Thoroughly Impressed By What $3 Got Me

When E.L.F launched their new HD blushes, I was the first in line to make my order! But I noticed that since these new HD blushes were part of the “Studio” line, I could use my handy coupon code for … Continue reading

My Fave Lips for Fall!

All the time, everytime I wear it, everywhere I go… some female always wants it…. my fall 2012 lip colour that is!
So I figured I should post it, since it seems to be a fave with the ladies 😉

FYI, this picture does not do it justice!

It’s 2 parts Maybelline Superstay 14 hour Lipstick in “Wine and Forever #100” and 1 part MAC Dazzleglass in “Get Rich Quick”.

Quick note: No longwear lipstick will last anywhere close to 14 hours if you’ve layered it with a gloss product that was not specifically formulated to work with the particular lipstick. BUT, I love this for the colour, not for the longevity.

The Maybelline Superstay lipsticks have a really smooth and highly pigmented application. The formula doesn’t bleed out or feather on me when applied properly to a nude pencil-lined mouth. It also smells really good (for a lipstick) and doesn’t have a weird taste… bonus! In this shade (Wine & Forever #100) it has a great plummy colour that is closer to the deep purple side rather than the black cherry side. It’s very flattering on warm skin tones and particularly on women of colour.

The MAC Dazzleglass is, like all Dazzleglass products, amazing and light catching and shiny. This shade (Get Rich Quick) is a beautiful raisin colour (plum with hints of red). It looks gorgeous layered over top your dark lipsticks from reds to purples, and on it’s own for a high shine and tint of colour on a nude mouth.

Hope this helps you to get my ‘coveted’ fall lips! Hehe!

xo

Jem

Thanks Face Atelier!

CanPar paid me a visit today and brought me some special FACE atelier goodies! I’m stoked!

FACE atelier Ultra Foundation is one of my absolute favourite liquid foundations. It gives amazing medium to full coverage, is buildable, and has a silicone base so you can save time and skip the priming step! To top it off… it’s a Canadian company! And I sure do love a homegrown product, especially one as amazing as this!

I recently used some FACE atelier products in 2 recent beauty editorials I had published (view MASK here or view Flight & Fury here). The shots and themes were COMPLETELY different from each other, but the thing is that this line is much more versatile than people and artists sometimes think. I use it on brides & clients, in video & photoshoots. Mature skin? No worries, this silky formula ‘floats’ atop the skin and doesn’t exaggerate fine lines by settling in wrinkles. Oily skin? get the Ultra Matte spray and mist a little before & after application to keep yourself shine-free. Dull skin? this stuff leaves a natural dewy look, just be sure to not powder on the whole face and just in the T-zone where needed.

Best of all….. FACE atelier was so kind as to hook me up with some professional gratis with my favourite items from their line!

I got the Ultra Foundation in 0-, 2, 4, 6, 8, 0+ a.k.a. 10, and 12 and the Ultra Matte spray. Covers every skin tone! And with 0- and 0+ you can customize the colour best for you (or your client). Enjoy the pics and the swatches!

Thanks again FACE atelier!

xo Jem

THANK YOU! ALL 5,000+ OF YOU!

Well… I started this beauty blog not so long ago… in fact it’s been just shy of 7 months now. It really was because I sincerely have too much to say. Seriously. Get me started on makeup, hair products, skin care regiments or skin conditions and I could go on for hours. Somehow I was hoping that somewhere, someone, might actually enjoy this. So, here we are nearly 7 months later and low and behold…

Much to my surprise, I have had a TON of supporters, often from people and places I never would have even imagined wanting to support what I do and how I do it. There have been beauty lovers, makeup mavens, pros, brides, models, consumers, you name it… and in all of that support I’ve just realized there have been over 5,000 visits from 66 countries (and counting) worldwide.

Today, I am celebrating.

You guys are absolutely amazing.

Thank you to those who visit the blog, comment your thoughts and share your opinions with me and the other readers. Thank you to the Facebook followers, Twitterers, and tumblrs who are “liking” and sharing my posts and sending them through the social sphere to all your friends and fellow beauty junkies. Thanks to the gals and guys who have written to me &  told me ‘How Noxzema Saved THEIR Cheeks’ too or how they tamed their frizzies with “Better than Mixed Chicks? Say What?!”. And thank you to the fellow young people who tell me I inspire them creatively or am a great role model for speaking my mind (yeesh those are bold statements!).

I hope I can continue to deliver my makeup musings that (hopefully) all 5,000+ of you have been enjoying thus far. And that I can inspire others to try new things & speak their minds too. I think we can all strive to make the world prettier with whatever tools we have, even if it’s just one brushstroke at a time.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you all ❤ .
Xo Jem

 

Z Palette SALE!

Attention bargain beauty lovers….

Z-Palette is having a sale on their small palettes! 20% off the regular price of $14.00 starting at MIDNIGHT TONIGHT! And I have been eyeing up those hot-pink minis since that new colour launched!

These are fabulous little wonders that save loads of space in your kit if you’re a pro or in your bathroom if you’re a makeup loving regular gal! See my Z-Palette musings here… or over here for more!

Don’t forget to pick up your magnetic stickers for those non-magnetized items!

NEW HD Blushes by E.L.F. and 50% off Coupon HERE!

e.l.f. Cosmetics Has JUST launched their line of HD blushes! Look a little similar to the Make Up For Ever kind? They definitely look similar, but they are only a FRACTION of the price at $3.00 a pop! I’ve just … Continue reading

My MOST “Budget Friendly” Favourite Thing!

Well, it’s bridal season and my hands have been quite busy. Often too busy to post 😦
But in the midst of peak wedding season, I discovered a brand new favourite thing. Best of all, it is the most INEXPENSIVE favourite thing EVER!

I recently did a HUGE (and huge is putting it mildly) E.L.F. makeup haul (See haul here: https://beautybyjemz.wordpress.com/2012/08/03/my-e-l-f-makeup-haul) . In my haul, I purchase 2 ‘flat-head’ powder brushes. And truthfully, I really don’t know why. I thought they looked interesting. And since I ordered during the 50% off sale, they were only $1.50 each.

Little did I know, these brushes were about to become my new soul mates.

Holy smokes! I can’t even describe how much these brushes saved my life.

I am a blush lover. Now, this doesn’t mean I slab it on and give myself RuPaul cheeks. No. But I have a blush process that I use on myself and clients to give a really ‘lit from within’ and ‘natural flush’ type look. I often layer my powder blush with my NARS illuminators or with my MAC skinfinish powder but I prefer to not use powder blushes on their own because I find it always needs help to be long-lasting. So, I am a BIG believer in cream blush. I looooooove the way they melt into the skin and give that warm natural flush. I usually mix my cream blush on a palette to warm the cream and mix my NARS illuminator with it (usually Orgasm) and then apply. The application part is the tricky part. You need a brush that will not look streaky. You also want to be able to ‘push’ the product into the skin and make sure it melds with the foundation well. And you want to layer it on slowly and with a light touch so that you can make sure it’s even and lasts long, instead of giving yourself streaky 80’s cheeks.

Now this brush is the absolute PERFECT tool for this. It’s like it was DESIGNED with cream blush in mind. Forget your stippling brush, forget your beauty blender, and forget using your fingers. If you like cream blush, you NEED this brush in your life.

It allows for the perfect control in layering and blending. The flat surface picks up and distributes an even colouring on the face. And since you can push the colour into the skin instead of swiping it on, it gives a much more natural and blended appearance.

I only bought 2, and although I thought of sticking both in my kit I just had to say no. No, Jem. Enough is enough. One has to be for me. And I don’t feel selfish, in fact, I feel rather complete. My NARS Cactus Flower blush has never looked so good!

Want it? get it here! http://www.eyeslipsface.com/studio/tools/single-brushes/powder_brush#

Bridal FAQ

Brides ask a ton of questions… the poor things are so bogged down with wedding plans and price lists, menus and measurements they often lose out on the details. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions I get from my brides, and ones that I hear from fellow MUA’s with many of the same FAQs. Here goes…

1: Do I REALLY need a Makeup Artist? “Becky, my friend from high school is really good at eyeshadow! My sister always does her makeup really well, I’m sure she can do mine! I know, I’ll just go to MAC, get one of the girls to paint my face and then buy all the products, and I’m set!”

No, please do not go with Becky, “sister” or MAC-Lady. Yes, You do REALLY need a Makeup Artist. You need one who understands you, your style, the wedding esthetic, and is a real Professional. Not some girl who likes to play with lipsticks who is ‘really good at eyeshadow’. You need a pro who is good at doing ‘a whole face’.

On your big day, it is imperative that you get a few moments to relax before ceremony time. You want to get an artist who is mobile and will come to you so you have less running around to do on that day. You also want to make sure you did a trial with her before the day of so that the two of you know there is a plan in place. It is going to be your most photographed day of your ENTIRE LIFE. Hire a pro who can make you look good from every angle, in every light, and in your photographs and video. Someone who understands that a bride sweats, gets shiny, kisses people endlessly, and needs to stand out above everyone else in her photos. Get an artist who will make you shine, and, make you comfortable and confident in their skills. Even if you pay more for a mobile artist, the relaxation time and worry-free moments prior to the ceremony will be invaluable and is money very, very, well spent.\

2: Why do I need to leave a deposit?

Do all the rest of your bridal contractors take a retainer fee/deposit? Yes they do. It’s because no one wants to have a client retract services at the last minute and leave them high and dry. This happens, especially in a business where a couple sets a budget and often spend several thousand dollars over budget but don’t realize it until the last moment.

Leave your retainer for the date you are booking, and try to pay your balance prior to the date. Some artists ask to be paid the balance 30 days prior to the wedding, others ask that the balance be paid on the day but give you the option to pay in advance if you wish. If you can financially manage it, pay in advance. It’s one less envelop of money to worry about giving out on the big day.

3: Can I negotiate the price? I never budgeted for a makeup/hair artist for the wedding 😦

Firstly, don’t let this happen to you. Budget it in. You’re budgeting in something for everyone else that day from music, tuxes, food, entertainment, etc. so remember to include something just for you in the budget too.

Should you try to negotiate price? Some artists may budge, some may not. Artists who post their rates directly on their websites are usually of the ‘no-nonsense’ types and don’t play games with their vendors. Some Artists use the idea of not having rates public to either try to make contact with a potential client who may not have contacted them because their price is too high for the client or to make an individualized quote depending on how deep a client’s pocket is. You can try to negotiate, but always remember that you get what you pay for. Now if Gina around the way is charging you $10 for ‘just the eyes’ and you’re happy with her, go for it. But you can always find a great artist for a reasonable price. Pricing also depends on your geographical location. Ask a friend and see if that artist will give a referral discount. Book a large party and see if they will throw in the false eyelashes for free. You never know what you may get by negotiating, but in the end, be prepared to pay their worth if they are a worthy Artist.

4: Will you do touch-up services?

Now every artist is different in terms of what they do to perform their job, but professionally, I never recommend that a client do ‘touch-up services’. If a client needs a secondary makeup application, the Artist should start with a clean canvas and do a new application. Piling makeup on top of a sweaty, shiny, oily face is bad for the Artist’s brushes, bad for their makeup, and bad for the client. It will photograph as caked-on, opaque, heavy or even with a big colour difference (especially in women of colour). So no, no touch-up services. Please ask for details regarding a secondary application. If you have many hours between the ceremony and reception, this may be a great add-on for you.

5: I ONLY like ______ products! Do you use______ (<—- Insert consumer brand name cosmetic company here)?

Most artists I know are not brand loyal. We are not interested in selling you the products, we are interested in selling you our skills. Sometimes we may use items that are from a ‘prestige brand’ and sometimes we may use an item that is from the drugstore beauty section, but either way, we use items that perform. Period. An artist may use a Skinfinish by MAC or a blush colour from NARS, but their whole kit & caboodle usually doesn’t come from one place. And the mark of a good artist is someone who uses what WORKS, not just what looks expensive to a client. And therein lies the difference between what an Artist may buy verses what a client may buy. There are some notable differences between Pro brands and Consumer brands which often affects an Artist’s purchasing choices. Consumers often buy products because they are new, exciting, and marketed well. Pros use brands because they work, they perform, they are highly pigmented, waterproof, hypoallergenic, etc. We don’t care if it comes in a jar, bin or bucket. If it works well, we want it. It doesn’t need an expensive name scrawled across the outside packaging to impress us. The fact that our colleagues all talk about how well it performs is proof enough for us.

Also, many, many artists need travel friendly kits so they often downsize by ‘depotting’. This term is used to describe the many ways we artists eliminate heavy and bulky packaging by taking our makeup items (blush, eyeshadow, powder, bronzer, etc) out of their packaging and putting them in flat empty palettes that hold a multitude of items. This saves us on lots of space. Many Artists also downsize liquids  (foundations, liquid bronzers, face cream, toner, etc) by putting them in small 1/8, 1/4, or 1/2 oz bottles to eliminate the heaviness & high possibility of breakage of carrying several glass bottles in our kits. Cream products (lipsticks, concealers, cream foundations) are also often downsized too in all kinds of flat palettes for ease of mixing and, again, to eliminate packaging & weight. Which means when an Artists opens their kit and it’s full of downsized items, they could be any brand: an Artist may be using an Urban Decay eyeshadow, a La Femme blush, a Ben Nye powder, a Joe Blasco concealer, and a Revlon Lipstick… but you hired the artist based on skill, photos of their work or a sound referral from someone who has hired them before so have no worries about what brands they’ve got and trust they will make you as stunning as you’ve hired them to. It doesn’t matter what they’ve used so long as it doesn’t irritate your skin, it lasts all day/night, and you love the look they’ve given you!

6: How do I know you’ll be able to do makeup on my Asian/Indian/Irish/African skin tones? Can you do “Indian” bridal makeup with heavy and dramatic eyes? Can you do “Asian” bridal makeup with a sculpted face? Can you do “African” bridal makeup with deep pigment in the blush and eyeshadows?

If you’ve hired a reputable artist, they SHOULD be able to do makeup effectively on every skin tone and skin type. They SHOULD have all the items in their kit to create any foundation shade to match any client. And they SHOULD be familiar with different cultures and how the makeup is styled differently.

That being said, some artists in more multi-ethnic and multicultural geographic regions may have more skill or more practice doing makeup regularly on a multitude of skin tones and complexions. If you live in a less multicultural area where you have not tried out the Artist you’re considering hiring, you might want to do a trial (ensure you take LOADS of pictures in all kinds of light) or you may want to considering hiring an Artist from a different part of town or a different close-by city. You may need to pay more for them to travel to you, but it would be worth  it to have the peace of mind to know your Artist has the right skills and products to make you look your best.  And at the end of the day, your comfort is the key to a smooth wedding day.

7: I think I want to look like Kim Kardashian! I really want that Nicki Minaj pink lipstick! I really think that I should go for J.Lo’s bronzed complexion for my ivory skin tone, don’t you think?

Remember, you may have an idea in your head of what you want but the Artist’s job is two-fold: one, to help you get the look you want and two, to help ensure the look is balanced, suits your skin tones, features and dress/accessories style, and will photograph wonderfully. So send your makeup artist an email PRIOR to the trial with a photo of yourself and a photo of the look you want. This also means that when you choose photos of looks you like, remember to picture them ON YOU and not on the girl in the photo. If you look like Brandy, but show up with a photo of Jennifer Lopez, please, please understand… You must be realistic about how a look may translate on you and whether or not it will flatter YOU specifically. (Kim K. lashes on a small almond eye? Nicki Minaj pink lipstick on a chocolate coloured lady? White-nude lipgloss on a mature bride? a bird-cage fascinator with an au naturelle curly fro? oh. hell. no.)

8: Can you change my skin colour? Can you change my eye shape?

Some tricks are easier than others. You want poutier lips? Easy. You have Brandy’s complexion but want to look like Beyonce? Harder.

And while we can take a mono-lid and double it, or take a darker complexion and brighten it, at the end of the day, the features you have are YOURS. Be proud of them! It’s what makes you who you are and makes you the person your groom-to-be is excited to marry. Be you on your wedding day!

9: I’m not sure what I want, I think I like these 10 photos of different hair and makeup styles, we can try them ALL and THEN decide on what I like, right?!

Not right. It’s ok to have an idea or two, but a trial is not meant to be a 5 hour session of playing “makeover” with your artist. It’s meant to help your artist determine your look and fine-tune the colours and shades that will be used on your big day, to make sure it photographs well, to ensure colours match the accessories or bouquet, and to ensure your skin’s comfort, and the longevity and wear-ability with the makeup. So do all the Googleing and photo scouring before the trial, so that when you see your artist you can focus on making that one look you have in mind, just perfect!

10: I really want to look amazing on my wedding day, I should try something fresh and new! Right?

Wrong. If you are the girl who is normally wearing heavy eyeliner and a pink lip, how will your Husband-to-be react when he sees you down the aisle in a smokey eye and red lipgloss? Do what suits you but what is also a recognizable style on you. Be you, just a more polished, photographic, and slightly more ‘done up’ version of you. You also want to look timeless and classy. Remember, your grand-kids could be seeing these photos one day and wondering who on earth that woman is standing beside Grandpa. So be the best version of you on your big day.

Now remember, communicating with your Artist is key. So if you have allergies, expectations, photos, or hopes and dreams about your wedding day makeup, share them with your Artist! It’s the only way they can make you gorgeous, happy and glowing on your most celebrated day.

My E.L.F. Makeup Haul!

So… I made an order through ELF makeup on July 10th during their 50% off site wide sale… Today is August 3rd and I JUST got my order. Literally, the postman just left. I am pretty unimpressed about the shipping. I mean, Yes, I am in Canada. BUT I’m also ONLY in Canada, and Toronto at that. It’s not a barren igloo-filled land up here. And our post is quite efficient. So why on Earth did I have to wait 3.5 weeks for my parcel when Camera Ready Cosmetics, in California, can get my order to me in less than 7 business days?! Ok. End rant. I’m not impressed with their shipping, but I know I’ll love what came in the box. And so will you!

Here’s what I got!

I got (left to right):

20 powder brushes

20 travel mirrors

10 “Butternut” eyeshadow quads (for my fair skinned brides)

10 “Luxe” eyeshadow quads (for my medium- dark skinned brides)

Second row, starting left again:

2 flat head powder brushes

1 “Eco tools” dupe foundation brush

2 Synthetic hair foundation brushes

2 concealer brushes

1 “Luminance” bronzer (hilighter)

1 “Matte Bronze” deep bronzer

5 “Brownie Points” Liquid lipstick (light brown)

5 “Strawberry” Liquid lipstick (pink)

5 “Maple Sugar” Liquid lipstick (nude)

5 “Ruby Slippers” Liquid lipstick (soft red)

5 “Baby Lips” Liquid lipstick (pink nude)

5 “Ruby Kiss” Plumping Lip Glaze (fiery bright red)

5 “Fuchsia Fanatic” Plumping Lip Glaze (hot-pink/fuchsia bright pink)

I bought the few individual brushes & bronzers for my kit, but I bought everything else for my bridal beauty bags that I gift/sell to my wedding clients (brides or bridesmaids usually) for them to give themselves touch-ups at their event. Bridal gift bags are a great addition to bridal makeup services and my brides always thank me after their big day!

I am super excited at all the items I got and I got shades I know are popular, neutral and brights, that will flatter all my multi-ethnic clientele.

The only thing I am not excited about is that I ordered an Angled blush brush and a Stippling brush which did not come with my order. But I checked online and it’s still in stock. And I checked my Paypal and they still charged me for them… I’ve contacted their CS by email and we’ll see what happens. I’m disappointed in their oversight, but I’ve been 3.5 weeks worth of patient for my order, so I’m sure a few more days waiting on their email rectifying their mistake, is something I can wait be patient enough to wait on for a few more days.

All in all, I am very happy I finally got my order. And even happier that I took advantage of their 50% off sitewide sale! All of these items… in total… cost just $56. With the extra cost of shipping to Canada, it still only cost me about $70 total. I’m happy, but my bank account is ecstatic.

Product Review! Ojon “damage reverse™ restorative hair treatment”

I purchased the “Damage Reverse Restorative Hair Treatment” by Ojon as a sale item at the MAC Warehouse sale(blog + pics here: http://wp.me/p2efXc-1w) back in March. It was one of the many items in my haul that I was super excited to try. It was a steal: I purchased the 50ml size for $4 which normally retails for $22 here in Canada.

Now I have curly hair. Curly, ringlety hair. It’s not to thick, it’s not at all coarse, but it does get dry. Especially since I have caramel hilights. And we all know what dyeing can do to already dry hair.

I tried this product on dry hair, as it recommended. I took small teaspoon sized amounts into my hands, melted the waxy substance by rubbing it together in my palms, applying the oil to the hair, and repeating until fully saturated. It took about 1/4 of the jar to ‘fully saturate’ by mid-back length dry, damaged, and normal-thickness hair. I combed it through, put on a disposable shower cap, went under the blow dryer for 5 minutes, and let it sit for about 2 more hours.

Afterwards, I washed it out as normal with my sulfate free, argan oil-infused shampoo and conditioner and proceeded to blowdry and flat iron my hair.

My hair did not feel softer, smoother, more hydrated, or in any way healthier than before using the treatment. In fact, my hair felt hard and straw-like. I was not impressed.

I would have been better off applying warm coconut oil, palm oil or olive oil to my hair as a conditioning treatment instead of using this product. I would actually say that this is the worst hair product of it’s kind that I have ever tried. It smelled like cigarettes & chocolate (very odd combination), it was time consuming to apply and use, and it did not yield any of the results it promised. I also used 1/4 of the product in a single use, which means for $22 you’re getting 4 uses out of this product on the average head of hair. I can get more uses out of a bottle of coconut oil at the West Indian Grocery Store and it would cost me less than half of what this product is priced at.

The good thing about this experience? Well, there are 2 good things: One, atleast I’ll be able to attract every nicotine addict and chocolate-loving child within a 5 mile radius based on the aroma of my hair and Two, atleast it only cost me $4 to make this mistake. Coulda been much worse.

 

Have you tried this product? Let me know what your experience was and what you thought of it!

 

 

 

Product Review! Smashbox PHOTO FINISH HYDRATING UNDER EYE PRIMER

I got a sample of the new “PHOTO FINISH HYDRATING UNDER EYE PRIMER” by Smashbox in my last purchase from the Sephora store and was super eager to try it, especially since it’s not yet available to purchase in stores (and because it feels amazing to be in on the exclusive new thing!).

I gave it a try last Saturday when I was going out for several hours to see how it held up and if it gave any improvements to the wear of my makeup. Now since the sample sized tube didn’t come with instructions, I just used my common sense in applying it. I applied my primer all over the face, then this under eye primer, then my foundation (Nars Sheer Glow in Cadiz is my current go-to), then my concealer (Bobbi Brown concealer/corrector in Dark Peach) which is really just a warm corrector for my dark circles and not a concealer for acne/marks etc. since I have none (at the moment). I applied my liquid bronzer and cream blush, filled my brows, and added my eyeliner and mascara. Sounds like a lot, but I use each item sparingly and blend to hell and back. In 10 minutes I was out the door at 3pm.

 

I got home at about 12am. After 9 hours, my concealer usually fades & creases a wee bit. I also notice that my bottom lid eyeliner tends to smudge a tiny bit (even when I use my UDPP on the lower lid) even when using my favourite waterproof eyeliner (Urban Decay’s “Perversion”). But, this time, my concealer and eyeliner were both PERFECTLY in tact!

Needless to say, I will be the first in line, calling up Smashbox with my pro order as soon as this stuff hits the Canadian border. It was absolutely fantastic! It moisturized under my eye area without making me look oily or adding too much ‘slip’ to my concealer or eyeliner. It added a very slight reflective property as well, which made the area look brighter and helped combat my dark circles. And it added staying power to my eye makeup.

Nine hours in this warm Canadian summer, walking the streets of Toronto on a Saturday, strolling through Dundas square, shopping at Eaton Centre and hitting up Revival for a performance and then heading to a sushi bar for a bite before heading home… and my under eye makeup not only held up, but looked flawless when I got in just after midnight. This product has me sold. And even though I’ll be shopping with a pro discount, I still (and it is sooo hard for me to say this most of the time)… I still would purchase this product at full price. Even though it’s set to be $29 US, (so you just know the CAD price on this is going to be something silly like $35 a tube) you need just the tiniest dab under each eye and so 1 tube will probably last 6 months for the average person’s daily wear and probably a year for someone like me who doesn’t often wear a full face. You can also swing my your local Sephora and see if you can get a sample tube of this stuff with your purchase, then you can try it out for yourself!

It almost burns me that this product works as well as it does and is pretty hefty for the price but apparently pain is beauty, so if your pockets are hurting then this must be making you look flawless indeed.

Happy shopping!

My “Incredible” New Favourite Thing!

So it’s been a few months now since Noxzema saved my skin. And I have only been using them once a week now for that extra care and prevention. (You can read it here: https://beautybyjemz.wordpress.com/2012/05/10/how-noxzema-saved-my-cheeks/) Since my skin is all … Continue reading

Models: How to Arrive Hair & Makeup Ready!

As a makeup artist, hairstylist & often times stand-in wardrobe personnel, there are some things I sometimes wish a model would have done to properly prepare herself, her skin & her hair for a shoot. This is a quick checklist to make sure you’re bringing everything you need and doing everything possible to ensure your shoot goes smoothly, your pictures look fab & your hair and makeup are perfection.

Please arrive:

1: on time. Do not flake. You may be blacklisted & that team/photographer/MUAH may choose to never work with you again. Especially if it’s a TF shoot. If you’re going to be late, call. And text. Don’t send an email or MM message. Call or text directly. Communicating with your crew is vital, even if it’s just to say that your subway train is delayed 10 minutes.

2: braless or with a strapless bra or tube top on. If you are wearing a bra with straps, the straps will leave marks on your skin and may take a while to disappear after you arrive. If you’re shooting fashion or topless beauty shots, it may be best to arrive braless to avoid all skin markings. Please bring & wear a nude gstring and a black gstring. For more tips on what to pack in your bag for both male & female models, please read this.

3: with no makeup on. None. Just a clean & lightly moisturized face please.

4: hair-free. Take care of any unwanted facial hair 2 days before… freshly waxed skin doesn’t allow makeup to stick to it the same as unwaxed skin, so the face may look uneven. This includes tidying eyebrows & removing upper lip hair, excessive sideburns or chin hairs as needed. Remove all under arm hair & have freshly shaved legs up to the bikini line 1 day prior (incase there are any nicks or irritation bumps or redness that need 24 hours to vanish). This also applies to men: make sure you’ve had a proper haircut (if required to look well-manicured) within 3 days prior to your shoot. Shave and shape your facial hair accordingly. Don’t forget! Trim that back of neck hair, armpit hair, groin hair, and any other long and lengthy hairs we do not want to see. Men being hairy is cool, but men looking like a Sasquatch is not.

5: like you’ve got 20/20 vision. If you wear glasses, please take them off at least 1 hour before the shoot to get rid of the nose pad marks or just wear your contacts. But always bring an extra contact case & solution in case you need to pop them out.

6: with clean, dry hair. Preferably washed the night before, no product in it and no flat ironing please, unless you have kinky/highly textured or relaxed hair then please care for it as discussed prior to the shoot. If you have a wig or weave or clip in hair extensions, make sure it has been washed & styled properly. Do not show up with a ratty looking wig or extensions and expect miracles! Also, styling extensions can be like styling 2 heads of hair on a model, so coming with them properly treated can save a lot of prep time, meaning more time for you in front of the camera!

7: smooth as a baby’s bum.  Please ensure your skin has been exfoliated & black heads/white heads removed the night or 2 before. Smooth skin is key for a beauty shoot.

8: no-ash. All body skin should be well moisturized with lotion, no oil as it leaves residue on clothing garments.

9: not in your Sunday’s Best.  Please wear a button or zip down shirt to the shoot in a dark colour to wear while you have your hair & makeup done, or bring a robe. Something you don’t mind getting makeup or powder on.

10: the same. Do not make any crazy changes to yourself after you have been cast for the shoot! This means, don’t go tanning, don’t get 5 inch acrylic nails, don’t change your hair colour, don’t get a drastic haircut, don’t get more tattoos or piercings, and don’t gain or lose any weight. Unless you’ve discussed any of these changes with the shoot organizer/photographer, do not make any changes to yourself once you have been cast. The shoot depends on you showing up looking like you looked when you were given the job, so no changes please.

Coming prepped saves time, money and mostly… it makes you look more professional and desirable to work with again. With this list, you are now ready!

Models: What to Bring to a Test/Portfolio Shoot?

There are a few things models should always have with them, even if there is a full crew expected at the shoot. Heaven forbid, but if your hairstylist doesn’t show & you showed up looking like you’ve got sex-hair, the shoot is about to be a disaster. So, if you pack the following things, you should be good in a pinch no matter what disasters strike!

Please bring:

 

1: a good attitude. No, not a hungover attitude. A good, wide awake, energetic, ready-to-pose positive type attitude 🙂

 

2: makeup. These items are your basics & should be in your bag incase the MUA is not there. Items with * beside them include both male & female models.

~foundation*

~concealor

~translucent/anti-shine setting powder*

~clear brow gel*

~mascara

~eyeliner (black, white & a colour to match your brows)

~eyeshadows (neutral brown, black, shimmery white or gold if you are an ebony toned model)

~blush (a peach tone & a pink tone that flatters you, no shimmer)

~bronzer* (no shimmer)

~lip balm*

~lipstick (one nude, one red, one soft pink, one deep brown/deep plum/deep burgundy)

 

3: directions and phone numbers. Don’t just store them in your iPhone, print them and pack them in your bag. If you get lost & have no reception or your phone dies, you can still go to a gas station or ask a transit personnel for directions. Or if you have the numbers of the crew written down, you can call from a payphone to let everyone know you’ll be arriving a bit late.

 

4: hair things.

~flatiron. Preferably a round barrel that can do both straightening and curls.

~hairspray

~texturizer/messy hold gel*

~a hair elastic & bobby pins

 

5: clothing. Always bring the basics, even if wardrobe is provided. I have seen it happen so many times where we have used a model’s white tank or leggings.

~leggings

~skinny jeans (slim jeans for the men)*

~white tank*

~white tee if you’re ivory-medium/black tee if you’re medium-ebony*

~g strings. black, white & nude. not thongs with those thick straps in the back. g strings.

~bras. strapless in nude/black/white. pushup in nude/black/white. at the very minimum you need these 2 types.

~white or denim button down shirt*

~nylons/pantyhose, 1 nude & 1 black

~a blazer/leather jacket*

~a pencil skirt

~ 3 pairs of shoes, minimum. 1 classic black/dressy. 1 bold & trendy. 1 casual (flats, boat shoe, etc. Runners don’t count)*

~accessories. a hat, a tie, suspenders, jewelry, etc. Whatever you have that you like & is vintage, classic, or ultra trendy. Leave stuff from 3 seasons ago at home.*

 

6: clean nails. Nails should be freshly manicured on hands & toes with a clear or neutral lacquer. No lacquer required for men.*

 

7: snacks. There may be no break or it may be a long time before dinner. Bring things like fruit or veggie sticks, protein drink, granola bar, cheese wedges, etc. Nothing greasy or carbonated (which could leave your waistline bloated in photos).

 

8: iPod. Bring music you love. Play it while you model. Put stuff on it that will get you in the right kind of mood for your shoot. Somber, upbeat, grunge… whatever does the trick. And even if you can’t play it in the studio (for whatever reason), you can pop on your headphones in between changes and get re-focused and re-charged.

 

9: safety pins. Always.

 

10: your business card/comp card. You just never know who you might meet 😉

Summer’s Here!… And So Is Your Shiny Skin?

A reader requested some suggestions on a great primer for oily skin, and since this is the season for oiliness, I thought to repost it here & add a few updated product suggestions.

So…Personally and dermatologically speaking, I don’t recommend that anyone use any primer, ever, on a daily basis. That being said, primers are great for a special night out or occasion or even if you have a long day of meetings and need to impress or have no time to worry about touching up your makeup.

I wouldn’t recommend a primer daily because it isn’t particularly good for your skin… It’s purpose is to impose a barrier between your skin’s oils and your makeup or to stop your skin from being oily altogether which isn’t good for the skin. If your skin produces too much oil there are always several reasons and sometimes it’s best to consult your doctor or dermatologist. It could be over-washing, stress, etc. but before finding ways to conceal oiliness, I would recommend finding ways to treat and balance the skin first.

Now down to business. The number one recommended primer for oily skin is the Laura Mercier oil free primer. You can easily pick it up at Sephora or order it online. It’s completely water based so it works well in not adding any oil as well as providing a smooth makeup application for oily skin types. If you’re using mineral makeup or powder with this primer instead of a liquid foundation, you’ve gotta give it a few minutes to dry… or it can end up altering the colour of your makeup as you apply it. If you’re very invested in making sure you’re totally oil-free then I would pair this with the Laura Mercier oil free foundation too. CoverFX also makes a great oil control powder to blot with and to powder on top of your oil-free foundation to really set your skin with a matte look.

A favourite system of mine for those with normal skin and T-zone oiliness is the Smashbox Photo Finish primer paired with the Smashbox mattifier in the T-zone since I find none of my clients want that ‘all over matte’ look which is not very natural looking.

*New fave* The Too Faced Primed & Poreless Pure Oil-Free Skin Smoothing Face Primer For Sensitive Skin. It’s quite a mouthful but it really works wonders!

To make your makeup last longer try a setting spray. The Model in a Bottle spray works well; I’ve used it on clients but find it’s not easy to find and a little pricier than other alternatives. Some people swear by the Urban Decay “All Nighter” setting spray. Personally I favour the Ben Nye “Final Seal” for my clients as I find no one has ever broken out with any skin problems after I use this on them and the makeup stays the same after I apply it; I’ve even had clients tell me their makeup looked the same in the morning after forgetting to wash their face at night! The MAC “FIX” setting spray has a lot of reviews that it works great (although not cheap) but for sensitive skin users to beware that it often causes break outs and leaves the skin slightly shiny (which I think defeats the purpose) and the skin needs to be re-powdered after use.

P.s. There is an urban myth that using ‘milk of magnesium’ on the face can stop all oiliness in its tracks for hours on end and is rumoured to be used behind many a runway show. However, I’ve never tried it, I also don’t recommend you do either, but I’ve never heard of a makeup myth that didn’t have some truth to it 😉

My First Time…

I saw a tutorial on YouTube one day for something I never tried before so I decided to give it a whirl & see what happened.

It was my first time, so please don’t judge me too harshly! lol But, I think they still look pretty great anyway.

I’m usually a nail-painter and usually have my talons decked out in pretty trendy shades, but this was another level which I had never really thought of let alone aspired to.

Newspaper print nails.

What you need:

1: a light colour nail polish. I used #03 by Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear (light pinky white colour). I thought the white would look too harsh on my brown skin and this colour still has the newspaper effect without the super high contrast.

2: top coat/quick sealer. I used Orly’s Sealon topcoat.

3: bowl.

4: rubbing alcohol.

5: ten strips of newspaper. Preferably the sections with really bad political articles (insert Rob Ford joke here). It makes you feel like you accomplished something, trust me.

What to do:

1: give your nails 2 coats of colour. Let dry.

2: DO NOT PUT ON A TOP COAT. Once a top coat is on, the newspaper does not stick as well.

3: dip the newspaper strip in the rubbing alcohol & gently place it on the nail, holding it down firmly & pressing over the entire nail. Let dry thoroughly.

4: put on the top coat, thickly and gently. If the coat is thin, you will drag the newspaper writing off the nail (like I did on a few of them). Let dry. Repeat.

5: clean off your extremely dirty newspapery inky looking fingers. I skipped this step in the photos I took, but I did it afterwards 🙂

6. feel sexy, studious, and like you just took a bite out of politics’ ass.

What do you guys think?

It’s not bad for my first time, right?

My Love/Hate Relationship

I love makeup, I truly do. But I hate the fact that because I have a mild makeup shopping problem, my whole bathroom suffers. Not to mention that the more product I have,  means the more heavy my kit is when schlepping around town servicing clients. One of the items I love the most in my kit, I tend to often times leave at home. In a box.

It’s ‘pigment pots’. MAC has pigments, Gosh has Gosh pots, Lise Watier has Folies, NYX has pearl powders. They’re all loose pigment eye shadows that come in individual pots or containers. They apply with a sheer pop of highly pigmented colour when dry or give a big burst of concentrated colour when wet or if primed properly. I love using these but I just can’t justify lugging them around. I usually bring my 2 most used colours with me, my close-to nudes, and leave all the rest on my makeup table at home. It’s so sad.

So I finally decided to press my pigments. I had tried this a couple years back but didn’t really like the result. I found my pigment was just too crumbly which led to wasted product & lots of fall-out. So I heard a voice in my head that said to use a lower percentage alcohol & see what happened. And very good things happened.

I’ll start off with what you need:

1: A tool. I used my pro stainless steel double ended spatula. You could use a plastic spatula, teaspoon, cocktail fork, etc or a combination of all of those. You need something to scoop up/out the pigment and mix it.

2: Empty pans. Empty metal pans… I used some old blush ones that I stuck magnetic stickers to the bottom of (to use with my Z palettes), some old square L’oreal eyeshadow pots, some broken 120 palettes pans, and some Yaby empties. It doesn’t matter where they’re from or if you’re recycling old pans or not, just be sure to properly cleanse them and disinfect with alcohol prior to re-use.

3: Rubbing alcohol. I suggest 50%. I had used the 99% pro type rubbing alcohol and it evaporated too quickly which is what I think led the product to it’s crumbly state. The 50% will evaporate more slowly and although it takes longer to set, it will allow the product to set better and form better in the pan.

4: Pigments. Some brands may have difficulty in pressing. I used Makeup Forever, Lise Watier, Gosh, NYX and a cheaper brand called Lanmei that I never heard of until one of my suppliers sent me a ton of them along with an eyelash shipment. All of the above worked really well.

5: baby wipes for clean up of your space, and you (I was a hot mess afterwards) and paper towels should be placed all over your work space.

To Press Your Pigments:

1: Start by filling your empty pan with pigment. A scoop of pigment and a drop of alcohol at a time until the pan is full, and you have a thick paste-like consistency.

2: Mix mix mix.

3: Tap tap tap.

4: Wait until dry.

5: You might choose to press them (literally) with a penny/quarter/dime depending on the size of your pan. I chose to press a few, but not the larger ones. In pressing, you can wrap a tissue around your money and press it flatly into the pan of pigment. You can also choose to wrap a patterned cloth around your coin and press in a fancy schmancy design. I skipped all that. After 3 hours of mixing pigments, I was not feeling fancy or schmancy.

6: Enjoy the fruit of your labour.

I took some photos to show what I managed to do.

I MAJORLY downsized my pots of pigments into several flat pans:

This was the waiting part:This was the end result, with 21 pots of different pigments being downsized into 21 pans of pressed pigment eyeshadows that all fit in to 1 Z-Palette:

Lastly, I  swatched my Lise Watier Folie D’Or from the pot and from the pressed pigment pan after it was dry to test for any colour change at all and I could see none. The only thing it seemed that happened was the colour from the pressed pan seemed more pigmented and would require a light handed application if I wanted it to appear very sheer.

(right side is non-pressed, the left side had been the pressed one)

All in all, I am very happy I finally pressed my pigment pots! Now I can carry around 21 pots of colour in just 1 Z-Palette, and actually, there’s room for a few more pans… hmmm….

How Noxzema Saved My Cheeks…

A few months ago, I had an allergic reaction to something. No idea what it was. And I broke out in all kinds of hives and rashes on my face, mostly my cheeks. I took pills and used some medicated steroid cream and it eventually went away in about 2 weeks.

After that, I noticed my skin became really sensitive and if I even just *touched* my face, I would end up breaking out and pimples would come popping out all over my cheeks. So I was in Shoppers Drug Mart (I know… again… Do not judge me please) and I saw these Noxzema Triple Clean Anti-Blemish pads in their classic cobalt blue Noxzema packaging. They were on sale for $3.49 and, in my classic style, I noticed a $1.00 off coupon just down the aisle. So I figured to try them. Nothing else was really working… my regular Cetaphil & Spectro cleansers didn’t seem to be able to handle the break outs alone and my tea tree oil stick was making my face look patchy and dry, nearly sunburnt. So with only $2.49 to lose, I grabbed a pack.

The instructions say to start with using 1 per day, then 2 per day with a max of 3 per day on the face. Well screw that! I was desperate. I started with 3 per day for the first 3 days and then 2 per day for about 3 more days. Before the 5th day, my break out was completely gone. Completely.

It’s true that I thought I might pass out from the menthol and camphor fumes, and sometimes I do plug my nose while swiping my face, but they say ‘what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger’ and here I am, with my face feeling stronger!

Moment of truth: these are dirt cheap, a jar lasts about 2 months, your breakout could clear up in a week’s time (or less!) and you have no embarrassing acne routine for people to see and poke fun at you about (i.e. the ‘toothpaste’ trick = no boyfriend wants to see that, or the ‘tea tree oil stick’ that dries out your skin in weird patches and makes you look like you got sunburned, or a bathroom cabinet full of acne products, when you could use just 1 or 2 and get the job done). P.s. these also work on your back if you have upper back acne. I recommended them to a male friend and he told me that within a week things were looking MUCH clearer!

My current routine: exfoliate, rinse, wash, rinse, use the Noxzema Anti-blemish pads once a day (on cheeks only, where my breakouts happen) and moisturize with my Clinique Dramatically Different. My current skin: so clear that I rarely wear foundation…. maybe once a week for a night out.

I love these things! And they are now one of my bathroom cabinet staples. Beware, the fumes are STRONG. Like, super strong. But these are completely worth it.

p.s. I have no brand sponsors (pffft- I wish)… So everything I buy costs me out of my own pocket and so, I am always, totally & completely honest about every product I review.

Have an acne remedy? skin cure? share it with me!

Better than “Mixed Chicks”?? Say what?!

Yep, I found a leave-in conditioner that is better, I repeat – BETTER – than the Mixed Chicks brand coveted leave-in conditioner and de-frizzer for curly hair types.

I really like Mixed Chicks, I do. I have even used it in my daughter’s hair which has about 3x the twisty-curl factor than my own hair does. It works really well. But I found a product that works even BETTER.

Recently, I was in Shoppers Drug Mart (I say recently but we all know it’s closer to ‘daily’) helping my friend shop for some deep conditioner for her hair. I have used the ones by L’oreal Expertise, specifically this one (below), the Total Repair 5 and I really liked it. It was moisturizing but not so heavy that it weighed down my hair or gave me that ‘greasy bangs’ look.

So as my friend was grabbing herself some hair mask, I grabbed myself something new (as always) to do a test run. I’ve tried the Nutri-Sleek shampoo & conditioners from the same L’Oreal Expertise brand before and like them, so I decided to give the leave-in conditioner a try.

I have to say, I was amazed by it. It did a BEYOND fabulous job of taming my frizzies and defining my curls without any crunchy gel type feeling AT ALL. It was phenomenal. I only needed a small dollop and it was enough for my whole mid length head of hair. My hair didn’t feel weighed down. AND my boyfriend complimented my yummy smelling hair (it really does smell pretty good, for a styling product anyway).

So, is Mixed Chicks leave-in conditioner great? Yes. Does it do everything it promises? Yes. But, is it available everywhere like in a drugstore or WalMart like L’Oreal Expertise is? No. Is it as cost effective as the L’Oreal Expertise brand is? No again. The Mixed Chicks leave-in conditioner is 300ml for $16.99 (per the website and often sells for much more in stores, especially in boutique hair stores where you might be lucky to find it here in Canada) whereas the L’Oreal Expertise Nutri-Sleek leave-in conditioner is 200ml for $4-6 in most drugstores.

I bought my L’Oreal Expertise Nutri-Sleek leave-in conditioner on sale for $3.99 at SDM AND had $2 off coupons from the company itself to use. That’s right, it was $1.99. I don’t think this could be beat!

If you have thick, wavy, curly, ringlety, corkscrewy, dry, frizzy, dull curls or hair, you probably NEED to get this leave-in conditioner. You just didn’t know it until right now. And with summer coming, a.k.a. “big hair season”, this will probably become your life line.

No, I didn’t forget about you guys! Here’s a link to that $2 off coupon I used: http://www.smartsource.ca/smartsource/index.jsp?Link=RH3NYYVG2LZOY

Now go forth and shop!

Have a fave hair product? Tell me! Want me to put something to the test? Ask away!