Making the Contoured Face Trend look fresh, not chiseled:

The contouring makeup trend is upon us, and has been for a while…the only thing is the aesthetic is rather angular, high impact and not soft or natural. For those unfamiliar with the trend, contouring is a foundation application that uses different shades of foundation on the face to create low lights and highlights blended together to give an illusion of depth and dimension. It’s a visual trick. Light surfaces move forward and dark surfaces recede back. It’s actually an illusion to create, the appearance of high cheekbones, an eyelid crease or skinnier cheeks…

My problem with contouring is that it looks painted, unnatural and is based on fooling the beholder, instead of accentuating the natural beauty one’s face already has. It is about following the beauty standards that pointier noses are prettier, or shallow cheeks are better, and that roundness is not. Rounded features I find are youthful, cute and joyful. These features can be desirable things…

I have stayed away from the contouring trend thus long, only recently adopting a more modified version of contouring. No bronzer, and no high contrast lines that need blending. Just airy bliss. I started using a highlighter to make my face glow a bit more, to look more awake and to accentuate what I already have. For me, this is the perfect compromise…looking bright-eyed and bushy tailed, but not overly harsh or made up.

How I use highlighting daily:

  1. After moisturizing, I apply my favourite foundation. These days I’m loving the Revlon Photo Ready Color Stay foundation with an spf of 20. It gives me added protection from UV rays, while still giving me a creamy, barely there coverage..
  2. Here’s where it gets fun. Add in a highlighting pen, crayon or cream. Any brand will do as long as it is lighter in shade to your real skin tone. There needs to be a reasonable difference in shade between the highlighter and foundation. Too light and it looks unnatural, but too close and it looks like nothing…

    As I mentioned in the steps the best places to highlight: the nose bridge, the forehead, the corner of the eyes, the bags under the eyes, and the cheekbones. Oh, also the cupid’s bow on top of the lips.
  3. I gently draw the lighter color onto my face. Must hit areas: the cheek bones, the crease at the bottom of any eye puffiness, the corner of the eyes, a small triangle on the forehead, the ridge of the nose, my cupids’ bow above my lips, and last but not least a round spot on my chin.
  4. The magic happens when I blend the makeup shades by dabbing a blending sponge on the edges of the highlighted spaces to create a blurred effect. Once all blended, I dust lightly with ;face powder to set and all looks beautiful!
  5. I then apply my eye makeup as usual and end with 2 generous coats of my current favorite mascara…

I feel this leaves me with a dewy, flawless glow on my face that just looks natural as if I was born with it…and not trying to fool the onlooker. Because at the end of the day, makeup is supposed to make me look better, but not like somebody else.

The finished product. Don’t I look alive but not too chiseled? That’s what we want!

Preventing wrinkles: it can be as simple as your expressions!

When I was a young art school student, studying Fine Arts and Theory at the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto, I was always inspired by my professors. They were so accomplished, talented and brilliant. Intellectually strong and academically enriching able to carry on discourse deeply, engagingly. One of my professors that I really liked was a cerebral Art seminar instructor who was heavy with her ideas. She often dawned very politically charged, raw topics, and presented them to her students with a lot of open minded energy. She also re-affirmed and validated my artistic ambitions, whether in positive critiques of my essays or in actual pieces. And that’s why I adored her. But one thing I noticed about her was how when she was deep in analytical thought, she would furrow her eyebrows so deeply, they had a permanent wrinkle on her forehead. She was a handsome woman who didn’t seem to care about superficial beauty, but was after what her mind could embody and the intellectual beauty of that. I could respect that, and still do.

But I work in the fashion industy, and also have my own cosmetics line, dream e beauty, so I know that physically aesthetic beauty is valuable too. I will never teach Art at a University level, but I will have to represent daily, my more tangible skills…and that is…avoiding wrinkles by not emoting too much. It’s sad, isn’t it? That deep thinking, stress, and expressing emotions like joy, anger and fear, can cause wrinkles–but it can. When we pose our faces in certain expressions everyday, we are training our skin to crease in the same areas, and like a piece of paper, we will crease, especially as we age and our skin gets less elastic and less supple.

Is there a solution to preventing this? My advice is to be aware of when we are making certain expressions that will cause wrinkling. For example, when I get excited, suprised or angry, I often lift and furrow my eyebrows, causing my forehead skin to wrinkle. And I noticed over time, that these wrinkles are starting to stay. I use my anti-wrinkle antioxidant balm every night on my forehead to increase the skin suppleness there, but another guard is to just stop making expressions that cause wrinkles. And here’s the hard part…I have to make myself aware of which expressions, and facial muscles make these creases, and stop doing them. So hard…especially since they are natural reactions to my life and my world.

Which brings me to what a wise friend once told me. To stay young and creaseless, one cannot smile, one cannot frown, one cannot laugh, or worry, or scowl. We have to remain expressionlessand emotionless to maintain flawless unwrinkled skin. And that’s a tall order…are you willing to trade in your human personalities and expressions for the sake of flawless skin? Is being less emotive and human worth it? Maybe, maybe not…but it’s useful to know that some wrinkles can be created, and therefore can also be prevented.

The gamut of expressions a gal might make; looks cute in these manga drawings…but in reality, they could mean a whole bunch of wrinkles after a few years of emoting too fiercely!


Going from Work to Party: Fashion/makeup hacks

So you have an event coming up at 6:00 and you’ve been working all day and are far from feeling like a model. After the recycled air, computer screens, standing/sitting and fulfilling the demands of clients/employers; and all the stresses of whatever work environment you are in, the bottom line is you’re pooped. And you probably look it too. Not exactly fun to have to scramble home, freshen up, change your clothes and touch up a make-up application that has long expired since the morning when you put it on. It is looking more like an oil slick, than prettily powdered, and well, you’re not exactly feeling primped and ready to go after work in general.. What to do? Let me share with you a few hacks that help me, when it comes to feeling glammed up, rejuvenated and able to face the world, whether for a date, a party or event when you don’t have a whole day to preen:

1. Skip putting on make-up in the morning and just moisturize heavily and allow your skin to soak it up all day. Make-up is drying to the face, which is why skin produces so much excess oil by nightfall. By not wearing make-up during the day, your face skin can breathe. Then you can do your make-up before the event after a quick face rinse or toning, for a fresher application.

2. Dry shampoo is your best friend. Hair gets limp and oily throughout the day. There is no time for a shampoo in the shower, but a little bit of dry shampoo will make sure that by night fall, it looks like you just got a blow out.  I like to do it the night before to make sure hair is not too powdery with residue from the dry shampoo, but if you have really greasy hair, during the day works fine too. Just shake it out lots when you’re done. Check out my article on how to DIY a dry shampoo.

3. Drink lots of water. Dehydration not only dries out your skin, but it also causes water retention, tired puffy eyes, and a look of fatigue in general. Aim for at least 2 litres during the day, especially after coffee. Having a nice hot herbal tea flushes out toxins and helps you de-stress so definitely try that.

4. Pre-plan your outfit. Believe it or not, even if you kinda know what you are going to wear, you don’t. Something you pictured working can suddenly look out of place or odd: ie a skirt your thought would match doesn’t, a sweater/top is too see through, (or not see through enough!) Put on the things the night before so that after work you are ready to go.

5. Over pack your arsenal: Unless you have time to go home (which you probably don’t) Bring all your trade secrets to work to use before leaving: perfume, hair spray, culing iron, straightening wand, combs, hair clips, lotion. Don’t be afraid of looking high maintenance with having to carry a huge bag to the event. Just leave everything at your workplace/office in a discreet bag that is in nobody’s way, and pick it up on your next shift…while you go out with the tiny purse that says you didn’t have to work at it!

6. Eat little meals through out the day. Nothing is grosser than feeling bloated and tired after eating a big lunch, having to digest that, and then topping that off with a big snack at the end of the workday too. Eating small meals through out the day makes your energy better, and lets you not have spiking sugar levels that add to fatigue. Also, it prevents you from getting too hungry so that when you are out, you don’t binge on food.

Is this not a yummy sight? Fruit and nuts and water make a great snack on busy work days leading into a night event. They are easy to digest and cause minimal bloating.

7. And the number one tip to looking your best in the least bit of time? Just make an effort to take care of yourself daily, event or no event. Have nice manicured hands, moisturized skin, brush your hair and your teeth. Always eat well and drink lots of water. When you are making self care a habit then the odd times that you have to hustle to glam up for a date are that much easier….because you are often looking your best anyway!

Just before an event I had to go to…and yes, I ate the heck outta that pear!