looking good after 5pm

Situation: you’ve got somewhere to go after a full work or school day. Concern: you want to look as fresh and beautiful as you did when you left the house that morning.   Issue 1: you either aren’t going home first, or will only have 5 minutes before you have to leave again.  Issue 2: you unfortunately look like you’ve been at work/school for at least 8 hours. Uh oh.

This happens to me all. the. time. No matter what fabulous products I used that morning, I definitely don’t look as good post-5PM as I did at 7:30AM, all bright and fresh-faced and glowy with perfect eyeliner. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to look that way again for my post-work activities! Lucky for you and for me (mostly for me), I’ve narrowed down the few, crucial beauty steps to take to refresh, re-set and only slightly re-do your makeup to keep your face going into the evenings and beyond!  You only need a few products so you can easily pack these essentials in a small makeup bag to throw in your purse to touch up on-the-go. DSC_0011

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Things to stock up on at Target

Sad news for Canada this week – Target will be closing all their stores sometime in the next few months. I know a lot of Canadians were disappointed with Target because the prices weren’t as good as they are in the US (because it’s impossible to get US prices in Canada, hello!), but frankly I loved Target and shopped there regularly.  With the news that they won’t be around for much longer, I realized that there are so many great things at Target that I’d put off buying, just because I knew they’d always be there to get. Well, joke’s on me, and now it’s time to go out and get everything while I still have the chance! So what’s on my list?  Continue reading

the humble matte brown shadow

There are some key bits and pieces in a makeup bag that are not particularly exciting products, but that are solid staples to have nonetheless. Things like plain black eye pencils, translucent powder, and a plain, matte brown eyeshadow. When looking at the beautiful arrays of eyeshadows on offer in MAC or Sephora, a plain brown is definitely not something my eyes are immediately drawn to, but when contemplating my must-have and most used products, it definitely ranks up there.  Continue reading

an easy winter makeup look

To me, makeup-wise, these colder months mean darker lips and warmer colours on the eyes. OK, I’m assuming that’s what they mean for almost everyone, but I really enjoy adapting my makeup to the seasons and trying new looks!  I recently picked up a beautiful cream shadow from Flower Beauty (Drew Barrymore’s makeup line!), and I can sense that this easy, warm eye makeup will become a go-to for me this winter.

Winter makeup

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wedding makeup

My friend Julianne got married in August, and I offered to do her makeup for her wedding. I love doing my friends’ makeup and frequently when we go out, I’ll do everyone’s smokey eyes! I love doing it. I was a bit nervous because a bride’s makeup is so important! Those pictures will literally be around forever. The finished look is a really wearable, slightly smokey eye that would suit everyone. 

Summer wedding makeup

The beautiful bride

Julianne’s wedding makeup was fairly simple with a focus on the eyes. She wanted her eyes to be more dramatic than her regular day-to-day. We kept the skin simple and glowy, and she chose a subtle mauve lipstick that went really well with her skin tone.
wedding makeup

After using Urban Decay Primer Potion to prime, I applied Naked Lunch from MAC all over the lids and gently up to the brow bone, as a nice pinky neutral base. I then used Satin Taupe on the outer two thirds of the lid, with emphasis on the outer V to build that smokiness. To build up the intensity, I used Dior Mono eyeshadow in Velvet on the outer corner. Velvet is a really nice deep, cool-toned taupey brown with a slight shimmer – basically a deeper version of Satin Taupe. Using an angled brush, I worked Velvet into a slight wing and smoked it out with a blending brush. I repeated this a few times until I got the intensity and smokiness we were looking for.

On the bottom lashes, I smudged Coffee eye pencil from MAC along the lash line and apple Velvet on top. I kept the waterline bare, because while Julianne wanted a slightly dramatic look, we didn’t want it to be too dark and close off her eyes. I softly filled in her brows using Omega shadow from MAC. For her lashes, we used Julianne’s own mascara which was from Lise Watier, as well as false lashes from Ardell. Halfway through the day though, Julianne ripped them off – she doesn’t wear false lashes on the regular and they were annoying her. Can’t say I blame her!

After buffing in Julianne’s own MAC foundation, I used Kiss et Blush from YSL in the shade 2 Rose Frivole on the apples of her cheeks. This shade is a really pretty rose shade that just provided a nice natural flush of colour. Julianne is fairly pale and already had a slight tan, so I didn’t apply any bronzer. For highlight I used my favourite highlighter of all time, Dior Shimmer Powder in Amber Diamond, both along the tops of her cheek bones and in her inner eyes to make her eyes pop.

Wedding makeup - applying lipstick

Lastly, I lined Julianne’s lips using MAC Soar liner and the lipstick she chose was Syrup from MAC, which I thought was such a nice choice – quite neutral with mauve tones that matched the eyes really nicely.

And there you have it – a slightly smokey but generally natural makeup look! It was perfect for a summer wedding, but I think it works year-round! Would you recreate this look?

tips for ladies with bangs

I have had bangs for probably, ten years. When you’re in the mid-twenties, ten years is basically almost half your life, especially if you don’t consider the bald baby period, which I am not. So realistically, I’ve had bangs since I started really making my own decisions about my appearance! There was maybe an 8-month stint a few years ago when I let them grow out, but I don’t like to think about that. Have I proved to you yet that I am an “expert” in dealing with bangs?

Unfortunately bangs can be pretty high-maintenance. They need special attention while blow-drying, and they are the first part of your hair to remind you that you need to wash your hair.  I try not to wash my hair every day, so over the years I’ve developed a few tips to keep my bangs in tip-top shape…ish.

tip #1: blotting pads

Sometimes I refer to my bangs as the grease curtains because they can get so lank and greasy well before the rest of my mop does. I think it’s a vicious cycle between your forehead and your bangs – as the day progresses, your forehead becomes oily because your bangs are resting on it, and then your hair gets greasy from your forehead, but wasn’t it the bangs’ fault in the first place?! Nobody knows. All I can tell you is that for the most part, my face doesn’t get too oily during the day, but that forehead? Thank goodness the bangs are completely hiding it because nobody wants to see that. Enter the humble blotting sheets. I swipe one over my forehead mid-day and I find my bangs have less oil to stick to, and will generally perk up a little bit.

tip #2: make friends with a shower cap

shower cap

I try to wash my hair every other day, but sometimes my bangs are just not having any of that, even though the rest of my hair is in good shape.  Instead of washing my whole head just to deal with my bangs, out comes the shower cap. I tuck the rest of my hair into it, leaving the bangs exposed and ready for their clean-up. It’s so simple but it makes such a difference for me.

tip #3: dry shampoo

This one’s pretty obvious, but when all-else fails, dry shampoo is your friend. I use it liberally on my bangs and really work it in with a brush. Sometimes I do have to reapply throughout the day, especially after a day at the office, but I can live with that. Now remember dry shampoo is not a miracle worker (if you need to wash your hair, wash your hair), but it can really do a lot to liven up your bangs and give the illusion that you’re super clean.

What other tips do you have for keeping your bangs in good shape?

the easiest eyes…ever

I’m back! Kind of. My right arm, which is my dominant hand, is still in a sling, but I’m doing much better. I’ll probably still be a sling for a few weeks at least, but I was missing makeup so much that I am starting to find ways to slap it on my face with my left hand. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, see here). I’m not one of those semi-ambidextrous people who is pretty good at using their non-dominant hand, so this is going to be quite a learning process!

I emerged from my recovery hibernation a few times this week and wanted to actually put some effort into my appearance. Since my accident and hospitalization, I would categorize a “good day” as when I wash my face in the morning and evening…and that did not happen every day. So the idea of busting out some very simple makeup and looking like a presentable human was an exciting one. Only problem: my left hand is useless! I was determined to face this challenge head-on.  And so I present to you: a quick eye makeup look that is so easy I literally did it with my left hand! Anybody can replicate this, even if you think you have no makeup skills and zero confidence. Let’s get started!

Quick and easy eye makeup
The finished look

You’ll only need two products: a soft eyeliner pencil and mascara.  My picks: Annabelle Stay Sharp Self Sharpening Waterproof Kohl Eyeliner, L’Oreal Silkissime eyeliner, and Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-on Eye Pencil. All of these pencils have a soft, creamy formula that is really easy to blend.

Start by drawing a line along the outer third of your top lash line. Don’t worry about being too precise with drawing it on, because next you’re going to smudge it out quite a bit using your ring or pinky finger (or you can use a small synthetic brush). Smudge it both along the lash line and upwards a little bit into the crease.  You can do this as many times as you want until you’re happy with the colour payoff. I do this about 2-3 times. After you’re happy with all your smudging, draw a final line along the outer third once more and this time, leave it as-is, don’t smudge it out. I also like to tight-line my upper lash line.

soft, easy eyeliner

Next, do the same along the outer third of your lower lash line. Draw on pencil, smudgy smudge with your finger, repeat. I like to keep the colour at its darkest at the outer corner so that it’s not too heavy on the inner corners, because this isn’t an intense eye look. Apply a few coats of volumizing mascara and you’re done!

soft, easy eyeliner

I think this look is a great opportunity to play with coloured eyeliners instead of the usual black or brown. You won’t be putting on any eyeshadow so it’s a good chance to really let your eyeliner stand out. In these pictures, the green shade I used is Annabelle Stay Sharp in Forest, and the purple is L’Oreal Silkissime in Plum.

And that’s it – an eye makeup look so easy, it can be done with your non-dominant hand!