Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Power of Red

So Fall is officially here which means I can start pulling out one of my fav. makeup trends - "The Red Lip".  Although, I hate to call it a "trend" b/c IMO a great red lip never goes out of style and always has it's place in Fashion.  It is the easiest and quickest way to bring your look from casual to glam in less then 30 seconds.  Everyone is always about the smokey eyes when they want to look done up but I really believe we have to give more credit to the Red Lip! 

With the popularity of shows like Mad Men on the rise I find a strong lip for Fall is even more popular.  I mean lipstick was an essential part of a woman's wardrobe back then and a well done lip can be a great accessory to any look! 

Nowadays, we don't put as much effort into getting ready like back then and I think that's often why lipstick is pushed aside for it's lighter, less formal counterpart lipgloss.  We often tend to look at lipstick...esp. Red Lipstick as a very formal thing that can only be worn out at night or on special occassions but I don't think that's true at all!  I frequently rock the Red Lip during the day and yes I do get a few glances...I think they are good glances ;).  But that's what it's all about.  You have to have confidence to wear a Red Lip b/c it does call attention to you but what's wrong w/ a little attention every now and then. 

One of the biggest things I hear all the time is women saying I want to find the perfect red or oh yeah it looks great on you but I CAN'T wear it!  I'm hear to say YES, you can WEAR red!  You just have to find the right red!  And in truth you just have to get use to yourself in it.  When I first started wearing Red I'm not going to lie I felt really self-conscious and uncomfortable like ppl were staring at me but now I feel empowered and in control...amazing what a little lipstick can do ;)

Yes a Red Lip is a little more high maintenance then say your usual gloss but that's not always a bad thing...on a positive note I eat and drink less b/c I don't want to mess up my lipstick lol!  Although, a great tip is to drink from a straw...I drink everything from a straw and it removes a lot less lipstick then drinking straight from a glass or gently lick  your lips before you take a sip from a glass it will help stop the transfer of
lipstick to the glass.

When rocking a Red Lip one of the most important things is to have CLEAN and EVEN lines!  You can use lipliner to help w/ this but another great tip I find is to define your lines and boundaries w/ a bit of concealer.  I use a square tip brush and take a bit of concealer and just mark my edges around my mouth a bit and blend...this cleans up any red that might bleed outwards and it allows you to achieve really sharp edges which I'm super anal about on set for shoots!  Another important thing to remember...always exfoliate your lips if they are dry and flakey before wearing Red Lipstick...dry, chapped, flakey lips NEVER look good esp. NOT w/ Red Matte Lips!  Plus this is a big prob for a lot of ppl in the Winter so something to watch out for...always moisturize you lips!

Here's some pics of me using the concealer technique.  Sorry I'm no model and the lighting wasn't great in my bathroom lol!  I also should have powdered a bit more before I started to remove the shine...but whatever lol!
Also you want to be very careful to not walk around w/ Red Lipstick on your teeth...which I unfortunately have done before :(  An easy trick to solve this is to put you finger in your mouth and pull it out.  It will remove access lipstick from your lips.
See all the excess lipstick!

So I also took a bunch of pictures of myself w/ a variety of Red Lipsticks...some flattering and some not so much lol!  I also took a picture of myself w/ no lipstick and one w/ a nude lipstick and gloss combo...another popular look in my repetoire.  I did this so that you can see the difference just a touch of colour and lipstick can bring to the face and how it changes everything about how I look.  There is nothing different about my makeup in any of the looks other then the lipstick.  Even if you look at the pics above you can see my foundation is pretty natural, just some mascara, touch of cream blush and my brows filled in (this is a necessity).  In fact I don't even really wear eyeliner anymore during the day and yet when I wear Red Lipstick everyone thinks I'm "done up" eyeliner or eyeshadow and I still look polished and that's impressive to me!
No Lipstick
Nude Lipstick/Lipgloss Combo
This is the FIRST Red Lipstick I EVER bought for myself and still my Go To Shade on MANY occasions!  It is also the Red Lipstick Featured in the first 3 pics!  I also used a lipliner in this pic.  It is a very Matte lipstick which can be a bit too dry for some.
MAC Viva Glam I
Without a Lipliner
Another Fav Red of mine and Featured in the Finger in the Mouth Pics lol!
MAC Cremesheen Party Line
Okay here's some other Reds
This ones a bit too much on the browny side for me personally but that doesn't mean it might not look FABULOUS on you!
Yaby LC025
The next one is a bit too bright for's okay but I prefer my reds a bit more deep. 
Don't know the colour sorry.
Too orange IMO
Yaby LC020 Chilli Hot Hot
Here's a Really Deep Red...Doesn't Look Amazing here but I really like it actually w/ a Vampy Smokey Eye for Night's Out!
MAC Media
If you want to ease your way into Reds you can always start w/ a pinkier, lighter red
Yaby LC255
Another Great way to start wearing Reds is w/ a are two of my Favs
Yaby LC267
OCC Lip Stain in Vanity (This product also works great as a blush in a pinch)

There are a million other shades of Red out there but that gives you an idea about how different Reds can look from person to person.  So experiment and find the Right Red for YOU!  It's only lipstick afterall...if you don't like it rub it off and start again!

Oh one final image of me Rocking the Red...this is out in the "Real World" at Dinner last wk not just my Bathroom lol...not the best quality sorry taken w/ a Blackberry Phone.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Mad Men Goes Country

So yesterday I had the pleasure of working w/ photographer Sian Melton and Headmistress creator Jillian Wood on Jillian's Spring 11 Campaign for Headmistress Accessories .  You may remember I've mentioned and used Jillian's awesome accessories a couple of times in the past few mths on various editorials I've worked on.   Her stuff is hand crafted, gorgeous and is awesome enough to make a statement but not so over the top that you look like a fool...just really really cool!

I was so excited when Sian and Jillian approached me about this project b/c I really believe in and dig what Jillian is doing and I've been a fan for awhile.  In past shoots Sian has done the photography as well as the makeup & hair...b/c she's super talented like that.  But this time she wanted to just focus on the photographic end of things so that's where I came in. 

The theme was Women of Mad Men Go awesome is that theme!  I'm a huge Mad Men fan so Sian didn't have to do much more then mention the show and I was on board lol!  I think Sian and I have spent at least a couple of conversations now idolizing the amazingness that is Joan's chichis I just love the style.  Sometimes I wish we put that much effort into how we looked nowadays...I mean the women really cared about how they looked back then...they wore lipstick and got their hair done...they looked hot!  Makes me wish I was around then...minus the whole a woman's place is the home thing of course lol!

So anway, we couldn't have asked for a better day!  I mean everything fell into place.  Sian drove us out to Stratford to shoot...minus a few detours we got there in good time ;).  We had some great models from Spot 6 - Emily and Saira.  The Makekup & Hair Gods were looking down on me :) (Btw did I mention how amazing I'm getting at extended liner...use to be my serious weakness!).  The weather was GORGEOUS!  Plus we got to use Jillian's mom's HOT 1965 Red Mustang Convertible as our prop! 

So basically, my Makeup & Hair inspiration was a 60's vibe which works so great w/ all the beautiful turbans and head scarves/wraps Jillian is designing for the Spring Collection.  I wanted to keep the eyes softer in colour w/ the main focus being on the lips.  I kept the brows full, used shimmery nudes on the eyes and did a nice extended black liner on both girls w/ really full, flirty, flared lashes to top it off.  I wanted the lips to be bold w/ full strong lipstick.  I believe more women should really embrace the power of a great lipstick like they did back then...nowadays everyone just wears gloss and a great lipstick can immediately take your look from being casual to being done me I know!  I played w/ a variety of pinks on the girls.  It's for Spring so I didn't want to go full on w/ the reds plus I wanted them to remain fresh and playful.  

Another thing I was excited about w/ this shoot was the really allowed me a chance to play w/ some different techniques and styles.  Last Christmas I asked for this book about Vintage Hairstyling and let me just tell you this book is amazing!  It gives a step by step guide to tons of amazing vintage hairstyles and it REALLY helped at the shoot!  The first hair look I did was to go w/ the turbans and head wraps.  I set the hair to get some nice curl to it and I basically did a mock bob on the girls so that the hair just peeked out the turbans and curled under.  The second hair look I did involved doing a giant bouffant through the top and a curled ponytail to keep in fresh and young in the looked amazing w/ the headbands and hair scarves. 

So here's some pics from the day...can't wait to show you the real stuff but you're going to have to wait awhile on that one :(

Sian giving some amazing commentary for posing lol! 
We wanted Happy, Light & Carefree!
I'm Beautiful but I still know what's under the hood!
Let's Have Lunch in the back of our Car!
Let's Pic Flowers, Skip and Laugh!
Fixing the Bouffant
I need more Height!

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Not-So-Glamorous Life of a Makeup Artist

So it's Fri. night a little after 10 pm and what do I find myself doing?  Cleaning makeup brushes and preparing for my Sat. 7 am wedding job of course! 

Yes, this has become my typical Fri. night fun brushes, packing my kit, printing directions and trying to go to bed at a reasonable hour...although that never happens lol.  I know, I know...far cry from the glamorous life of photoshoots, models and fashion that I show in my behind the scenes pics but it's the reality of the biz.

Being a makeup artist is not a glamorous job!  Don't let the media, magazines or anyone else fool you.  The's fucking hard, tiring, tedious and even boring at times!  Don't get me wrong I LOVE what I do but it's not easy. 

I remember when I was in university studying Theatre a professor once said if you can imagine yourself doing anything other then acting and being just as happy then do it b/c it's a hard life and job and the only reason someone should do it is b/c nothing else would make them near as happy...hence why I left acting and went into makeup lol.  But the same can be said for makeup artistry...literally the only reason someone should become a makeup artist nowadays is b/c they can't imagine doing anything else w/ their life!

So you might be asking what gives Jessica...why are you being such a downer?  Well I'm just trying to keep it real lol.  Here are some of the not-so-glamorous aspects of the job.

1. Erratic & Unpredictable Schedules
 One wk you're crazy busy and working 6 days straight the next wk you don't have anything scheduled and you're worried you're not going to make rent!  That's the life of a Freelance Makeup Artist.  You're always worried the job you're on is going to be your last and are thinking about where your next pay cheque is going to come from.  Just last wk I only had 2 jobs this wk and then last Fri. I ended up getting booked w/ 3 more jobs for this wk...amazing but you know what I've had the opposite be true too!  I've thought I was booked and then jobs got cancelled or re-scheduled and I was left going Oh Shit...hmmm there goes my visa payment.  Freelancers have to live like camels storing water in their humps b/c you never know when the water around you might dry up!  Plus be prepared to cancel or change plans on the fly b/c of shoots being changed, things going into overtime etc...there is no 9-5 in makeup artistry so there goes your social life or any sort of predictable schedule lol.  If you're not good w/ change and unpredictability freelance makeup artistry is definitely NOT for you!

2. Early Calltimes & Long Hours
Tomorrow I'm getting up at 5 am for a wedding job (yes I know I should be in bed right now) and then after that I have to rush to another booking...all this makes for very long and sometimes stressful days.  This happens a lot too...weddings and film work often call for very early call times and w/ film work the days are often esp. 10-12 hr days are the norm...sometimes longer!  Again, say goodbye to having a normal social life! 

3. Fun Work Usually Pays Crap!
So often ppl have these illusions that being a makeup artist is all glamour and fun, creative play time...umm no.  Usually those "fun jobs" are either done for free or paid very poorly...also those "fun"  jobs are never as fun as they look videos sound really "fun" they aren't a lot of the times.  They are often paid really poorly and not that "fun" at all.  You know what pays well...really boring, plain corporate stuff.  I did a job this wk where all I had to do was grooming for 1 male.  It literally took 10 mins...easy money you say!  Well sort of.  Yes, my actual time applying makeup and fixing hair took like 10 mins...of course I had to be on hand to powder between filming.  So basically I sat around for 10 hrs...not exactly the creatively stimulating adventures ppl associate w/ makeup artistry lol but it did pay well enough and this also leads me to my next point.

4. Hurry Up & Wait!
Usually everyone on set wants everything done like yesterday so it's important that a makeup artist is good under pressure and stress.  So a lot of times you have someone breathing down your neck about how quickly you can get things done, you rush and get everything done in good time and then you wait...yes that's it you sit and wait!  That's film work...lots of waiting!  Which goes back to that whole thing I said about work not always being stimulating or fun.  I don't know about you but I HATE just sitting around and's so boring!  And you know what I do when I'm bored on film sets...I eat...uggh the Craft Service Table is my nemesis!  I'd rather be busy for 10 hrs any day then sitting around doing nothing but powdering every so often. 

5. Bridezillas & Divas
I'm going to be real...knock on wood I've been EXTREMELY lucky w/ the brides I've gotten this year.  They've all been really nice and overall easy to work w/ but that doesn't mean they are all like that.  In makeup artistry you sometimes have to have the patience of a saint!  I've had trials that literally drained the life right out of me but I have to keep my happy face on always make the customer happy.  Even working weddings where everyone is a delight is draining.  It's fast paced, stressful at times, weird hours and you really have to think on your toes.  This is why I cannot for the life of me understand how or why anyone would undercut in the bridal really is just too much work to not get paid a good amount for it.  Even if the bride herself is a dream she can always have a crazy mother, nightmare sister or high maintenance maid of honour to deal w/!...I mean it feels like there is always one lol.  Plus, I didn't even touch on the divas you can get on set! don't even know!

6. Bad Hygiene
Yeah I know not exactly the nicest thing to think about but it's a reality of the biz.  Some ppl have bad breath, gross skin, greasy/dirty hair and we have to get all close and up in that shit...not much else to say on the subject.

7. Back Probs & Long Hrs On Our Feet
There are ideal conditions to do makeup in...we often don't have the pleasure of having them though.  I've worked countless hours hunched over, in dim lighting or poor conditions trying to get everything perfect.  Not to mention the hours I've spent standing...God I fear the varicose veins forming on my legs ...comfortable shoes are a definite must!

8. No Days Off
When you're self employed there is a rule that there really isn't such thing as a "Day Off".  The meaning of that is you're always on call and expected to be available.  Also, the idea is to be successful as a freelancer you should do at least one thing every day to push your career forward whether that be work on set, learn a new technique, read a blog, answer an email...something should be done.  Also, to the dismay of others including an ex this also means answering emails or taking phone calls at all sorts of crazy hours.  If a bride emails me at 10 pm and I get the email I respond then b/c guess what she might hire me just b/c I was the first one to get back to her...I don't want to lose work b/c I didn't check my email or return a phone call!

9. Everyone Wants Something For FREE
Because Makeup Artistry is seen as a "fun" job a lot of ppl these days don't understand why you should get paid for it.  I mean getting paid should only happen when you do a miserable, soul sucking, agonzing sort of job not something you actually enjoy right?  Well apparently, that's the word on the street b/c everyone wants something for free these days and there are a lot of STUPID Makeup Artists that apparently don't value themselves, their career or the careers of others b/c they are undercutting and giving away their talents for free which of course does not help the cause.  As a new makeup artist expect to not make a living at this career for at least a couple of years.  Yes, that's right you will probably spend at least 2 yrs as a Freelancer before you'll actually be able to make a living at makeup and nothing but makeup...and I'm being very nice when I say 2 I hope you like having a second job and hustling  your ass off.  You'll spend thousands on your kit, schooling, supplies and then toil away for a couple of years building a book, contacts, references etc. before you'll even start to break even.

10. Makeup/Hair Kits are a Pain in the Ass to Carry
I pack light for a makeup artist...seriously I do.  I've seen very few artists that condense like me.  That still doesn't mean my kit isn't a bitch to carry around!  I condense b/c I take the TTC in Toronto...that's public transit for you not in Toronto.  It's really hard to look glamorous when you're balancing a makeup kit on one shoulder and a hair kit on another shoulder while trying to squeeze through crowds of ppl in a subway or pushing up the stairs.  And let me tell you - NO ONE offers a seat on the bus to the girl w/ a makeup kit lol!  I won't even get into the drama of traveling w/ a kit during a Canadian winter!  Even if I drove that doesn't mean I wouldn't have to contend w/ studios w/ no elevators, finding parking or a million other hassels.  Another reason for the sensible matter how hard you try you can't look glamorous stumbling w/ a kit in 3 inch me!

I'm sure there are a million other reasons makeup artistry isn't glamorous but it's late and I have a super early wake up call tomorrow so I have to get to bed and try to look fresh and beautiful on 5 hrs sleep for a nice 12 hr day!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Europe in Oct!

Don't think I've mentioned this yet but guess who booked herself a nice little two week vacation to Europe this Oct!  Yes that is right, c'est moi (practicing my French ;)...not really lol)!  I'm going Oct. 18-31 to be exact!  My b-day is Oct. 15th and I thought this would be a great b-day present to myself!

Basically, I've never been to Europe...yes that's right lift your jaws off the ground.  The girl who has lived in Shanghai, sat on the Great Wall of China in Beijing (I realized I never did post those pics :( ) and gone to Thailand has NEVER actually been to Europe...I know I know!  I've always been telling myself as soon as this is paid off or as soon as this is in place I'll do it but then I had a's called I'm turning 29 in Oct. EEKKKK....SHHH don't tell ;)  If I don't do this shit now when am I going to do it!  So what if it takes me a couple of mths longer to pay off those pesky university loans...yes they are still plaguing me :( 

Plus I figure who knows what will be happening in my life in a couple of yrs or what responsibilities I'll have...uggh yes I'm thinking like an adult.  I guess once you near the end of your 20's it's time to start lol. 

I actually booked the trip about a mth ago.  It's weird...I balance this fine line between very well planned and structured and completely spontaneous (maybe it's the Libra in my lol). I mean I booked the flight well in advance but I wasn't even originally seriously thinking of taking a trip in the first place lol. Basically, I was just kind of casually looking at cheap flights to London...not really thinking anything of's just something I like to do every now and then.  I do the same thing w/ apts....even though I don't actually plan on moving again till March. 

So yeah I was looking at flights and I found this great deal for a flight direct to London and back for $616 taxes and everything.  I told my Brit friend Matt and he said book that shit and get your ass over here...well he didn't say exactly that but I feel that was his sentiment I did! 

So it's two wks and I'm not really doing all of Europe..I mean it's two wks I'll have to take on Europe in chunks and different trips obviously lol.  So this one I'm going to do a bit of Britain and a bit of France. 

Another deciding factor in this whole thing was that coincidentally my brother and his wife are going to be living in Paris for a couple of mths in the Fall.  He is an artist...(so is my other brother...yes that's right we are ALL artists lol...but I always joke they are "real" artists lol). 

Anyway, he's an artist and he actually has a residency in art gallery in Paris for a couple of mths and it just so turns out the wk I was planning on going to Paris his Art Show opens...I mean how PERFECT is that!  Going to the opening of my brother's art show in Paris!

So yeah that's the update...I'm sure I'll talk more about it the closer the trip gets!  Hoping to meet a few of my blogger friends and followers while over there.  Probably not going to do any shoots though b/c I want to this trip to be a enjoy my time and do touristy shit type trip...maybe next time I'll plan a shoot or two as well. 

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Princess Bride - Justyna

Another Saturday, Another Wedding!  This week I had the pleasure of working w/ Justyna and her bridesmaids.  I also had my trusty partner Ashley w/ me to work her magic!  Mostly, we were just doing makeup today but we also did hair on the Maid of Honour and the Bride.  Ashley did an amazing job blending in the extensions I made for Ola the Maid of Honour and really made her look gorgeous (unfortunately I didn't get any pics of her today b/c she was so busy running around being an amazing Maid of Honour to Justyna). 

For Justyna the biggest transformation had to have been the hair.  I made Justyna these gorgeous extensions(seriously the nicest set I've ever made lol).  I blended two shades of blonde together w/ each piece and it gave the most gorgeous, multidimentional, natural highlights throughout the hair.  With the curled style it also blended so well into her natural, shoulder length the extensions gave her so much volume and fullness...seriously princess hair!

For the makeup the main focus was on the eyes but still kept rather natural.  Orginally, Justyna thought she wanted to do something very different then her normal look and go w/ a pink/grey smokey eye.  At the trial she quickly realized this was totally out of her comfort zone...this is why the trial is SO IMPORTANT.  It helps to solve all those probs before the big day so that everything is easy and stress free for you & the bride!  We ended up going w/ a very soft bronzy/brown smokey eye w/ a dramatic black winged liner and a nice flared false lash.  The cheeks and lips were kept very natural w/ just a hint of pink and a bit of contouring and highlighting. 

I did 3 of the bridemaid's makeup...there were 6 including the Maid of Honour and they were all gorgeous girls.  Again I kept the looks soft.  Sticking to primarily golds and browns to highlight their natural olive complexions.  On the last bridesmaid (who I don't have any pics of unfortunately) I did a really nice soft pink/brown smokey eye w/ a soft brown liner and a nice false lash.  I think one of the best things on her was how well I was able to perfect her skin...she did have a bit of acne scarring but can I just say again how much I LOVE the Yaby Cream Foundations and Powder Foundations.   Seriously, she looked flawless and you only need a bit of the cream foundation.  She said it didn't feel heavy or mask like at all...which is always really important to me as an artist.  I really try to keep everyone I'm working on looking fresh and natural and not like they are wearing a mask.

Here's a couple of last min pics of Justyna & some of the girls...can't wait to see the real pics later!

Doesn't she look like a Princess!
Back of the head
The girls...I did makeup on the two sisters in the middle.  Their hair was done at a salon.