually got to use the space for some of their wedding pictures and ceremony which they got to do on the stage!  How perfect is that for two people working in the theatre world!  I believe the show that season was To Kill A Mocking Bird so the courtroom stage set up was pretty perfect for a wedding ceremony lol!

For Rebecca's look I created a really beautiful side updo w/ a few small accent braids and overall I was really happy w/ how full I made her hair look b/c it was actually pretty fine in reality.  For her makeup we did a gorgeous natural champagne/brown eye w/ a winged liner and flared false lash and made the look really pop w/ a nice bold vibrant magenta lip!

I really love these pics that Mike Pochwat took b/c I felt he did a great job capturing some wonderful behind the scenes moments as well as the uniqueness of Rebecca and Stephen as a couple!  Can't wait to add these to my site!

 Love the eyes here!






Yeah...my station is usually a disaster after a wedding...I'm hygienic but not neat lol!



 Really wish my hand wasn't in the way of this shot as it's really beautiful lol!

 My usual "work face" aka "bitch face" lol

In the workshop of Young People's Theatre






On a final note I should add that Rebecca also wrote one of the kindest and most detailed reviews I've ever read...seriously!...how nice is that!?!

Short Version: Jessica is amazingly talented , and I think everyone should hire her!
Long Version:
I booked her for hair and make-up services for myself and my bridal party for my November 1, 2014 wedding. She was absolutely amazing, and I am so glad she was able to work my wedding. She made my wedding party and me look absolutely stunning. She created a look for me that was both natural and dramatic/vintage glam, which was exactly what I wanted and perfectly fit with the look and feel of my wedding.
My bridal party was completely composed of people who never ever wear make-up, and Jessica ensured that everyone had a natural look. She was also able to calm their fears of looking overly made-up (fears which were completely alleviated when they looked in the mirror). My make-up artist cousin raved about how everyone looked.
Beyond the looks, Jessica is utterly professional. She was always quick to respond to emails and provided me with thorough, detailed information. Jessica and her assistant were also amazing presences to have around on the wedding day. In addition to raving about their skill, my bridal party raved about what awesome people they were and what a great energy the added to the day. Honestly, it was like adding two more friends to the room. I really feel that Jessica and Amber helped me relax as I was getting ready.
Not only would I recommend Jessica to a friend, I loved her work (and her) so much, I plan to treat myself to future stylings when I have a special event. Why should my wedding day be the only day I look that good?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Miracle 10 Skincare and Peel


A few mths ago I had the pleasure of attending an awesome blogger event at the Miracle 10 Skincare Spa in Yorkville.  During the event we got to learn about the latest in skincare and makeup trends as well as have your own skin analyzed and assessed by the Miracle 10 skincare specialists.  At the end of the event we all received full size bottles of the Miracle 10 skincare system based on our skin type and needs.  We also were lucky enough to get a complimentary skin peel to be booked on another day! So overall I have to say a pretty awesome event w/ some pretty awesome swag!

I went away to Central America for 3 wks right after the event so I didn't want to start using the skincare system until I got back.  Plus I had to wait until the New Year to book my first peel b/c I was going to be in the sun a lot on my trip and you can't do a peel if you're going to be/or have been in the sun a lot.

For products in our gift bag we got to try out:

Cleanser - Cleansing dirt, oil, makeup etc. from the skin
Solution - For exfoliating and toning the skin
Sunscreen - Water and Sweat resistant, non-comedogenic (won't clog pores) and offers protection against premature aging and sun damage
AHA Gel - Advanced exfoliator that reduces build up of dead, lifeless skin.  Helps brighten the skin and improve the overall tone and texture of the skin - probably my fav. product in the system - also please be aware it may cause a bit of burning or itching when it's first applied (at least it does for me)
Light Serum - Hydrates and Soothes the skin.  Also helps to reduce fine lines and doesn't leave a greasy residue which is great for oily skin

So as you can see they were MORE than GENEROUS with their swag bag!  Also, feel free to check out their FAQs - it has lots of great answers about the products!

Anyone who reads this blog knows I do not have great skin...in fact especially considering my age I'd say it's quite problematic :( and I'm not going to lie here...it took about a mth for my skin to get use to the system and during that time my skin actually got worse...like a lot worse than it's been in ages! So bad that when I went to get my peel the woman giving it actually called in another esthetician to get a second opinion on some of the very deep/painful pimples I was getting.  They both agreed that I should stick w/ the system as it was probably just really deep cleaning my skin and pulling out/drawing the the surface a lot of the dirt, congestion and bacteria that's deep within my skin.

My skin has improved a lot since that first peel.  In fact I've now had 3 peels at the clinic and I really like what it's doing for my skin!


I've never actually had a peel before a couple of mths ago so it was a really cool process to me and my esthetician was great about talking me through all the steps and explaining what each step was for and the benefits of it.  I actually just had another peel yesterday and this time I took some pics and video of the process (which is also why there was a delay in my post...I wanted to wait till I had another peel).

It first started w/ cleansing of the skin and then next we did an optional (but actually my favourite) step called dermaplaning - it's an exfoliation treatment where a very fine blade is run over the face in order to remove dead skin and fine vellus hair (peach fuzz).  Afterward, I do find my makeup goes on the skin smoother and no you don't have to worry about hair growing back thicker or coarser on the face.

I actually took a short video of the procedure which you can see here!

video

After that the peel is applied to the skin.  I started w/ the most gentle lactic peel but last time I did the 30% Glycolic Peel..my skin is red for a bit after the procedure but it's nothing a little makeup can't fix.  And it's not that painful.  A little stingy but it's only on for a minute and w/ the fan blowing on my face I personally don't find it that bad at all. 

After that a soothing and hydrating mask is placed on the skin which is very cooling and relaxing after the peel.

After that they do this sort of neat dry ice type thing which is anti-inflammatory and helps disinfects the area...in this pic you'll see the "redness" from the peel.

I've already got my next peel booked at the Yorkville Miracle 10 Spa...definitely worth checking out!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Distillery District Winter Wedding


Last week I wrote about the beautiful engagement shoot my former bride Kim had last Fall so I figured it only right to share with you some of her gorgeous wedding pics from her Winter Wedding in Distillery District this past December!

Distillery District is always a popular destination for Toronto brides as it's one of the few places in the city that captures a sort of old world feel w/ it's cobblestone paths and brick buildings while still being very centrally located in the city!

Christmas time can be an especially fun time in Distillery District as it's also when they host their very popular Christmas Market.  This can be good and bad of course for weddings.  It can make for some very crowded and difficult picture moments but I have to hand it to Caitlin Free she did an amazing job with that!  In fact to see more pictures from Kim's wedding check out Caitlin's blog where she features lots of outdoor shots.  I really love how Kim worked her love of nature into her bouquet and wedding decorations.  It all had a very earthy and woodsy feel which was perfect for a Winter Wedding!

As I mentioned before Kim was a very natural bride and I actually went even more natural on the wedding day (as per her request).  I kept the eye makeup very light using only soft pink shadows and smudged brown liner.  I was able to convince her in the end to go w/ a few false individual lashes...thankfully...didn't want her bridesmaids outshining her lol ;)  We stuck w/ the airbrush foundation which really did create a flawless, light and airy canvas and covered up all the natural redness in her skin.  I love the soft, flushed glow on her cheeks and natural nude/pink lip.

I didn't do the hair for Kim but I did handle all the bridesmaids' makeup and my team member Becca did the bridemaids' hair.  Really fun group and a great bunch to spend a nice Dec. Sat morning with.  I really love the pics Caitlin took...seriously check out her blogpost...I told her she should submit them somewhere lol!



Really Great Pics of the Bridesmaids!






Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Perfect "Canadian" Engagement Shoot


I've mentioned before I think engagement shoots are a really important part of the whole wedding process.  I know a lot of couples don't see the value or importance of the added cost but I often explain it as a "practice run" before the wedding day.

Most ppl aren't comfortable or "naturals" in front of the camera so it allows them to practice and get a feel for what it's going to be like on the wedding day...and it's typically a lot more intimate and less chaotic than the wedding day so that can be good too!

Plus it allows the couple to get to know the photographer and vice versa.  You guys get to feel comfortable w/ each others styles/personalities and you (as the couple) get to see what works for you in posing and what you might what to talk to your photographer about or change up for the wedding day.

I also think it's really important when planning an engagement shoot to try to capture the essence of you as a couple.  If you like the outdoors incorporate that into the shoot, if you're big on city life and that sort of thing do a cityscape shoot...whatever it is it should try to capture your personalities.

Hair and makeup are of course an important element of the shoot too.  Now that doesn't mean every bride should get their hair and makeup done for the shoot but if it's within their budget I'd definitely recommend it as I find it really worth it.

For my one bride Kim who did her engagement shoot in the Fall she was able to do her makeup trial before her engagement shoot.  Now this doesn't always work out b/c of scheduling but it did on this day.  I'm really glad it did too b/c she really got to put the trial to good use and I in turn got some gorgeous engagement shoot pics to show you guys!

Just like getting use to the photographer and how you look in front of the camera seeing the makeup in person and seeing the makeup on camera can often take some getting use to.  Kim was a NO MAKEUP person so any makeup pretty much felt like a lot to her.  She actually thought the makeup in her engagement photos was too much...I'm pretty sure you'll disagree but this often happens with brides who aren't use to makeup.  I think brides that don't normally wear makeup will find it even more useful to hire a makeup artist for their engagement shoots than brides that do wear makeup b/c they'll make sure they look fresh and polished for their pics at a level they probably wouldn't be able to do on their own since they don't know how to do makeup at all lol...let alone for professional pictures!

As mentioned before Kim is a very "natural" girl so it only made sense for her and her (now husband) Kyle to get back to nature for the engagement shoot.  They did their shoot in the woods and on a lake in a canoe and the pictures by Caitlin Free are just gorgeous!

As mentioned before for Kim's makeup I kept it super natural and soft w/ a very natural brown/cream shadow combination, a flushed cheek and a soft nude lip.  I used airbrush foundation which was great for evening out Kim's naturally reddish complexion but still keeping it looking flawless and lightweight!

I think you'll agree with me kind of impossible to say this is "too much makeup" lol...I love these pics and I think they look natural and gorgeous and really capture the couple beautifully!




Love this shot!

Monday, March 2, 2015

From Day To Night Workshop


A couple of wks ago I had the pleasure of doing the makeup and hair for Award Winning Wedding Photographer Lisa Mark's first workshop.  You may remember we worked together in the Fall on that beautiful styled shoot on the cliff that showcased the changing of the leaves. She put this workshop together to help newer photographers see and learn some of her tricks and techniques for lighting wedding shots during the day and night.

I thought this would also be a fun opportunity for me to do what I wanted with a "bride" (since normally I obviously have to do what they want lol).  The couple for the day was real life couple Andrea & Billy and they were really lovely and great sports b/c it was a REALLY long day and I'm sure tiring to be modeling for Lisa + 10 students for both the Day & Night Portion of the workshop (they agreed to do the whole day after the original night time couple cancelled).  It also was a great opportunity for them as Lisa was booked on their real wedding day so I guess getting these pictures is kind of like the next best thing lol!

For the day look I wanted to work w/ pinks and grays on the eyes.  I wanted to keep it soft and glowy b/c I knew I was going to go a lot more dramatic for the night portion.  The cooler tones worked beautiful w/ Andrea's pale skin and dark hair. Airbrush foundation was used to create her flawless complexion.  For the hair I wanted it loose w/ curls pulled to one side.  I never met Andrea before but I knew from the pics I saw she was going to need extensions to get the fullness and length I wanted.  And can I just say without meeting her I did an amazing job choosing the colour for the extensions lol!  They were a PERFECT match!  I got a couple of nice pics from Lisa and one of the other photographers at the shoot Johanne Guignard (who probably took my fav beauty shots that day).

For the night look I wanted something  much more dramatic as I knew the lighting was going to be very dark.  I think Andrea was a little scared at first by the intensity but once the lights went down in the studio she realized it all made sense...which is something I'm constantly trying to explain to clients when it comes to a more intense look at the reception lol!  I went w/ a sophisticated side updo. Bold grey/black smokey eye and a deep berry red lip.  I personally believe in dark lighting and w/ the right features/skin tone there is no reason a person can't rock both a bold lip and intense eye.  It's definitely not a look for the shy or meek but it's personally something I wear on the regular when going out.

So overall some nice additions for my website!

Photographer - Lisa Mark Photography

Photographer - Lisa Mark Photography

Photographer - Johanne Guignard

Photographer - Johanne Guignard

Photographer - Johanne Guignard

Photographer - Johanne Guignard

Photographer - Johanne Guignard

Little Behind The Scenes Action 
Photographer - Johanne Guignard