Thursday, October 17, 2013

Lush Cosmetics - Limited Edition Halloween

Halloween is just around the corner and Lush Cosmetics was nice enough to send me some of their Limited Edition Halloween bath products to try out and review.

For those of you that aren't familiar w/ Lush Cosmetics they are basically a bath, cosmetic and skincare line that believe in creating fresh handmade products from organic fruits, vegetables, essential oils and safe synthetics.  Their products are free of animal testing, vegetarian friendly and handmade using little packaging and little to no preservatives in their products.  You can find free standing stores in malls or in major cities throughout North America.

One thing to be VERY clear on though even though their products are made from natural ingredients for the most part a large majority of their line has strong fragrances (anyone who has walked by a LUSH store can testify to this) so if you DO NOT like fragrance in your products these products that I'm going to talk about are NOT for you as all of them have a strong fragrance (it's not bad but if you don't like scented things you won't like these products).

First up is Pumkin Bubble Bar - I love bubble baths and I actually had the pleasure to try out this lovely item on a recent trip to Montreal in a very luxurious whirlpool soaker tub made all the more amazing by this little pumpkin looking treat.  It creates a nice amount of bubbles and turns the water orange.  It has a sweet and earthy aroma of orange flower absolute and ylang ylang oil and it's vegan.

Lord of Misrule - similar to Pumkin in that it's used in the bathtub. I'd say at least to me this product has the strongest fragrance but it may just be that I'm sensitive to the smells of patchouli and black pepper oil...not that the smell is unpleasant to me I just found that it's strong and lingers longer than the others.  Again this product is added to your bath and it froths in the water.  The green colour gives way to a wine coloured centre - soon popping candies fizz and maybe not the most relaxing at first but definitely enjoyable and a little entertaining lol...after the fizzing it's very relaxing and a great aromatherapy treat.  This product is also Vegan Friendly.

Demon in the Dark  - I tend to like a lot of fruity or tropical fragrance bath products so this was actually a nice change or treat to my usual bath soap or body wash.  Plus if you have a guy over it's a good alternative for them as it doesn't look or smell super girly so your boyfriends/husbands won't complain lol!  It's fragranced w/ spearmint and peppermint so very invigorating if you're looking for a pick me up...just remember to peel of the wax coating before using it or it won't work (obviously) lol! Vegan Friendly.

Ceridwen's Cauldron Bath Melt was probably my fav. product if we're talking about fragrance.  It's a mix of oats, sandalwood and lavender which are not only relaxing but the bath melt which is made w/ cocoa butter and walnut oil is also very moisturizing and softening for the skin.  My only complaint w/ this product is the price point seems a bit high for a one time use product...I guess it's sort of an indulgence but def. a little pricey to be using all the time.  Like the other products mentioned today it's also Vegan Friendly.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Bridal Beauty Trend - Wearing Hair Down

I've had a lot of brides this past season who've wanted to wear their hair down on their wedding day.  I can totally understand the appeal especially when hair extensions are so prevalent in today's hairstyles. It can actually be a really tricky thing on a wedding day especially in the Summer w/ so many variables that could make it a disaster - heat, hair texture, humidity, hair length/cut, hair fullness etc.

On one hand I always get a bit nervous when bride's show me pics of wanting their hair down on their wedding day and on the other I totally get it b/c to be honest I'd want to wear my hair down on my wedding day...and anyone who has worked w/ my poker straight hair knows I do not have ideal hair to wear down w/ curls lol!

The biggest thing I have to explain to bride's is to be realistic w/ their expectations.  If your hair is thin and fine and you want big, voluminous waves guess what you'll need extensions to even somewhat get that look. If your hair gets frizzy in the heat...guess what if you want to wear it down there's a chance it's going to get frizzy!

I've collected a bunch of pictures of weddings I've done this past Summer where the brides wore their hair down or just a few pieces pulled up off their face either w/ a nice braid or just pins.  I think all of these brides totally rocked the down bridal hair styling trend!

What's interesting is that I used different techniques for each one of the brides even though they all wanted their hair down w/ curls!

Jennifer was the quintessential surfer girl boho bride.  She has naturally gorgeous curly hair and of course she wanted to showcase it in the most natural and easy going way possible.  For her hair she defused it before I arrived (and she even taught me a think or two about defusing certain types of curly hair) after that I cleaned up certain pieces w/ a small barrel curling iron but not too many b/c we didn't want it to look too "perfect".  I pinned back just a few pieces and gave a little volume through the top.  The key to working w/ naturally curly hair is to not touch or play w/ it too much as it will bring out the frizz big time!  For her makeup I kept it uber natural and glowing and just highlighted her already gorgeous skin!  
Jennifer's pictures are courtesy of Dave & Charlotte

Denise was actually another bride that had curly/wavy hair...not as much as Jennifer but still had some natural curl to it.  For Denise b/c of her natural frizz and the type of curl she had I actually blew out her hair straight first and then added a curl back into it.  I think this was a great decision esp. on her wedding day b/c there was some definite rain and humidity in the air that day but I was so happy to see how well her hair and her makeup held up throughout!  Like Jennifer, Denise wanted things to be uber natural which mean minimal volume through the top and still most of the hair left down on the sides and only a little bit pulled back.

 Kristin's wedding was actually one of my "only hair" wedding bookings as I did hair for her and her bridal party.  She has naturally straight hair and was looking for those big, voluminous curls on her wedding day.  Additional clip-in hair extensions were added to create the volume and length necessary for her style and a soft braid was added through the front  just to keep that bit off of her face and add a bit of "interest".  I was really happy w/ how the layering and colour all blended together really well w/ her natural hair and the extensions! 
Photos courtesy of Erin @ Renaissance Studios

Madeline was a "last minute" bride I worked w/ back in July.  She was actually doing a City Hall ceremony on a Thursday and a "party/reception" on the Saturday.  I couldn't do the Saturday appt. b/c of another wedding so one of my associates helped out w/ that one but I got to work w/ Madeline for the ceremony portion of her wedding and I'm so glad I did b/c she was so delightful to work w/.  As I've mentioned before I've done quite a few City Hall style weddings.  Just b/c a bride is getting married at City Hall doesn't mean she doesn't want or deserve to get her hair and makeup done on her special day!  Now I'm not going to lie Madeline's hair was probably the most "challenging" for a down hair style out of the brides I've shown but that's just b/c it's so naturally fine, straight and more or less one length.  She's a perfect example of why a trial is so necessary not only for the bride but also for the artist.  July is hot and after the trial her and I both realized I was going to have to go A LOT tighter w/ the curl and set the hair beforehand for it even to stand a shot of holding on the wedding day.  On the wedding day I set the hair w/ a smaller barrel than the trial and I'm really happy w/ the final result.  It loosened to a beautiful curl and like Kristin, Madeline also wanted a nice braid to pull the bang part of her face and dress up the style a bit.  I also did Madeline's makeup for the day.  

Can't wait to add some of these beautiful pics to my Wedding Website!  So many more wedding pics to share w/ you guys so stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Dressing Appropriately For The Job

Last week I was hired for a corporate gig w/ a big international company for some internal videos involving some of the high up execs and CEO.  Corporate gigs tend to be some of the better paid and easiest gigs a makeup artist can get. Usually it just involves some male grooming and light makeup and hair touch ups for the females.  Not exactly creatively inspiring or interesting but we all have to balance the creative w/ the payday in the end.

With these sorts of jobs the best thing a makeup artist can do is be efficient, professional, quiet and right on hand for any quick touch ups.  You need to be around right when they need you but invisible the rest of the time.  These execs don't usually want to be doing these videos and truthfully they want to get them done as quickly as possible.

An important thing to remember is they value your quickness.  Don't feel the need to stretch out the time for male grooming b/c you want to be sure they know "you're worth it".

Anyway, the job went incredibly smooth and we even wrapped early which is always a pleasant surprise. While on set I chatted up the execs w/ polite small talk but worked quickly and kept quiet and out of the way once filming started.  At the end of the shoot I thanked everyone and let the person who hired me know to contact me anytime in the future if they might have these sorts of shoots.

He thanked me repeatedly for my professionalism and said he would definitely call me for future shoots (YEAH!).  He then actually explained to me that before he had hired a different artist for two other videos. He said that execs and CEOS can be a bit particular (which is true) and that they felt uncomfortable w/ the way she dressed as it was a bit too tight and revealing.  He had mentioned this to her after the first job and hired her back for a second but for that one she came dressed even more inappropriately!  He said her makeup work was good but he couldn't hire her back just b/c of the way she dressed!  Her loss, my gain!

I was actually shocked that someone would be stupid enough to lose a sweet corporate client just b/c they didn't dress appropriately and then I began to think about it and it's true a lot of artists don't always dress appropriately!  It is true that we are artists and therefore do have a little leeway in how express ourselves w/ regards to makeup and clothes but we also have to respect and understand the jobs we are accepting and the clients/environment we might be involved w/ that day.

Some rules to kind of live by for dressing appropriately.

1. For corporate gigs you don't have to come dressed for a business meeting or church but dress respectably.  That means nothing too tight, too trendy, too revealing.  You'll be shooting in an office a lot of times so keep it simple.  Usually a nice pair of jeans/pants, a nice sweater or top and decent shoes and you're pretty safe.  Also, don't go crazy w/ the makeup or hair.  Keep it clean and simple like the clothes. You don't want to make any of the execs uncomfortable.  They can sometimes be a bit older or more traditional in their values and appearance and therefore they don't usually care that your dress is by so-and-so designer and you're rocking the latest smudgy smokey eye and deep purple lip trend or something like that.  If you  have tattoos possibly try to wear clothes that don't have them on display.

2. Weddings are similar to corporate gigs in a lot of ways.  Even if the bride is "cool" you might be working w/ her mom or aunts or grandmother and  you don't want to freak them out.  Also, you might be showing up super early in the morning and working for several hours straight.  The last thing you want is to show up at 5 am looking like you just came from the club the night before lol.  Again, you can usually get a feel for the bride at the trial and what kind of girl she is or what her style is.  An example for myself personally - in "real life" I tend to wear a lot of red lipstick.  This isn't exactly something "crazy" or "out there" but if a bride through email correspondence expresses to me that she's "super natural" and "doesn't wear makeup" then I know at the trial to probably leave my red lipstick in the drawer that day b/c even though it's not all that offensive it might throw her off and she might think that I'm going to do that to her...even though it might seem a bit ridiculous you just never know sometimes trust me.

3.  When you're assisting another artist just ask what they feel is appropriate for a job.  Some artists want their assistants dressed a certain way or in certain colours aka black other just want you to be comfortable. So just one is going to be angry b/c you asked!

4. There is a certain idea that makeup artists only wear black.  While this is true for some it's not a hard rule. In truth I think it happens just b/c it doesn't look dirty if you get makeup all over it.  It's easy to match and look professional and sophisticated and it blends in behind the scenes and let's be real on most jobs you're not there to be the "star" or center of attention, you're there to do your job and be invisible when you're not needed.

5.  Runway is the one time a lot of artists are actually told to wear black. It's indiscreet and again blends well behind the scenes.  Plus it makes it easy to see who are the artists if they are all in the same colour and gives them all a sense of cohesiveness.  But it's not always a rule.  I've done runway where ppl just wore what they wanted...again just ask what's expected.

6. Fashion shoots are the times where as an artist you can express a bit more of your "personality" through dress and makeup.  Again, this doesn't mean go insane and in truth a lot of artists I know still keep it pretty simple and clean b/c let's be real it's not about you and you're there to watch the model and not be touching up your own makeup and hair the whole time.  Also, once you get use to a photographer or team or regular client you'll kind of get a feel for what's acceptable and what's crossing the line.

7. Wear clothes and shoes that you're comfortable working and standing in for hours.  Again, you're not there to be a fashion model.  You're there to work!  No one wants to hear you complaining about your shoes or see you constantly readjusting your outfit b/c it's not comfortable to move around in.

8. Don't feel b/c you're a "makeup artist" that you need to be "done up" all the time!  This may be true for retail where makeup artists probably wear more makeup there then most people ever wear in "real life" but this is also b/c they are there to sell and many take the approach to wear as many products from the line as physically possible lol!  Seriously, don't show up looking like you didn't even brush your hair or wash your face but also don't feel pressure on a job to look like a "glam queen" if that's not your style.  Stay true to your own personal style.  If you're a bit of concealer, gloss and mascara type of person for yourself don't feel like you need to make yourself club ready for every job.  Of course if you know you might be on camera or there might be some behind the scenes pics taken on set that day you might want to put in a little extra effort but don't feel you need to go to extremes if it's not your "style".

I'm sure there are some other "rules" for dressing but these are a few to get you started and hopefully clear up any confusion some of you might have about what's "appropriate".  Of course I'm totally cool w/ ppl dressing slutty and inappropriate if it means I can get their sweet corporate gigs b/c they're dressed unacceptably lol!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Almay Eye Makeup Remover

Your eyes are probably the most sensitive area on your face so when it comes to proper eye care w/ regards to makeup taking your eye makeup off is just as if not more important than the products you put on your eyes everyday.  So when the generous ppl at Almay reached out to me to try some of their eye makeup removers I was more than happy to oblige.

First up Lash Care Eye Makeup Remover Pads - I've used these on both myself and my clients and they are great.  Very easy to pack in your kit or overnight bag - great for travel.  They are already pre-soaked pads so there's no mess involved in using them and they are great for when you are feeling lazy at night.  The gentle formula conditions for healthy, stronger lashes and they are hypoallergenic, dermatologist tested and fragrance free.  Also they are oil free so they won't leave your skin feeling oily or greasy afterwards. If you just have mascara on your eyes I'd say 1 pad is probably good for both eyes but for extreme eye makeup you'll probably need 1 pad for each eye.

Next they sent me Longwear & Waterproof Gentle Eye Makeup Remover.  I really liked this eye makeup remover.  I used it several times on various clients during bridal trials and it was really good at removing waterproof eye makeup but what I really liked is that it didn't leave the eye area greasy or oily afterward which is something I've noticed other eye makeup removers can do.  It's also hypoallergenic, dermatologist tested and fragrance free.

Definitely worth checking out both these products if you're looking for a good eye makeup remover.  Also I'd like to just give a special shout out to Oil Free Makeup Eraser Sticks - Almay never sent me any of these but I LOVE them for on the job fixes. Great for cleaning up mascara smudges or eye shadow fallout w/out messing up the rest of the makeup!